Monday, March 21, 2011

How Beautiful

What. A. Weekend.  I am so tired but there will be no rest for the weary! 

Tuesday morning, the boys and I got up early squirrely to take Aaron to the airport.  He had business in Calgary.  Afterward I took the boys to school, then went home to clean house.  That afternoon, I took the kids out of school a tad early and we went back to the airport to pick up my mother.  The plan was for mom to spend her Spring Break with the boys while Aaron and I went to Austin for Lauren and Ryan's wedding.

My time with mom was so nice even though it was brief.  We walked through my daily routine together and drew maps to the grocery store and school.  She promised she could handle the boys and Drake.  She did great!  (I also must mention that she looked great as she has dropped a lot of weight!)

Thursday finally came and my "escape" was a go!  Aaron and I had not had a trip alone since we lived in MO 5 years ago.  Poor Aaron got up at 4 a.m., boarded a plane in Canada and met me at the Denver Airport around 9:30 a.m.  I was cutting it close as our flight was to leave at 11 but we were able to get bags checked and through security in just enough time.  Once on the plane, I slept.  Aaron couldn't.

This week in Austin was their big South by Southwest Festival.  It's a huge music and film festival that artists from all over the world flock to Austin for.  Due to this it is very hard to get any kind of room in the city or surrounding areas.  All over the Austin airport were musicians with their guitar cases.  Apparently to dress like a rock star also means to dress like you are homeless.  Homeless Chic.  Not that there is anything chic about it.  Still, it was amusing.

We weaved our way through the airport crowd and hopped into our rental car.  As we headed to the B&B I soaked up the glorious humidity and sights of spring all around us!  Redbuds were in bloom and grass was green!  Spring is the hands down best time to be in Texas!!

Unfortunately neither Aaron or I had printed out directions to the B&B.  Using a map in the rental car I navigated us right past our exit.  Lucky that Austin is so small because it was nothing to drive from the airport to the other side of the city, U turn and make it back to near the center of town in Hyde Park.  We pulled up to an adorable little cottage home.  I was so please that Aaron had booked us there.  This would be the only night that would just be ours since the rest of the weekend would be all about the wedding.

Aaron checked us in and immediately we could smell disaster looming.  Long story longer, the inn keeper had double booked our room.  Aaron pulled up the e-mail from them saying that we had a room but obviously, the couple who's bags were in the room could surely do the same.  My husband is a pillar of self control.  His face was filled to the brim with anger but he calmly asked the inn keeper if he knew of there being anything possibly available in or around the city of Austin.

"With SXSW going on, I'm sorry to say there is not."

"Well....thank you," Aaron calmly replied and we walked out the door.

"That's it?!"  I could not believe how cool he was being about it.  I wanted to chew that guy out.  This was completely unacceptable!  I had been anticipating this night alone with my husband for months and now it seemed we would be bunking at Casa Little Sister.  (Sorry, my limited Spanish can only translate "house.") 

"Where would that get us, Dear?"  Oof...he called me "Dear."  That's a big sign to shut it.  Aaron only calls me "Babe" or "Baby."  "Dear" or "Woman" means he is pissed.
We got back in the car.  We were supposed to go to Lauren's after checking in so I called her and told her our problem.  She said she would get on line to see if she could find anything as we headed her way. 

I was disappointed and starving as I had not eaten since breakfast and it was now 3 p.m.  I did not want to complain though because I knew Aaron was mad and running on very little sleep.

And then his phone rang. 

From his end I gathered that the Inn Keeper who screwed us over found a room for us at a B&B that was only 3 blocks away from the place we were supposed to stay at.  They had a last minute cancellation (You know how to work it God!) and the room was now to be ours! 

As Aaron got the details from this guy my phone rings:

"Mrs.McDowell?  This is the school...." 

Drew had a bloody nose at school.  Seemingly no big deal but Drew has a thin or exposed capillary in his left nostril that often bleeds.  When it does it flows like a faucet and takes a long time to stop.  Many a night Aaron and I have woken up to Drew walking into our bedroom with blood all over his face and chest.  It's not a good way to wake up.  We have become accustomed to dealing with it and are now unalarmed with how long it takes to get it manageable.  The school however, was a little freaked out.   I talked the nurse through our management routine and made sure that Drew was OK.  They said he was very brave.  (It's old hat for him.)  They were not comfortable with him riding home on the bus though in case it were to start bleeding again.  So while Aaron turned the car around and tried to find the new B&B, I called mom to see if she could pick the boys up from school.  She was apprehensive and I offered to call Caren but she assured me she could do it.

The new B&B we stayed at was very nice.  I think it was even better then the original one and it was less expensive!  (Yea God!)  We checked in, changed clothes and headed to Lauren's where cheese and fruit were being served.

We had a great time hanging out with Lauren and meeting her Matron of Honor and her family.  Aaron really hit it off with the MOH's husband.  I could not get over how much he was talking.  Typically Aaron is very reserved and must be prompted for conversation so much to the point that Lauren had nicknamed him Wax Aaron because he will sit there, while we are all laughing and talking, still as a Wax Statue of himself.  Sleep Deprived Aaron is apparently quite social!  Who knew?  Aaron claims it had nothing to do with sleep deprivation but with the MOH's husband.  He really was a cool guy.  They both are an awesome couple of people with an adorable little girl!  One of the best things about this trip was meeting this sweet family!  (Well done Lauren!  Your friends are stellar.)

That night we all hung out around the fire pit in Lauren's back yard, until 3:30 a.m.  By the time we got back to the B&B and got to bed it was after 4 a.m.  Aaron had stayed up a full 24 hours! 

The next day Aaron and I woke up to the smell of breakfast being prepared.  We literally rolled ourselves out of bed and dressed to come down.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:  My mother woke up to about five inches of unforecasted snow.  While the boys watched cartoons in the basement, she went out on the front deck to snap some photos.  She turned around to go back in  Click, click, click.  The door was locked!  Our door stays locked on the outside even though you can open it from the inside.  So she banged and banged on the door, yelling and hollering for the boys.  But they never came.  So mom had to walk down stairs and around to the sliding glass doors.  In the snow.  Barefoot.  Gabriel saw his Nana standing outside in the snow and opened the door.

"What are you doing out there?"  he asked.

Back in Austin there were a few other snags.  You would think that Aaron and I had never traveled before.  It was ridiculous but we ironed it all out.  When we got to the resort our room was not yet ready and so we decided to get lunch at.....WHATABURGER!!!! 

People, I miss Whataburger almost as much as I miss TexMex!  My Whataburger Jr. with cheese and jalapenos was HEAVENLY!!!  Finally I could let loose and be free of my diet!  I ate without shame.  It was also fun to listen to the conversations being had around me.  The tales of hunting and "if they ever trespass on my land again..." being told in that Texas accent....YES!  One guy walked in with his Wranglers being held up by a belt that matched his boots and that a matching holster for his cell phone dangled from.  God bless 'im.  A mother, hands full of a toddler and her lunch to go, headed for the door.  A good Texas gentleman foresaw her dilemma, jumped up mid-meal from his table and swung open the door for her.  I have missed that so!!!

Back at the resort, we got ready for the rehearsal.  I could not wait to wear my new dress and show off how all my hard work of diet and exercise had paid off.  (My shoes!!  I love my "raspberry syrup" shoes!!)  At the venue Aaron and I reunited with the brides family.  It was so good to see her parents and her brothers.  I was standing near her brother, Michael, when Lauren walked on to the scene. 

"Michal!" she exclaimed, "You. Look. Stunning!"  Just as I am about to thank her she quips, "oh, and you too Mrs. McDowell."  Ahahaha!  Her brother and I had a good laugh at that. 

At rehearsal I got to meet the rest of Lauren's fabulous bridesmaids and then we headed to dinner.  Lauren changed for the dinner into the most adorable cocktail dress ever! Her shoes were so cute!!  I have to share this because they are just too fun:

The food was so awesome.  I think food is generally better when you have just come off of a diet.  Half way through the meal I thought My word woman!  Slow down!  I made my self set my fork down.  I planned to set it down after every bite but I think I only set it down that one time.  Poop. 

Everything was lovely.  The rehearsal dinner was followed by a reception for the other guests who had come in from out of town and were staying at or near the resort.  Aaron and I followed that up by another run to Whataburger with my Sweet Shalah Who I Missed So Much and her date, Jay.   We finally crashed to our bed sometime after 1 a.m.

The next day was Wedding Day!!  The guys golfed and the bridal party met in a suite to get ready for FIVE HOURS people!  This baffled me.  I get ready every day of my life in an hour or less.  I only spent one hour of my own wedding day to get ready.  It took that long for all of us to get ready as we had to take turns with the hairstylist and make-up but mostly we lounged around the room eating salads and keeping the bride calm.  We steamed dresses and took lots of pictures too. 

Lauren kept it together very well.  After her sister-in-laws make up and hair were done, Lauren caught sight of her and the tears fell.  Her sister-in-law is a radiant beauty.  The only other time the bride spilled tears was when she finally got a look at herself.  After hours of hair, make-up, dressing, veiling, and pictures someone asked her if she had looked at herself yet.  Lauren stood in front of the mirror with her veil trailing down about her.  Hair perfect.  Make up perfect.  Woman perfect.  And she cried.  We all did. 

The thing that always moves me about weddings is the picture of the church as Christ's bride.  It has always been easy for me to embrace the concept of God the Father but God our Lover....that was missed on me until I was preparing for my wedding.  As every detail fell into place I saw God's hand in it and recognized the wooing of a lover.  Seeing Lauren full with love and anticipation to be presented to her groom, to see her glowing love highlight her beauty, brought it all to heart again how beautiful the church is to Christ.

It was truly a blessed day.  I had a lot of fun and I am worn out.  I felt like the whole weekend was a bit of a tease though because I did not get a lick of TexMex and spent only a limited amount of time with my friends and sister.  The boys Spring Break starts in about 4 days though and we will be back in Texas again.  Someone call Lupe's and have them get my old table ready for me.

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