Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving (weekend!)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

We had the great fortune to stretch our thanksgiving celebrations out over the course of several days this year, and I wanted to take the time this morning to thank all of you, our wonderful family and friends, for all the love, support, and companionship you have blessed us all with over the past several years. When I look around right now, I am almost overwhelmed by how lucky we are, to have what we have, and to be in the place we are in...and I am so thankful for all of it.

I am thankful for our family. I am proud beyond words of my two beautiful, sweet, intelligent daughters and my amazing, compassionate, hardworking, handsome husband, who teach me about the best in life. And I'm so grateful for our Fabulous Felines, and all the love and antics they bring to our home, and for our one poor hearty houseplant, The Little Aloe that Could (despite the fact that the cats like to sit ON it).

I am extremely thankful for my mom, and her endless patience and generosity, and for my dad and his steadfast dedication to learning and living, for my sister and her unique take on everything we share, and to all of them for boundless love, support, and genuinely enjoyable company.

I am also thankful for my Grandma Carol, who I think I am more like than either of us realized, and who handles more stress than she deserves with the utmost grace and humility. And to all the members of my vast extended family, who have each touched my life in their own unique ways, and who I have enjoyed getting to know as the nuanced individuals that they are as I've grown older. For my godmother Pat, and her husband Scott, who have brought plenty of good-humored advice to us over the years.

I am so grateful to have the support, love, and new friendships that have come to me through James as well. For his parents, who we know we can fall back on no questions asked. For his siblings who each bring unique knowledge and energy into our lives...we are so lucky to have so much love all around us.

And I'll just throw in here that we have some pretty kick-ass friends floatin' around in here, too, and we wouldn't be where we are without the help of some truly wonderful people who have gone out of their way(s) to help us out, and I am so deeply thankful to all of them, as well.

I am thankful for our amazing Home, which really truly does feel like our Home on a visceral level, which is something we haven't really had here in the city before now. For the fact that James and Cadence are both attending amazing schools, populated with really cool, bright people. For the fact that I am able to continue to do small things here and there to keep my career burning in the background while I'm focusing on being a mom - for the fact that I CAN focus on being a mom - and for our good health! And for all the ultimately unnecessary 'things' we have like cameras and computers that let us document and share all of the overwhelming privileges we find ourselves with with all of you - our wonderful community, family, network of friends...and so I say:

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I am so grateful for my life. I absolutely love it, and everyone that is a part of it. I give thanks for everything in my life.

So, with that, here's a little snippet from our thanksgiving weekend - with pictures, which is what you've all been waiting for anyway!

Thursday, the actual holiday, started off with parade watching (which, for baba, translated into a 3 hour nap on the couch. Yay for rest!) and then some of the dog show that came on afterwards before we packed up, gathered recipes, and got all dressed up for dinner at Erik & Minerva's.

And yes, I DO mean All dressed up.

Here's James with his two daughters; Bear and Mario.

Unfortunately I don't have any decent photos from the day, but it was a wonderful evening with all sorts of amazing food and plenty of good company. James made some potato-leek soup, which we added to the hosts' lineup of white truffle brussell sprouts, squash risotto and ginger-carrot slaw, in addition to the requisite turkey, stuffing, rolls and cranberry sauce. I made some chocolate rum truffles, which joined a lineup of 8 pies and a homemade pumpkin was a pretty decadent meal.

The next day, we headed to James' family home in Connecticut where parents and siblings were all gathering to celebrate the holiday a day late. Uncle Robert took Cadence to meet with a friend of his who has a similarly-aged kid, and they all went to a children's show at a museum and seemed to have a lot of fun. Hazel got to spend some quality time with her grandparents, I got a little work done, and James got another three hour nap on the couch. Yay rest!

Probably as a legacy to having raised four string-playing kids, there are a large number of violins in the Yu house. Once everyone got home, Cadence got to use one of the small violins from Yeye's collection to play with Andrew:

Meanwhile, Audrey and Nainai cooked away in the kitchen:

Finally, after Cadence decided the seating arrangement (Robert on her right, Andrew on her left, Mama and Baba and Audrey on the other side, with nainai and yeye at the ends,) dinner was served, as you can see:

Yes, that is Cadence proving once again that she is a much more successful carnivore than me, with an entire turkey leg. [Though really she closed the book on that issue when she lead me through the anatomy of her roast squab, and then ate the eyes, later agreeing with Nainai that they were, indeed, the best part.] That turkey, we're proud to say, came from our was a heritage breed bird that lived a good life on a farm up in vermont. I can also assure you that none of it went to waste! Even Hazel had some.

After another fabulous dinner with lots of tasty dishes, like peas and mushrooms, bell peppers and garlic, Asparagus, tomatoes and basil with mozzarella, mashed potatoes, cranberry apple cider, (and more!) we moved on to dessert:

Audrey made a pumpkin pie, and Cadence made that pumpkin for the top! (but someone stole and ate the stem before I got a picture.)

I also reprised my truffles, but tweaked the ingredients a bit to make coconut-rum truffles this time. Audrey and Cadence helped me roll and dust them all after dinner!

I'm not really sure how the technology came into the mix, but it did is a photo of Cadence drawing a picture of the whole family on Rob's tablet computer, while he cuts the pie for serving and Hazel playfully sticks out her tongue at Yeye.

There was kind of a lot going on.

After dinner we got a real treat. James picked up another of the aforementioned many violins, and he, Cadence, and Andrew struck up some impromptu post-feast music!

Thanksgiving String Trio from Kat Stroot on Vimeo.

Even Hazel got into it, joining Yeye on the bells:

Hazel & Yeye play the bells from Kat Stroot on Vimeo.

Somehow we all managed to stay up well past 2, kids passed out on James and I, watching Lord of the Rings...needless to say, we didn't get up too early the next day, but we did have time for a little cold-weather exploration before heading to a great little South American restaurant for a big meal and then home to the kitties!

All in all, it was a grand holiday. It's definitely kicked off an exciting holiday spirit around here!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and are enjoying the winter season, where ever you may be.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Just a quick note to let everyone know that James is fine after the vicious tiger bite he received this evening. The finger is still whole, and we expect he'll make a full recovery.

The tiger, who was trying out her very first tooth - cut just this morning! - seemed somewhat shocked, but pleased that her new line of defense proved effective.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010