After the shitstorm that was my holiday, there were still a few highlights of the winter.
First and foremost, the pinnacle of my holiday season; the reason I avoided large gatherings- Boby and Logan’s wedding. It was exquisite, spanning multiple days of celebration and tears. I was going to write about it.. but here we are.
Suffice to say, the Pabst was beautiful. I danced, I drank, I cried at the altar, and I gave a toast. I did pretty good on my toast – I listened to a podcast on how to give a good toast twice (same one, two times, retention issues ‘n all) and overall I'd say I did a damn fine job.. Yay!
As a bonus, I got to tell over a hundred people why I call Bobby BOBY (one B instead of two). I’ll never tire of telling how he drank too much at Rachel’s rehearsal dinner in Tucson and spelled his own damn name wrong on his nametag. He’s graduated from Georgetown and Madison for Undergrad and Law School. We all have our stories and truly no better place to share than a wedding!
We stayed at the hotel after, which was honestly amazing. I had no idea that the entire Pabst village area existed, and outside of the one car that got stolen during the reception (Hyundai, glad it wasn’t mine!), it was so perfect!
Highlight of the decade in all honesty is the best wedding gift ever given, this picture:
If this isn’t the epitome of class, nothing is. My favorite part is when Logan said ‘Oh that’s... large’ when he received the best wedding gift in the history of the world. We even put some golden eggs in there, can you see them? Lopez’s book club pic which was despised by half and tolerated by the rest, and the gin for Boby and Logan. Finally, we have Jermichael the squirrel. I can’t wait to see this masterpiece hung up in their new house!
For size comparison:
Sidebar: Did you know Michelle was once attacked by a squirrel? Did you also know that in a huge crowd of people at a friend's party, their dog ran down the hill to the yard to jump on Michelle, and then head right back to the house?
And did you also know, thanks to our anniversary, a goose chased her down at the park. Literally, the goose did it so that she could gift us this story on our ten year. Michelle stories are my favorite!
Oh, I also got COVID at the wedding, as predicted. The numbers were so damn high but I did not give a f*&^ and neither did anyone on the dancefloor. I danced and sang all up in people's faces all night. Penny danced, Fred danced, Lopez danced - we tore it up most but damn near everyone was out there at one point and some of us the whole night. I tested after the wedding because I knew I was going to get it. After I tested positive, the rest tested and Penny had it too. I had been very ok with a mandatory quarantine; when Lopez had Covid, he played video games and ordered door dash for five days from the basement. When I had Covid, I got to work in my bedroom with Penny home on the Ipad next to me the whole time. Go figure.
Lopez turned 42, which is sexy because I like salt and pepper beards (even though he doesn’t). For his birthday, we celebrated with all the kids and two of three significant others. We had tacos, obviously, and I’m happy to report my family's come a long way. All my kids can be in a room and the conversation is genuinely enjoyable and no one’s threatening death upon the other. This is winning.
For his present, I gifted Husband a child-free night in Madison! It was epic. We remembered how much we love each other, and what it was like to do fun things alone! We walked the town, we ate out, and we did the walking tour first thing in the morning in 10 degrees. Lopez packed lots of layers so he wouldn’t cry. We visited a marvelous cheese shop, twice, (first for us, second for gifts (a gift of cheese is truly the best gift one could receive in my opinion). My parents of course watched the kids, thank you guys as always.
The publishable highlight by far was the Capitol. Lopez said one of the few things Republicans in this state are good for is keeping the building open to its citizens, as it’s our building. We roamed the halls, read the plaques, tried to make sense of the layout and each area. We found empty rooms that were undoubtedly unintentionally left unlocked. We stole pictures and kisses and spent nearly four hours wandering the beautiful building.
The only thing we missed out was the terrace, which was closed for the season.
But GUESS WHAT?! It doesn't matter baby cuz Faithy’s goin’ to Madison! YEAH FAITH!
We’ll be there lots in the coming years! I am so freaking proud of her and am anxiously excited to see her flourish and challenge herself outside of her comfort zone. She will do amazing things!
We were also very excited when we saw Poutine on the menu for lunch! We sent a picture to our BIM group chat and they MOCKED our poutine, damn fancy Canadians! They just said "That's not poutine."
Callen and I also made it to his first Bucks game ever. Lopez and I promised we wouldn’t push any of OUR interests on the kids but my boy is truly obsessed. I’ve been playing baseball with him in the yard since he was two and he doesn’t stop. He plays basketball in the sunroom every. Single. Day. Since he was throwing a ball, people have commented on what an arm he's got and he consistently hits actual home runs in the backyard. He’s the only kid on his basketball team this winter that actually watched the game, paid attention to the score and always knew what was going on.
The Bucks game was amazing, we had the best mama-boy time so thank you Sasha for the amazing tickets, we love you!
Finally, we made it to Charleston for spring break. Because keeping things as they've always been is so last year, spring break was moved to March, before Easter - so Charleston was cold. Actually, Charleston was warm enough, but where we were in Isle of Palm, on the beach, it was windy and cold. This is my favorite picture of vacation:
It was the last day and while it was the warmest day of the week, we didn't realize the sun would be accompanied by gusting winds and sandstorms. When my dad asked if we REALLY wanted to be at the beach, my mom insisted it’s the last day and it will calm down. My dad left after about four minutes in his beach chair.
Other than the wind, vacation was perfectly relaxing and a nice mix of doing things and lounging around. We had one pool afternoon that ended with lots of paddleboard and football for Callen, Fred and me and after the beach storm, we checked out the pool next door. Not totally sure if it was for us to use (everything where we were was part of a resort or resort community, with lots of shared amenities) but we had enough pina coladas to make it worth their time. The kids had a blast in the *heated* pool, with *other kids*, because *the pool was heated*.
We did the Charleston Farmers Market where Penny got her face painted; we did a bus tour of the city and then a ghost tour (did you know it’s the second most haunted city in America.. first is Savannah); we did a seafood dinner downtown, Magnolia Gardens and lots of bike riding.
The landscape of South Carolina is top notch in my book; you have the sea but engulfed in lush, beautiful trees hanging to the ground with bike paths winding through them. Biking is my favorite thing to do in South Carolina. Our house was perfectly located just off a cul de sac, so the babies could ride their bikes around alone too (they're old enough for that, gah!). Daddy also setup the basketball hoop in the first floor garage (you know all the houses there are on stilts in case of hurricane), and Callen literally said his favorite part of vacation was playing basketball. Go figure.
Our original rental cancelled on us the week before arrival. Apparently they were getting all new windows installed and the project wouldn’t be done in time; so they offered us a bigger house for the same rate (just off the beach instead of overlooking but whatever). With the extra room, we invited Aunt Kathy to come and of course we had Chelsey-Kelsey with us (Faith’s vacation buddy). It was nice having the new face on vacation and Kathy is always down for games (as the Jones clan is), not to mention Penny and Cal adore her.
Ten Years of Marriage
That pretty much brings us to ten years. The start of our tenth year was filled with chaos and confusion as the world attempted to enjoy a normal holiday season. Our anniversary also marked the anniversary of that volcano we survived last year (granted we weren’t near lava, but we did get ashed on for weeks). Lopez insisted I not wait forty-five years for the gift of jewelry (like some people we know) so I now have a killer sapphire ring which I love. He done good.
Other life updates:
Grace made it into the nursing program! We are so SO SO proud of her; she has come so damn far and just spent spring break at home like the old days. It felt warm and fuzzy to have all the ducklings getting along under one roof.
Callen and Penny are thriving at school and are signed up for summer school. Major kudos to our school district because my kids will be rocking at life after they finish their Yoga and Mindfulness and Fabulous Friendships classes, where they learn how to make friends, be a good friend, and resolve conflict between friends. I mean really. Penny’s also taking mad science and Cal is taking playground games, so summer school really seems to have come a long way since forever. Now if we could only make the rest of schoolyear so enticing for alllll the kids.
Will Smith smacked Chris Rock at the Oscars, RIGHT after we finished his memoir in Book club; Lopez said it discredits much of what we'd believed from his book and Paula says 'If I hear 'I'm the biggest movie star in the world one more time...'' and I'm questioning whether or not to watch King Richard so fuck you Will Smith for making me make that choice!
I read the Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (inspired to read that after finishing East of Eden, in Book club as well); the book was compelling and led me to read another of novels, The Great Alone, which is now my favorite book. The interview after The Four Winds the author explained that she likes to place her characters in what would be the most difficult of life's situations, and see them rise to the occasion and I'm totally digging it right now.
Encanto is the greatest soundtrack ever created and I love LMM. <3
I texted the family groupchat before vacation and warned them about the impending copious amounts of Encanto that would be played on vacation and Aiden said he was used to it from Kyra.
Extra life bonus, when we met Kyra on Aiden's birthday and Penny accidentally called her Sarah a bunch and that is hilarious. (She took it in good spirits)
PPS Faith knows basically every word of Encanto and I want her to make theater her job; she shines when she signs and dances and if I could find that kind of happiness in my job, it'd be a whole new world.
We celebrated Easter with the Jones family plus Kathy, and my mom found an appetizer on Pinterest for me to make. The goal was to entice Lou into blowing a gasket over the ridiculousness of the appetizer. My mom made a pinata for the kids and hid eggs and even though Aunt Lou didn’t get her chance at the pinata (because Cal knocked it down in one turn after Penny had just one turn), it was a great Easter day.
When my parents decided to host Easter, my dad was talking about what time would work for us or something and my mom said we didn't care about Easter (which is true for us mostly) but my dad counterargued that I would never miss a chance to get together with the family. This is true and Fred knows I'd never miss a family get together because they make me very happy!!
Callen, Penny, Kathy and I started late to watch the Bucks first playoff game. Fred was annoyed for much of it due to chattiness so I've left him alone for the games since. :-)
Cal continues to point out Mommy’s boyfriend Giannis and I do not correct him.
Next up, my favorite time of year (the entire month of May). Between Mother’s Day, Callen and my shared birthdays, celebrated over a long weekend of warm weather with my people, it's my fav!