We hosted a small dinner last night with some very good friends from church. I know I've said this before, but let me say it again, I heart St. Johns. We've felt so welcome there and have made such good friends - it has truly become a church home. One that our children adore as well - looking forward with eager anticipation to both the Wednesday night programs and dinners and the Sunday services and 'Sunday' school classes.
I truly believe there was some Divine guidance that led us to St. Johns at the time we started attending - turns out it was the same time the Bell family was also starting to visit, and to make a long story short (if that is even possible for me), over the last year our families have become very good friends as we have a lot in common, are at the same stage in our lives, and have three children each that love to play together.
At about the time that us and the Bells were (independently) making the decision to become full-fledged members, the Fleischers moved to Columbia (so that Scott could serve as St. John's Assistant Priest.) They too are at about the same stage in life, and also have three children, who ours love to play with as well... all that to say that over the past year, we've been very blessed to grow friendships we cherish, and our kids have done the same.
So like I said, the kids look forward to Wednesday nights with a passion. When the fall season of programs and dinners ended, and the kids didn't have the chance to see their friends (us too), we knew we needed to figure out when we could all get together and celebrate the season. A small dinner together came about.
Six adults + 9 children. How to seat this size crowd? I adopted my parents' philosophy from dinner parties they used to have in an era long ago....
|The 'Little Boys Table'|
|Complete with tree decoration - made lovingly by James.|
|The sweets table. I love filling the role that my mom's cousin Maria Aveni used to play -|
piling platters with homemade treats and cookies to satisfy every sweet tooth.
|The Adult Table|
|The Kid Table|
In the kitchen. And for the record, I agree with Scott. We need to put that door back up between the dining room and the kitchen - to keep the squealing and shrieking somewhat at bay.
|Seven of the Nine Kids|
James, Brooks, Jack, Maddie, Anna, Isabella, and Samuel
|Dylan and Jack|
The best behaved table of the evening, by far!
|Scott, Victoria, Deonne, Me, Nicole, Gene|
Don't we look awesome! And sort of like we're posing for prom photos?
|Yay for girls!!!|
I had a great time. I prepared my Nonna's recipe for lasagna, the Bells brought homemade chocolate cake (Gene is the baker in that bunch - have to give proper snaps for his a-ma-zing cake), and Victoria brought yummy bread and salad. Victoria and I laughed about growing up in Italian families (she also comes from an immigrant Italian family - and grew up in California.) So it was fun to reminisce about life with old-school Nonno's and Nonna's, the weird foods they made us eat, the things they used to say, the traditions they handed down.
It totally made some of that ever-present homesickness go away. At least for a night.
The kids had so much fun. It did get out of had a bit (because of my two older monkeys that somehow thought playing with friends meant screaming at the top of their lungs and playing rough and tumble and piling on top of each other.) But after a firm talking to - they settled down.
I can't wait until the next get-together! (Although - next time we'll have to put a little 'something' in the kids' milks, maybe make them a little bit sleepy or God help me slightly sedated, so they can play without shrieking!)