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Once in a Lifetime

Things have been downright crazy while preparing for the upcoming ceremony, and I had a moment this morning to sit and try to figure out how it could seem like there is so much more to this than my first wedding. And then it dawned on me. In just 3 days we will be hosting a once in a lifetime event, at least for almost all attending or watching. In America we don’t often see Celtic traditional ceremonies and activities. St. Patrick’s Day here is very different and definitely nothing akin to traditional. I’m not putting that down, so don’t get me wrong please. It’s kind of awesome that we put our own spin (or flavor, as Little Man says sometimes) to things. With our common ancestry and interests, having my dream celebration of a traditional Handfasting is nearly mind blowing. 😁 With this being so different than anything that is usually done around here, it’s a lot more complicated, and that’s before you consider the kids, transportation logistics, etc. *laugh* I mean, we literally practiced and wrote out detailed instructions of how to do the cord binding during the ceremony, to provide to the officiant. This may be a celebration and not a legal event, but we all know me…I’ve researched all that I can, pulled out the parts that work for us and adapted as needed, and have every last detail in a list (or 4, depending on which type of list – to do on specific days, responsibilities, foods, overall checklist, yeah…I know, I have a problem. Lol

Thank goodness for The Knot and their app. Although I had to tweak things to all get out because this isn’t a wedding, it has reminded me of so many details I might have forgotten and keeps me on track when I overlook one of my written lists, plus it has a running guest list along with tracking gifts and thank yous sent. (Dude, how handy is that, especially if you kind of suck at writing and mailing those usually?!)

Anyway, we finished up a lot of the big things that can be done ahead of time and it’s now a waiting game to be able to do specific things on specific days, like buying perishables, picking up items from the bakery, etc. While texting tips and discussing the binding with my mom and our officiant, it really sank in that we will never be a part of or see something like this again in our lifetimes. That’s kind of awesome, IMO. Cord binding during a Handfasting, personal vows spoken (or slaughtered, if the person knows Irish Gaelig *laugh* – trying super hard to say the words correctly though, I promise!), and then decor that is completely about us. Absolutely none of your usual decorations. There are Phantom of the Opera, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Grinch, Harry Potter, and the list goes on…along with framed printouts of traditional phrases and how to say them, details about Celtic traditions, and then the fact that our ancestors trace back to the same spot in Ireland (and a few others in Europe, although at different times). It’s truly become a celebration of us.

I think it’s really easy to get caught up in what is popular or “normal”, and put the guests’ possible opinions ahead of our own when planning things. I nearly fell down that rabbit hole, but that’s where our personalities help balance each other out. That and he chills me out when I get all detail psycho and worked up. *laugh* I’m thankful that we entered this part of our journey sideways, so to speak, which made sure that we will have a super unique and individualized event. Certain individuals are unable to attend and their absence is felt keenly, but I’m thankful that I get to share everything leading up to it and then highlights of the day, thanks to the latest technology. We live in a remarkable time that allows us to really embrace life’s journey and share it with those we love. (And now mask free!)

Anyway, I just felt a desire to share my awe with you. Life seems so ordinary, and downright difficult sometimes, that it’s so beautiful that we, and our guests and incredible helpers, will get to be a part of such a once in a lifetime event. All the way down to dancing The Wobble, which was requested, because I’m all ready a “weeble wobble” due to my illness, so I don’t plan to dance ever again to something that challenges that. *cracking up* The generosity of spirit shown, the understanding of trying to build a new home from two divided ones, and having such a strong support system develop through this has made it all the more amazing. And I must say, there is nothing as “oh, I got something in my eye” inducing as a ten year old saying they can’t wait for the ceremony that bonds you as a family, and that special shy smile when they hear that you made sure that the song that’s an inside joke for just the two of you will be played even though it doesn’t really fit as a dance-type of song. It’s been 9 months of “firsts” and I’m blessed that I get to be part of such a unique event that keeps those firsts coming, when I used to think that my disability was a death sentence. 😊 God bless the Celtic Knot of life’s journey. 😉

Clovers Anyone?

Yep, I totally went there for my Celtic Thunder post.  *cracking up*  I will not apologize for it either, since I absolutely love a well fitting kilt on a man, and we got to see several of them wearing them.  *happy sigh* Hey, I’d sigh over the big guy wearing one too, but that’ll never happen, so it’s my burden to sigh at Irishmen wearing them.  *smirk*  (Just a heads up, this will be a picture laden post, so loading may take a little extra time than usual.)

 

For an overnight trip, it feels like so much happened!  I was still on a high from having just met Kiddo in person at our meeting and from our nightly phone calls.  Plus, I got to dress up in my new leather jacket and booties, and I even put on a bit of makeup (although I think I shivered it all off by the time the pictures were taken *laugh*).  I tried, which actually means I put a lot of effort into dressing for the concert.  We got to go their concert in 2016, so I was determined to make this “as a new mom” with my mom time even better.

 

It started with an overnight stay at The Courtyard by Marriott, in Salina.  Absolutely gorgeous and very clean; I actually got to watch another room get cleaned and they strip the beds all the way down, etc., so it’s truly clean and that makes me a loyal customer.  Just check out the basic two queens room…

 

We went to this random chicken restaurant that looked like a small mom-and-pop-type and had the best comfort food ever!  Beef, mashed potatoes, and gravy open-faced sandwich, along with real baked beans on the side.  *sigh*

Comfort food

 

We got ready and arrived early, since last time it was so packed, but we underestimated how cold it would become and that they wouldn’t let us wait in the lobby even once it dipped below forty.  I tried to distract us for a while by talking about Kiddo’s meeting, calls, and Mom’s parenting advice, and then with Snapchat filters and pictures.

Cool Rider

 

Hot Mama

 

Mom and I Beary Happy

 

Once we finally got in, got souvenirs right off the bat, we found our seats just a few rows back from the stage.  I did an excellent job of fighting the downed server in the first minutes the early group was allowed to buy tickets last year!  Look how close we were to the stage!

These aren’t even zoomed in.   When Ryan from CT reached out his hand to the audience, it seemed like I could almost touch it.  Holy smokes!

 

The Theatre itself has amazing architecture and is a wonder to look at while waiting, too!

Stiefel Theatre

Stiefel Theatre

Balcony 1

Balcony 1

Balcony 2

Balcony 2

Stained Glass Light

Stained Glass Light

 

 

As expected their X tour concert was phenomenal, with a mix of Oldies, some of their original songs, and even covers of current songs, such as Galway Girl© by Ed Sheeran, covered by Damian McGinty (ah-maz-ing as they dramatically say).  Seasons in the Sun© and The Streets of London© both brought tears to our eyes, while Bye Bye Baby© and I’m a Believer© were so much fun to sing along with.  This time there were only four of the guys, but they did a fantastic job still, were just as good if not better than their DVD performance of the first concert for the tour, and were so engaging.  I sincerely hope they come back in 2020, so it can be three generations of us singing Ireland’s Call© as the concert closes.

 

You know what makes it even better?  My daughter wore hers to bed the first night and put it back on anytime she was in the house.  It was awesome to see her all sleepy eyed in her new shirt that she didn’t want to take off.  Between the new mom with established mom conversations, a spot of Christmas shopping, a phenomenal concert that included kilts, and then rushing home to go get my daughter, that was the best two-day concert trip I’ve ever had.  A sleepy eyed daughter wearing her Celtic Thunder tee was the whipped topping for my dessert of blessings.

 

By the way, if you’re interested or curious, you can check Celtic Thunder out on YouTube, their website, and Amazon (plus others probably, but these are the ones I can personally vouch for).  If you’re an Amazon Music Unlimited member, most of their work is available, too!

 

Kiddo’s going to help me make a special wall hanging from the concert once I get the pics all printed, to go with the concert book and such.  😀  I haven’t yet brought her over to the Celtic side, but she was pretty preoccupied with her new tablet to listen to my music, so I’m going to try a little I’m a Believer© on her when she comes back very soon while school is out.  Then I’ll get my own lucky charm to help me decide on which style tattoo I’m going to do to celebrate her completing our forever family.  🙂

Damian McGinty’s The Slow Dance™ Tour

Slow Dance poster

 

 

Confession time…I’m obsessed with Celtic Thunder™ and Damian McGinty.  I have all of their songs, literally, and even a few concert DVDs.  *grin* I’m a fan of most Celtic things, since I embrace and enjoy that part of my ancestral heritage.  This goes all the way into fangirling though, regardless of age.  He’s kind of like Sean Connery – he’s so cute no matter how old you are.  *laugh*

 

If you’re not familiar with Damian, here is his background via his website: “Singer/songwriter/actor Damian McGinty was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. His career began at the age of 13 when he recorded a charity CD, and his unmistakable talent and charisma quickly catapulted him into fame and success. Selected in 2007 by producer Sharon Browne and musical director Phil Coulter to join the inaugural cast of Celtic Thunder, Damian quickly became a fan favorite for his friendly charm and his deep baritone voice. Following his own advice to “Dream Big,” Damian took his career to the next level by auditioning for the Oxygen network’s The Glee Project in 2011. Out of 40,000 auditioners, Damian was chosen to appear on the show with only eleven other hopefuls. Extreme dedication and an intense work ethic took him to the final four, and ultimately he was chosen as one of two winners. As a winner of the project, Damian landed a guest star role in Fox’s hit television series Glee, as foreign exchange student Rory Flanagan. Initially slated to appear in just seven episodes, Damian was so popular his role was extended to finish out the rest of season three.”

 

Although I had lost interest in the show I came back to it when I caught his audition and stayed while he was on the show.  He mentioned during the audition show about being in Celtic Thunder™ (CT) and me being me I immediately hit YouTube.  After he was no longer on the show he showed back up on YT as a guest singer with CT and after many hours of playing the concerts (and playing so many times that even L learned some of the lyrics *laugh*), I shared the videos with my mom.  

 

I started showing some of the YouTube concert videos to my mom (and L suffered through many hours of it as well LOL).  I got her hooked on the band and we had a “once in a lifetime” chance to go to their Legacy Volume Two™ tour concert; the first Kansas concert in 5 years, in October of 2016.  While buying merchandise during the intermission we found out that Damian had released his first solo full album, This Christmas Time©, just over a week prior to the concert.  I bought and downloaded the concert while waiting in line.  Yep, I’m that into CT.  *grin* It was an incredible concert and when we found out that Damian would be doing a small solo tour near Christmas, I bought those tickets immediately.  (Damian is the middle kilted man.)

 

Kilts!

 

 

The Christmas concert was absolutely magical!  It was in a Kansas City Public Broadcast studio with probably 40 people.  There were a few original songs, plus the nostalgic traditional Christmas songs.  The producers apparently weren’t sure how well his first tour would go and priced it so affordably that nearly every person had a meet & greet ticket.  The poor guy had been delayed by a storm, had to take a night flight after the concert to get to the next location before another snowstorm hit, so the meet & greet was a bit abbreviated.  Mom and I were last in line and when he asked my name to autograph my ticket he actually sang a bit of a song with my name in it.  I totally fangirled and there’s an extremely cheesy grin on my face when we had our picture taken with him.  I got picked on for my name for years, so it took me by complete surprise to here my name sound beautiful when said with an Irish accent.  See, I’m still fangirling.  *laugh*

 

 

damian Christmas

 

 

We figured that was an amazing year of momentous opportunities, but then I learned about his new tour starting in 2018.  Mom got a copy of her ticket in her Christmas stocking.  (Christmas stockings have no age limit in my family.)  We had bought four tickets, hoping that we would be able to take Kiddo to the concert, but yet again I had jumped the gun on hoping to have Kiddo in time.  Anyway, on Sunday, the 22nd, L, my mom, and I got to see Damian in concert up in Kansas City, MO.  He is currently on a solo tour to promote his EP of No More Time™; his first EP of his own original songs (which I had on pre-order for a month and had some songs memorized in the couple of weeks between the release and his concert *grin*).  His song Unbelievable © is a nod to country music and is the most smile inducing ear worm I’ve ever heard.  

 

 

I couldn’t resist taking pictures of the church (I’m not going to bore you with a complete panorama of it lol).  While waiting outside I made them take a selfie with me, to put in this year’s scrapbook; you can tell L is so happy to have his picture taken *grin*.  While waiting inside I had to take a picture of the set up, since it would be my only chance to get a picture of his performance.  The ticket said no photography or videography allowed and we all know how hard it is for me to color outside of the lines.  The church’s choir came in and opened for him with a variety of songs from famous musicals.  When Damian came onto the stage afterward I was pretty sure we were all going to be deaf between the cheering, clapping, and echoing of all of the noises.  

 

He did a few fan favorites (I was absolutely tickled that he covered Galway Girl © by Ed Sheeran, although Sheeran’s is a new take on the classic by the same name), then he did a musical version of a timeline that led up to his new, original songs.  He sang some Oldies, which got a lot of people dancing and clapping.  By the time the last few songs were sung I had L take some pictures for me (it sucks to be fun sized when people stand in front of me *laugh*).  I had noticed some people recording or taking pictures throughout the whole concert, so I broke the rules.  

 

Singing 2

 

Close up of Concert

 

It was such an awesome concert and my cheeks hurt from cheesy grinning for so long.  *laugh* Toward the end he announced that he was in a movie that will air this winter and that he will have a full album next year, so he will be back to KC during that tour.  *happy dance* I may have gone hoarse from cheering so loud after hearing that he is coming back.  Maybe I’ll get to share the new concert with Kiddo.  *crossing fingers*  And to top it all off, Mom and I have tickets to CT’s concert in October!  

 

So if you’re interested in checking CT or Damian out, I embedded links for you, so you can listen to samples or purchase if you enjoy them too.  I definitely recommend watching the videos for Seven Drunken Nights, Young Love, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, and A Place in the Choir (all copyrighted by Celtic Thunder).  If you’re an Amazon Prime Music Member almost all of their music is on prime streaming, too!  Now pardon me as I go watch Galway again…

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