Happy Black Friday. I hope it was a wonderful Thanksgiving for those of you celebrating. And if it wasn’t, I see you too. Some years are like that and I’ve had my fair share of them.
I spent Thanksgiving in Florida with Finn, my parents and my grandmother. I was thinking back yesterday while chatting with Mema and realized this is the first time I’ve had Finn for Thanksgiving since he was 6 months old!
(Thanksgiving 2018 – I can’t even)
In 2019 my mom came to Charlotte and we had Thanksgiving just the two of us. Finn was with his dad.
In 2020 I was on a trip to Costa Rica during Thanksgiving.
In 2021 my mom was listed and waiting for her lung transplant so we didn’t have any kind of family Thanksgiving. I sent Finn to be with his dad since they had a big family gathering planned. I had a lovely Thanksgiving for one and did get Finn back that night.
In 2022 he was on rotation to be with his dad again and I made a last-minute decision to come to Florida to be with my parents and grandmother solo.
Generally, his dad and I stick to a holiday rotation but are as flexible with each other as possible when it makes sense to switch it up or is best for Finn.
That said, what a joy it was to have this little turkey with me this year! When we woke up on Thanksgiving morning I said, “Happy Thanksgiving!” and Finn replied, “Mommy, it’s not just a day for eating food – it’s a day for caring.”
TRAVEL TO FLORIDA
We flew to Florida late morning on Wednesday with my mom in tow. She’d been in Charlotte for her recent clinic visit at Duke so it seemed easiest for her to stay through and fly back with us. I was nervous about traveling the day before Thanksgiving and all that could go wrong but I felt so lucky that our air travel was very easy.
I had seen news reports that traffic at the airport was backed up over a mile in all directions on Tuesday. There were photos of people getting out of their rides and walking to the terminal in the rain! The airport was Tweeting out advisories to give yourself at least an hour in traffic to get from the airport entrance to departures.
We encountered none of those delays but apparently the airport was like that again later in the day on Wednesday. There were no lines for luggage drop-off, no lines for TSA pre-check and our gate was super close. While our flight was full, it left and landed on time. Can’t ask for any more than that when it comes to holiday travel!
We had the cutest Uber driver pick us up at the airport in Florida. 🙂 My dad and Beau were waiting for us!
We spent the rest of the afternoon catching up with Mema and getting settled in. I also closed my eyes for 30 minutes for a much-needed nap and did a grocery run. My dad made homemade pizza for dinner, which was divine.
I awoke to a beautiful sunrise…and then promptly went back to bed for an hour – haha.
We finally made our way out of bed around 8a and worked on a puzzle and watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Finn did a puzzle with Mema on Wednesday and got a bug. We got this 100 piece puzzle out and he stayed engaged the whole time we worked it together!
The other noteworthy event of the morning was Finn discovering he had his first loose tooth! I’ll be honest, he completely lost his mind when he realized his tooth was loose. He was so scared about it falling out – mainly in regards to it hurting and there being blood. He tends to be pretty sensitive about these things. I’ve done my best to explain the process to him, that it’s part of being a big boy, the tooth fairy will come, talking about other kids in his class that have lost teeth, etc. I think the first one will be the worst one and then he’ll no what to expect for subsequent teeth.
I got dressed and took off for a Turkey Day 10K!
I checked in with my dad who insisted that he did not need any help with anything. He cooked the entire meal himself – on Thanksgiving Day! I joked on Instagram that this gives me a lot of insights about myself lol. Definitely a bit of a control freak in the kitchen and love the challenge/task of cooking all the things. Guess I come by it honestly. 😉
Since my dad had things under control in the kitchen, I took Finn out to the beach. It was overcast and cool so we had an agreement no bathing suits and not getting wet. Well, I’ll let you guess how that went.
Within five minutes my child was fully submerged.
I had to put an SOS call into my mom to bring us a towel. I seriously did not think this was going to happen but he was happy as he could be. Y’all it was 58 degrees outside and the water temp is 71 degrees right now. How they do this is beyond me! We left the beach and headed to the heated pool where things were nice and toasty. He finished his swim there.
Up next was Thanksgiving dinner! My plate was loaded up with roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, collards and sourdough rolls.
My dad spatchcocked the turkey and cooked it over the stuffing for the first time. Recipe via Cooks Illustrated (subscription required). I know sometimes the turkey takes a backseat to the sides and is served more out of obligation than everyone loving it but this turkey was 100%. So so juicy and flavorful. My dad said, “it was roasted with a lot of butter” – ha! Also, he said it was ready 45 minutes before it was supposed to be so reminder to check your birds early and often or use a continuous temperature monitor.
And let’s keep it super real – may I present to you my child’s plate. He ate a roll, four chicken nuggets and a chocolate chip cookie. My dad wasn’t planning to serve rolls but Finn called him last week and said, “P-Paw, I want rolls for Thanksgiving.” So of course he added them to his menu and my dad being my dad made them from scratch with sourdough starter and did not buy rolls to make his life easier. (Again, gaining insights about why I am the way I am.)
The grand finale was homemade apple pie. My dad does the best pastry crust and I have got to get a lesson on it. So fluffy and flaky.
The evening ended with starting this 350 piece puzzle with Finn and then watching Lego Masters with Finn and my grandmother. After they both went to bed I stayed up until midnight finishing it. I am the worst about getting sucked into puzzles and staying up way too late.
I’ll update y’all on the rest of our time in Florida lately but it was a really lovely Thanksgiving Day. I’m grateful that I was able to spend it with Finn and my family.
Did you travel for Thanksgiving?
Do you like the turkey or are you more “give me all the sides?”
What did you have for Thanksgiving dessert?
Puzzle fan or not?