We had a Thanksgiving Feast today with some dear friends of ours (and fellow homeschoolers). 

We had been getting ready for it all week.
Two days ago I busted out the hot glue and some felt, and made myself a simple Pilgrim costume.  We began gathering things for the kids’ costumes.
I made a batch of soup yesterday to re-heat in the crock pot today.
I burned the midnight oil last night to grocery shop (at 11pm), and make a vegetable casserole before hitting the sack. 

I went to bed VERY LATE but with a clean kitchen, my costume ready, and plans to bake a pie and work on the kids’ costumes and headdresses in the morning.
As planned, I got up early this morning. 
The kids were EXCITED about the big day ahead, to say the least, and were really just bouncing off the furniture.

But first things first–we all worked together and made an apple pie–my first ever, and it turned out *so beautifully.* I was mighty proud.  We let it cool on the stove and we spent the
next hour or so finishing up my kids’ costumes (consisting mostly of hot-gluing embellishments on things we already owned). 

I notice now we’re running late.  But not THAT late–yet.

So picture the rest of the story, if you can.
I get all our food and the 834 bags of STUFF loaded into van right about the time we’re supposed to BE at the church, which is a good 10 minutes from my house.
Stay calm, we’re fine.
I get all kids in costume and loaded into van.  Awesome.  We’re practically there already.

At this point I leave the kids for 2 minutes to slip into my own costume, and come back to find that the 2 year old has exited the van.
{sigh}
And…upon crawling back into his seat, I discover he has stepped in dog poo somewhere in the yard…AND that he has used my crock pot as a step-stool to get back into his seat. 
{SIGH}.

Of course this is happening NOW, when we’re already 15 minutes late. 
Carefully I remove the 2 year old’s poo-smeared shoe and the lid to our crock pot to disinfect both inside the house, and this time I leave all three kids IN the van WITH the doors closed. (and yes the van was off.  After all, I’m no dummy).

I return moments later with clean shoes and cookware to find that my feral toddler child has eaten 3/4 of the crust straight off the top of the (previously picture perfect) apple pie.
I am such a dummy–why did I not buckle that kid in!?

By now, my blood is boiling.  Really, I’m mortified at his behavior.  Incredulous.
I mean, must one really spell out these sorts of instructions!?  (“hey kids, when I go inside for a second, absolutely no one is allowed to eat the top off the special pie we made to share with our friends, got it?”) And what the heck were the other two doing while he was stuffing his face with pie?  Did no one even notice??
 
{siiiiiiiiigh}

Well, I’m not sure my response was exactly Puritan-esque in that moment.
Imagine now– 
A frenzied and wild-eyed Pilgrim-garbed mother having a full-blown freak-out and dragging the young pie-faced Puritan child into the house where a consequence could be dealt out (in the calmest and most godly manner of course).

Oh, wait, it’s just getting good.

Just about the time the exasperated Pilgrim mother returns with the bellowing boy and plunks him back into his seat, she turns around to find herself face to face with the brand new neighbor girl who only just moved into the townhouse next to us yesterday. 

Oh hello, I say, faking a cheery, all-is-well smile. You must be our new neighbor.  My name is Joanna.
(You know, the perfectly normal lady who lives next door to you now–aren’t you lucky!?)
We exchange hurried greetings between the toddler screams in the background.
Yes, so nice to meet you too~oh, pardon my Pilgrim costume, I don’t always look like this, but we…err..homeschool and I’m…well, I’m just on my way to a Thanksgiving feast with my four kids.
(insert awkward chuckles).
Oh. Wow, she says, peering into my overflowing van.  Four kids?! 

Haha..yeah…Ok, we gotta get going, we’ll see ya later, nice to meet you, I call over my shoulder as I climb into my driver’s seat.
And at that moment I realize I have no.idea. where on earth my keys are. 

I continue to search while my new neighbor begins to unload her car, trip by trip.
I’m sweating now, in my felt bonnet, and the keys are still no where to be found.
A mild panic starts setting in. 

The Pilgrim mother searches far and wide, from disaster zone to disaster zone house to car, and back again, and still no keys. 
Children get hot and tired of waiting.  Toddlers whine and soup cools.  Babies cry to be nursed and feathered headdresses get crumpled.

30 minutes late.  Now 45.

Finally I just stop.  I stop and together in the van, we all pray. 
Oh Lord, you know.  Help us please, if you could. But–we give You thanks for this day, however it turns out, for You are worthy of all praise and honor.

He’s so good, isn’t He?

By the time I miraculously found an old spare key, deep at the bottom of the junk drawer, my bonnet was hanging around my shoulders and sweat was dripping down my face. 
We could hardly believe it!  We had found a key and we were on our way!  An hour late, but we were on our way.  Thank You Jesus! the kids gushed from the back seat.  Yes, Amen.

As we pulled away from my house with a wave and a smile to the new neighbor, we were already full of thanksgiving~rejoicing in a God who cares about even the little things.
A God who delights to delight.
A God who gives grace and more grace to Mamas who lose tempers and fail and need their hearts cleansed and purified over and over again.

And oh–how He loves us!

What a thanks-FULL day we had with friends.  We feasted and shared life and laughed at toddler antics and half-crusted pies and enjoyed all of our sweet little Pilgrims and Indians until it was finally time to go. 

 



Oh dear.  Another toddler moment.  🙂


Home again, toddlers and babies slept. We put on some tea and read. The children finished making the sweetest Pilgrim and Indian puppets that my friend Becca sent home with us, and then used them to act out the first Thanksgiving celebration.

I look around.  The house sure is a wreck but our hearts are filled with peaceful gratitude.

Tonight we’ll each take turns pulling down and reading a verse from our Thanks Giving Tree, and we’ll continue every evening until Thanksgiving day, until there are no more leaves.
…no more leaves, but always more thanks.
Because there’s always more to be thankful for when He gives you eyes to see His goodness.
{Open our eyes to see, Lord!}

So much goodness all around us.


       ~~~

Give thanks in every circumstance.
1 Thes. 5:18

———-
Some Ideas for a Thanksgiving Celebration for Homeschool Children:

1. Dress up in simple costumes or just make Pilgrim hats  or Native American headbands.
2 Come together with another family to share a feast.  Everyone can bring something. Have turkey sandwiches, vegetables such as sweet corn, squash or mashed potatoes, fresh salad or soup, and fresh fruit (desserts are optional–there weren’t actually any sugary desserts at the first Thanksgiving because the Pilgrims had long run out of sugar).
3. Read aloud a good book about Thanksgiving to the children.
4. Do a fun craft together! Ex: make and decorate Thanksgiving puppets and re-enact the story.
5.  Take turns to give thanks together to the Lord!