Tuesday, August 29, 2006


OK, the translation for the poem below would go something like this (it just sounds much better in Spanish):

Far away and alone
Black horse, big moon
And olives in my backpack
Although I know the way
I will never arrive in Cordoba
Far away and alone


When I was a junior in high school I took Spanish 3 with Sra. Blackburn. One of our assignments was to memorize a poem entitled Cordoba. I can remember the whole thing even though I memorized it over 10 years ago. As an aside, I can also recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish, which I learned my freshman year with Sra. Armstrong.

Tomorrow we are leaving on our last European adventure. At least our last for a little while (I do plan on being back over here one day). And our last adventure will be to Spain. It is still summer in Spain, unlike here where it is in the high 40s, so I look forward to one last use of my tank tops.

We are not going to Cordoba, but I will recite the poem anyway.

Lejana y sola
Jaca negra, luna grande
Y aceitunas en mi alforja
Aunque sepa los caminos
Yo nunca llegare a Cordoba
Lejana y sola

We shall see how far my 5 years of Spanish gets me. I am sure I will have some good stories when we return.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Missing and Looking Forward

There are lots of things that I am going to really miss about living here in Germany, and there are lots of things that I really look forward to about going back to the states. I am going to give a top ten of both.

Look forward to
1. My own washer and dryer (not having to do laundry at the Laundromat)
2. Restaurants…Baja Fresh, Japanese Steak House, Ted’s Montana Grill,
3. Stores…Target, Ann Taylor, Williams-Sonoma
4. Being able to try on clothes, instead of shopping online
5. Drinking a Cosmopolitan
6. Being able to explore the Western Hemisphere
7. Settling down in one place for a while
8. Having a kitchen with a double sink
9. Having a closet
10. Not having to trek uphill through snow 9 months prego because the roads aren’t plowed
11. Worshiping at Intown, and being back with old friends
12. Being closer to family

Will miss
1. Hearing the National Anthem play before seeing a movie in the theatre
2. Driving to Luxembourg or France for dinner
3. Having my car searched when trying to get on Post.
4. Having a HUGE house that is always ready to accept visitors
5. Being around friends who love and care for Hadleigh
6. Cheap beer (this is for Dave, I hate beer)
7. Autobahn driving
8. Not needing a cell phone, caller ID, or call waiting
9. Not having TV. We don’t have TV, so we are horribly out of the loop. But I like not having the temptation to flip on Dr. Phil or Survivor…or whatever else folks watch these days. I don’t even know!
10. The Chapel, and our Chaplain
11. Reformation Sundays, where a group of Reformed folks get together and discuss topics such as imputation, justification, sanctification, is Paul really unspiritual, etc.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Signals, Jerry, Signals

Today marks an anniversary for Dave and I. It was 4 years ago that we went on our first date. It is so funny to think about now, all the awkwardness and the excitement. I saved all our old emails and all the emails that I sent about him, and I was fishing through them trying to find some good dirt.

We didn’t exactly have the easiest time getting together. We met in May of 2002 when my good bud John Robinson was moving from Newnan up to Atlanta. I showed up to help on a whim and Dave was there. He had been attending Intown for 6 months, but we had never met. He was quoting Princess Bride and I thought he was funny. Later that weekend we played football and after the game the whole group came to my house to grill out. He wrote my address on his shoe and Jess Ringsmuth thought it was a sure sign of his interest.

Two rather painful months passed. “Signals, Jerry, signals” as George would say.

In mid-July his friends, David and Eowyn Stoddard came into town and since I worked at MTW and they were missionaries with MTW, Dave asked me to join them for dinner. Shortly after that “date” I received a cryptic email trying to explain his intentions…

I don’t know if you know that I am very frank. So let me be. I am not looking for a buddy. I am not looking for a girlfriend. I desire to know you better in group situations, and want to see your passions articulated to other people and me. I don’t want you to be scared or uncomfortable around me. But I will ask you hard questions on occasion. Other times I’ll just say things to make you laugh. Know that my interest is to know the deeper ami better. Don’t think about down the road, or even tomorrow. Enjoy today. If you want to talk to me about this, don’t hesitate, cause I want you to be able to articulate yourself to me too.
Sincerely, dave

I tried to decode the message but to no avail, so we met for coffee. He was elusive and I wanted answers. I finally laid down the law. I told him that I had enough friends, I didn’t need anymore, and if he only wanted to be my friend he could just stay away. Since he never claimed feelings one way or another I figured that I was still in the running, but I just wanted to be clear that I wasn’t going to let him play games with me.

A week later I was in NY visiting my college buddies Elaine and Jen. I bought a “Make Him Want a Date” outfit, which I wore the next time I saw him, and the following morning I had this email waiting for me at work.

Did I tell you I am frank?

If you would be opposed to me asking you out on a one-on-one venue, please let me know, cause I intend to ask you face to face. And I would rather not have the awkwaaaaaard………………….pause if that is the case.
Talk to you later, dave

On our first date we went to dinner at a little French café in Decatur, Café Alsace (I think that is especially cool now, because we live just 45 minutes from Alsace, France), and then to Fernbank where he spilled his guts about how he liked me, and was going to keep asking me out. And here we are 4 year later, married, living in Europe with our beautiful daughter, Hadleigh. These last 4 years have been the craziest, most awesome, most incredible years of my life. Being with Dave has been amazing.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Lizard

This is Hadleigh's new face. She loves to stick out her tongue. Dave is in the states this weekend, so we took this picture and sent it to him.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

She's Got a Grip

Little Hadleigh is a strong girl. Once she grabs onto something she doesn't like to let go, be that hair, fingers, clothes, etc. She loves to hold everyone's hand, and once she grabs it they usually comment on her grip, or ask for their finger back.

She really enjoys being on her playmat and grabbing the birds and rattles above her. Now she grabs and pulls down and it really looks like she is going to pull the whole mat down on her. The problem is that once she has grabbed the bird/rattle she won't/can't let go. SO there she is on her mat with her fist around the bird, fussing because she either wants to let go, or wants to roll over. Here are some pictures of her actually rolling over while holding onto the bird. It is pretty amusing to say the least. She just does not know how to let go.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Hadleigh's Cousin...Elmo?

This is a picture of my nephew, Matthew James Franklin. My brother said that when you ask Matthew who he is, he says Elmo. I think this is the funniest thing I have ever heard in my life. I am curious if Hadleigh will think she is Miss Piggy or Minnie Mouse.

Anyway, Matthew/Elmo is somewhere around 20 months, and apparently had a great time visiting my parents in Cambria last week. Hadleigh has not met Matthew, and actually neither have I since he was born after we left for Germany. We hope to make an introduction sometime this fall/winter.

Singing with Hadleigh

When Hadleigh was born there were a lot of things we had to figure. One of which was how to soothe her and help her go to sleep. One of the things that we learned is that when she is upset she likes to be held really tight and close. She likes to be rocked, and she likes her butt patted. I do have dreams for time to time about her being 18 and asking me to pat her butt so she can go to sleep, but hopefully she will grow out of that.

Of course, she is 5 months now and is capable of going to sleep on her own, but occassionaly she gets really upset and needs to be comforted. The way I comfort her is holding her tight against me, patting her butt, and singing to her. There are usually two songs that I will sing. Either Soon and Very Soon, which is a hymn redone by Red Mountain Church, or a song I learned at Intown based off of Zephaniah 3.17. The song goes as follows:

The Lord our God, is with you.
He is mighty to save
The Lord will take great delight in you.
He will quiet you with his love.

He will rejoice over you.
He will rejoice over you.
If you could only hear his voice
You would hear the Lord rejoice
Rejoicing over you with singing

Last night Hadleigh was upset, and Dave was out late golfing. I took her out of her crib and rocked her, and patted her butt and sang to her. As I sang to her, Hadleigh joined in. Obviously she wasn't singing the words I was singing, but she was cooing in rhythm with me. She has done that before, but last night I found it especially wonderful. Just Hadleigh and I, rocking in the living room, singing together about the Lord's goodness and his delight in his people.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Aunt KC

This is a picture of Kristen, Hadleigh and me. Kristen is my good friend, actually the first friend that I made over here. Her and Jim have been our traveling buddies for the last two years, we have been to Austria, France and Switzerland, all over Germany, and Kristen went with us to the Netherlands in April. Last June Dave and I went back to Chicago for their wedding. Dave stood up with Jim and I was Kristen's personal attendant. So, we are good friends. Kristen has stepped into the role of Aunt for Hadleigh. Since we don't have any family over here, it is nice to have folks who really really care about Hadleigh, and Kristen is definitely one of them. We call her, Aunt KC. She comes over and plays and talks with Hadleigh. Hadleigh always has something sweet to say. Kristen brings over fun little outfits and goes with us to the pool.

Aunt KC has been gone for a couple of weeks. She is traveling around with her sister and then will head back to the states for Jim's R&R. Dave will actually get to see Jim and Kristen because he is going back to the states for a couple of days in a few weeks. That will be special, but as for Hadleigh and I, we are missing Aunt KC and look forward to her return in September.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Faces of Hadleigh Claire

Sunday Hadleigh will be five months old.

She becomes more cute every moment. She regularly laughs and coos.

She loves to sing any song, but especially has recently liked Supercalafragalistic (which I sang over and over when I was taking these pictures).

We just finished reading Winnie the Pooh, she really loves to read and has begun to really interact with the books. Her other favs are Fuzzy Bee and Friends (because Mommy lets her touch that one), Wild About Books, and The Little Red House on the Little Green Island.

She rolls over both ways and scoots around on her belly to get things that she wants. She loves sucking on one finger, her whole hand, or both hands at the same time. She is a very distracted eater.

I can’t read and nurse anymore, she is too interested in what I am doing. I can’t talk and nurse her either. Total silence is the only way she will eat. She takes 3 good naps and sleeps 12-14 hours at night (generally a 9-10 hour stretch and then a shorter stretch). She has been eating every 3 hours, but is slowing getting down to every 4 hours.

She entertains herself pretty well, playing in her bouncy seat, or on her playmat.

She is beginning to eye our food intently, so I know she will be ready to eat in another month when we start giving her solids. I am doing all my research now because we intend to make our own baby food. I finished reading Super Baby Food and am awaiting First Meals (that Sar Blom recommended because of the pictures). I am sure that will be an insane adventure, especially since we will be packing and moving during the month of September.

Baby Fat

Having been around a lot of pregos before I actually became one, I determined not to care about how much weight I gained while prego. I wasn’t going to stress about it, I knew I would be diligent to loose the weight post-prego. I am also of the opinion that you can’t really determine how much weight you are going to gain. I have known little girls who gained 80 pounds and big girls who gained 15 pounds, and everything in between. I figured that whatever was going to happen, would happen and as long as I didn’t eat fast food every day I should just be happy. In my head, I assumed I would gain a TON of weight, and I was mentally prepared.

Of course, being sick for the first 20 weeks I didn’t gain any weight until I hit 22 weeks, and even then it was only a pound. I eventually made up for not gaining weight in the first half of my prego days.

Since Hadleigh was born I have lost the prego weight, but don’t be deceived. I might be the same weight as pre-prego days, but I am soft. About a month after Hadleigh came around I popped in my normal Fat-Burning Yoga video that my old roomies and I would do regularly. I could hardly make it through the video…and the abs section. Forget it! I couldn’t do one full sit-up. Not one!

Determined to do something Dave ordered us a video set from Beachbody, it is called P90X, and it has 14 different DVDs ranging from cardio to yoga to shoulders and arms. It is an intense 90 day, everyday workout program. Now, I have to admit, I have not become an insane work-out person, but for the last 6 weeks I have basically worked out every week day. Pretty impressive, especially with a baby. But she isn’t mobile and I get it in while she naps, or she sits in her bouncer and watches me. On the 16 minute Abs DVD I went from being able to do almost zero of the workout to now doing 20 reps of all the exercises (I am working up to 25).

I still have all that crazy extra skin around my tummy and I hear that won’t go away until I quite nursing, but that is cool. I am not as soft as I was 6 weeks ago. You can actually see some muscles in my arms and shoulders.

Dave is working it too. He gets up at 5 to complete his workout, and he is looking good.