Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Whew, what a day!

The movers came today.  Everything in the house is packed up and in the truck except the beds.

Tomorrow is moving day.

Corinna's baby blessing

Sunday July 24th was Corinna's baby blessing.  As soon as Jonathan started the blessing she yelled.  She continued to express herself loudly the entire time.

After the blessing, the bishop got up and said it brought back memories of when his oldest daughter just howled during her blessing over 30 years ago.  We all know Larke, his daughter, so the congregation chuckled at his remarks.  (Later the bishop's wife told me he got a bit choked up thinking about it.)

The first speaker got up and said that he was speaking in slot usually reserved for the youth speaker, but we already heard from her today.  The congregation had a good laugh at that!

Here are some pictures Christine and I snapped after church.


Two generations of sisters

The girls

The guys

The whole crew

All dressed up in her finery

Aunt Christine


Cute baby Gwendolyn exploring

Dinner with a View

 The Tower of the Americas has been on Jonathan's lists of things to do in San Antonio ever since we moved here.  It's like the Space Needle in Seattle, but a bit taller.  We finally got around to it last week. 

The wee little squirt joined us for dinner.  

 San Antonio skyline

Ice cream for breakfast

Ice cream for breakfast
Originally uploaded by jbellis
Isaac sees no reason to bother asking Dad for something when he can help himself.

(He is even using Rachel's favorite ice cream scoop.)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Scenes from Summer

 Melissa playing with the car wash hose

 Out for the count after bouncing on daddy's knees.  No Ellis baby can resist slumber for long with "the knees."

Isaac noticed the screws at the bottom of his daddy's model corvette and found a screw driver to unmount the car from the base.  He's getting too stinkin' smart for his own good!

Ice cream in the tub.  Another fine Ellis tradition.  
(There's a pretty good story behind it.   When I was two, we visited my grandparents in NJ. I was placed in the guest room which had a large freezer in it.  My uncle Brad was left in charge to babysit while the other adults went out for the evening.  I was tucked in bed, and after a while my uncle cracked open the door to check on me.  He found me sitting on the floor, in front of the freezer, with a carton of ice cream opened.  I had chocolate ice cream up past my elbows and both fists clutched oozing chocolaty goodness.  I was a royal mess.  When I saw my uncle I happily chirped, "Hi!"  He couldn't bear to take the ice cream away so he got a bowl, put the ice cream in it, picked me up and deposited me in the bathtub with the bowl.  I have a fantastic uncle!  That is the tale, and it's been a tradition ever since.)

 Matthew at cub scout camp

Isaac likes to eat the peanuts in the shell.  Mmm, crunchy!

Carnival ride on the 4th of July

Isaac rocks

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Attention all those who've had a baby...

Does anyone remember when the hot flashes/night sweats end???  Right now it's 76 degrees and feels like 96.  Ugh.

I'm rather tired of feeling like I'm going through menopause IN MY 30s!

On a more positive note I'm within 15 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight.  Considering that I gained roughly 45 pounds this time around I'm pretty happy about that.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

6 weeks and growing!


And at 6 weeks

She weighed in at 10 lbs 13 oz and is 23 inches long.  That's up 2 lbs 9 oz from her birth weight and 3 inches longer.  She's recently started smiling socially and likes to flash a gummy grin to her mama and papa.  We just haven't managed to capture it on film yet.

Playing together

Playing together
Originally uploaded by jbellis

[Matthew upon seeing the picture: Why didn't he take a picture of the TV too? Couldn't he have taken a picture of my score?]

Friday, July 08, 2011

Barbarians invade!

Yesterday Melissa and I had a proper high tea party.  Both of us had to leave momentarily and when we returned Isaac had dumped the tea (water) and was splashing happily on the table.

Tea party adjourned.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


The Ryggs come to visit!

Last week Uncle Ellis, Aunt Merri, Kevin, and baby Lincoln flew into town for a few days.  Though not officially related, Ellis and Merri are nonetheless honorary family members. (Jonathan wanted to name Isaac after Ellis: then we'd have a Rygg Ellis and an Ellis Rygg. Rachel demurred, though, and we compromised on Rygg as his middle name.)

Matthew grew up calling Ellis "uncle."  He loved seeing Uncle Grant and Uncle Ellis come over to play.  They were such great fun!  When Ellis married Merri, naturally she became part of the family too.

Here is Matthew with Ellis in 2003

 Matthew was so excited when he learned they would be coming for a visit.  He was also anxious to see "baby Kevin."  When we left Utah, Kevin was just shy of one year old and just the happiest baby with great big smiles for everyone. We have some sweet pictures of Matthew holding him somewhere...  He really liked Kevin.  We were also happy to meet Lincoln for the first time. 

Kevin, Matthew, Isaac, and Melissa cooling off in the pool.

Isaac warmed up to Uncle Ellis right away.

Ellis and Jonathan first met as roommates during their freshman year in college. Here they are 17 years later and 6 kids between them. 
Thanks for coming all this way!  We sure loved having you!


Random conversation at the dinner table

Melissa: If you accidentally swallow your tooth, the tooth fairy can't find it.
Me: I suppose not.
Melissa: But that's okay, because it will come out your poop!
Me: Yes.  That's true.
Melissa: And then you have to find it.
Me: No.
Melissa: But...
Me: We could write the tooth fairy a note explaining what happened.


Matthew and Isaac are having a "sleepover" in Melissa's room.  When I went to check on them before going to bed myself, I found Isaac snuggled up next to Matthew on the bedding on the floor. 

So cute!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Crappy Parenting Moment #987?

It is always tougher when Jonathan is out of town.  This happened about a week ago, but I was too cranky/embarrassed to write about it sooner.

For the last month it has been tough putting Isaac to bed.  Pretty much he's been challenging us to see if we can make him stay in his room after it's lights out.  Jonathan and I have taken turns "guarding the door" and escorting the little escape artist back to bed. Repeatedly.

While Jonathan was out of town Isaac upped the ante.  Not only did he get up but he'd yell and throw a fit going back to bed.  This woke Corinna up who'd then cry, nurse, cry, nurse, and then fall back to sleep.  As soon as she settled down, after about 10 minutes, Isaac would get up again.  Repeat over and over.  About 10:30 (bedtime was at 8) my patience was frayed and my baby exhausted.  Isaac came downstairs for the 14th? 15th? 16th? time and announced he was "Stinky!"  I blew a gasket.  I cleaned him up, swatted his behind, and made him sit on the toilet.  I then chased him up the stairs and back to his room, letting him know how I felt about the situation.  Of course this caused Isaac to wail loudly, waking Corinna, who started crying.  Matthew shouted over the din, "can't you make him be quiet?"  That was the final straw.  I yelled back, "I can't even make him stay in the d--- bed!  How do you expect me to make him be quiet?"  I don't think Matthew or Isaac have ever heard me swear before.  They seemed shocked- not sure if it was the yelling or swearing or both.  I closed the door.  Corinna and I stayed in the hallway guarding the door, but Isaac stayed in his bed after that. 

 And I felt really terrible.  Terrible that I lost my patience and yelled, terrible that I'd sworn, terrible that I swatted him when I was mad (he wasn't hurt, but nonetheless), and terrible that I couldn't come up with a better solution.  

Yep, I was a crappy parent that night.

Fortunately things have been getting easier lately.

I am so glad for each new day to start fresh and for the chance to be a little better than the day before.  I am also grateful for resilient children.  I've made plenty of mistakes with Matthew (firstborn and all), and he seems to be turning into a thoughtful, helpful, and loving child despite my shortcomings.  There is hope!

As far as what to do, after we move we are investing in an eye-and-hook lock for his door.  If Isaac stays in his room he can have the door open, otherwise we'll lock the door until he goes to sleep.  His dad and I need the sleep, his baby sister needs more sleep, his brother whom he's keeping up needs the sleep, and he needs more sleep.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Missions


We've really had fun being local tourists in San Antonio.  We've played at the zoo, Natural Bridge Caverns, the wildlife park, Sea World, the River Walk, both art museums, the children's museums, the Witte, the Museum of Texan Cultures, the botanical and sunken tea gardens, the many kid parks and amusements, the bizarre (toilet seat museum!?), and enjoyed numerous festivals and parades.  One of the few places left that I wanted to explore was the old Franciscan missions.  Of course we'd been to the Alamo several times.  How can you visit San Antonio, much less live here and NOT see the Alamo?  Including the Alamo, there are five old missions in San Antonio, all within a few miles of each other. 

Andrea and Jeremy graciously offered to watch the kids for us so we could have a 10th anniversary/last-chance-before-the-baby getaway.  We dined in a French restaurant that evening and stayed in a swanky hotel downtown.  It was so fun to be alone and on a date with my man!  

The next morning we set out to see two of the missions, San Jose and Concepcion.  We wanted to see San Jose because it was the largest, and Concepcion since it was reported to be the most beautiful and well preserved. 


Concepcion still has an active parish.  It was founded in 1716 and the church dedicated in 1755.  It was also the site of the first significant skirmish between the Mexican army and Texans during the Texas Revolution.  When we arrived the parishioners were holding Mass.  We stayed quietly in the back and listened to the hymns and service in Spanish.  The interior was beautiful, but of course we didn't take any of our own pictures during the Mass.  Here's one I found online.

Main Altar inside Mission Concepcion Church, San Antonio, United States
This travel blog photo's source is TravelPod page: San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
Outside the main chapel a mariachi band was practicing for a later service.  To the side of the mission was a beautiful shaded garden for religious contemplation. 

San Jose 

Here I am with the Mr. in all my 9 months pregnant glory.

By the visitor's center some artists were holding a traditional pottery demonstration.  Here he is building the fire around the kiln. 

A reproduction of the granary mill that existed.  The mill originally here was the first in Texas.

And a closer view of the chapel itself:

The mission was home not only to the friars, but up to 300 people.  It was quite the community with a school, farms, and families living in the thick, thick rectangular wall that surrounded the chapel, store room, refractory, convento, kitchen, and grounds. It was designed as a fortress too in times of attack.  The walls were rebuilt in the 1930s along the original foundations, however, about 80% of the church itself withstood the test of time and malicious abuse.  Inside the walls there were tiny connecting rooms and small slits in the wall.  The courtyard within the walls was very spacious.

A portion of the original plaster with the colorful fresco.  Apparently the buildings were not the drab gray we see today, but had a riot of color and designs.

After our trip to the missions we toured the Spanish "governor's" palace in downtown San Antonio.  Hint: there never was a governor of San Antonio, just some Spanish administrative bureaucrat.  Apparently folks in the 1920s liked to romanticize history a bit, and where it didn't fit their preconceived notions, they just made it up.  The building was added onto in the 20s to make it more "fitting" as a mansion.  Boo!  The courtyard gardens were pretty, but all in all, worth a pass.  

Next we visited the McNay art museum together.  I'd taken the kids there two years before, but it was so nice to leisurely browse the exhibits instead of racing to the next piece.  The McNay has an excellent collection of French impressionist artists, including some water lily paintings by Monet.  We also enjoyed a recital there performed by musicians from the San Antonio Symphony.

 We did enjoy our last pre-baby hurrah, and now I finally feel that we've fully experienced San Antonio.  It is such a fun and interesting city!