Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wedding Weekend

Lots of great photos to post and memories to share...Dan's sister, Ellie, got married this past weekend at West Point and it was spectacular! So many friends and family there to celebrate this special occasion and things couldn't have gone better in terms of all the wedding events and our two kiddos.

We left on Friday after lunch and both kids seemed primed for the ride down to White Plains.
Sadly, it wasn't the smoothest of rides since Dagny is still learning how to hold it together in the car, but we made it to NY in time to relax a bit before Shabbat dinner.  Grandma Gilda made a wonderful dinner for everyone (Donny's parents and siblings and us Forseters, too) and after Finley went off to bed (on a cot mattress on the floor!), Ellie had some bonding time with her niece.
After a laid back morning, we piled into the car once again and headed to the gorgeous Thayer Hotel at West Point to check in.  Our room wasn't quite ready when we arrived, but since my parents had already arrived for the weekend, Finley napped in their room.  Dagny, my mom, and I hung out in the lobby and acted as the unofficial welcoming committee as lots of other wedding guests arrived.  It was fun to see friends and family and to show off the newest addition to the Forseter clan.

Here are three worthwhile photos that don't really fit into any of my other planned wedding weekend blogs so just thought I'd toss them in:

My sister Caitlin was invited to the wedding as well and she arrived Saturday before the rehearsal dinner.
Finley became his (second) cousin Jake's best buddy over the weekend and they had fun together checking out a local playground on Sunday morning.  This photo really makes me smile!
Our king-sized bed came in handy this weekend since Dagny still sleeps with us and Finley was a frequent visitor.  Sure makes our full-sized bed at home seem small...

Wedding Weekend II

Saturday night was the rehearsal dinner and Finley jumped at the chance to ride the yellow school bus to the Lodge.  Dan and Dagny drove our car there while Finley, Caitlin, my mom, and I hopped on the bus.  Finley was SO excited to sit right behind the driver and everyone else that got on after us remarked how adorable he was and how they wished a bus ride would make their day the way it was making his!
 It was a fairly bumpy ride with some steep climbs and Finley asked me to put my arm across his body to keep him on the seat and then he asked to wear the seatbelts we were sitting on...leave it to my safety minded toddler to request the seatbelt as opposed to his mother forcing the issue :)

The dinner was lovely and while it was hard for Finley to sit quietly through all the speeches, he was quieter than his sister!  He had fun hanging out with Harrison (his ring bearer partner and second cousin) and Dan's cousin, Eric.
Dagny, on the other hand, got passed around and didn't seem to mind a bit.
I specifically remember being wary of passing Finley around when he was this young, but this time around I found it to be such a huge help to have a break and knowing that she is too little to be anxious about others holding her--I knew I had to take advantage!

Wedding Weekend III

Finley was given the honor of being a ring bearer for the ceremony and so he got all gussied up in his "wedding clothes" which consisted of linen khakis, white button down shirt, adorable bow tie, and new blue saucony sneakers.  For those of you that know our family well, we are VERY dress down and so this was one of just a handful of times Finley has had to look formal and I must admit--he looked adorable! I wasn't sure how we would convince him to wear the possibly constricting bow tie so we held off putting it on until we got downstairs for the family photos but as soon as he saw Harrison wearing his--he begged for it!  How great do these two ring bearers look??
Harrison (entering 4th grade this year) is always very sweet with Finley and I loved watching them interact.
I couldn't stop snapping photos of our snazzy little guy.

We tried to keep that shirt tucked in...but it was tough!
Aunt Ellie's wedding had everything -- even a river view with trains passing by across the bank!
 After all the photos (see next post for some samples), it was time for the boys to do their job.  I waited with them and the four flower girls until it was their turn to go down the aisle and deliver the rings.  Dan was at the end of the aisle so I figured Finley would see him and head that way--which he did with Harrison holding his hand.  My mom snapped this photo of the action!  Love that smile!
 Then, I tried to figure out how to get to my seat but ended up having to rescue the younger pair of flower girls who needed an escort down the aisle.  Glad I could help!

Finley did SO well (especially after he refused to do much at the rehearsal the day before!) that I'm pretty sure we could rent out his adorable ring bearer services to any bridal parties in need :)

Wedding Weekend IV

We reported for duty to take family photos before the wedding and brought my sister along to hold Dagny whenever we needed someone to take her. She did her job too well!
Finley helped Dan with his tie while Dan tried to tuck in his shirt (for the first of many tucks).

We look pretty good next to the gorgeous bride and groom, huh?
The Barasch Women (the girls of Gilda's side of the family).  I love that Dagny's yawning!
 A dad and his daughter.
The Four-seters looking fancy.
 This one was taken after the wedding and I'm so glad we remember to take it!!
 Mazel Tov Aunt Ellie and Uncle Donny!

Wedding Weekend V

Caitlin took care of Dagny during the entire ceremony--walking around with her and occasionally getting to sit down with her.  My mom took this photos from across the row and I think it's awesome!
 Finley did great during the ceremony and waited nicely in his chair while Dan and I each did our readings up front.  He did have a few loud outbursts, but they were timely and got a few giggles from those around us.  At one point he asked, "Why only boys wear kippahs (yarmulkes)?" and later, "Whoa--look at that bug!"

We enjoyed the cocktail hour and Finley enjoyed taking bread off a tray with tongs and then eating it.  So polite :) Dagny hung out with my sister and parents, though I would occasionally check in on her.  I nursed her and changed her, but otherwise let them take care of her.

The reception was lots of fun, but Finley needed a break from all the action so he watched a quick Caillou episode during the speeches and before dinner was served.
He loved the music and discovered how fun it is to dance at weddings.
Dagny had her first dance, too.
 I barely had to hold her at all since there was a line of people interested in doing so! It's like the parental version of Wedding Crashers...show up with a tiny baby at a party, pass her off, and go enjoy yourself!

Later, Caitlin kept watch in the hotel room while Finley slept and Dan and I got to enjoy some dessert and dancing before calling it a night after the last song.  Ellie was impressed that Dagny was partying late night but I was even more impressed that she ended up sleeping from 11pm to 5:15am without a peep! We may have a party animal on our hands :)

After a delicious brunch and one more valet golf cart ride for Finley, we headed back home.  It was a wonderful weekend all around--thanks to Ellie and Donny for such a terrific occasion!

Drumlin Farm

While we are probably just a few minutes closer to Drumlin Farm than we were when we lived in Arlington, it feels a lot closer and easier to get to.  Finley had been promised a visit to Drumlin Farm since the end of June.  The first time we planned to go, it poured rain and we played outside in the puddles in his new firefighter rain boots.  The second time, we invited Darwin and Megan to join us, but Dagny decided to arrive that morning so once again--Drumlin farm was put on hold.  Then we moved and somehow it was suddenly August and we still hadn't been to the farm! Let's just say that by the time we rolled into the farm's parking lot, Finley was more than thrilled :)

I put Dagny in the front pack and loaded Finley into the stroller.  I would have loved to ditch the stroller, but it is quite a long walk to and around the farm and there's no way I would be able to carry Finley with his little sister strapped to my chest when his little legs got tired.  Maybe next summer we can go sans stroller for Finley.  We visited the chickens, heard a rooster and then spotted it, saw and smelled the pigs (P-U said Finley), and as we made our way to the big red barn to see the cows--the red tractor drove out towing the flatbed of hay.  "The hayride is ready, Mommy!"  While he was enjoying looking at all the animals, Finley's heart was set on the hayride that he knew would be open at Drumlin.  However, it would be another 20 minutes before the driver would be taking passengers so Finley agreed to check out the rest of the animals while we waited.  Several cows and a pony named Midnight were inside the barn.  Also, there was a new room for kids to play in all decked out with horse equipment.
Then it was off to see the goats and the sheep.  Finley was so much more interested in all the animals and not nearly as skittish as in the past.  Fun! I checked my watch and it was time to head back to the barn for the hayride.  $3 later, we were on the hayride!  Here's Finley patiently waiting for the tractor to pull us. 
 It was a lovely ride around the farm and Finley loved waving at all the other farm visitors as we rolled by.  We continued to explore the farm after our ride and Finley loved waving at the hayride each time it passed us.
Even as he drove his pretend tractor, he waved at the real ones rolling by.

He really enjoyed "driving" his tractor and I was thrilled at this new addition to Drumlin since before there wasn't a whole lot to do aside from check out the animals.

Our final stop was the fox habitat and one of the workers was just feeding them (hiding dead mice in their habitat while they waited in their underground den).  She left and as promised, two foxes popped out and began to "hunt."  Finley thought the golden one was pretty cute but not cute enough to keep his attention away from the fact that he needed a snack.  So we rolled up to the entrance and found a shady spot to eat a little something.  Afterward, Finley played hide and seek before we got into the car.
 All in all, we spent nearly two and a half hours at Drumlin and when we got in the car, Finley said, "That sure was a fun a day at the farm.  Can we go again another time?"  Sure thing, little dude!

Exploring Acton

We left behind a half-dozen parks/playgrounds within walking distance back in Arlington and now we have to drive to most playgrounds, but it has been fun exploring all the options.

The one park we can walk to is right behind the library and while it is a bit run down (money is currently being raised to renovate it), Finley adores playing on the wooden train.
And chasing other kids down the tube slide.  He met a boy named Max and said, "Just like Wild Things!" I'm sure Max hears that a lot...
Dagny enjoyed the scenery, too!
Rideout Playground is a short drive away in Concord and Finley made a buddy on our first visit.  They had fun on the structure, in the sandbox, and "playing" soccer.
 Despite not having playgrounds right near our house, our front, side, and backyards provide plenty of fun.  Here's Finley playing with sticks and his new golf club on our lawn.  Spending time with him outside if one of my favorite things because his imagination really takes off and it is quite entertaining.

Dagny 5 to 7 Weeks

Don't worry, Dagny hasn't been forgotten in all this craziness of buying/selling/moving etc.  Just as we were settling into our new house and as she approached five weeks of age, she decided to share a plethora of smiles with us. 
 She's rolled over twice in recent weeks from her front to her back.  The first time, I put her down on her belly on her blanket and went off to the kitchen for a minute.  When I returned, she was smiling on her back!  The second time she did it, Dan and I were both there to see it.  So cool.

Dagny is a pretty good eater, especially since she has decided it more worthwhile to eat entire meals when offered instead of just snacking throughout the day!  Her night sleep is somewhat unpredictable but she has done some good 4 to 6 hour stretched a handful of times so that is a good sign.
Here she is in the morning, still sleeping in her swaddle, when Finley gave her some stuffed animals.
Dagny dislikes car rides for the most part but let's hope once she can entertain herself with a toy or can relax and drift off to sleep, we will all be happier in the car.  Babies do cry a lot (poor Finley usually introduces his baby sister to people and then tells them that she cries a lot), but at least Dagny is now old enough to make happier noises and appear pleased with the world!

Finley continues to be unbelievably sweet with his little sidekick.  He always wants to know where she is when he wakes up and wants her to be in the same room with him while he plays, eats breakfast, or reads books.  He has been a great sport riding in the car while she screams and is eager to help us give her baths, change her diaper, and find her toys.

Most memorably, Finley asked me to put Dagny is bed with him the other night. (Yes, at 2 years 9 months, Finley chose to exit the crib and start sleeping in a big boy bed!!).
I think we will look back at this picture for many years to come! Having two kids is a ton of work, but moments like this make it all worth it and give us a glimpse of how neat it will be to see them grow up together as siblings and friends.