After two years of braving freezing cold weather and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade outside in the stands, this year I did the family a big favor and said we could watch it on TV at home. They actually cheered. I can’t blame them. Last year, we had to get there two hours before the parade started and let me just say, sitting still in below freezing temperatures with nothing happening can come close to breaking you as a family.

Ironically, it was pretty mild out this year, so maybe we will brave it again next year. Another reason to stay home was because we had an unexpected canine guest, but I’ll get to him in a later post.

That evening, we drove out to Brooklyn to celebrate Thanksgiving with Mike’s side of the family, as we do every year. My kids know it as “Adult Thanksgiving” because they are way out numbered by grown-ups. We also don’t eat until after 8pm, which is tricky. And we talk politics, which bores them to tears. “Kids Thanksgiving” is the following night at my mom’s house.

The best part of “Adult Thanksgiving” (besides the food and the wine, which is always top notch) is the Family Talent Show, an annual tradition where everyone there is required to perform while the turkey cooks. Most of Mike’s family (except him) is pretty talented so they sing and play musical instruments. We always struggle with what to do and err on the side of comedic relief.

This year was easy peasy because Mazzy wrote us a comedy sketch to perform about redesigning an apartment. No idea where her inspiration came from! The gist is that two people (Bob and Bobella played by Mike and me) are discussing very bizarre and elaborate ways to decorate their home. They want the couch in the pool, the fridge by their bed (for midnight snacks) and the bar in the shower. The decorator (played by Mazzy) is very agreeable until they get to their plans for little Bobelia’s nursery. It involves a working kitchen for baking doughnuts, a slide from the nursery to the pool and a dragon loft bed. The decorator tells them that will be $10 million, to which Bob and Bobella respond, “Never mind.” And scene.

Then Harlow surprised everyone with a dance that was half freestyle and half a dance she learned in her jazz hip hop class. Either way, she committed, it was fantastic, and now my new favorite saying is, “It’s not Thanksgiving without Low by FloRida.”

Both acts really need to be seen to be appreciated, so I suggest you look through this album on instagram which contains video of both.

The next day was “Kids Thanksgiving,” aka Friday Thanksgiving at Grammy and Sammy’s house. It is attended by my family, my sister’s family and my stepbrother Eric’s family. Mazzy and Harlow only see Maia and Hunter one or two times a year, so they get really excited to hang out together. If you want to read more about my relationship with my stepbrother, I wrote about Eric here.

My mom usually cooks a full Thanksgiving meal for our Friday tradition, but she recently had surgery on her elbow, so she ordered in Italian and served it on paper plates. “Pizza?!” Mazzy exclaimed when she saw her plate. “This is the best Thanksgiving meal ever!”

After dinner, Grammy gave all the kids Thanksgiving gifts because:

1) This is the only holiday she sees all her grandchildren at once.

2) “I’m Jewish. I don’t need Santa taking credit.”

Maia got Blair, the American Girl Doll of the Year, Mazzy got an American Girl doll snowboard and Harlow got an American Girl Doll old-fashioned microphone. Are you seeing a theme? Neve got a huge set of LOL dolls, Jack got a Bat Mobile and Hunter got a drone. (If you want more holiday gift ideas, check out my holiday gift guide! It’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.)

We ended Thanksgiving with Carvel cake for my birthday, as we have done every year of my entire life. My birthday is neatly sandwiched in between Mazzy and Harlow’s birthdays (they are all within one month), so I find my birthday usually takes a backseat. Except with my mother! The cake said “Happy Birthday, Ilana” without any other names crowding my space. Thanks, Mom!!!!

Mazzy got a sparkler in a scoop of ice cream, which scared the bejesus out of her.

Then everyone slept over. Big kids in the den. Little kids in sleeping bags on the floor of Grammy and Sammy’s room. Big kids stayed up until 1am, but eventually fell asleep on their own. Little kids were promptly separated, after they refused to settle down. Jack was escorted out first. But Neve and Harlow still couldn’t get it together. Neve is currently in a phase where she likes to copy everything that Harlow does, and what Harlow was doing was refusing to lie still. They were too hot in their pajamas and then they were too cold. They wanted water, they had to go to the bathroom, they needed a tissue. At one point, I walked in on the two of them trying to stand on their heads. I asked what they were doing and Harlow said, “We’re having a Girls Night Out.” Neve was pulled out of there and I was the one who ended up sleeping next to Harlow on Grammy’s floor.

In the morning, Harlow showed everyone how to make Challah French toast.

Then we all saw Frozen 2 in 3D and got the closest thing to a family picture all weekend. Figures, Olaf would be photobombing. Also absent are Mike, Eric, Sam and Hunter because they decided to see Terminator instead.

The funniest thing to me about Frozen 2 was that Mazzy and Harlow had told me weeks ago that Anna discovers she has fire powers. I have no idea where they got this idea, but it made perfect sense and I assumed it to be true. So, the entire time, I was waiting for Anna’s fire powers to reveal themselves (there were a few times when it seemed they were OBVIOUSLY leading up to that, like when Elsa pushed Anna into the boat and Olaf said he had never seen her so angry) and well, if you’ve seen the movie, you know— THAT NEVER HAPPENED.

If you are debating whether to take your kids to Frozen, you should know that they deal with death and murder quite a bit. Here’s a semi spoiler alert. At one point, when Anna and Elsa saw the sunken ship, Harlow leaned over to me and said, “Oh! They are going to look for the dead bodies of their parents!” I was like, “What? No! Harlow, you are SO DARK.” But then, that’s pretty much what happened.

Frozen was great, by the way. I thought the storyline and the animation were both fantastic. Originally, I reported that the songs weren’t very memorable, but it’s been a few days and now I find that we are singing “Into the Unknown” quite a bit.

After Frozen, we all went to play laser tag. Then Sammy doled out quarter after quarter for the arcade.

Now do you understand why my kids call Grammy and Sammy’s “Kid Thanksgiving?”