Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An Update on Our Lives

Okay, most people know that Jared is working at Stanley, Frank, and Rose this summer. It's a small private firm in Houston. Jared is loving his work! He's been doing a lot of real world things: research, memos, more research. He's met some very interesting people too: a congressman, an ex pro basketball player, and some others. Plus, he ended up getting paid. Which is wonderful because it means that we won't have to borrow money this summer, and it also means that we can pay our dentist bill.

Saturday, Jared and I went to the dentist. It was the first time for me in 3 years and the first time for Jared in about 7. And since we don't have dental insurance, it's out of pocket. We paid for our cleanings and in July we go back for 2 fillings (Jared) and a crown (Me). Ouch! That will hurt the pocketbook. But you can't buy a new smile, so I guess it's worth it.

I've loved being near my cousin Emily and my best friend Jennifer and her family. Luke and I visit Grandma Debbi and Grandpa Terry pretty frequently, and so they keep me from going crazy. And now that my mom is on break for a month, Luke and I have more entertainment. It's nice just to have company. I tried going to a neighborhood play group this morning at our neighborhood pool. It was good and bad. Luke spent most of the time either running away from the kiddie pool and trying to jump in the big pool or trying to maul the new babies that were resting in their car seats. So we didn't stay for very long.

Other things about me: I cut my hair and added "swish" bangs. I think it was a mistake. It's a lot hotter. I think it looks better, but they semi drive me crazy. Also, I am so happy that when I step on a scale, I FINALLY see a 2 in the second digit. That makes me very happy. So my news and what's going on is not all that exciting.

For Jared: His research is getting published July 2nd in Healthcare for Women International. He is the main writer for the article, and he will soon be featured on the BYU homepage. He may even appear in other newspapers. I am so proud of him! Also, he found out that he did better this semester, so he was really pleased with his school year. I know he'd kill me if I brag about him too much, but I'm just so glad. And some of you know that Jared had committed not to study on Sunday this last sememster. It was a sacrifice for Jared, and it's inspiring and humbling to see the blessings that flow from following the Lord's commandments. It makes us thing of King Benjamin reminding us that we can never repay the Lord for all the blessings he gives to us.

For Luke: His new favorite word is Jaboowie. I guess his fish should be glad that he wasn't saying that all the time when he was getting named. Sibit is much more dignified that Jaboowie. He also now knows where his toes are and his bellybutton. He learned those two really fast and has gone on a brain freeze in learning anything else. But Luke has always had his own timetable. He's a lot of fun.

We miss our family and friends who are not with us. Hope you all are having a great summer!

Happy Father's Day!

Well, it was either a shirt or aftershave. We went with a shirt.

Top Ten Things I Love About My Dad:
1. I know that he loves me-- well all of us really. And this is how I know: he came to every dance recital, competition, sports event, etc. He would even take off work to go to Michael's cross country meets. He had a stopwatch at every swim team meet, and he would bring binoculars to the football games so that he could see me better. Also: He made sure to support what we wanted to do. He helped us with school, activities, and church activities and assignments. Finally: I know that he loves us by the ways he looks at us. He has a special smile for his kids. And a VERY special smile for his grandkids.

2. He is so organized. He keeps attach of his own finances, as well as my taxes, and Grammy's taxes. That takes a lot of patience and dedication.

3. He has an amazing sense of duty. Dad doesn't think about whether or not he wants to do something that he had to do: he just does it. This is especially true when it comes to duties in the gospel. He will go to church meetings without complaining, stay and clean up chairs, visit people, whatever. If it comes to the gospel: he won't complain.

4. He let us have a dog: finally. It took forever to wear him down, but finally, he gave in. By then he had waited until we were pretty much leaving home and he and mom got stuck with the dog completely, but he finally gave us what we had begged for for years. But this is the really great part. While I was on my mission Riley got really sick. He had been having seizures for a few years, but this was a really bad one. He was paralized in the back yard. My mom and Amber found him, but Dad helped get him into the car. Mom took him to the doggie emergency room, and she thought they would have to put him to sleep. But Dad was the one who decided to wait. For a few years, at least, he bought Riley some time. And since I know he didn't really care about the dog... this goes back to #1.

5. He likes the Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel, and country music. That's just cool.

6. My Dad likes to travel. We went on cool vacations every year. Once we went to Williamsburg, Virginia. I remembered that I liked it. That's one reason I pushed for William & Mary. And now that he can go pretty much anywhere he wants. Do you know where he goes? He plans his trips around temples and baseballs. Quirky I know. But that's my Dad.

7. My Dad walks around the house shooting baskets and throwing pitches. It's just funny, and it's one of the things I will always remember about him.

8. My Dad doesn't care about money or things. It's a very admirable quality; one that I admire a lot. He could buy pretty much anything that he wants, but he doesn't want. That in and of itself proves that he's a wonderful person.

9. My Dad has an amazing level of commitment. I guess this goes with #4 a little, but it's more than that. I know he would never give up on anything that is important to him. And so since his family and the church (maybe his job?) are the most important things to him, I know that his priorities and efforts will always be focused on those things. Not because we are his duty, but because we are his loves.

10. He's my Dad. That's my very favorite thing about him.

Houston Zoo

About 2 weeks ago, my mom and I took Luke to the Houston Zoo. It was a nice afternoon out. When I first got to Houston, Luke and I spent a lot of time inside and hanging out just the two of us. I was starting to go crazy being cooped up, so when Mom didn't have to go to work, I jumped at the chance to do something fun.

I think this was the small animal house. The exibits were really nice, and Luke loved being able to run from window to window. We kept him leashed. I think in this picture they were looking at otters, but since I can't see the animal, I'm not sure.

Checking out the giraffes.

The carosel was fun for Luke. He was too wiggly to stay on an animal though. We posed for this picture, and then we moved to the bench. Luke liked watching the animals going up and down.

I know why Skyler cried in his groundhog picture. It was quite the struggle getting to the dome. You have to crawl through a pretty narrow, low tunnel. And since Luke wouldn't cooperate I had to lay on my back, put him on my stomach, and then push us to the opening using just my legs. I feel sorry for anyone who was looking from the entrance. The things I do just to get a blog picture. Ridiculous!

Luke's favorite part of the zoo was the petting zoo in the children's section. It mostly had goats, but it also had one old sheep that I think was suffering from heat exhaustion.

Luke liked to come right up the goats, but he wouldn't touch them.

Thanks, Mima, for a fun trip!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Seeing Double

Those of you who have been follwing the blog or who know Luke in person will also have seen or met his blankie. It's amazing how fast that blanket has gotten ratty, and it's also amazing to find out how critical it is to Luke's happiness and ability to function. He will not sleep without it. He won't even go several hours without it. It's one of those things that we couldn't survive without.

So I was ecstatic when, during our first week here, I went to Baby Depot to get a booster seat and saw an identical blanket!

The new one is on the left. It's a little brighter and not as worn, but it's the same blanket.
I was especially happy to find it at that particular moment because Luke had just dropped his blanket in the parking lot and the day before dragged it around a playground, and it was pretty filthy. So I pulled off the tags and tried to do a swap as soon as we got home. He picked it up, smelled it, and dropped it on the floor. He would have none of it! That little stinker could tell it wasn't the real McCoy! I would try little experiments by putting both of them down in front of him, and he would always choose his old one. I tried hiding his old one and only giving him the new one, but he didn't want it and would cry.
Then I got smart. Or so I thought. I washed both of them, and put them both in his crib: that way they would both smell the same. It worked kind of. As long as he could only see one he would accept whichever one was given him or that he could find.
Luke with the new blanket
But this is the "kind of" part. Luke has now figured out that there are two. And at times he wants/demands BOTH. He tries to carry both around, and they get tangled around on his feet. What I've started doing is leaving one in his bed and letting one be his travel around the house blanket. That way they both keep his smell and such, but one is always clean enough to sleep with. Although to be honest, he usually sleeps with both.
I have to say, though, that I LOVE his blanket attachment. It's the only thing about him that reminds me of me. I'm glad he has some part of me in there somewhere. Man, I love that kid!

Another Haircut

Jared was a fan of Luke's hippie do. But I thought he looked like a little homeless beggar. I liked how his hair would curl but having to continually brush it out of his eyes drove me (and him) crazy. So Mima gave Luke a haircut on Saturday (or was it Friday?).

The "before" front view

The "before" back view

This time Luke did a lot better during his haircut. He still wasn't wonderful at sitting still, but I gave him an open box of crackers, his juice cup, and his shape toys as well as putting on a Baby Einstein video. He even smiled a little during the process. And no tears!

He didn't like having his ears touched though. He kept jerking away to try and look at what was happening.

I know this is actually a pretty ugly picture, but I also thought it looked too funny not to put on the blog.
Being the goofy person that I am I forgot to take a finished after shot, but since I'm blogging in reverse order until I catch up, you can scroll down and see what he looks like now. His new haircut has him looking like a much older cutie. He doesn't look like a baby anymore!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Jared's Birthday

For Jared's birthday (June 3) we went to eat at Los Cucos: one of the best Mexican restaurants in Houston. Maybe THE best.

The Birthday Boy

We all liked the food.

Luke, especially, had a good time. First of all, the ceiling was covered with ceiling fans. There were probably at least 8 in the room where we were seated. And then to top it off, Mima had delicious rice right in arm's reach.


Luke really loved cutting it and then smashing it into the table and throwing it onto the floor. I wish I'd left a tip for the bus boy...

I bought Jared a Tres Leches cake which is the best cake in the world and his favorite to boot. We only just finished it tonight. What a great 5 days!

My Old Stomping Ground

Mom Herrera works at Wilson elementary where I went to school for 2nd-5th grade. I went up on Tuesday to say hi and caught a glimpse of my second grade teacher who was by far and away my favorite teacher of all time. Since she was with her class, I didn't get to talk, so I dragged Luke back up to the school on Thursday after school was out to say hi and thanks.

Mrs. Hutchins and I

Mrs. Hutchins is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to become a teacher. She was so important to me during that critical time in my life when I had just moved from California and was just starting to come out of my shy shell. She praised me and loved me and I loved her too. I remember that my mom let me invite her over one Sunday morning to have muffins at our house. When she came, she brought me a cactus. Man, I loved that cactus. But know that I remember it, I don't think it lived that long. I probably watered it to death.
It was so fun to see her and to tell her that I remembered her and appreciated her. What a great lady!

Astros Game

On Saturday (June 6) Jared and I took advantage of live in baby-sitting for the first time and made Dad take us to an Astros game at Minute Maid Stadium.

We parked at least 10 blocks from the stadium in order to save 10 bucks on parking (Dad's idea). And then we hiked up who knows how many stairs to the cheap seats. But since the stadium was (obviously by the picture below) not full, we got to move around to find better seats once we were in.

I'm admittedly not much of a sports watcher. The problem is that even when I stare at the field I don't process anything. I saw a couple of outs and I watched Pence hit a home run in the first inning, but most of the time I was just peppering Jared with ," What just happened?"

Jared was all pumped to catch a fly ball. I told him one wouldn't come that high, but all the same, he emptied out the camera bag so he'd have a good place to catch a ball should one come. And he swore that if it did, he'd get on ESPN. No such luck. Can you believe a ball didn't end up in the cheap seats? That must be the first time in history that didn't happen. Better luck next time.

Jared had to take 3 pictures before I was relatively happy with how I turned out. All the same, after seeing so many beautiful women walking around the stadium with their hair all cute, I'm dying for a haircut this week. Time for an overhaul.

And on a rant: I'm a Mac. Love my mac. And Jared's computer is confusing to me. iPhoto is my friend, and I've lost my friend. I can't figure out how to rotate pictures, edit pictures, or even for that matter how to download pictures on Jared's computer, so... Since the pictures of Jared and my Dad were all vertical but downloaded horizontally, he doesn't make an appearance. Just be reassured that he was there and seemed to have a good time. Even without the nachos.

Grandma Debbi and Grandpa Terry

My best friend Jennifer and I spent so much time together at her house over the years from elementary school and way beyond that her parents are my surrogate parents. I call them Mom and Dad, and they introduce me to everyone as their stepdaughter which leads to some explanations. (No they are not on their second marriage, etc. etc.) Anyway, they are now surrogate grandparents to Luke. And tonight (June 7) we went over to have fruit pizza and chat.

Luke was pretty infatuated with their weiner dog, Annabelle. Luckily she was pretty friendly, and she even let Luke touch her a few times.

Luke had to go home early for bed, so he missed seeing Jennifer, but pictures of him with his "aunt" will soon follow.

It's been great for me to see Jennifer the few times we seen each other so far. Tonight she had us crying from laughing so hard as she told us about all the losers she's found on lds link up. From what I heard, I don't recommend it. One guy actually listed making-out as one of his hobbies! Great family guy do you think?