Well, we are back from a wonderful Thanksgiving vacation. My students have made me want to scream for the last two days, so I am definitely missing Arizona. We spent the holiday at the home of the superb couple I call Aunt and Uncle, Chad's Aunt Pam and Uncle Steve. Chad's parents and younger brother also flew in to enjoy the holiday with us. Here are the top ten reasons I didn't want the five-day weekend to end (and believe me...there were much more than ten):
1. Black Friday with Joycious, Pamela, and Meredith. It's traditional that I go shopping with my mom EVERY year, bright and early, the day after Thanksgiving with my mom. This year, as I was with Chad's family, I continued this tradition with them. Black Friday was completely INSANE! Don't ask me why, but something possessed us to actually make the trip to the outlet mall at midnight. When we left, I thought it would be dead, but at the exit to the mall we were greeted by a ridiculous line of glowing taillights. Bumper to bumper traffic just to get into the mall. The people were swarming everywhere. It was a shoving match just to get into some stores. As we walked into The GAP, Aunt Pam, a black Friday newbie, got in a line that wrapped about three times around the store--just in CASE we decided to buy something. A couple hours later, I had one $15 sweater in tow...I'm still trying to decide if it was cute enough to make it worth it! After the outlets, we returned home for a "nap" only to get up early and start the whole process again at different locations! The fruits of our labors were small, and I don't think Pam will be venturing out again next year. She was a real trooper though. At one point even being accosted by a makeup counter sales lady (insert panicked groan here...we all know we've dealt with them before).
2. Eighteen pies in the fridge. EIGHTEEN PIES!!! Pumpkin, chocolate, lemon, blueberry. Pies piled with whipped topping. Pies that we couldn't possibly eat...or could we? Pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Pie. I couldn't help but be surprised, even though I was warned. Pam is the Thanksgiving pie queen. So many pies. So little time.
3. Sitting around the kitchen counter and all talking about what we're thankful for.
4. PERFECT WEATHER! It's freezing in Utah, but in Arizona we ate Thanksgiving dinner on the patio. Uncle Steve grilled out for us on two separate occasions. It was just FABULOUS!
5. The FOOD. Notice this is in a separate category from the pies. Despite the fact that I probably gained five pounds from artichoke and spinach dip alone, I don't regret a single calorie.
6. Sleeping in. We didn't HAVE to get up unless we wanted to. Getting used to this is what made the alarm clock the last few days we've been home especially obnoxious, and the snooze button even more tempting.
7. Singing our favorite 90s songs until 2 or 3 in the morning. Yes. We did this. In the dark. Before we fell asleep. OH! And speaking of...how in the WORLD did we forget Ace of Base?
8. Touring Neal's house and getting very excited that Chad and I will be buying a place of our own soon (which means I'm allowed to do things like paint walls and change light fixtures).
9. Family. Even though I was far away from my Mom, Dad, and brothers, I love my in-laws so much. I think sometimes people think I lie about how much I really do love them, because you're not supposed to like your in-laws, but mine are wonderful. And NORMAL. We have a ton of fun together, and they mean so much to me.
10. The fact that Christmas vacation is right around the corner. And the beautiful 8' Christmas tree in my living room is proof!
Anyway, it was a fantastic Thanksgiving that only reminds me of how much I really do have to be Thankful for.