Here are some pictures--I took these of the table before much of the food was on it. We had two different brunch casseroles: one with sausage and potatoes that I made and a wonderful parmesan artichoke one that Sarah made. We served that with orange and cranberry muffins, homemade applesauce, and fresh strawberries. The cake was a yellow cake with Bavarian cream filling (I don't have a picture of the cake, but we put it on the tea table that you can see in the second picture)...
I borrowed this bassinet from my mom. It housed my brother and me and years later, Elaine (I think Lucy was always too big for it!) I draped it with lace, tied it with blue bows, and we put all the gifts in and around it.
Here it is, filled with presents--Kathi is in the rocking chair next to it. She's holding a picture of her husband, Donny. His mom brought the coolest gifts--a bassinet and blankets with Donny's doll from when he was a little boy wrapped up in it (I'm sure he's thrilled now that everyone knows he had a Cabbage Patch boy!). Then she had pictures of him as a child and some of his little clothes and blankets, including a quilt she had made for him. I love stuff like that.
Here's a from-the-back-shot...
The lady sitting on the floor, who looks way too young to be a grandma, is Kathi's mom (and Elaine is in front of her)...
Here are the favors: spice cookies shaped like lambs.
Sometime last week, I developed that body-wracking, lingering cough that seems to be going around. After the shower ended and I cleaned up, I laid down for a little bit while the girls redecorated the dining room table with every piece of Tupperware that I own and, in their words, "had a meeting." Then Darren took them to Farm & Fleet because this is the huge Christmas toy weekend there, and that's their little tradition. While he did that, I went to the grocery store because on Sunday we were having a visiting church history professor (David), his wife (Jamie), and daughter (Bethany) over for dinner and the afternoon (David has been teaching at our church the last week or so).
We had only met them briefly, but when they came over we all hit it off, and now we feel like we have new friends, which is always great. Bethany is 10 years old, and she sweetly played with Lucy and Elaine all afternoon. At one point, the adults were all sitting, chatting in the living room, and the girls were upstairs. Bethany ran down to get her playclothes out of the car. Unbeknownst to us, Lucy and Elaine went out with her--we didn't see them come down the stairs, and they must have gone through the kitchen and dining room rather than the living room. In a few minutes, we heard them playing back upstairs.
About an hour passed. Darren went upstairs for something and poked his head in their room. He saw Lucy and Bethany playing, but not Elaine. "Where's Elaine?" he asked. They had no idea. Then Bethany said, "She went outside with us, but she didn't come back in. We thought she was going to play out there by herself."
Instantly, we all mobilized. David was outside already, but Darren, the two girls, Jamie, and I ran out. Jamie said, "The baby is missing." I think David thought it was one of the girls' dolls or something because he asked, "What baby?" and I answered in a voice that didn't sound like mine, "My baby." We called and called her name and spread out, looking through the yard and the surrounding yards. I ran back in the house, wondering if she had maybe gone in the basement or something. Jamie told me later she prayed with Bethany and Lucy outside as they were looking, and inside the only three words that came into my mind were, "Elaine" and "Please, Jesus." All I could think of was that little 2-year-old in her blue sweater dress the color of an October sky, wandering out into our busy road or being put in someone's car. I mean, she had been gone for an hour. I searched through the house and ran into the kitchen and put my hand on the phone to call the police. I looked out the patio door and saw Darren cradling a little blond girl in his arms.
He had had the presence of mind to look in our cars. For some reason, she had opened the door, crawled into Lucy's carseat, closed the door, and cried herself to sleep. She was whimpering, and she came right to me and threw her arms around my neck. (Darren said later, "I thought you were just going to totally lose it.") For the first few seconds, I could only think of her being found and safe. For the next few hours, all I could think of was what if it had been a hot day in which she had closed herself in the car for an hour.
I got the girls ready for bed later on in the evening, and we all piled into the rocking chair to say our prayers. When it was Elaine's turn she prayed, "Dear Jesus, thank you that Daddy found me and thank you that Mommy found me and thank you that Lucy found me. Thank you I am safe. Thank you that I got in Lucy's carseat and screamed my head off and took my nap. I hate that car. Amen."
Later on, Darren and I just hugged each other. He said, "I feel sort of numb right now. I think it's going to hit me later how terrified I was." I said, "After this weekend, please just check me into the nursing home. I am so ready for perpetual care."
Right before bed, I looked at my Charasia calendar that's on the refrigerator. Here is the verse(s) for the day:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty...He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the LORD, who is my refuge--then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways..."Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him." Psalm 91