Monday, June 1, 2015

Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

When Mark’s cousin Michelle asked Julia and James to be in her wedding it was a dream come true. No, not for them! For me! What mom doesn’t want her kids to be a flower girl and a ring bearer?! Plus, Julia and James were four years old. The ultimate age for cuteness yet still able to fill their matrimonial duties.

But then I remembered: Julia was going through a lot of anxiety and separation issues. While normally this would be her cup of tea for the same reason she loved sharing time at school (“All eyes are on me? Sweet!”), I wasn’t sure how being a flower girl would play in Julia world. So I did what any mother would do. I checked out EIGHT books from the library on being a flower girl and a ring bearer.

And I showed them pictures from their Uncle Ira’s wedding to their Aunt Jan where Mark and his siblings were in the wedding. 

Mark at age five (on the far right) with his brother Daniel and sister Rachel at his Uncle Ira’s wedding
Thankfully James and Julia were still young enough not to spot my plan from a mile away. When they were sufficiently psyched about the awesomeness of being in a wedding, I told them they would be in their favorite cousin, Michelle’s. They were excited. Phew!

Mark’s first cousin, Michelle, met the kids once three months earlier during our first trip to New York. She took a shine to them and the feeling was mutual.

The twins meet Michelle and Mike (also present: Mark’s parents and brother) at Second Avenue Deli during our August trip to New York for a different wedding.
Michelle revealed that when her mom’s brother got married in 1989 that being a flower girl was a highlight of their wedding for her: “I was about the same age as the twins (maybe a few months older) and think it would be so special to get to share that experience with the next generation.”

Michelle (walking here with her parents) says, “Here's a photo of me leaving the ceremony. Despite the puss, I was having a blast!”
After looking at approximately 1,000 flower girl dresses online I got the first one I saw - a $39 dress at David’s Bridal (technically it was $70 after shipping). I already happened to have a floral crown for Julia’s hair. James was easy. I had a matching suit vest and pants on hand for my boy and a choice of bow ties. Doesn’t everybody?

James was sad that Julia would get to throw petals as she walked down the aisle. I pointed out that Julia’s job was over after she walked down the aisle, but he had a really important job. During the ceremony he would present the rings.

The rehearsal dinner was at Pescatore, a restaurant Mark and I randomly went to ten years before when the restaurant next door was closed. Julia and James were the only kids at the dinner (at the wedding, too). Thankfully, they were happy to color their velvet posters and the back of their placemats for three hours. (As for our previous trip to New York, we kept the kids on West Coast time so they could stay up late for the wedding.) Julia kept asking if she could sit with Michelle, her girl crush.

“Let’s toast to driving Mommy and Daddy crazy.”
"Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine."
James and Julia pose with the bride-to-be.
The next day we took an early shuttle to Water’s Edge in Long Island City, Queens, for the official wedding portraits. Julia, a girl who only wanted to wear jeans every day until eight months earlier, loved twirling in her fancy dress. 

Julia spends about an hour on and off, twirling.

Before the ceremony Julia enjoys hiding behind Kathy and then hopping out.
When pictures start getting too boring, throwing out a “give your brother/sister a kiss” always livens things up.
A few days before when I told the kids they would walk down the aisle together, James asked me if they could hold hands. I explained that it wouldn’t work because he had a pillow to carry. He responded that he only needed one hand because, “I can do tricks.” Apparently James had some pillow balancing and pillow flipping tricks in mind that unfortunately for all he did not get to bust out for the ceremony.

Michelle hands out ring bearer and flower girl accessories. (Thanks to Mira for the photo.)
James demonstrates his pillow tricks.
It’s good that the pillow didn’t come with jewelry.
We had the kids practice walking down the aisle before the guests arrived.

The trial run
Julia practices tossing flower petals. Then she puts them back in her basket.
The kids pose under the chuppah.
Then, both ran around the room distracting the rabbi who was preparing to officiate until it was time to go next door for the ceremony.

Julia chases James. James is not so thrilled.
I waited in my chair in the front row while Mark ushered Julia and James through the door to begin their walk down the aisle. (With me the kids tend to become helpless or scared to do something; hence Mark was with them.) When the door opened and those little heads popped out I was the only one standing because, like Bruce Willis - or was it Ben Affleck? - in Armageddon, I don’t want to miss a thing. Unfortunately I also suddenly came down with mom cry face with everyone still looking towards the front of the room where I stood.

Right here, when James and Julia are halfway down the aisle, Bubby whispers to Julia, “Don’t forget to throw the petals!” (You can see Mark’s dad on the right.)

The kids get to the front of the room and then get a little lost. Bridegroom Mike is amused by their confusion.
“Pssst! Kids! Over here!”
Right after Julia sat down she revealed, “I think I farted.” Next she started fondling me (which I didn’t notice at first because of the beading on my dress) and asked, “Is this your boob?”
I’m so glad we were in the front row. I hope that scene is in the background of some of Mike and Michelle’s official wedding pictures.

Meanwhile, a wedding was taking place:

Michelle circles Mike seven times. Julia was really amused by this part. This was the first time Julia actually witnessed a wedding ceremony. At the first wedding they attended in August, after the bride walked down the aisle Julia became super grumpy so I took her outside where she kept declaring as she stomped, “Not even fun! Hmph!”
About ten minutes later when Michelle’s brother, Alex, handed Mike the rings, James turned to me, upset that he didn’t get to present the rings himself. With big eyes on the verge of tears, James told me, “I didn’t get to do my job.”

Thankfully, James got over it and had a great time at the reception. They both still love telling everyone how they were a ring bearer and flower girl so his not "being able to do his job" doesn't seem to have bothered him that much.

James endures the conversation between Mark and Cousin Mel.
“Make it stop!”

Gracefully eating on the floor in their wedding attire
James was entranced by the speech made by Uncle Allan (Michelle’s dad), and afterwards repeated certain lines at the end of Allan’s stories that got a laugh. (James does this even now, six months later). Clearly James believed those lines by themselves - without the context of the actual stories - were the magic that made the audience laugh.

Julia and James loved dancing, especially when I held their hands and twirled both of them around at the same time. Before our trip, I tried to find a hip hop dance video with instructions for kids because I thought it would be hilarious for them to bust out some moves at the wedding, but the youngest age any of the videos were made for was 8 or 9.

Dancing with Bubby
Dancing with Mommy

Dancing together
Getting too hyper while dancing and flopping on the ground. (Hopefully no one noticed.)
Mark tells Michelle that Julia’s dying to dance with her.

Earlier Julia said she wanted to marry both Michelle and Mike.

Photobooth pictures:

The End… Okay, one more picture...

And thanks to Michelle and Mike’s photographer who took such awesome pictures.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Brian Bear Visits Julia

Another preschool, another bear to take home. A few days ago, Julia got to bring home the class stuffed animal, Brian the Bear, show it a good time, and then have us write about the experience to share in class. Since I recently wrote James’s Brian the Bear entry, I made Mark do it. Also, his journal entries for stuffed bears are always hilarious.

(Apparently my kids were the only ones that laughed while the entry was read aloud in class. I’m sure it’s because I read it to them over breakfast and explained all the jokes.)

With no further ado, Mark’s entry for Brian the Bear visiting Julia:

My Day With Julia

What up, preschoolers?! This is B to the B, Bri the Guy, Brizzle the Bizzle, also known as Brian the Bear. Today I went home with Julia and boy-oh-boy we had such a time. Julia’s dad, who’s also my personal secretary responsible for chronicling my adventures, wasn’t home for the first few hours so everything that happened then is strictly off the record. If a bear gets hungry and eats the neighbor’s cat, but no one is around to take pictures, did it really happen? Who knows?

Anyway, we puttered around the house for a bit. Maybe ate some cats. Maybe didn’t eat any cats. Eventually Julia’s dad came home and started up the grill in the backyard. Good thing too; I’ll be hibernating soon so I need to eat now!

Watching the grilling. Throw a few salmon on there for me, please.

We had burgers, hot dogs, sausage, pineapple, and salad for dinner. Good thing my ill-fitting boxer shorts have an elastic waistband! (But seriously, can I get some decent clothes please? Maybe some jeans? The silhouette here is doing nothing for me.)

Hanging out after dinner with Julia and James. Julia, are you going to finish that burger?
Sitting under the lights with Julia

After dinner we went inside to do some yoga. Because that’s a perfectly normal thing to do after dinner. I was pretty good at the poses, especially “slumping dog” and “limp sack of dirt cobra.”

Namaste, y’all!
Finally, after a long day of cooking, eating, doing yoga, and possibly eating cats, it was time to sleep.

Yawwwwwwn. Somebody wake me up when it’s Spring...

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Brian Bear Visits James

James and Julia changed preschools and now they have a different stuffed bear to take home and detail its exploits in a journal. Instead of Katy Cha Cha (Mark’s previous awesome journal entry and my entry), now there’s Brian Bear. This entry was written by me in October 2014 and is pretty straight forward. I may have recycled a few “jokes” from my Katy Cha Cha entry. I’m including my entry in this blog for posterity, not to make you laugh.

Apparently when it was read aloud in class, James and Julia cracked up at some of the “jokes” since I’d explained them at home. For the record they were the only kids laughing.

Without further ado, the actual journal entry:

B r i a n   B e a r   V i s i t s   J a m e s

James and his sister, Julia, took me to one of their favorite restaurants - Pizza My Heart - for Make Your Own Pizza Night. 

James and I squeeze in one cuddle before our pizza dough arrives.

James squirted tomato sauce on our pizza dough, and then added olives and pineapple before sprinkling cheese on top.

James told me it’s okay to put some cheese on the pizza and then to put some into your mouth.
James and I look over our pizza after it comes out of the oven. I wish it was topped with honey, but the olives and pineapple were good, too.

Afterwards we visited a bunch of food trucks! We got two sundaes from the Lexie’s Frozen Custard truck. 

Ordering from the food truck
I’ve seen garbage that looked better than this sundae. At least it tasted better than it looked. Still, I couldn’t help but think that maybe next time James could get me a salmon sundae.
Between pizza and sundaes I was stuffed. Literally. I mean, I’m a stuffed bear.

After dessert, we danced to music playing nearby.

James danced with me while Julia twirled around.

James skinned his knee and I put on a bandaid in solidarity. 

Anything for a friend

Then I settled in next to James’s pillow for a good night’s sleep in his car bed.

I feel very underdressed from the waist down. This bear felt bare.

T h e   E n d
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