After a long day of travel, I'm back at home sitting on our couch in my warm pj's feeling incredibly blessed. We were in the car for almost 6 hours today, but it was worth it.
The day started with brunch in Watkinsville with the Arnolds. It was delicious and lovely! Egg & spinach quiche, fruit salad, roasted sweet potatoes, biscuits, and sausage. Yum. I love getting to use Grandmother's dishes from 1940. The plates themselves are beautiful, but what a beautiful heirloom object and legacy. (My 4th graders are working on an heirloom project)
After we finished eating, we made our way out to Jack's Tree Farm for the traditional Christmas tree hunt. The Arnolds have always cut down their own tree on Thanksgiving Day - a fun tradition that I have enjoyed becoming a part of! Last year I picked out the winning tree. This year I got even more involved; I was the measuring unit! The tree had to be 3x my height. (There's always a short joke involved since I married into a family of really tall people!)
After helping to get the trees trimmed and set up, Brian and I set out for Greenville, SC for Thanksgiving with my parents. We had a final Thanksgiving in my grandparents' home. It's going up for sale soon, so all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins got together. I got to have all of the traditional casseroles that Nana used to make! Broccoli casserole, sweet potato casserole with the crunchy topping, dressing, baked mac n cheese...yum.
It was so fun to listen to my little cousins play and laugh. Love 5 year old laughter. There was a sweet, neighborhood black kitty hanging out who would gladly eat leftover turkey from us. This cat was so sweet and incredibly patient with the kids. The poor cat got swung around, squeezed, dropped, thrown down, fed cupcake...and yet it stuck around! I really, really wanted to bring her home. Wheatley needs a friend, right!? My uncle told me the cat actually belonged to a family across the street, so no new sister for Wheatley.
Because we were traveling (and I forgot the cooler...), we didn't get any leftovers. I didn't have a meal planned for tonight, so we were hungry and kind of up a creek. Most fast food places were closed (as they should be - employees should be able to be with family, too), and the one McDonald's that was open is incredibly hard to get to on a crazy, busy street that Brian and I try our best to always avoid. It's the first one we passed, and we didn't feel like driving back to it. Thank goodness our FAVORITE Chinese place was open! How "A Christmas Story" of us. :)
As I prepare for tomorrow's family festivities, I have been reflecting on not just giving thanks this week, but living a thankful life. I don't want to take anything for granted. I can get so wrapped up in my own busy life and "to do" list that I forget how blessed I truly am.
I will be honest, Thanksgiving snuck up on me this year! Last week during school, I was so concerned with "getting through Friday," I literally kept forgetting I'd be on break this week! My close friend Aaron Michelle has participated in the Facebook thankful challenge: a daily status update with things you are thankful for. While I chose not to do this, reading her status updates has helped to remind me to live thankfully.
I re-read my Thanksgiving blog post from last year, and I kind of want to copy and paste it! I am so thankful for:
Brian and I started a tradition when we got married - coordinating pajamas on Christmas! My initial goal was to have matching pj's, but year after year, I found it incredibly difficult to find matching sets in both men and women's.
Here's a picture from 2013; we've worn these coordinating pj's a couple of years. We had similar Disney pj's for a few years, too.
I have started an online search for new coordinating sets because Brian's pajamas are falling apart. Look what I found! Target and Disney have FAMILY pajama sets! I may be behind the times, and stores have always had family matching sets...I was just looking in the wrong place!
Check these out! Here's two of Target's sets:
Here's Disney's set - I wish the tops matched, too! Now, I'm trying to talk Brian into the llamas :)
Last Saturday Brian participated in the Good Hope Classic - an untimed bike race raising money for a local cancer foundation. The foundation helps cancer patients financially. See more about the race here.
Brian did the 30 mile option. He's awesome. He finished in 2 hours and 15 minutes!! I should have participated, but I was quite intimidated by the idea of a "race." I went along as a spectator just to check everything out. Turns out it was very relaxed and casual. I totally should have ridden! Instead, I froze my butt off! It was in the low 40s that morning.
The race headquarters was at a beautiful farm in Monroe, GA called Fairweather Farms. We have actually attended a number of weddings there. We arrived early to a beautiful sunrise and got to see the 100 mile racers head out.
Brian rode through two small towns: Good Hope and Monroe with a SAG (Supplies and Gear) stop in Good Hope.
While Brian was out riding, I walked the farm with my in-laws. It was a nice 1+ mile "hike" from the bike race area back to a lake and fellowship hall (where the weddings were). The walking kept me warm! And it was good time to catch up with Frances and Mike.
We enjoyed a lovely afternoon at the Arnold's after the race, complete with a delicious lunch, cigar for the gentlemen, and a nap in the sunshine for Amber.
We have taken the idea of "get active" to heart. You might say we "ran with it!" I reached my goal of being in better physical shape by the age of 30 (now to maintain it!), and Brian has maintained and varied his activity after leaving Kung fu.
A few weeks ago Brian participated in his first climbing competition -- Crushville '14 at Stone Summit. It was more of a bouldering competition, which is not my favorite, so I went for moral support and to act as family photographer.
Climbers had 5 hours to climb. There were 80 routes set, and each was worth a certain amount of points. Climbers could attempt the routes as many times as needed, but extra points were allotted for "flashing" a route. (Flashing = finishing the route properly and on the first try. 'Scending = finishing a route properly without falling)
Brian registered for the men's recreational group, but because he completed routes in a higher category, he was moved up to the beginners group. He didn't place, but he did enjoy climbing!
This weekend Brian is going to participate in a bike race. It should be fun! Again, I'm going for moral support. I'll be honest, I'm too chicken to compete in anything yet!