the new yorkers are coming

If you weren't already aware this weekend is my sister Beth's bridal shower. Besides the good food and watching her open fun gifts (she loves to be the center of attention) I mostly look forward to the noise. The deafening,mind-numbing noise. The laughter.

Let me explain. We are Italian (you had an ah-ha moment there didn't you?). If my blog name wasn't obvious; andiamo is Italian for "let's go." If my daughter's name wasn't obvious; Letteria is my great-grandmother's name and she was from (wait for it) Sicily. We are originally from New York, (double ah-ha) and the rest of my dad's family still lives there. This is where I tell you that all the stereotypes are true. At least in my family's case. Sometimes I feel like I'm watching an episode of Mob Wives. Except without the physical violence and illegal activities.

//my great-grandmother and my grandfather\\

My dad thinks it would be hilarious to show these Pennsylvanians a good time and fill up half the church with black clad, sunglasses-wearing, cellphone-using New Yorkers ala Runaway Bride. Last chance dad. You've been plotting this for 7 years. Time to do it.

It's always a bit of a shock for a few minutes when we all get together. I live in Central PA now. It's great here... It's just a bit vanilla. Not as entertaining.

There are 19 of us cousins ranging in age from 33 to 8...9? My dad is one of six. My uncles are tall forces of nature and always make you laugh. That is if you aren't immediately intimidated by them, but really shouldn't be. Add into that their spouses and some other extended family and we make quite the rowdy bunch. Quite the LOUD, large, fun bunch.

//my grandparents with all six of their children. my dad is peeking out from the back row.\\

//the cousins many moons ago. just missing the newbies. five of them to be exact.\\

//it's shameful we don't have a photo of all of us together. this is the best i could find.\\

Any Italian family needs their matriarch. It would be remiss of me to not mention the elephant (trunk facing the door people, for luck) in the room. We sadly lost ours this January. Allow me to go off on a tangent here for a second. Because she was wonderful and we miss her. My grandmother was always feeding us. "Mangia mangia." No one could convince her that they had enough. The Hubs always went to NY knowing he would be disgustingly full. Extended belly, feeling ill, must sleep it off full. He's like an addict when it comes to locatelli (aka grandma cheese, all the rage here). My brother's friend once hid in the bedroom so that she would be unable to continually feed him (in her defense he is quite skinny and that is just something that she had to remedy). Once after ingesting too many glasses of champagne (sewerage in the body people) she asked me if I had 'a big head' only to then stuff me full of unwanted food over and over again. Perhaps she was teaching me a lesson? She loved wine and chatting over a cup of coffee late into the evening. She always raised her glass and said "cin cin". She ran the whole affair. Shushed my grandpa if he complained.... Spoke her mind... Loved my children so much it makes my heart hurt. She always told us how much she loved us and how proud of us she was. This woman was bursting with pride over her family. She was a True Lady (to quote my Grandpa). She was many things, too many to begin to explain here. I think she was quite possibly the coolest grandma I have ever heard of. There. Tangent over.

//cin cin\\

So this weekend there will be a great meeting of (some of) the Italian minds. We will all talk over each other. We will interrupt each other and motion with our hands. We will drink wine and eat pasta (among other yummy schtuff). My one aunt will tell inappropriate jokes and use foul language and I will always grin from ear to ear (you know who you are). We will laugh.

To my future brother-in-law's family: it'll be ok guys. You get used to it.

//we are quite the bunch all together aren't we? so many grandchildren yet to be born too.\\

I am not mocking them in the slightest. I think they are pretty awesome. I greatly enjoy yelling over everyone. I greatly enjoy the laughter that comes with this bunch. I'm proud of them.

This  scene in Moonstruck always makes me smile. While the catalyst for this discussion isn't fitting the actual tone and volume are quite appropriate. Plus Grandma loved this movie. As do I.