Monday, May 31, 2010

Beautiful Bride

Ryan's little sister, Ashley, got married on May 27th in the Salt Lake City LDS Temple.  She was an extremely beautiful bride!

They had a dinner in Salt Lake that night for family and close friends.  I love the way that they are looking at each other during their first dance:

And they had a little fun too:

Ashley danced with her dad to "My Girl," and they were cracking up the entire time.

We spent the next day preparing for an open house reception in Pocatello, Idaho.  I helped some neighborhood ladies frost hundreds of cupcakes, as the boys set up a reception tent outside.

It's always so much fun to be with family.

As you can see, we were very excited to be there!


Click here if you want to see more of my photos of the Big Day(s).  (Obviously, these are not professional quality photos.)

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I have decided that it is officially unacceptable that my husband weighs less than me.  A lot less.  Think double digits.

I once heard an older couple described as a "10."  I didn't get it at first, until it was explained to me that the husband was the skinny "1" and the wife was the round "0."

I was not amused.  Why?  Because this analogy hit a little too close to home.  It may be cute for couples to be "10s" when they are old...

Ryan and I are not old.

And just as I don't like being the round one, Ryan doesn't like being the twiggy one.  It is not manly to weigh much less than your wife.

And so, we are on a mission.  We have dubbed it O.F.U.R. or Operation Fatten-Up-Ry.  Some of our ideas include the following:

1.  Ryan drinks whole milk and uses half-and-half on his cereal.

2.  On Sundays, we make Ryan a meal that he can eat each day for lunch while I am at school.  This week, I made homemade chicken pot pie, and I used lots of butter and half-and-half in the sauce.  Yummm.  (I won't be eating any of it.)

3.  Ryan will get together with his buddies more often for pizza and wings.  (This will be good for his stress level and social life as well.)

4.  When I make a healthy dinner, I will eat one serving, and Ryan will eat three or more.

What do you think?  Will this work?  What other suggestions do you have?  When making your suggestions, please keep in mind that O.F.U.R. stands for Operation Fatten-Up Ry, not Rachel, and I cannot have junk food around the house to tempt me.

Speaking of junk...let's get some junk in Ry's trunk, shall we??

Thursday, May 20, 2010


My students think I am weird.

This fact surfaced as we had a discussion about jeans.  I admitted to them that I do not own a pair and have not in five years.  They said that is "unAmerican."  They suggested that I rush out tonight and buy a pair--or at least a pair of "jorts."  (Apparently, this is their term for jean shorts.)

They wanted to know what I wear when I am not at work.  I decided not to tell them that I live in ugly track suits and pajama pants. 

While we were on the topic of my strangeness, I admitted that I also don't have a Facebook account and, even more shocking to them, that we don't have TV.

They were truly beside themselves.

"What do you do when you are not working???"

This made me smile.  As if Facebook and TV are the only things that adults have to do in their spare time.

I remember the carefree days of youth: no housework, no grocery shopping, no church responsibilities, no meetings to attend, no meals to cook or bills to pay or car to take to the shop, etc. etc. etc...

In any event, I do think I will buy some jeans one of these days.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


My dad was in Toronto for a business trip this weekend, so Ryan and I hopped in the car and made our way across the border for a getaway.

As we rolled up to the Park Hyatt hotel in downtown Toronto, we immediately noticed that our dusty Honda Civic stood out considerably from the Maserati and BMW convertible in front of us in the valet line.  Feeling a bit sheepish, we looked around in hopes that we could bypass the tuxedo-wearing valet and instead park the car ourselves.

No such luck.  This hotel's parking lot is only accessible to the valets...and for the "affordable" rate of $38 per night!  And that doesn't include the tip every time they fetch or park your car for you.

Speaking of tips, does anyone else get overcome with anxiety in situations where you are expected to give a tip?  And I'm not talking about restaurants...that's an easy 15%-20% of the bill (unless you are from Idaho, where, my husband tries to convince me, it is still socially acceptable to tip waiters 10%)...I'm talking about tipping bellboys or valets or taxi drivers or hair cutters or grocery baggers (in El Salvador) or those homeless men that try to wash your windows for you.  What in the heck are you supposed to tip these people??  This is especially unnerving in swanky, metropolitan hotels.

In the midst of his day of driving Italian luxury vehicles, I'm sure it was a real treat for the valet guy to park our Civic, with the seats covered in pen stains and crusty crumbs.

We are truly refined individuals.

As we checked into the hotel, Ryan insisted on wearing his Idaho trucker hat.  It is the most hick thing I have ever seen.  He gave the concierge a big grin and made sure to tell him that we are from Buffalo.  (I'm just grateful that he didn't use my favorite Buffalo colloquialism: "yous."  I can just picture it now: "All of yous at this hotel are very nice!")

By this point, I was completely mortified, and I was very glad when my dad informed us that, the following night (when we were no longer on his law firm's tab), we would be moving to a Best Western on the outskirts of town.

Ah, Best Western.  Now that's more like it.

Here are some photos from our trip:

We took a quick ferry trip to Toronto Island, a beautiful island of parks, beaches, boating, biking, tennis, mini-golf, petting zoo--even an amusement park with carnival rides.  It would be a super fun day trip with kids!  

We may not have kids, but we still had a blast.  I was quite thrilled when these two studs picked me up in a carriage bike:

I got to sit in the middle, so I did no pedaling.  Perfect.  

Ryan was insistent that we bike the entire island, so that we could see the Babe Ruth monument that the map showed at the end of the trail.  We were quite surprised when the much-anticipated "monument" turned out to be a measly plaque.  Oh well...Ryan appears to be pretty excited anyway.

We also went shopping in some funky and hip sections of Toronto.  I mingled with fashionistas on Bloor street, and my dad bought me some new shoes for my birthday.  Then, we headed to the grungy cool section of town, where we didn't buy anything other than the oh-so-delicious Canadian Nanaimo bars.  Oh yum.  Yum yum yum...I cannot get enough of the peanut butter ones.

Check out this store in Kensington Market...then imagine a whole street full of them! 

There were hippies everywhere!

Dad also took us to a Blue Jays game for a law firm event.  In the executive suite, we enjoyed plush, cushiony seats and all-you-can-eat junk food. Now that's my kind of baseball game!

Ryan was in heaven.

Thanks, Dad, for a great trip!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Top 3 Reasons Not to Have a Laparoscopy

3.  You will have to waddle around the halls in a flimsy hospital gown--all the while wondering if you are exposing yourself to innocent bystanders.

2.  Post-surgery, when all you want is a little TLC, the nurse might yell at you for repeatedly lowering your own bedrail so that your husband can "snuggle" you.  ("I'm sorry!" I told her, "But I just love him!")

1.  Your stomach will be bruised, bloated, bloodied, and sore.  (My dad would not let me post the photo of this; he said it is too disgusting.)

Top 3 Reasons To Have a Laparoscopy

3.  You will have an excuse not to go to school, grade papers, or reorganize Visiting least for a few days.

2.  Some of your favorite girlfriends will stop by for a chat...and they might arrive bearing surprises such as, but not limited to, flowers, dinner, an adorable "summer tote," and a Wegmans banana cream pie.  (Thank you, ladies!)

1.  Your husband will have no choice but to spend an entire afternoon doting on you...and if you frequently remind him that you endured surgery because you want to be the mother of his children, then he might even agree to watch an 8-hour-long BBC special with you.  I recommend Little Dorritt.  

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Worth watching!

I am speaking in church tomorrow and have been trying to figure out what to say all morning.

While doing some research on the Internet, I came across this video.  

It brought me to tears.  It reminded me of my own mom and how so much of life as she knew it was taken from her when she was a young mother.  At age 35, she went through chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant.  Her physical body was never the same again--but to me, she was the most beautiful woman on the planet.

I love what the woman in this video says: "I am Stephanie Nielson.  And I am not my body."