They had spent the weekend before our arrival transforming Mom's colonial blue kitchen and dining room into a pink party space. I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked into the house--Mom is synonymous with the color blue to me--and ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the transformation. They had thought of everything from pink heart-shaped paper doilies to pink paper lanterns, and it was all gorgeous. "We wanted it to look like our Vally," Mom smiled.
(That's Papa and Grandma's old Hoosier cabinet above at left. :) ♥ Click to enlarge any photo in this post.)
The food, like the decorations, was all in pink, spring green (like my wedding dress/jacket), and white too. :) Aunt Laurie had baked pink-and-green-frosted sugar cookies. Mom had made pink heart-shaped marshmallow-adorned Jell-O salads. She had ordered a pink Roses-topped marble cake from the local bakery. They had set up dishes of pink and green M&Ms, tiered tidbit trays of pink foil-wrapped candies, plates of white chocolate-covered pretzels, and pots of pink wafer cookies. 'Just dreamy, a sea of pretty colors.
Mom and Aunt Laurie had cooked our traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the meal: Turkey, stuffing/dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, peas, green bean casserole, pickles and cream cheese-and-olive-stuffed celery, rolls, and ham too. The ham was somewhat of an in-joke between me and Mom, because in the late 1980s or maybe early 1990s, she and I had been tickled by an article in one of her decorating magazines about a pink and white wedding that "continued the pink and white theme" with overlapping slices of (pink) ham and (white) turkey at its dinner reception. It was such a pretty detail, and I remember squealing to Mom at the time, "Ooooooooooh! Just THINK, Mom! We could color-coordinate the whole MEAL!" And now, decades later, she had remembered to make up platters of the turkey and ham. ♥ One of my sisters-in-law contributed a cucumber salad that was a pretty mint green. Aunt Laurie had dyed hard-boiled eggs in pinks and greens. Mom had made pink lemonade (especially for Mike, who likes it, but you know the punch bowl would have been pink-filled somehow). The cups, napkins, and plates were all pink and white, as well. Rachel Ashwell, eat your heart out. ;)
After lunch, we opened Aunt Laurie's incredible gifts.
And then Mom and Dad stunned me and Mike with something I had wanted for our little apartment since the summer before. While Mike and I finished our cake and caught up with everyone, my dad and brothers disappeared outside and then returned carrying a heavy oak fireplace mantel. My mom had paid for the wood for it, and Dad had built it. (He also built the mantel that's beside the "pink Roses/twinkle lights tree" in the third photo from the top. And Mom's beloved kitchen nook/booth to the right of the Hoosier cabinet. ♥) I finally have my mantel! ♥
He said he hated to leave it unfinished, but that Mom had told him that I'd want to paint it and doll it up anyway, so he resigned himself to giving me a plain and unstained wood piece. :) Fixing this up is one of my next projects. It will be colorful and trimmed in Roses when I'm done, to be sure. Dad made it the perfect size for a specific wall in our apartment that I'd mentioned I'd been saving for a mantel. I still had "mantel wanted" ads posted on craigslist when Mom and Dad gave us this one, so this, like the rest of the visit, was a real treat. ♥
After taking more pictures and saying our goodbyes, Mike and I got on the road, the car's backseat and trunk filled with pastel-colored foods and our other gifts. The real treasures, I know you know by now, were the people waving at us as we drove away.