A Wedding, a Chanukah Party and a Fredericksburg Trip

24 Dec

IMG_2844We have a lot to catch up on. Usually we’re quick to post about traveling to weddings, our annual Chanukah party and a day trip, but somewhere between me breaking my foot, Caitlin being sick and both of us working right through the holidays, we got a bit behind, so let’s fly through the last month. The pic above is us right before we left for our work holiday party. The less that’s said about that night the better, but suffice to say we should have probably made extra sure we knew which Hilton we were going to and if one of us is phone-less, we shouldn’t separate*. Let’s move on.

*Very diplomatic. I’ll simply second the fact that we should move on from this particular event (even though we both look amazing).IMG_2853We flew to Chicago so I could co-best man at my guy Jordy’s wedding. But it also meant getting a quick visit with my dad and cousin Judy. My dad scooped us at O’Hare and we went to my old favorite Lou Malnati’s to split a deep dish cheese and a thin crust half cheese, half mushroom and spinach*. It was great to catch up with Judy on three sons’ Bar Mitzvah plans, college adventures and post-college life, to talk to my dad about everything from fantasy football to coming to Cubs fandom to wedding planning and catch up on family news. After a nice late lunch, he dropped us at Hotel Palomar**, where we got ready for the rehearsal dinner and enjoyed a free spiked cider or two*** in the lobby.

*The thin crust was honestly a waste of stomach space. That deep crust is EVERYTHING.

**This hotel ruled so much. It was swankier than I think we usually stay at, but reasonably priced. Our view from our room was gorgeous, the room itself was incredibly comfy — just an all-around great place to stay.

***THIS. Immediate highlight.


Most of these are self explanatory, but in the upper right pic, I just found out I got to be the guy who puts the glass down for Jordy to step on and I was VERY excited about it.

Andy, Caitlin and I were three of the first to arrive for the rehearsal dinner, so we caught up with a drink and too many appetizers. I was nice and full, but thankfully not drunk when I was called up first to give my Co-Best Man toast. It went well*. I talked about how Jordy guided me through college and our first few years out of school in Chicago and how our twice weekly phone calls to talk about his relationship with Jill and mine with Caitlin meant so much to me. Caitlin rated it as the second best of the dozen or so toasts, only coming up behind the couple that introduced Jill and Jordy and wore costumes and everything**. The rest of the rehearsal dinner was lovely, with a delicious italian dinner and good conversation. I was tempted to stay out late drinking with the boys, but Caitlin encouraged me to come keep her company in our hotel room after a long day***.

*Zack’s speech was so sweet — it included a couple chuckles and a lot of nice memories and warm fuzzies. His was the second best speech of the night, and I don’t just say that because he’s my fiancé.

**Seriously, the Franklins’ speech was HILARIOUS. It was interactive, re-enactive, just all-around engaging, even though I didn’t know any of the people they referenced in it.

***I would have been cool if he’d decided to have a guy’s night, but I was very glad to have his company, especially because I was left mostly to my own devices the next day.

getting ready

I spent most of the wedding getting ready and taking pictures, but since getting ready for a guy takes all of ten minutes, even if you can’t tie your own tie, it was a lot of waiting around and drinking and taking pictures. Caitlin spent the day in bed with her new iPad watching movies in the hotel room. I don’t know what to say about the picture taking hours except that swords were crossed and a homeless man made off with our two cups of bourbon while we took pictures. I was nice and drunk enough to jump rope with the bridal parties pashmina’s. There’s video and everything. Jordy was rather insistent that I stop drinking* and I sobered up enough to walk down the aisle and take the glass from the Rabbi and put it under the groom’s foot to smash.

*I swear to all that is good in this world, and I warned Zack as such:  If he drinks this much before our wedding I will go to Belize with my bestie Katie instead of him.


The wedding itself was great. The band was a lot of fun and got people dancing, the ceremony was short, but sweet* and it was great catching up with college friends and dancing. But alas, we danced too hard. Well, I did. Caitlin was dancing well and I was making it hard for her to dance with me. As she was telling me what a difficult dance partner I was being during that “I don’t care, I love it!” song, I was jumping up and down wildly during the chorus and landed on the side of my foot. I had to leave the dance floor immediately and sat down. I totally forgot this, but at that point I sadly sang to Caitlin, “I care. And I don’t love it.” We tried to dance again a bit later, but that wasn’t happening. I was like a woozy boxer at the end of twelve rounds, as Caitlin helped me to bed**. I hobbled around on that foot for two days before seeing how bruised it was and going to a doctor who told me I broke the fifth metatarsal in my left foot. So, that’s been fun. It’s been super annoying, but Caitlin’s been extremely helpful***.

*And, again, so funny! The rabbi was the best officiant we’ve seen yet, at any wedding we’ve attended. He wasn’t trying to make himself the center of attention, he just was naturally hilarious.

**He kept claiming he was going to go to the after party in the hotel. Riiiiight.

***I broke my right ankle in college, and I completely remember how helpless I felt and how frustrating that was. I needed help with everything — even getting to school, since I couldn’t drive. I’ve tried to put on my patient pants (they were dusty and snug from being unused), and have only gotten unreasonably frustrated a few times, especially when I got sick. It really hits home how much Zack is typically taking care of me — fetching things for my lazy butt. It’s been a wake up call.


Monte was feelin’ the dreidel luck, stackin’ quarters, as he prepared to win our fantasy league that weekend.

We still had a Chanukah party and trip to Fredericksberg the next week and a broken foot wasn’t going to stop me. Caitlin helped me get supplies at the Kosher HEB and I managed to still make some latkes while hobbling around. We all spun the dreidels. Scooby play with his dreidel toy. We ate latkes and black and white cookies. Scooby tried to eat latkes and black and white cookies. I drank a lot of Manischewitz. Everyone else drank better alcohol. It was a lower key affair, but for a Thursday night with a broken foot, it was exactly what I hoped for. The Chanukah party is always a blast, and we just celebrated the last night with awesome gifts and hugs.



Caitlin rocking her new CAKE BY THE POUND sweatshirt while downing dessert wine like she does.

I am absolutely the type of person who likes to travel to small towns and window shop for hours on end*. Thus, I had been looking forward to our trip to Fredericksburg with our dear friends the Inselmanns since we planned it (all of two weeks ago), and I was so disheartened when Zack broke his foot and I came down with a terrible cold the night of the Chanukah party. Luckily, Zack and I are too stubborn to let those kinds of things stop us, so we packed into Katie’s car as Madison drove us out West to the sounds of Beyonce**. We nommed on delicious Torchy’s Tacos for breakfast, and made our first stop at a wine tasting room called Four Points. Our sommelier, Bill, was very personable and told us all the history of our flights as we went along. Katie and Zack went for the half white, half red list, whereas Madison went all red and I went for the “sweet and dessert wines” (shocking to everyone, I know). From the feedback I heard others give, it sounds like my flight had the most winners***, and I ended up buying a bottle of sangria that is as delicious to smell as it is to taste. We also picked up some cheeses and were generally very happy with that stop (minus Zack, who loved the company but hated his wine).

*Yeah, that’s not my thing, so I suggested that Katie and Madison come along.

**At one point the ladies in the backseat played a Beyonce video on their phone while still having the car’s deluxe Beyonce CD playing. It was some next level Bey.

***I’m not a picky wine drinker. I drank $4 Manischewitz from the bottle tonight. Having said that, I couldn’t stand five of the six wines I tasted. Maybe it was just me, but almost nothing I tried agreed with me. And that wouldn’t be the last time that happened in Fredericksburg.


That’s when Katie and I got dropped off by the guys so they could go do guy things and we could window shop to our hearts’ content (for an hour). We hit multiple antique and furniture shops where we ooh’d and aah’d* (Katie and Madison are new homeowners, so we even had a specific place where we could dream about pieces living!) and ended up getting a couple gifts and more candles at Phil Jackson’s granite-and-other-cool-stuff shop.

*Madison and I were down the street at a cafe where I was “aaaah’ing” into a coffee.

We met back up with the guys at Der Auslander, an authentic German restaurant on Fredericksburg’s Main Street. This is where my dad and I always eat, so I was excited to take everyone there. Everyone was really happy with their meals (I want to say the Inselmanns ordered schnitzel and other meaty stuff, I got a grilled cheese sandwich and fries off of the kid’s menu, and Zack got a block of rolled up meat mash* that he regretted mightily later on). We then hit up the Clear River ice cream shop for some hand-cranked goodness before heading back out on the road and home. There was some tummy drama** on that journey, but we mostly made it back happy and in one piece. A day out exploring with friends is the best kind of day***, and it’s made me anticipate our New Year’s Eve plans**** with Katie and Madison that much more!

*That’s one way to describe it. The menu said it was roast beef rolled around bacon, pickles, onions and something else I can’t remember. It was decent tasting, but my stomach reacted violently to it. The “potato pancakes” were basically hash brown circles. Having been to Germany with Caitlin and eaten amazing German food, I was pretty disappointed with this place. It wants to be authentic with the ambiance and waitress outfits, but the food just isn’t very good. After having been sick most of the night, I was lying in bed and just started laughing really hard and when Caitlin asked me why, I told her that she’d been raving about this German place to me for years and when we finally go, she ordered grilled cheese and fries from the kids menu. 

**The less I say about this the better. Just … pray you never have a violent stomach reaction while traveling and on crutches.

***On the surface, you’d think I had a fairly bad day, hating the wine, getting terribly sick from the food and generally not wanting to do any of the other activities, but I genuinely enjoyed myself. Just being with Caitlin and Katie and Madison made for a fun day, despite all the other stuff. 

****As much as I want to go to The Parish to see a Talking Heads cover band, I have to stay off this broken foot of mine and am more than content to spend a night in with friends drinking champagne, going to work on a large cheese plate and playing “Cards Against Humanity” together. Can’t wait to ring in 2015!


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