Monday, August 30, 2010

Dishwasher, Smishwasher...Moving, Shmoving...

After a sluggish, trying-to-convince-myself-that-I-was-being-productive-week, it is time to start working on the next chapter: MOVING.

What a daunting task. I've never done a move like this before. And even though I'm now half of a married team, I kind of have to do this myself while Eric is up in WA working and moving a few things into the new house. (Lucky guy only has to move about 3 miles, not 1000...) He will take some vacation time to come down here for the actual move.

This morning I went into "tornado mode." That is what I call it when I get all focused and get-out-of-my-way-I'm-in-the-middle-of-a-task-and-I'll-knock-you-down. I made numerous phone calls to moving companies--trying to stick with the more reputable, well-known ones, to set up appointments for them to send an agent out to my house. Two appointments tomorrow, and two Wednesday.

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to get someone to rent my house. My agent is awesome and a real go-getter, but the fly in the ointment is that everyone wants a dishwasher. I didn't realize that would be such a big deal, but it has come up again and again as people have looked at the house. So today I bought a dishwasher (after receiving a very timely wedding present from an aunt and uncle that nearly covered the cost of the machine.)

Next step is finding someone to prepare a space for the dishwasher. I bought one of those small ones--only 18" wide--but there is no space in my kitchen for it yet. I have not had great luck finding someone to cut out the cabinet and handle the plumbing and electricity issues. People don't call back or don't seem interested. I thought offering jobs was a good thing.

I'm having some dim memories of things that would happen during the wedding planning, where there were lots of possible options, and then one would emerge and lead the pack. I'm hoping that happens in this case.

As far as the houses in Washington, Eric's house is officially sold and we are the official owners of the one we found together in Longview's Old West Side, really the best neighborhood in the city. We got so, so lucky, and this house is just oozing charm. It needs some updating, but there is a great homey feeling to it. I much prefer older houses to new ones. We're still trying to make it work so that I can be up there within the first week of October. We'll know a lot more after meeting with the moving companies.

Onward and upward! To adventure, and beyond!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The OFFICIAL Wedding Photos!!!

Again I'm going to give major props to our wedding photographer, Nick Charrow, (please visit his site!) who did the most amazing job with our pictures. If you live in, or plan to visit Southern CA, I highly, highly recommend this talented man.

Yesterday 4 dvds of pictures arrived in the mail. A total of approx 3000 pictures. Somehow, Eric and I will have to narrow them down to the top 50 for Nick to put into an album. I've already begun, narrowing down to the top 375, then top 167, which I posted on Facebook. I've made that album available for everyone to see, so all you have to do is click HERE, and you can enjoy our memories of the day too!

It wasn't easy, but here are a few of my very favorites.:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

And MORE wedding photos!

Hello all. Yesterday I received an envelope of pictures that my Aunt Gloria took at our wedding. I scanned them all into my computer to keep. Here are few favorites: (IF YOU CLICK ON EACH PHOTO TWICE, YOU'LL SEE THEM FULL SIZED.)

My mom's backyard. Last summer she had it totally redone, built the gazebo, sod throughout the yard, and she propagated a bunch of my late grandma's rose bushes into her yard. Little did she know that we would be using it for my wedding a year later. The flowers were just bursting. It was perfect!

My brother, Jonathan, walking my mom down the aisle. Eric and his mom are in the background waiting for their turn. My cousin, Ari, one of our ushers, is to the right of my mom.

I love this picture of Steve, our best man and Eric's lifelong friend, and Laura, my cousin and maid of honor, as they walk down the aisle. The lighting, the colors, their expressions--this is a great picture.

My Uncle Beto walking me down the aisle. As I mentioned before, he was really a trooper that day. He took his role very seriously, knowing that he was taking the place of my grandpa. He also detailed my grandparents' Cadillac and chauffeured Eric and me all over town. At the end of the night he gave us an envelope with a generous gift, that we were able to use for spending money throughout our honeymoon.

My bridesmaids, Kristie P. (Steve's wife,) my cousins Monica, and Laura, looked absolutely beautiful in their dark purple gowns. Monica did everyone's makeup. Laura did everyone's hair. Kristie P. was on the floor in my sunroom before the ceremony painting Cassidy's nails and Laura fixed her hair beautifully. We had a very fun time at my house during the 3 hours we were all getting ready. The sound of my girls chatting, laughing, munching on the goodies I bought them, was very comforting and fun.

Eric was very emotional during the ceremony. I just couldn't stop smiling. We held hands the whole time. I jumped in with "I will" during the vows a little early and everyone laughed. After we kissed, we brought the marriage certificate out on a little table and our witnesses, Laura and Steve, and the Bishop signed it in front of everyone.

My Aunt Gloria, who took this set of pictures and sent them to me, and my Grandma Elinor. Gloria is my dad's first cousin. She and my uncle are so nice! We don't get to see them very often, so we were very grateful they attended the wedding.

Gloria's picture of my grandma as she was getting her photo taken in Cliques Photo Booth. My cousin, Dov, owns this business. Originally, I had asked him to be our wedding photographer. He agreed, then backed out because he had never photographed a wedding professionally before. So instead, he offered us his photo booth free of charge for the night, which became our wedding favors and the big hit of the evening. He also recommended his good friend, Nick Charrow, who he had gone to school with, for our wedding photographer. The arrangement turned out to be perfect. Everyone loved the photo booth and Nick's pictures are amazing.

Our head table. We also got lucky on a florist. The lady that manages the restaurant where we had the reception had recently gotten married and she recommended a great florist in Pasadena, name Matt Duran, who owns The Flower Garden. His designs were great, and they cost only about half of what we expected to pay for flowers. I love the way he wraps the bottom of the centerpieces in thick, matching bows.

I love this picture of my mom and me. Both of us labored over our dresses for the day. Finding a sleeved wedding dress in Southern CA is a near-impossible task. My mom and I found her dress at Drapers & Damons in Pasadena. We walked in and there it was, in my wedding colors and everything! It was a no-brainer! And she looked great in it.

Thanks for enjoying another round of photos! Today's agenda includes picking up a very neglected house because a potential renter will be looking at it tomorrow. I also need to go and price dishwashers. Several potential renters have commented on my house not having one, and if that is going to be the one thing that stands between my house getting rented soon or a few months from now, I'll do what I have to do and put one in. I have got to get someone to rent my house. It's essential!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The trials and tribulations of Angelique

My little niece, Angelique, turned 4 months old on August 22. Isn't she cute? And she is the most good-natured baby I've ever seen. She is always happy and observant, much like her brother, Alexander, was at her age. Sibling jealousy has been minimal and Alexander has done really well adjusting to his new role of big brother.

Unfortunately, after being on maternity leave for several months, my sister-in-law, Quyen (pronounced "Quinn,) had to go back to work on August 9. Angelique has been a champion breast feeder since she was born, but has refused to take the bottle. The poor thing has even cried herself hoarse when my mom and brother have tried to feed her using bottles, cups, sippy cups, etc. The past week has been especially challenging.

This morning we received an email from my brother saying that they made a break-through yesterday. He had the day off and spent the entire day (one of many) working with Angelique to take the bottle or sippy cup. Alexander spent the day with my mom. Finally, at night, Angelique started to drink from the bottle. Let's hope it continues!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Gratitude Dance

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook. When you watch it you'll understand why it needs to be passed on. If you have a blog, I encourage you to post it there too. Pass on the joy!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

More wedding photos!

Tonight my good friend, Bobby, sent me 88 pictures that he took of the wedding. I picked a few favorites and loaded them into a slideshow. He did a great job of capturing much of the day! Thanks, Bobby!!

Greetings from the new married lady!

Hello to my little group of faithful readers. Eric and I returned home from our honeymoon on Tuesday and celebrate our 2 week anniversary today. These last 2 weeks have been an absolute blur!

It's a little anti-climactic, but Eric had to fly back to WA on Thursday so he could return to work today, finalize the sale and purchase of his house and our new house, and move. He has to be out by 9pm on Wednesday while working 12 hour shifts these next 4 days. I'll start packing my house in a few days after a little break.

Naturally I cannot go into every little detail of our wedding day because there is just too much, but I will say that it was beautiful. The glitches, which every wedding can expect, were very minor (lost flower girl basket, ring bearer running off down the aisle.) Overall the day was perfect.

Here are a few pictures that our wedding photographer, Nick, posted on his website's blog. These are the only ones I've seen, and I'm already thrilled that my cousin, Dov, recommended Nick to us. His ideas are so imaginative and I love the way his pictures come out. He did our engagement photos too. You can visit the pictures, along with some of his comments about the day, HERE.

We also had my cousin, Dov, running his Cliques Photo Booth. You can click on the link to see all of the pictures taken that night, but here are a few of my favorites:
Our first picture with the whole family:
(l-r) Quyen, Angelique, Eric, Mom, me, Alexander, Jonathan

Eric and me with his parents, Bob and Sparkle

My mom and her siblings.
(l-r) Ruben, Irene, Mom Lucie, and Gilbert

My sweet, 92-year-old Grandma Elinor, who was the first in the photo booth and opted to use some of the props too. What a great sport! I was so glad that she could be there.

Eric and me with Amy and Bishop Besaw, who officiated at our ceremony and said some beautiful words with lots of clever musical references.

Me and my friend, Gail, who I met at BYU on the first day I moved in back in 1989. I knew it was a long-shot to invite my out-of-state BYU friends, so I was very touched that Gail arranged to leave her 6 kids behind and make the trip from Utah to Southern California. It was great to see her!

Eric and me with his best friends, the Porters. Steve was his best man and Kristie was one of my bridesmaids. They are so great. You meet them once and feel like you've known them forever! We were so glad they could be a part of our special day!

The Porters and the Bunches. Brady was Eric's groomsman. Julie was a great help watching Henry during the ceremony and reception

The Prestons...Cousins Monica and Laura were my bridesmaids, Cassidy was our flower girl, Christina was our "coordinator and runner for the day," and Robby (top left) was our emcee during the reception. (top row: Robby, Irene, Christina, Monica, Mike, Laura. bottom row: Cassidy, Bill)

Eric and me with my friends, Tracey and Bobby. We always go out to eat, see musicals, and go to Disneyland together.

There are tons of other pictures, of course, that I look forward to posting, but this will do for now. I loved our wedding day and am so thankful to everyone who made it beautiful!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rehearsal Dinner Day!!

What a day. My last day as a single woman. It is wonderful and surreal at the same time. After all of the hustle bustle today I'm home alone in a dark quiet house. The calm before tomorrow when Eric and I get married.

This morning I picked him up at his hotel at 8:30am and the day flew from that moment on. At 9:40 the chair rental company came and set up 125 chairs in my mom's backyard. They did a great job. After that Eric went to get his mani man likes mani pedis! I think it's cool! Then we came home and were able to eat lunch and rest for about 2 hours. Miracle. Then I had my mani pedi. Kathy, my favorite manicurist, and in my opinion, the best manicurist, put a bunch of jewels all over my big toes, did a beautiful job with french tips on my fingers, and then wouldn't let me pay her. A gift for me she said. I was very touched.

Then I zipped home, said a quick hello to my 2 aunts who flew in from Mexico, and ran back to my house to shower again and get all ready for the evening.

Everyone started descending on my mom's house at around the same time and were standing out in the street getting to know each other. It was very fun. Then they herded into my mom's backyard and continued with the introductions as our stragglers arrived.

We gathered everyone up, seated those who were not proceeding down the aisle, and did a few run throughs, discussing ideas and working out the kinks. Everyone was great.

Then we drove in a caravan over to The Beckham Grill in Pasadena to our private loft room and had a wonderful dinner of chicken or salmon. Eric and I just looked around, pleased as could be that everyone was having such a great time. Between dinner and dessert we handed out the gifts and said a few words, and the evening wound down. The rehearsal and dinner lasted about 4 hours.

All in all, a great, great day. Eric and I drove back to my house, consolidated a few of his things because he will be leaving the hotel tomorrow and turning his room over to the best man, and then I drove him back to his hotel and drove home.

And now? I'm just feeling introspective. Grateful to have met this wonderful man whose only mission in life is to love me and take care of me. Blessed to love someone who loves me too. Humbled at the family and friends who are flying and driving in from all over the country to share this special day with us.

Tomorrow will be great. I cannot wait to be Mrs. William Eric Cooley. How I found such a gem of a man I will never know, but it happened. I cannot imagine a man better suited for me to be my husband.

And now, time for some beauty sleep, because I'm getting married in about 16 hours!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Two days left!!

Yes, two more days! I don't have a lot of time for a new post, as you can imagine, but I'll do a little updating.

First of all, I cannot believe that it is already Thursday. It was just Sunday night! That was a day that I was incredibly tired, but I sat on my bed at about 10:30pm with a bunch of sample reception time lines all fanned out in front of me. Getting that done was on my To Do list for that day and I still hadn't gotten to it. After reading through the samples, I hammered one out in about 30 minutes. Yesterday I mailed it to the manager of the banquet hall (Athena, she has been so awesome!) and copies to all of the most important people involved in the wedding.

On Monday, Eric came into town. His family had arrived the day before. I picked up his niece, Vanessa, who is 20, from their hotel in Pasadena, and we went to collect Eric from the airport. Then we drove out to Griffith Park to meet Eric's friends and groomsmen, Steve and Brady. Brady's wife works for Disney and was able to get 4 passes to Disneyland for Eric's family.

Tuesday was more errands. I had to be out of my house for 3 hours because a caravan of realtors with clients looking to lease a house were coming by. Same thing today, except I have to be out of the house for 4 hours this time! Tuesday was also this nail-biting phone call from EDD (our unemployment office.) They wanted to discuss why I haven't been looking for work, even though I've told them in 2 previous phone calls and a letter that I'm getting married and moving to Washington.

So, Eric and I went back to his hotel room and sat and chatted for 2 hours, the window of time I was told they would call....and nothing. They really get you by the throat because there is no way to reach them if they don't reach you. The window of time was 10-12. At 12:10, the lady called. She was very nice, but I was a wreck. Basically, my claim is suspended until I move and get settled in WA, then I can reopen it while I look for work there. It is very doubtful that I will return to teaching or even have a full time job, but I'll do whatever I have to do to get my $450/week for 6 months.

After the call, we went for sushi and then came back to my house to relax. We had sat down in front of the TV for 5 min when a realtor came by with a client to see my house. They are supposed to give us 2 hours notice, not 2 seconds. So I left them at the door for a moment while I put Bailey into the backyard and Eric and I took a walk. Never a dull moment!

Yesterday Eric and I drove out to Orange County to pick up my wedding dress. Don't worry, he didn't see it. :-) The lady I bought it from and runs a boutique out of her home has a room upstairs where she does all of her business. So Eric stayed downstairs and I did a final fitting. I must have dropped a couple of pounds, because it fit better than last time and the new length was perfect. I'm so thrilled with my wedding dress, and Donna Anderson, who runs A Dressy Occasion business for those of us who want modest, non-strapless dress is a life saver!!

The trip out to Orange County took all morning, because it is about an hour and a half each way. We stopped for lunch at Ruby's Diner on the way home and then hung out for a while at my house. Then a call came in that someone wanted to see the house at 6pm, then it was changed to 5:15. Dishes, tidying up, and putting Bailey outside again was rushed. We left and went back to the hotel and hung out with Eric's dad and niece by the pool, while his 6 year old nephew, Ashton, swam and swam. Then we had dinner at Acapulco, a local Mexican restaurant that I had never been to. Then home. Whew! Another long busy day.

Today I have to be out of the house again for the realtors. I also have to take some things to Athena at the Monrovian for her to have out at the reception. Some personalized napkins, the seating chart, and pictures of my grandparents that we are putting at a small "memorial table." Their absence has really been felt throughout the wedding planning process. I also have a facial at 1:00 and another realtor will be bringing a client to the house at 3pm. Any downtime I'll just spend in Eric's hotel room, although he won't be there. Steve and Brady wanted to have a "guys day" with him today. So they are kidnapping him around noon to pick up tuxes and go do "guy stuff." Who knows what that means? Eric promises me that I have nothing to worry about!

And, sometime this afternoon when I'm allowed back into my house I must start packing for the honeymoon, which will be here before we know it!

What a wild ride this week has been!

P.S. Things with the houses in WA are moving along fine. We are getting an appraisal on the house we want today. And the man that is buying Eric's house is keeping everything moving forward. And, get this, Eric's realtor is so nice that he even offered his own home--which is empty because he lives with his girlfriend--for Eric to stay in (rent free) for that 2 weeks between the time that his house closes and the one we are buying closes. (See if you understand that!) Anyway, it was a very generous offer. I have to say again that we have had some FANTASTIC people working for us. Eric's realtor, Larry, and all of my vendors for the wedding have been absolutely top notch. With everything going on, we have been very, very lucky.