Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thanksgiving is racing towards me...

I have always loved Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday of the year. It's all about family and food and friends and memories. Being thankful for everything that we have while spending time with the ones I love. I see so many movies and shows and hear about people who dread going home for the holidays. Not me. I adore my family, flaws and all. Yes, for the past 10 years or so, either one or both of my brothers (when both were alive) were usually in jail and missed the holidays. And yes, there's always some sort of drama about who is coming and who is not, and who showed up 2 hours late. But to me the day is full of hope and dreams and everything that matters the most, my family.

We have a huge family. Our family reunions are humongous and take 2 years to plan in advance. And no, we're not polygamists. There are hundreds of us but we're spread out all over the country so holidays are usually small gatherings for us. Here in Utah is my mother and all of us kids and our kids. Then my Aunt and her husband live here and so do 4 of their kids and all of their children. My mom and my aunt and her husband are all Jehovahs Witnesses so they don't celebrate holidays so it's up to the rest of us "kids" to pull the holidays together. My aunts kids usually do their own thing and I head up the holidays for my family. A couple of times we've tried to mash the 2 together but we've been doing it separately for so long that it normally ends up that way. For my little family I'm the chef, the baker, the planner for everything for the holidays. So pretty much everything that needs to be done on Thanksgiving is done by me.

Since me and hubby have been together, the day is usually spent shuffling back and forth between my house, my sisters house, and hubby's families house. Before me and hubby got into a house, I'd usually have to wake up really early and we'd load my entire kitchen into hubby's truck and drive it all over to my sisters house since we didn't have room at our apartment to have everyone over to our house. While my sister is am amazing person, very giving, very sweet, funny, loving and all of that, she does not enjoy cooking. Or baking. Or anything domestic like that. It's not that she CAN'T cook or bake. She just WON'T. And since she's not domestic at all, her kitchen ware is pretty sparse. She has plates, cups, bowls and silverware but not much else. To cook at her house means trying to be MacGyver and using a pen and a shoelace jimmied together to roll out a pie crust. Kind of like camping but with running water. And less wild animals, unless you count the kids! She does make a mean breakfast though! lol

So we'd get to my sisters house, start the turkey and spend a few hours there while I got the dinner ready to a point where I could leave it in my sisters hands for awhile. (Meaning, all she needs to do while I'm gone is remember to baste the turkey for me!) We'd then head over to my inlaws to have dinner at their house and spend a few hours with them. Then it was back to my sisters house to finish up dinner and get it all to the table and have dinner with my family. Yes, it's a really full day for all of us and me and hubby are so stuffed that we're waddling home at the end of it. But it's worth it! Now that me and hubs are in a house, there won't be so much packing to do and I'll be able to start dinner in my own oven and use my own stuff to prepare the feast. And since we live across the street from my in-laws, running over there for a few hours will be very simple since I can run home and baste the turkey myself if I need to.

My MIL is one of those women who does everything from start to finish. Don't ask to bring anything because she will only tell you no, that it's all covered. Yes, I still ask every year and every year she tells me she has it all covered. Not once in the 7 years hubby and I have been together has she let me bring anything. If I had tried to anyways, like I did the first year, it would be met with a frown and disdain so there was no point. Not doing as she wanted actually put a cramp on the dinner together so I've learned to just do as she asks. (And yes, to answer what you're probably wondering right now, I also do everything from start to finish too so it sounds like my MIL and I are a lot alike in that aspect, but I do all of it out of *necessity* and not beause I *want* to do it all. For me, there's no other help really. And yes, my MIL and I are a lot alike in a lot of aspects which I think is why we butted heads so often and why our relationship was usually very strained. But that's a whole other post for a whole other day.

Thanksgiving this year is going to be really hard. My mother in-law is officially dying. It's now in black and white on her medical records. She's dying. The first oncologist she saw last week told her he could recommend chemo but she has less then a 25% chance of getting any better, even with treatment. The surgeon she saw Friday told her there was no point in chemo AT ALL and that she would be lucky to live another 2 months.

When she was in the hospital and we found out it was cancer and that it was every where, my new sister in law, my MIL's friend who's like a daughter to her, and myself all decided we would be handling everything at Thanksgiving. So I need to figure out a way to do my family's dinner as well as a huge part of my inlaws. I'm excited for it though. She's never much eaten my cooking and she's just recently realized that I am a great cook so this will be good. And since the dinner will still be at my inlaws, just with us cooking it, and we live across the street from my inlaws house, I'm sure I'll need to be doing the things that may not travel well like the turkey.

Anyone have any suggestions for me? This will be interesting and I need to start planning for it now! lol Last year I did a bunch of stuff ahead of the big day and froze it, like the mashed potatoes and pie crusts. I think I even made up the apple pie filling in advance, mixing the apples, cinnamon, sugar, butter, flour and all of that and froze it ahead of time so I could just pull it out and put it together and bake it. I didn't want it to be all reheated like it was leftovers so I put things together to ease some of the prep work but it was still freshly baked. Well, other then the mashed potatoes which I did just reheat. Anyone have any other suggestions though?

Well I better sign off. It's almost midnight and I have to be up for work tomorrow bright and early. Thanks for reading!


Wendy said...

So I already mentioned on Twitter trying to do the same menu, so you can prepare it all in one dish, and serve/bake in two. Sounds like you'll have some help for the in-laws though.

Is it possible to combine the two? You could just have everyone come to your house.

steenky bee said...

Ug. We did a "dry run" Thanksgiving last weekend. It was delicious and fun. I'm not looking forward to shuttling between three dinners when the actual holiday gets here.

Ragan said...

I'm still laughing imagining you trying to roll out a pie crust with a pen and shoelace!

Sorry, no tips from me. My mom has always taken over with the cooking. This year we're spending Thanksgiving with Tim's family. Every-other-year he insists that it's their turn and I think we've only actually spent one or two holidays with them ;)

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