The Magical Time

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There are three moments during my pregnancy that I can pinpoint as being irrationally emotional. (I'd have said four, but this music video still makes me cry every time.)

  1. A PBS promo where a little girl sees her reflection in an astronaut's helmet;
  2. Seeing a little girl getting really excited over seeing Santa at the Disneyland parade;
  3. Watching the Radio City Rockettes in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

In each of these instances I found myself getting unexpectedly teary (or in the case of #2, full-on crying), so it is perhaps no surprise then, that I have been really really looking forward to sharing the holidays with Little Miss Cleaver this year.

Celebrating our first Thanksgiving was a pure joy. We watched the parade together, shared a lovely meal with Memere and her uncle & aunt, and then LMC took a big nap while the grown-ups watched football.  All in all, I think she did the day pretty darn well. And yes, I got a little teary watching the parade again this year, as it was the realization of a moment I could only dream about a year ago.

Sometimes Mr. Cleaver and I talk about what we want home to be like for LMC and there are a few words that come to mind: safe, warm, loving, and a little bit magical. To me, the holidays are the epitome of all those things and I can't wait to share even more of them with her.

A little bit of love and magic

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Our Happiest Thanksgiving on Earth


According to my big brother, I haven't posted anything since November 8th, and I'd be the first to admit that ever since this pregnancy began, I'm lost my blogging rhythm, which I suppose can only be expected. But worry not - things have been carrying on here at the Cleaver household, in perhaps a more chaotic fashion than usual.

Work has been keeping me very busy, we're having new insulation put in the house, I'm trying to finish up a number of deadline projects, and I've been building up a cache of knit and sewn baby things I hope to share with you soon. In the midst of all of this, we took off Thanksgiving week to visit my extended family in Southern California.

With three other shutterbugs snapping photos of all the family gatherings, I neglected to pull out the camera for any of the family events, but I did take my camera with us on our Tuesday trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland, thanks to the generosity of my aunt and uncle. Because everyone else was still working that day, it was just Mr. Cleaver and I, but I was pleased to accompany the Mr. on his first trip to Disney.

We gamely avoided any of the non-pregnancy-friendly rides, but still found more than plenty to fill our day. Mr. Cleaver declared Pirates of the Caribbean to be the best ride, while my favorite of the day was the new-to-me Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Between all the standing in queues and walking, I think it took my legs 3 days to recover!

But it was a fabulous fun day and a great transition into the holiday season!











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Thanksgiving 2010

Table #2 John and I got back home late Sunday evening after a wonderful week with the family in Southern California. It was nice to have so much time to spend with everyone. We could relax and enjoy the beautiful to us (cold to them) weather.

I am especially grateful for the stories I learned about various family members, like how my great aunt and uncle met at a roller skating rink he was running, and how when my grandfather was born they had to light the stove in the farmhouse with walnuts, because all the wood had already been taken to the new farm his family was moving to.

Makin' Whoopies

Mr. Cleaver and I stayed with my Grandfather, who requested a turkey dinner for Tuesday night, so my brother and I spent the majority of the day cooking Thanksgiving dinner #1, which included turkey, stuffing, pumpkin cake and whoopie pies. Mr. Cleaver took on dish duty. We were joined by my sister-in-law after work, and Grandpa invited his friend Patricia from church to join us for supper. Patricia has encouraged my Grandpa to take up yoga at the age of nearly 83!

Dish Duty

Chopping spices

On Wednesday we explored San Dimas and joined my Aunt, Uncle and cousins for some ten pin bowling followed by In-N-Out. Mr. Cleaver was excited to bowl over 100 for the first time ever. Big bowling!

Choosing a ball


Thanksgiving day was spent at my Aunt and Uncle's, playing games (like Clankers( like horseshoes, but with washers), Corn Hole, and Skittles), chatting round the fire, eating delicious food, and gathering in the rec room for slideshows.

Winding the top



Aunt Betty and Grandpa

Starting the fire

Friday we visited the Rancho Santa Ana Botantical Garden, goofed around in Claremont, and had dinner with my Great Aunt.

Snow and desert

Don't touch!

Prickly and pretty

Loops #2

View from Aunt Betty's

Saturday we spent with my Aunt and Uncle, looking through photo albums, walking in Bonelli Park,  and catching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Rattlesnake warning

Around the Resevior

A big thanks to all my Southern California relatives, who made our visit so wonderful!!

Giving Thanks: Family, Food, and Fun

Jazz Hands This Thanksgiving, Mr. Cleaver and I had the pleasure of hosting my big brother Luke and his lovely wife Jen for a few days. I think we crammed two days worth of activities into each one, showed the family some Portland-area highlights and had an all-around good time.

Becky's Diner

In Action

Capturing the Throw

Buying Peace Fleece at Knit Wit

My Guys

A Motley Crew

In Motion

_MG_9513.JPGPhotos 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 by Luke and Jen

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Giving Thanks

So after a week and a half of work at the new job (by the way, I'm working at a Community Development Entity -we're helping people through building business and bringing development to low-income areas - it's very cool), I was allowed to take a day off of work to take a 5:30am flight to Southern California for Thanksgiving.

Yes, the weather was nice (65°F!). Yes, I enjoyed my In-N-Out Burger on the way back from the airport. Yes, the food was excellent. And yes, Mr. Cleaver ran into a cactus. But the best part of the whole trip was this:

Thanksgiving 2008-107.jpg

photo courtesy of my big brother Luke

I got to meet my little cousin. I got to learn a three-needle cast off with Jeanine. I got to go through my grandmother's quilt collection. I got felting tips from Zoe Ann. I got to hear about Alexis's wedding plans. I got to talk about living in the Midwest with Ray and got to know my sister-in-law better. I talked photography with my brother and Mr. Cleaver spoke French with my Uncle's mother. I tested the law of probably with my grandpa on the Roulette wheel in the "man room" and walked the Huntington Gardens with mother. I learnt that most of my family reads this blog (Hi Family!) and got to see the lighting of the Mission Inn with all of the population of Riverside.

In a word, my trip was wonderful. 

And I couldn't be more grateful.

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Cinnaminninies and Cheatin' Cherry Pie

Cheatin' Cherry Pie

In preparation for Thanksgiving, I made and froze Mr. Cleaver's holiday cherry pie this afternoon to be baked on Thursday. There's no recipe for the pie because I am a total cheater and use the cherries from a can. The crust however, is totally homemade, flakey, and delicious. You can find the recipe for that here. There is a bonus recipe at the bottom of this post, for those inclined. 

Mr. Cleaver loves pie. Particularly cherry. Last year, even though we had an apple pie in the freezer, Mr. Cleaver requested cherry. Since I love making pies, I obliged and we didn't eat the apple pie until the Superbowl, which made the Bears spectacular loss more bearable (pun? perhaps intended). This year, since I knew saving the second apple pie would be pointless, I ate it several weeks ago.

In many ways, pie  has been a central part of Mr. Cleaver and I's relationship. Like I said before,  Mr. Cleaver loves pie and I love making it.

It started, ever so circuitously, at Thanksgiving. I was living in Maine and had just started dating Mr. Cleaver a few weeks before. He invited me to accompany him to his parents for Thanksgiving, but I thought that was way too soon to be meeting the folks, so I opted to go with the rest of interns buddies to the Portland Stage annual Thanksgiving.

Hating to come empty-handed, I made a raspberry pie. But living in a furnished apartment meant I was missing several of my usual tools and, among other things, I ended up having to use an oddly shaped glass to roll out my crust. The pie turned out fine, but I wasn't looking forward to using a glass for the rest of the year.

Mr. Cleaver doesn't get any of that pie, but he does finds out that I make them. Gears begin to spin.

Flash forward a few weeks and Christmas is fast approaching. This time, still unable to travel to California for the Holidays, I have accepted Mr. Cleaver's invitation to join his family.  Christmas is still several weeks away, but John has an early gift to give me.  He prefaces the gift by saying that he's been carrying it around in his car for several weeks, and that he was afraid to give it to me, because he didn't want me to think that he had certain expectations, etc., etc.

After much waffling, he gives me a rolling pin.

I am thrilled, he is thrilled I'm thrilled. Everyone is thrilled except my roommate, who had also purchased me a rolling pin for Christmas.

Christmastime and I'm off to Mr. Cleaver's folks, a perfectly-rolled out crust on another raspberry pie for his folks and even though we've only been dating two months, I want to make a good impression. I present his mother with my pie, only to find out they have about four other pies already purchased for about six people. This is a pie-loving family.

Despite this excess of pie, his family is very kind and they eat the pie I brought and declare it tasty. I am relived, though slightly weirded-out by how Mr. Cleaver's brother-in-law keeps making references to how I'm going to be the next in-law.  Let's just call it foreshadowing.

Several months later, I'm at Mr. Cleaver's apartment and I find some cherry pie filling in his pantry. Just in case, you know, I was over and just really wanted to make a pie. 

Cinnamininies fresh from the oven

Bonus Recipe:


 I doubt my father came up with these, but he did have an awful good name for them. This is my favorite way of putting that extra pie dough to use. 

Ingredients: Leftover pie dough, Milk, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and  Sugar.

Preheat over to 350.

Place small bits of leftover dough in a pie tin. Brush with a small amount of milk and sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar as desired. Cook for about 20 minutes or until brown on edges.Enjoy warm, but let cool enough so they don't become "cinnaminni-owies."

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