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The comic that parents need to see before they embark on Thanksgiving.

"I have a plan, but then real life as a parent happens."

The comic that parents need to see before they embark on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

Though the food is incredible, it’s not the main reason I love this holiday.

I absolutely love Thanksgiving because I get to be with my family, play games, work as a team to make a delicious feast, and reflect upon the things I am grateful for in my life. This vacation time, coupled with fun and my end-of-year gratitude recap, gives me a boost I can use to propel me through the next holiday and into the new year.


Maybe I’m overly optimistic about how the holiday festivities will go, but I always look forward to the potential for these beautiful family moments each and every Thanksgiving.

​Comic by Sara Zimmerman/Unearthed Comics.

The thing I do tend to overlook in my “fantasy of the perfect family Thanksgiving” is that the experience of Thanksgiving as a parent tends to have some unexpected elements that add to the unpredictability of the holiday. This is because though I would love to plan every single moment with how I can possibly prevent dealing with explosive tantrums and insurmountable frustration, I can’t.  

So, as a parent, approaching the uncontrollable events and emotions means being more fluid than runny gravy and dealing with these changes as they occur.

For instance, I always just assume that traveling to see my family will go smoothly, easily, quickly — only to realize that the assumption itself is a delusion. Though sometimes our drive has gone smoothly and we have arrived on time and unscathed, this is not a frequent event.

How it often goes is that we frantically pack and rush to leave only to hit terrible traffic where time and space seem to meld together into a standstill and walking starts to seem like a faster mode of transportation. The slow-moving mass of steel and exhaust starts to feel claustrophobic and, soon, an antsy child erupts. As a parent who has suffered through previous child meltdowns incurred by everything from forgetting toys to being overwhelmed and hungry while traveling, I try to plan for this by packing and overpacking. But it’s always difficult to foresee exactly what my child will be satisfied with and how long the distraction will last.

The same goes for meal and holiday preparation. I have a plan, but then real life as a parent happens.

This means sometimes my adorable little offspring distracts me from staying on task.

​Comic by Sara Zimmerman/Unearthed Comics.

Once the juggling of impeccably timed baking coalesces into a picture-perfect meal, we all sit down with the expectation of relaxing as we calmly eat and express our gratitude. And as a non-parent, dinner seems to align with this expectation in this order: sit down, eat, and then talk over dessert.

However, as a parent, the meal goes just a bit differently and is usually accomplished with more whim than that of drunken fraternity BBQ.

​Comic by Sara Zimmerman/Unearthed Comics.

After dinner, our intention is good: enjoy our chance to be together by playing games and sharing stories.

Yet, usually, that intention gets cut short by a food-induced coma. Then, with full stomachs and heavy eyelids, we pack up game pieces and pile on top of each other to watch a movie.

​Comic by Sara Zimmerman/Unearthed Comics.

All in all, an idealized Thanksgiving is just that: ideals.

The ability to enjoy reality lies behind the intention of the love shared by being together, whether it all works out anything like my strategically fantasized plan or I decide to just wing it, go with the flow, and enjoy reality.

​Comic by Sara Zimmerman/Unearthed Comics.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick, and Gavin are 28, 26, and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.

According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching (Game of Thrones), and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya, and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."