Saturday, January 29, 2011

It feels like it has been 2011 for ages now.

Last week Jeff and I decided to splurge a wee bit and try out Restaurant Week in DC to celebrate his recent employment. Basically you pay a flat rate per person and try out the best things on the menu of the restaurant of your choice (that is participating.) So, after doing some research, Jeff decided on
It is Greek/Middle Eastern cuisine. I am sure Jeff will write a very detailed review about our experience, but it was delicious and worth every penny! It was so fun to dress up and ride the metro into the heart of DC and go to a fancy restaurant. (I usually judge places by how fancy their bathrooms are, and these were fan-ceeeee.) Anyway, it was tapas style, and we each got 5 courses as well as endless fresh pita bread, so we were stuffed! We tried such a range of delicious things from humus, grilled lamb and chicken, fried eggplant, short ribs, chicken salad, pasta, skewers of chicken and onions with garlic yogurt sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. And of course, our dessert was fantastic. Jeff had a walnut ice cream with fancy sauces, and I had a little yogurt and apricot with cream dish. I can't wait until the next restaurant week!

Jeff brought up the good point that if you aren't wearing a black trench coat on the metro or downtown, you look completely out of place. So hopefully we fit right in wearing this get-up. I wish I had been wearing 2 trench coats, it was FREEZING!
We are finally getting a taste of what real life is like. Jeff is mostly sad, because by the time he gets home, Penny's bedtime is only 1 hour away. I guess that is what makes the weekend so valuable. Here is Jeff snuggling with Penny in their precious time together. Looks like it is nearly Jeff's bedtime as well.
Now, about our child. She is rapidly developing her little personality. Recently, she has started snuggling dollies (much like unto Ruby's doll snuggling) and enjoys watching shows such as Wonder Pets and Blues Clues. In fact, she now says, "Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaahh!" With the theme song of WP. "Goooo Wonderpets, Yeah!" She also has started saying, "Uh oh..." quite a lot. It started out mostly with her saying, "oh" over and over again, with her mouth as round as she could possibly get it. I surely have a picture of her making that face, it makes Em and I laugh every time. She is starting to be a little show off as well, rolling around and playing with toys to make us laugh. And of course we are happy to oblige.

I caught her playing with her car the other day. She like to make car noises when she plays with them, it is just precious:

It is rare when Penny will simply play while I film her. She always wants to grab the camera and eat it, so this is just a precious gem. My favorite part is just before 2 minutes, when she realizes I am filming, and starts cheesing it up. I am so proud.

So, with Jeff at work all day, we have to think of ways to occupy ourselves. On the only warm day of the winter so far, Pen and I went to the park:
Penny also loves trying out new things. Like getting tied up in this canvas bag.
I also like trying new things, like having 4 babies sit on me at once. How many of you out there can honestly say you have done that? If you haven't, I recommend it.
We are also constantly entertained by Pen's ridiculous faces. If we are fortunate, we are able to capture them:
Emily thinks that Penny's teeth are hilarious and unsightly (she doesn't think the latter, but sometimes I like to joke that they are. In reality, they are cute and quirky.) We laughed really hard when I accidentally took this beauty, while Penny was doing her infamous whining face.
So, in conclusion, obviously we find ways to entertain ourselves through the long days, but we are always anxiously watching the clock, waiting for Jeff to come home. Here is Penny with giant glasses on:

A few other things to note recently:
-People on the east coast FREAK OUT about snow. The weather people on the news really like to hype up these winter storms. So far, we have had about 5 different SEVERE, INSANE, END OF THE WORLD snow storm warnings, and we had perhaps one day where it was any kind of inconvenience. It if snows an inch here, EVERYTHING shuts down. It makes me wonder why our schools in Utah wouldn't shut down when we would get 2 feet of snow...

-Emily introduced me to the concept of renting DVDs from the library. This is my favorite thing yet! FREE DVD rentals! Including so many TV series and new releases. We can reserve everything online, then drive the very short distance to our local branch to pick them up. Awesome!

-I recently have watched two new shows. Raising Hope and Parks and Recreation. I have enjoyed both of them much, much more than I thought I would, and can't wait to see more! They are so hilarious, and something to look forward during my long, motherly days.

-They just opened a Little Caesars next to Aldi! It isn't the BEST pizza, but it helps me feel a little less homesick knowing I can zip over and get a hot and ready, just like old times.

-I am wondering when I will feel like an east coast resident. I still feel like I am on some kind of extended vacation, mainly because I am having so much fun with Emily and her babies (and recently mom as well). I am starting to know my way around all the insanely ridiculous maze of freeways and beltways and parkways and highways. I miss having ONE freeway to use. Good ol' I-15... But I can get to Costco, Target and most importantly, the mall, by myself, so I feel like I am doing ok.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A good start

I think everyone can agree that a sleeping baby is such a heartwarming sight (especially after a day of bad naps and naughty crying-for-no-reason). Recently, Penny likes to sleep with her bum up in the air. This picture doesn't do a very good job of capturing the angle, but it is up there! Hee hee.
She has started saying words lately! I think one of the main influences in her sudden vocabulary is definitely the time spent with Alex, Bennett and Ruby, and their chattering ways. They also teach her things, such as stampeding towards the door as soon as it is open.
(Doesn't this picture just want to snuggle each and every one of these babies?)

But her speech is coming along. Most recently, she has moved on from "DA!" and "muh muh" to "ball!" See this video:

I was excited to tell Emily that I would be in charge of dinner last Friday, since she usually invites us up to help them eat their bounty. I decided to make borsche, since it had been a while, and it was a particularly cold day. The recipe that we use wants us to cook the beef on the stove for 2 hours before adding the rest of the soup. So, we thought we would let it cook while we quickly ran to the store to grab a few last minute ingredients. As we headed out, I told Emily if she smelled anything, we just left the meat simmering downstairs, and not to worry about it.

On our way home, I called up Em and asked if she would check on our pot. As she headed downstairs, I heard, "Oh no! Oh no oh no oh no!"

I panicked and thought I had started a fire, and burned our apartment down! How could it be? We had the stove on so low, and there was so much water in the pot! But alas, this is what was left...
Well, I think Emily caught it just before it would have burst into flames. Thank goodness she was there. Our apartment was filled with smoke, and smelled like charred beef (ironically, I had picked up some febreze at the store, as if I knew this would happen.) I was so depressed that my beet craving would go unsatisfied, but finally decided that the only way I would feel better is by making the soup. So, I scrubbed the pot, and we started again with the other half of left over beef, and a delicious dinner was had by all! And we still have an apartment as well! That is the last time I let anything simmer unmonitored...
While shopping at Target today, I found one of these little beauties:
Why is this so great? I always have wanted a sleeping mask because as long as I can remember, I would cover up alarm clocks with stuffed animals, or bright CD player LCD displays with black t-shirts to block out the light. I will get up in the night to cover up the little monitor light on the desk because it bothers me so much. It is rather silly, I know, especially since we all must close our eyes to go to sleep, but it is just one of those things I have to do. Perhaps this mask is the answer? Even if it isn't, with lashes like that, I can finally stop putting on mascara before bed (I don't really do that...)! (Also, it reminded me of Matilda a little bit, when she is sneaking around her parents' bedroom, and her mom is wearing that crazy eyes mask.)

Jeff started his job today! He came back very excited and eager to go back! It appears to be a very professional work place, but still very personal and easy going. I think this job will be very beneficial for him with gaining experience and learning more about the government and current events around the world as well as associating with professional people in the government. He also works literally next to the White House. He walks right past it to get to his office! How's that for downtown D.C.?

Anyway, that is all I can think of to say right now. So, here is a random video of Penny that I don't think I have ever posted. It made me giggle a little bit:

Monday, January 10, 2011

A New Start for the New Year

First things first, Jeff got a job! And it is one that he is really looking forward to and is excited to get started. It is a paid internship with, a social networking site for government employees. Jeff talked to the company owners, and we have a really good feeling about this opportunity. They seems like genuine, down to earth people who really like what they do, and have been so welcoming and nice to Jeff. He starts a week from today, and will work in an office in downtown DC, a few blocks from the White House! Which means, he will be able to hop on the metro and avoid all the terrible DC traffic, as well as save some gas money. Thank heavens for the Metro station that is so, so close to us. Anyway, we are so thankful for this opportunity, Jeff is really enthusiastic about the work, and is happy to have something that he is interested in and is excited about, rather than just working to pay the bills. We also know that this will eventually lead to bigger and better opportunities. After all, landing an awesome job is all about networking, right? (and knowing we can start saving money again is a major perk as well.) Good job, Jeff, for working so hard these past few months to provide for your family. We love you. But of course, we must pay credit where it is due. These unpredictable times are reminders that we constantly need to feel God's love and be faithful and active, and it was our relationship with God that comforted us the most during these hard, scary times. Where would we be without a Heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally?

As for Christmas, it was a very nice, calm celebration. It was a little weird, I must admit, to wake up and have to decide for ourselves when to open presents since we were the only ones around.

The best news was that Santamin came!
Here's the proof:Having a baby made Christmas much more interesting. She is just old enough to get excited about all the new toys we bought her, as well as the giant haul that Jeff's parents sent, which essentially saved our Christmas! They sent us so many toys and gadgets and movies for Penny, she is just in baby heaven. We loved the cute hats and shirts and outfits as well from Penny's Aunts. Thanks for all the presents everyone (mom, those slippers are my favorite)! Emily and KC surprised us with a couple of movie tickets (which she informed me that babysitting was included-bonus!) and Ryan and Gaylynn drew our names this year in the Ribeira family, and gave us one of our favorite card games called Quiddler, the Lion House Cookbook (delish!) and some very cute baby toys for Penny, which she just loves.
This was Penny's Christmas.

Jeff surprised me with this little prize:
It is LOST: The complete Collection on Blu-ray. Jeff was so excited about it, he was like a little kid on... Christmas. We are re-watching season 6 again, and then will probably start back at the beginning. It really is a great show. I can't wait until we're older, and freak out when we find out our kids have never seen LOST, and make them sit through the whole series. But I am sure by then, they will think it is boring because of the lack of 3D and smell-o-vision, and the graphics will be laughable, but the stories are timeless, so there, bratty future kids.

Jeff surprised me also with a subscription to Vogue magazine to support my fashion design endeavors. I am trying to immerse myself in fashion and designers to better understand the fashion world in hopes that someday I will get better at sewing and actually produce my future collection. We'll see. For now, I am a little traumatized to learn that skinny jeans and jeggings are out. Blast, I just recently started feeling comfortable wearing them. What is the point of all this weight loss now?
We had an amazing breakfast with the Robinsons, and then had a party with the babies. Those kids were so, so excited about all their toys. Look, you can see Ruby peeking through the chair!
We ended the evening by taking the short 25 minute drive to Jeff's Aunt Jolene's house in Virginia for some delicious dinner, good conversation, and hilarious games. We laughed ourselves to tears. Penny just slept in the pack-n-play while we had a marvelous time. Thanks again Jolene for your wonderful hospitality, we are forever grateful.

So, Christmas was great in our little Maryland home. We look forward to future Christmases, busy and fun with family and friends, but for this first Christmas, it was fun to just be our little family together. Speaking of which, I hear Penny stirring in her crib. Better take care of that.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy New Year

I promise I will get around to a Christmas post, because we did have a very, merry Christmas. But I first wanted to bring to your attention a few things:

My new online portfolio. This was long past due, since I didn't really have a professional place to send potential customers to for samples of my artwork. Anyway, as always, it is a work in progress, but here is the beginnings:

So, if you have anybody who needs any design services, feel free to send them my way.

Also, here is a picture of my Penny Lou.