28 July, 2011

What's in a Name?

What's in a name? what which we call a rose*
by any other name would smell as sweet
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Back in fourth grade I had a friend named Tiffany.  Tiffany and all her siblings had unusual names that all began with the letter "T".  One day I innocently asked their mother how she decided on their names.  She told me that back in grade-school she kept a list of names she liked on a piece of notebook paper.  Never scratching them out, but adding to it over her school-years until she had her babies.

Now, I thought this was the best idea ev-er.  So I did the same thing.  I can still picture the paper list I kept.  I can see the phases of my natural printing and cursive, and the forced years of dotting my "i's" with an open circle. Ha, remember that? 

Anyway, I have no idea what happened to my list.  I also have no idea what names were on it other than "Javier", which came from my obsession with Javy Lopez in 8th grade. I was convinced that even if I didn't marry HIM, I would in fact marry another Latin American man and could therefore name my kids things like Javier and Julia (with a spanish accent, of course).

Since I have neither married Javy Lopez, nor another well tanned Latin man, I am "stuck" with a German last name that is spelled funny but pronounced exactly like the word "burglar".  Names like Katherine aka "Kat" and Hamilton aka "Ham" are out.  Wait for it..... get it?  Cat-Burglar?  Hamburglar?  Right. Moving on.

Many people have asked Eric and I what we're going to name Ninjalina.  They wonder given our German, Irish (and my added) Italian backgrounds, if we'd choose something ethnic.  While names like Erin and Colleen are great, names like Albertina and Erna aren't.  (Ugh, seriously, why couldn't Eric be Puerto Rican?)

Others have asked if we'd choose something related to our hobby of brewing and beer tasting.  Names like "Shandy" "Bridget" "Paulie" or "Avery".  I cannot deny that the thought didn't cross our minds at least once.  Maybe twice.  Okay! Maybe three times.

And then there are people like my sarcastic brother who just assume the baby will be named after "Saint I-have-a-weird-name" from the fourth century.  Yep, St. Wiltrudis it is. Oh look, she's even German. Two birds. One stone. Done.

In all seriousness, we have no idea what we are going to name our little baby girl....  

I want her name to have beauty and poise.  Something that fits her, rolls of the tongue, and isn't awkward to pronounce, or funny sounding with the last name Buergler.

I want her name to not be too trendy or too dated.  I'm sorry, but Jessica and Kristin scream 80s baby.  And Skylar?  late 90s.  I am glad for the recent theme of bringing back classic names like Isabella and Gabrielle, but now they're trendy too.  What's a girl to do?

I want her name to have meaning.  In second grade we did our first "research a saint" project and the teacher made us choose our "patron saint". She built up the idea that our parents chose our name based on a particular saint.  Given that my name is Elizabeth Marie I was super excited to find out if I was named after the romantic Elizabeth of Hungary or the heroic Elizabeth Ann Seton.  I was crushed to find out that my name was given to me several hours days after being born, and it was a name my dad liked because he had a crush on a teacher named Elizabeth or something equally as lame. Oh, and they wanted to call me Beth. Blerg. My little second grade heart was broken.  

PS: Mom, however you all really decided on my name, it doesn't matter. And I love it!  I could do a different saint project every year for all my Catholic school years and never double up!

Ever since then I've wanted to purposefully name my children with a name that we like, but has religious significance and/or is a family name as well.  
If we were having a boy this conversation would be over.  The name John:  Classic. Biblical. Saint. My paternal grandfather's middle name.  Eric's Uncle/Godfather's name.  Boom. Done. 

But baby girl seems harder to name.....

*every time I hear this line of Shakespeare I think of that check-out scene from You've Got Mail.  PS: Recognize Callie from Grey's Anatomy?!!

25 July, 2011

Welcome to the MAINE event!

Sometimes you have those vacations where you sit around and do nothing.  This was not one of those vacations.

My parents picked us up at the Portland Airport, which means I can add one more to the list, and all but threw water and snacks at us.  It was time to hit the road, and off we went driving from Portland to Camden via the scenic route.

Our first stop was a lighthouse

And a bit later a road side lobster (pronounced: lobstah) shack, for our first-ever lobster rolls. This is no ordinary lobster snack, as this one has been on some food channel show.  Did I mention the fried dough for dessert?  Yes, please.

Just when I thought the night was over, we finally made it to Camden, Maine, where we walked through town for a bit at sunset.  

The rental house my parents stayed at was perfectly sized and charming.  Completely outfitted with IKEA everything, it felt both classy yet replaceable.  The perfect balance.  It was probably not much bigger than our two bedroom apartment, but laid out much better and with a killer kitchen perfect for preparing lobster feasts.  The guest room, however, was a sight to behold.  And no one warned us.  In fact, the only tip I received was a text from my sister that said, "take a picture of Eric in bed for me" to which my reply was, "No way, you creep"  Until I walked in the room and saw the two kiddie sized twin beds.  Ha!  No wonder everyone was waiting for a photo of my 6'4" husband in the bed.  He looked like ELF.

Friday morning my parents made amazingly perfect Maine blueberry pancakes and a feast of eggs, bacon and sausage.  We couldn't get a ride on the sail boat until 3pm so off we went in search of more lighthouses, granite rocks, and delicious food.

view from lunch
Eric is proud of his 0 pounds of pregnancy weight :)
Eric took this one!

Skipping rocks

Is that a good wave, Mom?  

I cannot mention Friday without my obsession over the little kids in the sailing school.  I took pictures of them from three different parts of Camden, but here is the best one to see how small and cute they are!

We ended up skipping the sailing adventure because it was almost 100 degrees (yes, in Maine! waaahhh!) and I was getting dizzy and cranky.  It was the one thing I was looking forward to the most, but as you can see we'd already packed a lot into the day and I needed a nap.  So we headed back to the house for just that.

My dad ordered some lobstahs for dinner.  Eric did the honors (honahs) of putting them in the pot.

Thirty minutes later we were ready for dinner (you guessed it, pronounced dinnah)

After eating our weight in lobstah, we walked it off with a night time stroll through downtown Camden.  Dad and I had fun taking some long-exposure night shots of the harbor.

30 second exposure.  Two boats went by during that time.  
this is the sail boat we were supposed to go out on (and the shot could have used a tripod)
My hope for Saturday was to catch the 10am sail and be on the road after lunch, however, it rained. Seriously.  First it was 100 degrees, then it was raining.  BUST!  But in the long run it was for the better because the day ended up long enough....and Eric got a surprise visit to Shipyard Ale's Federal Jack's Restaurant and brew pub in Kennebunkport.

My hubby was in hog heaven.  He even had beer and pretzel fudge for dessert! Thank goodness my dad was driving!

And what's a trip to Kennebunkport without the obligatory photo of the Bush compound?
Anyone see Babs? 
And from there we drove down to Portsmouth, NH to visit the Randalls, family friends of ours from Florida that I hadn't seen in at least 6-8 years?  I'd seen Courtney one time during college, which I'm sure she'd be embarrassed if I told you what happened that night, but I digress.  It was so great to see everyone all grown up and doing fun things with their lives. Eric finally got to meet Mr. Randall, the only person more enthusiastic about 1023812098 sports than he is.  Our visit was too short, but we had to be down in Boston for dinner.

I told you this trip was jam packed.

Our first (yes, first) stop in Boston was with my dad's family friends the Taylors.  We had a few appetizers and good, but short visit with them, before their son drove Eric and I into the city to visit Eric's friend-since-fourth-grade, Chris.

Thank goodness we'd decided not to go to the Red Sox game because at dusk it was still about 93 degrees with no breeze.  And, as you could imagine, I was exhausted!

Chris found a fabulous French restaurant for dinner and after we visited the bar where he works.  It's much like The Fred in Atlanta, but a little more hipster than speakeasy.  Eric and Chris talked beer for a good two or three hours while I feasted on some gourmet ice cream sandwiches the chef made me.

But the night didn't end there.  I had the guys walk me home around midnight (but not without touching the walls of Fenway park first!) where I promptly fell asleep on the couch. They stayed up talking about video games for another few hours.  It's funny how their day-to-day lifestyles are different now, but how they can still talk, almost in secret code, for HOURS!

Sunday morning Eric and I woke up in time to walk to Dunkin Donuts (a staple in our weekend's diet) to pick up breakfast which we ate in a little park on the way to Mass.  Unfortunately, it was still rainy so I didn't dare risk packing my camera.

Mass was in a tiny little church near Berklee's campus.  Obviously the music was fantastic, as was the homily and the parish community.  But the church building didn't have air conditioning and only boasted a few tiny windows.  Needless to say, I spent most of Mass slurping water from the cooler in the Narthex.

Chris took us to a fabulous place for brunch and sent Eric and I on our way to the North End.  Other than sailing the only other thing I wanted on this trip was a cannoli from Mike's Pastry.

 But after hauling our luggage a mile from the T stop...you guessed it...the line was down the block.  All I got was a super blurry picture and some pit stains.  BUST!

It was time to say goodbye to Boston

And take the T to the airport

It was a long, hot weekend and we were ready for our own bed (and not twin sized ones!), some fruit, and air conditioning.

Even though it was exhausting, it was great to talk with my parents who'd been gone all summer, unplug from electronics, spend time away with my husband, and enjoy long overdue visits with friends.

20 July, 2011

What I am Loving!

1. My Yoga Ball

Or should I say, Eric's yoga ball that doubled as his desk chair until I made him not be "that guy" at his new job... I hijacked it.  Nothing relieves my back, hip, tailbone, etc pain like a good twenty minute sit on it.  I might be sitting on it now. Ahhh. 

2. This Gem

Oh yes, Rosemary found a onesie on Etsy of a Baby Ninja.  A-mazing. Love it!
PS: Not loving the fact that Roe is moving to NYC on Monday. I'd say cue the tears, but it hasn't hit me yet.

3. Yeah! Burger

Grass fed, local, organic, and foursquare discounts?  What's not to love about this place. Hella good burger, sweet potato wedges and a milk shake. 

4. My Pool Shark

I love watching Eric play pool.  Nothing spells nerd sexy like an engineer trying to play a social game and listen to him discuss angles, parabolas, and vectors. I'm only half kidding. Seriously, he's a great teacher.  I wish I had a few shots of him coaching his sister. The intensity of his focus was priceless.

5. New England Vacation
photo credit: my dad :)
Eric and I have been trying to get to Boston for the last 2-3 summers. One summer I had a car accident the day before we were supposed to leave.  Another summer we couldn't get cheap enough tickets.  And last summer Eric's sister & brother-in-law moved to Atlanta.  This summer: my dad gave us Sky Miles and my parents letting us stay at their rental house with them for the weekend. Sailing and Lobster in less that three days? Yes, please. Now....to dig out my Ralph Lauren and Vineyard Vines.... haha.  

Did I mention that our trip includes a new airport for us? Excited to be one flight closer to completing an item off my 30x30 list!

What are YOU loving this Wednesday?

18 July, 2011

I like papayas (PAPAYAS!) - Pregnancy Update {22 Weeks}

How far along?  Twenty Two Weeks

How big is baby?  According to The Bump we've reached a "range" for the next month.  
Weeks 21-24 (Month 5): Papaya
Average size: 10.5-11.8 in, 12.7-20.8 oz

As soon as I read Papaya I started singing this.

I wish my arms looked that good!
Total weight gain to date: 24ish pounds. I just read that in the next four weeks the baby will double in weight and that I'll be hungry and possibly DOUBLE MY WEIGHT GAIN.  Oh dear God I hope that's not true. I mean, I know it's not uncommon to gain 50 pounds during pregnancy, I just hope it's not by month 6, that worries me.  Ah, my back!

Maternity Clothes? I bought a few things at the Motherhood Maternity 40% off sale.  My favorite are the PJs pants, and this shirt which I wore today with a blue cardigan, jeans and TOMS to Mass. Lots of compliments! 

Stretch Marks? Sad. So Sad. I had one appear this week.  Looking down its on the right side under my belly button. It really hurts too. Trying not to itch it. 

Exercise: Spending Q.T. with the yoga ball, 3 lbs weights, pre-natal yoga poses, and either two short walks or parts of the workout video from Target.  It makes a noticeable difference in my sleep and well being when I spend even a few minutes working out.

Sleep: My body pillow and I are well acquainted now.  Sleep is coming easier and more comfortably. Praise God. I even took two naps this week.  The heat has made me a bit more tired this week.

Movement:  Oh, so much! And I love it :)  Baby girl loves to rock and roll around my bed time.  I feel her dancing and flipping around.  The bumps are starting to get harder and more defined.   Saturday night during Adoration I could feel her from the outside.  And of course, Eric CANNOT wait to be able to feel her moving around! My friend Lois is a week ahead of me and she said she *saw* her baby's kick from the outside this week.  So looking forward to it! 

Food cravings: Ice cream. I had 5 servings of ice cream in less than 48 hours.  I'm glad the drive through staff at Brusters and Wendy's changes often!  Glad I found a Groupon Now! for Brusters. Eric's been a champ at keeping the cantaloupe cut and ready to eat in the fridge. 

What I miss: My tailbone and publc bone not hurting. Seriously. Wow. Who knew? My friend Alyshia was just telling me yesterday that she broke her tailbone during delivery.  I cannot even imagine the pain. Girl, you are my hero! 

Also, my feet not being super puffy to the point that it hurts to wear real shoes. 

What I am looking forward to: Shopping for more of these... Thank you Meghan

Milestones: Lots of baby belly rubs this weekend! So far it's mostly been girlfriends my age, and they're great about asking first.  I've been okay with it so far, but I'm not sure what it'll be like when strangers start asking or just touching.

Every week I say to myself, "Now I really feel pregnant" or "Now I really look pregnant" That will probably keep happening. Haha.

Say What? You'd think being around 2400 teenagers for 3 days I'd have some quality material, but I don't.  Disappointed. Hhmmm, one of the girls I hadn't seen all summer admitted that she and her mom fought all through Mass last Sunday debating if I was pregnant or not. 

The popular question to ask this week is, "Do you have any names picked out?"  "What are they?"  "What? You're not going to tell? You can tell me. I promise I won't tell"  Uh, hi. You're 15. Not confiding in you. Sorry!

Sweet moments: This weekend we had Mass and/or Adoration late in the evening when Baby Girl is super active.  I loved feeling her move around during those sacred times.

Lois came for the closing Mass of the conference and we stood belly to belly and the teens got a kick out of it.  They came making up little conversations that they babies were having like, "Hey, do I know you from somewhere?"

One of the talks at the conference was on our Father's love, and the speaker began by comparing his own love for his daughters to that of the Father's for us.  He sang pop song that he rewritten the lyrics to be a silly song about an over protective Dad looking out for his daughter on her first date.  Eric stood up and cheered at just about every line of the song.  Too cute.

Make room for baby: Baby Ninja/Girl has received her first two gifts, the outfits for next summer from Meghan and some burp cloths from Heather. We've added a few things here and there to the registry. We've started a cloth diaper registry too.  Thank you to Bethany for doing a series on cloth diapers for beginners on her blog.  

On the one hand it breaks my heart that we probably won't have a super cute girlie nursery, but on the other hand, we don't have a lot of room for it...and Baby Girl will be sleeping with us for the remainder of our apartment lease.  What to do, what to do?

Oh, and THIS: My lack of summer tanned skin is really bothering me. Hello, vanity. I almost feel like I look sickly.  I just need to suck it up and get to the pool for an hour or two here and there to tan up a little, otherwise it's going to be a white winter. And I don't mean the snow.

I mentioned that my tailbone and pubic bone are sore this week.  I think it's fascinating that my lower back and hip muscle were aching for weeks, well now I get it...they were moving and stretching in anticipating for my pelvis to open up.  Dang, God, you knew what you were doing when you designed women.  Two thumbs up, Big Guy.

Lastly, we've started talking more seriously about Godparents. We came up with a list of guys and girls, paired them up and now we're praying about which "couple" should be Baby Girl's Godparents.  Honestly, this is more stressful to us than picking out our bridal party (which took all of 15 minutes).

17 July, 2011

Faith Life: Checking in Six Years Later

I once read a quote that said something to the effect that we find that we have changed when we come to a situation/place/person that has not.  And that is exactly what happened to me this weekend.

Eric and I were among 6 chaperones to take 32 teenagers to a weekend-long Catholic youth conference.  Now I have attended this conference about 10 times indifferent capacities: visitor, volunteer staff, youth minister

The Saturday night hour of Eucharistic Adoration is notoriously a time for teens and adults find spiritual healing, surrender, peace, forgiveness, strength, etc.  It is a very powerful night, especially for the teens who have never encountered our Lord this way.

Now six years ago, my first summer out of college and my second trip with the youth group I was recently hired to lead.  I had a Saturday night Adoration experience of that of a broken teenager; praying for things like healing my broken heart, helping me be a good youth minister, mending my relationship with my dad, forgiveness for a long list of mistakes I made in college, etc.  It was just as much a learning and emotional weekend for me as it was for most of the teens.

Year after year I have been coming to the same weekend conference. The theme and speakers change, but the over all experience is the same...well, that is if you're the same person year after year.  And I was, for probably my first three years as a youth minister; continually praying for freedom from the same sins and surrendering the same battles.

Now, I missed last year's conference due to attending Eric's family reunion, and at first I was disappointed, but I think it was a blessing.  I was able to attend this summer with fresh eyes and ears, and a different heart.  It was also fruitful that many of the keynote speakers were new and fresh.

This year at Steubenville Atlanta...
  • instead of agonizing over my own spiritual battles I could focus on those of the teens
  • instead of being emotionally drained from my own healing I felt free to pray and worship
  • instead of needing to hear the talks on chastity, modesty, and purity I could affirm and witness to the speaker's message
  • instead of praying about freedom from ex-boyfriends and agonizing over a future husband I was in constant thanksgiving for the AMAZING man that completes me in ways I never knew possible
  • instead of worrying about what the girls were wearing in the Communion line, I was deep in prayer thanking the Lord for the baby girl inside of me and how blessed I am to raise her :)

I was telling the teens in my small group how wonderful and freeing it is to realize that God has freed me from sin and burdon that I was carrying for almost a decade of my life.  Often I focus on what I need to be working on next in my spiritual life, yet I often fail to take a look a the past and thank the Lord for how he's answered my prayers.  This realization gives me hope that no matter what struggles I face now or will face in the future that our God is faithful, true, and gives freedom.

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God… 
- Chris Tomlin


15 July, 2011

Favorite Things Friday

friday favorite things | finding joy

This week has presented a few small challenges with both of my jobs and with Eric's job.  Everything is fine now or will be fine soon.  Whenever my cage gets rattled a little bit, I have learned to turn to the blessings and little things in my life to find joy, hope, and faith.  Many of these things might seem trivial or superficial, but during a rocky patch, they're comforting.

Tuesday the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens I've been saving for arrived.  It was a good distraction to play with this week.   I've very excited about the possibilities because it can do awesome things like:

 Blurry backgrounds

Take well lit photos even in dim lighting. Yes, this room was dark when I took this photo!

Motherhood Maternity was having a 40% off summer styles sale. 
 I bought some new bermuda length jean shorts that arrive next week and some PJ pants with ties at the bottom. My normal ones are all too tight, and after tripping over Eric's super long XL ones for a few weeks now, the tie up bottom ones were enticing AND on the clearance rack. SOLD!

My affirmation cup and IZZE sparkling water.  
When I was at camp the girls spent an afternoon in the Art Barn and made this adorable cup for me.  They wrote affirmations on it and words of encouragement since it was my last trip with them.  And IZZE sparkling water are quite the treat for me because pre-pregnancy I used to be a heavy soda drinker.  They were $1.50 off at Whole Foods this week. Win!

 (and check out that blurry background. booya!)

Vegetable Mustgo Quesadillas
We had a clean out the fridge night of veggie odds and ends  Added some leftover chicken and pepperjack cheese and BAM delicious quesadillas. Do you spy red & green peppers, onions, and grilled corn?

Decorating Our Bedroom
Our room has had lots of blank walls because we didn't want to commit to any decorations because we keep thinking we're going to buy big-kid furniture.  Yeah, not happening any time soon. So for a few bucks and a few hours I threw a few things together:


What's up parish directory photo?!

My first Pinterest inspired non-food project.
Our room is those two shades of gray. I am obsessed with yellow & gray these days (as you will soon see on our baby registry). I might do a whole post on this project. We'll see :)


Steubenville Atlanta

An annual Catholic youth conference for almost 3000 teens that comes through Atlanta once a summer. We're excited to take 32 teens from our parish.  I am thrilled that Eric will be joining me for the first time ever!  I have been to almost 10 conferences.  And that's where we'll be all weekend!!!

I hope y'all have a blessed weekend - What are your FAVORITE THINGS this Friday?