Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving AND a Birthday - what a week!

Wow, what a week… In a good way!  

A while back, Tony called and asked if we’d like to come down to Nashville for Thanksgiving. He also said that Megan, Joe and Jakey would be joining the fun. We accepted, of course! Yes, our family did have the opportunity to be in the same room together for a few hours last summer, but we hadn’t spent any real quantity or quality of time together for a couple of years. Needless to say, I was thrilled!  

Sooo… exactly one week ago right now (Wednesday, 10 a.m. CST), Todd and I were heading south on I-94, almost entering Chicago. Other than two stops for gas and for nourishment, we made it to Nashville in about 9 ½ hours. Add on that we had to stop at the mall because Todd wanted to buy cinnamon rolls from Cinnabon (ye ole’ fam tradish. The next morning's parade would not be complete without the scent and flavor of cinnamon). Basically, we arrived at Tony and Lesleigh’s in time to spend the evening with our kids.  

Thanksgiving may just be my favorite holiday. I love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I love getting together with loved ones, I enjoy the food and football. Overall, I love the relaxed feel to the day. And if you recall, from my last blog post (here’s the link in case you missed it: ), I had been focusing on the things I was most thankful for this year, and had made a list of ten items every day for ten days. I felt that doing this greatly improved my overall attitude.

The weather on Thursday was incredible. You must understand that when we left Wisconsin, there was still some snow on the ground from the prior weekend’s snowfall. So…when we got to Nashville and it was close to 70 degrees and sunny, it felt amazing to us. We went for a walk, and took turns sitting out on the kids’ balcony, enjoying their views. We all played with, sang to, and snuggled Jakey. It was such a joy to spend Thanksgiving Day with our new little grandchild. If you recall, it was last year on that day that we enjoyed a Skype session with Megan and Joe, and they told us she was expecting. They gave us a sleeper with a turkey on it – well, this year, the turkey was actually being worn. Adorable! (Here’s the link if you’d like to read about their announcement: ). 

Lesleigh prepared (all by herself – no help) the entire feast for the day. Turkey, mashed potatoes, apple stuffing, homemade macaroni & cheese, rolls, green beans with nuts and goat cheese, two pumpkin desserts… mmmmm…. Yes please! I’m getting hungry all over again just thinking about it.

As many of you know, we are all big Green Bay Packers fans, and since they were playing at 7:30 that night, we were all gearing up and getting excited. While we waited for the game to begin, we played a game as a family – trying to describe movie titles to our team mates, in record time. We split our teams into Women vs. Men. Ummm… the gals won (wink). Unfortunately, the Packers did not… so we all went to bed and got ready for the next day. 

Since it was Black Friday, we decided to go out for lunch, but leave a little early, just in case hungry shoppers mobbed the restaurant. We ate at a new Mexican restaurant, everyone trying their fav flavs of tacos, beans, rice, etc. When we got back we all went for a walk to the farmer’s market near Tony & Lesleigh’s place, and did a bit of browsing, as well as ate some ice-cream. Tony thought it might be fun to do some Christmas decorating as a family. It had been many years since we’d all done that together. He put on some Christmas music (John Denver & the Muppets) and we strung lights, unwrapped ornaments, and did some reminiscing. I must admit, tears filled my eyes with the music and the memories – both the old and the newly-created. To end the day, we ordered pizza and sat around talking.


Megan, Joe and Jake left very early (like middle-of-the-night early) to drive back to Connecticut. I guess the baby made an excellent traveler as he rode thru both long treks of their journey. They did arrive home safely late in the day on Saturday. Since Lesleigh had to work, Tony, Todd and I went downtown and enjoyed some shopping and music at some of Nashville’s establishments. It was raining, but we had umbrellas, so…  

And on Saturday night, the four of us ate Chinese, and sat around talking about the kids’ brand new album. They are SO EXCITED to share this brand new music with you all. Some of the songs will be familiar, and some have never-before been heard. The name of the album is "We’ll Be on the Radio" and has been a dream of theirs to record for quite some time. Keep your eyes (and especially your ears) peeled for the new release, coming soon.  

Sunday morning it was time for Todd and me to hit the road and head home. We took a less-traveled route, and although the mileage is longer, the traffic is nowhere near as terrific. I’d vote for that route again. 

And so here I am, a whole week later, unable to believe how fast time moves. Not to mention that today is December 2, and tomorrow is Tony’s 30th Birthday. Yes, I know, I can’t believe it either. H*ck, I don’t even know where the past week went, much less the past 30 years!


But seriously, I want to end this post on a more serious note… You know, I was so unsure of how life would play out all those 30 years ago. Sometimes these birthday anniversaries are a little hard because of the emotions I faced after Tony’s birth. I’m not really proud of that, but it is true. So what an absolute JOY it is for me to honestly say how proud I am of all that he’s accomplished and become. He has shown me every step of the way that my early judgments were unnecessary and quite wrong. I am so grateful to have had this guy in my life for the past 30 years. 

Happy Birthday, Tony! Here’s to another 30 (Sure, I’ll be 84 then, but if you’re still nice, maybe I’ll mention you in my blog then too). 


Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference.” For more information, visit her website at  #WBOTR #LuckyFinsRock #FiveFingersTenToes #HappyBirthday


  1. It sounds like a lovely (and delicious!) holiday! Thank you for sharing it with us, and Happy Birthday to Tony!

  2. Hi Karen, thanks for commenting. We are able to get together so seldom, that we really enjoyed every minute. I hope you had a nice holiday too. Oh, can you believe I have a child that's 30??? I must be getting old or something. :)

  3. Very nice blog, mom. I enjoyed this one a lot.

    1. Thanks for the nice comment, Tone. I like it when you have time to read my posts :) happy New Year!