My brother Darren came to visit today. He said "late morning" but I knew not to expect any particular time, and indeed wouldn't have been surprised if he didn't make it at all. So we went ahead with our day, put up the tree, did a bit of cleaning. Aiden had been hoarding some packing materials and waiting very patiently; Tim helped him hammer in some nails to make a... well... some bits of wood nailed together.
Darren arrived at 2:30. He admired the house and I fed him a late lunch (we'd had ours) and he played with the kids. For those of you new to the blog, I'm not very close to my brother. He has obsessive compulsive disorder and is also a hoarder, and was very hard to live with back when we were kids. Of course it's even harder being him. I don't like going to his house because of the hoarding and the filth, but he is welcome to visit here which of course is much easier now we live in the same city. He is fond of my kids and very good at telling weird stories, a skill he inherited from our dad. Like about the competition for the naughtiest child, or about a goat called Norbert who is made out of cheese.
I spent much of the afternoon cooking, and in the evening Tim's family came over for dinner in our new Sunday tradition. Ten people in all. We don't have our new table yet so we put our small dining and kitchen tables together.
In the past, family dinners that included us were rare because we lived further away, and they therefore became a sort of party, with plenty of junk food. But if we're sharing dinner every week, alternating with my sister-in-law, we need to tone down the excess calories. I tried to keep it relatively healthy, with a pre-dinner nibble of vegetable crudités and hommos dip, then roast lamb with lots of vegetables and cauliflower "rice" (and gravy!), then finished with ice cream with raspberries and honeycomb. We did still have alcohol and fizzy drink, brought by other people. I feel like there is no need to start with chips and lollies or have supper an hour after a big meal. Food is part of the equation, but we're really there to enjoy each other's company.
Most people left around 9 (which is still a bit late for all the kids with school the next day), Darren told them a bedtime story then played computer games a bit before he left. It was a good day. I was exhausted by the end of it!
And we still didn't get much unpacking done. I'd love to have it all done by Christmas, but that is less than three weeks away now so I don't know if it will be!