Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Milestone 2 - The final final

Today was a major milestone in our lives. Well, mostly Aaron's life, but hey, I like to give myself a little credit every now and then, after all Aaron does have such a nice, sweet, awesome and supportive wife! Haha. Anyways.....Aaron took his last final ever today! Yay for him!! He did it, he made it to this point in one sane piece. These last three years have had so many ups and downs for Aaron, and he has handled it so beautifully. I have seen many a bald patches on his face from his stress hair pulling, and I know he has faced a lot of discouragement and frustration throughout this process. I am so proud of Aaron and all of his hard work and determination. But you know what? I am mostly so proud to have a husband who is so thoughtful of me and does his best to spend as much time with me as he can, I am really so grateful for this. I know that I am truly blessed in this respect that Aaron tries so hard this way. I have so many thoughts about law school, but mostly I am in awe. In some ways, it has definitely felt like three years, and in other ways it has flown by. It is no secret that it was hard for me to be away from my family and friends, but after the first year it was so much easier, and I know that it has also been good for us as well. In many ways I am so glad that we got to leave Utah and experience Oregon, even though it was a lot more expensive moving up here, it has also been a great experience. While I will never miss the weather here, I will desperately miss the day trips to the Oregon Coast, the falls and other fun and beautiful places that are so close. I will also miss the berries and the berry picking. The thing that always makes me feel better about moving back to Utah is thinking of this new little baby we will be having, and how nice it will be to have our families be able to be more involved. I love our families and our friends and want our baby to know all of you. I also want to thank all of you for your love and support while we have been here in Oregon. I especially want to thank my mom and dad for all of their help (in so many ways) for helping us get through law school and helping me through so many things.

Monday, April 27, 2009


So today I've really felt like blogging, not that I have anything to even blog about, I'm really just trying to avoid all this work that has been piling up around me at home. I went to work in the morning, came home and spent more time typing notes for work since I'm so behind on my casenotes. Well, I'm really sick of doing that, so I thought today I'd blog about everything and nothing.

Aaron is almost done with school, one more final on Wednesday! Yay!!! With that said, today I really hate attorneys. I had a run in with one today that really made me mad, and another attorney who I'm pretty good friends with told me I was looking fat and needed to go buy some new court clothes. This attorney I know pretty well and we have a good working relationship, so that isn't why I hate attorneys today, but just so you know that was NOT the highlight of my day.

So on to the randomness. I've been craving really weird things, like potatoes. My mother in law Lynn who is an amazing cook has this recipe for three different types of potatoes that is to DIE for, well in a nutshell I started craving this particular potato dish. I searched and searched my recipes and could not find it. Do you know how mad that made me!!!! Luckily she saved the day and she emailed me this recipe, and I'm going to be so happy when I eat these potatoes that I was craving!! (Thanks Lynn!)

Another tidbit of randomness. Do you have a food that you both love and hate. I do. It is bagels. Yes, you heard me bagels. Why would anyone love and hate bagels? I'll tell you why. Because they are so good, you can't stop with one. They have a delicous chewiness and texture to them that is irresistable for me. This is why I never buy them. Because before I know it, I've eaten the whole package, all six of them, in like two days. Not to mention, you have to put cream cheese on them. Well today someone brought in a big bag of a variety of bagels and various cream cheeses. When the announcement came overhead that someone brought in bagels and cream cheese, I was both delighted and angry. I know how much I love bagels and how it is for me to stop. So the love and hate start all over today. Okay, so I thought I would eat only one, so I enjoyed my personal favorite, plain bagel with vegetable flavored cream cheese. Can I tell you how much I enjoyed the wonderful chewiness of my bagel! I was covering court for someone else today at the last minute so I left happy thinking oh good, I have to go, by the time I get back from court they will be all gone. Well you know what, they weren't. So I had another plain bagel with vegetable cream cheese! Gosh dangit!!! If someone had brought in doughnuts, that I can pass by without even blinking. People bring in doughnuts all the time, a couple of times a week. Do you know how many doughnuts I've had in the last year? I think one, maybe two. Why? Because I can resist doughnuts, but not bagels. The other thing, apparantly the opposite is true for others, the doughnuts are gone in the blink of an eye, but the bagels linger, which leads me to one of my thinking errors..... "I don't want a perfectly good bagel to go to waste." Well that is just fat thinking right there!

Anyways, onto my last note of randomness. I love my bunnies. Run and hide, crazy bunny lady is coming out again. They make me so happy. I love in the mornings when it is Remy's turn to be in the kitchen, because he runs at dangerously high speeds around the table, knocking into the chairs and walls as he goes around. It is what he does for fun, and it is so cute to watch, it just makes me laugh. Then there is Cooper. He must be feeling neglected lately. All day Saturday he followed me around like my own little shadow, he was wanting lots of love and attention. And since I've been home today, he seems to want my undivided attention, he wants lots of love today. It makes me happy in the mornings or when I get off work when they perk up and get happy when I get home (mostly because they want their food and treats), but still, it is always nice to have someone happy to see you. I forget how nice they are to have around finals too, when I have to spend the day all by myself. I felt that it was a nice coincidence that Cooper wanted to be near me all Saturday, because I was feeling lonely here all by myself, and it helped to have him around to pet and get my mind off of certain things. Anways that's all. Hope all is going well with everyone.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stringer Baby!

Yes, the cat is out of the bag - FINALLY! It is official, we are letting everyone know that we are expecting our first baby! I say this because I am in the beginning of my fourth month, and you have no idea how hard it was for me to keep this a secret! But we really wanted to wait until I was out of my first trimester until we let everyone know. It was such a challenge, especially in the very beginning. I wanted to tell Aaron in a special way, but I took my pregnancy test in the middle of the night since I had to get up and go the bathroom, and knew that the first urine of the day was the best, so I took my pregnancy test about 2:45 AM, and I just couldn't contain myself when I saw that positive sign on the pregnancy test. I jumped back into bed and told Aaron I was pregnant. He was so confused at first. He said, "What? Really? How do you know?" He forgets how impatient his wife is and sometimes she just has to know right away, even if it is at 2:45 AM. I was like a timebomb waiting to go off, I had to tell him right away. Luckily, I was able to exhibit a little more self control in letting everyone else know. I still think it is a near miracle that I kept it in for this long, usually I have to share with everyone all of my good news right away. Unfortunately, I was not able to keep it a secret for very long at work. Around week 5, I started to get sick. You can't really pass off vomiting as the stomach flu for so long before people know you are prego. Aside from seeing the inside of a lot of toilet bowls, even ones in Europe, it has been exciting to know that we are having a baby.
Interesting changes have taken place since I've been pregnant. The single biggest thing: I no longer love chocolate. In fact, I've had a bunch of what I know to be incredible french chocolate at my house, and haven't even touched it. Now, that is something, especially for me. I made brownies for Aaron for Easter, not a temptation. It is still very weird for me. Sweets in general, no longer appeal to me. However, some things never change: my love affair with ice-cream for example. I still love ice-cream, and I have found, especially vanilla ice-cream is quite soothing for my nausea. Some other things have stayed the same, only intensified: I love and crave fruit, especially grapefruit. There was a time, where I just couldn't eat enough grapefruit, I was eating like three a day. However, other major changes in my tastes have changed: I now love meat and crave meat, mostly red meat. Chicken sounds gross to me, and I normally love chicken. But apparently red meat is what I crave. Vegetables repulse me. I now hate vegetables. Normally I quite love vegetables, but now I hate them. With the exception of potatoes, which I have also had huge cravings for. And asparagus, I can eat that without wanting to spit it out, but it still isn't my favorite. The last thing which I crave, is spicy food. But I always craved spicy food and that hasn't changed.

For the record, I now HATE crackers, especially saltines. I smell saltines and they remind me of being sick and throwing up, and I now can't stand them. I know everyone is different, but all the pregnancy books recommend eating bland foods while struggling with nausea. I have found that the more flavor and intense taste food has, the less sick it makes me. It is bland food that inevitably has the fastest and quickest route up and out of me.
As for Aaron, he hasn't experienced any sympathy pregnancy symptoms, which apparently afflict some men. Lucky for him, I think one of us being sick is enough. However, he has no problems going with me to get an ice-cream, I don't think he minds these cravings too much. And as for my sweet and loving husband, he has only had to go out once for one of my cravings that hit suddenly. He has however, been completely wonderful, and has had to pick up a lot of my slack around the house. He has done more chores lately, and now is completely responsible for the rabbits litter boxes. Well that about sums up what is going on at the Stringer house lately.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Milestone 1 - Last day of class!!!!!

So I have to share with you since I was super excited (although it will make a really boring post). Yesterday was Aaron's last day of classes! Yay!!!!! Too bad his last class lasted till 8 pm, but hey, who can complain? He still has finals, another hurdle, but we are still happy he has this one thing behind him. I am so proud of him! He has worked so hard these last three years, and it is amazing how he has handled the stress of law school. I was so excited yesterday, you would have thought I was the one who went through law school. I can't believe that we are at this point, in some ways it has definitely felt like we could count every day of those three years, and then in other ways, it has flown by. But we are here, and I'm so proud of Aaron and all of his hard work!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Back to Paris

Saturday we took the train back to Paris. Saturday and Sunday were much more quiet and less hectic than our other days in Paris. We had pretty much seen everything we wanted to see in Paris, except for the Pantheon. Saturday, we just walked around and did some window shopping. I saw a very expensive ring at the Place Vendome that I would have loved to have as a souvenir, but that clearly didn't fit into our budget. Instead we settled on buying some chocolates to eat as a momento from our vacation. Yummy! We went by some really fancy chocolate shops that had some very beautiful displays of chocolate and that was kind of fun to see.

Sorry, the picture doesn't really give you an idea of how pretty their display was, but we took a picture anyway.

After our fun window shopping we went out to eat. We had a pretty good dinner, mine was good, but Aaron's was soo yummy. I should really have him order for me from now on.

Sunday we had a nice leisurely stroll through the Gardens of Luxembourg, and ate our freshly baked baguette and cheese. It was so good, the bread was still warm!

After our visit to these gardens, I had to go to the bathroom, but of course as luck would have it, had to pay to do so. Stupid French bathrooms, this was the second time I had to pay to go to the bathroom. One of the other things that makes America such a wonderful place!

After this it was off to see the Pantheon which is where many famous people in France are interred. Among these (that I knew of) were Madam and Monsieur Curie, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and Voltaire.

Aaron in front of the Pantheon.

Victor Hugo's tomb. He's the only one I really wanted to see in there anyway. It made me in the mood to go and read Les Miserables again.

After our visit to the Pantheon we continued to stroll around the city and did some more window shopping. We also got some ice-cream at the famous Parisian ice-cream shop, Berthillon. Not to be rude to this famous place, but it cannot compare to ice-cream I'm used to here in America. (Aggie ice-cream anyone? Or Tillamook? Or my dad's yummy homemade raspberry ice-cream?)

After our visit to Berthillon, we strolled along the river and had a nice view of the back of Notre Dame.

We had a very nice and calm day. I thought it was fun just to take our time and absorb things in. After this we had our last meal in France, and yes, it was an American meal. We went to the Hard Rock Cafe. Sadly, it was my best meal in France. However, I'm sure I could have had some amazing food in France except it would not have fit into our budget. I did eat very well over there, don't get me wrong, but I had this pulled pork sandwich at the Hard Rock Cafe that was to DIE for! Oh my gosh, now I know where to get a superb pulled pork sandwich all smothered in yummy, yummy BBQ sauce. Ironically, I was kind of wanting good old American French's yellow mustard, since we had had fries several times over there. I like to mix ketchup and mustard and dip my fries in it, so I was very happy to have French's mustard!

All in all, the trip was very fun, and we had a very good time, despite its bumps along the way.

Things I loved about France:
I LOVED how much history there is around every corner in France. I love all of the architecture and how old everything is. It really makes it easier to learn history that way. I loved learning so much history since it is all around. I LOVED the bread! I LOVED the chocolate! (Need I say more!) I LOVED those little wax dipped cheeses. You can get them in America but they are so expensive. I ate so many of them, I absolutely love them! I LOVED seeing all of the chateaus, they were so fun. I loved the sandwiches over there, but since we ate one every day I kind of got sick of them. I loved the kabobs we ate over there, sooo good! They were even lamb, so it was a nice change of meat for me. I do like lamb, although sometimes it can be a little too gamey for my taste, but the kabobs I had over there were superb. I loved how different everything was over there, it was pretty impressive, but also made me really appreciate how wonderful my own country is. I LOVED the pastries, especially the ones filled with chocolate and apples.

Things I missed from home:
Bathrooms and bathroom stalls, cold water, ice, mustard, my bed, open spaces, so many little things about America.

I loved going and I loved coming home. Thank you to all who helped get us there! It was truly a once in a lifetime experience for Aaron and I that we will always cherish!!

Day Nine and Ten - Loire Valley

After leaving Normandy we took the train to the Loire Valley, which is full of chateaus, and spent the next couple of days in the town of Tours. We saw a few chateaus, and the first one we saw was Chateau de Chambord. This place was IMPRESSIVE! It was so huge and walking around in it, it is hard to even imagine someone building something this large.

I don't even know what to say about this place, other than it was huge and beautiful, and I'm so mad that this picture cannot do justice to the size of the place. The chateau has 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces, and 84 staircases.

A view of one of the 84 staircases inside this chateau.

Me in front of the queen's bed

Aaron on one of the walkways that wraps around part of the chateau.

Me and one of the views from one of the verandas at the chateau.

This chateau was also used during WWII to hide some of the artwork from the Louvre from those crazy Nazis who were trying to steal all of the art in Europe.

One of the other Chateaus we saw was Chateau de Cheverny. This place was very small considering the size of the other chateaus, but one cool thing about it is that it is still owned and occupied by descendants of the aristocratic family that had it built in 1624. Of course, since it is still occupied, we only got to see a very small part of the chateau.

One of the chateaus that I really wanted to see we didn't get to see as it was not open for tourists during this time of the year, was a chateau that Walt Disney used for his inspiration in creating the castle for Sleeping Beauty.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day 8 - Bayeaux

The next morning we decided to have a look around the town of Bayeaux where we were staying. Incidentally, this was the only town on the Nomandy Coast that wasn't completely destroyed during the war. This is really fortunate, because it has a rich history. We went and saw the cathedral in Bayeaux which I wasn't sure how old it was. But I think this was built in the 12th century.

Also in Bayeaux, is the Tapestry of Bayeaux, which is almost 1000 years old, and tells the story of William the Conqueror's conquest of England. We couldn't take any pictures of the tapestry because light damages the material, so you will have to settle for a photograph of me in front of a picture of part of the tapestry. When you see the original tapestry, they give you this radio that tells you the story as it is told on the tapestry. One of the things that amused me about the tapestry, and this is the part I took my picture in front of, was that the royalty and the clergymen in battle weren't allowed to kill people, but they were given clubs and had permission to "knock people senseless." I laughed at that, and thought it was funny, so that is the part of the tapestry that I'm in front of, although you probably can't tell from the picture.

After visiting this museum and the cathedral we wandered more around this cute little town of Bayeaux until the rain came, and we decided to leave and take the train to the Loire Valley.
Will finish blogging about our trip over the weekend.

Day 7 - Normandy

I guess I will finish blogging about our trip. I was unable to blog about the last of our trip as we did not have internet access. After our unfortunate day with not being able to get our rental car, we took the train up to Normandy. We had to cancel our reservations at our other hotel because it was too far from the train station and we had no way to get to the town, but Aaron made reservations in another town where the train dropped us off. Right after we arrived in Bayeux, which is on the Normandy Coast, we had lunch at a little cafe and signed up to take a tour of the Normandy beaches, a war museum and other WWII sites, including the American Cemetery. This was such an amazing experience. It was incredible. When we went to Pointe Du Hoc, which was a German stronghold and was considered to be unassailable by the enemy, it was so unbelievable. The stronghold is located on top of the cliffs where you can wander among large deep craters where the Allies had dropped bombs prior to the invasion, and many of the German bunkers had been bombed in and just left and you could still see so much evidence of all the destruction that occurred there. This is the only area along the coast where you can still see the bomb craters because the French farmers reclaimed their land after the invasion and filled in holes in thier fields. I learned that this part of the invasion started out with 225 American soldiers, and their mission was to scale the cliffs, get in the bunkers and destroy their weapons and cannons. Only they got to the top and the German weapons had been moved and were not there. How discouraging for them! But they risked their lives and went further in and found the guns and were able to destroy them. Unfortunately, this made them lose the element of surprise, and these soldiers spent the next two days fighting off the Germans as best as they could until help arrived two days later. After help came from the others who stormed the beaches, only 90 soldiers remained uninjured.

Aaron and one of the German bunkers.

These next pictures are of the American Cemetery and Memorial there at Normandy.

This was such a special place. It was truly a moving experience. It was amazing the sacrifices that these troops gave, all for the freedom of another country and another people, simply because freedom is so important. I can't remember the exact number, but over 20,000 American soldiers lost their lives in Normandy and over 10,000 were missing. Another thing I learned while I was there: This cemetery and memorial is on American soil. This land was given to America by France. I did not know this.

Me on the beaches of Normandy.

Anyways, if you ever go to France, I think Normandy shouldn't be missed!