Meeting Aidan and Grace last weekend was simply magical. My new niece and nephew, amazing! It was such a joy to help Erin and Tom, in any little way I could. It is overwhelming to know I will get a front row seat in watching these two little ones grow and flourish, and I hope to be not just an auntie but a friend and mentor to both.

I Bambini Sono Arrivati!

I am delighted to share happy news: Aidan Walker and Grace Elizabeth have joined us in the world! My sister gave birth last night after a long day of labor. By the sound of things, it didn’t go as easy as she had hoped, nor as badly as maybe one would fear (by one, I mean me, naturally).

I haven’t received any pictures yet, so here is my take on what the babies might look like:

Cute, no? (Thanks, photoshop!) Gracie came first, leading the charge. Girl Power! I can’t wait to meet them! Not this weekend, but hopefully one soon after. Mom and babies are healthy and getting to know one another.

Bay(by) Watch Continues

The Baby Watch continues though I think Erin is getting pretty close. It looks like next year we will be celebrating their first birthday along with our wedding (which is just about 1 year away now).

Speaking of the wedding, one of the more important decisions I have to make is about photographers. Photography is really important to me, especially it’s the one aspect (other than the marriage itself) that you take away with you. The flowers?Ditched the next day. The music? Forgotten. The dress? Likely to be stored away in some closet. But the photos…they last.

When Dad married Jan, nearly 20 years ago now, their photographer delivered terrible shots. I remember that they took pictures of the proofs, just to hang on to some images of the day, but otherwise the images weren’t worth the price to pay for them. I dread that happening to us. They must have been so disappointed.

There is a photographer I really like, who has beautiful images (and does a very cool book documenting the day) and she has shot tons of weddings at our ceremony/reception site. In fact, she was the wedding photographer for the F&B manager (basically the on-site party manager) for the Sundy House. She is good but of course she is expensive, maybe about $1100 more than I had planned to spend, including the pictures (digial), the wedding book, a DVD, an engagement photo shoot and a lifetime portrait deal. If I cut out all the extras, I am sure I can get the price down, but still she will be expensive.

There is another photographer, who seems to do weddings on the side of his documentary and photojournalism career. He is basically no frills– you get a CD of all the images with complete rights for printing and editing. But, he comes in about $900 LESS than what I had planned to spend. I like his work, but feel nervous that this isn’t really his speciality.

I am definitely torn.

Its the Final Countdown!

My gorgeous sister is due to give birth to twins anytime now, and I am anxiously awaiting the babies arrival with cell phone perpetually glued to my hand. This past weekend a photographer stopped Erin on the street and asked if she would be interested in sitting for a photo shoot…after checking out that he wasn’t a loon, she agreed and the photos (the few I have seen) are amazing! Take a look:

I don’t know too many women who could look so incredible with 2 six-pounders (or more?) hanging out in their belly, but I have never seen her look more beautiful.

My name is Julius and I am your twin brother.

Julius Benedict: My name is Julius and I am your twin brother.
Vincent Benedict:
Oh, obviously! The moment I sat down I thought I was looking into a mirror.

Exciting breaking news from Interravision! We have been given permission to officially say that we have 2 new potential readers approaching… my gorgeous sister is carrying TWINS. She is due in May, and I cannot wait to be an East Coast Auntie in addition to my duties as West Coast Auntie.

Seeing my beautiful sister, you know the skinny/athletic one, already showing at just over 13 weeks was a killer when I saw her in NC a few weeks back. Man, she is gonna get huge… I love it!

I am already thinking about what fun presents I can shower upon them. Surely these baby toupees will have to be item #1!

The Outlook is Clear

I am very excited about 2008. I think it’s going to be one of these years I will look back on in like 2044 and muse to myself, “2008 was a f*cking fantastic year”. Yes, I plan to do a LOT of cursing in my old age. Why? Because you can. Who will tell you not to? And, for the record, I plan on grabbing lots of butts.

So anyway, why am I so excited about 2008? Well, for starters, this is the first year for me when a BUNCH of friends are getting married. This is a great excuse to travel, celebrate love and devotion with far away friends and spread good cheer. I just made my hotel reservations for Ashbloem’s wedding in Dallas in May and I am already chomping at the bit to get going.

And in addition, have I mentioned lately that I am crazy in love with the man in my life? He is perhaps the most generous and loving person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. It’s true, we struggle financially and have the whole “family stuff” to contend with, but I see those as temporary issues. We laugh, we fight, we hug strongly and kiss passionately. I am so thankful to have him by my side. The rest is just static.

It’s also a great time to be in the Interravision family, exciting projects, plans and new ventures are underfoot for everyone related to me. My father and step-mom’s recent retirement and exciting travel plans; my sister’s new career as an acupuncturist and shiny new marriage; my mom’s adventures in like, lust and love and finding her new calling; my step-sister’s completion of her PhD and starting a new job in a new city; my brother and sister-in-law’s booming new company and watching their two gorgeous little girls grow and blossom. Though far away, I hope that my unconditional love and support is tangible for each.

I have to mention work as well. Yes, I made some pretty significant sacrifices to work at this company, mostly being felt in my wallet. But, I love the people I work with and I really enjoy the work I am doing. Being part of a small company, I really do feel that my effort to advance the success of our venture is relevant. That’s pretty exciting. Plus, since I do tend to wear many hats here (part sales manager, financier, concierge, HR coordinator, copy writer, semi-graphic designer, meeting planner and gal-Friday extrodinaire), I am definitely never bored.

So, all in all, 2008 is shaping up to be a pretty eventful year and I, for one, can’t wait to see it all unfold.

And so it goes…

At a company party last night I won two plane tickets to Central America. I may trade with a colleague who won tickets to Europe, since I am planning a trip to Amsterdam in July to see U2 and still haven’t purchased my tickets. But it’s a tough choice. Costa Rica might be fun too. I’ve never explored Central America, but it might be tricky to find someone who would want to go with me (any volunteers?).

I talked to my 4 year-old niece last night, Hallie, who lives in Seattle.

Hallie and I had a long conversation about Easter eggs, candy, school, and her thoughts on what her sister, due in May, should be named. Her first choice: Kiki-binki. Thankfully, my brother and sister-in-law are considering some other names. Here are some of the names they had me rate:

Kennedy, Morgan, Eleanor, Joy, Maron, Alexandra, Jaqueline, Lindsey, Annalise, Jolie, Jane, Delaney, Megan, Jillian, Lillian, Trillian (no!), Kamryn, Elizabeth, Annika, Caroline, Isabella, London (what?), Gabriella, Ava, Reese, Amelia, Mia, Meredith, Corinne, Brinn.. God, I never knew it was such a tough choice. My mom almost named me Wendy or Robin… it makes you think, what’s in a name?