congrats to Beth Z!!

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I am SOOO happy to announce to the whole blogging world that the newest little Z. was born today at 5:55pm! He was delivered completely naturally, so kudos to Beth!! Beth is tired, but doing well. Her new son is 8 lbs and 13 ounces, and 20 1/4 inches long. Beth reports that he has dark eyes and hair, and he has the most quiet and content personality (especially compared to his older sister!). Olivia is completely the doting sister, and (so far) isn’t jealous at all! Beth told me that before she would ask Olivia where “baby brother” was, and Olivia would point to Beth’s tummy. After the baby was born today, Beth asked Olivia, “Where’s baby brother?” Olivia then pointed to the baby! Such a smart girl!

As soon as I get a picture, I will post it here! Oh, and as soon as Beth tells me the name they’ve decided, I will inform you of that too. :-)

the plan

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So, I’m getting excited about the Gerig Reunion! I talked to Bethany and Joanna H. this weekend about our plans for this July. Here is what we have so far:

Friday, July 13th: Paul and I will arrive in Wheaton with Bethany, who is riding with us. The three of us will go to the wedding Friday evening. After the wedding, we’ll pick up Joanna and go to the Dunes where we will stay the night.

Saturday, July 14th: Meet up with all the other Gerig folks sometime in the morning. (Perhaps for breakfast?) Hang out all day, doing whatever activities we decide on later. Stay at the Dunes that night.

Sunday, July 15th: Return home via Chicago, where we drop Joanna off to catch her flight. Or do people want to stay longer? I don’t know what others are thinking as far as when to go home – I’m assuming that people want to be back to work on Monday.

I’m getting excited! I hope y’all are too! :-)

long time no see

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So, I haven’t been blogging much recently. Don’t worry – I’m not planning on abandoning my blog! :-) I *love* to blog, and I do think about it constantly! I think the problem has come with trying to keep up with two blogs full-time. I feel a little bit stretched thin, but I don’t want to stop either of the blogs so…. I don’t know.

It’s Saturday, and I’m awake early thanks to some lovely animals. They have no regard for my desire to sleep in on Saturdays! :-) Hehe Oh well. I actually went to bed really early last night – around 11:30 so I probably should have been up anyways. I always get a headache if I sleep too long.

So, what’s new? I feel like several people have asked me this recently and I never know what to say. Nothing really big has happened lately… Or at least I feel like nothing of importance. And there are a few things that I can’t blog about due to the sensitive nature. (Nothing important, just don’t want the wrong person to read it.)

I feel like recently, my unorganized life is wearing on me because I am naturally a fairly organized person. It’s been fun to have no structure, just enjoying each day as it comes along, hanging out with Paul and living in his presence. I love it! But I think there comes a time when some structure must be put into place – things we need to do before we can “play”. I can see why women like to stay home full-time once they’re married – you can get all that yucky stuff out of the way during the day and have all evening to enjoy your husband! :-) Heheh Well I have been trying to get a good organizational system together that works well for me. I tried to join FlyLady a while back, but to be honest I didn’t care for her style (for MY personality, nothing against her). (Did anyone else not care for FlyLady? Or is it just me?)

Last week Crystal posted about her home organizational binder, and I’ve been thinking about doing something like that. Lists work really well for me, and I can cater the schedule for our own household. Also, binders are somewhat academic, and after 18 years in the educational system, I got that down! :-) I used a binder to coordinate all my wedding details, and I found that very helpful. I can recycle that binder, if I can find it… Has anyone else tried this? How do you get organized?

I know it’s not difficult… And I do really well with routines, so once I find a good functional routine than I will be good. Anyways, those are some of my recent thoughts. And now I’m inspired to make a binder for myself. I’m already designing the cover in my head… *smile* I also need to buy some sort of scale so I can track my weight-loss progress. (Although waking up one morning and finding out that I can button my pants works for me too! Heheh)

happy birthday to paul

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My dearest Paul,

Today is your 25th birthday! Too bad you weren’t 25 a few months ago when we had to rent that car. Well, our worries about that are over.

I am so excited to be sharing your birthday with you this year, since I missed the past two years. I hope you had fun during your surprise weekend getaway this past weekend. It was fun planning the surprise for you! I think the best part was knowing you weren’t expecting it at all. That’s one thing I like about you – you don’t put high expectations on people, and you always seem surprised when we take the time to do stuff for you. I love that. :-)

It’s been fun being your wife. You are very silly, yet you know when to be serious (most of the time). You are always wanting to do things for me. I love being pampered by you! I hope I return that love in the same degree you give it. I love being able to talk to you about anything and everything. There really is nothing I don’t tell you. I love that you listen so well, and respond so intelligently. I’d be bored of me by now! But you’re not. You keep on listening and loving me. Wow!

You keep trying to convince me that the most important thing about today is that it’s the first day of spring. But you keep forgetting what an amazing man you are, and how to me celebrating your entrance into this world is more important than spring! I hope you never forget that.

I was thinking the other day back to 5 years ago on your birthday. We had just started dating, and I wasn’t sure how one was supposed to celebrate a boyfriend’s birthday. I remember asking someone if they thought I should give you a present. She seemed shocked, and said “Of course!” I thought about it for a long time and finally got someone with a car to pick up a package of Hershey’s Hugs for me to give you. I thought it would be the most appropriate gift. It makes me laugh now, to think of that. I love showering you with gifts. :-)

So I hope you have a wonderful day. Thanks for being a part of my life! I have loved these last 7 months, and I look forward to 700 more months with you!! Here’s to you!

Yours always, Ashley

not so great

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Originally published on March 20th, 2007 at Onward & Upward
While Paul and I had a long-distance relationship, one of the things we missed most was seeing each other every day. To make things better, I made a website for him called “An Ashley a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!” Every day, I took a picture of myself using my tripod and uploaded it. He got to see what I wore that day, how I did my hair, whether I wore glasses or contacts, and what current state my apartment was in. He loved it and looked forward to his daily picture. I loved trying to come up with fun poses for him.

The pictures helped make the distance geographically seem not so great.

A few years after my dad’s parents passed away, he and his siblings got together one Labor Day weekend and went through a bunch of my grandparents’ pictures. In the pile they found this one:
I like looking at it and wondering who the people were. They were my ancestors, and that was their store. Here is a piece of their life, a single moment captured in a picture that I can look at today and wonder. Some of the pictures we found were of my grandparents when they were young. Wow, us cousins look a lot like our grandparents! How my father and aunts and uncles looked like their relatives! How we all looked alike!

The pictures helped the distance in time seem not so great.

When I was in high school, I was close friends with two of the Peruvian girls who attended our youth group. Seeing pictures like the one above remind me of them, and of our friendship. We were quite different, culturally. I had my American ways and my English language, while they had their Peruvian customs and Spanish mother tongues. I grew up with hamburgers and apple pie; they dined on lomo saltado and chicha morada. Yet when I look at this picture, taken at the end of a weeklong youth retreat at the beach, I am reminded that they are girls just like me. We giggled and had crushes on boys and enjoyed lollypops just the same, no matter our skin color.

The pictures helped the distance culturally seem not so great.

My grandmother and I have always been really close, and it was hard on her being away from her grandkids the whole time we lived overseas. She always made us feel loved, though. She would send us packages in the mail of anything and everything. She would send us pictures of their house and changes they made, and of their gardens. She would write us each long letters wanting to know all about our lives and our friends and school. This picture is one that was taken during one of our visits to the States:

When I look at pictures like that, I am reminded of the happy and fun times I’ve had with my grandma. I can laugh with her, and tell her my hopes and fears.

The pictures help the generational distances seem not so great.

A picture is worth 1000 words, they say. And oh so true. That is the beauty of photographs! They can transport you through time and space. They are the bridge between the two cliffs. And for that, I am grateful.

This post is a submission for this week’s Carnival of Beauty: The Beauty of Photographs. Please visit the other Carnival Posts on Amanda’s blog.