What I’m Thankful For
On our way home for Thanksgiving, we took a brief pit-stop to see one of my dearest friends, Jennifer, and her sweet little girl, Cadence! It was my first time meeting my ‘niece’ and I LOVED every second. Her and her husband moved to Arkansas right after Tim and I got married, so we had resigned ourselves to not seeing each other for a very long time. By random chance, Jen texted me to let me know they would be in Ohio visiting James’ family at the same time we were driving home to New York! Couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. Even though it was only an hour, I am so thankful for spending time with them and meeting sweet little Cadence. (Who is indeed the CUTEST baby in the world.)
This adorable little face was there to greet us when we made it home to New York! (You will see a lot of him in this post. Just too cute to not.) We got there the day before Thanksgiving, so I was able to help mum with some food preparation. And by help I mean take pictures of each step of her process. That counts as helping, right? :) It also happened to be my dad’s birthday the day before Thanksgiving! Mum made him his favorite meal at home, and we celebrated with cake and presents. Very thankful for the amazing father that he has been for my whole life, and for the way he has continued to support Tim and I in our marriage. Probably one of my favorite pictures of my parents, and an accurate portrayal of their relationship :) I’m thankful for parents who love the Lord, and love each other so well. It brings me so much joy to watch them when we are home and to see their interactions with each other. As I’ve become older I’ve become more aware of the way that they are best friends and truly love living life together. It’s an incredible legacy, and I hope that Tim and I will follow in their footsteps :)And then it was THANKSGIVING! Mum always gets Christmas/Thanksgiving crackers for us at big family dinners. These are a British tradition where you pull on either end, they ‘pop’ and reveal a small prize and a paper crown. Of course, we must wear the crowns for the whole dinner and we get to keep our little gifts. Sometimes they also include a joke or riddle that we share with each other before we start eating. :)
Our pets really are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. Every year at Thanksgiving we give them ‘special’ dinners so they have their own mini-feast. Although they have no concept of days or times, they always become acutely aware of Thanksgiving and their fancy meals. This year we placed them on the kitchen table before we started dinner, and both Buster and Lucky got a little daring. Look at them trying to sneak their food early! Look at these cuties. Who wouldn’t be thankful for those faces?!Yum. Sparkling cranberry juice is my fav!
After Thanksgiving dinner, we decorated the Christmas tree together. This is one of my favorite activities, and I made them wait to finish the tree until Tim and I could be there. We put on the lights and beads, and then my mum hands out the ornaments to all of us to put on the tree as she tells the story of where they came from, or their significance to us. It’s a special time as a family, and I’m thankful that we all got to be together to do it this year. Rocking our reindeer ornaments that we all made when we were in kindergarten. We went to the same school, and obviously they aren’t too creative with their kids craft ideas ;) Very thankful that we were all together to share in this holiday. We haven’t seen my brother, Aaron, since last Christmas, so it was great to be reunited again.
My parents always give us an ornament every year to signify something big that happened in our lives over the past year. The goal is for us to look back when we have our own trees and families and remember the exciting things that happened, and the adventures that we had as we grew up. This year Tim and I’s ornament was a framed logo of my new business: Chloe Luka Photography. Definitely a huge step for me and put me on the path to making my dreams come true. Thankful for the incredible journey it’s been so far, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 will hold!Snuggles with pup at family game night.Another family tradition is going to Geva Theater (a local theater in downtown) to see the Christmas Carol performed live on stage. We’ve done this every year since I can remember. We always dress up, go to a fancy dinner, and then attend the play. We’ve seen it so many times that we can practically quote the lines to each other, which is half of the fun :) I’m thankful for family traditions and special things that my parents have done over the years to make the holidays so special for each of us.