Today started early for me - I was awake at around 6:30. Awake of my own voilition! No-one jumped on me. I lay in bed, too hot because we haven't adjusted our bedding to account for spring (why is it that even though the thermostat always says 18, it's way colder in January than in March?) and listened to an unexpected chattering noise from somewhere in the house. It wasn't music or the radio... I couldn't place it, and then I realized it was Delphine reading to Cordelia. I stayed in bed for as long as I could stand the heat, and finally got up at 6:45. The girls and I headed downstairs for breakfast, with a brief detour to jump on Daddy (well, for the kids).
For first breakfast we had cereal, and then Delphine logged on to play her daily complement of video games (she likes Diego games lately) and I hied myself upstairs to clean the bathroom and take a shower. Once clean and dressed I went downstairs again to put brunch in the oven, for we were expecting company! Then I vacuumed and tidied and cleaned and dusted like a mad woman, in time for everything to be ready at 10, when our friends were to arrive.
Then we waited! And cleaned. And waited! And puttered. Waited! Put some coffee on. Waited! Arranged coffee mugs and cream and sugar artfully on the counter. Waited! Sent children outside to greet company. And then finally they arrived! They were probably only ten minutes late but when you've busted your ass to be ready in time and you're all set, it's so anti-climactic to have an empty house for even a couple of minutes.
Brunch was a delightful French toast/bread pudding. I got the recipe from Kat, who got it from her friend's mother (I think). I reproduce it here in full because it's that good:
French Toast Bread Pudding (Fread Pudding, of course)
1 loaf challah (although we used raisin bread this time and it was sublime)
2.5 C milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C butter
1 C brown sugar
splash of maple syrup if you have any
Cut up the bread into cubes. Beat the eggs and milk and vanilla together, then mix the bread in. Put it in the fridge overnight.
Next morning butter a lasagna pan, and put the bread mixture in it. Melt the butter and mix in the brown sugar, and then pour the butter mixture over the bread.
Bake the whole thing in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (see, I can spell it!) for 40 to 45 minutes. I usually broil it for a minute or two for crunchiness. Let it cool for a few minutes and serve.
We had great company - two other couples with two kids each, so we had one baby, an almost-two, Cordelia who is three, Evan who is four, and Delphine and Ursa who are five. They all had a great time with only bits of crying. Otis in particular was a trooper despite having lost a fingernail in a horrific toilet lid accident earlier in the day.
After we stuffed ourselves silly with fread pudding, bacon, croissants, strawberries, and coffee the children dragged us slowly to the park where they ran around for an hour, or maybe two, while we grownups talked to each other. Lovely! And Blake got a sunburn.
Oh that's right! I didn't mention how perfectly perfect the weather was! It seems we have passed that season of purgatory wherein if it is sunny it must be cold, and if it is warm it must be gloomy. Now we can have both at the same time!
So Blake has a charming sunburn on one side of his forehead. I said we have to go back to the park tomorrow and stand on the other side of the playground, so he matches.
After the girls had run their fill (almost - I don't think they have ever actually exhausted the charms of the park on their own terms, I always have to drag them away, but the dragging was easier than usual today) and I had investigated a rather charming little creek born from the runoff from giant snow mountains dumped at the top of the park throughout winter, we headed east, to Bayview. I bought the girls their ceremonial First Ice Cream of the Season (lemon for Delphine and chocolate mint for Cordelia), and I had my first Frappuccino of the year.
And finally we circled back to home, which was still tidy and clean from my hard work of the morning. The girls did some drawing, and before we knew it, Baba and Zaida were here for family dinner. Zaida picked up sushi, so we didn't have to cook or dirty up the kitchen, and it was delicious. The girls played outside for a little longer, and then headed to bed without all that much fuss. (Especially since I didn't have to put them there - Blake and Zaida did bedtime while I worked on the cryptic with Baba.)
It was one of those lovely, chilled out, sunny, fun days with lots of good friends (good, smart friends!) and family, cute kids and yummy food. Food and company - I think those are my favourite things. At least for today.