Tag Archives: Don

The Annual “February Birthdays” Party

Since Mom had just recently put together Momma’s big party last month, I offered to host the February Birthdays party this month. It was my first real foray into a dinner party for more than six people (truth be told- for the one with four people, Gavin cooked; and the one with six people: we ordered Chinese.) This was also a glimpse into what the wedding might be like, minus a large chunk of people and the fact that I will be off cooking duty that day.

We had a meal of chicken piccatta, meatball in marinara sauce (thank you Trader Joe’s), sauteed string beans with buttered bread crumbs and the huge plate of ziti that mom brought along. Let’s not forget the enormous spread of wine and desserts, contributed by our guests.


Joining in the festivities was Mom & Dad, Momma, Jim & Katie, Kris & Amy, Aunt Joan & Uncle Tom, Mary Jane & Don, Caitlin, Mollie and, of course, Gavin. It was so nice to have everyone over (and to finally have an apartment that fits more than 10 people in one room.) I kind of sequestered myself in the kitchen in the beginning but, after the food was done, I was able to kick back and enjoy the party. I took zero photos because I was so caught up in conversations, as was everyone. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

After most people left, my mom got to work at putting together some table arrangements. There were some very elaborate table settings to look at. (We used some of the plates I’ve been collecting for context.) Everyone had an opinion, of course, but the one Gavin and I liked the best was the most simple: vintage-inspired milk containers from JoAnn’s (or Michael’s?)


Huge thanks to Aunt Joan for (unknowingly) providing the flowers we used for this table arrangement exercise. They are actually the same type of flowers (daisies!) I was thinking of having at the reception (and/or bouquets.) Voila!


Some more “after hours” fun included Jim and Kris playing legos with a new iPhone game they had discovered.


And Kris and Amy practiced some of the important lessons we taught them from Pre-Cana class.

Momma Turns Sweet 16

Everyone gathered at Mom & Dad’s for Momma’s 90th (er, 16th) birthday party. When I say everyone, I do mean everyone. We had Mom, Dad, Jim, Kris, Gavin, Katie, Amy, Aunt Joan (Dad’s sister), Uncle Tom (her husband), Janice (my cousin), Mary Jane (Dad’s cousin) and Don (her husband), Ilsa (long-time neighbor), Susan and John (Katie’s parents), Jeremy (Kris’ BFF) and Ashley (Katie’s BFF) who are now dating each other, and Jackie (Ashley’s mom.)

Almost as soon as we got there, Amy jumped in to help mom out in the kitchen. Mom had spent 6 hours cooking the day before so I’m sure she was beyond grateful for a helping hand- plus Amy is a super chef.

Mom made the most delicious crab ragoons.

After an amazing dinner, and lots of conversation, it was time for dessert. Momma blew out her sixteen candles and then excitedly cut the cake. But she barely had time to eat it before we started a Momma Photo Booth.

Everyone got in for a photo with Momma, including Janice…

…Jim and Katie and just about everyone else who was there.

I got a really awesome photo of Jim and Kris together.

Momma opened all of her presents and stayed for awhile longer before she had to head home.

Most people had left by then. It was time for the Giants game. Gavin was definitely excited. He stayed in the living room with Dad, Jim and Kris while the ladies (Mom, myself, Katie and Amy) congregated downstairs in Mom’s studio for some girl talk. It was a super fun night.

Christmas at Aunt Joan’s

We arrived at Aunt Joan’s house between 1:30-2pm (with the exception of Dad who – out of character – arrived much later.) Gavin and I drove down from Rochester with his parents, who would be staying over our apartment that night before heading back up the next day. Katie and Jim drove up together. Mary Jane and Don brought Caitlin and Mollie. Jackie and Tom came, as well, with Samantha in tow (and a lovely surprise which Samantha individually announced to each person there.)

First order of business after food and presents was to dive right into music. After a quick warm-up on the keyboards, Samantha got right into recruiting for her all-girl band.

Katie (bridesmaid!) spent some quality time with the moms. Fingers crossed that my mom didn’t tell Mrs. Thomas anything bad about me (like how annoying, obsessive or bossy I can be.)

Jackie was patient with the amount of photos I had to take in order to get one in which Gavin is *almost* smiling. (Note to wedding photographer: Gavin hates being on the other side of the camera. Good luck to you.)

And we are ready to perform…

… all of us. Katie on the sax. Myself on the clarinet. Jackie on keyboards . And Janice (bridesmaid!) on the trumpet.

Samantha took cues from her voice coach, Janice. Never too early to start. (And if Samantha’s voice is even half as good as Janice’s, look out!)

And you really can’t have a fun-filled family Christmas without some embarrassing family videos from years before. Kris took the hit this time, with his lengthy aerobics number. (Thanks Aunt Joan! We might need to give you a cut of the YouTube ad revenue.)