Monday, December 7, 2020

The One Thanksgiving In A Pandemic

 My four day Thanksgiving weekend is usually packed full of events, family, friends, and traditions. This year, I had a FIVE day Thanksgiving weekend that was....well, not the usual festive holiday weekend we're used to. Ever since I began my daycare business, daycare has been opened the day before Thanksgiving and daycare does their own Thanksgiving. This year, many families didn't need care for the day, so I decided to take the day off. I'm relieved I did because we wound up using the day to bake and cook for our feast!

Our list of cooking for the day: 1 green bean casserole, 1 corn casserole + a second after the oldest wanted to try one with cheese....after the first one was in the oven (this prompted an hour long trip to the grocery store, that was PACKED with people), whiskey poke cake, mini cherry pies, rolls, and monkey bread for our Thanksgiving breakfast the next day. We knew the turkey baking in the oven took priority, so we freed up the oven as best we could.

Puppy wondering why we weren't including him in our mini pie decorating.

Zeus was such a good puppy while we cooked all day that we let him lick the table AND took him on a 2 mile walk. It was a long day on my feet, but it was worth it when we discovered someone in our neighborhood has GOATS!! I have now walked down this path several times since in hopes of petting and seeing the goats. 

Typically, on the day before Thanksgiving, I have a crazy daycare day filled with our own daycare Thanksgiving, then getting ready for family Thanksgiving's the next day. There's no doubt that it's a crazy night, but this might have been crazier. Since we were in our own home for Thanksgiving Day, we had to prepare the turkey and clean the house. Our first brining experience went smoothly and everyone pitched in with the cleaning, so it went quickly, but I was exhausted by bedtime!
Goofing off while cleaning the floors.

The minis had never had monkey bread before Thanksgiving morning. They were fans! We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as usual, even though the parade was anything but usual, then we stopped by my parents to see my side of the family for a bit. The dogs played, the minis got their usual Christmas jammies, we all got ornaments from Beaver Craft Designs, and we enjoyed seeing each other outside on a cool, but warm for November morning.

Peeling potatoes...look at that concentration!

Zeus: "I am thankful for my boy. I love him. He is mine."

Our beautiful table. I put the call out for gourds and my Dad bought several packs for .99 a week before Thanksgiving (for the mini's cornucopia art project). We saved them and used them all as a centerpiece for our table. We had a great feast, but it wasn't the same without sharing it around a crowded table, laughs, and conversation. Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday, but this year felt off. We were still grateful and we consider ourselves lucky to be able to have visited a few family members safely, but we definitely feel like we lost out on family gatherings and all of the craziness it brings. Also, I dislike cooking, so I am cooked out. I seem to enjoy the meal more when I don't have to cook everything!

While the rest of us had mini cherry pies, Zeus got a mini pumpkin pie (just pumpkin and crust, so sugars or anything!).

Both Matt and I teared up as we thanked the minis for being awesome. This year has been tough, but they've handled it with such maturity and grace. They've truly taught us a thing or two in handling life's curve balls.

After we ate, we stopped by Grandma and Grandpa Sheaffer's, where the minis enjoyed pumpkin pie, running cirles around the house, and porch talks. The big family gathering we're used to was greatly missed, but we were thankful to be able to spend an hour with grandparents, enjoying the evening. 
Typicall, we end Thanksgiving night by looking at Christmas lights and blaring Christmas music. After we left Grandma and Grandpa's, everyone wanted to go home for the night. I guess the odd day got to everyone. 

Zeus loves going to Grandma Sheaffer's. She pulls popsicles off of the stick and feeds it to him. Plus,  he gets pets

Thankfully, we (kind of) kept our Friday traditions. We started the day with leftovers (Max made Ross' moist maker from Friends), decorating the house, baking and decorating our giant gingerbread man, Christmas movies, and we even got to do the Festival of Trees and Lights....virtually! We usually have a list of events to attend this weekend, but not this year! Our favorite event, which benefits Blank Children's Hospital, created an app and had all kinds of fun things to do. We viewed the decorated trees and after dark, we went on the Christmas tree scavenger hunt! We drove all around metro Des Moines, looking at the sponsored trees from our car. This was so much fun and definitely a highlight of the weekend!

Looking at trees and lights in our new jammies!

To get a good view of the Scheel's tree, we would have had to go inside, but there were TONS of people shopping maskless, so we skipped that one and instead probably looked like creepers as we slowly drove past the tree...all for a picture!

Attempting to watch Christmas Vacation went something like this: dog has tons of energy, so Mom tries to take him outside, but he wants to play inside. So we play while I try to watch the movie. Then, he's ready for a nap, but he cries because he's the only one on the floor while we sit on the couch. So, I scoop him up for a cuddle and then he's ready to play again.

On Saturday, we checked out Springbrook State Park. The Park is open, but everything including bathrooms and trash cans have been locked for the season (good to know so you don't have to pee in the woods or book it to a gas station). The Park isn't big, but the 2 mile lake trail was nice. 
The rest of the weekend, we hung up Christmas lights, put together sensory bins for daycare, lesson planned for the month of December, and ate all the leftovers. 

Someone was really excited about his surprise bone I picked up from Petco.

He's a huge helper.

Testing out the lights and projectors for the house.

"Look Mom! Zeus has a mask too!" Good grief.

So very unlike our past Thanksgiving weekends, but likely one we'll remember.