Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Tradition

Once again the holidays have begun. Usually, it starts with Halloween, the costumes and candy. Then we parents start to think, hmm, 2 months until Christmas Day. Oh no! Where did the year go?

Well, yesterday was Thanksgiving. Most people celebrate this day eating turkey and stuffing and spending the day with their extended families. Not this family. Since we're a mixture of two cultures, American Holidays are done a little differently with us.

In the beginning, when we first had Lindsay, I would make the whole Thanksgiving feast. Turkey, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes, and even cranberry sauce. That was then, now, if I cook, it's usually something completely off the scale when it comes to Thanksgiving, Ropa Vieja and a burrito station for the kids or chow mein with char su and veggies and wonton soup. "What happened?", you might ask. Nothing really. I just learned that Les doesn't eat turkey, he only did it to appease me since I went through all that effort. Lindsay wouldn't eat turkey, it was difficult, she just didn't like it. So for a year or two I gave up. Then came Loren and I tried again. Again, no one ate the turkey and it was all wasted, so I gave up for good.

Two Thanksgivings ago, I did the Ropa Vieja and burrito station, that was a big hit with everyone in our house. I made so much, that I froze half and took it to my mom's for Christmas dinner. Last year, we went to my mom's house, where you would think it would be a traditional meal, again not so. Mom usually does some sort of chicken, rolls, mashed potatoes and salad. Well, I decided we should all do something. So mom made her usual chicken. My younger brother and his wife did Deviled eggs. I made wonton soup and the chow mein. My kids ate the chicken, mashed potatoes and rolls that my mom made. They also ate my wontons and noodles, but they wouldn't touch the eggs. Go figure!

This Thanksgiving we didn't do any cooking. We went camping for a few days prior and that was fun (read "Let's Go Camping"). We started the day like any other day, hung out with the kids and let them play outside, even when it was raining outside. I was suppose to go to my aunt's house to stop by for some pie, but my little ones played "nap tag" (one naps when the other one wakes up), and Leland didn't wake up until after 5:30pm so we just went to eat in Rowland Heights for Chinese food. Chinese restaurants are always open on major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. We ended up at Boston Cafe out there, Les was craving their food (it's rare he would have a craving, it's usually me). We had noodles, two types of rice dishes, a bread dish, tung yao bang, ma po tofu, and curried fish balls. All very tasty and very satisfying, exactly everything we would want our family meal to be, and we spent it together. We took home lots of leftovers (even had it for lunch today, with more to finish). We even spent time with my in-laws for the kids to get their Yeh-Yeh and Ma-Ma time. See, our Thanksgiving may not be the "traditional" way, but we still incorporate the premise of it, we just twist it to our advantage. We get to eat tasty food, usually don't have to clean up after, and we see some family members, all without the stress. Another aahh moment in our lives.

Thanksgiving tradition to us is mixing it up and giving our kids an opportunity to see what they really like, to experience a little bit of everything. In the future, I foresee that we won't be spending as much time together, they'll each want to go hang out with their friends, so we want to make the time spent enjoyable, not stressful. Think about it, give your kids an opportunity every once in awhile to choose what they want to do, it lets them know that their opinion matters too. They might surprise you by telling you that they do want to go see the family 9 hours away for the holidays, or they might just want to stay home and make it a quiet holiday.

Enjoy the holidays and stay safe. Happy Holidays.

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