Thursday, November 18, 2010

trip to the southland

as promised, i am going to give you the (hopefully abbreviated, yet full of photos) account of our trip to arkansas last weekend. if you haven't been following along closely, my sister was marrying a great guy who is from the city of El Dorado, Arkansas and they decided it would be best if they got married in his hometown. as the matron of honor (officially, i object to the word "matron", it makes me think of large bosoms and thick ankles... neither of which i posses) and mother of the 2 flower girls, we were bound to attend. without further adieu, off we go...

the trip would consist of a 1 hr drive to buffalo, 1 hour flight to baltimore, 2 hour flight to little rock and 2 hour drive to el dorado. with a 3 and 5 year old who have never been on a plane, this was frightening prospect. on thursday we set out. we parked in long term parking, made it through airport security without having too much of our dignities violated and were lucky enough to be leaving from the gate right next door to this one:

how perfect. of course katie, the maid of honor, or my "co-mo" had to challenge jim to see if he could fit through the play arch.
and of course jim had to try! (for the record, if someone challenged me, i would have too.)

lily was excited to fly and talked about it for weeks,

but when we got down to brass tacks and were buckled in our seats, she was gripping my arm tight and playing 20 questions about how it feels to fly, how fast you go etc. luckily for us as soon as we start take off procedures she starts squealing and screaming about how fun it is... it was adorable. as the plane landed she declares in a loud voice, "that was the best plane ride ever!" to the delight of anyone within 3 rows.

after a long day of layovers, moving sidewalk riding and airport food, maya falls alseep before the plane out of baltimore even starts moving. thank God. and thank God for coloring books and portable dvd players.

when we arrive in el dorado after the long drive it is thoroughly nighttime, everyone is trashed and we discover that our suite is a "studio" and there is no relevant separation between our beds. ouch, how is this going to go?
the answer is: swimmingly. the kids were so tired every night that they crashed into their beds while jim and i watched tv and chatted. we even got them to take naps, which they never do.

as mentioned, jim and i got to run together on friday and saturday and see eldo on foot. we made the mistake the first day of going further out into the stix and found ourselves being hounded by leashless angry dogs as we ran towards the beat up shacks and away from the fancier homes. we even had 2 dogs that were chained to a dog house dragging the dog house behind them as the tried to chase us up the road! no thanks. we ran somewhere a bit safer the following day. i really appreciated that we could get out and do this, thanks to grandma and grandpa!

the food. well, as you know, food is very important to me from a health and enjoyment standpoint. unfortunately the food revolution has not reached el dorado arkansas (hide your shock please). we not only saw ZERO pedestrians, runners, dog walkers, bikers... anything, while we were out for our runs, but there was nary a healthy place to eat in site. pizza chains, 4 fried chicken places in the heart of town, any fast food place you could want, a couple of donut shacks and the one nicer place we visited for the rehearsal dinner had a menu that featured fried pickle chips (delicious by the way) and fried alligator, and it actually prominently advertised "grain fed beef" on it's menu. hello? nope, the food revolution has not crossed the mason dixon yet... though, i did good. when we went to Wendy's and Sonic i got salads. when we ate breakfast at the hotel i ate yogurt and granola or eggs and wheat toast, and a swiped a whole bunch of fresh fruit to snack on from the buffet as well. not to say there wasn't 4 pieces of cake consumed by your's truly at the wedding.... but that's another story.

on friday we visited steve's father's home. he had a little electric police car that the girls had fun driving around the yard and knocking over potted plants.

after that we went to the rehearsal. the wedding venue was gorgeous, and was totally something i would have chosen too. a family friend had a large wooded lot and a tent was erected for the reception. the wedding area was decorated with twinkle lights, pumpkins and tiki torches. i loved it!

on wedding day we do the 3 hour hair appointment thing then scurry around getting ready. i missed out on getting wendy prepared because i was busy sprucing the girls up... probably my only regret on the weekend.

well, that and the fact that we took NO pictures at the wedding. hello? how could you forget that shelley? so, there are no photos of the girls in the cute dresses and little baskets walking down the aisle, nor any pictures of me. (of course, the pro got plenty i'm sure but the majority won't be available for quite some time.) and i have to say (despite the big arkansas hairdo) i was looking pretty fly. i love the dress wendy let me get and it fit like it was made just for me. these photos, the pro took and put on his facebook page... they are beautiful! the one downside was that eldo had a storm come through on the wedding day and it was 50 degrees at the time of the ceremony. no, the tent was not heated.

soon enough it was time for the looong trip back. i really can't believe how well the girls traveled. it definitely helped that katie and my folks were on the same plane with us. all of the flights except for the last one, i opted to sit with the girls but on that last leg, katie and i sat together and let jim have a go at it. we sat there and loudly complained to our fellow seat mate (tongue in cheek), "wow, who's the jerk who brings little kids like that on a plane?" and we talked over the pros and cons of ordering some shots. we had a good giggle.

off the plane, collect the bags and can't wait to get home. the shuttle takes us to our car, and luckily it is in the 40s since we didn't have heavy coats. just as my folks are pulling out of the spot next to us, jim tries to start the car and it won't turn over. it is already 7:30 at night and we have been traveling for 11.5 hours. dear Jesus, no. we have no jumper cables nor does my dad.

we try to be good humored but i find that i am eating a ton of candy (wedding favors) while we wait. luckily i had blankets in the car and provisions to keep the kids' traps shut. the AAA guy was our superhero and he said he comes to the airport a lot. what, with people leaving their cars undriven in the cold for days on end... tends to coincide nicely with weak batteries.

all in all it was a good trip. i was so impressed with the girls that all of our fears about whether it was worth it to travel because of the huge hassle, vanished. they were so adaptable - sleeping wherever their heads lay and going with the flow - i'm thinking it may be time for a fun family trip again soon.


Angie Bee said...

So glad to hear that they travel well!! My boys are great at traveling. I think kids for the most part adapt to pretty much any situation if we let them.
I can't wait to see the pictures of you all dolled up!! I bet you looked fab!
Glad you had fun. I don't even want to address the food issues. I agree with you so I will leave it at that :)

megatomic said...

Sounds like a good trip. And oddly, I have kinfolk in El Dorado, AR. My dad's parents were originally from that area.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the rundown of your trip Shelley. So glad you found the girls to be so adaptable. That sure does makes travel much less of a dread. Very happy for your sister and her new husband! -Angela S.