memorial day happenings

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It’s a tradition – every year on Memorial Day we go camping. The past two years we’ve gone to Magnolia Springs, a campsite south of Augusta, Georgia that we actually like very much. This year, we talked about camping. It’s hard to find a good campground for us because most want you to check in on Friday, but we can’t get there until Saturday (because of Paul working). Hence, why we’ve gone to Magnolia Springs two years in a row. But this year, the thought of loading all the camping stuff in the car just exhausted me. And until two days ago I was having a lot of trouble getting comfortable at night, and the thought of sleeping on the ground didn’t appeal too much. (What happened two days ago? Well my wonderful husband bought me a body pillow which I LOVE.)

We usually miss fun activities when we go out of town for Memorial Day. Cookouts, parties, etc. So when we decided to stay in town we were like “Yes! We can go to all this stuff now!”

But… this year, everyone decided to have their cookouts on Saturday lunch. That’s great for those people who don’t work on Saturdays. I could have gone to some by myself… But, well I’m shy and I never know how people are going to receive me. What if they ignore me? And I don’t even have Paul to fall back on! I have NEVER been good about attending things by myself. So I skipped both cookouts on Saturday and opted instead to drive down to CNN and get Paul from work.

Also, this year, there were rumors that my sister was going to come visit, but she ended up visiting my cousin who is really sick instead. Then Paul’s parents talked about coming down, but we assumed that fell through when they never showed up. :-) So when we potentially had 3 guests, turned to no one.

Sunday morning there was an orientation for a Dave Ramsey class that our church is offering this summer. When we thought we were camping, we were hoping we could still take the class without going to the orientation. Then we were going to be in town, but going to the orientation would have required us missing either Sunday School or the Church service, we skipped the orientation. (We were able to sign up for the class anyways. Hopefully we’ll get a lot out of it! Even though we’ll miss the last few classes, depending on when Sparkleberry decides to make her appearance.)

My brother-in-law, Tim, came over on Sunday evening and stayed the night. Monday we had absolutely no plans, and I had a long to do list for “things to take care of before leaving to Indiana”. On the list was to pull out our big tent and check it for mildew and air it out. Some people are going to borrow it for the Gerig reunion, and since it’s been folded up for a year, I wanted to check it.

The weather didn’t look the greatest – it alternated between cloudy and sunny – but the weather forecaster promised no rain until last night. We tried to put the tent up in our living room, but it absolutely didn’t fit, even with all the furniture moved out of the way. The only other option we had was the parking lot. So Tim, Paul, and I set the tent up out there. Then Tim said, “What we need is a grill! Then we could have a cookout!”

And I said, “Well we DO have a camping grill. And we have camping chairs. And we have hot dogs and chips on hand.” Thus an idea was born! We sent Paul to Publix to get potato salad and Coke. Tim grilled the hot dogs, and we sat there lazily for about 5 minutes.
Our "campsite"
Tim serves up the hot dogs

Then, the rain came! I was immediately on alert because if the tent got wet then we had no way to let it dry! Paul and I hurriedly moved it into the breezeway and took it down, while Tim packed up the rest of the picnic. As soon as we settled inside, the rain stopped and the sun came out and was shiny for the rest of the day. (In the forecaster’s defense, it DID storm at the time they said it would last night.) So, failed picnic but fun nonetheless.
Doesn't fit!

So now we’re here, in our last two weeks before going to Indiana! The Gerig reunion is coming together – we have about 20 people coming! I’m super excited to see everyone. Twill be fun!

sunny California

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I’ve been wanting to write about our California trip that we took last February. Hopefully, I still remember it! :-) I was 9 weeks pregnant at the time. In retrospect, that alone made the trip HORRIBLE. I will try to never fly during my first trimester again! Also, the 5 straight days of rain made the trip disappointing. So now it’s a running joke in our family that it always rains in California.

Paul’s dad grew up in California, and Paul and his family lived on an air force base nearby until Paul was 9, when his family moved to Germany (and on to Massachusetts when Paul was 10). Paul has very fond memories of California, and all his family on his dad’s side still live out there – aunts, uncles, grandparents. None of them came to our wedding so this was my first time meeting them all!

So brief recap, and a few pictures. You can see all my pictures here. Since this post is so long, I broke it up, so click on “more” to read the whole thing.

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lots of stuff baby

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I have been spending some time recently putting together baby stuff all in one place so I have easy access to it. :-) Paul and I decided on a special Bible verse that we’re using for this baby and the nursery, etc.:

“He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.”
– Isaiah 40:11

Perhaps we’ll also give Sparkleberry her own special verse when she’s born, to keep with her as she grows up. I like that idea, don’t you? We’ll have to ponder that. This verse speaks to us as we’re becoming parents, which is scary in and of itself but combine that with general fears about the economy and our nation, and the nations around us. It’s a comforting verse I think. And it mentions lambs.

For those who are interested, I made a website for baby updates! You can get to it by clicking the “Baby Sparkleberry” link on the right. I’ve included the basic information about the baby, as well as links to blog posts and also my Flickr photo album. This might be more interesting once Sparkleberry is born. ;-) For those of you who like those countdown/tickers, I included one at the end of the the page that I found recently and really like. It’s too big for my sidebar but it looks nice there.

Another thing I included was links to our registries! I have been working the past few days on getting them to a more realistic level. Before, I went to the store and scanned anything I liked. Now, I’ve removed the stuff that’s cute but impractical. :-p I’ve done a lot of reading of reviews and I hope I’ve picked the right brands! It’s hard to know what I’m going to need and what my baby is going to like. I emailed 5 friends who have kids and asked their advice, which really helped. I’ve actually combined all five of their emails into one blog post! :-) So that will come later, if you’re interested in seeing what they thought.

I have a few questions for my mommy readers out there! :-)
Slings: I know I want to try a sling. I know there’s a lot out there. So, where do I start? Should I have several different kinds before the baby’s here? Should I have one and then get more as the baby grows? What kinds are good and what makes them different from other slings? How do I avoid getting a sling that is bad for the baby’s posture and/or bad for mommy’s back? What can I get for Paul to carry the baby around?
Strollers: I registered for a car seat. It also has a stroller that it can snap into. Is it a good idea to get that? Or should I get a more compact (and cheaper!) umbrella stroller, and only have that? Some of the online reviews said that umbrella strollers weren’t good for more than short walks. Would perhaps an umbrella stroller + a jogging stroller be good for us?
Thermometers: One friend told me to be sure to get an under-the-arm thermometer. Then I read something else that said the most accurate/reliable is the in-your-ear kind. Then I did a google search and another site told me that rectal thermometers are the most accurate. And of course I see all sorts of ones at the stores that are essentially thermometers in pacifiers. So, who is right? Which is the most accurate? Which should I get?
Bottles: I’m planning to breastfeed, but I wonder if it would be a good idea to have some bottles and a breast pump. I am thinking of for things like Sunday School, church, and Bible Study. I might end up choosing to always having the baby with me, but also knowing myself I can see myself wanting a break. :-) Any ideas for basic baby bottles that might be good for this purpose? Would a manual pump be enough, or should I spring for a nicer one? I have no idea how often I will use it – could be not at all, could be weekly.

Okay that’s all for now. My mom says I think about things too much. :-)

going out with a pitter-patter

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So this is my last week at work.

As I mentioned earlier, things have been going well at work and I definitely wasn’t feeling like I was anxious to leave (you know, senioritis). I have been determined to put the same effort into my work as if I wasn’t leaving. I didn’t want to just peter out like some people do, until they only work a half day on their last day because the boss really doesn’t know what to do with them. I wanted to work my best until the end.

I woke up on Tuesday with a really bad sore throat. I knew what that meant. Every single one of my colds starts with a sore throat. I usually get one cold in the spring or fall, if I get a cold at all. (Believe it or not, it was MUCH worse in Peru. Lima is the *worst* city for allergies… just imagine Los Angeles pollution, combined with NO rain… and not California’s version of “it doesn’t rain here” – I don’t believe that, after seeing it rain for five straight days while I was there. I lived in Lima for 9 years and never saw a drop of rain. THAT kind of “no rain”. When I lived in Peru, I got bad colds every March and every August like clockwork, and they usually lasted about 6 weeks. My health is happier in the States.)

Anyways… So I woke up with a sore throat on Tuesday that quickly turned into congestion. My head was foggy and a dull sinus headache was starting. I actually worked until 3:30 on Tuesday and went home early, where I promptly took a 2 hour nap. Wednesday I didn’t feel much better but I had to work all day. It’s been frustrating because the congested head makes it hard to concentrate on work. I just want to curl up and go to sleep! I usually a pretty fast worker, but I’ve been rather slow these past few days because it takes me longer to process things.

Today is my normal day off. I volunteer at the cat shelter every other Thursday morning, and I’m so grateful that this week is my off week. I went to bed at TEN last night! Can you believe it?? You know I’m sick when I go to bed that early. :-) Of course, then I woke up at 3:30am completely wide awake. I couldn’t get comfortable because my cold has now turned into runny-nose-cough plus congestion and dull sinus headache. I laid awake until Paul went to work at 6:30. I realized that I felt better sitting up, so I decided to try and prop my body up with pillows and see if that helped. It did, and I fell asleep again and woke up at 11.

So now I’m taking it easy today. I desperately want to feel better for tomorrow, which is my last day at work. I wanted to end on a strong note, but I feel more as if I’m just pitter-pattering away because I don’t feel well. Argh! Why couldn’t I have gotten sick NEXT week??

That’s the way the cookie crumbles, I guess.

naming the baby

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I know you want this. :-)

We’re not going to announce the name until the birth of our baby, but in the meantime I wanted to share our current options. Because it’s fun to help friends pick out baby names, I think!

Here are the stipulations:
1. In general, I love multi-syllable names and dislike one-syllable names. However, I’m sensitive to the fact that our last name is 3 syllables long, so I want to make sure the name doesn’t sound TOO long when said altogether. One way to get around this is to have a shorter nickname – i.e. from Elizabeth to Beth.
2. No names beginning with “B”. (Which knocks out Elizabeth/Beth. :-))
3. No names of immediate family members, though I do like the idea of honoring someone special in my family.
4. A name that’s recognizable, but not every-third-child popular. No weird spellings to make the name “unique”.

Here is our current list. I seem to have a thing for A names, though I promise not to name all my children starting with “A”. :-)
1. Analiese
(I really like this name when spoken, but I’m worried that it’s too hard to spell. Also, Paul’s sister is named Anna.)
2. Alison
3. Lilian (call her Lily)
(I like this name on multiple levels. For one, I think Lily fits really well with our last name. Two, my great-grandmother’s name was Lilian. Three, my mom’s name – “Susan” – means lily, so it would be honoring a very special woman. My biggest hesitation is that “Lily” is very popular these days – I feel like I’m always coming across girls named Lily.)
4. Caroline
(My grandmother’s middle name is Caroline, so this is a way of honoring her. Paul doesn’t like this name as much.)
5. Savannah
(I like this name a lot, but I’m concerned with it being too long with our last name, especially because it isn’t easily shortened.)
6. River
(I have to add this to the list because it’s Paul’s top choice. He *LOVES* the name River, and has for years and years. I like the name – for someone else’s child. He hasn’t convinced me yet.)
7. Zoey
(I named a dog we had for two months Zoey. Is that weird? I love the name. Perhaps we should add Kaylee and Inara to the list as well…)
8. Rachel
(This name means “ewe”. Our last name means “lamb” in Spanish. I think it’s kinda fun to have the meanings be the same. :-) Rachel is a very popular name, though, especially among Christians who name their kids biblical names. We’ve also thought about going with the Spanish variation – Raquel.)
9. Annabel
(I like this name, but Paul’s sister is named Anna.)
10. Elaine
(This isn’t a first-name option, but my and my mom’s middle names are Elaine so it would be fun to carry on the tradition. I’m not tied to it though – I’d consider it if I like how it flows with whatever first name we pick.)
11. Sparkleberry
(Just kidding!)
12. Abigail
(Another really popular name. Also, I don’t as much care for the nickname Abby, and the nickname + our last name don’t flow as well together – too many B’s right together. But, it’s a pretty name and it’s biblical!)
13. Natalie
(Natalie is a special name for me. It’s higher on the name rankings than Lily, but I haven’t heard it too often. But does that make it too popular?)
14. Rebekah
(I like this name and this spelling, but the common nickname Becky breaks our second stipulation. Also, Paul’s aunt is named Becky, which breaks our third stipulation, though I think we can get away with Rebekah.)
15. Amelia
(I love this name! But four syllables – is that too long?)

Okay that’s enough for now. I might add more to this list. Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?