Monday, March 30, 2009

Saturday, March 14th, Day Six - THE BIG DAY!!!

Sorry for the delay, I guess I could say I was trying to build anticipation, making you salivate, awaiting the details of THE BIG DAY, but the truth is I've been crazy busy and knew this was going to be a long post, so I just hadn't gotten around to it! Alas, your wait is over, the few of you that have been waiting.

It was finally here! Saturday, March 14th, the whole reason we had all traveled so far, to celebrate my sister's wedding!

When I am a bridesmaid, house party, family member, "honorary maid of honor", whatever, I do my best to tend to the bride. I want her to enjoy her day and remain as stress free as possible, enjoy the getting ready process and be excited about her day! The same was especially true for my sister!

Since the wedding wasn't til 5:30 pm, we had some chill time in the morning. We were all a little nervous because it was an overcast day and looked as if it could rain at any second! Not only did we not want it to rain, but we were praying it wouldn't be cloudy during the ceremony! Kelly, Katy & Ashlyn headed to the salon to get mani/pedis! Check out their cute wedding day shirts!

"Bride" & Flower Girl"

The rest of us hung out by the pool, just for a little while though, because after lunch the getting ready process would begin! Around 11:30 my dad & I went across the street and got Subway for the whole fam. After lunch Kelly got all of stuff together and called for a Bellhop to come take her stuff to the honeymoon suite, where she would be getting ready for the wedding. The lady at the hotel had suggested that Kelly get checked into that room and get ready there because it was apart from all the rest of the rooms that the wedding guests were staying in. That way things would be calmer and no one would see her. Plus, it was a gorgeous room with a view! This is Kelly on her balcony, waiting to get ready! As you can tell, the sun had broke through and it had turned into a PERFECT day for a wedding by the pool overlooking the beach!Yes, I said waiting to get ready. You see, Kelly & I headed over to her suite around 2pm. She got all her stuff settled, changed clothes so that she could easily get into her dress without messing up her hair. Her wedding coordinator had arrived and was beginning to get everything ready at the reception location, setting tables, tying bows on chairs at the ceremony, etc. Everything was going smoothly...until...the dumb hair & make-up lady that was coming to Kelly's room was 45 minutes late!!! UGH! She was supposed to be there at 2:30 so that Kelly could be ready by 4:00 to start taking pictures. So 2:30 turned into 3:15 and 4:00 turned into 4:30. I was so mad at that darn lady! We were on schedule, everything was great, Kelly was in a good mood, and this dumb lady messed us up! UGH! Sorry, I feel better now, I had to get that off my chest. Well, of course, alls well that ends well. Kelly looked great, and the lady still had time to do Ashlyn's hair and make-up as well! Ashlyn soaked up every minute of it, and loved it when people told her she looked like a miniature bride!

So, at 4:30, Kelly & the kids were all in the lobby looking fantabulous, ready to take some pictures.

After pictures in the Lobby (mainly bridal portraits for Kel), everyone went to their places, guests arrived and the wedding started on time!

Now here's the deal about getting married on a bridge by the pool...a lot of people that you didn't invite might or might not being hanging out in their bathing suits all around the pool area. Seriously. I'm not exaggerating when I say at least 75 people were in the pool area, some only 10-15 ft from the bride & groom. Luckily this didn't bother Kelly, and was just part of making it a destination wedding. The ceremony was beautiful. My brother-in-law is a pastor, so he did the service, and Ashlyn & Brady read scripture as well...yes, precious!

After they were announced Dr. & Mrs. Brandon Hill, they headed down to the beach for professional photos with the photographer. The guests headed to a nearby patio for a cocktail hour. After Kelly & Brandon had taken enough pictures, they called all of us down for a group picture on the beach, and then some family shots as well.

My fave pic during the cocktail hour!

2 of the 4 ring bearers down by the beach during pictures!

Then after pictures, it was up to the reception for dinner and dancing!! And OH DID WE DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY!!! What a fun night of celebration with the fam!

And they're off!

I really think I can say, it was everything she hoped it would be, and more! What a night to remember! If you want to see more pics, click on this link to my facebook albums.

Man, did my feet hurt and were we all tired! After a little bit of clean up it was off to bed for us party animals!

Next post: disappointing shopping day :(

Thanks for tuning in!

Super Duper: somewhat catching up on school work

Super Pooper: it took way to long to write this and now I'm late getting to bed

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

...Happy Birthday Elaine!!!

Happy Birthday Friend! Hope it was a great day! Love you!

Friday, March 13th, Day Five

Disclaimer: I'm sorry these posts (especially this one) are turning out to be so long, I'm sure most of you aren't reading them all, which is fine since I'm mainly doing this for my own journaling experience and to be able to look back and recall events. At the very least, I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Traveling and vacationing with this many people means schedules will change and you have to be flexible and just go with the flow.

One of the things we had talked about wanting to do while in Puerto Rico was visit the rain forest. We had been told it was fabulous and that the kids would love it. My mom & I had discussed a group of us going on Sunday, after all the wedding festivities were over and done with, but for some reason it was brought up that we would go on Friday instead, which was fine with me. The crazy thing was when we started talking about who would go, this is how it went:

Kelly: felt like she needed to stay close to the hotel because more guests would be arriving that day and she didn't want to be away all day, unable to greet people who had just flown in, so she wasn't going to go.

Kristy: is prego and didn't think trekking through a rain forest was such a good idea

Cole: is 20 months old, wouldn't truly appreciate it for what it is, and would be a handful to keep up with

Katy: had no intention of taking her almost 1 year old son, Bradley, so that meant either she or Brent (her husband) would be staying back at the hotel with him

Blake: is 3.5 years old, may have liked it, but also gets car sick and it was almost an hours drive to the place, also, might have gotten tired and fussy mid-way through.

So, that left, me, my mom & dad, Ashlyn, Brady and Brent. At the last minute Katy decided that Brent should bring Bradley, the one year old with us, which was a little crazy, but fine.

So by around 1oam 4 adults, two 7 year olds and one 1 year old piled in the minivan and headed to the rain forest.

It was a bit of a drive, but really cool when we got there. As we drove into this national forest the first major site was saw was a small water fall. Really, just water that was streaming down a big rock. This is Brent, Brady, Ashlyn & I.
The next stop we came to was a look out tower. It gave a really great view of the whole rain forest. I didn't get many great pictures up there, but here's an idea of the beauty we saw.
Finally, we came to the main attraction which was a .7 mile trail that lead to a large waterfall. To my family .7 miles didn't sound far. But to me, with 2 parents who are not normally the hiking type, 2 1st graders and a baby in a stroller (yes, my bro-in-law pushed the 1 year old in a stroller through the rain forest! hilarious, you should have seen the looks we got!) and with varying terrain, I knew it was going to feel like 5 miles, but we were up for the challenge. It really was a beautiful hike. Hearing the sounds of the rain forest. The trail was very narrow and bumpy, which made things interesting for Brent, who was pushing the stroller. Thankfully all that bouncing around didn't seem to bother Bradley one bit! Here's a few pics of us on our way to the waterfall.
Some of the leaves were HUGE! We found this one that someone had formed into a hat and Brady wore it most of the way to the waterfall. People along the trail thought it was hilarious! It was especially great when some guy walked past us and said, "Oh, wow, I made that hat earlier today!"
When we were about 3/4ths of the way there someone told us that the last part was a bit treacherous and the stroller probably wouldn't make it. My mom was looking a bit winded and I wasn't sure she needed to push herself all the way, and then still have to trek it back. So, she, Brent & Bradley turned around early, leaving my dad & I to press on to the waterfall with the kids! This is what we saw when we got there! That's me and the kids on the rocks kind of in the middle there.
The four of us hiked it back, with only about one melt down per child, which I consider about par for the course. It had been a long day, it was after lunch time and we were tired and hungry. We made it back to the car around 1:30 I guess. Someone told us where we could grab some quick food and then we were back on the road back to the hotel. Of course, when we saw they had coconuts for sale that you can drink out of, we thought this was an experience we just had to have. So, my dad got one for the whole car to share. I'll just be honest and say it tasted like dirty watered down milk, which is really bad to me, since I don't even like milk! Yuck! But it did make for a cute pic.

It was about 3pm when we got back to the El San Juan. Ashlyn & Brady were eager to get to the pool, and so was I! We hung out by our favorite pool/hot tub combo for about an hour and then had to go get ready for the rehearsal that started at 5pm.

The wedding was on a pseudo bridge thing that connected the 2 main pools. Here are some pics of us running through how things would go the next morning. Oh, and yeah, maybe it started raining midway through and we had to run for cover...hoping this wouldn't happen the next day during the real deal.

Ashlyn & Brady practicing reading 1 Cor 13...precious!

After the rehearsal we had the Welcome Dinner at 7pm. It was supposed to be on a patio restaurant by the beach, but as I mentioned earlier it had been raining, so it was moved to the Plan B location...the 10th floor patio area that was open air, but with a roof. Um, let me just tell you, this might should have been the Plan A location because it was AMAZING! So, alls well that ends well.

It is a Berry family tradition to do something a little silly and sweet in honor of the couple at the Rehearsal Dinner. This time we let the kids get in on the embarrassment, errr, I mean, entertainment. I had written a little narration that told the story of Kelly & Brandon. How they met, fell in love and then the proposal. Ashlyn dressed up as Kelly, with a nice brown ponytail hair piece & Brady was Brandon, dressed in his Drs outfit and was precious, if I do say so myself. Here's a pic of Brady down on one knee, reenacting the proposal.Friday was a long and event packed day. After the dinner a lot of us headed down to the Casino. No, I didn't gamble, I was just along to see what it was all about. I did give my sister $20 to play blackjack with. She had already put in $40. When she was $15 up she cashed out and gave me my $20 bucks back...see, no harm done. I guess it was around 11:30 and we all headed up to bed in preparation for THE BIG DAY!!!

This has to go down as my longest post ever! If you hung in there and read it all kudos to you! Leave a comment and let me know you were a trouper! Feel the love!

Super Duper: feeling much much better!

Super Pooper: budget reductions at church...ugh stress

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thursday, March 12th, Day Four

Thursday was a great day of shopping and chilling by the pool! The men had put together a fishing trip for most of the day on Thursday, so what else are the girls to do but SHOP!

We were up and out by 9:30 headed to Old San Juan which I thought was kinda like shopping in Mexico, my mom said it reminded her of New Orleans, but I've never been to NO, so I wouldn't know. The group consisted of, the bride, 2 sisters, one mom, one mother-in-law, one aunt, one cousin, one niece, one nephew, one cousin's little boy, and a friend. Imagine all of us piled into one van taxi!!! Wish I had taken a pic of us packed in there! Oh, did I mention it cost $45 to get there? Ouch! This is a picture of a street in Old San Juan.
Shopping was fun. Just a cool experience in general. I think everyone bought something. Kelly got a lot of cool things to remember her wedding location. My favorite purchase was a Puerto Rican photo album. Well, actually I accidentally picked up a journal that looked JUST LIKE the photo album, but I was able to put pictures in the journal, and probably fit more pictures in the journal than the album would have fit anyways.

The only pictures I took while shopping were of Ashlyn in the town square. When we walked by there was this man feeding pigeons and he had quite a huddle of pigeons surrounding him so Ashlyn went and let the disgusting birds perch on her arms. You best believe I swabbed her down with a wetwipe after that! She thought it was so cool! I have to admit, I'm impressed it didn't scare her, noway you would have caught me doing that!

After shopping we were pretty hungry, but also ready to hit the pool, so what better option than to order lunch at the pool? You know, where you lay by the pool and the guys come by wearing all white and ask if they can get you anything, yeah, we did that. It was kinda pricey, but not terrible, that is until we started ordering drinks. Even my virgin Pina Colada was $8!!! OUCH! Thankfully we could just charge it to our room, although I was concerned my dad might have a heart attack when he realized what we had done...oops!

Of course Ashlyn wanted in on the ordering a drink at the pool thing. Here she is with her $5 Shirley Temple that she didn't even drink!

We spent the afternoon did rain while we were waiting for our food, but we were able to go eat on a patio nearby and by the time we were done eating it had stopped raining and we were back hanging by the pool, and then hit the beach. The best part was when Katy & Brent got there and Blake & Brady could join in on the fun! They got to hang out with us at the hot tub for just a few minutes before we had to go in and get ready for dinner. Mid-afternoon the guys had returned having caught one large Mahi Mahi fish. It was enough to feed about 10 adults. They had found a place by the marina that would cook up a fish that you caught, so my family, including aunt, uncle and 2 cousins were headed there for dinner.

It was some yummy food and a nice relaxing environment, not too crowded so the kids could run around and the owner was really nice. Here's a pic of the whole group, and then a fave of me & Brady on the dock by some boats!

It was late when we got back, so quick to bed to get ready for the big weekend!

Super Duper: doing 100% of the reading for my class added 10 pts to my test grade!

Super Pooper: a bit of overwhelmedness between work, school and other life demands


Today is Jeff's b-day. Just thought I'd remind you of this post and say that I miss Jeff & Erin!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday, March 11th, Day Three

After a much needed good night's sleep, we all woke up, ready to hit the pool/beach, especially Ashlyn. We decided to make a quick run to Walgreens first to pick up a few things that we hadn't found at the K-mart the night before. Traveling with kids means you need a lot of food, so we loaded up on snacks for the pool! Luckily, there was a Walgreens (and a lot of other eating establishments) within walking distance. Here's 2 of my fave pics we took on our way to the Walgreens. This is us in front of the El San Juan Hotel & Casino!

Like I said, Ashlyn could hardly wait to get to the pool, and since we had gotten up and out pretty early, it was only about 9;30 and we hadn't had breakfast, so my parents ventured on foot to get us all some breakfast, while Kristy, the kids & I headed for the pool and waited for my parents to bring us breakfast at the pool. Did I mention, this is the life!
Oh, just for FYI - Kelly & Brandon had been up and our early that morning with the wedding planner to go get their marriage license, that's why they weren't hanging with us.

After a few hours poolside, Kelly & Brandon showed up and had picked up the last few Puerto Rican additions to the Welcome Bags. So, we all headed upstairs to get cleaned up and finish stuffing the bags. More people would begin arrive that afternoon and we needed to pass the bags off to the hotel to deliver to each couple/family.

At 2pm my mom, Kelly, Kristy & I met with the caterer from the hotel. She & Kelly needed to confirm the locations and food at the Welcome Dinner on Friday night, the wedding, the cocktail hour after the wedding, and the dinner & dancing that followed the wedding. She was super nice and showed us around, explaining the set up for each event. She even made us stop by the bar at the pool and order a drink. My mom, my prego sister (Kristy) and my drink were all virgin, but Kelly tried a real Pina Colada. Trust me, mine was waaay better. Here's a pic of us with our drinks.
When we were done with the caterer, Kristy & I were pretty hungry, so we walked across the street with my mom and her kids and had lunch at Chili's. Yes, I know, not very adventurous or Puerto Rican, but so good and convenient!

My memory is blurry here and I can't quite remember what we did between our late (3:30pm) lunch and then dinner. I can only assume, we hit the beach!

After a few hours at the beach we went upstairs and got cleaned up for dinner. We thought we'd try this little place that was next door to our hotel. When we had seen it the night before it was busy and had some outdoor seating and fun festive lights...all seemed promising for a good dinner - WRONG! I wasn't super hungry since we had had a late lunch, so I just munched on everyone else's plates. It was all okay, but none of it was far, not impressed with Puerto Rican cuisine. I guess we got back pretty late and just headed for bed after our first full day in San Juan! Here's Ash & I at our not so great dinner.

Brandon's mom had arrived so he moved his stuff and stayed with her, so my mom & Kelly moved into the room with my dad (where B had slept the night before), leaving just Kristy and I with her kids in our room. This made for a much more comfortable sleeping arrangement.

next post: shopping in Old San Juan

Super Duper: Baylor is doing well in the NIT tourney!
Super Pooper: still feeling run down, can't decide if it's a cold or allergies...ugh

Tuesday, March 10th, Day Two

As the last post eluded, Tuesday morning came very early. We were all excited, but I was just ready to be there! I don't know why, but I am a bit of a tense flyer. Mainly just checking our luggage, getting our boarding passes, getting through security, being on time. All of those things make me nervous. Once we get to the gate and are waiting to board, I'm good.

Well, this flying experience was no different, and I would like to say that I had every reason to be uneasy. You see, my family doesn't fly very often. I usually fly a few times a year, and mostly know the routine. So you can imagine, that all the details of getting to the airport, what terminal, boarding passes, etc, fell on me. Remember, I was flying with my mom & dad, Kristy, Ashlyn (7) and Cole (20months).
So at 8am we caught the shuttle from the hotel to catch our 10am flight. You would have been embarrassed to see the amount of luggage we were bringing (sorry, :( no picture). We get to the airport, go to check our luggage, only to find out that 2 of the 5 bags we were checking were too heavy. So, we get out of line, go use the helpful extra scale that the airport has set up for people like us, so that we can redistribute our belongings and not have to pay $50 per bag that is over 50 lbs. After much distribution, sweat, feeling like I might throw up because I hate this, and precious time, we manage to get all of our luggage to exactly 50lbs.

So, luggage is checked. Now I'm telling the lady that we have a stroller and a car seat to check. She tells me that you can only check one of those items for free per infant. I told her that's not what it said online. We go back and forth, back and forth, I was frustrated, but finally said whatever, that we would pay $25 for the second item. The unfortunate thing was that I forgot that we were going to take the stroller with us to the gate and just gate check it, so the whole argument was void, I looked stupid, and they refunded us our money.

Next stop: security.

Us on the airport train thing to take us to the right terminal.

Ashlyn thought this was pretty cool.

My dad insisted I take this picture. We saw this on our way to our gate.

Things went smoothly through security, thankfully, since checking in had taken so long. We get to our gate just in time to go to the bathroom, grab some food and magazines and then begin boarding. Once we boarded we had a 30 minute delay for some computer problems on the plane. Thankfully it did only talk 30 minutes, but still seemed long, having to entertain a 20 month old in a confined space.

The flight was pretty uneventful. Cole slept part of it. I entertained Ashlyn. We had lots of extra seats around is so the kids could spread out a little bit.

We were soooo excited to land in San Juan. Got all of our luggage, waited for a shuttle to take us to the rental car place. My dad, being the car salesman that he is, talked the guy into a free upgrade (which was good because there was NO WAY all of our luggage was going to fit in a midsized sedan), and we managed to fit all of our stuff plus us in the minivan.

We got checked into the MAGNIFICENT hotel!!! Could not believe how nice the lobby was. Everyone was so nice, helping us get settled. Yes, we felt like kings and queens (hey, I told you, my family doesn't travel often, and this place was NICE)!

Once we were settled in, it was decided that my mom, dad & I would venture to K-mart. I won't give you the details, but just know, it was far away, the GPS on my phone gave us wack directions, we finally ended up asking a cop and having him escort us there. Mind you, we were all exhausted and had no business worrying with a grocery trip late that night after a long travel day, but this is what we did.

The reason we had wanted to go that night was because we needed some perishable items that we had wanted to put in the welcome bags for all the guests coming to the wedding. When we got back Kelly & Brandon were back from dinner, so we all began stuffing welcome bags and getting things as ready as possible.

I'm not sure what time it was when we got to bed, but it was late. My mom, Kelly, Kristy, Ashlyn, Cole & I were all in one room. My dad & Brandon in another.

All in all, it was a long first day in Puerto Rico! We were ready for some lounging by the pool! You'll have to tune in for Day 3 to see if I got to finally chill with a virgin drink at the beach!

Super Duper: headed to Temple for Bradley's 1st birthday party
Super Pooper: behind in school work :(

Monday, March 9th, Day One

Ok, so I didn't really leave for my Puerto Rican excursion til Tuesday, but I wanted to document the events from start to finish, and things got crazy starting on Monday, March 9th.

I assume you all know that I left last week for Puerto Rico with my entire family to celebrate and participate in the destination wedding of my sister, Kelly. The next series of posts will recall daily events, hope you enjoy, I'll include as many pics as possible.

Monday I normally go to school in the morning. But with so much to do, I decided to skip. I woke up, finished packing and loaded all my luggage in my car. That consisted of a large suitcase, a small suitcase, a hanging bag, a laptop bag and a purse.

I went into work for a few hours, mainly setting things up and finalizing some things so that everything would go smoothly while I was away.

My sister, Kristy, arrived in Houston around 4pm with her 2 kids. She and her kids, my parents & I were all staying in a hotel that night by the airport to help make catching our 10am flight a little easier (with 2 kids mind you). Once she got to Houston, we ran to a tanning salon and each got a spray tan. This was a first for me. I was pleased with the subtle outcome, but it had faded by the wedding, so the main point of getting it was lost...ah well.

Around 5:30 my parents rolled into town and we all went to dinner at Guadalajara. This is Ashlyn & my parents, excited to start our adventure.

That night at The Sleep Inn there was some transferring of things that had been packed, trying on of clothes that we had bought for each other along the way, and finally trying to get to bed. Cole, my 20 month old nephew is used to going asleep in a dark room by himself. So while my mom & sister tried to put him to sleep, my dad, Ashlyn & I hung out in the little breakfast area for about an hour. Good times.

When we finally get back in the room, all settled and everyone in bed it was about 11pm. We woke up at midnight to Cole SCREAMING. I picked him up. He was BURNING up!!! So, at midnight, in N. Houston by the airport, my parents, who barely know Houston, venture out to try and find some children's Tylenol to break his fever. An hour and a half later, they return. Cole takes the Tylenol, by around 2am, we're all back to sleep, in different beds than we had started in for some reason. Then at 3am I wake up to my dad's horrific snoring (foreshadowing of events in PR) and didn't fall back asleep until around 4am. Next think I know, it's 6am, i guess I had finally dozed off. What a crazy night and crazy beginning to a big week.

My favorite part of staying at the Sleep Inn was when Ashlyn asked, will our hotel in Puerto Rico be as nice as the Sleep Inn? I sure hope so! The Sleep Inn had 2 double sized beds and cost $125 a night...our hotel in Puerto Rico...well, you'll have to stay tuned to find out about it!

Next post: Tuesday's travel day!

Super Duper: things have been chill at work since it's Spring Break

Super Pooper: allergies are taking over me!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

...this is how I rodeo...

Yes, I love me some rodeo!!! Everything about it! The boots, the hats, the blinged out belts, the livestock, the sweet new born piglets, the fried everything, the concert, the calf scramble, and most of all the laughter of friends throughout the night!

Here's some pics from Thursday night. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures with Claire...Janelle got the good pic of all 4 of us (please share!).

chicken friend bacon...seriously?

sweet little piglets that were born earlier that day!!! notice the runt on the left side!

Janelle & Rebs in the arena

4 years in a row we've hit the Houston Rodeo together!

And that's how we do the Rodeo! I think I could really like being a cowgirl, a blinged out cowgirl that is.

Oh, funny story. Standing in line for the bathroom a lady told me that cowgirl hats aren't supposed to be pink. Black or brown, but not pink. I told her I had bought this hat at the rodeo several years ago, so surely that made it ok. She said she was just giving me a hard time. I wanted to say, "Look at the rest of me, do I look like an authentic cowgirl? I'm pretty sure the pink is more appropriate for this urban cowgirl diva."

Good times. Good times.

I'll try to post one more time before I LEAVE FOR PUERTO RICO ON TUESDAY!!!!!!!!!!!

But no promises!

If I don't, happy Spring Break!

Super Duper: bought another bathing suit yesterday, that I don't really need...

Super Pooper: spending too much of my tax return on silly things