Typically we don't have much time 'off' for the holidays. In college Mark and I were both on the Auburn team and they take Thanksgiving training (three days off of school during the week of Thanksgiving that they could really pound us with hard work outs), so we didn't get much time to travel home (Mark's family lives in Ohio and mine in Missouri). Typically we would train until Wednesday morning and then would be expected to be back at practice on Sunday. So, we would have to travel Wednesday, spend Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with our families, and then travel back to school on Sunday. This was tough, especially living so far from family to begin with. What I am getting at is that there just isn't that much time to even go home to see our families.
Since college we really haven't traveled home much for Thanksgiving. I am either busy with school (remember, I am a perpetual graduate student--working on my third degree now), busy with work, or Mark is deep into training and really can't take much time off. This year it was the latter. Mark will compete in Dubai at Short Course World Champs in about three weeks, so, as to not miss time in the water due to travel or lack of facilities at home, we stayed in Auburn. We're lucky, though; we have friends who are family to us. We have spent multiple holidays with these dear friends. We eat, toast, and spread the love amongst us. It is the closest thing to spending the holiday with family that we could get. Wait, I take that back. It is spending the holiday with family.
As I cooked stuffing, green bean casserole, and mashed potatoes I felt guilty each and every time I pulled another stick of butter from the fridge... the fact that Mark was in training was in the back of my mind, but I still used the butter, whipped up a homemade cream sauce (and we all know what kind of sinful ingredients go in a cream sauce) for the green beans, and even made a batch of cookies. I couldn't help it. It is just me being loyal to my American roots. It is Thanksgiving. This is what we do, so Mark will just have to do a few more crunches this week (not to indicate that he wasn't already working hard this week).
Mark trained Wednesday, took Thursday off, and was back in the water this morning (Friday) at 7am. No rest for our everyday Olympian.
What am I thankful for this year? I can't count the things for which I am thankful. Last year on this day (I remember it because it was the day of the Auburn vs. Alabama game last year), Mark and I were headed to the hospital to await Annabelle's arrival. This year (at the Thanksgiving dinner table) I said that I was thankful for not being in labor this year. Seriously though, our sweet Annabelle is our most precious gift and by far what we are most thankful for. We are also thankful for one Mr. Cam Newton this year (I'm sorry to those of you who are bored by college football, but today was a very big day in the Gangloff household. WAR EAGLE). We are also thankful for our health, happiness, and heart. I think that pretty much covers it.
Oh yeah, and we're thankful for the APA (just picture me doing my happy dance).