(Gracie took these pictures, and I forgot to take any more.
Thanksgiving from her perspective, I suppose.)
Thanksgiving this year was wonderful. We shared our home and our 22-pound turkey with my mom, her friend Mike, and our friends DeDe, Bruce, Rachel and Rebecca. DeDe and I originally talked about her family coming here for Thanksgiving because Bruce's job site is about 30 minutes west of my house, which is about 30 minutes west of their house. With Bruce's unpredictable work schedule coupled with the high chance of him being called back out, it just made sense for them to meet here at this halfway point for a Thanksgiving meal that would go on, with or without him.
I put the turkey in to cook overnight, and on Thanksgiving morning, I got up to stuff the celery, make the deviled eggs, and throw together a few last minute things. Around 9:30 A.M., the power went out for the second year in a row. Last year, the electric company told us and others in our neighborhood that a car hit a transformer. This year -- the second year in a row -- they had no excuse.
Fortunately, the power was restored within the hour and the baking was back on. The turkey finished it's cooking just as Mom and DeDe pulled in for the day. The kids played together beautifully, James and Mike watched football, James and Mike napped on opposite couches, and we three ladies cooked and baked and prepped. Bruce was able to get out early and arrived just before lunch was ready. He was only able to stay long enough for us to fix him a plate before he had to run -- literally run -- back out the door.
We finished lunch, and then sat around chatting until it was time for dessert. Mom took a pie and went home. DeDe and the girls stuck around to share dessert with us, then Gracie went home with them for a sleepover.
Our Thanksgiving festivities were over far earlier than they generally seem to be, so I had ample time to organize my Black Friday game plan. I perused every single ad, and made and modified a great big shopping list. James took care of Bub's bedtime routine while I took a pre-shopping nap. I was asleep by 11:30 P.M., and up again by 3:15 A.M. I pulled out of my driveway around 3:45 and was in Wal-Mart by 4:00.
I completely finished by Black Friday shopping by 2:00 P.M. after looking for one gift in four stores and another gift in three. James and Bub spent Black Friday watching SportsCenter, playing video games, and eating leftovers. Gracie spent Black Friday with Mrs. DeDe, and after a quick trip to the doctor (Rachel developed a double ear infection), they crafted gingerbread Christmas trees, played games, and watched movies.
I picked Gracie up at 2:00 P.M. and we went out for a little more of the Black Friday hustle and bustle. All the shopping was done, but Gracie just loves to go to the mall. I'd not been to the mall at all that day, so I thought we'd browse the bargains and maybe share a hot chocolate.
I stood in Sears, leaning against a pool table, watching her explore the abbreviated toy aisles when James called to tell me that Milo was missing. He realized he'd not seen Milo in about five hours, and thought Bub may have accidentally let him out. I was instantly worried because the day before, between the kids and the dog, Milo's collar had been pulled off, and I put it on the microwave instead of straight back on his neck. I tried not to alarm Gracie, but after a few phone calls back and forth, I decided we should go home to help search for the cat.
I broke the news to Gracie that it was time to leave the mall. She began to sniffle and whine. I tried to hustle her out the door without telling her why we were actually leaving, but she was markedly disappointed in me, so selfishly, I broke the news. When I told her Milo was missing, she was absolutely heartbroken and began to wail in the aisle. "I dreamed my whole life to have a cat," she cried, "and now it's over!" I suggested to Gracie that we pray for God to keep Milo safe and to return him home to us. We held hands and prayed as I sped towards home.
We got home as quickly as we could, but we still arrived after dark. James and Bub had already walked the streets, circled the block, and knocked on the doors of the neighbors. I grabbed a flashlight and began looking under bushes. I crossed the street to talk to a neighbor who had just pulled in when James called to me from the front door to say that Gracie just found the cat. She noticed him as he crept out from under the couch -- the couch that James had picked up to look under three times already.