We always have such a nice time when we visit our friends Ed & Els. They have two sons, which lets us peek in on our own future as we prepare to start our own family. They are very nice people, and we don't do anything particularly special, but I enjoy it so much.
Here is the pattern. We show up around 4-5 pm. We socialize a bit. I find it very interesting to see how the kids have changed since the last visit. The most recent visit, the older son had just started to talk, and the younger kid was really showing his personality by his crazy crawl (one knee, one foot) and moving fast towards anything that caught his eye.
Another fun thing about Ed and Els is to talk to them about what's changed in their lives with the addition of children. We've really learned that it seems to depend on your lifestyle. If you mostly like hanging around at home, or doing more simple things, then not a huge amount changes. If we were people who went out to dinner or to the theatre or clubbing most days of the week, or travelled so much that we were barely home, then kids would get in the way of our lifestyle.
Then we have dinner, usually something fairly simple or prepared ahead so that time in the kitchen is less. Then we have a small dessert (chocolate mousse last time mmmm). Then a bit more chat, the kids are put to bed, and out come the card games.
Our current favourite is Tichu. Very complicated, but now that I've played 4-5 games, involving at least 10 rounds each game, I'm much better. Not yet a good player, but not a weak player anymore. Yay me! The game itself takes between 40 minutes to an hour and a half to play. Usually we have chips and dip... and I drink Diet Coke to offset all the junk food!
Another fun game we've played is Guillotine. That was fun, chopping people's head off! Not complicated, and a game takes only around 30 minutes to play.
J and I have recently decided to start playing more games together. We've been to a couple of game nights at friends, and always have fun. It's nice if we know the people a bit, and develop our friendship at the same time. J is a bit of a game freak, but I like the balance of getting to know people a bit better as we go along as well.