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We Do! 6/15/2015
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May was the month for weddings! My cousin Tom's youngest son, Joe, and the last of 4 children to marry, was to wed his beautiful Stacey. While my mom, sister and brother-in-law rode in one car, My husband, Ed, and I rode with our youngest son in our car. We all left Cleveland around 10:00 am on Friday the 15th and arrived, at our downtown Chicago hotel, The Palomar, around 5:00 pm. It really pays to buy the EZ Pass! Those toll stops add so much more time to the trip and with the EZ Pass you can breeze through without having to wait in long lines. We decided to purchase one on the way, but it didn't take effect for 36 hours until we headed out of Chicago on Sunday. Bummer!

Once we checked into our hotel, unpacked and took a short nap, we met up with my brother Chris and his daughter, Lauren, who had flown in from Charlotte earlier that day. All 8 of us drove to our childhood friend, William Quick's restaurant, Trattoria 225. We were also met by his mom, Helene, whom we hadn't seen in over 30 years. The reunion was fantastic as well as the food! The only thing missing was William's sister, Regan who we would later meet for a “quick” ( no pun intended) visit on Sunday. After dinner Ed dropped off Wendy, Chris, Lauren and me for a nightcap with my cousins after their rehearsal dinner. That was short lived since I had both key fobs and didn't realize it until Ed was back at the hotel, 30 minutes away. I hopped in a cab immediately and headed back to our hotel, just in time to greet my oldest son, Sean, and his gal, Caitlin who had just arrived at the hotel, after flying in from LA. After giving my key to the parking attendant, the four of us walked to a fun restaurant up the street and we all caught up, while Sean and Cait grabbed a bite for dinner. I was pooped! We all walked back to our hotel, and hit the sack!

Saturday morning, we all met for a fabulous brunch in the hotel restaurant before leaving for the 1:30 ceremony. We arrived on time, after horrendous traffic, and the wedding was beautiful and absolutely perfect! With 3 hours in between the wedding and the reception, we all went back to the hotel, relaxed a bit, took in the magnificent views on the 17th floor of the Hotel Palomar then walked 2 blocks to the reception at The Ivy Room. Cocktails were served outside in the charming courtyard, surrounded by ivy covered walls. We all gathered inside for dinner, in another beautiful space, surrounded by windows, and we danced the night away! It was one of the most fun weddings that I had ever attended. Of course being surrounded by family made it all the more special. We all missed my recently deceased brother, Geoff, who would have loved this entire weekend. My sister, Judy, who lives in Paris and was not able to attend with her family would have really made this occasion spectacular!! After a post wedding nightcap, we all retired to our beds after a fabulous, but very long, day!

The following morning Ed, Zach, Chris, Lauren and I met my friend Regan in the lobby of the hotel, over a cup of coffee. Although it was a short visit, it was great seeing her and catching up with Regan’s fascinating life. I wish that we had more time to spend with each other. After checking out of the hotel, we gained 2 more passengers ( Sean and Cait) in our car and drove two hours to Golden Lake, WI. the home of the mother and father of the groom. Tom and Sue, who hosted 7 members of our family
( my mom, sister, bro-in-law, their son Ryan and their 19 month old daughter, my brother and niece) at their home while my group of 5 stayed in a hotel 10 minutes away. Tom and Sue live on a beautiful property, on Golden Lake, which consists of the main house, a boat house, equipped with a ping pong table, fireplace, bar and all around party room and a 1 bedroom , 2 , room cottage, which was home to my Florida cousin and his wife, for 3 nights. I have memories of this very special place, going back almost 30 years. I remember celebrating my 28 year old’s first birthday at Tom and Sue’s on Golden Lake, and many subsequent birthdays after that. They are the salt of the earth and we are so blessed to have such a close and loving family.

When we arrived, we were met by Tom and Sue’s oldest, Tim, his lovely wife Syma and their 3 beautiful children. Tim took over Tom’s pediatric practice and I just know that he is an incredible Dr. by his manner. We were also greeted by my other cousin, Jim, brother to Tom, his fun wife, Vernette, 2 daughters, son-in-law and granddaughter Brooke. I’m sure you can’t keep track of all of the relatives at this point! Let me just say that at times there were as many as 25 family and friends eating, (which Sue handled masterfully with every meal planned to a T’. The first dinner was a cookout where Tom grilled every kind of meat, the second dinner was her fabulous jambalaya and breakfasts were either pancakes and bacon or her very own egg McMuffins. Aside from the wonderful meals, there was plenty of drinking, kayaking, riding on the pontoon boat, swimming, shooting pool, playing ping pong, enjoying the outdoors ….. and really enjoying just being together. It was such a great time!!!!! It was over before we knew it and, sadly, we were all headed back to our homes Tuesday morning.

The following week, was spent preparing my mother for her 8 week stay with my brother and his wife and family in Charlotte, NC. After multiple Dr.’s appointments, clothes shopping and packing, she was ready to fly to Charlotte! She has been there 3 weeks and she’s enjoying Chris, Connie and their youngest, Stephen in their beautiful summer home on Lake Norman.

The following weekend was a trip to Columbus, as guests to my friend Abe’s son’s wedding. Saturday morning, Ed and I drove the 2 ˝ hours arriving at our dear friend’s Ron and Kristy’s home, where we would spend the night. Upon our arrival we were only able to say a quick hello before changing into our church attire and taking off for the wedding ceremony, only 10 minutes from their home. Ron and Kristy live in the charming city of Dublin, where the ceremony and the reception would take place. We arrived at the church and were greeted by Abe, the proud father of the groom, looking very handsome in his tux. The ceremony was beautiful! Nick and his beautiful bride, Laura, were beaming. As with my cousin’s wedding there was a break in between the wedding and the reception, so Ed and I went back to visit a bit with Ron and Kristy before I had to head to the reception to do a quick sound check with Abe and the pianist. Abe and I were singing Jim Brickman’s “Destiny” for the bridal dance. After the soundcheck, I drove back to change into my evening attire, pick up Ed and drive back to the reception. The reception at LaScala Restaurant was in a lovely room, filled with loving family and friends, accompanied by a fabulous dinner, music and dancing. Oh, yes, and our song was very well received! After the reception, we drove back to Kristy’s where we stayed up for two more hours, visiting with our friends and their beautiful daughter, Kim, and her darling boyfriend. The next morning Ed and I said goodbye around 9:30 and met some other friend’s for breakfast before heading back to Cleveland around 12:30. It was another fabulous wedding weekend!

The rest of the month was spent enjoying dinners out to Crop Bistro with family and friends and of course I’m still working diligently on my new cd, with a release slated for later this summer! I’m very excited for all of you to hear it!

Happy June!