Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

This is what our succulent turkey looked like before we hacked it to pieces and devoured it. I had to post of picture of what I consider to be my best roasted turkey yet! I've produced many a dry, chewy or just plain tasting turkey in the past. I even tried brining the turkey last year, which I found to be an enormous waste of salt and not much difference in juiciness or flavor. This year I bought a fresh, free range, 12 lb. turkey and rubbed it with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and onion powder, then stuffed it with fresh thyme & rosemary sprigs, orange & apple slices, and onions. I cooked it upside-down for the first 2 hours and then flipped it for the last 30 minutes or so. Yummmmm.....

This is where Hannah hung out while I cooked the turkey, peeled sweet potatoes and whatnot. John took Christopher and Sarah with him to the gym where he worked out for nearly an hour before feasting time.

After all was cooked, we packed up the car and hauled everything over to Nana and Pop's house, where Nana provided the cornbread dressing, pumpkin pies, cool whip, and best of all: a clean house with a table that was already set!
Side note: John, his parents and I have had an ongoing debate as to which is superior - cornbread dressing or bread stuffing. I've given up on making bread stuffing because everyone down here (south of the Mason-Dixon) prefers cornbread dressing to what we are used to in the North. I still prefer bread stuffing (comfort food, I guess), but I've grown to like cornbread dressing and even had 2nd and 3rd helpings of it today.

Would you believe that it only took 2 shots to get all of us looking and smiling at the same time?! This would make a great Christmas card photo if only we didn't have a much cuter one of the kids in their matching pjs.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sarah's birthday

Sarah turns 3 this Tuesday, November 20th, so we celebrated today with a few of her girlfriends. She had been looking forward to her party all week long and had a great time. I've learned that with 3 year olds, all you need are balloons, pizza, cupcakes and juice boxes...and a place in which they can run wild and trash with toys. Instant party.

The only group photo where all of the kids who attended actually sat in the same place for the picture.

As soon as the pizza was served, the house got suddenly quiet.

There really are 3 candles on that cupcake. One of them just got eclipsed by the other. Although, whenever I ask Sarah, "How old are you?" and tell her to say, "I'm 3" she says, "No, my number 2."
Sarah actually sang "Happy Birthday to Sarah..." along with everyone else. It was pretty cute.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Christopher's choirs

By looking at the picture above, you'd think that Christopher is sounding out letter sounds or attempting to spell words. But if you have spent any amount of time in our house where Christopher makes repeated, lengthy visits to the magnets on the fridge while singing songs, you'd realize that he is organizing his 'choir.' What's funny about this is that this is just the most current in a long line of his obsessions. When he was crawling, he was obsessed with spring-bound door stoppers and drawer handles. Every time we would enter a new house, he would make a b-line to find the door stoppers and drawer handles and flick them. You could see his satisfaction in getting several of these going at the same time. It really was pretty impressive (and noisy) considering he wasn't even 1 yet, but he could crawl from one door stopper to the next with breakneck speed. On the flip-side, you can imagine his confusion and disappointment at finding certain door stoppers that were not spring-bound or handles that wouldn't flip. After he started walking, he left door stoppers behind for bowl-spinning. Don't ask me how this started, but I guess he noticed over time that throwing my plastic lids and bowls (I kept a stash for him) a certain way would cause them to spin, so he eventually figured out how to do this intentionally. I think the most he could get spinning at once was about 7 or 8 bowls. This was a long-lived obsession (and I mean obsession) because he would be content to spin bowls, lids, rings, or anything remotely round for hours in a day. He was actually kind of 'famous' for this particular skill as kids at church (and sometimes adults) would ask to see Christopher spin the bowls. Whenever we would visit someone's home, he had no qualms about asking to play with the hostess's kitchen bowls and friends were rated according to the size and quantity of their bowls. The louder the better, so spinning the big, stainless steel bowls on the tile entry hall or the cement patio in the backyard (no tellin' what the neighbors were thinking...) was most satisfying.
Thankfully, we went digital before he kicked the bowl-habit, so here's a picture of him in the act taken in March 2006 (he was 1 month away from turning 3).

Back to the choir: As you will see in picture number 3 (below), he will even organize his cars into a choir. I remember finding him in my bathtub one time (no water, mind you) where he had gathered everything within reach (soap, shampoo bottles, candles, etc.) and organized them on the floor of the tub, singing choral songs. When I walked in and looked at him, he simply looked up at me and explained that this was his sea choir as he waved his hand over the objects. John and I both enjoy listening to choral music, so we were happy to foster his interest. For a long time now, Christopher has been able to identify the basses, tenors, altos, sopranos, and various orchestral instruments when listening to classical or choral music. We just had no idea that he would incorporate this into his playtime. One time I pointed at one of the lines in his 'choir' and asked if they were the altos, and he said, "no, those are the mezzo-sopranos." Duh. Sarah will provoke him by stealing one of his magnets and then run through the house. I am alerted to this by the sound of, "NO, Sarah! That's a soprano! She just needs to praise God!" It would sound so spiritual if he weren't yelling...

His very favorite choir to listen to is the St. Olaf college choir. We recorded their annual Christmas program last year and I cannot tell you how many times we have watched it. Nana bought him another St. Olaf choir video for Christmas, where all of the various choirs at St. Olaf college sing in a combined concert with the full orchestra. Shortly before I am discovered taking the video below, you'll notice the color groupings of the magnets which represent the different choirs and you will hear him singing, in a raspy voice, one of their songs - "Gloria in Excelsis Deo." 
The one thing that all of his various obsessions have in common is that they're all noisy.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Ok, forget Halloween...Horray for Reformation Day!!

As is usual when John is out of town, I am having a hard time motivating myself to shut it all down and go to sleep. So what highly productive thing am I doing? Blog-surfing. Don't ask me how I got there, but I found this post regarding October 31st and creative ways to celebrate Reformation Day. It's short and enjoyable to read, so I recommend it. Now I'm all inspired to implement this fun and much more worthy practice in our own family. Besides, John would make a great Martin Luther, don't you think?