I read somewhere recently about a crazy woman who took 4 children on a 10 hour road trip by herself and pulled it off successfully by using poker chips. She rewarded the kids with a token for every 15 minutes of good behaviour; when they had 4 tokens they could cash them in for $1 (which became their spending money for the trip).
I remembered this cunning plan for minimising fighting and whingeing about 10 minutes before we were due to leave, and quickly grabbed the red and yellow counters out of our Connect Four game (I have no poker chips, sorry).
Hmmm, great idea, seemed to work well at first. But sadly I had not planned well enough. I had no cash on me and the kids kept losing their little collection bags and in the end the whole thing kind of fizzled out. Next time though, I will be better prepared! I will bring some actual coins.
Anyhoo, it was a lovely beach wedding on the Tutukaka Coast, the rain held off and the bride looked stunning (don't you think she could be Kate Hudson's twin??)
Dash and Princess fell asleep in the car on our way out to the beach. Princess emerged bleary-eyed and disoriented halfway through, but Dash could not be woken til it was all over.
We managed to find someone to take a family photo of us, but there sadly are no smiles! The look says it all - "I just woke up - don't bug me!"
There was a bit of whingeing when they realised they were the only kids there - the other kids' parents were much smarter than us and had found babysitters! (There were quite a few moments when we asked ourselves why we hadn't done the same thing?)
Things cheered up after Princess got to kiss the real princess - oh I mean the bride and Dash got to play a bit of beach soccer with daddy (in his wedding suit).
Mr G got to make a speech on behalf of his dad, who passed away in early December last year. He was very nervous, but pulled it off beautifully, with a "love letter" written as if from his Dad to Anna. It was funny and touching, and I think, what his dad would have wanted to say to his daughter on her wedding day. I was very proud of him.
Sarah, Mr G's other sister, had organised two lovely watches engraved with the family motto "N'Oublie" ("do not forget") as a gift from their dad to Anna and Mark. A wonderful thoughtful gesture.
Of course, being close family, we were sitting in the middle near the front, with our scraggy lot, who kept wriggling and whispering throughout the speeches, in spite of all threats, bribes and offers of pens'n'paper.
All in all they were pretty good, considering they were tired and hungry, but boy oh boy, as soon as I had gobbled down my food I packed them off back to the motel to bed, leaving Mr G to boogy down and socialise with all the rellies.
I managed to successfully negotiate unfamiliar streets in the dark and rain - I was very proud of myself! The kids went to bed without too much fuss, thankfully, and I fell asleep in front of the TV.
On the way home the next day (after a lovely family BBQ) Mr G and I agreed that bringing the kids had been the right decision and worth all the whingeing, nagging and tiredness. It is just so valuable for them to spend time with another branch of the family tree, and it was very special for all of us to be part of Aunty Anna's Big Day.