Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Woot woot!! The seamstress sent me post production pictures of my dress and they are sending it out tomorrow!! She did an amazing job and I love it just as much as the original!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Warning: Long Blog!

      I'm sure by March each and every one of you three people reading my blog will be sick of hearing about anything that even resembles my wedding. You may even start to skip right over my blog posts to read about the lives of more interesting people who are NOT obsessed over their wedding plans. I certainly couldn't fault you for that and I do realize that as I agonize over every last detail, this world is continuing to spin. I wouldn't call any of this agonizing, actually. It's more of a compulsive addiction that is very, very, fun. 
That being said. . .  here I go! 

I found out that the Sandals "professional" photographers are a little less than stellar, and lean more towards the "cheese" factor than the "oh!" factor. Unfortunately, you can't have any third party vendor (including photog's) on resort property. So basically, they have no competition hence their lackluster appeal. 

Here is an example of their work: 

I stressed out for a day or two wondering what we were going to do. Would it really be worth it to pay them for THAT kind of work? Even though our photography package is a generous gift from my soon to be mother in law, there is no way we were comfortable forking over a big chunk of change to have those generic, posed photographs. Their photo+video package start at $2500! On the other hand, if we didn't use them we wouldn't have pictures of our wedding!!

Suddenly, I had an "Aha!" moment. It would be cheaper to fly down Philip and pay for him to stay at an all inclusive resort for 3 days. We could then have him as a guest at our wedding, and get him a full day pass from 9am till 2am. He can bring mom and dad's multi lens, high def camera and take creative shots of us all day long... pre ceremony, wedding,  reception and sunset pictures to boot! Philip is a tech junkie, and loves basically anything to with computers. His editing skill are pretty great, and he has been known to capture an amazing shot. 

The following are examples of Philip's shots

As soon as I thought of this brilliant plan, I immediately called him. It was close to midnight, but time couldn't contain this bride's excitement! I didn't think he would turn down a free trip to Jamaica, but I had to fill him in so that he could immediately start perfecting his skills. Or it was perhaps because I was just too impatient to wait 8 hours. Either way, he immediately said yes and the egg was hatched. 

As I was emailing my agent and confirming the booking of Philip's flight, I get a somewhat intelligible phone call from Philip.  Rushed: "Have you booked my flight? Change it for that Friday, the 8th. Call Wayne. He's coming!" Since I had already received Philip's itinerary, I got off the phone with him quickly without asking questions and emailed my agent to make the changes. Philip had called just in time, so they were changed without a hitch. I called Wayne, to make sure he was in fact coming and that Philip wasn't jumping the gun. I wouldn't want Philip in Jamaica without a place to stay on Friday! 

The phone call to Wayne went something like this:  

Wayne: "Hello?"
Me: (in an excited ramble) So, I just got off the phone with Philip. You guys are going to be in Jamaica in March. . .yay . . . blah blah blah! 

Wayne: (hesitantly and quizzically) "Yeahhhh. . ? We are? What." mumble.

  Me:  . . . long pause. "This is Connie. . ."  

Wayne: Ohhhhh. . !! I didn't know who this was. (still a little hesitant). 

*all of a sudden I'm not sure if I've called the right person  

Me: "Oh I'm sorry. Is this Wayne?" ... 

You get the picture :}

It's quite hilarious and a little bit tragic that brother and sister haven't spoken on the phone for so long that not only do we not have each other's phone number's programmed in our phones, we also don't really recognize each other's voices on the telly. I remember when I was little I was shocked that my mom didn't know how old her brother's or sister's were off the top of her head, or how she could forget their birthday's unless they were written down. I remember thinking "I'll always remember, Of course!!" But the fact is when you get older and have so much going on in your own lives, those things happen. 
Anyway, I confirmed with Wayne that he and Sheena did in fact intend on coming to our wedding ceremony, which completely made my night! 

Here's the thing with destination weddings, at least for me. I would never want my wedding to be some dreaded financial obligation for anybody attending. Inviting people to my wedding is like saying "Hey, do you want to spend $4000 to see me get married?" I already feel bad enough that Chris's brother and his girlfriend are stretching their budget to come. I hate that my wedding would be a financial strain to anybody! I feel that I would be not only putting people who don't have money on the spot, but also people who do. If somebody does have money, I wouldn't want them thinking that I'd think any less of them for not choosing to come whether they could afford it or not. In an ideal world we'd be able to fly everybody out and pay for their stay.  With our own wedding expenses and since we"ll be coming off the tail end of our brutal North Dakota winters, which can be cruel to the construction/home building industries, we just can't be certain what our own finances are going to be like.  Although I would love nothing more than for everybody I love to fly out and attend,  the last thing I would want is for people to think they "have" to come. For those reasons I haven't formally invited anybody to come

Now that I get to have both my brothers, my sister inlaw and my niece, in addition to my future brother/sister in law, my wedding gets even MORE perfect than before! So of course, in my wedding minded fashion, I thought, "Well, since I'm going to have my beautiful little niece at my wedding, who better than to walk us the rings.?!"  I realize she might still need some adult supervision to keep her on her path, but that will make it even more adorable. I am not one who needs everything "just so", so a little flower girl meltdown or a runaway flower girl would by no means damper my time, just add to the candid moments and make it that much more special.  So of course, my next step was to look for little "mini me" dresses for her to wear. I ordered Patsy (Chris's brother's g/f} a lilac colored dress to compliment the flowers, and am having Ryan wear a similar colored button down shirt and tan linen pants and Chris will wear a white button down and tan linen's. Now, I get to add Penelope in all her cuteness with a dress?! I'm on cloud nine!!

Now I need some opinion's. I will put up the picture's of my dresses to refresh your memory, before you help me choose P's dress. Yes, I said dresses plural. 

When I was looking through photography albums brides had posted I noticed these amazing TTD pictures. In case you are unfamiliar with them, it stands for "Trash the dress". They are pictures where the bride just does whatever in her dress and doesn't care if it gets wet, dirty, ect. However, my mom absolutely hated the concept of a beautiful dress dragging in the dirty sand, and I intend on wearing my dress again for a little sand ceremony here that Tucker and Ryker can be at.  So I decided to get a second TTD dress. Since I'm already getting a great deal on my dress, and I've been in contact with the Chinese seamstress who has been great, I decided to get a second, slightly different one for the TTD pictures. 

Here is an example of TTD photo's; I want to do something similar

I think they are beautiful, and I can't wait to try to get some good shots with Dress No. 2. 

Here are my dresses:


Above is my TTD dress. The only difference is it's pure white and I may change the neckline to sweetheart. Unlike my first dress, this has a chapel train. I thought that would look neat to have spread out on the beach, ect. 

 This is my original dress that I plan on wearing for the ceremony. You never know, though. I might ending up liking the other one more in person, and switch it out. 

Now, for the fun part! Here are my top choices for a Penelope dress. Remember, my "colors" are white and lilac purple. 

Dress 1

This is definitely in the running for being little P's mini me dress. I love how it looks like mine, and incorporates the lilac color of patsy's dress perfectly. . . 
I think she would look just like a doll! 

Dress 2

But. . .If I end up using the other dress instead, this one would be absolutely perfect!! Very beachy, to boot. 

Dress 3

This one is a gorgeous little one!

Dress 4

This would really add a nice vibrant color twist, since everything else will be white and lilac. 

 So. . . voting opens now! Which pretty little number should it be?

Side note: I haven't actually told Wayne and Sheena that I'm turning their child into my flower child.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Once upon a time. . .

      Do you ever feel like your life is a fairy tale? That is exactly how I feel. Except this princess spends her time up to her ears in children, while her prince is away working to build her the palace and buy her the crown. A little backwards, perhaps. But still lovely and perfect in it's own right.

More like this kind of "princess"

     For the last 5 weeks Chris has been out of town building a house. It really messes up my routine,  not having him home. Even my sleeping schedule has changed. . . our Californian king bed feels massively huge without my 6'7 hubby by my side. I toss and turn, lay sideways, upside down. . .it's just not the same. Supper schedule has changed as well, because making a big hearty homemade supper for Tucker, Ryker and myself just means that about 3/4 of it gets discarded. I am not one who likes to waste a meal. I just hate to see food go to waste. I think of it as selfish disgrace. Luckily, Chris likes to eat, so we don't usually have that problem. So we've been eating simple things. . . like grilled cheese. (how creative!)

 Speaking of creative. . .wowzers. Eggs and rice never looked so darn cute!
However, all this time without my other half means I stay up much later planning our wedding. In the last week I have actually arranged basically everything. Lucky for me, we are both on the exact same wavelength as far as wedding planning goes. I have never been that girl who dreams of a huge, elaborate wedding with tons of flowers and extravagant center pieces. So when I brought up taking a vacation and getting married there, Chris was very relieved. Weddings are beautiful, don't get me wrong. I admire women who spent every waking minute for a year planning every last detail. That  takes a lot of effort.  But. . .that just isn't me. If I did do that, I think I would be depressed once the wedding was over. At the end of the day the flowers wilt, centerpieces get thrown away, dinners get eaten, and booze get drank but what is really important is the marriage itself. That's what my union is about. Us. Plain and simple.
We have decided to get married in Montego Bay, Jamaica at the Sandals Royal Caribbean resort on March 11, 2013 at 3:00p.m. I have booked the vacation, scheduled the wedding, paid the government marriage doc fees, and consulted the Sandals wedding planner. My wedding planning is Done with a capital 'D'. When you stay at a Sandals resort they throw in a wedding package for free. Getting married on the ocean while I'm taking a luxurious vacation is about the least stressful way possible. With the free wedding package, I will also receive a free sparkling wine & chilled hors d'oeuvres cocktail reception, a Honeymoon dinner at a resort specialty restaurant with white-glove service and a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine, and a mimosa breakfast-in-bed any morning of my choice.
This is the gazebo at the resort that I will be getting married under
This is my free wedding cake
And this is the little reception table set up. . .
Who needs more? Not this girl!!!
With Chris being gone I have also had ample amount of time to surf the web for dresses. I have decided to do a very "ballsy" perhaps stupid thing. I am buying my dress straight from a Chinese factory. From China. They make them custom made, so all I submit my measurements, wait about 30 days and Voila! My dress that I have never seen in person or tried on will arrive in the mail. Why am I not more worried about this?! I really am not worried in the slightest. I was deciding between 3 dresses, so when I sent my dear mother the pictures. JoAnna and her both chose the same dress, and that solidified my choice. I know that a lot of the dresses in Bridal shops (even the "brand name" ones) are made in China, exactly like mine will be. However, my dress will cost me a whopping $150, compared to $1500. Added bonus, I don't have to deal with overly chirpy, pushy, saleswomen. This is a risk I am more than happy to take, call me crazy.  
This is the dress I am getting
This was one I was considering . . . it is only $135!!
I think I will have to give in and hire a fairly expensive wedding photographer, though. Pictures last a lifetime, though. So that'll be an expense well worth it.
All in all, I couldn't be more excited with our decision to do a destination wedding. It might sound rude, but I honestly don't care who (or if anybody) can make it. This day and our marriage is simply about us and our commitment to each other. It isn't about anybody else, nor should it be. If it ends up just being Chris and I, looking into each other eyes as and saying our vows to the sounds of the ocean, that would make me just as happy as if the world were watching. I feel blessed to have a partner who feels exactly the same way. I am confident I will feel the same as I do now when we are old, and gray in our rocking chairs.
And they lived happily ever after. . .THE END.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ryker's 9th month

    Even though I haven't blogged in forever, this will be a short and sweet picture blog. Life is wonderful, just not a lot of blog worthy events going on.

About a week and a half ago, Ryker took his first step. We are pretty proud of him. For the past couple months he has been cruising around on his feet by holding onto furniture, but he finally got the gumption to keep going after he was no longer holding on to the couch.

                           This is him walking to Ryland, who is enticing him with Cheerio's.

Ryker is just getting over a bout of the weirdest virus. It has no symptoms other than an extremely high fever accompanied with temper tantrums.  I felt horrible because I had no idea he was sick. I thought he was simply going through a personality change. He ate normally, and drank as much as ever. I finally took his temp last Friday night, it registered at 103.9 and by the time we got to the ER it was peaking close to 105.0.  I retrospect, I should have known that my previously perfectly behaved child probably didn't just turn into a little crab overnight for no reason. However, stranger things have happened.

     This is him eating spaghetti in the midst of his sickness. Notice his mouthful of teeth- 8 to date and             more coming in. 

I threw a surprise party for Chris as he turned 30 on July 30th. The party happened to be planned the afternoon after we took Ryker into the ER.  It was almost impossible to drag Chris out of bed, since we both had been up for the past 3 nights, with very little sleep. Chris was also coming down with the same virus, and running a pretty high fever that morning. Not exactly the way I had pictured the day turning out. 

This was Ryker the morning of the party. It seemed like he was feeling much better, and I felt pretty comfortable leaving him with the sitter while we went to the party. She is CPR certified, and going to school for early childhood development. However, when she called and told me his fever had spiked back up to 103.9 again, I felt just horrible for leaving my sick baby without his Mom or Dad and promptly came home to snuggle him. 

This is us snuggling that night- my temp had started to get pretty high, also and we both felt about as good as we look. Not so hot. Or really hot. Both would be true. 

So, now we are all back to normal (ish) Ryker's temp still get's up to 101.8 or so at times, but for the most part he is pretty healthy. The fussiness is still there, so I am hoping that will subside once the virus's butt is kicked for good.

All in all, life is pretty amazing, and I am blessed to be living it. Tucker will be starting 2nd grade soon, and we are preparing for back to school night already. All I can say is 
"WHERE did my summer go?


Thursday, March 8, 2012

DPT Vaccinations

     Two days ago Ryker got the DPT vaccine. I've never been one to worry about vaccines, really. Even though I am aware of their correlation with autism and some adverse side effects, I truly do believe that they do more good than harm. For every 1 child affected negatively by vaccinations, there would potentially be over 100 cases of polio and diphtheria, and many more with whooping cough if vaccines didn't exist. So I can weigh out my child's risks, and assume it is safer to go with the vaccines.
    However, as the day progressed I became more and more concerned about Ryker's behavior following these shots. Ever since he hit his 3rd month he has been a very happy baby, sleeping full nights and crying only when hungry or poopy. These past two days he has spent the majority of it screaming on the top of his lungs. I've never heard this before. It's not a cry, it's literally a scream. I first attributed it to "normal reaction" and gave him a little bit of infant Tylenol and expected it to ease his apparent discomfort. However, he progressively got worse. His body is so rigid and he arches his back and stretches all the while he's screaming. When I talk to him and try to console him he looks like he wants to smile and tries to but can't. He will only sleep for (very) short periods at a time- we're talking under 10 min. Then another unnerving thing, he was crying so hard and I was just rocking him trying to console him and his cry faded off. When I looked at him, he was sleeping but his eyes were open. It made me so uneasy, I actually closed his eye lids and then he jolted right up and started screaming all over again.l Although I am not a worrier per say, I have been just sick over my fear that he might be having some strange reaction to the shots. I must add though, physically he has no symptoms. No rashes, fever, or site inflammation. I don't want to bring him in, have them look at him and say "oh he's fine" and without any physical symptoms that's what will happen.
         I'm sure my motherly fears are getting in the way of logic and he's perfectly fine. But none the less, I can't help but worry. I don't want to even research the side effects of vaccines, because honestly I don't want to be scared out of getting these very important vaccinations. Plus, I don't want to drive myself into a tizzy, and convince myself that something is seriously wrong when I have nothing but a healthy growing baby on my hands. After all the absurdity of my pregnancy, I know all too well how you can get too immersed into the what if's when everything ends up fine.
      Anyway, Ryker is sleeping now finally (hasn't had a nap all day) so I'll just be checking him to make sure he's okay every 15 min like a crazy person.

Spring(ing) around with my son's

     So, Ryker had his 4 month check-up the other day. He weighs a whopping 18lbs5oz and stands a tall 27". (almost put the "feet" symbol there. whew! If he stood a tall twenty-seven feet, that'd be a bit unusual)  He is in the 90% for both weight and height, and his "little" feet are bigger than most year old babies. I can safely say the word "petite" will never be used to describe him.
   He is an excessively happy baby, very observant. My doctor was shocked at how advanced he is, but considering he looks like a 10 month old, it doesn't seem so strange. He is already so strong, I cringe at the thought of trying to change his diapers when he's around 2. It'll be like struggling with a 5 year old kicking and screaming. But. . .lets not cross that bridge just yet.
  At the moment he is babbling away with words that sound like "yayayaya" and "dadadada".  Every time  I look at him he gives me the biggest smiles. He has started sucking on his 3 fingers (pointer, middle, ring) and that's his "thing" He has never taken to a pacifier- actually he can't stand them. When I attempt to force on him, he looks at me like "Eww. Are you crazy?"

Here he is just sucking away on those fingers

Now he rolled over onto his belly so he can get his moves on. It never ceases to delight him. Shortly after this pic was taken, he ended up in the corner by my purse halfway under the couch. He scoots himself and can go about 2 feet in any direction, but most of the time he just spins himself around in circles and doesn't get much distance.

Just finished eating  strawberry, apple, banana baby food medley. The proof is on his snuggie.  He started solids about a month ago, and now he just can't get enough. Prior to solids, I was up every two hours ALL night long feeding him. I was actually in danger of losing my mind due to his insatiable appetite. Since we introduced solids,  he sleeps a full 10 hours nightly and is happy as a clam.                  (As am I!)

Tucker and Ryker had a fun bath together the other day. Tucker is such a loving and helpful big brother, I feel so lucky to have him around. Too bad this picture has such poor quality- darn cell phone. I have two camera's here, however I snap most shots with my phone. I need to snap out of doing that because of this very reason.

It seems like most shots of Ryker and myself are this exact pose. But considering I have to snap them all myself, it's about the best I can do. Sometimes I'll coax Tucker to take some pics, but he has very little patience for that nonsense.  Not the most flattering, but his cuteness more than makes up for that;) As you can see his huge noggin is almost as big as Mamma's.  

This picture is about 2 1/2 months old, so Ryker was just a wee little lad in those days. I had to add it, though, because I really do love it. Philip is a great uncle, and it was so nice to have him stay with us for a few weeks back in Dec/Jan. To boot, Phil and I actually survived for a total of 10 hours in the car together without any bloodshed or arguments! Well, for the most part. . .There was the part where he was driving without hands on the interstate going 80mph, and I asked (begged!) that he please use his hands because my whole life was in the backseat. He then insisted on doing it, ofcourse ( to defy me) and claimed that he had driven with his knees for "over 600 miles" once and "didn't even notice" I'm sure that all is true, but once you're a parent and you have your kids in the backseat, driving with your hands doesn't seem like a bad idea.
Oh, kids these day.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why is doing nothing so stressfull??

    I don't know if everybody is like this, maybe it's just me. But when I sit around doing nothing, I feel intensely stressed out inside. Perhaps it's because I feel like I should be doing something. Perhaps it's a bit of A.D.D in me. Perhaps it's because I have all this time on my hands to think. And to think. And to think.
    I actually started this blog writing a comment on Nina's blog (so this is basically for you girl) Then I realized my comment was becoming laughably long verging on ridiculousness, so I decided to just blog it instead.
    We all know that sometimes our lives don't go as planned. We all have had that moment when we stop and look around and think "Wow. This is my life?" That could be a good thing for some. But for others it's a boo-hoo moment. I've had many of these moment's in my life. My 16th birthday, I was certain was going to be my last. Going through my mind at that time "I'm going to die on my birthday? This is not happening." Then at 18 years and 10 months of age"You mean I'm pregnant? This is not happening" Then at 21 "My son's father is truly psychotic, and I have to leave. This is not happening." Then again a couple years ago I had a devastating couple months when Chris and I broke up and I kept telling myself "This is not happening" But guess what? It all happened. And I survived, and have almost arrived at my 27th birthday all in one piece. (Haha. . made me think of that Charmin commercial, when the bear runs around with toilet paper stuck to his bum, saying "I come in pieces") And to boot, I am happier than I have ever been in my life. Looking back, not one (well except for my 16th birthday) of those situations would I ever change in a million years.  All those times I thought my life was ending (figuratively and literally) my life actually changed for the better. Life is never perfect, and never goes the way we want it to. It has a mind of it's own, and it goes the way it's supposed to go.

I like the positive note of Miss Virginia's most recent late night blog.  It's so easy to get swallowed in by negative emotions when things don't go our way. . .  And people saying things like "everything happens for a reason" doesn't always make everything all better.

So this is to Nina (and others who aren't in the place they want to be)
First of all, the best thing to do is EXACTLY what you're doing here- think of what is great and wonderful in our lives.

 Ten Reasons to LOVE your life

1. You are a very beautiful, YOUNG lady.
2. You don't get beat daily.
3. You aren't addicted to drugs, and don't have meth mouth.
4. You have a roof over your head.
5. You have a sister who occasionally makes you food and brings it to your room
6.You have all your bodily functions.
7.You have a degree. Even if all you get from it is self-respect, pat your back.
8. You have a big supportive family, and parents that are alive and well.
9. You have nothing tying you down to any one place, so you could work a mundane job to save a few thousand dollars, pack up and move to Calamazoo if you felt the urge.
10. You could do whatever you please, my dear. In fact, you can still be a millionaire by the time your are 40, if that's your fancy.
So grab your wonderful life by the horns and ride it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Invisible kids

           Anybody who has ever had a child understands the unsurpassable love that you have for your child. Not much else in the world compares, and that love prevails through the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is so much easier to get hurt yourself than to watch a child get hurt. When you feel your child is hurting, this "mamma bear" instinct kicks in and you would do just about anything to make your little one feel better.
        So, a few days ago, when we were all sitting around just hanging out, Tucker says out of the blue
"Mom, you know what happened at Friday Fun Day today?" I ask him what, expecting something exciting to live up to the name. "I felt invisible" he says."Nobody wanted to play with me. Nobody even looked at me." Now, this may sound like normal childhood woes to everybody else, but to this mom it was like hearing your pet died. Honestly, even while writing this, my eyes are welling up with tears. I asked him what he ended up doing and he said "Nothing. I just sat by myself" Of course, I said all the motherly things. "Oh honey, you're not invisible. If nobody wants to play, than just find something fun to do by yourself. If you're having fun, that's all that matters"  Uncle Philip then told him the stories of his childhood at Mark Twain, when he was bullied and made fun of, and how Auntie JoAnna beat up his bully one time.
      However, picturing my little boy sitting all by himself, sad and lonely, in the midst of what was supposed to be their Friday fun reward, made me so insanely sad, I literally wept the entire night. It was verging on ridiculous, to be honest. I sat there and every five minutes, tears would start streaming down my face. About 4 hours later, Chris looked at me closely and said "Honey?!! What's wrong? Are you crying?? (obviously, being a guy, Chris had probably already forgotten the conversation hours earlier) Tucker piped up "She just sad because I felt invisible" very matter of factly. He gets it.  He knows him mom is slightly neurotic, and very protective.
        Truth of the matter is, as parents we blame ourselves. So running through my mind was, "Am I making him feel invisible??"  Since being pregnant and having Ryker, I have tried very hard to make sure that Tucker hasn't felt left out. But pregnancy and an infant is very demanding. During my pregnancy, he was lucky if I left the toilet long enough to wake him up in the morning. And now, I have a breastfeeding baby that demands a great deal of my time. Plus, with everybody around us doting on the little baby, poor Tuck has been pushed to the back burner. After all, holding a 63lb, 7 year old isn't quite as easy as snuggling a 15lb, almost 3 month old.
     Kid's are so resilient, I'm sure this has affected me more than him. I know I have many years in store of this. There are many times to come, when he will come home sad because somebody was mean to him at school. Someday, there will be a girl who will break his little heart. And along with every little heartbreak he experiences, mine will break right there with his.  I can't protect him from all the hurt in the world, but  what I can do is make sure that he never feels invisible here.