Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Holiday Preparations

Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday around the Greiner home. As the vagabond children who moved away, we can't just hop in the car and pop in at this house for lunch, this house for dinner, this house for coffee and dessert, etc. The first year we lived in Texas, we flew home for Thanksgiving and drove up for Christmas. However, because of Andy's busy work schedule, the baby, etc., that's just not feasible anymore. Having just made the drive in October, we are definitley NOT coming up for Thanksgiving. We've been very blessed every year to have been "adopted" by the families of friends and provided a great meal. This year, we recieved even more invitations than we usually do (proof again of the wonderful friends we've made). As much as we love spending time with our friends, it's always a little bittersweet to be involved in someone else's holiday tradition. We always knew exactly what we were missing at home.

I love traditions. I love the idea of "this is how WE always do it!" whatever it may be. It's so precious in a family to just know things are going to be a certain way. Being here and being away from those traditions is difficult, especially now that we have a child. BUT...this year we finally decided to stop greiving over the Thanksgiving traditions we were missing out on, and eavesdropping in on those of other families, and start creating our own. We have our own little family reminds me of a bible verse my Dad quotes often in church: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I will be in their midst." Our family may be small, but we are still a loving--and fun-loving--family! So the Texas Three are giving Thanksgiving a makeover, Greiner-style!

Andy has often mentioned when he was very young and his family lived in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, that they would host an "Orphan's Thanksgiving". Anyone from his Dad's work that had relocated away from home would be invited for dinner. Andy mentioned that maybe one of our new traditions could be hosting an Orphan's Thanksgiving of our own. So, that's the plan. I'm not going to lie, I'm freaking out. I NEVER cook at Thanksgiving! Sure, I stir this, or arrange that, and I never mind baking...but a TURKEY?!?!? With stuffing? Holy smoke...what have I gotten myself into? I hope my guests won't mind if I have to call Domino's.

I plan on taking lots of pictures of the preparations and finished products. AND this gives us a chance to finally bust out that electric knife we got for a wedding gift almost 6 years ago!

And today is Wednesday...that means just about a week until T-Day! Yikes!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Halloween really snuck up on us this year! With all the traveling Andy and I had both been doing, plus being sick, plus the death in the family, I don't think we really ever got into the Halloween spirit, if there is such a thing! So with just a few days to spare I put together Maddie's "Rock Star" costume. I wanted to have something that was made up of actual clothes...because seriously people, this girl hates getting dressed in general, so a heavy costume with something to put over her head was out. It didn't turn out exactly as I pictured. I think I had something more Disney-rock-esque in mind...and it ended up looking pretty punk rock! But it was a big hit and she was comfortable, so that's all that mattered!

The usual tradition at Halloween has been for several houses on our block, along with some friends from other neighborhoods, to gather at our house to give out candy. It was usually a big hit with the kids, since with one stop they got about 5 times the candy! This year was a little more low-key. Our good friends the Hoelzers brought Maddie's buddy Jordana (aka JoJo) and the Mysers came with Abigail. A couple other friends stopped by after trick-or-treating to play cards with Andy (sounds like I got tricked into that treat for him).

Our street gets absolutely mobbed at Halloween. We gave out about 400-500 pieces of candy! And I was really stingy with mine...only one piece unless you had a really great costume. Some of the best ones we saw were Oompa Loompas, a garden gnome, the Narnia kids, and one group of teenagers dressed as the PacMan game (one huge wooden contraption to be PacMan, and then colored tents for the ghosts! It was awesome!). We even had one sweet little girl come up to us and say "Trick or Treat...and GO VOLS!" How great is that?

So with the execption of Maddie's having to go to bed at 7--due to yet another day with no afternoon nap--and me getting devoured by mosquitoes (yes, on Halloween, gotta love Texas) it was a great night! Now the real fun can begin...getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas, my two favorite holidays!

Family Pic

Maddie and JoJo trick-or-treating!

Scott and Sarah with Bumblebee Abigail

Madeline, JoJo, and John Hoelzer

Even Rock Stars have to take a bath!