Following last Sunday's market, Jonathan and Alissa arrived safe and sound around 11. During the next few days we did what most folks do before Christmas, including some gift wrapping by Alissa,
Then, it was Christmas morning with the small amount of gifts under the tree. I convinced Bruce not to get me much of anything as I do have new windows coming which will be a gift that keeps on giving.
We did our first gift exchange with Jonathan and Alissa who bought us many thoughtful gifts, including a signed copy of "The Book Thief," one of my favorites! There are other equally as lovely gifts, however, with the events of the last few days, I'm forgetting most everything. Next Bill, Fallon, Dave and Michelle came over for a bit. More wonderful gifts ensued, including a William Sonoma gift card from Bill, which I can't wait to spend, and a very generous gift card to one of the best restaurants in town from Dave and Michelle. "The Ravenous Pig" if you are wondering...
A trip to the Northside Pecks next...Katie and Joe's house, formerly her parents, in Altamonte Springs. What a super gathering it was with Katie, our hostess, cool as a cucumber, after spending literally all day in the kitchen. Oh to be young again! Here's Jon and Alissa with their Aunt Judy and cousin Jessica:
Lisa lives in Longwood, a few miles away which was next on our agenda. Isn't it nice to have a big family? Of course I don't know it any other way...
Pretty much everyone has gathered at Lisa and Danny's house for years now, where Danny does some of the cooking. A retired fireman, he spent years perfecting cooking for a crowd in the firehouse.
I can vaguely remember a time when there were a lot of children running around, including the two pictured above. There is a whole batch of cousins born in the same year, 1979, within months of one another. Rich, Maureen's son is about two months older than the twins. He has two darling boys including his oldest Spencer shown here opening one of our gifts, a set of charming little children's books illustrated by one of my friends, Leah.
Exhausted, Bruce and I came home while J & A met some friends at a bar for drinks. By golly, it was nearing party time so a big Costco run was what Bruce and I did early the next morning. Now that I had the food I made a game plan which was helped enormously by having the house to myself on Friday. J & A met friends at Disney, and Mr. Bruce went to Miami for the day. Perfect, let the cooking begin.
Originally I'd planned on borrowing some crock pots, however, after asking me how much a new one cost, Bruce made the executive decision to buy three at Target, telling me I could donate them to charity after the event. I did not argue. Otherwise I'd borrowed a cool tool from Dana; basically a hot plate with three pots on top which also worked beautifully. I spent the day from 7:30AM to 8PM working in the kitchen. I told you above about my best efforts! It's too long and involved, but one thing that was a must for the menu was vegetarian chili for Alissa, which is where I began.
Although Christmas day was lovely and sunny, after that the weather turned gloomy with Saturday being no exception. Bruce got the back yard all ready with the tables, chairs, setting up the ice and the like. He even set up a tent for the dj to have a little cozy spot on the pool deck. Then it rained which made none of us too happy.
I picked up Nancy from the airport around 2, and am I ever glad I did. She was an enormous help, keeping me cognizant of the clock! Earlier in the day I'd even made a list of what was left to do,
With Nancy here I even had time to get myself together, which is pretty rare as I'm usually running around like a crazy woman, never getting the time to think about what I'm wearing or fix my hair. Sisters are good like that. And then it was 6:00, and guest began arriving, and what a time we had!
Ha arrived bringing with her the most beautiful French macroons and red velvet cupcakes. Yours truly is in the mirror..
Our dj, Scott Thompson was wonderful! It is no secret I like to dance and am never shy about getting other folks to do so as well. In this instance it didn't take much convincing. Lest you think Dave goes around at parties with his shirt open, I'm quick to point out that it was very warm!
Which leads me the guacamole episode. Scrounging for food after hours of dancing seemed like just the way to end a night of fun. Except for Ryan, Stacy, Danny, Jonathan and Alissa, the rest of us were all partied out.
While planning the party, more than anything, I wanted it to be a night to remember, and so I hope it was. I accepted thanks from folks, but the truth is my role was only a part of it--without Sue, Kathy, Bruce, Angela, Ha, Nancy and more, it would have been so, so much less. Thank you my amigos!
And now, tomorrow, I turn 60.......