Steve and I had a lovely, restful Thanksgiving. It was certainly different than any previous Thanksgiving, but everything is different now, so that’s nothing new. We arrived on Wednesday, Teaker and pie dough in tow, and spent the next three days relaxing, cooking, eating, playing with the girls, shopping online, and watching Gold Rush on Discovery Channel.

I was in charge of the turkey this year as well as the pies. My dad and I decided on a bacon wrapped turkey, which is what we had two years ago in New Hampshire. It was so easy – no brining or basting required!

Raffie was very interested in the turkey as well. All the kitties were.

Our oven was tricksy, though, and cooked the turkey way faster than we anticipated. It was actually overdone more than an hour before we thought it would be! Thankfully though it hadn’t dried out and was still moist and delicious – probably thanks to all that bacon. Whew. I was really nervous about being responsible for the turkey, but it turned out great and – again – proved to me that roasting things is really easy (as well as serving as a reminder to never forget to bring my remote meat thermometer when I travel for the holidays).

I also made two pies:

Mmmm. Apple cranberry pie – my favorite!

I used a new pie dough recipe this year from Cook’s Illustrated, which called for vodka, of all things. The theory here is that adding vodka to the pie dough allows you to use more liquid in the dough than you could otherwise, which makes it much, much easier to work with and roll out. The alcohol then cooks out in the oven! It’s genius and this will remain my go-to pie dough recipe! Forget you, Pillsbury store-bought doughs. This was so easy.

Leah made us some pumpkin croissants to start the day:

And Karen made dinner rolls using Pioneer Woman’s recipe.

They were amazing. Forget you, storebought dinner rolls.

Grandma hung out in the kitchen with us for a while. Hi, Grandma!

The baby in the corner adds just the right touch to Leah’s table setting. What you can’t see is the plastic tablecloth under her high chair.

Our dinner was delicious and I know my mom would have approved! I’m guessing her Thanksgiving was even better than ours, though.

We spent the rest of the weekend searching online for Black Friday deals (we’re too lazy to get up early to fight the crowds). I impressed myself by completing about 90% of my Christmas shopping within two days of start of the shopping season! Thanks, online shopping! And thanks, Secret-Santa-ing family meaning I don’t have to buy a gift for every single person I’m related to! I also bought baby his first items of clothing:

It felt like a big step, buying clothes for baby! Considering the idea of decorating a nursery is really scary to me, I felt like this was an accomplishment. I can’t wait for it to arrive!

Saturday we brought out some Christmas decorations to start adding a few festive touches to my dad’s house. While the menfolk hung wreaths on the windows (after the two engineers figured out the best way to affix them to the windows), Leah and I set up the nutcracker collection and Nativity sets. Next week we’ll return to decorate the tree and I’ll take some pictures of our handiwork! My mom had a large collection of holiday decorations and a very good eye for arranging everything, and I think Leah inherited that gene more than I did, but I’ll try to keep up.

I also felt pleased with myself for fitting in a yoga practice and a good elliptical workout while we were there! My dad belongs to a nice pool and gym which I took advantage of on Friday while he was at the park with Leah, Chad and the girls. So that brings me up to four workouts this week – which would have been a lighter week for me last summer but it’s more than I’ve worked out in one week since July. I hope I can keep up the momentum!

Now we are at home with a new festive doormat outside and our Christmas wreath hanging on the door. I meant to buy bulbs at Lowes to plant today, but it looks like my laziness this fall has caught up with me – no bulbs were to be found. I’m too late! I’m bummed! Now my baby won’t come home to flowering tulips outside the house. But on the upside, now I will have no excuse to not bring out our Nativity sets and start doing a little decorating.

We have football on the TV and competing aromas of turkey stock and a Christmas-scented candle wafting through the living room (I think the candle’s got to go). I’m tempted to relax on the couch and feel the baby kick, but instead I’ll start tackling the clutter and then head over to the gym. Such is life!