If having a baby has taught me one thing is that's control is an illusion. I use to be a type-A control freak. I loved day planners and calendar apps, and I always have at least one list I'm working on in google docs at all times. Turtle on the other hand looks at my planning (everything from my birth "plan" to our weekend travel plan) and does her evil laugh, "Bwahahahaha!" I specifically planned to leave at the time that Turtle takes a nap every. single. morning. I figured my plan was fool proof. She usually sleeps from about 7:15am till 10 or 11am. There was the possibility that she would sleep the entire 4 hour drive to North Georgia. I can hear Turtle now, "Bwahahahaha!" Fool proof and baby proof are two very different things! We made it to Gaffney (about 2 hours away) before she decided she'd had enough.
So, I pulled off and found somewhere to change her and feed her. Then I got some Dunkin Donuts' iced coffee and we got back on the road. We only made it another hour before she decided she'd again had enough. At this point we were in BFE South Carolina but thankfully I found a grocery store where I could pull off and get her out of her carseat. I held her for a few minutes and took a pic of her new sunglasses.
Then we got back on the road. She made it another hour before she started complaining again but thankfully at that point we were very close to my aunt's house.
Saying my family was glad to see us would be a gross understatement. Because I have a tumultuous relationship with my dad, I also have had a strange relationship with his side of the family. I haven't seen him in a year and a half and haven't talk to him since finding out I was pregnancy. But I decided that I didn't care and that these were my people and I wanted a relationship with them. I also want Turtle to grow up knowing what it's like to have an extended family. So, I decided to go to the wedding not knowing what type of reception we would find. Thankfully, everyone was overjoyed to see us.
Turtle had everyone under her spell as soon as we got there. Although she was a little overwhelmed and wasn't real big on people holding her right away. So, when I found out that the photographer was not planning on being there while the bride got ready, I popped her in my sling and grabbed my camera. At first I put her on my hip but she kept trying to grab for the camera (another photographer in the making, maybe?) so I hopped her around onto my back and she hung out there while I took pics of my beautiful cousin as she put on her make up and got dressed.
I'm no professional and really could have used my brother's new lens that does wonders in low light, but I was really glad I was able to get her a few pics that she otherwise wouldn't have had. I just wish I'd taken some pictures of her shoes since she wore her Chacos (which is so "her"). C'est la vie. This is why I don't ever want to be a full time wedding photographer, too much pressure to get once in a lifetime pics with no chance of a re-do.
Once the bride was all zipped up and ready to go, we headed out to the wedding site. They got married at Black Rock Mountain State park and it was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen for a wedding. I got some pictures before the ceremony.
That's my Aunt Sandy (mother of the bride) and my Aunt Jan
My Aunt Jan and her daughter, my cousin Katy
Katy, Jan, and my Grandmother Patsy
Patsy and Turtle who gave the coursages a big thumbs up!
My aunt Sandy and her son, my cousin Ben
Sandy, Ben, and Patsy
Unfortunately, Turtle needed to eat right as the ceremony was starting so I didn't get any pics. Thankfully there was a covered picnic area near where they were having the ceremony so I was able to keep Turtle out of the sun while I fed her. We did have to walk away though at the end because after her bottle she wanted to talk. Hehe.
Soon after the ceremony was over we moved to the reception area which was beautifully decorated. The Bride, my aunt and everyone else had designed and executed a stunning, rusticly elegant wedding, and trust me, I'm the harshest of critiques when it comes to weddings!
With a full belly and becoming more familiar with her extended family, Turtle went into full on entertainer mode.
Turtle also gave the vintage napkins decorating the tables a big thumbs up!
And she showed everyone her favorite Tigger. I don't know what we'd do without him!
After the bride and groom left, my grandmother (Turtle's great-grandmother) entertained her while I helped break down the reception space and load everything up into the cars. Then we headed over to my aunts house and sat around talking for a while. It was so nice to talk to family. It was like being home again. My life with my dad has been such a challenge. It was nice to talk with people (besides my mom and brothers) who understand what that challenge is like. It was very validating and I can't wait to do it again!
From their we headed across the mountain to my cousin's house. The only problem was I wasn't paying attention to the clock and Turtle got hungry about half way through the drive. There really wasn't anywhere to stop and I had also run out of water (mommy fail!) so we had to push through the 30-45 minute drive to Bryson City.
Once we got there and got Turtle a bottle, everything settled down. It was so nice to visit with my cousin and introduce her to Turtle. It was also awesome to spend some time with her 10 month old baby boy and see were our little one is headed. He's walking and everything! God help us all!!
The next morning, I headed to Asheville to spend a little more time with my grandparents and then have lunch with my brother. After a soggy, but wonderful lunch, Turtle and I headed out of town.
Everything was going great until we hit the half way mark (about an hour or so from home). But this time there was no were to stop. I'd forgotten what an empty stretch Highway 321 is between Hickory and Lincolnton. I finally found somewhere to stop and pulled Turtle out of her seat. Her eyes and nose were red from crying and it broke my heart. Once she was settled down I strapped her back in the car, but we weren't even on the highway again before she started up again. I decided at that point that it was just better to push through so I texted Jay who was at our friends' house and told him I was heading there. By the time we arrived we were both in tears!
But as soon as she was out of the car and in Daddy's arms all was well again... with Turtle at least. Mommy needed a glass of wine! So, on the whole it was an absolutely wonderful weekend! But yeah... next time Daddy's coming along!