Mary’s very hungry caterpillar party.

After a morning cooking and cleaning, at 1pm we were finally ready for Mary’s Very Hungry Caterpillar party.

…Here’s one of my secrets, though. I, um, actually find most parties and large gatherings to be mildy to moderately uncomfortable. Most of the time, in groups of five or more you will notice me over there in the corner blushing, perspiring, and struggling to work up the courage to do simple things (like talk).

But I love to throw parties. Mainly, I love menu planning and cooking for big crowds, but if I let myself get really carried away, I could have a lot of fun in the decoration department, too. Today’s decorations didn’t blow anybody away; I just ordered some Eric Carle cardboard¬† cut-outs, and I taped them to the wall. In lighting where the tape showed, it looked like my house was covered in band-aids.

But I digress. Abe tells me today’s party was a success, even if I couldn’t tell because I was so busy trying to stop sweating and blushing for no reason at all.

I did, however, register that Mary had a great time, which was the hoped-for point of everything. She was so excited, in fact, that when we piled in the car after the party to pick up our Thanksgiving turkey, she didn’t even fall asleep for the first thirty minutes. (Lydia was asleep as soon as we turned the keys in the car.) She just sat in her car seat, smiling, giggling, and emitting general sounds of contentment.

After the turkey pick-up–and drop-off to Abe’s mom’s office freezer–, we hightailed it to our ward Trunk or Treat. A trunk or treat is when everyone sits at their car trunks in the church parking lot and hands out candy to the kids who “trunk or treat” from car to car. It’s actually lots of fun, and a crazy idea in terms of sugar intake for children, especially if the children (like mine) also have another Halloween party AND Halloween itself all in the same week. Yikes!

I cooked too much for the birthday party, so we gave away a lot of food afterwards to some friends and family members who are currently indisposed. You would think that would be the end of the leftovers, but guess what? After that, I still had an ENTIRE apple slab pie (feeds 18) and almost an entire batch of candy cookies left.

Thankfully, my ward did a service activity to the Road Home a while back and so I knew the perfect solution. As Abe, the kids and I drove there to give away our pie and cookies, Abe and I talked about what it must be like to have to recover from a drug addiction, as the women who live at the Road Home must. Abe pointed out that it must be like trying to deny your strongest food craving multiplied a hundred times. When I thought about it like that, I was in total shock that anyone could ever recover ever. What heroines those women are.

On our drive home, Lydia was really sweet to Mary and called her a “sweet widdle baby,” asking her politely to not cry please because we would be home soon.

Then we had a post candy-coma dinner (of sorts), bath time, bedtime, piano time, blog time and oops-I-forgot-to-shower-this-morning-so-guess-I’ll-do-that-now time for me.

I saved the photo dump for the very end, since there are a bajillion trillion, and probably nobody but geriatric future me wants to look at all of those.

The making of a slab pie--my first!

The making of a slab pie–my first!

decorations

decorations

almost all ready for the party to begin.

almost all ready for the party to begin.

a giant, 15 quart vat of butternut squash soup. I HATE working with butternut squash (not quite as much as I hate working with eggplant, but it's up there). I had to peel, HACK, cube, and dump four big squashes into this thing. I thought my hands would never recover.

a giant, 15 quart vat of butternut squash soup. I HATE working with butternut squash (not quite as much as I hate working with eggplant, but it’s up there). I had to peel, HACK, cube, and dump four big squashes into this thing. I thought my hands would never recover.

Tom and Suzanne arrived first.

Tom and Suzanne arrived first.

Misty, Max and Sophia came second!

Misty, Max and Sophia came second!

...And we stopped the head shots of every guest after that. More came.

…And we stopped the head shots of every guest after that.

One moment where I forgot to be nervous--Mary walked to me!!

One moment where I forgot to be nervous–Mary walked to me!!

RIGHT to me!!!

RIGHT to me!!!

She deserved a cake.

She deserved a cake.

and balloons and presents.

and balloons and presents.

and jammies.

and jammies.

Abe entertaining the crowd while I hide somewhere in the kitchen.

Abe unwrapping Mary’s final present as she chases down the cool new cell phone Sophia gave her earlier.

Mary would not wear her bunny ears, so Abe wore them for her.

Mary would not wear her bunny ears, so Abe wore them for her.

Together, they made one whole bunny!

Together, they made one whole bunny!

Lydia was a shy owl.

Lydia was a shy owl.

She actually ate this right BEFORE the trunk-or-treat. Lots of sugar today.

She actually ate this right BEFORE the trunk-or-treat. Lots of sugar today.

Finally, I was talking to one of my ward friends in the parking lot when we noticed her granddaughter, dressed as Anne Shirley, scramble up a tree. Her grandmother tells me she does that all the time and had nothing to do with her costume, but still, I could NOT resist. Look, everyone! It's Anne Shirley climbing a tree!!

Finally, I was talking to one of my ward friends in the parking lot when we noticed her granddaughter, dressed as Anne Shirley, scramble up a tree. Her grandmother tells me she does that all the time and had nothing to do with her costume, but still, I could NOT resist. Look, everyone! It’s Anne Shirley climbing a tree!!

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