Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Montana or Bust!

The Epic Tale
So Sunday June 17th, we decided that due to some generosity of Brian & Anna (& Company) Atticus & I would fly out for their wedding to Billings, MT after all. [1 Ticket to Billings Montana is $700 -- we'd been checking and doing Priceline bids for months, the cheapest we ever found was $630 -- if we waited until Friday to fly out, tickets were $1100 per person.] SO, that meant some schedule changes: First Atticus and I drove down to Potosi, Wisconsin Monday night to stay for two days and help with the wedding invitations for my brother Jonathan and soon-to-be sister-in-law Robyn. I was very happy to be doing this loving paper and design and handwriting and all. I was also able to go with Jonathan to help pick out the wedding band -- which is quite beautiful -- just as the engagement ring is. The engagement ring is an marquis aquamarine with lovely River-Elven (Lord of the Rings) white-gold intertwining twists trailing out from the stone. And I can't tell you about the wedding band because it's a secret (-: -- but I WILL say that it is like stars.

I was able to spend some time getting to know Robyn a little. Besides being a very lovely girl with the most amazing long, dark curly hair I've always wanted, she seems to have an easy-going manner and a sense of fun and humor that immediately makes you feel comfortable. Plus she obviously loves my brother, so she already shows very good taste and judgment (-: I'll write more about Robyn soon....especially for those of you who don't know her and won't be at the family shower to meet her.

Wednesday night Atticus and I headed back to Minneapolis. The next morning we were to fly out at 11 am for Montana. Brad and our friend Angelina were to pick up a rental car and begin the 12-hour drive early in the morning. Brad and I were hoping to see one another for a couple hours Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Well, somewhere outside of Rochester, MN, somewhere that was nowhere, I was driving along in a 70 mph stretch and saw a piece of tire rubber in the middle of the road. Three cars were lined up behind me cruising along at highway speed. I decided rather than swerving into the next lane, I'd just straddle the debris with the car. About 3 minutes later, the temperature warning light for the engine came on. I pulled over. Let the car cool off. Atticus woke up. I started the car and the temperature immediately jacked up into the red and the warning light came back on. Now, Brad and I don't have cell phones. It is true. No cell phone. It's 9:30 pm at night. I am on a highway with no streetlights and the nearest exit is ????? Farmland all around me. So I did what I had to do -- I got my backpack carrier for Atticus out of the car, dressed Atticus in warmer clothes, put on my tennis shoes and started walking toward the next town. I tried stopping some cars, but no one stops anymore because who doesn't have a cell phone, besides it's dangerous to stop for strangers. A short while later, I saw a semi truck stop along the other side of the highway (a big grassy median divided the two sides). I walked back and found an man with a zz-top white beard looking along my side of the highway. He yelled over that another truck driver had radioed out that a young woman with a baby was walking along the highway. This nice guy had driven back looking for me, stayed on his side of the highway so as not to scare me, and called the state patrol. He waited in his truck until the police showed up. I wish I could have kissed his feet. The police officer was fantastic. He went and got coolant for my car at the next town, but when we tried slowly driving, the engine couldn't cool down. We got out and tried putting some more coolant in and slowly looked under the car -- liquid was streaming out as we poured it in. The radiator was probably cracked. So the officer lent me his own phone and let me call Brad and also called me a tow truck. What eventually happened was that Atticus and I were towed to the Rochester Chrysler dealership/garage. A friend of ours, Jock MacGregor, from Labri, drove over in the middle of the night (it was after midnight by now) to pick us up and bring us back to their retreat house to sleep for the night. Atticus was so worm out and confused, he cried until 3 in the morning laying with me in bed. Finally we fell asleep until 5:45 am when his little internal alarm clock woke us up for the day. We were able to use the retreat house phone and did some quick work -- I called Brad -- he and Angelina were in a tangle, too. When they showed up at the rental car place, Brad realized he didn't have his credit card (for him to lose anything is highly unusual). They had to call Angelina's fiancee, Derek, back to get them. Then they went back to our house and back to Cub foods where they finally found it. Then they came back to the house, picked up some things for Atticus and me and went back to get the rental car and take off. I rescheduled our flight for 9:15 pm. Left information with the dealership garage (the radiator and a bunch of front end structural stuff was all broken, but our insurance covered everything). Reserved a van shuttle place for Atticus and me. Then was grateful for a long morning nap with Atticus and then some lunch with the Macgregors. Jock brought us to the dealership to repack for our trip best I could, to get our stroller, and to go over the car work with the mechanic before we were dropped off at the hotel for the shuttle. An hour and a half later we arrived at the Minneapolis airport. The shuttle driver began unloading the luggage for the 9 passengers. And Atticus and I still stood there waiting. Our luggage wasn't in the van. We had our car seat and the stroller and my diaper bag. And no suitcase. It was left back in Rochester. I checked in the car seat. I went down to the shuttle desk. They arranged to have our suitcase come with the next shuttle. But the security lines were too long to go through, find some dinner, and get back before I needed to be out in front to get my luggage. So Atticus and I walked back and forth along the drop-off doors for an hour and a half. We got our luggage, went through security and found some dinner. It was now around 8 pm. We got to our gate, let Atticus explore and walk for another hour...until the announcement came that the computer had gone out on our plane and needed to be replaced. We finally flew out after 10 pm. Atticus was so tired -- he'd had no afternoon nap and everything was topsy-turvy. He sobbed hysterically for the first 40 minutes of our 1 1/2 hour flight. There are few things I have experienced in life quite as horrible as having your poor child sobbing uncontrollably in a closed-in public place. I understood how Atticus felt. And I felt so bad for those poor people who were unwittingly imprisoned with a keening child. We finally arrived in Billings around 12:30 am. We strollered to baggage claim, down the elevator...and there was my sweet, handsome husband. Never a sweeter sight. We grabbed our car seat and suitcase and drove to my Uncle Eddie and Aunt Lisa's guest house out in the Montana boondocks.

The next day...we met some new friends -- friends of Brad's from before we had met, who subsequently moved to Tennesse. They brought the youngest of their 5 kids with them, Isobel -- only a couple months older than Atticus. The two kids played parallel to each other and finally began playing together....

Rehearsal at the Church

Anna walks down the aisle with her dad. The wedding program was a movie script complete with inserted soundtrack notes and voice overs. Brian worked long and hard to reach this day. Two years of active courting -- more courting Anna's dad than even Anna herself. But the complete gladness in her dad's eyes and words and whole demeanor was beautiful. Brian's grandpa performed the service.

We had the honor of driving Brian and Anna to the reception about half an hour away from the church. The most wonderful thing about the reception was the speech Anna's dad gave. He said how proud he was to have Brian as his son-in-law. He said how when they started this process two years ago, he thought Brian had so much to change. And in ways, he was right, but that what he didn't know then was that he himself had so much to change. He had learned that God makes men different and what is godly living and godly leadership in one man looks different in another man. And that he so appreciates the expression of God in the life of Brian. His genuine unfettered joy at this wedding was worth the entire trip to see. And, of course, to be able to steal a few minutes with our honored friends as we drove them to the reception and afterwards to the airport -- that was just so much more of a sweet surprise.

And the sweet surprises don't stop because as I mentioned earlier, the LaRoses came from Tennesse. This is the second time I've met Sean and the first time I've met Sember. How I wish these people lived on my street in Minneapolis. Angelina and I had such a wonderful time with Sember and Isobel. Brad and Sean were both in the wedding party and had "stuff to do"....So We girls ended up watching the kids in the nursery at the church or hanging out in the LaRose's hotel room...And it was not a trial. I knew Sember wouldn't be boring but I had no idea I'd just so easily and instantaneously like her.

Angelina!!!! Also because of this wedding, I was reunited with my dear girl, Angelina. We were room-mates before I married Brad. Not too many months after Atticus was born, she got engaged to an excellent fellow, Derek. But something happened where we didn't call each other for awhile and then it became weird-awkward because we hadn't called. Well, anyway, Angelina is a close friend of Brian's and was planning to get to the wedding and finally the transportation need overcame the awkward factor. Thankfully! So now Angelina and I have been able to hang out again and she, of course, loves Atticus (and he, of course, loves her back (-:)

Headed for Seattle, Washington for a week and a half....

the adventure begins....

Monday, June 11, 2007

Liz & Eric Get Married!

The front of their invitation was a fun surprise for me -- they decided to use a scan of the drawing Eric commissioned from me for Liz' Valentine's Day present...Thank you, guys, for the honor!

A couple weekends ago we headed out to Eagle, Wisconsin to be a part of the Liz & Eric Wedding celebration. Beautiful day...Atticus was fantastic...wedding lovely...

Aunt Bekah Comes to Visit

At the Como Zoo

Atticus & Calvin Playing in Leah's Backyard

Atticus in Perpetual Motion

Happy Boy