Thanksgiving and Tessa

Two of my very favorite things happen during the month of November- Thanksgiving and Tessa’s birthday! Tessa turned 7 on November 7 this year and we really enjoyed loving on her all day long (not that we don’t do it every other second of every day because she is the baby of our family). I remember thinking on that day seven short years ago, that I may just have her in the car on the way to the hospital and was scared out of my mind of that little fact. It didn’t end up that way (thank goodness!), but she came to the world about 45 minutes after arriving at the hospital, post-epidural (also, thank goodness!). We’ve all adored her from the very start and even though she is by far the sassiest kid ever, we still cannot get enough of her cute face and hilarious Tessa-isms.


Tessa’s list of things she wanted to do on her birthday included Taylor’s famous french toast for breakfast, a picnic on the beach for lunch, tomato soup for dinner, playing Playmobil with her sisters and eating cake! None of the above was too much to ask, so we checked everything off of the list! We ate schnitzel and falafel sandwiches for lunch on the beach while playing in the warm sand (loving this warm winter weather!!). Because everyone except for Tessa decided to not eat sugar for the month, I took Tessa to a cupcake shop and let her pick out her favorite flavor- cookies and cream- which we brought home and made sure to sing as loud as our sugar-free voices would allow. Love her and this smile so much and we have furthermore outlawed the talk of her getting any older.


Tessa has loved reading lately, so we made a quick pit stop at the bookstore on the way to get her cupcake and rustled through the shelves to find the extremely minimal selection of English books and bought a couple of them for her gifts.


Another of our family’s favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. One of the hardest things about living abroad is missing the feeling in the air during these times of year. I miss the turkeys being sold, planning and searching for the best new recipes I’d like to try, those last-minute runs to the store for missing ingredients, mashed potatoes, gravy, and most of all…pie! But, this year we were looking forward to having the Becks, our friends from London, visit on Thanksgiving Day. There is nothing quite like seeing familiar faces when you live so far from friends and family and these two faces are some of our favorites. We were so glad our paths crossed again, and especially on this day. Because we live in an apartment that doesn’t have a fully stocked kitchen, and has a tiiiiiny oven, plus the general lack of any traditional foods we love on the stores shelves during this time of year, we decided to make it an Israeli Thanksgiving! We took the Becks to one of our favorite places in Tel Aviv, Carmel Market!


I had done a bit of research beforehand to make sure we collected the very best of what we wanted to buy. We walked through the damp streets taking in the wildness of this place. I love it.


This hummus place (above and below) was the highest rated hummus in the market. And, can you get over how awesome the colors and the windows are on the store?! We picked up some pita (some of the best we’ve had) and hummus (also delicious) here and then went to find some turkey…shawarma. After stopping at a couple of different places that didn’t understand why we just wanted meat and nothing else, we finally found a place willing to sell us some of just that. We also nabbed some delicious dried mangoes and pineapples as well as ingredients for a Greek salad and some of their delicious local strawberries to round out our dinner.

Free falafel for these girls while they served and packaged up our turkey and tabouleh to-go. They aren’t totally sold on it yet…we are working on it. :)

Free falafel for these girls while they served and packaged up our turkey and tabouleh to-go. They aren’t totally sold on it yet…we are working on it. :)

We brought all of our dinner back here to our terrace and ate to our heart’s content. Different from a traditional turkey dinner, but full of fun memories and still totally yummy. Ryan also picked up some baklava, but seeing as we were still off sugar (and maybe don’t love the pastry), it took the place of “pie” that night. All food aside, we had the best time catching up with the Becks and seriously love their company. Can’t wait to see them again!!

As we reflect on the many things we have been given at this time of year, its hard to grasp the magnitude of the innumerable blessings in our lives. Some of the things we are most grateful for is our family, the gospel, friends, this land that we get to call home for a while, our health and the adventures and lessons that lie ahead.