Holiday Hosting – Thanksgiving

We hosted our second thanksgiving (first was last year). On top of hosting dinner we also hosted Cody’s parents, sister, bother-in-law and darling niece for three nights. I must say it went off without a major hitch. We took an all hands on deck approach. Everyone brought a dish, my sister-in-law made beautiful center pieces and everyone brought a pie. Dinner was delish. Cody grilled two turkeys brining and glazing galore. Well worth the man hours if you haven’t yet brined and grilled a turkey i highly recommend.

Kameron was my right hand in the kitchen. Thankfully because it takes two to pull off the warming, mashing, heating, re-heating, baking that this dinner takes. The turkeys got done early (EARLY) but we stayed on top of it. We played a “thankful” game at dinner filled with notes about thankfulness for health, spouses, children, U of A beating Duke, new houses, graditude for work, laughter, love, delish food and drink. We reminisced and talked of those we missed and wished were with us.

Something that was on topic the entire holiday with myself, Cody, my brother Joe, his wife Lindsay, Cody’s sister Kam and her husband adam was that suddenly we were the parents, the aunts and the uncles. Our parents were letting the holiday reigns over to us (with a watchful eye) and we were the adults. The kids running around laughing and babies coohing all belonged to us. We were no longer the kids.

It is funny how fast it happens. As I try and embrace my new(er) titles of Mom, aunt and sister-in-law I try and keep in mind that my family, my nieces and nephews and my own kiddos will remember the laughter in our home, the welcome voices and holiday music they hear. They will remember playing with their grandparents and chasing their cousins. It isn’t about a perfect day it is about love, laughter and togetherness.

Approaching the holidays I want to keep our door open. Host gatherings, laugh, tell stories cook yummy food and remember it is a season to be thankful. I’m thankful for those who are gathering with me this holiday season and those I miss. Technology keeps us closer together than in past years but I strive to not focus on my next social media post but rather the people who are in front of me.

So I saw roast that turkey, try a new recipe, buy that good bottle of wine and break out the holly and Christmas tunes of Dean Martin & Bing Cosby (or Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers if you are like me). It won’t be a perfect season but we can have some laughs, make some good eats and drinks and tell a few stories.

Cheers to the best season of all!

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Thankful for Thanksgiving

Cody and Ihosted my family for Thanksgiving this year. Last year we did a big Christmas Eve dinner but this year the pressure was on for the Thanksgiving feast. We had a total of 7 plus miss Gwen. My Mom and Sister were a huge help the day of the big turkey entertaining Gwen while at my house with coloring books and Yo Gabba Gabba stuffed animals and helping to cook parts of the meal. I made two pumpkin pies (homemade pie crust) and a pecan pie. My sister-in-law Lindsay was kind enough to make a killer Apple pie so the pies were complete.

Cody manned the grill and grilled a 16 pound Turkey that took about 18 hours of prep with a brine and butter rub and let me tell you…it was perfect.

The dinner table was my masterpiece. Mixing Tulips and cranberries for center pieces and mixing my McKensie Child checked dishes with my grandmothers Pamonia dishes and amazing chargers  (Thanks, Merren) and silver (Thanks, Mimi & Terri) that we received as a wedding gifts along with a simple table cloth borrowed from my Mom the table setting was a hit.

We enjoyed great Italian wine, anti-pasta platter, amazing AZ weather, a perfect Thanksgiving meal ful of emotional Thankful messages amoungst my family and a fantastic after dinner fire in our backyard.

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Learning to Speak Gwen


Gwen is a bubbling seven weeks old. She is brilliantly coohing up a storm and smiling to make everyones heart melt. I’m convinced one of her coohs is actually her saying “hi” because after all she is brilliant.

Gwen started to really “play” this week. My dear friend Mikaela bought a wonderful learning toy piano that Gwen kicks to engage the music and lights. Mikaela of course bought this to be the first to lend to Gwen’s future profession in the music industry. I think she might already be a piano savant and will soon have her own recording album.

Along with her kicking, coohing, smiling Gwen’s personality is coming out more and more. All in all Gwen is a happy baby with lots of personality. She loves to look out the window when on her changing table and will let you know when she is hungry. She sleeps in hilarious positions usually with her arms above her head and head tilted back dramatically.

As new parents Cody and I are learning to speak Gwen. We are starting to get the hang of her distinct language and learn that some coohs are actually mini conversations Gwen wants to have with us while others are simple toots of gas.

We had another baby buddy outing with Brooke and August this week. August is getting cuter by the minute and stayed awake most of our visit. Gwen showed her displeasure in our venue location cried the first few moments while we sat at The Good Egg.

Two men in ties were having a meeting in the booth next to us as she fussed. Instead of being annoyed, glaring or making rude remarks one of the business dudes actually turned to interact with Gwen and distracted her from her anger for a moment before we quickly got her a bottle.

After a nice delicious bottle Gwen calmed into a lovely slumber in her buggy. One big learning curve I am happy to announce is that I have learned to NOT leave Gwen in her car seat when out and about. Gwen HATES her car seat. If the car is moving she will remain calm in her locked down seat, because of course she understands safety comes first. If in her stroller or placed in a stationary position in her car seat she will have nothing to do with it and wants out…fast. I guess she just prefers her lovely ‘carry cot’ feature of her bumble ride. I mean really that is why I wanted the damn thing so I should be happy!

Since Gwen was finally calmed down and napping and August as a good little man that he is was happy and content we decided to change our outing plans. Again learning to speak a little Gwen. Instead of pushing our luck and taking the babies to the Phoenix Art Museum (one of my favorite places in Phoenix) Brooke and I strolled to a near by Starbucks and hung out with the babies in the shade. The kids didn’t get their dose of culture we had hoped but Gwen got a great nap, I got to hold August and bond with him and Brooke and I enjoyed one of the last warm but not smoldering hot days in Phoenix.

Ohh I think Gwen also turned the charm on with August and is starting to have her first crush. More August and Gwen pics below! August Gunner on the left and Gwen Ryan on the right! Adorable!


Check out the Daily Cub page for new Gwen photos 😉