Well, I never posted an update on how the party went, partially because Chris had such a detailed post about it. However, just so you know... it was fun as always. Not as many people (although 14 kids... which is certainly a record) and not as many gifts in the exchange (20 this year as compared to the 34 last year), but still fun.
Chris and Brian (Sophie's husband) turned out to be the real heros of the day. Chris and Brian put their heads together and between the two of them (I understand Chris came up with the idea and Brian made it happen), we now have a gate at the top of our stairs. They had to go to two different baby stores (twice... long story), but they had it up and working before guests arrived.
Brian also made time to do what had to be the nastiest job of the day, which was cleaning out the cooler from last year. Chris and I had a little misunderstanding last year after our party. I asked him if he emptied out the cooler and he said "Yes." The misunderstanding happened when I thought he was actually listening to the question and giving an honest answer, and he was thinking, "I don't know what she just asked because I was watching football, but if I say 'yes' I bet I won't have to do anything else." So a couple of weeks later when I went to move the cooler from the back porch to the garage, I noticed it was awfully heavy. Lo and Behold, inside were two beers and a few gallons of water! Oh, and some nasty mold/mildew stuff. So I emptied it and left it to dry... and never really got back to it. Brian bravely donned the yellow rubber gloves this year, and armed with Tilex, a sponge, and the water hose, he scrubbed that bad boy clean. Oddly, Brian also made sure the cooler was empty and wiped out before they left the next day. Guess he didn't want to get stuck with THAT job ever again. :-)
Chris got the tree up, and with Athena's instant fascination with it, we have opted for a "Lights Only" tree this year. We'll do ornaments again next year, when Athena is older and The Nameless One is still not really reaching for stuff... well, we hope.
Sophie and I did cook a few things. She had more energy than I, but we both rested often and Sophie actually nodded off on the couch at about 10:30 when most of the guests had left. I'm looking forward to cooking more next year, although with three kids underfoot most of the day, I wonder how productive we'll be. Life is just chugging forward, isn't it?!