We are exhausted, but it is always worth the missed hours of sleep when you are enjoying family.
Jason, Blythe, and I headed out of town on Friday afternoon and had a very successful, baby napping the entire time, drive to Austin. We headed straight to the Learlyn house to assist with the set-up. When we arrived the set up was already well on its way with lots of helpers. There were people on ladders and in trees stringing lights, people setting up chairs in a circle for the 250+ guests that were expected, bike racks going up, driveways being swept, piano being carried. It was quite an operation.
When Jason and I asked what we could do we were put on Porta Potty Beautification duty. I thought, WOW, they have thought of everything, right down to decorating the porta potties. We were given bamboo and lights. I really intended to get a picture of our completed Porta Potty Beautification , but I guess we were having so much fun that we forgot :(. We stood the bamboo up and braced it with rods and found a metal lattice for the center. We then intertwined lights in the bamboo to create lighting for the pottying guests. There were no lights in the actually porta potties themselves and the only entrance inside was threw the vent hole which went straight to the toilet so that was a no go. We ended up throwing a bundle of lights on top of each porta potty because the top was translucent. Then, we made a walk way out of old stop lights to light the path to the porta potties and define an entrance/line. After all was said and done you could not see the porta potties until you were around the corner, its just looked like a Tiki Hut, translated "out house."
We left with just enough time to run by the hotel, change clothes, and make it to the fajita dinner. It was close to 8pm by the time we got to the restaurant so Blythe was already getting tired. To my amazement she nestled into Jason's arms and crashed. I guess all the fresh air, playing with her babies in the woods, untangling lights, and beautification project wiped her out. She in not usually the kind of baby that will just fall asleep, she likes and prefers her bed. Not only was she asleep, but she was OUT. Jason was able to pass her off to one of his cousins where she stayed asleep for several hours. I have to admit that I was a teeny tiny bit jealous that someone else was getting to hold my precious sleeping baby, but it is also great to see others loving on your baby and in the end she left before we did so she passed her off to me and I got to enjoy my precious sleeping baby!
Although Jason and I didn't get to bed till midnight, Blythe had crashed around 8 so she was up and happening at her usually 6:30am. Luckily my momma brain was working when I packed and I packed oatmeal, a bowl, and spoon knowing that she would ask to eat as soon as she woke up. Sure enough that came in handy and she had her first experience of breakfast in bed. After Jason and I got moving we decided to hit up the IHOP across the street (lets just say Jason was in NEED of coffee from the previous evening). To my surprise Blythe ate almost an entire pancake even though she had already eaten an entire pack of instant oatmeal, guess she was hungry (at this point I didn't know that Blythe and I would miss out on lunch, but it was a good thing she stocked up). By the time we wrapped up at IHOP it was time to go back to Leralyn to finish getting ready for the 3:30pm wedding. We put some last finishing touches on the beautification project, Jason hung the signs for parking, and then it was time for Blythe and I to go back to the hotel for her afternoon nap. Again, I guess the fresh air wore her out because she fell asleep in the 4 minute ride from the house to the hotel AND she stayed asleep even after I took her out of the car seat (unheard of!). She took a good nap from 1:45-2:30 when we had to get her up and moving and ready for the wedding. We debated back and forth on what we were going to wear since it was going to be pretty chilly once the sun went down and since it was in a backyard I didn't want Blythe to ruin her Easter dress. In the end we decided to go ahead and wear the dress clothes that we brought and change after the ceremony and before the dancing. I do NOT have any nice flats so I was aerating the yard in my heels.
I have to admit that I was quite intimidated by this 60+ minute silent ceremony, but was pleasantly surprised. I knew that little Blythe would be 'moved by the spirit' to speak on several occasions and that the likelihood of her being silent for any duration of time was slim to none. I came prepared with snacks, books, babies, etc. Because we are immediate family we were in the 'inner circle,' and I have to admit it made me think about the "circle of trust," from Meet the Parents.
The ceremony started with and introduction of the chain of events and then silence. After 10 or so minutes of silence Caitlin and Nathan walked in and sat down. After a couple more minutes of silence Caitlin and Nathan stood up and exchanged their vows. Right as Nathan started to say his vows a jet flew overhead, but luckily Caitlin was saying the same vows so we got to hear the end of Nathan's and all of Caitlin's. In addition to the jets overhead, there were noisy birds, wrestling leaves under people's feet, cars, trucks, trains, and of course a little voice of Blythe saying "baby, no, eat, drink, MAX, peek-a-book, more, please, thank you, etc." After the first couple of people were moved to speak a few friend stood up and sang a song and that seemed to really lighten the mood. After that the moments of silence were pretty short lived and lots of stories of love, friendship, relationships, and pressure for them to have children, were told. By the end of the ceremony, 3 books, peanut butter pretzel crackers, wheat thins, raisin, craisins, water, Nilla and 3 clementines later, I was thinking "hey, this is a pretty cool ceremony," to have all these people who helped make you who you are today stand up and talk about you instead of one priest/preacher who may or may not know you that well lead the wedding ceremony. The ceremony ended with a song sung by Caitlin's dad and a friend and the silence was broken :).
After we all signed the wedding certificate and took a few pictures it was time to do a promenade around the block. It would take far too long to accurately describe/explain all the greatness in the promenade so instead I will let the 'pictures say a thousand words.' The main word being..FUN!
When we returned from the promenade it was time for a pot luck dinner and contra dancing. The pot luck dinner worked out great as there was a great variety, mainly vegetarian dishes, and just enough food for the crowd. Contra dancing is a lot of fun, but little B was worn out and she fell asleep during the second dance with dad. The set-up for eating was an array of table and chairs as well as short chairs with blankets underneath them to sit, so we were able to lay Blythe down on a picnic blanket and she happily slept there from 8-11:30 when it was time to go. We got a lot of compliments about how good she was during the ceremony, so that made me fell better about all the talking Blythe did during the ceremony.
Our overall consensus was that wedding was TONS of fun. Everyone was dancing and having a good time. It wasn't really anything like we imagined and yet everything was perfect. It was perfectly nontraditional which is exactly what the bride and groom wanted, yet there was just enough tradition to have the wedding celebration feeling. Many well wishes to the newly weds!
Jason made a water pedal as his wedding gift to Nathan. Basically you control the flow of water in your kitchen sink with your foot in order to reduce waste and to have hands free water control. I think we have all stood at the sink at one time or another with raw meat/eggs, etc. on our hands and thought "how am I going to turn on the water with my hands without contaminating the faucet," and then we proceed with an elbow or maybe even a foot, for those really flexible people, to turn on the water. Let's just say this pedal SOLVES that problem!
Nathan and Caitlin were planning to host a brunch at 11am so we arrived at 10am in hopes of getting the pedal installed before the sink was needed for the brunch. Unfortunately, when we arrived and started to set it up, by "we" I mean Jason, he realized that he was missing one part, ugh. So off to Home Depot we went in search of something he could use to substitute the part he was missing. By the time we got to Home Depot and back it was 10:50 and while no brunch preparations were taking place yet we knew that they would be shortly and we couldn't be holding up the water lines. This meant our plans to leave at nap time had just changed. The brunch was going from 11-3 and by 1:15 Blythe crashed on Papa. YES, she crashed yet again, in arms, and we were able to lay her down on a bed where she slept till 3:15. Apparently wedding preparations and weddings are a great way to wear a toddler OUT! Jason was able to get the foot pedal installed and it worked just as planned! I think Nathan and Caitlin will actually have more water waste until the newness of the pedal wears off because all of their friends were lining up to try it out. I think Jason certainly won the 'best present' award. I wonder what the likelihood is that I will get one of those in my house anytime in the near future?? I guess I shouldn't ask if I want him to graduate soon because that was no small project, but well worth the couples enjoyment.
We decided to wait to head home until bedtime since a group of Jason's immediate family was going to his uncle's house for dinner. We decided to crash the dinner party and we even enjoyed a little soaking in the hot tub. Blythe was having so much fun playing with Lolli and Great Aunt Lori that we didn't end up leaving until 10pm so we got home at midnight. WHEW it was an exhausting weekend, but certainly worth all the fun we had!