Thanksgiving Wrap Up and the Start of Advent

Jesse tree ornaments 2016

So how was it? How was your Thanksgiving?

Ours was exactly what I should have expected – because it didn’t go as I expected. Two of our big kids didn’t make it home. Mimi wasn’t able to get a plane ticket for a reasonable price and didn’t join us for the holiday.

Samuel arrived Friday afternoon rather than Thursday, thankfully we still had the rest of the weekend to enjoy being with him.

We had three extra friends around our table, which helped fill the empty spaces, and added to the lively conversation. After dinner we played Heads Up!, and ended the evening watching Elf – although Russ and I fell asleep snuggled up in a big chair together.

Russ and Samuel spent Saturday loading a trailer of Russ’ mom’s furniture as she prepares to move to Oregon. Her property in north Idaho sold much more quickly than we expected and she has to be out of the home by December 9th. Russ has been spending lots of time helping her sort and pack.

Last weekend he brought home a box of fascinating treasures from the years his dad spent living and working in a remote region of Irian Jaya in the 1970’s. People he came to know gave him stone axes, currency (shells sewn to long leather straps), penis gourds (yes, you read that correctly), and many other interesting treasures.

This had all been stored in a box since Russ was in third grade and displayed it at his elementary school. So many memories.

Jesse tree 2 2016
Wogauyu hung the second ornament on the Jesse tree before school this morning.

We celebrated the first Sunday of Advent quite imperfectly, just as I expected. We haven’t begun any Christmas decorating, but thankfully, I’ve learned to keep the Advent book on the bookcase in the living room and the Jesse tree ornaments stored in the dining room sideboard.

Our first family dinner of Advent was Dominos Pizza – and it was wonderfully relaxing. With veggies, dip, and leftover pie, it was restful and everyone was happy. Remember, I said I would set the bar low, and I meant it.

We sang the first verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel, read the first reading in Unwrapping the Greatest Gift (even if it was meant for Dec. 1 – we’ll fall behind and then be glad we started early), and hung our first ornament on the Jesse tree. The last few years I’ve used a simple metal tree hung on the wall in the dining room as our Jesse tree. Other years I’ve used a bare tree branch in a vase set on the table.

Advent 1 2016
We even forgot to take a picture at the beginning of dinner, so we took one at the end.

This morning, I read today’s reading to the kids as they ate breakfast and did last minute prep before school. Too many of us will be gone during dinner tonight with a basketball game for Eby, cheer practice for Zoe, and I’m not sure what else for other kids.

I grab the good moments when I can.

I hope your Thanksgiving was good, friends. I have posts floating through my mind – one I want to update on teaching kids how to open presents and thank the gift-giver (anyone remember that old post?), I also have a fun LuLaRoe giveaway happening on my Thankful Moms Facebook page now until early Wednesday morning.

The Thankful Moms Etsy Shop has lots of new necklaces as well as new cuffs! We have a Cyber Monday sale going right now, so if you’ve been thinking of ordering something, this is a good time.

Have a great start to your week, friends. Jesus came to bring light to darkness – that is good news.


This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Carole Qualls
    November 28, 2016

    It was a wonderful Thanksgiving. Dinner was spectacular but being with family made it special.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 28, 2016

      We loved having you with us this year.

  2. Emily
    November 29, 2016

    I feel better about my Advent book being buried in the far back corner of my storage unit. Pending a re-inspection of some home repairs on Thursday, we’ll be closing on our house December 22 and moving in with the in-laws for 2 weeks before moving into a new house.

    I found the wreath and candles, ordered Jotham’s Journey on amazon, and told the kids most of our Christmas decor is staying in storage this year. It’s not perfect, but we’ll make it.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 30, 2016

      It’s so good to let Advent, and life in general, be the way it is meant to be in a given season. You are doing a great job, Emily. I hope you like Jotham’s Journey.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy