When your family is full of clergy, like mine is, you don’t usually get to spend very many traditional holidays together. Easter and Christmas are out, and sometimes Thanksgiving and Independence Day, too. So, when we all get together, it becomes something really special. Most of us gathered for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary this month, and it reminded me that even though I have some messed-up family math, I still end up with a pretty great sum total.
My brother, Paul (<—- no really, read the hyperlink) is the chief mischief-maker. I lost track of the number of times my kids pestered him for attention.
My sister Heather, along with her amazing family, more than make up for the oddness described in the family math problem, linked above. I love spending time with this crew, and it doesn’t happen nearly enough. For the past few years, we have traveled to them instead of coercing them to come to Texas, because my children think that her house is Disney World. Well, they’ve never actually *been* to Disney World, so we let them go ahead and think that. Heather’s family fosters puppies, they have a pool, and they have two amazing teenage daughters who pretty much do whatever my kids want them to do. So, even though the pool and the puppies couldn’t travel with them, we were super excited that they could come spend time with us this year, and we could show them a little bit of Texas.
Because I kind of feel sorry for anyone who has married into our family, I made my brother-in-law one of his all-time favorites, rice pudding. I used the smitten kitchen recipe from her cookbook for Tres Leches Rice Pudding, and it was terrific.
Another night, we invited some friends for dinner, who have some mutual acquaintances with my sister’s family (in addition to our family). As I had hoped, they all hit it off, and we had a great dinner at the same time. We had chicken from Oprah’s website (go figure), Ottolenghi’s baked rice (but with brown rice), the smitten kitchen’s green beans with almond pesto, and the smitten kitchen’s chocolate silk pie. Topped off with Ina’s sangria, naturally.
While they were all here, we celebrated my birthday, which ranks right up there as possibly the Best Birthday Ever. We went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center to show our visiting family around, and we were there for the anniversary of the moon landing. That evening, my sister, nieces, and I all went to see Wicked, which was showing at Houston’s Hobby Center. It was so, so good. I loved it so much, and I loved showing off “our” city to our family. It was my first time at the Hobby Center, even though I’ve wanted to go to a performance there since we moved two years ago. None of us had seen Wicked, and it was everything I hoped it would be and more.
The nicest thing about showing family members around Houston was that we were reminded about all that we love about living here, and explore some new things as well.