Minnesota Mamaleh: Giving Thanks

My cup is full. Overflowing, actually.

I’m sitting on the floor, leaning against the yellow couch. Well, it’s yellow in my mind at least. In real life it’s a tad bit…murky, shall we say? From fingerprints and crumbs, unfortunate spills and other icks. Perhaps yellow is a strong word. My back aches and my shoulders are stiff. The kids and the dog are periodically pushing, jumping, hugging and squeezing by.
But the fire is crackling. And even though it’s an insta-log, to me it feels rustic, crisp and all that is Winter. Because in Minnesota, the night before Thanksgiving can be described as nothing other than…Winter. The snow. The chills. The piles and piles and piles of snow gear by the door. The dryer that is constantly running. And the kids that are asking to go play outside. Again. Andagainandagainandagain.

Making "air-pop-popcorn" is one of our night before Thanksgiving traditions

Our house smells just like the pies that we spent the last few hours baking. Pumpkin. Pecan. Apple.
The cider is steaming hot and cinnamon-y. We’re all sitting close. Tight. The ottoman and couches creating a visual of the unit, the circle that binds around our family. Louie is chewing his “stinky bone,” laying flat-as-a-rug next to me. His warmth is welcome. The girls are laying on their tummies, too. And Jason is laughingly playing interception with Brody. Don’t knock over the game! Or throw the pieces. Or step on the board. Sigh.

Our other traditions include apple cider and gingersnap cookies. Snacks while we bake pies? Why yes. Yes, that *is* how we roll around here!

But what’s really swirling around my mind (and heart) is how very mindful of and thankful for I am for moments just like these. Warm. Cozy. Together. Peaceful. (Relatively) quiet.
I am, of course, appreciative of and humbled by the big stuff, too. The roof that sits over our heads. The bills that get paid. The health that we’re all blessed with. But these moments? When everyone’s getting along. When the house smells good. When the laughter is genuine. When the smiles are heartfelt. And when bedtime is just around the corner. These moments are the icing. The sticky-sweet, sugar-high-inducing, ohmygodit’ssofreakingwonderfulhowcanyoupossiblystandit icing. And I’m so very thankful for icing. You know exactly what I mean, don’t you?

And not even five minutes later…

This is what we look like after baking and board-game playing. On the same night. How thrilled does Brody look?

The game is heated. Everyone’s sitting up now. Alert. Ready to defend their WIN. And let me tell you, emotions are heightened. I am (too) competitive about things like this.
I remember my heart beating faster playing The Newlywed Game with friends. Not even a year into our marriage and Jason and I were so going to beat those decade-long marriage veterans. Jason? He cheated. It’s true. He cheated in two ways. Both to beat me and to help me win. He’s fickle that way. And just as competitive as I am.

Thanksgiving just wouldn't be complete without a little program. Chloe's "Tom Turkey" for her preschool program. She rocked it. Thanks for asking.

So when Kayli’s eyes glint, light up and her whole face smiles as she realizes that she’s WON, we both so get it. And when Chloe’s shoulders drop, voice escalates and whole face scrunches into a scowl as she realizes that she’s LOST, we get that, too.
There’s clapping and stomping, joy and tragedy, smiles and tears. And perhaps strangely enough, I’m totally and completely head-over-heels thankful for moments like these, too. Because the ups and downs, the goods and bads, the wins and losses, those make the world, and our family, go round. They make us who we are. And you know exactly what I mean here, too, don’t you? I knew that you would.
My cup is over-flowing with eye-glints and face-scrunches. Gingersnap gravy and cranberry-champagne. My family, my health and all of you. I’m wishing you the happiest of Thanksgiving weekends. May your cup overflow with all of that goodness that’s right there at your fingertips. Stay warm, cozy and full. And kick some serious butt at a board-game (or two!), will you?!
And included in my cup? Tipping it over and spilling it everywhere? Is announcing that Missy at The Marketing Mama is the winner of the fab photo session with Indelible Photography by Nicole Spangler. Ladies, you’re in good hands and I seriously can’t wait to see those pictures!