Soooooo - not once did I use any of the fitness DVDs I armed myself with for the trip. I kind of figured that would be the case. Instead I imbibed and ate my way through the weekend. For certain I've tipped over that 140 pound mark. No need for me to get on the scale for confirmation. I'm back on program and that will remedy itself shortly.

We left the house around 10:00 on Friday and arrived around 3:30. The trip went pretty smoothly. I was impressed that Shiloh screamed bloody murder for only about the first half of the last hour.

Ganket and floppy - Shiloh's ready!

My sister and her family arrived nearly two hours after us. Girly shrieks and bear hugs ensued when they entered. Stunned is too weak a word to convey my reaction when I beheld the towering, charming, handsome men that are my nephews. Lovely, intelligent, beguiling - just a few descriptives for my eldest nephew's girlfriend. My sister also found her fitness these past few years and looks phenomenal, as does my brother-in-law. She's quite the runner, something my knees just won't let me take on. When last I saw my brother-in-law he was going the complete shaved-head route. He let his hair grow back and rocks a pretty cool mustache and beard. And just after they arrived Shiloh discovered that Mom and Dad's dogs' crate is just the right size for her.

Sister love!
Sooo happy!

Perfect fit!
I open the door...


Friday night I was on kitchen detail. Dad and Ben manned the grill; I took care of the sides. I had with me my snazzy new Giada cookbook that I delighted in showing off. Everyone oohed and ahhhed appropriately. I made 2 servings of the cornbread with scallions and and mozzarella to snack on. To complement the main course - a mixed grill of fish and chicken - I chose the fried smashed fingerling potatoes with lemon. I just love lemon. Since it was the first time I attempted either recipe, I was set aglow when everyone glommed the food down.

After dinner, my parents exodus to bed, and Shiloh getting calmed down enough to go to sleep, I met my sister, BIL, nephew and his girl at a bar down the street my parents frequent. It was pretty cool to hang with my nephew as an adult. The last time I'd seen him he was still a teenager....

My sister, BIL, Ben and I were relegated to sleep at a nearby hotel because there wasn't enough room for everyone at Mom and Dad's. That was fine me! For two days I didn't have to worry about getting up in the morning with the offspring. Since I broke the cardinal rule of alcohol imbibing Friday night (something I've never done before) and mixed (went from Cosmos to wine to Cosmos to wine again) the headache with which I awoke was horrific. Ripples of pain cascaded through my brain if I made slightest movement. Life lesson learned.

We got back to my parents' around 11:30, after hitting a time warp in the drive-thru of the local Dunkies. Never have I waited so long at a Dunkies. We were there fifteen minutes from ordering to acquisition, and my latte tasted awful to boot! When we entered the house, my stomach rumbled at the the ever enticing combined scents of bacon and butter that hung in the air. Much to my horror no dishes that emanate such yumminess were on display. We'd missed breakfast. But never fear - Daddy to the rescue! My father busted out some more bacon, fried up some potatoes and scrambled some eggs. I scarfed the greasy goodness down like it was the antidote! No question as to where my talent for cooking comes from...

Can't decide which is...


My second and third eldest nephews offered to take the kids to the playground. My third eldest nephew is my younger sister's oldest son. He's eleven or twelve (can't remember which) but could easily pass for sixteen. These young men are giants I tell you! My younger sister also has twins that are about six months older than Shiloh.

Don't let that angelic face fool you...

This one has a future in sports! His agility, accuracy throwing
and speed are phenomenal!

Shiloh LOVES going to the playground. However, I had to pry Mom's iPad from Isaac's grasp and say, "You are going to the park with your cousins." He groused as he jammed his feet into his sneakers and pulled on his coat. Mom and my sister accompanied them to the playground. After an hour everyone returned. Isaac barreled in to inform me they'd just come back to drop off the toddlers, and PLEASE could he go back to the playground with his cousins. Of course! Thunderous footfalls faded as he bolted for the back door.  I could have powered a Smart Car a hundred miles with my sense of self-satisfaction.

My parents' oldest grandsons.

Aside from my parents they've been
together the longest!
Since I was on kitchen detail the previous night I was only on eating detail this night. I was up for the challenge! My sister is also a culinary master; and she whipped up salmon with an herby mustard spread and baked beans. Dad did the ham and scalloped potatoes.

The party commenced when my other older sister and her wife showed up around 4:30. (Happy aside - they were the first couple to get a marriage license in their town after NY legalized gay marriage) They're being there was truly a treat! I think that last time I saw them was at my wedding. I could be wrong - at any rate it had been a long time. They got to meet Isaac and Shiloh and we got to catch up.

My aunt, uncle and fab cousin arrived just as dinner was being served. My cuz is one of the coolest and busiest young ladies I have the great fortune of knowing. In true Ireland fashion there wasn't enough food and some people had to go hungry.

Towards the end of the night my younger sister's best friend, who really is family, showed up with her boyfriend. She was armed with pictures - some from my wedding. There was a picture of her, my younger sister and me at the wedding she was generous enough to let me have. But more important I learned the origins of why she calls my dad Chip 'N Dad...

Last time I saw him he was shorter than me!

A Meghan sandwich.. Couldn't be in between
a more attractive couple!

Since we'd stayed up quite late the night before, we (my sis and BIL included) headed back to the hotel around 9:30. The pull-out bed, with its concave middle and fitted sheet that wouldn't stay in place was the epitome of sleeping comfort. I managed to get a few winks before awaking at 2:00 a.m. Ben ever the stoic, silent sufferer, didn't keep me up the rest of the night with loud grunts, demands to turn on the light so he could read and constant yanks on the covers.

Refreshed by a good night's sleep, I hopped out of the cloud of comfort at 7:30 to clean up a bit and pack our things. We all left the hotel around 8:00. Back to Mom and Dad's for more yummy breakfast -  this time with leftover ham instead of bacon. Then the Easter Bunny scattered his chocolate offerings that morning while the kids weren't paying attention. After all the chocolate was collected, luggage was gathered and loaded. Then there were good-bye hugs and promises that we won't go so long in seeing each other, before piling into our vehicles. During the return trip, Shiloh peppered her screaming fits throughout the last three hours which didn't get at all annoying. We landed, safe and sound at 3:30.

This reunion was missing my brother and his family, but there are plans for another one in Upstate this August that he is going to. Can't wait for that rockin' good time!


In honor of the delicious meal that I had Easter Eve, today's links are to a yummy mustard-crusted salmon by Giada and the most delicious scalloped potatoes you will ever have. The salmon is super easy and quick! Every time I make these cheesy, gooey bites of heaven, I must insist that Ben take the remainder with him to work so I can't have any of the leftovers. Be sure to read the instructions carefully. I once overlooked the fact that you bake the potatoes covered for 45 minutes without the cheesy topping, then remove the foil and spread the remainder of the cheese mixture and bake for another 45 minutes. While the did come out tasty, there was no glorious, crispy golden crust - which makes them heavenly!

Scalloped Potatoes with Three Cheeses


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