Friday, December 26, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We had the funnest Christmas gathering for the Little Mr.'s preschool buddies.  We met at one family's apartment for soup and salad and then traveled downstairs to another family's apartment for gingerbread house decorating.  I was up to my ears in royal icing the night before making the houses (from scratch--yikes, what was I thinking?!!), but it was totally worth it when I saw the look on my little guy's face.  Thank goodness for great online instructions!

As a sidenote, this photo reminded me of the last time my children and I made gingerbread houses together.  A friend invited my kids and I to attend a gingerbread house decorating party sponsored by a local bakery at a homeless shelter for women and children .  My friend explained the goal of the event was for the visiting families to provide a bit of holiday cheer to the families in the shelter.  
After traveling over an hour after school to the shelter, my kids were understandably tired, hungry and cranky.  Things only got worse when we finally found our way into the community room only to wait 45 minutes for the houses and candy to arrive.   While waiting for the houses, I proceeded to work on the "goal" of the event and chat with the other women and kids waiting for the party to begin.  
Finally the houses arrived and we began decorating.  A few minutes into the decorating, twin #1 decided she had met her limit and started throwing a fit and indicated she needed to use the bathroom.  I quickly asked one of the moms at the table (who lived in the shelter), "Where's the bathroom?"  She gave me the strangest look and said, "You don't know where the bathroom is?"  To which I answered, "No."  And she replied, "Oh, I thought you lived here!  It's down the hall on your left."  We finally made it to the bathroom and back and I realized I better get my little crew out of there before we caused any more scenes.  
One of the shelter employees offered to help me find my way out of the maze of corridors in the building and I eagerly accepted her offer.  After a few minutes of walking through the halls with my gingerbread house in one hand, little guy on my back in his baby carrier, twins hanging onto my other hand and bedraggled big sister following behind, we turned another corner and almost ran into a resident who cheerfully quipped to the employee, "Oh, is she new here?"  To which the employee embarrassedly replied, "No, she's just visiting for the gingerbread party."  I was mortified that I was twice mistaken for a resident in a homeless shelter and guilt-ridden that I thought myself so far above that situation that I was mortified to be identified as a resident!  Needless to say, we never received another invitation to spread holiday cheer at the shelter and I learned that sometimes it's best to stick close to home when spreading holiday cheer!