Frank and I spent Thanksgiving with my family in Chicago. We'll spend New Year's with his family, and for Christmas we'll be apart, each with our own families -- our last year spending Christmas as we did growing up.
Thanksgiving with my family started bright and early. We went to Mass at Holy Name Cathedral and then watched the Thanksgiving Day parade in downtown Chicago.
Lillian spent Thanksgiving morning with Matt's family, so they were the only family members missing. They joined us that afternoon and had dinner with us.
Frank was very excited about the giant blow-up Garfield and took about 20 pictures of it to email to his brother, who is a big Garfield fan.
Frank and I drove to Chicago through the night Tuesday to Wednesday -- a 13-hour trip. I was still pretty sleepy on Thursday morning!
An unexpected Chinese dragon:
The parade included an impressive array of characters from Star Wars, and afterwards we caught up with a Storm Trooper. We even got a few pictures with him... new best friend. ;)
After the parade, we visited the magical Christkindlmarket downtown.
It was a wonderland -- booth after booth of traditional handicrafts and delicious German food (I loved the apple strudel and hot spiced wine!).
I dream of the day when Frank and I can begin our Christmas Village collection. Won't our kids just love it? (Once they're old enough not to break the pieces?)
The prettiest little Nativity I ever did see.
The only thing that kept me from buying it was -- well, you can see the price tag. Eek!
Caroline and Frank tried on some of the hats.
Spiderman and Angry Birds -- ok, maybe not such traditional handicrafts. ;)
When we finally went home, Mum and my sisters put the finishing touches on the Thanksgiving feast. I had to take a picture of her menu - she uses the same one every year, with minor variations. Every year it tastes like home.
Angela proudly showed off her handiwork:
She and Joseph used cookie cutters to make a decorative crust for our apple pie.
While we waited for dinner, Frank challenged Joseph to an intense game of Stratego.
It was getting dark out, but the table looked so beautiful the way Mum set it up that I had to take a picture.
The traditional bread-basket cornucopia:
Lillian and I made the cornucopia with Mum at a craft event many years ago. It's held up incredibly well. Mum fills it with dinner rolls for Thanksgiving every year.
And another glimpse of that dreamy china...
Mum actually just bought this china from a thrift store a few months ago. They opted not to get china at their wedding and Frank and I decided to do the same and leave china off our registry. We can always buy it later, like Mum did -- and for much cheaper.
It was a wonderful day at home with my family. I can't wait to visit them again at Christmas!