Monday, June 30, 2008

We are officially old...

This weekend Brett and I had big plans for a special date night. It wasn't an anniversary, special occasion, or holiday; it had just been way too long since we went out just the two of us. Plus after a whole week of caring for our sick baby we really needed some time for ourselves. The plan was to go to a leisurely dinner and then see a movie at Tysons.

At 6:00pm my mother arrived at our house to watch Peter and we headed out for dinner at La Sandia Mexican Kitchen and Bar. Dinner was wonderful! We shared guacamole, which was prepared table side, and their authentic fajitas. Along with unique cocktails (a Margarita for Brett, and a virgin mango lemon aide for me), and a Mexican version of potatoes gratin on the side.

After dinner, we were stuffed and realized that between my growing belly and Brett eating a little too much cheese for his belly to be comfortable, sitting through a movie at the theater might not me the most enjoyable decision. We were tired and convinced that snuggling on the couch and renting a movie On Demand was a wiser and cheaper choice for the rest of the evening.

Once we were back home we got in our comfy clothes and camped out on the couch scrolling through the movie options. A few things looked interesting, but all of a sudden we realized that we might be a little too tired to make it through a movie on the couch! So we headed upstairs and decided to get ready for bed and watch a movie in our room in case we fell asleep.

It was 9:30pm when we got into bed (or about an hour earlier than we used to be heading out to the bars/clubs in our pre-kid days). We turned on a movie, and both fell fast asleep promptly.

There are times in my life where I might have thought that was totally lame, but let me tell you, now a days it feels amazing.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pictures of Baby Zach!

We finally got pictures of one of our new baby cousins this week. Here are photos of the newest addition to the Cressman Family, Zachary Aaron Gonzalez!

Katelyn and Rich's CA trip wrap up!

My sister doesn't have a blog, but she does do cool things!

For her birthday (June 17th) week, she and her boyfriend flew to California for a trip of hiking, site seeing, and camping along the West coast. Here is a wrap up of the trip (in her words)...

As some of you may or may not know, Rich and I just got back from a vacation in Northern California. We took 8 days to explore the northern part of the state and visit some of our favorite spots. We started the trip by flying into Oakland and spending a day and a half in San Fransisco, then we drove down the coast and spent a night in Big Sur, then we drove over to Yosemite and spent a few days there, then up to Lake Tahoe for a couple of days and finally to Berkeley for the last night.

We camped 6 of the 8 nights and did 25 miles of hiking throughout the week. To most people that might not sound like a vacation, but it was perfect for us. Although, we were quite tired and hiked out by the end of the trip. We reached 8,000 feet of elevation in hiking and about 10,000 feet during our driving, which also added to the exhaustion. I have attached some pictures to highlight the trip, but here is a little summary of each part in case you are interested.

San Fransisco: After spending Friday night in DC with my mom, we flew out early Saturday morning and got into Oakland around 10am. Once we got our rental car, which took way longer than it needed to, we were in serious need of some coffee. Being the coffee lovers that we are, we had done some research and found a few places we thought would be good. After some confusion and on place being closed, the Garmin got us to Ritual Coffee Roasters in the Mission (San Fransisco). Needless to say, we revisited this place two more times before leaving San Fransisco. It was delicious and the best Latte I have ever had. That was probably the highlight of our time in San Fran because the weather was pretty overcast, but we also went to fisherman's wharf for some clam chowder, took a long walk in golden gate park, visited the Point Bonita lighthouse, ate breakfast at the Bistro in the Cliff house (restaurant on the water and a historic building), and stayed in The Rainbow Room in a Bed and Breakfast and ate at Magnolias (a Rich favorite) in the Haight-Ashbury area. On Sunday afternoon, after we got a final coffee from Ritual Roasters, we headed for Big Sur.

Big Sur: We took a nice drive down to Big Sur via Highway 1, which featured some amazing views over very high cliffs. Despite my clinging to the car (heights freak me out a little), I was able to really appreciate what the road had to offer. We started our 6 days of camping there at the Pfieffer Big Sur State Park and then headed to Mcway Falls with just enough time to catch some pretty good pictures. After exploring the area, and the two most awesome campsites ever, we set up our tent, built a fire and roasted some marsh mellows. The next morning we did the TanBark hike to the Tin House. This was a strenuous hike that kept me wondering if the views would be worth it. Turned out they definitely were! The Tin House was pretty cool and the hike down offered awesome views and a great place for us to stop and have lunch. Then we left for Yosemite.

Yosemite National Park: The drive from Big Sur to Yosemite was the longest, so we broke it up just a little by stopping in Mariposa and staying in a KOA. The nest morning (my birthday) we woke up and headed into the valley. Since Rich worked there for a summer in 2001, we hadn't made reservations because he knew of Camp 4, which was a walk-in first come first serve site. After waiting in a long line, we were the lucky winners of campsite 35. The next two people in line got sites and then it was sold out...lucky us and happy birthday to me! We then decided, despite a nasty blister I had gotten from the day before, that we would do the Upper Yosemite Falls hike (a very strenuous, very rewarding, high elevation hike). By the way, thanks to all those who tried to wish me a happy phone had no service and was acting up, so I'm sorry if I didn't respond. The next day we took a break from hiking to let my blister have a break and drove up to Glacier point for some pictures and then Rafted down the Merced River. The next day it was already time to leave, but we did a morning hike up to Vernal Falls before leaving for Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe: On the way to Tahoe we stopped at Nicely's (a Rich favorite) and some hot springs (another Rich Favorite). Those who know about these, like to keep them a secret. All I will say about them is they are near Bridgeport, CA and they are awesome. We got back on the road and set up camp at Camp Richardson in Tahoe. We then drove to see the lake and got some pictures. We ate dinner that night at Divided Sky and I had the best salad I've pretty much ever had. There was supposed to be a live band, but after a couple hours of them not being able to get their sound system going, this tire duo left and went to bed. In the morning we ate at Rich's favorite coffee shop Alpen Sierra, just up the road from Harrah's where he use to work. We then did our final hike of the week and made it about 3 of the 5 miles up Mt. Tallac. We then pick nicked at Pope Beach and later met up with Rich's friends Kelly and Charles for some dinner. After that Rich and I went to the improv and had some pretty good laughs. We then spent our last night in the tent, got up the next morning for some pictures, breakfast and lunch at Sprouts (shocker...a Rich Favorite). Sprouts was the bomb and can join the ranks with Ritual Roasters. Then we took off for Berkeley and an actual bed with pillows!

Berkeley: The reason we spent the last night here is because Death Cab for Cutie was playing at the Greek Theater on campus and we both like the band. It was also a short drive to the airport from there. We stayed at the Hotel Durant, walked to dinner and then walked to the concert. It was a very good end to a great trip.

Our flight ended up being delayed back into DC, so by the time we got to State College it was 2:30 am and we both had to get up early the next day to work. But, that was pretty much the only glitch in our trip so we aren't complaining. We probably also would have attempted more hiking if it weren't for my blister, but for the sake of our tired bodies it was probably for the best.

Father's Day celebration (late post)

A couple weeks ago was Brett's first official Father's Day!

To celebrate the big day I did just what Brett always wants - I gave him zero responsibilities for the day. He didn't have to get up to get the baby in the morning, didn't have to go to church, didn't have to help with chores, nothing!

The morning was very relaxing. We had a family breakfast and Brett got to open his presents (matching father/son "My ____ totally rocks" shirts for Brett and Peter, and a Dad Gear fleece jacket (which holds diapers) for Brett.

Later that day we were joined for dinner by Brett's dad, Steve

and our children's God parents: Troy and Alex Goode (Peter's God parents),

and Mike and Sarah Merrill (Aaron's God parents).

Dinner was Brett's pick - grilled New York strip steaks (the left overs pictured), mashed potatoes (with very little garlic), and asparagus.

The Merrill's brought cheese cake, which we enjoyed after dinner as everyone played with Peter and hung out.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What happened?

When Peter was born he was a carbon copy of me. His body type was the same as mine when I was born, his hair was growing in the same, he had huge dimples, same button nose - there was no doubt that he was my child.

Now, he has somehow morphed from a little Jill, into a little Brett. His features, facial expressions, coloring, eyes, EVERYTHING is totally Brett 100%. The only thing not totally Brett is that Peter is in the 70% for height... but we will see how long that lasts!

Photo credit: Nick McKeta

Things that have become "normal" since being pregnant

1. Baby stole my brain - i.e. I am a complete air head 99% of the time when pregnant (this is common in pregnant women). Example - yesterday I was putting laundry away in our bedroom when I heard my cat crying in the corner of the room. I called to her, tried to tempt her with food, but she would not come out from where ever she was crying. Since the cries seemed to be coming from the chest of drawers we have caddy-corner to one corner of our room, I started searching through the drawers - no cat to be found. Finally in an act of desperation I used all my strength to move to chest (something a pregnant woman shouldn't be doing in the first place), only to once again find no cat. At that moment I noticed the sound indicator on our baby monitor moving with each kitty-cry. The cat was stuck in Peter's room... DUH

2. The heat is on - i.e. I am now a human incubator and even a bath full of ice water couldn't cool me down. Example - last night on one of my many trips to pee I noticed that Brett had the covers pulled up to his eyes and was still practically shivering. I couldn't understand why... I had set the thermostat to 63 degrees, had the fan on full blast, was wearing next to nothing, and was sweating!

3. Is my bladder comfortable Aaron? - i.e. get off my bladder baby, mommy is sick of getting up to pee!!! Example - no exaggeration, I got up to use the bathroom SIX times last night between the hours of 11pm and 7am. The worst part is that I am also always thirsty, so it is a never ending cycle.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Packed and ready to go!

When I was pregnant with Peter it didn't matter how close we got to the due date, I was not ready. It wasn't motherhood that I was scared of, it was the act of getting a 7 pound human out of a very small area of my body that had me fearful (and after 18 hours of labor and a c-section I think my fears were valid).

Until Peter was out of me I was pretty much in a state of panic about what my body was going to have to do. Because of my fear, I never packed for the hospital (anyone who know me knows that I am a planner, so this is very odd behavior). Some how I had put it in my mind that if I didn't pack I would never have to give birth... yeah, well come to find out, that isn't how things work.

After sending my sister to my apartment for clothes, and my mom to Target several times during our hospital stay I learned that the baby doesn't really care if you are packed or not.

Now that I have done it before (and now that I have a scheduled C-section and know what to expect), I am totally ready to head to the hospital and bring home a baby!

This morning I even packed up Brett's and my suit case, along with my nursing pillow and an outfit for Aaron to go home in. The only thing left is to pack a camera the morning of. Hey it might be 10 weeks before our due date, but this is MUCH more normal behavior for me!

Pictures in this post are from Peter's labor and hospital stay.

Former Fairfax gymnasts headed to the Olympics!

Just heard from my mother that two guys I knew growing up are headed to the Olympics this summer!

The first is Justin Spring, who competed on the men's team at the same gym that I did gymnastics at as a kid. From what I remember Justin was pretty much a little punk, and he called me "Kimmy Gibler" because I was so tall and skinny. However, it is pretty exciting to see a familiar face representing the USA for men's gymnastics.

The second is an alternate gymnast on the men's team. His name is Alexander Artemev, and his parents Vladimir and Svetlana Artemev (also former Olympic gymnasts) coached me when I attended Capitol Gymnastics.

Usually I am not the biggest fan of watching the Olympics (or men's gymnastics for that matter), but I am looking forward to seeing them compete!

How times have changed

This morning Elmo was checking his email on Sesame Street.

When I was a kid I am pretty sure he was still playing records.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Acceptance Speech

Given via IM conversation...

me: I blog you - (Sent at 11:34 AM on Tuesday)

Hubby: let me check it out ;D

WOO. I win

I would like to thank, first and foremost, my loving, supportive and BEAUTIFUL wife for making this possible

thanks for the blog post babe. I love you so much. I see that things are a little more difficult this time around and I want to help
(Sent at 11:38 AM on Tuesday)

See... I told you he deserved the award!

And the award goes to...


For ultimate husband and father of the year (regardless of pajama choices).

It is no secret that this pregnancy has been a killer for me. Between keeping up with chores in a house that is 2 times the size of any place we lived before, chasing after Peter (a.k.a. Sir Crawls All Over/Gets into EVERYTHING), working part time, church obligations, and house projects, I am beat. Honestly I think that without being pregnant I would be beat!

Since I am pregnant though, it seems almost impossible at times. So many days I sit down to rest for a "minute" during Peter's naps and next thing I know 2 hours have passed and he is waking up.

Brett also has a ton on his plate - work, about 2 hours on the road commuting per day, practice for 2 church bands, plus all the husband and father stuff! But somehow he manages it all very well, and has even been stepping up recently - AND WITHOUT ME ASKING - by helping me with chores, taking Peter so I can rest, and even packing his own lunch when he thinks I am too tired to get up in the morning.

So, with that said, he is definately deserving of the best dad/hubby award... and I in turn, win luckiest wife!

Pajama choices

Since Peter is the first great grandchild in the Gardner family (regardless of the fact that Brett is the second youngest grandchild); and we are one of the first of our friends to have kids, and because I have a huge and very spoiling family - he is incredibly spoiled.

I swear this kid has more clothes that I did before I got married (now I have a normal amount because I had to get rid of FIVE construction sized trash bags to make room for Brett).

Yet for some reason when I went to look in on Peter before I went to bed last night he was wearing his new swim shirt as pajamas.

Since he had been wearing it to try on right before bedtime I assumed that Brett had decided to skip his bath and just put him in bed as is. However, I then remembered Brett specifically going to run a bath, so I was confused.

When Brett got upstairs and I questioned him on the matter he essentially said that it was the closest piece of clothing.

Then he added, "It seemed to work SWIMMINGLY."

And yet again Brett distracts me with corny lines to make me forget about nagging him.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Best mail day ever!

When you are living on one salary and the mail usually has nothing but bills and the occasional good catalog (which you cannot buy anything from), going to get the mail isn't always too much fun.

Today was a totally different story, and I am excited about it - despite how many of you think it is a little sad that this was the highlight of my day.

In my mail today:

1. 12 oz sample can of Enfamil Next Step Formula - retail price $14.39! Also included were $4 and $5 coupons for my next formula purchase. Apparently I applied to receive coupons from them and they send samples too (note to parents and penny pincher's - register for any and all coupon offers, it saves me hundreds!)

2. $32.88 check from the County of Arlington (apparently we over paid something at the DMV when we moved).

3. $2 coupon from Pea Pod (just in time because I was about to order).

4. Home Depot credit card bill with a $0 balance.

5. Delivery menu for a new restaurant.

6. Value Pak coupon mailer (including, Free cheese steak coupon from Jerry's, $15 off maid service - which we plan to have done before the baby gets here, $175 air duct cleaning coupon - something else we need before the baby comes, 20% off Buy Buy Baby coupon - which will be used for the $300 breast pump I have my eye on).

7. Home Depot coupon(for pending basement renovations next month).

8. $200 gift card for Best Buy (reward for getting Verizon Fios bundle at our house).

9. Sweet thank you card from Mike and Sarah Merrill.

10. New Home Depot credit card with the correct names (Brett's used to say Nett Gardner).

11. Walking wings we bought for Peter.

12. Swim shirt for Peter, and new bathing suit for me that we ordered from Target.

Sadly, I don't think we will ever have a better mail day than that - but here's hoping!

Sleep at last!

Last night Peter FINALLY slept a regular 12 hour night and finally was comfertable enough to get the rest that he (and his parents) needed. He still has a slight fever, but now that he is sleeping everyone is a lot happier.

We know we still have a few more days before this sick stuff is all over, but at least things are looking up, and our little guy is smiling again!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sleep is over rated... right?

Poor little Petey is getting worse and more upset as the hours pass. We finally got his fever down a little bit, but now we are dealing with a 10 month old who won't eat or sleep and cannot communicate what he is feeling or needing. So pretty much we have heard screaming and crying for the past 24 hours, with the occasional 30 minute nap every once in a while.

Every now and again we can distract Peter with toys, but for the most part he just wants to be held and is clearly miserable. The doctor says to expect the same for at least the next 3-5 days, so it isn't going to be a fun or sleep-filled week.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hand Foot Mouth

Petey is sick :(

Yesterday afternoon a small rash showed up on his belly and chest, but had no other symptoms. Since he was wearing an outfit that had been borrowed and laundered by a friend I figured that he just had a slight allergy to the laundry detergent she used.

This morning we were awoken by Peter screaming bloody murder (Peter NEVER cries when he gets up, he just talks to himself and plays until we get him). We figured something was up, but assumed that he was just really hungry.

Brett got up (Saturday is my morning to sleep in), fed him a bottle and then tried to give him breakfast. Peter wouldn't eat. He took him to play with toys. Peter wouldn't play. He just screamed and screamed.

This is when Brett noticed how hot Peter was. He took his temperature and sure enough it was 100.4 - time to call the doctor.

Within the hour the whole family was in the doctors office waiting to find out what was wrong. By that time Peter's rash had spread to his face and his fever was feeling worse.

Finally the doctor came in and almost immediately diagnosed him with Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease; which we were told is very common and everyone seems to have right now.

Now we are just waiting for this bad boy to run its course. All Peter wants to do is snuggle, watch TV, and eat Popsicles... so, pretty much Brett wants to catch it now because he thinks that despite the fever and rash that Peter is living the high life.

Friday, June 20, 2008

What I really miss...

There is one thing I REALLY miss about my life before kids.

Spending time with my husband? No - still see him.

Sleeping in? No - I am used to our schedule.

Hanging out with friends? - No - They keep coming around no matter how many kids we have.

Having money for myself? - No - regardless of everything we gave up spending, I really never feel like I NEED anything (except maybe a new drier).

Nope... what I miss is listening to my radio LOUD in the car!

It is seriously the ONLY thing that I miss when I am with Peter. Today I had a major case of loud music withdrawl when I bought a new CD at Target and wanted to listen to it on the way home. As I popped it into the CD player I remembered to play it very quietly so I didn't make him deaf before the age of 1, but I didn't like it one bit.

It sort of makes me want to go sit in my car now that Peter is taking a nap, just so I can ROCK OUT... but I won't.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I just cannot win...

When we had the flood we soaked all our towels trying to get the water off the floor.

Once we had power we tried putting them in the drier to dry.

This broke the drier and clogged the vent with wet lint.

We called a drier repair person who fixed the thermastat, yet could not replace the vent (which wasn't to code) or clean the vent system.

We called a drier vent cleaning service, who cleaned the vent but didn't have a vent hose long enough to replace the whole tube (now we have to go to Home Depot and get one and install ourselves).

On top of not having a part, they cleaned the old tube by dumping all the wet lint into our "slop sink" (where the water from our washing machine drains).

Not noticing, I ran the washing machine this morning.

Which sent the lint down the drain.

Which clogged the sink.

Which made the sink over flow.

So now we have another mini flood in the basement.



Just a question... When a wife is pregnant isn't the husband's job to get her all foods that she craves whenever she wants them?

I certainly thought so! However, Brett refuses to conform to this standard.

My cravings usually come a little before bedtime, and if we don't have whatever I want in the house his response is, "You are probably just hungry, but you don't need ___________." (The blank can be filled in with pizza, coffee ice cream, Oreos, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, anything from Taco Bell, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly on crackers, Cheez Itz dipped in sour cream, cheese steak, or anything else that would give you a heart attack just by looking at it.)

Then he will get me some random food and tell me to eat it and wait 20 minutes. If I am still hungry after the 20 minutes he will get me whatever I was craving.

Only ONE TIME in two pregnancies has he left the house and actually gotten me something because I was still hungry (it was Oreos and coffee ice cream and I wish I had them right now for breakfast!). So, even though he has somewhat of a valid point, it is super annoying.

On the other hand he is probably helping me keeping the pounds off, seeing as I ask for milk and cookies so much that I think he wonders if he married Santa Clause.


Ever since the moment that I got pregnant with Peter anyone who has had a child, worked with children, knows someone who has kids, etc. has wanted to give me unsolicited advice. While I know they have their best intentions at heart it is actually super annoying.

However, since becoming a mom I have also learned that it is somehow ingrained in your mom-DNA that you feel a strange need to share everything that you have learned with others. So, here is my advice for future or new parents - take it or leave it:

1. Being a good parent has TONS to do with being a good spouse. Not only will it help mold your child and teach them respect, confidence, and loyalty; but you will be a lot happier in the long run.

2. Read "The Baby Whisperer" by Tracy Hogg before giving birth. I am not saying she has all the answers, but Peter slept through the night at 8 weeks (and PLEASE give me some credit - I am not just "lucky" - it was a lot of work).

3. Be prepared to clean and vacuum your floors regularly once your child is crawling.

4. Enjoy every moment, because before you know it they aren't babies anymore :(

5. Buy Amazon Prime and order all diapers and formula from Amazon in bulk. For a diaper snob like me (Pampers are the ONLY thing I will put on my baby), this saves big money!

6. Don't listen to all the advice people give you (including but not limited to this blog).


Ever since Peter started sleeping through the night I have gone into his room before I went to bed, picked him up and snuggled him for a couple minutes before putting him back in his crib. It is a time that I truly cherish, and that Brett never even realized that I did until a few weeks ago when he caught me (usually he is down stairs turning off lights, locking the house and getting water while I have my mommy/baby time).

When Brett finally did catch me, he wasn't thrilled with the potentially baby waking activity, but since Peter had never cried he didn't give me a hard time.

Until last night.

We went up to bed after the Daily Show, and as Brett was doing his thing I was visiting with Peter. Things were going normally until he was put back in his crib and the loudest scream ever followed. Knowing that we have trained our baby to calm himself (it usually take less than 5 minutes), I left the room.

Five minutes passed and the screaming was still going on, so I went to check on him. The minute Peter was in my arms he calmed down and passed back out on my shoulder... until I put him back in his crib again. This time we decided to give him 15 minutes, the entire time arguing if we should go sooth him again or not.

I felt that he was slowly calming down (longer pauses between screams, and the crying was turning into whimpering), but Brett couldn't take it any longer and got up to calm him again. This time it didn't work so well.

The whimpering turned back into screams and uncontrollable crying, so I went and got Peter from Brett and told Brett to go to bed (he had to get up early and needs sleep more than I do). Finally around 12:20am Peter had calmed down and even though he was awake I thought I could put him back in his crib without having him cry.

It worked! I crept out of the nursery and back into bed, where Brett greeted me by saying, "You're a miracle worker!" then added, "but you are never getting Peter up when he is sleeping again!"

Tonight, I plan to go in and look at the baby but sadly, no more picking him up :(

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Phone numbers...

Update on how to reach Brett and/or myself!

Brett and I are going to try out sharing one cell phone (since I am usually at home or with him).

He is getting rid of his 301-502-???? cell and going to be using my 703-304-???? number from now on.

The house line (or the best place to reach me) remains 703-941-????.

And for you worry warts out there, I will be getting a GO Phone to keep in the car for emergencies when I am away from the house without Brett.

If you need the last 4 digits of our phone numbers email me at and I will send to you!

Update on Baby Aaron!

This morning I had an unscheduled doctors appointment because my heart has been racing recently for no reason and Brett insisted that I make sure nothing was wrong. Turns out, a racing heart is pretty normal during pregnancy once the baby is big enough to push on your rib cage, but since I didn't have that symptom with Peter I didn't know.

During the visit, the doctor also checked up on Aaron who is doing amazing! He has grown to 3 pounds, 2 ounces and his heart rate is 151! The doctor says it is great that he is so active (regardless of how painful it is on me) and so far it looks like we will go full term and have a very healthy baby in August!

I also learned that I wasn't getting enough calcium in my diet, which is shocking since I eat dairy with everything and consume at least a half gallon of milk a day. And I got some fun poked at me for complaining how hard second pregnancies are compared to the first. My doctor's response...

"They aren't as hard when you give you body more than 3 months to recover in between!"

He got me there ;) I am pretty sure we will be waiting at least 3 YEARS before working on number three!

Another new baby!

Just got an email that my cousin Anissa gave birth to her first baby this morning. She had a boy, Sebastian Michael Mussett, who weighed in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces.

We have gotten word that mother and baby are doing well, and that Anissa's whole family (including 7 brothers and sisters, 3 neices and nephews, and more) were able to come from Arizona to San Antonio for the birth.

Waiting on pictures!

Happy Birthday to Katelyn!

My sister, Katelyn turned the big 2-3 yesterday! I cannot believe how the time has flown, seeing as I feel like we celebrated her 21st not too long ago.

Currently she is vacationing in Cali with her boyfriend and had her phone turned off (or out of signal range) yesterday, but I hope she had a great day!

Hopefully the Gardner's will get to celebrate with her when she returns to the East Coast :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Children's Clothes and Shoe Drive - Please help!

A while back I received an email from my cousin Graham who is serving in Iraq as a Major in the US army. In his email he informed us that the need for children's clothes and toys is great in the villages that they visit almost daily, and he asked for our help.

Since the email, I have been working with my church to get donations for clothes, shoes, toys, and other items for the children in these villages. We have gathered several boxes and will be sending stuff over to Iraq all month.

If you would like to help with this cause please contact me with a comment to this blog or email

• No toys depicting a woman’s figure (i.e. Barbie)
• No violent or weapon like toys
• Nothing with religious images
• Dresses for girls must be below knee length and may not be tank top

Thank you in advance for any help that you can offer.

The Great Flood!

A few weeks ago the Northern VA area was hit by one heck of a storm, and like many people in the area we lost our power. That night I had a few girl friend's over to craft, however we ended up talking and cooking sa'mores by candle light instead.

Despite the heat, I don't mind power outages and after my friends left I went upstairs to hang out with Brett (who was playing his Game Boy DS in bed). It had now been about 7 hours without power and the upstairs was extremely hot, so I asked Brett to go down to the basement to get playing cards to give us a distraction (and me the satisfaction of kicking his tail in Rummy).

Five minutes later he was back with cards and bad news. Since the power was out the sump pump had stopped working and our basement floor (i.e. our new carpet) was completely soaked through with water. For the next hour we tried soaking up as much water as we could, using every towel in the house, but finally we gave up.

The next morning we still didn't have power, and the water level had raised to about 2 inches in the deepest parts. Oh, and all the food we had in the freezer was also melting on top of everything else.

So, we did the only thing we new to do, and as soon as Brett got to work he sent out an evite to all our friend's inviting them to a BBQ that night so that all the food wouldn't go to waste. Thankfully, around 3pm (about 24 hours after the storm started) the power did kick back on, and sent us into rush mode to get the basement dry and the food cooked.

As I cooked, Brett toweled the basement, set up fans and dehumidifiers, and we tried to get everything under control. By the end of the night we had a lot less food and water, but there was still a lot of work to do.

The next day I went to Home Depot and bought a wet vac, and that evening Brett and our friend Tony Witherspoon worked from 6pm-11pm wet vaccing, toweling and sweating in the basement. By the time they were done we finally had gotten the basement from soaked to damp.

The rest of the weekend, Brett and I continued with the same process and the following week had the carpet guys come out to remove our carpet pad, which was still holding a lot of water.

Since then we have scheduled to have our entire basement water proofed, with a second sump pump added, as well as a back up battery on both sump pumps. Additionally we are going to have to replace a lot of the dry wall that ended up moldy, and all of the carpet pad. Once that process is complete we plan to have the ventilation system cleaned out and the carpets steam cleaned.

Home ownership is such a joy ;) We just thank God that this happened before Baby Aaron's arrival!

Aunt Ruthie comes to visit (like 4 weeks ago)

On Memorial Day (yeah, I know that was back in May - give me a break!), my "sister" (or legally cousin) Ruthie came to visit and see Peter and our new Annandale digs. Up until a couple years ago when Ruthie moved to Denver, CO (which seems like the other end of the world to me) we used to see each other all the time. Back then she lived in Raleigh, NC - just 4 hours away - and we enjoy frequent visits. Now, I am lucky for 2 times a year (especially when having babied inhibits me from travel or affording tickets due to gas prices and living on one salary).

Ruthie arrived on Monday afternoon, and for the next 3 days we pretty much relaxed, cooked and ate great foods (Ruthie is just getting into being a private chef), took walks, and played way too much Mexican Train Dominoes.

Wednesday evening, we said a tearful goodbye, but we hope for another visit soon :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ring around my neck...

And they're off... my wedding rings that is. For the past few weeks I have suffered through the pain of swollen fingers and a ring that was way too tight, but I finally had to bite the bullet and take off my most favorite piece of jewelry.

When I came to this bypass with Peter's pregnancy, Brett went to Target and bought me a huge cubic zerconia to wear until my hands de-swelled. Several people thought I had gotten an upgrade because the center stone was enormous, however it ended up falling out of the setting right before Peter was born so it wasn't much of an upgrade.

This time I am settling for wearing my rings on a chain around my neck (close to my heart where they belong). Peter finds them to be very entertaining so I just waiting for the day he rips them off my neck.

New baby in the family!

We received news this morning that Brett's cousin, Deborah (daughter of Brett's Uncle George on his mother's side), had given birth to her second son, Zachary Aaron Gonzalez, last night! Zach weighed in at 6 pounds, 7 ounces, and both mother and baby are healthy and happy.

All I want to know now is how I am ever going to top that father's day gift!!!

Pictures will be posted as soon as we get them :)

Happy Birthday Danny!

Last Wednesday our friend Danny Douglass celebrated his birthday, and on Saturday Brett and I (along with tons of Danny's friends) went out to continue the celebrating.

We started the night at Danny's apartment, where we enjoyed ice cream cake cones (made by me) and shots from glasses that were actually made of ice (made by Danny's girlfriend, Kaitlin)... it is still up in the air as to which were a bigger hit.

The party ended after we had the cops call on us for noise (and possibly ice shot glasses being thrown off the balcony - what are we in college again?).

Next stop was Rhodeside restaurant/bar where Danny's birthday party joined up with the Alexandria WAKA kickball party for an evening of...


Girl talk

Pool playing

Flip cupping

Pregnant girls downing beers (just kidding - I was holding Mike's for him... please don't call child services on me!)


And hanging out with friends!

All and all a great night!

Can't wait for the next birthday celebration... wait - that's mine!!! Woohoo!

P.S. Thanks for the pictures Merrills ;)

30 down, 10 to go!

This morning marked the 30 week mark of my pregnancy with Aaron (for those who don't know that is 3/4 of the way done, because pregnancy lasts 40 weeks... that's right TEN months).

Now that I am really in the home stretch I am getting nervous. I have gotten used to a baby that sleeps through the night, and it is already hard enough to finish my chores with one kids to chase after! But I am also worried about not having an excuse for being fat/eating what I want anymore, and I know I will really miss feeling him kick inside of me.

I am, however, also very excited. After being pregnant for 2 years straight I cannot wait to no longer be occupied anymore, and whenever I see new borns I get so excited to soon have one of my own again!

So, there are a lot of mixed feelings about the next 10 weeks; but one thing that is for sure - it is going to be a HOT summer!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Labor pains...

This evening after Brett got home from work he met Peter and I at the pool. After about an hour in the pool I started having terrible cramps that felt a lot like labor pains, so we decided to head home.

Once we got home, I laid on the couch to relax and wondered allowed why I was hurting so bad. Brett's responce, "Must be BOSTON NIX."

I am pretty sure he meant Braxton Hicks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Aaron's God Parents Confirmed!!!

Last night Brett and I had dinner with friends, Mike and Sarah Merrill. Mike and Sarah THOUGHT the dinner was just a thank you from them to us for dog sitting their puppy, Emma; but we had another agenda. After the past couple months of deliberating, we had decided to ask Mike and Sarah to be Baby Aaron's God parents.

We had made our decision based on a lot of things. First and foremost the fact that Mike and Sarah have both been really good friends to us ever since Brett and I got married and became closer with them. They helped us assemble our wedding invitations, attended Peter's church dedication, and have help out with Peter every time they are around him.

Our main decision, though had to do with us knowing that they have a strong marriage, they have a lot of the same beliefs (and maybe questions) about God as we do, and that they will take their role in our child's life seriously.

When we did ask the Merrills at the end of dinner last night we knew we had made the right choice by their reaction. They both looked shocked and humbled, and we thought they might cry or something. When we told them that they could tell us later if they wanted to talk about it and think it over they instantly said, "We will do it!"

Later last night Mike IMed us asking that we call him "Don Merrill" - which is apparently a God Father thing, I guess I will have to catch up on the movies to figure out what that means though.

And hey, if nothing else I am sure that the Merrill's will be very influential in teaching Aaron how to rock out ;)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Noblis Company Picnic

Two Sunday's ago was my mother's annual company picnic for Noblis. Eventhough the picnic is geared toward kids, Brett have I usually attend and participate in field day, face painting, and lots of good food. However, this year Brett and I had a church obligation and could not attend. Peter on the other hand, didn't have any obligations, and got to go as Grandma's date!

Like usual, we heard all about how Peter was a big hit; but also that he had gotten to try some new treats. Apparently, after eating his bottle and baby food, he moved on to cotton candy and an entire fudge ice cream bar! Needless to say, he was a little too wired for an afternoon nap that day!

The pool is open!

Just in time for the summer heat, our neighborhood pool opened!
I think it is pretty safe to say that we have used it more than anyone else in the neighborhood, since I am there almost everyday and have hardly seen anyone else more than 2 times.

We have also gotten to share our pool with a few friends. My friend Heather and her daughter Morgan came and swam one afternoon, and my sister and cousin Ruthie have also enjoyed a "cool down" at the Cavalcade Pool.
This weekend Brett and I took Peter twice, and plan to make afternoon trips during the summer! We have 6 passes, so anyone is welcome :)

Hiking at Great Falls Park!

A few weeks ago, between wedding celebrations, and the house flooding (more on that later), we managed to make a trip to Great Falls to go hiking. My sister and her boyfriend, Rich, as well as friends, Mike Pritchard and Andrea McNally joined us for the big hike (if you can call 5 miles "Big"... and honestly 5 miles might be stretching it).

Sadly, a lot of people had the same plan as we did that day, so the traffic was pretty bad and we never ended up making it to the park. We did however make it to a parking lot off the path, which was good enough for us!

Brett carried Peter in the carrier (and needless to say I carried Aaron), and when we got to a open field we took a break to sit in the sun and enjoy the awesome weather (clearly this was before the summer heat showed up!).

After the hike we all headed back to our house for a BBQ and games before calling it a night. Hopefully we will get another day that is cool enough to do it again before the summer is over!