Return Trip

Jenny and I left Elena with her grandparents this weekend so we could return to Austin for a wedding. While there we missed her, as did everyone we saw, but it was probably better that she didn’t join us. My mother committed to being a full-time grandma this weekend, and Elena loved playing with her. And while she would have enjoyed most of the trip, the travel segments would probably have been miserable for all three of us.

Our trip out on Friday went extremely smoothly–no lines at the airport, on-time flights, a friendly agent at the car rental desk in Austin, and sunny warm weather. We spent the evening with John and Karina, catching up with them and playing with Elena’s cousins. They’ve all grown noticeably since we last saw them, especially Ainsley, who is now a real little person and not just a baby.

On Saturday morning we decided we could make better use of our time by splitting up. Jenny went to visit her friend Michi, while I attended a rowing event associated with the wedding. Jeff and Caroline, the happy couple, are both rowing coaches, so they invited all their guests to spend some time on the water. They put a few experienced rowers in each boat along with the true novices, then we went out and all tried to figure things out.

It was a lot of fun. After sub-freezing temperatures in the mid-Atlantic, it was amazing to be on the water at all, much less in short sleeves under a bright blue sky. The novices in my boat picked things up quickly and made the ride very smooth. We didn’t win the short race at the end of the event, but we did the best we could.

During the middle of the day we joined John and Karina for some family activities. There was an open house at their stake center featuring a display of several hundred Nativity scenes, ranging from the Little People Nativity to artistic and beautiful ones in a variety of media. Their church building opened only a couple of months ago, so John gave us a tour–it’s pretty nice. After the open house, we picked out a Christmas tree. John and Karina have high standards, so Jenny and I occupied the kids by racing them around in shopping carts.

We didn’t have much time for a rest before the main event, which took place at a beautiful location overlooking Austin. Aside from the fact that the weather had turned colder, everything about the wedding was wonderful. Caroline was beautiful, Jeff looked great in his tux, all their friends and family were there.

One sweet moment of the wedding was the ‘children’s parade’–a variant on the traditional flower girl theme. Just before Caroline walked down the aisle, all of the children at the wedding (except for one reluctant little cowboy) walked down the aisle, each carrying a Gerbera daisy to put in a vase at the front. At the end of the ceremony, Jeff gave those flowers to Caroline as her bouquet.

The rest of the evening was just as nice as the ceremony. Since moving, we’ve missed all the good Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, so we were really happy when dinner came around–the appetizers included chips and guacamole, and the main courses were fajitas and enchiladas.

After some very nice toasts, we went back outside for dancing to the tunes of the Sunset Valley Boys. I’m not sure that Jenny and I have ever danced before, but we were having such a good time and wanted to stay warm, so we joined in for a couple of numbers. We were getting tired, so we said our goodbyes and headed out.


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