Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Flower Children and the Ring Master

Now that I've waited ridiculously long to talk about it...

M's brother got married a couple months ago, so we flew to Utah for the wedding and reception. We were, of course, happy to go, but flying our family of five there and back in less than 72 hours was no small feat! Our original flight ended up getting canceled and we got moved to a later flight on Wednesday evening, so by the time we got to Salt Lake, got our bags, got our rental car, strapped all the car seats in, and drove to our hotel, it was 12:30 at night.  The ceremony was at lunch time the next day.  And despite the numerous promises we had received from the hotel staff, the portable crib was NOT already in the room.  Ugh.  A very late night.

But don't get me wrong.  It was wonderful to see M's family.

It was the first time we got to meet our new sister-in-law.  In that sense the trip was too short.  But in other ways, it was utterly exhausting.  You could see it in M's boutonniere after wrestling with the kids:

Everyone but me was in the wedding party.  But really, I was Kate's handler, so I think as Flower Girl Wrangler I basically qualified ;)  I had the privilege of chasing her all over the place.

But don't worry, M took his turn too:

Claire and Kate were flower girls.  But Kate was too little to actually walk down the aisle, so she "stayed" with me while Claire did a great job scattering flower petals down the aisle.

Scott was a ring bearer and he did a great job too.  But I preferred it when Claire and Scott kept referring to themselves as "the flower children and the ring master."

The ceremony was at a gorgeous site.

There was a delicious luncheon afterward in the restaurant.

I would have been in heaven if I wasn't so stressed out about averting disaster the whole time!  Here's a rundown of the things that happened once we got to the site but before the ceremony even started.

We got everyone ready and then drove the 45 minutes from our hotel to the ceremony location.  We had received the clothes for the kids just the night before.  You know, when we arrived at the hotel at 12:30 at night.  Claire was disconcerted that she wasn't wearing any sleeves.  I'm proud of her for being concerned about modesty, but what are you gonna do?  Kate's feet required a crowbar to get into her shoes.  SUCH fat feet.  It's not the width of her feet, but the height.  They're really thick up and down.  (We had the exact same problem when Claire was a baby - possibly worse.  So there's hope that her feet will thin out since Claire's did.)  But Scott was the biggest problem.  His pants weren't even CLOSE to staying up by themselves and I had forgotten to bring a belt.  What was I thinking?  You'd think I'd be used to his skeletal frame by now, but because I ONLY buy pants with the adjustable waistbands, I don't really have a good belt for him.  The only one I have is red and came with a pair of size 24 months shorts.  (It works if I put it on the tightest notch -- Like I said, crazy skinny, ok?)  But I should have just bought him a belt if I had been thinking.  Or at least a safety pin.  I DID, however, remember to bring a needle and some thread, so we threw that into the diaper bag and sprinted out the door because, of course, we were running late.

When we got to the site, Claire stepped on the hem of her dress getting out of the car and the solid band on the edge pulled off the sheer material of her overskirt.  So I had to quickly bust out that needle and thread and sew it back together as best I could.  Good thing I had brought it!  Then we turned back to Scott.  M's grandmother held her hand between the needle and the pants so I could sew a big pleat into the waistband of Scott's pants without pricking him. I thought she was being over cautious...until I pricked her finger in my haste and made her bleed.  Oops.

But we made it and everyone was presentable again in time for pictures and the ceremony.  But after the ceremony while we were waiting for the luncheon, Kate stepped on the hem of her dress too and the same thing happened to her dress, but partway up.  The sheer skirt pulled off at one of the bands about two-thirds of the way up.  Oh well.  At least we didn't have to have it fixed until the next evening's reception!

At the luncheon, we tried to juggle the three kids, and really they did remarkably well.  We even just sat Kate in a regular chair at the table and she behaved like a champ.  Everything was going smoothly until they served dessert.  One of the desserts was a cute little trio of a mini pumpkin pie, a mini crème brûlée, and a mini chocolate cake. Well, apparently the mini chocolate cake looked like a brownie to Scott.  While I was distracted by one of the other kids, Scott just grabbed the entire chocolate cake in his hand and started chomping on it.  He got chocolate EVERYWHERE.  We had taken off his coat in hopes of protecting it, but it was no use.  Somehow he managed to get chocolate on every single piece of his clothing except for his tie, his shoes, and his pants.  (But don't worry, the pants already had blood on them from the sewing incident.) He chocolate on his white shirt, his vest, his suit coat, AND his socks.  (I'm still not sure how he managed the socks...)

That night we got to make a run to the 24 hour Wal-mart (ugh) for stain treater, safety pins, and Ben and Jerry's therapy.  We were able to wash Scott's suit in the laundromat at the hotel.  I mostly got the pumpkin pie spots out of Kate's dress as well as fixed the tear up.  I even made it a little shorter so hopefully she wouldn't step on it again.

The next day we found time to go on a short drive up Provo Canyon.

We only made it up to Bridal Veil Falls, but it was beautiful.

A little cold for us Texans...

 ...but the fall colors were lovely.  I don't miss much about Utah, but I sure do miss the mountains.

Then it was time to do it all over again.  We checked out of our hotel and moved all of our stuff into M's parents' hotel room.  We decided this time to get dressed after we arrived at the reception site.  So it wasn't until we were already there that we realized we had left both the girls' shoes at the hotel.  Doh. While I finished getting dressed, M raced back to the hotel to get their shoes.  He almost made it back in time.  But they went ahead and took the photos with the flower girls about 3 minutes before he arrived.  Fortunately Kate was so little she was sitting on a lap I think so no one could tell she had no shoes on.  And hopefully no one will notice Claire was barefoot in those photos.  At least she got to spend a little less time in the shoes.  (By the end of the night, both girls' shoes had worn holes in their feet.  Ouch!)

Once again, the reception was gorgeous.


I even adored the table cloths.  (Enough to take a picture of them!)

But let's go back to the cake again.

It was very pretty.

But when they went to cut it, I saw this:

Those boys were all drawn like moths to a flame.  "Cake?  Did someone say cake?  Can I have cake???"

Scott:  "Oh good, they're busy feeding it to each other.  I'll just sneak in here and have a little taste..."

Claire was running out of steam for awhile there.

Then the dancing started and Claire was a little wallflower...

(or should I say "floorflower"?)

Not even her aunt could coax her out:

But then M got her swing dancing!

There were some crazy moves going on! 

After that, there was no stopping her.  I think she would have danced all night if we let her!

Then we had a sparkler sendoff for the bride and groom.

Exhausted, we made our way to my friend Kristi's house.  She moved from Texas to Utah awhile ago and it was so good to see her, even if only for a few hours.  She gave us a free place to sleep and we just dumped the kids into their beds.

I should have known better.  Putting kids to bed without having them use the bathroom first is always a bad idea.  It's even worse when you're staying in someone else's house.  And it's super, extra bad when that kid is still wearing his suit.

In the wee hours, we got to change Scott out of his wet suit and move to him over to sleep on the couch.  It's a good thing I know Kristi loves us anyway, because there was totally pee all over her air mattress.  And in the morning, we got to wash Scott's suit AGAIN!!!  In less than 48 hours, that little suit had urine, chocolate, AND blood on it.  I felt like we were living in an ad for Spray 'n Wash.

But in the morning, the kids had lots of fun playing with Kristi's kids while I packed:

Then we drove to the airport -- with several detours where our GPS tried to take us to non-existant gas stations to fill up the tank on the rental car.  I have to say, our GPS has NOT impressed me.

The kids did so well on both flights getting to Utah, and our flight out of Utah.  But I think our luck had just run out by the time we got on our flight back to Texas.  Kate had just had it with sitting on our laps.  She was fine as long as we walked the aisle with her while she made friends with all the other passengers.  But when we started to land and she had to sit on our laps again, she was, shall we say, not pleased.  And Claire's ears were hurting her really bad so she was crying.  By the time we were getting off the plane in Texas, we were a bit cranky.  What a fabulous turn-around the kids felt when the pilot on that flight invited them to sit in the cockpit:

Finally, we made it home, with all of us feeling a bit like this:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Superfly Shutterfly

My relationship with Shutterfly began back in 2002 when M and I used them to print our engagement photo for inclusion in our wedding announcements.  Our photographer recommended them, so we went with it and all 400 some-odd prints looked beautiful.

Fast forward a few years to when we actually entered the digital age and got our first digital camera for Christmas of 2003.  Just in the nick of time before Claire, the first grandchild on both sides, was born.  We used Shutterfly share sites to show pictures of little Claire to family who lived far away.

I've made baby books for both Claire and Scott using Shutterfly photo books.  I used the pictures from their first year to put together a book, and I love how they turned out.  And that reminds me... I guess it's time to get cracking on one for Kate!!!

These photo notepads and these photo calendars (customized with our own dates) made great Christmas gifts for the proud grandparents who "have everything."

So for all the things I've ordered and loved from Shutterfly, one thing I've never tried is their cards.  So imagine my delight when I read on someone else's blog about Shutterfly's promotion to give 50 free Christmas cards in exchange for blogging about their holiday card collection.  Yes, please!  They aren't the cheapest option, but based on the print quality I've seen for everything else I've ordered, I bet it's for a reason.

I have a great photo of our family from a wedding in October, so all I need to do is find the right design.  But look at all these options!!! I was impressed with their selection of religious Christmas cards.  Mad props for making some stuff that is religious without being too cheesy and grandma-ish.  And story cards!  Genius!  No barely legible low-print-quality letter needed for you to brag about your kids!  How will I ever choose???  And how cute would it be to have matching address labels?

The kids will just have to scavenge for food themselves for awhile because I'll be sucked into picking Christmas cards!!!