The One Where Thanksgiving Was Exactly What it Should Be

This past week I have been delinquently MIA from pretty much all computer activity. This was not necessarily on purpose, but my life evolved into a tech-free zone with family visiting, babies arriving, and much merriment to be had around the national stuff-your-face-holiday, Thanksgiving.

My parents and littlest sister, Emily, rushed into town the Friday before Thanksgiving because my most adorable and all-things-sweet-and-cute niece was on her way! They arrived around 9:00 pm and we all promptly visited Starbucks to pump our bodies full of caffeinated peppermint mochas and egg nog lattes for the long night ahead of us.

As it turns out Cynthia, my eldest sister in labor at the time, needed some rest so everyone but my mom and JP (Cynthia's fiance) headed home around 11:45 expecting a middle of the night phone call we all hit the sack.

By the next morning it was apparent that the labor wasn't progressing as we all had hoped and Cynthia was exhausted. At noon on November 20th, they decided to go ahead with a c-section to get little Annalee out of there and into the bright world of love that awaited her. Now...here is where I feel like a crap Aunt.

I had a hair appointment at noon. I had scheduled this several months in advance and desperately needed some work done AND thought I could be back in time for a first look at Annalee with JP through the glass after the c-section. Turns out c-sections take like 30 mins and I missed out on those very precious moments first glimpses through the nursery viewing window for cell phone pictures, oo's and ahh's, and tears.

I missed it. and I really really regret it...However, luckily I didn't miss out on the first no-glass meet and greet with the little one. And like I mentioned here she is perfect. And has such a sweet temperament. And I could hold her all day every day and never get sick of it. And just talking about her makes my heart hurt a little bit because of how much I miss her right now.

The next few days after Annalee's arrival were a blur of hospital visits, big moves from hospital to home, adjustments for my sister, adjustments for the baby, etc, etc. (everyone is doing very nicely now - BTW)

Before I knew it Thanksgiving eve was upon us and mom and I did one really serious shopping trip to fill 1.25 carts full of enough food to feed an army and then went home for approximately 5.75 hours of pie baking (I made 1 killer apple pie, and 1 pumpkin pie all by myself!) and food prep for the big day. It was painfully obvious how out of shape I am because just standing for that long made my legs hurt....Oy Vey!

Thanksgiving day was exactly as it should be. I woke up, and because of urging from Emily and because I wanted to enjoy the day guilt free, we went for a run. Didn't get far (maybe 1.25 miles) but nearly died and definitely burned some calories. I crashed in front of the couch and zoned out at the giant commercial we call entertainment, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, then showered and started cooking around 11:30.

Making a big meal is somewhat like being a conductor of a professional orchestra or maybe a bomb defusing specialist. The timing has to be exactly right or everything will fall apart and you will lose your patrons/ everything will explode and your patrons will die.

Thus - much team work was needed between all people involved. Mom and I made all the side dishes (corn pudding, green bean casserole, sweet potato souffle, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn - Hello starchville!) Dad manned the gravy, 22 lb turkey, and excessive-but-necessary chex mix and Emily may or may not have burnt the rolls, but we got everything to the table in time for a feast that probably would have been enough food for 20. We still have quite a few leftovers in our fridge.

after the meal i promptly passed out on the couch from a tryptophan hangover and didn't wake up till it was dark outside and my tummy notified me it was time for something a bit sweet. (apple pie!!!)

Literally, the remainder of the weekend I think the girls did was one of 5 things:

  1. Watch movies - mostly of the Christmas genre, but we may or may not have watch Boondock Saints and Elf back to back.
  2. Eat - Leftovers, pizza, sausage casserole Friday morning, more left overs, more pizza. It was glorious.
  3. Drink Coffee - my family knows how to put away coffee like a bear preparing for hibernation knows how to put away...whatever bears eat (berries? bunnies? humans?) Probably should have thought of a better analogy that I actually knew the second part to...
  4. Puzzles - We did one and a half 1,000 piece puzzles while my family was here. They left me with the hard half of a very hard puzzle to finish on my own and I realized last night that every time I closed my eyes before bed I could not stop picturing puzzle pieces! 
  5. Stare at Annalee - We are staring at her like willow does at the food on a visitors plate. 

The remainder of the week the guys did one of 2 things:
  1. Fix Stuff: Our house is old. it's falling apart. they fixed our kitchen sink (which broke again after Josh fixed it 3 months ago), Our refrigerator (which might still be broken) our bathroom's leaky valves (which ended up being a much bigger ordeal than anyone anticipated including tearing tiles off the walls, not being able to find matching tiles, grout and dirt everywhere, and so on, and so on). I'm so thankful for this being done, though! I think it will save money on our water/heating bill in the future. Thanks Josh and Dad!
  2. Watch sports: Notre Dame game, Florida game, OSU dominating Michigan game, Predators hockey game. 
Wish I would have gotten more sleep during the break, but it was so good to be with family. I got to spend some quality time with my sister Emily and my mom. I'm quite thankful that I will get to see all of them (plus rebecca - my 3rd sister) again very soon.

And one more for the road....just because.


Annalee Grace

Behold. A precious baby has arrived.

My new niece, Annalee Grace, made her grand debut on Saturday, November 20th at 12:15 pm. She is 8 lbs and 20 inches long of squishy cuteness. As most babies are in their first few days, Annalee mostly sleeps, eats, and poops at this point, but she has completely captured the hearts of our entire family.

Proud Papa.
Giant hand uncle.

Doting Nana.
Facebook pictures, updates, and comments have been ringing through the digital airwaves for the past 48 hours and I'm pretty sure everyone other than our family is getting sick of it, but we don't care. We think she is impossible to get sick of and is most definitely something to write home, er...tweet about. So we post pictures of her getting her first foot massage.

We post pictures of her getting her first diaper changed.

We post pictures of her wearing an Ohio State buckeye hat.

A fan from birth.
We post picture of precious little sleeping face and we all oooo and ahhh at her every face scrunch, yawn, and sneeze. She sure knows how to perform for an audience of on lookers only 3 days in.

I'm so happy to be an aunt again. It's especially exciting having this baby come from my older sister and living so close to us. I feel very lucky to get to be a big part of her life in these next few years to come.




me: Oh hey katherine, what's up?
myself: oh...not much. Just doing some work, hanging out and ABOUT TO BE AN AUNT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!

Yeah...that conversation didn't really just happen with myself, but the emotion did.

My sister is in labor. I can't wait to meet the adorable little curly red-headed-wee one!


In Which I Beg for Your Book Suggestions.

I love to read. When I find a good book i will tear through it in a few days without blinking an eye. Okay...so I blink my eyes a few times during those few days, but it's rare. I get engrossed in the characters. the language. the plot development. the emotions. the action. every little piece of it i fall in love with.

And when I turn that final page and read that final word, i find satisfaction mixed with disappointment. Happily finished with yet another good read and feeling a bit proud that i tore through the book so quickly, yet longing for a next chapter to read and fall deeper into wonderland.

It's been since Summer that i really felt this captivated by a book and i'm in desperate need of another good read. Every time i go to the library or book store i find myself overwhelmed with choices and can never narrow down which next book i should read.

I need suggestions. I typically only read fiction. I'm willing to venture out to non-fiction, but only if you are willing to bet your good book-worm name on its quality. Here are a few types of books i tends to read and like:

  • Relationship heavy books. I've read and liked: Of Mice and Men, The 5 People You Will Meet in Heaven, Little Women, and (gasp!) Twilight.
  • Books where characters are moved by God. I've read and liked: Redeeming Love and The Shack.
  • Fantasy/action and (awkwardly for my age) young adult books. I've read and liked: Chronicles of Narnia, Wicked, The Hatchet (sad since i read this in 5th grade and still consider it one of my favorites?), The Hobbit, Harry Potter.
  • Classics, but not Nathaniel Hawthorne. The man bores me with his writing. I've tried 3 times and can't get through the first chapter of Scarlet Letter. I've read and liked: Wurthering Heights, Tale of Two Cities, Pride and Prejudice
Help! I can't spend another night watching Hulu when there is so much great literature out there that is only separated from me because of my indecision!


Wish List

I made a Christmas/Birthday wish list for my husband today. It was a bit of a marathon process and was tons of fun to make, but honestly at the end I felt a bit like a gluttonous over-indulgent, materialistic American.

Before I share it with all of you, let me preface it by saying that I know I have EVERYTHING I need. I don't really even want all of this stuff because that would be completely wasteful and I would feel a bit disgusted with myself if ever this much money was spent on one person. This was just a fun way of shopping for me without spending any money and also, I love making lists.

With that said, I present you the 2010 Katherine Michael Wish List. Try and not get overwhelmed...or get sick by this excessiveness of it all



me: what did you take for lunch?
i miss you.
i wish we were working side by side instead of 30 miles away from one another.
what if the apocalypse happens and all cars are rendered useless.
we wouldn't be able to see each other for a whole day because we would have to walk so far to get together.
Sent at 10:30 AM on Tuesday

me: you must be busy
or the apocalypse just happened!
Sent at 10:35 AM on Tuesday

Joshua: sorry
I took mushrooms
Sent at 10:36 on Tuesday


France - Days 3 and 4

Day 3 - Saturday, October 2
Saturday morning Josh and Nate woke very early to ride with Doug and Sarah on the shuttle to the airport for their 8:30 am flight. Around 7:30 Josh returned to the hotel room and woke me from slumber to get ready for the day so we could head to Chambery. Sadly that morning while getting ready I blew-up my awesome (and expensive, might I add) hair-straightener by using an adapter instead of a converter by accident.

Before we left Geneva we stopped quickly by our first French bakery to pick up breakfast for the road. It was a quick stop, but i've discovered a little bit what Heaven might be like.

Ayla was just as mesmerized as I was. 

When we reached Chambery I was amazed at the size of the town. For some reason, I had always pictured a quaint little village and you could walk from end to end in about 2 mins. As it turns out, Chambery is much more than a village, or even a town, for that matter. It is, in fact, a bustling city nestled among mountains and filled with high rises, honking cars, shopping, and restaurants galore.

Awkward 1/2 picture of Josh showing a bit of Chambery.

After unloading our luggage at Nate and Jo’s apartment, the boys returned the rental and we grabbed our wallets and headed to the market. About a 15 minute walk through the busy Saturday streets led us past a rather large demonstration and on to the packed marketplace. Live chickens, ducks, and geese for sale on the left and tomatoes, squash, peaches, and colorful flowers for sale on the right. It was like the Franklin farmers market on crack.

Hundreds of vendors with every type of bread, cheese fruit and vegetable you could imagine. We picked out some bright pink Dr. Suess like flowers for the apartment.

I was impressed as Nate and Jo both took in stride the chaos of the shouting vendors and customers pushing to inspect each apple, bean, baguette. They ordered cheese, meat, bread, tomatoes, potatoes and various food for the coming week in French.

We saw the elephant statue, which is a major Chambrey landmark right in the center of town by the bus

We made salami, tomato, and racqulette cheese sandwiches and washed them down with some wine for lunch. I snapped a few pictures of cute Ayla

If that's not good marketing I don't know what is!

 and then all of us decided a nap was in order.

3 and a half hours later we groggily woke up and Ayla decided to be adorable some more.

Josh and I got ready for our first dinner out in France. Since Nate and Jo weren’t on vacation they weren’t going to be eating out as much as us so I felt compelled to learn a few simple phrases in French to be able to communicate. (Not much of my French 101 stuck from college other than pronunciation, but that was mostly because of my singing diction class). I asked Jo how to say “Table for two,” “I would like…” and most importantly “one pitcher of wine, please.” And with very specific directions for how to get to the restaurant Josh and I headed out on our adventure.

The walk was longer than expected and Josh started to get nervous the further we went and JUST when we almost settled for something other than the recommended restaurant we found Vivaldi. A French-Italian jewel tucked among the plethora of French cafes along the pedestrian street we were strolling down.

Entering the restaurant, we weren’t sure whether we were supposed to just wait by the door, or walk straight up to the first worker we saw and ask for a table. Luckily after only a short period of awkwardly standing in the door way, the Matradee walked up and welcomed us with a warm and inviting smile. I nervously asked for a table for two in French. It felt like EVERYONE in the restaurant was staring at us American giants as the host ushered us to a nearby high-boy table.

Still nervous, I mumbled my request for a pitcher of water (learned later I should have asked for a carafe of water, even though the container was the same as a pitcher of wine). Upon being asked to repeat my request I was afraid my pronunciation was wrong so I crumbled and asked if the server spoke English. He responded kindly and said “Yes. But, you are lucky I’m your server and not someone else!” The rest of the evening went smoothly with me peaking at my small French-English phrase book from time to time still attempting to communicate in their language. I ordered a pizza with various meats and peppers on it. Josh ordered pizza with Frois Gras on top. My take on Foie Gras = semi spiced Velveeta cheese. I wasn’t a huge fan of the pâté version, and we never got around to trying the solid form everyone raved about. Maybe next time.

Nearing the end of the meal we still had over half our pizza left and we weren’t sure if it was acceptable to ask for a to-go box because we didn’t see anyone else carrying leftovers with them. We ended up seeing one other couple carry out a pizza box and so I attempted to ask for a box in French and our server all but laughed at me because I apparently didn’t say anything close to coherent. Se la vie! In the end, we got our box and meandered hand in hand back to the apartment.

That dinner was lovely and is one of my favorite memories from our trip to France. The whole experience of having to overcome the language barrier and fend for ourselves, just me and Josh was so much fun. We both had a blast the entire time. People watching. Sipping wine, devouring tiramisu and espresso and embracing the struggles of communication along the way.

We rounded out the evening with more wine and late, late, late night conversations with two of our best friends in the world, Nate and Jo. As the time ticked on and the Hour hand got closer to the morning hours than the night I was reminded how much I missed them and how lucky I was to have married into a family who is fun, hilarious, and genuinely loving people.

Day 4 - Sunday, October 3
Sunday morning we all pulled ourselves out of bed after a the late, late, late night and got ready for church. On the walk over Josh and I were coached on what to do if someone came in for the cheek kiss and I secretly was hoping someone would embrace me in this very European welcome for friends. The service seemed to be a good one. There was a simple worship band consisting of a guitar, an old Casio, a flute, violin, and tambourine. A few tunes were familiar (“Jesus, be the Center” and “Amazing Love”) and I was able to sing along in English. The entire service was in French (obviously) and I would be lying if I told you I was 100% alert the whole time…nope. I was so sleepy and could barely keep my eyes open so I had to read my Bible to stay awake.

After the service we were introduced to several members of their church. Everyone was amazed at how much Nate and Josh looked alike and I even had one nicer old man welcome me with the double cheek kiss! (Yes!)

We ate cheeseburgers for lunch and then found ourselves craving a nap again. A few hours later we woke up to ayla being cute again.

That night we stayed in since the next morning we would be headed out for an overnight trip to Beaune Joanna made a local dish known as Tartflette. It consisted of potatoes, onions, lardon (sticks of bacon), and a regional cheese you can ONLY get in France melted on top. Pair that with a baguette and you got yourself a bunch of Michael vultures soaking up every last drop of flavor from the baking pan with their bread.


One of the best wines we had while we were there. 

We spent the evening playing Euchre and TRYING to make reservations for the next night in Beaune and without much luck over the phone. (We had several people tell us to not call them back because they were going to bed!) Eventually, we found a deal on a family sized room at a hotel right next to the train station for a GREAT price on pricelince.com. After shouting “Buy my hotel room now!” in unison with pressing the “bid” button we all did a little happy dance when it accepted our ridiculously low offer. Yay for priceline!

Figuring we should actually try and get to bed at a decent time since we had to catch an early bus to make it to the train station for our 7:30 am departure we hit the sack at 1:30 am excited for the coming day.



When I say I don't want the last bite of cheesecake I am, in fact, always lying...but mostly to myself.

I'm a bad neighbor...i don't pick up willow's "business" every time. In fact, i probably only get it about 50% of the time and most of the time that's only when someone is watching.

I spend $30 dollars a month for a gym membership and have gone 4 times in the last 2 months. Let's hear it for $15 workouts.

I only clean my bathroom when I know for a fact someone is going to see it other than me and Josh.

I have plenty of money, but i'm constantly looking for pennies on the ground.

My dog hasn't been bathed in over a month.

Sometimes when I write music (which hasn't been a lot lately) i'm so crippled by fear that I won't play it for anyone, even my husband.

I don't change my contact lenses every month. It's more like once every two months and I will most likely get an eye infection at some point because of this laziness.

I haven't been to the dentist in over a year. And before that I hadn't been in over 4 years.

I text and even occasionally play solitaire while on the John.

Sometimes I rewash clothes up to 3 times before they make it to the dryer because they sat in the washer to long and started to smell moldy.

If I could eat only cheese all day, everyday, I would.

Sometimes I want to blog about work, but i've been told that's a really bad idea so a large part of my life and experiences are held back from being shared due to fear.

I fear mediocrity.

I regret not being in the musical or opera my Senior year of college.

Sometimes I can't go to sleep or relax in my house knowing my kitchen is messy.

I have a big head about my homemade popcorn making skills.

I fear being a mom, but being a mom is one of my greatest desires.

I miss Columbus, but mostly I miss the people that are there and sometimes I pray that they will just move to Nashville.

I'm on the verge of not being able to fit in "normal" sizes anymore and it makes me want to cry.

When I voted in the primaries earlier this year I did very little research and picked some candidates because I liked their name or because they were women.

I daydream about being able to worship as my full-time job, but wonder if that's a selfish ambition and struggle with whether or not it's bad to be paid for worshipping.

I LOVE the Buckeyes, but most years I know nothing about our players, record, rank, etc.

I've lost touch with many friends over the years because i'm a horrible phone person and rarely call people back when they leave me a voicemail even though I genuinely wish i was a part of their life.

I know i'm really blessed in my life but i struggle with being content all the time.