I have not fallen off the face of the earth; I got bogged down in grading and neglected you all sorely. I apologize. So, let me give you the basic rundown:
1) The stove arrived and it ROCKS. It is the most badass stove ever. It's got six burners, a griddle for the middle, and a warming drawer. It can even do slow cooking, so I wouldn't need the infamous crock pot, but how could I give that up? PLUS you can do delayed cooking: If you leave for work at 8 and want the dinner to start cooking at 5:00, you can stick it in the stove and set the timer to go on at 5:00. It's almost like artificial intelligence. Not sure I want my beef stew sitting in an oven gathering bacteria for nine hours, but you understand that it could be useful. The first thing I made was Savory & Sweet's chicken pot pie, which also rocks. And two nights ago I made her mother's chili (with H's variations)--delicious!
2) My sister got engaged! Hooray! She and C make a terrific couple and I know they'll be very happy together. The funniest was a few weeks ago when they were in town, and C. was attempting to ask my (step)dad about marrying her. We were all at my brother's house having a small party and poor C kept desperately trying to get Dad alone, and people kept coming in and talking. Finally DH and my brother took the helm and whisked people out, so we loudly conversed in the kitchen while poor M. hyperventilated upstairs with the other sisters. All went well and they'll tie the knot next fall, I think. So happy!
3) Settling in to the new job, getting to know the ropes, making nice friends (yay), and learning how best to deal with the kids with a loooooot of help from said nice friends (thank you, Wisest, for your infinite patience and aid!). I love it and hope to stay--being a permanent sub, my position is a little tenuous, but all I can do right now is kick butt teaching and prove that I'm totally indispensable.
4) Also settling into the house. No pretty updates, just practical ones, but it's coming along. We mow and rake and fix screens and all that good stuff. Plus the 'rents have given us great ideas about how we can fix things up, and I think they're willing to help us formulate a Plan (capital P) for figuring out how to do everything.
5) Ooh! DH and I volunteered to have Thanksgiving at our house. It's part "let's enjoy our first Thanksgiving in the new house" and part "We're not moving, so if you want to see us, come here." It will hopefully make up for the Great Christmas Road Trip that we have to make every year among all our parents. So, if you have any advice on cooking or sanity, I'm up for it. I'm already thinking of scheduling a massage.
Thus, my life is mundane but I still love it and tonight's Halloween, and we'll have the first trick-or-treaters we've had in two years. Our old place was so set back that nobody came in. I will sport my orange shirt and hand out goodies under our fun candy corn lights. Hopefully I'll have more little kids than sullen teenagers with cartons of eggs....