Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Little Sis

My little sister turned 25 this week.  It's hard to believe.  Even though we are not that far apart in age, I have always thought of her as my baby sister, and I have always wanted to protect her and take care of her.  Now she's all grown up and taking care of herself, and truth be told, she's been doing that since she was about 15 (even though she always let me believe that she needed her big sister's advice and help).  That's one of the many great things about Laura--she has always been so mature and yet so humble and childlike at the same time.  She is wise, independent, and confident, and yet she is exceptionally sweet, trusting, and fun.

I was a senior in high school when she was a freshman.  It always made me feel like a million bucks that she wanted to be seen with me.  She would squeal my name and throw her arms around me when she saw me in the hallway, and I remember thinking, "My little sister loves me.  She is proud of me."  That is a good feeling when you are a teenager trying to figure out exactly who you are.

She was just 16 when our mom passed away.  She was the only one of us girls still living at home, and she spent one night of every weekend hanging out with my dad.  No one ever asked her to or expected her to--she just did.  This must have been a sacrifice for a popular high school girl, but she never acted like it was.  They would go on dates to the grocery store.  He called her his "Little Pal."  It seems we all thought of her as our "Little" Laura, even though she's always had wisdom far beyond her years.  She has a talent for making people feel like she needs them when, really, we are the ones who need her.

She still makes me feel like I am cool.  She laughs at my jokes; she brings out an immature side of me that no one else can; she calls me for advice when she is stressed or sad.  She makes me feel so loved, and I love her with every ounce of my heart.  I would do anything for her.

I love you, Little Laura.  Thank you for making my life better for the last 25 years.  I don't know what I would do without you.

Your Big Sis

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It is 15 degrees in Buffalo right now...

I am so glad I'm not there!!

I'm visiting my little sister and her husband in sunny San Diego.

 We are doing lots of what we do best...eating!

It was Laura's birthday on Saturday.
Whenever I visit my sisters or they visit me, the husband gets booted to the guest room/couch, so we can have SSOs (Sister SleepOvers).  We snuggle and giggle and talk all night long, just like the old days.  Yesterday, I said to Sam, "I'm sorry that I took your wife away from you for a few days."  His response: "That's okay...I needed a break." :)

Looks to me like it might be Laura who needs the break! 
I am having so much fun here, and the party's not over yet.  Tomorrow, we are going on a morning whale watching cruise, and then in the evening, I fly to St. Louis to see my older sister, her husband, and their adorable little son.  I am going "sister hopping" across the country.  Thank goodness for Southwest's free tickets program!

I love having a February Break from school!  This is the life!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

SC was here.

An "I Love You" Mug for Ryan:

A Clean House for Rachel:

A Refrigerator Display for Ryan (with cute love magnets):

Unexpected Additions to the Refrigerator Display for Rachel:
(This was my favorite surprise of all...his captions are really clever!)

A Fun Game for Ryan:

A Fun Snow Message for Rachel:

And a Rose and a Fancy Necklace too:

It was a great week.

SC, I love you.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Kindred Spirits

It is almost 1 a.m., and I am sitting here surfing adoption blogs.

It is really addicting.  I mean, really.

As I write this, I can picture my dad somewhere reading it.  He is shaking his head and thinking about how the next time he talks to me, he is going to have to tell me to start going to bed earlier.  Sorry, Dad--I can't help it.  

Did you know that there are a lot of very awesome people who are hoping to adopt?  Through the insane miracle of the Internet, I have come in contact with so many inspiring people who are in the process of adopting or who have already adopted.

These women have become my friends.  As we've swapped blog comments and emails, they have strengthened me and given me hope.  Who knew that I have so many kindred spirits who have trodden the adoption path before me or who are trodding it now with me?

First, I found Lacey, who adopted her adorable little baby girl Emme just 4-5 months ago.  (She only had two weeks notice!  Best surprise in the world!)

Then, I found Amy, who is currently waiting to adopt, like we are.  I stumbled upon her adoption blog, and we started exchanging emails, and we really connected.  It's nice to have someone who is right there with me.

Then, I found Andrea, who actually went to the same church that I did growing up.  I always looked up to her and admired her beauty and her singing voice.  She and her husband are hoping to adopt as well.

Then, I found Kenna, who just adopted her beyond precious little boy Harley when he was about 13 months old.  (It's an incredible story.)

Then, I found Whitney, who is also currently trying to adopt (and who, at this point, is just a Friend Crush, but she and her husband seem to be beyond fun and cool).

I love how adoption binds women together.  I love the adoption community.  I love reading the stories of how other couples finally found their babies.

Before I hit the sack, I just have to say...adoption is really amazing.


Monday, February 7, 2011

He's baaaacck!

It must be Secret Cupid week again.  We've been finding evidence all over the apartment:

Happy Valentines Week!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Friend Crush

My little sister once told me that she had a "Friend Crush."  When I asked her to clarify, she explained that a Friend Crush is someone who you really really want to be friends with because you think she's cool and fun and pretty, but you don't want to come across as a creepy stalker by calling too much or following her around at social gatherings.  So you try to play it cool and hope that your Friend Crush likes you as much as you like her.

I burst out laughing when she explained this because I have totally had Friend Crushes in my life.  (Haven't we all?)

So now, "Friend Crush" has become a regularly used term by the Westover sisters when describing people that we really want to be friends with.

As Ryan interviewed at pedo programs around the country this fall, he met lots of cool dental students.  Some of the guys were at multiple interviews with him, so they got to chat and hang out and get to know each other.

As he came home from these interviews, he kept mentioning a certain friend he had made, telling me about this guy's hobbies, sense of humor...even his stylin' shoes. (Don't kill me for admitting that, Ryan.)

After hearing this glowing description, I looked at Ryan slyly and said, "It sounds to me like someone has a Friend Crush."


That was several months ago, and I had totally forgotten about it when I got this text on Monday afternoon: "Rachel, guess what?  My Friend Crush got in to the program in Denver too!"

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!  I loved it!

Way to embrace the Westover terminology, Ry!  I hope your FC never reads this blog post, or he might think you are a creeper!  As for me, I just think you are funny, and I'm glad you'll have someone to hang out with during your busy days at the hospital in Denver.  :)

Match Day--Full Report

Monday was the much-anticipated "Match Day" when our fate for the next two years was announced by a computer.

Ryan woke up to some celebratory donuts, provided by his thoughtful wife:


I had taken the day off of school, so I could be Ryan's morning patient and be there with him to hear the news.  I'm so glad I did because it was really exciting and fun to be with him.  We checked the email several times in the morning, and then we decided (to prevent obsession and stress) that we wouldn't check again until we got to the clinic.  About an hour later, in the car outside the clinic, Ryan checked one more time and saw the email in his Inbox: "Match Results."

This photo was taken just before he opened the email:

He looks a little anxious...
When he read The Children's Hospital in Denver, Colorado, we were both completely flabbergasted.  We kept saying, "What??" and looking at the email again and saying "What???"  The program in Denver is very intense, as was the interviewer, and Ryan didn't think they would want him there.  Apparently, he was wrong!

We went into the clinic, and I got to watch as Ryan told his friends the news, and they all hugged and congratulated him.  It brought a slight tear to my eye.  I am proud of Ry, and I'm so grateful that he's worked with such wonderful friends these past four years.

Then I got the best cleaning I've ever had from the cutest dentist I've ever seen:

Such a lovely photo of me.

All done!
After my cleaning, we promptly rushed to find our friend Dave Majeroni in the ortho clinic.  When we moved to Buffalo, Dave was starting his fourth year of dental school and applying for the orthodontics specialty.  My first day in Buffalo, I helped him with his application essay and resume.  Our families became fast friends, and Dave has been Ryan's mentor the past four years.  He has talked through the ups and downs of dental school with Ryan; he has helped him with lab work and procedures that Ry didn't understand; he has encouraged Ryan in his dream to become a pedodontist and even gave Ryan a practice interview and some pointers.

Dave was thrilled to hear Ryan's news.  (And for those of you who know Dave, you can imagine that his reaction was the best of the day--Dave is incredibly enthusiastic.)

Dave is about ten feet tall.
Ryan headed off to a Match Day luncheon, and I went home to try to brainstorm ideas for our party that evening.  It was not easy to come up with theme food and decorations for my home state, but I did the best I could:

The state flag is a table cloth, pillow cases, hand towel, and wash cloth.

You may notice some "Denver mints" and "Denver nuggets."  We also had Mile-High Mud Pie (not pictured because it was in the freezer).  And our crowning theme drink of the evening: Coors Beer!

Now, lest you think we are heathen Mormons, I invite you to take a closer look:

Before you judge, read the sign...
Not to worry, friends!  It's root beer!  I bought packs of Mug root beer, printed out the Coors logo online and taped it onto the cans.  It looked remarkably real, and it did give me a chuckle to see a member of our Bishopric with a "cold one" in his hand.  I hope no one was offended!  I have never tasted Coors beer, but the "Coors" root beer was quite delicious.

Speaking of that Bishopric member, his wife brought an eclair cake in the shape of Colorado...can you tell?  
The little red flag marks Denver 
It was an exciting day from start to finish. 

We are blessed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What we will miss:

Ryan and I just finished cleaning up from last night's shindig.  Yes, I realize it's more than 24 hours since the party ended...but after the exciting day we'd had, when the last guests left, we turned off the light and collapsed in our bed.

We intended to clean immediately when we got home from school today, but then we got distracted and spent several hours on our computers.  (Does this happen to anyone else??)

But it's okay that I am up late cleaning because, guess what?  School has already been canceled for tomorrow!

Three cheers for Snow Days!!
                   Hip hip hooray!
                          Hip hip hooray!
                          Hip hip hooray!

I have had a Snow Day about once a week for the past month.  It is heavenly.  That is something I will really miss about Buffalo.

But it's not the only thing I will miss.

I will miss the craziness of our church congregation.  I love the Buffalo Ward:

I will never forget Deb or Zig
or Laney (pictured here enjoying a marshmallow with Miss Deb)
I will miss my students who humor me in my endeavors to make learning fun:

Our play of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
I will miss my colleagues:

Sherry and I love clowning around.

I will miss our neighborhood:

The Cookie Clubbers have grown up so much since this photo was taken 3.5 years ago!
Most of all, I will miss all of our wonderful friends, pictured here at last night's party:

The Daytons
The first family we met in Buffalo
Our neighbors and dear friends
Taylor and "Aunt Rachel"
When he was  a newborn, Tay used to sleep in my arms as I graded papers.
Now I am his favorite babysitter!
The Majeronis
The second family we met in Buffalo
Some of the funnest people we've ever met
(as you can see from Dave's cheesy grin)
The Trockels
A favorite family from Ryan's dental class
Denyse and Tiffany
representing the Carter family (our fun home teachers) 

and the Cardon family (a favorite family from the dental class) 
The Voelckers
Our neighbors and buddies
Ryan and Thayne
From the beginning, they've both been working to specialize in pediatric dentistry,
and they both matched!

We have loved living in Buffalo.  I woke up this morning feeling melancholy.  How can it be almost over?

We will miss it.

More on Ry's residency match tomorrow...