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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

‘Tis the season – for ca-raziness! This past weekend was the ca-raziest of all the ca-razies for us. We had three parties in three days and also managed to polish up Matthew’s halo with his First Confession. Just another weekend.

I’ll start with that whole Salvation of our child thing (minor deal). For weeks we’d been doing preparation: working in his little workbook, talking about sins, going through pretend/dress-rehearsal confessions (where I played the priest and assigned Penances like, “Give your mother 5 hours of back-rubs” or “Say 105,362 Hail Mary’s, 349,817 Our Father’s” etc. I figured this way whatever Penance the priest actually gave him, it wouldn’t seem all that bad.)

As Matthew and I stood in line awaiting our turns on Saturday morning, I’m sure that I was more nervous than he. He looked at me with big eyes, and said, “Why can’t Daddy just become a priest and I tell him my sins at home?”

I went first. Now to paint the picture: this was not old school confessional confessions (you know, the closet-thing, with the screen). That’s a little too intimidating for the kids and most churches don’t do it that way anymore. You just sit in a chair across from the priest (in a little private alcove in the church) and have a nice little confessional-chat. The priest – visiting from a nearby parish – was AWESOME. I gave him the head’s up that Matthew was up next, was super shy and super nervous, so “Please be super nice!”

Matthew walked a little bit like he was on the march to the guillotine. I sat there nervously fidgeting and then after a few minutes he came out grinning from ear-to-ear. He proudly strutted over to me and said, “I feel SO much better!!” Oh my gosh, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so good after Reconciliation before!

When Mike was done with his turn, we followed the instructions given to us by Father Todd, and took Matthew (and Zachary and Kayliana) to Target for a treat. When we were sitting in the little Starbucks area, I recognized another family who had just been at church.

The dressed up little girl asked loudly, “Ahh, man. Mommy, was that my first bad word already?!”

I started cracking up and asked, “Uh-Oh, do you have to go back to Confession so soon?! We were hoping to make it at least an hour!”

Now, back to the partying that we did on Confession-Eve. It was Mike’s office party that kicked off the weekend. And it was So. Much. Fun. The event was a cooking class at Blue Ribbon Catering/Cooking School on Lake Union. We kicked off the evening with appetizers – that were already prepared for us (Ham Croquettes with Garlic and Saffron Aioli, fruit and cheese platters and plenty ‘o wine.) We were then divided into three groups and one went to each station. Our first was with a national-award winning chef (who specializes in Cajun cuisine). There we made Cider-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Flambeed Apples and White Wine Galic Sauce Green Beans. This chef was so intense (and fun!) – you could tell he’d been in the biz a long time. He could reach his finger into a boiling pot to taste and even had an involuntary eye-twitch while savoring the flavors to discern if they were just right. (I was impressed with his eye twich.) I was put on shallot-chopping duty for the wine-sauce (that I later made on the stove). I stood there mincing the shallots in all my Christmas party finery with tears dripping down my face. Good thing I’d worn waterproof mascara.

Our next station was the wine cellar where the owner of the Blue Ribbon Cooking School taught us how to make Sweet Potato Gnocchi in a brown butter sage, fresh nutmeg sauce. Holy Cow. I’m pretty sure I died. Butternut squash, sweet potato pretty much ANYTHING and I’m a HUGE FAN. It was delicious. Amazing.

Our last stop was the salad and dessert station where we plated salads (kinda boring) and made Liquid Chocolate Cake with Caramel Sauce. I’ve decided that in another life I should volunteer myself out for food tastings. Needless to say, once we sat down for the dinner (that we’d made), we were all fairly famished and ready to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Our fruits were delicious!

The most crazy weekend of Christmas festivities has come and gone for us and now we get to just sit back and enjoy the season. Tomorrow we’re taking the kiddos to see Santa and the drummers at Bellevue Square. We’re all pretty pumped. (Think Buddy the Elf, “Santa!! SANTA!!!!” That’ll be me.)

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