November 29, 2017

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s also Nick’s favorite holiday, so together we both get really into it.

For our first Thanksgiving in Hawaii, my entire family came to visit. We also had two of our friends over, so it was a packed apartment. That was our first time cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner. I remember we practiced making pies and recipes for weeks because we wanted everything to be perfect for our first Thanksgiving, especially since we were having people over. It was my first time having my family over to my own place.

I honestly can’t remember what we did for our second Thanksgiving. I’m pretty sure it involved seeing those same friends again, but I don’t remember what we did. But I do remember going to my friend Jenny’s house for our third Thanksgiving in Hawaii because our movers had already come to pack up our apartment. We were starting to move to Connecticut.

Last year was our fourth Thanksgiving in Hawaii. We had already moved to Connecticut and back again to Hawaii by the time it rolled around. Crazy!

It can be really hard to be away from family around the holidays, especially in Hawaii. Most people can’t just fly home to the mainland for a four day weekend, which I think is part of the reason why military spouses and families get so close here.

Nick and I decided to invite his entire wardroom over. We told everyone to bring food that they would normally eat on Thanksgiving where they were from. We had so many different kinds of food. It was seriously the most food I’ve ever seen at Thanksgiving.

I’ll never forget receiving a text from my friend the next day. She said it truly felt like being with family.

We wanted to do the same thing again this year. We both think that it’s really important to take care of your military family, and what better way to do that than by celebrating a big holiday together? So we invited his wardroom over again.

We knew that Nick would be gone until right before Thanksgiving, so we planned out what we wanted to make and made our grocery lists weeks in advance.

While Nick was gone, I went grocery shopping. I don’t know how it is on other bases because I have only been in Hawaii for Thanksgiving since we got married. But here, the commissary runs out of Thanksgiving things. So, I went about 2 weeks in advance to get things like nuts and flour, and then I went back a few days before Thanksgiving to get the rest.

Getting ready

While Nick was out to sea, his best friend and his wife, Alan and Bree, came to visit. They came to my apartment on Tuesday and they took me to my favorite restaurant for dinner. Wednesday morning, we got up early and went to get coffee before going to the base to watch Nick’s submarine pull into port.

There is a spot on the base where I love to go to watch Nick’s boat pull into Pearl Harbor. It’s a beautiful sight to see. I love being with all of the other military spouses because everyone gets so excited, whether they have been gone for two months or two weeks.

After we waved to the submarine, we went to say hi to Nick. He had more work to do so we went out to lunch with a few other spouses while he went back on the boat.

While we were waiting for Nick to get home, Alan, Bree, and I decided to start baking the pecan pies (we had to make two because so many people were coming over!).  Of course, as soon as we started, I realized that I didn’t have one of the ingredients.

I texted my neighbor who lives down the hall from me to see if she had what I needed. She didn’t, and she needed some last minute ingredients, too, so we ran to the grocery store together.

By the time I got home, Nick was home and Alan and Bree had already finished making the pies, which was awesome. They added in the final ingredients and then we went out to dinner ar my other favorite restaurant.

Thanksgiving Day

The next morning, I woke up early and ran to the store again with my neighbor again. We both needed last- last-minute ingredients. Nick started cooking right away while the rest of us got the apartment ready. I took a break to snap this picture of Nick doing what he does best – the only picture I took the whole day!

We had some people come over around 12:00 pm for mimosas and the party just continued all day from there.

At one point, I tried to count, and I think we had 15-17 people at our apartment. If you have ever been to my apartment, you will wonder how we fit in so many people, but we managed!  Everyone made food or brought drinks, even the guys who had just gotten home the day before. We had a huge meal and even though we didn’t really have enough space for everyone in our small apartment, we got cozy.

After dinner, we played Catchphrase, which is one of the few games that I feel like such a large group of people can play. We had two teams – Team Nick and Team Carolann – and despite my best efforts, Team Nick won. Sigh.

After that, we got out dessert – homemade pecan pie, my homemade vanilla ice cream, and my friend’s  homemade pumpkin cookies.

My neighbor and her husband came over for a little while most of the other guest left. Nick, Alan, Bree, and I cleaned up and played Pandemic.

The next day, we had to take our friends to the airport. But it was so awesome to have them in town and share our favorite holiday with them.

How was your Thanksgiving?

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6 responses to “Our 5th Thanksgiving in Hawaii”

  1. Jen says:

    What a wonderful Thanksgiving! I love that you were able to host so many people. 🙂

  2. Rachel G says:

    Awww! Sounds like a lot of fun! I definitely know what it’s like to celebrate holidays far from family. At this point, especially because I’m from Michigan, I don’t think I’d even really consider ever going “home” during holiday time because the cost is so high and the weather is so bad at that time of year that you can’t count on being able to do anything–since we can’t go back often, I’d rather travel in the summer! We had a small Thanksgiving here but plenty of food!

  3. Emma says:

    This sounds wonderful! I hopped on a train and went to my friend’s house for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal full of laughter and a Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecake that is worth travelling for!

  4. Audrey says:

    Carolann, this is SO special! I think it’s amazing that you and Nick host for all the families! You have such a wonderful community- between the military families and your neighbors and even your friends!! What a special holiday! I’m glad it was a good one for you guys and you had Nick home to celebrate!

  5. Rachel says:

    This sounds like such a lovely way to celebrate, and if you can’t be with family you just do your best. With a lot of people in the same boat I”m sure they appreciated your hospitality.

  6. That sounds like the perfect Thanksgiving celebration with all of your close military friends! I remember when we hosted our first holiday with family and wanting everything to be perfect! We didn’t do any of the pies from scratch though, so major props to you for doing that on top of everything else!

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