Pre-dinner family selfie.
We loved that the three of them all crammed together on one side even though they didn’t need to. The boys were at the other table.
We had one of our Saturday Night Dinners for our Thanksgiving this year. We thought we’d keep it simple—we’d do a turkey, mashed potatoes, instant stuffing, fresh bread, and mulled cider; one couple was bringing a sweet potato casserole; and one couple was bringing dessert. Easy, right? Well holy hell it was still a lot of work. Last minute stuff, really, and not hard, but still craziness. Especially at the last minute when I realized I had completely forgotten to start the gravy! (At least I already had the stock ready so it didn’t take long at all.)
My very first use of a selfie stick!
Well, we knew about it ahead of time but the visit in general was a surprise this weekend! Roger and the girls were up visiting his other daughter Amanda for the weekend and she lives about an hour away…so they all came over for dinner! I haven’t seen them since we left Jacksonville in 2014!
Can’t you see us with a daughter this age?! We’d take her in a minute. (We could have had one this age if we had a kid two years before we got married…or two years after we met.)
One of the best things to come out of tonight? Getting to recreate one of our favorite Virginia photos!
The photo Virginia wanted to take—showcasing the two big guys that she can threaten boys with (a running joke for many, many years):
And just for comparison, the same trio back in 2007:
The Three Musketeers, together again!
And a selfie for the road!
New friends (Nate, a co-worker of Tom’s I’d never met—and his wife), newbies to dinner (friends from T-ball, mutual friends, and now Owen’s first grade class), good food (gumbo, rice, homemade white bread and spaghetti bread), amazing desserts (peanut butter bars and carrot cake by Nate!), and great kids equals gumbo dinner party success!
Through a small comedy of errors, Allison spilled red wine on herself a mere five minutes after arriving…so I loaned her a shirt (same shirt, different color) and we were twins!
Tonight was our fifth Saturday night dinner—and it happened to be Tom’s birthday as well! We had two new families (and one couple who’ve been to a couple dinners) join us—and it was fun (and crazy—with 8 kids!)!
Also as usual, I didn’t even think to take pictures because we were so busy visiting and doing food prep…so the first picture I took was a quick birthday shot of Tom with the dessert he picked (a caramel tres leches cake from Costco…with Owen’s birthday balloon!):
And then a panoramic of the table at dessert time…where it took me more than a few minutes to realize there’s a bunch of panoramic artifacts—like Tom’s hands reappearing on the other side of Katie and a friend’s squished face!
And Katie enjoying the blue frosting on the cupcakes a guest brought for the kids:
As a sidenote, I posted the invite for the next dinner in six weeks (Tom’s work schedule prevented a 4-week plan) and all RSVPs were filled within 24 hours!
I finally remembered to take a picture of our group at dinner. Tonight we had my good friend Ruth (and her daughter Emily) who came down from Maryland, Frank and Beth (and their two girls) who have attended before, and a t-ball mom Kate (and her daughter) that I befriended recently (unfortunately, her husband had to stay home with their three boys because their behavior had been lacking).
Owen was at our table because we had extra seats and the kids table was filled with four girls.
Of course, it had started storming terribly at the exact moment Tom needed to be out grilling, but I had the foresight to have him put up our old umbrella so he didn’t get completely soaked.
We all had an amazing time with lots of laughs and can’t wait to do it again!!
Our second dinner went just as well as the first—even with a last-minute guest switch up! One family couldn’t come because of a sick kid, so we invited Owen’s coach and his family and they were excited to come! (They’ve recently moved here as well and understand how hard it is to make friends!)
Katie had a friend she knew and Owen made a new friend (only four years old but they got along great).
Here, Tom was rescuing Lambie from the kids’ table so she didn’t get dunked in spaghetti sauce.
I love having friends over for dinner. I like making new friends. So when I read this article last year—
Friday Night Meatballs: How to Change Your Life With Pasta (if you have the time to read it, please do!)—it hit a nerve and I immediately knew it was something I wanted to attempt. I promised myself that I would schedule something after the holiday season had settled down. Well, then life happens, and I didn’t actually get to schedule it until the end of January, with the dinner to be mid-February.
I posted the following invitation on Facebook and hoped for some responses:
[Photograph: Carina Romano]
Imagine my surprise when the RSVP slots were filled in less than 24 hours!! And lots more people LOVED the idea and promised future participation!
Unfortunately, the weather didn’t play nice and we had to postpone a week, but the original attendees were all still able to come! And everything went awesome! Six guests (plus kids) was just right. (This house is big, but for a dinner party, six guests is about the limit of dining space. I wish we had more room, or even a good place for another table!) Everyone got along and had a good time talking, the kids were all awesome (Owen had a new Lego buddy and Katie had a friend), and everyone stayed much later than I anticipated (they all left about 9:30). One couple said it was a great idea and they are thinking about starting something similar! Yay! During the event, I even stopped Tom and told him that I was very happy. He agreed it was a good night. We both can’t wait to do it again!
Even though it wasn’t BUSY or lots of work, we were both kept busy visiting and prepping and whatnot, so I didn’t take pictures! The only one I took was of the kids’ table:
And this one was snapped by a guest (everyone liked the aquarium but the girls loved it!):
I hope all future dinners go as smoothly as this one did!
And then, even though it was WAY past the kids’ bedtimes, we let them stay up to watch one TV show to let them calm down. And this happened: