I was so excited about my plans Friday night that I was almost completely useless all day on Friday. I was texting back and forth with friends about what to make our kids for dinner before we ran out of the house to go to our fancy grownup party, texted with our friend PJ, who was driving in from another city for the party, fidgeting and clock-watching. Somehow I managed to get some grading done and teach a class, but after I'd circled the last score on the last assignment I ran out of the building like it was on fire.
First stop was the grocery store for kid dinner and supplies to make the bruschetta appetizer I was taking to the party. While I was there I ran into PJ, who had stopped there to kill time before going to my house. We shopped leisurely then headed home and waded into the chaos at my place. Soon the house was full of people chopping, slicing, talking, and laughing. Kids were running every which way, food was flying, instructions were being hastily given to our poor nanny, who was no doubt wondering what she'd gotten herself into.
Then, in a moment, we were all piled into the minivan on our way to the party. I started this Facebook group about a year ago where we post what we're making for dinner. It has become a great community of people who love food, sharing recipe ideas. This was our second meetup. Both have been kids-free and both have featured AMAZING food. This time it was autumn beef roast over noodles, butternut squash souffle, spinach salad, homemade olive oil/rosemary bread, pumpkin dip with gingersnaps, two kinds of bruschetta, candied jalepeno and cream cheese dip, spice cake and sticky pecan chocolate bars for dessert. And a lovely Cabernet, let's not forget.
And of course, the great company.
We never stopped laughing. It was loud and cozy and wonderful. It is such a treat to be together with so many of our wonderful friends, new and old--we have known our friend PJ since before we started dating. He did the music at our wedding! It is always a special time when he comes to visit and he so graciously puts up with the mass chaos at our house.
We got home at 10:30 to a clean house and sleeping children and recklessly stayed up until midnight, which proved to be a bad decision since James woke up at 1 AM and never really went back to sleep, not including the blissful hour of snuggles I got before he started thrashing around again. Ryan dragged the Pack and Play downstairs around 2:00 and I think maybe got another couple of hours of sleep. The next morning we spotted the veeerrrrry tip of a new canine poking through. Poor little friend (slash US).
Since PJ is an appreciator of good food, we took him to a local bakery that has the most amazing cinnamon rolls.
This is what our childless friend described as "wild behavior" on Facebook.
Don't they look grown up? I cannot stop looking at this picture. For some reason it gave me visions of the two of them as twenty-somethings, still best friends and meeting up for breakfast. Of course if Charlie had his head on the table like that I would have to assume he was hungover in my daydream. Oh, who are we kidding, he would have just pulled an all-nighter in the lab. Wes, on the other hand...
It was time to say goodbye to PJ after breakfast and then we stopped by an estate sale. As usual, we took turns walking through the sale while the other one waited in the car with the kids, who were total ANIMALS after breakfast on Saturday after their late night of fun on Friday (and our late night of fun on Friday, hmmm, who was really more grumpy? Sort of a chicken/egg problem). It was at a fifties bungalow in an adorable neighborhood near downtown. It was exactly the type of house I dream of living in one day. The big family kitchen still had its mint green formica countertops and painted wooden cabinets. An enormous microwave was perched precariously on a too-small shelf over the range. The living room was cozy with a fireplace and a large bay window.
I picked up a pile of dishcloths so I could look at two tablecloths that caught my eye then decided to buy the whole stack. One was a Christmas tablecloth, red, green, and silver plaid. I liked to picture the family in their big dining room, enjoying many years of Christmas together in the house. The other was a formal blue one, large enough for our dining room table with all the leaves in. I imagined it as the special occasion, or maybe Sunday Dinner, tablecloth and was so happy to have it. The dishtowels were just dishtowels (though nicer and cleaner than ours), but I love thinking about the woman who last used them, a kitchen-full of family cleaning up after big family dinners, lovingly making snacks for children and grandchildren. Even with most of the contents gone, you could tell the house had been a loving home for a family. The prettiest of the dishtowels are hanging in my kitchen now and they make me smile.
When Ryan took his turn at the sale he brought back a tall table for us to use in our kitchen. We have zero counter space and we've wanted an island ever since we moved in, but there's really not enough room for a real island or even any of the portable Ikea offerings we've considered. Not to mention the awkward way I had to talk to people over my shoulder Friday night as I chopped tomatoes facing the wall. This was the perfect solution. It is tall and just the right size. The kids love to pull chairs over to it and help cook or eat their snacks and talk to me (somehow this is different than them being at the table and me working at the counter, eye contact, I'm guessing). I'd noticed it too and I was so excited when Ryan came out and carried it to the car.
We put it to good use tonight. I got to leave these cookies out of reach of James (and Rossby) while they cooled.
And set up all this nonsense over on the counter when I was making the chili.
It is REVOLUTIONARY. Not once while I was cooking did I suggest to Ryan that we put an addition on the kitchen/move to a bigger house. I honestly don't know how we did it before. It was like cooking on a boat. Oh yeah, that's what I did before. Knocked things over onto the stove then complained about cooking on a boat. No more! We have a table-island now.
And finally, this is the best of the forty-or-so pictures Ryan took of the kids at the church pumpkin patch today.
I think it shows their personalities well. Especially because James seems to be plotting something.