Saturday, Dec. 23rd - drove to Northern CA where my family lives.
Sunday, Dec. 24th - church service, then time spent in the hospital with my mom.
Monday, Dec. 25th - We brought Christmas to the hospital - even complete with a Christmas tree! We opened presents at the hospital, decorated Mom's room, and even brought in Christmas dinner. It was a rather unusual way of celebrating, but I actually really enjoyed it. It was good to be able to bring Christmas to Mom, since she couldn't be home.
Tuesday, Dec. 26th - Sarah tried on her wedding dress for the first time since $400 worth of alterations in Massachusetts. Panic ensued, as the dress didn't fit AT ALL. Sarah and I spent the day finding a seamstress who could help, then ordering a cake and trying to find someone who could do flowers on seriously short notice! We did find the most wonderful seamstresses ever! They were Russian or Ukranian, we think, and our encounter with them sounded something like this:
"russianrussianrussianrussianrussianrussianrussian-not good!-russianrussianrussian-darts?-russianrussianrussianrussian-not good, because you have breasts!!!-russianrussianrussianrussianrussianrussian-we fix; come back tomorrow at four"
It really was rather funny. :) They did speak English as well, and were able to explain to us pretty thoroughly what they could do. I was impressed at their ability, and thankfully they came through and delivered a beautifully fitting dress by Thursday morning!
Wednesday, Dec. 27th - Jonathan and I spent the morning out and about, shopping for supplies for Sarah's wedding and sweaters for Mom and I to wear to the wedding. Nothing went as planned, and we barely made it home in the afternoon in time to clean up and get ready for the Skinners (Sarah's about-to-be in-laws) who were coming over for dinner. Thankfully, I have two wonderful brothers who also came home in time to help clean and cook. I think it would have been pretty disastrous if they hadn't been around to help - adrenaline can only carry you so far when you're eight months pregnant, and I had been seriously pushing the limits!
Thursday, Dec. 28th - Sarah's wedding day!! More errands in the morning - dress shoes and socks and a tie for Christopher, slips for Mom and I (did you know that Penneys doesn't carry slips?! Ack, neither did I!!!) supplies for the punch at the reception - then down to the hospital just in time to mix up the punch with Uncle Gary's help and change into my dress for the wedding.
The wedding was just amazing. The hospital staff just bent over backward to make it wonderful for Sarah - one of the hospital administrators even did her hair for her!! The wedding itself was held in a little garden, the reception was in a conference room, and they opened up a boardroom and brought in a full-length mirror so Sarah could get dressed elsewhere than a bathroom (which was what she had been expecting to do!) We had forgotten to get extra flowers to put on the cake, so someone found burgandy tipped carnations in the hospital gift shop and sprinkled the petals over the cake. There was just so much excitement and goodwill and true caring from the hospital staff - it was wonderful.
Sarah and Nathan's pastor flew out from Massachusetts to marry them. A trio of musicians volunteered to play (including Sarah's very first violin teacher - how cool is that?) Nearly fifty people attended, even on such short notice! An artistic friend from Mom and Dad's church took care of decorating everything, and she did a beautiful job. It certainly wasn't the wedding that Sarah and Nathan had planned...but it was lovely and (I thought) about as perfect as you could have under the circumstances.
Mom looked absolutely lovely. We had bought her a really pretty dusty pink skirt and top a few months ago when she was still down in the Sutter Roseville hospital, in the hopes that it could work as a mother of the bride dress. And it sure did! She wore it with a cute black hat and a dark purple/burgandy shawl that a friend had crocheted for her - it really looked good. I thought it was funny that after all the stress of "what to wear to the wedding", and "should both mothers try to match" and everything...in the end they did match (completely by accident!) and in complementary colors to those that Sarah had chosen for her decorations. Even my dress ended up being burgandy, which is what she had chosen for her bridesmaid's dresses!
Jonathan did carry in the rings - although Gabe had to carry in Jonathan! It was really cute, though - he handed the pillow off to Sarah without fussing about relinquishing it at all. :)
In a way, I'm selfishly glad for how it turned out. I wasn't going to be able to go to her wedding, being too pregnant to fly across the country. So it was honestly nice to be able to be there and be part of it, even though the circumstances that made it so are sad. I got to be a stand-in bridesmaid, in a way - fix her train, hold her bouquet - and I had been really sad that I couldn't do that for her in Pennsylvania.
There were a couple of news crews there, videotaping the wedding. The hospital had asked if they could have a journalist there...and somehow that turned into a journalist and three tv crews. :) Sarah and Nathan handled it really really well, though. One of the camera journalists was incredibly nice. He actually stayed in the background like he was supposed to, and during the reception he pulled me aside and asked permission (again - he had already gotten hospital permission) to use some of the footage of Mom in his story. I said that it was ok if they were GOOD pictures - and that the earlier footage would probably be better since by the reception she was getting very tired. He assured me that he would only use flattering pictures, and that he would make the story as tasteful and beautiful as he could. I was so impressed with him - I walked away from speaking with him actually convinced that he did care about respecting us in that way, and that he would do a nice job. You can see the result for yourself here...isn't it beautifully done?? :)
Friday, December 29th - I did a mountain of laundry (and by mountain, I really mean mountain!!) and deep cleaned the refrigerator so Dad and Christopher would be able to know what food was available. When mom isn't there using up leftovers and keeping track of such things, interesting science experiments develop in the back of the fridge! My brother and I cleaned up the house again, this time because Jonathan's fiance's parents were going to come over. Little Jonathan went down for a nap in the early afternoon, and completely by accident, so did I. :) I guess you can only burn midnight oil for so long before it catches up with you! So our visit with Mom ended up being in the evening over dinner instead of in the afternoon. Then back home to go through bills and medical paperwork with Dad, and make and eat apple crisp at Christopher's request.
Saturday, December 30th - Breakfast with Grandma and Grandpa to give them one more chance to see all of us and enjoy little Jonathan. Then one more visit to the hospital to see Mom. It was hard to leave, knowing that I can't come back for probably at least two months. I've been close with Mom since I've been married, and while I wished we could visit more often, it didn't bother me too much that I did most of my catching up with her over the phone. Somehow having her in the hospital, and not really able to talk on the phone, has made it much more difficult for me to deal with how far away from her I am. I think this is probably extra difficult, too, since I was planning to have her be with me when Thomas is born, and obviously that won't be happening now. It is strange to think that next time I see her, I'll have a newborn baby on the outside, instead of inside!
And now we're home, having done the drive in two days this time. I'm glad - 8th month pregnancy is not a nice time to do cross-country driving. Besides, Thomas seems to have chosen a very low and not quite ideal position to hang out in right now, which is causing some pretty intense pelvic pain. Not the nicest thing for driving long distances in the car!!
We got home around 2pm today and my wonderful husband let me go straight to bed while he watched Jonathan. Isn't he nice? :) AND he took Jonathan to video games with the guys so that I could keep resting. Hence the time to write this very long post. ;)
And now to bed! No midnight partying for this girl!