I had heard of "thankful trees" before, and as they started being mentioned among my friends, I thought it sounded like the perfect thing for us to do as a family. Terribly enough, I was not very great at planning ahead, so between the last day of October and the first day of November, I combed Google Images for Thankful Tree ideas, and came up with my own version.
I used 2 pages of brown construction paper and drew out the tree. I taped it to a nice open spot of wall in our dining room. Then I had to figure out what to do for leaves! It ended up at the evenings that we "did" the Thankful Tree, I just cut some out of red, orange and yellow construction paper free-style.
Since this was a special tree, we did it on evenings that we were all home. When I went to take the tree down yesterday, I realized that we obviously missed some evenings. :) I saved the leaves and the trunk. I don't know if we'll re-use the trunk next year or not, but I do want to keep the leaves for memories' sake.
I well remember the first evening that we did the thankful tree: On my leaf I wrote "Warmth". You see, this was the first evening that we had a fire in the woodstove. It was so nice and warm on that cold day!! In no specific order, here are the other things that we wrote down:
Susannah: "Thankful for Sylvia, Mama & Daddy"
Sylvia (with my help ;) ): "Clean Diapers"
Me: "Time together as a family of four."
Susannah: "Riding with Daddy in his truck"
Daniel: "Home-cooked meals :) " (with a crayon picture of a plate full of food)
Susannah: "Leaves" (this was her very first leaf)
Sylvia (with my help again): "Duck-duck" (her stuffed duck)
Daniel: "My beautiful family" with stick people faces for each of us (his first leaf)
Sylvia: "Blankie" (her first leaf)
Daniel: "Imagination and humor :)"
Daniel: "Gifts to us making a larger living space possible" (again with a line drawing)
Sylvia: "Snuggles with Mama"
Me: "The hilarious innocence of a 2 1/2 y.o. ... "Daddy's belly goes *squeak-squeak* like Moosey-Moose!"" (quoting Susannah)
Me: "Expository teaching of God's Word in our church."
For Thanksgiving Day itself, we were at my parents house where most of my immediate family gathered throughout the day. The girls and I actually drove up Wednesday morning, did some shopping and then went on to my parent's house for the rest of the day and overnight. I took along ingredients and enjoyed making several pies as part of my contribution to the big meal on Thursday.
Thursday morning Susannah loved helping Namma wash dishes. She took it quite seriously, and had lots of fun even though we had to change her into a dry shirt by the time the dishes were finished. :)
After a big Thanksgiving Dinner with all the fixings, Sylvia went down for a nap and Susannah and I set off to walk around "Grandpa's farm". Several weeks prior, Susannah had pointed out some silos as we were driving to town. I told her that Grandpa (my dad) has silos, and that maybe we could see them the next time we went to Grandpa and Grandma's farm. After that, she frequently talked about all the things she would see at Grandpa's farm! Some of the things she wanted to see (pigs, horses, chickens, etc.) Grandpa doesn't have, but I told her that we would look around Grandpa's Farm on Thanksgiving.
The farm holds many, many memories for me and it was sad to see the barn and milking parlor sitting empty after decades of use. It was bittersweet, for me, but for Susannah it was the most exciting thing ever. :) She was so excited to see Grandpa's barn and silos, and I was excited to be able to show her first hand these things. I'm guessing that when we are there for Christmas, she might ask to go see Grandpa's Barn and Silos again. :)