Making a List

I’m a list maker. I like to see my tasks and goals in writing–and even more I like the satisfaction of checking those tasks and goals off when complete. In fact, if another tasks pops up and gets done that wasn’t listed, I’ll just add it to the list with its check.

Instant gratification.

My lists are plentiful this time of years. Gifts to buy, gifts bought, seasonal clothes to switch out, the standard weekend domestic chores. Holiday baking, present wrapping, organizing wrapping station again post-wrapping session, holiday decorating, Christmas card writing and so on.

Without lists, I’d be lost–and miss that satisfying checkmark.

This past week my list included one full day of writing–thank God!–then a trip to the dentist, who may start charging me rent, for a filling replacement. And then, preparation for the Thanksgiving feast.

Pies first. Wednesday BW sits at the kitchen counter peeling pounds of apples while I make pie crust. I bake two apple, two pumpkin, so that’s a lot of pie crusts. Apples peeled, he helps me add the leaves to the table. Then he’s off to the gym and the bookstore while I stir and fill and bake. I add buying those silicone crust shields to my list because I am DONE fiddling with making them out of aluminum foil.

While the apple pies bake, I make the pumpkin, then make the dough for sour dough pretzel rolls and set it aside to rise. Still have apples left, so quarter some up to simmer for apple sauce–my mother’s crowd favorite, so when I cook then down, mill them, add the sugar and cinnamon, that scent brings here right there into the kitchen with me.

I make cranberry sauce, letting the berries simmer while I roll those pretzel balls, set them aside to rise. Make the deviled eggs Logan specifically requested.

Then it’s the fun part of the pretzel rolls, boiling them in baking soda water, watching them plump up. Score, bake, add some sea salt and poppy seeds. Done!

I clean off the work counter countless times, watch the woodpeckers at my suet feeder, accept this is all taking more time than I’d budgeted so I’ll have to skip my workout. Still I get a decent amount of steps in as a lot of my few-times-a-year kitchen tools are stored on shelves in the laundry room, and some of the serving dishes I want are stored on shelves upstairs in The One More Room.

Why not go ahead and set the table–cross that off the list?

A long day in the kitchen–some seven hours–deserves the reward of a glass of wine. Or two.

Thursday is Turkey Day, so it’s me and the bird in the morning. My family enjoys the sausage stuffing I’ve been making for years, so it’s cook, stir, season, stuff. Slather that bird with butter, give him a nice massage, drizzle on spices, cover and into the oven he goes. Plenty of time for me to tidy up, the house and myself, before it’s back to the kitchen.

BW is once more on peeling duty–carrots for roasting, potatoes for mashing. Our rhythm is, as always, me cleaning up the potatoes for spots he’s missed.

Things are well underway before–oh boy, oh boy, here come Jason, Kat and Griffin! At last I get that baby back. He’s so ridiculously handsome, so warm and snuggly. And that enchanting baby scent. He’s one month old on Thanksgiving.

“Her” baby is here!

And now Nana’s got the boy. I do share him with Grandda briefly, but he wants a change, and he’s hungry. The dogs are fascinated, delighted–new human! They sniff, wag, and love shines from their eyes.

As Kat’s pumped, I get to sit with him, give him a bottle. He’s wonderfully alert and aware, just looking at everything. Like: Huh, new place, new colors. Interesting.

While the rocking chair where I rocked my own babies is no more, I get to rock him to sleep in the same chair where I rocked Kayla to sleep sixteen years before. There is nothing more relaxing than rocking a baby.

Ready for anything.

He naps in his bouncer while it’s back to the matter of cooking. Potatoes to rice, turkey to baste, more sides to make. Jason–our roving IT guy–and BW deal with some WiFi issue, and when Griffin wakes, Kat handles the vegetables and I get the baby. Very good deal for me.

Turkey out, time to make the gravy, put it all together.

We feast.

Clean up and baby time–as Griffin wakes from his mama’s milk coma–are group efforts. Which means it’s time to make some fresh whipped cream for pie.

At the end of the day, Mama and Griffin go up to bed, Jason and BW go down for the football game, and I unwind, and conk.

I’m up early, as is habit, fiddle around. Before long I hear the baby. When Kat brings him down, I get my morning Griffin fix–and so do the dogs. Sniff, sniff, wag, wag–a quick lick if they can manage it. And they take to guarding him whenever someone sits down with him.

While my youngest is getting many diaper changes–as soon as he’s wet, he kicks his feet like get this thing off me–my oldest is preparing to travel to New York for her first cross-country Nationals. A great opportunity for her. She and her mom come here first to meet Griffin, then they’re off with Kayla driving (!) the first leg of the trip. Some pumpkin pie (Kayla’s favorite) to take with them.

Oldest grandson, youngest grandson, their adults and a Parker on baby duty.

Logan’s coming here for Thanksgiving Redux, so I have my oldest and youngest grandsons together for the first time.

Deviled eggs for Logan to ward off starvation, more baby-rocking time for me–and I get baby smiles to bank in the memory book.


Heat it all up, dish it all out, and we have our second feast. (And a text from Kayla to let us know they arrived safe.)

Clean up–pie!–tub up leftovers for the young family to take with them. Baby snuggles and smiles, a hug from Logan who has to bend over to hug me now. More hugs all around, and then my house is quiet.

I’m so grateful for the noise and movement that was.

Saturday, finally a workout. Then a wrapping marathon with cheesy Christmas movies for company. Organize that mess again, finish up other chores while keeping an ear out for a text from my running girl.

She’s finished her race–had a great experience–and will text again when they get home. It’s raining now, and Nana worries. Hopefully, if she’s not worn out, she’ll be up today to wrap. Saves me hours, gives her some spending money. Logan comes up twice a month to do chores. It’s great having teenage grandkids close by who want spending money!

Also great is having a brand new light in my life, who’ll shine for me in just a couple weeks over signing weekend.

Meanwhile I have my annual holiday trip with great girl pals coming up at the end of the week. I’ll come home, hit my list and do the tree trimming, the holiday decorating. Cookie baking’s on that list, hopefully with grandkids if their schedule allows.

Today it’s workout and making potato and ham soup as we’re tired of turkey.

There’s a lot on the list for December. It’s work, but it’s happy. Here’s hoping whatever’s on your list is just as happy–and gives you satisfaction as you check things off.


And a wink and a smile before you go.

60 thoughts on “Making a List”

    1. Griffin is absolutely adorable and love your family tidbits. Nothing like a baby in the house!

  1. These blogs are always entertaining. It’s even more fun to see NR wax poetic about her grandkids, like an amazing nana should! Happy first Thanksgiving Griffin!

  2. Making memories. Beautiful. One more suggestion try a crumb topping for the apple pies. Flour brown sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter layered or dolloped on top before baking. Not a great cook but my pies are asked for.happy holidays.

  3. Whew! You tire me out! I can certainly understand the need for lists. Sounds like a great holiday, and it’s just beginning. Griffin looks different in every photo. Baby’s can do that.

    So cute, BW on peeling duty. I immediately thought of Xander from The Obsession.

    I’m always relieved to read you are anxious to get back to your writing. That assures more books for the future.

    Thank you for this visit in your world. I wish your December to be just as busy and fulfilling.

    1. Nora, you’re list compulsion reminds me of Owen. He sure had his lists! I’m rereading Inn Boonesboro now.

  4. Family is our most precious gift, especially at the holidays. Here is to many family memories during this holiday season!

  5. How wonderful. I was tired just reading it. Griffin is gorgeous and all those baby cuddles give much needed energy. Take care, God bless you all and make sure some quiet, downtime for you is on that list. Thank you for all you give to us.

  6. He is a darling I know you are enjoying every precious moment There is nothing like a baby in the house Enjoy

  7. Lovely Thanksgiving! Griffin is such a cutie. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Griffin is getting cuter by the day. Can’t believe he’s already a month old. I don’t do lists but know when I see something who that gift would be good for. Enjpy your girl trip and be safe.

  9. Oh, I am so jealous! Baby snuggles and grand kids who live close enough to visit often? Wish I had that luxury. My grands’ father is in the military so they move every few years. At least, they are no longer based in England! Thank goodness for Skype! They currently live in another state so a full day’s drive is required to get together. Soak up all that time with your grands. As I type this, I am looking at my own list of things to do before getting on the road tomorrow to celebrate my younger grandson’s birthday this week. And I am looking forward to getting hugs and cuddles times three when we arrive. Enjoy your time with your grandchildren as they grow so very quickly. They will always have those memories of spending time at your house cooking and baking. That Griffin is getting to be a big boy. So handsome, too.

  10. i have fibromyalgia and never know how much i’ll ever be able to do in a day so i write down what i’ve done as it gets done. that’s pretty satisfying for me some days

  11. I so enjoyed reading that. It helped to remind me how fortunate I am to have children and grandchildren close by for celebrating all things, big and small. And to also be grateful for the happy work. Thank you. ?

  12. Nora, again Congratulations on your new grandson Griffin! There’s nothing like a new baby in the house for the holidays. That smell, the kisses, the smiles!
    I only have one grand, but I love her to death! This will be our first year of shopping together in Manhattan, for presents for her parents. Looking forward to it.

  13. Thank you Nora, just love the new pics. That baby is so handsome and you can tell, he is surrounded with Love! Enjoy the holidays with your special family.

  14. Griffin is precious! I just found out on Thansgiving Day I am going to be a great grandma again in June! Family is so important and is so nice to hear about your beautiful family! Looking forward to seeing you at the book signing.

  15. A wonderful family, and beautiful new baby. Thanks for sharing your holiday.

  16. Griffin is so adorable! Sounds like a wonderful Family Time! It’s always nice to hear about! Thank you for sharing!

  17. Oh my gosh, Nora! I anticipate your blogs as much as your books. Your Thanksgiving sounds divine! And those pies- yum. I’m with Kayla, pumpkin is my favorite, Along with that homemade whipped cream. Your feast sounds amazing, and you’re such a pro getting it all done. I’m a list maker too. So I understand the satisfaction of making them and conquering them. Nothing better. Except maybe snuggling that adorable baby bundle. What a sweetie- and that baby smile is heart melting. I can see why you’re smitten. Logan looks like a natural holding him- and so grown up. How does that happen so fast? Well, I better get back to my lists. There are always plenty of them this time of year. Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays! My much anticipated gift will arrive early- looking so forward to Of Blood and Bone!

  18. Love the glimpses into your world and your grandma notes. I too love being a grandma 7 times!,oldest 20 next month youngest 5. If I’d only known how fun I’d have done grandparenting first! So precious is the time!!!!!! List idea is great! Love the checking off part. Thanks for sharing Griffin with us he is so precious!

  19. That last picture is just perfect! He already looks ready to take his parents for a ride. Did you have to negotiate with Parker to allow Griffin to go home? Glad you had such a wonderful holiday time.

  20. I also hire my grands for chores and yes they love the spending money.

    Another list maker.
    I have so many jobs on the to-do list for the kids that I’ve branched out asking  my daughters oldest friends daughter to help me out. She’s in band and always needs money for her band trips. Teens are terrific!

  21. Congratulations, you newest granson is beautiful. What a great read. Merry Christmas from a faithful reader. You have given me so many wonderful reading for too many years to count. Linda

  22. Busy, busy day and that baby Griffin is so darned adorable. I can see why you want to cuddle him he’s just cuddly.

  23. What a handsome lad!!! And surrounded by so much love!

    Thank you for sharing your holiday, and Griffin, with us.

  24. I don’t make lists, but your Thanksgiving closely parallels how I do things. I can totally relate to the happiness of having grandchildren visit and then the quietness of the house thereafter. Such precious moments! And then there’s the workouts that need to be done, which I also make time for as much as possible. We all have so much in common. It would be wonderful if the world looked at commonalities rather than differences! And by the way, I am enjoying reading “Angels Fall” right now!

  25. I thought after all that “work” the baby would favour Kat more. all I can see is a even more handosme Jason in little Griffin ?
    Happy Post indeed?
    I can’t make lists. Not in the way you do. I make grocery and gifts list but, being an emotional coward, having goals listed gives me anxiety and a doom feeling that I’ll never get any done or achieved.
    I can, and do, write drafts for my parties (cooking, baking, seating arrangements et all) and for a Thanksgiving like yours I’d need an A3 size paper sheet ?
    I love that oldest are already so “big” and now you all have another turn on ?. You even look younger and more beautiful than ever, Nora ?

  26. Nora I too am a list (check off an accomplishment) person. A fan always. Have all your books. Griffin is just the best. Family is everything. Happy Holidays.

  27. Griffin and all the family look like they are having a blast and I too make lists as well. What great peeks into the family life and thank you for sharing them. Happy family and much love to you all

  28. Whoa! I am exhausted reading about all that you are doing. At least I figured out why Owen makes lists. Griffin is a very beautiful baby. I’m happy that you get to spend a lot of time with him. This Christmas will be extra joyful with a new baby. Please pace yourself. You are doing so many things. Take some time away from your lists, chores, and assorted duties to just breathe.
    Thank you for sharing this precious baby with us.
    Mickey Merritt

  29. I’m a list maker too. I get anxious if i dont have a list, & the best part is crossing things off. But i must say, you give me an inferiority complex. I’m not as busy as you, but i don’t make my own pretzel balls, & pie crust doughs. Where do you find the time and strength to do all that, & write non-stop as well? I bh have 9 grands, & 2 great grands. I’m only 2 years older than you, and i could never fit all that into my days. I guess you are the original superwoman. And that last pix of griffen winking, is just precious.

  30. I love list also. I was off this past week and finished my Christmas shopping and wrapping. Checked that off the list! Made cookies and decorated outside. Check! Thank you for sharing your week with us. Griffin is so handsome. You can hear the pride of all your grandkids in your writing. See you and Laura in a few weeks!

  31. Griffin is sure a cutie! Love that wink and smile! Thank you for the glimpse into your holiday weekend. Happy December, checking off those lists.

  32. What a treat to have Griffin this year for the holidays! He’s such a cutie patooties. Thanks for so generously sharing your holiday with us. Always enjoy hearing about you & your loved ones. How did Kayla do in her race(s)? Something tells me one day this young lady is going to be a champion.

  33. So lucky… My daughter is done with babies and my boys are too young to start… So I have my 7 and 10 year old grandgirls, a 6 year old spare and baby cuddle time with great nieces and nephews.

  34. Sounds like you had the perfect Thanksgiving. Griffin is such a cutie. Logan is so handsome. You have a wonderful, loving family. Blessed you are.

  35. LOVE the photo of you and Griffin!!! Boy, he looks like his mom!!
    Happiest of Holidays to you and yours!! <3

  36. Sounds like a wonderful time! Griffin is enchanting. I can’t believe how much he looks like your Kat!

  37. Since my youngest two grandchildren are now thirteen it makes me feel rather nostalgic to read your blog and hear about all the baby snuggles, feedings, rocking and diaper changing. I sure do miss those days. Your Griffin is adorable and I know he will bring you many years of joy. Wishing your family a very blessed Christmas season and a wonderful new year.

  38. What a delightful blog!! Really a great read. Fun , love, lots of baby cuddles, & so organized, it’s frightening! Love to read these, & Griffin is precious. I am rereading Chesapeake Bay Saga, one of my favs. Happy holidays for you & your family.. Special thanks for all the awesome books I can read again, so I never run out of reading material!

  39. Nora,
    Thanks for the glimpse into your Thanksgiving. Living in Australia it’s not a holiday we celebrate. We were visiting our daughter in New York in September & we went to Boonsboro & stayed at Inn Boonsboro for 2 nights. The Inn was just as described in the books. My husband went for a walk & came across a yard sale where he bought a framed picture of the Titanci for a dollar. We stayed in Elizabeth & Darcy, while our daughter stayed in Jane & Rochester. We had a great time , saw some of the other rooms, breakfasts were great, the staff were so helpful & it’s certainly on our list to go to again. When we got back home I re-read the Boonsboro trilogy just to refresh my memories.
    Wishing you & your family a happy Thanksgiving & Christmas .
    Best wishes from Australia

  40. God bless to you and your family and best wishes to that little sweetie for a great life ahead of him .

  41. I am also a list maker so I can relate. So enjoy your blogs. You are truly blessed with your family. Griffin is absolutely adorable and I’m looking forward to your future posts as we follow him growing up. The pic of your 2 grandsons is awesome. Looking forward to next blog as we count down to Christmas.

  42. I’m so happy you had a wonderful holiday with family, particularly with sweet little Griffin. Wishing you and yours and wonderful holiday season. Enjoy every minute!

  43. Happy Thanksgiving! What a fabulous weekend you all had. Oh those baby snuggles ? I look forward to your blog posts, they make my week, and this was no exception!
    I’m curious as to what the new light in your life, that will shine in December, will be? Thank you for sharing your stories, written and lived, with us!

    1. Oh and I am on the lookout for an amazing pretzel roll recipe–whenever you mention pretzel bread I crave it!

  44. Looking at that “wink” pic of Griffin, I wonder: just what does he know that we don’t?

  45. Wow that’s one handsome little man! Griffin has to be the most beautiful baby I have seen since my own children and grandbabies entered the world. No kidding, he is just so beautiful. I enjoy reading your blog because I get to be happy for the time I am reading.
    Your Thanksgiving sounds awesome. Ours was small and quiet. I had 4 of my five here and at one point I was thinking something was wrong because they didn’t fight, argue or threaten anyone with bodily harm lol. I asked them “Who are you and where are my children?”…. It was nice to see them enjoying each other.
    Also I didn’t have to lift a finger. My daughter showed up at 6:30 a.m. and had everything either done or almost done and I almost fell over as she cleaned up her mess and the kitchen too. What? … LoL.
    No babies here. Mine are in Reno and Mammoth Lakes California. So I really appreciate your sharing yours with us. Logan has grown by leaps and bounds. How many grandchildren do you have? I feel like I missing one!
    Enjoy your trip. Say hello to Laura for me and have a great week.

  46. Oh my…those cheeks! Just wanna smooch on them. Congrats on your new grandson! BTW…I’m sure you have heard something like this before…but my 22 year old son is named Devin (inspired by one of your books!) 🙂

  47. What a great blog! Griffin is beautiful and so is his family. The food sounds delicious…especially the pretzel balls! Thanks for sharing…..just love to read and see how others enjoy their Thanksgiving. It’s all about family!

  48. I’m glad you enjoyed your holiday. Thank you for the many years and hours of joy your books have given me. I’m truly grateful.

  49. You need 2 write a twofer a recipe book & organzation book. As my mom says knowledge is power. Baby is super cute. What a blessing.

  50. I have been making lists since I was 21……loooong time ago. lol It is the only way I stay organized. Also, not on my phone, but a hard copy in a notebook with pockets that fits in my purse. My daughter in law tells me that I am not OCD, but that I am CDO, because I like my acronyms in alphabetical order.

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