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November 24, 2004: Family and the food

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This year for Thanksgiving the entire family descended on my parents' house, which meant that Richard and I had nothing more to do than bring the parts for the green bean casserole and make pumpkin bread. Since my mom ended up buying a few loaves of bread from the church bazaar this past weekend I didn't even have to bake! A big change from the stress of two years ago, when I had 17 people coming, a house full of furniture to rearrange so we could somehow fit all 17 people around two tables, and a turkey to cook.

I tried to sleep in, but my internal clock is set too early for that to work most of the time. So instead I got up around 7 and puttered around, checking email, doing a little knitting, petting the cats and trying to keep them occupied so they didn't go skittering all over the bedroom to wake up Richard. I finally called my parents to find out when breakfast was going to be ready (my mom's homemade cinnamon rolls), and poked Richard awake so we'd have time to take showers and gather up everything we'd need for the day before they were out of the oven.

My little sister, Bil-2, and my little niece arrived last night fairly late, so they were already up and wandering around by the time we arrived for breakfast. We all sat around the table and stuffed our faces with homemade cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven, getting a good start to the traditional day of eating. Later on, my older sister and her family arrived, bringing my two little nephews much to my niece's delight and I'm not sure the noise stopped for the rest of the day.

They're still young enough that they can all play together and look forward to seeing each other, and none of them care that one is a girl and two are boys. My niece is a little headstrong (it seems to be a common trait among the women in my family heh), but the oldest nephew can match her in stubbornness when he puts his mind to it and the youngest seems blissfully oblivious to being ordered around by his older brother and cousin. So for the most part they spent the day happily playing with each other while the rest of us parked ourselves around the house with books and magazines and me with my knitting (of course).

We did the traditional lunch of fruits and veggies, crackers and cheeses. The kids, and some of the adults, took naps. Bil-2 opened some belated birthday presents and received, much to his 6-year-old son's delight, a Monopoly game. Turns out he and his dad have played Monopoly on the computer, so he knew what to do. So Richard and both brothers-in-law and the little 6-year old played Monopoly. He needed a little help making change from time to time and he's a little young to have any true grasp of the financial concepts included in the game, but he was having a wonderful time. And the rest of us were having fun eavesdropping on them.

I decided, rather belatedly, that I should make the three kids hats again this year and this time add in some scarves. Admittedly the decision was driven by the fact that I happen to have a pile of sock yarn that I needed to use up, but still, I think this could be a fun tradition to start. So I worked away on stripy brown hats for most of the afternoon.

Thanksgiving dinner was full of all the traditional foods, including the grape Kool-Aid in the ugly green plastic pitcher. My little sister had gone out to my mom's herb garden (or rather, what's left of the herb garden, since there is a fairly massive tomato plant in the middle of it attempting to take over the world) and picked an assortment of fresh herbs for a centerpiece. Unfortunately they came with a few ants, so my older sister and I had fun surreptitiously squashing ants throughout dinner.

Later there was pumpkin pie and apple pie and the pumpkin spice cake I brought (because I do not like pumpkin pie and can only work myself up to apple pie on rare occasions). The cake was apparently a great hit, especially my youngest nephew, who practically inhaled his first piece, and gobbled down the second without hesitation.

The kids eventually wandered off to bed and we adults were left to sit around and try to recover from all the eating. There was talk of a rousing game of Balderdash, but I ended up dozing off on the couch and realized that I probably wouldn't last very much longer, especially for any kind of game requiring thought. So we headed home, where we were greeted with six cats who insisted on getting extra attention to make up for the fact that we left them all alone all day.

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