Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kiersten and Jeff’s Big Day

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As we approached the wedding venue for the last time it suddenly hit me how quickly this had all come to fruition. I mean, it felt like Kiersten had just broken the news to us that she was engaged, and now, well now she’s a married woman!

It’s strange when I think about how I met her when she was only six, and Tony and I were just a new couple. She and Zoe didn’t get to grow up together, but they certainly knew each other well enough to act like sisters, in both the greatest and most annoying ways! (One minute they loved each other and the next they were fighting; true sisters.)

I was a complete wreck knowing that I’d have to stick Zoe with both Harper and Dakota while Landon escorted me down the aisle, but Zoe was a real trooper and handled those two perfectly. I was so proud of her!

The most surreal moment had to be watching Tony walk Kiersten down the aisle. It just doesn’t feel all that long ago that I walked down the aisle to meet him, my new husband. Something about that exact moment made my eyes tear up. I’m not sure if it’s just the mood or the music or possibly just the beauty of the moment, but I heard sniffling all around, and when Tony made it to the end it was all he could do to keep the tears in. There are so many feelings in those moments; joy, heartache, love and knowing. Knowing that this is the beginning of a long journey for these two people, knowing that we are in fact getting older, knowing that your baby isn’t your baby anymore but is in fact beginning her own family. Knowing that you did good getting her to this moment. Knowing that, no matter what, you only want the best for this new couple.

I didn’t take pictures during the ceremony because sometimes being fully present is best. There were plenty of photographers around to catch each precious moment, and I didn’t want to miss a beat of the beautiful ceremony before me. I marveled at the look of happiness and awe on both of their faces, the look of contentment and joy and couldn’t help but remember my own wedding day. I don’t remember much of the actual ceremony, but I’ll never forget the tears in Tony’s eyes or the quiver in his voice as we said our I do’s.

I did take a bajillion photo’s before and after the wedding though, but I’ll be kind and only post some of my favorites. I don’t want to break the internet or anything…

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And a couple video’s:

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Wallington
I Wanna Dance With Somebody

It was a beautiful night, but Dakota and Harper had had it by about 8pm, so Tony and I took them back to the hotel. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these two…

Making the Most of Downtime

Kiersten and Jeff’s wedding didn’t start until 6pm, so we had all day to relax at the hotel. (Relax is actually a funny word to use here because when you have 2 toddlers, there is NO relaxing…but, you know what I mean.)

It just so happens that Matt, Zoe’s biological father, lives in the Birmingham area, so he ended up picking Zoe and Landon up in the morning. They went to breakfast and then he took them to his house to show them where he lived. They were gone until about 1pm, so it was nice that they had something to do other than sit around the hotel all day.

Dakota, Harper, Mema and Tony went to the pool. I sat outside taking pictures, but never actually got in, which was fine with me. :)

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Mema played with the beach balls with the two littles. I think she really enjoyed bonking them on the head with the balls, but she’ll never admit it!

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We weren’t out there very long, maybe only 45 minutes, but as soon as the babes were tired of it we headed in for lunch. As soon as Landon got back though, we headed back out for a little more pool time.

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Around 3:30 we all headed back inside to get ready for the wedding. Since we’d all been outside and in the pool, everyone had to shower before getting dressed and that takes time when there’s eight people and two bathrooms!

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Day Spent Rehearsing…

Thursday morning we all had to get up bright and early to make it to the rehearsal. Getting 8 people up, dressed, fed and out the door is no easy task! We made it to the rehearsal with time to spare, so we introduced ourselves to all the other people there and checked out the wedding grounds.

They had an outdoor wedding at The Sonnet House. It was such an amazingly beautiful location! I loved that giant white house and all the lush greenery outdoors. I wish I’d have had the time to run around taking pictures of it all, but chasing the two littles and running through rehearsal kept me busy.

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After standing outside in the blazing heat, Dakota started getting cranky and passed out in my arms. I found refuge in the house and held her while she recouped and I waited to be called to lineup for directions. 

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While we were all lining up to walk down the aisle, Harper was making friends with all the other people hanging around. He made fast friends with the preacher’s wife and she took him on a walk to see the barn. They were buddies after that and he kept hugging her and giving her smooches like they’d been friends forever!

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Everyone is getting their marching orders…literally.

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Kiersten and a friend watching the mayhem.

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Traditionally the bride isn’t supposed to walk down the aisle at rehearsal, so Kiersten asked Zoe to step in for her. Zoe obliged even though she really didn’t want to do it…she felt so out of place! It was a crazy preview into what could be in the not so distant future…

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When Harper wasn’t schmoozing the guests he was running around the grounds like he owned the place. He was actually pretty crazy the whole time we were there, but I was happy he was keeping himself entertained, so I let him be.

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Immediately following the rehearsal all the women headed to Kiersten’s parents house for a bridal luncheon. Tony and the kids headed to Chuck E. Cheese for a bit then went back to the hotel to swim. Once we had lunch we all headed to a salon to have our nails done.

Poor Zoe. it just about kills her to get a pedicure because it tickles her feet so bad. I swear she does everything in her power not to kick the nail tech in the face. It’s just awful! :)

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Mema was thoroughly enjoying her pedi!

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Zoe and Kiersten were able to talk a little bit while they got their manicures. It wasn’t easy getting any time to chat with the bride…she had a lot of people to catch up with.

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Later that evening we all headed out to the rehearsal dinner. It was held in this gorgeous old hotel called The Tutwiler in downtown Birmingham. I loved everything about that old hotel and wish that I’d had time to roam around looking at it all, but again, the littles and the activities kept us busy.

I got a few pics of the kiddies before we left…they all looked so wonderful!

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The Bride and Groom:

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Jeff’s parents put on the rehearsal dinner and it was beautiful. They chose to sit families apart from one another so that we could all meet other people and we happened to be at the same table as Jeff’s parents…they were incredibly nice! We ended up having some good conversation; until Dakota and Harper decided they were done eating that is! Zoe was at a table with a bunch of people around her age and she ended up having a good time with them. Landon was at a table of kids around his age and while they all were rather quiet, he ended up being just fine.

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We got back to our hotel rather late that night, late for the two littles anyways. Luckily we didn’t have anywhere we needed to be Friday morning.

Since this post is so long, I’ll post about the actual wedding tomorrow…

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Off to Birmingham

It’s hard to believe that just over a week ago we were heading out to Alabama to see Kiersten get married. It’s been chaotic and crazy here ever since last Wednesday so I’ve got tons to write about, just no time to write!

The trip to Alabama wasn’t nearly as awful as we were afraid it might be. We were all worried about traveling with the two littles, and worried about Umpa getting around, but since there were so many of us, it all worked out just fine. Tony and I switched between Harper and Dakota duty while Mema was able to use wheelchairs to get Umps around…it worked out perfectly. Zoe and Landon helped when and where necessary and all was right with the world…

Just a few weeks before our trip I came across a Groupon deal for limo service to and from the airport. I grabbed it up and we had a huge Navigator show up to take us all to the airport…it was huge!

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Once we got checked in at the airport we had lots of time on our hands, so we stopped in the diner that Zoe worked in this summer. Dakota had been up all morning so she ended up crapping out on my lap while we relaxed at our table. 2013-08-25 001 2013-08-21 015

Harper’s favorite part of the airport had to be the moving floors. (Landon loved them too!)

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The part I was most nervous about was how the kids were going to act once we got on the plane. We’ve all heard the horror stories about children crying during flights driving other passengers mad, families being asked to get off of planes because of crying babies etc…so naturally, I worried. But, the heavens were smiling down on me and both kids were pretty decent on their first trip into the sky. There was crying, and Harper may or may not have had an outburst or two, but for the most part we got off the plane unscathed.

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Dakota sat on my lap almost the entire way, playing with whatever thing I could pull out of my bag or looking out the window. She liked opening and closing the window too…or at least bossing me around to do it for her.

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Harper was contented with my iPad, and never have I been so thankful for technology and all the wonderful little kids games said technology has to offer!2013-08-25 001 2013-08-21 026

Zoe and Landon sat one row in front of us and Mema and Umpa sat across the aisle, one row ahead. So, we were all close and everyone had someone to sit and talk to. It was perfect.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

PB&J Party (Harper’s 3rd)

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We had Harper’s birthday party yesterday. He wanted a peanut butter and jelly party so peanut butter and jelly it was…

We hung purple and white balloons upside down in the entrances instead of worrying about helium and all that. These were just out of the two littles reach so they stayed pretty nice looking. :)

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We had some peanut and peanut free snacks out for people to munch on, as well as a few party horns and masks to play with.

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I made the Happy Birthday banner and some big peanuts to decorate the mirror and doorway. (Birthday is cut off in the pic, it’s hanging on the buffet.) I also decorated some old frappuccino bottles for the strawberry/ chocolate milk. I found some cool paper straws at Home Goods and popped one in each bottle. (That strawberry milk looks like Pepto Bismol, doesn’t it? Yuck!)

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I wanted there to be a lot of choices for the sandwiches so I set out 5 jellies and three “butters”. We had apple, peach, strawberry, raspberry and grape jelly as well as Nutella, Sunbutter and regular peanut butter. Zoe came up with the idea to cut the bread into quarters so that people could mix and match the jellies and butters as much as they wanted. It was a great idea and everyone really enjoyed experimenting with the different flavors. There was very little of anything left…but the sunbutter was definitely a HUGE hit!

Since the main food was sandwiches, I just put out some cups of fruit and chips to go with them. (I used some scrapbooking supplies to cut out strawberries and the word grapes for the cups.)

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Once everyone was done eating we got the masks out to take some pictures. I was hoping to get group pictures, but somehow everyone just ended up taking turns…

Zoe:

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Landon:

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Brandon:

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Mema:

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Uncle Chris:

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The Birthday Boy:

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Tony:

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Aunt Martha:

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Lauren:

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Aunt Lori:

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Lea:

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Me:

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When I looked up a peanut butter and jelly cake I wasn’t sure what I’d find, but I knew I’d hit the jackpot when I saw a cake that I thought was a sandwich. Behold the PB&J cake:

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Looks like the real deal, doesn’t it? If you ever want to make this type of cake, you can find the recipe here. The recipe is super simple and as you can see, it turns out looking exactly as you’d imagine a sandwich to look. (He’d just been out jumping on the trampoline, hence the RED cheeks!)

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Harper could NOT understand that this was a cake and not a sandwich. He kept picking it up with his hands to eat it…it was pretty funny. He’d also requested his (new) favorite ice cream, mint chocolate chip, and as you can see from the pic below, he enjoyed it first! :)

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I’d say the party ended up being a wonderful success. He loved all the attention and was super excited about opening his gifts. He kept telling Mema that he didn’t need help opening them, even when he was having a difficult time opening them up. When I asked him if he’d had fun at his party he said “Yeah, I loved it!”.

Music to my ears.

How To Go To The Bathroom, by Harper and Dakota

So, I found this little paper tutorial hanging in the bathroom the other day. I don't know where I was while this was being made, b...