September 2012

Dear Girls,

September has come and gone, and we’re finally starting to cool off a bit. As we sweep into the fall, we’ve started even more new and exciting things.

Emily, we’ve noticed that you’re concentrating a lot more on the words you say and how you say them. We’ve also noticed that you’re singing a lot. When Rachel started pre-k, we noticed the same thing…she would come home singing songs that we’d never sung at home before. So we know you’re learning lots of new things at school. You love going, and you seem like you’re finally starting to warm up to some of the other kids, too.

We know you do things at your own pace, but I was very relieved the other day when we drove by a gas station and you mentioned that it had numbers on it. I know we probably haven’t worked with you as much as we should on letters and numbers and what they all are, but I was glad to see that you knew that there were numbers on the pumps when we drove by.

You’ve also been talking a lot about the differences between things. For example, you like to talk about animals with tails, and which animals have tails. Then you’ll launch into how Sparky doesn’t have hands like us. It’s great that you’re noticing those things and talking about them. You still are mixing up your syntax when you speak, but you’re getting a lot better at it, and a lot better at taking correction.

Rachel, you’ve been diving right into school too. Every week we quiz you on your spelling words and you always get them all right. I am (as always) a little worried that you’re going to be bored in school because it seems like they’re doing things that you’ve been able to do for years, but you always seem to find something new to learn, even if you already know how to do the things your teacher is teaching. I hope you can keep up that trait your whole life.

Speaking of learning, you were sent home one day early in the month with what your school thought was pink eye. It wasn’t. And rather than spend the day being lazy around the house, I decided to take you on a little field trip. We visited every mission in San Antonio except that Alamo (about which you were greatly disapponited) and you learned a TON about the missions, why they were built, and the early history of south Texas. You ate it up…I love that about you.

The weekends this past month were especially busy because you had two soccer games every weekend, plus you started CCD classes on Sundays. It seemed like all of our “rest time” went right out the window. The only time we got any rest was when you had a couple of rain-outs.

We’re looking forward to October…cooler weather, only one game each weekend, and getting close to Grandma and Grandpa coming down!

We love you very much!

Love
Daddy

May – August 2012

Yes, I’ve been neglecting this. I don’t know why…I guess I just haven’t been in the writing groove lately. It seems like whever I get a chance to sit down, I just want to rest. Or kill zombies.

So, I’m probably not going to do the last four months any kind of justice, but I’ll try to do a bit of a recap and get caught up.

May

So, we ended May with Rachel doing really well in Kindergarten. You even got an award for being a great citizen. Your mommy and I were so proud of you. We’ve always known that you were a very nice little girl, and it was great to have other people recognize that in you.


Emily, you ended May by ending your time going to Ms. Sanchez’s house. You’ve been staying with her since you were 6 months old, and so it was a little bit sad for us to have you leave her. But we were very excited about the next step you’d be taking in just a few months with starting pre-k.








June

We started off the first two days of June with Rachel ending her dance lessons. Your recital was on June 2 (dress rehearsal on the first), and we were very excited to see you dance up on stage. You had really enjoyed your dance lessons over the past several months, and you did a great job on stage. We were even able to have Grandma and Grandpa join us via video chat to watch you dance, then as we were on our way to another party after your recital, you got to video chat with them in the car. Technology absolutely amazes me.




Just a few days later, Rachel, you turned six years old. I can’t believe how quickly you’re growing up. At one point back in May, I asked you what you wanted for your birthday, and you told me you really wanted a kickstand for your bike. Well, instead of buying you a kickstand, we deicded to get you a brand new bike (with a kickstand)! It’s a little bit big for you, but you’re growing so fast, I know you’ll grow into it quickly.

We also ended another thing in June. Emily aged out of the parent-infant program at Sunshine Cottage. We cannot say enough great things about the people at that school. They have provided us with so much support over the past three years, and taught us so much about ourselves and how to deal with Emily’s hearing loss. We will miss them all.

July

In July, we took a road trip up to Illinois to see Grandma and Grandpa. This was the first time we’d driven up there since Rachel was a year old. We decided to drive because it was really expensive to fly, and we figured the two of you were old enough to handle sitting in the car for a long time.

We drove at night so that you both could sleep, and you did really well. We made the trip in really good time, and you both had an great time while we were up there.

I think the highlight of the trip was going to Geneseo and visiting Uncle Steve’s farm. You both had a great time riding on the tractor, and feeding his horse, Lady. Rachel, you had a notebook full of questions for Steve, and he answered all of them for you. You learned a lot about farming.





Grandpa took us all out on the boat one of the days we were up there, and Emily, you caught your first fish ever! You even caught it on your first cast! Of course, that completely ruined the day for you because you expected to catch something every time you threw your line out, but it was still very exciting for all of us.



We had an early birthday celebration for you while we were in Illinois, Emily, and just a few days after we got back, you turned 3 years old. Three. Years. Old. I can’t believe it.


July also brought the beginning of the summer Olympics. Rachel, you had lots and lots of questions about the sports and the people playing their sport. Many of those questions were “Are those people Chinese?” You seemed to be obsessed with the Chinese, and I’m not sure why. I remember four years ago when you would watch with Mommy and imitate her cheering for the USA, and I was hoping that Emily would do the same, but she didn’t seem to have as much interest in the sports.

August

So that brings us, finally, to August. I’m sure there was just as much that happened in May, June, and July as there was in August, but August is fresh in my memory, so it’s going to get a lot more words, sentences, and paragraphs.

Rachel, you and I started off August by taking a daddy-daughter trip to Six Flags with my friend Ed and his daughter Darby. You and Darby are just a couple of months apart, but it’s been 3 years since you’d seen each other. It didn’t matter a bit…you were fast friend the moment they got to our house. One of the very first things we did when we got there was to measure you to see if you could ride the roller coasters. Darby is just a tiny bit taller than you are, but both of you fell about an inch short of the mark. So instead of introducing you both to the wonderful world of roller coasters, we spent the entire day in the water park.

I feel bad because we hadn’t been swimming at all this summer up to this point, and you still don’t know how to swim. I really need to get you and Emily both into swimming lessons. Part of the reason we haven’t done that is because Emily had those tubes in her ears until just a month ago, so she couldn’t really go swimming without earplugs, and she didn’t like wearing them. That, and I had to work a lot more this summer, so we just didn’t have the time to go.

But August was definitely the swimming month. Just a week after our trip to Six Flags, we took off for Corpus Christi and spent the weekend at the beach. We hadn’t been to the beach since before Emily learned to walk, so over 2 years. We went down with Tia Maria and Tio Gregg, and Ed met us there with Darby and Caitlyn (Mandi and Liliana stayed home) and you guys played on the beach the ENTIRE day. I think the adults were just as worn out as the kids. The two of you were dead asleep before we even left the park.






Of course, August always brings us back to school, and for the first time ever, both of you are in school. Emily, you started pre-K with the same teacher Rachel had for her last year of pre-K, which is great for us since we already know the teacher and the routine. Rachel, you started first grade, which means no more naps for you! It also means the beginning of things like spelling tests and doing more homework. Of course, we know you can handle it.


Emily, we’ve already noticed a marked difference in your behavior since you started school. It seemed like we had a rough summer with you discipline-wise, but hopefully being in school will help with that. I remember it helping a lot with Rachel. I think the most amazing with about your first day/week of school is that not a single tear was shed. You spent the entire summer crying every time Mommy would drop you off at “moo-moo” (day care), but you walked into school on that first day, went right with Ms. Riley, and everything was fine. I think it definitely helped that when we went to meet the teacher night, Rachel was with us, and the first thing she did was to run over and give Ms. Riley a big hug. I think that let you know that everything was cool.

Rachel, you started playing soccer again, this time on the CYO league. It’s definitely different than the other soccer teams you’ve played on. You have practice two times per week and they’re really working on teaching you the fundamentals of the game.

September is bound to bring some cooler weather, so we’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors a little more. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get caught up on these…I promise you I’ll try to do a better job of getting them done on time from now on.

Your Mommy and I love both of you more than words can express.

Love
Daddy

Making BBQ Rub

In honor of Memorial Day, and all the cooking on the grill that goes along with it, I decided I’d share my recipe for making dry rub for BBQ. This is a basic rub that I use for lots of different meats. This works well on ribs, pork chops, brisket, and chicken. 

Start with 1 1/4 Cups of brown sugar

Add 1 1/4 Cups of white (granulated) sugar

1/2 Cup of salt (I use kosher)

1/4 Cup pepper (I usually use fresh ground pepper, but I didn’t have any around today)

1/4 Cup paprika

Once you have all of this layered goodness together, 

take a fork and stir it together

After it’s blended a bit, put the lid on your air-tight container and shake it up until it’s really well blended. Since it’s all dry goods, it will keep for months, but hopefully you’re cooking out enough that you’ll go through it more quickly than that.