Early Bird!

How is it December already? I have two Thanksgivings to share with you. Yes, two! Read on.

We are lucky that my folks live close enough to visit often. It used to be to see me and John, but let’s be honest… it’s all about baby Oden now! The last Grandparent Fix they’d gotten was during our Hawaii trip in September, so they came to town a couple of weeks ago. Coincidentally, my brother had a work trip to Utah during the same time, so we had an unexpected family visit! Uncle Matt would finally get to meet Oden, and my mom surprised us all by planning a full Thanksgiving feast since we wouldn’t be together over the actual holiday. Two turkey dinners in one year? Yes, please!

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The visit was short, but packed with stuff. My dad was a huge help with the never-ending To-Do List, cleaning out the garage and polishing our beloved Betty’s exterior (we will eventually have to sell her…sniff). The boys spent a day figuring out how to install the “easy” baby gates onto our unique railings. (Oden will be officially on the move any day now!) Mom and I shopped for turkey day necessities and I helped as much as she would let me. Mostly, she wanted to steal my baby from me! Can you blame her? Uncle Matt got some one-on-one time with his nephew, which was special for me. It didn’t matter that Thanksgiving was still two weeks away; with a house full of family, it felt like a holiday!

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As with any Bianchi family get-together, there were games. We brought out a deck of cards to play poker and 31, dusted off our old Pictionary game, and even played a post-dinner round of charades that had us laughing until we cried! I’ll never forget looking over and seeing my dad slapping his hands on his knees in a full laugh/cry after yet another one of us accidentally shouted out the person, place, or thing we’d contributed to the bowl ourselves! And then, of course, there was the feast. My mom worked her tail off to give us a nostalgic, old-school turkey dinner with all of the dishes we grew up with. The bird took a little longer than we anticipated, which meant it tasted even better by the time we sat down at the table. What a treat to have my whole family around our dining table, clinking the start of the holiday season!

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The next day, we had a tasty egg and sausage casserole, watched football, played more games, took the dogs for a walk, and played “pass the baby.” I love when my house is full of the sounds of people I love. The day after Thanksgiving’s dinner is another tradition in our family. We make a spectacular Shepherd’s Pie made up of leftovers and top it with cheese. We call it “The Gobbler.” It might not take a pretty picture, but it’s SO GOOD.

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Maybe it’s motherhood, or the fact that I’m getting older, or because we’re spread out in three different states, but family time is precious to me these days. I love the traditions that we all expect and laugh about, even the dumb ones. And in my family, the end of Thanksgiving dinner means the start of the Christmas season. No, I didn’t put up colored lights or start decorating, but since we had an “early bird,” you bet I started listening to Christmas music the very next day! We’ll call it a grey area between Thanksgiving dinner #1 and Thanksgiving dinner #2… I’ll share that meal with you soon!

One year ago: Green Curry with Chicken.

Read about the origins of The Gobbler.

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