Baby names

Before I got pregnant, I thought I'd be a pretty calm mom-to-be. I didn't think I'd sweat the small stuff. In fact, I tried to make a secret pact with myself not to. I guess I'm doing relatively well holding myself to that pact...or at least trying to! The thing that I didn't realize is that it isn't possible not to have worries and fears and insecurities pop into your head..and obsess about them somewhat. At least if you're me:) I guess maybe it's how long you let them hang out there that's important.

My thought process usually tends to go down a path something like this before I can regain control: Am I eating healthy enough since I've been feeling so sick? Is my baby going to be normal? Will he or she have Downs Syndrome? Am I going to have a miscarriage? Did I breath too much paint in while hubby was painting? Are hot showers okay if it raises your body temperature too much? Why do they tell you not to take hot baths but never mention hot showers? Oh boy, my showers are definitely too hot. I need to take colder showers. I wonder if my make-up has aluminum in it? Why did my first doctor tell me Tylenol wasn't okay in the first trimester and my second doctor said it was fine? Why am I worrying about Tylenol when I haven't even taken it? Oh, I guess there was that one time right after I found out I was pregnant. Is there lead in our house? Please please please please please please please please please let my baby be okay. I'm trying to do the very best that I can!

I find that whenever I'm feeling stressed or worried about the many things there are to be stressed and/or worried about while pregnant it calms me down to think about something fun and simple....like baby names! I really like thinking about baby names. Maybe a little too much. I think it comforts me because when I think of baby names, when I actually assign a name to the little plum in my belly, it makes it seem so real. It makes my little plum a child who is healthy and safe; who has all the scary stuff out of the way...who has a name. I think I need to buy myself a GIANT book of baby names to read in bed before I go to sleep at night. Hey, whatever works, right? :)

Here are some names Jeremy and I have thought of that we both like:

Beatrice (BeBe)

I would also like to say that I completely adore the name Clementine but I am alone on that one;)

UCLA Study

A study conducted by UCLA's Department of Psychiatry has revealed that the kind of face a woman finds attractive on a man can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle.

For example: If she is ovulating, she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features. However, if she is menstruating or menopausal, she tends to be more attracted to a man with duct tape over his mouth and a spear lodged in his forehead while he is on fire.

No further studies are expected.


On a brighter note...

On a much brighter note, for those of you who don't know (and actually read my blog).....We're pregnant! It's hard to be too bummed out about the winter with such good news growing in my belly. I keep meaning to post about it but, as usual, I've been a big, fat, blog slacker. Maybe this new endeavor will keep me busy with stuff to blog about:) This Thursday begins my 11th week of pregnancy, nearing the end of the first trimester. I'm already starting to feel a little bit better. The morning, afternoon and evening sickness now seems to be diminishing to mostly just evening sickness and a few waves of nausea throughout the day. I can finally look at vegetables again. Weirdest thing, there isn't a vegetable that I've met that I don't love; but for some reason, everything green and crunchy has completely grossed me out for the past month. Go figure. Pregnancy is WEIRD. All of the sudden, wham!?! You turn into some nutty, hormonally challenged wack-job who cries all the time and hates vegetables. Who knew?

We waited to tell people for awhile because of some early complications but everything is looking really great! We've had two ultrasounds and everything looked good. The last ultrasound was at 8 weeks and we got to see and hear the heart beating at both, which was amazing. I'll post the 8-monther. See if you can figure out which body parts are which:) Some days, I still cant believe I'm actually pregnant. It's so wonderful and overwhelming and cool and scary all at once!


It is our second winter in Oregon and I find myself missing Florida, almost desperately. I think it's partly due to my growing distaste for Oregon's winters and maybe partly due to our friends Joe and Tracey taking a two week vacation there to visit her parents for the holidays. I talked to Tracey on the phone today on the first day of their vacation and we reminisced about what it was like living there. I remembered the lovely saltiness in the air that hits you the second you get off the plane or walk out of your house in the morning. I remembered the smell of Eucalyptus in the air on the warm summer nights. I remembered that short year that Jeremy and I lived just a block from the beach in that condo, the sound of the waves crashing from our balcony. I remembered walking on the beach almost every night after work, the sea unwinding me like nothing else every had, mental stitch by stitch. The tide would mold the beach in a different way each day and it always seemed different and interesting, yet familiar.

Perhaps the nostalgia is brought on because I have no friends yet in Salem, after almost being here a year and a half. I had the best group of friends in Florida, my own little family that had pieced together in the absence of my real family being so far away. We had the best get-togethers and our home was always filled with friends and good food. I miss Susie and Ruth and Eric and Carol and Marianne. I miss Eric and Lisa even though they were hard to hook up with. I miss my old friends from Agcert and Rockwell. I know it's my own fault that I haven't made new friends here, I just feel out of my element. We've been fixing up the house so I haven't felt like having people over. The rain makes me feel depressed and anti-social. I didn't meet anybody through my work because it was a solitary job, not like the office jobs I've had in the past. I know it will get better but today is just one of those days where you have to let it all out and have a good cry. I haven't gotten to the 'good cry' part yet but I have a feeling it's coming.


OKGo Video

My Aunt Janise and Karlissa just sent me this. I had to share. Pretty impressive, eh?


Fireplace fix

So, this is mostly for Mom, whom I keep telling "I painted the fireplace cabinets" and forgetting to send a picture. I'll put a before and after picture in because it makes me feel like we've actually accomplished something:) Jeremy is plumbing in the bathroom as I'm writing this (10:50 pm) because our faucet broke...sometimes I feel like our old house is falling apart faster than we can fix it up;) Thus the before and after, Mom, just to make me feel better! I can do that, right? :) It looks so WHITE in the picture, but honestly it doesn't FEEL that white when you're in the room. Or maybe it is just because I am so sweet and good that white suits me like my angel attire that I usually wear, so it just seems normal to me when I'm in the room. Really.

A memorable Summer

We did get a chance to do a couple things besides work on the *$%^$@#$! kitchen this summer. In September, we took a wonderful trip back to Iowa to visit the family. We were there for almost two weeks and had such a relaxing vacation. It was exactly what we needed. We did some trout fishing and got to be there to celebrate both my parents birthdays. We caught up with a lot of family and friends. And of course, no visit to Iowa would be complete without a family picnic. A special thanks to my parents and the Firman's for putting it together and to all the family for coming. We had so much fun!

Another summer highlight was seeing two of my best friends.

While we were back in Iowa, we visited Tracy Merkel and her fiance, Matt, in Cedar Rapids. We only stayed one night but it was great to catch up. We got to see their new house and Tracy and I had a chance to discuss her upcoming wedding (summer 2008).

I also took a solo trip to D.C. to visit my friend Megan a week after getting back from Iowa. I hadn't been to D.C. before so we went to the capitol and saw some of the sights. I have to say that my favorite was the Vietnam Memorial. It was very moving. I think it was even more poignant to me since we are now in another horrific war with no end in sight. It was fun being in the city and it was so great to see Megan. She's one of those friends where, no matter how long your apart, when your together it's as if not a day has passed.

November in Oregon

I've been horrible about posting and I do apologize. I've missed you all! So let's catch up with each other, shall we? Drop me a line and let me know what's new with you.

So me, I can't believe November is here already and the holidays are right around the corner. Time just seems to being whizzing by. With my job, I'm in the retail stores almost every day, and they actually put the Christmas stuff up right after the kids went back to school. As soon as all the notebooks, pencils, binders and backpacks where gone, the Christmas trees went up. It was mildly terrifying. I thought it might ruin my holiday spirit at first. I thought by the holidays I might be grumpy and scroogey and yelling bah-humbug at every passerby. Now that November has rolled around, I happily discover that isn't the case. I am starting to get a warm feeling deep in my heart that is radiating slowly throughout my body into the very ends of my fingers and toes, just like the darn Grinch. I'm having fantasies filled with Tofurkey and mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and family and friends gathered together around the table. I find myself drifting into thoughts of my wonderful family and all of my amazing friends and the feeling so very thankful. I feel thankful that we are close to the Holman's during the holidays as it makes it so much more special being close to family. They have really made me part of their family and I have so enjoyed becoming part of my second families' holiday traditions. (Okay, now I'm distracted because I'm thinking about fruit soup....mmmmmm........) I am also thankful that Joe and Tracey moved to Portland because they are my family now, too. It's going to be exciting this year to get to spend some of little Nylah Hnat's very first Christmas with her! What a special Christmas this is going to be!
And there's more... as an added special bonus to the coming season, I haven't been able to stop smiling since we purchased tickets to go back to Iowa for post-Christmas celebration with my parents at the beginning of January. I think it's going to be a perfect way to start out 2008. I think I've also got Mom talked into coming out for a visit a month or two after that. We are doing a good job of spreading the visits out nicely and talking on the phone so being far away is more bearable. I'm looking forward to (hopefully lots) of snow when we're back in January and also sneaking in to vote in the primary. Go HRC! Have they moved it up that far yet? We'll at least get a good head's up on the election commercials.

On another front and probably my most annoyingly-talked-about subject, our kitchen is almost finished. Another thing to be thankful for! It is now fully functioning and looking great. We still have a few finishing touches to complete but we're so close. Here are a few pictures.


I heart countertops

The countertops are almost done...and they are so beautiful! Bob crafted a plywood edge for us that makes them so unique! The formica ended up looking a lot like metal, which was exactly what we wanted. They are so modern and cool and....just perfect I think.


Furry Update

More cute pics of the kids....

Rigby fishing with us near Lake Detroit

What happened to my legs? They were there earlier... Oh well..zzzzzzzzzzzz....

Typical morning at our house.
3/4 bed=animals
1/4 bed=Sarah

Fishing on the North Santiam and Hanging out on the deck...life is good!!!!

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Long time, no post

So I've obviously been slacking on the blog. I have no excuse other than we've been really pushing forward on The Kitchen (it deserves to be capitol I believe) and other minor house projects. I've also been painting the upstairs living room/dining room. I'll upload some new pictures to our picassa albums of the progress soon.

The other big event (and more fun that working on the kitchen!:) was a visit from the Parents in late June. They came out and stayed for almost 2 weeks. It was wonderful! We had so much fun, although it's never long enough. Jeremy and I both got our fishing licenses while they were here and we all tried our hand at fishing. We all caught at least one fish while they were here but not without effort;) We still have to find all the good fishing spots as I know they abound here but the Tiller-Holman's (Sarah and Jeremy) are newbies at finding them. We camped at the end of my parents visit in the Detroit Lake area. We found a beautiful campground that was right on the North Santiam River and camped under huge douglas firs. We had the best time! Thanks so much for coming to visit us!


Kitchen Remodel: Month 8

Welp, here are the latest updates. I haven't posted pics of the kitchen in awhile so I'll throw a couple out there to show you how it's coming along. We are know on month 8 of our kitchen remodel, which has gone on for a "little" longer than we had anticipated. The cons are obvious I suppose, but there are also some pros, which I try to list in my mind at least once daily so that I keep a positive attitude.

1. The whole process has helped Jeremy and I to work better together. It has also given me an even greater respect for my husband's work ethic and abilities. I am so impressed every day with his perseverance and work ethic. It's not an easy task to work 40-60 hours a week and then come home and work on a kitchen remodel, yet he does it month after month. Even more surprisingly, he rarely complains.

2. Patience was never my best virtue. I have become so much more patient, which is a quality that I have always really wanted to work on. The kitchen remodel has given me a perfect opportunity to work on this quality in myself. I can now honestly say that I am a much more patient person and I'm proud of that.

3. It's summer and the weather is beautiful and perfect for grilling and eating outside. We've been doing a lot of both. Food tastes so delicious on the grill and I've become a much better grill cook! I never had much confidence in my grilling ability before and now I am starting to develop that confidence.

4. I have learned so much from this project.

5. After we are done with the kitchen, all of the other things that we want to fix up around the house seem simple.

6. The finished project is going to be so beautiful and we will appreciate it so much more having done it ourselves.

And, now, the latest pictures!

upper cabbies installed

upper cabinets, full view

pantry cabinets

It's coming along!


Memorial Day Weekend & Wine

In Oregon, it is has become tradition for the bevy of local wineries to open their doors to the public to kick off the summer wine tasting season. Many of the wineries put out a spread of yummy foods and some even have live music. This April marked our one year anniversary as Oregonians and we decided to hit the road and head out once again into the beautiful heaven that is the Willamette Valley's wine country and home to the some of best Pinot Noir in the world. We went last year and we were a little too enthusiastic. We decided to go to five wineries which proved to be a little rushed and also a little (scratch that, a lot!!!!) too much to drink, although we went with our friends Joe and Tracey and it was, as spending time with them always is, a total blast.

This year we picked a different approach and decided to pick one winery that we were really interested in and then maybe stop at one or two others on the way, packing a delicious picnic of fruits, cheese and chocolate to enjoy along the way. There are so many wineries in the Willamette Valley just minutes from where we live that you can hardly drive a mile without coming across one or two. We thought it would be laid back and more of an adventure and it proved to be, what I would consider a perfect day:) Being out there amongst the vines, the beautiful scenery, mountains in the background....

We started out at Cherry Hill Winery, which was the one I was really excited to go to. They consider themselves a boutique winery because they produce a limited number of cases per year, although business is good and they are growing fast, as you can see from the vineyard pictures. I'd been wanting to try their wines for quite some time, but they are a little pricey so going to their tastings provides a great opportunity to taste some great wines that you wouldn't normally splurge on. Some of them, like Cherry Hill also waive the tasting fee if you buy a bottle. Cherry Hill proved to be our favorite of the day. All of their wines were fantastic, but their 2004 Papillion Estate Pinot Noir stood out to both of us and we bought a bottle for our next special occasion. They also have created a really laid-back environment with funny signs everywhere and an atmosphere that makes you feel comfortable, no matter your level of wine knowledge.

Pictures from Cherry Hill

baby pinot grapes

When I'm feeling sad about having no social life in Salem, all I have to do is drive 15 minutes out into the country and I remember why I was so drawn to this beautiful place. It is truly my heaven. Total sublimity....

The next wineries we visited were Left Coast Cellars, which was having their grand opening and Orchard Heights. Left Coast Cellars had some yummy Pinots and a really good Chardonnay (imho) but Orchard Heights was a little disappointing although they did have a horseshoe pit on the premise so we took advantage of that which was really fun. Note: Jeremy whooped my butt.

Pictures from Left Coast Cellars


Today's Distractions

No captions! Reckless abandon! Wheeeee!

Happy Birthday, Tracy Ann!

I wanted to post today in honor of one of the most special people in my life. I am a better person for knowing her and so very thankful to have her as a friend. She is wicked smart, funny, kind and full of life. Today is one of my very favorite days because it is the day she was born:) Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!


Thank you Mom & Dad!!!

My parents gave me a gift certificate to this really great local store called Loose Ends www.looseends.com for my birthday in February. I purchased two rustic-looking trellises, some copper cones (which are just the coolest things ever) and a decorative birdhouse on a stake. They've all been such lovely additions to the backyard!

As you can see the trellises are coming in very handy! They're made out of heavy sticks and they look so natural. I think they have such a rustic, pastoral look to them and they're perfect for growing peas and beans on.

I wanted to wait to post a picture until I had something planted in the copper cones, but they look cool just like this! I need to drill some holes in them for drainage before I plant in them. You can also see my cute little birdhouse decoration.

"I'm your only friend
I'm not your only friend
But I'm a little glowing friend
But really I'm not actually your friend
But I am

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
Who watches over you
Make a little birdhouse in your soul
Not to put too fine a point on it
Say Im the only bee in your bonnet
Make a little birdhouse in your soul"

-They Might be Giants