Archive | September, 2013

Eden & Charlie are married!




Many of you have probably seen on Facebook or Instagram, but my sister-in-law Eden got married on Sunday!  They were wed in a beautiful outdoor ceremony on Charlie’s family’s land on the Chesapeake Bay, complete with a Scottish bagpiper, the best ice cream on the Eastern Shore, delicious homemade cakes, Celtic line dancing, and wildflowers everywhere.  The weather was perfect — mid-70s and sunny — and the whole day felt peaceful, joyous, and new.

I kept choking up every time I looked at Eden during the ceremony.  She had waited for this day, dreamed of this day, and now… beautiful reality!  Charlie and Eden had so carefully chosen every piece of the wedding, and it intricately reflected their shared faith, community, artistry, and dreams.

Of course, for Elliott and me, now weddings are a whole different ball game with two littles.  I felt a little scattered the whole time because of Gil; I was constantly holding him, passing him off to someone else, keeping an eye on him wherever he was, trying to get him to nap, checking on him while he was napping, feeding him, holding him… and so on and so forth.  Lena, meanwhile, felt completely at home and ran around the entire property by herself, skipping from one group of friends to another.  She was so happy.   I think she drank her weight in “yemonade,” too!

Now the family — minus the honeymooners — have moved to Chincoteague, Virginia.  Elliott’s family has vacationed here for 20 years, but this is my first visit.  We’re savoring the quiet days and time together, mixing board games and building blocks together now, as we drink in this beautiful view.  Happy Tuesday, everyone!


6 :: in family, Virginia, wedding, weekend

24 hours in Scotland with our kids


Spending Tuesday in Scotland was — to be honest — the last thing we were planning to do on Monday morning.  We planned to leave on Thursday on a regularly-scheduled military flight, which would put us in the States in time for Elliott’s sister’s wedding this coming Sunday.

It was a regular Monday morning for me until I got an email from Elliott at 10am that said, “There’s a military flight leaving at 7pm tonight for the States through Scotland.  Maybe pack just in case we can get on it?”  But we were planning to host 12 people for dinner that night (including Elliott’s visiting command team), the house was a mess, I hadn’t packed a thing, and, to top it all off, I was sitting in the doctor’s office with two antsy children.  I couldn’t imagine leaving that night.  Our dinner guests wouldn’t even leave till 7:30!  There was no way.  We tabled the idea.

Later that night, after our dinner guests went out the door, Elliott called the terminal just to check on the flight.  “Becca… the flight is delayed!  It hasn’t even left Bahrain yet, and that’s four hours away.  We should pack!”

And so we did.

And at 3:45am we got on a flight to the States!  It was stressful and last-minute and a little crazy, but we did it.  The house was clean and the decision was made and the plane was taking off with us on it.  We were on our way!


The plane landed in Prestwick, Scotland, about 3 hours later.  The military crew informed us that we’d stay for 24 hours to give the pilots time to rest, and in the meantime a bus would deliver us (and the 30-odd other passengers, most of them returning from deployment) to a hotel in the nearby town of Ayr.  “Just be ready to get back on the bus at 6:30am tomorrow morning.  Have fun!”

The photo above was the view from our hotel room window after we walked in around 8am.  We were tired but excited.  A mandatory stop in the U.K.?  I’ll take that any day!  We napped with our kids before digging out some warm clothes (it was 60 degrees outside!) and setting off to explore.


Good morning, handsome!


In the beautifully manicured gardens of a public park near our hotel.


“There’s a horse, Mama!”


The Scottish poet, Rabbie Burns, was from Ayrshire. becca-garber-scotland-12

On the town green, looking out to the Isle of Arran.


We found the most incredible playground!



becca-garber-scotland-17 becca-garber-scotland-4   becca-garber-scotland-19

Chasing seagulls.


We thought Jon and Erika would appreciate this especially.


Elliott found blackberries!  I tell you, the man has some kind of blackberry homing device.  More blackberry adventures here and here.


High Street in Ayr.  So refreshingly different from Sicily!  (And northern Virginia, for that matter.)


Brightly colored doors, closely cropped lawns.


Comfort food in a little cafe called The Chatterbox.


Love Gil’s face in this one!


After afternoon naps, we ate dinner in a wonderful Indian restaurant called The Rupee Room.  Elliott and I both lived in India before we met, so the food has a special place in our hearts.


Helping herself to some Indian hors d’oeuvres.


Sunset in Scotland.

It was such a wonderful day, a mandatory respite in the midst of so much travel!  We had a great 7-hour flight the next morning with the same crew and passengers, all of whom were so incredibly kind to our family.  They had arranged for brown bag lunches for everyone on the plane (as that C-40 military plane was staffed by Navy aviators, not flight attendants with hot meals in the galley), but they bought and added stuffed toys to the brown bags for Lena and Gil.  Everyone made sure we were comfortable, and the pilots invited Lena and Elliott to come up to the front into the cockpit for awhile.  Definitely a different experience than most trans-Atlantic flights these days!

We landed at Macguire AFB in New Jersey and walked out of the terminal into big hugs from Grampa Garber.  He shuttled us back the 3.5 hours to northern Virginia that he had just driven in order to get us.  Sweet man!  We are so glad to be back in Virginia with our family.

And now… wedding weekend, here we come!

17 :: in military life, travel

Mom’s Postpartum Survival Guide


Ah, those postpartum days.  With both of my children, I felt like I was living in a bleary new universe studded with bright, unforgettable moments.  At the beginning, what I remember most is gazing at this precious little creature and thinking:

  • I know I am supposed to love you, but I just don’t know you.  I should know you, I suppose, because you’ve been inside me for 9 months and I have felt every move you’ve made, but… well, this relationship is going to take a little time to blossom into know and love.  In the meantime, I praise God that you’re here and that you’re whole and healthy.  We have prayed for you since before you existed!  Welcome to the rest of our lives.
  • You are a miracle.  There is just no way you came from inside me.  You may be tiny compared to the rest of the world, but compared to me… you are huge.  Also you are so detailed!  How did my body know how to help you make your tiny wisps of hair, the intricacies of your blue eyes, and the perfect little nails on your fingers and toes?

And so began my life as a mother of one, and then mother of two.  With consternation, wonder, and tentative love.

Those first few weeks of motherhood are different for every mother.  The personality of each baby and each mother also ensures that each postpartum period is totally different, or at least that’s how it was for me with Lena and then Gil.

With Lena, I floated on an emotional high that lasted for weeks.  I remember those days as a golden season in our lives.  Elliott was in the middle of a yearlong assignment with the Army in the desert of Egypt, so he was only home for a few weeks.  Lena was born in the middle of his time at home, and I know it was his exclusive devotion and our mutual ecstatic joy – we had such a beautiful baby girl and we were all together!!! – that helped me bounce back so quickly after childbirth and embrace my new role.   Breastfeeding clicked, as did our new sleep schedule with our baby.  At the hospital, a lactation consultant walked into our room and saw us snuggled in bed together as I laid beside Lena and nursed her.  The consultant said, “Well, I can see you don’t need my help!”  Encouragement like that gave me wings.

After Elliott left, though, life took on a new edge.   I was alone with a 3-week-old baby, living in a tiny studio apartment in D.C., and I knew I needed help.  After dropping Elliott off at the airport, I drove (and sobbed) my way to my parents’ house to stay for a few days.  A few days turned into a few weeks, and in the end I spent most of the three months until Elliott’s return living at their house in the suburbs.  One night when Lena was screaming inconsolably and I was alone in my D.C. studio, I felt the cold fingers of postpartum depression wrapping themselves around my mind and heart, and they terrified me.  I fled to places where I would be surrounded by help, activity, and love.  With the help of so much family, those early months with my first baby slipped by peacefully and joyously.

Needless to say, my postpartum period with Gil was completely different.  We lived in Sicily with no family nearby.  We also had Lena, and so now Elliott had an almost full-time job keeping Lena occupied for the entirety of his paternity leave (almost two weeks, with weekends).  It was January and our house was cold, so Gil spent most of his time in our bedroom with the heater running, and thus our world became incredibly small and incredibly focused on that one bedroom.  I felt confident as his mother, but also pulled in so many more directions than I had been with just one baby. I took longer to heal, longer to bounce back.

And then one-week-old Gil descended into the dark, black hole of “colic.”  By “colic” I mean he cried a lot, inconsolably, and was impossibly hard to soothe… maybe not enough to medically qualify him as a colicky baby, but enough that the term describes the misery that we dealt with for months.  Every evening from 5pm-11pm was a nightmare.  Elliott and I descended into depression.  Family came, helped, and left.  Friends brought meals, hugs, and left.  Elliott often slept in the guest room while I walked and walked and walked around the warm bedroom with our screaming son, gritting my teeth and praying and then swearing and then crying and then eventually falling to sleep beside Gil before the whole process began again an hour or two later.

The sun began to break through the clouds when Gil was about 2.5 months old.  He began to sleep in his own room (the weather was warmer) and began to fall asleep with minimal soothing.  Slowly, he began to smile, which was later than most babies.  By about 5 months he turned onto his stomach on his own, and that was life changing.  He now napped on his stomach for more than 30 minutes at a time.  By 6 months, Gil was napping twice a day for two hours each, going to bed at 6pm, nursing a few times throughout the night, and waking up full of smiles about 13 hours later.  We were finally—finally—in a peaceful new normal.  That was the end of what I hope was longest and darkest postpartum period of my life.

Anyway, this was not how I intended this blog post to turn out, but some of it had to be said if I wanted to honestly give postpartum advice.  Every baby combined with every stage of life makes every postpartum period entirely unique and entirely different.  Postpartum depression is real, but many women (like me with Lena) don’t experience it, and many others (like our whole family with Gil) suffer for months on a roller coaster of emotions, stress, and misery.

Looking back on both of my postpartum periods, here are a few things that made life more manageable:

1)    Nutella!  OK, high-energy snacks is what I really mean.  When your body is learning to make breast milk and trying to recover from childbirth, you need delicious, quick sources of nutrition.  While I would recommend granola bars, fruit, and nuts (at the bedside!) first, I have to say… sometimes a spoonful of Nutella right out of the jar just helps the world go ‘round.

2)    Burp cloths.  New babies spit up a lot, and Gil continued to spit up after every feeding until he was 6 months old.  (It was awful.)  Forget about using those cute fabric burp cloths; get something really absorbent.  For me, nothing worked better than these loosely woven prefolds.  So cheap on Amazon.  Worth their weight in gold.

3)    Something to read.  I love nursing while lying down, and that always meant I could put my baby in between a book and me and just… relax.  Nursing works so much better when you’re relaxed! I read this bookduring my first week home with Gil and, while it wasn’t good literature, it was an engrossing and easy read.

4)    Nursing tank tops from Target I think I have six of these now (thanks, Mom!) and love them all.  They’re so well made, make breastfeeding easy, and cost half as much as any other brand I’ve found.  Layer them under sweaters or v-neck dresses, or wear them on their own.  Live in them (and yoga pants) for the first few months.

5)    Mattress pad.  I heard someone say that the post-partum period is a very “wet” time and laughed out loud.  So true!  Both your baby and yourself are figuring out how to make your bodies work; there are a lot of spills in the process.  Put a waterproof mattress padon your bed and be prepared to change the sheets a lot.  It’s all good.

6)    Water cup.  I am perpetually dehydrated (this is how I know) and never remember to carry a cup or water bottle around the house.  Right after Gil was born, I bought this 24 oz plastic cupon Amazon for $8.  It even has a lid so the kids can’t spill it and the cat can’t drink out of it!  Also, I always fill it up before I get in the car so I have something to sip on while driving.

7)   Nursing pads.  These are my favoritesbecause they are individually wrapped (throw a few in your diaper bag!) and have adhesive strips so they don’t slip around inside your clothes (see #4).  I’ve tried reusable organic cotton pads — which are too small to keep track of and too lumpy under my shirt — and several other brands, and I recommend Lansinoh over any others.

Finally, for a collection of great postpartum survival advice, check out this Pinterest board.  So many good resources in one place!


Now I want to hear your stories!  What would you tell a new mama about postpartum survival?

11 :: in motherhood, new baby series

favorite photos from Crete

photo 2_3-001

Although being a part of the military has its downsides (like deployments and dying for your country and other things that shall not be named today), there are a lot of military-only benefits… like commissaries and USAA and free space-available plane flights and chances to live and travel all over the world.

This trip to Crete was one of those military-only benefits where Elliott had to go for work and get a hotel room anyway, and so the kids and I tagged along on his plane flight* and stayed in his hotel room rented apartment and spent 10 days on the beach.   Perks of the job…!  It was a wonderful time for us as a family and I’m so glad we did it.  We’ll be savoring these end-of-summer memories and photos for a long time.

(*Or fly 18 hours ahead of him and leave 8 hours after him… it’s all good as long as there’s a flight…)

My apologies if some of you already saw these on Instagram, but either way… here are our favorite photos from our week in Greece!

photo 3_4-001

Elliott found this loggerhead turtle carcass on a run along the beach and took us all back the next day to see it.  Lena was duly impressed and eager to examine it.  Future scientist?


One of the two beautiful beaches on either side of our apartment.




Lena on our first day at the beach (before Elliott joined us the next day)
& the first jar of baby food I have purchased in my life… and it’s all Greek to me!


We read a lot of books that week while Elliott was at work, including this wonderful one called You Can Do Anything, Daddyby Michael Rex.  Our friends (who were also vacationing as a family while the husband worked with Elliott) loaned it to us.


Morning kisses
& off-roading it as she helps me push the stroller on our daily walks to the local “super”market.

photo 3_5-001

Another morning, another walk along the beach.


She found a little pool just her size!
& a Greek orthodox chapel.

photo 5_5

This little guy is getting ready to crawl!  Fave position: planking while admiring his toes (and resting on his head).


“So sunny, Daddy.”


Lena trying some grilled sardines (and accidentally biting off the head)
& my babies and me.


Sunset beach walk before a dinner date… one of two that we got to take thanks to our friends watching our sleeping babes!  Thank you, David and Rachel!


I’d love to hear what you and your family did for Labor Day weekend!  Any other beach-goers here?

9 :: in Army, family, holidays, travel

{closed} $50 Country Swank Giveaway!!!

becca-garber-country-swank-giveaway chevron handbag / aqua tank / bib clips / earrings / v-neck ruffle dress /brown chevron print dress / girl’s dress

Happy Tuesday, friends!  I’m so excited to bring you a truly wonderful giveaway today from Jennifer, the girl behind Country Swank and Little Boy Howdy.  Jennifer and I are teaming up today to give you $50 to spend in her two stores!

When I first visited last week, I was immediately smitten.  “Wow,” I said, “I want that!  And that.  And wow… I would wear that until I wore it out!”  Jennifer has the same flawless taste for girls’ and boys’ items as well as women’s clothing and accessories. She says:

“We enjoy finding unique pieces, most often handmade, and decided that would be the focus of our store. We want to support small businesses and designers, instead of overseas wholesalers. Our goal is to provide high quality products that fit the feminine country style without crossing the line into western. Because of the nature of our items, many of them are one of a kind or available in limited quantities, so you’re sure to have your own distinct look!”

A shopping spree to an online store like this would be a dream come true for me… and so I’m thrilled to offer it to you!

Here is how to enter:

1. Visit Country Swank and/or Little Boy Howdy and then tell me what your favorite item is in the comments.

2. Share the link to the giveaway on at least one of your social media outlets (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.).  Each share equals one entry, so you could get quite a few entries this way alone!


3. Sign up for my mailing list using the handy-dandy box below.

Jennifer is also offering a 10% discount to all Making Room readers!
Use the code ‘cs2013’ at checkout.

Giveaway closes next Sunday (Sept 8) at midnight
and I will announce the winner on Monday, Sept 9.  Good luck!!!


Giveaway Results

And the winner, according to, is #9.  Congrats to Erika, and thanks for entering and sharing, everyone!  Don’t forget that Jennifer at Country Swank has a 10% off coupon code (cs2013) for all of you!

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37 :: in giveaway

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