Monday, May 24, 2010

In Italia!

Hi friends! We are enjoying beautiful Italy. We've been to Venice, Florence, and now we are in Rome.

I can't wait to share pictures with you all. To tide you over, here are a couple of short videos the Mr. took with his phone for fun and posterity...

Venice & Florence

Hugs from Italy!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

We're in Munich!

We made it to Munich!

Thanks for all the well wishes for getting here safely.

We'll be enjoying Bavaria and Italy for the next couple of weeks -- can't wait to share pictures when we're back!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

iPad for Traveling

Today's volcanic ash forecast is giving me hope that we might actually make it to Europe tomorrow. Thank you all for the comments, thoughts, prayers, fairy dust, etc. that we'll make it! Yay!

In preparation for our Europe Trip we made one big purchase...

That's right, an iPad.

Now I know there are a lot of iPad haters out there, and some of their points are valid, but for a two week trip to Europe I couldn't imagine a better device. It's size, weight (~1 lb), and usability make it the ultimate travel tool.

In fact, this will be the only technology that we'll be using for two weeks -- we're not bringing laptops or cell phones, just an iPad. So after we get back, I'll give a full review of how we survived on it for two weeks.

We should have free wi-fi in most of the hotels we're staying at -- so I may even do some Twitter and Blog updates via the iPad. And if a volcano erupts again, I may be working from the iPad if we're stuck in Europe (but hopefully not).

Are there any other iPad users out there? Are there any iPad apps that you think we should get for our trip?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Not in Control

I am one of the most "Type-A" people you will ever meet.

I plan things.

I live my life according to calendars, bulleted lists, and spreadsheets.

My organizational abilities have been praised by bosses, co-workers, friends, and family. In fact the Mr. even said he loved my "organizational skills" in our wedding vows.

I have a false sense of security that if I plan, plan, plan I can control every outcome.

But sometimes, that's not the case.

Lately I feel like God is telling me that I can't always be in control. He's telling me that things will happen that throw every best laid plan out of the window.

Protesters will disrupt your wedding. Friends will betray you. Pets will get sick and die. The housing market will collapse. Volcanoes will erupt.

I sit here, four days away from our "trip of a lifetime" to Europe, incessantly checking Google News for the latest volcano updates. Currently many airports across Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Italy are closed due to a massive ash cloud looming over Europe. I have a pit in my stomach that our vacation will be disrupted or even canceled.

I'll admit that I feel anxious, sad, and even slightly bitter. But I'm trying to change my attitude and learn the lesson that God wants me to learn, which is that I can't control some events, only how I react to them. Because as far as disappointments go, missing a trip to Europe, wasting my vacation days, and losing a chunk of change, does not make a tragedy. But perhaps my reactions to smaller setbacks in life will help to prepare me for bigger ones.

I am constantly in awe of amazing ladies who's lives I follow via their blogs: Megan, Kelly, Katie, Kelle, and many more. They have faced and do face adversity with such grace, hope, poise, prayer, and faith that I often wonder if I could do respond similarly in their situations. And if I'm completely honest with myself, the answer today is probably "no", but my new prayer is that someday I could. The preparation begins now.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Future baby names

Just because we're not even thinking about having a baby for a couple of years does not mean I can't play the baby name game. Plus Kelly's Korner is talking about how you picked your kids names/future names this week.

I've been naming my future children for as long as I can remember. Obviously my favorite names have changed a lot over the 20-some years. But over the past few years I've gathered lists of favorites and narrowed it down to 8 girl names and 8 boy names.

Adorable image from Pinkle Toes Photography

So without further ado...

Favorite potential baby girl names:

  1. Autumn
  2. Elise
  3. Elizabeth
  4. Evangeline (potential nickname Eva or Evy)
  5. Karena
  6. Lydia
  7. Penelope (potential nickname Nella)
  8. Tessa

Favorite potential baby boy names:

  1. Asher
  2. Anderson (potential nickname Andy)
  3. Benjamin (potential nickname Ben)
  4. Caleb
  5. Conrad
  6. Josiah
  7. Liam
  8. Wyatt

Note: My best friend, Laurel, pointed out that she can see the "Lost" influence in some of these names, either actors or characters names on the show (Evangeline, Penelope, Benjamin, Liam, Katherine). That made me laugh. I do love Lost.

None of the first names really have a particular backstory behind them. They are just names I like. My favorite place to research baby names is The Cradle Baby Namer.

I like the idea of paying homage to a family name via middle names. The most likely middle name contenders for girl is Katherine. And contenders for boy middle names are Andrew, Clayton, or Jackson. All of those have some family significance.

I actually have a hard time first finding names I like because...

First, a lot of names I love don't sound very good with our last name (if fact a lot of names don't work well with our last name), so sadly those names didn't get to make the list. Just so you know, our last name is one syllable and sounds like Green.

Second, I don't want a name that is too popular or trendy.

Third, I want a name that is decently to read and pronounce. My name get mispronounced more than it get's pronounced correctly. This kind of drives me crazy. I don't want to subject my future child to this same torture. For example, one of my very favorite boy names is Calum (pronounced Kal-um) but I know people would read it say Kay-lum, Call-um, etc.) so I sadly I had to strike that from the list.

Which of my potential baby names do you like best? How did you or will you choose your kids names?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Our Baby Bucket List

I've had a sliiiight case of baby fever lately (I know I'm not the only one), so just for fun I sat down I listed out the 54 things I want to do before having a baby.

Me with my friend's baby in 2009...

(disclaimer: before I get a million comments about not over-planning my life, and about how we could be blessed with a baby before we want to be, and about how you can do these things WITH a baby, blah, blah... let me just say this is an aspirational list. If this doesn't all get done before having a baby, that is OK!)

1. Travel to Europe : Complete 5/31/10
2. Take the Mr. skiing in Utah: Complete 2/6/11
3. Go on a cruise Complete 12/26/11
4. Travel to Brazil/South America
5. Do a wine tour in Napa
6. Do a wine tour in Oregon: Complete 10/2/10
7. Go to New York City as an adult: Complete 12/4/10
8. Visit 4 more US States (then I’ll have been to 40/50)
9. Visit Catalina Island
10. Go to New Orleans

Domestic Stuff
11. Take a cooking class
12. Learn 5 good, healthy, “go-to” meals: Complete 6/22/11
13. Take a sewing class and learn to sew
14. Finish redecorating our condo: Complete 7/5/10
15. Make an earthquake/disaster preparedness kit

16. Learn and do yoga regularly: Complete 7/1/10
17. Join a Tennis League (or at least play tennis more)
18. Work out with a personal trainer
19. Learn CPR and first aid
20. Purge my house of BPA plastics: Complete 8/12/10
21. Make my own organic cleaning supplies Complete 11/1/10
22. Quit buying non-organic foods from the dirty dozen list: Complete 8/19/10
23. Donate blood again: Complete 5/7/10

24. Collect 20 collectible bottles of wine: Complete 2/12/12
25. Attend my 10 year High School Reunion: Complete 9/21/11
26. Shoot a gun at the shooting range: Complete 12/28/11
27. Go on a hot air balloon or blimp ride
28. Go on a hike in Los Angeles: Complete 7/25/10
29. Do the Warner Bros. or Paramount Studio Tour
30. Go on a boat ride in Long Beach: Complete 8/9/10
31. Go to the Pageant of Masters: Complete 8/13/10
32. Visit the Ronald Regan Library: Complete 2/27/10

33. Complete a Bible reading plan
34. Find (or start) a ministry team and be active in it
35. Learn to actively pray for my husband daily: Complete 1/2/11
36. Complete a Daniel Fast
37. Complete a Couples Devotional

38. Complete an entire year of budget and budget tracking Complete 9/1/10
39. Save money for a new car Complete 4/12/11
40. Pay off our student loans Complete 4/12/11
41. Write a will and living will
42. Build up 3 months of expenses in an emergency fund Complete 1/26/12
43. Get a promotion (aka earn more $) Complete 8/23/10
44. Get life insurance Complete 1/1/11
45. Figure out what to with our condo Complete 1/26/12

46. Learn Photoshop Elements Complete 1/23/11
47. Upgrade my camera to a DSLR Complete Complete 6/10/11
48. Read every book in my “to be read” pile (12-15 books a year) Complete 1/1/11 (and will continue to do)
49. Get rid of all of the records we inherited from the Mr.’s grandpa Complete 2/13/11
50. Complete all my official name change stuff Complete 1/25/11
51. Finish old paper scrapbooks Complete 11/6/11
52. Put all of my digital photos into digital scrapbooks/albums
53. Complete wedding albums for our parents Complete 6/26/10
54. Get my professional wedding album and make a personal one as well Complete 3/2/11

Just for fun... a sneak peak of what it will look like when the list is done... white trash party in 2006...


I think I'll use this post to track which ones I complete and when, so check back to see how I am doing.

Complete so far: 36/54 = 67%

What's on your 30 before 30 list, baby bucket list, 100 things list, or other life list?
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