After countless hours of calculating and innumerable spreadsheets, we determined that the cheapest/easiest thing to do was split the trip up. So Brad drove up in the van and met me and the kids at the airport in Harford the next day. Besides Brad being exhausted, it was relatively painless. We got in Thursday night, and the rest of the Bauer family arrived in Old Lyme, where the wedding would take place, throughout the day on Friday.
Old Lyme is picturesque, to say the least. Pretty much the entire place is a postcard. It's nothing but beautiful historical buildings, perfectly groomed gardens and stacked stone walls.
The local schoolhouse. Seriously. The entire town looks like this.
We had lunch and ice cream at the Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe and Café. It was great. And adorable.
Living in Florida has been a little isolating. My family had not seen us since Harper was eight months old, and my brothers Jared and David had never met my family, nor had I met David or Jared's wives, and no one had met Will, so we were really looking forward to seeing everyone. Harper and Will were especially excited to see their cousins. Except for my brother Jared, and the bride and groom (who were busy with wedding stuff) we all got together for a short tour of the Florence Griswold House museum and gardens, which once served as a boardinghouse for artists.
The Florence Griswold Home
Old Lyme, CT
(Left to right) niece Harriett, niece Maggie, sister-in-law Bess, sister-in-law Anna, mom, dad, niece Hazel, brother Micah, nephew Henri, Harper, Brad and Will.
This was carved from a dead tree.
Harper was inspired by all the art to construct a turtle of her own.
"These girls are crazy, dad. Let's go!"
Hazel was fast and loose with the peace signs.
"It took us a few minutes to become best friends."
We decided to host a pizza/pool/movie night for the kids while the adults attended the Welcome Dinner that evening at the Old Lyme Inn. I am so glad we did! The kids were great and had a wonderful time getting to know each other better. By the end of the night they were thick as thieves.
The Old Lyme Inn
Old Lyme, CT
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
The wedding was on Saturday and was held at Kate's parent's home not far from town. I hesitate to refer to it as a "home." Probably "estate and grounds" is more appropriate. It was about fifteen plus acres of the most beautiful, green, rolling gardens: an absolutely perfect location for a wedding. (In retrospect, I should have gotten a lot more photos of the gardens.)
Harper and Maggie were flower girls so we got there a little early to help corral the girls for pictures.
Beautiful Kate and her attendants.
The ring bearer (Kate's nephew) was sequestered safely inside the main house.
I love this one.
Waiting to start!
There were no photos allowed during the ceremony so I tried to get a few at the reception.
Bess and coy Henri.
Kate was kind enough to provide art supplies and puzzles for the kids' table.
Harriett was goofing around.
Henri, if you make weird faces every time I try to take a picture of you then I will post a photo of you making a weird face.
Will was a dancing machine.
In all the jubilation and merriment these were the only pictures I got of my brothers David (the groom, left) and Jared (right) with his wife, Anna.
My mom told me to get a picture of my dad, so I took this one. Then he threatened me. No more pics of dad.
The girls took a break from their official duties to hang out in the hammock for a while.
Micah, Bess, and their beautiful family. (Got you that time, Henri!)
And, of course, this happened.
The Booker Pack, June 2016.
The next day we started on our long journey home. First stop: New York City!
It was blustery and dark with thunderstorms throughout the day, but somehow we finagled Brad's old marine buddy, Bill, to show us his hometown.
I was beside myself with excitement to be in The Big Apple. It was my first time in New York and I wanted to see EVERYTHING. Unfortunately, we didn't have a lot of time, so we decided to see Central Park and visit the American Museum of Natural History, which was AMAZING (truly, if we lived in New York I'd take the kids every day). It was also where Bill's mom was a docent for several years, so it was a kind of second home to him.
Boat races in Central Park.
The park had amazing views everywhere you looked.
And... this is where Harper wants to spend the rest of her life. On a side note: that's a LIFE SIZED blue whale affixed to the ceiling. People just lie on the floor beneath it in awe.
Obviously, I had to get a photo of this.
The next day we headed to Washington D.C. The mall and capitol were both under construction so it was hard to get good pictures of anything.
The sculpture gardens, however, had lots of great stuff, like a thinking hare...
... and a metal tree.
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
This elephant is in the lobby to greet you.
They also had a whale. Harper's second favorite place on Earth.
Learning about our ancestry.
Harper took this one (I absolutely love it!)...
... and this one.
That night everyone was pretty exhausted.
The next day was Savannah. Our five hour trip somehow turned into eight hours, so we got in late and hungry and grouchy and ready to stretch our legs. We walked around for a couple of hours, threw in the towel and went to a nice hotel for a swim and then straight to bed. Maybe another time, Savannah.
We were here.
I really wanted to get a nice picture of this bridge., but by the time we passed it, it was too dark.Oh well.
Savannah had beautiful trees.
My new favorite family portrait.
Thank you for inviting us to your beautiful wedding, David and Kate! We will miss you both and all the Bauers!