Where to begin with recapping the weekend? Elliot did fine on the drives, so check mark on that success still. Elliot and I were able to have a lovely breakfast/cup of coffee with some of my college friends on Saturday morning and we caught other friends on Monday before our trek back to Chicago.
Sunday was the big Papczun gathering, and boy, was it big this year. It was the first time everyone was together since Marcia passed away. Pat's sisters, Katie (in from Texas) and Heidi (in from Wyoming) headed the show along with a friend who joined Katie (Caryn from Germany). Food was fixed, house was scrubbed, cookies were baked, you name it, they got it done. There were many elf hands that helped make it happen. Pat's dad had extended the invitation to all who traditionally had come, but many of us now have kids, and the number was at 27. We weren't sure who might be sitting on the steps to eat! But we knew everyone would love being together.
The elves started baking on Saturday afternoon; Pat trying to look important.
Brian, Katie's husband, who figured out that it's best to steer clear of the kitchen until summoned.
We managed to steal away for an afternoon visit to Great Grandma while everyone else set up for the gathering.
It was chaotic, but so good to see everyone. It definitely felt like the holidays. When the smoke cleared, we still had enough food for an army (literally, the dining room table was covered in sweets, pies with one piece out of them; everyone who came was so generous... I finally had to scrub the floor because I was tired of feeling the grit of sugar on my socks!).
A tug-of-war broke out in the kitchen. Worried there was no adult around, we went in to find Pat on the sidelines, documenting.
Time to break down the tables to have room for presents!
(That's the tableful of desserts I mentioned!)
Good use for those new snowboarding gloves I got you, Charles...
Nerf guns were a big hit and look who's in on it.
Elliot hit a growth spurt this weekend, which was lovely timing. On Saturday morning, he was a grumpy Gus until I realized that he needed 11 oz (!) instead of his regular 4-5 oz, along with nursing about every 2 hours that day. On Sunday, he fell victim to overstimulation and overtiredness, as he got half of a nap all day long. Come midnight, he was crying so hard and would not go to sleep, the poor kid. But, he wore himself out enough that on Monday, when we drove home, his eyes did not crack for the entire 6 hours, and then he still slept the night through once we got to Chicago.
After hitting two friends on Monday, we got on the road and rolled into Chicago around midnight. I awoke this morning feeling almost nauseous from tiredness-- Pat and I have a very bad habit of staying up until 1am... 2am... one night Pat came to bed at 4am... because we want to visit with family. After getting Elliot fed, I didn't even realize I had fallen asleep until I awoke again at 11:30am. Pat said Elliot crashed again, too. It's now after 5pm, and Pat has been napping himself for an hour or so. Hopefully normalcy can return by tomorrow, but at least we had the time to catch up and not just jump right into things the minute we got back.
We did literally a 30 minute stop-over to see Lisa Winkler, one of our Kent friends who was in from Washington, D.C. before heading to the Miners on Monday.
Our Monday afternoon at the Miners-- nerf sword fight was on the agenda.
Nicholas and Will were great at making this grumpy Elliot laugh (and it was reciprocal).