So here's what all happened. Mom came over Saturday evening, and we visited and watched Murder, She Wrote. Then we went to bed so we could all go to church on Sunday morning. As previously mentioned, the choir was to be performing that day. But! all the strong singers who said yeah, I'm totally going to be here next week, were all like, "Psych! I have sick kids today." So we proceeded sans alto section. Okay, so we sort of had altos. The bishop (normally singing bass) and a brave soprano went over the alto part about twice and attempted it at the performance. That left us with two basses, both of whom were under the age of eighteen, and one of whom was only there because he was friends with the first one and we needed people really badly. All in all, the consensus on the performance is, "It wasn't bad, considering." Le sigh.
On the bright side, Athena did not have to teach the lesson in Sunday school.
After church, we came home with Mom, changed into more casual clothes, had lunch, and set off for the North. Or the Central California. Whatever you want to call it. We arrived several hours later and exchanged the usual pleasantries(?). Mom and Steve are on a crazy intense, no food diet. Instead of food, they're given, like, those milkshake things. The idea is that if you don't put any more fuel in your body, it has to use up all the fuel stored in fat. The people who go on it officially (unofficially, I think it's called an eating disorder) have to go in for meetings every week and have bloodwork done regularly and doctors look at them and stuff to make sure it's not killing them. But the point is, meals were a bit tricky for everyone.
We were vaguely aware of this going in, so we brought a bag of Smartfood white cheddar popcorn to eat. We took it outside, because popcorn, and especially cheddar popcorn, tends to make a mess. And while we ate, Mom's cats came to sit with us. They followed us around enough to inspire the comment, "Maybe we really are like Disney princesses--beloved of small creatures everywhere."
Later, we watched the movie RED. I think it's supposed to be in all caps, because RED is an acronym. We felt the movie had stunning visuals. Next on the agenda was watching the sequel, RED 2, but since Mom and Steve asked us how we liked it and we didn't have the energy to sugar-coat it, we said we thought it was boring. So they very kindly offered to let us choose the next movie. But we have trauma about people "letting us choose" stuff, so we deferred. Is that the right word? (<--too lazy to check) So we watched RED 2. This time, it wasn't quite as bad, because we also used that time to fill the pinata for the next day's BBQ Bash. I'm starting to think that the key to popular movies these days is to make something that people can watch while multitasking, which is sad, because we like to give movies our full attention...unless they're boring.
After that, everybody went to bed, which means everybody went to their bedroom to watch something interesting before going to sleep. In our case, that meant an episode of Skip Beat! on Crunchyroll. Ah, Skip Beat!. It's a good thing we've already seen all of it, because we do not have time to add another anime to our queue.
Then we went to sleep, and the next day it was time for the party, by which I mean, it was time for party-related things to be happening until after the party was fully cleaned up. It started when Sarah showed up with her kids. It was really cute, because she told Logan we were there, but it didn't seem to register until Mom came into the room we were in with Michael, and we said, "Hi, Michael!" We heard Logan exclaim from the other room, "My aunts!" (but with fewer consonants and diphthongs). And Sarah said, "I told you they'd be here!" Then we had fun helping Logan find candy.
We had left the extra candy from the pinata in a bag, and Logan found it. He was excited about the Tootsie Roll pops. He took one (red, his favorite color), unwrapped it, and decided he didn't want it. I took it while he took another red one, which he proceeded to unwrap, lick, and then decide he didn't want it. Athena took that one, while he took a blue one this time, unwrapped it, put it in his mouth, and decided he definitely did not want that one. He went for another one, but by this time his mother had hidden the candy, so he traded with Athena instead, settling for a red one. So we were all sitting around, eating lollipops, when suddenly Logan exclaims, "La pa so!" and holds his lollipop out like a sword. Then he and Athena had a few lollipop sword battles until a sticky piece broke off Athena's sword and she decided, "Okay, we're done with that."
Eventually we decided to go to the park and pretend to help set up for the party over there. This mostly involved either sitting in the shade talking, or following Logan around with one of the croquet goal post thingies and poking holes in the dirt with it. It was really cute, because when I bent over to push the thing into the dirt, my braid would fall down, and Logan would take hold of it and say helpfully, "I got your hair."
The party itself was...pretty much as expected. People showed up, there was talking and eating. Athena and I stayed in the same place most of the time, and the people sitting with us kind of interchanged. We talked to Kimee about Disneyland for a little while, and we warned her that if she started us talking about almost any one of the newer things they've done, she'd probably get a rant.
Somehow, as tends to be our lot, at one point we ended up surrounded by children. This would not have been a problem in and of itself, but then one of the children spilled his drink...and proceeded to sit there and watch as it spread all over the picnic blanket. I shooed him away, calling him "child" in the process, which prompted his older sister to inform me of his name. I informed her that I knew his name, I just called him child because...and there I trailed off, which is for the best, because when I thought about it later, it turned out the continuation of that sentence was, "Because I tend to get condescending when I think someone is being useless." I really did know his name, though, in case anyone thought I was bluffing.
While I was trying to mitigate the spill, my plan backfired and I spilled the kid's sister's drink, too, a fact which she emphatically let me know. Well, it was my fault, so I went to get her a new drink. In the meantime, one of the two dogs that came to the party had found her food...and she sat and watched while it tried to eat all of it. The dog's owner finally took it away from her plate, and we asked her if she still wanted any of the food on it. She backed away in horror or disgust and shook her head. So I asked her if she wanted anything replaced, and she pointed to the lemon-lime square. I got her a new one, informed her that the next time she let a dog eat her food she was to replace it herself, and then Athena and I decided we'd had enough of cleaning up after children and retreated into the house.
We returned about half an hour later with the pinata. It wasn't quite as fun this time as it was last time, because last time, the pinata was high enough that the kids mostly put hole in it, but this time, it was low enough that instead, they just knocked it off the rope. It fell to the ground and all the candy spilled in one single pile, so now the big kids were able to crowd out all the little kids and get more candy. Fortunately, Mom and Steve always get at least twice as much candy as will actually fit in the pinata, so just like last year, Athena was on standby with the leftovers, and she was able to toss it over the big kids' heads to where the little kids could reach it. That prompted a lot of shouts from the big kids of, "Ow! Who's throwing candy at me?"
Eventually they figured out that Athena was standing on the playground equipment above them with more candy, and I guess the pinata was empty by then, so they shifted focus. Athena offered, since they had been complaining, to stop throwing candy at them, but they declined. Meanwhile, Logan stood directly under us and asked Athena to throw the candy into his bag (all the kids were given paper lunchbags to put their candy in). But the bag was small and Athena's not a good athlete, so that plan failed. Fortunately, Logan's a smart kid, so he turned around and climbed up to where we were, and repeated the request for candy in his bag. So while Athena was throwing candy down to the kids below, I was taking small handfuls from her bag and giving them to Logan. I won't deny that we do sometimes play favorites, but I also noticed that his bag really didn't have very much candy in it, while some of the big kids had a ton. At that point I tried to be a little more fair, out of respect for the other little kids (the big kids deserve no respect--they should know better).
Finally, Mom and Steve had gotten about five of those jawbreakers almost the size of your fist. We decided it was a little dangerous to throw them indiscriminately at the children, so they got handed off to the first big kids (in this case, it was fair because those things are too much for little kids) who got to Athena, and the party came to a close.
We helped clean up at the park while Mom took Logan and Michael back to the house to attempt to get them to nap by putting on a movie. Meanwhile, a couple of guests stayed a while to chat, and one of them was a woman from Ukraine who is super adorable. She explained her theory about why Disney princess movies are harmful to society, which is that with the woman doing everything, it sends the message that men are useless and/or shouldn't be expected to do anything. That one's a little bit harder to argue, but I do think that Philip tried, and Eric, Aladdin, and Beast all succeeded in being at least somewhat useful. Flynn Rider, too, but he has other issues.
After almost everyone left, Sarah took Michael to the garage to chat with Mom and Steve, and we played with Logan and the iPad. We watched half and episode of Sheriff Callie's Wild West, and it was so cute, because in this episode, they were trying to get the mule to fly, and this resulted in the mule being on top of a charging train as it was about to go through a low tunnel. Athena could tell that Logan was getting very nervous for the safety of the mule, so she said, "It's okay, Callie will save her!" Then, of course, Callie did, and you could feel his relief as he shouted, "Callie did it!" Aww, he's adorable.
Mom and Steve felt bad about not feeding us on Sunday (it was partly our own fault--they had chili in the pantry that we could have heated up), so despite their diet, they were gracious enough to take us and Sarah's family out to dinner. This is where we had another "you decide" incident, because Sarah was trying to be fair--we were only going to be there for that day, so it makes sense that we get to choose. I totally agree with that logic, but it's a lot more stressful when, for example, we suggest that we like pizza, and someone says, "We had pizza last night," with an unspoken "but" at the front. I remembered a burger place everybody seemed to enjoy last time we went there, and Logan was saying he wanted hot dogs (despite that being the main menu item at the picnic--Logan had one that he wasn't eating before it got stepped on by another child), which this place also served, so that's where we went. And Logan was super cute again, because we were sitting by the door, and some guys went through the door to leave, at which point Logan (usually very shy) said, "Hi! I'm Logan."
After dinner, Sarah and her family went home, and we went back to Mom and Steve's house, where we were given the choice of what movie to watch. When it was suggested that one of our choices (The Court Jester) would put people to sleep, we got a little grumpy about people "letting us choose" things again. So after we threw a minor tantrum, Mom took us to Best Buy to obtain a copy of Tangled. Frozen had been a main topic of conversation throughout the day, and that, plus people asking about our most recent trip to Disneyland, had us thinking about Tangled, so it was the first thing on our minds. In retrospect, maybe it would have been better to fill in the gaps in our movie viewing by choosing My Big Fat Greek Wedding or Back to the Future (we've really never seen Back to the Future), but Mom was pretty sure Steve would like Tangled, so we had her support on that one, and really, why not?
So after watching Tangled and restoring our faith in our ability to like movies (seriously, Athena told me about a conversation where Steve quoted Frozen, and Mom said, "You know, that's not the Twins' favorite movie," (we were kind of extra bratty about that over the weekend; I want to claim hunger and fatigue as my excuse for not being able to rein it in, but really), and he said something like, "I know. The Twins just despise everything," to which Athena replied, "It's true."), it was time for everyone to go to their bedrooms and watch something interesting before going to sleep. Mom and Steve watched MasterChef, which had me thinking, "Why couldn't we have just watched that instead of a movie?" Maybe they were watching it on live TV instead of DVR.
The next morning, it was time to go. Okay, so it was time to take Steve to the airport, go to Costco, see they weren't open yet, go to Jo-Ann's, go back to Costco to buy some vitamins and some pizza for breakfast, and then it was time to go. I was a little excited about the train ride home, because we were planning to read My Little Monster the whole time...but then it made me really sick on the bus, so I was not in a good frame of mind when we made it to Union Station. Fortunately, we were able to get some lemonade and some Hello Panda, and raising my blood sugar did wonders. When we were on the last train, we got a text message from our home teacher, who remembered that his wife agreed to drive us home. We had a minor panic attack because we're so not used to people being nice to us. We're, like, super bitter and jaded. It's pretty sad.
So our home teacher and his wife showed up at the train station, and on the way home, we talked about going to Costa Mesa! Some of our readers may recognize Costa Mesa as the place with the Kinokuniya that always has Banri Hidaka manga in stock. And now we have plans to go there! Apparently they also have a ramen place that really has the kind of ramen that they take a whole day to make. We promised we'd try some, even though we're afraid of soup. But we made them guarantee that someone would finish ours in case we couldn't, because that much love should not go to waste, and we just can't force ourselves to eat food sometimes.
That all goes down tomorrow. In the meantime, Sailor Moon!
Today I'm thankful for getting to spend time with family, not having to call our home teacher's wife to remind her that we needed a ride, getting to watch Sheriff Callie with Logan, having plans to go to Costa Mesa tomorrow, and the angel food cake with strawberry frosting that somebody brought to the BBQ.