Saturday, November 24, 2007

How we celebrated Thanksgiving 2007...

We took all the kids for a little roadtrip to Detroit area where we had dinner on Wednesday night at an Italian restaurant and then had a room reserved for swimming and sleeping at a hotel. We had an early morning wake-up call to get us all up and going in order to get our seats in the grandstand seating for America's Thanksgiving Day Parade downtown Detroit.
It was very much a non-traditional Thanksgiving for our family...but so far in the lives of our children I can't say that we've been home with family enough eating a big turkey dinner for them to realize what they were missing. I always loved dinner with my family (lots of extended family!) and eating a big meal and having football on tv in the background as we enjoyed each others' company all the years I was growing up. But now that we have a family and we live several hundred miles from our loved ones it has meant we've had to do things differently.
So this year we decided to change things up and do something that would create a great family memory for the kids to look back on at the same time we enjoyed just being together. Us. Our family. The hotel and swimming went really well. We basically had a whole hotel to ourselves- the place we stayed at normally caters to a corporate clientele, so it was very quiet on Thanksgiving Day weekend for them. It worked to our advantage and we had a good time of swimming and nobody infringed on our 'space'.
The parade itself was lots of fun and very entertaining in person. The weather proved to be cold...but we expected that and had lots of layered clothes, handwarmers and blankets to keep our minds off the temperature. Our seats were in the tv section of the parade route, so we had extra entertainment from the participants as well as getting to see some of the prelude acts and laughing at the television interns that had to wave signs like "Clap", "Smile" and "Cheer". The candy and necklaces were thrown our way on several occasions as well. Everyone was at their best just in front of was great! From Uncle Sam to giant flowers, clowns and stars, to Elmo and Captain Underpants, the balloon characters were a favorite of all our kids. Brock loved the Star Wars procession the best...he thought Darth Vader was so cool in real life. We took a picture of the Red Hat's Society girls to show Grandma Karen =), and we couldn't help but love the Christmas music and decorated instruments that most of the bands were playing. We sat for 3 hours watching all the entrants and not once did any of the kids fight or cry or have problems with the cold. It was nothing short of amazing {for our family anyway!}. The best pictures and moments were most certainly at the very end as the bells of Santa's sleigh could be heard in the distance and the crowd started to rise to their feet. Ava was looking so intently for the first peek of Rudolph- as she knew Santa wouldn't be far behind. She started calling his name as soon as she saw the reindeer (you can see in the last few photos here) and Wyndham was waving and 'calling' to him too in her little jibber-jabber talk. It was so fun to end on such a great note. But then the worst came as we all FROZE ourselves walking back to the car...that post-parade let-down came and with it the realization of hunger, tired and cold set in.
The best part though, [for me], was when we had to stop right away for gas and to look for a restaurant open where we could get a meal. Thanksgiving Day is not the best day to be out looking for a meal- almost every place was closed. Poor Chip had to finally admit that we couldn't find a nice sit-down restaurant and so we ended up eating cheesburgers and Happy Meals as a family at the nearest McDonalds. The saving grace was this happened to be one of the 'nicest' McDonalds we have been in- they were trying to be a 'coffee shop'/McCafe type of chain, and I was glad that it felt 'high end'. It made Chip and I feel a little less 'guilty' about bucking Thanksgiving Day traditions and doing what we had done. We did buy the kids little Pumpkin Pies for their dessert, and then Chip and I grabbed a couple of holiday Caribou Coffees (Mmmm!) for our ride home. It was really a sweet day when it was all said and done. We had lots to reflect on and to be thankful for.
The worst part was there were no leftovers. Seriously. I have never craved a warm bun/turkey sandwich like I did that evening and the following day. Tonight I made up for it a bit and cooked a roast turket tenderloin, complete with mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie. It wasn't nearly as good as Mom's or Grandma's, but it has curbed the turkey sandwich craving for a bit. I am so glad that we had a couple of days together as a family, spending quality time together and making memories that will probably be talked about over Thanksgiving dinner for years to come!


Tricia said...

What, no Chinese food? Oh what, that's for Christmas dinner (A Christmas Story or whatever that movie is). Never mind. But seriously, I've been wanting to go to the parade in Detroit for a couple of years now. I keep thinking "maybe next year". I'd love to know which hotel you stayed at!

Anonymous said...

What a great memory for your family! Maybe McDonald's isn't gourmet, but kids LOVE it! It sounds like your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

(I'm a lurker who enjoys your blog very much.)

Laura in IL

Cara said...

wow! good for you guys! that sounds just great! and at the end of the day, it will be the memories, not the traditional food, that matters to those cuties!

we spent the holiday with two families who, between them, have SEVEN BOYS under the age of seven! wow! talk about feeling conflicted! on one hand, we loved seeing eachother with the kids - herb will make an amazing dad someday. but we were also a little freaked out by the thought of parenthood - that is why people don't normally go from zero to seven - we just have to remember that! :)

enjoy the day!

Elizabeth said...

It simply warmed my heart to read this post from you today! My family too has different traditions {because we live in England where my DH was stationed for so long we came up with our own fun traditions} we ate at McDonald's once too!! I think that memories of fun, being together, and wonderful closeness is what it's all about not the food!!! But I do hope you are able to get something traditional for ya soon!!!

Thanks for sharing this, it brought a smile to my face and as I miss my DH while he's deployed right now the fond memories of our fun times and traditions have surfaced even more!

Britney said...

ah jody i'm so jealous! ;) what fun is that- one of my favorites things to do on Thanksgiving is to watch the Macy's parade on tv. our hometown is too small to have a parade like that, but glad to see you all had a great day!

SingerMamaMelody said...

Your Thanksgiving sounds great! I love parades and have to watch the Macy's one every year on Thanksgiving Day. I'm sure your kids will look back at this year with fondness!

kerry lynn said...

yay!! looks and sounds like you had a blast!!

Kara said...

what an amazing time to be had!! i am betting that your kids with always remember this thanksgiving!