I have to confess, gratitude doesn’t come quite as naturally for me lately. I’m nearing the end of my hardest semester of OTA school, and days are long and frustrating. I’m worn pretty thin and quite emotionally fragile. It has taken every ounce of energy I can muster just to make it through one day at a time.

The past two years, Thanksgiving has been my absolute favorite. I’ve spent weeks planning, shopping, sketching out the feast of my dreams, and creating the perfect plan to execute. This year, I had to cram in all my planning the weekend before because school has been too much to handle. I went straight from fieldwork the Wednesday before the holiday to pick my parents up from the airport. And much to my ego’s chagrin I decided to suppress my thoughts of imminent final exams and take some time off from school to be with my family. It has been months since I have taken an entire day off, no strings attached. I had no idea how much I had needed it. Man oh man.

Thanksgiving was perfect. I took a deep breath, spent an entire day therapeutically chopping and washing and stirring, and came out the other end a much happier human being. My poor parents experienced probably the worst Austin weather of the year (cold and rainy the entire time) but they were champs and didn’t mind one bit that their frazzled daughter couldn’t handle the thought of doing much other than sitting on the couch under a blanket.

I’m so glad they came, glad I had a moment reprieve from the stress of a hard program, and counting down the seconds until I’m finished with the semester and can take more deep calming breaths and enjoy this season. 6 days until my last 4 finals are behind me. Hallelujah.


Needless to say, the first Thanksgiving in our new house was a success. If for nothing else, than for the people we got to share it with. I am so so grateful for family, and it was exactly what I needed to be reminded of how truly fortunate I am.

And the aftermath…


We Pattersons have never been much of a “Black Friday” kind of family. (More like a “sit-around-watch-football-and-eat-pie-after-Thanksgiving” type.) But because my mom has been dying to visit the new store from the show “Fixer Upper” on HGTV. We don’t have cable, so apparently I’m the last one on earth to know about this TV show. But regardless, the 4 of us packed up the Subaru and ventured out into the rain on Friday to Waco to do some shopping. Well, Mom and I did shopping. My dad and Josh came along for fun. Or as my dad called it “as punishment for not doing any dishes on Thanksgiving.”

The store was beautiful, with Christmas decorations everywhere and a garden and even food trucks. It was PACKED. We enjoyed snapping some photos with the pretty decorations and walking around eating caramel corn. It was cute to see my Mom in her dream world of distressed wood and farm-inspired decor 🙂 She’s adorable.



Yes, good times were had by all. This was all just a little taste of the freedom and joy that is to come. One week to go!!

I think I can I think I can I think I can…