Lighting is also a special challenge - flame can only be transfered, not created or extinquished. I keep a candle, called a "nine days" candle, lit for the whole time. I use it to light my stove burners and my candles. I keep my oven on "warm" so there's always a pilot light. I follow an opinion that allows me to not only raise and lower flames but to turn them off - it's permitted to remove fuel from a fire, and that's all I'm doing when I shut off the gas to my burners. Sometime on the first night. someone tossed a dish towel over that candle, which is in a plastic container and burns very cool. The dish towel extinquished it. Fortunately, I had the oven so I could relight it.
Despite how it seemed, I was fairly relaxed for the first seder. Everything was done and on the stove or in the fridge well before candlelighting. There was a bit of a problem when we didn't know if my brother-in-law was going to bring his family - they were worried about my future niece being up that late. But they arrived in plenty of time to help me add a leaf to the dining room table and then set it. Zoe was in pajamas, which struck me as just fine. She also held a stuffed ocelot.
We were expecting four people from our synagogue, but one was ill and the other one never showed up, so we had seven around the table. The maggid went smoothly enough, although Zoe refused to say the "Passover song" - Ma Nishtana" (although she had M sing it *all* of the day before.) It didn't matter - we just had everyone else sing it. She did get cranky around the time for the second cup, so J took her to our room and laid down with her until she fell asleep - just in time for motzi matza. Meanwhile, since I expected she'd be asleep for the rest of the evening, I gave her one of the afikomen gifts - a very large stuffed froggy.
Just as I was passing out the eggs before dinner (Ashkenazi custom to eat a hardboiled egg (not the egg from the seder plate) dipped in saltwater before the dinner), she sauntered in, clutching both the frog and the ocelot. M ate her egg and, I think, J's. I skipped it. We passed out the gefilte fish on salad (I just had salad), and I gave M an extra large portion. Then there was soup and matza balls (as usual, I made sinkers. Alas.) I had half a matza ball. Main course was turkey, farfel kugel (I'd tossed in some walnuts, and kept it pareve), and ratatouille. At that point, I put the pears in the oven to bake. I sould have put them in sooner - they got warm, but not actually cooked.
Somewhere in there, we started Zoe looking for the afikomen, which I'd honestly hid in plain sight on a pile of comic books, but she's 3.5. They *taught* her hot and cold that night. She found it and got a Passover coloring book (the Passover/Exodus story - and I had to search for one that wasn't the very Orthodox family getting ready.) Then they left. As we didn't imagine they'd stay longer, that was fine. We and our two remaining guests finished the seder, I found a way to fit the leftovers in the fridge (involved much switching and layering and turkey mutilation.) I also poured some soup over the kugel to moisten it. We were saying good bye by 12:15.
I slept the next day. I slept until ten in the morning and then took a three hour nap after lunch. In between, we had guests. Lunch was stove-top chicken, leftover ratatouille and a store bought kugel. I also finished baking the pears, which were thus much better. Also, one guest brought sugarfree cookies and nonsugarfree chocolate truffles, which we passed out with the pears. And I grated just a bit of chocolate over the pears, and that was just yummy, and went well with the ginger, cinnamon and black pepper with which I'd seasoned them.
And then I napped.
This was the fannish night. We had fringefan, otherdeb, mikestruffles and gimmeahand (and their son Liam) plus my mother, her boyfriend and my brother. Who has the same first name, spelling and all, as fringefan, and table logistics put them next to each other. Table logistics had three on each side and two on each end, too.
Liam read the four questions in English and then we sang them again. We kept making silly jokes as we read the maggid, as the words "inspired" us. We'd run out of haggadot, so Jonathan used a Hebrew one and translated freehand. It was a lot of fun.
Eggs, fish, soup - all the same, although I simmered the soup longer and added pepper to the pot, so it tasted better. Main course was meatballs in tomato sauce, mashed potatoes and marinated asparagus. Dessert was fruit compote, plus the dried fruit and sliced fruit candy that our guests brought. We finished the seder by 12:20, and ended it, not with "Chad Gadya" or "Ehad me Yodea" but with agrumer's "Banned from Egypt". We passed the book around the table to give everyone a chance at a verse. My brother and my mom's boyfriend picked up the tune with no problems,and mom was relieved we'd finished before it got to her. I do love my fannish seders.
We all very much missed tigerbright and hope that Joshua is feeling better.
This was quiet and peaceful. I made cups of broth and egg salad for lunch, and put leftovers in the oven for Shabbos dinner, and one day slid into the next almost without notice - I did light my Shabbos candles, but the difference between yom tov and Shabbat is very slight.
We had leftover meatballs for dinner and leftover turkey and kugel for lunch, and Jonathan went to shul and I didn't, and we napped. I gave him the food I'd set aside (a piece of matza and an egg) for a snack.
Now I need to figure out dinner tonight and tomorrow and then for the remaining days of the holiday. I hope all who are having holidays now are enjoying them.