Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Picking a Name for Baby

Wow.  Who knew that picking a name for a baby would  be so hard?  I never realized how much thought has to go in to choosing a name. The baby will live with this name for the rest of their lives.  Here is my breakdown of things to consider when naming your baby, and at the very end, you will see what we've narrowed our Baby girl's name down to - and feel free to cast a vote in the comments section - but please keep it positive regarding the names we've chosen. I do not want to see negative comments regarding the names we've chosen.

  1. What sounds cute now may not sound cute or authoritative when they're 30 years old.  For instance, we knew someone named Wendy when I was younger, which was a cute little girls name.  But when she's 30 and trying to be a manager, "Wendy" doesn't have much clout.  It doesn't demand any respect.  It's a little too frilly.
  2. You have to think about all possible nicknames.  Kids can be cruel in school - and there are probably some nicknames you just don't like (i.e. my mom hated Jenny, so Jennifer is now my middle name instead of my first). 
  3. You have to think of what their initials would spell.  Before my mom was married, her initials were S-A-G.  On her P.E. uniform in high school, they had their initials printed on the backs of their shirts, and everyone would call her SAG.  Now in defense of this argument, not many places use initials anymore - especially using your middle initial as well.  But if there is any reason to think that, why worry about it?  Some people like to put the baby's initials up in the nursery - I guess you'll notice if it spells something then.
  4. You have to determine if your last name or first names you pick out create any other sort of silly reference.  I dated a guy in high school who's last name was Pan.  He wanted to name his kid Peter.  Can you see where I'm going with this - and how cruel kids can be? 
  5. Rhyming.  Do not give your kid a rhyming name!  We loved Addison Mae, but it rhymed with our last name Ray.  I had a friend tell me that she will get married some day, but I couldn't get the thought of her walking across the stage at her high school graduation being called "Addison Mae Ray".  As it is, my initials all rhyme with my last name now (K J Ray), but at least what people call me doesn't rhyme!
Can you see how hard it is to pick a name?!  After weeding through THOUSANDS of names, and some careful consideration of the above list, we've narrowed our baby's name down to 2:

Brooklyn Denise Ray
Addison Rose Ray

We always enjoyed Brooklyn as a name. Not huge on Brooke as a nickname, but it's growing on me. And she doesn't HAVE to have a nickname - I never did.  Denise is a family name on my husband's side.  But looking over our list, we really liked Addison, and loved Addie as a nickname.  We needed a short middle name with Addison, and we settled on Rose (since Mae wouldn't work because it's rhyming).

Anyways, those are the names we are stuck on, and we are struggling to decide between the two.  Our nephews weighed in also, and one voted for Brooklyn, the other voted for Addison. No help there! Haha.  Feel free to leave a comment with which name you vote for.  But please do not leave comments degrading these names. I'm not asking for your opinion about the names. I would rather not have your opinion if it is negative, because these are the names we like and it is for OUR child.  So please keep it positive.  Thanks!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review: The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy

The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy
by  Vicki Iovine
Date Read: 4/27/14
Rating: ★ ★ ★

This book was helpful and enjoyable enough.  I’ll probably recommend it to first time pregnant women.  Do I feel like I got a lot of extra information? Not really.  Did it cover all the bases?  Yes.

In this day and age, there is so much information out there for women to read about their pregnancy.  For instance, I receive weekly email updates from TheBump and BabyCenter.  I’m also signed up for the apps for both plus a few more and receive notifications and check lists from them.  So do I really need this book now to tell me the same information?  Not really.

But what I did like about this book is that she did a lot of research among many women.  So I feel like there were a lot of perspectives included in this. And she made sure to list everything you might or might not experience, and gave examples of women who experienced it both ways.  This helps you feel like whatever is happening to you is normal.  For instance, I rarely had morning sickness.  If I was able to keep snacking off and on throughout the day, I would be just fine. But once I got super hungry, I would start feeling nauseous.  I didn’t experience the doubled over, vomiting that many women experience.  But just because I didn’t have the morning sickness, didn’t necessarily mean there was something wrong with my pregnancy.  God just gave me a breather for what I’d previously experienced I guess (miscarriage in my first pregnancy).

The first ¾ of the book though I didn’t feel like I got a whole lot of information I wasn’t already getting from these other places I mentioned above.  It also wasn’t as funny as I thought it was going to be.  But there were some times where I laughed out loud.  But the last ¼ of the book I felt like I was actually given some advice – mostly about labor and delivery and the aftermath.  However, I have to think that perhaps I felt that because I have not made it that far in to the pregnancy for these other places to give me that information.  I expect I’ll see a lot of it as I get nearer and nearer to 40 weeks.  And other women won’t tell you this information, because who would ever get pregnant knowing this stuff ahead of time?!  I already knew it was going to hurt, but I had no idea how much the recovery was going to be!  Eeek.  So I did really appreciate the information toward the end of the book.

So I recommend going ahead and reading this book if you are a first time pregnant woman.  If you’ve already been through the whole ordeal, this book will most likely not give you any new information, and it’s not entertaining enough to read just for fun. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

For Easter weekend, we decided it was time to finally go see the new Captain America movie!  It is important to know that there is an episode of Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. which you cannot watch without seeing this movie first.  What a great way to make sure people go see the movie quickly?!  Anyways, so we’re actually a couple episodes behind now on the TV show – now we can finally catch back up.

The action in this movie was really good.  I really enjoyed all the fighting and collateral damage.  These days, the collateral damage is getting ridiculous – to the point that it’s just silly.  There was a scene where Captain America was running through a building just demolishing doors and walls.  Not to mention all the scenes on the city streets.  It was a lot of fun.

The storyline was actually pretty good.  I knew going in who the Winter Soldier actually was, so it wasn’t a big shock to me when they finally revealed it in the movie.  But it was funny how many people didn’t, and you heard this big gasp from the crowd.  Haha.  I, however, didn’t know how this particular character ended up being the Winder Soldier, so I was very curious to see what happened.  Though there was a bit of an explanation in flash backs and such, there wasn’t a detailed explanation.  But I think I have the overall picture of what happened, but wish we got a little more info.  But perhaps that will come in future movies.

Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is in this movie as well.  She actually has a huge part.  I like her for the most part.  She seems to show up in all the Avenger movies now.  I thought there was going to be more a love story part to this movie – since Black Widow was trying to set up Steve with a bunch of different girls.  And there was a new girl, portrayed by Emily Van Camp, who I was excited to see.  I loved her in Everwood and actually enjoy watching Revenge on Netflix.  She ended up not having a very big part in it.  But one of my favorite parts was when he visited Peggy, now an old woman.  That was a really neat scene and made me teary eyed. 

Overall this was a really good movie.  I really enjoyed it.  It’s always wonderful to watch Chris Evans.  He’s easy on the eyes and I actually think he makes a great Captain America.  Now we have to wait to see what happens in The Avengers 2, and apparently there is a Captain America 3 on the docket!

PS: Make sure to stay through the ENTIRE credits.  There are TWO scenes.  One is immediately after the title credits – and I believe this is setting up Avenger’s 2.  But if you stay to the very end of the rolling credits, there is another short scene – which is very short but gives you a little hint of what happens after, and perhaps where Captain America 3 might be heading.  =)

Friday, April 18, 2014

It's a GIRL!

Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little GIRLS are made of!  Yep, you guessed it, we just found out this week that we are having a little girl!!!  We are so excited to finally call our baby a SHE!!

This is one of the biggest milestones of being pregnant!  We had done several old wives tales, and the results were 5 – 2 that we were going to have a girl (see the picture below).  Around 10 weeks, I also had a dream that we were told we were having a girl.  So I’ve been under the assumption we were having a girl the whole time.  But all I really wanted was a healthy baby.  I would have been happy with either. I even had a nursery plan for a boy and girl.  But I can’t say that I’m not totally ecstatic that we’re going to have a baby girl.

Now that we know, we can start narrowing down a name, registering for gifts, picking out nursery items, etc.  We can really start prepping to bring this baby girl in to the world.  It has made it so real now.  And I started feeling her move around 16 weeks.  And it’s only getting stronger every day.  So I even have some relief there because I can feel her move.  At the ultrasound yesterday, she was a little acrobat, though I really didn’t feel it.  But when I’m sitting or laying, I can usually feel her moving when she jabs me just right.  We can’t wait until my husband can feel it!

Anyways, we just wanted to let the blogging world know that we’re having a sweet baby girl, and this little girl will have a big brother angel watching out for her.  That’s pretty special.  And she is due 1 day after we lost our baby boy.  God took a life, and he will be giving us a new one.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Boy or Girl Voting Image - without using photoshop!

This week, we officially get to find out whether our baby is a boy or a girl.  We are so excited to finally be able to add a real pronoun when talking about our baby.  Instead of using “Baby” as a pronoun, we will be able to say he or she.  We will finally be able to narrow down our baby name list.  We can start picking out nursery decorations and registering for things. And most importantly, it will make it more real and we get to see our baby again to make sure he or she is still okay.

In honor of the occasion, we decided to post a picture on facebook and take a poll of whether everyone thinks we’re going to have a girl or boy.  We dressed up both dogs, one with a tie for a boy, and the other in a tutu and headband for a girl.  I took separate pictures of them, and then merged them in to one picture.  I do not have photoshop, so I did this all in powerpoint.

I edited my pictures in the free editing programs I have on my computer first.  Then, I inserted both pictures on to one slide in powerpoint.  I put them side by side, and then added a shape.  In this case, I inserted a quote box.  Then in the quote box, I added a text box to type “I vote for a brother!” and “I vote for a sister!”

I saved the powerpoint file (in case I wanted to make any changes), and then I saved it as a JPEG.  This way I could actually upload the photo to facebook.

The picture was quite a hit and so far the vote is 9-7 for girl!  So….what does everyone in the blog world think we’re going to have?  We find out on April 16!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Review: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys (audiobook)
by  Maggie Stiefvater
Date Read: 4/6/14
Rating: ★ ★  ★

This really leans at a 3.5 star rating.  I’m left feeling a little perplexed at this story.  I expected the story to end with Gatsy’s death…but now I’m assuming the series will end that way.  On the one hand I was surprised because I didn’t think any sort of love story had developed.  But on the other, I kept expecting it, not thinking it was going to be a series arch. 

Overall I really enjoyed this.  We listened to it as an audiobook on our drive to and from San Diego.  It was hard to get used to the reader’s voice at first.  He was a little hard to understand at times.  But he did end up having fairly distinct voices so I knew who was talking.

The beginning was really slow to me.  The author introduced so many characters and kept breaking off to tell other’s stories that it was really hard for me to understand and get attached to any of the characters.  The plot took forever to develop, but once it did, it got very interesting.  I liked that each boy had their own traits.  Ronan was a jerk who has a past that haunts him.  Adam lived in an abusive household.  Noah was very quiet and hard to get to know.  Gansy was the privileged child who didn’t want to be treated like he was privileged. 

It also took me a while to understand the psychic abilities.  I still don’t know why Blue increases energy around her, although she’s not psychic or a witch or whatever they ended up being.  And why did there have to be so many psychic aunts or whoever they were.  There were so many characters it was hard to keep straight!  I wish Maggie had brought in a few of them at a time, instead of throwing them all at us at the beginning.

The last third of the book really picked up though.  I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen.  The bad guy in the story wasn’t the strongest though.  You never really feared him.  You weren’t even quite sure who he was until the end.  But I did appreciate that the story ended even though there were unanswered questions.

Will I read the next book in the series?  Yes.  I am on a waiting list for the library.  Do I think this was a little over hyped?  Yes I do.  Or perhaps it’s because of the hype that I found it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.  Either way this book left me a little perplexed.  I wasn’t quite sure what happened with Adam in the end.  And the last line by Ronan left me really confused.  I wasn’t sure what he meant by that.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Book Review: The Looking Glass Wars

The Looking Glass Wars (audiobook)
by  Frank Beddor
Date Read:  4/3/14
Rating: ★

NOTE: The image is having problems uploading, so I cannot upload the image of the cover at the time.  I will upload when the error stops.

Well, this definitely wasn’t a favorite book of mine…but it was entertaining enough.  Do I feel like I need to read any sequels?  No.  Was it a fun twist on the Alice in Wonderland story?  Yes.

If you are a fan of Alice in Wonderland or the world or characters, you should probably read this book.  I read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass about a year ago, and to be honest, it was all a bit too weird for me.  As a Disney movie, it worked.  As a Disney TV show, I loved it as a kid.  But the actual book was a little too convoluted for my tastes.  I know it’s not supposed to make sense…but it seemed to cross over the line from crazy to unintelligible.  I know there are many that disagree with me, so if you do, you’ll probably enjoy this book.

Now I will start off saying that this book was not nearly as crazy as the original story.  At least in this story you can keep everything straight…and I think that is because Wonderland is a real world in this story – rather than a make believe dream land. 

While I enjoyed the twist on all the characters, the story itself was a little bland.    It didn’t keep me as interested as I thought it would.  I think this story was stretched out to be longer, and that’s why it ended up being long.  It also jumped around a lot.  We got a lot of what happened in the future with certain side characters, and then it’d jump back to what is going on now. <spoiler> For instance, at the end of the story when Alyss sent the duplicate Alyss back to the real world and how she got married and had children, etc, and then it jumped back in to what was happening in Wonderland to the real Alyss.  It was just a little hard to follow sometimes. </spoiler>

It was also weird that so many sound effects were made by the reader on the audiobook.  I would have rather he just read the words rather than try to make the sounds.  That’s not something against this book itself, but something I didn’t like about reading the audiobook version.  But I did like his English accent and he was actually pretty good at different voices.  I usually knew who was talking.

I still enjoyed this book, but I don’t think I need to read any spoilers.  I don’t have a whole lot to say about this book.  It really was just meh to me.  There weren’t many things that stood out to me as great, but not many that stood out that I hated either.  I wish I could give this a more thorough review, but I just don’t have much to say.
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