The death and devouring of Mr. Torrance Lewis Turkeyleg, Esq.

The players:



That’s right folks, we named the bird, soaked him in a brine, roasted him, boiled his neck and other various innards and danced around his delicious smelling body the whole time.  No wait.  I mean, we said Thank You, thank you Torrance Lewis Turkeyleg, Esq for your humble life and delicious death.  You were good, we loved you well.

With my parents in Australia, and the Walton family house sitting for them in their absence, it was a lovely Thanksgiving built for three.  We started early, brining our young tom turkey on Wednesday and making the cranberry sauce the night before.  On Thanksgiving morning, we went for a hike and came home in time to put Asher in the oven and the turkey down for a nap.  (Just kidding Mom!)  While Asher slept, Drew and I made a rosemary pumpkin au gratin, green beans with caramelized shallots and lemon, sausage stuffing, and of course the bird and the gravy!  And also some popcorn because I was hungry, and this cook needed a little more than champagne to keep her going.

I had fun using my mom and grandmother’s things (or possibly my great grandmother’s? I’ll have to get set straight on which china pattern belonged to which lady) to set the table, and took a lot of pleasure in making it festive despite the small crowd.
(clearly I’m not encumbered with the need to “iron” and “starch” for the holidays…I’m pretty sure that sound you’re hearing is Martha tsk tsking from somewhere in Connecticut.)

For Asher’s part, he started out like this:

Which quickly turned into this:

Which then looked like this:

And it all ended here:

Drew and I both gave thanks for the abundance of our lives, and of course for the little turkey smearing cranberry sauce all over himself next to us at the table.  Looking into the grinning face of our son at any meal is enough to send us into fits of gratitude, but on this day, enjoying a quiet but celebratory meal as a family, listening to The Band in the background and enjoying the simple meal that we prepared together, it bordered on overwhelming.  We’re so thankful for this life, for the joy, for the shelter, and even for the occasional storm.  So Grateful.

We finished the meal (that’s right, the bath happened mid-meal) smiling as Asher crawled around entertaining himself while we heaped our plates again.  This is the first Thanksgiving that I’ve ever been to where someone ended up naked at the table, but after seeing how much more fun Mr nudie booty was having, we might make a family proclamation.  Kidding!

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Where does the time go?

There is so much that I have wanted to share over the last two weeks, and now that I finally have a few minutes to get down to it, it’s hard to know where to begin.  Of course the first thing that comes to mind is Asher…we had our two month appointment at about 10 weeks and he was 12lbs, 10 oz and 23.5 inches long (75th percentile in both weight and height).  Our doctor reported that he (well Asher that is, not Dr. Ogan) is developmentally ahead of schedule with his hand and head control and generally seemed very pleased with Asher’s growth and development.  We’ve been battling a pretty mean diaper rash since Asher was about 1 week old that was accompanied by painful gas and some prolonged baby acne, and after multiple other stabs at curing it, Dr. Ogan suggested that I remove dairy from my diet which appears to have done the trick.  This is, of course, a bittersweet revelation as I have something bordering on an obsession with cheese, but every happy smile during Asher’s diaper changes reminds me that no double gloucester is worth my son’s pain.  I have discovered that there is soy creamer for my morning cuppa which will be a fine substitute for the time being, and admit that this is a bit of extra help and incentive as I continue to work to shed those baby pounds.

We had a really wonderful trip to NC two weekends ago.  Everyone spoiled us terribly with their affection and enthusiasm and we drove home with the gooey glowey feeling of being loved, and a deep sense of gratitude towards the community that is still so much my home in many ways.  My friends Claui and Sue and my Aunt Vicki threw us a really lovely party with tons of amazing homemade food, and hanging on the wall as we walked in was Asher’s gorgeous alphabet quilt.  I am lucky to have been raised in a community of quilters, and so most births, weddings, and a few other major life events, are marked with the delicate stitching of friends.  I grew up falling asleep every night staring at the quilt that was made for my mom and me when I was born, and now Asher will do the same, seeing many of the same names that were on my baby quilt sewn into his.  I must say that having his baby quilt hanging on the wall in his nursery is making me feel rather bonafied as a mom. Here are some pictures of Asher meeting his cousin Jack at the party:

Jack couldn't wait to hold the baby, too cute!

It's hard to believe that some day soon they'll be running around together!

The quilt hanging up outside at John and Vicki's

For more pictures, check out Vicki’s web album from the weekend here!

While we were there, Asher also got to meet his Grandaddy Wayne, and I must say that the two got on exceptionally well.  One of the first things that we said about Asher when he was born was how much he looked like my father, and it did my heart good to see those two together.


Finally, we had a really fantastic Thanksgiving weekend…my stepmother Ruth and my little sister Julie Claire came to Virginia for a visit and we all ate at my Mom and Skip’s house.  The spread was excellent, we had turkey of course and then roasted butternut squash with a cider vinaigrette and parsley, lemony green beans with toasted walnuts, Ruth’s delicious corn pudding and homemade rolls, sour dough and chorizo stuffing, spinach salad, and carrot cake and Mom’s family famous pumpkin chiffon pie for dessert.   I dabbled in my first bit of vegan experimentation with a dairy free cream cheese frosting for the carrot cake which actually turned out pretty well.  I firmly believe that there is no true substitute for cheese, especially when it comes to cream cheese frosting, but for this one Thanksgiving, it worked out just fine.

Charlotte Marie Beck

Whew!  That’s the update.  Today is our niece Charlotte’s first birthday, and Drew’s Aunt Pat’s birthday as well, so happy birthday ladies, and many returns!  To see more pictures of beautiful little Charlotte and her awesome older sister Caroline, check out Ashley’s blog here.  In this season of gratitude, Drew and I can’t help but be a little overwhelmed at how blessed we feel, and how very much we have to be thankful for.  Of all of the things that we say thanks for, time and again the people in our lives top the list, so I thought I would leave you with this quote from Albert Schweitzer:

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.  Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.