Today was an ambitious day socially. I love to entertain in our home. We always had some event or celebration to host in Atlanta and I have really missed having groups and gatherings here in Belgium. The stress, manic cleaning, followed by fulfillment in the accomplishment all fuel me. Mom always taught me, "To be invited places, you need to invite and entertain others." Makes sense. Today I pulled double duty though. From 3-5 PM we hosted our Brussels Childhood Trust (BCT) Playgroup and then at 6:30 PM Karen, Tony, and Brady came over for spaghetti dinner.
Everything just takes a little more effort over here. Hauling groceries, figuring out European ingredient substitutes, determining the outside temperature and which coats to wear, and balancing Connor's schedule all proved formidable tasks. Connor of course fell asleep in the stroller in the supermarket, so she woke up earlier than I planned - during those precious hours I was relying on to clean and organize for the back-to-back groups. So I put her to work! Connor loved helping me wash windows and vacuum. I on the other hand struggled with how to stay three steps forward with Connor taking me two steps back in every cleaning effort. I would put books away and she would come behind me and pull them right off the shelf. Ugh. As soon as I put the vacuum away Connor dumped out her bowl of Cheerios and proceeded to step on a dozen of them (not on purpose, but a pain nonetheless).
Finally it was game time. Snacks out, check. Toys put away, check. Crumbs and Cheerios off the floor, enough of a check! There were probably about 8 babes with their moms who came from our BCT Group. These are English-speaking moms living in the "Central" neighborhood, so most are within walking distance. Everyone seemed to have fun and there were no bruises, bumps or blood and relatively few instances of "not sharing." Those were my real goals given so many toddlers in one place. The group was especially impressed that I had Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookies (both of which are not sold over here)!
And the cherry on top was dinner with the Proctors. I told Karen recently, "It is like finding good couple friends - but in this case it is like finding good triple friends!" I mean we love our time as adults and our kids couldn't be happier playing together. After spaghetti, we put the kids in their PJs, and the moms and dads enjoyed a second glass of wine while Brady and Connor chased each other up and down the hall sliding these red chairs. And they liked sitting and "reading" together in their matching seats! Needless to say we fudged on bedtime tonight. Connor went down around 8:30 PM, but it was so worth it!
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