Buon Natale! In Jersey, it's still Christmas in July. (Remember when we all complained about how long and cold last winter was? Raise your hand if you'd trade this heat wave for it now!) I’m glad you got to celebrate the holidays with us this year. We've been on for three seasons now, and you've never seen Christmas with us. It's "my" holiday, I spend it every single year with my parents, my brother, and his family, and I love, love, love it.
But before I talk about the girls' dresses, the wonderful food we made, and Milania's Santa scare ("I was just kidding!"), I want to clear up a few things.
While this was a Christmas episode, it was also about family having each other's backs and sons sticking up for their mothers. I was so glad my brother and Melissa asked Monica Chacon to leave their Christmas party, but I wish they would have kicked out Kim G. as well. (I wish she hadn't been invited in the first place. Why be "friendly" with a lunatic?) I'm also very, very glad Joe and I left before the ruckus.
I have to say, that's the second time we've just walked away from a huge fight this season. I guess we aren’t the ones always causing the drama. I think there's enough to go around for everyone...
I was proud of Lauren for standing up to Kim G. while everyone else -- like Kathy -- just stood around her nodding as she said horrible things about me. Chris Manzo did a wonderful job taking care of Kim G., getting her outside and trying to talk her down from crazy. But Albie and Chris would never stand for anyone attacking their mother. Good for them! I loved it when Melissa said she was surprised Caroline kicked someone out of her party, but that she hopes her sons Gino and Joey take note of how to defend their mama. (I didn't so much love when Melissa said Kim G. and I were "secret sisters." Tell me my dress is too short any day, but that was pretty low...)
My Joe is the same way with his mom. I'm not sure why my brother is still so mad at Christmas Eve, but I can tell you why my husband was. My family and Joe's family grew up together -- that's why they were invited to the Christening. (I hate to bring this horrible Christening up again, but this is two episodes in a row now they show my poor mother-in-law and I have to clear this up...) My in-laws went expecting it to be a nice family occasion. Melissa and Joey can pretend all they want that they didn't start the fight, but you can clearly see I was insulted, I walked away, and after trying to defend me, my husband also left. The party -- full of Melissa's family and friends --turned into a crazy fist-fight of grown adults punching each other like animals.
You saw my poor parents caught in the middle of it -- and me trying to go back in and make sure my dad was OK. My dad was trying to get to my brother because he thought if Joey saw him, he would stop, but on the way he was tossed left and right. Joe’s parents got caught in it too.
As you can imagine, when my husband found out afterwards, he was none too happy about it. But what could he do? Out of respect for me, he went to Melissa and Joey's Christmas party, where he knew he'd see Melissa's family for the first time. He put up with Melissa's brother-in-law yanking his chain about owing him money. He kept his mouth shut as Melissa's sisters were grinding against my little brother on the dance floor (um, nasty). He didn't say one disrespectful thing or act like anything but a gentleman.
At my Christmas Eve party, sitting in his own house with his own brother-in-law, Joe was talking about Melissa's family. Duma was asking him about the whole christening incident and how Joe could stand to be around Melissa's family again, and Joe was explaining that they were animals, but that they were "family" so he had to. Some comments were not nice, sure, but that's how men are when they're protecting their women. Does Albert Manzo call people "douchebag" and "clown" on a regular basis? No. But when you threaten their women (like Kim G. did), they will. I think you might have a few choice words of your own if your mother was attacked... He doesn't have a problem hanging out with just Melissa and Joey -- we've hung out for years. It's Melissa's family he's done with. (Wouldn't you be?)
I wanted to clear that up because Joe and I were really working on making things right at Christmas with Joey and Melissa. Which is why I was shocked that my brother decided to leave. He and I have spent every single Christmas together. He's never spent Christmas with Kathy except when she was at my house. They've only recently even started hanging out (because of the show? Hmm...) I had no idea he wasn't staying. Like Caroline, my house has an open door policy during the holidays.
I was cooking for days to prepare for the twenty plus people I knew were coming. Joe is always inviting people over last minute. Bring your niece and boyfriend and nanny -- the more the merrier! You'll have to wait until next week to see if Joey stayed with his family, or left his parents and sister for his cousin...
You can see that especially at the holidays, we Italians love to eat. We had so much amazing food. I made baccala three ways: with red sauce and potatoes, in a salad, and fried. We had seafood salad, mussels diablo (they were very, very spicy! But so good!), shrimp, clams, calamari, struffoli Christmas balls with honey and rainbow sprinkles, gnocchi... Most of the recipes -- including my stuffed mushrooms, roasted red peppers, broccoli rabe, fried cauliflower, zeppole, cannoli cupcakes, confetti cookies, and my mother-in-law's Ti Amo Tiramisu -- are in my new cookbook FABULICIOUS! Make them for your family, then invite me over! xx
How cute was Gia with her little ring from the boy at school? And Milania thinking Santa was her Nona until Nona showed up? Milania and Antonia are the closest in age, and they really are best friends. I loved seeing them all in their gorgeous dresses. What you saw there -- just our immediate family together, the kids all hugging, me and Melissa taking pictures, my parents joking, Joe and Joey eating -- that's what our family's always been about. I know there are a million outside things and people and "career opportunities" now pulling on everyone, but I truly hope we get back there again.
What else did I miss? Not happy Kathy compared me and my brother to my father and her father's fight from years and years ago. We were little kids when that happened and it didn't involve us. And Joey and I are nothing like that. We're talking and trying to work it out. And just so you know, when they all finally made up, they really made up. From the day they made up, they never talked about the past again, and they all spent every single day together until my uncle passed. I miss my uncle. When I was in my twenties and still living at home, I used to come home from working in the city, and my uncle and aunt would be over having coffee with my parents. My uncle was a quiet guy, and he love, love, loved my husband.
My dress riding up… First of all, I looked just like Caroline right before everyone came over --cooking like crazy, sweatpants, no makeup on. When I got dressed, I was so careful to cover up my bubbies to be respectful, but I didn't notice that running around, my dress kept riding up my hips. Guess I have more booty than I thought. That's a good thing, right?
I love, love, love Caroline’s radio show. She did an amazing job. Chris Laurita calling in about Ashley actually made me cry. He is such a great dad and he loves her so much. Ashley is blessed to have such amazing parents.
I have another crazy busy week with three (or is it four?) book signings.
Follow me on Twitter (@Teresa_Giudice) or Facebook, and my blog at www.teresagiudice.com to see my pictures from the road of me with my gorgeous fans (the most fabulous in the world!), and my updated schedule. I love meeting you all. I was in Chicago this weekend and it was amazing.