Okay, so my vision of rolling out the gingerbread didn't really pan out. But the kids had fun. And my father in law's surprise party was a huge success. Dinner for 28 in our apartment was not as hard as I thought. The keys were having enough places for people to sit (we used every single seat option, including our park bench and work chairs), cooking in advance and reheating (spinach artichoke dip, cocktail weenies, homemade lasagna and baked pumpkin pasta), and having plenty of booze - it doesn't (usually) go bad, so there's no harm in over-doing it. Over-buying it, that is.
I was a bit stressed prior to the big event - hosting 28 people for dinner in our little apartment to surprise my father in law for his 75th birthday. I was wondering if we were going to have enough food, enough chairs, enough (ack!) space! But in the end, the apartment has never felt so full, so comfortable, and so alive. Everyone was just happy to be there. John's large family is spread out all over and rarely gets together in the same place at the same time. It had been over a year - since our wedding - and before that, I don't even know. So it didn't really matter that the lasagna sauce was dripping down into the oven and causing the whole room to fill with smoke. Or that our tv/sitting room fits about 3-4 people max, or that we had plastic plates and silverware - so environmentally unfriendly, yes, but admittedly, it's the aesthetic of plastic dishes and utensils that bugs be even more. Everyone was thrilled to be with each other - celebrating my father in law's birthday - in the company of their nearest and dearest loved ones - seemingly oblivious to be sitting on uneven park benches, bumping into each other at every turn and eating reheated pasta with tacky plastic forks. Aleluya!