Friday, December 31, 2010

You Will Travel Far and Wide.

We were thinking of a good way to sum up our year. We felt that our year definitely could be defined by our extensive adventures we have had while traveling. My favorite part of it all, was when we cracked open a delicious fortune cookie in the early months of 2010 to reveal this:
So, I taped it to our dashboard and it became our motto for the year. I think we can surely confirm that this fortune came true. So,

Penny is Born
: 5.4 miles: (Provo, UT to Orem, UT)
At the beginning of March, our adventures truly began when we drove to the hospital to get one of these.

Northern California: 770 miles (Pleasant Grove, UT to Castro Valley, CA)
After Jeff graduated from BYU, we decided that before we get tied down by a job, we would do a little traveling. So we packed up our belongings and headed to Northern California. We had so much fun with Jeff's family, getting to know them better, and having them get to know Penny better. We also enjoyed visits to San Fran for Wicked and museums. We also drove 123 miles to Santa Cruz and back for a day at the beach.

: 2,384 miles (San Francisco, CA to Honolulu, HI)

Grandpa's House
: 642 miles (Castro Valley, CA to Beaverton, OR)

Oregon Coast: 186 miles (Beaverton, OR to Tilamook, OR to Cannon Beach, OR to Beaverton, OR)

We visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory as well as the beach by Jeff's Aunt Pat's beach house. The beaches in Oregon are magical, as are free cheese samples.

Family Reunion: 173 miles (Beaverton, OR to Bend, OR)The family reunion was awesome and well attended. The highlight was seeing all the grandkids do lots of cute things, like dancing and singing at the talent show. We also loved the Penny sized t-shirt!

Back to Utah: 681 miles (Bend, OR to Pleasant Grove, UT)

This drive was rather uneventful, except for the double rainbow all the way across the sky that we saw. We made it home just in time for my BFF Lacie to get married.

Disneyland: 1310 miles (Pleasant Grove, UT to Anaheim, CA to Pleasant Grove, UT)

We used our free Disneyland passes to squeeze in one last trip before we were stuck on the other side of the country. We had so much fun with Jeff's siblings (though we missed having Ryan and Gaylynn and Jonah) and I am glad that Penny will have a solid foundation to fantasize about Disneyland while growing up.

Moving to Maryland: 2,111 miles (Pleasant Grove, UT to Cheverly, MD)

We packed up all our earthly belongings and shipped it to Cheverly, Maryland to live in the basement apartment below Emily and KC. Jeff and his brother Jason drove across the whole country in our little Mazda 3. I lucked out and flew over with Penny. It was scary flying alone with a baby.

So, there you have it! What a crazy year it has been! We have indeed traveled far and wide. Jeff made some calculations and stats.

3,885 mi. driving (like driving from LA to Miami then to New York or like driving to and from PG and SLC 111 times!)

2,384 mi. flying

6,269 mi. total (roughly the distance from SLC to Athens or driving 179 times to and from PG/SLC)

Then, throw in the Maryland drive, and that brings the total to:

8,380 mi. (from SLC to Rome to Kabul, Afghanistan due east OR from SLC to Bangkok, Thailand OR 239 times between PG to SLC OR 1/3 around the circumference of the earth at the equator or 1/2 around the world at latitude of 40 deg where SLC is)

To throw in a few more numbers that I am satisfied with, I gained 25 pounds this year, and as of a week ago, have lost those 25 pounds! Here's to shedding off more! Happy New Year! Here's Penny:

Friday, December 24, 2010

This blog is mostly pictures. Are you ready?

Before we get started with the real reason for this blog, I wanted to get a few things out of the way. First of all, Penny's new hairstyle:
It is perfect, because I can get all those loose, long hairs out of the way. She looks like a little bug. Today I actually was able to do a french braid. It still has a long way until it looks perfect, so perhaps I won't put pictures up until it does.

I also found some skinny jeans at Old Navy for $4 in the baby section, just Pen's size!
The little zippers are my favorite part.

Ok, onto the real business! Christmas Eve! (Though, technically, it is Christmas as I write this, but Santa hasn't come yet, so it doesn't count...)

We watched many a Christmas show, spent the afternoon at Emily's good friends the Calls making delightful gingerbread doppelgangers, and then came home to feed the children and nestle them into their beds.

Here we are in our family pjs.

Thanks to mom, our little girls looked like little princesses.
That doesn't mean they were acting like princesses...
Then, all the babies in the universe gravitated towards Jeff for a Christmas story about fairies having a tea party in the middle of the summer which has nothing to do with Christmas.

Jeff's family has a tradition of making crab on Christmas eve. Since Jeff is living in a house of non-seafood lovers, he decided to go all out with his crab feast.
Mr. Spice guy is at it again! I tried a little bit, and it was yummy, but I still can't get over that rubbery texture. Jeff really enjoyed it.

He also made some baklava for tomorrow, all while webcamming with the family back in California. The Christmas program was festive and entertaining as always! We were sad we could be there in person to see everyone and snuggle with Jonah.
Emily made delicious traditional fondue, with all the best dippins. As always, my favorite was the bread, which Emily roasted in olive oil. Why haven't we done this before?!?
Festive Nog, of course. If you don't like this picture, Emily, I will take it down promptly.
We ended the night with watching Inception. It was a very gripping, interesting movie. I love those kinds that really make you confused. It was also nice to see Ellen Page play someone besides Juno.

So, there you go. I had better be off to bed if I ever want Santa to come! Everyone should webcam with us, and show off their cute kids and presents!
Merry Christmas everyone! When you wake up, all these presents will be opened!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Everybody like the new header? It was Jeff's idea. Clever, no?

Anyway, Christmas is just around the bend! I will admit, after all my siblings moved out of the house and I was the only one left at home, Christmas started to not feel as festive (you know, in that Christmasy child fantasy kind of way, and not in the true meaning kind of way. The good news of the Saviors birth remains true and strong through every Christmas.) and all those butterflies-in-the-stomach and can't-sleep-because-the-anticipation was left behind with all the past Christmases. It is just very anticlimactic when you are at the bottom of the stairs yelling for Dad all by yourself (though, I do believe dad still delivered on his annual routine. Thanks Dad.) Well, lately I am feeling moments of that old Christmas feeling arise in me again with our new addition of our family this year. Thinking about how Penny now gets to enjoy those same feelings of excitement and happiness that Christmas brought to me as a child makes me feel like that scrawny, blonde little girl just exploding with Christmas joy. It is fun to feel that again. On a related note, Melody I am GOING to remember this year. We WILL be playing girls on ships, even if it kills me!!!

Moving on! We co-hosted a Christmas party this year! Most of the guests were Emily and KC's friends, but of course any friend of theirs is ours as well. Emily did a very detailed account of the festivities on her blog, so I won't got into it on here. But it was a super success. Thanks to Emily for all the hard work that you did!
We had a white elephant gift exchange. Jeff and my contributions were a fruit cake (Pee-Wee's Christmas Special, anyone?) and a decorative plate with a Christmas funfetti cake mix. What we received in return was even greater still:
A bottle of Sparkling Cider and a VHS of Sweatin' to the Oldies with Richard Simmons. We will have to dig up a tape player to enjoy that goodness for sure.

I made these little antipasta skewers for the party.
They were the easiest and most delicious things I could think of to make last minute. Just throw some olives, cheese, salami and tortellinis marinated in Parmesan italian dressing on a toothpick and you have a perfect party platter. Thanks to Jeff for all of his skewer work.

Some good news I received this week was that I am a mere 2 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight! This came as QUITE a shock, but it must be all the nursing. But keep in mind, that when I got pregnant, I was well above the weight that I would want to be at. And of course, the pregnancy made me gain weight in places that I wasn't used to (NOW I understand the true meaning of love handles... sigh) So, hopefully I can work on that a little more. I think running up and down the stairs 1,000 times a day to Emily's is really helping.

We made our way to the Temple on Saturday night to see the lights and other displays. They had Creches (sp?) from all over the world, decked out Christmas trees, and of course it is always lovely to see the lit up temple by night. Here we are. It isn't the best picture, I only posted it so you can all stare in amazement at my amazing orange leather coat. It was my first time wearing it since I bought it last summer in Berkley at Buffalo Exchange for a mere $9. I here there is a store location somewhere in Baltimore! We will have to make our way over there, see what the East Coast has to offer us.

Lately I have been very entertained by these two crazyheads.
The other day I laughed myself to tears as Jeff repeatedly walked passed the bedroom doorway with Penny, doing something different every time. My favorite was Penny brandishing my wand like a madmin. I wish I had video taped it.

I also forgot to post about Penpen's 9 month check up. She was a little over 19 lbs, about 28 inches long. It was a series of unfortunate events, thought. On the way to the doctor, after I felt abusive already for not putting Penny in warmer clothes, she decided to soil them. After arriving at the office, I asked for a changing room, only to realize I had no wipes. Being at a pediatrician's office, I assumed they would have some in the bathroom, but no, and they were also out of paper towels. So, after opening individual hand sanitizer wipes and wetting toilet paper, I managed to get the job done. I put penny in any clothes I had, which were very summery, and while waiting to see the doctor, I felt such a fool seeing almost every other kid in the room bundled up in down coats and fuzzy gloves and hats and snow boots. To give me a little credit, it wasn't snowing or in anyway threatening to do so AT ALL, there was just a biting wind. Especially after growing up in Utah, that just doesn't seem like down coat weather to me. I would still be wearing flip flops to the bus stop in those winds. Anyway, to end the story Penny was perfectly healthy and happy. Doctor Hubbard even recognized me as Emily's sister (as well as the nice lady at the front desk) by my accent. (??) I didn't even know I had one of those.
Also, I need any kind of help with Penny's hair. I have no idea what to do with it. There are so many different layers of growth. I'm pretty sure it isn't going to be curly, which I am devastated about. I wanted a little curly haired girly. But obviously this baby is taking after Jeff more than me, and thus is stick with his straight hair.

And here is a little video of Penny at play. Take special notice of her sad teeth situation. Hopefully that second top tooth comes in soon...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The current events

Here is our Christmas Card this year, in case we run out of stamps/envelopes/cards. Hopefully anyone who wants one will get one. If you want to especially make sure you get one of these unique, original (no seriously, the Costco Photo employee told me so! He thought it was awesome, which was nice of him to say so. I was mostly excited that he recognized Penny and me from a drawing I did.) cards, feel free to give me your address if you think I don't have it.

These past few weeks Jeff has been working for his Aunt Jolene just a metro ride away in Virginia. She does brilliant wall murals, faux finishes and decorative paintings. Check out her incredible website. Jeff has been helping her fancy up a lobby of a ritzy apartment complex in Arlington by applying fancy plasters and paints to giant 3 story tall pillars. We are grateful for the generous paycheck, and Jeff has been working hard for it. It is nice to have some income while Jeff is still diligently looking for work. We were able to visit the DC temple (thanks to Emily and KC for babysitting!) and regain our true perspective on life. The first time we drove past this temple, and turned around the bend to see this giant structure shining and towering over the busy freeway nearly reduced me to tears.
It was just a breath of fresh air in this slightly foreign land. What a blessing it was to actually attend a session. This earthly life certainly has a way of bogging you down with silly, unimportant distractions, but it is such a comfort to know that the Lord's work is in full force. I will say it was a COMPLETELY different experience, crowd wise, than Utah where you are lucky if there is room for you in the temple (not to mention a parking space less than a mile away), and it is highly likely you will get asked to come back another time unless you are with your ward for temple night. There was probably a total of 12 people in the room. But it matters not, as the work did get done! I certainly felt the Spirit comforting and guiding me with out the busy distractions and worries of every day life buzzing around my mind.(I would like to point out that Penny does not count as a distraction or worry in my life, I was sad to be away from her the whole night.)
It really is a beautiful temple. But, the "cafeteria" is a mere vending machine in a corner in the basement. I was really looking forward to some mashed potatoes and tapioca pudding... Boo. Yet another thing to look forward to when visiting Utah.

Speaking of churchy things, we have callings in our ward. I was called to be the Young Women Secretary which I am super excited about! It is a completely different experience for me, as we have about 4-5 active YW total in our ward which is a little bit different than the 60 I was used to growing up, but it makes it more personal and fun, I think. The girls are so much fun already, and sometimes I feel more like one of them than their leader... I mean, it wasn't THAT long ago I was in their place. (I still can't get used to being called Sister Ribeira... I accidentally refer to Emily, KC and Jeff by their first names all the time to the girls. Whoops.)

As for Jeff's calling, he is now the Young Men President. There are about 4-6 young men in the ward, so it is kind of the same situation as me. Jeff is excited to help out in this area, and I am sure he will do an awesome job. Plus, if Penny goes to sleep like a good girl, we get to go to Mutual together! We already attended a Youth fireside where we watched the Christmas Devotional and ate delicious foods.

On a more Penny note, look at this awesome package that Emily and I received the other day!
I hear these are all the rage this Christmas!

*I know it appears that I am slightly abusive, but at no time was Penny actually closed inside the box, and most of the time enjoyed the funny plaything. Observe this video of how happy she was moments after the previous video was taken:

My new favorite hairstyle for Penny:
She looks so fashion forward and hip with these wee little buns atop her crown.
Obviously Ruby is in awe of their majestic splendor. Or she just thinks they are a new, fun toy and wants really badly to grab them off Pen's head. Which I am pretty sure she did moments after this picture was taken. But perhaps it was in retaliation for Penny grabbing Ruby's hair earlier. Will these girls EVER get along??!!?1??!!1!
Chill out, y'all, they're really best friends. I just wanted to show you that killer awesome face Ruby made.

Also, how can I get any work done with Penny doing THIS:
Hasn't she learned her lesson about playing with mommy's laptop? The good news was that the project I was working on was Emily's Christmas card, and it turned out cuter than cute, despite Penny's attempts to thwart my efforts.

We discovered that just like her parents, Penny loves the TV! You know, because most kids hate tv... Ok, so we don't truly let her watch that much, just perhaps a Blue's Clues or Spongebob while she is still waking up and eating. (By the way, I can usually guess what Blue is trying to tell us all on the very first clue. I am going to put it on my resume. Take that, Steve.)
This is Penpoop's favorite chair. Just LOOK how happy she is! She will just sit there happy as can be. Though, that may be because it is extremely difficult to move around once you have sunken into that chair. Whatever makes her happy, though.

We also just love watching fun educational films for a special treat upstairs with Emily. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Wild About Books will always hold a special place in my heart. Five Creatures on the other hand... Those illustrations just rub me the wrong way.

So, there is an update. I am sure I left some things out. OH! Like how it was so fun to have mom come stay here, and she was so kind to supply me with some new, very much needed boots. Mother, I wear them literally every day. Also, I am having just a blast with Emily even still. We laugh ourselves to tears countless times a day. We are working our way through every season of Project Runway (we are now on season 4) and even got mom into it a little bit. I have been so inspired lately to take up fashion design. I have done some water colors of fashions the past few days, perhaps I will scan them in when I feel like it. Now I just need to learn how to sew. What I would REALLY like to do is go to Fashion Design School, but after a glance at one term's tuition ($18,000+) I decided that perhaps being self taught is the way to go, eh? I learned photoshop and illustrator that way, didn't I? Unless someone feels the urge to donate $100,000 to my future in fashion. Anyone? Anyone??

That is all.