Reading Roundup 2010

I made a goal to read 40 books this year.  Here are my results:

1. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
2. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
3. Where Angels Fall by Chris Stewart
4. The Second Sun by Chris Stewart
5. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
6. The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull
7. Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson
8. Fury and Light by Chris Stewart
9. From the End of Heaven by Chris Stewart
10. The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale
11. Clear as the Moon by Chris Stewart
12. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
13. The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
14. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
15. Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
16. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
17. Three Good Deeds by Vivian Vande Velde
18. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
19. The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton
20. Small Steps by Louis Sachar
21. Leadership and Self Deception by the Arbinger Institute
22. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
23. The Ten-Cow Wives Club by Joni Hilton
24. The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver
25. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
26. Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
27. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
28. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
29. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
30. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
31. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
32. The Shack by William P. Young
33. What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heid Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
34. Peter and the Starcatchers by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry
35. In the Dark Streets Shineth by David McCullough
36. Marley and Me by John Grogan
37. Prudent Advice by Jaime Morrison Curtis
38. The Book of Mormon
39. The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins
40. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

I did it!  I am still working on Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman.  I have about 20 pages left and we're about to make a 3 hour drive to Baltimore so I should beat my goal by one.

Bring On 2011!


New Faces

While here Jillian has gotten to meet lots of people that love and spoil her.  Here she is with Uncle Tyler, Grandpa, Aunt Jenn, Aunt Katie, Soon-to-be Uncle Neal, Aunt Leslie, Great Grandma Rice, Aunt Bethany, and Great Grandpa Rice.  What a lucky girl!

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Merry Christmas!

We made it to Virginia and have been having a marvelous time.  Hope you are too!


Silly Girl

Jillian is obsessed with her arms.  She's constantly waving them around and we love it when they land in funny positions.

We call this one TOUCHDOWN!!!  And we like it best when it's for BYU.

"Stop bugging me!"

Whenever Jilly raises one arm Bryan calls on her, "Yes Jillian, what do you have to say?"  I think she knows that students who call out and don't raise their hand drive her mother crazy so she's practicing now.
 (Sorry for the blurry picture, I wasn't willing to stop the swing and wake her up)

Because her arm movements often startle her and wake her up we started swaddling her at night.  I think she looks so cute as a little glowworm!  

ps- Thank you so much for your travel advice, I'm starting to feel a little bit better about our trip.


Airplane Help!!

In just eight days we will make our epic journey across the country.  I couldn't be more excited but I'm also starting to panic.  Because we like to keep things exciting around here we're taking a red eye with stops in Denver and Newark, N.J.  I think my baby is pretty much perfect and even when she is crying she's just so adorable that I can't be upset at all, but I can't be assured that every other passenger on our planes will feel the same way, especially if she chooses 2am to start screaming.

So, I need your travel tips/advice/suggestions/magic spells to get us to Virginia without making any mortal enemies.

I know, I know- how could this girl ever have any enemies, right?!?!


One Month

I can't believe my baby is one month old.  It has been quite the month for us- so difficult yet so fun and wonderful.  We are very lucky to have this little girl in our family.

(I wrote this yesterday because I knew today would be busy and I almost deleted that last sentence when she screamed inconsolably for an hour last night, woke up every 2 hours during the night, spit up all over me, and peed all over our bed.  But then she slept until 9:30 this morning and woke up her cute and happy self so all is forgiven.)

Happy One Month Birthday Jilly!
I love this picture because a. that is the half smile we get from her all the time, b. her little arms are in motion as they almost always are and c. finally her chubby cheeks have some competition in those sumptuous thighs


Mommy Thumb

The summer after my freshman year at BYU I got tendonitis in my wrist.  The doctor said it was common for this to happen in the summer because we have much more free time and are holding books open a lot and turning pages and this places stress on our wrist.  But my mom wasn't fooled.  She had noticed that ever since I had gotten home my phone had never been more than 3 inches away from my body.  I was constantly texting all those wonderful friends I had made at college.  And, this was back in the day before full keyboards so it was constant stress on my thumb and wrist.  I tried to deny it and go with the book excuse, but finally just gave in and called the injury my "texting thumb."  It eventually went away.

Fast forward to now, I've been getting the same pain in my wrist.  But this time it's not the phone's fault (though I have been guilty of sending a high volume of picture messages to Jilly's grandma in VA) it's my baby's fault!  At night I tend to be a little bit tired (read: exhausted) and thus get lazy when I'm lifting her out of her bed.  This poor lifting technique has brought my tendonitis back.

Lisa (who actually is the main cause of my first tendonitis because she was most likely the one I was texting) sent me this article as a warning before she even knew that my wrist/thumb problems were back.  In the article she found the way to prevent "Mommy Thumb" which is "A proper warmup before doing any lifting." So now when Jillian starts crying at 3am I will calmly and alertly say, "Just one minute darling, mommy needs to do her warmups then she will be prepared to properly lift you out of your crib." 

Or maybe I'll just stick to ice and ibuprofen.  


It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It's been very fun to Deck the Halls this year knowing that this may be our last year that the decorations actually stay where we put them.  I'm thinking next year Jillian will be far less content to just sit and enjoy the beauty and more keen on touching (breaking) everything.  We'll deal with that then, but for now I can enjoy my Christmas decorations exactly the way I want them.

I got the free printable art here.

Icicle lights and we finally have curtains!

A student gave me these plates and we've never had a wall to hang them on until now!

Festivity on the bookshelf- the nativity plate is my absolute favorite decoration

This year we got a real tree for the first time and our house smells divine.

Bryan asked if we could hang Jilly from our tree.  Though she would look adorable up there I don't think we'd get high marks for parenting.


Don't you wish

you got to go to church with these two?

Yes, you should definitely be jealous of me.


Just me and my girl

This past week was my first week home alone with Jillian.  We LOVED having my mom here for the first week- I really don't think we would have made it through that week without her.  Then Bryan was able to take off all of Thanksgiving week so that was a lot of fun.  I was very nervous for this week, but Jilly and I had a great time.  I learned that the key is to make a list of the things I think I can accomplish during the day then cut it in half and if I get that much done, it's a good day.  

When I do get anything done it's because of this marvelous invention.  Jilly loves her swing, and I love that it allows me to take a shower every once in a while!

I was delighted to find that my daughter is a champion shopper.  She loves riding in her stroller and never makes a peep.  She's already been to Target and Jo-Anns four times each in her three weeks of life!

Jilly also loves her bath (now that she can have a real one.)  I love cuddling her in her cute towel afterward.

We love listening to Christmas music together.  I'm enjoying this time when she can't get mad at me for singing along- I'm sure one day she won't enjoy that as much.

Taking naps together is another one of our favorite things.

Jillian also got to spend some time with her dad this week while I went to my Relief Society Christmas party.  I think they were secretly sad when I came back home.   
(She's yawning, not crying here, and her shirt says "Daddy adores me" which is oh so true)

Altogether it's been a great week.  I think this little girl is a keeper.


Prudent Advice

This book was written by Jaime Morrison Curtis who blogs at Prudent Baby.  She is also Bryan's boss' daughter-in-law and that is how I obtained a signed copy (there's something magical about having a book signed by the author is there not?)  Jaime compiled 500 pieces of advice for her baby daughter Scarlet Jane.

Here are some of my favorites:

#24 Don't lie, except to comfort people.

#82 Anytime you are debating whether to shower or not, take the shower.

#157 If you want to leave a party and you don't have a good excuse, spill something on yourself

#213 Create a sense of family wherever you are.
Find people to love and love them unconditionally.

#241 Your future together is not a great subject to discuss on a first date.

#484 Know that I am proud of you.
Every halting gesture bursting from your inexperienced limbs, every novel expression crossing your upturned face, every syllable escaping your throat- every moment of every day I swell with joy at the very idea of you.  And I always will.

There was something very tender about reading this while cuddling my own baby daughter.  It made me think of all the hopes and dreams I have for little Jillian.  There are so many things I want to teach her and share with her.  There is so much ahead of her and I can't wait to see what she does with her precious life.


Happy Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful time celebrating Thanksgiving with Bryan's family.  I was nervous to travel with Jillian but she did very well.  It was a little startling to see how much stuff such a tiny girl required for just 3 nights away from home!

I braved Jo-Anns for 50% off fabric (yea for finally having curtains!),
Bryan went on a bike ride with his brothers, 
Jillian met her Uncle Trevor and Aunt Kristen.

We all ate some delicious turkey.

But mostly we just sat around talking about how much we love this girl.

Jilly's first Thanksgiving



We have much to be thankful for around here:

Our wonderfully supportive family

Bryan's job


No snow (sorry Utahns)

Our new home

Being able to eat cookie dough again

Our faith

Good Books

Mountain biking trails 

And, most of all, for this tiny girl for making our little family complete

Happy Thanksgiving!



I'm writing this primarily so we can remember the details of Jilly's entrance to life.  But, my second reason is to provide hope for all who are nervous about labor.  I was blessed with what I think was the easiest labor and delivery known to womankind.  I don't know why I got so lucky because in case you haven't noticed I also got lucky enough to have the most darling baby (but I may be a little biased.)

On Friday night we went to Skipolini's for the Prego Pizza.  I really wasn't expecting much, just a fun way to end what had been a long and depressing day.  The pizza was intense- every topping you could imagine and more garlic than I normally eat in a year- but it was pretty good.  Before going to bed at 11 I told Bryan I was disappointed that I felt great, no labor signs at all.  

At midnight I woke up with contractions and I was surprised to find that they were coming 2 minutes apart.  This was not what I had expected at all so I waited a while to make sure it was real.  At 1:00 I woke up Bryan, who immediately sprung into action throwing things into the car while I saw to the more important details like putting on makeup and finding some earrings to wear (and hunching over in pain every 2 minutes.)  Bryan gave me a much needed blessing of comfort then we headed off to the hospital.  

By 2:30 we were at the hospital and I was hooked up to a variety of monitors.  The nurse said the beautiful words, "You're dilated 5 cm, we're having a baby today!"  At 4:00 I got my epidural and after that it was smooth sailing, I couldn't feel a thing.  They turned out all the lights in the room and brought us warm blankets.  We both dozed from 4-7 as nurses came in and out checking on things.  

(looks comfortable, right?)

At 7am they told me it was time to push.  This was a little difficult and interesting since I could still feel absolutely nothing.  But everyone coached me and at 7:32 my little Jillian Kate arrived. She was absolutely perfect in every way.


Jillian Kate

Born November 13, 2010 at 7:32 am
7 pounds 11 ounces, 19 inches

We could not possibly be any happier.


Happy Due Date!

It looks as though this little girl has much to learn about punctuality (one of the traits I value most.)  But that's okay, we still like her.

Tonight we're taking on the Prego Pizza at Skipolini's.  Here's the Legend:

"In the spring of 1981, a woman desperate to give birth after a trying pregnancy, wandered into Skipolini's Pizza in downtown Clayton. Jokingly, the woman demanded that the manager give her a pizza that would make her have the baby soon. Seeing her desperation, the manager concocted a pizza with just about every known topping in the restaurant.

The masterpiece had thirteen different toppings including extra onions and extra garlic. The pizza was loaded with fresh vegetables and six types of meat. The creation weighed over four pounds and could have cured the hunger of several small countries. The results were amazing. The woman left the restaurant after eating the "Prego" pizza and went into labor that same evening. So began the amazing history of the first ever, the original, "Prego" pizza."

While the description of the pizza makes me cringe, Bryan's mouth has been watering all week.  I think he was secretly hoping that the baby wouldn't come so we could try it out.  There are Success Stories from 37 women on the website, hopefully I'll be number 38!  Keep your fingers crossed for us!


Dear Veterans,

(most especially my Grandpa Anderson)

Thank you for your service to our country.  Today we recognize and remember you.

Dear Baby,
Don't you think 11/11 would be a cool birthday?  Just an idea.

Love, Rachel/Mom



Once upon a time I was obsessed with Glee.  But this season it has been bleh and I've decided I'm done.  I feel kind of dumb because I promoted it so much and told so many people that they had to watch it.  But, guess what, you don't have to watch it, and I'm not going to anymore either.  For now I'm going to stick to listening to the CDs in the car at full blast and singing along, helping my daughter learn to appreciate good music from the beginning.


la suite de bébé

I love that we have a basket of books all ready for her

Yes, that is a big empty wall.  My mom is bringing my old pointe shoes to hang (training my ballerina early!)

The pink picture frame will one day hold a family picture

Having her room all ready makes me even more excited for her to come.  My doctor says things are progressing well, and he predicts we'll have a baby by next weekend- hooray!


Happy Birthday

to him:

This picture is obviously from last year.  A. This year's cake is definitely not made yet and B. Remember when I looked like that?  Will I ever look like that again?

The world has been lucky enough to have this guy around for 27 years.  Happy Birthday Bryan!

{not gonna lie- I was kind of hoping that the post title would throw some people off.  No baby, she's letting her dad have his own day}


Got my Sticker

Until today, I had never voted in person, I'd only voted by mail.  I've always been very jealous of everyone with their "I Voted" Stickers.   But today I am proudly wearing my very own sticker, and may just wear it for the next week.

In case you needed proof- yes it's blurry but I promise it is legit.


November 1

We made it to November!  It's lovely to say that this baby will be here sometime in this month.  Bryan and I are trying really hard to not get our hearts set on the 12th, we've been warned about late first babies.  But I can't help but hope she'll be here around then!

I'm trying to find lots of things to keep me busy so I don't just sit and stare at the clock willing it to move faster.  Here is our list of Things To Do To Keep From Going Crazy Before Baby Comes:

- I'm working on some crafts for the baby's room, but I had a minor setback when my hot glue gun caught on fire- very scary experience.  Pictures will come soon Suzie, I promise!
- Christmas presents!  I am almost done with all my Christmas shopping since I figured it would be much easier to do now than in a month.  Christmas shopping isn't complete without Christmas music, and since I am a tad bit large, uncomfortable, and ornery these days Bryan hasn't dared to tell me it's too early for Christmas music.  I'm thinking about being pregnant every November (haha...)
- I go for a long walk almost every day.  Turns out walking is quite a bit slower and more boring than running, but running is quite impossible right now.  I have loved listening to lots of books while walking.
- Our new bishop decided I needed something to keep me busy and called me to be the first counselor in our Relief Society presidency.  This has been extremely overwhelming considering the average age of our Relief Society is 72 (no joke), I still only know a handful of people, and I'm about to have a baby!  But, it's good to have a challenge, and they've been so sweet about not giving me too much responsibility since I'll be out of commission for a couple weeks.
- We're celebrating Bryan's Birthday Week the coupon way.  Sometimes I wonder how I lived before I met Janssen, I've gotten so many great ideas from her.  I followed her advice and signed Bryan up for every single birthday coupon I could find.  We've enjoyed free Coldstone and free Dairy Queen, and have a pile of coupons still to use (no, they aren't all ice cream, but we wouldn't mind if they were!)

If you have any other suggestions, we'll take them.  It could be a long few weeks around here!


best friends

As the oldest daughter I was able to be close with my mom because I could help with the younger kids (though I'm realizing now that I hardly did a thing.)  I can remember helping her decorate the house, plan for my siblings' birthday parties, and make food for different events.  Because I was the first of her children to grow up we've been able to have an adult friendship before any of the rest of my siblings.  She is one of my very best friends.

Because of this, I just assume that my daughter and I will be best friends.  It makes meeting her in the next few weeks even more exciting and nerve-wracking.  I hope she likes me enough to consider me a best friend.  I'm sure it will be easy at first as she will depend on me for everything, but I hope as she becomes more independent that we can have a close relationship.  I hope that she will always know how much I love her.

(Sorry if you're sick of baby, but it's only going to get worse folks!)


A Mormon and a Jehovah's Witness sitting at a bar

Sounds like a dumb joke, but this is the situation Bryan found himself in in Las Vegas.  Turns out most of the people there were totally into drinking/gambling all night after training was over.  One day Bryan found someone who said he wasn't into the whole party scene either so they decided to get dinner together.  They went to Planet Hollywood and the only seats that were available were at the bar so they went with it.  As they started talking, they quickly discovered their different religious beliefs.

Bryan said the JW was very devout in his faith and knew the Bible like the back of his hand.  He was pretty critical of our church, but also willing to listen to Bryan's answers and explanations.  Bryan was able to bear his testimony of the gospel, and in the end that's what counts the most.

When Bryan left for Sin City he never thought he'd have the chance to sit at a bar and talk about his faith.  But, these opportunities come up all the time, even when we least expect it.  I'm grateful Bry was prepared to share his beliefs.


Pumpkins in the Rain

Since we've lived here it has only rained once.  Today we planned to go to a pumpkin patch so what did the weather do?  Send us rain, all day long.  But I'm not complaining, I love rain.  We were some of the only crazy people who went out to get pumpkins today so we had the place all to ourselves!

Finding the perfect scary pumpkin:

Pretty sure my belly is just as big as the pumpkins we picked:

But, at least it's not as big as these ones!

Afterward we warmed up eating free chicken tacos at Del Taco- can't get much better than that!


37 Weeks!

In September Bryan went on a business trip to Seattle.  I was really hoping that he would get to stay close to home after that, but I guess that was too much to ask for.  His boss really wanted him to do a training so he has been in Las Vegas this week.  We gave baby a lecture and told her that while we are very excited to meet her this was not the week to come.  All week I've been keeping my legs crossed to not let her out.

But, today we are 37 weeks which means baby is considered full term and daddy is coming home tonight!  I've deep-cleaned our apartment, our hospital bags are packed, and we now have all the essentials (I think/hope.)  So, baby is welcome to join us at any time, and I wouldn't complain if she came sooner rather than later!



I've heard that babies are born knowing their parents' voices already from hearing them for the past 9 months.  I'm excited that the Little Miss already knows us (and is hopefully as excited as we are for the reunion!)  I'm very pleased that she will also know the glorious voice of Jim Dale.

This past month I've listened to 2 books read by Dale.  Peter and the Starcatchers was a fun and exciting story.  It was written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson so of course it was going to be a winner.  And, I re-listened to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in preparation for the movie next month.  It had been a while since I read a Harry Potter book and I had forgotten how funny and well-written they are.   I am now so very excited for the movie.  My sister called me yesterday to report that she has already gotten her ticket for the movie and is planning her costume.  She was very concerned about our movie-watching plans.  I assured her that while a midnight show is not in our future, we will definitely see the movie.  If baby is the quiet kind of baby she will get to join us for her first movie (lucky girl), or if she is not the quiet kind of baby we have already requested Grandma's babysitting services.  

So many exciting things in one month- a baby and a Harry Potter movie.  I hardly know what to do with myself!



About a month ago, Emily proposed a quiet book trade, where everyone makes multiple copies of a page and then you put them all together to get a homemade quiet book.  I was excited to have a project to work on and to get a fabulous book without having to do all the work myself!  I was assigned the clock page, and after many hours of work I am so excited to send them off to Emily today.  I can't wait to see the finished product!


Circle of Life

A couple days ago I  found these pictures that I had scanned for our wedding video.  We loved making fun of my parents' awesome 80s clothes and hairdos.  But now these pictures have a lot more meaning to me.  I have a little better appreciation for how my parents were feeling then, and I'm sure to develop a greater understanding in the next month.  Did they feel as terrified as I feel right now?  Were they as excited as I am?  Did they have any idea of what was to come?  Do I have any idea of what is to come?   

My mom's expression looks exactly the way I feel- full of wonder and excitement- and I haven't even gotten to see or hold our baby yet!

 When I look at these pictures I can't help but think, "Who let those kids have a baby?"  I wonder if in 25 years our daughter will look back and think the same thing.  I hope that she will make fun of our 2010 wardrobe and hairdos, and I hope that someday she will be able to say like I can that despite their youth and inexperience she had the very best parents.  



"Researchers have found that a woman's brain-cell volume actually decreases during pregnancy.  And- for reasons unknown- women pregnant with girls are more forgetful, on average, than those carrying boys."  What to Expect When You're Expecting (aka The Pregnancy Bible)

I thought I had gotten off pretty easy on this one.  Given my lack of brain-cell volume I have been able to function quite well for the past 8 months.  Until this afternoon.  I left to get a haircut and I set my book (remember this one) on top of the car while I was putting other stuff in the car.  I drove off and when I got to the salon I couldn't find my book.  That's when I remembered that I had not remembered to take it off the car before I left.  On my way home I watched the other side of the road to see if I could find my book.  Sure enough, there it was in the middle of a busy intersection.  I watched sadly as it was trampled by ignorant car after car.  Of course it is a hardback and borrowed from my parents (at least they are nicer than the library.)  Luckily I jumped on amazon when I got home and a replacement is on its way, but what am I going to read until then?!?!

Auburn Adventure

Bryan and I headed east to the town of Auburn on Saturday.  As we drove in we noticed a sign that said "Auburn, Established 1848."  Considering I grew up in a city that was established in 1737 I wasn't overly impressed.  But Auburn was able to impress me by the end of the day.

While Bryan did this:

I read my book (I'm on page 153 of 561 and really hoping to finish before baby arrives)

Then we walked down by the river.  I was delighted to see some men panning for gold, who knew people still did that?  Next time we're bringing some gear so we can find our own bling!  Crazy got in the FREEZING cold water and I just dipped my toes in.

 Then we walked across the tallest bridge in California.  This is the bridge from far away (the picture really doesn't do it justice)  and then a cool picture Bryan took from underneath the bridge (I wasn't brave enough to climb down the hill to go under the bridge.)

We ate at "Local Heroes" which had delicious burgers, fries, and shakes and not-so-delicious chicken strips (oh well, you can't win everything.)  

It was a delightful day and made me feel a little overwhelmed that our excursions are going to become a lot more complicated in the next month, but also excited that we'll have a cute little girl to share them with!