November 29, or, How Three Authors Changed My World
Laundry Confessions

Thanksgiving Week Recap

Since last week was really a great one, I'm going to jot down a few things I'd like to remember. Totally one of those posts that mean something probably only to me. Consider yourself warned! However, there are photos. And a very-secret secret to incredible gravy all the way down at the end. If you get that far!

  • On Monday I took Nathan out for his special night. He chose Golden Corral, which is honestly my least-favorite place to eat, but we had a great time anyway. We talked and laughed and planned what to do for his Christmas party at school. (I just became his room mom, since A---I forgot to sign up at the beginning of the year and B---the mom who was the room mom is moving.) Then we ran to Joann to scope out some crafts and to Target so he could spend his birthday money. I'm not sure why, but there is something about doing errands when Christmas is coming that makes them way more fun! I was reminded, as I am every time I do a special night, of how much I love this specific kid. He's a great one!
  • On Tuesday, I got a haircut. Yay for shorter hair! Why do I always let it get to the this-is-so-long-it's-making-me-crazy stage? Oh yeah, because when I DO go in for a haircut, the children (all FIVE of them, if you catch my drift) seem to feel that I have abandoned them for an hour or two, and I get desperate phone call after desperate phone call, and then I feel like my hair lady thinks I am crazy. "No, I'm not sure where you left your jacket, but it isn't in the car," "You really can make your breakfast shake on your own," "I asked you last night to sign your reading chart, but you forgot," etc, etc. Etc. At any rate, everyone survived, even the Largest Child. And I felt much better with shorter hair and my grays all covered up!
  • Later that day, I had the chance to eat Thanksgiving dinner with my dad at his rest home. Truth be told, I was a little bit anxious for this meal---I'm not sure why, except for the general anxiety that the rest home gives me---but it actually was really nice. I tried talking to Dad, but that afternoon he could only manage to reply "fine," in a slightly startled voice, to every question. So I just sat next to him, eating and patting him on the knee every once in awhile. Kaleb came with me, and he was so excited to be going to see Grandpa Don that I managed to get four errands done before we went, all on the promise of a Grandpa sighting. He sat next to my mom and kept everyone laughing with his antics (ask him if he wants squash and you get a fairly consistently funny response, including a horrified shudder). D k a m My Uncle Mont (that's him on the right in the photo) was also there, which was a surprise---after not having seen him for more than three years, here I was having a second conversation in less than a week with him. The best thing, though, was that as most people were finishing their dessert, a woman came in and started playing her violin. She started with "Amazing Grace." As soon as he heard the music, Dad stood up, turned awkwardly around (getting his foot stuck and nearly falling, even with our helping hands) so he could straddle the back of his chair, just to see her play. He rested his chin on his arms that were folded on the back of the chair, and just watched her. His eyes were glossy with unshed tears, and they filled with this look. I could just tell that he was full of the emotion that music rises in your heart, and I felt so lucky to witness him still feeling.
  • On Wednesday I wore my favorite orange dress to work. I'm not sure why I want to remember that, except for I've not worn that dress for more than four years and it was great to zip it up again!
  • The night before Thanksgiving is usually a quiet one for me. I nearly always make the rolls, which have to be started on Thanksgiving eve, and I usually do it after all the kids are in bed. But Haley wanted to help me this year, so she and I made the dough together. I was about her age, maybe a few years older, when I learned how to make the Thanksgiving rolls, and it felt like a rite of passage, a sort of physical proof of how my life is right now. Jake and Nathan and Kaleb came in and out of the kitchen while we made dough, laughing and playing. It definitely wasn't a quiet Thanksgiving eve (except for later, when I realized I'd forgotten to make the cranberry sauce and got out of bed to throw it together), but it was a happy one.
  • On Thanksgiving morning, Haley and I finished the rolls. I'd made a double batch---six dozen---and by the third dozen, she was doing the entire process all by herself. We talked and giggled and sang along to some Christmas music (after I'd talked her into the idea, of course, as she thought it was too early, but none of my kids can resist the happy-making of Sting's "Three Ships"). Just what we needed!
  • Actually consuming the Thanksgiving meal was sort of anti climatic for me. In a way, it always is. You put so much work into it, and then it takes about fifteen minutes to be finished. Still, the food was great. We ate with Kendell's side of the family again this year (for several reasons). I got this great photo of Haley with her grandpa Kent, H and k but maybe the best part of the day was the lovely two-hour-long nap I took on my sister-in-law's bed. Just what I needed!
  • On Friday, Kendell, Haley, and I went out to do a little bit of Black Friday shopping. We hit Toys R Us but way too late to actually buyanything on my list. (My own fault. Lovely nap aside, I was way too tired to get up at 3:30 in the morning this year.) Then we headed off to Old Navy, where we stocked up on jeans, coats, sweatshirts, and socks. We had a nearly spiritual moment at Best Buy involving a door buster and me following my gut to where the last two in the store had been left on a shelf. Then we went home for sustenance and to grab Kaleb, who came to JC Penney's with Haley and me.
  • We barely had enough time to get JC Penney's door busters, so I was trying to hurry. To get him to be good (read: hold my hand and not run away) I bribed Kaleb with a trip up the escalator once we'd finished our shopping. He won't hold my hand, though, on the escalator. He was standing right next to me and all of a sudden I heard a THUNK. I looked down and there he was, sprawled head-down on the metal part of the escalator, the stairs thunking against his shoes and this holy-crap-what-just-happened-to-me look on his face. I couldn't reach him to help him up because of the people behind me, who were staring at me like I was a crazy lady. Which probably was a reasonable response, as I was screaming "pick him up, pick him up!" to this other lady who I thought could reach him. (As her purse was right next to his ear.) She hauled him up by his arms and handed him to me. By then we were at the top, and I put him right on a display bed to check him out. He has a huge scrape on his back and a newfound desire to always hold my hand on the stairs, and luckily the woman I shrieked at was totally cool. In fact, after we knew he was OK, we all started giggling a little bit. Even Kaleb.
  • Kendell thinks he's the world's unluckiest Phase 10 player. He's certain he never wins (really he wins more often than I do), but on Saturday night when we played with our friends P&B, he totally had it in the bag. He was going to win Phase 10! He'd laid down all of his cards except for one, which was a wild he was saving to use at a dramatic moment. Only he waited too long and P put all his cards down, right before Kendell was going to. You probably had to be there, but it was hilarious. I've giggled about it all day.
  • Today I almost managed to not cry at church. More on why when I can write about it without crying.
  • Kendell and I substituted in the nursery at church today, in Kaleb's class. For their little lesson, we talked about music and how it is a blessing that makes us happy, and then I asked each of the kids to tell us their favorite Primary song so we could sing it. After two rounds of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," one "Popcorn Popping," and one "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes," it was finally Kaleb's turn to tell us his favorite song. And did he say any of the Primary songs he knows? about "Give Said the Little Stream" or "Sunbeam" or "Jesus Once Was a Little Child"? Nah. Not Kaleb. He wanted to sing "Bleeding Love." You know, the Leona Lewis song? "You cut me open and I keep bleeding, I keep keep bleeding love"? Yeah, that one. In nursery. He wasn't happy when I made him pick something else. Maybe he spends too much time hanging out with his big sister?
  • Since we ate Thanksgiving with the in-laws, we didn't have many left overs. So I made Second Thanksgiving tonight. Haley and I made one more batch of rolls, and we had turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and broccoli. I forgot I was going to make stuffing so that will have to wait for next time, but it was delicious! Here's the gravy secret I promised. When you prepare your turkey, put some onions in the pan with it. I put them very loosely into the cavity, too. (We've established there wasn't any stuffing in there, right?) Then, when it's finished and you've strained all the bits of onion and random turkey-skin remnants from the drippings, don't throw them away! Instead, run them through your blender until the whole mess is creamy, and then stir it into the gravy once you've thickened it however you thicken. (It seems like gravy-thickening methods are as personal as, say, deodorant choice; my mom and I are in complete opposite gravy-thickening camps, and it is one of the topics we Can Never Discuss.) The onions add the perfect underlying flavor layer. Delicious indeed!
  • I loaded the dishwasher, started it, and then began washing all the pans and everything else that couldn't fit. Then I made the kids help me dry. They thought it was so weird I was washing the dishes "with my hands" (that's a direct quote!) and are now vastly more grateful to have a dishwasher. We finished off the night (and the holiday week, i suppose) with apple pie. And yes: I totally had cheese with mine!

Hope your Thanksgiving week was equally as great!



I think your weekend sounds great. I'm jealous about your dinner with Dad & Mont. I understand why you would have been a little nervous - it's still so weird to be with him there.

That picture of Haley is so beautiful! She is a great girl, your daughter.


That is so great that you have a special night with your kids. When I take one child at a time, they talk and talk and I get to listen and enjoy just them. It's fun to do that and we both will remember that forever. That's great you got to be able to see your dad feeling and to spend time with him. That's a great picture of Haley and her Grandpa. Tell Haley she can make rolls for me any time. That is funny about Kaleb and the "bleeding love" He is so cute. Cheese on apple pie. What? I've never heard of that. Is it good? It sounds wierd, but sometimes weird things are good, like french fries and ice cream. I will have to try it. What kind of cheese?

Kayci Bitton

Sounds like a successful week! I absolutely LOVE the pictures you posted and especially love your hair!! Way cute!


I am glad you put all of those little stories on here. I can relate to almost all of them. Thank you!


Good job on the stories, so meaningful. I love reading your blog. I love your haircut. Look forward to your class this week.

Aprilyn Bucklein

What a great holiday! I'm glad you got to go see your Dad and the bonus..your Uncle!

jamie `

I don't even know where to start commenting.
golden corral: Can relate. It's definitely at the top of our kid list and honestly when I'm with them I'd rather be at a place like Golden corral because if we eat at a normal restaurant there's always someone sitting there staring sadly at their "bad dinner choice" and I sit there feeling responsible for their bad dinner choice. You can tell me it's not my fault all you want but I still feel responsible and it ruins my night. I want to fix everything. why is that?
*great hair.
*Haley looks so grown up in that picture.
*Jake told me about the 2nd thanksgiving today at school. He was so cute. It's rare he's not smiling. I love that about him.
*not sure where you're camped but I'm a flour girl myself. My gravy was the best ever this year. I put a spice rub on the turkey and celery, onion and an orange in the cavity. I never thought of pureeing the vegies cooked with it. I'll have to try that.
*loved hearing about your week.
*congrats on that orange dress you hot mama you!

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