Thanksgiving 2021 Recap

Hi friends! I thought I’d share a few photos and tidbits from our Thanksgiving family celebration this year. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, and last year was kind of a sad one. The pandemic was in full-swing and vaccines weren’t available, so I didn’t get to do lots of my favorite holiday activities or see some of my family members. This year, now that we’re all fully vaccinated, I’m SO ready to be back to our regular programing with my big, noisy family. 

Nate and I loaded the two boys up in the car and drove to Dallas to spend a few nights with my side of the family. (*Side note: never underestimate how long it’s going to take to pack up two babies for a road trip. Our SUV was stuffed to the brim.) We stayed with my parents in their lovely home in the suburbs of Dallas. They have a big house with lots of bedrooms (and a wall of bunk beds built into the playroom for extra space!) so that even the family members who have their own places in Dallas can stay overnight during the holidays. 

In my family, we always work on a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, have non-stop holiday music playing, and we bake and eat and bake and eat for about 2 days straight. And on the third day, we don’t bake…we just eat. 

Words can’t express how thankful I am to have a vaccine available to us so that we’re able to gather for the holidays and keep each other as safe as possible. It’s a huge relief and a gift to live in a country where the vaccine is readily available. It’s a privilege and an honor to know that I can keep my beloved family members and close friends safer by getting myself vaccinated.

On the day before Thanksgiving, my grandfather requested a play date with Milo. Nate took him to a fun park in Dallas (Milo is obsessed with finding acorns and throwing them into the pond, which is what they’re doing in the photo above) and then they went on a lunch date for chicken nuggets. So sweet. “Grandpa Bob” is 94-years-old right now, and I am BEYOND thankful that Milo gets to know his great-grandfather!

Meanwhile, Dayton and I stayed at my parents house and snuggled. 🙂 Blurry snapshot, but I wanted to capture this moment because it’s all going by too quickly! Dayton is almost 4 months old, so these days of him falling asleep on me are dwindling. I’m just soaking him up.

Snacks for days! My sister Cara also made a pitcher of Irish cream that we sipped during the afternoon.

Auntie Kylee made a giant bowl of homemade Chex mix. This stuff is butter and salt and crunch, and it didn’t take Milo long to figure out where we kept the stash. He had a little plastic cup and every now and then I’d peek over to this corner of the kitchen and he would be helping himself to another serving.

On Thanksgiving morning a few of us went to downtown Dallas to do the annual YMCA turkey trot. My sister Kylee and I walked the 3-mile course  with Dayton in the stroller, and other family members did the 8-mile run.

I love the chilly weather and the anticipation at the starting line and the cheery call of “happy Thanksgiving!” being passed around by friends and strangers. Starting Thanksgiving Day with the Turkey Trot is a tradition in our family that dates back to the 1980s – my dad has been running the Trot for 40 years. I ran it for the first time when I was 7-years-old. I love that I can now bring my own babies to do it with me.

The Thanksgiving table was lovely. We managed to squeeze all 11 of us around it. (Can you believe I didn’t take a single picture of the actual meal?)

Three of my sisters and my mom on Thanksgiving day. My mom built this beautiful screened-in porch that’s just off the kitchen, and it’s my favorite part of the house. In the summer it stays mosquito-free, and in the winter there’s a cozy fireplace in the corner that we turn on while we drink red wine outside on the sofa and chat. It’s so wonderful.

I didn’t get a photo fo the food, but I remembered to snap one of the pies! We have a tradition of making an absurd amount of Thanksgiving pies. This year was 12 pies for 11 people. The math doesn’t make sense, but it somehow works out each year. We eat them for dessert on Thanksgiving evening, and then we have them for breakfast on Friday morning and we all bring home a few slices of our favorites.

It was a full and happy day.

The day after Thanksgiving was mostly sweat pants and sleepiness, and we all had pie and coffee for breakfast. In the evening, Nate and I got dressed up and drove to meet my grandfather for dinner at Café Pacific, an institution in the Dallas dining scene. How glamorous are those holiday lights at Highland Park Village?

I feasted on calamari and short rib and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Thankful, thankful, thankful. This year we’re all fully vaccinated and able to go out to eat together. My grandfather is one of the best people I know. We all just love him so much.

Before driving back to Dallas, we stopped by a new brewery that just opened: Siren Rock in Rockwall, Texas. It was great!

Nate and I always start with a flight to try a bunch of beers before settling on a single pint.

Ama and her grandson. I love seeing my mom be a grandma! She raised 8 of her own kids, and now I love getting to see her just enjoy holding and snuggling my babies. Dayton is the luckiest to get to have her as his Ama.

And then we wrapped up the trip with a rainy drive back to Austin. Thanksgiving was wonderful this year. As I get older and life picks up speed, I appreciate these family holidays more and more. I never know exactly how many we have left with all of our loved ones, and so I savor these holidays and always want them to go as slowly as possible.

Friends, if you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, this is just a gentle reminder that it’s important. It helps you keep yourself and your loved ones safe over the busy holiday season. XO.


This post was sponsored by Texas Department of State Health Services. 

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