Monday, September 04, 2023

Deklan and Holly's wedding (August 26)

The main reason for our visit to Canada was to attend Deklan and Holly's wedding (which has been on our calendar since their engagement on November 20, 2021). It was nice of them to give us plenty of notice so that we could sort our passports and plane tickets and things like that well in advance.

The wedding was beautiful and the day was gorgeous. Unfortunately, Phoebe's first attempt at napping was thwarted because she fell asleep literally two minutes before we arrived at the venue. She was a bit of a...typical tired toddler...during the ceremony, so Miriam took pictures with the camera (sitting beside Auntie Josie, who recorded the ceremony for the couple) and I dealt with Phoebe.

I packed my purple floral dressed based on ease of packing—that thing doesn't wrinkle, wrinkle (it folds)—and forgot to think at all of accessibility. Phoebe really wanted to nurse and was really upset that I was (cruelly) preventing her from doing so. 

Despite our ongoing battle over nursing rights, the ceremony was beautiful. 

Deklan and Holly shared in their vows that they met when Deklan was just 16 and Holly was 20; they both worked at the same place. Deklan had recently been hired and Holly was out on maternity leave. She came in to work to show off her little girl and the first thing Deklan said to her was, "Nice baby!" They were friends for years and didn't think they would start dating until...they did (when Deklan was about 20, I think). I'm glad to think that they have a firm friendship behind their relationship.

After the wedding ceremony we had about an hour's break while pictures were taken and food was prepped. My sweet sister Abra was so stressed out about food—my mom and Josie even made a quick dash to the store shortly before we left for the venue so she could have some extra supplies on hand!

Deklan's cousin Shelby (who was such a sweet little baby, with fiery red hair) got married about a month before Deklan and Holly did, and her dad Barry had (who is very handy) made a bunch of yard games as wedding decor with giant pieces—Jenga and checkers and tic-tac-toe. We were encouraged to head outside to play the games, and (after sitting in the van to nurse in seclusion—and then having her second nap attempt thwarted) Phoebe and I took up the offer (though not many others seemed to). We didn't follow the rules for any game, but sure had fun, anyway!

Here's Phoebe loading up the Connect Four game with all the pieces:

Her goal wasn't necessarily to get four in a row, but to put all the pieces in however she could:

And here she is saying, "X! X! X!" 

Sometimes she surprises me by blurting out words I had no idea she knew. X is apparently one of those words. And did she also know the word for O? 

No. No, she did not know the word for O. She decided that those O's looked a little bit like a toilet seat and stacked them up on a bucket lid to make herself a potty. 

"Potty! Potty! Potty!" she said.

And did I have to stop her from using her toilet creation? 

Yes. Yes, I did have to dash all her hopes and dreams by not letting her pull down her pants and sit on her new little toilet. This was exceedingly unfair and Phoebe's un-napped self was not afraid to let me know about it. Fortunately, howling into the prairie wind is a rather pointless exercise and babies are easily distracted. 

Here's Phoebe playing with the checkerboard:

"Circle! Circle! Purple! Circle!"

Again, the object of the game here was, for Phoebe, not so much checkers as simply "put the circles places and occasionally tell mom when you find a particularly exciting purple one." A very good game!

Phoebe and I spent an awfully long time wandering around outside. For one thing, it was such a gorgeous day. For another thing, we didn't have to wear our masks outside. Lastly, many buildings up north don't have air conditioning, so even though the doors were open to allow a breeze through the hall, it was a little warmer inside than out this late in the afternoon. 

And, quizzically, we were hardly bothered by mosquitoes at all the whole time we were there! 

Sometimes the mosquitoes can be brutal, but this year seemed to be rather mosquito-free, which was nice.

I've talked before about how trapped I feel in the city sometimes. The cars and houses and buildings go on and on and on and I just crave a bit of wilderness...where I don't have to look for parking or hear any city sounds or even see anybody else if I don't want to. That can be hard to find in...Atlanta. Wikipedia tells me that the metropolitan area of Atlanta "spreads across a[n]...area of 8,376 square miles (21,694 km2)—a land area comparable to that of Massachusetts." That is one big, continuous city. 

Being out on the prairie was a literal breath of fresh air.

As for the whereabouts of Zoë and Miriam, well... Zoë was off running around with Iah (Deklan's new daughter (the baby he told Holly was "nice")). She is just a week or so younger than Zoë! Those two were wearing beautiful dresses and catching grasshoppers, climbing onto the roof, squirming under trucks, and getting into general mischief all over.

They also stopped to play with Phoebe a time or two. Here they are looking for cool rocks on the gravel road:

Phoebe had shoes, by the way, she simply refused to wear them.

Again, I'm not saying that any place is better than any other place. I could list positives and negatives about everywhere I've lived. All I'm saying is that the prairie sky is spectacular and the silence a welcome break from the hubbub of the city (plus the incessant screaming of cicadas and katydids all summer long).

I mean, I'm not sure it could get prettier even if it tried. (Though to be fair, I am partial to trees...and mountains...and seasides... Like I said, pros and cons to every place).

Miriam was a huge help in the kitchen, which was wonderful because I really wasn't able to help in the kitchen at all (because Phoebe would have undid whatever good I might've been able to accomplish). 

She found a few moments to sneak outside with us, though!

Here are a few shots of the kitchen crew hard at work:

Brady, Anton, Piper, Abra, and Zoë (who'd just come in to grab a bottle of water)

Abra, Piper, my mom, and Allison (the wife of Abra's ex-husband Billy, stepmom to Abra's kids)

There were other helpers in the kitchen, too. Josie was in there a lot, for example. And Abra's friend (and former Relief Society president) from when she lived in High River. Here's a story—

My niece Amy went into the kitchen and saw this friend of Abra's and was like, "Oh, hey! How are you doing?"

And the friend was like, "Oh, things are going well. How are your boys?"

And my mom and sister were like, " two know each other?"

As it turns out, they did! Abra's friend is the biological aunt of Amy's sister Amber (who was also adopted), so Amy had seen her at various family events planned for/by Amber, who sought out her birth family after Amy found all of us! So here Abra and her friend were the biological aunts for these two adopted sisters and neither of them knew about the other's situation. It was pretty funny to find it all out there in the kitchen!

Phoebe and I came in for some dinner and had a good time conversing with family.

The letters on the walls, for those who don't know (Josie and Miriam were included in the "those who don't know" until they found out), are cattle brands for various families in the area. Holly's family brand is the R above the lazy H (on the far right). One rather prominent brand in the area (not on the walls of this particular community center) comes from the Bar U Ranch (its a U with a line above it).

We spent a little bit of time unmasked in the dining hall (which I immediately regretted when I began hearing verified cases of COVID from the wedding party...but a girl has to eat). Here I am with Deklan:

Here's my brother David with Deklan:

Here's David and I with a very sleepy-looking Phoebe (would you believe that after all this we got to the hotel and went swimming before bed?!):

We were all the while trying to gather all the cousins together for a picture:

Here they finally are gathered together, with me and Holly in the picture as well:

And here's a picture I snapped of Amy, my mom, and Auntie Colleen waiting for dinner:

And here are Phoebe and I back outside playing with rocks again (one of the few things to keep Phoebe happy once the games were packed away):

She doesn't look particularly happy or alert here (she was incredibly tired, as I have mentioned), but I love the way the sun is shining through her curls.

She found a dead butterfly in the gravel (likely a clouded sulphur).

Isn't it pretty? (It really bugs Andrew that I allow/encourage the kids to play with...bugs...he just doesn't like them but I figure it's better than being afraid of them).

Josie, having just arrived from Utah the day before the wedding, was set to jet home very early in the morning the day after the wedding, so she was heading back to Calgary with David, getting home late and going straight to bed, and then getting up early before anyone else in the house was awake to flee to the airport. What a whirlwind trip for her!

Before they left, however, we managed to gather together for a quick photo with my parents and the four of us (only Patrick and Kelli missing; one day we'll get all of us together...though it's already been over 20 years since that's happened so...who knows when it will ever happen). Maybe I can have Patrick and Kelli send individual pictures so I can photoshop them in (poorly). 

Afterwards we went inside for the wedding dance (a southern Alberta tradition, that I'm sure is a tradition in other places as well, but not, it seems, so very common at (Mormon?) Utah weddings, though Andrew and I had a dance at our wedding). 

Here are Deklan and Holly having their first dance:

Here's Holly dancing with her dad:

Here's a shot of Deklan and Abra joining them in a mother-son dance:

And then the dance floor was opened to whoever wanted to dance and a surprisingly few number of people wanted to at all! I think it was just a very long day for so many people (the wedding was at 3:00 and the dance didn't get started until 8:00 or so). 

Our trusty kitchen crew was mostly plumb tuckered out:

Here's Piper, Anton, Abra, Brady, and my mom acting as wall flowers:

My mom taught me that the moulding in the middle of the wall is called a chair rail and it's to prevent the chairs from bashing up the drywall. I...had no idea it had a purpose and always assumed it was purely an aesthetic decision. 

Miriam, Phoebe, and I gave the dance floor a little use before heading back to the hotel, though:

Phoebe isn't wearing her mask because by this point in the evening she had so thoroughly chewed/sucked on it that it was dripping wet, all over. Quite disgusting. She was definitely ready to go.

Here's Zoë racing across the field after we called to her to tell her we were leaving:

And here's an adorable picture of Anton and Piper (they are also in the picture above, but were a little slower to come when their mother called (Abra and Brady rode in the same car as Piper and Anton, and they also wanted to leave) because they were busy taking this picture:

What a wonderful reason to get the family together. Congratulations to Deklan and Holly!

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