1 holiday down, 1 more to go (before the new year that is)

i was finally able to sort through some thanksgiving pictures.

i can’t mentality prepare myself and start blogging about christmas, without posting these first. actually, i have a love/ hate relationship with christmas decorations and music bombarding me before thanksgiving. i can appreciate the love for all things merry and bright. on the other hand, i can get quite overwhelmed. maybe it’s my anxiety, slight OCD, or that fact i know about the marketing tactics to get consumers to overspend. no, i’m not a grinch, in fact i secretly fantasize about festive decorating and entertaining. just check out my pinterest.

um….can you say obsessed? yeah, pretty much.

here is a small glimpse of what our evening looked like.

i love them so much! and this family photograph isn’t too shabby either.

cheers to new beginnings and better days ahead

there was a happy baby because she was carried from one arm to the next. also because of two dogs who she chased around, hugged and kissed. they might of been the best thing since her beloved pacifier. these two furry friends were so sweet with all the licking and cuddling. thanks jack and toby for being such great companions. i know they got their end of the bargain with all the food izabella was feeding them. there was a full house filled with multicultural food and languages. the dinner consisted of traditional all-american staples, authentic italian wine and food, as well as some polish dishes. it was simply divine and there was lots of it!  * i must note that leftovers are a blessing and a curse all at the same time. i feel my jeans are a bit snug since then.

the two things lacking from our celebration was hispanic food, like pernil (a traditional and amazing roasted pork shoulder enjoyed by dominicans during the holidays). unfortunately, that along with my side of the family was missed greatly. this year was spent with my husband’s family and friends, some of which we haven’t seen in years. it’s often said a picture is worth a thousand words. sometimes that is so true. and sometimes, it just isn’t. the combination and dynamics of in-laws, blended families, and relationship histories can be quite complicated. behind every smile, (as genuine as they may be) is personal baggage. everyone has their expectations, their struggles and a story to tell. i believe this manifests itself even more so during the holidays. you can read more about my thoughts here.

despite the possibility of things turning into a big mess, it didn’t. i’m grateful for that. and these days i really need to count every bit of blessing that comes my way. like right now for example, my baby girl finally surrendered for a nap after a very long struggle. it’s a relief, when mama gets a little break to make a quick lunch and work on her blog. sometimes it’s the little things that get me by these days. If you haven’t already, check out my previous post with a random list of other goodies i’m thankful for.

Until next time,

R

p.s – let the countdown to christmas (officially) begin!

Thanksgiving thoughts

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It’s a day shared with dear family, close friends and good company. There’s turkey with all the fixings, and pumpkin pie of course! More importantly, It’s a day to say grace and give thanks. To remember the little things, the big blessings, the important people, life lessons and memorable experiences.

To others, it’s just another dreaded holiday to survive!

  • First of all, it’s can be a huge production. From cleaning, cooking, decorating and pretending you’re Martha Stewart to make an impression on your guests. Half of which, you may not be thrilled to have in your home.

Even if you aren’t the honorary host this year, it can still be stressful. Let me illustrate…

  • You might be worried if your dish is up to par with your mother-in-law’s “never good enough” expectations.
  • Maybe you’re cringing about the annoying interrogation session with cousin Amy. You discovered her obsession with your personal life is so she something to gossip during her “slow days” at work.
  • Perhaps it’s the unsolicited parenting advice from your aunt Josephine who has no real relationship with her own children.
  • Maybe it’s the criticism from your old man about how your life philosophy as a grown adult contradicts his beliefs, and how you were raised.
  • Mother dear could be on a mission to play the comparison game with you and your siblings. After all she doesn’t have a favorite, remember?
  • Your grandparents…God bless them, are upset and confused as to why there’s tension during what’s traditionally supposed to be a happy occasion.
  • There’s your teen nephew who’s always finding a way to get back at you for “tattle tailing” in 2007. He loudly announces this is your fifth serving of sweet potato pie.
  • Of course your family’s friend, Maria chimes in and nonchalantly asks you if you’ve gained a couple pounds.
  • Then there’s all the little ones including yours, running around high on life and on tons of sugar. You can thank your great aunt Eva for feeding them all her baked goods, because she’s too proud to see left overs.
  • To top it all off, there’s the obligatory family photos that can feel so forced and awkward. There’s half of you that really wants it for your child’s digital scrapbook, and the other half that doesn’t want to remember the three and a half hours of torture.
  • Your head and heart are pounding at this point. You’re about to snap on your uncle-in-law for asking you a million times over, “What’s wrong?” followed by, “You should smile more often, it’s a better look for you”.
  • Then from a distance, you see your husband getting into a major political dispute with your brother-in-law.
  • Your sister takes a horrible, unflattering picture, instantly posts it and tags you on facebook. She swears she loves the unwashed-messy-bun-makeup-free-look-of death style you’re sporting. You get angry even after she deletes it, because you’ve just had enough.

Perhaps the above scenario sounds mild, in comparison to your get-togethers. If that’s the case, then I give you tons of credit. Or maybe you actually look forward to Thanksgiving. Everything is pretty pleasant, aside from aunt Sophia’s green bean casserole. Consider yourself very fortunate you don’t need to carry the entire medicine cabinet with you. If extra strength advil and bepto bismol are your favorite meds of choice, I recommend not waiting the day of. Those things go like hot cakes! I’m kidding. I actually just made that up. All joking aside, I wonder if our negative experiences are partially affected by a contrast of perspectives and expectations.

Like this iconic painting which depicts an idealized Thanksgiving holiday. Norman Rockwell is the artist and dreamer behind this scene of pure bliss. It looks so posed and unnatural. At the same time, I am tempted to jump into this painting because it intrigues me. Even if I could teleport myself somehow, It wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving because they aren’t my family afterall.

Perfection shouldn’t be the goal of your holiday celebration. It’s about the consideration of the people in your celebration. After all, without people there would only be things. A feast but no one to enjoy it with. You’d be talking to yourself, rather than having a conversation. A beautiful table, but no one to sit next to. We can either pretend and expect everything to be perfect or we can acknowledge we aren’t perfect and make amends.

When we do that and take accountability for our actions, I bet everyone would be happier (and not because of the spiked apple cider, either). If only Amy saw the hurt she caused her cousin and apologized, there wouldn’t be any awkwardness. It’s sad when unfortunate circumstances and distance creates a reality that falls short to great potential.

However your Thanksgiving looks or feels like. Whether all warm and fuzzy or something straight out a soap opera, I urge you to find something to be grateful for. Imagine we woke up tomorrow without the things we weren’t thankful for? Then we would all realize that we should appreciate the little things, even if that’s all we have.

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Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to my family and friends from near and far.

With Love from our home to yours,
R

little decorating ideas for thanksgiving

Next week is Thanksgiving and I can’t quite believe it!

Here are some ideas to spruce up your home just in time for the holidays.

Thanksgiving home accents

1. Decorate with a charming garland or bunting banner 

 Fall Leaves Garland or Banner etsy.com

 AUTUMN BANNER/ fall banner garland etsy.com

2. Place stemware on a rustic wood cutting board

3. Have family and friends help themselves to classic apple cider from a pretty jar

Fall Flirt / apple cider wrapped in pretty linen towel pinterest.com

4. The hostess with mostess deserves this pretty apron

 Thanksgiving apron womens apron etsy.com

5. Create personalized place settings using seasonal produce

 Fall Tablescapes pinterest.com

6. A natural woven table runner sets the base for a rustic tablescape

 Rustic Stripe Table Runner williams-sonoma.com

7. Vintage tins and cans make the perfect container for pretty florals

8. Hurricane candles suddenly become festive when filled with corn kernels 

 Autumn pinterest.com

9. A leaf printed pillow and a rich throw adds autumnal detail to a neutral arm chair

Easy Fall Decorating Projects bhg.com

10. Jazz up your door with a beautiful wreath to great guests

Transitioning Your Home For Fall pinterest.com

11. Fall hued vases can do wonders to decorate a mantle or foyer table

 From vintage to vavoom, some fall decor trends dailyherald.com

12. Share who you’re thankful for, by displaying framed photographs of those dear to your heart.

 Pier One Family Desk Frame pier1.com

13. Use framed silk leaves to add wall decor. Great D.I.Y project!

Ideas for Fall Decorating pinterest.com

Hope this inspires you, as much as it has for me.

-R