Next weekend Ellie will turn six. She’s incredibly excited about being six, about going to first grade, about “growing up”, and (of course) about getting birthday presents.
Since we’re going to be out of town on her actual birthday, we opted to have her birthday party on Saturday for friends and family here at the ranch.
The day started pretty early. I think Jenn were awake (thanks Lilly) before 7am, and knowing that the afternoon would be filled with visitors, celebrating, and hopefully relaxation we started out early on the the frantic “clean this place up” routine that happens around here prior to most of our gatherings.
By 11am we had cleaned the kitchen, living room, toy room, kids bedroom. Not just “straightening up”... I’m talking about really cleaning up. All surfaces dusted, floors vacuumed, kitchen and bathroom tackled with Jenn’s new Shark steam mop thing, cleaned up lots of odds and ends that were sitting around the driveway and yard, and generally whipped the place into shape. I even cleaned off my coffee table, which if you know us at all or have ever visited us is a rare thing indeed.
I think we all dread the these massive house cleanups when we know they are coming up. I even tried to get out of this time by running to Columbus with some buddies on Saturday morning before the party. But once we get underway it feels good to be tidying up, and we always bask a little in how nice, neat, and shiny everything is for a few days after the fact.
By noon or noon-thirty, we were in pretty good shape for the party. Jenn had a last-minute Wal-mart run to make, and we set out the snacks, made lemonade and tea, whipped some quick “cowboy” foods (chuckwagon beans and cornbread) before falling into relax mode and waiting for the guests to arrive.
Over the course of several hours we had about 25 or 30 people swing by the ranch and hang out anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. My mom and brother made it down, so did Jenn’s parents, and lots of our friends from church, including most of Ellie’s “peer group” of teens and college students. (Yeah, she’s six going on fifteen).
The afternoon was about as perfect as you could hope for.
Hanging out with friends and family.
Eating, laughing, talking, telling stories, grown-ups playing pre-school games.
Jenn will probably blog about the party in detail (mabye?).
She uploaded photos to facebook here if you care to take a gander.
When everyone had gone, and the kids were exhausted and settled in bed, Jenn and I tidied up the kitchen a bit and then sat to watch some TV and talk for a little bit. We got sucked into watching Titanic on one of the movie channels (which wasn’t as bad as I remembered).
Jenn and Lilly headed to bed just before ten, and the movie 21 came on. It’s about MIT students who count cards and win at blackjack. I intended to head to bed myself shortly after Jenn and Lilly turned in, but couldn’t stop watching 21 after I got started. Good flick.
Shortly after midnight I turned off the lights, killed the TV, locked the door, checked on the Elli & Slias and took myself to bed. Crawling into bed with Jenn and Lil, who were already snoozing, I let my mind wander back over the day and reflected...
I felt so relaxed and content. Tired... but a good tired.
It’s not often I go to bed without being stressed about something or other, or worried about things I need to tomorrow, but last as I lay in the dark and gazed at the ceiling I breathed deeply, I listened to Jenn and Lilly asleep next to me, smiled at how blessed I am, and drifted into deep and peaceful sleep.
Nights like that are good.
I should have them more often.