Monday, October 31, 2011

A Run Down Memory Lane

I took a run this past weekend on a well worn path from my past.  It brought back lots of memories and was just as nice as I remember it being.  If you are a walker or a runner you probably have your favorite routes.  I am a creature of habit when it comes to my exercise routines.  I map out a path of about 3 or 4 miles and have shortcuts for those "easy" days and long cuts for the "challenge" days.  I usually have two or three different routes from my house, wherever that house happens to be.  I have them here in Sugar Land, I had other paths when we lived here last time, I had my routes in Toronto and I had them in Columbus, Ga when we lived there.  They all  hold a special place in my heart because I do a lot of thinking when I run or walk, so it isn't just about the exercise.

This past weekend we were back in Columbus, Georgia.  I found myself drawn to take a run almost as soon as we got into town.  The beautiful fall weather and travelling for 7 or 8 hours might have had something to do with my need to get some exercise!  I got my iPod and drove to one of my all time favorite places to run, Cooper Creek Park.  We used to live a block from this park and I spent many hours walking and running the paths around that park.  I had happy runs, sad runs, cold runs, hot runs, easy runs, challenging runs, wet runs, runs I wish would never end and ones I could not get through fast enough (or slow enough in my case).  I watched my kids run cross country races on those paths.  Wow, it was a very nostalgic trip around the park for me, I must be getting old!  I also had a personal challenge to see if I could make it all the way around the park without stopping, like I used to when I was younger and thinner.....I made it!  Won't say it was easy, but it was not as hard as it could have been.  I cued up one of my old running mixes on the iPod and had an excellent run down memory lane! 

Did I mention the beautiful fall weather?

We visited with old friends and picked up like it was last week instead of a year or two ago when we last saw them.  When you live in one place for 11 or 12 years and raise four children in a small close knit community, you make a lot of friends... close friends.  Thank goodness we still get to visit them every now and then.  And thank goodness they keep welcoming us back!

Indulge me one more paragraph....

We went to mass at our old church this weekend too.  As I knelt and sat, listened, sang and prayed, I found myself thinking of all the masses we attended in that church.  Twelve years of Sunday masses, countless school masses, the occasional daily mass, 3 graduations and baccalaureates, four 8th grade graduations, 4 Confirmations, two First Communions and First Reconciliations, plus weddings and funerals for friends, it boggles the mind!  That is a lot of praying and thinking in one place!  I know there are a lot of people who have gone to the same church for almost their entire lives, do they appreciate what they have?  What a special place that church has in our lives, it saw us through good times and bad.  It was very cool to just sit and think about all of the praises and problems we handed over to God at that church during our time in Columbus.  Amen!

We were more than happy to visit!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Everybody Is Doing The Houston Swat

Today in my LEM class most of my students looked like they were doing some sort of weird pantomime.  They were swatting the air around them, they were swatting themselves and even slapping the people sitting next to them.  Yesterday, when TJ and I took Sadie for a walk TJ was doing the same pantomime and eventually ended up running home, leaving me to fend for myself.  Today on the front page of the newspaper it was confirmed.  We are in the midst of a mosquito epidemic!  Just when it got nice enough to sit outside and enjoy the fall temperatures and maybe have dinner and drinks on the patio....we have been accosted by swarms of mosquitoes who are also enjoying the weather and eating out.   

As you know or may have read here,  we are in a drought.  The good thing about that drought was there was no water for mosquitoes to breed and we have had a relatively bite free summer.    Well....that 4 inches of rain we had (2 weeks ago!) was a good news/bad news situation.  The good news was we needed the rain desperately and every growing thing is doing the happy drinking dance, finally!  The bad news was it was just enough water to breed a wicked batch of swamp mosquitoes, who have been just waiting for that water to come to life and torture everyone in Houston! 

So, to all my northern readers....send cold air!  It is the only thing that will make this epidemic end!  We want to play outside! Smack!  Ouch! How do you like my new cologne?  Deep Woods Off.... don't leave home without it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Food For Thought

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you already know that we are not home very often.  Put it on the calendar, we (yes, that even means TJ) have been home for  two weeks in a row!  Whoo hoo!  I realized this in the grocery store, of all places.  Do you know how nice it was to be able to buy food and know that we would be home long enough to cook and eat it?

When I am "away" in Nova Scotia, I am actually in one place for about 3 months.  We don't really go anywhere else when we are there.  There is no kenneling the dog, no stopping the mail or the paper and no booking flights and rental cars and a lot of cooking and eating at home.  I get to buy food at Costco plus we have a giant garden and ample opportunities to cook and serve all that food.  When we are home in Houston, we really aren't "at home" that much.  My refrigerator is proof.  It becomes one giant science project.  I go to the grocery store with  good intentions of buying fresh produce and baked goods with plans to cook healthy meals at home.  I end up cooking about one out of four of those well intended meals every week. Something always comes up!  There is the occasional business dinner or TJ goes away on a business trip (and I eat popcorn for dinner) or  I go out with friends or we end up playing golf and staying at the golf club for dinner (after all, who has the energy to cook after playing golf? ....that's my story and I'm sticking to it, don't say a word!) .  Such is the life of an"empty nester".   Whatever the situation, those well intended meals go uncooked, uneaten and fermenting.....

I am not a matter of fact for the first 30 years of our 33 year marriage I would have gladly not cooked a meal every night.  I would have been happy if we could afford to eat out once every month much less every week.  Ah, those were the days....we had four children to feed every night so I have done more than my share of meal preparation over the years.  I still find myself unable to cook for only two people, I learned to cook for six, it's hard to scale back.  This often results in a lot of leftovers....and a few science projects in the fridge.  This week it resulted in some delicious leftovers, that we actually finished!  Looks like I need to go to the grocery store....again!  Sometimes it is just fun to cook and sometimes it is fun to make reservations... no matter what is sitting in the fridge!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Wedding, the Third and Final Chapter

Say "hello" to Michael and Jehnna Mahoney
This might come as a surprise, but our family loves a good party.  After the wedding everyone headed to the reception in great anticipation of eating, drinking and dancing! We were not disappointed.  The wedding party arrived in more style than the rest of us. 

The reception was held on a rooftop patio at an Italian Trattoria.  We enjoyed the outdoors while we were somewhat sheltered and able to enjoy the indoors.  It was a lovely evening.  There were a few times when the lovely breeze became a swirling wind and started taking out centerpieces one by one but that was only a minor inconvenience.  The crowd quickly rearranged the centerpieces at the bar and made a lovely display, safe from the wind.

The bride and groom made their grand entrance and went right into their first dance to Ray LaMontagne's You Are The Best Thing.

They dance well together!

Then Michael and Jehnna danced with their parents, there might have been a few tears involved but I'm not talking.  After the initial dancing, there were a few toasts and dinner was served.  Then the dancing started!  Men, women and children hit the dance floor and we did not stop until they made the DJ shut it down and they started picking up the tables and chairs.  A good time was had by all.

Two little ones who had a particularly good time were the flower girl and our grandson (the reluctant ring bearer).  There were instant cameras set out on the tables for people to snap candid pictures and Daniel found one and he and Camille had their own private photo shoot!  It was priceless to watch. 

Crank up some music and enjoy the rest of the pictures, I suggest some Motown and then throw in The Mull River Shuffle just to get things really going!  You will feel just like you were there!

The old man and the bride getting down...

Michael and his sisters

the kids getting into the action!
Thanks everyone for sending your pictures.....I must admit I did not take all the pictures for the wedding blog posts....I stole some of them from my family, isn't that what family is for? 

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Wedding- Part 2

The wedding day started at 5:30 for some of us.... namely Daniel, Christopher and their parents.  Luckily their parents took them out for a ride to the mountains so the rest of the house could get a little sleep.  Thanks Mom and Dad!  The plan for the day was to meet the some of the family at Chatauqua Park and go for a hike.  It was a beautiful day!  We all sort of met at the mountain and hiked...some to the top, some half way and some just looked at the mountain and saved their feet for dancing later at the reception.  Some people are smarter than others.  Michael and his best man, Justin, came and hiked with TJ, it was a male bonding experience that lasted until lunch time and well into the afternoon.  A perfect way to spend the time before your wedding.

Let's go up there!
Grampy and Mark and Daniel (on Super Mark's back) hiking up the mountain
"No thank you Grampy, I don't want to walk, I like it up here!"

Then we headed home and ate lunch, the wedding is not until 4:30! 

While we tried to get Daniel and Christopher down for a nap, TJ spent some time with Michael and Justin, doing man stuff like watching football, eating and drinking beer.  The bride and her bridesmaids spent their day getting beautiful and making bouquets and bouteniers and centerpieces. 

Beautiful Kelly, making a bouquet.....or a centerpiece!
The groom and his parents, pre-wedding

Before we went to the park for the wedding we stopped by to pick up TJ and see Michael.  Those 2 little boys, "who were supposed to take a nap before the wedding so they would be in a good mood and ready to party", waited until the car ride to Michael's to fall asleep.  Perfect timing!  There were two hostages in the far back seat of the van....and rather than wake the boys up at our stop the hostages found other ways to entertain themselves while we took pictures.

"Super Mark" and Matt find refreshments to drink while they listen to the game and the boys sleep...
Finally, we got to the park for the wedding.  When you get married in a park, you get to set the stage.    The chairs were delivered and the trees were there, we all chipped in and set up the chairs and decorated.  It really looked great, I think it turned out just the way they wanted.  It was such a relaxed and laid back atmosphere, we all got to visit and enjoy the beautiful Colorado weather while we waited for the big moment.  There are so many things to share and so many pictures but I fear I will lose the crowd if I share too much. 

It was a beautiful wedding!  It was true to the couple.  Michael and Jehnna love the outdoors, they love their family and most of all they love each other.  It was perfect for them and  it was well done.

Mom and son

I think he sees the bride....and it takes his breath away.
Here comes the bride!

The vows.....

The rings and the prayers

You may kiss the bride!

Michael and Jehnna Mahoney!
The wedding party

And then there was the reception.....Part 3!  Another day!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Wedding- Part 1

Boulder....a great place to get married.....or go to a wedding!

the ceremony in the distance....but we will get to that later!

There is just too much to cover in just one post so I'll start with the pre-wedding events and then save an entire post for the actual wedding!  Two posts for the low, low price of one.

Some of us arrived in Beautiful Boulder on Thursday.  (The bride got there at the beginning of the week, lucky girl!) We had work to do! Planning a wedding remotely takes a leap of faith... and the internet and maybe a phone. The leap of faith is the hardest part. I wanted to see where everything was going to take place and check out all of the venues.  We rented a house one block from the reception venue and one block off Pearl St..  Who knew it would be such a stroke of genius to be in that location?  Like I said, faith and the internet.  The house was beautiful and a perfect fit for our needs.  We only exceeded their capacity by 20 or 30 people, but don't let them know that!  We were all very well behaved!

Like I said, Thursday was spent taking care of business!  We waited with great anticipation for the guests to begin arriving.  TJ had a major weather delay on his flight over because of rain in Houston!  Go figure!  No rain in 5 months and then it rains when TJ's flight is scheduled to leave town, of course.  He finally made it to Boulder along with Rachel, Matt and the grandsons.  The house was full and things were falling into place.

The grandsons were part of the house party.  Did I ever mention that they wake up entirely too early for me?  Well, 5:30 is still too early to be awake for me, but not for their parents had to do their best to entertain the boys in the wee hours of the morning on Friday.  When the hour was a little more humane, we took the boys out on Pearl St. for a little outside play time, it was a great idea.  Climbing on boulders in Boulder is a lot of fun!

I love waking up at 5:30!

Friday was shower/brunch day and rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  Michael's sisters had a bridal luncheon/shower for Jehnna.  It was at the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, a beautiful place! 
Kelly in front of the tea house

Our table is ready!

I think she likes it!
After the luncheon (why did we eat so much?) there was just enough time to go home, visit with some new arrivals and get ready for the rehearsal.  You know, the part where you practice getting married!  We went to the park and scoped out the best location for the ceremony and practiced the wedding.  This is when everyone gets a little teary and realizes this-is-happening.... Michael and Jehnna are getting married.  We all laugh it off and pretend not to be near tears, but everyone knows better, we are all a little choked up.  Weddings just do that to people. 

Repeat after me....."I do"

Take Jehnna's hand and cradle it.....and repeat after me!

After all that practicing it was time for a drink!  And it was time to eat....again!  One of the best decisions of the weekend was to hire a chef to come to the house and cook dinner for everyone.  Having the dinner at the house provided a casual atmosphere and an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other.  Katie, the chef, was awesome!  Can she just come live with me?  Being able to mingle with everyone and not worry about preparing or serving a meal was priceless. 

Katie the chef and her trusty assistant
There was more than enough food and it was all delicious.  The rehearsal dinner was small, about 22 people which was about as many as we could comfortably seat in the house.  After dinner we opened the house to anyone who wanted to come over.  Well, not anyone...just the people invited to the wedding!  We have our limits!  A good time was had by all and a festive mood was in the air.

The porch was a great place to hang out!

The house was also a good place to hang out!

The head table, we actually got chairs!
There was toasting by Michael's youngest sister....and others! Cheers!

All 7 Mahoney siblings were there....this is the best picture I could get of them together that night...
getting Mahoneys to be still and all look in one direction is kind of like hearding cats, see?

And their devoted spouses!  Who obviously know how to have fun!

 All 7 siblings and their spouses get together about as often as we elect a new president so these pictures are historic!  Now, for a minute, imagine being Jehnna  marrying into this!  This is only one side of the family... there are 5 siblings on my side of the family.  We said they had a small wedding but really, how can it be small when you invite just family?  There is nothing small about our families. 

After the dinner was finished, the toasts were given and the family pictues were taken, we all called it a night!  It was a great party and the BIG DAY was finally one sleep away!

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