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Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend (and a birthday, too)

We had such a nice, quiet Thanksgiving at home. We have always spent Thanksgivings either with friends at their houses or with family at theirs. Either way, someone else has always made the turkey.

Last year, our first year in Ohio, was also our first Thanksgiving ever just us, at our home. I don't know if this is our Ohio Thang, but it has been nice. Not nice in a, "Hey, let's never spend Thanksgiving with anyone else ever again!" kind of way, but nice in a way of not worrying about your kids running around like banshees with the banshees of other people you really haven't known very long or nice in a quiet relaxing way of not packing up the car with said banshees and driving 1000 miles or so cross-country kind of way. That kind of nice.

But since John prefers ham...?

Hi, my name is Jolyn. I'm 37-years-old and I have never even attempted to cook a turkey.

My culinarily inclined mother-in-law has assured me that as soon as the opportunity arises she will show me how to prepare a "kick-ass" turkey. Although I am certain that I should care more than I do that I have never made one, I will certainly take her up on the offer as it seems like a life skill that everyone should have. Like swimming and treading water, or sensing your child is about to throw up a split second before she splats all over the carpet. Not that I would know. And that really isn't a very pleasant analogy before showing you how much the rest of my family didn't care that we didn't have turkey, brainwashing by their father notwithstanding, because I actually did prepare quite a scrumptious Thanksgiving spread, if I do say so myself. And coming from me? That's saying a lot.
Conner couldn't believe his good fortune. That right there should tell you something, too.

And that orange stuff on his plate? I was so annoyed with John when he demanded -- yes, demanded! -- that I make sweet potatoes. I don't even like sweet potatoes. So I looked up a couple of recipes, closed my eyes and picked one, then went out and bought some yams. Same thing, right? (Never mind.)

And then he had the nerve to question me! "Why aren't you cooking them on the stovetop? Isn't that how you make sweet potatoes...?" Hey, buster, how would I know. I don't even like the things. And go away, these are going to be good.

And you know what? They were! Who knew? Though it might have had something to do with all that sugar I baked them with (or that they weren't actually sweet potatoes...).
It took some time, but Olivia eventually cleared her plate as well. That girl is a good eater. Except the yams? She had to think about it, but, meh. Not so much. Hey girl, I can relate. But it cracked me up how much time she took thinking about it because the rest of us were going on and on about how good they were and she really wanted to go along for the ride. I finally told her, "You know, Olivia, it's okay if you don't like them." It was still a while later before she finally gave me the thumbs down.
As for this little guy...have I ever mentioned that he's a bit of a picky eater? Needless to say, he was done in record time, and while we were all still salivating over the sweet potatoes/yams he quietly slinked off and gee you'll never guess where I found him.
It sure made for a quieter dinner.

At one point over the course of the day, Olivia got ahold of the camera. I'll spare you the pictures she took of the cat's bum, and her little brother's bum, and her own bum...but I loved this one.
Conner actually just looked over my shoulder and said, "You're going to post that?" Hey, if Uncle Rich can handle it, you can, too.

Like the true Americans we are, we put up our decorations right after Thanksgiving day. If it were up to Conner and me they would start going up while the ham is still digesting, but John puts his foot down. Must. Wait. Until after. Thanksgiving.

I asked Conner, "Do you remember two years ago when your dad was deployed and we started putting up Christmas decorations like a month before Thanksgiving?" This is the kid who, at six years old, started confiscating Christmas decorations from around the house to take to his room and display on his dresser. This boy likes him a Christmas aesthetic. But he shook his head, he didn't remember. How long ago that deployment must seem to him now.

So our tree is decorated (with lots of little help)...
And topped off...
Then it was time to celebrate a birthday!
You just can't find this level of blond-mop cuteness wrapped up in a tidy little package with a perfect little bow on top anywhere, just let me see you try it. No matter that he's destroyed my puzzle in-progress this weekend no less than three times since I started it, I wouldn't trade this ornery little cuss for all the riches on earth. And that's a fact.
Some complete randomness below, but I couldn't resist. What you can't hear in this next photo is Olivia bawling her eyes out. While watching "Snoopy, Come Home," of all things. Yes, as in the classic cartoon film from 1972. It was the part when Charlie Brown was so sad after Snoopy left and there's a really sad music score in the background and Charlie Brown can't sleep and he can't help himself from taking Snoopy's dinner out to his doghouse even though it's empty and it goes on and on and on...
And so did Olivia, long after Snoopy came home. We're all like, "See, Olivia? It's all happy now!"
Oh, the drama. It was like the girl just needed to get it out and Snoopy just opened the door. I feel your pain, child. I'm ready for school to start again, too.

So many things to be thankful for -- even the drama. That's what makes the quiet times that much more precious. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.

Easy Sweet Potatoe Casserole
3 c. grated sweet potatoe
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. milk
1/3 lb. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar

Mix all ingredients. Bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees. Use white sweet potatoes only.

This is the recipe I started with. Then I promptly went out and bought yams that were decidedly orange, not white. It took two large ones to make 3 c. At least they looked large to me. Maybe they were just average, who knows? I've never bought yams before. (Did I mention that?)
But they were delicious. I guess you mix anything with enough sugar and butter it's going to taste good.

When Sean-Peter is being reprimanded I prompt him to say "Yes, Ma'am" as a response to letting me know he is listening to me and ready to comply. His little cuteness has always pronounced this as, "Yes, Yam." (That is, he's pronounced it this way for almost six months. Before then, no telling. But that's another post.)

A big plus to making yams for the first time was that I had something to show him and shake in his face, "This is a yam! Do I look like a yam?" And we had a little speech therapy lesson with a visual to boot. And I got him to touch it, too, so yay for OT. Olivia and SP both giggled to beat the band.


Mike and Erin said...

Too cute. I loved your Thanksgiving story. Your kids look amazing. We are at Ramstein now, so if you ever find yourselves in Germany, feel free to drop in. :)
God Bless!

the dragonfly said...

Sounds like you had a good time. We did too, although it's sad to have a holiday with all the daddy's gone, you know? Still, we had good food, and the kids played, and the moms talked and laughed, and then we made ice cream, was good. :)

Cherilyn said...

Here's a turkey tip. Ease into your turkey training with a turkey breast in a crock pot. Cover with lots of water so you get the yummy broth! Delish and oh so easy. Put it in frozen in the morning and by evening you have dinner...and lunch...and dinner...and lunch...and if you're Dean, breakfast too! I have cooked only one or two turkeys in my life and neither were that great so when you learn how to do the kick ass version, be sure to pass it along. Although I think to some degree you have to be poultry gifted. Mark's grandad made the best turkey I have ever had and he told me how he did it. I tried to do exactly what he said and it was the driest turkey I've had to this day.

Here's my sweet potatoe recipe:
Bake 2-3 large sweet potatoes on tin foil (to save clean up) at 350 for 60-90 minutes. Poke them first so they don't explode. Peel and mash them (mixer is easiest)then add:
1/2 c. milk (cream is better)
2 eggs
4 T butter
Put in casserole dish and top with:
1/2 c chopped pecans
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. flour
1 T. melted butter
Bake 30 min. at 350.

Tam said...

Thanks for was a great post! I love your writing Style! I made BAGGED sweet potatoes...yeah The new ones in a bag you micro for 12 minutes then pour in a bowl and add Marshmallow fluff, cinnamon and sugar and butter and MASH...yeah I was lazy! LOL It was just the four of us and NO one eat sweet potatoes but me anyway...LOL LOL

Anonymous said...

Oh my word I LOVE the pics of Olivia sobbing her heart out over Snoopy. Sooo cute! Awww....

judy said...

We missed you guys! Thanks for the newsy post. That helped a little.

The Farmer Files said...

Visiting from Tam's blog...that little Conner is going to make a wife very happy one day when he lets her do all of the Christmas decorating she wants!!

Carmen said...

Love this blog with all the info and pictures!!! You do such a good job of making a holiday special. Olivia's empathy for Charlie Brown is so endearing...but oh I feel her pain...such a tender heart is both wonderful and hard.