Happy Thanksgiving from the Mississippi Delta!

Hello blog world!  It has been a while since I last posted... the semester is winding down, which means that travel season (for work) is over and that I graduate on Friday!  I have one stats test left and then I am done with grad school! Jesse has a final design project he is finishing up, as well as some projects for his grad assistant position and then we can wrap this semester in maroon and white. I decided that I am going to walk on Friday.  If you had told me in December 2008 that I would be back at December graduation in 2011 getting another degree I would have laughed in your face.  But, here we are!  All that Jesse has left next semester is his thesis... "all"... haha.  No classes (!), just thesis hours and his grad assistant position... oh and welcoming Baby English into the world, no biggie.  He will graduate in May and are very anxiously awaiting the Lord's timing to reveal where we will be come May.  Sweet home Starkville?  Somewhere else?  We shall see... 

We had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving this year.  My parents, Kristian, George and Ashlyn, and Jesse and I went to the big city of Yazoo City on Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving.  We have done this almost every year of my life... the years that we don't come to this house don't really feel like Thankgiving to me. 

This is my Aunt and Uncle's house on the farm in Yazoo...

...and this is my favorite room in the house.

 I love everything about this room.  The wood on the walls is from an old barn and I love the brick floors, wooden beams and big fireplace. Being in the delta, it is complete with a deer head on the wall.  In the first picture, you can see the net of a basketball goal.  I love that there is a basketball goal in this room.  I have many memories shooting hoops in here (with soft balls, of course).  You can see it better in this picture:

After Thanksgiving, Aunt Marie (affectionately known as "Gam") hides elves all over this room.  It is tradition to visit Yazoo City to go count elves.  If you get the number right, you get a prize!

And this is where the after lunch naps happen on Thanksgiving day.  I am especially thankful for the two men in this picture.  I wouldn't be who I am today without either one of them.

Every year, Aunt Marie (Gam) always has a beautiful table arranged.  She is on the left, here with my mom.  

Hands down, Thanksgiving Day could not happen without these two ladies!

Close up of the table:

Here is the beautiful place setting.  This is where my love for McCarty's pottery began. We always eat on this every year.  It will always remind me of my family, which is why I wanted to collect it.  This is what I got instead of china when Jesse and I got married.  I wanted to always have a piece of the Mississippi Delta with me no matter where we live.  From their website, "McCartys pottery can be identified by the trademarked "river," a small black wavy line representing the Mississippi River on most functional pieces, and by the trademarked McCartys signature which is hand signed on the bottom or back of each piece."

Thanksgiving corn:  In the picture above, you can see three kernels of corn just above the plate.  This is a big tradition of the Cato family.  Each year, three kernels are placed at each place setting.  Once we are stuffed with the wonderful family recipes, we make room for dessert and coffee and gather around the table again.  As we feel led, we all take turns saying three things that we are thankful for from the year.  Each year, I usually get emotional, simply because it is so special to hear how the Lord has blessed my family.  We remember family members that are no longer with us, who used to have a seat around this very same table... we remember the good times and the hard times of the year... we remember how amazing the Lord's presence is in our lives... and how if we didn't have His salvation, we would have nothing.  I am so very thankful and blessed to have a family that takes the time to recognize and verbalize these things... and especially one that is so open to share how the Lord has worked in their lives.  For some reason, Uncle Bob (affectionately known as "Pop") thought that this year Jesse and I might have something we were especially thankful for and asked us to go first.  :)  He was very right.  We are so thankful for this baby.  It's crazy to think that at Thanksgiving next year, we will have another person at the table! 

Here's the Cato family!  The group was actually small this year... we missed everyone who could not make it! The original Cato's in this picture are my Mom and her brother, Uncle Bob (Pop) who are both seated in the middle.  The rest of us wouldn't be here without these two!

It looks like my Mom, Dad, and I are dressed for gameday. We were just getting ready for Egg Bowl, that's all.  :)  Here we are with my sister Kristian, her husband George, and their daughter Ashlyn.  

After our late lunch, Jesse went hunting with the guys and I joined my parents in picking up pecans in the front yard.  For some reason, we thought we were hungry again that night and had taco soup and turkey sandwhiches on homemade bread.  Yum.  All in all, it was a wonderful day on the farm. 

On Friday, Mom, Kristian and I did some shopping and made a big purchase for Baby English's nursery!  Jesse and I headed back to Starkville by way of Tupelo (what???) and picked up another big purchase along the way for the baby and a special happy for Maggie (no, we haven't forgotten about her).  We originally had no intentions on participating in Black Friday, but ended up getting three great deals - all in the afternoon.  Who says you have to get up early to get a good deal?  Once the semster ends, I will share the latest on preparations for Baby E!

I think everyone knows what happened on Saturday.  The Dawgs whooped up on the Black Bears and kept the Egg Bowl trophy in Starkville!  3 years in a row!  Even in the pouring rain, the game was so much fun.  GO DAWGS!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that you are getting ready for Christmas!  We are planning on putting up our tree on Monday.  Can't wait!

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