Thursday, June 26, 2008


I know that I already wrote about our anniversary and Stephanie's pick for her birthday breakfast, but I also wanted to post about our birthdays.

For my birthday we went to OPA!, a Greek restaurant. Here is a picture of Seth enjoying some hummus. My family got me some cool presents, one of which is the shirt I am wearing in this picture. On the front is a T-rex playing the drums.

Rhianna's (and Stephanie's) birthdays were on Sunday, so we went out for dinner on Saturday. Rhianna chose to go to Risky Business. She also invited her friend's Amelia and Grace Neumiller. Dinner was great.

After dinner we went home and Amelia and Grace came with us and they gave Rhianna a present and played for awhile. They gave her this cool towel dress that goes over a swimsuit.

Here is her wearing the gift.

They also gave her some water balloons. They decided to try them out. Here is a picture of Rand throwing one right in Rhianna's face.

We saved opening presents from us until their actual birthday. So the next morning, the first thing we did was get up and open presents. Stephanie got some shirts and a web-cam and a massage (well a gift certificate for one anyway). Rhianna got some games from her Mom. I decided to give her a special present. Rhianna really loves to read. In fact, she reads so much that we have had trouble making sure she has enough books. So, I decided to give her some books. I wrapped up one book, but I also included a note that said that because books are such a treasure I was going to make her hunt for the rest of her present. Here is a picture of her reading the note.

She then had to search all over the house for different piles of "treasure". Each treasure had a note leading to the next stash. Here is a picture of some treasure that was hidden in the fridge.

When she was done she had found 12 hoards, for a total of 56 books. Here are pictures of her clues and her final pile of booty.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


June is a big month for our family. Our anniversary is on the 12th, my birthday is the 18th, and Rhianna and Stephanie share a birthday on the 22nd. So we have a lot going on.

In addition, we have decided as a family that we are not going to have regular birthday parties. Our birthdays are going to be focused on doing things with family and maybe one or two friends. So, when it is someone's birthday they get to choose what we are having for dinner. They can pick a restaurant to go to, or they can pick a dinner to be made at home. This generally works great, except because Rhianna and Stephanie have the same birthday someone can get left out. So what we decided is that Stephanie gets to do her picking of her birthday meal/celebration on our anniversary (That is why I call it the Birthaversary). She saves opening presents until her actual birthday, but she picks the place to eat on our Anniversary.

For her special meal she decided to go out to breakfast. We went to breakfast at Robert's restaurant. It is a wonderful little, local diner that only serves breakfast and lunch. What we love about the place is that everything is homemade. We love their French Toast, made with freshly baked bread. We also really enjoyed their freshly baked cinnamon rolls. The rolls are huge and they cut them in half and grill them before they serve them to you and they are absolutely delicious. It was a wonderful meal. We even took a picture while we were there.

This year was our 10th anniversary. It is amazing to me that we have been married for 10 years. I can unequivocally say that this has been the best 10 years of my life. I often tell people that being married is so much better than being single that the difference is almost unimaginable. Stephanie is a wonderful wife and a great mother. I love her more than I can say. When I was younger, I remember being unsure if I would ever get married. I could not really imagine finding someone that I could love completely. I also doubted that I would ever really be able to find someone who would really understand me. Although it seems funny now, at the time I just really felt like there was no one that I really could share everything with. Yet, despite everything, Stephanie and I found each other. We are so well suited for each other that I think it is absolutely amazing and I feel completely blessed and grateful. Recently I read a blog post that stated that because of his children, this person had no regrets about his past because to change even one thing about his life before the birth of his children would result in these exact children not being born. I feel very similarly. Whenever I look back on my life before I met Stephanie I realize that if any one of a multitude of factors were different, we would never have met. So, although I was far from perfect before I met her, and some very difficult and sad things happened to me and my family, yet I can honestly say that I wouldn't change a thing.

Cast be gone!!

Rhianna's cast came off on Thursday, June 12. She was really nervous about it, and unfortunately, it did not go smoothly. Her nerves made everything worse. She especially did not like it when the doctor pulled out the pins. She screamed as he did so. He even acknowledged that it seemed to be hurting her more than it did most other kids.

Here is a picture of her cast and her X-rays with the cast off. You can still see the line of the break, but the doctor said that is normal and that there was good bone growth.

Although she was quite upset afterwards, once we got home and she relaxed she realized that it was good to have it off. She still doesn't have back a complete range of motion, but every day it seems to be getting a little more back to normal.

Here is a picture with her holding Seth. You can see where one pin was.

And one of the first things she wanted to do after getting her cast off was to go swimming. Here is a picture of her and Rand at their swimming lesson.

Our summer plans

FYI, it is very hot in Arizona. Here in Tucson it gets to over 100 degrees every day. This can make summer more difficult to enjoy than in a more temperate area. That is why people often travel a lot in the summertime. However, we decided that we couldn't afford to do a lot of travel this summer, but we still wanted to do some fun things. So we are going to do some short vacations/getaways around the area, with one bigger trip.

First, we are going to go up into the mountains surrounding Tucson and have a day in Summerhaven.

Then, we are going to take the kids to the circus.

Then we are going up to Phoenix and stay in a hotel and swim, and do some other fun indoor things there that they don't have here in Tucson (like a really cool science center for kids).

Finally, we are going to Disneyland in August. We hadn't planned to go to Disneyland with such young kids, but my annual conference is in Anaheim this year and so with part of our trip subsidized by my job, we felt we couldn't pass it up.

We will take pictures of each of our little trips and put up posts about them.

What is that cute baby Seth up to?

We realized it has been a while since we posted any pictures or stories of Seth. He is such a cute, happy baby and we want all of you to know what he is up to.

Seth finally is putting all his skills together and is crawling forward. He had been up on hands and knees for a while, could get back and forth into a sitting position and could move in reverse. He finally figured it out on Father's Day and since then has started moving forward more and more. One of his main impediments has been that he really wants to be standing as much as possible. One of the things he loves to do is to pull himself up onto his feet and then let go. Unfortunately, he is not coordinated enough to do so without falling backwards.

Seth is also almost fully weaned and is sleeping through the night. This is giving Stephanie more energy and is a great thing in general. Mostly we just had to get serious about making him take regular naps and not getting him when he cried at night. It did not take him very long to adjust.

He has his 2 bottom teeth and is certainly enjoying his food. He probably would actually love to be eating even more and tries to reach and grab for things, but we are being kind of cautious since his digestion earlier had been a little more sensitive than the other kids.

He has learned to play with toys, hit things together, climb on Rand, pull hair. One of our favorite things he does is this cute chuckle, huh-huh-huh. He just has the ability to make you smile, especially now when he smiles and holds his arms up for you...

Friends are Great

Although Rhianna breaking her arm was not very fun, we were really touched by the outpouring of love and support that she was shown by her many friends. Rhianna got lots of little gifts and cards and wishes of support from friends at school and church and grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles. We particularly thought the game of Operation was a funny gift after her surgery.

One of the coolest things that happened came courtesy of her teacher Ms. Kunk. First, let me start by saying that Ms. Kunk is an awesome kindergarten teacher. Rhianna had a great year and really loved her. We felt very blessed to get such a wonderful person to care for our child and teach her this year. The day after Rhianna broke her arm was scheduled to be a big party day at school. Rhianna was supposed to be the main announcer for the Kindergarten Celebration and there was food, stories, songs, and activities - and she was sad she had to miss it. Well Ms. Kunk decided that she would bring the party to Rhianna. After school, she (and her daughter Sammy who helped out this year in the class) came to our house with food, flowers, and games and let Rhianna experience all the things she missed out on. She had made a huge book for each kid with some of the things they had done in each unit. It was really great and made Rhianna feel so happy even though her arm was still hurting. Here are some cool pictures.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Arts and Crafts

In order to give Rand more opportunities to burn off energy during the day Stephanie enrolled him in a couple classes. One of the classes was from the local Parks and Rec and it was an arts and crafts class. He had a lot of fun making things with Miss Lilly. Here are some of the things he made. We are very glad we enrolled him in the class because it also made him happier to have more things to do.

The first thing he made was an Easter basket.

Then he made a butterfly. Rhianna didn't have school that day and so she went to his class and got to make one too.

He then made a pirate hat, which he decided to model with his sword.

Then he got to make a rocket ship.

He also made a giant fish.

One of his last craft projects was to make an impression of his hand.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Our New Couch

As most of you know, we did a lot of work on this house before we moved in. (In fact, you can see pictures in an older blog post). We love the work and we think the house looks great. However, because of all of that, we did not really have any money to get any new furniture to go in our new house. I periodically peruse Craigslist and I saw a great deal. It was a leather sectional sofa for $475. At that price, we couldn't pass it up. So we finally have some new furniture. It is not exactly what we would have picked out if we would have bought a new couch, but at that price we are pretty happy.

Blog Slacker

Wow, we are blog slackers. We haven't posted anything since Rhianna broker her arm (and her cast comes off tomorrow). In full penance mode, I hereby commit that I (or we) will put up a bunch of new posts over the next week or so. It will be a veritable Postapalooza here. Just to stoke your appetite, here are the titles of some upcoming posts.

Our new couch
Arts and Crafts
Friends are Great
What is that cute baby Seth up to?
Our summer plans
Cast be gone!!

But just so this post is not a total tease, I will provide you with a recent fun tidbit.

A few nights ago we decided that we had to have a treat and that we were going to make our own version of banana splits (yes, they were delicious). The best part came when I asked Rand what toppings he wanted and he replied: "I like all the slippery stuff." So do I Rand.