Thanksgiving 2021

Every year I make a post centered around Thanksgiving, what I’m thankful for, a fun memory, or something along those lines. 

And this year really is no different. Except that it is. Last year I was thankful that I was even able to have my best friend and her family over for thanksgiving. This year we made plans with friends without a second thought to numbers, cases, rules or regulations. Last year I was grateful for the little travel we were able to squeeze in amidst everything 2020; this year, though we’ve traveled, I haven’t had to overthink, over plan, over research every little number and detail, with second and third options just in case and I’ve been grateful for that. Last year I was preparing to pack our lives up, shortly after unpacking them (in the grand scheme of things) and say “see you soon” to some of the closest friends I’ve made; this year we are cultivating an entirely new community for ourselves and our family with some pretty great friends and people. 

So, yes, I’m still grateful for many of the same things, but everything is different. 

I’m grateful for the little family we’ve made between myself, my husband and our two boys. This little family is beyond what I could have ever dreamed of and, while it’s not always perfect, it’s perfect for me. Those little boys are two rays of sunlight in my life, and while there are clouds sometimes, they really do have that power to lift them with the smallest of words or gestures. (Yes- I totally have a new understanding of “You Are My Sunshine”). 

I’m grateful for the friends in my life, both new and old, online and in person, who continue to lift me up, listen to me vent, allow me to be exactly who I am as I am, are willing to try new things with me, understand when I need time to recharge and what that looks like, and ultimately who remind me that I don’t have to go through things by myself. I can reach out and depend on others. I feel like I finally have a really solid circle and that makes a big difference in a person. 

I’m grateful for the travel that we’ve been able to do without a second thought (although all the trips have been carefully planned). We’ve been able to see some new places, have some new experiences, and remind ourselves that while it may not be Europe, the US has some pretty cool/beautiful spots to see.  

I’m grateful for our extended family, who we’ve seen most of over the past 9 months (except for a few- who we’re desperate to see and trying everything to get to) since being back in the US. 

And this year, I kind of want to talk about someone that I’m grateful for, but don’t really highlight much online…my husband. He’s been my rock, my solid ground, my voice of reason of logic, my everything. I know that we wouldn’t have this life without him, and I will forever be grateful for him.

Ultimately, I’m grateful to be alive and living a life that I only dreamed about for a while. Things feel so GOOD right now, not perfect, but perfect. I feel so content with life and that was something I didn’t know would happen a year ago. 

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Thankful in 2020

I think if 2020 has taught us anything it is to take stock. To evaluate, look at our lives, and see what we do have, rather than what we don’t. This Thanksgiving is going to be incredibly different and difficult for some. The holidays bring a lot of emotion, both good and bad, and this year, with the pandemic, with shifts in a lot of the things that we would normally expect, it makes it that much harder on everyone. If we are being totally honest and realistic, this holiday season has the potential of being incredibly depressing. It doesn’t have to be, but it’s going to be tough, let’s not kid ourselves about that. And, I’m not saying that sharing a list of all the things that we are thankful for is going to magically solve all of our problems (spoiler alert- IT’S NOT), it may help us with our perspective and remind us of what is in fact important. 

So, here we go… What I’m thankful for in 2020…

I’m thankful for my little family. No one can put a smile on my face (or rip it off) like my boys and husband can. There have been a lot of times this year that they have completely lifted me into better spirits and a better mindset. Colton and Andrew have been incredible, growing and learning and showing us how to find joy in the smallest of discoveries. If ever I need a reminder of what life can be it’s through their eyes. Robert reminds me that we are not alone in this world. He has been my shining light, picking me up when I’m down, letting me breathe in our room when it’s a little too much, and being the most incredible dad and husband that I could ever dream of. I quite honestly, couldn’t imagine a life without him. 

I’m thankful for the friends that I’ve made here. I’m not one for having a big circle or knowing everyone in the community (although chances are I probably will by default), but rather cultivating a few close friends that remind me that quality is better than quantity. I’ve always been that kind of person (the person who has maybe 2 or 3 really close friends and then a long list of “acquaintances”), and living here in Germany has shown me that more than anywhere else. I’ve made one of the closest friends I’ve had in a while and I’ve found another who understands so much of what I’ve been through and some of the struggles that we experience. 

I’m thankful that we’ve been blessed to call this little village in Germany our home. For all the lessons we’ve learned living in a foreign country, seeing other countries, and learning the culture and history. I’m thankful for the experience of being pushed out of our “comfort zone” (though that’s probably debatable as to what our “comfort zone” really is) and, while it’s coming to a bittersweet end much sooner than we anticipated, it’s something I will forever cherish and be grateful for. 

I’m thankful for the travel that we have been able to do while living here in Germany (especially in this year 2020). We’ve been able to see so many places, so many different histories, cultures, and communities. The fact that we’ve been able to see and explore so much is a true blessing and something I don’t take for granted. 

I’m thankful for books, music, tea, and coffee. Hear me out. Books have been my single form of escapism this year. I haven’t been the biggest TV watcher in a long time and the only way I’ve really been able to get away from our real world has been through reading. I’ve read more books in 2020 than I’ve ever read (and that’s even with having a slower November than I expected) and I honestly think it has been such a big help. Music is another really important mood booster for me. I find that music really sets the tone and has such a powerful ability to adjust our mood and our day. And tea and coffee, because let’s be honest, we all are thankful for those these days. 

Finally, I’m thankful for you. For whoever takes time out of their day to follow along our journey, to read the posts, to engage with my content. You have no idea how nice it is to have comments and stories shared. This little blog is a passion hobby for me and something that I have really found meaning in over the past couple of years. It’s helped my mind, helped me keep my memories, and just been such a nice place to come to day in and day out. 

What are you thankful for this year?

Thankful – 2019

Ah, Thanksgiving. A day to celebrate family and friends, parades with massive floats and balloons, food, and various sports (read American Football- that’s the only sport on that exists on Thanksgiving). While I’m thankful all year long, one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is celebrating all that we are thankful for and doing that with family and friends.

This year Thanksgiving looks a little bit different for us. Not only are we in Germany, who doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving like we do (or when we do), but we are actually in the car on our way to visit our ninth country since moving here. We are taking a long weekend away to Czechia, specifically Karlovy Vary and Prague. We are going to be experiencing their history as well as visiting a couple of Christmas Markets (trying to contain that excitement). While Thanksgiving looks different for us, I still wanted to take a minute and just jot down (rather type up) a couple of the things that I am thankful for.

I mean to start with the obvious I am thankful for my little family, for my husband and children, and for the joy that they bring me. I’m thankful for our continued good health and that we’ve weathered all the challenges of this past year so far.

I am thankful for our friends, old and new, who we try to keep up with at all hours. We’ve made some really good friends in our move here, friends who I know will continue to be friends long after we leave here. With an international move to a foreign country, friends become your surrogate family. They become the people that you bond with and rely on when you are in need and we’ve been very blessed in that respect.

I am thankful for the home and life we’ve created over the past 5 months in our home. We had quite the journey to get to this house, and we’ve really made a home in it and in our neighborhood. We are finally in the country and it’s been the biggest blessing.

Finally, another obvious one, I’m thankful for the opportunity to be here in Germany. Some of it is just us being blessed with the opportunity, but a lot of hard work went into this as well. My husband worked incredibly hard to get to this point in his career where he could choose the job that he has here. So, I am thankful for this opportunity that was given to us and again thankful to my husband for the incredible work that he has done to allow this opportunity.

How are you spending your Thanksgiving? What are you thankful for this year?

Thanksgiving Memories

Oh Thanksgiving. A holiday for eating, for being with friends and family, for remembering all of the good, and acknowledging what we are thankful for. Above all, thanksgiving for me has just always been about family. Spending a full, wonderful day with family and friends; laughing, creating new memories and inside jokes. It’s never really actually been about the food and eating (although that is always a fun side note). All through

As I sat down to write this post I was trying to think of what I actually wanted to say. I could list what I’m thankful for (which I will actually do in a bit), but I felt like I wanted to do more than just that. I could reminisce on past Thanksgivings, but the problem is I don’t have too many memories that really stand out to share that would make sense (the only one that comes to mind is one I’ll share below). I could share favorite recipes, outfits, decorations, etc. None of it really feels “right” and rather than not marking the occasion, I figured I would embrace that feeling and go with it.

I’ll start with my thankful list. This past year we’ve been so blessed with good food, good friends, and incredible experiences. I am thankful for those that have come into our lives this year, thankful for our boys who continue to show us how incredible life can be. I’m thankful for my husband who has supported me throughout the obstacles of this year. I’m thankful for our family, who we have seen quite a bit of this past year. I’m also thankful for YOU. You who are (and have been) reading my words that I write every week, commenting, following along on our journey. Thank you.

I want to share a quick Thanksgiving Story with you, our very first thanksgiving together.

We had been dating/together for about 3 ½ months when Thanksgiving rolled around. For me, those 3 ½ months had started with a blow up with my mother (due to my moving out of her house), a turning point in my relationship with her, and this Thanksgiving was not only the first time that Rob was meeting her, but also the first time that I would speak with her in those 3 months. Talk about stressful (although I don’t think Rob was outwardly stressed, he had already met my father and that was the hard one).

Thanksgiving was being held at the son of some family friends house. I had never attended a Thanksgiving by myself (even if this was technically with family and close friends, it was my first time being considered “separate” from my parents in terms of guest list) and I hadn’t the first idea what to bring. I wanted to be a good guest and polite, so I spoke with our family friends and tried to get some ideas. I ended up settling on dinner rolls.

***Real fast, let’s recap so we can set the scene. Me and my mom blow up and haven’t spoken in 3+ months. Rob’s never met my mother. My parents are putting on a good show, but I don’t think that they were in the best place of their marriage. All while being held at the child of a good family friends house…awkward***

So here we come, walking up the drive, store bought dinner rolls in hand (I seriously cringe at that memory, I would never now bring what I brought to a dinner I was attending). At the time, I hadn’t had the foresight to at least put the rolls into a nice container, or present them in a way that was more than just an after thought for the day. I was so nervous about what was to come.

***The dinner rolls actually ended up becoming the “joke of the day” and really lightened the mood. ***

Somehow we arrived before my parents did, so we were able to settle in and relax a bit before they walked through the door. I do remember us all (dad, me, Rob, family friends, right before my mom walked in) sitting around the back patio table talking about the latest expensive purchase (gun related) and the tension rising when my mom came out the backdoor. I think it may have been the most tense, awkward moment of the day. My mom was the epitome of polite, introducing herself, making polite chit chat, although I can’t deny that there weren’t a couple of snide glances or comments made in my direction. It was nothing serious or truly bad.

Once the moment passed, all went surprisingly well. We ate, we all made conversation, we left with our dignities intact (aside from me and my dinner rolls- which became the punch line of the day). I don’t know what I was actually expecting, but now it’s a funny memory to look back on.

Do you have a good Thanksgiving memory to share? What about a I’m thankful list? Share in the comments!