A few weeks ago, I started talking with a stranger on the train. This is not a typical occurrence for me. I generally use my time on the T to zone out and don’t seek out interactions. However, I found myself chatting with this friendly stranger about distraction, multitasking, and not taking enough time to appreciate all we have. As he stood to leave, he parted with, “Cultivate an attitude of gratitude, you know?”

I know this isn’t the most original phrase, but I still love it. And I loved the casual way he said it, like it was something he thought to himself all the time.

This mindset –one focused on appreciation and acknowledgement– is so powerful, and so elusive. I need to constantly remind myself to focus on gratitude; the word “cultivate” in this phrase is absolutely apt. It’s an easy phrase to say, but so tough to embody without care and attention. It’s like a house plant: deciding to buy one and get it in the soil is a great step, but without water and attention, that plant is….well, it’s going to look a lot like the “easy-to-care-for” succulents in my apartment.

Gratitude is a word that’s overused and tossed around leading up to Thanksgiving, but this year it really sums up my holiday. I know it might seem cliche to write about the topic right now, but I truly can’t help but feel so thankful today looking back at such an incredible weekend. I spent time with almost everyone I know! How incredible is that? Here’s the 4-day recap:

Thursday aka Thanksgiving

First of all, I woke up to snowflakes falling outside my window which is my actual favorite thing.

Chris and I were supposed to run a Turkey Trot 5K, but at the last minute we changed gears and opted for an epic Thanksgiving “triathlon.” Instead of swimming, we ate Thanksgiving breakfast. Instead of biking, we ate Thanksgiving lunch. And instead of running, we –you guessed it– ate Thanksgiving dinner!

Because we’re from the same hometown and most of our family lives close by, we tend to run around over the holidays and try to see as many people as possible. However, this is usually spread out over several days rather than traveling to 3 different cities for 3 meals with different parts of our family in one day.

Needless to say, it was fun and delicious and amazing.

My cousins’ kids decided to draw Chris. Two uncanny depictions.
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❤ is an accurate depiction of my feelings about sweet potatoes.
Payne Family goofiness. In their defense, I made them do this.

Friday 

We woke up Friday morning bright and early, bellies still incredibly full as we headed to November Project. I was so happy to hear that we were running the “Turkey Trot loop,” which weaves around our normal hill route and involves longer stretches of flats and rolling hills rather than the full-on insanity that is Summit Ave.

This is one of my favorite Friday workouts. I love that you get to run the top of the hill, but that there are also more gradual downhills and some flat stretches in between. It just feels really good to gain a little speed and let your legs unwind in between hills. It also makes me feel like I can “practice” running the top of Summit Ave, which is always so incredibly challenging. Starting at the middle of the hill means your legs feel slightly stronger–always fun.

I ran a few loops with Chris’ sister Hannah, which was a great way to catch up.

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Wear bright shoes for safety!
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The morning was gray. The tribe was not.
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The Brookline turkeys were out in full force to celebrate surviving Thanksgiving 2016. 

After the workout, we went to brunch with a bunch of NPers hosted by a wonderful couple. I was picturing a few dozen bagels and maybe some coffee (which is what guests at my home could expect if I somehow told you I’d “make you breakfast”). But we were greeted with a full-on gorgeous spread of incredible food. Even though I was still full from my Thanksgiving triathlon, I was all in on this amazing meal, surrounded by friends.

After brunch, Chris and I went back out to our hometown for another Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, another big meal. My stomach now has new expectations for daily consumption.

Saturday 

On Saturday, we had a lazy morning before starting to get ready for a wedding in the evening. Two of our wonderful friends got married RIGHT around the corner from our apartment. We literally traipsed through a path in the woods and halfway around the reservoir to get there, which was so great after so much wedding travel earlier in the fall.

My college friends Abi & Pete also came down for the wedding. Pete brews incredible beer, and the groom is a huge fan and had requested some brews for his wedding day. Chris and I decided to give them beer as a wedding gift, and Chris actually helped to brew the “Special Day IPA” a few weekends ago on the farm where Pete and Abi live in Vermont.

Scenes from brewing

 

The wedding was an absolute blast. The bride is an incredible artist and business owner, so she carefully designed and pulled off every detail. I wanted to take 300 photos, but figured she had paid someone talented to do that and just took the one below.

I spent most of the night dancing with a few breaks to enjoy the pizza bar, taco bar, and pasta bar. Yep, more food!

Jackie & Drew got married in the coolest venue, the Waterworks Museum. As a water nerd, this was right up my alley.
Some people abused their photobooth privileges.


Sunday

Ah, Sunday. After grabbing breakfast with Abi & Pete, I didn’t leave the apartment for the rest of the day. Gotta love a mellow day of napping, sequencing my yoga classes, cleaning, cooking, and watching Jeopardy/football.

In sum, this weekend consisted of running, writing, reading, relaxing, dancing, celebrating, seeing 80% of the people I know, watching snowflakes, and so, so much eating. In the words of Julie Andrews/Fraulein Maria, these are a few of my favorite things.

Lazy Sundays are my favorite. Pickle the cat enjoys them too.
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