Aug 31, 2011

Hitchpost Tavern

 

WARNING:     If underage drinking, smoking, violence and general debauchery offend you, then please ladies & gentlemen..avert your eyes.

I know this is hardly the warning you would expect on my little Catholic photo-blog, but it was necessary just the same. You see, my grandparents had a bar in their basement. As if having a basement was not exciting enough to us always-lived-at-sea-level-navy brats, this basement had a bar in it. And there was nothing  my 5 brothers and sisters and I to do more than play bar. It was an easy game. You dressed up in the box that held my aunts’ old prom dresses, great-grandmother’s old wigs and the like. Then you grabbed a gun or two from the boxes that held my uncles’ old western stuff. Then you grabbed a lincoln log and pretended to smoke it. You dumped all the money out from the Fisher Price cash register and demanded a drink. Sometimes we pulled out whatever musical instruments we found in the basement and had some entertainment. Then my friends, we acted drunk. This was the best part of playing bar. To this day I’m not sure how we decided what acting drunk was. Now, we did go to public school and all, but my mom censored all the movies we watched and we grew up without  cable television. Our parent’s didn’t drink. Despite the mysterious origins, we thought we were so dang good at being drunk & playing bar. This especially amused my Aunt Mary. She was always game for playing bar with us. To this day she still teases my mom, “Liz, your kids sure know how to drink!”

Even though my youngest brother is now 14, we never pass up an opportunity to play bar when we are at Nanny’s. Mary still plays too. My conservative, youth minister husband was a little wide eyed the first year he experienced this game. This year though he was drinking us all under the table ;)

The special at a bar is Iced Mocha?! That kid IS homeschooled!!editedohio 011

The gang’s allllll here!

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And it was all fun & games!

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That is, until things got ugly.

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real. ugly

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Fortunately for the red head, we worked it out

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And order was restored at Hitchpost Tavern.

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Alright, y’all can all pray for my salvation now. Or criticize my mom’s parenting. Or pay for my therapy. Whatever butters your biscuit. But next summer, I know where I’ll be. I just can’t stay away from that Hitchpost Tavern.

Aug 30, 2011

The Breen Family Reunion

     Embarrassingly enough for me, I am STILL posting about our vacation that happened at the beginning of this month. One of these days I’ll be finished. I am predicting around October. Or perhaps tomorrow if I can muster the motivation. Even though the Breen Family Reunion was our main event during our Ohio trip & even though I have fancy schmancy camera… I surely do not have any photographs of this years shindig. I apologize, but it sure was nice not to lug the thing around and just enjoy myself.

     How to describe the Breen Family Reunion? I have been putting off this post for sometime because I feel unable to describe it. It all starts with a little math, I suppose. My mother’s maternal grandparents were Leo Aloysius & Bess Adele Breen. They had six children, Mary Catherine {My great Aunt Katie}, Elizabeth Ann {My great Aunt Betty}, John Patrick {My great Uncle John}, Leo Aloysius {My great Uncle Bill}, Margaret Viola {My Grandmother!!} and David Alexander {My great Uncle Sam}. You might notice that my great-grandparent’s called some of their children random names with no relation to their given names..they called my grandmother Nancy and still not sure how Sam and Bill derived their names. All part of their charm, I suppose! So, my mom had 5 aunts & uncles. And being the good Irish Catholic family the Breen’s were, their children all grew up to make…..lots more children. Aunt Katie, Aunt Betty, My Grandmother and Uncle Jack ALL had six children each. Uncle Bill had four and Uncle Sam had two. Add that up and that makes 30 grandchildren for my great-grandparents. Pretty awesome. My mother grew up surrounded by her 5 brothers & sisters and 25 cousins. All around the area of Columbus, Ohio for some time. People, that is a lot. My mother had a lot of cousins, who mostly married giving her many more cousins, who also had babies giving me many, many, many second cousins.

    The bulk of the Breen’s still hold down the fort in various areas of Ohio, but there are Breen’s everywhere now..New York, Colorado, Wyoming, Florida, and Virginia :)  Us Virginia Breen’s trekked to Ohio every summer, but every other summer we would head to Maumee Bay State Park for the Reunion.  To me & my brothers and sister’s, it was paradise. Swimming in the outdoor pool all day, swimming in the indoor pool all hours of the night, hanging out in the hot tubs, hours of racquetball and wallyball, jet skiing, playing in Lake Erie, soft-serve ice cream, tie-dying, and playing hide and go seek throughout the hotel’s hallways way past our bed-time. The State Park always had activities going on for their visitors..movies in the lobby with popcorn at night, or board game afternoons. Our parents were normally in a state of relaxation and ease, happy to be hanging out with their cousins, too. We always have a big family dinner on Saturday night, and in my younger years, that meant talent shows. My cousin Shannon and I always came to the family reunion with a dancing/singing act prepared. It started as innocently as songs from the Sound of Music, but it wasn’t long before we were dancing to Spice Girls in front of everybody.

     It is a Breen Family Invasion. Although our family doesn’t take up the entire resort, with about 110 people at this years reunion, we definitely take up a good three or four hallways. During the weekend their is a basketball tournament, a fire-pit & potluck evening {for My Uncle Sam’s fabulous stories}, as well as a golf tournament, photo-shoot in our Reunion T Shirts, and big family dinner.

    This year was especially wonderful for my immediate family, since EVERYBODY came. My brother’s Brian & Chris both had not been for several years due to their deployments with the Navy. I got to come with a brand-spankin’ new handsome husband and it was perfect.  If I had a scanner, I would share all the goofy pictures from the Reunion in it’s early years.. Instead I’ll share some from the past couple ones..and the few Marcus captured on his phone this year!

First..here are my grandparent’s at their wedding!2011-07-30_18-26-17_97

And here  Marcus & I are waiting for our turn during pictures on Saturday afternoon

  2011-07-30_18-08-07_480And here is plethora of pictures from Breen Family Reunions in the past!

My grandmother & 4 of her siblings. Nanny is on the far right :) My mom and some of her cousins!

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A Breen in the making…

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My aunt Angie {my mom’s youngest sister} and I with my grandfather! grad and fam reunion 087

My grandfather with his three daughters :)

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Even though I have more second cousins than I can count, I only have ONE first cousin on my mom’s first side. Shannon and I have since retired from our dancing/singing acts.

grad and fam reunion 089 grad and fam reunion 091 My mom with her two sisters & her mom

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Just some of the crowd!

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Hours upon hours spent here…

ohio 2009 126Maumee Bay is BEAUTIFUL

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My great uncle Sam, mid-story, no doubt.

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The gang’s all here!!

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Marcus & I at the 2009 Reunion

ohio 2009 125Quick funny story. I brought Marcus to the family Reunion for  the first time in 2009. He had just been hired as a youth minister a couple months before. Many relatives asked him what he did for a living and were a little confused about his vocation  to say the least. This large Catholic family is from an area where they don’t have paid youth ministers in the Catholic Church. So on the night of our big family dinner, my mom’s cousin Tom stands up and announces that they would be honored to have the Minister present stand up and bless the food. Poor, poor Marcus. We had to explain to my family that Marcus was not an ordained minister in some protestant religion but a Catholic layperson, just like the rest of us ;)

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There you have it. The Breen Family Reunion in all it’s glory. Hope you enjoyed it!

Aug 25, 2011

We Ain’t Starvin’ Over Here, Folks!

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You know, I could hop on the gravy train and write about Virginia’s earthquakes, hurricanes, job changes, marriage, spirituality or other important issues.

But I’m just gonna take post pictures of food instead. Thanks for understanding.

The  top two pictures are extremely delicious turkey/zucchini/carrot burgers with homemade lemon zest mayo & crunchy romaine on you-guessed-it…homemade, olive-oil brushed, oven toasted, honey wheat oat bread. Amazing. Oh, wait? Does bread machine bread count as homemade? In the Croft household, absolutely.

The last picture is some random avocado/chickpea/bacon salad reserved for nights when Marcus has a firefighting shift, I don’t want to cook & I need to clean out the fridge & freezer. The picture is missing the homemade dressing. I’m too cheap for Kraft & Ken’s.

Happy Thursday everyone!!

Aug 18, 2011

Aug 17, 2011

Today, a year ago

     While I am raving about the little town of Powell, Ohio, I should say that a year ago today Marcus coerced me into a little diamond store on the corner. I resisted, wary of all jewelry salespeople & their stores in general-besides-we had no business looking in there anyways, an engagement was a ways off..or so I thought! I went in, became quick friends with Kimberly of Kimberly’s Diamond Corner, eyeballed some pretty rings-one in particular-then went on my way. No big deal. Unless you ask Marcus. Very big deal. To catch the whole story, click here.

Well, we decided to go visit Mrs. Kimberly & all her diamonds on the corner. She even had our proposal picture hanging up!

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Aug 16, 2011

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream!

     When my sister had surgery for thyroid cancer a little while back, our aunt had some ice cream shipped to her to ease the recovery. I vaguely remember seeing a flavor called Lavender and thinking…. weird! I didn’t even try any which is strange for a girl who, when asked in a third grade survey what her favorite food was replied: bread & ice cream. And let me tell you, not much has changed. When we were in Ohio the first week of August, drooling over antiques in Powell, I spotted a little ice cream boutique. Sure enough it was home of the weird lavender ice cream.. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream herself. Assured by the folks in Powell we had to go check it out, we walked in to complete deliciousness & adorable design. A perfect match!

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LOOK at these flavors!!

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What I chose. refreshing, scrumptious, amazing, tart, sweet, fun & yum. Highly recommend it. No worries though, they let you taste test to your hearts desire. The Renaissance Man & I took full advantage of it. I’m certain we tried nearly everything in order to make an informed decision. Because that's important with ice cream!

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Here is me,  being five. Being five goes really well with ice cream.

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Well, maybe six. I don’t know if five-year-olds can write that well. Definitely six.

 

 

Go get yo self some Jeni’s splendidly weird ice cream!!!

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