Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Day

I so wanted to sleep in past 5am this morning, but my body is so conditioned, even on my days off, and even when I'm still tired. I think my excitement had something to do with it as well, though. I really wanted today to be special. Especially for Lyndsay. I invited her boyfriend's family to join us for Thanksgiving dinner, and when I told her several days later, she was so happy. I knew it would please her. And I wanted everything to be wonderful, so for the last several weeks I've been putting thought into the meal, the seating, the table, all the details. 

Lyndsay was great enough to bake the pies for me yesterday while I was at work. That took a huge amount of stress off my shoulders. She baked two apple and two pumpkin and she did a wonderful job. When I got home last night, I baked a loaf of zucchini bread, did dishes, and went to bed. 

Lyndsay has watched me do a turkey many times, but I figured this year she might want to learn by doing, so I talked her through the preparation. She was sufficiently grossed out, but she did a great job.

We cooked a 23lb bird this year. She had to really use her muscles.

I don't usually buy flowers for Thanksgiving, but I love fresh flowers so much and wanted to do it this year. I had plans for the table decorations and I thought the flowers would be a lovely touch.

As I was setting the table, Aiden had the idea to do some fancy folding of the napkins. I told him I loved that idea and he could go for it, so he looked up ideas on the internet and then folded all the napkins into French pleats. It looked awesome! (Plus, who doesn't love a teenage boy who takes the time to fold napkins?)

From one direction:

And the other. I think it looked so pretty! And I really like pretty tables. (Even if I don't follow all the rules of place settings.)

It is so nice to have big kid helpers! Today Lyndsay made the fruit salad, and the Lion House Rolls. The rolls are always Lyndsay's job. This was her best year yet, I think.

Aiden did the mashed potatoes, but I forgot to take a picture. Conor peeled all the carrots for me.

Then Adam came with Sean and he showed us some of the pictures he took while in the Philippines. (Yes, did I tell you? He just got back from a week in the Philippines filming a documentary of a humanitarian medical trip to help the people there. Amazing.)

The spread:

The people:

(And then Alma switched me places so I could be in one of the photos.) (And we missed Dylan!)

Apparently, this is the only picture of Caitlin that I took, which is a shame, because she's such a breath of fresh air and her face always makes me happy. She called me yesterday as I was leaving the hospital and asked what time she should come over. I was so happy to hear from her! And grateful that she could come celebrate with us, before her holiday with her mom's family.

After the meal, Caitlin and Sean had to leave to go to their mom's, and the other kids migrated a few feet into the living room and got to playing games and hanging out. Brando played Battleship with Conor.

Adam did some magic tricks for Alma and Jose.

Bruno and Aiden played chess.

And Braulio (who wasn't feeling well) and Lyndsay hung out on the couch.

A few hours later we ate pie, but I forgot to take pictures of that too. It was delicious! And then, of course, we had to do our Apple Turkeys!

Funny thing, there were no large red apples at the store when we went, so we decided we'd just go all kinds of wild and do green turkeys. And because the table was too pretty to mess up, I set it up picnic-style in the family room.

Lyndsay's turkey was blinged-out and beautiful!

Six really good sports. But then again, you're never too old for a good thing.

And here are three of my greatest blessings. With a fourth close to my heart (who will be coming for Christmas!!!!) I am one lucky mom, and I am grateful.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This Kid Aiden

Today is Aiden's 14th birthday. I love this boy. I went through the pictures of him during the last year and chose some that highlight what makes him so wonderful.

Aiden can be silly:

And studious (sometimes even at the same time.)

And spiritual.

He's a gentle soul.

But he's also all boy and loves adventure.

He's a terrific big brother, and an adoring little brother.

And a very devoted and loyal son.

He's a talented athlete and loves football.

And riding BMX bikes and motorcycles.

He's the kitty's best friend. Those two are always together.

(After being gone for the summer, Aiden can't wait to come home and hug the cat.)

He LOVES the Arizona Cardinals. And the Dodgers. But mostly the Cardinals.

He's a hard worker.

And a hard sleeper.

He still willingly participates in all of my holiday traditions.

And he's a good eater. It's very satisfying to cook for Aiden. Even at 5:30 in the morning.

He loves his red Vans. He has shoes with no holes, but these ones are "like slippers," he says.

He also loves cars. Especially amazing cars. And when we're lucky enough to see amazing cars in our neighborhood, I'm the first one to take a picture for him.

He likes to cook.

And he loves his desk. He's very organized.

He's almost an Eagle Scout. He's working on his project proposal right now.

He's a very, very grateful boy. It's so much fun to give him gifts because he'll thank you for days and days.

He loves to have a good time.

He can iron.

He tried sewing and liked that too. He wants to make his own pajama pants.

He's responsible with his money.

And not only is he a good friend, but he chooses really good friends too.

I have a very soft spot in my heart for my Aiden, for very personal reasons. He has been such a comfort and joy to me, and a fierce protector of me. I love him so much and enjoy watching him grow into such an incredible person. If you know him, you probably love him too.

Happy 14th birthday, my boy!