I’m not “beating myself up” for not getting this post up sooner, rather, I just would have liked to get it done the day my parents left.

The day I wrote it.

Just like I wish I had all the time {and energy} in the world to do everything I need AND everything I WANT to…everyday.

Life doesn’t work like that.

So, we make choices.

We make choices to let things that are important to us go so that we can do things to make other people happy.

We make choices to do things for ourselves and let other things go knowing that we might disappoint someone else. 



And, most important, forgiveness.

Moving on…better late than never.

the day before thanksgiving

Nine years ago, on the day before Thanksgiving, a very special dog came to live with us.

Oak was one of a kind.

She made everybody that she met feel like they were the most important person in the world, but I was her most important person.

She came to me at a very difficult time in my life.

After I had a miscarriage.

After I found out my mom had breast cancer.

After I walked in on a burglary in progress at our home.

We went everywhere together.

She even got to come to work with me when we moved to Oregon…sat right under my desk.

This year, on the day before Thanksgiving, I looked out the front window as I was talking to my mom.

I had spent the morning at the kids school and was trying to finish things up around the house before they came to visit. I had just gotten caught in a freak rain and hail storm while bringing wood into the garage for the fireplace. There was one clap of thunder and that was when I decided to head inside…I’m not a fan of thunderstorms.

As I looked out the window I saw a mud covered yellow lab running down the street. I told my mom I had to go get it and ran outside.

I called for the dog, but she didn’t hear me until I got right up behind her.

When she realized I was there she came running to me and just followed me home…running under the garage door as it opened.

She reminded me of Oak.

Sweet, happy, and older.


I dried her off, but she was too dirty to come inside. I took her water and gave her Odyssey’s dog bed.

She had a collar and tag, so I called and left a message.

Eventually, her owner called.

She asked if there had been thunder, and I said yes.

Kassi, as the dog was called, was afraid of thunder and would dig out of the yard to “get away from it”.

Oak was afraid of thunder, too. We would snuggle together during thunderstorms in Colorado.

In some way, Oak was giving me a little visit on the day before Thanksgiving.

It warmed my heart and made me smile.

and, finally, thanksgiving

{as written 10 days ago}

I dropped my parents off at the airport today.

The table that was filled for every meal the last 6 days is empty.

It’s quiet.

memories were made

As they are everyday, but there were special ones this week.

We celebrated our first Thanksgiving in our home.

We’ve been in this house for almost 5 years, but we’ve never celebrated Thanksgiving here. We were in Colorado last year and have been blessed enough to have wonderful friends and neighbors who have invited us to be a part of their family celebrations other years.

Each morning we woke up to a warm fire in the fireplace that Ryan had started before everybody woke up. Not sure if he just stayed up all night, or if he got up extra early. Either way, we all enjoyed waking up to the crackle and warmth it provided.

You see, we talked to my parents about converting our gas log kit back into a wood burning fireplace and thought it might be a project they could help us with.  Little did they know we had already hatched a plan with a neighbor who helped Ryan out in trade for our gas log set that he wanted to convert his wood burning fireplace to a gas fireplace. We had a chimney sweep come clean and check our fireplace and chimney, and the Friday before Thanksgiving week we had 3/4 cord of wood delivered. Lorelai and I spent most of the day filling our radio flyer wagon and stacking as many logs as we could before the downpour started here in Portland. I stacked almost 1/2 cord of wood to fill the log rack we bought, and left the rest for Ryan which he stacked in a steady rain on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in our unused dog run.

but i digress

We shared our own tree cutting tradition with my parents at Sleigh Bells in Sherwood.

oh christmas tree

The kids even got to “see” Santa, but were not yet ready to sit on his lap. We peeked around Christmas displays, but kept our distance from the man in red.

Our tree was up and decorated in record time with help from my parents and the kids. We actually put our “real” ornaments up this year…not the plastic and paper ones I used the last 4 years! Collected since we were married over 12 years ago…personalized…and, just like when I would decorate the tree with my mom, a story about where each one came from.

We made homemade pizza for dinner, drank wine, and enjoyed introducing my parents to Reece’s (and my) favorite, American Pickers.

Saturday morning, we took a trip to one of our favorite places for breakfast. Nothing fancy, but can you believe my parents have never eaten at Panera?! I know there is one within a couple blocks of my dad’s office because I used to go there when I worked in the same office 13 years ago! The kids love sitting by the big table next to the fireplace and for once I did not feel awkward taking up a large table for 8 because we actually had 6 to almost fill it! We split off into the “girl’s car” and the “boy’s car” to go the the craft store and the sporting goods store, respectively. That afternoon we got out of the house and caught another glimpse of Santa at Bridgeport Village. The kids, again, did not want to see him, but Ryan and Topher both made sure that they were not on Santa’s “naughty” list.


The unanimous decision was made to order takeout for dinner, so we had a cocktail at PF Changs while waiting for our lettuce wraps and lemon chicken to enjoy at home.

On Sunday, the boys went out to Sauvie Island and shared the Catlin family tradition of a Thanksgiving weekend duck hunt with Reece for the first time.


When they got home I asked Reece what he thought of going duck hunting with Poppa and Topher.


His reply was, “Best.”


I think he liked it.

Lorelai, Meme, and I spent the morning together creating gingerbread masterpieces, searching for the perfect princess nighties (for Lorelai), and trying a new recipe with some of the Thanksgiving leftovers.

post hunting nap

post hunting

The afternoon was spent relaxing by the fire, snuggled under quilts, watching football. Eventually we made a trip to Whole Foods to get more food and wine (like we needed it) and threw together another great meal of crab cakes, salmon, chicken satay, steak, and roasted vegetables.

Monday morning we raced to get the kids back into a regular routine. It is Reece’s turn to be Star of the Week, and although we had four days to prepare his Sharing Box and other information, we were pulling it all together before 8:30 on a Monday morning. The items were strongly focused on hunting, as the hunt from the day before was fresh in his mind.

While the kids were at school for a couple of hours, the adults ran some errands, got cleaned up, and turned the last of the leftovers into a delicious potato turkey soup that we all ate for lunch.

We had a great lunch together before Ryan had to leave to work in California for the week.

Tuesday was a very special day. We took lunch to Reece to be a part of his Star Week. We brought burgers from Burgerville and sat in the gym to eat with his class. He even saved a special scooter to ride around the gym with him. I could not keep up with those 5 years olds…they move fast!

sharing a shake

hoop walking




After lunch we were able to spend a few minutes in his class when I was able to read a letter that Ryan wrote about what we think is special about Reece, and Reece was able to introduce me, Lorelai, Meme, and Topher to the class.

red bike

After that excitement, we scooted to the car to drive Meme and Topher to the airport so they could get back to Colorado.

Hugs and kisses…and quiet.

Memories were made.

home is…thanksgiving with meme and topher.

2 thoughts on “forgiveness

  1. Maggie says:

    Loved reading about your saving grace- Oak. Dogs are magic.

    I connected so much with this post. I’m glad you had such a great holiday with your parents. 🙂

  2. says:

    Life is about the small moments you have with the people you love.  You do that beautifully and with such passion!  You are a beautiful human….”being”.

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