Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You Can't Always Get What you Want...

So I'm pregnant.

It's another boy.

I maybe cried.

Ok, I maybe broke into tears right there on the ultrasound table with no one there but the somewhat surprised ultrasound tech who just kept telling me God just wants me to have boys.

Well, that wasn't what I had in mind.

And yes, if you're wondering, I did mean to get pregnant.  I meant to get pregnant with a girl. I actually feel a little tricked. Everything that prompted me to have a baby had to do with the feeling that I was going to have a girl. It's not like I was just sitting around thinking my life was so easy and I had way too much spare time on my hands or anything. But I was willing to do it for all these things making me think it was going to be a girl. And seriously, I did my part. I conferred with my OB on how to increase your chances of getting a girl. I had my timing all figured out. I read every old wives tale possible. I consulted the Chinese calendar. So if somehow this boy made it through all that, he must be a fighter. Or really just meant to be, although I still have trouble conceding to that.

Oh, and even better: he's due February 24th - the twins' birthday.  

For all my strategic planning I don't know how I managed to miss that.  And Ryan's birthday is five days later. In fact, at that time within my family there are 8 birthdays within about a 2 week span. I seriously did not mean to put one more right in the middle of all that! February is going to break the bank in our house.

I must have some sort of statistical improbability fairy following me around because identical twin boys...four boys in a row with zero girls.... I don't know anyone my age personally who has four boys and no girls.

Ryan doesn't seem phased.

I am better off today than I was yesterday when I found out. I'll fill in the blank for you with really the only thing to say to me right now:  at least he's healthy.  I know. For that I am grateful.  At least we'll save all that money on weddings. And feminine supplies. (But make up for it with our food budget, emergency room bills and mission funds). Better 4 boys than 4 girls. You can always try for one more (and risk five boys?  I'm not sure about that one). Less drama, (more broken bones). I know, I know.

The idea of 4 grubby boys trailing after me just has yet to appeal to me.  One of my first thoughts was - I'm throwing out every character t-shirt we own.  If I have to have 4 boys they at least better dress like preppy little GAP boys or something so we don't look like a stinky bunch of hellions running around everywhere. But like I'll actually succeed in getting around the superhero phase. Or the stinky phase. Or ever getting any help in the kitchen.

Damn that Chinese calendar.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ireland wrap up

Saturday morning the rain finally caught up with us. We still went out clay shooting that day, which was a blast. Ryan, the boy who grew up with guns hanging inside the front door, was one of the top shooters of course - hitting only one less than the guy who was a marine. And once I got the hang of it I wasn't too bad.

Even the groom was out shooting guns only hours before the wedding. (I doubt the bride cared though, she and her bridesmaids spent the day getting spa treatments. :) The guys working at the gun place had some of the thickest Irish accents we heard in Ireland and we laughed pretty hard when a man we could barely understand said he was going to be the one to give us the instructions on gun safety.

They also had archery arranged that morning which I was excited to try since I've never done it, but with the drive out to the shooting range we didn't have time to do both before having to get ready for the wedding.

We met the shuttle that afternoon to take us over to the church they were going to have the actual wedding ceremony in. It was quite a famous church with tourists milling around the grounds and had some quite prominent Irish people buried there.  And as everything else with the wedding was perfect, the weather even cleared up just in time for the wedding.

(The church was pretty - just obviously heavily forested.)

The ceremony started and in came all of the wedding party (I think there were about 10 bridesmaids), all accompanied by the organ. Then the organ stops and all of a sudden you hear the blare of a bagpipe and in comes a kilt-wearing bagpiper followed by the bride. Talk about here comes the bride!  It was probably one of my favorite touches of the wedding. I LOVE bagpipes and seriously, what a way to announce your entry.

Even though lots of people were taking pictures of the wedding, I felt weird trying to get in people's way to get a shot, so I just got a couple not good pictures of them signing the wedding certificate and leaving the chapel.

The wedding was lovely, the bride and groom followed the bagpipes out and everyone hung out and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings (not to mention the amazing flowers over the arch) and took photos for a while.

Will and Marion, the happy couple


Check out the sweet ride with the personalized plates they had waiting as their transport back to the castle and off for the honeymoon.  Loved it.

Even the tourists were out excitedly snapping pictures of the wedding party.

Then it was back to the shuttles where a white-gloved staff met us with glasses of champagne that they continued to fill the whole way back to the castle. (And came back with water for two of us.)

At the castle we were ushered around back for a garden party with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. It was beautiful. There was a band (different than the band they would have later that night) and beautiful flowers and delicious seafood appetizers. (Ryan kept stalking the girl with the lobster bisque, trying to pop up in different places acting like he was a different guy :)  They even had shawls for the women in case you got chilly and umbrellas for everyone in case it rained.

The bride and groom made their entrance in their stylish automobile and then mingled a bit before taking some pictures with the wedding party.

 I believe the bride's dress was a Carolina Herrera designer gown (for those who follow those kind of things). I can't remember the designer for the bridesmaids dresses, but apparently the bridesmaids had about 25 dress choices to look over. They each narrowed it down to their top three or so, and then Marion went through with a professional and each girl was matched to a dress and color based on her body type and skin color. (The photographer was always in my way, so this was the best large group shot I got.)

The dinner bell was rung, and we were ushered into the castle.  I swear there was an entire garden's worth of hydrangeas in that room.

Actually the flowers were flown in from Holland early that morning. They were literally flowers everywhere. Tall arrangements on the tables, short arrangements underneath those, flowers on the cocktail tables outside, flowers in the bar, flowers in the bathroom, flowers all over the castle... Wow.  I really liked these arrangements too with rosemary wrapped around them.

Everything at this wedding was monogrammed. I should start with their wedding invitations, actually. Their save-the-date cards were really a small booklet with all sorts of information on Sligo, the accomodations, things to do, etc. beautifully letterpressed with designs from the area and castle in Ireland. The wedding invitations were again beautifully letterpressed and seriously about the thickness of a cardboard box. The dinner menus that night were letterpressed and designed to match the interior of the room we were eating in. But then everything you touched pretty much the whole weekend was monogrammed - napkins, menus, itineraries, coasters, even wooden cocktail stirrers. They had also had their fine china specially designed to be of the castle in Ireland. Pretty impressive attention to detail.

For dinner we had several courses, even sorbet before the main meal to cleanse the palette. For the main course we had our choice of duck or monkfish (I went with duck). After dinner and a few words from the families, the cake was cut and a room for dancing was opened up with a different band playing.

You'd think she might be tired, but that bride danced her socks off all night long.

When they were ready to leave, we found beautifully boxed and packaged cupcakes with an artistically decorated Irish scene with two sheep on it with for all the guests to take as they left. Of course there had to be one final perfect touch, as they drove off.  We all lined up with sparklers, then as they started down the dirt road from the castle, a tunnel of fireworks shot up like fountains along their path lighting their way out. It was a pretty spectacular ending.

The next day, our last day for sightseeing our way back out of the country was pretty much seen through the windows of our car as it rained almost nonstop the whole day.

And then we came to this one area on the coast where there were wild purple and yellow flowers growing everywhere.  Entire hillsides were covered in them. So gorgeous.

That night we stopped in Galway, a really cute town, for our final Irish meals and meandering.

We really did try our fill of anything Irish we could think of there. Lots of fresh seafood, fish and chips, Irish stews, lamb, shepherd's pie, and of course Irish coffee and lots and lots of beer for everyone else.

And of course we have to give a HUGE thank you to Ryan's sister who flew all the way across the country to leave her 4 kids (older than ours) and come take care of our three unruly boys. We walked in to a clean house and happy boys - (I can never get both of those simultaneously). Brave woman even took the kids swimming every day, did projects with them, and even my cupboards were organized and food was made to last for the next day or two.  How's that for service??!

Oh Ireland. It was an amazing time. The perfect wedding. Our accomodations were great, food was great. The country was beautiful. I love the accents. I kept saying I could live there. I'm sure there are downfalls to the country but I didn't see them. I guess the rain.  But just think, my tall, lanky, pasty white kids would even fit right in!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ireland continued

We arrived at the castle that night just in time to catch the last half of the pub crawl the wedding party was having through the town of Sligo that night. (I have to admit I wasn't that bummed we missed the first half - 6+ hours of bar-hopping was a little much for me. I can only drink so many diet cokes.)

They had appetizers and food, and even their own personalized coasters all over the town of Sligo. Ryan and I snuck out a few times and even headed over to what had been deemed an "old people bar" by the wedding-goers to hear the traditional Irish music that was going on over there. We laughed that we felt more at home in the geriatric pub, but hey, they had good taste in music and it felt much more Irish.

I actually have no idea how that country can possibly support the number of pubs it has. There are seriously like 5 on every block. O'hara's, O'Malleys, O'Grady's...you name it. Towns with a population of 800 people will still have like 10-15 pubs in them!  Crazy. Guess that's what you do when it's always raining.

They had hired shuttles for the wedding guests all weekend taking them to and from events and around to their organized activities. Some went early morning golfing the next morning, but we took one they had arranged to take us sightseeing around the area.

And every time I saw sheep in Ireland I kept thinking these must be the happiest sheep in the whole world.  I'd be a happy little sheep living in a place like this.
Then we headed into Sligo town for some lunch on the waterfront.

That afternoon a shuttle took people over for a tour of Parke Castle - the namesake castle of the groom and the draw for the wedding to be done in the mother-land, so to speak. Weddings aren't done there, however, which is why another venue was used. They even located some of their Irish Parke ancestors and it was fun to have some locals among the wedding crowd. And to see them bust out hats and feathers when they were dressed in their finery.

Anyhow, I'll admit, I was a bit tired after red-eyes, late night pubs and jet-lag, and a nap sounded too inviting for me to pass up that afternoon, so mostly the boys went and toured the castle without us.

The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute boys: Will (the groom), Ryan, Justin and Dave - all third year residents.

(Doesn't Dave look like he's straight out of Miami Vice?  I love it. Stands out even better in a country that is so not diverse.  In fact one of the groomsmen was going to pick them up at the train station and asked Will how he was going to find this guy there. Will said, "Don't worry, I'm pretty sure he'll be the only Persian in Ireland.  :)

That night we were taken over to a beautiful hotel in town for the rehearsal dinner. I think they'd had an actual wedding rehearsal the night before with just the wedding party, but this was for all the guests (100 people came all the way to Ireland for the wedding - pretty impressive). The evening was full of great food, lots of amusing toasts and entertaining stories of both the bride and groom, and even some traditional Irish folk dancers (who move way to fast for any decent pictures).


I must say it was definitely a first for me to have to travel with a hanging bag full of  cocktail dresses, tuxes and evening gowns.  I could get used to it.  :)

Well, have to get back to my normal life again. Sorry, wedding will be next time!