A Weekend of Bliss

Oh my gosh, you guys. I have to tell you about the weekend I just had.

Here’s how it started:

  • Received invitation to one of my best friend’s weddings and saw that was a whole weekend family-friendly ordeal in May
  • Got excited about the whole idea, RSVP’d immediately
  • A month before the wedding, realized that taking 4 small kids to a place for the weekend that would likely involve late nights, partying, and fun, did not, in fact sound like a fun time
  • Tried to book a flight for my mom to come up from Arizona to watch them
  • Realized that airfare on Labor Day weekend is re-donk-ulous
  • Gave up hope
  • During a conversation with Clint’s mom, I mentioned our failed plans and she cheerfully said, “I’ll take them! Saturday through Monday? Yeah! Is there anything going on on Friday? Yes? Okay, I’ll take them on Friday through Monday.”

Not even kidding. My mom was stoked to do it, but since we couldn’t get her up here, Clint’s mom stepped up. How freaking lucky are we?!

So, Friday, we handed the kids off to Clint’s mom and left. I was genuinely concerned that she was going to have a rough weekend based on how the kids were acting when she arrived.

Friday night, Clint and I went to my friend’s house for a low-key bachelor/bachelorette party and crashed in the living room. Early Saturday, we met Clint’s dad for breakfast and then caught the ferry to our destination: Fort Worden on Port Townsend. We arrived early and decided to get lunch. At 1pm, we sat devouring fajitas and sipping margaritas kid-free. I ate so fast that I ended up having a serious stomach ache for the next several hours. I realized it was because I’m so used to stopping to feed kids, to get kids drinks, to wipe someone’s face, that I’m not used to having a whole uninterrupted meal to myself. Glorious.

It got better. We were still there too early to check in, so we sat on the beach. It was in the mid-70s and there was a refreshing breeze. I laid down on my stomach, Clint dropped handfuls of sand delicately on my feet, and I quickly fell asleep. On the beach. In the sun. Heaven.

People began arriving and Elli and her soon-to-be-husband handed out our room keys. We drove up to where we’d be staying: A house that’s bigger than our own, where each couple had their own bedroom and we shared a common living area. We claimed our room and  took another nap.

The sun was beginning to set while we all gathered on the beach for dinner. We chatted with some friends of Elli and Roddy’s that I had met before and a friend of mine from growing up arrived, who I hadn’t seen since graduation. It was way too much fun to catch up with her and throughout the weekend, I found myself thinking, “Why the heck weren’t she and I better friends in school?!” Seriously, this lady is a riot.

Most people remained at the dinner mingling, drinking beer or wine, and hanging out on the beach. Clint and I decided to stroll down the beach alone. We chatted. We giggled. We talked about how refreshing it was to be gone from the kids together. We’ve had our own breaks separately, but I don’t even remember when we had a true break together. We snapped a photo at sunset and then headed back to bed…. and then to sleep.

Sunday, we slept in and went for a run. Again, I don’t know that we’ve ever been able to run together, so that was awesome. It wasn’t my best run, I was nursing a throbbing headache from my beer consumption the night before, but it was pleasant weather and the beach scenery was to die for. We ran out to a historic, beautiful lighthouse and then back for showers.

With several hours to kill until the 3 o’clock wedding, we decided to head back into Port Townsend for lunch. Since I picked Mexican the day before, Clint insisted upon burgers the next day. We bellied up to the bar, had a drink and waited for our burgers to arrive. No kids. No whining. Just us. We took our burgers to go and had lunch on one of the piers overlooking the Port Townsend waterfront.

Bellies full, we headed back to Fort Worden to get ready for the wedding. If the entire beautiful weekend hadn’t already clued us in for what was to come, nothing else could have. We walked about a quarter mile through woods and then came to a small grass field. Immediately, we discovered that we were on The Bluff. A stunning view of the ocean and far-off neighboring island stretched out before our eyes. The sky couldn’t have been bluer. The view couldn’t have been more peaceful. It was breathtaking.

Always the non-traditional one (which I absolutely adore about her), Elli’s wedding continued on that same vein. The wedding party consisted only of the bride and grooms’ sisters. The officiant was Elli’s aunt who spoke beautifully about the couple and made us all laugh.

The part that choked me up, though, was one brief moment at the very beginning. Elli’s dad, Clyde, dressed in Scottish garb, played the bagpipes as the wedding party walked down the aisle. Then, when all of the party had traveled down, Elli walked up, linked her arm in her dad’s and they walked together down the aisle while he still played the bagpipes. It was beautiful.

Their vows were unique and as “awww” worthy as they were funny. I am so excited to see what happens for these two. They truly are wonderful, and you could see it in everything they did at their wedding. There was careful thought put into every guest invited, every detail attended to, every last unique aspect of the weekend.

Following the wedding, the bride and groom exited, led by Elli’s dad, and we all followed back to the USO building, Clyde bagpiping nearly the entire way down. It was too. Freaking. Cool. When do you ever get to be a part of the wedding, instead of merely a spectator? It truly added to the collective “You’re here because we consider you our family” aspect of the weekend.

The reception initially seemed pretty wedding reception-y. The slideshow was beautifully done, the food was delicious, and I was getting sleepy. I honestly began thinking, “Well, you’ve seen one reception, you’ve seen ‘em all…” and I actually considered calling it a night at about 7pm (sorry, Elli!). I am SO SO glad I didn’t. I mean, I should’ve known better, anyway. I know my Elli-o and I should’ve known the night was only just getting started.

They hired a band called The Tallboys, a fantastic Bluegrass band to play some, well, Bluegrass. Not generally my genre, but hey, it’s a wedding. BUT then… they started doing some group dancing. Then, it became square dancing. Before I knew it, several hours had passed, my dangly necklace had broken from all of the swinging around, my calves and balls of my feet were on fire from standing tippy toe to dance with a lot of different much-taller-than-me dudes, and I was sweating profusely. We all were.

I looked around several different times and nearly everyone was on the dance floor. It is a feat to get merely a few people out there at a wedding, but the majority of the guests, young and not-so-young? Unheard of. But, there we all were, do-si-do-ing, swinging, ducking, twirling, promenading, sashaying… It felt like I was smack in the middle of a country hoe-down.

After the band left, the iPod DJ emerged. Clint and I Riverdanced. We did The Twist. We acted like we knew how to grind and I did a lot of jumping around and running man moves. We left the party around 11pm, dripping with sweat, giggling, and incredibly exhausted.

Monday morning, we hopped in the car and left for home. I read a book aloud, something that we love doing together, and we talked about the wonderful weekend. We arrived home an hour before the kids (Clint’s mom had taken them down to their house after the first day), and when the kids arrived, we greeted them with lots of kisses and hugs. We said belated “Happy Birthdays” to Wyatt and Zander, who turned the big 2 on Sunday.

And life returned to normal. Tantrums ensued. Diapers needed changing. But suddenly, we felt like we could tackle it with a little bit more patience. For me, in the midst of those trying moments, I find my happy place, where I’m lying on the warm beach, dozing off to the sound of waves and the feeling of sand on my toes. Ahh.

It was a wonderful weekend, indeed.

(For those who might be wondering, Clint’s mom survived the weekend mostly unscathed. She did have a poop fiasco similar to this one and did have one morning of crazy early risers, but for the most part, it seems like it went okay. Whew!)

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