December 30, 2013

Our Wedding: The Dress

Okay, so writing a giant post about the wedding is extremely overwhelming, so instead I'm going to break it down into some separate posts.

First off... the dress.

Nothing makes the fact that your getting married sink in like going wedding dress shopping for the first time...

I went with Alesha and my mom for the first time and I thought for a long time that I was going to wind up with one of the dresses from that very first visit.

I didn't have a particular style in mind when I started out. I knew that I was not a fan of the mermaid fit, but that was the only thing that I officially ruled out. I like lace dresses but I didn't think I wanted a completely lace dress either. The first dress that I tried on had peek-a-boo lace at the bottom, it was slightly off white and would look amazing with my cowboy boots that I was planning to wear. This was a serious contender. I looked for some other dresses with this feature as well.

{  Brittney Bridal Gown by Maggie Sottero }
{  I believe this was the same designer as above dress  }
But I also loved this fairy tale dress too... another in the line of contenders. Mom teared up a little bit when I came out in this dress. It would be perfect for a courtyard garden wedding.
{  Designer: Casablanca  }
Then I found this lace dress with a satin side sweep, it wasn't as full as the others which is why it eventually got nixed (along with the fact that it was more gold than white), but I was definitely in LOVE with it. Just not as my wedding dress. If it would have been a fancier wedding, I think this would have been the one.

{  Such a gorgeous dress! but I can't remember the designer. ugh! I'm still head over heels for this one... }
We visited many small bridal shops in the St. Luis Metro area over the months, but I couldn't make a final decision.

Mom and I decided to go to David's Bridal one day to look at their bridemaids' dresses. While we were there mom convinced me to try on a few dresses even though in my mind I had already decided I didn't want a dress from David's. I thought since it was such a popular chain store that I'd have a better shot of finding a unique dress somewhere else.

They didn't have any that were like the previous dresses that I'd fallen in love with. By this point I thought my dress was destined to have the peekaboo lace at the bottom, but they didn't have any like that. So I went to the racks and grabbed some totally different choices. None of which turned out to be my dress.

{   David's Bridal Gown  }
As it happens, the woman next to me was trying on a gown that caught my eye. A simple, understated cotton lace. I patiently waited and asked my consultant if I could try the dress on after her. I didn't get the "It's the one!" feeling immediately upon putting it on, but I certainly liked it and kept it on for quite a while. I didn't ring the bell that day (it's a thing at David's Bridal) but eventually I would come back and choose this dress.

{  Galina Lace Ball Gown  }
Now, I still don't like David's Bridal very much, the price of my dress was great but the service was LACKING. Every time we went in I had a different consultant because nobody was ever employed there very long. When I went in to actually order my dress I said "this is the one!" and I asked if they needed to take my measurements, my consultant at that time said that we could if I wanted but it wasn't necessary. When the dress finally came in and I went in for alterations, the lady said it was over a size too big and I would be better off seeing if another local store had the size smaller. Luckily, another one had one, because the size they ordered me, even after it was pinned, would have been a disaster on the dance floor. It had no chance of staying up. It all worked out in the end, but unless you find your dream dress there, they would not be my first recommendation.

My best recommendation for other brides might be to sew their undergarments to the dress. Despite alterations (which were very expensive through David's Bridal) I was still pulling up my dress frequently throughout the night. Take every precaution you can to keep that baby up so you can be comfortable all night long, especially on the dance floor! It was a goal of mine to get a lace up dress so it would always be a perfect fit even if I had some last minute stress induced weight loss (which I did), but alas it was not meant to be. My dress had a zipper.

However, I'm very thankful my mom convinced me to try on some of what David's Bridal had to offer because I absolutely picked the perfect dress for my wedding!

The dress I picked was incredibly light weight, it was all lace but in a more casual way, and as many people witnessed during the ceremony, it had pockets! We each had a reading before our vows and so I kept the paper with the reading in the pocket, and it surprised a lot of people when I reached in to pull it out. Friends and family kept commenting at the reception, "Your dress is beautiful, and I love that it has POCKETS!" I played around a lot with adding a belt or sewing on a little bling to liven up the dress just a tad, but in the end I kept it in it's original form. With the jewelry, veil, and flowers it didn't end up needing anything else. It was a laid back dress for a laid back bride.

There were so many dresses that I loved, but it was all about choosing the right one for my personality and the feel of our entire celebration.  Personally, I think I nailed it!

{  Above set of Photos by Stephanie Bannon Photography  }
You will see much more of THE DRESS in the posts to come!


December 8, 2013

Time to Chill

I still have some catching up to do with my posts, I haven't even started on the wedding post, which will be chalk full of pictures, but I wanted to add a short update post. Because it's been a big weekend. We officially moved our furniture into our new house yesterday! There will be a catch-up post about the house coming soon as well.
Moving yesterday was cold, but it needed to be done. We still have a lot to do, but I feel like we can take  breather now. The biggest stuff is in. We aren't sleeping on an air mattress anymore. Deep breaths.

It's starting to feel homey since it's no longer empty, and now it's time to get ready for Christmas!

This morning we went to pick out our Christmas tree, and now have to figure out how to get it up 3 stairs and into our house (Sounds easier than it really is. I'm telling you, those roots are HEAVY).

He has his first snow under his belt, and now Norbert is getting ready for his first Christmas!

We're all excited!


November 13, 2013

Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback

When we were living in Hawaii we were constantly visiting the pet store. We loved our landlord's dog, but we really wanted one of our own. For multiple reasons getting a puppy in Hawaii was not a practical idea, so we waited. 

After moving back, we started visiting the local shelter frequently and also checking out craigslist, but still we held off on adopting. We waited through the winter and then we wanted to get through June/July because we had 5 weddings, 5 weekends in a row, 3 of which we were going to be traveling for (we'll get to that). But we were still looking. 

However, one April weekend, we came across this face...

King, they called him. He was 3-5 months old. Had some scars down his side. When all the other dogs were barking and jumping at the walls of their cages, this little guy looked at us, laid down, and wagged his tail. We got him out to play and decided to put in our application. He wouldn't be ready for adoption for another week. 

We hadn't decided for sure if we wanted to adopt him or not. We wanted another chance to get to know him. The day he was available for adoption they told Tyler that we had to come get him or they would go to the next application. It was a Friday and I had to work so I couldn't go. At the time, Tyler was between jobs so he had to go and make the decision alone. Luckily, he decided that this guy was the dog for us! I got this picture as Tyler was taking him home. 

King was not his real name. Instead we gave him a new, more fitting name. We named him Norbert. We don't know what his mix truly is but Norwegian Ridgeback sounds pretty good. Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback, our little fluff dragon. And in case you are wondering; yes, we love Harry Potter. 
{ Source :: But don't listen to the people in the forum, the dog version does exist... we just have the only one }

Tyler got to spend a week with him before he started his new job, and he was able to get Norbert acclimated. They did a lot of bonding while I was at work and Tyler was definitely his clear favorite for a while, but now I think we have evened out a lot more. 

We quickly learned that he was a pretty smart dog, but he is also a little bit quirky. He was rescued from animal control so the Humane Society didn't know any of his history. He has scars down his side, and he is not very brave when there isn't any light. AKA he's scared of the dark and often spooks at shadows. But he loves to play and is a superb cuddler.

{ A green dog after rolling in the fresh cut grass }

We quickly found out that he was a little smartypaws. He conquered all of the tricks in his Puppy 1 class by the 2nd week of the 6 week class. I don't want to brag, but he is the best "stayer" I've ever seen.  BUT he also likes to chew things up, and he's smart enough to be ironic about it... 

We taught him plenty of fun tricks too! How to beg, play dead, and become a T-Rex. 

The best trick of all, though... is how to DRIVE...

He's great. 

He has a love/hate relationship with our vacuum...

He loves going to sleep "under" the bed...

There's something about a dog dragon that brings a little more life and excitement to a home. We love the entertainment he provides us, the walks he takes us on, and we just couldn't be more in love with our new Norwegian Ridgeback. 


October 19, 2013

A cluck cluck here...

Back in the early spring, the farm stores filled with tiny, cute baby chickens and ducks. Growing up I always wanted to take some home. In 5th grade we did a class project where we got to hatch chicks and then parent permitting we got to take them home. My parents were not permitting at the time. No cute little chick for me. 

In general, I have not been excited about the whole becoming an adult thing, but sometimes it works out in my favor. Tyler and I started thinking about getting a small brood of chicks and when we decided to go for it, there was no one to tell us no. It was our adult decision to make!

Mid March, Alesha came to visit and she got to be a part of our chicken adoption process. We got a chicken magazine (from Barnes and Noble, because when we asked where they were at Home Depot they looked at us like we had two heads. We know we've seen them there before, also Lowes has them.) and did a little research as to what kind we wanted. 

The Ameraucanas chicken is what we decided on. Pullets only (baby girls only). They are medium/small chickens and they are often called Easter-Eggers because their eggs are often tinted blue and green. 

My sister Erin was still working at Buchheit at the time, so she did some scouting for us when she got to work over the weekend, sure enough they had a new batch of Ameraucanas pullets.  So we headed to Buchheits. 

{ Alesha and a duckling }
We picked out five little ladies because you cannot legally buy chickens in quantities less than five in Illinois. We got a variety of colors. Tyler and I each picked two and Alesha picked one. We bought food, a water dish, and a heat lamp and we were set. We took them straight over to my parents house as we were going up for dinner, so they got to meet their grand-chicks right away. 

We named them with Greek god insiration. From left to right: Hades, Artemis, Nyx, Aura, and Athena

Nyx was an early lover of perching, sitting on the side of their bin. 

Tyler and Alesha started building a stylish A-frame when I was at work. The bottom is open to the ground and there is a second floor where they can go to get away from the elements and nest.  We finished it off with some waterproof roofing and a nice coat of yellow paint. By the end of April the ladies (as we call them) were ready to inhabit their coop.

{ They grow so fast! }

We learned the hard way that chicken wire works great to keep the chickens in, but not so great to keep other animals out. One day when we got home from work our neighbors dog Jessie was laying out back. I didn't think much of it and called her over and told Tyler to come say Hi to Jessie. As I was telling him that she was out back, it started dawning on me. I hadn't checked the chickens, and Jessie is  border collie... we looked at the coop and sure enough the upstairs window was pushed in and one side of the coop was busted out. No chickens in sight. 

She got three of them. Athena, Aura, and Artemis. It was gruesome. 

Two survived. They somehow escaped and hid under the house. Once Tyler was down walking around, they came out to say hi. Hades and Nyx.

We reinforced the coop. It now has chicken wire and a wire mesh covering the sides. One other day we came home and all the roofing materials were ripped off and there were some gnawing marks on the wood, but our chickens were safe!

Tyler had made them nesting boxes and we set out a couple golf balls to set an example. Then, in early September we got a surprise. Our first egg!

And then the next day, another! One lays blue eggs and the other slightly greenish. Ever since we've been getting a steady supply of Easter eggs, one to two a day. We keep them in a bowl on our counter (you don't have to refrigerate eggs fresh from the chicken) and once we get over eight we generally make a quiche. So far we've been keeping up with them okay, but the flow of eggs from two chickens is a lot and I can't imagine how many we would have if we still had all five ladies. Come Easter I'm sure we could sell them as pre-decorated eggs...

And speaking of eggs, we've been gone for the last two days so I'm sure there are quite a few waiting to be collected and turned into a late breakfast. We're off for our regular egg hunt!