Friday, July 1, 2016

A Tiny Bite of the Big Apple

After we left the beautiful wedding in Pennsylvania, we simply had to drive a few hours up the road to NYC.  It was not in the original plan, but how could we be 3 hours from Cheri, Alex, and Penelope and not visit?

The best part is that it was actually everyone in the family!  Mom and Dani made the drive with us from Memphis and then hooked up with Joey and Megan who took them from PA to NYC.  Joey just happens to have been accepted to a highly prestigious acting school for 6 weeks to study the Meisner technique at the Maggie Flanigan Studio.  Look it up - super impressive!!

Anyway, so that meant we had all 4 siblings, mom, all 3 grandkids, and all 3 spouses/boyfriends all in NYC randomly for a whole day and a half.  Crazy!

It was a short period of time, but we made the absolute most of it.  First of all, huge shout out to Brian for taking on the Manhattan and Brooklyn traffic like a boss.  It was nuts, and he did so good.  Second, also car-related, we got some up close and personal time with NYPD when our car was broken into.  On our first night, we parked the rental car down the street from Cheri and Alex's apartment in Bed Stuy and the next morning we saw the window was smashed out.  The only things we left in the car were Violet's booster seat, a water bottle, and some allergy medicine, so I guess those things are worth stealing these days.  Luckily, it did not ruin our trip and we got a replacement vehicle later that evening.

Anyway, while dealing with the car and the police, we got breakfast in Brooklyn and played with the cutest niece ever invented.  She and Violet had fun uniting their twin cat sisters.

Then, we embarked on the kids' first subway adventure.  Jeremy was SO excited about this.  "It is a train that goes underground and underwater, Mom!"  Wow.

We popped out of the subway and headed into the Natural History Museum for a visit to the dinosaurs.  It was so huge and I think we made it about an hour and a half with the monsters before we had to leave to feed the beasts.  It was a lot of fun, though.  So freaking huge.

Next, we got food from the carts (hot dogs, falafels, pretzels, and smoothies) and copped a squat for a picnic in Central Park.  Perfect weather, yummy food, perfect people to share it all with.

Then we headed over to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty from a distance (that is a later trip with older kids) and to hit up the Sea Glass Carousel that just opened.  We also played a bit in the fountains located at the park thanks to Alex and his scheming ways.

Finally, we wrapped up our Manhattan trip with some delicious Carvel ice cream and another subway ride back to Bed Stuy.

It also happened to be Alex's birthday and Joey and Megan's wedding anniversary, so it was quite a hot mess crazy time.  We cooked out yummy burgers with a side of Chinese takeout (because why not?) and it was fun and cramped and wonderful.

So many amazing thanks to Cheri and Alex for hosting us, Mom and Dani for getting the rental car and watching Clue 70 times with the kids.  We made some great memories and had an absolute blast!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Wedding Bells

The last of Brian's three little brothers got married this past weekend, and we were delighted to be asked to be a part of the event.  David asked Brian to serve as a groomsman and Miss Violet was absolutely thrilled to serve as flower girl.  The wedding took place in Lancaster, PA, which is a beautiful little town in the heart of Amish country in Pennsylvania.  It was a perfect day, and I am so happy for David and his new bride, Rachel.

Violet was so happy to be a flower girl and I shamelessly admit that we used this as a little pick me up a few months ago when our family desperately needed one.  We took Vi to a David's Bridal in Memphis and let her try on a million dresses in front of the big mirrors with Nona, Aunt Dani, Aunt Cheri, and Penelope all in tow to help out.  It was a nice little bright spot. :)

It's funny how you can tell how old  this is by the kids' hair.  

I can't with this cuteness.

Naturally, though, we bought a dress for $16 at a consignment store, because really?  It was a David's Bridal dress, worn once by an apparently very well-behaved little girl at an indoor wedding that served no food or drink.  Thanks, good little girl at a boring wedding, we appreciate you!

We drove 8 million miles for 2 days, but it was worth it for a great stay in PA.  We rented a big house with the other Hopper family members, and the kids had a blast hanging out with their cousins.

Toddler soup

We attended a nice little bridal shower for Rachel, which also served as a great time for Violet to get a little more comfortable with her since they have only met once before.

And then the rehearsal was a lot of fun.  The wedding was at the Rockford Plantation and it was so beautiful.  I was ready to have to wrangle Violet, but she stepped up so wonderfully.  It gives me hope.

I totally got the hottest Hopper brother!

The actual wedding was a hot day, but a nice clear one.  The bride and groom were beautiful, the location was perfect, and Violet did not turn into her alter ego, Violent, and ruin anything.  Whew!
I let her do her own makeup.  

This was when she ran out of flowers and stopped to figure out what to do next.

Hugs for daddy.

How has my little man become such a grown-up?

Always time for a selfie.

They had old-fashioned cameras on every table for guests to use - I wonder how  those will turn out...

One of my new favorite photos - I need a frame for this one.

We had such a great time, and we have only the best of wishes and the biggest of congratulations to David and Rachel!