Monday, December 21, 2009

An evening in December

We love Christmas parties but this one held at our place is always one that is extra special to us and our kids. We started holding a Christmas party for a few close friends to celebrate together even before we had kids, and since then, it has become somewhat of a tradition. Some years, the guests vary, depending on whether friends are away and last year, we skipped the annual celebration since we made a last-minute trip to Beijing.

So our kids were doubly excited this year, even more so because for the first time since 2005, we managed to get the core group of friends back together again. I must say it's really wonderful to be close to families and see the children grow up together. I didn't quite realise this until I was browsing through old Christmas party photos - this fellowship brings not just us adult friends close together but also our kids, which is pretty special.

Although the kids haven't met each other for at least a year, they were so at ease with each other and got along like a house on fire in no time. Here are a few "see how they've grown!" comparison photos:

Daenia, my friend Hooi Ming's elder daughter, and Lesley-Anne have always been great pals. Christmas 2006 (left) and 2009 (right)

Typical of boys, Andre and my friend Lim Nah's son Martin, bonded over trucks and Lego. Some things don't change even with time. Christmas 2005 (left) and 2009 (right)

Here I am with my dear girl friends. No comparison pics. We don't like to be reminded of how young we used to look, thank you.

And of course, no food, no party! Christmas parties at my place is always Christmas fare - that's half the fun of celebrating the season!

Appetizers courtesy of David and Hooi Ming. A super duper cheese and pate platter, with dips, apricots and walnuts. These were wolfed down so quickly the adults had to physically restrain their kids with unheeded cautions of "Leave some room for dinner!"

Dinner was roast turkey, crispy roast pork, shepherd's pie, mashed potatoes and salad contributed by Lim Nah and Remy. Before you assume that I'm Jamie Oliver in disguise, let me confess outright that the roast items were ordered from NTUC's festive menu. So all I can lay claim to is that I'm adept at heating up food, which is a whole lot less glamorous.

Here's Martin (who incidentally is an aspiring chef) tossing his mum's famous salad. I say famous because Lim Nah's salad, a recipe passed down from her mum and improved through the years, is a much requested dish in our circle. This is coming from a family which generally looks unfavourably on greens.

The salad filled two of those gigantic green salad bowls and by the end of the meal, there was NONE left.

Don't let the quiet demeanors of the kids feasting fool you. They were like bottomless pits. We were taken by surprise when we found that there were hardly any leftovers, even though we had provided about the same amount of food as previous years. We then realised that we now had to cater for pre-teen appetites, which is waaaaay different from feeding little kids.

After dinner, we had a little musical session. This is also a tradition in our parties. Kids who play the piano are invited to play something. It's an initiative to give the kids a mini platform for performance, something that's very lacking in Singapore, unlike in the US where music students often have the opportunity to play at recitals.

Lesley-Anne, Andre and Martin did the honours and it was very enjoyable. I took videos of the performances but the sound quality didn't turn out to be great. So instead, here's a video of an earlier session I took of Lesley-Anne and Andre practising the piece they performed. It's a jazzed up version of O Come All Ye Faithful. The score was provided by Andre's teacher, Uncle Peter. I thought it was a terrific idea of his to make them play a duet. Christmas lah - time for peace, even among siblings!

Followed by dessert! Log cake thanks to Molly.

And home-made Christmas cookies by Hooi Ming. Nigella Lawson recipe some more, don't pray pray. Lovely touch with the decoration. As you can see, the jar was already half empty by the time I remembered to take the picture!

Then the kids' absolute favourite part - getting presents!

Only noticed this when I was going through the pictures... the blue jeans brigade.

A time to remember, to celebrate friendship.


hooi ming said...

Hi Mon, thanks for blogging about this.. good memory keepsake for days when we just want to relive the good ol' times... i esp. love the step-by-step account of the evening.. must say it was a wonderful gathering with old friends... the kids had a great time too!...

seeing the picture of daenia and lesley-anne in 2006 really brought back memories and reminds us of how quickly our little ones are growing up!... at this juncture, it's especially poignant, being the end of the yr and all... gd reminder for us to be mindful and cherish every moment of their growing up years before they start leaving the nest (eg. start having parties of their own and don't want to join us anymore)....

thanks my friend for having us again.. we must do this again soon!

monlim said...

Seeing the old photos of our kids makes me nostalgic too! And yes, definitely great to remember good times. Hopefully these moments will leave such happy imprints on our kids that when they leave the nest, they'll be inspired to organise their own parties and stay in touch with each other :)

Always very happy to catch up with you and your lovely family!

breve1970 said...

Great post, Mon! Great photos too! Its very meaningful to have such lovely gatherings with close friends.

Can't believe how quickly time passes... I can still remember the photos taken in Beijing last year... seems like a short while ago.

Jo said...

I love the piano duet ! Very nice unusual arrangement ! My girls are also excited abt christmas & hope to play some ditty tunes after our dinners too...I got them to pick their own carols which got them very excited!

monlim said...

Ann: I know, time really flies! I always get a jolt when I compare old pictures of my kids and realise how quickly they've grown.

Jo: Piano duets are great! The kids are forced to work together, which is a major attraction :)

Lilian said...

I was at Borders just now when I heard Oh Come All Ye Faithful and I was singing it out loud myself. Love the jazzy version by your kiddos.

Sorry to have missed the party, just one day late...sure looks festive and fun. Hooi Ming's daughter grew lots in 3 years and then I remember you saying she's a school volleyball player. Must be all that exercising.

Here's wishing you and yours a Christmas full of love, joy and thanksgiving!

monlim said...

Lilian: Wish you and the boys could've been here! Would have been even livelier and more fun (though we probably would have run out of food!)

A very warm and merry Christmas to you too :)

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