What a Weekend!

This was a very important weekend, and it was great, might I add. On Thursday evening Jeff’s sister received her own endowment. All of his family was there. I could just see his mom and dad bursting their buttons with pride as they saw all of their children in the temple for the first time.

Thursday night my dad and Harriet came into town. This was Rachel’s first chance to meet her other grandpa, but she slept instead. Now the next morning, however, Rachel discovered the joys of pulling the pens out of Grandpa’s pocket, yanking on his arm hair, and pulling his glasses off.
We spent Friday just hanging out and goofing off. I took advantage of the babysitters in the house to get (just a little) work done around the house. Rachel is sometimes not very cooperative, you know. Friday night we watched Sense and Sensibility (the 2008 BBC version). I liked it. It is a three-hour TV miniseries. They made it different enough for me to not feel like I was just watching a different version of the same movie, and they stayed fairly true to the book. They definitely portrayed more of the characters that were overlooked in the 1995 version.

On Saturday morning, I put Rachel on the floor in the kitchen while I was making waffles, and the first thing Rachel did was find Scout’s water dish. Have I ever mentioned that Rachel likes water? I mean really likes it. She splashed the water all over the kitchen floor.

Of course Saturday was a special day, but it was not the day we got ready for Sunday. We cleaned the house and we shopped at the store so we wouldn’t have to work until Monday. We did trim our nails and we shampooed our hair, so we could be ready for the temple. The lyrics don’t work perfectly, but that’s OK.

Sunday was a special day too. Her daddy held her in his arms, along his dad, his brothers, brother-in-law, uncle, and my dad, and gave her a name and a blessing. It was beautiful, and she was beautiful. I don’t know if she planned it, but Rachel did not take a nap Sunday morning (which is kind of unusual), so by the time we got to church she was pretty tired. She managed to hold on until the beginning of Sacrament, but she was getting kind of fussy. Tricia took her out and got her to sleep, so that when it was time for the blessing she was completely zonked out. (Zonked out means sound asleep.) It’s just as well, because she didn’t wiggle at all during her blessing, and when she gets wiggly, she is hard to hold, so I think it made life a little easier for Jeff. Good job Rachel. After Sacrament meeting we went outside a took a picture of all of the men who stood in the blessing circle, as well as the guest of honor.

With Dad being here, Jeff and I did the honorable thing and gave up our bed so that the old folks could have a comfortable place to lay their heads. We took the air mattress in the basement. I think Scout liked it because it made coming and going much easier. He can’t quite jump up on the bed, but he has no trouble getting on the air mattress.
You can see that Rachel has learned her “zonked out” skills from her mommy!

Our Sealing

What a day this has been! Today Rachel was sealed to us. It was a beautiful experience. Most of my family live far away and were not able to be here, so this post has a lot of pictures for them.

We started the day with waffles. I believe in my heart that special occasions should be celebrated with waffles. Rachel didn’t have any, but she had some peaches. Those are good too.

We arrived at the temple at 12:30. We were met there by Marlene and Gary whose job it was to take care of Rachel while Jeff and I were getting our paperwork taken care of. We snapped a few pictures (of course).

While Jeff and I were getting ready, Rachel got ready too. She wore a beautiful white dress that was made (that would be custom-made) just for her by Sister Nixon. I just about fainted when I saw her in it. She was gorgeous!

The sealing was pretty quick, but we did have to wait for a few minutes, and Rachel was so good. She entertained everybody with her delightful singing. We were so glad to have our family and friends there. Jeff’s mom and dad and his grandparents were there, along with his sister aunt Tricia, her husband uncle Jarrod, his brother uncle Paul and his wife aunt Andrea, his brother uncle Brian, and his sister aunt Michelle. My dad and his wife Harriet came from Utah to be there. Other extended family came, as well as some of our dear friends.

My dad and Harriet

Rachel is just chillin’ in the temple lobby while she waits.
Steve and Gary
Marlene took great care of Rachel.
Marlene was entrusted with the important job of getting Rachel dressed. Nice job Mar!
Rachel and Holly
This is a different look for Brian.
Emma, aunt Jenny, uncle Bob, Jarrod
Brian, Andrea, Paul, Dad (mine)
Harriet, Mom (Jeff’s)

After the sealing was over we went outside for some more picture taking. We were happy that the weather stayed nice for us!

Jeff’s grandfather performed the sealing.

That is such a pretty dress!
Did you ever see a more beautiful baby?

What is she trying to tell me here?

Rachel with my dad.
All of Jeff’s family was there.

Finally we went to Jeff’s parents’ house for a cookout. We ate hamburgers, chips, soda, and derby pie. Those who stuck around long enough watched the Preakness Stakes where Big Brown dominated the field and won easily. (Stay tuned for my always exciting coverage of Big Brown’s quest to win the triple crown.) We will be sure to have a triple crown party.

Finally we went home and rested. It was a great day. I couldn’t possibly be happier.

More Rachel Cuteness!

Can anyone tell that I’m getting excited for the Derby? Today Rachel wore her new Derby dress that she got as a present from her aunt Luella. (You know, the pink one that I don’t have a hat to match.) Jeff decided to match her and wore his Derby tie. So here they are in their cute Derby attire.

Today in church Rachel demonstrated her ability to sing while blowing razzberries. She spent most of the sacrament portion of the meeting (you know, the supposedly quiet time) singing through her razzberries. I guess it wasn’t the most reverent behavior, but it was funny. She got a lot of comments on her singing ability. Suz called it her froggy sound. We managed to catch her repeating the skill while we ate dinner. Here it is:

Warm and sunny

With such beautiful weather Rachel and I decided to enjoy some time in the back yard and get some work (or whatever) done in the garden. Does taking pictures count as working in the garden?

Remember nearly a month ago I took some pictures of the garden? Well, these past few weeks have seen some changes. Here is my lilac stick (or as some people call it, a bush). That’s Rachel in the background.

This is what will be going in my garden very soon. There are six tomato plants, 1 green pepper, and some marigolds. Marigolds are supposed to be good for keeping out bugs, so I plan to strategically place them around the garden.

Here is my blackberry bush. I haven’t seen any blossoms yet, but it is getting some nice leaves on it. Hopefully the blossoms will show up soon.

Here are my burning bushes. I love these things in the fall when they turn red. Red is my favorite color.

Here is my Rachel blossoming in the back yard. She is growing like a weed, but the kind of weed we like.

Fun visit with family

I am so lucky because I have family visiting this weekend. On Friday afternoon my brother Brennan and his wife Tammy arrived from Utah, then today (Saturday) my sister Luella, her husband Tony, and their two boys Nicholas and Michael got here from Long Island. We got together at the boyscout fund raiser spaghetti dinner, then we went to Holly’s and had fondue (with Paul and Andrea, and Gary and Marlene). We had the Wii going like crazy, and we sat around and visited. Good times for one and all.

This morning I went to a consignment sale and picked up some clothes and toys for Rachel. At least she will be dressed and entertained for another few months! She is growing so fast (outgrowing her clothes), I had to do something. Now that the weather is warmer and she weighs 21 (or so) lbs., I figured it was time to get some warm weather clothes and stuff. We also got some tub toys. She loves her bath time, so now she will love it even more.

Tomorrow at church we are playing a musical number. Luella, Brennan, Nicholas and Michael are all playing the violin, and I am playing the piano, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Stay tuned for the results. We haven’t had much chance to practice together, so here is hoping that it turns out okay.

Rachel’s Piano Debut

And now, live from her very own living room, just a few (figurative) steps away from Carnegie Hall, I have the privilege and pleasure on introducing a promising young new artist on the musical scene, playing an original composition entitled “Playtime,” let’s hear it for Rachel!

Notice, if you will, the skill with which Rachel implements the techniques of 20th century composition. She employs the atonal melodies and dissonent harmonies of the Second Viennese school and the vocal techniques of Arnold Schoenberg, but has taken these ideas and modernized them for the 21st century in which she lives and works. There is a rhythmic complexity here that we have not seen since the Renaissance and the isorhythm utilized by Guillaume de Machaut. She has researched the compositions of Béla Bartók, and while he was most well known for implementing the peasant music of his native Hungary into the concert repertoire, Rachel takes these same techniques to investigate the rustic charm of the innocence of youth.

Finally some sunshine

We had a very nice weekend. Finally some sunshine.

Speaking of sunshine, that is Rachel’s new nickname. Here’s how I came to it – Rachel –> Ray Ray –> Ray –> Ray of Sunshine –> Sunshine. So that’s it. Besides, she is my sunshine, even on rainy days.

Here are a couple of cute pics of my little Sunshine:

Some exciting gardening news, I have little tiny baby lettuce plants. I can just taste the fresh garden salad. Mmmmm. And just think of the BLTs that come from my garden. The only problem is that I haven’t been able to find any bacon seeds to plant.

More Baby Food

It was Monday that I first attempted to feed Rachel anything other than formula or cereal. Both Tuesday and Wednesday Jeff was in charge of Rachel’s dinner, so you will have to talk to him about any feeding observations he had. Tonight (Thursday) I fed Rachel her dinner again. This time I mixed the squash with cereal. I don’t know if that is legal or not, but Rachel did eat it better, although I wouldn’t describe her approach as particularly enthusiastic, but it was more successful. She did join the “Clean Plate” club that my parents were so fond of. I’m not sure if I got more food down her outside or her inside, but at least the bowl was empty when I finished.

Back in the olden days, when Rachel just consumed formula, her feeding only took 10 minutes at most. Tonight, however, it took over 40 minutes to finish her dinner.

Just random stuff

I’m putting this picture up again for two reasons. Reason #1 is that it is so cute I don’t want it buried under several other posts. Really everyone should see it. Reason #2 is that Jeff took out her red-eye. He used the Gimp which is kind of like Photoshop, but it’s free. (See Jeff’s blog for a list of free, very useful programs.)

So how is everybody’s bracket coming along? So far I’ve picked 13 of 16 correctly. That’s pretty good, but history says it won’t last. I’m notorious for choking down the stretch.

Update on my book project:

I’ve mentioned that I am writing a book of baby songs. I am finished with the first draft, and it is currently at my editor. (You didn’t know I had an editor did you?) Hey Holly, did you know you were my editor?

Now I need pictures to illustrate the book. Below is a list of categories that the pictures should be about:

baby in the morning
baby with mommy
baby with daddy
baby with grandma
baby with grandpa
baby with aunts, uncles and cousins
baby with doggy
baby playing with toys
baby at church
baby taking a nap
baby as princess (girl)
baby as prince (boy)
baby getting a diaper change
baby in the bath
baby getting ready for bed

The size of the photo doesn’t really matter. I (or rather Jeff) can always make it meet my specifications. (Right, Jeff?) The only thing is that I would like the pictures to be of babies less than 1 year old. I would like 3 or 4 pictures per category. Thanks for your help.

Here is another cute picture of Rachel with a couple of her friends (two of my piano students).
Anybody besides me ecstatic to see the sun again? I was just about FINISHED with the rain. The Beatles summed up my feelings pretty will with this song:

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all right
It’s all right