Thanksgiving Birthday Jamboree!

December 1, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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What better way to celebrate my Thanksgiving birthday than to host Turkey Day at our house! We settled on a Cajun theme, ordering a Turducken Roll from the Cajun Grocer, cooking up our famous gumbo, adding corn bread stuffing to the menu, and of course we had to bake a pecan pie. The cooking commenced on Wednesday when my mom, dad, sister and niece descended. The kids took to tearing apart the downstairs while we grownups tore apart the kitchen.

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So, yeah, this is what unsupervised four-and six-year-olds do to each other. Actually, I think Evie did all the doing. It took Jill half an hour to untangle him from all the beads. At one point she asked Liam if he could shrink his head. She said, “Close your eyes and think real hard.” And of course my son tried his darndest. Adorable.

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photo3I’d made most of the gumbo before they arrived, so all that was left was to make the pies. And drink wine. And those who were still sober made the inevitable trip to the store for more ingredients (mom and James). We made two pecan pies, one sweet potato and one peanut butter pie. And the kids helped with chocolate chip cookies. Then it was time for dinner, a Tuscan Ragu that had been simmering in the crock pot since nine that morning. Scrumptious! After cleaning up, Jill graciously offered to stay with the kids while mom, dad and I dashed off to the movies. Jill had already seen Catching Fire with Camden that week, and since screening The Hunger Games for my parents the last time they visited, they couldn’t wait to see the sequel. I couldn’t either. Another excellent movie for the franchise! We didn’t make it home until 1 AM, and we were glad to see the house more or less tidied up and the children (and adults) fast asleep. Thanks, James and Jill, for holding down the fort!

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The next morning it was bread baking time! Evie loves to help Grandpa Mark with the dough. We tried to get Liam in on the fun, but he was feeling a bit overwhelmed with Doug, Cam and Milo’s arrival. So he stayed in the bedroom watching Planes while Milo disassembled Liam’s play room and Cam played Xbox Kinect with James. After the movie, the kids blew off some steam in the backyard, enjoying the warmer temperatures. We tucked the Turducken in the oven for awhile, then prepared the fixins: green bean casserole, corn bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. By 3:30 we sat down to eat, minus Evie and Liam, who’d already had their chicken fingers and mac n’ cheese when they decided they were hungry.

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The turducken was decent, though not fantastic. I wish I’d thought to pour the juice from the basting bag over the meat when we transferred it to the serving platter. We have another roll in the freezer for Christmas, so hopefully we can improve upon our technique then. The gumbo was a bit over-chicken-stocked (my fault – James wasn’t there to supervise), but everything else was incredible.

Proof that Doug was there >>

Tummies full and dishes washed (and washed and washed! Sheesh, this is unglamorous side of hosting the holiday), the Shavers and Liam and I headed to their hotel for a swim in the indoor pool. I didn’t feel like digging out my swim suit, which turned out to be a big mistake. Liam whined and complained that I wasn’t getting in the pool, so our swim outing stayed brief. Just as well – he was seriously hungry. So we Fletchers headed back to my house for some dinner (for Liam) and pie and wine (for mommy).

Friday we very purposely avoided shopping. We’re more Cyber Monday people. Mom, dad and Evie stayed for the afternoon, and after a lunch at Liam’s favorite restaurant (BJ’s of course!), we enjoyed a free day at the Wichita Art Museum. The kids had a great time running around, hardly looking at the art. I think Evie might have slowed down to take it in, but Liam had no patience for slow-poker-y. Art appreciation at age four is probably too much to ask. 

Once the last of our guests were on the road, Liam and I rolled up our sleeves and picked up the house. Which took forever. I don’t know how people do this with three kids full time. And then Liam begged me to set up the Christmas tree. So with that, Thanksgiving was over.

back to the daily grind

November 27, 2006 at 6:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I was fortunate enough to have a 5-day holiday break, but it makes coming back Monday that much more painful. They’re keeping me busy over here at the brown tower, and I’m remembering how annoying it is to commute in traffic 30 minutes each way. James and I are still itching to move back to KC, but I don’t think I mind working from home so much these days. For one thing, the bathrooms on my floor are under construction. There’s no real temperature control, and I’m about to rip out the PA system situated right above my head. I’m glad I’m getting a chance to see some friends this week, but I’m looking forward to getting back to DC. Gotta do more online grocery shopping, singshot kareoke, christmas decorating, and whatnot.

Thanksgiving turned out swell. My grandma and grandpa Weddle were there, as were my aunt and uncle from Indianapolis. The Amish ham wasn’t the disaster I forecasted. In fact, it was quite tasty. And my sister’s pies were a big hit. They didn’t even last until sunday. We spent Thanksgiving night taking a stroll around the neighborhood. My dad is walking every night, and I’ve been joining him while the weather holds out. An interesting mix of memory lane and all new LS construction. Downtown is almost unrecognizable, but the train still comes through at 7:30 and 9:30.

Friday morning we all went to Steamboat Arabia, which I’d seen a couple times before, but is always a delight. My mom braved Black Friday to pick up more Christmas lights, and we spent the rest of the afternoon doing her biding at the top of a tall ladder. Had a nice chat with some neighbors I hadn’t seen in years. Then ate some yummy turkey burgers for dinner (with the cheese in the middle and cranberry on top…mmmmmm). Saturday, the rest of the fam went home, and mom and I tackled putting up the Christmas tree. Three hours that night of HGTV holiday decorating specials got me in the mood, and now i can’t wait to make it home to do my own place. James won’t care, i’m sure, but at least i can savor it for a few days before he comes home.

Another reason i can’t wait to get home–i got some nice, fluffy, lavender towels and new bath rugs for my birthday. Laura Ashley, and half off at Kohls. mmmm…soft.

I haven’t heard from James today. He’s had spotty internet access all weekend, and I’ve mostly been chatting with him online instead of calling. He had thanksgiving dinner at the Ambassador’s house, which he said wasn’t as fancy as it sounds. He didn’t really do anything this weekend–just sat in his room watching TV, playing video games, and wishing he could surf online. He’ll be leaving for Uganda on Saturday, and then home the following Saturday, hoorah! He can’t wait, and neither can I.

Tonight, I’m off to Manny’s for dinner with some work friends. Then birthday dinner at Hibachi on Tuesday, which I’m already drooling about. That’s one of the things I love about coming back to KC. I’m always well-fed.

mama i’m comin home

November 22, 2006 at 11:56 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Home is where the heart is, they say. I was fortunate to have grown up in the same house all my life, and when i come back here, i encounter a flood of warm memories. My parents bought this “starter home” in 1978 for a whopping $30,000. I was 2 months old when we moved in. Over the years it’s had numerous face-lifts, paint-jobs, touch-ups, and rearrangements, but it’s still essentially the same place from my youth. I remember family dinners at the round table in the kitchen (which migrated to my house, and then to my sister’s) when Jill wouldn’t sit still to eat two bites before she was up and running around again. I remember all the performances I put on for the neighborhood kids on our front porch, which doubled as my stage. I remember when there was a creek at the end of our dead-end street, and my friends and i would catch craw-dads and look for bugs. (Well, I wouldn’t actually TOUCH the craw-dads–I was way too girly for that.) I remember Christmas Eves spent whispering to my sister from the top bunk, “Are you still awake?”

The rest of our clan will be arriving later this afternoon, but for now I’m sitting by myself in this tiny house of memories, letting them all wash over me. It’s funny what you’ll remember when you sit and think about it.

I’m looking forward to being here again for Christmas–the first trip home for the holiday we’ve had in two years. James will be home in a few weeks, and I’m hoping he’ll get at least a month home before he has to go back out again.

Harry, you devil

November 23, 2005 at 10:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Interesting piece of Harry Potter trivia. Did you know “muggles” was a 1920’s slang word for marijuana? I came across that in this book I’m reading, Cannabis, a History by a very proper British bloke named Martin Booth. He’s particularly fond of the word “whilst”

Timely piece of information for me to come across–I just saw the new Harry Potter movie last night. I enjoyed it, though I think the third movie was better. I imagine it’s difficult to distill such a long, complicated story into a movie that doesn’t require an intermission.

Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, and what with the complications of a possible move and change of employment, James and I elected to stay here and feast on pre-cooked ham, instant mashed potatoes and cranberry in a can. Not a bad way to celebrate the holiday, though we wish we would have been able to make it back to Kansas City. Maybe next year.

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