Saturday, December 31, 2011

For a 35th Birthday...

It was two bunches of lovely flowers, tulips and lilies, a great spin class in the morning followed by brunch cooked by the hubby, a surprise play-date for my kids by my awesome visiting teacher, a relaxing pedicure, dinner at one of my favorite places, dessert, and a great movie date. 
The hubby gave me one of these, for all my running and training. So awesome! It was a wonderful day. 
I got lots of texts and calls and felt very loved. This next year is going to be another great year full of opportunities, I can feel it!

I hope you and yours have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Wrap Up

The annual Christmas Eve "Feastival" was delicious again this year. We really enjoy Andy and Teresa's tradition of choosing the menu on Christmas Eve based on family favorites. This year's menu included: pigs in a blanket (Kalina's choice) hot wings, (Andy's), crazy jello salad and cookie salad (Teresa's choice), marinated flank steak (Ellie's), mashed potatoes, (Sophia's), caramel brownies (Chris) and pizzetti, a Neapolitan tradition around Christmas time (which are fried mini pizzas) with home made dough, sauce and fresh mozzerella as my pick. Andy and Teresa invited another family over for dinner and they brought perogie's and cheese pizza. Round everything out with a veggie tray and lots of crackers and cheese and we were heartily stuffed. I didn't take any photos of the food again this year. I think we are all too distracted eating and talking for me to pick up my camera.

After the meal we enjoyed some Christmas carol singing, talents by the cousins, and Andy talking to the kids about the first Christmas. Kids unwrapped their new pajamas and it was time to head home for bed. Great night!

Christmas Day was lovely- I really enjoy having Christmas fall on Sunday, we got up, opened stockings, ate a yummy breakfast and got ready for church. The sacrament service was lovely and inspiring, and then after one hour, we were back in the car headed home to finish presents. Gradon slept all morning so he didn't experience Christmas until after church. He wasn't too concerned with all of it anyway. The girls helped him open his presents. He got a new scoot bike from Santa which he hopped on for a few minutes. Ellie's favorites of the morning were her new roller-blades and her new sleeping beauty doll. Sophia's favorite gift was her complete Jessie the Cowgirl dress-up set, complete with hat and sparkly red boots. She did ask me why Santa didn't bring her the 'donkey' and a rope too, I said that Santa thought the 'donkey' and rope weren't good choices this year for gifts. (Lol) As always Santa was very generous with Mrs. Claus this year. I am a lucky girl. I love my new camera bag.

Wednesday night we made it to the temple to see the lights. The kids loved it, and were so excited to see all the colors and the nativities from around the world and the decorated trees. I enjoyed taking pictures of bokeh lights-lots and lots of bokeh. =) I will spare you all of the pictures I took, but here are a few of my favorites.

The kids have been asking for snow everyday this month. Sophia asked me today if it was going to snow this year, I told her probably not. Well, it is December 29th and outside my window there are little tiny flakes falling. She is so excited. It's been a great holiday. I am gearing up for a big birthday tomorrow and a relaxed New Year. I am excited about what the year will bring.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Hello Friends! Thanks for hanging in with me over the last couple of weeks, I am finally out of my dark cave and happy to report Christmas is back on schedule. =) I am feeling good again and we are so excited for Christmas day and the week ahead. ( Pssst I have a big birthday coming up...ack!)  

2011 has been an incredible year for us Cochrans, and I wish we would have sent a Christmas letter to share everything with our friends and family. Here is our top 'ten' for the year, 2 highlights per family member:

Chris: Crushing Step 1 and Starting year 3 Woohoo!
Maggie: Seeing U2 in concert and running her first 1/2 marathon!!!
Ellie: Going to Disneyland and dancing again on the competition team!
Sophia: Going to Disneyland/Grandma's house and 'I love preschool'!
Gradon: Learning to walk and being cute and being obsessed with cell phones.

These are a few things that highlight our year. I am so grateful for the progress that we have made in our lives, for the goals we have set and accomplished. This time next year we will know where/what we will be doing for residency. I can't believe that we are getting near the end of medical school! I am amazed at how much I love living here in Maryland, at how many wonderful friends we have, how grateful we are for our ward family, our dance family, our extended family, and I am grateful to be teaching some wonderful kids. I love serving still as the primary president in our ward. We are blessed everyday by the kindness and goodness of our Heavenly Father. 2012 is sure to be more good stuff. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Blues

(Warning, this is a full scale pity party, so you might just want to come back in a few days for a happier post. )

I am sick. I have been sick for 10 days now, last week it was a sinus infection, and today the good word is strep throat. I am totally overwhelmed. There are so many things left to do before Christmas and I just don't know how they are all getting done. My expectations for this holiday have completely gone to pot. Today some friends of mine had planned to take me to NYC for a surprise birthday trip. Isn't that amazing??! Do you know how hard it is to have a birthday 5 days after Christmas, and one day before the biggest party day of the year? It stinks. My amazing friends put this fantastic trip together. So nice of them, and such a fun idea...and today I couldn't go into the city because I am flat on my back sick. I feel terrible. I am so bummed out.

One of the worst parts of today is that didn't get to hold and spend time with my children. I was home listening to life go on without me downstairs. My poor little baby cried most of the day, he just wanted to be with me in my room, in my sick bed. 

I had this fantastic Christmas cookie party planned for tomorrow for all my friends, Chris even woke up this morning and baked some of my favorite holiday treats for me. No cookie party. Cancelled.
                                                                  So sad. 

I haven't finished my Christmas shopping yet. I haven't sewn G's Christmas stocking or worked on a very special gift for my Sophia. I just don't know if it is going to get done. 

I am just resigned to the fact that Christmas is coming with or without my plans. My kids will be fine, they will be happy and excited and I will just have to be satisfied with what is, and with what is not. My cup is full of gratitude for my dear hubby, he has been home this week and without him I think I might have just sunk to the bottom of the ocean. He has taken great care of me and is keeping up with the crazy. I feel bad that his much needed break is being spent running my errands, cleaaning the house, taking care of children and baking my cookies. I haven't been able to take any more photos, and we haven't been to see the lights at the temple. There have been no gingerbread houses decorated with my girls or Christmas movies watched. No singing of carols either. Bah humbug. 

I know none of these things really matter, I know that the spirit of the season is with us with or without my plans...but today I am just sad and disappointed.

 I can happily report that two weekends ago the girls and I were able to see a small version of the nutcracker here in town. A girl that we know from the studio where my girls dance was dancing the part of the sugar plum fairy. We went with dear friends and the girls loved it. 

I know there is still time to make holiday memories, and I am sure that we will.  I just need to get over these last 10 days and move ahead. Hopefully I will be well soon and I can pull it all together.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Night Shooting

Twelve Days of Christmas photos,day two. I have a nasty cold. Boo. But my cold allowed me to run to the store last night by myself and grab some medicine. I took my camera with me, I was hoping to find some fun lights on the way to shoot a couple of photos for today's post. I have decided that posting one photo per day may not be enough. =) The photo above is from the parking lot at the grocery store, the color Christmas lights are from my neighbor's yard, and that fun golden ball is from our tree. Our neighbor has a lovely light display and I couldn't resist sneaking up to their house and taking a few shots. I realized that the best way to get bokeh is to turn off the AF setting on my camera and go totally manual with the focus. I already shoot in manual mode about 98% of the time, but turning off the manual focus was new. I loved it! So fun. I want to go out night shooting again. Hopefully this time with a tripod and work with some crazy long shutter speeds. I think since I am home sick today I will also try making a filter for the bokeh and experiment with different shapes. =)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Twelve Days

Of Christmas in photos! I am going to give myself a goal to shoot something Christmas-y everyday until Christmas. Here is today's photo, took it the day we put the tree up. I am obsessed with bokeh right now. This photo is one of my first attempts. I love these little red bird ornaments. My camera is not super great in low light, a frustrating thing for me, but this one is pretty considering the light and settings. I didn't have the best lens on the camera for bokeh, this was taken with my 28-135mm, ISO 800, f/4.5  at 1/25. I took some of Sophia that are better, and the orbs are pretty. I will get those up tomorrow.

Also, we are counting down the 12 days of Christmas with the kids.  We are going to talk about the life of Christ, and his miracles, and the gifts of the gospel. I got the idea from here. We will read from the scriptures and talk about how each gift is important to us. I think it will be a great way to help the kids remember the real meaning of the season.

Christmas is coming, what are you doing with your family? Are you taking any pretty pictures? Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hello, Blog

Okay, I have LOTS on my mind and things to share. I can't believe that it is December 12th and this is my first post of the Christmas season. I have November to catch up on, and fun things to post about the holidays.

Firstly- I need to talk about some stuff and get it off my chest, then I will fill you in on the good stuff.

Do you ever feel like you are fighting some kind of battle? Like some mornings you wake up knowing what lays ahead and before your feet hit the ground you are already making your escape plan for the day? (Laugh) It feels like sometimes I am fighting a losing battle with my 'to do' list. My 'to do' list just gets longer and longer and really it makes me frustrated.

Secondly, this is the time of year where I really evaluate my life, I think with my birthday coming up in a few weeks I get the New Year's bug and my 'I need to accomplish' panic sets in and thus, more to add to the list. I have a new theme for 2012, and I will share it once 2012 rolls around. I am excited for new goals, but maybe with a new spin this year. =)

Lastly, are you having a nice holiday season? I am trying to not put so much pressure on myself this year to plan every minute, and like President Uchdorf talked about making things 'too perfect' and in turn make more misery than joy. I am trying to focus on the real meaning of Christmas in my heart and with my children and still give them some wonderful magic moments and things to look forward to.

It is a beautiful day here today. It is COLD, but the sun in shining. My kids are doing well, the hubby is doing so well at school we are really blessed. This year has been a great one, with great memories. This time next year we will know what Chris will be selecting for residency (!!!) (Insert panic and insanity). How is it possible we are so close to the end of 4 years of med school?? We are talking about specialties and locations and boy oh boy what to do. I guess we will just have to wait and see what the Lord has in store.

We had a wonderful time tree hunting at a local tree farm. The kids got to see Santa, which was awesome. Isn't that a great sleigh? Chris and the kids dutifully followed me around all morning while I hunted for 'just the right tree'. They really are a patient group. We had fun, getting the tree up is a fabulous part of the holiday season. Hope you are enjoying your holidays too.

Do you see that big smile on my baby's face? He LOVED Santa. It was so cute.