Friday, December 3, 2010

Thanksgiving Past & Present


It's hard to believe the Thanksgiving season has already come to an end. While our Thanksgiving was very differen and hard this year it was evident there's still plenty to be thankful for. With that said, I'm sending blessings to you and yours from everyone here at Home Sweet Kolkman.

Thanksgiving Day Fun Facts:
  • There were 256 million turkeys raised in the US in 2005 (Minnesota had the most); 624 million pounds of cranberries (Wisconsin); 1.6 billion pounds of sweet potatoes in 2004 (North Carolina); and 998 million pounds of pumpkins (Illinois).
  • The average American consumed 13.7 pounds of turkey and 4.7 pounds of sweet potatoes in 2003.
  • The first NFL Thanksgiving Day game was held in 1920, when the Akron Pros routed the Canton Bulldogs 7-0.
  • Thanksgiving Day football series went on hiatus 1939-44 due to WWII.
  • The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920's.

Thanksgiving Day Past (2009):

Ava's First Turkey Day...


Playing at Grandpa's & Grandma's...



Ava and I on her 1st Thanksgiving!




I can't believe that's all the photos I have of last Thanksgiving. Oh how I wish I could go back in time and take a million pictures of my parents together and of my Dad with Ava. Thankfully, I can close my eyes and still remember each moment I shared with my Dad last holiday season. It's still so hard to believe he is gone and that last year will forever remain the last holiday season we made memories with him. If only I had known his clock was ticking. I hate that I was lazy with the camera last year. I promise I will NEVER miss photo opportunities with my family during any part of the year. It's way to easy to take the times we share with our loved ones for granted. I truly believed I had a million more memories to make with my Dad and now that he is gone I am having a hard time not kicking myself for not capturing more moments with him on film. So if you a part of my family get ready to say cheese because you will NOT be able to hide from me and my camera this season.

Looking back at the old photo CD I saved from our holiday's 2009 I am thrilled to have found a few pictures of my Dad with Ava just before the holiday season. On November 11, 2009 my Dad installed his custom baby gate at our house. He had hours and hours of work into this gate making it the perfect in every way. It fits our home's style, keeps our Ava safe and sound, and it's very functional... ten dollar latch and all! I love that I have it as a permanent piece in our home and as a token of his love and affection to remember him by. 

Grandpa & Ava...



I love the look of approval on Ava's face... "Strong work Gramps!"



Grandpa, Ava, and the Gate...




Thanksgiving Day Present (2010):

Rob and I took Ava to the library for the first time on the Wednesday before the holiday. Ava's known to get in a rut with books and want the same ones over and over. Rob and I were looking forward to taking her there and getting some new material to read with her. She had a great time and loved the kids reading corner. We ended up leaving with fifteen books and three DVDs. Oh Happy Day!!!

Rob and Ava...



Daddy showing Ava how to honk the horn!



Ava & Momma...




I hate to make this post about being sad and down right down and out over my Dad's death but it's impossible to write about our holiday without a brief blub on my sadness. It's been just over six months since he past away and my heart remains broken in two. It's pretty plain and simple. I miss him. The reality of never again is hard to bear especial on special family days and holidays. Thanksgiving was tough on everyone but together we remained strong, kept our chins up, counted each blessing with extra thanks, remembered our past, dreamed of our future, set new traditions, and made new memories. My Dad was an amazing person who will be forever missed and never forgotten. I can only pray that he was with Elise, sitting at the kids table this season, and eating the greatest Thanksgiving feast with our savior face to face.

Rob, Ava, and I brought roses to the cemetary for Elise and my Dad in route to our holiday party... We had to giggle a little about my Dad's past heaping full Thanksgiving Day plates. Without fail, slow and steady he could eat it all! He would say every year when he was done, while he rubbed his belly, "Once you get it out there you have to keep it full!"




My Mom was given the option to opt out of hosting this holiday but she was insistent she still wanted to keep to our usual tradition while making new traditions. I am so proud of her and I am amazed daily by her strength. I have the finest example of what a mother is and when I count my blessings I count her twice! I love you Mom. XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO...

My Dad would read the Angel Prayer with me in rememberance of Elise at our holiday and family gatherings. It has been our tradition to acknowledge her by lighting a candle in her memory. This year we had two candles burning bright next to my Mom's angel centerpiece. I read the poem but I'm hoping in time Ava, Jack, and Emma will read it by heart with me.

In loving memory of: Michael James Barron & Elise Renee Kolkman.



Rob took over my Dad's spot in the kitchen this year... What an honor!



Rob and my Mom... Like I said... no one is hiding from my camera from here on out so humor me!



We had a great meal as a family and enjoyed each others company. Everyone split the menu and took over a portion of the cooking so my Mom didn't have to do all the work. We had the traditional meal and everyone walked away from the table with fully bellies. Mission accomplished! My Mom makes the best apple pie and I wish I had a picture of it. All I can say is YUM-O-LA with vanilla ice cream on the side!

Oh... I tried this new appetizer from Kraft Foods and it was good but no one will ever know. I made them the night before and the whole dish was soggy by our meal. Clearly, a blonde moment. I had to throw the whole tray away. I don't think I will be making it again anytime soon but it was so pretty I wanted to share a photo of my efforts.

Crackers, Cream Cheese, and Fruit...



I just have to share this picture of cousin time with Ava and Emma... I love these two!



The Friday after Thanksgiving Ava and I went to my Mom's to help her decorate her Christmas Tree and eat some leftovers. We ended up spending the night and smothering my Mom with all sorts of TLC. We had a glorious six day stretch with her and I cherish every memory made. I'm so lucky we live so close to each other and can see each other as much as we like. Thanks for rooting me Mom and for all of your hospitality this holiday weekend. Enjoy some pictures of our holiday decorating with Grandma Barron.

Ava is fascinated by Mrs. Clause & Santa...



Giving out holiday hugs to Santa...



Ava had to copy the animation of Santa and Mrs. Clause... What a TURKEY!



At the table watching Grandma's Ice Skaters that really skate...



She MUST touch everything...



Helping Gradma with her ornaments!



"Oh Christmas Tree... Oh Christmas Tree"



Last but not least... Ava's pointing out Rudolph's Red Nose...



Happy Thanksgiving... I hope your holiday was stuffed with many great memories!

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