The weekend before Thanksgiving I went to Chicago to visit one of my best friends since high school. She's currently in a graduate program at Northwestern University and lives in the cutest studio apartment. I caught a ride down to Grand Rapids with my Grandma and her husband and then took the train from there. I love taking the train. If I could travel everywhere by train I totally would.
Sunday we decided to go shopping downtown. It was pouring rain that day, but we still managed to enjoy the beauty of the city. The fog near the top of the buildings looked really cool and with all the Christmas lights there was a hazy glow on the streets. I even got to meet up with an old friend that I hadn't seen in a while. Monday I spent some time exploring the city by myself while Gabby was in class. I spent some time in a used book store, a Metropolis coffee shop (great coffee by the way), and navigated the Red Line to a Reckless Records store that I didn't find too impressive. Overall it was a great trip. I'm very grateful to Gabby for being a wonderful host and a good tour guide.
For Thanksgiving my family all went out to my Grandma's for dinner. There wasn't as many people as we've had in the past. It's weird getting older and having all the families split up. I'm thankful for the ones who still find the time to come together. But most importantly, I'm thankful for food. I love Thanksgiving food. I could eat Thanksgiving type meals all year round, but then it probably wouldn't be as good and I would definitely be fat. I also got to spend some time with my friend Sam who was in town from Atlanta. It was nice having friends around who I could actually hang out with again. Friends, just another aspect of my life that I'm forever thankful for.
In the last two week or so we've also been busy putting up Christmas trees (yes, plural). And by we I mean mostly my mom. She's a tree decorating machine. She has her methods and to be honest I think the rest of us are a little afraid to interfere. Growing up my brother and I received ornaments every year from my grandparents, as well as ones from other family and friends. Since we have so many we're able to have a tree full of ornaments on every floor of the house. The basement and second floor both have fake trees and the main floor living room always holds the real tree. I feel very thankful and blessed to be able to have all three trees when some families can't afford one. It's never something I try to take for granted. This year's tree is definitely one of the prettiest trees we've ever had.
You can always tell which part of the tree is decorated by my ornaments because most of them are ballet related. The section shown below didn't even have all of them on it yet. Pink, glittery ballerinas all over the place.
My dad and I decided to make meatloaf and mashed potatoes last week. We followed this recipe from Paula Deen and it was delicious. The recipe was super simple to make and took no time at all. We did however leave the mashed potato whipping to my mom's expertise.
Even looking at these pictures is making me want more.
Overall this past four weeks or so have been busy and wonderful. I've loved having things to do and plans to make. My mom and I went Christmas shopping for lady's night downtown last week and I've slowly been chipping away at my gift list. I think I've come up with some really good gifts this year for family and friends (fingers crossed). Even the weather has been surprisingly nice lately with temperatures up into the 40's and no snow up until yesterday. It doesn't seem like winter in northern Michigan but that's exactly how I like it.