Thursday, December 3, 2020

Our Week - The One with Quarantine, Week 37 (Christmas Tree, Thanksgiving, and North Pole Breakfast)

Despite the fact that Thanksgiving was much different this year, it was still a good one.  Many of our traditions were canceled this year, and I would be lying if I said that wasn’t a tough pill to swallow, but we were able to see most of our loved ones safely, so that’s what matters the most.  Here’s the recap.

Monday, November 23 (Day 255 of Quarantine)

Monday morning, B was up early to get something done for work, so I woke up early, too, so I could go to Publix before it got too busy.  I was done by 9 AM and was able to get everything on my list, so I was pretty relieved.  Our Publix is still experiencing shortages on some canned goods and various other items since the pandemic started, so I was a little bit concerned about getting all of the items I needed to cook Thanksgiving lunch. 

I got home, unloaded the groceries, and then Jacob and I headed straight to the doctor for a checkup.  The office visit was much shorter than I had anticipated (praise!), so he and I made a Target stop afterward to pick up an order I had placed online.  I had every intention to just grab the order and go, but as always, Target sucked Jacob in, and he then dragged me down with him.  Funny how that works.  Haha.

Jacob asked if he could buy a new Lego set with his own money, so I told him he could, and he and I grabbed a little Hatchimals set for Olivia, too.  They haven’t spent their own money in months, so they’ve both been itching to buy something.  Kind of silly to be buying new stuff now since we’re just weeks away from Christmas, but I figured it might give them a little something to do at home since there are so many things we can’t do right now.

He and I grabbed Chick-Fil-A takeout on the way home, and then the four of us had lunch together when we got back.  Jacob and I surprised Olivia with her Hatchimals – she was ecstatic – and she and Jacob both spent some time after lunch playing with their new stuff. 

B and I decided Monday afternoon to go ahead and get our Christmas tree.  We always get ours the day after Thanksgiving, but the weather forecast was showing rain Wednesday – Sunday, so we knew it was either then, or wait until the following week.  No way was I going to wait that late to get a Christmas tree, so we just decided to go ahead and grab ours Monday afternoon.  I mean, it is 2020 and all, so I say pretty much anything goes… do what makes you happy!

In the past, we’ve always bought our tree from a local tree farm that sets up not too far from our house, but they’ve gotten SOOOO expensive in the last few years.  Last year, their trees weren’t great, and we ended up getting ours from Lowe’s since theirs are way more affordable.  This year, we decided to scope out another local tree farm that was set up at the same place where we went to the pumpkin patch back in October, but their selection wasn’t quite as large and there wasn’t much from which to choose.  That said, their trees were gorgeous, but we couldn’t find one that was the size we needed.

We ended up heading back to the same local tree farm where we always get our tree, and their trees were really beautiful this year, thank goodness.  Their prices were still through the roof, but we do like to support small, family-owned businesses when we can.  That’s always better than supporting the big corporations like Lowe’s.  We found our tree fairly quickly, the guys loaded it on top of our SUV, and then we headed back home to get it in the tree stand.

After we got it set up in its spot, the kids took off to play video games, and I did a little bit of work in my office before heading back downstairs to cook dinner.  We had beef and parm pasta with zucchini, and then we spent the rest of the evening decorating the tree and letting the kids watch the first episode of the second season of The Mandalorian.  

Tuesday, November 24 (Day 256 of Quarantine)

B was off the rest of the week, so Tuesday morning, we slept in, and then after breakfast, we all got ready so we could head to the golf course.  B has been working with Jacob and Olivia this past year on their golf skills, even going so far as to buy them their own set of clubs to share.  Then B hurt his back, so they had to put their golfing on hold for a while as he recovered from his surgery.  He is cleared to play now and feeling good, so we decided to take the kids to the golf course for the first time ever Tuesday morning.

The weather was picture perfect – sunny and 64 degrees with blue skies, and not a cloud in sight – so it was a great day to be outside.  We have a small nine-hole course here in town that’s made specifically for kids (almost all of the holes are par 3), so B thought that would be the best place to take them for their first golfing experience. 

We got two golf carts, Brian and Jacob in one, and Olivia and me in the other, and then we headed out.  Olivia was STOKED about the golf cart.  I can’t even tell you how many times she said, “I want one of these for Christmas” or “Man, I gotta get me one of these.”  Lol.  Keep on dreaming, girlfriend! 

The three of them played as a group, scramble style, and the kids did really well, both of them ended up getting some great long shots as well as putts.  Olivia sunk a 12-foot birdie on the fourth hole, and Jacob had a great drive over a creek and onto the fairway on hole five.  Jacob also sank an 8-foot putt to save par on hole eight, and their group finished at just four over par.  I just enjoyed driving the golf cart.  Lol.  (And just for the record, I stole all of that verbiage straight from Brian's Facebook post... I don't know that much about golf.  Lol.)

When we got back home, we had a quick lunch of sandwiches and leftovers, and then I squeezed in a few minutes of work before Olivia and I had to leave to go to her thyroid checkup.  The appointment was a breeze, and we were in and out of there in 55 minutes… I think that’s a record!  Her ENT doctor is the best in town, and unfortunately, that means horrendously long wait times.  He is well worth the wait, but it still isn’t fun being there for two+ hours each time we have to go.  We did have fun with Snapchat filters while we waited, though.  ;o)

After doing her ultrasound he gave us a good report – the nodule on her thyroid is stable and it hasn’t grown much since our last visit six months ago.  This means that we will continue doing the same thing we’ve been doing for nearly three years now… visiting him for ultrasounds every few months to monitor it until she is old enough for him to surgically remove it.  After our last visit he moved us to once every six months, and since she did so well these last six months, we will continue the twice-yearly appointments. 

After we left his office, we stopped by the library to grab a couple of books for Jacob that they were holding (thank goodness for curbside pickup!!) and then we stopped by my mom and dad’s house to pick something up.  My mom was still at work, but Olivia and I were able to chat with my dad for about 20 minutes, and it was so nice to see him.  Since baseball is over, we haven’t been seeing them weekly anymore, and I miss them.  I cannot wait until this pandemic is over so we can go back to our Saturday church and dinner and Sunday dinners with them.  Sigh.

Tuesday evening, we noticed that Maui was having some really bad coughing fits, and after doing a bit of googling, it sounded to us like she possibly had kennel cough.  Her coughing fits sounded awful, and when she was done coughing, she would gag and hack a bit before settling down, but other than that, she was acting normal and eating and drinking, so we decided it probably wasn’t necessary to call the vet.  We have NO CLUE how or where she could have gotten sick since she’s literally at home with us all the time, but she does go for walks around the neighborhood with us, and we do take her to the neighborhood playground, too, so we’re thinking maybe she picked up some germs that another dog had left behind at the playground. 

The rest of the evening was spent eating dinner and watching Elf by the Christmas tree.  My goodness, I love that movie.  After the kids went to bed, B and I watched The Bachelorette and a Magic for Humans and then we called it a night.  I do love these lazy, cozy weeks when the kids are out of school for the holidays.

Wednesday, November 25 (Day 257 of Quarantine)

Wednesday morning, I got in a cardio workout since I’d slacked Monday and Tuesday, and then we spent the rest of the day running around the house doing all the things – decorating the front porch for Christmas, hanging the outdoor lights, putting up our Santa blow-up, tidying the house, prepping for Thanksgiving, and so many other things, only stopping to have a quick charcuterie board for lunch.  

B was the real MVP and he braved Walmart and Publix to grab a couple of last-minute items we needed, and he also picked up donuts for Thanksgiving morning… we usually make homemade waffles on Thanksgiving morning, but since we’re not able to do our typical Thanksgiving things this year, we wanted something extra special (and easy since I had so much to cook this year)... pumpkin Krispy Kreme donuts for the win!!

B baked some homemade chocolate chip cookies Wednesday afternoon, and then I baked some of my Aunt Joy’s famous cinnamon muffins while I cooked dinner.  I’m hoping to share the recipe on the blog soon so stay tuned… they’re incredible.  Seriously the best things ever and I look forward to them every year.  It didn’t even occur to me that we wouldn’t be having them this year until my cousin sent out a group text to all of the cousins and my aunt about them the day before Thanksgiving… so that’s what B went out to get at the last minute since I decided to attempt to make them myself.  Haha.

Maui continued to have her coughing fits throughout the day, and she did seem to sleep a little more throughout the day, but she was still playing and eating and drinking, so we continued to hold off on calling the vet.  According to the articles we read, kennel cough sounds really bad, but most of the time it’s not that serious.

After dinner, we watched another episode of The Mandalorian with the kiddos, and then they went to bed.  After bedtime, B and I stayed up a little later and watched some TV and then we called it a night, too.

Thursday, November 26 (Day 258 of Quarantine)

Thursday morning, I had every intention to get in a run before starting the day’s festivities, but we woke up to thunderstorms.  We were supposed to get together with my mom, dad, and brother outside for lunch, and with my extended family for dinner, so that had me very worried about how the rest of the day was going to go.  However, it’s 2020, and if anything, this year has made me more resilient, so I let the worry roll right off my shoulders because I didn’t want it to ruin my morning.  Since I started meditating regularly, I have truly noticed a difference in how much I worry about the little things that are out of my control.  It has helped so much as I’ve learned to let some things go.  Not everything, but I’m a work in progress.  Haha.

B had picked up those donuts from Krispy Kreme the day before, so we had those for breakfast Thanksgiving morning.  I usually make homemade waffles, but I had lots to cook this year since we were doing things differently, so we opted for the easy (and very yummy) way out instead. 

After breakfast, I printed some Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade coloring sheets for the kids, and then we turned on the parade.  I knew things were going to be different this year, but my goodness, they did such a fantastic job of making things look totally normal.  It didn’t seem the least bit different, and it was nice to have that sense of peace and normalcy on a holiday that was anything but normal this year.  

Since I had prepped and baked so many things the day before, I had a whole hour to relax on the couch before I had to start cooking, so I curled up on the couch with my cinnamon tea and my sleepy dog in my lap.  B had run out for a newspaper earlier that morning, so he and I looked at all of the Black Friday ads old-school style because – tradition – and it was a cozy morning by the Christmas tree.

Around 10:30, I peeled myself out of my cozy spot on the couch to get ready and start cooking.  This year, we just got together with my mom, dad, and littlest brother, so my mom and I did all the cooking.  My mom did the ham and dressing, and I did sweet potato souffle, mac n cheese, green beans, and cinnamon muffins.  And we had the chocolate chip cookies that B baked, too.

I’ve never made that much for Thanksgiving before, as we typically attend large gatherings where everyone brings one or two dishes, so it was a little hectic trying to orchestrate everything.  I ended up getting it all done just in time, and every bit of it was delicious.  My mom’s sweet potato souffle is a coveted item each year, so I was nervous about taking it on, but it turned out really great and everyone said it tasted just like hers.  Woo hoo! 

Momma, Daddy, and my littlest brother, Alex, all arrived around 1:30 and, thankfully, the weather had cleared.  We had one table for the food, and two others set up so each household could sit separately outside.  We all wore masks when we weren’t eating, and I dished all of the food, so we didn’t have lots of hands on the food table.  We opened a bottle of wine to share, and we even got in one good toast with our masks on… before anyone put their mouth on their glass, of course.  ;o)

Once the rain moved out, the sun came out full blast and it was HOT.  Unfortunately, during the winter months, our porch doesn’t provide much shade from the sun, so we were all stuffing our faces while sweating our butts off.  Not my favorite, but it is what it is in 2020. 

After everyone was full, my parents played Cornhole with the kids, and we snapped some socially distanced family pictures.  Haha. 

They left around 3:30ish and after we cleaned up, we headed to my Mama Cass’s house to meet up with the extended family that we usually eat with on Thanksgiving night.  This year, instead of getting together to eat at my aunt and uncle’s house like we always do, everyone did their own separate lunches, and then we all got together to hang out in my Mama Cass’s front yard. 

Everyone brought their own chairs and coolers with drinks, and we all spaced out in a giant circle in the front yard.  Every household was spaced out at least eight feet apart or so (hard to tell from this vantage point in the picture, but I promise we were), so it was totally safe.  There was no way we were letting my grandmother spend her Thanksgiving alone, and I’m so grateful we were able to make this work. 

We wrapped up the evening around 6, just after dark, and B and the kids and I headed home.  The kids were hungry for dinner since they didn’t eat as much at lunch as B and I did, so I made hot dogs for them.  B and I split a single hot dog since we weren’t super hungry.  Lol.  We watched another Mando with the kids, and then B and I watched Taylor Swift’s Folklore special on Disney+.  If you love that album, I highly recommend it.  It was really interesting to hear her commentary about each song, and it was incredible to hear her sing the songs in that setting.  You all know I’m a huge fan of that album, and I was very impressed with the documentary.

Friday, November 27 (Day 259 of Quarantine)

Friday morning, we got up and had the remaining leftover donuts, and then, after being lazy for an hour or so, I laced up my sneaks to finally get in that much-needed run.  I hadn’t run in weeks, so my endurance had already gone down the toilet, and I was struggle bussing it all the way.  My body has adapted well to this new hobby, including my hip and SI joints (as long as I don’t run too often), but my lungs just cannot keep up.  Stupid asthma.  I managed to struggle my way into 2.5 miles in 30 minutes, so we’re calling it a win, even though I felt like I was going to die when I got back home.  It did NOT help that it was hot, sunny, and humid.  At the end of November.  Sigh.

I arrived home to find B and the kids playing poker – LOL – and then I got showered and ready for the day since we had Thanksgiving #2 at noon.

My father-in-law typically takes us to the country club for lunch on Thanksgiving and it’s one of my favorite meals/couple of hours of the whole year, but sadly, we obviously gave that up this year.  Instead, my FIL picked up pizzas – one for himself, one for our family, and one for my sister-in-law and her family – and then we all ate at separate tables on our back porch, 8-10 feet apart. 

After lunch, all of the cousins put on their masks to play a few rounds of Cornhole while us adults chatted, and it was a nice afternoon.  We hadn’t seen my SIL and her family in several months, which is just sad considering we’re so used to seeing them every week for Sunday lunch.  It was nice to catch up.

The rest of Friday was spent doing some work, picking up Five Guys for dinner, and watching The Santa Clause… another favorite.

Saturday, November 28 (Day 260 of Quarantine)

Saturday morning, our elf, Cheek, came back, and he brought a bunch of sweet treats for the kids to have for breakfast, along with new ornaments and Christmas jammies.  

I did a quick cardio workout, and the rest of the morning was spent doing laundry and getting some house tidying done.  We went to my mother-in-law and step-father-in-law’s house for lunch for our third and final Thanksgiving, and we were finally able to see my other sister-in-law and her family for the first time since the pandemic started.  They only live a couple of hours away, but they haven’t traveled here this year because of the Rona, so it was good to finally see them after all this time away.

Like our other celebrations, we held this one outside at separate tables, and we all wore masks the entire time except for when we were eating.  My MIL and step-FIL cooked all of the food, which we were fine with, as they are both retired and only leave the house for essentials. 

All of the cousins (minus our niece who is away at college) were able to hang out and play together (with masks) and we ended up spending over four hours there catching up.  The weather was chilly and cloudy, and it sure beat the heat and humidity we had on Thanksgiving Day.

My mother-in-law sent us home with an abundance of different lettuces from her garden – romaine, butter, arugula, and kale – and I was so excited to have some fresh produce to eat all week after all of the Thanksgiving food!

We got home around 5, and spent the rest of the evening watching football… our Dawgs ended up whooping South Carolina… I guess third time’s a charm for finding a quarterback.  ;o)

Sunday, November 29 (Day 261 of Quarantine)

Sunday morning was cinnamon rolls and church, and then we spent the morning starting homework for the week and prepping for the week as well. 

I made a charcuterie board for lunch, and got it photographed for the blog.  It’s a Christmas one, so stay tuned!

Olivia made a cat face from the rosemary and peppermints and she asked me to take a picture of it.  Lol.

It was dark and rainy all day long, so we spent the entire day cozied up inside.  The kids played with Play-Doh for a long time after lunch, and then they made the switch to video games later in the afternoon.

I took a bunch of time off from working all week since the kids were out of school, so I spent several hours in my office Sunday afternoon working on some photo editing while watching Serendipity. 

B picked up food from our favorite Greek place for dinner, and then we ended the long week by watching another episode of The Mandalorian with the kids and the last episode of The Undoing after the kiddos went to bed.  We also had our first fire of the season because it's finally cold!  Woo hoo!

Thankfully, Maui was also on the mend by the weekend, and for that, we're grateful!  She had us a little worried the first couple of days.

Happy Thursday, y’all!


  1. I respect your family for doing things the right way!

  2. Sounds like you guys had a great Thanksgiving week! And so glad that Maui didn't end up having to go to the vet, poor girl. She's such a tiny thing, I can't imagine her little coughs!

    I am super intrigued by those cinnamon muffins...definitely can't wait for you to share the recipe!


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