I hope you had a fun/relaxing/restorative holiday weekend with family/friends/alone. Cheers to almost December!
Thanksgiving weekend is always extra special for our family because it is when we celebrate my birthday and my brother's birthday! Since Thanksgiving falls on the 4th Thursday of November, sometimes one of our birthdays is on the holiday itself, too. Growing up, every few years, my birthday "cake" was a pumpkin pie. They would stick candles in one of the Thanksgiving Dinner's pies and sing "Happy Birthday", and I loved every second of it. Nobody else had birthday pie!
This year, my birthday was before turkey day, and luckily I was able to spend the day with my parents, siblings, and Jason. For lunch we all got together at a restaurant close to our house. It was cold outside (where did this winter weather come from so quickly?!) but the skies were sunny and clear. Just the night before, it rained. As midnight rolled around on my birthday I looked out the window and smiled to see rain drops pouring down, washing everything clean. Thanks Mother Nature, I see you!
For dinner, my parents took us out to celebrate both November birthdays at a restaurant in Livermore called Simply Fondue. I've had fondue before and my parents had been to this restaurant together, but trying it as a group was really fun. Each course was prepared in fondue pots, at our table! Cheese with bread and veggies for dipping, oil to cook differently seasoned meats, and of course, chocolate with every possible treat for dipping. I loved the chocolate and cheese courses the best. My mom and I agreed we could come just for those courses and leave happy - and full!
The dinner was relaxing and leisurely, which I particularly liked, because we got to listen to each other's stories. The last time we were all together was over the summer, and needless to say, there was lots of catching up to do!
He we are, roasting marshmallows over the chocolate fondue pot. Things were on fiyah!
Thursday was of course... Thanksgiving! We hosted a bunch of extended family at my parent's house. My parents worked hard to get all the prep work out of the way earlier in the week, and it paid off. We did the stuffing in two crock pots that morning, so all that was left to cook in the afternoon was the turkeys, green beans, and brussels sprouts. (The potatoes, rolls, salad, pies, carrots, yams, etc. were brought by our guests).
My Dad was in charge of the turkey - like always - and this year the outcome was no different: delicious. (So good, we barely had any leftovers to enjoy!) He's the best, not only because of his impressive turkey skills, but because of how joyful he is helping others. He loves spending time with his family and I love watching him so happy.
My Thanksgiving plate circa 2015: stuffing, potatoes, extra brussels sprouts, green beans, jello and cranberry sauce, with turkey in the middle.
After our extended family left, we put on our PJs and watched a bunch of Thanksgiving episodes of Friends. (Thanks Netflix!) It was cool to watch the episodes together because Richard hasn't seen many of them, Melissa just finished binge watching all the seasons, and Jason and I have seen them a bunch of times over the years. My mom noted that she remembers watching them live, each week, with my Dad. But on this day in 2015, there we all were, on the same couch, cracking up at Ross and Monica's antics, Joey and Chandler's bromance, and Rachel and Pheobe's quirks, all together.
Friday was Rich's birthday!
Naturally, I wanted his birthday to start with a little party! So, after he fell asleep Thanksgiving night, Melissa and I taped streamers to his bedroom door. I loved prepping the streamers with Melissa. We were sure he could hear us peeling off pieces of scotch tape, and giggling in his hallway, making lots of noise. He says he didn't hear anything, and was caught off guard when he opened his door in the morning. Mission accomplished!
That day, we drove to Alameda for a family brunch. The places we planned to check out were closed for the "holiday" and the main street was kinda empty. We kept our eyes on the prize and decided to try a Mexican restaurant that had lots of full tables. My family loves Mexican food, so it's no surprise we ended up there. We enjoyed the service, and food, but my favorite part was how we worked together quickly to figure out an alternative plan. It's hard to change plans, especially when everyone is hungry! :)
That night I got to see my BFF, Kristan!!! We met at the usual restaurant, just us two. We drank our usual drinks, and laughed about the same old things. I love seeing her in person because it's like our daily text conversations coming to life. We talk constantly, about the intimate details of our lives, so when we see each other, there isn't much going on that we don't already know about. I love sharing stories face to face with her. I'm lucky to have her in my life! <3
This year, Richard and I split a birthday cake. My mom thoughtfully picked up a chocolate chip cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes before we arrived home. She knows I love chocolate cake! We ate half of it on my birthday and the other half was left over for Richard's - It worked out just right. I love that our birthday traditions are transforming as we grow into this next stage of our lives.
So many of my best friends wrote really nice things about me on my birthday. Their sweet words really touched my heart, I decided to collect them here, in one place, so I can re-read them whenever I need a reminder of how loved I am. Things aren't as I expected them to be on this birthday, but I'm learning that things rarely turn out how you picture them. I'm learning that having people that support you, and cheer you on, year after year, is the best gift.
Cheers to the next year! Cheers to taking everything one day at a time. Cheers to practicing. Cheers to giving in to the unknown.
I've got people who have my back, through whatever is to come, and for that I am eternally grateful.