So this was the first Thanksgiving where we stayed home and I tackled the entire dinner alone. It was actually fun researching countless recipes and planning our perfect menu. The night before, I stayed up cooking as the kids slept, focusing on the reward of seeing my family happy & excited at the array of fabulous food on the table. Of course with just toddlers in the house I shouldn't have set my sights too high on receiving many oohs and aahs of culinary pleasure. Luckily I don't have picky eaters, and Ryan more than made up for any lack by pouring on the compliments.
Thanksgiving morning Ryan returned home after a 28-hour shift and I was expecting him to go right to bed to recover all day, but he surprised me and took the kids to the Sun Bowl Parade and gave me the chance to cook in peace. The enjoyment I was feeling began to wane as I started to prepare the turkey. This was my first turkey and I was a little intimidated, but I figured it would probably turn out OK (and even if it didn't, that was OK too). As I plunged the bird into a sink of warm water and watched it bob up and down, I was turned off at the sight of a this poor dead animal floating in my kitchen sink, grown only to be killed and feed us gluttons on Thanksgiving. A short time ago it was an innocent little animal running around, relatively happy (I imagined) and unaware of its inevitable doom. Now I'm sure this could sound something like the rant of a psychotic vegetarian who thinks of meat-eaters as murderers. However, although I don't plan on becoming a vegetarian after this experience, I would like to restrict my meat prep to "cutlets" rather than "beings" from now on. Fortunately, the meal turned out great with the roast turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, tarragon gravy, crescent rolls, homemade cranberry sauce with orange zest, herbed stuffing, yummy sweet potato casserole with praline topping, pumpkin pie and sparkling cranberry slushy drink.
After our big day of feasting and family time, and after the kids were in bed, I prepared to participate in the annual Black Friday shopping day after never having done it before. But the thought of fighting the cold and the crowds for limited items (not to mention the uncertainty of whether I could return home in time to nurse the baby) led me to do my shopping online. After the 1am feeding I got on the computer and started shopping. The downside was that not all deals were available online, but for me the payoff of staying at home and avoiding the chaos was worth foregoing them... I just ended up experiencing a different kind of chaos. At a certain store website where I took quite a while browsing and making final decisions, I proceeded to checkout but an item had sold out since it was added to my cart. I tried to remain calm and went back to shop. After finally deciding on a replacement and proceeding to checkout yet again, my computer froze up. I eventually had no choice but to reboot, and by the time I logged back in and added everything back to my cart, more items had sold out! Now I'd had it and just wanted to grab my stuff and sprint to checkout, much like I would've felt in the stores. After three hours and several stores visited, I finally collapsed into bed, only to be roused within seconds to feed the baby again. And so it goes!