Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake

We've lived here in our new house for about six weeks now, and one of the big appeals of this place was that we had lots of room to entertain.

That was something our previous home had lacked.  In spades.

We could barely get the five of us around the table in the kitchen, let alone two more when Mom and Dad would visit.  With the arrival of the kids, we totally lost the dining room so that we could have a toy room and a living room.  No room for extra chairs.

No room for lots of things, really.

A bigger house was something we needed, and something we were really looking forward to.  We were tired of not being able to invite friends over to hang out.

Our illustrious first guests were my mom and dad, who came for Christmas, barely a week after we moved in.  But they're not exactly company.  Next, we had my cousins who were back in the States on furlough (they're missionaries with Wycliffe in Papua New Guinea) here for an evening.  Guests, yes, but

Hubby had a youth staff meeting here one night.  Business, though.  Not entertainment.  (Although, the kids sure tried.)

Then we had Marlboro Rob (he looks like a cross between the Marlboro Man and Rob Schneider) and Lady S over for an evening.  They often cared for our cats when we'd be gone on vacations (mini or otherwise), so they had a key to our old place, and never bothered to knock when they came over.  Practically family.

All of this to say...we have this great house, and haven't really had any kind of entertaining happen yet.

Which changed last night.

We've made a couple of good friends among the college students who attend our church.  This is in no small part helped by the fact that we have adorable children who could make friends with rocks without difficulty.

Once we got moved, we told them, we'd have them over for dinner.  By the time we got moved, it was Christmas break, so it was several more weeks before we could even think about scheduling a dinner together.

Even with Small Fry's icky cough, runny nose and need for antibiotics, Jester and Mitsy were still ready to make a go of our Tuesday plans when they saw Hubby and the two older Fries in church on Sunday.  And then, with Medium's stomach bug, well...that was mercifully short-lived.

I had great fun tormenting Jester in particular with Facebook posts about the yummy smells coming from my kitchen as the roast cooked in the crock pot.  When I mentioned the cake I was going to make, his comment was, "THERE IS GOING TO BE CAKE!?!?!?!"  Yes, there's going to be cake.  I like to treat my guests well.

They arrived at the appointed time, and were immediately greeted with squeals of unrestrained delight.  Prolonged ones.  They got a very haphazard tour of the house as the Fries dragged them hither and yon, culminating in the basement toy room.  Hubby and I chuckled, and he started setting the table while I finished working on dinner.

I found our CD case with the classical music CDs, and selected Heigh Ho, Mozart for kicks.

Hubby asked what the seating arrangements would be, and I pointed out that I--even our guests--was not the person to ask.

We asked the kids, of course, and it was determined that Mitsy would sit between Large and Small, while Jester would, naturally, sit next to Medium, since he is, after all, her "boyfriend."

It was soon obvious that a rollicking game of hide-and-seek was going on.  Jester crawled under the dining room table as Hubby was trying to set it, hiding by laying across the chairs.  Mitsy ducked under the counter in the kitchen.  Laughter abounded.

Jester then scooted through the kitchen, and out the door.  Hubby followed him in, and said, "Did he just go outside?"

I nodded and chuckled.

Hubby went over and opened the door.  A wordless "guy conversation" followed, and so I went over and opened the back door, too.  Jester calmly stood outside, an impish grin on his face.  "We're playing hide-and-seek," he said, "and no one specified the boundaries.  I am the king of hide-and-seek."

I was still grinning when Mitsy came into the kitchen after helping one of the Fries count before going off in search of hiders--Jester included.  "Anything I can do to help?" she asked.

No, I told her.  I had everything pretty much under control.

"Where is Jester?"

I pointed to the back door, and the silhouette of her boyfriend.

"He went outside?"

"He said you were playing hide-and-seek and no one laid any ground rules."

She laughed, too, and Jester soon came back inside, and Hubby helped Small hide under the myriad pillow cushions on the den couch.

Finally I called out, "Kids of all sizes!  Dinner's ready!"

Jester looked at the au jus sauce still in the crock pot while Hubby sliced the roast.  "Would you mind if I just drank this?"  (Hey, it tastes and smells mouth-wateringly good.)

Savory roast, scalloped hasselback potatoes, green beans, and sweet corn...yum.  When I try, I can be quite a good cook.  I think I bake better than I cook, but I think it's safe to say I very nearly outdid myself. Jester proclaimed being on the verge of a very happy food coma by the end of the meal.

I heard rumors that he sneaked a second piece of the chocolate chip cake after the kids were in bed. ;)

Getting my wound-up little Fries into bed was a challenge.  Hugs went all around.  Medium threw herself into Jester's arms, distraught over being told by Hubby that she would have to show Jester her mad hula-hooping skills some other time, and Jester carried her up to bed.  (Small Fry, not to be left out, insisted happily that Jester had to pick her up and put her in bed, too!)

As Hubby tucked Large Fry in down the hall, I tucked in the twins.  Medium needed this.  And that.  And she pwomised that she would give Jester a surprise before he put on his coat to leave.

This smacked of excuse and stall technique.

"What did you have to give him?"

"Um, I have to give him, um, a...a...a bumblebee kiss!" she announced with mixed relief and giddiness at being able to come up with something I wouldn't expect and that she hadn't already done, like giving him a kiss and a hug.

And she was looking at her closet.

With the flowers and bumblebees painted on the doors.


"No, honey.  You can't.  You'll see him on Sunday."

By the time I got downstairs, Hubby was educating Jester on the finer points of Disney's Phineas & Ferb, and had set up an episode to watch.  Then I showed Jester and Mitsy a couple of extremely cute videos of Medium from when she was much younger (they were charmed).

And then we watched Tim Hawkins's comedy DVD "I'm No Rockstar."  Great stuff.

Medium, however, was in rare form, and required three parental interventions during the course of the video.

She had informed me, when I told her it was time to close her eyes and go to sleep, that she couldn't, because her eyes wouldn't let her.  Medium usually is first to conk out; instead, she was still awake at nearly 10.

I'm sure it's because her eyes wouldn't let her close themselves, because she doesn't know how to close them (that's her other excuse).

Certainly had nothing to do with our company.


Next time, we'll have to pick an evening that isn't a school night.

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