Monday, August 30, 2010

Wake me up when September ends

I bet everyone used that title for their blogs in the world today... anyway, moving on!

First off, I would like to unveil for the first time Jeff's new brainchild and our new blog, "Mr. Spice Guy." Since we have taken to eating delicious foods lately, we have decided to document recipes and restaurants that we have tested and tried, and our thoughts and input on them. We invite others to contribute as well, if you feel the desire. Anyway, for more information, just visit the blog! Jeff's obsession with the Food Network can be your gain! (But mostly mine, as I am the one who gets to eat it first!)

In other news, poor little Penny caught my terrible cough which I caught from Jeff. I think the worst of it is over, but she has now lost her voice and can only get out little squeaks instead of her normal boisterous cry (which could be seen as a blessing, I s'pose...), it reminds me too much of when I was but a child, and my voice was so raspy and horse, it would be painful even to merely talk to people. Good thing voice therapy cleared that up, eh? Even still, our little Penn remains strong and happy as ever.

Good news, all you moms. I figured out a painless way to sleep train your baby! What I do is forget to plug in the monitor, so when your baby cries you can't hear it because the monitor ran out of juice 3 hours ago, and you sleep right through it! Ok, it has only happened a few nights here and there, but she has really learned her lesson. For the past 2 days, I have simply put her into the crib for nap/bed time, and voila! She goes down with out a peep, or cries for a little bit, then gives up! Amazing what a little neglect in the night can do! But I am always excited to wake up to her cute little face, no matter what kind of night she had.

Our time in Utah is quickly drawing to a close. There is still a long list of things we want to do before we leave, and we are running out of time! But we also have a long list of things we want to do in Maryland, which we are so looking forward to. Here are just a few things (not everything is there, just the things off the top of my head)that we are going to miss, and then things we are excited about.

Things I/we will miss about Utah:
-Closeness to most of my family, and the fun parties we have.
-Driving distance to Disneyland
-All my friends, hanging out with Lacie and Leland
-Penny growing up with her Utah cousins
-Wingers & Purple Turtle
-University Mall
-Sisters' Night
-The mountains
-All the nice Mormon peeps
-Mom and Dad's hot tub
-Choice of Temple
-Drew's DVD collection (and watching them with Drew, of course)
-Fun Times at the Property
-Cheap Provo Rent (though, Provo will not be quite as missed)
-Not very much traffic
-Nearly one freeway in the entire state
-Laser Assault
-Playing Rook and Wackee 6 with mum and dad
-Crashing at my siblings' houses
-Watching my nieces and nephews grow up
-Dollar Theaters

Things I/We are looking forward to:
-Living so close to Em and KC
-Penny hanging out with the Triplets
-Having a place to call our own
-Using all my own stuff again/unpacking
-Sleeping on my bed
-Having a closet!
-Sister Night with Em
-Driving distance to NYC and DC
-Experiencing a new place
-Jeff getting a job
-Dinners/Double Dates with Em & KC
-Triple shower heads
-New furniture
-Air conditioned apartment
-Having people come visit us
-Observing our religion outside of Utah
-Shopping!!! Outlets galore!
-Combined babysitters
-Fun trips back to Utah to see everyone
-Having a schedule
-Finally having some kind of space for Penny (even if it is in the laundry or storage room...)
-Introducing Emily and KC to all our favorite movies and shows
-Making new friends

That list could just go on forever, but we will stop for now. Everyone in Utah, be sure to hang out with us before we leave!

PS-Drew and Julie get back tomorrow! Yippee!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A wonderful birthday indeed.

Well, Jeff's birthday was a success. Thanks to everyone for coming to Jeff's semi-surprise party! We had such a fun time with everyone, and hopefully everyone else had fun too. I think the highlight (except for poor Ethan...) was when Lacie brought over her cute little puppies! The kids just LOVED them, and we got some cute pictures with the babies. Thanks, Lacie and Leland for doing that, we are in your debt.

So, Jeff got lots of fun presents. We bought Ticket to Ride Europe, since we had played out the USA version, Simpsons season 13, a few other misc. items, a omelet pan from mum and dad, a nice birthday check from Jeff's parents, some treats and chocolates from Jeff' sibs. Lots of fun things for sure. I also told Jeff that he could make whatever he wanted for dinner, and he chose to make Fontina and Prosciutto Stuffed Pork Chops with Polenta as well as a yummy Crunchy Jicama and Mango Salad but with apples instead of cucumbers. It turned out perfect, of course. I have never tasted such moist and flavorful porkchops in my life! How lucky am I to have a culinary-inclined husband?

What was my contribution, you ask? Why, here it is!Yikes.... But Jeff was nice and pretended it was a suitable birthday cake. From now on, I am sticking to a 9x13. WHAT was I thinking???
And look at these cuties! Awwww.

Aw, what the heck, here are the rest of the pictures:

A few words about the Birthdaymin

Happy birthday, Jeff! It is slightly strange to think that I am married to a 26 year old. It still feels like we are the young couple just starting out on this crazy journey of marriage, but then I remember that there is a small human in the other room that most likely needs a diaper change. But I guess two years still qualifies as starting out, and a baby can even add to our state of... newness...

Anyway, a few words about Jeff, if we all don't mind! Of course there are a billion things I could gush about, but this year I will focus on something I have been thinking about lately. It is going to be on the heavier side vs. fluffy, so bear with me.
Lately, I have been asking Jeff a lot of silly questions, such as what a 22 year old RM saw in a silly little 18 year old freshman from Utah, or ask him why he wasn't scared away by my ridiculous antics and freakish behavior to which he always reminds me that it was those things that made him fall in love with me! They seem like silly little questions, but landing my Jeff was much more important for me than he will ever realize.

Jeff came at the just right time in my life. As most people who read this know, I had some really hard times previously that year which left me nearly hopeless that I was capable of landing a decent guy, or even trusting my judgement when finding one. I had gone to counseling sessions at the BYU Family Services because I was so afraid of to date boys, and needed convincing/reminding that I deserved to be treated, well, like a human being and a daughter of God. My skewed mind told me that a boy like Jeff was too far above me, and I would never know that happiness. When I met Jeff, the more I learned about him, the more he seemed too good to be true, and the idea of being with him seemed highly unlikely. He was one of the most sought after boys in the ward, so it didn't make sense that he would be interested in me. But as my realization of my self worth was slowly coming back, I felt more comfortable with the idea of allowing someone into my life.

Thanks heavens it was Jeff Ribeira. One more bad experience with men, and who knows where I would be today. I could feel the spirit so strongly when I was around him, and felt my Heavenly Father's love through him as he treated me like a daughter of God. I found myself confused that a boy like Jeff, who was so innocent and spiritual, could actually love this silly, slightly broken teenager, but I came to realize that he was fixing me, and he transformed me into someone who was happy with life and herself for the right reasons. Jeff did the unthinkable, and helped me realize my infinite self worth and that Heavenly Father wants me to be happy, and I deserve a good life despite my former stumbles.

Nearly 4 years after meeting Jeff, I still am grateful every day for him. What a brilliant example he is to everyone around. There is no one in this world that could complete me like he does. We have our troubles and our low points, but I know he is willing to do anything in the world for me, and I would do the same for him.
Thank you, Jeff, for being born on this day 26 year ago, and taking a chance on that silly girl from the Glenwood. You are literally my hero. You have accomplished a lot in your life to be proud of, and helping to save me is one of your biggest ones yet. I love you ever so.

Oh, yes. Lets not forget about this accomplishment, either:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Passing Time

We are just in a state of limbo here! Every day when I talk to Emily, we just get so excited about our fun future ahead of us.

We are busy closing up things here. We sold a lot of our bulky, unnecessary furniture like bed frames, DVD towers, bookshelves and giant Amsterdam pictures. Hopefully that will lighten our moving load. We have also been taking carloads of stuff to DI. There is absolutely no greater feeling that throwing away junk. It gives me such a high to get rid of stuff that I don't care that much about. In a dream world, I would only have a few things to ship across the country, but in reality, we do have quite a lot of books, DVDs, and art supplies. Jeff has also collected quite a bit of foreign tokens and treasures. All those things are important, and take up some space. I guess if we like our hobbies, we will have to deal with the bulk, eh? But I think most importantly, we have been quite minimalistic with baby things. It has been great with all the family near by with baby things galore! We haven't even purchased a crib, swing, toys or other various baby things.

I think the thing I am most looking forward to is having a place to call our own again. A place where I can decorate and put thought into. But mostly, I am excited to have a dresser and a closet again. Putting clothes in 3 cubbies is just NOT enough space, and our current closet situation is a disaster.

Penny has been doing great these days! (Just this moment she rolled over for the 2nd time!! YAY!) But some things we aren't terribly excited about. She has started getting territorial about her toys, and cries when we take her favorite one away. She also has started a habit of not *ehem* relieving herself everyday, so every few days she leaves us a giant mess to clean up. Normally while she's in the car seat. We have started putting her in her seat with only a diaper and a towel behind. Babies...

She also has developed a love for the Jenny Jump-Up. Finally! We've been putting her in there for weeks, but she hasn't quite caught on. Just these past few days, she has really been getting exciting about her jumping skills. Observe:

I guess that is all for now. Jeff's birthday is Sunday, be sure to tell him how old he is at 26 year. We already got him some early birthday presents of Simpsons Season 13 (some awesome episodes this season!) and Ticket to Ride European Edition. We have been playing this game for the past month or so nearly every day, sometimes more than once. It is so much fun, and so quick!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Closing up August!

It seems like time is moving really slowly these days for some reason. Perhaps it is because we are anxious to get our life moving, so it seems to be going at a sluggish pace. But we are enjoying our last month here in Utah. Just last night we had a fun evening at the Property with Lacie and Leland (sadly no pictures. Why, oh why do I always forget the camera??) It was different to see the place deserted, as it is normally filled with people every time we go, but we enjoyed the intimate setting. The horses got a little too friendly and encircled our car and stubbornly wouldn't budge until I finally turned on the car and inched forward towards them. Then they moved along their way. I have dreams of riding those horses bare back. I think I will do it one of these times, relive my glory days of horse back riding lessons (thanks again for those, mom. Those are some of the best memories of my entire life. To this day, I still wish I was taking riding lessons, cantering around the arena and jumping over poles.)

Speaking of Lacie and Leland, the other day they let us come see their puppies! Penny had the best time! The little playful pups just swarm you, and nuzzle and lick your face and hands. Penny would wiggle her fingers all over their fur, and smile really big as they licked her face. Lacie took these little gems:

Another fun thing that Lacie told us to do with the pups was lay down and watch as they attack your hair. It was the craziest thing ever! So many little puppies attacking my head! It ticked ever so much.
I also sat in for mom yesterday at the Education Week book signing at the BYU bookstore. It was very successful! Lots of people were interested in the book, and I got lots of compliments on my cover and illustrations (don't worry, Drew, I paid credit where it was due.) It also helped that the book was mentioned in a few classes as a must read, so we had lots of people already looking for us! It seems like lots of people are getting more bold and enthusiastic about teaching their kids about subjects that have always been kept quiet due to their seemingly "awkward" nature. Yay for getting over that, parents!
Most of those books were gone by the end! Hooray!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

All happy things must come to an end

Well, I guess we are Disneylanded out. What an insane 2 days this has been. Disneyland with a baby completely changes everything! But I went in with low expectations and the knowledge that I was just going to sit some things out, and it all worked out just fine. It was very stressful at times, pushing a stroller through the packed nooks and crannies, finding places to feed a fussy face (which was kind of fun at the same time... Penny ate on Pirates, in the Animation Studio, in the Cafe Orleans, Muppets 3D, Captain EO, nearly everywhere!) and they also have baby care stations in each park which was nice, especially if I didn't want to feed Pen in the sweltering heat. They had little nursing rooms and changing tables. They even provide high chairs and mini toilets! I told a very sociable little 4 year old the toilets were just his size, to which he responded, "My butt's not that little!!!" Ha! And every baby supply is available for purchase if needed. It was much appreciated.

We had to get a turkey leg, though by I always feel like we should boycott the $2 price raise. BOO for how much we spent for this hunk of meat.
We took advantage of every fast pass and stroller pass available, which most of the time worked out. It surely wasn't the same Disney experience as last time when we came, as this trip was kind of for different reasons, but I think both ways are nice. We couldn't be too rushed, and our schedule was dictated by Penny's needs (but she did take awesome naps, and would fall right to sleep!) and everyone was so awesome to be patient and helpful! We needed all the help we could get! Who knew one baby was so much work? And I think this was the first time we left the parks earlier than 10. I have never been so exhausted in my life! I don't think I could have handled a 3rd day this time round. Not to mention Jeff had a cold come on as we drove over. He was so drugged up the first day on cold medicine, I don't know how he made it through the day! What a trooper, took one for the team.

Is it wrong that I would just let my baby play around on the tables in the restaurants? By the by, this place, Cafe Orleans, offers the Monte Cristo sandwiches for $15 rather than $23 at the Blue Bayou, and you don't have to pay extra to split the plate. I will sacrifice the atmosphere for nearly $1o bucks anyday!

But we hit most of the rides without waiting, as we are well trained in the system (those poor saps waiting in line for Splash Mountain for 6o minutes, when we never waited longer than 5...). It was so much fun to see Penny trying to soak everything in. She loved Pirates and Peter Pan. She also had many admirers, which is sometimes awkward. What do you say when someone comes up and starts having a conversation with your baby? Do you talk to them as if you are the baby, or just answer for them? Or are you supposed to answer at all? So confusing.

California Adventure was good as well. The heat was more intense, and it was hard to find a cool place, but we suffered through the heat and found places to cool off. Yes, Drew, we saw the Aladdin show. Penny loved it as well, until the scary part at the end with Jafar going nuts, and started to get fussy. For some reason, we hit Tower of Terror mid day, and there was zero wait! We went on it twice for good measure. When we came out, the wait was slowly climbing up to 3o minutes. We lucked out on that one.

Anyway, this may be the end of Disneyland for quite some time for the Ribeira fam. Who knows, the next Disney trip may be on the East Coast! We'll see.

More pictures to come. For some reason, it won't let me rotate them. I'll work on that later. Also, at California Adventure after dark, down Hollywood, there was some strange Glow Fest happening. It looked like some kind of rave or something, with neon and black lights everywhere, dancers wearing spandex up on platforms, giant carts in the middle of the pathways selling alcoholic beverages. It was trippy, and I don't think I liked it very much. It just seemed SO out of place, especially for Disney.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

At long last...

Now, THAT was the longest road trip all summer. Mind you, we did drive 13 hours to northern CA, so we thought this 9 hour drive would be a breeze... until we hit Vegas.

Seriously, dead stopped in the sweltering 110 desert with the Sunday rush back to CA. After waiting in that for a good 45 minutes, our relief of traffic letting up was short lived as we hit YET ANOTHER patch of bad traffic. This time we were stuck in it for easily over an hour. This time because of an accident. Is it wrong, that we spent the time stuck there talking about what we would say/do to that irresponsible driver who managed to back up nearly 10 miles of traffic? My motherly instincts were kicking in, as I saw my little baby give me big, sad eyes of confusion as sweat rolled down her face. So, since we were stopped, I let her play in my lap for a while, which she appreciated. We were grateful for the amazing a/c our car has (as opposed to last year's Disney trip, in which we had none... luckily no traffic that time, or else I think I would have dropped dead from heat stroke.)

Anyway, I want to commend my traveling party for keeping their cool the whole time, especially Jeff, the driver. He was so in control and calm the whole time. And Becky and Jason were polite and kind not to complain when Penny was fussy.

It would have been a nearly successful trip, Penny-wise, and she took great naps and kept herself occupied with toys and books, but she started to get really restless in the last half hour (which, of course, if there had been no stupid traffic, we would have made it earlier, hence no crying Pen.) and was crying like a psycho baby, so I found desperate ways to calm her down, which in the end worked.

So, off I go to bed to greet Disneyland tomorrow morning. I am hearing the distant *pop* of the fireworks show right now (there went the finale!) and I can't wait until we see it ourselves! Hopefully our Disney experience will be much more successful than our car trip.

Here is a funny video of Penny starting to go crazy with car madness:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another Road Trip...

We are heading to Disneyland tomorrow, and this is how Penny feels about it:

And this is how we feel about it:

Yes, it will be fun. Here's to hoping our extremely vocal and as-of-late restless baby makes it through ANOTHER car trip this summer...

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

This summer has been pretty awesome. We have done so many things that we probably normally wouldn't be able to do. Some happy news is that we are using our free passes we got for our service back in January for Disneyland! We are meeting Jeff's family over there and going for a few days! It will be fun to squeeze in one last trip with the Ribeiras before we move somewhere possibly very far away. Plus it is DISNEYLAND!!! I am excited that Penny will have a strong, early foundation to build her love for Disneyland. But what child doesn't love Disneyland, seriously.

And here is a random movie for your viewing pleasure.

Now that you have witnessed that cuteness it may soften the blow of our other news. We are pretty positive that we are about to head out to live in Maryland. Underneath Emily. For realsies! We have really been pondering and researching and praying and thinking, and we feel like this is the best course of action for us at this time. We set a deadline for bumming off mom and dad, which was the end of the summer, and if we weren't out by then, then we would have to move out, job or no job. Jeff still has some promising prospects, and he is going to the BYU job fair since a few of his hopeful jobs are there hiring for his position, which would all most likely put us in DC. So, we have been working out the details with Em, and we are getting a really good deal on her basement apartment, and will most likely be heading out there in October. It will be so sad to leave behind the family we love ever so much, but we feel this is in our best interest, and it will be nice to be close to family out there as well (really close, heh heh.) And it will make it that much more worth it to visit if we are out there as well, eh? Anyway, we are so excited for our big changes! Wish us luck!!

I almost forgot! Here is some footage of the crazy rainstorms we have been getting! Last night we think the neighbor's house was struck by lightning, because as we were sitting down to play our game of Dominion, a giant flash with no delay in thunder crashed right in front of the window! I have never heard anything so loud in my life!