Friday, June 26, 2009

Rhianna is Seven

This week has gone quickly, but we don't want to forget to talk just a bit about Rhianna, who turned 7 on Monday. She chose to have German Pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast (at least my family always called them German Pancakes, but they are pretty much the same as crepes). Then for dinner she had 2 friends over, we made Hawaiian Haystacks and fruit pizza, and opened presents. It was just a nice night and we had fun talking with her and her friends and they had fun playing together. Rand was even good at keeping her new doll house a secret for over a month and we surprised her.

friends and brothers and birthday girl

fruit pizza w/chocolate shavings

the dollhouse

the surprise

playing on her birthday
Now for a few things about Rhianna: 
*Master Chart & List maker - she has gone through grandparents' histories, written down everyone's names and birthdays, she makes charts for her toys, she just loves charts and lists 
*Fabulous Reader - she still loves reading, loves that she does this just like her dad, and loves that she read The Mysterious Benedict Society faster than her mom 
*She has already consulted friends on how to be 7 - she can't wait until next year when she is 8 and can get baptized. 
*Performer and Leader - She got friends together to dance in the school Variety Show, was one of the leads in her class opera, and did the primary talent show. 
*Tender heart - she really hates it when someone dies in a movie or book. It makes her very sad. The American Girl books have made her weep many times. 
*Very determined and concerned about doing what she is supposed to do. 
*Takes her role as a big sister very seriously. Rhianna and Rand have been playing amazingly well this summer and Seth just loves Rhianna and tries to join in. She loves the 2 boys even though sometimes it is also tiring being the oldest.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Stephanie

Since Stephanie wrote such nice things about me the other day, I thought I would return the favor. Because Stephanie and Rhianna share a birthday, I often worry that Stephanie will feel a little left out. This year we celebrated her birthday on our anniversary. We went to Zinburger for some great burgers and even better shakes, and she opened her presents. However, because today is actually her birthday I thought I would share a few things I love about her.

She is extremely kind and loving. Now that our kids are getting older I often find myself raising my voice. Stephanie does a nice job of gently reminding me to be calmer.

She is a truly good person. When we were engaged, I had the bright idea that we should air discuss the bad things we had done in the past so there would not be any secrets between us. I thought this would make sure we could be open and honest with each other. I decided to start and so I told her about some of the things I had done in high school, which in retrospect, seemed like kind of funny hi-jinks. After telling my stories I look over at her and she had a stunned look on her face. I started to feel really nervous and worried that maybe I had scared her. So I quickly asked her to share with me the bad things she had done. The worst thing she could come up with was that as a kid of 10 or 12 she had hit her sister Maria one time. That was the extent of her misdeeds. I definitely knew I was marrying up after that discussion.

She has a great smile and a great laugh. She takes such joy in all the funny things our kids do. I love to see her light up when Rand says something hilarious, or when Seth makes a funny face, or when Rhianna decides to make another chart.

She loves a good romance or a sappy emotional book. I tease her about her love for cheesy Nicholas Sparks books, but really I find it very endearing. Often if we are watching a romantic movie, or a movie that has an emotional part I will find myself watching her instead of the movie. Her reactions are wonderful.

She is constantly trying to do the right thing. She always is working to make sure she is doing her best as a mom, in her church calling, with the PTA, as a friend.

She is beautiful. I think she is better looking now than when we got married.

She is a world champion sleeper. She doesn’t get as much opportunity now that we have kids, but this girl can sleep. When we were first married I was amazed that on a Saturday, she could sleep in, then take a long nap in the afternoon, then still go to bed and sleep through the night.

She has great taste. When we renovated our house, Stephanie was in charge of picking almost all of the paint colors. She did an amazing job of picking colors that we love. She has a great eye for color.

She is very intelligent. I really love the fact that I can talk to her about anything. She doesn’t have as much time as I do, to keep up with recent scientific discoveries or world events, but when I come home we talk about these things.

I also wanted to share my favorite poem, because it reminds me of her.

somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

- e.e. cummings

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ode to Steve

Yesterday was Steve's Birthday. In the evening we gave him a few presents and then went out to dinner at Famous Dave's BBQ. Since leaving Austin we have been trying to find a good BBQ place (Oh how we miss having Rudy's right across the street) The other places we have tried here have failed us miserably. So this dinner could have ended tragically on his birthday, but it was actually pretty good. The chicken was good, pulled pork good, and the beef brisket okay. Not quite Texas BBQ but good....Now if I was as cool as Steve I could instantly come up with a little tune about my husband and the things I like about him...but I am not that cool so a little list will have to do.

*He reads more than any other person I know. Rhianna loves that she is like her dad and loves to read tons too. They both have spreadsheets to keep track of which books they have read, books to read, books ordered, books requested at the get my point.
*He has an amazing memory for all types of media. He actually remembers those books, remembers people on TV and movies (their names, other shows they are on) and often asks me if I recognize them. The answer is usually no, or if I do I have no idea why.
*He likes watching all kinds of movies and shows, so it is something we can do together. Yes we watch sports, but we also watch So You Think You Can Dance, Lost, Wheel of Fortune, The Mentalist, home shows, cooking shows, and all kinds of movies from Netflix.
*He works hard at his job and is doing well. Things move slowly in publishing academic papers so sometimes it is hard to see the progress, but he has lots of papers going and we are hopeful that those papers will soon get accepted. He has also become a better teacher and has found ways to enjoy it more, make it even better for the students, and be more efficient with his time.
*He is probably also one of the most efficient people I know. I still laugh every time he undoes his dress shirts 2 buttons at a time, one from the top, one from the bottom, to make it go fast. He uses 2 monitors at work to help him do multiple tasks. He can easily have multiple tabs pulled up on our home computer and switch between them. He has made even Tivo more efficient - not only do we fast forward commercials, but he has the 30 second skip deal programmed in so when watching football games he can go straight from one play to another.
*While he is very dedicated to his work, he also makes sure to do his church responsibilities, but it is also clear to me that we are his priority. He takes care of our budget, helps around the house, helps do FHE and takes turns reading to the kids, playing with them, and putting them to bed. We have all been working this year to be more healthy and we are sticking with it. He supports me in the things I do, PTA, visiting teaching, activities with the kids. He listens to me, the little things we do during the day, and the ways I feel about how things are going. It is clear that he loves me.

Okay so that is already a pretty long list so I will just stop. We also just had our anniversary. We have been married 11 years now! We say "I love you" a lot around our house - and we really do mean it! Happy Birthday Steve - I Love You!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rhianna's Tooth

For a long time I (Rhianna) has had a loose tooth and it hurt! Yesterday when my dad came home from dropping my uncle Garret off at the airport I told him my tooth hurt so bad.He asked me if he could wiggle it but insted just pulled it out! And I said "is it out" and he said " is it" and we said that about two times then I said" then why is there a tooth in front of me?"

A Note from Mom - My favorite was that Rhianna said, "Now I really can say All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth - but I really do want presents - it's just a joke."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Classic Rand

Here is a great line that Rand uttered while we were in the car today.

"Dad, I think I've got boogers stuck in my teeth."

Kids can be hilarious.