The low-down of our trip to the Great Lake State.
I'm happy to report that we left the house EARLY on Thursday morning, don't ask how that happened. Honestly, I think it had something to do with the fact that we packed up the car the night before and that I was up at 3:45am. When then drove to the park-n-ride by the airport, parked, unloaded, climbed into the shuttle and arrived at DIA at 6 o'clock on the button. We discovered that Curbside Check-in is SOOOO worth it when you're lugging three suitcases, carry on bags and carseats. What's a measily $6? After that, we were down to two carry ons, a diaper bag and a garment bag, umbrella stroller, and two car seats. Little did we know that we could've checked both car seats and saved hauling them thru security and all that. No one at Northwest offered to do this for us. The line for security moved very quickly and we got thru without any problems, thank goodness. They did ask me what was in Cara's sippy cup--water, no liquid explosives--but otherwise, we were in the clear. We got to our gate in plenty of time to go to McDonald's for breakfast ($14 for 3 breakfast Extra Value Meals?!) and watch planes pull in. Having kids pays off at the gate when we are allowed priority boarding with all of the first class people. It took us that long to get everyone situated, including asking for help with Cailtin's car seat. We then settled in for our just shy of 3 hour plane ride. Cara briefly nursed before falling asleep, Ben was out almost immediately (having worked the night before) and Caitlin dozed off shortly after take off. Cara woke up after about a 45 minute nap, so I entertained here with toys and Cheerios while Ben & Caitlin continued to sleep. Pretty uneventful and routine flight in all regards. The only thing that urks me is how the major airlines are charging for food now. On our flight, they were charging $5 for a snack box! Not even real food, just snacks. Thankfully, I had packed snacks for everyone, we just took the free beverages. Anyway, we got into DTW (Northwest World Gateway...WOW!) right on schedule and after figuring out the Tram, got to the luggage claim and met Ben's mom & sister. The girls were greeted with hugs and gifts...Ben and I with just hugs. Once we got outside of the terminal, the humidity and heat hit us! Holy smokes...I sure haven't missed THAT about Michigan! We just don't get the humidity here in Colorado, thank goodness. The rest of Thursday saw us unwinding and prepping for the journey down to Toledo for the wedding. My sister-in-law (thanks F!) treated me to a manicure & pedicure and Caitlin to having her nails painted. What a rare and appreciated treat! I got a french manicure and looked like sophisticated momma.
That evening, I snuck over to my good friend Robyn's house and we hung out, she showed me how to do my make-up (I'm clueless) and played with my hair. I'm sorry to say that she was the only friend that we had time to see and that's only because she lives right down the street from the in-laws (and yes, it's just because we like them too).
Firday, we all got up, showered and packed for our journey to Toledo. Ben & I had the grand idea to try to stop off in Birmingham on our (out of the) way down. Unfortunately, we ran into construction traffic (construction has it's own season in MI) and ended up scratching that idea. Turns out that the people we wanted to see were out of town anyway, though I would've loved to have seen the library. Ben decided to take Evergreen to 7 Mile, don't ask me why, and then 7 Mile to 75. Needless to say, it was THE SLOWEST way to get to 75--lots of stoplights, detours, etc--and took us through some rough neighbors like something right out of Eminem's 8 Mile. After about 1 1/2 hours, we finally got on I-75. Problem was, our directions were from US 23, so we got totally turned around ending up all over the Metro Toledo area including down on the waterfront (very pretty area). By some miracle, we arrived at the rehearsal at 5:02pm, only two minutes late. I think Caitlin was hot & tired because she really did not want to cooperate with the wedding coordinator and had to be sternly talked to ("Catilin, I'm sure there's a wall for you to stand with your nose against around here somewhere...") before she conceeded and cooperated with everyone. The santuary was beautiful, built in 1905, but lacked one essential during midwestern summers, air conditioning. To say it was warm in there would be a gross understatment. Thankfully, we were able to run through the ceremony quickly and then head off to the restaraunt for dinner. We had dinner at the Navy Pier Bistro down on the waterfront. Beautiful location, great food, lots of fun. I had this piece of caramel pecan pie to die for!
We awoke to a beautiful, yet probably the warmest day of the summer thus far, on Saturday morning. Caitlin was up and out with the bridal party to have her hair done around 10am and Ben followed at noon. Cara, my mother in law and I headed to a local Target to pick up some last minute dress essentials before going back to the hotel to change. I am proud to say that I negoiated Toledo's freeways all by myself and got us to the wedding with time to spare. Unfortunately, that was the last piece of good news. Just as we feared, the santuary was very warm again, with only fans to circulate the air. At first, Cara & I were doing well. We sat towards the outer aisle in the back in case we had to make an emergency exit and Cara was as happy as a clam. However, as soon as the actual ceremony started, Cara began to fuss. I noticed that she was drenched in sweat despite my attempts to cool her with a paper fan & a sippy cup with water (word of advice, make sure baby's clothes are made of cotton). We ended up having to vacate the santuary and watch the ceremony from the doors leading to. I couldn't hear what was being said, but the ceremony was beautiful nonetheless. Ben looked handsome standing up as his brother's best man and Caitlin did a wonderful job as flower girl, she looked so grown up. I think that Ben & I shed a tear. My brother in law and his new wife were so blistfully happy and in love, such of a wonderful sight. Susan looked so beautiful and glowing in her gown. It was just a picture-perfect ceremony. Afterwards, we all assembled outside to see the new couple off. Mind you, it was a perfectly clear, sunny day so the sun was just beating down on us. Cara was not happy about being outside and soon started to wail. I brought her back inside and attempted to pacify her with no luck. At one point, I was seriously considering foregoing the reception due to Cara's temperment. I decided to give her one last chance and escaped to the bellows of the church to feed her. Momentary peace came over us while she nursed only to be follwed by convulsions. I am fairly certain that she had heat stroke. Never have I felt so guilty or scared. I rushed her to the sink in the lounge area, strpped her down to her diaper and splashed cool water all over her. After a few minutes, she stopped shaking and promptly fell asleep. After making sure she was indeed sleeping (checking for a pulse and signs of breathing), I moved her upstairs again, by the fans, while the wedding party had more photographs taken.
Afterward, we all headed over to the reception. Again, the food was wonderful and the entertainment was great. It was so cute to see Ben dancing with Caitlin and then his mom. Ben & I got to dance too, which was a rare treat. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. The rest of the night, Ben & Caitlin got their groove on while I stayed with Cara. Caitlin had a blast dancing with her Uncle Kofi, Aunt Effie and brand-new Aunt Susan. That little girl danced from the time the music started until Ben carried her off the dance floor around midnight! Cara & I headed out awhile before then as Cara was sleepy. We ended up driving around town and to a Meijer parking lot where Cara had her nightcap and promptly fell asleep. Ben and I, both high on life after the reception, went out in search of food and found a Kroger. Armed with yogurt, salad and chips, we came back to the hotel, sat in the dining room and chatted for awhile. Ahh...life without kids, even if it was 1:30 in the morning!
Sunday found us out in the country around Slyvania, OH at Susan's parents' home. We all had a BBQ followed by a refreshing swim in the pond in front of their house. Ben, Caitlin & I attempted to paddle boat but, Caitlin got scared when the tether for the boat got caught up in the paddles and we coulnd't paddle. Brave Uncle Kofi and Navyman, Jason came to the rescue. Once we were freed, we made one more loop around the pond before heading inside to leave. I almost forgot, we all watched Kofi & Susan open their wedding presens and boy did they get some beautiful things, especially some crystal serving pieces. Kofi was saying that they got so much stuff that they needed a bigger house to put them in!
We headed back to MI and over to Kofi & Susan's place to say goodbye to them and have some wonderful Jet's pizza. They were heading out to Hawaii for two weeks in the morning as we were leaving to come back to Denver.
We arrived at the airport, checked in at Frontier where they promptly asked if we wanted to check our car seats (yes, please!) and then headed to security. Again, we got lucky and went right through, no problems while the family in front of us got searched. After some Starbuck's for breakfast we boarded the plane. I have to say that I love Frontier airlines (not only because they started in Denver either). The employees are very friendly and helpful, the planes are comfortable, they offer free drinks & snacks and the best part---for $5 you can watch TV or movies on these little screens built into the seats. We paid for Caitlin to watch NickJr in-flight and it kept her quiet and happy. Cara slept most of the flight while Ben and I rested up. We got into Denver right on time, and after struggling with getting luggage to the shuttle pick up point, got back to our car and on our way home.
It's good to be home but, we are missing Detroit and our friends and family there. Caitlin really grew attached to her Uncle Kofi, Aunts Susan & Effie as well as her Nana and Grandpa (who she met for the first time at the wedding). She still talks about how she misses them and the fun that she had (especially the limo rides). I wish that we had more time to make the rounds to see family and friends. Hopefully, we'll be able to make a trip out next summer to see everyone.
Well, that's all folks. Everything considered, it was a pretty seamless trip there & back with just enough "adventure" thrown in to make things interesting and memorable!
To Kof & Susan--we can't wait to see the pictures of both the wedding and honeymoon! We hope that you guys had a wonderful time in Hawaii! Thank you for letting us be a part of your special day.
To Aunt F & Nana--thanks for providing the means for us to come to MI and for the hospitality (oh yeah, and for spoiling the girls).