WRITTEN ON November 25th, 2010 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Baking, Dessert, Holiday

I actually started to well up a bit as I typed out the title of this post.  I know some recent admissions of mine may make it seem as though I’m in a constant struggle.  And I fear some of my more fertility based rants may have been misconstrued, or perhaps poorly communicated.

There are a lot of things that have happened in my life over the past twelve months that have made this year challenging.  Indeed, the most challenging year I’ve ever faced. I’ll not recap. But whenever I write about them, I try to sincerely balance the negative with the overwhelming positive that’s always present. Sometimes I worry that that part gets lost in the more melodramatic aspects of certain posts; make no mistake that I count myself among the luckiest of people.

My parents arrived two days ago from Baltimore.  They made the trek to Huntington to share our first holiday in the house, and this will be the first Thanksgiving in four years that we’ve spent together.

My mother-in-law joined us yesterday, and this morning we all await the arrival of my brother-in-law and his wife, and their new baby, my niece Lily. That we get to spend the holiday together, as a blended family, marking the first in our new home and the first in Lily’s life, makes me feel spoiled in a singularly guilt-free way. I couldn’t ask for more.

I also get to be at the helm of the cooking.  Some people would prefer to play in traffic. Not me.  What better way to show your family you love them? Making sure everyone has their favorite side dish, or dessert.  Planning breakfasts and snacks that I know they’ll like. The act of feeding people has always been my way of showing love, and this year is no different.

There are so many little things in my life that I continue to be thankful for, now more than ever.  Good books (and a new book club to share them with).  An earthy Pinot Noir in a glass that could only be described as over-sized. Unexpected dinners out with my husband. The new Harry Potter film.  The first annual Huntington holiday parade and tree lighting on Saturday. A Ravens win, the Glee Christmas album.  The discovery (albeit late) of Entourage. A really good landscaper who did a fall clean up on our house so that I no longer have to rake leaves. Patient and loyal blog readers. The below pumpkin pie recipe, which I cannot claim as my own but feel duty bound to share with you (it’s just that good). I could go on for hours.

Obviously there are bigger things that I am grateful for. My health, my family, my friends. I often find that relishing the little things provides a direct mental pathway to the people and places I’m most thankful for. A delicious sausage, for example, takes me back to my easy childhood and makes me smile remembering the people who provided that for me. A funny picture taken on a Sunday Funday has me falling in love with my husband all over again. The little things are the link to the bigger picture, a trigger for happy memories and exciting times yet to come.

Most of all, I am thankful for Kevin.  Usually referred to around these parts as hubby, or the hubster, he is in every sense my better half. Nothing is perfect, and we fight just like other couples. But he remains the first person I want to see in the morning and the last person I want to see at night. He has kept me afloat, made me laugh, told me to get over myself more times than I can count. Over the past year I’ve realized that even if it’s just the two of us for the rest of our lives, I will feel luckier than 98% of the people on this Earth.  It’s an honor to be his wife and partner in crime, and this year, as always, I am most thankful for him.

Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours, wherever that may be. I wish you good food, good wine, good football, and mostly, good company.

Caramel goodness

Caramel Pumpkin Pie from epicurious.com (click here)

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