Saturday's big Par-Tay went off without a hitch. 90 people gathered at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate to celebrate my parents-in-law. In return, we were treated to great food, good wine, and fantastic entertainment in the form of 'The Three Waiters' - three opera singers pretending to be a French, Italian and British waiter, respectively. It was a hilarious battle of the silly, much to the amusement of everyone present.
My boys were the only children at the party, and I am proud to say they were very well behaved (though I must admit to a little confusion -- I mean, how come they don't behave like that around the house?). They did get to sneak their DSes into the dining room, but played very little, preferring to socialize (another source of confusion...).
Family and friends drove from all over the country, and some flew in from as far away as Germany, Switzerland and even the US for the weekend. Most of the family spent last night at the hotel, which is how we were able to put the boys to bed nice and early (eh...11:30 pm), and still continue partying until the hotel closed us down at 1 am.
Sadly, some of us (cough 'Mike' cough) thought we could continue partying like we were 21 all night, so he decided to join his much younger sister and brother on the town for another few hours. He finally made it back into the hotel room at 4 am, making quite a lot of noise and annoying me to no end with his utter lack of consideration for me and the fact that I was trying.to.sleep.
It was only this morning I realized the extent of his..ehem...inebriation, as he suffered through the worst hang-over in years. Even his 25-year-old brother was in pain, and had to spend most of the day sleeping it off. Only Katherine stood proud, proving once again that women really are the stronger sex.
Today was spent at the house in Ripon, where my mother-in-law hosted those out-of-town guests who had not yet left at a casual garden lunch. I even had the opportunity to meet a childhood friend of Mike's, a guy he's known since he was 4. It was a pleasant and relaxed day, with everyone being tired and slightly run down after yesterday's festivities.
I'm thinking tonight will be an early night.
Tomorrow is the big packing day. We have to squeeze everything we brought to England back into the suitcases we came with AND add to that pile the things we've acquired during our three weeks here. Thankfully, we've limited our purchases here to necessities only (football shirts for the boys, name plates for their doors (very important, that), cooking chocolate to make delicious toffee shortbread, that sort of thing), so it should not be an impossible task.
What will be an impossible task, I fear, is getting through check-in on Tuesday without having to pay for the extra weight we'll be begging the airline to take home with us.
At least they can't charge me for the extra weight I've piled on around my waist this year.
We began our adventure with a big family birthday party for my mother in Norway last July, so it is only fitting that we ended it with another big family celebration this weekend. I feel as if we've come full circle.
Our sabbatical has been all about family, both immediate and extended. We've made fantastic memories, for our children, and also for ourselves. I can't wait to immerse myself in the wealth of photos we've amassed during our time away, to relive some of the experiences of the past 10 months.
But now it's time to return to our life and our friends in Canada.
I'm curious to see how Canada will seem to us after a year away. Have we changed as much as I think we have, or not at all? Will there be a period of re-adjustment, or will we be back in the old swing of things within days?