Just in case you were ever curious about what I really do at work, here's the link to the report we've been working on since I started. It examines the performance of Hispanic and White students on NAEP (a national standardized test) at the national and state levels, specifically focusing on the achievement gaps between those two groups and various subgroups.
It's also gone viral and several news outlets have picked up the story (if you want a short and sweet version of the 90+ page report, I'd recommend skimming the news articles...or reading the executive summary of the report):
If you looked at my phone lately, you'd find a lot of pictures that looked like some variation of the following:
Ryan studying at his computer...
Ryan studying at the table...
Ryan occasionally looking up and giving me one of these famous "are you done yet" looks
and of course, Ryan focusing on more important things while I make sad faces
for the past month and a half Ryan's been in full study mode, putting in 14+ hours of studying a day prepping for comps (qualifying exams aka hardest tests ever). his first one is monday, followed up by another round on thursday. i can't think of anyone else who has put in more time, studied harder, or been more focused. if you get a chance, shoot him some good vibes.
good luck love. you're amazing and you'll do great. i sure love you and am so proud of you.
2. I saw this video this morning and kinda loved it. I'm still hesitant towards the song itself but the whole feel is super sweet.
3. Just in case you didn't notice, Lori's Etsy shop has now been added to the blog on the right-hand column. Check it out, she has super cute stuff.
4. Also new on the blog is the broken button that says "follow me on Pinterest". I'm still working on fixing the image for the button, but if you click on it, it does take you to my pinterest page. I love pinterest and am a strong believer in its amazingness. If anyone needs an invite, just leave a comment and I'll be sure to send one your way so you too can join in its magic.
5. This feels newsworthy to me, and hopefully will serve as a good enforcement tool, but I have officially been off of sweets (at work) for 3 days now. It's kinda a huge deal since work is usually jam packed with these lovelies and possibly a few Reeses Pieces, Sour Patch Kids, and other such goodies that always make my tummy a little sick.
So there you go - 5 things that you probably didn't know before. Hope you all have amazing weekends and enjoy the sun.
memorial day weekend is one of my favorite times to be in dc. this year we continued our tradition of going to the Vietnam memorial candlelight vigil. it's an incredible experience. seeing all of the veterans, listening to the bagpipes play amazing grace and the trumpeter play taps, and talking with chaplain of Rolling Thunder is remarkable. it's always one of my favorite nights and I feel so lucky to be apart of something so much bigger than me.
At BYU I'd hear horror stories about crazy in-laws who would call all the time, comment on your terrible cooking, check the cleanliness of your house with a white glove, and move in when you weren't hacking it taking care of their son.
I lucked out in the in-laws department. Fortunately, I married into an amazing family with an awesome mom at the head. Sue has always made me feel welcome and loved (even long before Ryan and I were together and I was just her piano student). I'm so grateful for her and her incredible example. thanks for being the best mother-in-law I could imagine! happy birthday Sue! I hope you had a great day.
picture thanks to Erica from weekend trip to NYC (more to come on that later)
a few weeks ago Ryan and I met up with some people from his cohort for a birthday dinner. they have a tradition of going to a restaurant with food from the home country of the birthday girl or boy. this time it was Uruguayan food - and it was amazing. i've been seriously dreaming of it ever since...we had tira de asado a la parrilla and suprema (pollo) a caballo con dos huevos fritos. the chicken was amazing - it's breaded chicken topped with melted cheese and two sunny-side eggs. i wish i had a picture, but i'm sure it wouldn't do it justice. hope you all had some great and tasty food lately too. if not, find a recipe for suprema a caballo con huevos fritos and try it out.
this morning while getting ready for work, this music video came on tv. it cracked me up. hope it brightens your day a little bit and helps you transition back into real life from a wonderful long weekend...
happy memorial day. I hope you all had a great day and thanked the veterans you know and love.
I know that I've been thinking a lot about my favorite veteran. my dad is amazing and a hero. I'm so thankful for him and the sacrifices he's made for our country and for his family. love you pops. thanks for all that you've done. my daddy really is the only one for me.
things have been pretty crazy around here. not out of control crazy, but just crazy enough to take my once a day blog posting to a twice a week thing. sorry (I'm sure all 6 of you readers are really disappointed). Ryan finished his last final yesterday...it was a great day. poor kid gets slammed with finals and to top it off gets a massive, terrible cold each time tests roll around. makes for a pretty miserable week or so of studying and test taking. luckily he has a little (very little) break before he has to get back to the grind for comps. at least june seems to be in sight now. works been pretty busy. i've also been working on my cooking skills and tried to make a real dinner every night last week. i think i might have succeeded but right now i can't remember.
here's a thought if you want one - i really like it...
"The 'fundamental attribution error' is a psychological phenomenon in which we tend to view other people's actions as reflections of their characters and to overlook the power of situation to influence their actions, whereas with ourselves, we recognize the pressures of circumstance."
it's from The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. so if you get the chance today, give someone else some slack, who knows what circumstances they're dealing with today.
or as my mom would say just try to make someone else happy today...
saturday our friend Karla had a birthday party/fiesta. it was awesome. there were two main highlights.
1. cafe rio
amazing. it was my first cafe rio burrito in a while. usually i can only handle 1/2 of the burrito, but saturday i downed the whole thing. i was pretty proud of myself.
Karla went the extra mile and made 2 piñatas for the occasion. one was of her husband Jeff's head (hilarious). the other was made with adorable bright streamers. we all had a blast taking turns looking like goons trying to break the piñata.
speaking of going the extra mile, did i mention that she made mini piñatas for each couple as favors. incredible. and the piñatas weren't even filled with the cheap stuff - they went all out and got the good candy and fun little toys.
it was pretty sweet. special thanks to Karla for the awesome job she did on her b-day party. hope you have a wonderful day! also special thanks to the fun gang. we love hanging out with the great people out here. here's to another fiesta around july 17th (maybe i'll make a piñata of Ryan's head for the occasion).
recently I scored tickets from to a National's game. so ryan and I arrived early to eat at the ballpark - he had Ben's and I had ice cream - and then settled in for the game. turned out that we had sweet seats - just 6 rows behind the nat's dugout. I also scored a free shirt and made eye contact with Zimmerman and Marquis. it was pretty awesome and we even won with 2 runs (it was a super slow game).
the view from our dope spot
please ignore my puffy cheeks
...and my crooked smile
overall, it was a great time and I can't wait for more games this summer!
I'm still a little out of it from friday, so here's a song that's been stuck in my head for roughly 1.5 weeks. hope you enjoy. if you get a minute I would also suggest looking for the daddy/daughter duo that covers the song. it'll brighten your day a bit.
I promised Tiff that I would fill in for her on the blog today since she went under the knife. If you have time to turn off the coverage of the embarrassing spectacle across the pond, keep reading.
The surgical removal of wisdom teeth to prevent potential problems with their eruption has become common practice in most developed countries. During a visit to the oral surgeon several weeks ago, Tiffany learned that her four wisdom teeth were destined to become impacted in coming years (if not months). Having foreseen this possibility in January, we were prepared with dental insurance adequate to cover the bulk of the costs of the extraction procedure, which easily register in four digits without such coverage.
Hence, we scheduled the extraction procedure for this morning. Was this the correct decision? The evidence is unclear. At least in terms of the "incisor crowding" consequences of wisdom teeth eruption, randomized controlled experiments fail (in the aggregate) to provide support for the preventative removal of said teeth, particularly in adults. These claims are debatable. Are meta-analyses reasonable methods for evaluating treatment effects? Am I cherry-picking one study from a vast literature? Should I actually read these studies instead of skimming the abstract and ignoring the jargon with which I am unfamiliar? Should I trust "scientists" with their fancy-pants "quantitative evidence" and "statistical rigor" or rely on my own instinct (and can I have "mommy instinct"?)? Did we transfer hundreds of greenbacks to a DDS to prevent a real problem, or did we do it to follow unverified common wisdom like lemmings? Will it even matter once I open our "high-yield" online savings account at American Express, earning roughly core inflation on our huge piles of spare cash? Should we be hoarding gold/sheep/organic food in preparation for the downfall of modern society at the hands of [insert political party you dislike]? Who really won the boxing match, Keynes or Hayek? I leave these to the reader as exercises.
At any rate, Tiffany was sedated with a general anesthetic while the doctor went to work with drills and knives and, presumably, bags and bags of money from past and current patients. We're glad we can keep the money flowing. An hour later, Tiff stumbled out the door and into a cab I had hailed which was driven by a man who multitasked by filling out paper work during our entire journey (at least he wasn't playing Angry Birds). I'm not going to criticize how he does his job--he's a professional.
After a dose of Vicodin, some ice packs, and a McD's chocolate shake, Tiff is back to her old self again. Maybe this experience will make us appreciate our gums more. Maybe it will make us reevaluate our non-medical career choices. Maybe Chairman Bernanke's actions in 2008 were driven more by his pastresearch than by financial sector capture. In any case, Tiff's going to need a new excuse next time she wants a three-day weekend.
yesterday I reentered the world of yoga. luckily I wasn't alone since Katherine and CoCo graciously accompanied me. we recently scored a deal from livingsocial - 15 yoga classes for $15 dollars. definitely worth it. our in instructor was a crack up. he had jokes for just about every pose and awkward situation. I felt like a dork being the only one laughing but apparently everyone else was focused on their breathing. I need to work on being more serious if I'm going to turn into a real yogi and find my inner balance. maybe with time ...or maybe I'll just try to be more like the other Yogi and get me a pic-a-nic basket.
this weekend Ryan and I rented Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (which I think we're now late returning...oops). it was a fun film to watch. a bit scary, but I did alright. even in the part with this guy
my sister's got mad skills. she quilts, makes purses, bakes artisan bread, embroiders pillows, sews up a storm, and does it all while keeping an adorable three year old under control. here are a few pictures of some of her projects. the amazing multicolored quilt with the tree behind it is the quilt she made me and ryan for christmas. I love it!
cute purse, my christmas quilt, great orange and white quilt, little chickies quilt.
all strung out quilt (her tutorial is here), quilt she made for baby Amelia, her awesome family room with all her homemade pillows and decor, Corey's bedroom quilt and glow-in-the-dark pillow, a See Lori Sew original design airplane quilt
given that she's so talented, obviously she has an etsy shop
-- See Lori Sew.
she's amazing and sells adorable quilted SLR camera straps with genuine leather ends. you should check it out and send everyone you know to check it out.
saturday night we had some friends over for an Easter potluck. it was really fun. everyone brought amazing food and I was completely stuffed by the end of the night.
they were even great sports about my easter egg confetti game, now officially on the Easter tradition list. it was a smash.
along with the confetti game, we played mafia - one of ryan's favs. it was hilarious. I may or may not be the worst liar ever and might have gotten out the first round when I was mafia. I need some lessons from Ms. GaGa.
hope you all had a great Easter and have a wonderful monday!
last night I hung out with a few lovely ladies - Kristin, Karla, and Jaclyn. we dyed a ton of easter eggs. we even tried a few tricky ones like martha, but for the most part failed. martha's just got the touch. we also prepped eggs for the new tradition I'm going to start - the confetti egg game. it's going to be awesome and now I can hardly wait until saturday. here are a few of the gems from last night (my favorite might be the one that looks like the world).
it's always great to see my brother. he's super witty, really interesting, brilliant, and a lot of fun to be around. another slight perk is the great restaurants that he takes us to - he may or may not be a bit of a foodie. last night we went to Rosa Mexicano. probably some of the best Mexican food I've had. the carne asada tacos were amazing. hopefully we can save our pennies and go back again soon.