The first Hedger family trip was a major success. Not only was Liz an adorable, fabulous flower-girl, but the weather was great and we saw tons of sites. The wedding was in Virginia Beach at a military base and we stayed on the actual beach.
Not sure if you can tell above, but Liz is peaking out to see the bride, my friend Sarah, walking down the aisle. Liz and Brian also "cut loose" a lot on the dance floor.
We were lucky to have a Pirate's park right on the beach that was a huge hit with Liz. The ocean water was still too cold for her to swim in and she was content to be 50 yards from the ocean climbing her pirate's ship with other kids.
Liz has impressed us beyond belief during this trip. She managed to be an expert traveler - handling turbulence by adjusting her portable DVD player so it wouldn't fall off her lap, and somehow was the star flower girl fighting off utter exhaustion.
Liz went through security at O'Hare like a pro and she gave one of the TSA officials a laugh when she handed me her gummy sucker straight from her mouth. I then tried to shake off the sticky sucker from my hand before dashing through security. He chuckled saying it reminded him of his kids - 30 years ago.
Not one tear on the flight - just about 500 questions. Of course, Brian and I are used to that. Now, the passengers near us were either slightly annoyed or mostly amused, as she continued to ask over and over again: "When are we taking off, when are we landing? I believe she asked about landing before we'd even taken off.
I'm typing at a hotel computer so I'll make this brief and head to the most important event - the wedding. It went perfectly. However, we'd been doing so much since we got here - walking on the beach, playing on a pirate's playground that we wanted to see if we could get her a quick nap before the wedding. Brian took her for a drive, a mission to try and get her to fall asleep.
It didn't work. At one point, she said to him: "Daddy, where are we going?" Busted. So, I took her to the bride's hotel and we got our hair done. As Liz was getting her hair done, she was practically falling asleep on the chair while a hot curling iron was being used to curl her hair. But she was so excited she couldn't bear to sleep.
I wanted to dash her out of the hotel promptly when we finished hair and again take her for a drive before the wedding in hopes that she might get a quick cat nap. The photographer wanted to take a few pictures of the bride and bridesmaids and wedding party. As we were finishing the pictures, Liz started to cry. Well, I was convinced she was exhausted and at her breakdown moment and hoped that if we left at that moment we might have a glimpse of getting that quick nap. So, I dashed her out.
Unfortunately, I misread her tears. She was sad because she hadn't been included in the pictures. Of COURSE the photographer wanted shots of our girl, but I thought Liz's tears were from exhaustion and I swept her out to try and get some rest in the car. I forgot that our girl is pretty used to the family paparazzi. And even though the photographer had taken dozens of shots of her getting ready, she wanted to be in these shots - now that she was in her pretty dress.
So, the 2nd attempt at a nap was an utter failure as well. Of course, the photographer took TONS and TONS of pictures of Liz in her pretty dress - inside, outside, during the ceremony, at the reception....the list goes on. I got some too and I promise I'll post on our return.
Even without that cat nap, she was a pro. Finally, the big event occurred and I walked down the aisle in front of Liz. I reached the end of the aisle and she came down - pretty quickly. She even threw a few flowers... Just a few. Everyone oohed and aahhed as she strolled down.
During the ceremony, the officiant compared the wedding rings to an unbroken circle. Quite loudly Liz said: "What's an unbroken circle?"
Of course, people in the last row could hear her and shortly beforehand she couldn't resist a fast booger-pick during the ceremony. Luckily, just a few of us saw that.
After it was all done, she kept saying: "I want to walk down the aisle again."
And, that's what we call quite a success for our flower girl.
For nearly four years, we've managed to somehow avoid flying in a plane with Elizabeth. Part of it was simply because we thought flying might be too much for her, but probably the larger reason was we thought it'd be too much for us.
Now, I realize why we'd delayed this adventure and we were wise in doing so. We're planning to leave on Thursday to Virginia Beach and will be there for a week. One of my closest friend's from college is getting married. She's asked me to be a bridesmaid and also asked Liz to be a flower girl.
So, the first challenge is simply packing everything that we need. Those of you who have gone on trips with young kids know this indeed can be a tiring act. But since it's our first time it seems a bit more overwhelming. Not to mention the fact, that I've got to remember all of our fancy clothes for the wedding, beach clothes, warm clothes in case it gets cold as well as countless Band aids, medicines like Tylenol and not to mention books and a few toys for Liz to play with while managing to get all of this stuffed into 3 or 4 bags.
Once we get past this packing hurdle, then comes the challenge of schlepping all of our stuff through O'Hare and finally through security and ultimately on the plane.
I've packed tons of new snacks, games and suckers for Liz. We even bought a portable DVD player and hopefully that will entertain her...for a bit.
Once we arrive in Virginia Beach, the next challenge will be Brian's. I'll be busy with bridesmaid duties for the first two days and he and Liz will be playing together on the beach. As long as the weather is OK, I think they'll be fine.
The biggest obstacle will be the actual wedding, which is at 7 p.m. on Saturday. There's no other way to describe it, but to say that 7 p.m. is Liz's meltdown period. Literally, right on the dot. Basically, she's played all day and by that time, she's getting tired and ready to snooze.
That's the exact moment we'll be wanting her to walk down the aisle carrying flowers as flower girl. Brian and I both predict it likely won't happen and my friend knows that too. Now, the odds improve if she takes a nap, but given all of the excitement, a nap is pretty unlikely unless Brian drives her around and around in the car and she ultimately falls asleep that afternoon out of pure exhaustion.
But regardless if she makes it down the aisle or not, we do expect we'll have some pretty cute photos of her in her adorable lavender flower girl dress. She's quite excited about it and has been practicing throwing flowers for weeks. She could surprise us.
After the wedding, we'll stay in Virginia Beach and have a chance to relax for several days until heading back the following Wednesday.
I had wanted to blog about the trip, but not quite sure how we can manage to pack the laptop. Regardless, we'll pass on a full report upon our return...with lots of pictures...I promise.
Welcome to our blog. We'll mostly post about our crazy experiences. But we realize our family is unique because our beautiful girl Elizabeth has achondroplasia, and we know other parents and families may want to read about our adventures. If you are new to this blog, you can read "The Medical Side" and "Liz's entrance to the world," to see our how story began.