Monday, May 14, 2018

Reopened Houses and Happy Hearts

So just in case the month of May wasn't insane enough with both our nannies graduating and going back home across the country 3 weeks before our school gets out, James's busiest session ever and an 80% switch out in his work face as an unusually large group of his instructors graduates at the same time, the kids having a different school activity seemingly every day, me subbing extra barre classes and starting a whole new class on Sundays, and and just life generally with 3 kids and 2 working parents - we decided to be out of town for the first two weekends. James has worked until midnight every weekday night this month and is going to kill me if I even suggest leaving our zip code again. Which is a very long way of saying we went to Houston this past weekend and it was GREAT.

From the very first day in their house after Hurricane Harvey when a group of my brother's friends came over and got down to the sweaty, dirty, awful work of tearing apart my parents' home, they said they'd have a party when it was all put back together again. They wanted to thank everyone for all their help when they were back in a position to do so, and they wanted everyone to see their beautiful home the way it was supposed to be, instead of covered in sludge and slime and drywall dust. And ten months later, they got to have it!

No safety masks allowed!

And our whole clan was there to party with them!

My mom called it a "Re-Opened House with Grateful Hearts" party and there were house and heart cookies, our favorite local Mexican food buffet (from a restaurant that had also flooded and rebuilt), all the beverages, and about forty people.

Our pastor who stopped by for a blessing.

Friends who all got tours.

My crew of incredibly hard working teachers who I had basically ordered around while they packed up my parents' entire downstairs on Day 3. They were amazing and it was so nice to get to meet them under very different circumstances.

The Good Samaritans, our new best friends Pam and Andy who had picked up my wet and bedraggled parents, and their three giant dogs!, off the sidewalk after they were dropped at the water line by the Coast Guard. They were strangers with an open house and open hearts and we have adopted them as our own.

The kids played in a yard that is no longer covered in dead fish and other people's fences and jet skis.

It was a really nice day. I didn't realize it until I was telling a coworker about it today, but part of what felt so good was seeing my parents be proud hosts again. To see them loving their house and to have it filled with their people. It was really nice to see.

It was also great to get to hang out with my sister and her little family, including my sweet niece Sky. The kids were particularly thrilled. They got to introduce Sky to their secret hideout in my parents' coat closet (shhh, I don't know that).

As guests trickled out we got to hang out as a family for a while. I tried to commemorate it with a picture of my mom and her girls, but first we had to yell at my dad for his terrible picture-taking angles.

That picture cracked me up. It literally happens every time, but we eventually got him straightened out. Literally.

As the night wore on there was swimming, kids in bed, a reopening of all the Mexican food leftovers, much Prosecco, bean bag games (James and I dominated), music, more music, and possibly some dancing? I went to bed about midnight, but the Rice family party continued.

On Sunday morning I woke up early to make breakfast for my mom. My siblings and I had planned a menu and split the ingredients. My sister had prepped her Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Bake the night before and then I added my Amish Potato Egg Casserole, Homemade Drop Biscuits, Homemade Whipped Cream, lots of fresh berries, and - my pièce de résistance - HOMEMADE JAM.

Oh yes, that's right. I am a maker of jams. A jam maker. I decided a few weeks I wanted to be a jamming person and I finally executed on Friday and I have never been more proud of anything. I literally shoved spoonfuls of my jam into all my family members' faces as soon as they got home. I went with Strawberry Basil Lemon and it was SO GOOD. I don't even like jam. I don't know where this urge came from, but I can't argue with results, and they went really well with my biscuits and whipped cream. We didn't get any pictures from the actual brunch, so here's more of my jam:

My mom was thrilled by the brunch, everything turned out delicious, and my sister introduced me to the world of grapefruit juice mimosas and now I can't ever go back, particularly not when the grapefruit juice is fresh squeezed in the kitchen before me. Post-brunch there was some swimming and packing and then, in wardrobe change #5(?) for the trip, we got ready to head to little Skyla's baptism!

Back at our church - where we were married and Landon and Cora were baptized, Sky was too. It was a simple service with all her grandparents and family present. I got a picture of all the mamas and babies and then we rushed off to change and drive home!

Because it was a Sunday in May and we needed food and clean clothes and also probably a glass of wine once we got home.

And OH DID WE. Because one mile from home, after a perfect car ride, Cora asked to "take off my feet" and we said no and she cried for the next 45 minutes.

Also our 1940's doorknob broke and James had to kick in our own door so we could get off our 100 degree driveway with all our luggage and the screaming toddler.


It did improve from there. The kids swam and I sat and drank wine in the shade and watched them. James went to the store and got the week's groceries and then made me a delicious dinner of Greek Chicken Pasta Salad.

He surprised me with an Apple Watch after I'd mentioned it would be nice to have one for my barre teaching and the kids made me super sweet cards.

Cora painted me a picture at school and when I told her I'd bring it to my office she replied that maybe it should just go in her room.

James went back out to the store to buy me a cookie cake when I wished I had a cookie because he is the sweetest. I ate half of it sitting on the couch watching I, Tonya while he worked next to me. It was a nice evening.

Earlier in the day I got a picture with my babies three while we were all looking so nice. At 10, 7, and 4 I feel like our lives hover in a state of barely controlled chaos, but damn do I love it.

(Most of it. Like a solid 90%, yearly average.)

1 comment:

  1. Interrupting my reading to immediately comment. Oh my gosh, your dress! And your mom's dress! I'm swooning with envy. and wishing I lived in Texas so I could go shopping with you ;)