And Just Like That…

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…it was over.

The  trip of a lifetime, the wedding of dreams.

As quickly as it came, it went.  My head is still spinning from it all, and I’m having a hard time coming to grips that it’s DONE.

We had been anticipating this holiday, this event, for nine months – nearly as long as our daughter has been alive.  For all that time, through the planning and the purchasing and the arranging and the stressing, I was using it all as a marker, telling myself and everyone around me that, “I have to get through the hike and the wedding before going back to work.”  It was like this mirage, this beautiful sight in the distance that hovered in front of the big black cloud that is the end of my maternity leave.  And now…

I can’t even deal.  That conversation and all the emo shit that comes with it will be saved for another post.

******

My sister and her now husband worked so hard and put together the most spectacular event.  Truly, incredibly, spectacular.  I mean, there were FIREWORKS, guys.  And I SO WISH I could show you pictures.  I wish I could show you how the day progressed and how my baby girl looked in her flower girl dress and how my sister was the most beautiful I have ever seen her in her life and how handsome the groomsmen were in their tuxes and the reception room and the chandeliers and the dancing and the cakes and the, and the, and the….

But my sister and new brother-in-law have kindly requested to all guests that photos and details be kept private, away from social media.  And even though I’m not quite sure if blogs count as social media (thoughts?),  I am going to honour them and keep it under wraps.

What I CAN do though, is share some photos from our hike and a few from the grounds of the castle (CASTLE!) where the wedding was held.

Holy hell, hold onto your hats, people.

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Just a little view from the trail.
Remember when I talked about the rolling hills?  I only had an inkling of what to expect from seeing picture and reading about it online.  But boy, did it deliver.

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My gorgeous adventure buddies.
That backpack – the Deuter Kid Comfort III – I would highly recommend to any parent planning a hike like this.  I mean, it comes with a TEDDY BEAR.
(I’m planning on doing a review in the new future, so stay tuned!)

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See off into the distance on the left?  Yeah, we hiked from there.  From over that mountain range.
Oh, and James Bond stood there too!  Daniel Craig, James Bond.  The sexy one!

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That haunting, rolling mist.
It would be there one minute, and the next, disappeared into the atmosphere.

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My view for most of the hike.
It brought me so much joy seeing my husband walking along, carrying my daughter through that scenery.
It’s what got me through the hardest parts.

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And after each day, this is how we felt.

After “roughing it” in the Highlands for a few days and an epic 4-hour train ride where our daughter wouldn’t sleep the entire time and a budget UK flight and a $170 taxi ride through mostly single-lane roads blocked by 10-feet high, ivy-covered stone walls on either side so if a big car came along you were basically f***ed and had to back up until there was room to pass – we came to this:

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Yes, folks.  This is where my little sister got married.
Bovey Castle.

It even more grand and opulent as I had expected.  Just the most (I’m going to say it again!) SPECTACULAR location!

I mean, there was Archery…

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(My father showing my husband how it’s done.)

…and Falconry…

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(Okay, this is technically an owl.  A HUGE owl, mind you.  But there were falcons!  They were just too quick for me to get a clear shot.)

…and Croquet…

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…and Trampolining…

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(I could have been sucked under my brother at any second – this was trampolining to the death, people.)

…and Tranquility Gardens…

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(directly off the croquet lawn for game-time serenity)

…and horribly embarrassing karaoke…

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(but done with champagne.  Natch.)

…and more rolling hills!  SO MANY ROLLING HILLS!!

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My father said it best, it all looked like a movie set, like a crew would come along after we left to roll it all away.

Neither words nor pictures can fully do it all justice.  It was two of the hardest, yet best weeks of my life.  I was faced with challenges and moments I didn’t expect, but will learn from and treasure forever.

And my sister.  My gorgeous, baby sister is married.

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(sister, left, with that morning-after-getting-married glow.)

Onwards with her life with her equally as gorgeous husband. 

Now, back to reality.  As I write this, the twenty-seventh load of laundry is tumbling away, my daughter is tearing through the remnants of the suitcases, and we’re all coming down with colds.

Even though it’s over, it’s really just the beginning, right?

And boy, I am so glad to be back.

Like I mentioned before, fun things to come from this blog any day now, so stay tuned!

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