Knitting is evil. That's all I'll say on the subject. :-)
Zorak got an early Christmas gift. We had to pick it up from Wal-Mart because Maryland's gun laws don't permit firearms in an open sleigh. He went out yesterday playing with it and harassing the deer. He's hoping for some whitetail mojo to rub off on this expedition. (There are a few pockets of whitetail deer in the southwest, but for the most part it's all muleys all the time! This is a different and exciting opportunity.)
M in VA and I have talked on the phone and emailed regularly over the past few months. Our correspondence has been such fun, and we've looked forward to meeting in person. As it worked out, Thanksgiving was the big day. She and her DH (who we'll call T- we're just going to go with initials here) invited our herd to descend upon her parents' place for the day. Zorak was willing to go because he's a good sport, and he's very patient with me. Boy there were a lot of people there! When they met us in the drive, she said, "OK, for the record, there are three people here we don't even know." (I think this may have been Karmic retribution for me introducing Zorak to my Mom at a family wedding. "Honey, this is my Mom... and 300 other relatives! Everyone, this is Zorak!")
There is always a certain tentativeness in meeting new folks. Are they weird in real life? Are we weird in real life? I can't speak for them, but after just a few minutes we felt like we'd showed up at an old friend's place. The boys were swept up into the flow of children, popping up every third lap through the house. M & T have a family that is comfortable to be around: conversation comes easy, laughter is common, and nobody is a stranger. More homes should be so warm and inviting.
M is so sweet and comfortable to be around that you quickly get over the fact that she looks like a Bond Girl and quit feeling self-conscious *almost* immediately.
The rest of the day is a blur of laughter and children and food. Of quiet discussions in the kitchen (yes, hovering around the coffee pot!) Of Zorak and I thoroughly enjoying every nuance of the day, occasionally wondering where the boys ran off to. (As a side note, all the children played so incredibly well together that there was very little intervention needed. It was nice, but left us feeling like we'd neglected our kids all day. The boys, on the other hand, had a fabulous time and have spoken almost non-stop since about all the great kids they played with and M's sister, Th!) M's family is wonderful, the epitome of Southern Hospitality (Papa M says, "You're only a guest for the first fifteen minutes"), and phenomenal cooks (the sisters laughed about not even attempting to make homemade crusts because their parents do it all from scratch and do it perfectly- everything was superb)! I'm actually having trouble blogging it well. If I were to recount all the highlights and humorous anecdotes, I'd still be blogging tomorrow.
Zorak thoroughly enjoyed the day, a pleasant surprise for him. (These get togethers of invisible friends are usually the women's ideas, and the men sit around staring at one another, thinking, "So. It was your weird-ass wife who thought this thing up?") Thankfully, this wasn't the case. The men fell into easy conversation and for much of the day the guys were engaged in a rapid dialogue of stuff. (I don't know what, just stuff.)
Oh, but I do have to tell you about these children! M and T have three children. We hope to do as well by the boys as they have by their children- and I say this honestly- these are great kids. Their oldest is a baseball nut, and he's so
And then there's Q and W, E's boys (E is one of M's sisters- a funny, witty, energetic lady who's ever so much fun to be around). E's boys are four and one- only a few weeks apart from John and Jacob in age. W is one. Chubby, bright-eyed, sweet, full of personality. He has that happy glow of a much-loved one-year old. He and Jacob watched each other quite a bit, both fascinated by "this other little person". Q is... well, I hope E is paying attention to the ins-n-outs of homeschooling because she is going to have to homeschool this little guy. He's wise, on a deep and cosmic level. He reminds me a lot of James at four, to an amazing degree. He's hilarious, but he doesn't know it; he's just saying what comes to mind. My favorite anecdote from the day is one that E told (and we got to hear a bit of it from him while he was playing). Q watches a lot of documentaries, from the BBC, so when he's just playing on his own, he slips into BBC-Commentator mode, complete with very realistic accent! So precious! She's a great Mom, and those two boys are absolute joys to be around.
I think if we thought we could get away with it, we'd have brought all five home with us. But then, our three wanted to stay there, too.
M's other sister, Th, is a photographer. This woman is amazing! I'll post separately about her photography skills, because I don't want them to get lost in this big ol' post. She's also funny, down to earth, and has an energy and creativity that the really-cool-aunts always have - the kind that draws children to her the same way all the super fun things in life draw children. God bless her, she keeps up with 'em, too. I was exhausted just standing in the hallway during the Great Airplane Wars, watching! She got a deer after we left. Zorak was tickled for her, but let out a little whine of envy when I told him.
Anyway, I could just gush and gush about it, but I'll stop here. We appreciated the invitation and had a lovely time. We hope to reciprocate sometime soon with a good cookout at the beach or something nice for them. It was a great way to spend Thanksgiving. Thanks, guys!
Kiss those babies!