Thankful Smiles

AUTHOR: | POSTED: November 26, 2012 | COMMENTS: 4 Comments

Carolyn Savage

Exhausted but happy. 

That’s what I am today. 

After a five day holiday weekend of cooking, talking, driving, and laughing I know a part of me would love to crawl back under the covers and hibernate for an entire day, but, as we all know, moms can’t do that.  Not when there are mountains of travel laundry to be done, fall decor that needs to be packed away, daily pesky chores that still need doing, all while this head elf has to be getting Christmas dusted off and ready to roll.

Even with everything that needs doing, I’m sitting at my desk reflecting.


I guess that’s how I make sense of my moments.  Writing here, in this space, helps me sort out the good, the not-so-good, the funny, the poignant and decide which memories will be celebrated as worthy of learning from?  If you are a faithful reader here, you know that the moments I share are not always Norman Rockwellish.  In fact, I’ve learned that my most valuable learning experiences grow out of imperfection. 

Grand plans that meander off course always give way to great wisdom.

So, today I’m sorting my holiday out in search of the take-aways.  

There were so many! 

First Smile –  Cousins

Growing up my parents instilled in us the value of family.  We were raised on Sunday dinners at Rosie’s (my mom’s mom),  and we always spent holidays with aunts, uncles and cousins.  My cousins were the key to having a great time.  Whether it was an afternoon of Barbies or a night in the basement with all of us sleeping on the floor, my cousins have always been a special part of my  life.  I want my kids to feel the same way about their cousins. 

So far, so good.

We spent the holiday with my side of the family.  My brothers were in from their respective corners of the country along with my three nephews, whom MK adores.  There’s something special about all of us staying in the same house. 

Table for eighteen, please!


Second Smile –  Flower Girl

My baby cousin, Jessica, is engaged.  She trekked all the way from Colorado to Michigan to join us for dinner and introduce us to the love of her life. 

Jessica and Kevin

The wedding is in August 2013, and Mary Kate is the flower girl.  There’s a bit of a story as to why MK’s in the wedding.  I was in Jessica’s mom’s wedding as the flower girl, Jessica was in my wedding (no flower girl…she was 14), and now MK will be the flower girl in her wedding.  Jessica made MK a Flower Girl book.

The story of all of our weddings!

The flower girl is feeding the Mother of the Bride!

I made these aprons and brought Jess’s veil!

The wedding…I mean cooking party!


Third Smile   Turkeys…Real Turkeys!

Of course, turkey is the traditional crown jewel of Thanksgiving, but at Grandma and Papa’s house we take turkey celebrating to a whole different level.  We used to do this with the boys in their younger years, and we’d fake like we’d catch one, and eat it for dinner.  It was quite the production, with antics worthy of the greatest snipe hunt ever. This year, when MK and I headed out on our early morning turkey hunt,  there was no need for an Academy award winning performance because low and behold, the real thing sauntered right by. 

All be damned…


A pack of wild turkeys. They stuck together. Safety in numbers!


Showing her fan!

Fourth Smile…The Day After

It’s hard to imagine, but the day after Thanksgiving for our family might be even more special than  Turkey Day itself.  After the china and crystal has been tucked away and the leftovers have been stored something magical happens in our home on Thanksgiving night…

Friday is a day for decorating.  This year we were at my mom’s house so her tree sprung up, the lights were adorned and then little hands went to work listening to the stories of each ornament. 


For every two ornaments MK put up, Reagan pulled one down. I think our tree is going to be a challenge this year!


Mary Kate is four which is one of the best ages for Christmas.  She gets it loving every single twinkle and sparkle with enthusiasm that exudes a true childish magic.  As I watched her exclaim how every ornament was more beautiful than the next, I smiled in anticipation.  This Christmas is going to be very special for her. 

Fifth Smile…Redemption

I’ve lamented these past few months about Drew’s difficulties during his senior cross country season.  When illness in the form of a parasite, took it’s toll on Drew’s health, I was worried about the impact his less than stellar performances would have on his dreams to run in college.  Running in college is Drew’s goal, not ours.  In fact, Sean and I have talked at great length with him about how we don’t care if he pursues an NCAA running career.  “They’ll own you!'” is our warning, so we’ve encouraged him to, “only do it if you love it“. 

He loves running.  There’s no doubt in that.

Because his season was tanked by the effects of his illness, he knew he had to redeem himself at the Footlocker Midwest Regional this past Saturday.  Thankfully, his health has done nothing but improve.  Sean assured me he was “not his best, but much better“.  That statement had to be proven in Kenosha, Wisconsin at 11:15 am in sub-freezing temperatures.  It was time for Drew to do it.  His would be college coaches were watching. 

No pressure, Drew!”…yeah, right.  Now go!

Footlocker Midwest Regional, University of Wisconsin, Parkside

300 of the midwest’s most elite runners.

Race started up a hill! A great big hill!

Drew’s in the orange singlet and blue hat!

Just past the one mile mark and looking strong!

Beautiful Wisconsin running.

Finished near his goal of 16:00 with a time of 16:06. Very happy!

Chatting with the Mizzou coach post race. Official recruiting trip scheduled for January. Mission accomplished!

There is no greater joy than watching your child take one step closer to a dream.  Happy Boy = Happy Mama!  

…and a happy mama means smiles for everyone! 

Thanksgiving 2012!

 I hope your weekend was good to you! 












4 Comments on “ Thankful Smiles ”

  • Lori Lavender Luz | November 26th, 2012 5:23 pm

    I’m glad you took the time to brief us — looks like a Thanksgiving weekend full of all that matters.

    Congrats to your cousin, and cool that MK will be her FG.

    Real, wild turkeys!

    So many perfect moments here, as it should be 🙂

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  • Christine | November 27th, 2012 8:37 pm

    I like that amidst the hustle and bustle of things, you took the time to reflect on these smiles. Amazing how many of these perfect moments we really have when we pause, huh? Thanks for sharing! Christine

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  • Kristin | November 30th, 2012 1:24 am

    How cool that the wild turkeys showed up…and, I love all the other moments you shared.

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  • Carolyn Savage | December 5th, 2012 12:26 pm

    I know…what luck to have wild Turkeys wander through the yard on Thanksgiving day. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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