Oh my gosh you guys, my sister's wedding weekend in New Braunfels this past weekend could NOT have been more fun. I'm not even going to try to be casual regarding the kids' behavior because they were simply amazing. Amazing. They were sweet and polite and SO happy to be around so much family and be part of the party. I told them they could stay up as late as they wanted, so they attended the after-rehearsal-dinner-party and the after-wedding-reception-party, which had them both up past midnight each night and they were just so awesome. So awesome and so patient. The wedding didn't start until 7 p.m. on Saturday, so there was a lot of anticipation and getting ready and pictures and waiting and more pictures and more waiting... and there were no meltdowns, no temper tantrums, just sweet excitement all day. I was so proud of them.
And little CoraBunny was just as great. Her meals and naps were all kinds of messed up, she barely got to crawl around anywhere, she spent 95% of her time being passed around the arms of relative strangers (to her, anyway), and was up till 10 p.m. on Friday and 11 p.m. on Saturday AND she had to sleep in her pack 'n play in the same room as the other four of us and she was just awesome too. Great sleeper, SUPER happy, super content, and just thrilled to party with everyone.
And JP. JP emerged from the shell he's so often in around my family and revealed the guy I met dancing at a bar in 2001. Neither of us drank much at the reception, and we did have 3 children we were minimally supervising, but other than that, we pretty much partied like it was 6th Street in 2001. There were dance circles and JP was in the middle. I danced so much the bottoms of my feet were bruised and sore Sunday morning. We had a BLAST. The big kids were old enough to have fun, the baby was third-baby-enough to be happy in the arms of others, so for once, I got to attend a wedding WITH my love (we never have anyone to watch the kids, so usually he stays behind while I travel to friends' weddings) and, thanks to a plethora of Cora-holding baby-lovers, we got to have fun at the same time, with each other!
In the words of my aunt on a facebook post when one of my best friends requested video proof of JP starring in a dance circle: I can attest that [JP] OWNED that dance floor. He was adorable dancing with his kids and then he busted it out on his own. No lie-he put Rebecca in a chair and went all Magic Mike on her. He was AH-MAZING!!!
The whole weekend was amazing. The wedding was at Gruene Estate, a beautiful piece of property in historical New Braunfels with a big main house built in 1845 and a little cottage built sometime after that. My family was in the big house and my little family was in the cottage, so we had our own space and got to be on-site and 10 yards from the reception hall the whole weekend, which meant we got to keep partying even after the kids were in bed. Everything was outdoors, but covered and fanned and rustic and perfect. It suited my sister and Billy exactly. There was even a big fire pit, chairs, garden, and a bunch of lawn games in the "backyard" of the main house that we could retire to each evening (and we did).
The rehearsal dinner was hosted by Billy's family at a local vineyard and was very fun. Our immediate family came back to the fire pit at Gruene Estate so we could spend a little time with them before the craziness of the wedding day. The kids LOVED getting to play with their cousins (really their second cousins, but they don't have any first cousins, so why be technical). All of my cousins are are in their teens/very early 20's, so L & C thought they were VERY cool and VERY fun. Because they are.
We were up early on Saturday to set up the venue and Landon accompanied two of my aunt/uncle/cousin families to Schlitterbahn. He had a blast and rode all the rides, even the big ones, and expressed grave concern when the only drink offerings were soda even though we weren't there to know it. I got my hair for the first time since my wedding and my makeup done for the first time ever and I found out what well applied eye liner looks like and I LOVE it! There were pictures and more pictures and waiting and then suddenly rushing and then it was go time!
Landon was a total ring bearer pro, but once the moment was upon her, Claire was VERY uncertain about the whole thing. Luckily Landon instinctively looked back and coached her all the way down the aisle. He's the best.
My sister was gorgeous, Billy was so happy, and the whole thing was completely lovely. Then the reception began and it was lovely to the power of FUN + good food and a margarita machine.
My sister chose George Straight's "Amarillo by Morning" to dance with my dad and gave a brief introduction to the unusual choice (somewhat paraphrased here): "As anyone who knows the Rice family knows, we were a family of road trippers. And on those road trips we listened to hours of songs on tape, George Straight's Greatest Hits being the most played, and every time I hear this song it reminds me of those days in the car, feeling so safe and loved. So for all the trips and all the times my dad said, 'get your noses out of your books and look out the window," this song is for you dad." It was perfect.
My MOH speech came up and though I'm generally incapable of speaking through emotion, I got through it mostly without crying. I didn't write it down beforehand, which goes against nearly everything I am, but I wanted to be in the moment and I didn't want to risk reading it. I think it went well. I'm told it did.
The dancing proceeded, there was an "exit" with sparklers, there was an after party at our fire pit when the venue closed at 11:30. Cora fell asleep in someone's arms sometime around 11:15. The big kids called it a night around midnight. JP went to bed a little after 1. The rest of the guests left around 2 and I helped my brother clean up and went to bed about 2:45 but didn't fall asleep until 4ish.
Cora woke up at 8 a.m., still in her pink party dress and ready to pick up right where she dropped off, and we had a flurry of packing, a break for mimosas with the family, and then more packing before a goodbye lunch at the Gristmill where my sister waitressed for four years in college.
And then we got in the car, got stuck in traffic for six hours, unpacked, did laundry, fed the children, put them to bed, and collapsed, only to wake up this morning to a new summer camp for Landon, my mid-year work review, and JP's busy lesson schedule, but why let reality get in the way of a recap of a truly glorious weekend?
I haven't had so much fun since my own wedding nearly 9 years ago.
And this time I got to do it with my own little family in tow. Congrats Val and Billy! Hopefully one of these days we can get Eric married off and do it all again!