But first: I must do the Thanksgiving week recap, because if I don't, I might lose the details of one of the busiest weeks we've had all year. Normally, that honor is reserved for May... which is why last week was not only busy, but also a big surprise.
So. It all began about two months ago with Matt trying to figure out when he could schedule his pinning-on ceremony, which is customary when one is promoted in the military. It had to be done on or around December 1 because of the way it all works, but those dates weren't working because of many factors. We discussed approximately 15 different plans for when it could be held, each discarded for X, Y, and Z reasons. With about 24 hours of notice, the plan then became to hold the ceremony at 8:30 on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.Thank goodness this brought Grandma and Grandpa on Tuesday:
8:30 pinning on = breakfast reception for 60+ after. I spent the day baking, baking, baking, baking while Matt tracked down the lady who works at the BX who was recommended to him as someone that could make breakfast burritos on short notice. He didn't have her last name or phone number, and I got the giggles picturing him wandering around the BX calling out "Tracy! oh breakfast burrito lady! Where aaaaaarrrreeee you?" (In actuality, he knew she owned the coffee shop there, so he knew where to look. But still.)We had to pause all this food preparation craziness to go to dinner at one of my favorite Cheyenne eateries, Guadalajara. Feliz Cumpleaños to me! After dinner, it was ice cream cake from Culver's time, followed by fruit preparation. There had to be some fruit to balance all the other stuff at the breakfast on Wednesday: )
By this time I was a little worn out. But keep in mind, TUESDAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING. No rest for the weary in the kitchen.Wednesday
Mission: to make sure four adults and three children are up, fed, gussied-up appropriately, and out the door by 7:55 to get to base, while carrying breakfast for 60+ people. Good luck.
Look! We made it and everything happened on time! Matt is now a Lt Col. When he was first in the AF, Lt Cols and their spouses were OLD PEOPLE. (Apologies to those I thought this about, but it's true. Old. People.) And now? Now we are them. OLD. PEOPLE.
My very favorite part of this particular pinning-on (or any pinning-on I've ever been to) was the part where everyone was standing at attention in the room while Matt's orders were being read and Bridget got up out of her seat and walked over to Matt and stood next to him with a big smile on her face. She was trying to hold his hand, but he wasn't able to reach down to take it—undeterred, she just stood there and smiled at the room full of 60 uniformed people. When it was over, she crawled back up into her chair and didn't make a peep. I wish I had been able to take a picture, or that the person who took this picture later hadn't been at attention at the time. Ah well.
This is the closest we got to a picture of all five of us where the majority of us are looking at the camera, or not looking grouchy, or googling our eyes or some such thing. Bridget was done being cute and cooperative by this point. I almost used this as a Christmas card picture, but then I decided = giant skull behind Maddie's face would have to be explained (a painting of the patch from the 90th Bomb Group in WWII, which has evolved into Matt's squadron's patch now). No room to do that on the Christmas card.After leaving base, we had to make a trip to the library to show it off to Grandma and Grandpa. It's a library worth showing off. I'm not sure attending storytime the day before Thanksgiving when school is out was the best ever idea, but it was still fun to show them around one of our most favorite places in Cheyenne.
Please note who is in the very front of this crowd. She is always in the very front. Everywhere. At her friend Kaitlyn's birthday party last spring, a game of musical chairs was played; I leaned over to whoever was standing next to me and said that Gracie would win. And, she did.
Grandpa and Maddie wisely played chess during the storytime. I caught them afterwards having a great time. It's a good thing her grandparents come to visit her, because I am not smart enough to remember how to play chess from day to day. Maddie begs to get up at 5:30 to play chess with Grandma. I'm not even making that up.
Aha! You thought Wednesday was over! Oh ho ho, not quite. Time to bake pies. Some for us, some for people out in the field on Thanksgiving. Bake, bake, bake. I almost caught the house on fire with the last one, as some of the apple filling dripped out onto the bottom of the oven, but other than that, it was fine.
Thanksgiving at our house is celebrated after naptime, which Matt is convinced makes us weirdos. But it's nice to be able to wake up on Thanksgiving Day and mosey around in our jammies starting the food, watching the parade, and hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa.
We had a very nice, very calm Thanksgiving for 11 with Grandma and Grandpa and some friends who joined us. It was a good meal. As with thousands of other Thanksgiving tables in the U.S., ours featured The Pioneer Woman's sweet potatoes. If you have not yet made these sweet potatoes, I urge you to do so.
I always like to come up with an after-Thanksgiving activity that is not related to stepping my foot into a store. I am a happy shopper, but I am happy to miss Black Friday thankyouverymuch. This year's activity? Family reunion! My uncle, his daughter Julie (my first cousin) and her family came to visit. The last time we saw them was in Colorado Springs:
Maddie and Ainsley are just a few months apart, both in second grade. To say they hit it off this time would be a vast understatement. I think they were a little surprised to process the part about how they're related : )
If you're keeping track, lunch on Friday would have pushed the amount of servings of food I prepared to right about 100, I think, counting all the meals from Tuesday on. Ironic, since I still consider myself not-a-cook.
We spend an inordinate time at gymnastics this year, as Maddie and Gracie both have their classes on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and Bridget has her class on Saturdays (but at a different time). I'm not sure at what point we've become the gymnastics family, but we definitely have. I told Maddie the story about how I quit gymnastics when I was just a little older than she is now because I fell off the beam and she rolled her eyes at me. Apparently, beam-falling-off is a lame excuse to her.
After lunch (which may have sounded something like "fend for youself") Grandma, Maddie and I hopped in the car to head back to the library for the Christmas Parade craft show, then to the Depot for the Christkindlmarket. Long ago and far away I had a booth at the Christmas Parade craft show before Maddie was born. I am tempted to do it again next year, but we'll see. At the Christkindlmarket, I found a gift for Curtis that I couldn't walk away from. I'm sorry in advance for buying you such a ridiculous Christmas gift, Curtis. But when you see it, you'll know why I had to get it. : )
Then: Target on a Saturday afternoon to buy camp chairs for little girls. For the parade. The day is still young.
Matt and I never went to the Christmas parade the last time we lived here, and that was our loss. It was a truly excellent parade. I already made a page about it for this month's gallery at Write Click. Scrapbook.! It was a little on the cold side, but very, very fun. Bridget was beside herself with joy most of the time; asking a 2.5 year old to sit outside on a camp chair after dark for 90 minutes when the temperature is in the 20s sounds ludicrous, but she was a big girl and didn't complain once.
Walking back to the car was a different story. There was some complaining then. Though I'm not sure if we can pin the blame entirely on Bee there.
SundaySadly, Sunday was departure day for Grandma and Grandpa. When you pack this much into one week, time flies. After a big pancake brunch, Grandpa and I managed to squeeze in making the first toffee batch of the season, though:
Whew. Now we can have Christmas here : )