Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Thankful Weekend

Over the past few years, I’ve gotten into the routine of spending the Thanksgiving holiday with Karen and her family, who have generously welcomed and introduced me to their family and traditions as I’ve been left family less by my nomadic brother and winter-bird parents! Although my parents were in Wisconsin this year for Thanksgiving Day, I decided to again spend the holiday with Karen and her family in Elmhurst.

I had a very nice time and definitely enjoyed the long weekend. On Wednesday evening, we arrived in Elmhurst, which is my favorite Chicago suburb (it has such small-town charm and character, great proximity to the city, and a wonderful sense of community) and also where my dad was born. We did the Annual Dan Gibbons 5k Turkey Trot on Thursday morning, which was huge event with thousands of runners pouring through the streets of Elmhurst (think: walkers and baby strollers lined up at the 6-minute/mile pace start). Weaving through the masses, Karen and I eventually caught up to and finished with her speedy 8-year-old niece Megan, and brother in law Brian.

Later in the day, we drove to Karen’s aunt and uncle’s house in Janesville, where we celebrated Thanksgiving with her extended family. I am not generally fan of Thanksgiving foods (turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, you name it), but the meal was pretty tasty. I particularly liked the mashed potatoes and pecan pie. And of course the items I brought along—spinach artichoke dip and chewy gingerbread cookies, both of which were solid hits. I received several requests for my recipes that night, and obviously left proud as a peacock.

Other weekend highlights included running each morning with Karen and her friend Jeni on the Prairie Path (including a 16-mile marathon training run on Friday with plenty of uncomfortable stomach turkey jiggle), repeat shopping trips to Oakbrook (I took advantage of several good sales for myself. I always appreciate my own thoughtfulness), babysitting Karen’s nieces on Friday night (complete with a dance contest), and making ginger bread houses with Karen’s nieces at a family friend’s house (Allie and I pictured hard at work, above...I'm gonna be a damn good mom some day). All in all, a good weekend with great people. And lots to be thankful for.

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