Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Arganbrights go to a Wedding

We never do anything because I always hide behind the excuse that with a large family, I rather not go out. That is, by myself. I am more than willing to go out if I have someone to help me. It seems that with summer, there is always something going on, some block party or neighborhood picnic to go to, but with Dennis working weekends, I'm always on my own. I don't like trying to maneuver a stroller and 4 children through crowds and I don't like watching five kids by myself either, so I just don't go.

Until today!

A few months ago, we were invited to a wedding. Of course, the one time we would have been able to go together, we couldn't, because Dennis was in the wedding party. But I was talked into it mostly because the wedding was close-by, the bride loved kids and wanted lots of kids at her wedding and best of all, it would be held at a barn where it was ok to be loud and noisy and informal. With all these reasons, I decided I would give it a try!

The kids were super excited to go to the wedding. They had never been to one before (for obvious reasons.) I dressed them all country style, dressy/casual with frocks and braids for the girls and dress pants flannel shirts for the boys. We pulled up at the beautiful Gale Woods Farm and I gave the kids my usual speech that I have to give every time we go out in public.

The entrance

We met up with Dennis and he introduced me to a few people, such as part of the wedding party, his best friend from elementary school, the photographer, his boss and his wife. Keep in mind these people that I have just mentioned because the next paragraph you read, you're going to want to find a hole to crawl in.

Dennis needed to be with the wedding party, but he said he would bring us to where the ceremony was going to be held at, which was down a path and through the woods. We had just made it up to the top of the path when we heard people calling at us. We turned around and it was the group of people we had just talked to. They were all calling out with their hands cupped over their mouth, "Dress! Dress!" with some of them gesturing to me.

I frantically started feeling the back of my dress as the number 1 fear of all who wear dresses crept into my mind that something was stuck to the back of my dress. I felt all over and could feel nothing stuck to it. But before I could breathe a sigh of relief,  Dennis, who was also looking said, "Oh, here" and gave my dress a good yank.

Half of it was stuck in my underwear, folks. Which meant that I was showing half a moon.

Oh, how I wanted to hide in a hole. Oh, how I (uncharitably) wished it were one of the girls instead of me, since they are little and cute and easily forgiven such a mistake. Oh, I knew I should have worn pants!!

I was mortified. I had just walked through the reception area where the wedding party was gathered and everyone had seen me. I had just been introduced to Dennis's boss. I had just gotten my picture taken by the photographer!!!

Dennis saw my look of horror and said, "Don't worry, nobody saw." Nobody saw?!?! The wedding party, his boss and the photographer just yelled across the yard that my dress was stuck in my pants!! Everybody saw!!!

"I want to go home." I said and for a minute there I really meant it. "No," Dennis insisted. "It didn't show much, just the upper thigh.."  That didn't give me much comfort, because we all know what that means!!!

The path leading to the ceremony site--and where I experienced my moment of hell.

And if you're wondering why I didn't feel a draft, you will now see my inexperience with wearing a dress and the fact that I rarely wear them. I did feel a draft but thought that all dresses were that drafty!

This was not off to a good start and we were only 10 minutes in.

I knew it would be unfair of me to make the kids leave so I bucked up and we stayed. I tried hard to forget about it and remain inconspicuous for the rest of the wedding, but the kids made that impossible. Even though we sat in the back row, Henry was the loudest kid there, shrieking over bubbles (we were given them to blow at the end of the wedding) and mooing like a cow that was grazing nearby. We got many stares, including from Dennis's boss. Thankfully, most people just smiled. I figured they had to, because kids were not just invited, but requested for this wedding. The bride said so!

The ceremony started and thankfully didn't take long. I will say that the view was beautiful. It over-looked a lake and behind us the sheep and llama grazed nearby (they were fenced in.) It was nice to hang out in the back where Henry could be a little loud but not so loud to disturb the ceremony. He chased after bubbles and tried to climb a tree and mooed at that sheep. (That is the only farm noise he knows.) I'm still with the traditional church weddings, but I did understand why the bride fell in love with the scenic views at the farm. The ceremony itself went pretty smoothly for me and the kids with no embarrassing incidents except for when Dennis and his partner walked down the aisle together and Luke cried out, "Wait! Daddy's getting married?!?!"

The ceremony overlooking the lake.

After that we headed back to the barn for the reception. There was an hour of mingling while the bride and groom got their pictures taken but there was no way I was going to abandon our table since there was no assigned seating. I didn't want to have to look for a table to fit the six of us all over again. So we sat where we were and the kids got a little bored and whiney. I let them go for seconds and thirds on lemon aide, which in hind-sight may have been why the kids got a little hyper later. There was a barn cat that roamed through the reception area (it stayed with our table while we were eating, as it found the biggest feast of dropped food and crumbs, lucky us) and at first, Henry was scared of the cat. He had never seen a cat before and thought at first that it was a stuffed animal until it moved. That scared him half to death, so I went from comforting Henry to trying to keep Henry from running out of the barn. It was a very long hour!

Finally, the wedding party arrived and they were introduced with lots of cheering and dancing and supper finally began. Lucky for me, I just happened to pick table #4 so we didn't have to wait long. Just when we were told that we could go up to get our food, Henry jumped off my lap and began running--out. I had no idea where he was going and why he was running AWAY from the buffet table. I was forced to run after him (while constantly checking my dress behind me)and all the kids who were SUPPOSED to go nicely up to the buffet to get their food, chased after us with a lot of giggles and laughter. I could not catch up to Henry who is amazingly quick for a 2 year old. He ran out of the barn and around the barn and then back into the barn and right at the end of the line at the buffet. Thankfully, we hadn't lost our spot. (Henry later told me he was looking for the cat.)

I wasn't quick enough to get a picture of Henry with the cat--he had just run off. Doesn't Henry look pleased with himself??

So then was the dreaded task of trying to figure out how I was going to balance Henry's plate, Anna's plate and Luke's plate with only one hand while still holding onto Henry and dish out food for all of us. I had Max and Lucy dishing out their own food and I still had to keep an eye on them to make sure they weren't taking too much or grabbing food with their own hands or worse--throwing it back when they realized they didn't want it after all. Funny how all those people who commented on me "having my hands full" never offered to pitch in to help. But thankfully Dennis did! I'm sure he was watching us from the wedding party table and already knew that it would be impossible to balance all those plates of food without everything crashing to the ground. He took Henry over for me and helped dish out food for Anna while I focused on me and Henry.

Actually, I never bothered with a plate for myself. I didn't see the point when I knew most of my time would be cutting up chicken and trying to keep Henry sitting at the table. There was just too much distraction and freedom to keep Henry interested in his food. Thankfully, the barn cat settled himself with our little feast under the table, so as long as the cat was there, Henry stayed in his seat.

Finally, supper was over and I happily dumped our plates in the garbage. Dinnertime was what I had dreaded most and I was glad that we made it through. I took the kids outside the barn where they roamed around in the fields. We went back to the ceremony site and the kids mooed at the sheep again. We sat on the bench where a bonfire was going to be held later for S'mores. Then when Max and Henry began to play in the ashes I decided we had enough of that.

It was time for toasts, and we continued to hang around outside for a while. I knew that there was no way I could keep the kids quiet during the emotional (and long) speeches. I know that the toasts is the bride and grooms time for the spotlight, but we had the kids they requested and I was having a hard time holding them off from the cake! And then, when the mother of the groom announced she had a special song to sing, I decided I had enough.

Keep in mind that we were all pretty tired now. The wedding schedule was off a little and the kids
The sheep and llama nearby the ceremony
were now a little past their bedtime but I knew I would never be able to get them to leave without the promised cupcakes. Max and Henry were covered in soot and ash and I was still feeling mortified and stressed over dinner and the dress incident. So we took a little walk around the barn and like a sign from heaven, there was our way out---a tractor ride!!

They were just about to leave and had a little bit more room left for more people so they were all waving for us to come. For once, I was happy that my kids tend to be very loud because they began to shout "Wait for us!!" and run towards the wagon and tractor.

On the wagon, waiting to go.

I remembered earlier that Dennis had mentioned that the farm would be giving wagon rides to the wedding guests. He suggested that I take the kids on the wagon ride while we were waiting for cake. "It's really scenic; it will probably calm them right down" he said.

Nope. If anything, the kids got even louder and even more excited. As the other children sat nicely with their parents quietly pointing to this or that, all you could hear from my kids was:


Then there was the great debate over chickens vs roosters. Then Lucy had to step it up and complicate things even more and tell everyone that there were turkey living there too. (There wasn't.)

But, the kids had fun. And nobody seemed to mind that they were the loudest kids on the farm. We did get some stares from the other kids who probably were wondering if my kids had ever seen a farm animal in their life (they have but not often) but my kids didn't even notice (as usual.)

When the tractor ride ended, we headed back into the reception area where they had already handed out cake and cupcakes. Again, Dennis came to our rescue with 5 cupcakes in hand. All kids happily ate their cupcakes.

We talked to the bride, who loved the kids and who the girls thought was a real life princess.

We talked to Dennis's childhood best friend, Ryan, who either never saw my dress hiked into my pants or chose to pretend he didn't know about it.

We talked to some friends I hadn't been able to see for a while. I declined the wine, since I was driving, even though I felt I could really use it.

Anna and Lucy got some much needed little girl attention from some ladies who admired their braids and country girl dresses. Max and Luke got a boost of confidence from some guys who laughed at all their silly jokes. And Henry got to see the barn cat again.

All in all, we had a good time. Could have done without the mooning part. I know, I know, time to let it go.

I'm glad we went through with it; I'm glad I showed myself that despite the fact that even though I'm sometimes too uptight and caught in the day-to-day living routine that it is possible to step out of the box and do something different even though you have a big family. I can't think of a better way to show people that a big family with a "single parent" can get out there and have fun than at a wedding. It took some work but I think we pulled it off.

The kids had a lot of fun too. It was fun to see them so happy. We came, we saw, we conquered.

But next time we conquer the world--it will be with pants. *wink*

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