Sunday, December 07, 2008

12/7/08 Party Recovery

We had a terrific holiday party here yesterday! At least, everyone kindly says so. We knew it'd be tight fittings in our house, and we're really not well set up for large groups or holiday decorating, but it's a bunch of moms -- we know how to accomodate and make do.

Few houses can accomodate groups of 30 and seat everyone at the same time, and this one is no exception, but in retrospect, a lot of people did get to sit!

Some of the moms I already know from the 2002 and 2004 groups, but many are new to me in the 2006 group. In my early days as a new mom, the weekly park playgroups were an essential lifeline, and I got to know all the moms pretty well. Now as a tattered working mom, they're an indulgent luxury, so many of the 2006 moms I've never met. Too bad, because while being moms of young children is instant friendship glue, there are also a lot of moms in this group who I just really, really like.

It's funny, I had to ask myself why I like to host parties. It's a lot of work! It's on my mind for days before, it disrupts the house, it's chaotic and so busy that I really can't chat much with people, it takes over the whole weekend, and Dave is never crazy about the preparation or the event itself. Yet I truly enjoy the activity, the buzz of having our house filled with people and with joyful children. Four of us really put the party on, but one other mom, Cris, put a ton of time and work into it, more than me, and we had a lot of fun working and shopping together. It was really fun when we saw that her 2004 daughter and Julian hit it off and spent much of the party running together!

We didn't do much or go anywhere today (well, I did, more on that in a few). The kids played outside, and inside, and we spent a fair amount of time putting away toys and getting the house out of party mode.

What is it about little girls and red wagons....

My one outing today was to go to the house and test-paint again, and also to look around and start thinking about how I want to arrange the house. I'm starting to think about furniture, though given the new financial order of the world, I'm rethinking my original plan of replacing everything. I want things to be coordinated and useful, not a random mishmash as we had, but at the same time, I don't want it rigid and sterile either.

My mother offered one of those wonderful tidbits that's brilliant in its simplicity: wait to move in and see what you need before buying anything. The key to that is not bringing any of the old junk with you. Dave doesn't completely understand or agree with this, but this is one of those things I'm putting my wifely foot down about: the nasty 1970s dark brown oak stereo cabinets that the previous owners of our house left behind are not setting foot into the new house. Nor many other things that have "made do" for years. We need blank spaces to speak to us.

I sure have learned a lot about interior design and how to choose paint colors. Look for colors with lots of gray in them -- they're easy to adjust and coordinate and tend to stay muted. Or, go with bold colors. Bold or muted, not both. All the colors in all the rooms should work together. Develop a basic color scheme, green in our case. Then if you want other colors, say, a yellow room, look for a yellow with a lot of green in it. Make all the connecting spaces (halls) the same color.

Much of this I confirmed as I went about trying out various ideas for the downstairs bedrooms today, and wound up deciding on the same color for most of the downstairs rooms. But I had to see the bold colors next to the muted ones to realize: don't mix them! I love the Craftsman historical colors, but they're all very very strong, and I'm not sure I can live with them. Lots about Craftsman-era decorating is very sober and severe. I don't want the paint colors or light fixtures to make me want to burst into tears.

The downstairs bathroom tile is in, not grouted yet. The onyx border is gorgeous.

But then, I'm a newly-anointed tile freak.

Someone at the party commented yesterday that I won't want to host parties like this in our new house, what with kids spilling apple juice on furniture and everything being so hectic. But it's quite the contrary. Our fabulous new house is there to be used, not to be admired from afar. I have every intention of throwing big parties there, it'll be so much easier and pleasant. I can't imagine living in fear of apple juice.


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