Wedding of Champions

My SIL, Wendy, got married this weekend and I have no idea how to describe what happened.  It’s going to sound like I’m making a lot of this up, so I guess the best word would be unbelievable.  We are all still in shock.  It was INSANE, this wedding.  There should be a different name for it because no matter how many images come to mind when I say “wedding,” I guarantee you most of those images would not come anywhere close to the ones in my head right now.

Let’s start with a little game of Truth, Truth, Lie.  You figure out the lie:

1.  Vince Vaughn was sighted among the guests.
2.  The band Phish played at the wedding.
3.  The bride and groom sipped out of the friggin’ Stanley Cup itself.

We’re doing the rest of it Encyclopedia Brown style; figure out the lie when you can.

So the first thing you should know is that the wedding was at TheWit in downtown Chicago.

The second thing you should know is that the band Phish was indeed staying at TheWit—coincidentally or not.

The third thing you should know is that the Blackhawks is Chicago’s hockey team and they won the Stanley Cup just two days before the wedding and that TWO MILLION FANS filled the streets for a parade the day of the wedding..

The fourth thing you should know is that Vince Vaughn is a huge Blackhawks fan.

Let me back up a bit.

On Wednesday night the groom and his family came over to my in-laws’ house in the suburbs of Chicago to watch the Stanley Cup.  Wendy, her mom, and I shut the doors to the TV room to put together the last minute pieces of the wedding and to curse the Blackhawks.  If they lost the game tonight, the Stanley Cup finals would actually be held during the wedding and would, in the women’s opinions, TOTALLY RUIN it.  If they won, there would be a big celebration the afternoon of the wedding that would make it hard for guests to get to the wedding and would also RUIN the WEDDING, but not as totally.  When Kane scored the winning goal for the Blackhawks the men went crazy with excitement and the women breathed a sigh of relief.  But only a small, still-stressed-out sigh of relief.

On Thursday we checked into the hotel and word started spreading that Phish was playing at the wedding reception.

On Friday afternoon the bride and bridesmaids went to get their hair done while the groom partied at the parade and couldn’t believe his incredible luck, especially when the bus with the Stanley Cup drove right by him and he was just inches away from that holy grail of hockey.  Close enough to be sprayed with champagne from one of the Blackhawks in the parade.

The wedding began at 6PM (it was BEAUTIFUL), the rooftop cocktail hour at 7PM (it was RITZY), the reception at 8PM (it was AWESOME). 

At 11:00PM the wedding guests got wind that the entire Blackhawk team was at the hotel and was heading up to the rooftop with the Stanley Cup.  There were two million people milling around, wanting to get on the rooftop with the Blackhawk team.

Now you should know that since TheWit hotel opened one year ago, the rooftop bar, a.k.a. TheRoof, has become one of the hottest spots to hang out in downtown Chicago.  The only way to gain access is to either have it reserved months in advance or to stand in a very long, very slow moving line for however many hours until you are allowed on the one elevator exclusively designated for rooftop access.

The fifth thing you should know is that eight months ago, my SIL signed up for the wedding package that included an after party at TheRoof and that the after party began promptly at 11:00PM.

So, Encyclopedia Brown, you have probably deduced by now that the wedding guests headed upstairs where they got pictures with the Blackhawk players and pictures of their fan Vince Vaughn (who my FIL described as “a complete tool”) and one thing led to another and the bride and groom ended up on top of a table on TheRoof, sipping out of the Stanley Cup with straws.

(Pictures courtesy of Colin Lyons Photography)

And that, my friends, was PUCKING AWESOME.  It was one pucking awesome wedding.

Back to the problem of finding the perfect word to describe this wedding party/Stanley Cup celebration thingy. 

So just as we were checking out of the hotel room we noticed a framed picture of the word SYZYGY, which we had never heard of.  We leaned in to see its definition, written alongside it.

SYZYGY: the joining of two entities without loss of identities.

Syzygy what happens when a hockey championship collides with a wedding party.  They were both there, the Stanley Cup holding every little boy’s dream of winning a championship; the wedding holding every little girl’s dream of becoming a princess in a fairy tale.  And even though those are two whip-lashingly different concepts to think about, together they created a wedding that was so fun, so full of life and celebration, so full of random chance and incredible luck that it could never be recreated or rivaled again.

And that is exactly how one would describe Wendy and JP.  They are syzygial, one a pharmacist and one a personal trainer; one a Colombian and the other an Italian; one who works hard and one who plays hard.  And for some reason the world chose their wedding to show just how precious and powerful it is when two things from opposite realms come together at the right place and the right time.

Congratulations to the most deserving couple I’ve ever met.

The “other” friend

Vincenzo has made fast friends with his buddy from school, Carson.  The two have a relationship that is definitely…unique (although not unique in the states of Oregon and Massachusetts, perhaps).  Read on:

1.  Carson often calls Vincenzo “honey” when they’re playing.  His mom asked him about it and he said, “I call him ‘honey’ because we love each other and that’s what people call each other,” then added,  “We’re married.” 

2. Vincenzo agreed about the married part, but later he did ask Carson to please stop calling him “honey.”

3.  After a play date at our house, Vincenzo dictated this e-mail to Carson:

Hi Carson! *smile* I love boinging with you. We boing everywhere. You left your cape here so you should probably swing by and pick up your cape. You could do it today.  Love, Superdragon

Carson dictated back: Machenzo – We boing everywhere!! Thank you Machenzo for being my friend!  Love, Carson

4. Vincenzo later told me he wanted to be in a Boing Band with Carson.

5.  Carson had never met or event heard of Vincenzo’s other BFF, Abby.  It happened one day that there was an event all three of them were at for the first time.  Abby and Vincenzo were walking around holding hands when Carson spied them together for the first time.  He burst into angry, hurt tears and charge toward them, yelling, “BUT VINCENZO IS MY FRIEND!!”  We came *this close* to stopping by his house with a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s that night.

We always knew he was going to be a heartbreaker; we just didn’t know it would happen before he even hit kindergarten!

MIL’s surprise!

Vincenzo say, Vincenzo do

1.  I had to put an end to Vincenzo’s pet-for-a-day thing when he asked me if I could help him find an aphid after breakfast.

2.  We call Vincenzo the Absentminded Professor.  He understands concepts like infinity and death but he can’t remember where one of his shoes is [in the neighbor’s yard—the neighbor who doesn’t have kids and doesn’t invite us in his yard]—or where he put his Bionicle [the one he’s holding in his hand as he asks me].  He is really starting to master the sheepish look, though.

3.  Vincenzo was listening to the radio explain the oil spill and it only took him about three seconds to think up a solution.  “Just take away the ocean!  All you need is to have President Obama* get about six thousand five million one people and they all get a bucket…”

4.  Vincenzo and his equally riotous buddy spent most of soccer practice squatting on the field this Saturday, picking flowers (like a couple of girls).  After practice they ran around the park shoving sticks down holes in various trees, saying they were poking puppies (like a couple of boys).  Then we told them it was time to go and you know what the flower children did?  They laid down on the lawn—no arguing or yelling or running away—just some very passive-aggressive lying down, not moving.  My friend muttered, “What is this, a 70s peace protest?!”

5.  I woke up on Friday and walked to the kitchen to see Vincenzo outside, peeing off the deck like it was how everyone starts their day.


*He thinks the president’s full name is Rocco Bama.

One CRAZY week

It’s been a crazy week for the mister at our house; we’ve only barely crossed paths a couple times since Monday.  Here are a few e-mails I’ve sent him this week.


Hi.  This is your wife.  I have blue eyes, medium length brown hair with blond highlights.  I enjoy long walks on the beach and romantic comediesWhat do you look like?

When you get home tonight, please don’t remove the plate from the Tupperware full of leaves and twigs.  Vincenzo’s pet snail for a day is in there.  Its name is Speedy.  Also, we had a food emergency and needed to eat the sandwich we made for your lunch tomorrow.  Plan on buying.


Hello.  This is your wife.  I have straight, sandy colored hair and a nice smile.  I enjoy long, uninterrupted hours of silence and going to the bathroom all by myself, with no one else watching or helping.  What do you enjoy?

When you get home, please don’t remove the plate from the Tupperware full of leaves and twigs.  Vincenzo’s pet slug for a day is in there.  Its name is Flash.  Also, it appears Vincenzo has fallen asleep in our bed, where you normally sleep.  You might want to head straight for the couch when you get home.


Hello.  This is your wife.  I’m 5’3 with a sporty build; people describe me as “petite.”  I enjoy expensive, exotic vacations and receiving gifts of very large diamonds.  It doesn’t really matter what you look like or enjoy, as long as you can remember what I look like and what I enjoy.

When you get home, please don’t remove the plate from the Tupperware full of leaves and twigs.  Vincenzo’s pet potato bug for a day is in there.  Its name is Rocket.  Also, please leave the tortilla and Ziploc baggie of peanut butter hanging from the chandelier; they’re part of Vincenzo’s astronaut snack.

Peanut butter tortillas

Home sweet home

All I wanted to do this Memorial Day weekend was spend time hanging around the house, gardening and making improvements and taking naps.  The crazy thing is, we did exactly that.  I know!  Crazy!!

I worry sometimes that I’ve become like one of the lame green snakes in the children’s book “Verdi,” just hanging on a tree branch around all day instead of streaking through the forest with my snake balls hanging out for all the forest people to see.  (I think that’s how the story goes, anyway.)  (It’s been awhile.)  I remember freaking out to Kevin before we were married, wondering how I was going to do all the world-wide traveling and adventures I had planned.*  Summers in Switzerland!  Teaching in Japan!  Backpacking through Australia!  The east coast in the fall, Mexico in the winter, a food tour in Thailand, a music tour in Austria, learning the tango in Argentina! 

Kevin looked at me and said, “But you can still do all that when we’re married.”  I felt relieved for exactly one second, until I started worrying that I might change so much that I wouldn’t want to travel anymore.  Back then, the thought of not traveling seemed like death. 

Today, the thought of not traveling feels like…a huge relief.  When I travel, Ihave to  leave this world that I’ve created behind for awhile—this world stuffed it with everything I love best: my husband, my sons, my family and friends, my wild attempts to cook something new, my haphazard stints in the garden, scrapbooking on demand, my house with its chartruse and cranberry and butter colored walls.

I used to get gypsy feet because I was so afraid of becoming stagnant.  I don’t feel that need now that I have young children who change so much from week to week that I have to reintroduce myself every Monday.  We have more fun blazing trails through our ravine and staying up late to watch movies than we do dragging them through a different city or even a theme park.  Not to mention (as I have mentioned many times before) the feeling of being held hostage by a 4-year-old and a baby sharing a hotel room at night.  *shudder*

So Memorial Day at home was perfect.  Who knew that staying at home could feel so much like…home?



Sweet sausage stuffed peppers
Maybe with couscous, carrots and cilantro on the side
Peanut butter chocolate cupcakes

*(I hadn’t yet fully realized my intense fear of flying back then.)