Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Greetings from the Harvey family! Since it's too late to acquire many of your addresses, we decided to post our annual Christmas letter. Enjoy!

2008 brought several twists to the Harvey household. In February Celia had an unexpected break from work and school, so she could writhe in pain at home while she passed a kidney stone. We suspect the kidney stone was correlated with the twenty Tums Celia was popping daily to counter her third trimester heartburn.

Although the doctor advised against it, we spent a week in Puerto Rico in March. We checked up with families Celia taught on her mission, swam at the beach that tormented her in her greenie area, and fought corruption in the tourism industry. The Galvez family hosted us. Mandy even gave up her bedroom for a night. The Negrón family was kind enough to let us stay with them too. They resolved our disputations about baby names. Through revelation they discovered the perfect name for our baby girl.

On April 21st 2008, Isabella Cecilia Harvey joined our family weighing 5 pounds 5 ounces. She was very considerate and waited until her mom had finished writing her final papers and cleaning the studio apartment before presenting herself. Celia retired as a driver’s education instructor the day Bella was born.

On May 2nd, a week after Bella arrived, Ryan and Celia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Weber State University. Ryan earned his degree in Political Science and Celia in English. Going to the commencement ceremony seemed too ambitious, even with Lortab. We did dress up in our robes, hats and cords to attend the graduate luncheon though.

A month later we relocated our family to the rolling hills and waving wheat of Kansas. The University of Kansas has the number one master’s program in the country for city management, plus they offered Ryan an awesome scholarship. Since our arrival in early June we have been members of each of the four wards in Lawrence. Last week we were called to serve the Spanish branch in Topeka, making it our fifth ward in six months. Our family boosted sacrament meeting attendance by ten percent. We did warn the Stake President that we wouldn’t be able to complete the two year call because we’ll be moving in May.

This Christmas we want to share our testimonies that we know that Jesus the Christ was born into the world as a helpless child and grew in wisdom, stature and favor with God. He overcame the temptations, injustices, and illnesses of this world before he conquered death. We know that by following his impeccable example we will have peace and joy even in an imperfect world. All of the happiness we have found in life is because of Him.

We love you and wish you all a merry Christmas!

Love, Ryan, Celia, and Bella

Friday, December 5, 2008

Something New

I haven't had time to write a post lately, but I can't stand seeing that awkward picture every time I pull up blogger! So here are some better pictures to look at until I get around to writing something astounding, or even a regular post.

Bella has been crawling for a bit over a month, if you don't count the tummy-drag-scoot. The same day she figured out the arm leg coordination she began pulling herself up on things. Bella's been banging her head on the tile and making messes with anything within her reach ever since.

Asher spices up Bella's life on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. He likes to share sippy cups, spoons, hats, and toys. After he "shares" he applauds and takes it back away. Bella doesn't cry, but that might be because she hasn't developed object permanence yet.

Jimmy Dean loves Bella! When he gets her into his arms, tears stream down his cheeks. We went to visit him and he asked us to take pictures of him with her so he could show his brother-in-law.

Stuck! She was too close to the dresser and car seat and couldn't move. This was her please-help-me-face.

Play time! Since Bella has never seen raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, her favorite things are cell phones and cameras. I'm in favor of letting her chew on the old ones rather than the ones we need. Asher loves them too, except he throws things instead of just slobbering on them. We're working on that.

This was our thanksgiving. We decided, since we don't have any family within fifteen hours of Lawrence, to volunteer at the Ottawa free community Thanksgiving dinner. We loved it, and decided to make it a tradition.

Bella doesn't take breaks from pulling hair and being silly for Thanksgiving day. you can also see the lengths Ryan goes to, to see a football game. The cowboys are barely visible through the fuzz, even with the bunny-ear-antenna draped upside down over the fan.

Playing with the Jazz Bear at the window. Ryan will be so proud of her.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just 8 lbs. to go!

Lest anyone think that we have given up on our goals I have decided to make a return. With school and work we have been extremely busy, but it is still important to return and report so here it goes:

Weight Loss –
Cecilia – Total: 27 pounds
Ryan – Total: 27 pounds
We are both just 8 pounds away from reaching our goal of 35. We have been slacking of late, but we both re-committed ourselves this week to get the 8 pounds off by December 17th.

Morning & Evening Prayer and Scripture Study –
As always, we are perfect with the evening prayer and study. Yet, we still struggle remembering to say morning prayers, although we are perfect so far this week.

Exercise –
Cecilia – She got a new exercise video last week and she has been tearing it up.
Ryan – I average just over 30 miles per week over the past month and on Saturday I ran 3 miles in 18:30, faster than I ever ran in high school!

Missionary Work –
Jimmy Dean is getting married on Christmas and he will be baptized shortly after that. We go over to his house about once per week.

General Conference was especially exciting because we found out that we are getting a temple here in Kansas City. That will cut the 3 ½ hour temple trip down to 30 minutes. In the meantime we made it once again to the Winter Quarters temple. What a great experience!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Back with a Vengence

On Saturday morning, Lawrence appeared peaceful with fall colors blooming on the trees.
The crowd gathered at Memorial Stadium armed with crimson and blue apparel.
We joined the ranks. The stadium was almost full to capacity (I spied an empty seat in the corner).

The week before, Texas Tech humbled us at our homecoming game 63-21. This time we faced off against K-State (an instate rival or something), and KU was there to regain some dignity, which they did 52-21. We left in the third quarter, long after K-State had given up.

Note: I recorded the marching band performing a Michael Jackson medley, but I accidentally erased it. I'm sure you Michael Jackson fans out there would have enjoyed watching the trombonists doing the Thriller dance, but you'll have to look it up on YouTube or something.

Magical Fruit- Not Beans

For the first couple weeks of solids Bella gulped down plenty of green beans, peas, squash, carrots and other yummy morsels. I introduced apples and peaches this week. Do you think she likes it?

She shuddered after each bite,

and didn't swallow more than a teaspoon.

Narcisisist in Training

Bella is gazing into the eyes of her new favorite friend. Even on whiny days when no other toys can deter her from following Mommy or Daddy around groping their feet, the mirror keeps her busy for a good ten minutes.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nummy Sofrito- Not to be Confused with Pico de Gallo

No, this isn't the food from Ernest Goes to Camp. I left out the secret ingredient. This is what 2 green bell peppers, 2 red bell peppers, 1 yellow bell pepper, four white onions, 4 cloves of garlic, adobo, and a bunch of cilantro look like after going through the blender. It's called "sofrito."

In Puerto Rico they pour sofrito in EVERYTHING, it's their homemade spice. Arroz y habichuelas guisadas aren't possible without sofrito, which is why I whipped up a batch of my own. And no, I didn't use all of it. I should have enough for the next couple years.

While I was on my mission I discovered that the sofrito recipe was similar to pico de gallo, minus the tomatoes. I ate it with tortilla chips, which made my Puerto Rican companion dry heave. What was I supposed to do? Pico de gallo doesn't exist there.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Kitty cat and Bat

Bella was a kitty cat for Halloween, but we got to the "trunk or treat" too late to show off her costume. That was when we rang the Spauldings and arranged a Halloween meeting at Silas & Maddy's. Asher was the cutest bat I've ever seen.

I tried a new flavor last night, called "gold dust." It includes oreos, caramel and snickers. Yum!

Afterward we took Bella to Meagan's party, one of Ryan's classmates. Bella was a hit. All of the guys took turns cuddling her. Meanwhile, Ryan and I socialized and drank the non-spiked cider.

*update: the Batman logo on her costume tag perplexed us until we realized it was a cat woman costume, not a kitty cat. So Bella was cat-baby instead of a kitty and we didn't even know it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Faster than she Used to Be

Sweet Potato Spoon Party and a Nap Time Straggler

I let Bella try to feed herself with a spoon today. I'm not sure she got it.

Later today she brought a stow away when I got her out of the crib. The butterfly antlers got stuck to her diaper velcro--don't ask me how.

Needles and Numbers

Bella’s six month checkup snuck up on us. On Tuesday the doctor declared her tiny but thriving, and the nurse said she was about 1/3 the size of the other six month old she had just immunized. The nurse gave her a couple more holes in her legs and two purple band-aids. Here are the six month stats:

Height: 23.1 in 0 percentile
Weight 11 lbs 11 oz 0 percentile
Head Circ 16.25 in 15 percentile

She’s been quazi-crawling for the last few weeks. She gets around but it’s more of an army crawl than a real one. Just yesterday she got the hang of the real thing and doesn’t have to do the belly kick’n’wiggle between each scoot.

Baton Man

Why would KU choose a game against a top ten team to be their homecoming game? We kept up with them for the first quarter, but after that they just stomped on us.

The highlight of the game was during half time. They put together an alumni marching band and they played their instruments and lapped the stadium. The baton twirler, the one that marches in front, left the band a mile behind and had to march in place while he waited for them to catch up. I loved his white hair, it looked like he let a beauty college play with it.

Ryan’s favorite part was when I asked if they had “the down” yet, and when I suggested they do an “off-sides kick.” Just as I’ll never speak Spanish like a native speaker, I’ll never speak sports lingo without sounding like a girl who grew up with four sisters.

Besides that, even a terrible defeat can be fun to watch when you have a new camera!

KU Fans. The stadium was packed, even the little corners.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Canon SD790 IS= quality photos

This is the first picture I took with my camera
Surely this is the cutest baby girl in the world.

I discovered the "Color Accent" feature on the Camera.
This is Bella Sleeping.

This is a cherry tree at the Winter Quarters TempleBella playing at the cemetary next to the temple. It's beautiful there.

Peeking from her crib

Bella just being silly.

One of the woodland creatures near our house.

Swinging with Ryan between loads of laundry.

Testing the durability of the mesh

Mama's girl


This picture wouldn't have been possible (the Kodak EasyShare doesn't have Macro mode), except I just got another new camera.

My parents-in-law gave me a Canon SD750 last year for my birthday/ Christmas. It has been MIA, along with a couple other items, since the break-in back in January. At first we chuckled about our laptop crashing every time the villain tried to do any quazi-multimedia computing. We thought he might even return it after trying to write a Word document without the (.) and (?) buttons.

The missing camera was a different case. I stopped taking pictures for a few months because the Kodak EasyShare just can’t capture the moment like my Canon SD750 Digital Elph. I admit there were a few tears on more than one occasion.

Well for my birthday this year, Ryan teamed up with his parents to get me another camera. The Canon SD790 IS Digital Elph arrived last Friday. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! I even got a free 4GB SD card with it. Our lives have been photographed almost constantly for the past week.

Ta Da! Almost Done

After weeks of sanding, priming, painting, crackling, accenting and finishing I have something to show for all my hard work, besides paint under my fingernails. I still need to put matching handles on the two desks, but they turned out well enough that I won't need table cloths to hide them. I got both of the desks for free, and the chairs and dining room table. I only bought the painting supplies!

This is the plywood beauty we were dealing with before I found the other one. Unfortunately it got destroyed on its way to the dumpster.

Before I could paint the big desk I had to evict a nasty little resident.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Birthday Visitors

I can't imagine a more anticlimactic ending to a trip to France than Kansas. Mom and Julia convinced me that it was fantastic, and they really didn't mind shortening their trip to Europe at all. Either way, they bought my birthday presents in France, so I won't complain.

I'm sure Alicia was okay with leaving Loa for a weekend. We have cows here too, plus we live on a college campus. There are plenty of youth in need of counseling, should she have the itch.

Most of our guests stayed until Wednesday morning. With six people in a 1 bedroom apartment there was standing room only, but we went out a lot. We got to go to some church history sites near here, sample the top two local ice cream/ frozen custard joints, and hit The Plaza in Kansas City.

Among the church history sites we saw were; Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Liberty Jail, and Independence. People warned me ahead of time that there really wasn't anything to see at Adam-Ondi-Ahman, but we weren't there to be tourists anyway. It was beautiful and the Spirit there feels like a temple.

Of the top two ice cream shops here in Lawernce, the Darley girls unanimously voted Sheridan's as the best, based on the quantity of caramel stuck to the spoon after a bite of the turtle sundae.

We went to Jack Stack BBQ on The Plaza in KC. Alicia was pining for a bite of beef and something authentically Kansan (I didn't know there was such a thing) before she left and that's where we found both. I think the rib meat was still stuck in her teeth and under her fingernails on the flight home.

The visit was too short, and just made us more excited to see everyone when we come home in December. We'll be there for 24 days! Ryan reminds me of that every night. I think he's tired of school. He is only at midterm for the semester, poor guy.