If fun could be measured in pounds gained, we had the time of our lives this New Year's. It occurs to me that the same conclusion could be reached through the amount of recycling we created. The Batzers, The Jurans, and The Rothermel showed up at The Layous' in the early afternoon on the 29th just in time to lick the beaters of Karen's mixer clean of icing. Carpooling was a brilliant idea, coming from Anne, as there was much laughter to make the car ride seem shorter. The highlight of the car trip came from, well, me and what I am afraid is a minor hearing loss. James was trying to tell the story of his uncle mishearing the word tapas as topless. Now the bar being discussed was mentioned as being outside several times. I did not know the word tapas before this trip, so I thought they were using topless to mean open air. When my confusion was finally cleared, it was to everyone's great amusement. James complimented my ability as a straight man. I will take what dignity I can salvage through that compliment.
When the two tons of desserts were unloaded from the truck, and lunch was quickly put together, the main entertainment of the weekend was finally set up. That would be the Wii. Soon Dann and Jake were well obsessed with tennis while Anne and Karen became entranced with cow racing. Karen's prowess was to be admired while Anne's lack there of was worth several hours of giggling. James proved fairly proficient at most Wii activities except tennis with me. We choose to blame the wine.
After the Wii, I supposed the next form of prevalent entertainment were the boys. It turns out that all seven of us were suckers for the babies. Noah found the view from John's 6'3" shoulder particularly comforting while also enjoying conversations with Jake. David liked being the good one and showing Noah up when it came to going down for naps and eating beans. I invented Baby Splat. Anne turned out to be pretty good at bedtimes and cutting up fruit. James proved to be very entertaining in the baby pen even while trying to protect his last precious remaining hairs from happy baby fists.
The final entertain has to have been alcohol. Our cups runneth over. A whole lot. After one small obstacle... the lack of a bottle opener. In a house with four engineers and a TD, this was shortly overcome with a drill, a drywall screw, a pair of screw plyers, brute force and a whole lot of guts on Jake's part. I do believe by the end of the weekend we had managed to work our way through a dozen bottles of wine, a small bottle of whiskey, and almost a whole bottle of Amaretto. Huzzah! Oh, I forgot the case of beer. (Dann and Karen, we forgot the frozen shot glasses. We will get them at the birthday party. That seems kind of wrong....)
On New Year's Eve, Anne and I gave Karen a break from mommyhood and a trip to the spa. She was a puddle of smooth skin and shiny nails by 1 PM. Dann showed up to take her out for the afternoon, so they could remember what it was like to just be a couple and not mom and dad for just a little while. Since they managed to pick up antibiotics on the trip, I don't think it entirely worked. The rest of us managed to keep the boys alive while they were out. We even managed to get them to take small naps. After a lot of coaxing. And holding. We were suckers. While they were out Anne started her spaghetti sauce, and the smell soon filled the house. It was almost more intoxicating than the pear port. Almost. After a satisfying, late dinner of spaghetti, salad, and cheesy garlic bread (and more wine of course) we settled down to play Wii and Catch Phrase while waiting for the now sad Dick Clark countdown. Is his legacy really going to go to Seacrest? Can someone really live in the U.S. of A. and be blissfully ignorant of who Ryan Seacrest is? Apparently so, Anne. I wish I were you. The hour came, the ball fell, the champagne was passed, kisses were exchanged, and we managed to stay up to close to 2 AM. I think. It might have been closer to 1. We tried in our dotage. Again I blame the wine more than age.
Sadly, as all good things must, our visit ended around 11 AM after way too many pancakes and many hugs and kisses and baby pictures. We got to Reston around 12:30, just enough time to initiate John and I into the wonder that is Five Guys. We reached Harrisburg in enough time to grab some Starbuck's before getting Jake to the train station and had the last good bye of the holiday.
Yet again, we proved that ties can last and no matter what each year brings, the end of one and the beginning of the next will bring us all together. May this year be cancer free and baby full. They can't really be turning one?!
My photos will be up at photosbyduffy.com shortly.