Let's start at the beginning. Shane came in from work Wednesday morning with fever, chills and a sore throat. We grabbed a bottle of previously prescribed but not used antibiotics and hit the road. Shane's brother, Scott made the girls' year by agreeing to go with us. It was a divine answer to a need we didn't anticipate. Scott drove the entire way to Hot Springs and then on to Eureka Springs 2 days later.
The "resort" we called home for two nights in Hot Springs was a bit past its prime, but the girls thought it was a luxury palace! It had a nice hot tub and indoor pool we enjoyed nightly. We had Thursday to play in Hot Springs. We found plenty to do with a tiny trip to a few shops down by the bath houses, lunch in a quaint upstairs diner, then off to the Mid America Science Museum for the afternoon. Shane felt terrible but tagged along anyway. It was HOT and HUMID. Poor Bethany was walking around with dripping curls, she was so sweaty. As we were leaving downtown she said, "I think now we need to go to Cold Springs."
Friday morning it was time to focus on the wedding ahead. The matron of honor was stuck back in Texas with spinal meningitis (!) so I was commissioned to find a brown dress, if at all possible. I shopped on the way to Eureka Springs, but only found one dress that would work. It wasn't maternity so it was an awkward fit. Also it was linen while the other bridesmaids dresses were of a shimmery fabric, so Jennifer & I decided to pass on the idea and just proceed without a fourth bridesmaid.
Bethany turned 5 on day 3 of the trip-she's opening her gift of a shirt from Daddy and a new Polly Pocket doll.
In case you don't know, Texas is flat compared to Arkansas. In Texas we say that a sixty mile trip will take about an hour-about a minute a mile. Well, Mapquest doesn't know that and our trip from Hot Springs to Eureka was filled with twists, turns, hills, and steep grades. No mile a minute driving here! We thought we were well cushioned with extra time but ended up in Eureka a half hour after the rehearsal was over-thankfully, we were able to attend the dinner and weren't needed at the rehearsal.
Another rather large kink of plans occurred on Friday-Hope's throat started hurting. She'd been off her antibiotics a couple of days and had no strep symptoms at all until Friday. Our family doctor's office was zero help and only told us to find a clinic in Arkansas. On a Friday afternoon (they didn't return our call until 2:30 when we'd called them by 10am for help). We were landing in a town so small there's no Wal-Mart, why would they have an after hours clinic? And when would we have taken her with all the wedding festivities? Thankfully, our friend Leslie (who also happens to be a pediatrician) was able to call in a different antibiotic to the closest Wal-Mart. Just for Leslie & Barry-we have a tribute :) Thanks again Dr. H, we appreciate you!
Saturday morning started the wedding hoopla big time! It was finally here! It's a unique feeling to know your 32 year old single friend will be a wife by the end of the day. Such a mix of emotions-pride, wonder, praise to the Lord, uncertainty (about relationship changes)...
We met Jennifer, the moms, and bridesmaids to decorate the reception hall, then had a nice lunch on the balcony of the historic hotel where the reception and honeymoon night would take place. I let the girls swim for a bit before doing hair in sponge curlers, visiting Jennifer in the bridal suite where she was getting her hair done, then getting ready myself. The chapel was romantic, the bridesmaids looked like models in Bride Magazine, and Jennifer was the epitome of a bride who's waited for this moment for years. I know I was tired and easily moved to tears, but I had to reign in the downpour and quivering chin as I watched her joyfully walking down the aisle with her Daddy (and he's a Daddy in every sense of the word) to meet Jeff, who loves her in such a strong way...
The girls helped put together the unique candy bar-while sampling some of the night's treats :)
The reception was a blast. I've never had so much fun at a wedding. Big Band tunes put music to the celebratory emotions in our hearts. As the night went on fun '80's tunes got the kids to their feet for some very unchoreographed dancing! We saw Mr. & Mrs. off to their suite and packed up the reception-exhausted but elated.
Isn't she beautiful?
I was operating on fumes and my last nerve was shot before waking up this morning. Close quarters, being constantly needed by four children and one sick husband, being 7.5 months pregnant in the cramped car, strange bed, and humid side walks just about did me in. I got in the car to head to Texas this morning and said, "Don't even talk to me unless you see a tornado heading our way or you're bleeding so badly you're ruining the van's carpet." I knew I was being a terrible mom-wife-sister in law...but I had nothing left to give out. So I took a trip to my friend Gina's shop in Eureka and spent too much money on myself! I found this-it's even cuter in real life! There's more fun pottery on her site-some I might be requesting for Christmas!
I expected Jennifer to look different after her first night with her husband, but this morning she was the same old Jennifer-except extra perky. She was so happy with how everything turned out-she kept saying, "That was the wedding day I didn't even know to dream about!" and "I wouldn't have changed any of it." Of course there were glitches, but it was a great wedding. I'm so happy for Jennifer & Jeff.
However, on the 19 hour drive home (really it was about 9 hours in the car), I was wishing she'd gotten hitched in Texas!