Saturday was Bob's work Christmas party. He'd been asked to take portraits, and agreed. That's when we bought the light kit and backdrop stand. So anyway, we asked friends (she comments here as "Mom" and "kitchenqueen") to come supervise our oldest 6 children while Bob, Elijah, and I went to the party, and they agreed. Mrs. and 3 of her children came to play while Mr. took their baby home for a nap. Bob and I high-tailed it outta there.
We arrived at the "O Club" and went in to look for a place to set up. Hmmm. One corner was taken by the live band; the other corner was a doorway in front of the bar. The main room was solid tables. There was *some* space alongside the buffet, but we were hesitant about that. The kind ladies working there really tried to find a solution. Finally we settled on an unused room just down the hall from the main party. It was roomy, quiet (that live band was getting loud in their warm-up), and there was a lovely tree all decorated and ready to make a nice prop. Phew, that was settled in time to avert an all-out panic. But then we looked around and realized that the room only had 220v outlets. We purposely bought 110v lights because we want to take them back home with us when we leave here. The ladies started racking their brains for where we could get a transformer - they didn't have one, but maybe the "E club"?? Bob was ready to run over to the BX and buy one ($100), when one lady said, "why don't you unplug the Christmas tree?" Sure enough, it was running off a transformer. Oh, sweet relief. I'd really thought Bob was about to cry.
We'd just got set up when people began to arrive. We prepared for a rush, and got nothing. The people at the front table kept forgetting to tell people we were back there. The ladies who helped us get started posed for a group shot, and then a few others came in. We never got swamped, but we did a few. I even took two shots myself, as Bob went for a walkabout in the main party room. We processed the pictures as we took them, and printed out a 4x6 for each couple. It was fun to be working (and have it work!), to be out with just us, to talk to adults.
The children called at bedtime, because William started crying for mama. :-( He's so precious. We finished up, tracked down the couples to get their prints (and hopefully order more), then packed up and came home after stopping for a Cinnabon at the BX midnight madness sale (nothing on sale).
Then Sunday. The morning meeting was a children's service, where the different classes show what they've learned, and the children's minister got to preach a little. Then we came back home for a couple of hours, and back to church at 4pm. It was the church Christmas party. The dining room was carefully guarded, so we joined the mingle in the sanctuary. One couple was taking portraits of each family, and Bob got his camera out to get our own copy of our family. Instant camera envy! And a good deal of bonding; Bob told me later that a dinner invitation is in the works. :-D Anyway, after the pictures and visiting, it was time for dinner.
We were shown to our table (place cards and all), all glimmering in candle light. To keep a long story less long, we were served in stages. First, soup and bread. Then roast organic turkey with yorkshire pudding, stuffing balls, roast and mashed potatoes, broccoli, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. After plenty of time to eat there was a break where each table offered an entertainment. The Bible school table took turns singing Jingle Bells, each in his native tongue. The youth did a rap. The drama team did a 1 minute skit. The family to our left had their two infants breakdance on the table. We sang Wil's "Christian Jingle Bells." I was afraid we didn't have enough volume, but when the rest of the room joined in on the chorus I knew we had a winner. Then came dessert - "Christmas Pudding" (bowl-shaped fruitcake) and "chocolate cheesecake" (no-bake cheesecake with chocolate curls on top) served with both pouring cream and custard (vanilla pudding). Then came fresh fruit salad. Yeah, not where I'd have put it, but the children devoured ours. Next was cheese and crackers (we wished the cheese had labels so we could learn what they were), and finally coffee and chocolate candy. Oh yeah, and those round after dinner mints. Believe it or not, we didn't feel painfully stuffed. I suppose this is because of the time intervals between courses.
Once, Ella decided to go to the restroom by herself. We figured it was all right; Taryn was already there, and Ella was familiar with the building. But the setup must have thrown her off, because she went prancing past the door to the hall and toilets, head held high right past the serving counter, and into a storage closet! I just laughed, but Bob went to her rescue. William thought it was all a little weird and wouldn't eat anything other than his bread. The grandmotherly lady to his right couldn't stand that, and tried to help him out. At first he resisted, but before long they were good friends and she'd taught him to blow kisses.