Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What is it again, that cometh before the fall?

Just before Thanksgiving, my local grocery store handed me a free frozen 15 lb turkey. When I brought it home, Lance said, "Not again! Couldn't you just tell them no? Why don't we donate it?"

This response is a reaction to last year's free turkey, which I brined and roasted, using the Wolfgang Puck recipe off Food Network. It was a complete disaster. I cooked all day long, slaving over the gravy, the potatoes, the turkey--all of it. The turkey was undercooked, and way over-salted. The gravy--for all the work I did--was only marginal. We ended up throwing most of the meal away. Fortunately, I did not cook this for anyone else--I just made Lance and I a Thanksgiving dinner of our own, a week or so after the big day, because I had the free turkey and I wanted to practice.

This year, I waited until Sunday night after Thanksgiving. Instead of Wolfgang Puck's recipe, I used Alton Brown's. I bought a new thermometer. I worked for an hour or so, nothing too taxing, then served up the turkey, gravy, roasted potatoes, store-bought salad, and cranberry sauce. It rocked. Ask Heidi, she was there.

Did you get that? I roasted a turkey, and it turned out. I am completely thrilled and impressed with myself, and I don't care if I am 35 years old and I should have been able to do this years ago.

Also? My Christmas shopping is done. Every gift is purchased, half of them have been sent on their merry way across the country, several of them are even wrapped and hidden in my garage already. Yes, I still have MANY left to wrap, but I don't have any more to buy! What else am I going to do at naptime except wrap Christmas gifts?

Tonight I finished the Christmas cards, too. I just have to drop them off at the post office tomorrow and I can cross that project off the list. Because my mother-in-law is so proud of her grandchildren that she insists I send Christmas cards to every person she has ever met, including the nun who taught Lance second grade, I send out over one hundred cards each year. I think maybe 25 of those are friends of mine, and many of those "friends" are people I only stay in touch with via the annual card. I love getting cards, though, so I keep them on the list.

Do you know what this means? I can enjoy the rest of the month! We can go see Santa in the mall at our leisure, on a weekday afternoon when Lance has some free time, and miss the crowds. We can pick an evening and go see the festival of lights at Griffith Park. One day next week or the week after I can make cookies with the kids, before I have to start gearing up for the Christmas Eve party. I can watch the TiVo'd episodes of Santa Claus is Comin' to Town and Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer with the kids and not have to rush them off to bed so I can get my wrapping done. Lance and I can take a walk with the kids in the evening, and take in all the neighbors' pretty lights. Hooray!

Last but certainly not least, Vivian keeps impressing us with her verbal abilities. I think she's pretty average with talking, but then Phantom told me she might be advanced, so I'm sticking with that. She does have a ton of words, and more every day, it seems. She has two sentences: "ah deed eet! (I did it!) and "ah seee ooo" (I see you). She's been full-on walking (as in, no crawling, not at all) for about a month now, and she's getting more coordinated every day. Best of all? She understands most everything I say, so if I tell her not to touch the tree ornaments, she looks at me for a minute to make sure I mean it, and then she doesn't touch the ornaments. So NOT the way Isaac reacts when I tell him not to do something, and he doesn't even have a language barrier to use as an excuse.

Although Isaac is doing good things, too. Well, no, not really. Actually Isaac is in a really difficult phase right now, which involves a lot more yelling on my part than it probably should. But this is a post about pride, after all, so . . .He knows how to spell his name. He knows how to spell Vivian's name. He throws and catches the football really well. He remembers things that astound me. Like the Dr. from our surgery in June. Or the birthday party he went to a year ago.

And? My birthday is tomorrow.

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