Every once in a while you'll hear me reference what I like to call the Dutch Mafia. The Dutch Mafia, none of which I have verified are actually Dutch and none of which I would even remotely group with Tony Soprano, is a close knit group of friends that comes as a perk to marrying Jeff. 

Jeff and his 20 or so group of good friends have been together since grade school. Through the years they've gone through college together, lived together, stood in one anothers weddings, built careers together, purchased homes, and have most recently begun welcoming their next generation into the world together. 

The first time I was introduced to the majority of them was during their Thanksgiving get-together. The group went around the table sharing what they were thankful for. A lot shared was about family and friends and other life gains; someone even mentioned they were thankful for the human brain? I'm not sure what all that was about. But when it was my turn, I carefully explained how I wasn't from Grand Rapids and that my home town was much smaller in comparison. However, that I was extremely impressed and thankful that communities such as their own existed in the place that I know call home. 

Fast forward 8 months later and not only do I get to continue breaking bread with them (aka sipping beer), but now I'm marrying one of them too. 

With that comes a whole slew of brand new traditions, including the annual and ever amazing Rib Party at the Schoten's house. For 9 years running the Scholten Family has hosted friends and family in their backyard for the largest BBQ I've ever witnessed. This event gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'racks on racks on racks.' 

Mr. Scholten begins grilling around 8:30 AM - about the time I'm rolling out of bed. The rest of his day is spent slow-cooking on their massive outdoor backyard grill. Later the beer goes on ice, bags are setup in the front yard and like they say in the movies, if you build it, they will come. 

Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Scholten for hosting. Looking forward to ribs again next year!  

 {  N.R.S. }

 The better halves of the Dutch Mafia. Such babes. 

The better halves of the Dutch Mafia. Such babes.