Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Step we gaily on we go!

October 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Heel and hell and toe and toe. Arm in arm and on we go, all for Maire’s wedding!

As soon as we were engaged I knew I wanted to find some way to involve my nieces and nephews in the wedding, especially since Charles claims it was partly Joseph’s doing that he proposed (Joseph held Charles at gun point and asked when he was going to marry me…granted, it was a nerf gun).

Enter the kid parade.

We decided it would be more fun for all the kids if we also asked our guests to bring their kids. In total, I think there were at least 25 kids running around the yard throughout the night.

To help them gather together and get to know each other…and to help start the party…we asked for all the kids who wanted to participate to gather at the very beginning of the reception. My brother’s oldest son (the one with the nerf gun) led the kids to the back yard where the bridal party met them.

Charles distributed noise makers and ribbon wands and musical instruments and several members of the band led them with music.

The only major things to go wrong at the party happened during the parade (Leo was scared by the drums and Joseph forgot the parade route) but we all went with it and had a great time anyway.
It was so much fun! And such a fantastic way to start a party.


Categories: Family, Wedding Tags: , ,

What’s in a name?

That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

I’m not so sure I’ve always felt this way…

Today I got a wedding present at work…New business cards bearing my new name.

It’s not official yet. It takes a few weeks in Virginia to even be able to request a copy of your marriage license. But it might take me two weeks to get used to the new name.

As you can tell by what I named my blog, I’m pretty partial to my maiden name. I love my Mc. It’s hard to imagine not having a last name with two capital letters.

There plenty of feminist debate out there surrounding why a woman shouldn’t change her name. But I’ve never cared about all that.

I just simply love the name my parents gave me. It has a certain ring to it. It speaks to my culture – both religion and heritage. And it just plain sounds nice!

I tried to convince Charles to add the Mc to his last name…he didn’t really go for it.

But I’ve figured out how to keep it for myself.

Luckily (based on what I’ve read so far) in Virginia, a person can have two middle names if they so wish. Why wouldn’t I just drop my middle name and take my maiden as my middle? Like so many Catholic girls, my name growing up was not just Mary. So many close family called me Mary Frances, and although I hated it as a child, I grew to really love it. I can’t get rid of my Frances

But I also feel the need to keep my Mc.

So instead of changing my identity at all, I’ll simply be tacking Charles’ last name on to the end of my full given name. That’s the way relationships are anyway, right? I didn’t change or give up any part of myself to be with him or marry him, but instead, he’s become a part of me.

So when asked for a middle initial, it will be Mc.

Like many things in life, I’ve gotten my way in the end. Once I can finally change it legally, I’ll have succeeded in becoming Mary Mc Lastname. Now to re-learn how to make a cursive H so I can sign it…


June 5, 2012 2 comments

In planning my wedding, I like to think I was somewhat not the “normal” bride.

There were no bridezilla moments.

I didn’t cry over trying to find the exact shade of green for my bridesmaids to wear.

Even when we ended up having to redo our invitations to make the announcements, I think I handled it rather calmly.

But a few details I did pay close attention to were my “somethings.”

Something old – Since I was going with a vintage feel for the wedding, several things fit that bill. What I finally decided to do was to tie to my bouquet the pocket watch Mom gave to Dad when they were dating. In it, Mom had inscribed “For those who love, time is not,” from Henry van Dyke’s “Time is” poem.

Time is
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.

Something new – My dress of course! Even the dress shopping experience was unconventional. No one cried. There was no screaming “This is the one!!” I actually had to go back with a bridesmaid because I doubted my decision the same night I tried the dress on.

No doubts anymore though. I can’t wait to get to wear the dress a second time. And I think I love it even more after I added sleeves to it.

If you look closely, you can also see the pocket watch.

Something Borrowed – Honestly, I can’t remember if Megan offered first or if I asked her if I could borrow it, but my “borrowed” something was my sister in law’s veil.

My mom wore her sister’s veil when she got married, so she didn’t have one for me to use. I remembered Megan’s veil being simple and ivory, so we kept that in mind as we went dress shopping.

What I hadn’t remembered was how beautiful the Irish lace on the veil was or how intricate tiny pearls were sewn into the lace. It only added to the excitement that the veil was packed away because of home renovations. Megan didn’t dig it out until the week before the wedding. I didn’t get to try it on until the very last minute. But it was perfect!

And in keeping with Irish tradition, Megan (a happily married woman) was there to put the veil on me on Monday morning.

Something blue – Originally, I thought of using a Silverado blue rosary that belonged to my father in my bouquet. But after reading the pocket watch inscription, I was sure I preferred to carry that. I also wanted to use it because I remember the care my father took when he wore the watch on special occasions. I knew if he had walked me down the aisle, the watch would have been with him. I needed it with me too.

Anyway, all this thought given to my father walking down the aisle, and I knew I’d need a hanky. But I didn’t want just any old hanky, I wanted my father’s hanky.

Sure enough, Mom had saved just a few of Dad’s handkerchiefs. I asked her if I could take one when I was home a few months ago because I wanted to embroider my wedding date on it in blue so that it could be my something blue.

She said no. She wanted to do it for me.

Some of the only tears I shed in the hours leading up to my wedding were when she gave me the box holding the hanky. It was as if Dad was talking directly to me when I lifted the lid and read “Angel Face.” It was perfect. And so much more special to me than the date alone would have been.

From that very moment on through the next day when I carried the hanky in my pocket, I knew he was with me.

My biggest fear leading up to my wedding was that I would miss my father so much that the emotion of that would overshadow the rest of the day. …That I’d burst into tears walking down the aisle with my brother because he wasn’t my father. …That I’d be sad at the reception because there was no father/daughter dance.

But amazingly, the complete opposite happened. Instead of being upset that he wasn’t there, it was as if I was overcome with how much he WAS there, and how proud he was on that day, and how happy he would want me to be.


May 10, 2012 5 comments

Since I haven’t written in a while, and I’m not sure when I will find time to fill you in on all that’s going on lately, I figured the least I could do was share Gretchen’s blog from the HERALD today that mentions the Race for Hope team.

In our fourth year, we raised nearly $10,000. Not too shabby! (If you want to help us get to $10K, it’s not too late!) Our team was once again in the top 50 in terms of fundraising.

I expected that each year it would get easier to do the race. Not physically, but emotionally. But for the fourth time, I was shocked when at random moments I was overwhelmed and on the verge of tears. …for many reasons.

For one, the race has grown SO much since the first year we started. We used to be the only team in sight at our meeting place. Now we share those steps with at least 6 or 7 other teams. Sure it’s great that so many more people are working to raise awareness and funds to fight brain cancer, but it’s also a sad sign that so many more people are being affected by it.

At the beginning of the race, survivors (dressed in yellow) release yellow balloons into the air. It’s certainly a sight to see. …but at the same time, it pisses me off that I don’t know any survivors. And I know too many that are gone.

It was a little shocking this year to walk behind a team carrying a sign “In memory of Mary Frances.” It reminded me of the time we went to a family cemetery and I saw a gravestone with my name on it. It shocks you. I nearly stopped right in the middle of the giant crowd of walkers.

But as I told Gretchen in the blog above, as emotional as the beginning of the race is for me, what I look forward to most is the end. I always watch for the first yellow shirt (survivor) to finish – usually a good 40 minutes ahead of me. I look forward to getting three miles into the race and seeing people in yellow shirts – sometimes struggling, but always excited – SO happy to finish the race with their family and friends.

I look forward to the day when our fundraising will make a difference. And I hope that some day, I might know someone in a yellow shirt.

248 Days…And still discovering things to do

January 10, 2012 1 comment

Yesterday was clearly the most productive day I’ve had in ages, and most of it had to do with wedding planning.

Since Charles is now fully invested in a new business venture, his schedule couldn’t be more flexible. And I had a day off, so on a whim we decided to go look at hotels for our guests to stay at for the wedding.

After visiting three hotels (and making blocks at each. Do you remember how many guests we’re inviting??), we met Mom for a late lunch at Castiglia’s. The owners would be catering our reception, and they just so happened to both be in the shop.

This led to a menu discussion.

We approached this thinking, “We’ll just see what they have available and go from there.”

Wrong! We sat down and they said, “What would you like? We can do anything!”

Payton LOVES the veal at Castiglia's!

After a two plus hour discussion, our menu was set. Sort of. We can still change our minds and know that even up until the week of, Victor may decide to add in something else. But we got the basics down and have a good mix of meat, seafood, and veggie dishes for our guests.

In the midst of that discussion, we realized some of the details we’d forgotten about.

First, car porters.

We have plenty of parking available for guests, but we hadn’t even thought about having people (and signs) on hand to direct people where to go. Since they’re parking in a 10 acre field, maybe we should give them a little help, no?

Second, clean up. We had thought of this earlier, but hadn’t discussed it in ages. My brother and mom are being kind enough to let us have the reception on their land. We certainly don’t want to leave them to have to clean up that night or the next day!

Third, speaking of clean up, trash cans. Oy. How can we forget about trashcans?

As much as the meeting was about food, I left it with a long list of other items to take care of.

On the way out of town, Charles figured we could use a drink (what a long day!) so we decided to check out a few rehearsal dinner options. Out of the four major bars downtown, two were closed. Well that narrowed it down!

We ended up going with the fourth option, the one that was at the bottom of my list because of what I figured the cost would be…and I was right!

But you know what, we only do this once. It’s by far the nicest venue of the four and our guests will enjoy the choice.

So much done in one day! But so much more to do!

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

I wish you all a wonderful holiday surrounded by family and friends.


Categories: Family Tags:

My letter from Santa

December 19, 2011 2 comments

I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing this. I admit I’m doing so without his permission. But I’m guessing that Santa reads my blog and that’s how he knew I’d so appreciate hearing from him.

When I checked my mail on Saturday (as you know I love to do), there was a letter waiting for me with the return address “123 Reindeer Lane, North Pole.”

The letter offers such a concise year in review for me, and I thought others might enjoy hearing from the magical man themselves.

Dear Mary,

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve corresponded with you. I’ve been a little backed up with all the new children that have been coming in the world, but I didn’t want you to think that I hadn’t been keeping my eye on you through the years.

As I was checking my list for this year, I see that you’ve been very, very good and very, very busy.

I would like to say best wishes on your upcoming nuptials next year. I’m sure that you have picked a great man to spend the rest of your life with.

I also see that your nieces and nephews voted you their favorite aunt. That is quite an accomplishment.

Lastly on my list I see that you and your mother have been very close and making lasting memories throughout the year. That must have been one great road trip that you took together. Although the circumstances were not that great, it was nice that you could bond together.

My elves are pulling me away to get ready for my journey in a couple weeks. I don’t want you to worry about a thing this Christmas. Keep holding strong to the Christmas faith and I’ll take care of the rest.

Merry Christmas,

Santa Claus

We were about this old when Anne got her own letter from Santa.

In so few words, so many moments and emotions were captured. My engagement, of course. My relationship with my nieces and nephews (which only grew this year when Finn was sick…and when from the hospital he declared I was his favorite aunt). And the year of weddings and funerals – which included Mom and I driving from DC to Florida and back through South Carolina all in one weekend.

This has certainly been a year of major growth in my relationships with not just my old family, but also my new one that is forming as Charles and I prepare to become our own family.

Thank you Santa for all the reminders. And may all my readers and their families have the best Christmases this year!