A journey through my mind. Which is sometimes fabulous. Often not.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Truly Grateful

Sometimes it takes a miracle for me to realize how blessed I am. And that miracle this time was the birth of my baby niece, Isabella Grace. I don't mean miracle in that she-was-never-supposed-to-live sort of way, I mean a simple, ordinary miracle of life itself.

I'll recount the events as they unfolded yesterday:

5:50am - I get a call from my brother-in-law. They're back in the hospital (after being there the morning prior, they were sent home until my sister was "ready" to go back). I pseudo jump up and ask if she's in full labor and he says no, it's still going to be a long while. I slump back down into the bed and think about getting up.

7:00am - I finally get out of bed and gather up my gear for the day. Rick and I have an initial appointment with the priest of the church we'd like to have our wedding at at 11:00am. I don't think we'll make it since we're planning on being in the hospital all day, but just in case, I put on makeup and a nicer pair of jeans. I'm selfishly disappointed, but shake it off and say that we can meet with the priest another day and if the sites get booked, then it wasn't meant to be.

9:00am - We arrive at the hospital and my sister's stomach is enormous. She must have grown another few inches the last two weeks! She's exhausted, having not slept more than an hour in the past 48 hours due to contractions and pain. She'd just gotten her epidural when we arrived, so was slightly subdued and apparently much calmer than the previous hours. ;) But she's lost a couple centimeters in terms of "readiness".

9:20am - My sister reminds us to go feed her bird and asks that we bring her pillow back. The hospital pillows are flat and she wants her own. She tells us that it's still going to be a long while and tells us to keep our appointment with the priest. We leave to go feed her bird, get her pillow, and while we're there notice that the a/c vent in the baby's room has partially fallen down. I'm not sure if this was intentional for any reason (you'd have to know my brother-in-law) so I call and he has no idea what we're talking about. At the slightest touch, the vent completely comes out of the ceiling and the paint/drywall falls all over the crib. AACK! We tear up the house looking for tape or nails or screws. We find pushpins in the office and a plastic bag, and secure that sucker over the vent.

10:15am - We head out to the church and get there 15 minutes early. A quinceanera celebration just let out and the girl was so cute in her white ballgown. These things always seem like someone really young is getting married. Although the "bridesmaids" or attendants or whatever really could have used more appropriate hem lengths and heel heights, in MY opinion. You're in a church!

11:00 - We sit down with Father Dennis and have a chat. A lot of what went on in that office is very personal so I won't mention any details. I think I've been missing the church a lot and let down my walls as soon as I stepped into his office. It was as if I'd been waiting interminable years for a safe haven to share my thoughts and feelings. Let's just say that we "passed" with flying colors and the priest happily agreed to marry us. Unfortunately, the afternoon wedding times were all taken up, not just for OUR proposed date, but for ALL Saturdays before and after ours! ALL of them were already booked! I couldn't believe it. So we ended up choosing a noon ceremony time.

11:30 - Back in the car, I feel very loved and slightly embarrassed. We call the reception site to see if we could go down and finally put our deposit down since we got our date at the church, and we were closer by. I make a point to say, "We want to put our DEPOSIT down TODAY." The director says her next available appointment is 4:00. I *sigh* but agree, thinking I'd be back in the hospital and then have to drive back out there. I figure I can cancel later if necessary.

11:35 - In our haste to get to the church on time (haha) I left my sister's pillow on the couch. So we head back to her house instead of the hospital. The director at the reception site calls and says she's had a cancellation and she can see us at 3:00. I agree without thinking about it, but then wonder if the later time would be better if my sister has her baby soon.

12:00 - We get the pillow, grab a bite to eat, and head back to the hospital.

12:15 - My sister is really uncomfortable now, and when the nurse comes to check her we leave the room and wait to be let back in. There are no other visitors around, and many of the rooms are empty. While loitering in the hallway for just 30 seconds with Rick and my brother-in-law, another nurse comes by and asks us if she can help us. I gesture to the closed door and just mumble something about waiting. And she says shortly, "You need to wait in the waiting room" and walks away. And I roll my eyes, but think, My sister is allowed 5 people in the room with her and we've just stepped outside because she's getting her hoo-ha checked, and then we'll go back in and WAIT. OK?!" My brother-in-law laughs, and says we might as well wait in the waiting room then. So we head over. Moments later, my brother-in-law chases us down and says that his wife has asked us to go, and that he'll call me when the baby's here. He acts like he feels bad about asking us to leave, so I fake pout, the boys laugh, and Rick and I head out.

1:00 - We sit in the car and wonder what to do for two hours until our appointment. We're tired too from all the driving. I rack my brain and think about what's along the way. We've already driven more than 100 miles. [For those of you LA-ites, we live in Burbank, the hospital is in Baldwin Park, my sister's house is in Glendora, the church is in Diamond Bar, and the reception site is in Corona. Yep. Practically three different counties, and we're doing this diagonal zigzag driving pattern.] We decide to go to the Brea mall.

1:30 - We arrive at the mall and just take a stroll. There are lots of people at the mall and lots of sales. The only thing we buy is a fishing video game. :)

2:15 - We head out to the reception site and get there 15 minutes early. We poke our heads in the office to see if she's with other clients, but the ladies in there are just at their computers. So we settle in, discuss our package, Rick makes some big decisions for us, I write the giant check that is our deposit, and she takes out this giant box. Inside the box is a binder. Inside the binder are tabbed sections of everything I want or need to know about everything that comes in our package. I'm so ecstatic because I'd been asking random, detailed questions over email and getting half and unclear answers.

3:30 - While going over the details in the binder, my phone rings. Loudly. I apologize, but answer the phone - it's my brother-in-law. I say, HELLO? And he says, "When can you come back here?" in a new-father tone that only a new father has. And I laugh and share the excitement with Rick and the girls in the office.

3:40 - We rush out of there and head back to the hospital. We decide to take a different, straighter way back to the hospital, which also passes by the church. It's a great route and there are new shopping complexes on the highway - perfect for our guests to waste time between our events.

4:15 - Isabella Grace is so pretty! She's 6 lbs. 13 ounces, 21 inches of pure delight. 10 fingers, 10 toes. LOTS of hair!! I get to hold her first and she opens her eyes and looks at me and yawns. It's precious. She has the softest skin and is perfect. My mom arrives and oohs and aahs over her first granddaughter and we all take pictures. We debate about whose nose she has.

The next few hours were a blur. We left the hospital because my sister needed to breastfeed and she was exhausted and starting to get snappy. Rick and I headed back (again) to her house, packed up her bird and his accessories, stopped in San Marino for Italian fast-food to-go and a quick chat with friends, and finally got home to eat and have the bird settled in.

I climbed in the shower at 8:00pm and cried. Bawled like a baby. But for the first time in my life, this sudden outburst was not sad tears, but tears that were so happy and so grateful that my cup literally runneth over. You ever see those televised chuch gospel things where they show some lady singing with her hands raised in the air, and tears are streaming down her face as she shouts the hymn? And you wonder, what in the heck is going on? Why is she sad??? Now I get it. It's not sadness, it's an emotion so profound and so overwhelming that the only way to really soak it all in is to let it all out.

The way the whole day unfolded was a miracle, like God had planned this whole day filled with excitement and anticipation. After weeks of frustration and waiting for appointments with the church and site, and anxiety for the baby, never did I imagine that we would get both our church and reception site booked let alone a brand new life introduced to the world all on the same day. And we didn't miss anything. I am so grateful for everything and everyone I have. It definitely was a day of vulnerability for me, and Rick was by my side the whole way.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Back to the Grind... for Two Weeks

No doubt you may have noticed my wedding links have tripled over the past few weeks. At least I have. 'Cause really, who's reading this stuff besides me? I'm really just using this blog to log reminders to myself. Not as adventurous as my title claims.

Anyways, it's been almost a whole month since my last post. Really a whole month? Yep. I was busy with the last few weeks of school (SPRING BREAK! WHOO HOO! *rips bikini top off*) and then was in San Diego for a few days for the VRA conference.

Better write down my list before proceeding; otherwise I'll forget:

March 23 - Easter. We should probably go to church... Also one of my mother's birthdays... and someone else's birthday too. I know many people who have their birthdays at the end of March, all one day after the next. Can't keep up with all these Pisces-Aries kids...

March 28 - My sister's due date. If she doesn't go into labor, they will induce on the 30th.

March 31 - Begin Spring quarter: the second reference course. I have two weeks of "normal" life before I have to get back to my alternate life of schoolwork and not doing any housework or cooking. I suppose this next course is "advanced" reference... I hope it won't be too hard and that I won't have to write papers. I got lucky with the first quarter.

April 19 - Kathleen's 40th birthday party! I think they're hiring salsa dance instructors and we're having a real dance party. But she just found out that she's pregnant too, so the party will probably be a little bit more on the cautious side. They're handling the pregnancy very carefully this time around. If all goes well, that means I'll have two mamas with babies in my wedding party. :)

April 25 - San Diego anniversary trip. And if all goes as planned, this would be a coincidental, pre-wedding-to-the-day anniversary trip.

So last night as I was just about to drift off to sleep, I jarred myself awake with a shocking realization. Rick and my family structures are very alike. What I mean is - on his mother's side, he's got three aunts and one uncle. On my mother's side... I've got three aunts and one uncle. It gets crazier. I compared the offspring of each aunt/uncle on our sides respectively. 4 kids, 4 kids... 1 kid, 1 kid... 2 kids, 2 kids.......... there were two families that didn't QUITE match up, but if we bring the 4th generation into this comparison game, THE NUMBERS MATCH. It's crazy. 25 direct descendants of our grandparents on our mothers' sides.

What's more, on our paternal side, Rick's dad has one sibling, MY dad has one sibling. These sibling have 2 kids. EACH!

What does this mean???? It was slightly creepy. Because seriously, what are the odds that something like this happens?? Our maternal grandparents each had five children: 4 girls and one boy. Our paternal grandparents each had two children, and we each have 2 cousins. SERIOUSLY??! SERIOUSLY!!!!!!

So I fell asleep thinking about how cool it would be to have these family trees on giant poster boards up for the wedding. I even entertained the idea of doing a whole freakin presentation with powerpoint and laser pointers. ;) So this morning when I got up, I grabbed sheets of paper and made the family trees as similar in format as possible for comparison. It was great. Slightly creepy, but great.

The rest of today was spent throwing stuff out. We purged what felt like 200 lbs of clothes, got rid of our old TV that was sitting in the living room taking up precious space, and cleaned out old stuff that we didn't want anymore. We filled up my whole car with bags of clothes, household items, rugs... and my turtle pillow that my college roommate gave me. (ack, I just realized that it's gone! I kind of want it back... *anxiety attack*) Sadly though, after coming back from our dumping trip at the thrift shop, we looked around and there was still so much clutter. So tomorrow will be another cleaning day for me while Rick is at work.

So anyways, back to the wedding links and their tripled factor. This wedding stuff is SUCH an industry. But it's so nice to find blogs about bargain weddings and DIY stuff so I can get ideas on how to do stuff and find resources like free, already-made templates and REALLY CHEAP paper products. The only problems are that I want to DO IT NOW (and then I'd just sit and stare at them for oh, another YEAR) and the plethora of new ideas that I hadn't even thought of overwhelm me. I like having options, but this is crazy. How many ways and styles can we make our monogram? And what SHADE of brown to choose from their 100+ browns?! Should we get certain monograms for certain purposes? And are we really going to use the monogram with our wedding date on it after our wedding? It's all making my head spin.

I suppose that's why I've added those links. I can refer back to them when the time is right and I don't have to worry about losing a certain idea and having to retain all the information a year in advance. Did I mention that I still have a year to go? Just checking.

Really, the thing we need to do quite immediately before the rest of these details is set the date with our church. I've got a week before I become uber-busy again.