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2008 November

Scenes from Thanksgiving

November 27, 2008

Yesterday afternooon I flew into Chicago. Again. I feel like I should be on a first name basis with the flight crew now.

I woke up this morning at 4am. Half because I was worried that I would over sleep and miss my 6am pick-up. The other half because my cell phone alarm is set to go off at 5am, which is 4am central time.


Media truck in the parking lot at o’ dark o’clock. Either that or it is a snow cone truck.


Carol giving a radio interview. I really want to steal that sign and bring it home. It would be a sign for the kids to leave me alone. I may punch a hole in the top of it and then on bad days just wear it around my neck.


Not a Butterball. But so creative. Roxanna said that she could make one of these. She looked at me like it was something we could all do easily. Uh, yeah, I could buy one of these!


Mary giving an interview. She has forgotten more about turkey than you will ever know. I kid. I don’t think she has forgotten anything.


Clare hard at work. I love her.


My boots. I love these boots. Probably more than I love Clare, but shhh, don’t tell her.

Apparently the most popular question that people call the Talk-Line asking on Thanksgiving Day is what to do with their turkey that is still frozen. I learned that the correct answer is not, “Wow you are shit out of luck. Go find some Chinese take-out.” In fact, you can cook a turkey from frozen.


Food stylist making sure the turkey shows its good side.

It is now 8:15 CST. I have a radio interview coming up soon. I am all prepared to answer the question of what to do if your turkey is frozen and you want to eat it today. Which means that I won’t be asked this question.

Posted by Chris @ 10:30 am | 33 Comments  

T-Minus Two Days

November 26, 2008

Normally I would be elbow deep in planning side dishes, defrosting my turkey (IN THE REFRIGERATOR!), and cleaning my house. I would be worrying about the dining table centerpiece and keeping the kids occupied while I cooked.

But this year I am going to be in Chicago on Thanksgiving Day and therefore I am not going to be doing any entertaining or cooking. Go me! I probably shouldn’t be as excited as I am. But I really am looking forward to seeing the Turkey Talk-Line in action on the busiest day of the year. Sort of like being at Santa’s workshop on Christmas Eve.

My husband is planning on preparing a scaled down Thanksgiving dinner, I suppose as scaled down as a dinner for 9 people is, so that when I arrive home Thanksgiving night we can all eat together.

I am, however, elbow deep in pie baking. Only one pie thus far is for us. The one that caught on fire when Miles turned the oven to BROIL. I scraped the burned top off and it should be fine. Nothing but the best for my family! Oh, I am kidding. But after baking 14 other pies to sell, I am not about to bake another pie.

First I learned how to make a perfect turkey. Now I have turned into Betty Crocker. I hardly recognize myself.

Stay tuned for my live post from the Talk-Line on Thanksgiving Day. I am bringing my camera.

Posted by Chris @ 12:12 am | 13 Comments  

Mmmmmm, pie

November 25, 2008

I baked 14 pies yesterday.


With help.


The pies looked perfect before they were baked. Afterward, they definitely looked made by a kindergartner homemade.


Today there will be no pie baking.

I just finished a radio interview with some morning show somewhere in the U.S. Don’t you love how specific I am? I was terrified that Miles was going to wake up in the middle of the segment. He is three and therefore devoid of all rational thought and reasoning ability. And when his schedule is disrupted at all, to include my being on the phone and not fawning all over him, feeding him freshly peeled grapes while I polish his spun gold halo, he is likely to be a little asshole. A little SCREAMING asshole.

In fact as I type this he is rolling around on the kitchen floor having a tantrum because his sister got the box of cereal out of the cabinet and he wanted to do it. Even though he doesn’t actually want to EAT cereal. See? Asshole.

So I prepared for the interview by opening a large package of Twizzlers. I was fully prepared to feed him the entire package in exchange for his silence. Or use them to create a ball gag. Either one would have worked.

Luckily he stayed asleep.

This morning I have a desperately needed hair appointment and am hoping to squeeze in a manicure. Tomorrow I will be flying back to Chicago where I will spend Thanksgiving Day with Susan and Roxanna at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line headquarters.

You might just see us on one of the morning talk shows.

Posted by Chris @ 9:01 am | 41 Comments  

Eight Years Old

November 18, 2008

Eight years ago you were born. Proving that colic can in fact strike a family twice. It’s been eight years. We are still waiting for it to end. Anytime now would be fine… just sayin’


You have long ago lost that brand new baby smell. Now the only time I have the urge to smell your head is when you get out of the shower with a completely dry head of hair, yet insist that you washed it.


You were a serious baby. You did not like to smile. Ever. You were so stingy with your smiles that we have very few caught in photos.

Even now you are still a serious kid. Last spring your baseball coach called you intense. That is a very fitting description of your personality. You are intense. You never joked around with your team mates in the dugout, unlike your 9 yr old brother who is always up for goofing off. Your oldest brother helped coach the team and said that you really never even SPOKE to the other kids. When I asked you why you were so quiet you said that you weren’t there for fun. Oh, the seriousness of coach pitch baseball! Who knew Little League was not supposed to be fun.

You Are a prickly pear of a kid who doesn’t like to be held or hugged. Sure you tolerate the good night hug and kiss, but other than that you have no particular longing to sit on my lap or have me hold you. And you never really have. That was why this past year when you were so sick and in the hospital it was particularly heart wrenching to have you holding onto me. I knew how badly you must feel to want to curl up on my lap and have me hold you tightly.


I manage to catch more of your smiles now on camera.

We are going to Disney World next month and we haven’t told any of you kids yet. Mostly because you are the type of kid who likes to ask questions. You also do not like any sort of variation from your normal routine. It sends you into a tailspin. A crazy swirling tailspin where you ask question after question after question, even though you know the answer already. It’s like you just want to have the reassurance that nothing has changed in the three minutes since you previously asked it.

And while I can sit here and type about it all calm and logically, when it is going on it drives me crazy. CRAZY in all CAPS. Because do I really have to answer the question of whether or not you are going to sit next to me in the airplane again. (The answer, by the way, is HELL NO, NOT IF I HAVE A CHOICE.)

(Oh, I kid.)

(Surely I will have a choice.)


It is amazing to me that eight years have passed since you were born. When I look at you I can still see your baby face, just slightly more angular. You love to play outside and climb trees, or whittle with your tiny jack knife. Your birthday list this year has included things like a “machete” a “really really huge jack knife” and a “real gun, or if I can’t have a real one a Nerf gun” You are either going to grow up to be a survival expert or a serial killer. Both of which scare me slightly.

You have also inherited your father’s athletic ability, because Lord knows there is none of it on my side of the family. I come from a long line of people who prefer not to exert themselves or sweat unnecessarily.

You are a hard worker when it comes to perfecting skills that you want to perfect. I wish one of those skills was reading, but you have zero desire to read anything. You will go outside and throw a ball over and over and over again until you can throw it exactly the way you want it to go. Or you will practice doing a jump with your skateboard until that too is perfected. You love to draw and currently are working on perfecting your snake and dragon drawing abilities. As a result I have reams of paper stacked on my counter filled with nearly identical drawings.

Happy Eighth Birthday, my son. You push me to my breaking point nearly every day with your obstinate behavior. But honestly I would not have you be any other way. I love you.

And do not worry, there are plenty of strangers who will be more than happy to sit next to you on the plane.

Posted by Chris @ 3:49 pm | 49 Comments  

Come chat with me

November 17, 2008

Do you ever think, “Hmmmm, I have a question about preparing my turkey. I wish I knew where to turn.”

Well, now you can chat with ME! I will answer all your pressing turkey questions. And share all my new found knowledge like the COIL OF FOIL and tell you where exactly the thigh is located.

Do not fear. I will have help answering the questions. It won’t be like the blind leading the blind. The Turkey Talk-Line experts will not allow me to answer wrong.

You could probably also ask me about what I plan on wearing on Thanksgiving. Or we could talk about shoes. Thanksgiving shoes! Shoes for which I am thankful!

So how can you participate?

On Tuesday, November 18, (That would be tommorrow)from 12-2 EST I will be available to chat. It is easy to participate. Go to Butterball.com and click the link located on the homepage. Agree to the rules and guidelines, basically agreeing not to swear or make dirty jokes about the turkeys, and you will be ready to start chatting.

So make sure you come and join me. Otherwise I will be sitting in an office in Chicago doing nothing.

Posted by Chris @ 9:01 pm | Comments are closed.  


November 13, 2008

To my oldest son on his fourteenth birthday,

The other day we were in the car driving to buy you some new clothes. Something you have recently started caring about. Before this I could have tossed you a bag of mismatched ill-fitting clothing and you wouldn’t have cared. Now you have opinions about these sort of things. Which is refreshing to be honest.

Your little sister and brother had come along with us and they both fell sound asleep in their car seats. You looked back at them and laughed. They were cute, their heads both leaning to the side as if their necks were made of jello.

“I can’t believe Miles is going to turn four soon, Mom. I mean, I remember when he was born!” you said.

“And I remember just as clearly when you were born.” I answered.


Fourteen years ago I had no idea what I was in for. I didn’t have much of an idea of what it meant to be a mother, other than having a tiny baby. A tiny baby I thought would be like the babies on tv, chubby and smiling, like an adorable accessory.

I had no idea how much I would change. How much you would change me.

Two weeks before my due date I went into labor with you. I remember pacing the floor of our apartment after my water broke. The contractions coming one on top of the other.

I remember laboring with you in the hospital. I didn’t know that someone could feel so much pain and survive. It was like nothing I had ever felt before. At one point I remember telling the nurse that I changed my mind. I didn’t want to have a baby after all and I would just be leaving thank-you-very-much.

Of course that wasn’t possible.

The labor itself was short maybe four hours until I reached 10 cm and began to push. And push and push. You were stuck. And so I pushed and pushed. Finally after three hours of you stuck between my tail bone and pelvic bones, your heart rate decelerating, the doctor got out the vacuum and pulled you out. It is not a gentle thing being sucked out of someones body. The doctor pulled with all his might, I half suspect he had a foot up on the end of the bed for leverage. It was awful. Broken bones and stitches. God Lord the stitches. I have blocked most of that out.

Then I hemorrhaged. Blood was everywhere in the room. I don’t remember most of this because I was losing consciousness. I do remember a controlled sort of panic in the room and getting shots in my legs to stop the bleeding. It would be some hours later before I would be aware enough to view the scene and think it looked like a horror movie butcher shop.

It would be a few hours after that a nurse would catch me crying in bed holding you. It took a few minutes for me to gulp out that I was sad you would be an only child. There was no way I was going to go through THAT again.

And yet…

Again I laugh. All the plans I thought I had, the absolutes I held onto. You have paved the path for your siblings behind you. You are my practice child… the one who gets me at my most uptight, my most fearful, my most uncertain. You are the one who gets all the rules, until I realize around kid number three that the rules are not that big of a deal. And by kid number five, well, it is a free for all.

Not really, it just seems that way because I have a clearer picture of what is important. I have honed whatever new mothering skill it is which that particular age requires. And most often I have found that the new mothering skill is just remember not to get hung up on the small stuff.

You have a very different mother than your youngest siblings do. And really, that is not always a bad thing. I remember what it is like to be fourteen. Very clearly remember in fact. So clearly that I wonder how the heck I became old enough to have a child of my own be that age.

I look at you and can sometimes still see the baby in your face, the toddler when you smile in that mischievous way. But the chubby cheeks are gone. The dimpled knuckles and wrist creases have been replaced by arms that have muscles and veins; arms that more resemble those of a man than the little boy I still think of you as being. I wonder where the time has gone. Because you aren’t a little boy anymore.

How is it possible that you are that same baby who was torn from my body that cold rainy November day? I wish I could remember those days and years with better clarity. So much of it has been lost from my memory.

I wonder how much of right now will eventually be lost. Will I only vaguely remember the year your football team went to the National Championship, like a tiny footnote? Will I only remember the white (WHITE!!) Underarmour sweatshirt that you want to wear every single day when I see it in photos? Even though it is white (WHITE!!) and teen boys and white are not a pair made in heaven and I end up washing it almost daily. One day will I be an old lady in the grocery store and get a whiff of Axe body spray and wonder how I ever could have forgotten that scent? Will I forget what it is like to cook in bulk, or will I still cook in bulk and wonder why I have so many leftovers?

And more importantly, will I ever forget what it is like to see your face every morning? Or will I remember with a touch of sadness.


Happy Birthday my son. I love you.

(I was waiting to post this so that I could add photos, but my scanner is not working. Or more accurately I can not work my scanner. I am sure that the scanner itself is working properly, except for being owned by an idiot.)

Posted by Chris @ 10:33 am | 96 Comments  

Crazy Assed November

November 11, 2008

Praline sweet potato pie

I asked some friends to guest blog for me over at Work It,Mom! November is turning into a crazy assed month with working for utterball-Bay and fundraising for the football team. Have I hit you up for a donation yet? No? Want to donate? Wait don’t run away….

Seriously though, I have sent out the following email to friends and family and people I hardly know but happen to have their email addresses.

I always hate getting these mass emails and yet here I am typing one.

My oldest son’s football team has been invited to compete in the National Championships. It is very exciting for all of the boys, okay and I’ll admit the parents too. Woooo Hooo! Unexpected sunny Florida vacation! However, the boys only have three weeks to raise enough money to go on this trip. The league has no extra money. In part this is because they spent it buying brand new top of the line helmets and equipment for all of the boys. Also, in 40 years that the town has had youth football they have never had a team make it to the national playoff level.

And this is why I am emailing you. They need to raise upwards of $20,000 in order to go on this trip. That’s a lot of bake sales and standing outside of the grocery store in the freezing cold, in between school and practicing four days a week. They are all doing it joyfully and working hard, but let’s be honest there are only so many rice crispy treats you can sell in three weeks.

To be clear, it isn’t for my son that I am asking for donations. Many of the kids on this team have never been on an airplane. Many have never been on a vacation. Their parents simply can not afford it. If enough money isn’t raised they will not be able to go.

And so with that I am asking you to consider making a donation. (It is tax deductible, if that matters to you I will pass on the info you need)

If you only have a dollar or two to spare, that is perfectly okay! Clear out those excess dollars in your paypal account. Every little bit helps. If I lived close by you I would come over and dig the spare change out from between your couch cushions. If you happen to have $20,000 extra laying around and want to part with it well, feel free.


If you would like to donate any money you can email me and I will give you the paypal information for the team. Seriously even a couple of dollars makes a difference. I don’t quite feel comfortable putting the team information out here for all the crazy stalker people, unless of course, you are crazy stalker people with money. Then, bring it on.

Metalia is the first guest blogger up and this recipe is making me drool. Seriously, it sounds (and looks) that good. Are you all reading her blog? Because you totally should be.

Recipe blogged at Work It, Mom!

New post also up about my most memorable Thanksgiving

Posted by Chris @ 2:08 pm | 22 Comments  

Audacity of Hope

November 5, 2008


Did anyone else think that they would wake up this morning and think they had imagined it?

Did anyone else have kids who incredulously asked, “What do you mean there has never been a black man as a president?” A question that these children’s children will never have to ask.

The way our generation incredulously looks back on slavery, suffrage, equal rights.

Did anyone else have a daughter who asked, “What do you mean there hasn’t been a woman president?”

In time, dear, in time.

Thus concludes any and all political posts from me. Until I change my mind.


Posted by Chris @ 1:12 pm | 91 Comments  

Scenes From Halloween

November 4, 2008


Yes, most of those costumes probably look familiar. The little kids shop for their costumes in this great store called The Attic.


This costume has been worn every year since it was bought. In 1972. Or maybe it just feels like I have been looking at that long.


We discovered a few years ago that the easiest way to carve a pumpkin is to use a Skill saw. Honestly, if you don’t own one you should go out and buy one solely for your Jack o’ Lantern carving needs. This year the skill saw torch was mostly handed off to my oldest son.


He carved the pumpkins of the little kids to their specifications. He is such a good big brother.


I love how they all did more traditional jack o’lanterns this year.


This is the first year that no one has used the book of pumpkin carving templates, opting instead to do their own.


Miles decided at the last minute that he had to be Mickey Mouse. This is a costume he wore TWO years ago. I believe it is a size 24 months. It was stretched so tight that I could barely get the hood up onto his head. And after trick-or-treating was over he had a dent on his forehead where the elastic was pulled so tightly.


My daughter also picked out a too small costume. You can’t tell in this photo but the legs of the costume ended at her knees like knickers.


This was the first year that I didn’t drag a stroller around the neighborhood. Instead I dragged a three year old. A three year old who acted at times like he was on a forced death march rather than a casual stroll where he received candy every 30 feet. Oh, such torture.

Posted by Chris @ 8:43 am | 39 Comments