So Very Thankful

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. There is something so perfect about a holiday where we get together with family and friends, eat way too much, and give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. There's no fighting (well, unless you count the annual arguments over the charades rules), no presents, no commercialism, no tv (in our family) - just time spent together. I officially start counting down to Thanksgiving right after the pools close for the summer. Unofficially? There are 363 days until next year's celebration.

This year's Thanksgiving was maybe the best one ever, because we finally had Hannah to celebrate it with. It was five years ago when we were working on our application and the four celebrations after that had a few moments of "what is happening with your adoption?" updates. But this year? This year we had Hannah. We weren't sure how she would handle the holiday. She gets overwhelmed easily, and with so many new people (there were 19 of us at my cousin's house this year!), we were prepared to only stay for a little bit. But once Hannah settled in, she decided that she likes Thanksgiving almost as much as her Mommy. The highlight for her was Valentine - our friends' chocolate lab puppy. Hannah loves dogs, and she spent most of the day saying hello to Valentine, playing with Valentine, helping to take Valentine for a walk, and letting us all know that there was a dog out on the porch. Watching Valentine eat treats out of Hannah's hand was pretty amazing.
Another highlight? Watching her play the piano with my cousin Steve. Steve is a musician and a music teacher and Hannah had never seen a piano before. The two of them playing together made it very hard for me not to break down in happy tears. Such a beautiful perfect moment.

And, of course, there was the food. No real surprise that Hannah liked Thanksgiving food. (I mean, it is one of the reasons it's my favorite holiday - no holiday has better food!) But the amount that she ate? Wow. After she polished off her turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn pudding, and green beans, she started in on mine. Mashed potatoes and gravy, especially when they are Mommy's, are very yummy.

We even made it to charades. Our tradition is to play charades in between dinner and dessert. We've been playing for years (decades?), it's men vs. women, and it's hard core. There is trash talking. There is a rules committee. There are medals. It's phenomenal. The men won this year, and while Hannah didn't really understand what was going on, she loved clapping for each performance. (by the second round, she was running around in the kitchen while we played, but had to come back to clap every time she heard the applause). And, of course, she wore Daddy's medal proudly - even the next day.

Countdown to Turkey

It's November, which, in our house, means we start the official countdown to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday (which always confuses my could my favorite holiday be one without presents?) and we have so much to be thankful for this year. Sharing all of our wacky Thanksgiving traditions (what, you don't have a collection of Thanksgiving charades medals?) with Hannah is going to be amazing.

Along with counting down to turkey day, the big development here is that Hannah has really figured out the walking thing. In typical Hannah fashion, now that she can walk she doesn't really stop. She loves to be able to get around outside on her own. The playground has become a lot more fun and we've spent the last two days running around in the leaves at Bubbe & Zaide's house. Hannah also went to her first Bar Mitzvah a couple of weeks ago - our cousin Robert's - and was a party animal. Between cousins to dance with, the light show from the DJ, and a glow stick, she was in heaven. We literally could not get her off of the dance floor.

grab your wand...bring your wings...

Happy Halloween! Hannah's first Halloween was quite the success. She started the day by helping Daddy to carve jack-o-lanterns out of the pumpkins she picked out last month at Cox Farms.She had her own spoon to help clean them out, which, of course, meant that she had her own spoon to eat the pumpkins with. Apparently raw pumpkin tastes pretty good...she ate quite a bit.
After a nap (eating all that pumpkin can wear you out), we went for trick-or-treating part 1 at Mara's parents' house. Hannah loves "Abby's Flying Fairy School", one of the segments on Sesame Street. She will grab whatever is nearby to wave along as they sing "grab your wand, bring your wings..." so she was THRILLED when she saw her very own set of fairy wings and a magic wand. A tutu rounded out her costume - thank goodness for Etsy! (did you know that during the first week of October, Target had NO fairy accessories but two aisles of Christmas stuff?) She wasn't too sure about what trick-or-treating was, but she was ready to wave her wand and fly next door.We also had an impromptu party with Dylan and Jordan. Mara grew up with their parents (they are cousins) - they had just as much fun playing as we used to on Halloween!Next, it was home for dinner and round two. Hannah was still unsure about the whole trick-or-treating thing, but it was fun to be outside at night with her wings and wand. She did a great job picking out a piece of candy and putting it in her pumpkin. She also picked out several leaves. You can probably guess which one she actually ate.
After trick-or-treating next door (yes, her first trick-or-treating consisted of three houses on Mara's parents' court and two houses on our street) Hannah helped to hand out candy to the big kids before heading to bed. What a great day!