Thanksgiving in Iowa, Part I

We returned from Iowa a little over one week ago, and while time is flying by, this past week has felt like forever.  But, I guess that's what happens when your kid gets pneumonia and you've lacked meaningful adult interaction in 10 days.  What about my with my husband, you ask?  Well, see, by the time the husband is home from work, my brain and body are so exhausted, that as soon as Octavian goes to sleep for the night my ability to do anything other than work and eat chocolate is virtually impossible.  

And, I know I'm not alone in this.

But, that's not what I'm here to talk about today.  In fact, today I thought I would share some pictures from our little trip to Iowa.  Although this is primarily a food blog, I also like to share little tidbits of my life when an opportunity arises.  If you are here just for the food definitely skip these posts; however, I know that for me personally, I always like to see a face behind the food.  

We were up bright and early at 5am, leaving one little boy very grumpy (which is hilarious since he is often wide awake and happy by 5:30am) until he finally saw the airplanes we had been talking about for the past month.  

The only other time we had flown with Octavian was when he was 8 months old.  I wasn't really worried about this plane trip since he was required to have his own seat.  I packed snacks, and crayons, and a tablet with movies, because my 30-minute-a-day screen time rule does not apply when traveling.  

He was amazing.  Better than amazing.

And not just because of the movies.  

And while I typically hate sitting in the last row, I am thankful the airline stuck us there. Something tells me he would have been much much harder to control if he knew people were sitting behind him (aka peek-a-boo).

The highlight of the entire journey, however, was his first taste of a real fast-food chicken finger. My child was in heaven running around the airport looking at the airplanes while eating his chicken. 

I didn't even try to stop him.

Arriving in Iowa, Octavian experienced snow for the first time.  

The next morning he woke up to find his Great Uncle Mark shoveling the snow from the roof and the driveway.  Octavian instantly found his new best friend.  The remainder of our trip my sweet child would follow him around the house saying, Uncle Mawk? Uncle Mawk? Lawnmowa? 

He would take my Uncle my his hand and lead him to the garage where he kept his lawnmowers. Iowa was like paradise for Octavian.  Everyone had shovels, lawnmowers, blowers, etc.

I quickly learned that Octavian is not happy playing in the snow without gloves.  We loaned a pair from his cousins and handed him a shovel.

He never wanted to come inside.

Our first couple days in Iowa were calmly chaotic.  Only part of the family had arrived, but planning and shopping had to be done to prepare for the rest of the week, and weekends, events. Planning meals for entire groups of extended families for four days straight takes serious organization.

I was simply thankful to be in Iowa with my family.  I could have eaten frozen meals for the week and been perfectly happy.

This year I have seen my own mom twice.  Before this it had been three and a half years.  As she is a recovering alcoholic and lives in a different state, it has been difficult to maintain any kind of stable relationship with her.  Unfortunately, her unpredictability over the past many years has made keeping in contact with my extended family equally difficult.  But, thankfully, she is doing well and is sober.

Reconnecting with my entire family on my mother's side was the highlight of my year.  I had no idea how much I missed so many special people in my life.

And watching Octavian play with his cousins and relatives and Mimi?  These are the memories I will never forget.


Eggnog Cheesecake with Eggnog Whipped Cream

Honey, Walnut and Goat Cheese Crostini with Pomegranates