Monday, April 21, 2008

Weekend Travels

Over the weekend we took a short trip to Alabama.

We stopped at Lake Martin on Friday night to see my parents and celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary! Go Mom and Dad! And we had the best steaks ever at a little out-of-the way place called Poplar Dawg. Jacob enjoyed the smashed potatoes, though wasn't too keen on bits of steak. He will learn in time. Mmmmmm.

It was supposed to be a restful getaway, but Jacob woke up at 2:30 local time and didn't want to go back to sleep until about 8:00 that morning. Thankfully, my mom took over for a bit so I could nap. My Aunt Bertha arrived and we ate a delicious lunch at Oskar's, and hopped back in the car. Jacob finally slept. It was a beautiful drive in the Alabama countryside, with rolling green farms and forests on either side of the highway. Good times.

That afternoon, we traveled up to Sylacauga to see Gaines' grandparents. Really, one of the main reasons we came was to see them (or, more accurately, for them to see Jacob). As a bonus, Gaines volunteered to stay with Jacob at their house while I went with my family to attend my second cousin's wedding. We spent summers together at camp when we were small and ended up attending the same college, so I was excited to see her and her family again.

The wedding took place at Foxhall Farm, owned by a friend of the bride's family, and was unlike any farm I have ever seen. Imagine a tree-covered hillside with green lawns and gardens nestled between two large houses overlooking a lake (though they called one a bunkhouse, it was a far cry from any bunkhouse I've stayed in. Definitely not summer camp!). The atmosphere was quite casual and my family and I arrived early, so we had plenty of time to sip some beverages and mingle before the ceremony began.

The wedding took place in the evening, on a small circular patio overlooking the dock and the lake. My dad noticed some ducks flying off as the bride walked down the path to her groom. A beautiful ceremony, but I have to say I think that's the first time I've ever attended a wedding wearing flowered pink flip flops. (The flip flops were a brilliant idea--they provided a basketfull for all of us ladies in heels to wear because we kept getting stuck in the pine straw!) All of the guests stood around on the hillside to watch the procession. My cousin Elizabeth looked gorgeous, and her sisters and bridesmaids were all beautiful in their soft green gowns.

This wedding was quite the interesting affair. Someone commented at dinner that it was the first time he could recall saying the Lord's prayer while holding a beer. (I opted for champagne. Still, a first for me, too.) The groom's side were all from New York and I'm sure they received a large dose of Southern hospitality over the weekend! The groom is a personal trainer and we spotted a few semi-famous faces in the crowd (think reality TV + models). The buffet reception included delicious Southern specialties like fried green tomatoes, potato salad, and red velvet cake. It felt a bit like a dressed-up Sunday potluck, but I didn't mind at all!

I enjoyed myself immensely, yet I felt quite strange without Gaines by my side. I think this was my first "solo" wedding post-marriage, though technically I was tagging along with my parents. I did get to chat with some folks I knew from Birmingham-Southern and catch up with the many extended cousins and family that I rarely get to see, some I hadn't seen in over 15 years. I vaguely remembered some of the more distant relatives from family reunions and Christmas card photos and kept having to rack my brain for the connections. I really needed a large flow chart or at least this diagram. It was great seeing everyone nonetheless.

On the drive home, every car was stopped at a police checkpoint on the road leading back to the main highway. I think the small-town officers needed to meet a quota or just didn't have anything better to do on a Saturday night--there were at least 5 police cars parked along the road.

Thankfully, I was dropped off at the grandparents' safely after bidding adieu to my parents and aunts. I found that Jacob had enjoyed large servings of mashed potatoes at dinner and was soundly asleep. He actually slept eight hours straight, which is a good night for him. One day we will enjoy those ten-hour uninterrupted nights again, but it is not to be right now.

Sunday we enjoyed a lazy morning and drove home around midday, stopping a few times to give Jacob a break from the hot car and to soothe his sore gums. We could see the Atlanta skyline when he finally broke down, but I think it was due to overtiredness, because he promptly fell asleep once we got to the Perimeter. All in all, in was a great weekend spent with family and now we are home and back to the weekly routine.

Hopefully, these teeth that are giving Jacob trouble will emerge soon. We all could use a little more rest.


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