Friday, August 29, 2008

Hotdog Derby Spectators

I have just finished a session of dumpster diving. Nothing beats sorting through mushy bits of strawberry and used diapers, looking for the list that chronicles the noteworthy events of the past week. Alas, my hands are empty, besides some residue that should come off with a good scrub. What this means for you: less reading, and less information. Maybe it’s a tender mercy. God loves you.

Ryan’s schedule is back to the mix of work, school, exercise and homework. He only had one class last week because school started on a Thursday. He needed a break from school on Friday so we tore up the scene at the Spaulding’s apartment with a rousing round of “The Celestial Companions Game.”

On Saturday we went to the Royals game. Neither Ryan nor I had been to a professional baseball game before. We had only seen the likes of the “Bees” and the “Raptors,” until now. The best part of the game was the “hotdog derby.” Dressing people up in oversized hot dog outfits and making them run a race is funnier than it sounds.

The game itself didn’t hold my attention long, even with the reggaeton intro for each of the batters. The Royals didn’t break their losing streak. They made their seventh loss in a row a perfect one, they left no doubts who was the better team. They didn’t score a run the entire game. They should have let the running hotdogs play.

The Moody’s (Ryan will be in Brother Moody’s class next semester) surprised us with an invitation to dinner Sunday night, and a carillon concert by the second ward’s very own Elizabeth Egbert Berghout. The pizza was great as was the conversation. Five year old Emma informed me that she has two friends, maybe three and that she is excessively strong. She just started kindergarten and her favorite subject so far is P.E. “That’s gym,” she informed me.

Maybe my education at Weber State University was incomplete, because until Sunday afternoon I had no idea what a carillon was. It turns out, the bells that play in a bell tower are an instrument and it is called a carillon. The official university carillonneur is a member of our ward. One of her duties as carillonneur is to give concerts every Sunday and Wednesday. She took us up to the top of the bell tower, no elevator mind you, and let us play the bells. We rang the biggest bell four times and fooled people into thinking it was only four o’clock. People more likely thought the bell tower was broken by the time we stopped attempting to play a song.

I was finally given a visiting teaching assignment. I’ll be learning ASL, or trying to anyway, because I’m visiting a girl that is deaf. I have a lot in common with her and her two daughters. The Little Mermaid is our favorite Disney movie. I’m sure we’ll get along famously.

I’m also visiting a lady that just had back surgery a month ago and owns a two ton vacuum. I’ll be pushing that vacuum around her house until she has recovered enough to do it by herself. Her doctor just gave her the Okay to start bending down if she does it carefully. I think I’ll be helping for a while, but that’s fine. She’s a great conversationalist and she loves holding Bella.

My companion is a delightful girl named Megan. Her son Asher is one year old and is Bella’s first little friend. He likes to hold her hand and rock her in her car seat. They’ve had a lot of time to get to know each other this week.

We love you all, and hope you have had a great week!

Love Ryan, Cecilia and Isabella

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kansas City Royals

Because I grew up in Utah I have never been to a Major League Baseball game. We took the opportunity on Saturday to go to a Kansas City Royals game. For anybody who pays attention, the Royals are dead last in the pennant race. I went with great hope, but that hope fled quickly as my adopted team lost 4-0 to the Detroit Tigers. I think our next move will be to Boston or New York!

My wife was totally oblivious to the game until the bottom of the 7th inning when they announced that if the Royals scored we would get a free ice cream from a local ice cream place. That was the most passionate that I have ever seen her during a sporting event.

Here are this week’s numbers:

Weight Loss –

Cecilia – This Week: 1.5 pound Total: 15.0 pounds

Ryan – This Week: 1.5 pounds Total: 20.0 pounds

Morning & Evening Prayer and Scripture Study –

Morning Prayer – 6 out of 7

Evening prayer and S.S. – 7 out of 7

We have to figure something out for Sunday mornings!

Tennis –

No tennis this week. We were too busy with baseball and the Olympics.

Exercise –

Cecilia – She does body attack 3 times a week without problem and she has started a new workout the other 3 days.

Ryan – Ran 21 miles this week. Ran 3.0 miles in 21:53.

I am blaming this on my sickness that I acquired halfway through the week. I didn’t run on Wednesday or Thursday and my 3 mile run was extremely difficult.

Stay-at-home-mom –

Cecilia – She wrote 30 minutes 5 out of the 7 days this week. The story about her dad is due this upcoming week.

Ryan – One day last week I came home form school and immediately took Bella. I laid her on my chest and she just couldn’t stop talking to me. I couldn’t understand what she was saying but it sounded very important so I just nodded to show my support. It was extremely cute!

Missionary Work –

We were stood up by Carlos 2 more times this week. I think that he isn’t interested. What do you think?

Jimmy Dean came to church on Sunday and said that he would be back for sure. He said that he is planning on getting married in September on his birthday. He will be baptized shortly after that!

TV/Reading –

Once again there was no reading thanks to the Olympics. I woke up at 1 in the morning to watch the basketball gold medal game live. It was a great game. I am hoping that D-Will and Booze will take a lot form their experience and bring home a championship to Utah!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Surprise, Happy Birthday Marlene!

Today is my favorite Mother-In-Law's birthday. Felicidades! This is, in our opinion, the cutest video of Bella yet, and we are putting it up for Marlene's birthday surprise. We love you! Happy Birthday. Listen closely to decipher what Bella says. It's a code message using a mix of sign language, dolphin squeaks and Morse Code. Tell us what you think she means!

Ryan Celia and Bella

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Weight Watchers has a funny way of motivating people. For those who aren’t familiar with the system, they give you a certain amount of points each day and week, depending on your current weight, age, etc. Every food that you eat has a point value. Because I weighed in the 180s I was allotted 32 points per day. Now that I dropped below 180 (currently I am 179.5) I am allotted only 31 points per day. I guess that’s how you lose weight!

Here are this week’s numbers:

Weight Loss –

Cecilia – This Week: 1 pound Total: 13.5 pounds

Ryan – This Week: .5 pounds Total: 18.5 pounds

Morning & Evening Prayer and Scripture Study –

Morning Prayer – 5 out of 7

Evening prayer and S.S. – 6 out of 7

It is difficult for us to remember on the weekends. We wake up at different times and it just slips our minds.

Tennis –

35 consecutive hits

For those of you who know anything about tennis, you probably look at this number and think “wow, they are really bad.” Well, I just want to let you know that you are right. We have decided not to even play by the rules until we can at least hit it over the net without difficulty. Do you think if we play every week we will eventually be good?

Exercise –

Cecilia – Again she reached her goal of doing the entire body attack 3 times this week (see her blog post for more details).

Ryan – Ran 23 miles this week. Ran 3.0 miles in 19:58.

I found out (thanks to that my previous route was only 2.9 miles. Therefore, I went to the track to see if I could actually run 3.0 miles in less than 20 minutes. I succeeded…barely.

Stay-at-home-mom –

Cecilia – She made a new goal of writing 30 minutes every day to keep up this talent. She has done it 2 out of 4 days thus far.

Ryan – I usually play with Bella when I get home because I haven’t seen her all day and to give my wife a break. This might become more difficult once school starts.

Missionary Work –

We went with the missionaries twice this week. Both times we were going to visit Carlos and both times he was not there. The first time we ended up visiting Janice, whose husband is a member. She goes to church every week but is afraid to be baptized because of family reasons. She is from the Philippines. The second time we ended up visiting Jimmy Dean. He is an older black man who has started to change his life around since meeting the missionaries.

TV/Reading –

Because of the Olympics there has not been any reading over the past 2 weeks. Michael Phelps’ races were spectacular! I have also enjoyed the two games that I watched of the Redeem Team!

Hymns –

Last week for F.H.E. Cecilia taught the lesson about hymns. She challenged us to listen to more hymns throughout the day. We have been doing so. Instead of turning on the radio on my way home from work I have been listening to the MoTab. It has made a big difference throughout my day and in our home.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Juking and Stair Stepper Destruction

*Note: If you make it to the end of this post there is a special video, but you can't watch it unless you read the WHOLE thing!

My week started out with a BANG! To tell the truth, it was more like a SNAP! I decided it was time to intensify my workout on the non-All-Body-Attack days. I tacked on 20 minutes to my regular forty minute regime on the mini-stair stepper to get the sweat factory producing again. Just after the forty minute mark I braced myself for the twenty extra minutes when the quarter of an inch thick metal cable broke. How do you break a metal cable? That’s a rhetorical question. I’m just glad I broke the machine and it wasn’t the other way around. I feel like I’ve gotten 45 dollars out of it anyway.

On Wednesday we went with the missionaries to teach Carlos. For family home evening Ryan and I practiced teaching the second lesson. I even made plan of salvation figures in Spanish for the occasion. When we got there we all noted a few ominous signs. The garage door was closed, and there was no movement inside the house. After knocking three times without a response, the missionaries left a “The Truth Restored” card (It looks more professional than a sticky note) on the door.

On the way back to the car, the junior companion asked a serious question. “Where did you get Bella?” I wasn’t sure if he was referring to the plan of salvation, or something else. “The name! The name!” He emphasized with boiling cheeks, “I just want to know where you got the name.”

We fed the missionaries on Saturday, before going to Carlos’ house again. The garage door was shut and nobody opened the door. That’s when I learned a new word. “Juked,” in missionary lingo is derived from its usage in the sports world. elucidates, “1. To make a move intended to deceive (an opponent).–noun 2. a fake or feint, usually intended to deceive a defensive player.”

Although we didn’t get to speak Spanish with Carlos, we met the most wonderful man in Lawrence. His name is Jimmy Dean. He showed us the picture they took of his twenty year old son three days before he was killed. He clapped his hands and smiled when the missionaries taught him the word of wisdom. “You guys are helping me turn my life around. I haven’t had a drink in three days. I want one real bad, but I’m going to turn my life around. I’ve been feeling good ever since I met you guys.” When they told him that God commanded us to pray always, he asked to say a prayer right then. He reminds me of a man I met in Luquillo, Puerto Rico named Edwin, except Edwin never could kick the drugs.

Ryan was featured on the front page of the Ottawa City Herald this week. He even made the “picture of the day.” The journalist posed him greasing a lawnmower, and even told him how to do it so that it looked real. If you want to read it, click here. The only misinformation she gave in the article was regarding his backpack. If she had opened it she would have found it stuffed with snacks, not books.

The population of Lawrence is about to double. Ryan has helped about ten families move in the past two weeks. Instead of bouquets of freshly sharpened #2 pencils, “back to school” brings large Penske vans, along with hordes of freshmen in matching T-shirts, roving the campus in packs. I’ve only seen something similar when I step on an anthill.

Ryan has been enjoying his last week before school starts. We took a break from broadening our horizons with Mark Twain. Instead, we’ve been rooting for Michael Phelps, Dara Torres and Shawn Johnson. I didn’t think it was possible, but a couple of races got my heart rate up like speaking in sacrament meeting. To Ryan’s delight, he discovered that you can find and replay any event in the Olympics on-line. He spent two hours watching the Redeem Team womp on Greece.

As for Bella, she’s been getting comfortable in the crook of my arm. Bella squirms so much that I have a hard time putting her down when she is in the mood to cuddle. She’s been feeling quite cuddly lately. I’m getting really good at being one handed, and using my toes to pick things up. I think she might be feeling a little too much love though. I didn’t think it would harm anyone to let her chew on me while I put the dishes away, but she left a puce, mouth shaped mark on my shoulder. People will think Ryan put it there, but I don’t mind.

Well, the poll results are in. It appears that most of you want to see older videos of us. We will try to put one video per week on the blog. Our history as a family is relatively short, and our time with a video camera is even shorter, so the videos won’t be too old. We love you all! Have a great week!


Ryan, Celia and Bella

This video was taken last Sunday. We have decided we sound ridiculous when we talk to Bella.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Since I have decided to continue my blog I had better come clean. Before starting our family blog I had read only 1 other person’s blog. Scott Darrington, my former boss, started a blog not too long ago. My favorite part about his blog is that he posts his goals for all to see. I found myself checking his blog just to see how he did on his goals (I know, I am a nerdy number’s person). I am sorry to disappoint all those who thought I was a genius in coming up with this wonderful idea.

Here are this week’s numbers:

Weight Loss –

Cecilia – This Week: .5 pounds Total: 12.5 pounds

Ryan – This Week: 1.5 pounds Total: 18 pounds

The lack in weight loss this week can be directly attributed to the Stod’s wonderful brownies that they sent us in the mail.

Morning & Evening Prayer and Scripture Study –

Morning Prayer – 6 out of 7

Evening prayer and S.S. – 7 out of 7

Once again Sunday morning got the best of us. This time we weren’t able to remember during church.

Tennis – First try: 2 consecutive hits

Second try (after the Bella fiasco): 28 consecutive hits

This number is much lower than we want it to be. The problem is that we really suck at tennis. Do you think that if we practice every week we might get good, or do you think we are doomed to failure? If you watched us play you might answer that question differently.

Exercise –

Cecilia – She reached her goal of doing the entire body attack 3 times this week.

Ryan – Ran 16 miles this week. Ran 3.0 miles in 19:45

Stay-at-home-mom –

Cecilia – No progress writing for competitions. She did get her blog post up though!

Ryan – I played with Bella while I watched the Kansas City Chiefs preseason game. I think I need to reevaluate quality time with my daughter.

Missionary Work –

Celia went out with the missionaries this week, although she didn’t get to teach a lesson.

I accompanied the missionaries on Sunday while they taught Carlos. He is from Mexico and speaks very little English. The missionaries speak no Spanish. That resulted in a first lesson taught by me! It was a good refresher. Carlos is very interested in the gospel.

TV/Reading –

When we made the no TV rule I made sure to include the disclaimer “except for the Olympics.” When I said that I really meant, “except for sports.” My wife didn’t like my reasoning but I convinced her that the Kansas City Chief’s preseason game was extremely important. Besides, I was taking care of Bella so everyone was happy!

Hospital Visits and Burnt Cookies

Here's a little bit of Bella to sate your thirst, but read on after watching the video...

I started this week with a couple days of vacationing-with-a-baby recuperation. Among the approved activities were shuffling around the house until two o’clock in my workout clothes and supervising Bella in her sleep. Having the internet connected after a two month fast didn’t boost productivity either.

Much sooner than I wished, I remembered the speaking assignment we had been given for the following Sunday. Bella distracted us enough at Carthage that we almost didn’t notice the second counselor of the bishopric lurking at the Visitor’s Center. We said “hello,” and left with an assignment to speak about the restoration in sacrament meeting. Nine o’clock church squeezes out any ideas of writing a talk on Sunday morning.

Besides starting my talk on Wednesday I had the opportunity of being stood up with the missionaries. Sister Updike called me just in time to pack up the diaper bag and jog to the institute building with wet hair and Bella’s stroller in tow. We waited for an hour, but their most reliable investigator never came.

Ryan came home with a surprise on Thursday; steel toed boots. The city handed him the box, along with a pack of socks and some T-shirts with the city logo on them as he was leaving the office. They weren’t hinting at his choice of apparel. Steel toed boots are required for all street workers, which is where he will be for the next few weeks. It appears he’ll be getting a free farmer’s burn too!

Last week we played tennis at night when you have to hop across the court to avoid crunching beetles into the cement, and keep your mouth clamped shut to avoid unsolicited snacks. On Friday we decided to brave the twelve o’clock sun instead of playing after dark.

Two serves after we started our match we threw our gear back into the trunk and bolted to the hospital when Bella appeared to be gagging on something. After half an hour in an emergency room, shoving tubes and nasal sprays into Bella’s nose, she was red all over from screaming so hard and was still choking. Dr. Rundquist, after speaking with an ear, nose and throat specialist, diagnosed Bella with an acute case of “unspecified conjunctivitis.” Once she calmed down and went to sleep her breathing returned to normal and so far she hasn’t had any relapses.

The magic of a Saturday morning can cure almost anything. Bella forgot the trauma of the day before. She was in such good sprits that she started rolling onto her back consistently. Although she hasn’t gone beyond army crawling, she’s much more mobile than a 3.5 month old should be, in my opinion. Is it too much to ask for her to be stationary for two more months?

On Sunday we decided to bake cookies as an act of service. The first gooey batch exited the oven steaming with melted chocolate chips. We helped ourselves to a few of them while the other batch was baking. When we took the other ones out we discovered that sacrificial batches aren’t limited to the first. There were only 4 good cookies left by then, so we decided to try again next week.

Ryan went out with the missionaries that night. Carlos is from Mexico, and didn’t understand much of the first lesson that the missionaries gave in English. Ryan tried to recall the first lesson, and teach it in Spanish. What a coincidence that we had just given a talk on the first discussion in sacrament meeting that morning. Maybe the assignment was inspired after all. We will be going back on Wednesday.

We love you! Leave us your feedback, and remember to vote on the question at the top of the side bar. We would really like to know.
Love Ryan, Celia and Bella

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Not for the Faint Hearted

I've always thought Bella looked a little creepy when she falls asleep, but now I have proof.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

We are a Nauvoo Family

This weekend we dodged turtles, and sped through clouds on a white rollercoaster road all the way to Nauvoo, Illinois. We might have hit a construction worker except the signs threatening a ten thousand dollar fine deterred us. We were tempted to take a detour when we saw the “World Famous Mark Twain Cave,” but began to question if we were driving in circles after seeing the same billboard no less than five times.

We stayed in a fabulous new Bed & Breakfast in Keokuk (fifteen minutes outside of Nauvoo) called the VictoriInn. The king sized bed was an upgrade. Having Bella squeaking and hiccupping in a Pack’n’Play next to the bed brought back the insomnia Celia fought in our multipurpose room in Ogden.

For the first time since before Bella was born Ryan and Celia got to do a session together. At the end we made the mistake of asking a temple worker to see the top two floors. She wouldn’t allow us to retract the request after we watched her flit from worker to worker searching for someone who had a moment to take us upstairs. The temple president gave us a more than adequate tour including Joseph Smith’s saber and the elevator. We swapped kids with a couple in our ward while they went. Atreyu (2.5 years old) and Jonah (5 months) added excitement to our unremarkable lives for a few hours. Celia hasn’t teeter-tottered that much, ever. Her quads don’t even endure such abuse with her All Body Attack video.

Isabella continued in her glorious tradition of commemorating special events. She commemorated our session at the Nauvoo Temple, our arrival at the Visitor’s Center, as well as three times on our visit to the Keokuk branch. Ryan got to wear a little bit of it on his shorts for the rest of the day Friday. After her jubilations on Sunday we canceled our last jaunt to Nauvoo and postponed our trip to Carthage to do an emergency load of laundry.

At the site of Joseph Smith’s martyrdom Bella was overcome with grief and couldn’t contain her tears, not even for the eighteen minute movie that begins the tour. Fortunately she was able to recompose herself as the last tour of the day flocked into the jail, but not before leaving her contribution on the visitor’s center carpet. Ryan and Celia were both amazed at the feeling that permeates the atmosphere there, but they were able to refrain from crying, almost.

We left Illinois on Sunday night, Ryan with a red brick, Celia with a Nauvoo Pageant souvenir newspaper and Bella with an eye infection. We all hope to go back, and maybe even go inside a Nauvoo building. We might have better luck when Bella is older?

Those are the most exciting happenings for last week. Sorry it took so long to get this posted, but Celia decided to crack down on the thousand plus emails that have been accruing in her inbox since its inception in 2005. They are all sorted and archived, so she won’t use that as an excuse again. More coming soon…


Ryan, Celia and Bella

Monday, August 4, 2008

Episode II – Return of the Harv-Dawg

Last week I told you to respond if you enjoyed my post. I only received 5 responses, all of which were positive. Therefore, either the rest of you did not like it and were too nice to tell me or only 5 people read our blog. For purposes of my self-esteem and the continuation of my part of the blog I am going to assume that the latter is true.

Here are this week’s numbers:

Weight Loss –
Cecilia – This Week: 2 pounds Total: 12 pounds
Ryan – This Week: 2.5 pounds Total: 16.5 pounds

Morning & Evening Prayer and Scripture Study –
Morning Prayer – 7 out of 7
Evening prayer and S.S. – 7 out of 7
As we were sitting in church on Sunday morning in Keokuk, Iowa, the gentleman giving the lesson asked us if we had said our prayers that morning. As I thought about it I realized that we had not said our morning companionship prayer. Luckily it was only 11:00 a.m. so after class my wife and I went into a room in the church to say our prayer. That was close!

Tennis –
38 consecutive hits!

Exercise –
Cecilia – Once again she was able to complete the entire body attack workout. She even added real weights instead of water bottles. Her goal is to do the entire thing 3 times this week.
Ryan – Ran 15 miles this week. Ran 3.0 miles in…..19:58! I did it! When I set off on my quest to beat my sister in a 5K this winter I set a goal to run 3.0 miles in under 20 minutes before December. I guess I underestimated myself because I completed that goal and I still have 4 1/2 months to go. Watch out Chelsea!

Stay-at-home-mom –
Cecilia – Is very excited about writing this story about her dad. She is constantly having me read her work to make sure that it makes sense. She does not however ask for literary advice; for that she goes to her sister Alicia.
Ryan – My goal here was to help my wife out when I get home from work to give her a break. This last weekend I changed more poopy diapers during our Nauvoo trip than I want to for the rest of my life. Trips are much different with a baby that needs to be fed and changed every 2 seconds. I am reconsidering this goal.

Missionary Work –
Before the Nauvoo Pageant, a 13 year old member of the cast approached us and asked if there was anybody that the missionaries could share the gospel with. We referred our Chinese neighbors.

Temple –
In January our stake president challenged us to go to the temple at least once a month together. In Utah that was relatively easy, but out here it has been a little more difficult. But we have made it so far on June 21, July 26, and August 2.

TV/Reading –
A few weeks ago we made a goal not to watch any more television (except for the upcoming Olympics and except when we are exercising). This was somewhat difficult at first because we had gotten into a bad habit of watching a lot of TV at night. Instead, we are reading Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. We are about halfway through.