Hot-lanta wedding

This past weekend, Chris and I drove to Atlanta for my cousin Cici’s wedding.

After the last two weddings we’ve gone to – my sister’s and my cousin Renee’s – I had decided that as much as I love my kids and enjoy hanging out with them, I really didn’t want to bring them to another family wedding unless I had to. I felt like I never got to have a real conversation with anyone because I always had one eye on the lookout for the girls, making sure they weren’t getting into any trouble. Either that, or Catie was whining she was hungry, Lucy needed someone to take her to the bathroom, that kind of thing. And we always had to leave early because the kids had to get to bed at a reasonable hour.

This time, I managed to trade off weekends with Dave, so he kept the girls with him for the weekend. I don’t think Chris and I have ever taken a road trip together, just the two of us, and it was really nice. We enjoy each other’s company a lot, so it was nice to just drive down on our own timeline, no major rush, and no worrying about nap schedules or potty breaks or anything. We got to Atlanta Friday night, checked into the hotel, and met up with some of my family. (My aunt and uncle hosted an informal get-together in their suite.) My family is made up of crazy loud talkers, but this time we had our first noise complaint from the hotel management by 9 p.m., which may be a record even for us.

My family is also large enough that we took up pretty much the entire floor of the hotel. Chris and I later joked that we couldn’t leave our room without bumping into one of my relatives – I went to the hotel gym on Saturday to work out, and I saw my sister and brother-in-law on the way there, and saw my cousin Renee on the way back. When Chris went to the hotel gym about an hour later, he ran into my dad.

Pre-wedding selfie (we clean up good).
Obligatory pre-wedding selfie.

The wedding was on Saturday evening at an old plantation home in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. It was an unusually chilly day for late March in Georgia (high in the low 50s), but the ceremony was outside in the sunshine, and it was just perfect. My aunt Michele was the officiant, and they kept the ceremony short and sweet.

Cici’s younger sister, my cousin Teresa, died about 10 years ago of cystic fibrosis. She was 19 years old when she passed away. Teresa was the baby of the family, the youngest of all us cousins, and it was emotional and hard on all of us when she passed away, but nowhere near what it was like for Cici to lose her baby sister. During the ceremony, besides the traditional vows, Cici and her husband Chuck exchanged vows in the style of Doctor Seuss (“I will love you in a house, I will love you with a mouse, I will love you here and there, I will love you everywhere,” etc.) as a tribute to Teresa.

And you know, I never cry at weddings. But there was something about that, that was so sweet and touching, it really got to me. I know I was not the only one there who teared up.

The reception was inside the plantation home, and it was really beautiful.

Mr. & Mrs. McCourt

We danced, we ate, and I actually got to have conversations with people in my family, where I could focus on them and not worry about where my kids were at that particular moment. It was lovely.

After the reception was over, Cici and Chuck had planned to have people meet up at a restaurant across the street from the hotel where all of us were staying. Chris and I went, and I had way too much to drink (which isn’t actually a lot, I just don’t have much of a tolerance level since I almost never drink anymore). It was kind of odd to be drunk in front of my aunts and uncles, and realize that I’m now old enough that I don’t have to pretend to be sober in front of them. I’m not a teenager sneaking wine at a family reunion, they don’t really care how many vodka & cranberry juices I’ve had.

At some point that night, Chris took this picture of me with Cici and my cousin Ryan.

My beautiful cousin Cici got married yesterday & I have no idea what is happening in this picture, but it seems about right.

I don’t even know what exactly is going on there (note the groom in the giant cowboy hat in the background), but I think this sums up my family pretty well. Buncha goofballs, all of us.

Every time we have some event that gets all of my family together, I’m reminded how lucky I am to be related to these great people who I really enjoy, and I wish we all lived closer so we could see each other more often. This was another one of those occasions.

And I’m just so happy for Cici. Even though she totally threw me under the bus 15 years ago and told her dad that it was my idea for her to get a tattoo when she was 19. (Long story, but it WAS NOT my idea!) Even still, she deserves all the happiness in the world, and I’m so glad we got to be there for her.

Queen City wedding

This past weekend, we drove to Charlotte for my cousin Renee’s wedding. We set off on Friday, with my parents in one car, and me, Chris, and the girls following in my car.

Charlotte is only about 150 miles from here, but we let my dad be in charge of the GPS, which in hindsight was the worst idea ever. He found the shortest route, and as most people know (but my dad didn’t), shortest does not always equal fastest. So, a trip that should have taken 2.5 hours (give or take) ended up taking well over 4 hours, because he had us go down some random back highway with a speed limit of 45, and frequent stop signs. (“It’s 30 miles less if we go this way!” Well, yeah, but the alternate route lets us go 70 mph with no stops, so…)

And really, the kids were SO GOOD the whole time — they didn’t fight, they played quietly, they didn’t whine — but it stressed me out to be in the middle of nowhere, doing the toddler potty math of “oh god, how long do I have before Lucy says she needs to pee and there is NOWHERE out here to stop?!” (Parents of 3 year-olds, you know what I’m talking about.)


Eventually we got there, and we saw the house that my brother and his girlfriend moved into a few months ago, which was lovely. My parents stayed with my brother & his girlfriend at their place. I booked a hotel for me, Chris, and the girls, since that seemed like a lot to unload on my brother. It would’ve been even more fun if we could have brought Chris’s kids along too, but unfortunately it didn’t work out with their custody schedule.

After visiting with my brother for a while, we headed over to our hotel, checked in, and met up with our extended family who was in town for the wedding.

5 out of 7 (my mom's siblings)

I was trying to explain to my kids how Mimi (my mom) is one of 7 kids, so she has 2 sisters, and 4 brothers. (This pic is 5 of the 7 – it’s missing my mom & my uncle Brian.) Catie took a minute to process this, then said, “We aren’t going to have 5 more babies, are we?”

Which, HAHAHAHAAAAA NOPE. No, sweetie, we most definitely are not. I think I’m good with just the two.


There was a little dessert reception thing at the hotel for out-of-town guests – not exactly a rehearsal dinner, but sort of a pre-wedding get together. That was a lot of fun, and the kids spent most of the time playing with their cousins, doing cartwheels in the hallway outside of the banquet hall.

It took the girls a while to get settled at our hotel room that night and crash.

It's way past bedtime, but we're out of town, & they've both been so good all day. I don't have the heart to make them stop when they're playing quietly next to each other.


The next day, we got up, saw my sister for a few minutes (she got in late Friday night and the girls were dying to see her), then had breakfast with my cousin Cat (not the bride, a different cousin) & her family. Then we went to my brother’s house to gather up our people and head to the wedding.

I realized after the wedding was over that I had one picture of both of my girls all dressed up for the wedding, in their dresses that my mom made. (Having a Mimi who’s a retired seamstress has its perks.)

Realized I have exactly 1 picture of my girls dressed up for my cousin's wedding yesterday. Catie was mad about having her picture taken, and Lucy was... being Lucy.

Catie was mad that I was trying to take her picture. Lucy was… well, being Lucy. That picture cracks me up to the point where I’m thinking about framing it, because it sums them up perfectly.

waiting for the wedding to start with Mimi & Pop-Pop
Waiting for the wedding to start.

Catie wanted to sit with her cousin Elizabeth, and I wish it wasn’t disrespectful to take pictures in church, because the way they either sweetly held hands or had their arms around each other was completely adorable. They locked their fingers together during the prayer. It was amazing.


The reception was at a museum in downtown Charlotte, and it was gorgeous. So was the bride, for that matter.

So my cousin is pretty much the most beautiful bride ever. And i love seeing her so happy.

It really makes me so happy to see Renee so happy.

We goofed around at the beginning of the reception. We ate yummy food, and Catie took this picture of me and Chris that I love.

My cousin's wedding reception, Catie took this pic & I love it.

Then the band started, and we danced like crazy people.

Lucy & Mimi dancing at the reception

I feel bad for not taking more pictures than I did. Like, I didn’t get any of my siblings, or most of my relatives who were there. But I was just… there. And sometimes I think it’s a good thing to put down my phone and go enjoy the moment, rather than worry about documenting every single second with a photo.

And I mean, I danced so much that by the time we got back to the hotel room, my legs were more sore than they feel after a 5 mile run. So I’d say I enjoyed the hell out of that moment.

At the risk of sounding corny, I feel like I’m just so incredibly fortunate to have the family that I have. They’re a group of people who I genuinely enjoy being around, and I always have so much fun with them. We don’t see each other as much as I wish we could, because we’ve spread out all over the U.S., but weddings & other reunions are always so much fun.

And lucky me, I have another cousin who’s getting married next spring, so I have that to look forward to, in just a few months. I already can’t wait.


We drove back on Sunday, and got back later than planned, but it turned out ok. Catie really wanted to see Dave, and we’re trying to make sure she gets one-on-one time with each of us when we can swing it. So I dropped her off with him, and Lucy and I hung out for the evening. Even though three year-olds are difficult, having only one kid feels so easy compared to juggling them both.

We went for a walk, just the two of us, and she insisted she needed to bring her baby (and her baby’s diaper bag) along.

taking her baby for a walk

Then she discovered that crunching leaves is pretty much the most fun thing ever.

leaf crunching

And you know, there are times that I worry that I’m a terrible parent and I’m going to ruin my kids somehow. Nothing in particular makes me think that, it’s just that constant self-doubt that I think most parents probably have from time to time. But then, I’ll have a moment where I see them completely carefree and happy, and I think… yeah, we’re probably going to be ok.

After all, I have a whole family full of amazing role models to use as a point of reference.

my sister’s wedding

My sister Tracy’s wedding was in Texas this past Saturday, and I have to admit that even for a bitter divorced lady like myself, that it was a really beautiful wedding.

Now, excuse me while I inundate you with pictures.

The kids did really well on the flight out. In fact, aside from a couple of diaper disasters (which I had prepared for – I have a rule that every traveler must have at least one full change of clothes in their carry-on, and those who aren’t potty trained need multiple sets), it went about as smoothly as one could hope.

My favorite part of the trip: when Lucy slept on the plane.
Although I admit this was my favorite part of the flight.

Actually, one random moment on the way there: we had a connection in Atlanta, and I was walking up to our gate, I saw this girl and she and I kept staring at each other, doing double- and triple-takes. Finally, I said, “I think you’re my cousin!” She said, “YES I AM!” It was my cousin Cici. Who I haven’t seen each other since… oh… my wedding back in 2005. Kind of hilarious to run into her in the airport of all places. (She was on her way to the same wedding as us.)

We got in on Thursday afternoon, and within a few hours, Lucy randomly barfed twice. Once at our rental house, and later when we were at my aunt & uncle’s house. I prayed that it was just a delayed reaction to motion sickness, and apparently that’s what it was, because she never got a fever and she seemed fine the rest of the time we were there. *whew*

On Friday, we had a brunch for the bridal party (during which I took no pictures because I was too busy wrangling my kids). Later, we drove out to the wedding venue for the rehearsal.

Dad & Tracy at the rehearsal
Practice aisle walk.

Catie got upset & pouty during the rehearsal & needed a hug from aunt Tracy

Tracy had said that, for the flower girls and ring bearers, there would be prizes at their seats after they walked down the aisle, and Catie had a little meltdown because she thought it meant she wouldn’t get any prizes. Tracy hugged her, and we all assured her that all she had to do was wear the dress and smile pretty in the pictures, she didn’t actually have to do the aisle walk if she didn’t want to do it.

Lucy snuggling with Chris (aka The Guy)

I admit that I totally melt every time I see how amazing Chris is with my kids. Lucy absolutely adores him. I love this picture.

On Friday evening, Greis arrived from Houston. YAY!

Me & Greis

Tracy and Everett rented out a BBQ restaurant to have a “welcome reception” for their out-of-town guests, and it was a lot of fun to see people that I haven’t seen in years.

Butchee & Collier girls

The Colliers lived next door to us when we were growing up. I honestly cannot remember the last time the four of us girls were in the same place at the same time. It was so fun catching up with them. (Wish their mom & brother had come too, but you know, I’ll take what I can get.)

On Saturday morning, Catie said, “I think I might walk down the aisle after all. But I’m not making any promises.” That was the first time she’d given even the slightest hint that she might do it since the whole engagement/wedding was announced over a year ago, so I didn’t want to get too excited and scare her off the idea. I just said, “Ok, I would love it if you would walk down the aisle with me, but just so you know, it’ll be ok if you don’t, too. It’s your choice.”

We headed down to the wedding venue to get our hair and make-up done for the wedding. I have to say that with a full up-do, 10 pounds of hair spray, airbrushed make-up, and false eyelashes? I felt pretty dang fancy.

I'm wearing 10 pounds of hair spray, airbrushed make-up, & false eyelashes. I feel fancy.

And Catie, my little tomboy, actually sat still and let someone style her hair.

Catie was excited about getting her hair done...

It looked so pretty.

Catie's pretty hair

I don’t have any pictures of Lucy’s hair because she didn’t really have enough to do much of anything with it. We pulled it back into a half-ponytail, stuck in some sparkly bobby pins – which fell out long before the wedding started – and sprayed the crap out of her poor little head to try to hold it all in place.

But seriously. YOU GUYS.

Catie, my flower girl

Pop-Pop & Lucy before the wedding

And then there was me and Catie with all of the other bridesmaids.

Bridesmaid & 1 flower girl

And the kicker: Catie and Lucy both walked down the aisle with me. I held my bouquet in my left hand while Catie held onto my elbow, and I held Lucy’s hand with my right, and we walked together. They were both champs. (And their prizes – the flower girls & ring bearers had little Star Wars Angry Birds plush dolls waiting for them at their seats. It kept them quiet through the whole ceremony. My sister = GENIUS.)

I realized that I was so busy being in the wedding that I didn’t get any pictures of my sister and how beautiful she looked in her dress, so I just stole this one from one of their Facebook friends.


Amazing, right?

Then there was the reception, which was really great because I got to see and talk to all kinds of people who I haven’t seen in forever. And continuing my sister’s genius streak: the kids (2 flower girls & 2 ring bearers), since they were the only kids there, each had a little gift bag at their seats with coloring/activity books, crayons, matchbox cars, plastic dinosaurs, etc. It kept them quiet and happy while everyone ate and socialized.

And the one part of the wedding that I was dreading: my speech. Greis filmed it and texted it to me later. The lighting is terrible – you can only see me when there’s a camera flash – but if you want to hear how I sounded, there you go.

Tracy & Everett’s wedding toast

For the record, that nervous laugh at the beginning is when I completely forgot what I was going to say. I also realized that I talked way too fast and said “like” and “umm” way too much. But you know, I got through it, and I didn’t die or have a panic attack, so I’m going to chalk that up as a win.

We flew home on Sunday, and it was – again – a pretty uneventful flight, thankfully.

I’m just so, so happy for my sister, and my new brother-in-law. Which is kind of nice to know: that as turned off as I am by the concept of marriage for myself, I can still get giddily excited for other people.

So, hey, maybe I’m not such a bitter old divorcee after all.

travel plans

When my sister got engaged last year, and I found out that her wedding was going to be in Austin, I immediately texted Greis and asked her to be my date. She only lives a couple hours’ drive away, and even though I’m excited for my sister and looking forward to her wedding, it was also basically an excuse to hang out with one of my favorite people for a weekend.

When Chris and I got back together, Greis joked that I was going to ditch her for my boyfriend. I said I wouldn’t, mainly because (a) I don’t ditch my friends – that’s a big no-no for me. And (b) Chris is kind of a quiet guy and my family can be really overwhelming when there’s a lot of them in one place. I didn’t want to scare him off. When my sister was in town and met Chris, she made a point of letting me know that it was totally cool with her if I had both Chris and Greis as my “dates” for the wedding.

We went back and forth about it a lot. He had some custody/childcare stuff to handle on his end, and I was worried about how it would look to a lot of my family. I haven’t seen the majority of my extended family since before I had Lucy. So it felt weird to go from a few years ago, when I was married with one kid, to seeing them again now, divorced with 2 kids and a boyfriend.

But, when it comes down to it? I want Chris to be there. I tend to get nervous about a lot of things, and he has a way of calming me down when I get anxious (like, say, about flying, or handling the kids when they’re completely off their routine).

Not to mention that, you know, I want my family to meet him because I’m kind of in love with him and stuff.

Sooooo, on Thursday, I will be boarding a plane with my parents, my kids, and Chris, and flying to Texas for my sister’s wedding. It’ll be Lucy’s first time on an airplane, and the first time Catie’s been on one since she was 3 years old. I was nervous about flying with both kids, but I figure that if we have four adults and two kids, that’s a pretty good ratio. And with 6 of us, we’ll basically just take up an entire row on the plane, and hopefully it’ll all go smoothly.

And it’s funny, because Chris and I have never traveled together, and somehow I didn’t imagine that our first little getaway together would involve staying with my children and my parents. I’m going to nickname it the Vacation House of Awkwardness.

And Greis will be there with us too! Five adults and two kids in a four-bedroom house. Yeah. This won’t be weird at all.

I kid, I’m actually looking forward to it and I think it’ll be a lot of fun. But it is weird to sleep in the same house with my boyfriend and my parents. It just is.

Now! I need to go work on my maid-of-honor speech for the reception. Which I still haven’t written. For a wedding that’s taking place in 5 days. And I have a fear of public speaking. Honestly, what could POSSIBLY go wrong? *cue maniacal laughter*

Wish me luck.

me, you, and the dance floor

Ok, everyone and their grandma has now seen this wedding video, right?

(If you haven’t, you need to watch it now. Really.)

I saw people posting it all over Facebook, and I ignored it because, eh, wedding stuff. I don’t care. I finally watched it, and OMG it’s hilarious and awesome. Catie happened to be on my lap, and she sat there mesmerized for the full five minutes. She immediately demanded, “AGAIN!!” as soon as it was over.

Her favorite parts are the guy who does the handstand (around the 1:15 point), and when the groom comes out (around 3:00). But none of that can top the excitement of when everything goes into slow-motion and she knows the bride is coming out any second. “Where is she? Where da lady? Where da white dress?”

Then when the bride comes out (at the 4:08 point), she squeals with glee and screams, “Dere she is! She got flowahs! She gon’ get mawwied!!” I tried to explain the whole wedding thing to her, and, well, it’s kind of over a 2 year-old’s head. Still, she loves it, and keeps demanding to watch it over & over. Of the 18 million or so views that it has on YouTube, I think we’re responsible for at least a hundred of them. And honestly? I haven’t gotten tired of it yet.

* This lazy blog post brought to you by the fact that it’s Saturday.

wedding pics

Wedding pictures are now posted. Whee! And in honor of Sally’s brother, who takes some awesome food pictures, we have a few of our own here, including cake, something that on the menu was referred to as “whole decorated salmon” (and boy, were they not kidding), a dinner roll that got thrown all over the reception hall, and fun with fruit. And frighteningly enough, this isn’t even all of our photos, I’m still waiting for a few people to email me theirs. Oh, and then there’s the photographer we paid, who should be sending me her 400+ photos sometime in the next month or two. Enjoy!


Round one of the pictures from the rehearsal dinner are up and running. These are just my sister’s photos, I know there are a lot more from other various family members who were taking pictures that day. I also have some wedding photos, which are mostly scary (my maid-of-honor apparently didn’t get her camera out until I had consumed a few glasses of champagne and was not looking my absolute bridal best), but again – I should be getting some more very soon. Will keep you posted.