Stars for Everyone (but Mostly for Me)

Dearest Sister Millie,

I love broccoli!  I love cheese!  And I love broccoli cheese soup!  I’m not sure I’ve ever had Mumsie’s (where was I??  Sometimes I wonder if we had different childhoods.  And parents.), but I remember when she first started making that broccoli cheese concoction for smothering baked potatoes.  Mmmmm.  Maybe it’s one and the same?  At any rate, I’m going to have to make it!

Guess what I did today?  I polished acorns!  A friend of mine invited me out to her adorable farmhouse for lunch.  Last time she had us over (I had Vanessa and Lucy with me), she made us pierogi.  They were filled with mashed potatoes!  I’d never even heard of them.  Anyway, after lunch today, the girls all played while we chatted at the table and cleaned acorns.  We’ll be painting them at a Relief Society activity next Tuesday.  Isn’t that fun?  If I didn’t already have commitments, I’d be going to hunt mushrooms with her tomorrow.  Hunt for mushrooms!  I love this place.  When I left, she handed me a jar of pure maple syrup tapped from the family’s trees (pure maple syrup is amazing!).  She also gave me a carton of fresh eggs from her chickens.  I love her!

She texted me later that she had found a huge bag of mushrooms today.  Of course it reminded me of something I’d eaten and so I sent her a recipe I love–portobello mushroom lasagna.  It is so, so good!  I can’t say my whole family was crazy about it because they aren’t all crazy about mushrooms.  But I am, and in case you are (except I’m thinking you’re not?), here’s a link to the recipe!  Ina Garten.  You’re welcome.  Although I do have to say that I used maybe 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg instead of a full teaspoon.  And I added more cheese–maybe 1/2 cup?  And I can’t promise they were portobello mushrooms either.  They were whatever I couldn’t pass up buying at the store (I am ashamed to admit that I don’t know what kind the ones are that come in the packages that go on super sale and I go mushroom crazy for a bit!  Do you know?).  Anyway, if you like mushrooms, you’ll like this!  If not, sorry.  I’ll send you a recipe for something you like.  Maybe Abe would like mushrooms since they aren’t green?  Or if you add enough cheese?

Welcome to the wonderful world of Neato!  It’s the best pet I’ve ever had.  I did like our Roomba, but it has given up the ghost and joined the choir invisible.

I can’t believe Abe has three months to go!  At LEAST?!  That’s nuts.  You might need to take on a second job to support his online shopping.  Ha ha!  One sure cure for cabin fever is to leave the cabin and come and see meeeeeee!  I will start stocking up on apple juice.

I happened to be in Walmart a few weeks ago with my nearly-four-year-old daughter, Vanessa. I can’t even recall why I didn’t have the other four children with me, but anyway, there we were. She was sitting in the cart and we walked in and noticed that what used to be a mini arcade had been turned into a portrait studio. Now, you may recall that my last experience with a portrait studio happened on my second son Paul’s birthday. I had taken to having my children’s pictures taken on the occasion of their respective birthdays. I had made an appointment in advance and the day before his birthday, I received a phone call confirming the appointment. The day of, the birthday boy was dressed and ready to go out. I quickly checked my email and a confirmation message had arrived early that morning. We headed out the door and when we arrived, the lights in the studio were off and there was a sign:

 

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NOT COOL.

 

You can imagine my delight when I realized I could restart my birthday tradition and have my nearly-four-year-old’s picture taken on her birthday the next week! I rushed over to make an appointment. The multi-color(ed?)-hair(ed?) girl at the register was friendly enough and as we talked, I decided that no, the school would be taking pictures soon and I would prefer to have all the portraits on my piano match. But! I COULD have the children take a picture together! The five little darlings! My heart was a-flutter as I pictured a massive portrait of my sweet earth angels hanging above the mantle where all could see. The girl at the register needed all their names and respective birthdays. As she typed, I noticed a beautifully scripted tattoo on her arm. It should’ve raised a red flag when I realized what it said: Disaster.

I chirped each of the children’s names and birthdates. At the bottom of the digital form she was filling out, there was one last question. “Your relationship to these kids…grandmother, I’m guessing?”

 

 

I laughed. It might have been a little more like a “Ha!” blast than a laugh. The girl gasped, her eyebrows shot up and eyes widened. Vanessa crinkled her nose and shook her head (and probably also rolled her eyes—she’s famous for that). The girl started gesturing heavily while she stuttered out an apology. All was made well again and I wondered whether I should detour my planned shopping route and swing on by the night cream aisle. She told me she’d get an appointment card and quickly scribbled out the date and time on a post-it note. She handed the very formal appointment card to me, and we were on our merry way.

I’m going to have to pause this story because it’s late. But not before I share one more thing from that evening.

Not twenty minutes after I had been asked if I was my children’s grandma, I ran into a dear friend. It is Walmart, after all! We chatted and her son swung around from behind her and said, “Hi!” I greeted him and he put his hand right on my belly and asked, “When are you ever going to have this baby?” His mom turned red and shushed him as I laughed and said that I wasn’t expecting a baby any time soon, but that I should probably cut back on the baked goods!

Pregnant grandma. It was a gold star day!

Love,

Grace

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