So I figured it was high time for an "update", but no pictures this time. We have tons of photos from the last few weeks, I just need to upload them.
The last few weeks have been super hectic for us, and the previous two weekends have been fun, but soooo busy. Over Columbus Day we went camping with Graham's parents and siblings. We all drove down or up to Starved Rock State Park for some good ole camping fun. I can now say with 100% certainty that it's possible to camp an entire weekend during your 7th/8th month of pregnancy and not escape to a hotel room. That being said, it's not necessarily advised! By Sunday, my hips were extremely hurty, and by Monday morning it definitely took me a few "oomphs!" to get out of "bed". My middle of the night bathroom trips and inability to stay asleep for more than 4 hours at a time made for a pretty sleepy and cranky Angie by the end of the trip. Third trimester camping: who knew?! All in all, I'm glad we went. It was a great weekend and we had some amazing weather for it. The fall colors got brighter and better each day we were gone, so every morning we got to wake up to some really great yellows, golds, oranges, and reds.
Not sure if I'll attempt another pregnant camping trip--definitely not first or third trimester, that's for sure--but I've done it, goshdarnit! ::slams fist on table:: Next year is a whole different ball game. I don't "do" nature, and with a lot of prayer and luck I'll hopefully have diaper changes and sleeping babies figured out. Still, I'm not sure if camper-style camping will work well when you combine me with an infant. I'm thinking "hotel style" camping. It still counts if you roast your marshmallows in the lobby fireplace, right?
Thank you Jesus--we don't have to make that decision for at least another 9 months.
This past weekend we drove down to Action Jacksonville for a visit to IC and to hang with my super cool sibs-in-law. Brian & Robyn were great enough to let us stay in their home (Thanks for giving up your man cave, Brian!) and we had fun wandering around IC for Graham's 5th year college reunion. I got a pretty decent sunburn despite the SPF 10000000000000% I slathered on, but it looks worse than it feels. I didn't see the whole homecoming football game because we were in the sun for the first half and I was feeling pretty gross and overwhelmed. I tried to watch from inside but none of the player's moms wanted to give up their seats for the fat pregnant chick, so I did some wandering around the epic sports palace IC built a few years ago and lots of chatting with friends via text messages.
After the game we hung around at IC long enough for Graham to get his reunion photo taken, and then we drove over to "my" side of town to visit with Father Tom, the priest who married us. Father Tom is probably my favorite priest in the whole world. He's FABULOUS. Father Tom is one of those priests who lives and breathes his job; he IS a priest. Sometimes I'll look at priests and I'm able to imagine them working as accountants or college professors--being a priest sometimes feels like an extension of who they are. But Father Tom? This man could never be anything other than a priest. He's just....great. Honestly, had it not been for him I probably would have walked out on the Catholic church a long time ago. I love me some Jesus and it doesn't necessarily matter to me where I find him or what church I attend to worship, but Father Tom kept me connected to the Catholic church and to my roots--and for that, my mom is extremely grateful! Har dee har har...
Anyway, when we were in college (at least, when I was in college; Graham may have graduated by then) Father Tom was moved from his position as an associate in Jacksonville to a pastor at Edwardsville. It was a really tough move. He was so attached to Jacksonville and he'd formed a really close working relationship with the Newman Clubs at Mac & IC. Geez, he pretty much resurrected the Newman Club at Mac! I started attending out of good ole Catholic guilt, thinking I'd go to a meeting a few times and come up with some excuse as to why I couldn't always be there--homework or some garbage. I ended up staying because of Father Tom. His sermons were always spot on and while I didn't necessarily agree with everything he said, he was able to present "the church's position" in a way that was approachable and non-offensive to a small group of rowdy college kids. He was great about answering all our questions, even the tough ones like, "Why can I take communion at the Methodist church, but my Methodist friend can't take communion when she comes to Mass with me?" I still don't agree with "the church's" answers, but he was always able to explain the tough questions to us without judgement or bias or that super-friendly tone of voice that drips of disdain for the youth of America.
When Father Tom moved, I basically quit all affiliations with the Newman Club. I was pretty busy as it was and didn't spend enough time studying and working on my school assignments as it was; once the connection to Newman Club was gone, so was I. After Graham and I got engaged and started planning our wedding, there wasn't any doubt about who would marry us. It made perfect sense: we both knew Father Tom from college, and he knew us as individuals but he also knew "us" and had seen us grow as a couple. We didn't have to explain to him how we met or who we were, and we didn't have to pick between someone's favorite childhood or parish priest. I still remember calling Father Tom from my tiny apartment at Woodlands--he was so flattered that we'd asked him and signed on to marry us right away. "I will definitely be there, no matter what."
He may never know this, but the blog title actually comes from him. That whole wedding weekend gave us some great stories and crazy memories: Abi's "believe it!" story, my mom trying to keep me from seeing all the snow outside, the crazy piles of snow everywhere....but without a doubt one of my favorite memories is Father Tom's homily, where he kept reminding us that we would be together for the rest. of our. lives! Emphasized just so--almost doomsday like! Absolutely hilarious. I kept wanting to look at Graham and follow his statement with, "Dun dun DUN!" but there was no way we could have done it and not cracked up laughing--probably not appropos when your personal spirutual guide is talking to you about spending your life with the person next to you.
We hadn't seen Father Tom since our wedding day--he had planned to stay overnight in Chicago but when he saw all the snow that day he high-tailed it back to Edwardsville so he wouldn't miss Mass on Sunday. When we caught up with him the other day he said, "I really should have stayed because there was so much snow that only 5 people showed up to Mass anyway." In May we found out that Father Tom was moving back to Jacksonville to be pastor at his old parish. He didn't start at OS until July so we missed him, but when we came down this past weekend we really wanted to make an effort to say hello. I snuck into church during the middle of mass--right during communion--and saw Father Tom up at the altar. We hung around another 20 minutes, waited for church to end, and when we saw people trickle out we ran up to the door to say hello. When Father Tom came out, he recognized us right away but needed to place us in context. He saw us and said, "Hey guys! What's up? ::pause:: ::facial recognition:: Graham and Angie!! HI! What are you guys doing here?" We spoke for about 30 seconds before he realized he should probably be shaking hands with this congregation, so we hung around till he was done with the formalities and we were able to talk for about 30 minutes.
One thing that really struck me was how much Father Tom has changed physically. When we got married 3 years ago I remember seeing some salt & pepper in his hair and I thought, "What? That can't be right...." This time he was not only a little more salt & peppered, but his hair was thinning on top and he was noticably thinner. I only hope it's the stress of the job and not personal or health issues! It was definitely a shock, but his personality is still quite vibrant. Something that has always cracked me up about Father Tom is his memory. He'll accidentally call you by the wrong name and not realize it, but feel terrible about it when he does. He'll forget small details that aren't really important, but it's entertaining when he asks you 5 times. Surprisingly, he was able to remember details about our wedding that I'd almost forgotten. He knew it had been 3 years, he was off by one day when he tried to recall our anniversary, and he even remembered the rehearsal dinner and the pizza we had the night before. I barely remember eating at the rehearsal dinner! He kept saying he has nothing but great memories of our wedding weekend, which was pretty nice. I'm flattered he even remembered who we were, let alone details of our wedding.
Funnily enough, I don't think he noticed that I was pregnant until I pointed it out. He started asking about what our plans had been for the future--he remembered that I hadn't planned at staying in my current position for too long--but when I said, "Things have developed" he gave me a great big hug and was so excited for us. He remembered that Brian and Robyn were as good as engaged at our wedding and was really pleased to hear that some of his old students were still fairly local.
It was really great to see him again, even if it was for 30 minutes. After talking to him again, I really wish we were all closer so he could christen our daughter in a few months (or whenever), but I don't think it will be possible. We have a great parish and a wonderful pastor (also a Father Tom) but it's just not the same, you know? It's like inviting your neighbor Tom over when your best friend Tom moved to Kathmandu. A lovely recreation, but not exactly what you were hoping for.