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***Heirs of the Magi News Flash!***

The annual Samshwords Summer-Winter sale has ended! Thank-you to everyone for your support and interest in my books - and for any other Smashwords authors that you may have checked out during July too!

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Happy summer - or winter - reading!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Cassie's Journal - January 1, 2017



Happy New Year, everyone!

This is going to be a near-double-update, so let’s back up to yesterday; and cover the rest of the news that I didn’t write about before heading to the Inn for the New Year’s Eve dinner and party there.

First up, breakfast on Saturday morning with the Rice clan was a lot of fun even with all of the work, and while Violet and Dillon didn’t come over for that meal; they did come over in time for Violet to join in on the shopping adventure.  I didn’t go and do that too right away, since Mom needed help at home first, but we did catch up for that fun eventually; and I spent most of that shopping time with Dawn and the other teens and tweens in our collective group.  Ehlana and Naomi were with us a bit too, but were with the Moms for most of their dress-up time; while I didn’t end up spending much time with the parents at all.  I was home early too; helped with the work; and then I’ve already mentioned that Michael and I were on kid control for our Christmas dinner luncheon.

We opted to do that today instead of tomorrow because the adults collectively decided that they wanted to have one busy day; and be able to take it easier tomorrow – and have those meals available for eating up leftovers along with the pre-cooked dishes.  For lunch, I especially had fun with Brianna and Faith; Michael was kept busy with Zack and the other boys; and Ehlana and Ethan helped out where they could with our younger cousins – particularly with keeping Leah, Caleb, and Sebastian happy.  The gift exchange after lunch was mostly about toys or games for the kids.  Dawn won the most-useful gifts with quite a bit of air time for her flying lessons and practice time; and her family is going to do all we can to help her dream of being a big jet pilot a reality some day!

I’ve also mentioned the play time after the gift exchange, and while that was a blast of cameo moments that included football, chick flicks, gaming with the kids, and a lot of chat time; it really was all just an interlude before Michael and I needed to get to the real work of the day at the Inn.  After wrapping up my report for yesterday and getting ready for my night out; I met up with Michael and dropped off my overnight bag at his house before going on to the Inn with him.

We were put right to work; the Inn was closed while we set up for the dinner and party; and that took more time this year because we have the new dining rooms that were set up for football games in one room and video gaming in the other – along with some tables set up for dining too.  The main dining room was set up for music, a small dance area, and the main New Year’s Eve dinner and party fun, but while I worked on some of that too; Michael and I were mostly put on the dinner prep-line.  The doors for the party opened at six; there was a social hour that we missed out on entirely while working in the kitchen; and dinner started at seven.  Everyone working last night took turns taking our dinner breaks; we had dedicated tables for that; and Michael and I took the last dinner break while Rebecca had one of the first so that she could have dinner with Lucas and his family.  Our dinner break was short because we wanted to get back to the clean-up and get that done so that we could enjoy more of the party later, but that didn’t really end up working out for us this year because it took until ten-thirty to get the work in the kitchen done; the set-up ready for the late snack buffet; and a bit of serving help in the dining room.

Before I move on, though; let’s interject the football report here – and football was still a big deal in the kitchen as the guys watched the bowl games while we worked.  I wouldn’t say that any of the games were surprising; and the two matches that decided the teams that will play for the National title this year were not exactly nail-biters.  Congratulations to Alabama and Clemson for those wins, but while the winners and losers in both of those games had fans at the Inn; I’m honestly just glad that we’re one day closer to the end of another football season!  Sure, we still have another week and a day to go for college bowl games and another month and change for the pro league, but the countdown is on; and the guys around here will soon be as fired up about our trip to Florida as about football.

It’s funny how the prospect of girls in swimsuits, shorts, and tees can distract teenage boys, don’t you think? ;^)

Moving along, Michael and I got to have some play time for about an hour that included some dancing and chat time with some of the other teens; and then we helped out with the work for the late buffet that was mostly desserts along with some salads, buns, cold cuts, and snacks.  Everyone was in the main dining room for the countdown to midnight; Michael and I shared our first kiss of the New Year; and then we had a long round of best New Year’s hugs and wishes with our families and friends – though the best wishes with my family was through a video chat on my phone with Mom, Dad, and the gang with them in our living room at home.  Some of the younger cousins didn’t last until midnight; so I had to wait until today to wish them a Happy New Year; and I had to save all of the hugs and kisses for everyone until today too.

The party rolled on at the Inn until two; we had a lot of work to do after that while Miranda and Stephanie helped to make sure that all of their guests got home safely – including being two of the designated drivers; and it took until a bit past-four to get the dining rooms and kitchen back to normal and ready for business on Monday.  That’s the reason I went home with Michael and his family; Lucas came home with Rebecca; and Jacob and Miranda had a full house for the few hours we had available for nap time before we needed to be up again and getting ready for the New Year’s Day church service.  Since Michael and I were involved in the music for the service with the teen praise team, we needed to be up early for that too; so we really didn’t get much sleep.

We did get to have a gourmet breakfast, though, so that was a great way to start the New Year – though the not-accidental sofa sleepover did come first; and that wake-up call was great too!  If you’re wondering about what Rebecca and Lucas did last night; I’ll only confirm that Lucas may or may not have ended up in Rebecca’s room for the three hours of sleep they managed to get – which was an hour more than Michael and I had.  I was able to do a bit of self-healing this morning, though, and helped Michael out too; so we were doing pretty well by the time Jacob got downstairs and we helped him out with the breakfast prep work while everyone else slept on for as long as they could before getting up and ready for the day.

The food and fun with Michael and his family was one of the highlights of my day, but it was over too soon; and Michael and I were on the go again to get to the church for praise team warm-ups.  We did not have a full house for the service, but that was only because a lot of weekend guests opted to skip the service.  My entire family was there at least in body if not mind; but I didn’t get to talk with anyone until after the service while I was busy with the praise team instead.  Pastor John had a new beginnings theme for the service, so our music went along with that, but while there were jokes make after the service; we did not keep the noise level down simply to help out the party-hangover sufferers in the congregation!

I’d love to report that our work was done for the day, but Michael and I were on the work crews for the family meals at his aunt and uncle’s house for lunch and dinner at my house.  Let’s not bore anyone with those details, but we helped out before and after both meals; traded that off with less kid control time; and we were with ‘the kids’ for both meals.  There was some play time mixed in during the afternoon – and hour or so at the Bassett’s house; and another hour at mine before we were put to work on the pre-dinner cooking and table set-ups in the dining room and sunroom.  Both meals were a potluck buffet with contributions from the parents and grandparents in each family; along with leftovers from Christmas dinner at our house.  The clean-ups for both meals were time-consuming, but once we were done with the dinner clean-up at my house; Michael and I were set free to play for the rest of the evening – or I was until the fun with my family and our friends was over for the day and I could get started on my bedtime work and computing.

We came up to the lounge and stayed there for most of the evening until Michael went home.  He gets bonus boyfriend points for doing that with me, since he skipped the evening football game that the guys were watching in the living room, but he did get to watch some of the afternoon games; and picked cuddling with me over football because we were both getting tired by then anyway.  Some kid play time was part of our evening fun, but my cousins were getting tired by then too; so we also wound them down with Disney movie time that helped to put half of them to sleep.  That worked for the parents that were ready to take their kids home and off to bed; though that was mostly the Moms and Grandparents that took advantage of those opportunities while the guys stayed for the football.

Michael stayed until that last game was over too, but we watched a second movie with Dawn, Ethan, and Ehlana; and then it was time for everyone here to call it a night after that – everyone except me.  I saw Michael out with front porch goodnight hugs and kisses; came back up to my room and cleaned up the lounge; and then got ready for bed and tucked in with Mandy before getting started on my bedtime computing.  I had a lot to get done thanks to some work waiting for me in my email inbox; so it’s taken two and a half hours to do that without a time phase that I’m too tired to do anyway.  None of that work is newsworthy, but I did do some good work tonight; so it was worth losing the sleep to get that done.

That is pretty much all of the news for today, though, and I’m past-ready to get some sleep; so let’s wrap this up.  My family will be heading home tomorrow, but they won’t be doing that until after they go to the noon buffet at the Inn tomorrow.  We don’t really have any plans for the morning, but tomorrow is still going to be a big college bowl game day; and at least some of the guys want to get home to catch the tail-end of bowl game parties with their friends.  Chris and Martin are definitely two of those guys, but they also don’t want to miss out on a buffet opportunity; so they have to compromise this year.

Yes, staying here is an option; but not one that works for the parents and grandparents that go back to their jobs on Tuesday.  Having a buffet day on Monday for the second week in a row is going to feel strange to me, but I’m also going to be working those buffets; so I should really just stop the look ahead and get what rest I can before it’ll be time to get up and going again – even if I don’t have to do the breakfast shift at the Inn with Michael and his parents.

It’s been crazy-busy around here, and we’ve done a lot of work to go along with the fun; but I’m still happy with our start to twenty-seventeen; and think this is going to be an amazing year!

That’s something I’ll have to experience in real time even if you can read all about it right away whenever you’re reading this in my future, and I’m going to start doing that by getting to my nap time now; so, until next time...

...May the Magi Force be with you!