BARSTOW - On a sunny Saturday afternoon, friends and family gathered around a laptop on the kitchen table of a Barstow home. On the laptop screen, a proud mother-to-be waved, smiled and showed off her belly from her home at the Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

It was an interactive baby shower - the first for those in attendance on Saturday - for Angeleena Jaramillo, who is due with her second child in November. About 20 of Jaramillo's friends and family played games while she watched via a Web cam and the Internet with her son, Mario Jr., and her sister-in-law, Antionette Peralta. Jaramillo's mother-in-law, Elaine Peralta, spent much of the shower walking the laptop around, holding it with one hand and typing with the other, so her daughter could see her party.

"This is what you have to do to keep up with them," Peralta said. "Since they can't be here, we thought it would be neat to use the Web cam so they could be a part it."

Jaramillo has been in Germany, where her husband, Mario, is stationed, since July. The two met while attending Kennedy Middle School in the late 1990s. They started dating in 2000 and had their wedding in April 2006. Mario shipped off to Germany in May. He is currently three months into a deployment in Iraq.

In an e-mail Jaramillo sent from Germany, she wrote that the Peralta came up with the idea of the virtual baby shower and did not tell her until about two weeks ago.

"The first question that popped in my mind was, `How are you going to throw a baby shower without the mother-to-be?' Of course this was before I knew about the Web cam part," she wrote. "I'm most excited about seeing the family for this baby shower. We haven't seen them since January of this year ... It shows how much they care, even though we're half a world away, they make it seem like we're right there."

Karissa Lucero, 9 - who did quite well during the diaper changing game - said it was great to see Jaramillo even thought it was on a computer. Alexus Rhoades, 10, said she thinks there will be more virtual baby showers as she grows up.

As it turned midnight in Germany - 3 p.m. in Barstow -the gathered shower group set Jaramillo and the Germany folks down and started to eat. Jaramillo chimed in.

"Thank you for everything. Wish we could be there but this is great for now," she typed. "Eat twice for me."

Contact the writer: (760) 256-4123 or aaron_aupperlee@link.freedom.com