When KC and I got married almost 7 years ago, we immediately clicked with a group of people. We got together almost weekly for games, or girl’s nights, or picnics in the park. We are not in the same ward at church anymore, and I think about 14 kids have been born since the first time we all met, making a little harder to get together as often. But we are still within reasonable driving distance of each other, so we make an effort to get together regularly, taking turns hosting throughout the year. December happened to be our turn, and I decided I wanted to have a semi-formal dinner party. Miraculously we found a date that worked for everyone, and it was all set. I made sure that between Elise and me, we had enough place settings, and that we could fit our group of 12 in our little dining area. The day arrived, and it was a busy one, but I somehow managed to get everything in place without much rushing or stress. I did some cooking in advance, which definitely helped. It was also great that KC took the kids with him when he took my sister to the airport (which turned into a four-hour venture, making it almost too easy for me to get the house in order. Poor him, lucky me.). He’s such a sweetheart. We got the kids in bed early, and set up the table without their little curious, grabby hands getting in the way. The dears fell asleep quickly and didn’t make a peep until the next morning. I heated the soup, and got the dessert setting up in the freezer, but I had to broil the steak last minute, so I did have to do a little rushing around for that, but it was no biggie (but what I wouldn’t give to have some hired help sometimes!).
I turned on my twin piano Christmas album, and everyone started arriving around 8:00. We chatted as we ate the delicious appetizers the Ribeiras prepared. As soon as everything was in place, we sat down to our first course, butternut squash soup. We then moved onto the Murphy’s delicious salad, and the Call’s beautiful Asiago Cheese bread. (The kitchen was pretty crazy by then. Not an inch of counter space was available (even though I had kept it clean all day in preparation, up until about 30 minutes before the party started, ugh). But we made it work somehow. Everyone was so sweet and willing to help with the prep and service of each course.)
And then it was time for the main course, broiled flank steak, the most creamiest scalloped potatoes, thanks to the Millers, and some very fancy stuffed mushrooms and bacon wrapped green beans. The Stromsdorfers really outdid themselves with those. (Not the best picture of the steak, or any of the food for that matter, but it was rushed, so what do you do?)
We finished off with my Pisatchio Daquoise (I made individual portions, unlike the recipe). Everything was so wonderful. Along with delicious food, the meal was filled with warm, comfortable conversation, catching up on everyone’s lives, big announcements (more on that later), and toasts to our lasting friendship. I do think it’s rare for a group of people to get along as long or as well as we all have. We truly feel like a family.
After dinner, we made our way to the living room for a good old White elephant gift exchange. And it didn’t disappoint. There were some great gifts in the bunch. We provided a live Beta fish (accessories and food included), and a Beverly Hills 90210 t-shirt. Both ended up with happy owners. (I think there was even a trade that went on under the table after the game had ended!) It just isn’t a Christmas party without a tacky gift exchange. I love it.I almost gave Ryan my gift cause I thought the two went together so well.
I don’t know why, but I thought it would be fun to have a little photo shoot. I think we had a little too much fun. Elise and Jeff were awesome to be our photographers. I just love these girls.We were all feeling slightly awkward at this point, but I love it anyway.
Our last part of the evening was spent snacking on cheeses, and having a girls vs. boys puzzle race. It was the same 100 piece puzzle, and although the boys were missing a piece and tried to use that as their excuse, we girls still pulled it out in the final seconds. But who would’ve thought otherwise?
People had to start heading home to relieve the babysitters. I wish they could’ve stayed and talked all night. It’s funny because I didn’t get hardly any sleep the night before, and it was a very long, busy day, but I didn’t want it to end. As soon as the last friends left though, I was fighting to keep my eyes open. We did what dishes we could (it only took about 7 loads of the dishwasher (this includes millions of dishes the kids use), and about three days to get my kitchen back, but it was worth it), and we were off to bed, so happy to have had such a wonderful night with our best friends. This picture has become a tradition after every Christmas party. But I think I naturally get into this position every year, and then remember to take the picture. Let’s take a look back at previous years: