Saturday, June 30, 2012

my life: engaged

Currently doing a auto-bio series, hoping to reflect, learn, and grow...and for you to get to know this blogger better!  To catch up read:
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After my emotional proposal of marriage and Paul's jovial acceptance we went full speed ahead with wedding planning.

newly engaged - christmas with my fam
This time felt completely different than our previous engagement: I knew what I wanted, and was overjoyed to be planning the biggest event of our lives thus far - the celebration of committing ourselves to each other.

I proposed in December of 2006 and later that month we both travelled to Minnesota for Christmas. During our trip I went with my mom and sister wedding dress shopping - again.  This time it was a beautiful, memorable event.  I tried on a couple gowns before donning the one.
We all knew it was the one.  My mom was in tears.  Everyone at The Wedding Shoppe on Grand Avenue in St. Paul was nodding in agreement as I stepped onto the raised platform in front of the triptych of oversized mirrors.

I never pictured myself in lace, but the intricate lace overlay of the strapless ivory gown, scalloped romantically at the bodice and the train, warranted no need to look at anything else.   It was classic and absolutely perfect for the style of wedding I was imagining in my head, now that I could actually imagine that day.

The simple ivory mesh veil perched on my crown was the perfect finishing touch...and when I really felt like a bride-to-be.

Surprisingly, wedding planning was not stressful.  It was fun to use my creativity to choose things that would represent my style, as well as Paul's.  I relished every moment of planning our day.

Initially I just knew I wanted classic and romantic.   Also, because we already were wine lovers and we planned on a Napa Valley honeymoon, a color scheme was chosen: black, ivory and burgundy.

We had a strict budget, as neither of us had saved any money for a wedding.  My parents didn't have much extra money to spare, but they bought my wedding gown, which meant the world to me.  His parents were generously covering the rehearsal dinner and wine/drinks at the reception.

The rest of the cost was up to us, so we decided on a budget and took out a loan to cover it, planning to pay it back as soon as possible.

Neither of us wanted a huge, fancy affair.  It would be on the smaller side and more intimate.  The guest list was, for the most part, close family and close friends - with a target of around 100 guests.

Another thing I did know was the location I wanted: a park in Cincinnati that I ran around frequently, which also happened to be one of the most sought-after wedding venues.  Most dates were booked by brides as soon as it was humanly possible to book them.

We decided to not be picky and just see what dates were still available for the beautiful gardens and arched stone pavilion at the park.   Only two Saturdays left: one in May, and one in September.  Wanting a little extra time to plan, we chose September 8th, 2007.

Amidst the wedding planning we decided to take a cruise - to Cozumel, Belize and Nassau.

The cruise was a welcome distraction, as there was so much going on in our lives during that time, all wedding planning aside...

My job as store manager of a large shoe store was getting more and more stressful.  I had been moved to the busiest location in Cincinnati.  The store had a lot of issues, to say the least.  Being entrusted to improve the store was a daunting task that had me cranky and working a lot of hours.

our first home
Then Paul and I decided to purchase our first home together.  House shopping was sort of difficult but mostly just exciting for us.   We found a gorgeous home in a historic neighborhood that we thought fit our lifestyles well - with a lot to walk to and close to downtown.

Only few weeks before our wedding another good friend of mine, who was going to be one of my personal attendants, was getting married.  I travelled solo to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota to share in her wedding celebration.

me and the beautiful bride!
photo with random park ranger was a must!
Soon enough bachelor and bachelorette parties were underway.  Paul ended up going with some of his close friends to Vegas.  God only knows what went on -- in true Vegas style I've only been told about the FIBA basketball games they attended.  I'm sure they were angels the rest of the time...

My bridal shower and bachelorette party were actually the same day -- the Thursday before our wedding.  This allowed my out-of-state female family members and closest girlfriends to celebrate with me!   My future mother-in-law planned both events and I had an absolute blast.  We had a hotel room in downtown Cincinnati and went out on Mt. Adams - a fun bar area where Paul had originally proposed to me.  Such a memorable night with some amazing ladies in my life!

my sweet gram even donned a boa!
me and most of my favorite lady friends 

me and my sweet mama
this pretty much sums up the evening
The next night was Friday evening and we had the rehearsal at the park where the wedding ceremony would be held...or at least where we planned for the ceremony to be held.  (We learned the next day that things don't always go exactly as planned.)
Paul brought me one lovely sunflower to hold in place of my bouquet.
my dad - running us through the ceremony
After the rehearsal we all headed to a local German beer hall for our rehearsal dinner.  Let's just say there was lots of schnitzel, wurst, kraut and beer.  Oh, and sweet polka music.  It was everything we could have hoped for - a blast for all our wedding party, relatives, and guests who were in town that night and came out to party with us.

the bride and the guys
with his sisters and dad

After the celebrating in true German style, I headed back to our home.  It was abuzz with my immediate family members and several of my friends who were staying there.  All I recall is there was a lot of last minute program-making, wine-drinking {we needed the bottles for the table decor!} and loudness.  That is my family.  Oh, and someone, who shall remain nameless, threw up in the attic.

Because of the craziness in the house, my husband-to-be insisted I vacate and got me a hotel room for the night, so I could spend the night in peace.  Best decision ever.  He knew I needed my space and some quiet to keep my balance, and retreating to the nearby hotel gave me that.

Let's just say, amid the fun and festivities, I had a few freak-outs.  I'll keep them to myself, but they make some funny/ridiculous stories now.

I snuggled into the hotel bed that night and blissfully slept my last night as an unmarried woman.

Up next: the wedding day!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

{fresh air}

Not surprisingly, my stuffy head and runny nose cleared up after only one day at the farm in Minnesota.

Fresh air.

Something I take for granted.

Something I am glad my son can experience least a few weeks out of the year.

Other things...
a million stars visible in the night sky.  
gravel roads.
crickets and bullfrogs.
lightning bugs en masse.
endless corn fields.
raspberries right off the bush.
sweet smell of wildflowers wafting in the window.
lots and lots of lakes.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

{eleven months}

We are on the verge of our first mama-baby road trip.  I am beyond excited...and petrified.  Twelve+ hours in a car with an infant who hates the car.  Yet, I am still pumped for our adventure together.  First of many summer trips to see Grandma and Grandpa in Minnesota!

He is now a full-fledged walker!   This makes me so happy because we are headed to my parents' farm and I can't wait to see him toddling around exploring the same places I did as a little girl.

He eats pretty much anything that is put in front of him.  I am not a picky eater either so this makes me happy.  I have never been overly concerned about food allergies, and so far, so good.

He's a lounger.  Whether he is in the carseat, the jogging stroller, or his high chair, the kid manages to slouch down and literally kick his feet up on anything.  He always looks very chill when sitting...which is about the only time I can describe him that way.

Weighs 21 pounds.  Not sure where that is on the percentile chart but he looks healthy to me.

Personality is definitely social.  He has a smile for everyone.  Always.  Also, very vocal.  Will scream and laugh and babble constantly.  A bit of a temper at nap time, diaper time, or anytime he has to be constrained.  Also has been blessed with mama's crazy facial expressions.
Still only four teeth, and way fewer "teething" spells.  Mama and Dada are enjoying the break.

I didn't have time to officially edit Cormac's eleven month photos.  When I do I will add them to this post.  Which might be never.   However, are the "rough" versions...

Yeah...kind of happy to be done with these monthly photo shoots.  Except for his "one year" shots...but hoping to do things differently for that one.  Still too cheap to shell out any money for professional shots, but maybe I'll actually have an assistant for the next shoot and we'll go outside.

This kid doesn't like sitting still on a chair, I've learned that much.

Or sitting still at all.

Minnesota bound -- homeward bound.

Monday, June 18, 2012

white subway tile backsplash - and a friend road trip!

As of a couple weekends ago our kitchen backsplash is finally complete.  What was to be a several hour project turned into a several month project, due to jam-packed, crazy-busy weekends, additional supplies needed, and general tiredness on both mine and my Hubby's parts.

Plus, we were in no hurry, really.  Which is always nice.  :)

I love the result.  We went with white subway tile for the backsplash because:  a) I have always loved the look.  A little industrial, yet historic and classic and b) it matches our tiled gas fireplace in our living room.

Hubby did a beautiful job, as it looks lovely and definitely adds some class to our kitchen.  Plus, now he has some practice for all the tiling projects during our reno project in the 'dream home.'  

Ahhh!  Can't wait!

Anyway, hopefully everyone had a lovely Father's Day weekend!  While Hubby had a 'guys weekend' taking Baby Cormac, the dog, and himself to visit his dad, this mama had her first girls weekend away from baby -- eek!  It was fun, but I must say that every time I saw a little boy around Cormac's age I felt a pang.

However,  two amazing, hilarious, English literature-loving ladies and I had a fabulous time anyway.   Here are a few shots from our trip to a lil' cabin in the Smokies...

'cabin sweet cabin'

it was fate that there were hydrangea bushes in front of our abode

we cooked dinner at the cabin and drank plenty o' wine

adored the darlin' labels on this wine - 'made in the holler' :D
gotta love the south

wouldn't be a girls weekend without margaritas

Happy Monday!