Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

Finally, the Thanksgiving post! Only a month late : )

preparing the pie! crust for pumpkin chiffon

 I had just finished mixing the dough for the rolls and setting them to rise when I realized I forgot the sugar!!! It calls for 3/4 cup of sugar, which was too significant of an amount to try to go without, so I had to throw away the whole chub! 9 cups of flour : ( If it wasn't Thanksgiving, I would totally have tried to make the rolls work anyway, but when it's your responsibility to bring rolls for the feast of the year, you can't mess it up!

 round 2....they turned out so buttery and perfect, mmm my mouth is watering!

 To keep the kids occupied (Austin was playing football) I gave them their own "ingredients" to make a Thanksgiving masterpiece. They loved it! Play doh, fuzzy balls, wooden dowels galore.

Everyone was in town for Thanksgiving! It was the first time we've all been together for Thanksgiving (or any holiday, really) in a long time. And Grammy Bee came, too!

 Natalie got to have a sleepover while everyone was in town, sleeping by Sam and Hayden, reading with Grammy Bee, and going to the traditional Chuck E Cheese's with PopPop. She couldn't have been more thrilled!

We gathered at the Plumb house in the afternoon, bringing with us our friends Landon and Emily. Also joining us was Tim, Sam's prior voice teacher and a family friend. It was good company! I love the feeling of a festive, full house. Especially when it's coupled with delicious food!

testing out the kid table

final touches on the meal, with Rippy keeping watch over the kingdom

 "look, Big Jack is here!"

watching the parade, intoxicated with smells!

 (we had to take two so I'm at least in one of them! I have taken it upon myself to be the family documentorian, which is great until I look back and realize that I'm in none of the pictures!)

I think Natalie was almost more excited for the food than anyone else haha

Everything was perfect. After we ate, everyone sunk into the post-feast stupor, and my dad and I took the kids to the park. We spent 2 hours there! It was a beautiful afternoon, and the kids were thrilled to be outside after a cold spell the week before.

 Stockton "borrowed" a friend's scooter and rode the loop for half an hour. He loved it SO much! (And we found him one for Christmas, muahahaa).

I just love pictures with all three of them in the frame. They're the best : ) 

 My dad and I finally tired of the park, dragging the kids back to the house, where they got distracted by the cottage. We were so close! But it was such a nice day that we stayed out for even longer, all the while imagining the dessert celebrations that were going on inside. They actually waited for us, so our concern was unnecessary : )

My favorite part of Thanksgiving was getting to see my sister! She's doing awesome in college in California and I've missed her!

A few months ago we declared that this Thanksgiving we would finally take family pictures, and everyone was given color assignments and requested, on pain of death or worse: family exile, to keep Friday afternoon open so we could actually get a picture of all of us together.

 Natalie was excited that we curled her hair. I thought she looked darling!

trekking in style to the appointed place
 I already posted the real family pictures, but here are some of the behind-the-scenes:

It was kind of stressful, as any forced activity can be with kids, but we got it done and they turned out great, so definitely worth it. The next morning Austin volunteered to stay home with the kids so I could have some much needed alone time at the temple, and it was so wonderful! The picture doesn't capture the beautiful sunrise (I went to an early session) or the glow that was restored inside of my worn-out soul, but I want to remember it.

 After the temple I picked up my mom's birthday bundt cake (shout out to Nothing Bundt Cakes, SO DELICIOUS) and went to my parents' house. Hayden, Sam and I went on some errands, including a necessary makeup/hair tutorial from Hayden upon my desperate plea. I'm such a noob at anything related to beauty! Hayden is a whiz though, so I picked her brain.

Then we met at Wing Stop, gorging ourselves on honey barbecue and garlic parm wings. It was a nice way to cap off the fun week with everyone, and I went back to Lincoln feeling full of good family vibes (and wings). Austin benefited from everyone's donated leftovers, haha. I think he had like 15 assorted wings in the takeout box!

 (you can barely see Mom's sunflower bundt cake in front of her)

our new family picture/rearranged wall

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Les Mis, Dates, and Freak Outs

We saw Les Mis in Kansas City a couple weeks ago! It was (obviously) completely phenomenal and we were just absolutely entranced.

We had a sliiiiight hiccup right before we were leaving for the 3-hour drive to KC...Max realized that my ticket (which he had purchased separately for my birthday) was for Saturday night, but his and my mom's tickets were for the following Sunday night! We all stared in horror at each other and then scrambled to rectify the mom called the box office, who were unhelpful and brief, so Max contacted TicketMaster, who put him on hold for half an hour. During that half hour, we rehearsed a script and I took a turn calling the box office, which again was extremely unhelpful and unforgiving. Eventually Max got hold of a real person and, with great shouts of joy and relief, they worked it out to change their tickets to that night so we could all go together. Phew!


I sang myself hoarse in the middle seat to Dear Evan Hansen, Wicked, and of course, Les Mis

I lol'd, but didn't point this out to Max since
it was still too fresh (but srsly, check your dates!)

my seat was probably five rows in front of this row, the very furthest right seat. for being
so far over, I felt like it was a really good seat! 

everywhere was PACKED for dinner, we couldn't get any reservations, so we walked into a good-smelling restaurant called Rye and snuck over to sit at the bar, where you don't need a reservation, muahahhaa. The food was good, albeit overpriced. We were just relieved to find a place to eat!

it being a steak place, I naturally partook of the side dishes rather than the entree
(mac n cheese and some of my mom's roasted parmesan potatoes)
It was such a fun outing! I was hard core drool, head dropping, nodding off on the way home though...we didn't get home til almost 2 in the morning! My bed time is like 9pm! Thanks Max for the tickets and Mom for driving!

Austin has been enjoying his Honest Abe's gift cards, all $600 worth! He has deigned to let me accompany him : ) For a date last week we got burgers and then went to a bookstore downtown that we hadn't noticed til recently. It's called Francie and Finch and it is so cute! Expensive, of course, but just what you want it to be otherwise. I will definitely be back! 

Austin hates the fries but I loooove them

aren't the bright windows merry!?
Erika sent us this picture while we were on our date (p.s. thanks for babysitting!):

This past week has also brought a new level of Stockton freak out. We can't figure out why he's been so sensitive, but one small thing will get him so worked up that he cries dramatically for soooo long and has a really hard time coming down from it and relaxing. Basically the only thing that works is to wrap him in his beloved purple blankie and snuggle with him until he can calm down enough to move forward. This doesn't work, of course, when I'm at the store or somewhere without purple blankie, but luckily I did have it during a freakout at the park, so he was able to relax. I thought the image of his cozy purple "nest" left intact on the bench when he was ready to emerge was so funny.

 super mad because we went to a park that he normally loves but I guess wasn't expecting? hard to know
abandoned nest
Also, we saw the newest Star Wars this week! Austin went with his whole office to the 6:30 am showing opening day, and he ordered me to see it the next day so we could talk about it haha. It was great!

it was delightful having 3 whole hours in the
middle of the day to myself! (and Rey)
 Another date we went on recently was at Austin's classmate's house. She's from India and made their whole cohort this AMAZING authentic Indian food! I only took this one picture but she made tons of delicious, incredible, mouth-watering food. I was only sad that I didn't have a bigger stomach to stuff more of it in, it was sooo yummy. Thank you, Ananda and family, for introducing me to Indian food and instilling in me a lifelong love of it!

We had friends over one night and decided we needed a treat to go with our chatting, so Emily and I went to HyVee to see what we could find and came home with this ENORMOUS chocolate box. It was only $10! for 54 pieces of chocolate!

I don't think you can properly tell how huge it
is, but it took up like half the length of our table

 We got to babysit Camille one night and the kids were obsessed with her. Aaaand this was my view on a slow night at Tico's.