Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fear Factor

Last weekend, as part of my Matron of honor duties, I had to face my biggest fear ever... public speaking! I know that for those people who know me well that this might come as a surprise. I am a very outgoing and attention seeking person 99% of the time, but when it comes to public speaking my body actually has a physically reaction and I get hot flashes, dry mouth, I cry, and get bad tunnel vision. Honestly I would rather jump out of a plane, eat live bugs, or anything else on the show fear factor; but when my best friend gives me the honor of standing next to her on her wedding day I have no choice.

So, for those of you who missed it (or were at the wedding and couldn't understand what I was saying through tears and nerves), here is my big toast for the Book-Goode wedding:

First of all I would like to thank both Alex’s and Troy’s parents and step parents for your moral and financial support during the planning and preparation for today. Without all of you, this event could not have been the wedding of my best friends’ dreams.

Second I would like to thank the person who first put the wheels in motion for today to happen - Brett Lederer! In December of 2005 Brett was working for my father’s company and decided to bring a friend from high school – Alex – as his date to the company Christmas party. Alex and I ended up sitting next to one another and Brett pretty much didn’t get a word in edge wise the entire night.

Brett, I know it probably was not your intention, but you introduced me to the best friend I have ever known that night and I am truly grateful!

When I first met Alex it was obvious how much random stuff we had in common (same taste in movies, TV shows, food, shopping, places to hang out – pretty much everything). But it was more than just a bond over Dr. House and cheeseburgers, and within a couple weeks we interacted like we had been know each other forever, we became inseparable, and even started referring to each other as “Best Friends.”

Within a couple months we were vacationing together, gave each other the nick name – Bubbie – which we still call each other today, and Alex started dating one of my then boyfriend (now husband)’s best friends – Troy.

I had actually met Troy before I met Alex, and really liked him right off the bat. I can remember times when I would show up to a bar to meet up with the guys but they were already inside. Troy would come out and wait in line with me so I didn’t have to be alone. This really made me think that he would be a great boyfriend, so I got into cupid mode trying to set him up with all of my girlfriends.

The only glitch in that plan was that Troy’s approach to dating at the time was more geared toward quantity rather than quality. Plus it really seemed like he was pursuing any woman in their 20s that lived within walking distance of his apartment (because, lets face it even a girl isn’t worth getting in the car and driving for Troy).

I however had faith in him, and would always tell my friends that Troy seemed like a player, but he had serious boyfriend potential. It wasn’t until 5 or 6 months after I met Troy, when I introduced him to Alex that he FINALLY proved me right!

The only problem was that Alex was not the least bit interested in Troy. No matter how many times we hung out with him and he tried to work his magic, she would repeatedly end up asking me if, “that guy knew how to take the hint.”

Eventually, though, Troy did wear her down and Alex allowed him to be the great boyfriend that I knew he could be. This delighted me to no end, not only because he had proved me right, but planning out your weekends so much easier when your best friend is dating your boyfriend’s best friend!

Over time my desire for Alex and Troy to remain a couple took on a much less selfish role. I watched their love and respect grow, and saw how they brought out the best in each other. When I talk to either of them about the other there is always love in their words... even during the planning of this wedding when Alex would say that Troy was driving her CRAZY! I am sure she meant it with true love.

You have both stood next to me for every single major event that has happened over the past 3 years. The death of my father, my wedding, birthdays, baby showers, and the birth and Christening of our son. Not to mention little things, like cheering me on at the Avon walk a couple weeks ago.

Not a single moment spent with you has gone un-noticed or un-appreciated and I cherish the love, friendship and support that you have given both Brett and myself and for your dedication to our son as his God parents.

So Alex and Troy... here's to you. I love you both so much and wish you nothing but continued love and happiness for the rest of your lives.

Baby Aaron update!

We are down to the final trimester, which means doctor's appointments every other week (and for us sometimes every week).

The past two appointments have shown that Aaron is doing great! He is slightly small (but not alarmingly so), but continues to be very active and has no forseeable problems thus far. This probably means that we can completely stop worrying, but we are still praying for continued growth and that he makes it to his due date.

More to come!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bonding with Aunt Katelyn

This past weekend (Memorial Day), my sister and her boyfriend, Rich came to visit to attend Alex and Troy's wedding and to help me out with Peter while Brett and I were taking part in our duties as part of the wedding party. It was perfect timing because I am always having withdrawal from seeing my sister (it is a fact that I have cried every time she leaves to go back to State College, PA), and it had been a long time since she got to spend any long period of time with Peter.

Friday morning Katelyn went to my doctor's appointment with me (too see a sonogram of baby Aaron - more on that later!), and then Brett and I handed Peter over to her very capable arms. In the afternoon she brought him by the hotel to swim, but had to turn around when we realized that the hotel pool was closed. The rest of the evening Katelyn and Peter spent time together (I hear there was some snuggling involved), taking walks and visiting the park to go on the swings.

Saturday, Katelyn (who was staying at our house with Peter) played "mommy" feeding and playing with Peter all morning. That afternoon she brought him to the hotel for photos before the wedding, and with my mom's help took care of him the rest of the afternoon and into the evening (until all our friends started fighting over who got to hold him).

By the time the weekend was over, Katelyn and Peter had a huge bond and a few times he even reached out for her when I was holding him! I am guessing it has to do with her allowing things that mommy doesn't (like playing with cell phones), but she is also a pretty cool aunt.

A Goode Weekend

Well, it finally happened! Our two best friends (and Peter's God Parents), Troy Goode and Alex (Book) Goode tied the knot this past Memorial Day weekend.

The whole weekend started with the rehearsal on Friday evening at the Dulles Hyatt Hotel. We ran through the service, where we were supposed to stand, etc. and I tried to remember when to take Alex's bouquet from her (I forgot twice during practice, but came through for the "real thing").

After it was off to Elements Restaurant for some good food and good times at the rehearsal dinner. I was seated next to Alex's firecracker grandfather, who fondly referred to me as the "fat girl." When I called him on it, his response was, "Well, you aren't skinny." If it had been anyone else I might have been offended, but from him it was too funny!

Before calling it a night, Alex and Troy thanked everyone for coming, handed out gifts to the parents and wedding party and we all listened to a tearful poem from Debbie (Troy's mother).

The next morning we were up bright and early to let the hair and make up people into the bridal suite so that everyone could get ready for the big day! Then before we knew it we were being summoned down to the ceremony!

The patio area of the hotel had been decorated beautifully, and when Alex walked down the isle she was absolutely breath taking (I think Troy was on the verge of tears). After the ceremony the wedding party and family were off for pictures before being introduced at the reception.

After getting through my speech/toast (more on that later), we had a delicious tropical themed dinner, Peter got passed around by all our friends, and we all spent the rest of the night dancing to the live band, Back to Zero.

Many photo ops, a cake cutting (I made the groom's cake), and a garter/bouquet toss later it was all over and everyone headed to the hotel bar before calling it a night.

The next morning we got up and had brunch with the family and friend's that had stayed at the hotel. Then we preformed our last wedding party duties of decorating Alex and Troy's car and loading up their tux/dress, gifts, and other items left over from the wedding before heading home.

Alex and Troy left for their 12 day honeymoon in St. Lucia the following morning, and we heard that they arrived safely and that the resort is "AWESOME!"


Although I have not been able to convince Brett to let me get a dog (yet), he is fine with dog-sitting (for now). This weekend is our big debut as dog watchers!

This morning our friend's, Sarah and Mike Merrill, dropped off their yellow retreiver/collie, Emma, for the whole weekend. Peter was instantly in puppy heaven and laughed and played with Emma for 3 hours before both baby and dog passed out.

I am not so secretly hoping than Sarah and Mike decide they don't want a dog anymore :)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Poll Extended!

The baby Aaron middle name poll has been extended! You will now be able to vote until August 24th at 8:00pm... 12 hours before the big birth is scheduled!

Get your votes in before then :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Finger foods!

Ever since Peter got his first four teeth (two on top, two on bottom) we have tried to give him foods to chew. However, even though Peter had teeth, he didn't really understand the concept of chewing.

Recently however, he has figured it out (we are assuming after trying to chew everything in site while the rest of his eight teeth were coming in). We started him off with rolls at restaurants to give him something to teeth on, but once he started getting bites off the bread and eating them he was a chewing natural! He has now tried carrots, pita bread, and his new favorite - corn on the cob.

The best thing for Brett and I is that it keeps Peter occupied while we are trying to eat! Next time we go to the store we plan to get some of the Gerber Graduates foods and see how he does with those.

Feet fears...

It is that beloved time again... I have officially passed the 6 month mark in my pregnancy, which can only mean that the swollen feet are back!

During my pregnancy with Peter I went from a size 7.5 shoe to not being able to fit into a size 8.5 (thank goodness I seem to always be pregnant in the summer because I lived in flip flops (or nothing).

So far with this pregnancy I have been ok... that is until I danced the night away at Alex and Troy's wedding last weekend. The next morning I had to fight to get shoes on, and though they have gone down a little I feel like Elephant Foot is not far away.

Hopefully if they do swell up I will have the same de-swelling as I did with Peter. With that Pregnancy I gained about 10 pounds of pure water, but after the first week or two it was gone. Pretty cool losing 30 pounds in 10 days :)

Before giving birth to Peter:

10 days after giving birth to Peter:

Small Group... now in Annandale!

Last November Brett and I were invited to participate in a small group through New Life Church out in Centreville. The group was lead by Matt and Andy Spray, and hosted at Tony and Heather Witherspoon's house.

We instantly had a connection with the other members of the group, and really enjoyed the sermon series we were doing at the time on the Song of Solomon, taught by Tommy Nelson.

From November through February we made the Thursday night group every week, and loved every minute of it. However, in March Brett's office moved from Potomac to Rockville adding 30 to 45 minutes to his commute... meaning that on Thursday's when he was commuting to Centreville he was on the road almost 2 hours in the evening.

We still loved group though, so we tried to stick it out, but after a few months Brett just couldn't take it anymore. After several talks we made the hard decision to leave our beloved group and try to start something new at our house (or in this area). Our group, God love them, didn't take the news too well and decided that they would join us in Annandale!

So, starting last week the group started meeting at our house and we started a new study on the book of John. We are now looking to grow, so if you are interested we meet for dinner (for those who want to participate in dinner) each Thursday at 6:30pm, and start bible study at 7:30pm. The intention is for group to wrap up around 8:30pm. If you are interested please let us know!!!

Nine month old update!

So, it has been a long time since we did an update on Peter, but that doesn't mean that he isn't growing and progressing by the minute!

Last week we had his nine month old doctor's visit, where he was measured - 27 inches long (76%), 16 pounds (13%), and a 14 inch head (30%). So, he is tall, skinny and has a slightly small head - but his growth is normal and the doctor said he looked great. She also said that he was one of the most active and talkative babies she had ever seen at his age (could possibly be a reflection of his mother?).

Other developments include:

-Started crawling

-Now has 8 teeth growing in

-Still sleeping 11-12 hours a night with two 2 hour naps during the day

-Sits up on his own


-Says "Mama," "Dada," "Kitty Kat," and "All Done"

-Uses sign language to say "all done"

-Started eating chunky foods (not just pureed baby food)

Additionally, he has become a wonderful snuggler and sometimes lays his head on my belly when he is tired. We will have to get a picture of that soon, because it is about the cutest thing I have ever seen.

That is all for now, but I am sure we will have a walking update soon!

Brett's First Tattoo!

Ever since I met Brett, he has been talking about wanting a tattoo (part of his want to be rock start image I guess). However, he was scared, couldn't pick a design that he wanted and didn't know what part of his body he wanted to get it on.

That is until a couple weeks ago when he decided that he was ready and wanted to get my name on his wrist (he picked this location because that is where I had said I wanted to get my next tattoo and he wanted to match). After 2 or 3 days of looking at fonts he made his decision and we asked my mother to babysit so we could go to the tattoo parlor.

Up until about half way into the tattoo artist finishing Brett was still looking pretty scared (he is a bit of a wimp about blood), but eventually he calmed down and got a little color back in his face (well as much as he started with).

As soon as it was complete, Brett was already thinking about the next one he wanted to get (the triforce of power - all you nerds out there know what I am talking about). As well as others he wants (his sign, and something for our kids).

I also decided on my next oneS... on my left wrist I am going to get "Brett" to match his, and on the right I am going to get "COL 3:17" - I have to wait until I am not pregnant though!

Site Seeing!

Since we live right outside of DC, Brett and I sort of take for granted that we have so many museums and places to site see right around the corner. That is until we have relatives or friends in town to remind us, and then we are shocked at how much we enjoy everything this city has to offer!

A few weeks ago was one of those times! Brett's cousin Kim was in town, and Brett got the chance to take a day off work. So we spent the afternoon exploring the Mall and a couple of the museums that are down around that area.

We started out at the Air and Space Museum, before walking down the street past the monuments on our way to the Museum of Natural History.

The Museum of Natural History had a really cool mammal exhibit, but we were a little disappointed that the giant ant farm was no longer there.

We also wanted to visit the zoo, but the weather didn't hold up. Hopefully we will make it down soon... even if we don't have any visitors to take with us.

April Trip to PA

Alright, I am almost caught up, but here goes another late one!

In April, Peter and I made our way to PA for a couple family visits. One to visit my Aunt and cousins, and the other to visit my sister at Penn State.

The trip started out on Friday, with Peter's longest car trip to date (five hours) to the Kelly house. After arriving in Tunkhannock, we spent the day relaxing, playing games and eating a delicious meal prepared by my cousin Debbie who was visiting from Arizona. The evening ended with a bath in the Kelly's kitchen sink!

Saturday morning, we were up early to go to the Spring Fling, being held at Erin Kelly's school. The Fling included games for the kids, tons of food, a bake sale, a book sale, a petting zoo, a dunk tank, and a silent auction.

Peter and I ended up winning 3 baskets at the silent auction - a "rainy day basket" filled with toys, crafts and activities to do on a rainy day, a "potty training basket", and a "organization basket" (for me)!

On Sunday, we said good bye to Tunkhannock, PA and made the trip to State Collage to see Katelyn play her last match as a Penn State tennis player. She ended up losing, but Peter cheered her on the entire time. After the match we had dinner back at Aunt Katelyn's house, before heading home.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just because you read our blog...

...doesn't mean you are allowed to stop talking to us!

We have recently been hearing from friends and family who we haven't spoken to us in months, yet know everything that is going on in our lives. Not that we mind people knowing our business (seeing as we are the ones posting blogs everyday). However, reading our blog doesn't make for good communication!!!

So, in conclusion if you are a friend or family member who hasn't talked to us in the past month but reads our blog, go ahead and pick up the phone... shoot us an email... send a messenger pigeon!!! We probably miss you and would also like to hear what is going on in your life since you know all about ours.

Signed the Gardners... who really do have a life offline :)

What do you think???

When we named Peter we had no trouble at all coming up with a name. Peter was my father's name, and the middle name was easy because after disagreements went on for about a month (I wanted James, and Brett wanted Parker) we stumbled upon Lincoln and agreed right away.

We are having a much harder time with Aaron. For Aaron the first name was pretty easy (the original name was Aiden, but Brett thought it was spelled Hayden with a silent H and I wasn't having any of that), so one night watching Lost we decided that Aaron was better.

His middle name however is a big pain, and we are no where near a final decision! So below are some of the proposed names, tell us what you like best or give a better suggestion (and Nick - Frances Aaron Gardner isn't happening - so don't bother suggesting it ;)

Aaron Christopher Gardner... there is no reasoning behind this one, we just like the way it sounds. My cousin Erin Christine thought it up, and she named our cat so why not let her name our kids? Although I don't want a baby named Angel Food Cake!

Aaron James Gardner... My uncle Jim (James) walked me down the isle at our wedding, plus I love the name James, plus I think A.J. would be cute. Brett isn't thrilled with it.

Aaron Edward Gardner... My grandfather's middle name, and the real name of our favorite performance artist Butch Walker.

Aaron Steven Gardner... Brett's father's name and Brett's middle name.

Anything else???

Kitchen complete!

When we first found our house, Brett and I loved it EXCEPT the kitchen (which I couldn't stand - too old fashion, too small, appliances were out of date, etc.). We bought the house with the anticipation that we would be renovating quickly, but after getting a few estimates we realized that we needed to save some more before going through with the project.

Then one day a sales person came to the door offering free kitchen and bathroom renovations. We figured it was worth a try, so we scheduled an appointment. After hours of picking out woods, counters, upgrades, etc. etc. etc. and triple checking measurements the sales person gave us an estimate that was a little higher than the others we had gotten, but included everything (the other people only told us material costs, not labor). We told them thanks, but no thanks and they dropped the price by 20% and went to go load up their car so we could talk it over.

When they came back in we explained that the issue was that we were first time buyers and we wanted to have a few more months of paying a mortgage before we committed to another monthly payment. To which they responded with a number 20% lower than the SECOND figure and said we wouldn't have to pay for a year.

Seeing as we had done the research and knew that the price and quality was really good we agreed and 3 weeks later we were moving everything out of the kitchen to get ready for renovations. After only 6 weeks (they told us it would take 2) of living without a kitchen and eating out almost every meal, we FINALLY have our kitchen completed!




My favorite feature of the new kitchen is the ice maker and glass cook top.

Brett's favorite feature is that his wife is finally cooking him meals again!