So...What did you think of this episode? I thought it was funny. My parents visit every year right before Christmas. I love when they visit! We visit with each other about every three months. It's great! We are very close. It made me giggle to see my dad helping me get the kids' tree out of the attic. I didn't find my dad's glasses in the tree until I put the tree back up in the attic after Christmas. It created the biggest "Where's Waldo" type search for those glasses the whole time the tree was up. They somehow were on the bottom branch, upside down, toward the middle post of the tree when I found them.
Every year, we have a grown-up tree (sometimes real, sometimes fake) and a kids tree (always fake and pre-lighted). I used to have an allergy to pine trees that made my nose and eyes itch, which made me sneeze a lot. The kids get to decorate their own tree. We make paper chains from Christmas scrapbook paper. We thread popcorn and cranberries. They hang their Disney, Hallmark, homemade and school-made ornaments. They also hang candy canes, tinsel, and whatever else they want on it. It's their own tree to design however they want it. We put a train around the bottom of the tree along with all the Christmas stuffed animals that we have collected over the years that people have given to them. It's usually a lot of fun. We drink hot chocolate and listen to Christmas songs while we decorate the tree. We always read our Christmas books and watch our favorite Christmas movies like 'Christmas Vacation.' Good times!
Last year I got lazy and instead of breaking down the tree, I just shoved it up into the attic like the Grinch. I had bought a brand new slightly bigger and fuller kids' tree last year and completely forgot all about it. Oh well... Next year.
Did you see our poor flat Christmas cookies? Another one of our Christmas traditions is that we make Christmas cookies for the kids to decorate. I somehow ran out of flour for that batch, so I thought I'd be clever and substitute it with pancake mix. Clearly a stupid decision. Note to self for next year, stock up on flour before holiday baking. No more flat cookies! This was slowly resembling the Griswold family's Christmas. Ah, memories!
When Teresa asked me to invite Melissa and Joe to our cocktail party right in front of Melissa after their talk in my library, I would never say no. I thought that was a good sign that they were headed in the right direction. Besides, if Teresa is really trying to connect with her family again, we will all make the effort along with her, since Teresa is like family to us. We would welcome Teresa's family with open arms. They can work out their issues with each other on their own. This is what Teresa said she wanted.
I love helping people, and I enjoy trying to resolve conflict to make everyone happy. I'm like a detective trying to solve a mystery. I enjoy dissecting and analyzing every detail of a conflict to get to the root of the problem and make sense of it all so then I can find solutions to help resolve it. YES, I WANT WORLD PEACE! I DON'T enjoy drama, but I DO enjoy the challenge of dissecting it and then finding solutions to resolving it. I don't try to CAUSE the drama, I try to END the drama! Of course, being human, there have been a few exceptions when someone was REALLY a complete jerk to me, so I may have lost control of myself for a little bit... But I came back around and took control of myself again. I like everyone to get along. Unfortunately, there are some circumstances when people can't seem to agree to disagree and move forward, so they choose to part ways. I hope that doesn't happen with Teresa's family. As long as they are attempting to try to make it work, I think that's a good thing!
I really didn't know Kathy all that well at this point and Teresa wasn't really feeling her at the time, so that's why I didn't invite her. Baby steps! Maybe Teresa working to better one relationship at a time is a good idea. My mission was to bring their family back together for the holidays and before the New Year.
Ashley's worried that if I kept assisting Teresa in trying to bring the families together it could end badly for me. Being the neutral one isn't always the most comfortable place to be. Ashley remembered me trying to get Danielle to fit in with our family, and that just made everything worse because neither of them really wanted that. At the same time, I can't stand to see my friends hurting. Sometimes, as an outsider looking in, you can see things differently than when you're the one that is caught up in the storm. I just want to bring in a few rays of sunshine. That's all. Nothing wrong with that. I'm praying to God to work with me here.
For the first time EVER, we hired a chef to prepare appetizers for us. It was such a treat. I could actually focus on my guests, and I didn't even have to be at the sink cleaning dishes later. It was lovely. I'd do it again.
I was a little nervous having everyone together for the first time at my house, but I love Teresa and Joe, so of course I would be open to loving and accepting their family as well. I just wanted everyone to have fun with each other and be at peace like old times. It seemed from looking at their old photos from their family trips to Punta Cana, that things were good between them once upon a time. Sometimes, as in most families, sh-t happens! That doesn't mean that they can't get that bond back. It takes work and time, but if all are willing, they have a shot.
I think we were all laughing during that entire party. Joey Gorga was HYSTERICAL! He and Teresa must have been a hoot back when they were tight. BRING IT BACK! Like I said, "Cut the sh-t, let's party!" Melissa was a lot of fun too. We all enjoyed each other's company. This is the kind of night Teresa has been wanting with her family. See how that works? When one extends the olive branch, the other will extend one right back. Who knew that by the end of the night we all would be so comfortable with each other that Joey Gorga would be free balling it wearing my jumper. Lol!
I think they are slowly dipping their toes in and testing the waters. I can tell there was a little hesitation there to jump right in. (Just a little.) The more happy memories they create together, the more the happy memories will start to outweigh the bad. Cheers to positive thinking!
My heart breaks for Lauren because I know how close she and her brothers were growing up together. They did everything together so it's only natural that she is feeling a little left out right now. They are at a crossroads in their life. I can only imagine how Lauren feels. Both of her brothers moved out at the same time, experiencing that next chapter in their life together. She is still at home, at least thirty minutes away. The boys are still living together, making new friends and working together. Lauren feels left out of the loop. She is missing out on all of her brothers' new inside jokes that they are forming with the new people that they are spending time with. Sometimes it is too inconvenient for a thirty-minute drive after a last minute phone call for dinner or a get together just to turn around and drive back home at the end of the night. A lot of the boys' plans are spontaneous, so they don't always think to call Lauren or expect her to want to make the drive. They should at least invite Lauren and give her that option. Lauren also has her own life, which includes her relationship and time spent with Vito and her own career that also takes up a lot of her time. Free time as an adult with all of your new added responsibilities becomes valuable and rare. Finding free time becomes more difficult.
I think Lauren knows that this is a natural progression of life, but it's a hard adjustment for her. The difference is that the boys are adjusting to this change together, while Lauren is adjusting alone. She wants to stay as close to them as they always were. I know that the love for each other is still strong and it's not going anywhere. Everyday life is just changing as they are growing and spreading their wings. My advice to Lauren is just to enjoy the free time that she does get to spend with her brothers while she's with them and not spend it being bitter and complaining that she's not with them as often. Make it good quality time. Quality verses quantity! Just be pleasant when you are around each other and enjoy being in that moment and be confident that the love will always be there. That will bring you closer instead of pushing each other away, because you all will be enjoying that time together creating new happy memories. In the end, isn't that what you want? Teresa and Joe, does this sound vaguely familiar?
On a lighter note, I freakin' LOVE the feather Christmas tree the boys got for their apartment! I would expect nothing less from @GreggyBennett living there. Make sure you check out the "Boys to Manzo" webisode series on Bravotv.com! It makes me laugh every time!
I wish Kathy lots of luck with whatever she decides to do with her incredible baking skills. I could not stop laughing when Albert burst out laughing in response to Kathy and Rich's thoughts of possibly opening a catering hall. He couldn't even hold it in. There must be a good story in there somewhere. Obviously Albert feels that it is a serious commitment, which Kathy and Rich may not be fully prepared for. They better do their research!
Melissa, I hope you get your gold singing booth where you'll make lots of gold records for us all to enjoy. It was really sweet of Joe to build Melissa that studio to allow her to work from home so that she can spend more time with her family and still work on her career. Saves that traveling time to and from the city. I thought her voice sounded great singing by the piano without any music behind her, and it took a lot of guts to do that in front of everyone the way she did. Congratulations to Melissa for working with great producers to further her career. Best wishes for her success.
Teresa and Joe, loved that little picnic you had on your dining room floor. That was so romantic. Chris and I once camped out on our living room floor with a little tent and roasted marshmallows over a candle together. Loved it! Love those moments. Stick together and stay strong! XOXO!
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Love to all! XOXO! See you next week after the drama episode...
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