Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Happy New Year!
The trip started off with some rain, so we ran errands and checked in with family (I had to do some work from my cousin's house due to the afore mentioned hardware failure) and then my brother D and his girlfriend arrived on Friday night. I was in a cooking mood and excited to make some of my favorite recipes for the fam, so I proceeded to invite my aunt, uncle, and grandparents over and then cook a meal for 10 people. It was a bit more work than I'd anticipated, but the dinner turned out delicious (lemon roasted chicken, lemon, pistachio, and butternut squash risotto, and a kale salad) and we all had a blast! The following morning we played a carefully orchestrated game of Yahtzee planned by my brother so he could propose to his girlfriend!!!!
Laspadas subs (salami topper all the way!) for lunch. On Sunday the boys went golfing and the girls spent the morning tanning at the pool (finally!) and the afternoon getting manis and pedis. That evening we helped out while my cousin C, a talented photographer, took engagement photos for D and B. But that wasn't all, then that night I made a HUGE batch of chicken and black bean enchiladas for the family and some visiting extended family - it was a busy day! On Monday I had a craft day with my cousin C, her two adorable girls, and B. I had splurged on a bunch of craft supplies and we spent all day painting pottery, making our own marbled jewelry dishes, and making multi-colored Rorshach paintings and then trying to guess what they looked like. It was so fun! That night we played Cards Against Humanity with my parents (!!!!) and laughed our asses off!
Coral Castle in the morning (S had been wanting to go since last year!)
On Wednesday, it was family day! We had our big family holiday brunch at my Aunt's place in the morning - bagels, lox, blintzes, latkes and mimosas! That afternoon my mom and I went with B for her first wedding dress shopping experience! She found one that may be a winner, but the shop didn't have a huge selection so she wants to try on a few more dresses just to be certain. Then we ran errands to prepare for NYE that evening. That night we were back at my Aunt's house for copious amounts of Chinese food (bagels and Chinese food all in one day - we're so Jewish....), board games, champagne, and a LOT of sparklers and fireworks!
So at this point we'd already been in FL for a week and I'd only sat out in the sun once! We finally remedied that on Friday with a beach day! We chilled out on the beach for most of the afternoon and S and I took a nice, long, leisurely walk down to the inlet as well. So relaxing! Friday nights at sundown are the start of the Jewish sabbath. My cousin C graciously invited us over to her place to celebrate and have Shabbos dinner with her and her family. We had a wonderful time, observing the Shabbat customs, chatting with my cousin D and his wife S, playing with C's daughters, and eating some truly delicious food (I wound up taking two of my cousin's recipes home with me that night).
D and B left to drive back to Mississippi early on Saturday morning. After they left we went back to sleep for a bit and then proceeded to spend the rest of the day at the pool relaxing. That evening my parents were going to a dinner party at the neighbor's house, so S and I took the car and hit up Big Bear Brewing Company to try out some of South Florida's local craft beer. My cousin and her husband joined us later in the evening and together we all closed out the restaurant.
Sunday was a travel day for us, but not back to Houston quite yet. S and I rented a car and drove up to Merritt Island, my old stomping grounds, to check up on the townhouse that I still own. True to form, my property managers were not quite living up to their end of the deal and the property needed a lot of work. Grrrr. But that frustration only lasted about 2 hours, after which S and I went to Thai Thai for lunch to get some of my favorite sushi dishes!
KSC Visitor Complex and spent a few hours visiting with Atlantis! It was my first time seeing a shuttle since the program ended and it was definitely a bit sad (yes, I cried a little.....). But it was also fun reminiscing too, like pointing to the yellow stripes on the FIB and telling S about the months of counting blanket stitches, and recalling supporting Atlantis's imagery inspection during the STS-125 trip to Hubble. The KSC Visitor Center did a great job on creating the exhibit and spiffing up the rest of their complex as well while they were at it. I'm hoping to go back again next time we're in Florida and bring my cousin and her little girls - I can't wait to start teaching them all about rockets and space!