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Month: November 2016

thanksgiving 2016

thanksgiving 2016

I must admit to getting a little tired of everyone being like, “I’m grateful for my family!” at Thanksgiving because . . . obviously. So letting go of the obvious, I will say that this year I am very grateful to have had the energy to get through some stressful/difficult/busy months without feeling overwhelmed or crazy or frazzled or impatient. At least on a regular basis. So that’s something. And it gives me hope for the stressful/difficult busy month ahead.

And then there was Thanksgiving Dinner, which I hadn’t given a whole lot of thought to on a cultural level until this year, but it made me happy to think that the idea of Thanksgiving is to gather as many people together as you can to share more food than you can eat. It doesn’t even matter if you know all the people very well! How great is that?!


Finally, I thought I would share the recipe for the dish that “won” at our Thanksgiving dinner. I made it last year and got rave reviews, so I think it’s got to be a thing I do from now on. It’s a 2-potato gratin and it could hardly be simpler. It’s adapted from this recipe from the NYTimes.  (I also made classic pumpkin pie, pear and cranberry gingerbread crumble, baked artichoke hearts, dinner rolls, and egg nog. And Oliver made origami turkeys for the tables.)

You need:

butter, for the baking dish (or cast iron skillet, which is what I used)

2 large or 3-4 small sweet potatoes

4-5 yukon gold potatoes

1 cup or so of heavy cream

fresh thyme

salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 400.

Peel all the potatoes and slice them thin (like 1/8 inch). Butter your gratin dish or skillet and put down a layer of the golden potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme and pour a little cream over it. Then put down a layer of sweet potatoes and top with more salt, pepper, thyme, and cream. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes. (I did 5 layers in my 12 inch skillet: 2 each of sweet and golden potatoes and one mixed layer on top.)

Bake, uncovered, for 35-45 minutes. Check to see if they’re done by poking with a fork. The fork should go in easily. Also, it’s amazing if the top layer gets brown and crispy because then its basically potato chips. Enjoy!

the buckeyes

the buckeyes

Some people are surprised to discover that we are football people. But really we are only college football people, and really we mostly focus on Ohio State and BYU. And even then, we can’t get many BYU games, so all our hopes and dreams are pinned to the Buckeyes. Which works out well because the Buckeyes are generally a pretty good team. (Small understatement.)

This year the ante was upped by the fact that Michigan, OSU’s biggest rival, was also really good. Like, they were ranked 2 and 3 in the nation. So when we sat down to watch the game with our pan of buckeye confections, we were aware that it was likely to be intense. thebuckeyes

What we were unprepared for was the level of intensity. They call it the Big Game. But this was a BIG GAME. When OSU’s kicker missed his 2nd field goal of the day, we just about died. When he finally made one with virtually no time left on the clock to tie things up, we were beside ourselves with relief. But then we had to keep our wits about us through two overtimes, which proved to be somewhat difficult. (Thankfully we had our buckeyes to help us manage.)

When the final touchdown was scored and OSU sealed the victory, we were shaking pretty well with nervousness and excitement. It’s kind of a silly thing, being invested in a football game like that. But then again, it’s our thing. We have a  good time. Making the buckeyes, cheering, moaning, holding our breath and hoping—it’s all about bonding. And silly and surprising as it may be, it’s a good tradition to have.


(And the fact that Elsa is so into that she is writing “Ohio Stat Unavsree” just . . . YES.)

marathon #7: canyon city

marathon #7: canyon city

It’s been just over a week since I ran the marathon and I’m a little bit in mourning and a little bit unsure of what to do with myself now.

Training went so well and I felt so good doing it that I kind of wanted to just keep at it for the rest of my life. But I also promised Elsa that we would take a little break from it because she doesn’t love sitting in the stroller while I run. Not to mention the fact that I’m still feeling a little tight and sore in my hamstrings. I must have really put my legs through a lot . . . .


Okay, I totally put my legs through a lot. This race was downhill. Really steep downhill. It made it really hard to gauge speed or effort. And since I decided not to have my phone alert me of my pace and there were no clocks on the course, I really didn’t have any idea how fast I was going. Somewhere before the half way point, some guy asked me what my goal was. When I said I had no idea, that I just wanted to get to the end, but that I thought I might be able to break 3:20, he told me I was running with the 3:10 group and doing a good job of it. A few miles later, when the hill stopped going down and went slightly up, I left him and the rest of the 3:10 hopefuls behind.

I don’t remember at what point I started feeling leg cramps, but it was early enough that I thought if they kept getting worse, I was going to be in trouble. But at every aid station I poured water on my legs and that seemed to help. My legs were burning for a good chunk of the race, and the water cooled them enough that they felt almost refreshed for a few minutes between aid stations.


After the 20 mile mark, I really started counting down the miles—and people started telling me that I was the 8th woman, 7th woman, top 10—placements I had no idea of even hoping for. It was really encouraging to hear, though I was so taken aback by it that I didn’t know what to do with it.

I had planned to call Micah either right before or right after I crossed the finish line because I was sad that he and the other kids couldn’t come with me. I wanted to share the moment with them. I told myself that I wouldn’t pull my phone out until I hit mile 26, and then I wouldn’t look at the time because I wanted to see it at the finish line. Those last few miles were really long. I know I was slowing down, but I could have sworn the mile markers were getting farther and farther apart

Still, I did wait, and at mile 26 I did call Micah. But he didn’t answer. So all I got out of that was some funny race pictures of me being absorbed in my phone at the most dramatic part of the race. Haha. Oops. When I realized I wasn’t going to talk to Micah, I put my phone away and turned the last corner to the finish line. And I was blown away. It was 3:08, ticking toward 3:09. I put on the gas for the last several yards and crossed at 3:08:49. Taking into account the 30 seconds I waited to cross the start line, my time was 3:08:19.


The first people I saw when I crossed the line were my sisters and Felix, who had arrived just in time to watch me come in. It was practically perfect. And I did get to talk to Micah a bit after that, though the finish line area was really loud and I couldn’t really hear him. Too bad.

After that I had some time to recover and try to eat something while we waited for Abby to come in. She did, of course, make it worth the wait, dancing around the last corner and into the finish line chute.

And now it is over. So quickly. After so many months of training, it is a little strange to not have a schedule or a plan. A little freeing, of course, but a little unnerving too. It certainly was amazing to do what I didn’t think it was possible for me to do. I hope I get the chance to do it again

the first ever sisters weekend

the first ever sisters weekend

It’s been ages since all my sisters were together in one place. And the past couple of years have been fairly trying for all of us in one way or another (moving across the country, having babies or not having babies) so it was definitely high time for us to be under one roof again. We needed a time and aplace to act much younger than our ages and fall into our familiar roles as we lovingly bickered with each other.


True to form, we were mourning the end of the weekend before it even started as we texted back and forth the week before about how we couldn’t believe how in a week it would all be over! {cry face emoji}

But we made the best of it. I got in at 2:30 am and Abby was at the airport to greet me and Felix and take us to Sarah’s house where we crashed on the couch/bed and slept for a few hours before Felix had had enough and wanted Aunty Abby to take him to see the trains so I could sleep. Abby was happy to oblige, of course. (As long as she—and everyone else—got a nap later in the morning.)

Sarah showed us a good time by taking us to Fiore where the bread is legendary and the sandwiches made with it divine. (And don’t you worry, the children are well-behaved, too. Just ask the two ladies who saw our crew and were for sure scared that we were going to ruin their lunch . . . but then we didn’t! Booyah!)


We went to the Broad Museum for a bit of culture and decided that it’s okay to not identify with all of the modern art. Although we did appreciate the balloon animals and much of the more simple, straightforward pieces of art.

And then we went to bed. And remember how Abby and I went to bed at 2:30am? Well, the next day we got up at 2:30am to get ready for our marathon. So, yeah. Good times. (And don’t you worry, Felix gave his other aunties a good time too. Nothing like being up with a screaming baby in a house full of potentially screaming babies . . . .)


Marathon recap will be in another post, so I’ll move right to the post race celebration: burgers and shakes. Because that’s what you need when you’ve run 26.2 miles. After which Abby and I needed to shower (the salt was thick on my skin and the stink thick on my clothes) before we went to Abby’s apartment for a grand tour and to meet up with my cousins for some dinner at Cafe Rio.

We dined and talked and talked and talked and talked before heading back to Sarah’s for more talking and more ice cream (because you can’t have too much ice cream on race day). And then, at 1:00 we went to bed. That’s 22 1/2 hours of awakeness for me and Abby, if you were counting. I think we deserve a prize. I think Felix and I also deserve a prize for not waking up when little cousin Mia had a rough night of it and woke up the rest of the house—but not us! We must have been tired.


The next morning we went to church and then Abby took me and Felix to the airport. And just like that, it was over. Sad day. But at least we have several dozen photos from the weekend, and matching loungewear to remember each other by.