early thanksgiving in austin

We celebrated Thanksgiving early this year on my brother’s birthday with my family visiting in Austin to meet Harper. My dad and Julie flew in from Arizona, my brother from Illinois and my sister and Branden from New York. It was a great visit and great meal.

My dad got to meet his granddaughter for the first time.

Grandpa meeting Harper

Grandpa meeting Harper

Grandpa meeting Harper

Harper meeting Julie

She also met my brother for the first time. Uncle Chris was a natural with her.

Uncle Chris meeting Harper

Harper with my brother and sister

Harper loves her Uncle Chris

She also met her NYC uncle.

Uncle Branden playing with Harper

We had a traditional turkey dinner, including a giant mound of mashed potatoes, and it was delicious!

Carving the turkey

Thanksgiving spread

Harper with Grandpa and Julie

Reading to Harper

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this time of year when christmas is near

Well, it was our first Thanksgiving in Austin and we decided to go big…like everything else in Texas. We had Drew’s whole family down! For most of them, it was their first time visiting, so we wanted to show them around town. And I was really excited to cook my first turkey in my new kitchen!

Drew’s dad and sister were the first to arrive. We started the holiday at the Oasis on Lake Travis for a sunset meal.

Oasis

The Oasis was decked out in holiday decor, even though it was warm enough to sit outside. Yes, this is still weird to me.

Oasis

Oasis

Oasis

Then we went to Uncorked, a wine bar, to have a flight of wine before my brother-in-laws flew in later that night. We sat outside on the patio with a great view of downtown.

Thanksgiving in Austin 2011

Thanksgiving in Austin 2011

The next day, it was turkey time baby. I put on my new apron that Drew’s Grandma made for me (I love it!) and got the snacks started while the turkey was in the oven. Thank heaven for my sister-in-law – what a big help she was. She and I were cookin’ like it was elimination round on Top Chef.

Thanksgiving in Austin 2011

The turkey was perfect!

Thanksgiving in Austin 2011

The meal went off without a hitch.

Thanksgiving in Austin 2011

Thanksgiving in Austin 2011

Even the kitties got to partake in a little turkey action.

Thanksgiving in Austin 2011

For the 2nd half of the weekend with Barb (Drew’s mom) and Tod, we walked down SoCo, the Ladybird Lake trail and ate dinner at Eastside cafe. We also went to the Zilker botanical garden. Unfortunately the nice weather turned a little cool and windy, but it was still better than northern Illinois – so they were all good sports.

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Zilker Botanical Gardens

Zilker Botanical Gardens

Zilker Botanical Gardens

Zilker Botanical Gardens

Zilker Botanical Gardens

Zilker Botanical Gardens

Zilker Botanical Gardens

Zilker Botanical Gardens

Zilker Botanical Gardens

Zilker Botanical Gardens

After the botanical garden, we walked around the UT campus a bit before everyone headed back to the airport.

Thanksgiving in Austin 2011

Thanksgiving in Austin 2011

All in all, it was a great holiday weekend with family and we were so excited to have them visit. The cats were so excited from all the excitement, they slept all day. Oh wait, they do that every day.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “This Time Of The Year” by Ray Charles

no retreat no surrender

Thanksgiving 2010

We thoroughly enjoyed our two Thanksgivings again this year. Two tasty turkeys were turned out by my mom and mother-in-law as always! Was it just me, or did the holidays kind of sneak up on us this year?

We also had two other turkeys in the form of my mother-in-law’s cat Oliver and my sister-in-law’s cat Nanaa for entertainment. Last year I had blogged about their interaction (or lack thereof) and this year was no better. Nanaa is getting braver, but not more tolerant of Oliver. It’s always fun to watch them hash it out.

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

After a fabulous dinner and dessert, we enjoyed the fire and of course, some wine.

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Even Oliver enjoyed the fire.

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Nanaa preferred to keep to herself so as to stay out of Oliver’s way.

Thanksgiving 2010

Don’t hide Nanaa!

Thanksgiving 2010

Later on we played Cranium. Girls against guys. The girls were winning for most of the game, but somehow the guys came back to beat us.

Thanksgiving 2010

Maybe it was my brother-in-law’s awesome blind-drawing skills.

Thanksgiving 2010

Then the boys played some ping pong in the basement. Like boys do on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Meanwhile, Nanaa decided to venture out to the living room hoping that the coast was clear.

Thanksgiving 2010

Look out behind you Nanaa!

Thanksgiving 2010

She was not amused.

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Eventually, they just ignored each other. They were too tired to strike up a game of clawless-paw batting. (Speaking of which, have you seen this video? Hilarious!)

Thanksgiving 2010

Too much turkey I think.

Thanksgiving 2010

Looking forward to the holidays! I better get back to my x-mas shopping. My sister flies in on 12/21!
See the rest of my pictures from Thanksgiving on Flickr.

Thanksgiving 2010

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “No Surrender” by Bruce Springsteen

thy leaves are so unchanging

Thanksgiving 2009 was remarkably similar to 2008, so I noticed as I went through my pictures from a year ago. Except we’re all another year older. But wiser! I ain’t complainin’! Both last year’s and this year’s Thanksgivings were quite enjoyable—filled with family, food and happy-fun-times-drinking-lotsa-wine.

Rocky, my mom’s dog, very much enjoyed his lap time with Drew.

Off we went on our annual let’s-cut-down-the-first-tree-we-see-and-get-the-heck-out-of-this-cold trip to William’s Tree Farm, except this year we neither hurried nor froze. In fact, it was pretty darn warm in northern IL that weekend. By golly, we were going to enjoy the heck out of the unseasonably warm weekend. So we took our time, watched the horses trot by and joked around until we actually had to start picking out a tree.

At the Browning’s, it was the first holiday with both my sister-in-law’s kitty and my mother-in-law’s kitty staying in the same house! Nanaa was content with hiding under a dresser all weekend, but Oliver really wanted to make friends and play. I managed to capture one of their many standoffs in the hallway.

Someday, we all hope, they will learn to like each other. They look so similar but their personalities are vastly different.

Exhibit A: Oliver. (Pictured here up inside the tree). Playful.

Exhibit B: Nanaa. Subdued. Stoic.

We enjoyed two wonderfully cooked turkeys with all the fixin’s. Already looking forward to getting the family back together for Christmas. My sister flies in on the 22nd!

See the rest of my pictures from Thanksgiving weekend.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Oh Christmas Tree” (a Christmas classic)

’tis the season to be jolly

Let the holiday season officially begin! Best. Season. Ever!

We spent our Thanksgiving weekend with family in Rockton and Winnebago. We stuffed ourselves as expected, and helped deck the halls with boughs of holly (or fake garland). It’s extra fun when the pets get into the holiday spirit!

Check out the rest of my pictures from Thanksgiving weekend.