Happy New Year! Last night, my family gathered together to celebrate New Year's Eve together. I should mention that this was the first time we've all spent New Year's Eve together like this since I was about 17 or 18 years old (for those who aren't good at math, like me, that's about eleven years!). When my grandma got sick years ago, my mom and her siblings had different ideas on how she should be cared for. Needless to say, their different opinions got in the way and divided them ever since. They hadn't spoken in about ten years or so when they began again a little over a year ago. I like to remind them that I had faith, despite their stubbornness, but mostly it just makes me happy to see that they no longer need me or anyone else to bridge the gap between them (I used to try to keep in touch with all of them, even though they weren't speaking, to make a resolution easier for them when it finally came about). Now they are close on their own. THey speak daily...all of them. It takes my mom about an hour to get through talking to each of them individually. Maybe more. But the old tradition was for us to go to my uncle's, have a huge dinner, open Christmas presents, drink champagne and ring in the new year. This year was the first, and possibly the last since my parents are planning to move permanently down south, family new year celebration in a long time. Here is my family:
Papa, Jack, Aunt Patti, Uncle Teddy, Aunt Honey, Aunt Ronnie, John, Mom, Aunt Barbara, Jamey (tall one in the back), Liddy, Me, Uncle John.
We opened presents, ate three courses of extremely artery clogging food, had drinks, caught up on stories, shared old family stories, watched Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve and toasted in the New Year together. Instead of trying to fully recap, let me show you what a typical holiday with our entire family looks like:
The night began in the kitchen with presents, drinks and appetizer-making.
Aunt Patti and UJ have a super cool kitchen-incase you can't tell. It seriously looks like something straight out of a magazine. Yellow is a warm color and most of the kitchen is yellow (obviously) with some hints of red here and there. They cook like fiends. So much, in fact, my UJ had a larger deck made so he could have huge barbecues and picnics out there in the summer. It's like nothing you've ever seen!
UJ made the antipasto with Jamey and Mom looking on. It consisted of a layer of lettuce, Genoa salami, prosciutto, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, olives, hard boiled eggs, provolone cheese, mozzarella, marinated artichoke hearts, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Aunt Patti made stuffed mushrooms and sausage bread with cheese. We had regular Italian bread and hot Italian peppers...then we moved on to dinner...
This was our first course on the right...before we move on.
Dinner consisted of gemelli pasta, sausage, braghioli (braccioli...I can't figure out how to spell it, but it's pig skin stuffed with herbs and egg and stuff...I almost threw it up when my Aunt Honey made my try it), meatballs, pork spare ribs without the bone and beef briskets, bowls of fresh ricotta cheese, escarole with garlic and oil, more wine and bread. Whew! And then it was midnight (yeah, it took that long) so we took a break from eating and had a champagne toast with Dick Clark.
Uncle John and my dad waiting for the ten second countdown. They have been watching Dick Clark's New Year's Eve since before Ryan Seacrest was even born. Before Dick Clark had his stroke...before, well...before I existed, at the least. One year, the year Dick Clark had his stroke and couldn't host the show, my hilarious Aunt Ronnie got drunk at our house, said she couldn't believe it was going to be a "Dick-less Rockin' Eve," then tried to take an open champagne bottle home with her, but ended up making my Uncle Teddy stop on the highway for her to get sick out the door of the car. She hasn't had a New Year's like that since (thankfully!) and, instead, she was the designated driver last night and NO ONE got sick! Once the toast ended, presents commenced...
To the left, we've got the present openers. Mom, Aunt Honey, Papa, Uncle Teddy and Aunt Barb...
Aunt Honey is the oldest living relative on my Mom's side of the family. She's 76 and sharp as a tack! If you're coming to the wedding, watch out! She will not hold back...and she loves her wine!
Of course we had dessert then...ricotta cheese fried balls rolled in powdered sugar, chocolate pound cake, rum cake, strawberries (for good measure, of course!), brownies, cheese cake and honey balls...aka Aunt Honey's balls (well, she made 'em! and got a kick out of that joke!).
Needless to say, we were more full than any other human beings have ever been. Lots of love, drinks, food, jokes, stories and new memories. We missed my sibs (Amit, Seale, Kier and Sar), as well as my niece and nephew, and, of COURSE, my Fi (who was in Cape with his Mama ringing in 2009, too! Family everywhere!) who I got to speak to exactly as the ball dropped Eastern Standard time and less than a minute after it turned midnight Central time! Even two times didn't make up for us being so far away, but soon we will be back in CoMo bringing you more new and exciting 2009 adventures. We hope you stick with us!
We had a fabulous time ringing in 2009 and I hope everyone else did, too! Tell us your stories! What was your favorite part??? Tomorrow...Day One of 2009...and the gluttonous indulgence continues.
Happy New Year! We wish you health, happiness and prosperity!