This was really the first real Thanksgiving in our Sacramento home. Last year, for the first time in more than a decade, we didn't bother with a turkey and didn't do much on the actual holiday. We did throw a big tamale party the Saturday after Thanksgiving and had many of our new Sacramento friends join us. But, it wasn't our traditional holiday.
This house was really made for the holidays -- the layout is great for entertaining. It's a fun kitchen to cook in. And, we were excited to host my parents for Thanksgiving week. The night before they came, we decided we needed to get a new bed right away (as in delivered the next day!) because then we could put our Olympic Queen bed in the guestroom and my parents would have a real bed to sleep on. As we were going from store to store trying to find a place that would deliver the mattress we wanted the next day, I realized that this shopping mania is also a bit of a tradition for us. Last year, it was our dining room set that we got for this house when we realized that it was going to be difficult to throw a tamale party for 15+ people with an empty dining room and just a little kitchen table. Then there was the year we got the pull-out couch that is now in our living room when we realized that there was no extra bed to sleep on for guests that were coming in our 670 foot Oakland home. There was the year of the dining room table we got for the Sunset house in San Francisco -- same realization as we had invited about 25 people to Thanksgiving dinner! We got the mission furniture for our bedroom in the same frenzied manner. Apparently, our yearly entertaining the week of Thanksgiving is a good motivator to furniture shop!
So, this year, we decided to upgrade our Olympic Queen bed to a Cal King. Ahhh..... the luxury of being able to fit two children and two kittens into our bed with room to spare! And, getting a real bed in the guestroom, meant we could move the futon into the living room . And, we decided to move the nice area rug in that room into the living room too.
The next morning, Saturday, my parents arrived in time to see the last of Kailey's soccer games. It was a good match and the end to a great season. We had a soccer party that night, got the bed delivered, and then spent the afternoon and the next day watching Will while his parents moved (they moved into our neighborhood - just a block away -- so Alden's best friend is now our newest neighbor! Pretty cool). At this point, if we were watching a horror flick, you'd hear the du-du -duuummm. Turns out, Will had been under the weather. His mom thought it was something he ate. Turns out, not so much.
On Sunday, Eric and I continued our shopping spree and bought a couple of side tables... suddenly the living room looks like a fully furnished room! Complete with seating options for 7 - 10 people (if you count the bean bag chairs). It's become a very cozy living room and so much more conducive to hanging out.
So -- let's recap: new mattress + bragging to my mom about how my kids never throw up = bad idea. That night, around 10 PM, Kai came stumbling out of her room howling, "I threw up". And, indeed, she'd managed to get it between her mattress and the bedframe, down the steps of her bunk, and all over the floor. As we started stripping her bed and cleaning up, Alden started wailing from his room. My mom went in and came out saying, "Alden threw up, too." It took a moment for us to understand what was happening -- BOTH kids were sick. We grabbed a bucket, started what was to be the first of about 1000 loads of laundry, and hunkered down for the night. Early on, Alden puked into the bucket followed by Kai and she said, "he only filled it a little -- I almost filled the WHOLE thing." Ahhh... competition at its finest. The kids threw up at least once an hour. Everyone was miserable. At about 5 AM, Eric started hurling too. And, although, I wasn't vomiting... I was sick nonetheless. It was awful. We spent Tuesday barely moving.
But, by Thanksgiving day, no one was sick -- so we spent the day putting together a feast of cider-brined turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pies made starting with the pie pumpkins themselves, mashed potatoes using my new potato ricer (that is the way to make mashed potatoes!), butternut squash and apples, artichoke dip, and more. Cathy, Aaron, Will and Cathy's mom Jackie all joined us for Thanksgiving. It was fun to have our first real Thanksgiving feast!
Unfortunately, Thanksgiving week didn't end on a high note. Friday, my mom was stricken by the dreaded stomach bug. She got a pretty mild case, but Friday night, my dad got it -- and he had it among the worst. It was terrible -- and not a fun way to end the holiday weekend.
By Sunday, everyone was recovered and my parents took off for the long drive home. We spent Sunday going out to Apple Hill with the Weng-Guiterez family. Alden was not at all excited about tree shopping. He cried the whole hour plus drive to Apple Hill and then screamed the whole time we were there. The tree farm was really cool -- but, we didn't end up getting a tree there. Julie and Malachi found their tree while we dealt with a screaming toddler. Then we all left to go get some food at another place just down the road. Once Alden finally calmed down, we went to a nearby tree farm (Apple Hill has about 20 different tree farms) and found our Christmas tree. And, we got a free train ride as an added bonus! It was just a little train with a lawnmower motor -- but, Alden was thrilled.
Despite the stomach flu, it was a nice week filled with family, cooking, games, decorating, and coziness. And, by the weekend's end, we had a decorated tree, stocking hung, and thanks to the fact that we never bothered to take the holiday lights down last year -- the house is fully decorated! Holidays... here we come!