The weekend after my family Christmas party, I had another party. (Yep, I’m just that kind of crazy)
This one was pretty spur-of-the-moment. My friend Niki and her son, Finn, were coming to town. I hadn’t seen them since the memorial service for Niki’s husband Peter, last September.
Niki let me know they’d be in town and that she wanted to get together. I was supposed to see Mindy and Tom, et. al. that same day. Since they all know each other through me, I decided to just have a get-together at Casa Olivia.
Mindy and Tom brought the kids. We invited Muffy and Frodo. Niki and Finn stayed over, it was awesome.
I made tacos for everyone, marking the first time in history that I have cooked a meal to feed other people. (Yes, that’s true. The previous party was potluck). The tacos were really good, but I made way too many. After the fourth or fifth consecutive day of me eating them for both lunch and dinner, I finally ran out.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s go back to the week of the party.
I had such a busy week that week, several nights I wasn’t even home until 8 or 9. This made things a little chaotic when the weekend finally hit. Friday was out as that was Christian Kane Day (that should be a national holiday or something) so my focus was elsewhere. However, I did hit the grocery store on Friday to get all my taco fixings.
When I finally got home from errands that day, I was so intent on getting ready for CK that I rushed in and threw my groceries in the fridge and left.
Saturday, I had planned all the things that needed to get done. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan the time I needed to actually get them done. You see, I still had to take down ALL of my Christmas decor. My tree was undecorated, I had managed to squeeze that in at some point during the week. My dad was coming at 2:00 pm to help me get rid of the tree itself. Thank the Lord, my mom called and came over at 1:30. They both helped me get my house in order and Christmas stuff away. My mom then helped me clean while my dad assembled the new shelf I bought before Christmas but never got to put up.
Just as my mom was arriving, I grabbed one of the new tubs I had bought the day before at Target. I knew I’d need it to put away all my decor. When I looked inside, there was plastic bag at the bottom. Puzzled, I picked it up and realized that it was my hamburger meat.
Yep, in my excitement the day before, I forgot to put the meat away and the whole five pounds sat out overnight. For at least 24 hours. Crap.
With only four hours to go and TONS of work to do, I had to send my mom to the grocery store to buy more meat (and I just realized I never paid her for it! See, Mom? This is why you should have let me give you the money BEFORE. Then it’s covered. And I don’t forget for two weeks.)
She came back and finished up a few things for me, because, while she was gone, Niki called and said she and Finn were on their way, over an hour early! And I wasn’t even showered yet. I sprinted to the shower and frantically raced around getting last minute things ready.
I’ll tell you what. If not for my amazing parents, there is no way this would have happened so successfully. I just didn’t have the time. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou Mom and Dad.
Eventually, everyone arrived and we got into the party.
These are the friends that I partied with throughout the majority of my 20s. Mindy and Tom, for my entire 20s. I met them a month after I turned 21…ah, the stories! Get together’s with these people typically involve LOTS of drinking, occasionally some food, more drinking, laughter, a bit of drinking, and once-in-a-while, a game.
That’s how we create memories, folks.
This party was different.
Turns out, this is the first time we’ve all gotten together, including the children. Having kids around makes for a very different experience. And this is one of the best nights I’ve ever spent with these friends of mine.
It mostly began with Clayton. After a tear-filled moment when he asked Niki point-blank why Peter died (Niki handled it amazingly well, I was in the corner, wiping tears away as she told him that Peter was sick in his brain and that is why he died.) Clay was his usual happy self and he wanted me to play with him. Since I ALWAYS play with him when we’re together, I’m sure it was a shock to him when I said I couldn’t. I was cooking.
But, I told him I had bought him a game to keep at my house. He opened it and it was….Monopoly! Might be that you’re thinking Monopoly is a little advanced for a six year old and you’d probably be right, but Clay is wicked smart and he loves this game. (He had told me so over Christmas, so I made sure to get it for him).
He went around the party and asked people to play with him. He got two takers, Tom and Frodo. (Frodo, as it turns out, is a confusing name for kids–so we eventually switched to Ryan to lessen the confusion.)
The boys played Monopoly almost the entire time. And the rest of us ate and chatted and played (if you were Finn and Lewie) and occasionally observed the intense game.
It wasn’t Clay’s turn…and that’s Lewie in the middle and Finn on the right.
Children of all ages seemed to be wildly in love with my Christmas village. It’s too bad it is ceramic, it really took a beating this year. But you know what? I don’t mind. Because I loved the fact that it created memories.
At one point, we broke to do presents. I hadn’t done Christmas with Clay and Lewie this year–and I got a little something for Finn, so he wouldn’t be the only kid NOT getting presents.
One of the things I got Finn was a Pez dispenser. Finn is 2. I got Simon one when he was 3. Evidently, Pez dispensers are for older kids….
That is Finn, uninterested while Niki and Frodo tried to get it loaded. I don’t know why it needed two people….
Now Clay is entertaining Finn while they are still loading it…
Frodo is trying to explain how it works to Finn, who caught the word “candy” and just wants to eat it.
Now Niki is trying to show him…but he just wants candy.
Success! Finn got his candy and Frodo got him to eat it “correctly” out of the dispenser. We were all thrilled.
Mindy is tallying up exactly how much candy I gave her boys (a LOT) while Lew is obsessed with his present. A Star Wars M&M dispenser. I know, I’m so cool.
I think he likes it!
This is actually Clayton’s snow globe, but Finn really liked it!
Eventually we tried to settle the kids down. Lewie was no problem. With a party going on in the next room, he’s obsessed with the movie. He didn’t even turn his head when my flash went off.
We got Finn in there, too. And Niki stayed “for a minute” thinking he’d fall asleep. She ended up watching the whole movie with them! (They were watching Up!, which she’d never seen. And it is a very good movie).
Mindy and I were getting pretty involved with the crazy Monopoly match going on. Clayton was counting all his own money, doing subtraction and addition and I even taught him how to figure a percentage for his mortgaged properties. He also figured out all his own deals. He’s very shrewd–and had no trouble negotiating to get what he wanted.
Which is why he won! (Legitimately, they didn’t let him win. He knocked out Ryan first and then took down his own father.)
I asked for his best “Donald Trump” look:
Which I thought was hilarious!
Then, because he knows me well, after the silly one, I get one good one:
After the game, the Mindy and her fellas had to get going, her parents were in town visiting and just waiting at her house. So they left and Muffy, Frodo and I sat and talked while Niki put Finn to bed. When she didn’t come back for a while, we checked and found that Niki had fallen asleep.
Eventually, she woke up and rejoined the party and we all sat and talked and drank until 4ish in the morning.
The next day, I had my first ever am houseguests. Niki got herself ready to go while Finn and I played trains.
He looks so much like Peter in that picture that it kind of breaks my heart to look at it. I hope that in addition to his looks and his height, Finn gets his dad’s thirst for knowledge and ability to listen and his love and loyalty. That’s what I’d wish for him. From his mom, he’ll get his common sense and her humor. Also her calm demeanor and relaxed nature.
Sounds like he’ll be a pretty great kid.
It was an incredibly fun night and so different from the norm. I really enjoyed having the kids around and being able to interact with everyone. I hope this is something we’re able to repeat in the future.