My mom's sister and her hubby started their family in Mexico (she was teaching abroad and met this suave Meixcan named Poncho... they got married and she stayed in Mexico with him, had 3 kids, etc.). Well he worked for Proctor & Gamble and eventually the company wanted him to head up an enterprise in Cincinnati, their US headquarters. And so, the family moved there back in the late 80's and has been in the same house ever since! We used to visit for Thanksgiving back when my Grandma was mobile, and I would stay for a few weeks to a month in the summertime. Needless to say, Cincinnati, or more likely the cousins and aunt and uncle I have there, all hold a special place in my heart.
Well, those 2 crazy Mexican love birds celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this past monday! Imagine that?! 40 years. WOW! My cousin Tanya had the idea to throw them a surprise party to celebrate... afterall, nowadays how many people make it to their 40th anniversary? Slim to none, right? So she sent everyone save the dates and hoped for a good turnout.... and she sure got one!!!!
People traveled from California, Georgia, all over Ohio... and even Mexico City! And let me tell you, "the Mexicans" (my uncle's sister, brother & kids) are an absolute BLAST! I had spent time with them as a kid because 1 summer we all ended up staying with my aunt & uncle at the same time, and I also got to party with them at both my cousins' weddings back in 2003. But again, it's been 8 years and I tell ya, not much has changed! They are still as fun loving and warm and kind as ever! I kinda wish I was related to them also! haha.
Since there were so many out of town guests, the "grown ups" stayed at a hotel, but the "cousins" stayed with my cousin Tanya. She lives about a mile from my Aunt & Uncle and I LOVE LOVE LOVE her house! It feels like a cabin in the woods, decorated with Crate & Barrel stuff....and lots of nice linens and toiletries to enjoy. Oh and yes, it is in the woods (a deer family walked right by the bedroom window while I was there!), but yet the main road with Wendy's & McDonald's was within walking distance.... quite a paradox! I had to take a picture of her house to commemorate my trip of course....
Tanya and I have had a special relationship since I was a kid. She is 8 years older than me but has always treated me like a friend more than a "little kid". I was always invited to tag along with her and her friends, we like the same things in general (except she doesn't like shopping... blashphemy!), and back in the good old days our family called us the "Bobsey Twins". It kind of stinks that we live a nation away from each other, but the good part is that when we DO get to spend time together it's as though no time has passed at all. I love her! Oh and her hubby Aaron and kids are all adorable as well... just a really nice family :)
Ok so back to the title of this entire post.... "La familia y comida" means "the family and food" because Tanya's mom, my aunt Marilyn loves to cook more than anyone I have ever seen, met, dreamt of, etc. This lady would cook in her sleep if she could! And nothing gives her more joy than seeing others enjoy her cooking! So Tanya had to somehow convince her that despite her son Ian (my cousin) and his wife Krista and their kids being in town from Switzerland for the holidays...s he was NOT allowed to cook her own anniversary dinner! She just told her to dress nicely and that Ian, Krista, Aaron (her hubby) and all of their kids were going out to a nice dinner for the evening.
Little did she know, 45 of her nearest and dearest were eagerly awaiting her arrival at a local restaurant! Here is what she looked like when she figured out that people had actually traveled in an airplane to celebrate with them....
I was the first person that she saw and kind of looked at in recognition like "hey what are you doing here?!". I went forward and gave her a hug and she went "OH MY GOSH! Alexis?!!!" She later confessed that she was thinking that I was a woman who LOOKED like me, but she wasn't sure it was me because she hadn't seen me since I had started losing all my weight! In fact last time she saw me was the day before my surgery! That part was kind of fun :) In fact, the Mexicans were SHOCKED when they saw me! I was at a peak weight in 2003 when they saw me (around 220lbs) so the wives had to tell their husbands that I was in fact "me". That was fun too!
Overall the party turned out great, and Tanya was grateful to have my party planning "expertise" in a few set up details, requests, etc. Hey.. it's what I do ; ) My aunt and uncle could not stop saying how surprised they were and how no one had ever thrown a party for them in the past 40 years, ESPECIALLY not a suprise party! They truly had no idea. And my aunt started crying (and I think my uncle shed a few tears too) when they saw how many people had made the effort to be there to celebrate with them! Well done T on planning an awesome surprise party!
Well, as predicted by all of us, the minute the party was over my aunt was planning our next feast at her house. We followed up the late night after party with a traditional Mexican breakfast....aka heaven on a plate! She made moilletes (pronounced Moy-yet-tays...not sure if I spelled it right) but basically it is rolls browned on a griddle, slathered with refried beans, monterey jack cheese, and broiled until the cheese is all melty. OMG DELICIOUS!!!! I hadn't had those in again, 8 years, and they tasted as good if not better than I remembered. And additionally she made chilaquiles.... torn tortillas lightly fried, smothered in fresh warm salsa verde, and topped with chopped onions and crema. No folks, those items are NOT on my diet!!! But darn they were amazing!
We also ended up at her house for dinner (think 20 people each meal) and there were just too many dishes to list on here, but all of them were outstanding and delicious. The cool thing about having a family that loves to eat is the comraderie around the table. Meals with all of my cousins and family and aunt and uncles... they are just awesome. We can sit forever just talking, laughing, reminiscing. It really is special. That's the one thing about this surgery that kind of blows.... I can only eat so much so while everyone else is still enjoying, I am cut off. (the trade is COMPLETELY worth it, so don't think I am truly complaining) But here I am , hanging with the ladies (Tanya, me, & my cousin Ian's wife, Krista)..... as I mentioned before, the table was about 20ppl deep at one point!
The other really awesome thing is that the three of us have all been pregnant around the same times, twice for all of us, girl first boy second for ALL OF US!!! How cool is that?! I loved seeing and playing with all of my cousins who all happened to be around my same age, so I am thrilled that my kids will get the same experience... not only from the Cincinnati peeps, but also from my Bay Area peeps as well.... us cousins are apparently good breeders! haha And we all had kids around the same time making for good times in the future.
My flight home was purposely scheduled so that I could enjoy Monday in Cinci before going home.... I knew I got in late, but I wasn't prepared to be sitting on the tarmac for over an hour due to some mechanical glitch that had to be cleared. But alas, I made it home safely and was so glad to see my little monkeys and snuggle with them. They really are amazing kids and Aidan, in her sleepy haze, was coherent enough to sit up and say "MAMA!!!" and give me a big hug, before laying back down and passing out. I love that girl :)
Not much rest to be had before our Blue Water work party the following evening. I love these girls too! Kelly & Jennifer are the front lines at work and they are really great. We have a wonderful time discussing world issues like shopping at Goodwill & Target, calling each other fake names (I'm Charlene, in case you were wondering), and enjoying all of the great treats that come through our front door! I am lucky to have such great coworkers (even Dave, who took me to the airport on my way to Cinci!). Oh and might I add that we also like to get the party started early....
Merry Christmas Friends and Fam! I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday and enjoy "la familia" "la comida" and all of the blessings that Christmas brings!
Oh and my next check in about eating right and weight... eeks... Cincinnati was a land of Skyline chili 3 ways, diet Pepsi galore, chocolate opera cake, and Outback.... yeah.... I need to work on my restraint! The good news is that I can only eat so much : X Still holding strong at a size 4/6 and 138/9 lbs though!