Thursday, January 1, 2009

And we're (almost) done

There has been a flurry of activity around here, like many holiday households I imagine. But this was our first holiday season with a house (not to mention a comfortable guest room), so after our own family travels, we have been acting as hosts to a series of guests.

Although having guests included much vacuuming, bathroom cleaning and bed-sheet washing (note to self: purchase a second set of queen-sized sheets), I have reaffirmed that I definitely prefer having guests to being a guest.

Take our visit to my family the week before Christmas. The staying over part was infinitely better than it has been for years, since my parents finally replaced the mattress in the guest room. The springs that used to dig into your back as you were slowly sucked into the middle of the bed were unbearable.

But it was a "transitional" Christmas at my parents' house. We had decided that we should celebrate the holiday as an extended family on a day other than December 25th, but since my husband, Will and me were the only ones coming in from out of town, and everyone else was planning to come over for dinner on Christmas day anyway, it was less like a holiday celebration and more like an unfocused evening of "Oh! Nice to see you! Yes I am wearing sweats. Why are you wearing a dressy red shirt? See you at Christmas! Oh! Is this Christmas?"

Christmas Day with just the five of us (we can't forget the cats!) was really good. Will couldn't take her eyes (or hands) off the baby doll and its stroller that Santa left for her, and it took the entire rest of the day and evening to open the rest of her presents and go through her stocking. Accompanied by much coffee and wine, this was the perfect pace for our day.

Then we spent two nights at my inlaws' house for another family get-together (breaking my one night only sleepover rule). The three of us were stuck in the basement underneath the loudest vent in history. We finally had to move to a room filled with unused furniture, pull an old futon onto the floor, and sleep there. Even then the sound was only partially muted. During the day the house was so filled with people conversing (loudly) and playing (even more loudly) that it was impossible to move a sleeping Will from the car to a bed for her nap. But she rallied and we all made it to early Sunday afternoon when we headed back home.

That's when our visitors started to arrive. We picked up my sister and her boyfriend on the way back, and they spent a couple of days hanging out and playing with Will. When we took them home on Tuesday, Will spent another couple of hours playing in their apartment (even being pulled down their hallway on a new crazy carpet) and chasing their cats. Now she says "Jake-eeee" and "Oc-car" more than her own cats' names.

Then home to tidy up and get ready for our New Year's guests, my best friend and her family. Her daughter is almost exactly one year younger than Will, and the two adore each other. We are all a little bit worried about next year when they are both running around. It's going to be significantly less relaxing than this year (and I still had to delay my dessert after Will woke up and refused to settle easily).

Today we were able to chill out and run a few errands. Then tomorrow the last of the holiday guests are arriving for dinner: two (or three) of my husband's least conservative cousins. One of whom has informed us that she may or may not be staying over.

So the sheets are in the washer yet again. And there is the opportunity for one more guilt-free cheesecake.

Happy New Year!

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