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Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Tale of a Turkey

Once upon a time (okay, just a few days ago), Matt and I were staying with my aunt Lisa & uncle Jay down in Cedar City for the big Graf Thanksgiving. So fun! Matt spent Thanksgiving morning with Jay & Shaun on the golf course while I spent it with Lis in the kitchen. Cooking our first turkey. Ever. And let me tell you, it was mighty entertaining.

We are not gourmet chefs by any means, but we are intelligent human beings who can read directions. So how hard could it be? Well... let's just say I have a bone to pick with the Butterball label writers. In the meantime, however, enjoy the play-by-play.

Step one: Drain the turkey.
So far, so good. Kind of.

Step two: Remove plastic bags with neck and giblets from turkey.

Okay, A) What exactly is a giblet?
And B) Why on earth did they put it back inside the turkey?
Oh, and C) Um... why aren't the plastic bags coming out?!
Because after 3 days of defrosting in the fridge, they are still frozen to the inside of the turkey. Right.

Next, spot random chopstick on the counter.
Use it to try prying the plastic bags free. Fail.
Notice faucet sprayer. Turn on warm water. Give turkey a little drink.
Get excited about progress. Pull on plastic bag.
Attempt to contain laughter when it comes out empty.
Proceed to pull neck from turkey. Ignore mens' comments about labor.
Admire the goods. Or try not to puke. Whichever comes easier.
Part two of step two (yes, we're still on step two, people): Remove plastic bag #2.

Observe that plastic bag #2 will only come out through turkey's bum. Once again, ignore men in the room.
Remove bag from turkey's bum. Squeal.
Assemble special "turkey lifter." Wash turkey and cover with seasoning. Place in pan with broth. Cover with tin foil tee pee.
Place in oven. Try to maintain optimism.
Two homes, two showers, and five hours later, pull turkey from oven. Do happy dance. Eat. Be amazed at how good it tastes. Enjoy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chalk one up for Ashley

Now that Matt's graduated, we're both officially alumni of our respective schools--which means our little rivalry can really begin. (It's always hard to cheer against the Falcons, but especially so when your fiance is actually on the team.) We planned our return trip from Ohio to conveniently stop in Utah so we could watch Air Force take on BYU. As we all know, the Falcons struggled with turnovers and the Cougs won 38-21. For those of you keeping score at home, though, it looks something like this:

Matt: 0. Ashley: 1.
(Please note that this picture was taken early in the 1st quarter, hence my husband's smile.)

Go Cougs!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

All at once

Happy Thanksgiving!
This picture seems to capture so many of the things we're most thankful for, all at once:

Our Savior, Jesus Christ. The gospel. Temples.
Our eternal marriage--with each other!
Our incredible families.
Our wonderful friends.
Our rich heritage.
Our great country.
Our good health.
Our income.
Our ability to enjoy life.

We feel so blessed to have all of these things--and all of you--in our lives. We look forward to seeing many of you very soon!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chi-town, continued

After seeing Chicago from a bird's eye view and in the reflection of a giant bean, we set out to see it on foot.

It was lunchtime, so we headed to the Navy Pier for Chicago-style hot dogs. Mustard, tomatoes, pickles, relish, peppers... you know, the usual.
We took our time walking around the pier and enjoying the views of Lake Michigan and the city. You have to remind yourself a million times that it's a lake and not an ocean. So pretty!
And then it was onto the Magnificent Mile of pretty stores and malls.
(Window shopping only, Heidi, I swear!)
We were so excited when it was finally an acceptable hour for dinner--we'd been craving Chicago-style pizza all day! Shaun & Amber's wonderful friends recommended a local favorite, Giordano's. As you can see, it's pretty popular--and for good reason!
You would think we'd be stuffed after all of that yummy pizza, but people, there is always room for dessert.
And finally, we waddled the 3 miles back to the car, passing by the beautiful bridge and Bill Ransick's beautiful building along the way. Bill Ransick as in Guiliana & Bill. Also the 1st Apprentice. But mostly Guiliana & Bill. And if you're aware of that fact already, we just became best friends.

Oh, and did I mention that Chicago is awfully romantic at night?
Because it is.

Such a lovely little trip.

(And to Shaun & Amber--miss you already!)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


We drove to Illinois on Friday night with our friends Shaun & Amber and woke up bright and early Saturday morning to visit the tallest building in America (and the tallest structure in the world!).
In case you didn't know, that would be the Sears/Willis Tower in downtown Chi-town.
At 1,730 feet, it towers above the Chicago skyline and many other iconic buildings like the Empire State Building & Eiffel Tower. Guests visit the Skydeck, located on the 103rd floor. It takes just 60 seconds for the elevator to make it from the lowest level to the Skydeck. Can you imagine taking the stairs?
The coolest part--by far--of the Skydeck is the glass ledge that you can walk out on. Just don't look down, right?
After playing on the glass, we spent some time enjoying the view from every direction.
We lucked out with GORGEOUS weather in November and could see pretty far in the distance. On a clear day in the summer, visitors can see 4 different states from the tower.
Once we were back on the ground, we began a long day of walking through the city by heading over to the popular Millennium Park.
The park, which is actually a part of Grant Park, is home to the Pritzker Pavilion which hosts music festivals and concerts throughout the year.
Our favorite part of Millennium Park (and possibly Chicago?) was the Cloud Gate, better known as The Bean. In its reflection, you can see the entire Chicago skyline.
Of course, the skyline isn't the only reflection you see.
In fact, you can quite feasibly spend hours taking pictures of your reflections on the inside.

It took awhile to tear our easily-entertained selves from The Bean, but eventually we succeeded and found ourselves walking along Michigan Avenue toward the Magnificent Mile.

And the rest is to be continued!

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