We survived our first overseas adventure with an almost 3 yr old and a 6-month old. Cecilia and Maeve were both great travelers. We'll go through the highlights below. Both grandmas were a huge help and hopefully enjoyed themselves as well. Once we got on the airplane (see story below) it was smooth sailing from there. Only a few minor meltdowns from our "three-nager" but that was expected as we pushed through her naps everyday and made her sleep in the van because we only had the driver for an 8-hour shift each day. After the first day, we realized it was best to push the start of each day back to at least 10am because we were sleeping in with the new timezone.
Every day went by so fast. It always seemed to be at least 3pm by the time we looked at our watches for the day and couldn't believe how quickly it went. Everything takes longer with kids, especially feeding and changing diapers, so the days seemed to be mostly eating or driving. There were several beers consumed, though, and a lot of time spent with our Irish hosts. They were so generous to us with time and gifts even though we were there to celebrate Bernadette and Kevin's wedding.
There were a lot of highlights:
- Of course the wedding - I read a beautiful Apache Wedding Blessing and it was the best weather we could have asked for. The ceremony was lovely with all of their nieces and nephews participating. Maeve's favorite part was probably the candy bar at the reception. There was tons of food, late night snacks of chicken and chips, and a band and a DJ. Kevin, the groom, even played a few songs since he's in a wedding band with some friends.
- Titanic Exhibit in Belfast - the museum was outstanding. It reminded me of the D-Day Museum in New Orleans. Nicely put together and even had a ride. Just fascinating.
- Spa with the bride and sister - Brigid got to enjoy her first massage with a trip to the spa the morning of the wedding. So generous of the bride to spend her morning with us.
- Visiting Castlederg - Eric and I had been there before but it's always nice to go to the town and to visit Bernadette's parents at home.
- Seeing the scenes - one day of touring was a bust (it was a Sunday so everything was closed) so we ended up driving to a beautiful spot overlooking the West coast of Ireland. Most of the scenic pictures below are from that day. It was breathtaking and on the way up Maeve pointed out all of the sheep and the cows so you can imagine that she was seeing them around every corner.
- Speed shopping - the best shopping was in Dublin but we only had a half day there so we had to quickly shop before they all closed at 6pm. It definitely wasn't enough time for the Grandmas but we got what we needed!
- Our Irish welcome - when we arrived at the hotel I looked over at the entrance and there was Bernadette and her mum, Geraldine, awaiting our arrival with balloons and flowers. You would have thought it was our big week and not Bernadette's wedding week. It was a true Irish welcome.
- Listening to Irish music - Eric and I did sneak away 2 nights to go to the local pub with the Bride and Groom and have a few pints and listen to music. We bought the music that Kevin recommended but nothing compares to listening to it in the pub (or bot as they call it).
- Giant's Causeway - this was another fun scenic tour to see the Giant's Causeway. We took some great family photos there and enjoyed the scenes.
We'd definitely do it again and we may have to. Maeve and I have our interview for Global Entry this week and Eric and Cecilia will be going in January. I was hopeful that we were going to get it before this trip but it was such a long waiting period. Guess we'll have to head back across the pond. Who wants to go with us this time???