It seemed that as soon as it hit June 1st, life as we knew it was over. I met my book club friends for a non-book-related meeting at The Rockpile, which always proves to be a good time and an excellent way to unwind. I even impressed myself by staying out until 9:04pm. The following week, Zoey and I both had doctor's appointments, hers more routine. She received vaccinations which she was only pissed about as they were happening, but otherwise checked out beautifully. She's about 20-pounds and, I'm sorry, I was too busy holding Miss Squirmy Squirm to notice how "tall" she is. But the doctor compared her to 9-month olds (she was 8 and a half months) and she was in the 75th percentile for height and weight.
To kick off our summer of being insanely busy, Jacob and I spent most of the beginning of June celebrating our best friends' impending nuptials; just not together. His best friend was getting married on June 18th so a bachelor party was in the works from the 16th through the 17th, of which I still haven't caught the full details of (but I was pleased to learn the bride had banned strippers). At the same time, my best friend in Denver was celebrating her final days as a bachelorette, so Jacob and I had to separate for a few days. But that also meant I had to separate myself from Zoey.
When presented with an opportunity to visit Denver, I never turn it down. I felt that if there was ever a time I needed to recharge my batteries with "home," this was it. Unfortunately, I was just a tad wrong. My "home" had turned into a concrete jungle of buildings, freeway off-ramps, parking lots, and medians. I hadn't spent a whole lot of time in Denver before so I was used to feeling lost. But Conifer looked the exact same way. I called my mom from Starbucks. In Conifer. In one of the many strip malls that now pepper the small, mountain town. It made me quite sad, actually since I didn't recognize a single thing. It definitely wasn't the home I had remembered. It was nice, however, to see that Evergreen hadn't changed much.
Good, old Denver, slowly being swallowed up by concrete, cars and pollution. I was actually one of those people that comment on the Brown Cloud, having gotten so used to the minimal pollution in Billings; even with the oil refineries.
The last familiarity of Conifer.....
This is really the only part of the old Conifer left. Even still, it's now a Staples....I just can't get over that....
This is the very old building in which my mother used to have her clothing store, which shared the building with the gift store I spent some time working in during high school. The building had been there for over 50 years. It may have had a fresh coat of paint on it but that was pretty much the only thing holding it together. That and raccoon poop. I don't remember what happened - if anything. I'll have to ask my mother. But both the clothing and gift store needed to vacate the building while it was to be remolded. Instead, it was condemned 3 years ago and they aren't sure what is going to ultimately happen to it. For now it's just a place for the Evergreen City of Commerce to post event advertisements.
I only spent a little time in Denver, and passed through Evergreen on my way to the airport to go home. It was, in all honesty, a little depressing. The last time I was in Colorado it was to meet up with Jacob after 16 years. Without him I felt like I was having a less than stellar dream; something I can tolerate but ultimately making me feel uncomfortable.
I had no idea what was wrong with me during this trip. Well, that's not true; I knew exactly what was wrong with me: I was a new mommy away from her baby and hubby for the first time. But I thought it would be like riding a bicycle to jump back into the way I used to live my life, flying (oftentimes solo) to some corner of the country or other. I could navigate any airport I encountered. This time, however, I could barely get my driver's license out of my wallet.
The groups of girls I went on this trip with were busy bees who were just up for some serious relaxation. Me with my new motherhood, Liz with her med school, Jess with her businesses, and Danielle with her classes and work, we all had serious trouble making any sort of decision because we all probably would have been happy just sitting and staring into space. Or maybe that was just me. At any rate, as we drove to our locale - Santa Fe, New Mexico - we engaged in sporadic conversation amidst long moments of silence spent enjoying the scenery, and the fact that we weren't doing what we should have been doing at that hour of the day.
I arrived in Denver on Tuesday and we left Wednesday morning for New Mexico. With the raging fire closing the interstate, we took a state highway, probably a pretty scary highway if you're not at all familiar with mountain roads. In fact, whenever I have a dream where I'm driving, it's always taking place on 285. The drive took about 8 hours but we made more than a few stops, and we got caught in more than a few construction zones. Either way, it was still enjoyable. We listened to music, chatted, or just enjoyed where we were. But for as much as I was enjoying myself, I was just as anxious.
When I came home, my mom told me she could hear my nerves were frayed every time we spoke on the phone. And I did have an intense moment of anxiety during dinner one night where a phone call to mom, who prescribed Starbucks, was the only cure. I of course missed Jacob and Zoey, but I knew they were safe and taken care of. I felt I was able to relax, and I even allowed myself to once or twice, but it never quite took. Even still, I had a lot of fun and laughs with some of my best friends, and we made great memories. That is ultimately what matters.
This picture doesn't even do Santa Fe justice. It is by far the coolest city I have every seen. It reminds me of an offspring between Costa Rica, Mexico and Tucson. The architecture is amazing, the shopping is incredible, the food is equally incredible, and every person you encounter has taken their happy pill. I seriously can't wait to visit again.
The fabulous dinner where everyone got something so out-of-this-world-fantastic. The vegetarian plate - something I wouldn't normally go for - (and didn't) was incredible.
I gave this man a dollar, is that cheap or steep? I don't know. But he played Mexican music with the harp and it was so beyond cool. It was like nothing I had ever heard before, and I actually preferred it to traditionally Mexican music.
Before I had to leave early (I had to be back by Friday to attend Jacob's friend's rehearsal and dinner), we had lunch since we failed at finding a Mexican restaurant the night before.
Ohhhhh definitely!! Something from here is definitely a Sign of the Pampered Maiden!! Jessica found the most beautiful purse ever made, but just couldn't justify it. ;-)
Jacob had fun during his bachelor outing as well. Although camping turned into walking back and forth between the groom's dad's house and the one bar in town, Jacob still had an enjoyable time. Like me, he wasn't all that excited with leaving Zoey; my mom said he wasn't in too big of a hurry to get out the door. But while I was feeling anxious, so was Jacob, his stomach in knots the entire time I was gone. I learned that when I got home, after I found it impossible to eat a brownie, I had been clenching my jaw the entire time I was gone. And I guess you could say that Jacob and I missed each other an extraordinary amount. You never realize it until you dissolve into a puddle of tears when you're picked up from the airport.
We only got to spend a little time at home and Zoey napped through most of it; we had to drive to Reed Point for Jacob's best friend's wedding rehearsal and dinner. We were late and ended up missing dinner but made it for the rehearsal. Jacob is so cute, I swear!!
The bride is in the grey sweatshirt, directing everyone. She made them do it three times. :-) Totally worth it as the ceremony turned out beautifully!
Apparently, part of the bachelor festivities from the night before had been to construct and erect (heehee, erect) the altar.
We didn't stay long but figured Zoey would be in bed by the time we got home Friday evening anyway. We were wrong. She stayed up just long enough to visit with us before conking out in her crib. She was up early the next morning and antsy to be out of her crib. I can't quite decide if she wakes up to the extra morning light and fears she's been left behind, or something, or....what........And, unfortunately, we did have to get ready and leave, which she fussed through most of.
Even though the wedding wasn't supposed to start until 3:30pm, the bride wanted us to arrive around noon so Jacob could don his best-man tuxedo. *swoon* I didn't really know what to do, so I just followed them around all afternoon. After hanging with girls for 4 days, and then hanging with just boys, it was quite the shock to my system.... :-)
The groom demanded two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so Super Groomsmen to the rescue! The one who isn't Jacob decided it was a great idea to put a chocolate chip cookie in the sandwich. It wasn't.
You ever wondered what the guys do before the ceremony? Well, now you do.
Bein' sexy men; especially one in particular.
Pre-wedding and cocktails, anything to stay away from the house where the bride and her girls were getting ready and having their picture taken.
The officiant, who also happened to be the bride's sister. It was a beautiful ceremony and even included the Apache blessing Jacob and I had in our wedding.
He didn't look to thrilled to be doing this. But he spotted me in the crowd and gave me the 6th grade grin I knew and loved.
The bride. She wore her mother's veil from the '70's, which looked stunning, and reminded me of my own mother's veil.
Jacob is seriously the best husband ever. Here he is, eating his dinner with his fellow groomsmen who are, by law, allowed to go through the buffet second the bride and groom. As I waited in the long line behind him with his family, he showed up to my table with a plate already made for me. :-)
I'll admit, Jacob and I were quite the spectacle at his friend's wedding. People remarked to us throughout most of the day on how much in love we were, and how it just radiates from us. One woman - ok, so what if she was drunk? - asked when our special day was. Oh, we said, we're already married.
We stayed long enough for the speeches, the cutting of the cake, the first dance, the dollar dances, and long enough to sway in a circle to half of that Garth Brooks song about a river and it being a dream...or something.....
We didn't make it home in time to tuck Zoey into bed; saying goodbye at a wedding often takes about an hour. But we got to spend the entire next day with her as we went up to Columbus to spend Father's Day with her other grandparents. At the same time, Jacob sold one of his cars, and my mom spent some more time with her inlaws. All in all, it was a perfect way to unwind from our super-busy week - a lot of easy-going laughs and family. All we needed was Dad but he was on his way back from Arizona on his motorcycle. He was close but still wouldn't make it to Billings before Monday afternoon.
Monday evening my parents went to the home opener of the Billings Mustangs baseball team (double A, quadruple A, step up from little league, I have no idea.....) while Jacob and I spent some quality time with The Zoe. Tuesday we went to dinner at The Vig where our friend is the executive chef. He was awesome enough to cook us dinner and it turned out amazing!
For now, things are back to normal, except that Mom and Dad are borrowing our dogs for a week. They miss having dogs but aren't able to own them because of all the traveling they do. They especially would want one for their time in Wyoming, but it won't be made a permanent residence. So Louis and Durbin are spending this week at Summer Camp, AKA Spoiltown and MyParentsSuckville. I already miss them. I told Jacob I turned around to yell at one of them but no one was there. Just now, Jacob heard a dog barking and had the urge to run to the door and yell, "Durbin! No barking!"
We're happy to have things calmed down for a bit. This weekend I'll make another attempt at my garden, and we desperately need to go shopping, but I intend to just enjoy the days.....Oh, and also catch up on DOOL.
Before this week even began, I sat on the futon one night and thought about how much my life had changed.....I like it. :-)