Monday, October 22, 2012

How I "Said Yes to the Dress"

After watching a few episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, it got me reminiscing on my own experience as a bride.  
And because my dear friend from Centennial always says, "Kelly has the best stories!" I decided to share it here.

Chad and I got engaged after 5 years of on-and-off dating on December 24, 2005. I had just graduated from college a couple of weeks before. He had graduated in December 2003.
This is the beautiful ring he gave me. He picked it out on his own and I was totally shocked and impressed.....and in love.

I went out and bought a bridal magazine the next day, Christmas, and began planning my wedding. I wouldn't consider myself a girly-girl, but I do wear heels often, and fix my hair most days. But, I had really never thought about my wedding. What I would wear, where it would be, nor any other details of my "big day." Chad and I quickly decided we would get married in August, because that's when his apartment lease ran out :) Naturally.

I am very anal about a lot of things in my life. Even before I had children, I have always been extremely organized and extremely clean. So I even surprised myself at how little time I actually put into planning my one and only wedding. I think the main reason why I didn't put much time or energy into planning it was because I knew my parents were not able to help out much financially, and I certainly did not have any money for a wedding as a new college grad with an almost-equally-as-poor fiance'.  And I knew that as long as I had fabulous pictures, that's all I really needed. I wanted my wedding to be about Chad and I, and our simple (well, Chad's simple) personalities.

I saw a dress in the first wedding magazine that I bought. I didn't know where I could get it, but I knew I was going to have it. I knew simply from looking at an ad in a magazine that that was the dress! Crazy, huh?!
So I got on the phone on December 26 and began calling bridal shops to locate this dress. I found it at The Bride Room in Coolsprings (where it was at the time). I went with my best friend Meghan to try it on and was reaffirmed in my decision to "Say Yes to the Dress!"
I looked at the price and realized it was more than half of the wedding budget my parents had given me. Ouch! I had to figure this one out fast.

I had a friend who ordered her gown from a lady in NYC who specialized in making custom wedding gowns. A few emails and a week later, this lady agreed to make an exact replica of my dream wedding gown for a little more than half the price. I sent her my measurements, and 3 months later she sent me a muslin of my wedding dress. It was a total disaster!! It was way off in the style and fit. I even tried it on for Chad because I knew it looked nothing like it should. I called the dress maker in a panic and told her how awful it was. She gave me strict instructions on how to take pictures of myself in the gown and email them to her. I went to my friend Jodi's house and had her take pictures and we got them emailed back to the dress maker within 2 days.

I remained in contact with the dress maker for the next few months. I really don't recall being very nervous about this whole dress fiasco. I remember telling a friend, "Well, I could always just go buy a cheap dress of a rack somewhere."
In the meantime, I picked the venue, music, flowers, invites, and guest list...all within 6 weeks of getting engaged. I picked the first flowers and venue that I saw and loved.
I picked my photographer as soon as I picked the venue. We got married at Riverwood Mansion. It is such a beautiful, historic home and I wanted a photographer who was very comfortable shooting at that location.  We used Wharton Photography for our wedding.

Riverwood Mansion

I finally received my wedding dress 5 weeks before my wedding. I tried it on, and it fit perfectly! I couldn't believe it. I was pretty doubtful that I would be pleased with it considering how awful the muslin dress fit. But it couldn't have been more perfect. This dress maker was some kinda wonderful!
Here is the dress.

The front was a very subtle sweetheart neckline with a small amount of ruching at the waist. Very elegant and beautiful.
And Paul Wharton did an absolute, amazing job on my bridal portraits and our wedding pictures. For several years my bridal portrait hung inside War Memorial in Nashville and was on their ink pens and in their advertising fliers. That builds your confidence!
My wedding pictures are in storage or I would have uploaded some here. I may borrow my mother-in-laws pics and add them.

Our wedding went off without a hitch. I cried so much I could barely see at times. Chad cried a bit too. But don't tell him I told you;) It was perfect.

Our honeymoon, however, was a total disaster. That'll be my next blog topic.

How did you "Say Yes to the Dress"?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Savoring these days..

As I've said before....I try to savor each, single moment with my family of four. I hope everyone else does the same. Because, after all, this day will never come again

-I study my boys faces, their little hands and feet, and try to record their little voices and laughs in my mind as if I am studying for the nursing boards.
-I aim to be completely present. Even when I would rather not be..
-I do not want to look back with regret on these formative years of raising God's children and feel guilt over working too much, yelling too much, cleaning too much, being engaged in my phone, computer, etc. too much.
-I decided when I was a new mom, that I would let go of my obsession of having a spotless house. I don't want my children to hear me constantly nagging them about keeping the house clean. I want them to play with abandon. Then clean up at the end of the day:)
-I always get down on their level, literally, when disciplining them. I don't want to discipline by physical intimidation. But rather with redirection and consequences.
-I aim to praise them to the point of looking nuts! I love the look on Cohen's face when I act like a total goofball, and dance, and jump up and down over his accomplishments.
-I carry both of them at the same time at least once a day (when I am home). I won't be able to do this forever.
-I get Cohen out of bed in the middle of the night sometimes and I put him in bed with me to cuddle. Sutton's almost big enough for this.
-I have recently started rocking and reading to each of my boys separately. I want to know both of them, I want them to each know that I am madly in love with them, that I have alone time for each of them. That each of them have their very own, special place in their Mommy's heart.

Oh how much I love that time. Cohen and I sing songs and rock after we read the book he picks out. Cohen loves to sing. Right now his favorites are "Jesus Loves Me," "The Rainbow Song" (it's really two songs..Blue Skies and Rainbows, and Somewhere Over the Rainbow), the Barney song, Lord's Army, and Happy Birthday.
He is such a tender-hearted soul. He gives hugs and kisses freely. When he hits, pushes, or steals a toy from Sutton, he tells on himself. When he gets in trouble and cries, he says, "uh-oh Mommy!" and points to his tears. I kiss them off his little face, then he smiles and goes off to play again. 

I often times struggle with Mommy Guilt over working so much and not being as present as I would like to be.  I see mommies and their little toddlers and babies in the airport and, often times,  I fight back tears because I am longing to be with my boys.  When I get too overwhelmed with guilt and missing my boys, I just pray.. alot.
I pray that I am being the best I can be, and that I am right where God means for me to be.

I hope you are savoring these days too!

Sutton is ONE!!

"Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, Dear Sutton. Happy Birthday to you!"
That song has been sung around our house for several weeks now. Cohen loves singing and we've been talking about Sutton's upcoming birthday for awhile.  We had such a great time at his big birthday bash!
I wanted to do something different for his party for a couple of reasons..
1) we have no extra space at our "house" right now.
2) Thank goodness our children want for nothing.

So we asked that guests bring school supplies and/or giftcards for supplies to give to a certain local elementary school that is very poor and has limited resources. Miss Jan, our family friend teaches there and has opened our eyes to the children's huge need. Miss Jan told her principle about our party and they were so excited!
We received two clothes baskets full of supplies, money, and giftcards for the school!!
Hopefully everyones' generosity was able to make a dent in the needs of the school.

I decided on the Very Hungry Caterpillar theme for the party. I love to throw parties and cannot wait to have our own home again to entertain guests. Nana, Aunt Lora, Chad and I spent a lot of time cleaning Friday night. Chad helped me hang balloons, the latern caterpillar and the happy birthday sign, while Nana and Aunt Lora prepared the food.
I made the decorations, shirt, and party hat, and put together the party favors the day before the party.
I ordered the "caterpillar body" cupcakes from Cupcake Collection in strawberry, carrot cake, wedding cake, and sweet potato flavors. The were delicious. And their cupcakes are only $1.50 each. Can't beat that price!
The party turned out just as great as i envisioned! I have my awesome, photographer, sister in law who took great pictures of the fun.... all while being 6.5 months pregnant.....with another boy:)
We sang Happy Birthday and Sutton had 1 candle in his little smash cake. Towards the end of the song, Cohen blew Sutton's candle out:) He couldn't wait! So cute.
Sutton was not scared of his cake at all. He instantly just pushed his hand into it, grabbed a bite, then another, and another, until he ate over 1/2 of the cake! He would have ate more if I didn't pull him out of the chair away from it and straight to the bathtub for a quick scrub.

Ill add official birthday pics when I have time. These are just pics from my phone.

The next day was my nephew Cale's 3rd birthday party, then it was our cousin Megan's birthday, then it was Nana's birthday, then it was our cousin Braden's birthday.
So five birthdays in 6 days for the Cochrane family! This led Cohen to ask, "When's Cohen's birthday?" Little guy was feeling so confused and left out on the birthday celebrations. So, now he can tell you his birthday is in February.....only what he says barely sounds like "February."

Kissin' on my boys,

What's New for 12 Months?

To my big 1 year old,
You are SO big! This year has flown by so fast. I have tried my best to savor every minute, every sleepless night, every shirt that smelled of throw up, and every moment of cuddle time. You are such a amazing, happy, loving boy. You still love your Mommy so much. You still have to be with me if you see me or you have a mini-meltdown.
You now:
-Have 4 top teeth and 2 bottom teeth...with a third peeking through.
-Say "mama, dada, cat, book, truck, Nana" and almost anything else that Cohen says     regularly.
-Have had 2 ear infections your first year..
-And the worst diaper rash Ive ever seen
-You climb on everything, fall often, but rarely cry.
-You still love your bear and take him everywhere
-Chase the cat around, giggling
-Talk to Cohen every night in your crib before you fall asleep
-Have refused to nurse the past week...This makes me really sad. I hope you change your mind. I'm not ready to loose that precious time with you.
-Still suck your right thumb, with your pointer finger resting on your nose, very often. You suck your thumb when you're tired, and bored. Or just because you can. It is very cute! Right now:)
-You take your afternoon nap while i am holding you sometimes. I love this. I started doing it out of necessity to keep you boys separated at nap time so you won't wake each other up. Yet, I rock you to sleep during naptime and hold you while I read whenever I can.
-You love to slide and swing. You throw yourself down the slide if I let you.
-I have had to tell you "No" for the first time lately.  When I told Cohen "no" at your age, he would pout and get his feelings hurt. You just smile that precious, dimpled smile.
-Cohen is by far your best buddy already....besides me. You have to do whatever he does. He is pretty sweet to you though.
-You eat anything we give you. Massive amounts of food! Your favorite foods now are broccoli, and any kind of fruit.

You are such a loving, happy child. So far you and Cohen have both been very easy children. Which makes me more eager to have another baby. I hope to convince Chad to have 2 more kids. We'll see....