Thanks to everyone who asked about the baptism. I think it went really well. We did a group baptism service outside the Mass instead of doing it as part of the Mass. But, we were the only ones in our "group" so we wound up essentially having a private service.
The service itself was fine. Frankly, considering that was all we were there to do (no communion, homily, etc.) I thought it took way too long. But it did the job, I guess. I guess I should just be thankful we never had to kneel.
Elizabeth was enraptured by the deacon as he talked and seemed to pay more attention than any of the rest of us. Then he took her to be dipped (our church does baptism by immersion, so she was stark naked and dunked in the pool up to her chest three times). She cried, of course, like all babies do (although the water was nice and warm) but then every time after that the deacon so much as looked at her, that bottom lip came sticking out and she fussed. As a parent, I finally really understand what my parents meant when they used to tell me they could "hang a bucket on that lip". She knew he had taken her from me and gotten her wet, and she wasn't going to forget it!
Through most of the service itself, Kate was up at the altar with us, and loving being up at this "stage" in front of all the family in her princess dress. At first it was subtle, looking out, smiling & being coy. Then she moved over and sat down on the steps. Then down the next step, smiling and flirting with her cousins in the pews. Then back up the steps and the whole thing started over. Pretty soon she was practically prancing up and down the steps and around the alter, loving having all those eyes her direction. Meanwhile, I'm holding E and trying (pretending?) to look all serious and spiritual and thoughtful as the deacon spoke, unaware that Kate was completely stealing the show behind him. My mom finally couldn't take it anymore and started trying to get Kate to come sit with her, when the deacon called everyone up to the altar to witness said dunking. Not a moment too soon. A few minutes longer and I think there probably would have been a tap dance and perhaps a song or two.
The luncheon afterwards went well, too. I went easy this time around and just did ham & turkey sandwich bar with salads, chips, bars, etc. It was really nice to be able to just take saran wrap off trays and be able to eat so quickly. I had a new innovation in my entertaining process that we're going to carry forward. I knew we would be tight for counter space for all the food, so I had mapped out in advance where I wanted everything to make sure I knew what went where. I wrote post-its for each thing (beverages, coffee, salads, meat, cheese, etc.) and put them on the counter where I wanted them. I got more than a little flack for that as family arrived, but it worked great. As Pete helped take things out, he knew right where they went. Similarly, as family arrived bringing things they also knew right where to put them. Just that tiny extra bit of planning probably saved at least a dozen questions at a time where I had other things to be doing!
You see, everytime we entertain we do a "post-mortem", where Pete and I talk through what worked well about our gathering and what didn't quite work, to look for ways we can improve for the next time. It's really helped us make entertaining less stressful and more seamless. I know. Dorks. But hey, at least we haven't started a spreadsheet to track these things. Hmm. A spreadsheet on parties... to track things we learn.... hmmmm
Okay, we're off to go look at rocks. Seriously. More to follow later on orchestra and house...