I know I’m a few months late in reporting, but this is a story that deserves to be told. Enjoy! If you’ve ever wondered if God has a sense of humor, here’s your answer.
A few weeks before the holiday, I thought “Hey! Wouldn’t it be fun to host Thanksgiving? We’ve never done that before!” Food assignments were made and a time was set. I bought a turkey and potatoes and we were feeling so good! Everything was working out so well.
On Monday, I got the turkey out of the freezer and put it in the fridge. Check.
On Tuesday we found out Jeff’s brother, Jared, was going to stay with us. Great! We have two empty bedrooms. Check.
On Wednesday, we found out Jeff’s brother Mark and his family were staying with us too. Great! They can take our room so they have a place for their two kids and a comfier bed. We’ll sleep in the guest room and Jared can take the air mattress in the other room. Check.
So far so good! :) My family was coming for a nice quiet dinner. We had Jeff’s family staying with us (Lisa and Sam and kids, Jared, and Mark and Kelley and kids), so even though we wouldn’t join them for dinner at Dave and Kathy’s, we’d still spend plenty of time together! Plus there is always pie at Grandpa Hicken’s. I was excited for all this family time! Check, check!
On Wednesday night I started to feel anxious! I’ve never made a turkey before. What if it’s gross? What if it’s dry? What if the seasonings are bad? Awe, crap, what if it’s still frozen?? So right before bed, I checked the turkey…still partially frozen. Yikes! We did some research and found a way to get it thawed and cooked, just in case. Phew! Breathe easy and go to bed. It’s going to be fine! Smile.
Thursday morning was restless. I was wide awake at 5 am for no reason. My alarm wasn’t set to go off for another hour or so, but I couldn’t seem to stay asleep.
5:20 AM–We get a text from Kathy (the host for the Hicken’s Thanksgiving dinner). She’s sick. With a new baby in the family, another one close to arrival, and other kids just getting over being sick, it didn’t feel like a great idea to have Thanksgiving there anymore. SURPRISE! Looks like they’ll all come to our house!
7:20 AM–Lisa came up and we made a plan. Sam put another (frozen) turkey in their roaster. We told everyone to bring their assigned foods, nothing more, nothing less. If the Hickens brought what they planned on for the Hickens and the Kemps brought what they planned on for us, we’d be fine. No worries, right!?!?! We’ll make it work. It’s only…uh…40 PEOPLE.
7:30 AM–I prayed for a Thanksgiving miracle–specifically warm enough weather that we could send kids outside. Dear Heavenly Father, Our numbers jumped from 15 with my family, to 40 with Jeff’s family. FORTY PEOPLE IN MY HOUSE…BAHAHAH! My kitchen/dining area is NOT that big. We just put in new carpet, so I didn’t want people eating over it. We were going to be CRAMPED as it is, so if the kids could just go outside, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks! :)
7:40 AM–The turkey is going to be fine! Still a tiny bit frozen, but no big deal. I pulled out the neck, but I couldn’t find the giblets inside, so I thought “Maybe this one doesn’t have any?!? Meh!” I prepped it and stuck it in the oven for a nice slow roast. Check.
8:00 AM–I started cleaning, moving furniture, and setting up as many tables and chairs as I had, and asked my mom to bring hers and table cloths. Don’t worry about dishes. We’ve got paper and plastic! Check.
10:30 AM–I’ve got a nagging feeling to check the turkey. I’m sure I’ve missed something. I pulled it out, couldn’t find anything and put it back. The nagging wouldn’t leave so I did some research on giblets. Turns out, sometimes they stick them in the ‘other’ end. As a first timer, I hadn’t thought to look there. Oops. I also learned that if the giblets are wrapped in plastic and you cook them…you’re done for. Plastic leaches dangerous chemicals into the bird and we’d have to throw it out. If they’re wrapped in paper, you’re safe. PANIC. “What if I have to throw this turkey away? We are going to try and feed 40 people with this one turkey, because we don’t know if Sam and Lisa’s will be done in time (there’s was fresh from the freezer at 7:00 am!)! Awe, blast…I’ve ruined Thanksgiving,” I thought. “We may be buying pizza.”
10:45 AM–I pulled the turkey back out and found the giblets in the wrong end (…I know now!), wrapped in paper. SAFE! Thanksgiving Miracle #1.
12:30–Jeff and I begin to peel the potatoes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told that boy to throw the peels in the garbage, not the sink. But he’s a man “It’ll be fine. It’s not that many.” Well today, we were cooking for many. Still, he peels them (a lot of them) in the sink. I was chopping while he peeled, so I didn’t get a chance to stop him. He ran the disposal to clear out the sink. The disposal jammed, but he kept trying to make it run, filling the sink with gallons of filthy, starchy water. To remedy the clog, Jeff decided to try the toilet plunger…
1:00 PM–My family starts to arrive. Seeing our dilemma, my brother in law Ben jumps right in to help. They decide to disconnect the disposal…and before you know it, the kitchen is filling up with filthy, brown, starchy water. I let out a laughing scream and ran for the towels while they tried to catch the water with a bucket. Meanwhile, the potatoes are boiling over on the stove (more water mess) and the gravy’s not getting made. The rest of Jeff’s family is showing up and wanting to use the stove to cook green beans and such. Chaos. Utter chaos. But somehow, instead of doing what I usually do (stressing to the point of being bossy and ornery and not very nice), I laughed. I just laughed. I found it completely hilarious. Not stressful, but amusing. Somehow, with only a few hours of sleep, I managed to stay positive, smiling, laughing, and Heavenly Father knew I would need that. Thanksgiving Miracle #2.
This is the stack of towels we used to clean up the water. This is pretty much EVERY bath towel I own, washed three times to get rid of all the starch! :) So funny!
2:00 PM (ish, I started losing track of time)–We pulled the turkey out of the oven. My mom and Grandma carved it up and discovered it wasn’t quite done. Close, but not quite. My mom worked on that while Grandma started gravy. “Where are the giblets?” Um…in the garbage?? Am I supposed to save them? Oops. Dinner fail. BUT don’t worry, mom and Grandma Bell are geniuses and made some delicious gravy and fixed up my turkey. It was tender and flavorful and no one died. :) Thanksgiving Miracle #3.
We started setting the table to eat. I was all for paper and plastic…I did NOT want to do dishes for 40 people, plus the pots and pans from prepping dinner. My dad was NOT loving this. He wanted fancy. So we got out the fancy silver and china they had brought. Some people used it and others went with plastic. Dinner was chaotic, we didn’t stuff oursevles because there were just too many of us to sit comfortably and the kids were more interested in playing together than eating. So we had PLENTY of food, too much actually! My mom is incredible and had the dishes cleaned up in no time. Thanksgiving Miracle #4. And the kids spent a lot of time eating and running around outside! It was sunny, in the high 30′s, and they didn’t have a care in the world! Thanksgiving Miracle #5.
I wasn’t stressed, but my dad was…too many people. Loud. Crazy. Cramped. Socializing. All his favorite things. :) We got cleaned up and were just starting to sit and relax with some pie.
“Bobbie-Jo…where’s the drill? The hammer?” Why!?!? Turns out one of the little boys had locked himself in the bathroom downstairs. A bathroom lock that requires a key. A key that we don’t have because the previous owners didn’t leave one. Awesome. We can’t get to the hinges. We can’t unscrew the doorknob. So they did the responsible thing and broke the doorknob off with a hammer. Child rescued. No harm done (except the doorknob which we will replace with a NON keyed lock). The 3 year old actually enjoyed his time alone in the bathroom. “It was fun!” he said. Thanksgiving Miracle #6.
Things started winding down and people started leaving to go for pie at Grandpa Hicken’s or the in-laws. My family was so helpful and so patient and understanding in all of this. Jeff’s family was just as awesome! They went home with smiles on their faces, even though I know it’s not the day they were expecting and we didn’t get a lot of time to just sit and enjoy each other. There was too much going on and too many people to entertain. I love our family for this. They just went with the flow and kept things positive! :)
The house is quiet, the furniture is put back together, the day is over. We can just head out to Grandpa’s for pie. We made it. Thanks for the miracles today Heavenly Father. You’re one funny guy! :)
That’s what I thought. But He wasn’t done yet. We went in to the garage and pushed the button to open the door and…nada. The motor was running, but the door wasn’t moving. So, my brother and Jeff pried it off the ground and held it up while I backed the car out. Thankfully, my brother and parents hadn’t quite pulled away when the garage door decided to break. Thanksgiving Miracle #7. It was a “perfect” ending to a “perfect” day!
Moral of the story–Miracles come AFTER the trials. Heavenly Father has a great sense of humor. If you pray for a miracle, He’ll give you one. But He might create some mishaps to help you recognize and appreciate them. :)
I’d say our first Thanksgiving went well, wouldn’t you?
PS…Look who decided to show up for dinner!! :)