August 7, 2010

Back in the saddle

We are back in Montreal after a whirlwind visit to Colorado and New Mexico which included spending time with Kish's brother John and his family, a wedding in Taos, a Rockies game, several very delayed flights, a western party, a visit for Danielle at University of Colorado/Boulder, a damaged rental car, horseback riding, a trip up a ski lift, an unexpected visit with Uncle Dan in Chicago and many, many margaritas. Just a typical Pisani vacation.

Although Paul was not able to be with us for the entire trip, it was a nice getaway for us all. As it turns out, we missed the heat an humidity wave in Montreal while we were away.

The kids were so excited to meet their new cousin Hannah (John and Stephanie's beautiful daughter). Danielle jumped right in helping out Aunt Stephanie.

John and Stephanie are very busy with sweet baby Hannah. With a cleft palate and a few other soon-to-be-resolved health issues, having extra hands around is most helpful. She's the sweetest, most determined baby EVER. We can't wait to watch her grow up. And Paul likes to remind Hannah that he is the "nice" Uncle Paul. We know he's just joking of course.

Why the cowboy hat? The wedding of our friends Mickey and Brady Ryan took place in the beautiful town of Taos, New Mexico, just a four hour drive from Denver. Mickey is a friend of John's from high school and became a friend of our family when he lived in Chicago and we called him our "son" when he came "home" to do laundry, have dinner, sometimes babysit our kids and even helped out with jobs around the house in Naperville. This wedding was absolutely beautiful and it was a weekend of a western party, the wedding, the reception at the stunning El Monte Resort, a wonderful breakfast the next day, and lots and lots (and lots) of green chile and carne asada, margaritas, Mexican beer and laughs.

Stephanie and Hannah leave the beautiful church

Stephanie, John and Hannah at the reception

Brady the Bride kisses Hannah before Danielle and Louis began babysitting for the evening so Uncle John and Aunt Stephanie could enjoy the reception!

Montreal Cowboys and Girls and the western party the night before the wedding

New Mexico is beautiful country. We took one morning to venture up to the Taos ski resort to do some walking around in 10,000 foot elevation.

The groom, Mickey Ryan and John the day after the wedding at brunch

Horseback riding in Angle Fire, New Mexico was a great way to end our trip in New Mexico. The country is beautiful...rain or shine.

Louis forgot his chaps

Back in Denver...unfortunately Paul had to leave for a meeting so Kish and the kids took in a Rockies game with friends. It turned out to be a beautiful Colorado evening, despite the weather forecast. Good times. 
Kish and college friend Jeanne Cheslik Gregory...just like old times!

Danielle with the spirited Anna Hunt at the Rockies game. When Anna was annoyed because her 7 month old baby brother was bugging her, Danielle's advice was "get used to it."

We also took the opportunity to check out University of College at Boulder for a potential college option for Danielle. What sticker shock! Wow...taxes in Canada don't seem so bad since Quebecers can go to McGill for under $5,000 year. 

Besides seeing friends and family and having a bit of a US vacation, another reason we went to Colorado was to check out the new building and business of Casa Bwana Properties. Here's the new home office of Alpine Log and Timber Finishes. Kish's brother John and his employees and Colorado family have been very busy during the last year renovating the inside and outside of this business just off I-70 outside Denver. It's really beautiful and the craftsmanship is outstanding. To follow the progress or to find out more about environmentally friendly building products and services, check out the website here.

Plane travel these days is not without drama and our trip home was no exception. A three hour delay leaving Denver meant missing a connection in Chicago for Kish, Danielle and Louis. Fortunately Kish knew enough to call American Airlines directly and have them book a later flight to Montreal from Chicago on any airline. This meant staying the night in Chicago and we were so lucky to have Uncle Dan nearby to pick us up at the airport at 9:30 pm, take us to get our fix of Chicago pizza, give us beds to sleep in and arrange a ride back to O'Hare at 5 am...all while our fellow passengers were still waiting in line figuring out where to spend the night. It was a super quick visit but we figured out that Danielle got to see her two godfathers in two states on the same day. The next morning we felt like we were going home when we approached the Air Canada ticket counter.

What a civilized airline.  Even the American Airlines person on the phone the night before commented on how nice it was to arrange travel with Air Canada. Early the next morning we were happy to turn over our "carry on" suitcases (FOR FREE) which caused trouble the night before when the American Airlines personnel tried to make us check them in at the gate which meant waiting at baggage claim in Chicago when all we wanted was pizza. Waiting for luggage in Chicago is as much fun as waiting in line for a driver's license. So, Kish managed to keep walking on to the delayed American flight while saying "it WILL fit" to the attendant, and attempted to cram the suitcase into the overhead compartment. When it indeed did not fit, she proceeded to unzip the suitcase with dozens of people waiting in the aisle,  and pull out baseball mitts and cowboy boots, tossing them at Louis already in the seat and force the bag overhead, thus avoiding baggage claim on the other end. Yes, we were *those* travelers, but we didn't care. We wanted to see Uncle Dan and have some pizza. We felt like the Griswold's.

So our departure the next morning on Air Canada was a bit delayed because our flight attendant overslept and was late for the 7 am flight....hopefully due to enjoying a fun night out in Chicago. We got on our plane, got our FREE ear phones and individual TVs and enjoyed a quick ride home. There's no place like home and we really felt like we came home this time.

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