31 December 2011

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all the best in 2012 from us and our friends!  Best Party Ever!

27 December 2011

Big Kids for Christmas

I might get around to posting about our other Christmas festivities, but at the moment I'll just share 3 things about my kids and how big they're getting.  Honestly, where did the time go?  Wasn't Sariah just 3?  Wasn't Bryson just born?  

First:  Sariah got a bike for Christmas.  She's very excited about it, while she was sad that it was Sunday so we wouldn't let her go out immediently, she has been out on her bike both yesterday and today.  (How fortuitous that its been a super mild winter so far here and there's no snow.  Doug has been teaching her the hand signals and how to brake.  If the weather holds up, she might ride her bike everyday.  I know she's going to love it once it gets warmer!

Why yes, there is a princess crown on her helmet, was there ever any doubt she'd need one?
 Other new things Sariah likes to do: 

Sing, she was front and center when the primary sang on Sunday, and she at least moved her mouth like she knew the words, I know she knew the first two lines.  

Sound out words, she's really close to reading those words herself.  Often if you pick out a word for her to find and help her sound it out, she can find it on the page.  Another favorite present for Christmas was 6 Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems.  

Crafts, before 4K, she wasn't very interested in sitting down with me and making crafts, but on Christmas eve while Bryson was napping we did all kinds of paper and bead crafts.  Its fun to see her develop her creative side.

 In Bryson news, I swear he's picked up about a thousand new words in the last two weeks.  He'll repeat practically everything you say.  With Sariah almost ready to read, we've been able to help Bryson learn new words as well.  We're working on colors at the moment since he knows most the objects around the house.  He's still a big fan of the knock, knock joke, he even told the Interrupting Cow joke correctly the other day!

As a very early birthday gift (so my mom could sleep on it while she was here) we got Bryson a big boy bed. He's been running around the house telling everyone about it since it came the Tuesday before Christmas.  ("Bed! Bed!" means come and lay down on it with me.)  Tonight is the first night he's actually sleeping on it.
So he doesn't totally have a grasp on how this works yet...

I imagine he'll figure it out eventually.  I pulled the covers back up around him when I snuck in to take this photo.  Isn't he cute?  

The bed isn't the only grown up things Bryson did today.  He also got his first real haircut at Great Clips.  Both he and Doug needed a hair cut so we went in.  He wasn't totally happy about it, but he did sit in Daddy's lap and let the lady cut his hair without too much fuss.  I think it looks pretty handsome now (sorry about the ipod quality photos...)

I feel like I got big kids for Christmas.  Every time I turn around they're doing new things and acting older that I'm ready for them to be.  I'm proud of them, though.  They're pretty awesome kids.  I can't wait to see what they'll do next.

21 December 2011

Chicago Weinachtsmarkt 2011

One of my visiting teachers, who knows that Doug and I served German/Austrian missions, has been telling me for a couple of years now about the authentic German Christmas market that is held in Chicago every year.  Her husband also served in Germany, and his mom is German, so if they found it to be a good experience, we thought we'd try it out.  It just worked out that Doug has vacation till the end of the year and Sariah doesn't have school on Mondays, so we drove to downtown Chicago and checked it out.

You could tell that it is Christmas week, because even though it was a Monday late morning/early afternoon, the place was packed!  There was very little opportunities to sit down, so the kids and I took this spot under the big outdoor tree while Doug went foraging for food.  There were lots of amazing smells coming from the market, but there were lots of long lines for each food booth!
The kids with the Markt behind them
Doug ended up bringing back some tasty pretzels.  They were warm and soft and delicious.  The downside was we ended up being pretty thirsty and left our bottles of water in the car.  
Tasty, tasty pretzels!

What a cute couple!
After pretzels we wandered around for a bit and took a look at all the booths.  Most were from Germany and Austria, but there were some random central asia booths and a couple local Chicago ones as well.  I especially liked the honey/beeswax candle booth and the tablecloth booth right next to it.  The candles were carved into pretty designs, I really liked the nativity ones.  Doug and I both agreed they were too pretty to burn!  There were lots of things I liked at the tablecloth booth as well, but I already own 2 tablecloths from the Weinachtsmarkt in Bamberg, so we decided to pass on purchasing anything there.

These were some of my favorite booths.

After we walked all the way around, we stopped to rest at this nativity.  This might have been Sariah's favorite part, not because of the nativity, but because there were lots of little birds and pigeons around.  She asked a lot of questions about pigeons as we pulled her away.  I might have been secretly disappointed that with all the amazing German things around, she only cared about the pigeons.  I got over it quickly.
Sariah enjoyed the birds that flew in and out of the nativity, and the nativity, of course.
Next we walked over to Santa's Haus.  There was a small line, so Sariah was game for going in and seeing Santa again.  It wasn't very cold or anything (we must have picked a perfect day to go, sunny and about 53 degrees in downtown Chicago) but it was nice to go inside for a bit.  There was a toy train that rode the track around the walls and this pretty tree inside.  There was also a Santa Matic 3000, that builds toy trains if you turn a wheel, I think I posted a picture on my facebook page.
Waiting in line for Santa
Bryson was once again not amused by Santa and did not want to sit on his lap.  Sariah was a very good sport about it.  She had a nice conversation with the very nice Santa.
Sariah enjoyed seeing Santa again; Bryson did not.

After Santa, we decided to brave the food lines again.  There was a ton of options, brats, snitzel, leberkaese, struedel, potato pancakes, crepes, goulaush soup...  It all smelled great.   In the end we opted for simple brats.  Yum.  The kids and I took refuge with this Nutcracker while Doug got lunch.  Like I said, there were not many places to sit, so this was about it.
The big nutcracker was our lunch buddy
Doug was brave and stood in line for our Nuernburgers and Weiss Wurst.  With not really a great place to eat under our Nutcracker buddy, and the unfortunate very drippy (yet incredibly tasty) mustard, it was kinda a mess of a lunch.  It was good, though!  It also made us even more thirsty, so we could tell that our experience would be coming to a close soon.  

Doug getting our brats from the German Grill.
Doug and the kids hunkered over at the nativity again while I ran and picked up a couple of gifts for us and some sugar coated nuts (one of my favorite treats from the Weinachtsmarkt in Bamberg, Burnt Mandeln or toasted Almonds in English.)  Then we headed back to our happy home.  Everyone had a real good time!

Here's what we picked up.  These are ceramic, hand painted little German buildings.  When you put tea lights in them, the windows light up.  I don't have any tea lights at the moment, so I can't show you, but they'll make a great edition to our Christmas decorations.  We couldn't decide between the Post and the Bahnhof, so we got both.  I think they compliment each other nicely.  Plus they have the added edition of being important building when we were on our missions!

The spoils of our adventure!
I think we'll definitely go back again, maybe not next year, but sometime soon.  Sadly, when we got home, Sariah threw up about four times, all night long.  I hope it doesn't taint her memory of what was a really good time.  She is doing much better now.  Ironically (and here's the TMI, so feel free to stop reading) all that pretzel and brot came out of her tummy smelling like fermented yeast, aka, beer!  Another German staple...  No she did not drink any alcohol on our adventure, I promise!

21 November 2011

5 Year Portraits

Maybe the last time I can get away with a big poofy dress.

 Hello pretty eyes.
 I love this black & white background.

 This next one scream "Big Kid!" to me.

As always, Grandparents, let me know which ones you'd like.  :)

15 November 2011


So I didn't mean to publish that last post without writing, but the mother of Sariah's friend wanted to see the photos, so I published it on my ipod with the intention of explaining myself later.  Then I had choir rehersal tonight, so now I'm getting around to it.

For almost a year now, Sariah has wanted a sleepover party, and for just over 6 months she's wanted her party at Chuck E Cheese.  As fun as parties with lots of kids are, I'm a every other year kind of gal, so I told Sariah she could invite one friend to her party and we'd do both those things.

Because it is concert week for me, my schedule is kind of busy, and with Sariah's school & activity schedule, it worked out best to have her party on Monday night instead of her birthday.  She counted down all day to her party, she was so excited.  About 4:30 we picked up her friend, Lea, and drove to Chuck E Cheese, where the girls had a blast playing the games.  I made sure the night before to charge my camera, then promptly forgot it at home.  There are a couple of pictures that I took with my ipod on facebook, but they're not high quality.

After about an hour we headed home, and picked up Little Ceaser's Pizza on the way.  The girls quickly ate one slice each, then ran off to play.  We invited Richard, Chrissie & Benjamin and Miriam & Colin, some of our adult friends and their sons to come over as well for cake, and they arrived while the girls were playing.

The cake was NOT made by me.  Its much too nice looking for that.  We bought this cake from the lovely and amazing Heather, who also made Doug's "Settlers of Catan" cake.  Heather is fantastic.  You can check out her other cakes on her facebook page here.  Sariah loves it.  It was just what she asked for, lemon cake with pink frosting and purple flowers.  You can  see her blow out the candle:

After cake we opened presents.  She opened some from friends and half of the presents we bought her.  She'll open family and the rest of ours on Thursday, her actual birthday.  We gave her some fuzzy slippers to wear during her sleepover, a unicorn pillow pet, because she's really into unicorns lately, and the one thing she's been asking for since the Summer, a robot.  (Can you tell Sariah latches on to ideas and doesn't let go for awhile?)

Finding a robot that wouldn't be too complicated for her, but would adhear to her standards was kind of tricky, but thanks to youtube videos, she was excited to get a Fijit robot.  She loves it.  It talks to her, plays music, tells jokes.  She's been telling everyone about her robot.  She loves that it always says nice, encouraging things to her.  The one downside for me is that it has no volume control and it is LOUD.

After presents, the adults went home and the girls went to Sariah's room with her robot.  There we set up the air mattress on the floor and I moved the little TV and DVD player into her room so they could watch movies.  They watched Super Mario Bros cartoons and Cinderella until almost 10pm when I told them it was time to sleep.  It took about 5 tries and 30 minutes before they settled down for the night.  They were still up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at about 6:30am.  I got up about an hour later and made them cinnamon mini muffins and eggs for breakfast.

They played the morning away, watched a couple more movies, danced to music with Bryson, helped me with Baby Benjamin.  Then before we knew it, it was time to take them to school.  I packed up lunches and backpacks and they were off.  After school they went over to Lea's house for an hour and a half.  They basically spent 24 hours together and had a blast.  I'd say it was a very successful party!

It hit me while I was driving the girls to school and listening to them chat and ask each other questions, Sariah is really turning into this thoughtful, polite, intelligent, literal person.  Every year she amazes me with her character and growth.  I'm so proud to be her mom!

Super Birthday Sleepover Party!

31 October 2011

I Want a Robot!

Sariah has been telling us since August that she wants a robot for her birthday. She is always very specific about what this robot must or must not have. Here are just some of the things she's mentioned:

It must talk.

It can't have wheels so it can go down the stairs.

It must be big, but not too big.

She wants it to play with her toys with her (I'm starting to wonder if she thinks she's getting a life sized android.)

Then we had a conversation about naming the robot because then it will know if it's a boy or a girl because "Robots don't have hair."

(As an aside, when I asked her how she knows that a certain friend that is a girl but has very short hair is a girl, she told me it is because she wears girl clothes, but "robots don't wear clothes.")

So the grand question is, where am I going to find this magical robot? It's the only thing she wants, but I'm afraid anything I get won't live up to the robot vision in her head.

I've looked online without avail so our next stop is the local shops. I think maybe I should have her draw a picture for us, too. Anybody have any ideas?

*edited to add a photo of the picture Sariah drew for me of what the robot (on the left) should look like. Oh my. Anybody seen one?

10 September 2011

Big School, Little Girl

I agonized over this decision (I still do) but we decided that Sariah would attend 4 year old kindergarden (known as 4K) this year through the school district.  This is the first year that they are doing 4K, so its new for everyone.  She goes 4 days a week Tuesday-Friday for 4 hours.  They have a morning & an afternoon program.  We're doing the afternoon so we can still attend our morning activites like story time and dance class. 

Sariah is really excited for this.  She feels like such a big kid.  I feel like she's such a little girl to throw her into public school already.  She's doing pretty good, though.  They eat lunch at school, have class time and recess at the end.  I hope its a good step for her before attending full day kindergarden next year. 

I bought her a new dress for school while we were in Texas and painted her nails esp. for school.  She's been very excited all week.  I'm getting use to the schedule, but it does work out well, because Sariah is gone while Bryson naps, so I have some time every day to get things done for me.

We weren't going to buy Sariah a new backpack for this year, because her old one is still pretty good, but we saw this one at Whistler and had to buy it.  You can't see it from this pic, but its got a cute bear & moose on it.  She likes it way more than she would've liked a t-shirt or something. 
There she is, my big-little girl.  She has learned so much already, and she's going to do great at school.  The first week so far has been crazy.  Lots to learn for both her and me.  I'm still trying to get use to the schedule.  Thurdsay was crazy because I took Sariah and her friend to school and her friend's mom picked them up.  Friday there was construction blocking my way and I couldn't get to school on time.  Its the peril of choosing the elementary school that I want the kids to be in and not going to the closest one. 
Sariah's teacher is Ms. Pirkel.  Sariah really likes her so far.  She was excited to eat school lunch, too until she found out that her friend brings her lunch, so now she wants to bring her lunch, too.  I'm not excited so much about that, because I'm horrible at packing a lunch, but we bought her a lunch box, and we'll be doing a mixture of the two. 

Sariah is doing well with the rest of school, too.  She's gotten to pick prizes from the treasure box twice already, and she told me Wed. that she is awesome because she never had to sit next to the wall during recess for not listening and following directions. 

By Friday, I think we both felt overwhelmed.  Its a big change, but one I know she can handle.  She's ready to be challenged and learn.  She's growing up before my eyes!

05 September 2011

Sabbitical Blog


Click this if you want to read about our amazing vacation to Canada via Texas.  We spent 12 days sans kids basking in the glow of Vancouver and the surrounding areas.  I've split the blog into 3 parts,  Part 1 is our trip down to Texas.  Part 2 chronicles the fun we had in Canada.  Part 3 wraps up our trip home.  It was a blast.  I hope you enjoy reading it!

12 August 2011

Happy Birthday Husband

Doug had a fabulous 29th Birthday, which I have neglected to blog. My camera is unavailable at the moment, but imagine pictures of Doug & Sariah at the PBS Open House seeing Mr. Steve (of Stevesongs) sing, meeting the Cat in the Hat & more!. Then follow it up with him getting neat gifts like an expansion pack for our Settlers of Catan game, and a new stratigy card game, Dominion, plus a new DS game, Fire Emblem (all which he has really enjoyed.)

The next night we had friends over to enjoy one of Doug's favorite dishes, Noodles Romanoff, and play games. But before the kids went to bed, we had to eat this amazing, awesome & fantastic Settlers of Catan cake, made by my friend Heather.

Doug likes being 29, but if you ask him, he'll tell you he's 24. Sigh. Last year he always answered that he was 26, so somehow he got younger. Oh well. Happy Birthday to my magnificant man!

29 July 2011

The Day the Music...

About two months into my calling as Primary Chorister, I remember making a joke about once I knew all the kids names and figured out how to do this calling properly, they'd release me.  Who knew it would only take about a year and a half to accomplish that?

See, I planned on having that calling forever.  I loved it.  Every Sunday my day was filled with music & laughter & smiling children.  Its the best calling ever.  Children can be a much more forgiving audience than adults.  I was busy planning for the program this year, plus some of the kids had been asked to sing at a special Stake Conference on Father's Day. 

So it was somewhat of a surprise when we got called into the Bishop's office and I got a new calling.  Okay, that's putting it nicely.  I was totally blindsided.  I was in love with my calling, I didn't want a new one, but who am I to say no when I got asked?  So I agreed.  Then I had to keep it in for a whole week before the release.  Did I mention that I found this out before church, so I had to keep quiet for 3 hours knowing that it was going to be one of the last times I got to perform my favoritest calling ever?  Needless to say, I kept it in (almost) and then bawled the whole way home.  For at least a day, I was devestated.

Then I got over myself a bit.  I still had this special musical number to work on with some of the kids for stake conference.  We were singing "I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home" (not my choice) and "Love is Spoken Here" (def. my choice, but that's another blog post entirely.)  Elder Cook from the twelve apostles presided at the conference.  The kids sang beautifully.  It was fantastic.  I was so touched by those beautiful spirits. 

After that, I kind of needed to let primary music go and start focusing on my new calling.  It was easy & hard at the same time.  I subbed a couple of times for the new chorister.  (His wife had a baby, and they had a vacation, yes I said his.)  I had also committed our primary to sing "Love is Spoke Here" again in sacrament meeting the second Sunday in July, so I filled in (it was one of those Sundays the new chorister was gone.)  Those kids sang that song for me.  I really appreciate their voices, from the oldest 11 year olds to the youngest sunbeams.  After that Sunday, I felt I could finally let go. 

It hasn't been easy.  On the one hand, church is a lot more serious when you're not in primary.  Sometimes I just want to stand up and sing a wiggle song.  On the other hand, its been better.  I'm not the chorister anymore, so I don't receive the revelation or responsiblity for that calling.  I didn't realize what a weight it had been on my shoulders until it was lifted.  Of course I miss those kids, but I still see them and they say "hi!" to me.  And I'm free to subsitute on Sundays now (like I will be for the next two weeks.)  So its not really goodbye.

(But if they ever want to call me back to the Primary Chorister, I'd be there in a heartbeat...)

08 July 2011

Poof! What do you need?

Almost a month ago I was released from my calling as Primary Chorister (more on that next week) and was called to be the Relief Society Compassionate Services Coordinator.  It has required quite the shift in focus on my part.  But that's really not what this post is about.

See in my ward we have a lot (a lot, A LOT) of pregnant woman because we have a lot of young families that move into our ward.  That being the case, there is a great need for service.  We also had a bishopric change in the last year and with all these changes, evaluations are made and questions are asked on how we can best serve each other verses being more self reliant.  But that's really not what this post is about either.

I've had a meeting with our Relief Society President where we discussed how we go about serving a sister in the ward once she's had a baby.  In the church we are really good at bringing meals.  Often meals are a wonderful service.  I've been the beneficiary of some incredibly tasty meals.  I'm not knocking meals. But meals aren't what this post is about.

What this post IS about is how do we go beyond or how do we customize our service for those we are serving?  Here's some more questions to ponder:

Is service more than a meal?
Is our service (as a ward) "rote"?  (Think Matt 6:7-8 where the Lord talks about repetitious prayer and sub service for prayer)
Poof!  What do you need? (Think the Genie in Aladdin)
Everyone could use a friend?
Who isn't lonely?
Customize your service?
What kind of service are we giving?
Are we giving the correct service?
Where should service start from? (from the Visiting Teachers/RS/friends?)

The purpose of this is not to give anyone a guilt trip or to get down on ourselves.  Rather I'm looking for your opinions on how to best help others to serve others. 

Esp. when it comes to having new babies, every experience is different and I don't want to try and squish round pegs into square holes.  For example:  I know Sisters that when they are expecting a baby they have a freezer full of food prepared and family coming for 3 weeks to help.  Those sisters probably won't benefit from a meal right away, or maybe ever?  What do those sisters need?  Maybe some sort of contact to let them know they are thought of?  Maybe two or three months later they might just need someone adult to talk to, or hold the baby so they can shower, or do their dishes.  Maybe sometimes we're that person and we are just to embarrassed or scared of rejection to admit that we need help. 

Here are two scriptures that I think really pertain to this topic:
Mosiah 8:18  Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.  (I like this one so much, it might be my motto while I have this calling.)

Doctrine & Covenants 81:5  Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strenghten the feeble knees.

Okay, now you (and maybe myself) are asking at this point, what is her point?  What is she trying to do?  What does she want from me? 

So these are the short term goals:  Write a 200 word "article" to go into the RS newsletter about service.  Create some sort of  "assessment worksheets"  that visiting teachers can use when someone they visit is expecting a baby (or in several cases in our ward, babies.)

Will you share with me your thoughts to any or all of the questions I've raised, and/or share experiences of service that was rendered unto you when you were having a baby (or any other time that could be relevant.)  If you are uncomfortable sharing on the blog, you can email me (sisterrigby (at) yahoo (dot) com)  or message me on facebook. 

I appreciate any help.  Its a strange, new, scary calling, but I want to make the best out of it.

07 July 2011

Circus Star!

We have a pretty awesome library nearby. Every Summer they put on super special events that coincide with the theme for the reading program. (Which Sariah is also working on.)  This year's theme is "One World, Many Stories." 

Every Thursday they have free performances.  We went two weeks ago for the hula dancing, and today we attended the performance of Circus Manduhai: A Mongolian Circus troupe.  They are a family group, with 4 performers.  There was lots of acrobatics, a contortionist, jugglers, unicycle tricks and so much more.  The kids loved it! 

This kid had balance!

There was lots of audience participation. Usually Sariah doesn't seem that interested when they ask for volunteers, but this time she willingly raised her hand. It was the first trick, so most of the kids were sort of uncertain about volunteering, so Sariah was choosen! She got to go up to the front and do a handstand on two metal pillars. This was one of the tricks that a boy (he had to be 8 or 9) did.

Here's Sariah after she tried it out.

  Here's her big moment!


Most of the acts were really cool, although the unicycle was a little scary.  Check this out!

They had a kid in the audience do this afterwards, I'm glad Sariah didn't get choosen for this one.

All in all a neat way to spend the afternoon.

01 July 2011

Flashback Friday

If there was any year to look back at 2005, the year Doug & I dated, it would be this year, when the days of the week match up. Its also fortuitous, since we just had new family pictures taken, so I can show you the very first picture of Doug and I and the most recent.

Doug and I were not dating pros, and I'm pretty sure we had no idea what we were doing most of the time. At the same time, I knew almost from the beginning that this was going to be something special. We both made up excuses to get together, everything from helping my mom move her office and babysitting my friend's kids, to making me the FHE leader at his house.

My calling at the time was ward temple trip coordinator, which is why big moments in our relationship happened around the 2 trips I actually put together. The first one was on Saturday, July 2nd. (The other, was August 13th, one year to the day I came home from my mission and the day Doug proposed.) We weren't even offically dating when Doug held my hand in the Celestial Room. (How's that for bold?) I didn't complain.

Here we are that day with our friends Dean and YiJeng after the session. If you want to read more about those days, scroll down to the bottom where I added my (unedited) journal from that weekend.

Here we are 6 years later, happily married.
It was the weekend that changed my life forever, for the better! Every July 4th I'm blessed to celebrate the great nation I get to live in, with all its freedoms, and also I can celebrate the start of my relationship with my best friend, Doug, who is the best man I've ever met. It is the day we agreed we were offically dating (yes, after temple hand holding.) We had gone down to Fredricksburg with Doug's parents for a 4th of July parade, and we spend a whole wonderful day together talking, and hand holding. :)

This July 4th, I'm hoping to find another parade we can go watch. It can be a Juy 4th Monday tradition. Maybe one year, we'll even make it back to Fredricksburg.

Shortly after I met Doug, I started a journal of sorts on my computer. It literally goes from the time we met, to 10 days before he proposed (why I stopped then, I'll never remember, which is surprising, because I didn't record the events right before and after the day he proposed.) I do have, in pretty good detail, the events of this weekend, and if you're interested, I'm sharing them with you now. If you're not, feel free to skip down and just leave a comment or whatever. :)

July 2nd, 2005

So this was the big temple trip to go do an endowment session. We were scheduled to do a 8am session at San Antonio, so we were meeting at 5:30am at the church. I went to bed the night before at 10:30pm so I would make sure I got enough sleep, since I would be driving. So it really stunk when I woke up at 1:30am because of nerves and couldn’t go back to sleep. Finally I got out of bed at 2:45am and watched TV until 4am.

I picked up Yi Jeng (she was still asleep when I got there, so I left and came back) and Dean Boyer and met Doug at the church. The four of us rode together on the way down. There were 4 others that took another car. I was sure if we left by 6am we were sure to make it to the temple by 7:30am, especially on a Saturday, but I was wrong. There was a BAD traffic jam on I-35 that was caused by traffic that had to merge into the two right hand lanes, and then as soon and it went back to 3 lanes, everyone had to merge to the left hand lane because of a jackknifed truck. And all of this happened in Kyle, which is only about a fourth of the way there. In fact it was almost 7:30 when we got out of the traffic, so there was no way we were going to make our session. I felt bad about it, not because it was my fault, but because I was in charge and should’ve planned for unseen events.

So Dean called the temple to release our places in the session, and make sure we could still come and do sealings instead. So we got to San Antonio about 8am, and went to Krispy Kreme since Dean had been murmering about breakfast since we had left Austin. I felt so ill by this time. I’m not a morning person most of the time, and food in the morning is usually a bad idea. I usually don’t eat till almost 9:30am. But Dean did buy me a bottle of water, which I was grateful for.

So we got to the Temple around 8:30 and did some Sealings. It was actually pretty nice. I was kind of disappointed that we missed our session, but the work we did was important too. After about an hour, we went into the Celestial Room to sit for awhile while waiting for the session to finish. I really like the Celestial Room in the San Antonio Temple. Actually the whole building is amazing. Dean had sat down on one side of a bench in the room and Doug had sat on the other end. Yi Jeng had sat down on a chair next to the bench. I wasn’t sure what to do. I thought about going somewhere else in the room to sit and think, but then Doug caught my eye and motioned for me to come sit next to him. Which I gladly did. We all sat in silence for awhile and then he looked at me and said “hi” and I said “hi” back. Then he took my hand. It was so cute. He had been doing that for awhile now, saying “hi” when he wasn’t sure what he should do or say, but was mustering up the courage to do something.

I think at this point the people we were with all realized we were dating. It wasn’t just the 4 of us, but also Lisa LaPierre, and Chanda, the RS Pres., Shalene, and Wendy Schwausch. The only people I think that weren’t sure we were dating were us! After a while we were ready to go. So we changed and when outside. Yi Jeng had brought her digital camera and found someone to take a couple of pictures of the 4 of us outside the temple. Then we added Lisa to our car and drove home.

The drive home was pretty uneventful. Doug slept. We stopped at Jack in the Box for Dean, Yi Jeng and Lisa. I was still feeling queasy and Doug didn’t feel like eating fast food, so the others got something and we sat in the car and waited. Doug actually then invited me to his house for lunch once we got back to Austin. I wasn’t go to decline that offer, the more time I could spend with him was good with me! So when we got back to Austin, I dropped everyone off and followed him to his house.

When I finally got there, he had gotten the pasta and chicken started. Basically we had pasta shells with chicken, broccoli, and squash that he had put lemon pepper seasoning on with an alfrado sauce. He explained to me that that is his favorite kind of sauce, because marinara is just so boring. We made the sauce from a packet that had to simmer for 5 min. and he got a bit impatient waiting for it. I thought it was cute. I was a little nervous because we had just held hands in the temple and I was so unsure if we were dating or what, and I kinda wanted to bring it up over lunch, but his parents were sitting in the room with us, and that would’ve been akward to talk about with his parents there. I was totally enamored with him, but I was nervous that I was making something out of nothing.

He had work, and I went with my family to the Round Rock Express baseball game. The Express lost, which is what they always do when I go to a game.

July 3rd, 2005

This was one crazy weekend. First it was a holiday weekend because of Independence Day and it was a Fast and Testimony meeting. Doug got asked to bless the sacrament and I didn’t get attention before the meeting to make sure he would sit by me. Actually he almost didn’t get to sit next to me because Wendy came in late and sat down next to me, so he almost sat down in front of us, but we scooted over for him and he was able to sit by me. He was really figitey in Sacrament meeting, but I found out later it was because he wanted to invite me to Fredricksburg the next day with his parents for fourth of July festivities.

Then we went to Sunday School. Dean sat in front of us and showed Doug some pictures he had taken. There was one of me in my apartment back at Christmas time that he had taken (Dean is my home teacher.) So he gave that picture to Doug. I was a bit embarrassed about it. Dean made the whole day embarrassing!

After church there was a Linger Longer and an Independence Day Fireside. So I found Doug and we ate together with Yi Jeng and Dean. Doug was talking to Bro. Simmons so Dean took the opportunity to ask how long Doug and I had been dating. And you know what? I didn’t have an answer for him! I told him to ask Doug. So he did, and Doug didn’t know either. That turned into a complicated discussion between Dean and I about exactly how one determines if they are dating.

Somehow that conversation qualified me to help Dean take out the trash in the woman’s restroom, which made me late for the fireside. I came in as the opening hymn was being sung. It took me a moment, but I found Doug and went and sat beside him. He asked where I had been, and I explained that I had to take out the trash. The fireside was really good. It was a patriotic theme and talks were given by Sharred (who’s a marine) and Bro. Simmons. The musical numbers were most impressive again.

We finally held hands again during the fireside, something I had been waiting for him to do all afternoon! After the fireside we sat and talked a bit, it was mostly just playful banter. He asked me if I was still planning on coming with him and his parents the next day, to which I said that my plans hadn’t changed since he asked me 4 hours ago. He’s so cute! And I’m so happy!

After the fireside I had to run to mom’s house and do some laundry, because I had no clean clothes for the next day. Sister Julie Hardy, one of my mission companions who I spent the longest time with, had the hardest time with, but we’re now pretty good friends, called me while I was doing laundry because I had emailed her some pictures earlier that day of us at the temple. It was really turning into an eventful weekend!

July 4th, 2005

I think this was really the big day. I don’t know what Doug thinks, but to me, this is the day we really officially started dating. I say this because we had been dating only each other before this date, and we had held hands and things, but I wasn’t really sure what we were doing until today. Things became clear.

So he picked me up from my apartment at 7:10am and we met his parents at his house and rode together to Fredricksburg. His parents are very, very nice and very, very helpful about getting information on their son! He had mentioned earlier that his birthday was in Aug., but never the exact date, well his mom spilled the beans, and not only told me that it’s the 5th of August, but explained the pregnancy story on when he was due and when they wanted him to arrive. They are really easy to talk to. We held hands in the car, something I was wondering if he was going to do around his parents.

Somewhere in the conversation in the car, snow skiing was brought up. My family is really into skiing, and I enjoy going. Well Doug has never been (silly Texan!) and kept insisting that snow skiing only causes broken bones. To which I replied that I’ve been skiing loads of time, and so has my family and no one has EVER broken a bone. So he wanted me to say that I wouldn’t make him go skiing if I didn’t have to go horseback riding. (I have a huge fear of riding horses. Sure their nice enough animals, but they are animals! And they have their own brains! And I don’t want to ride something that has a mind of its own and can throw me off any time it wants.) Well anyways, I’m not going to commit to that, because I love skiing too much. So I told him that maybe we were going to have to compromise.

When we finally got to Fredricksburg we found a shady spot to watch the parade and then we walked around for a bit before the parade started. Fredricksburg was colonized by old German settlers and there is still a German heritage there. So we walked over to an old German church and looked around a bit. Then we went back and sat down and talked a bit before the parade started. While we were waiting I told him that my mom wanted me to invite him to the lake with us the following Monday. He told me that he was worried about fitting in with my family. I told him that I don’t really fit in with my family sometimes, so it wasn’t important. We sat and watched the parade and interlocked arms. It was very enjoyable. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a parade live.

Afterwards his parents wanted to go antique shopping, and were sure that we weren’t interested in coming. (We weren’t.) So we split off and planned to meet later. We walked around some more and found another old German church. I don’t think we were really sure what to do, so we found a shady spot near a fountain and sat down to talk. He put his arm around me for the first time, which was very nice. We sat and talked about family situations, mostly mine. He was very curious how I gained a testimony when my parents became inactive when I was only about 11. We talked a lot about marriage and divorce. I have a lot of concerns about divorce. Since my own parents are divorced and my brother just got divorced in June, I’ve been really worried about making the right choice in who I’m going to marry for a long time. If you think about it, that decision is something that effects you for eternity! That’s a really long time! I just don’t want to repeat my parents mistakes, and I never want my children to go through what I went through, because I don’t care how old you are when your parents separate, it hurts.

After a while we decided it was time for lunch, so we walked over to an authentic German restaurant, der Lindenbaum, and had German food for lunch. Its an interesting little place, while I’m sure the owners are authentic Germans, our server and the others working there looked like they were of Mexican decent. After looking the menu over, he decided on Knockwurst and I chose Currywurst and we decided to share a bit. He told me that there were very few people he’d actually do this with, so I felt special. The food was very good, although I’m not much of a sauerkraut person, so he had mine. Which was just as well, because he eats faster and more than me, so it all worked out. The most interesting thing was the warm potato salad, which was really sweet, which is weird since most German foods aren’t that sweet, they don’t use much sugar. But everything was still very good. I like German food, and I was so full afterwards!

After lunch we decided to walk back to our shady spot. We walked back much faster than we walked there, mostly because on the way there we were holding hands and he wasn’t sure exactly where the restaurant was. On the way back we knew where we were headed and we probably walked at a missionary pace. He mentioned that people must walk slower when holding hand, and I said “well, that’s the perils of dating” to which he replied “are we dating?’ and I said “I guess so” and since we both hadn’t been seeing anyone else, we agreed that we were dating! Hence the reason I make this the official day we stated dating, because we both admitted we were dating, and all the uneasiness I had been feeling about our relationship went away.

So we sat back down on a bench near where we had been sitting before. He picked up a stick and started breaking it. Then he apologized for always having to do something with his hands. I told him that I had noticed that he was a figiter and he had a hard time sitting still (especially at church). He apologized again, and I told him not to because I think its cute. He responded “You think I’m cute?” And I said yes. He said “Awwe, I think you’re cute too!” and put his arm around me.

Just then his parents called my phone and invited us for ice cream, we finally found where they were after a bit of confusing direction giving. They both had root beer floats and we both had orange sherbert, because I like orange sherbert. Afterwards we drove back to Austin and I slept a bit in the car. It had been an eventful day so far and it was nowhere near the ending. Plus I had gotten up way earlier than normal.

When we got back to his house we still had some time before we had to go to the church for the big 4th of July FHE picnic. So we decided to start watching Return of the Jedi, which we got part way through before we had to leave. We left early to set up for this big thing because he was actually in charge. The whole FHE still feels like a whirlwind event since we were there setting up and preparing and during and then clean up. He was so nervous about the whole thing coming off, that he ran around like crazy. Poor guy. I had a small problem of my own to worry about. Their person giving the spiritual thought cancelled at the last minute, so I got asked on Saturday if I wouldn’t mind giving the spiritual thought instead. And for some reason I agreed to do it. So I had only a couple of days to prepare, and by Monday morning, I still wasn’t sure what I was going to say or how I was going to say it. I was so thankful when inspiration hit. The thought didn’t come off very pretty, and I wasn’t as eloquent as I wanted to have been, but it was okay.

So after we got cleaned up we left and tried to make it back to Cedar Park to see the fireworks. He called his parents to figure out exactly where the fireworks were, but we still weren’t totally sure. Then they called me back since Doug never answers his cell phone to give us more directions. Finally we just gave up and went back to his house. We could see the fireworks starting as we drove home on 183. When we got to his house we walked over to a clearing so we could see the fireworks better and watched the end of the show. We put our arms around each other and stood and watched. It was very nice.

After we walked back to his house and decided to finish watching the Star Wars movie. Then he took me home. When we got back to the apartment he got out of the car and walked me part way to the door. Then he gave me a big hug and told me that he loved me! For a second I was a bit shocked, but I realized I loved him too, and I told him so. We parted and I went back inside with the biggest smile on my face ever! What an amazing day it had been, and HE LOVES ME. I’m the luckiest person ever!

10 June 2011

Before & After

We've been stunningly silent lately, haven't we? Some of that is blog exhaustion, some of that is actual exhaustion, sickness, business etc. I'll try & post some other pictures & things from recent events, Mother's day, Memorial Day, Bratfest, etc. soon.

But today was a special day. It was the last day of our preschool (slightly delayed. We were to have it Tuesday, but one of the kids was sick.) So we had our end of year party. It was a cute look back at all they've learned. There really are a great bunch of kids. It has been a joy to teach & to see all the great things they've picked up. I don't notice it day by day, but Sariah has grown & changed inside & out.

This picture was taken on her 2nd day of school. They also filled out a worksheet with their heights, weights, favorite things on it.

Here she is today.
These next shots are the ones I took before her first day of school in Sept.

And here she is after school today. Same girl, same dress, a whole school year of difference.

Sariah really had a blast. She was sad that it was all over & she won't get to be with her friends at school twice a week. In the Fall she'll be attending 4K with the school district. It'll be a whole new set of experiences!