Family time plus nine

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This past week was somewhat of a blur and flurry, guests arriving, shifting, cooking, cleaning and finally everyone packed up and made their way back to their homes. Yesterday afternoon the last of my children headed back home and now the house is relatively empty. The house is still a bit messy and today will be my big weekly clean up which means an all day effort of moving furniture, sweeping, scrubbing and finally everything will be back in place, shiny and routine. IMG_1500 (1)

Last Tuesday morning I cleaned the house, made guest beds, moved furniture around to accommodate our large family and stocked the pantry with basics.

Wednesday was spent baking and waiting for my kids to arrive. I worked on my contribution to the dessert table with a turtle cheesecake.

I did my last minute jobs to ensure that our house was once again ready to be bursting with the usual antics, and soon after Yusuf and Alicia came driving up in their brand new electric car. I am assuming in years from now the grandkids will look back and laugh at us oldies who were amazed by a car that needed to be plugged in and charged at few and far between supercharger stations!! The next order of business was a spin in the vehicle and a return home to get settled in.

My middle child flew into Spokane late Monday and insisted on chauffeuring  Grama and Grampa to our home on Wednesday. Meanwhile Saleeha and Edison would arrive around midnight, Osama, Jacki and kids made their way to Fattima and Ben’s that day around 3 and eventually everyone ended up at the family home for pizza and of course this included, home repairs, playing games, wrestling matches and some time for chatting.

That night my middle child picked up the engaged couple at our tiny local airport and everyone settled in.

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After a good night’s sleep it was time to head over to Fattima and Ben’s for breakfast and precious moments were spent with the whole family. All nine of my children were in one place and it was just like old/new times.

Babies were put down for naps, cars were loaded and it was time for the days festivities to begin.  This year I took charge and made sure things stayed on a loose schedule and it went fairly well. The family picture was scheduled for 12:30 and although everyone hemmed and hawed they knew I would not take no for an answer! I started with a picture of my parents and all of my children._DSC0019

Jacki and I switched places as photographer

Eventually Heme’s friend came over and took a photo of the whole group _DSC0056

Cooking commenced and a whirlwind of pans, dishwashers and dryers, oven overloaded with food, turkey and stuffing, shepherd’s pie and sweet potato au gratin, spinach salad, smashed potatoes and rolls were all served promptly at 3:00 p.m.

After dinner everyone pitched in and cleaned up following the jobs list to the letter. Dessert was the only thing that occurred out of order and a line that formed behind the cheesecake was inevitable. I really liked the recipe and only made a few changes, some of the batter for the cheesecake was mixed with caramel sauce and a portion was mixed with chocolate, marbling it with the plain cheesecake. I chose to make a chocolate ganache and topped that with caramel sauce and pecans.IMG_1091

Our white elephant was the best ever and my gifts were stolen numerous times, specialty candy and a puzzle of Seattle, a stack of scratch tickets, VR headset and a holiday tin of popcorn and finally I ended up with outdoor led light torches for the yard. The other gifts included; a tortilla press, a digital cooking thermometer, gift basket from the World market, snowman cookie jar, tiny pool table and candy and too many others to list.

Games, cards and movies were watched, babies carted around and general family time shared.

Cars were packed, bags loaded and slowly each family and individual went back to their place of residence leaving our cozy little household of only 4.  I think Alayna expresses our sentiment in splendid fashion with no words!IMG_1216

 

This Thanksgiving I was encouraged to take charge once again and so I found my rhythm and my place as the head of household.

Blessings to all and thankfulness for every day!

Thankful

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It is the day before Thanksgiving and as I sit under the red blanket from mom, lights from our first small Christmas tree cast a shimmer on the window. Thoughts of previous years run through my mind, children, grand babies, turkey, game tournaments and also anxiety.img_1013.jpgNo one is up yet and as usual my 3:30 wake up comes and goes without notice. Hot steaming coffee is enjoyed from a large Christmas mug and a calm silence once again highlights the living room and kitchen clocks that keep time with a back and forth ticking pattern.

This has become my time, early morning starlight, fog, frost and glory. Some days I wonder what progress has really been made and then in quiet moments like this I remember and remind myself it is the little things that can ultimately turn out to be the quite large things.

I was once a valiant fighter and keeper of household peace and at times a stone monument unwavering and bold. Diapers, school trips, no electricity, no beds, mix batter, fold laundry, smile and breathe. In what seemed like a mere blink, I found myself reduced to a child like state, unable to manage the tiniest of tasks. But now a rebuilding and knowledge that I can move on and begin again has truly taken hold and for that and so many other things I am grateful.

I am thankful for:

1. My faith

2. My family; children and their partners, my parents, my three grand babies, my sister, nieces and nephews, my special cousin/sister, brother in laws, extended family.

3. Each child of mine and their heroic efforts to live and breathe in freedom. To love me without conditions or expectations. My heart and soul!

4. My mother and mentor who taught me to be my best no matter what.

5. My father who gave me courage and the strength to be me.

6. My sweet grand babies who have helped me to heal and have brought a new sense of purpose to my life and their amazing mommy who accepts me for the Grama that I am.

7. My friends who have encouraged and supported me

8. The ability to cook meals unhindered by anxiety for the most part.

9. Gorgeous nature God has put before me on a daily basis.

10. Being able to walk and exercise.

11. A significant reduction in anxiety and panic, good physical and mental health.

12. Overcoming an eating disorder that was part of the abuse cycle.

13. Having a home.

14. Having food, clean water and medical care.

15. Realizing I cannot be and am not perfect and neither are my family and friends.

16. publishing a book.

17. For my daughter’s marriage and her very special husband.

18. An engagement and upcoming wedding for my eldest daughter and her wonderful beloved.

19. Last but certainly not least, getting to spend special time with my lovely sister, mom and dad again as a little family unit!

One foot and then the next builds a path to freedom.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The weekend before Thanksgiving

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The last day of school was Friday and now the kids have a week long break. This makes them happy and also brings me great joy as well. A menu has been posted, clean up jobs listed and the traditional family photo is scheduled.

Everyone will trickle into town over the next few days and guests will be divided between the newlyweds home and my house.

A competition over who has the best white elephant gift will inevitably continue from last year and a trophy that was fashioned for only one winner will be held in the highest regard! Meanwhile I will fawn over grandbabies, take the family picture and try to keep things on track in a loose but firm fashion. In other words, I am ready!

This weekend I made chocolate zucchini bread/cake and it was delicious! Moist, rich and decadent are the words I would use to best describe this cake. I am thinking of ways to change it so it is healthier and when I do, you will be the first to know!

Fattima and Ben popped over to share our special  Cougar gold cheese from Ferdinands on the W.S.U. campus. She made cheesies and I made chicken strips. https://lynzrealcooking.com/recipes-2/appetizers/cheesies/

After getting a few groceries I had the pleasure of being waited on by my gorgeous daughter. What could be better? She also made peppermint bark which turned out well.

More decorations were placed around the house and finally I just threw up my hands and announced that is was time for Christmas!img_0998-1