Thursday, February 26, 2009

teachable moments...

We all have them. Those moments where something happens and it is precisely what we needed to prove a point and teach the lesson we have been trying to communicate for soooooo long. A few days ago, I was blessed with a beautiful moment.
Shawn and I had spent the previous evening watching some TV and munching on the cursed girl scout cookies that somehow find their way into our house every year. And as is the custom for my husband, he left his cookie box on the ground and his cup in the room. I picked up the cup, making some snide remark, I'm sure (hey, no one's perfect) and missed the cookies.
The next day, Shawn stayed home from school with Gavin while I took Brayden to the doctor. As I left Gavin was sitting demurely on the couch watching a house favorite, "Clithord". When I got home, Shawn chuckling grabs the camera and tells me "You gotta see this, you won't believe it." There on the camera are pictures of a chocolate covered coffee table, chocolate covered fingers and a chocolate covered face. Left to his own devices, Gavin had polished off a half a tube of the Thin Mints Shawn had left behind. And he left evidence everywhere. Shawn, while laughing at the pictures, turns to me and says, "I was so mad! I was going to eat those tonight while watching LOST."
What exactly did this teach Gavin, you ask? Probably nothing, except maybe that Clithord and cookies are a decent combo. However, Shawn on the other hands, well... I have been asking Shawn to take his snacks to the kitchen at night for the last...umm, how long have we been married? It was glorious. I think I heard the angels singing. And as I grinned at Shawn's frustration over losing his precious Thin Mints, he realized I was taking way to much joy in his loss. I didn't have to say a word. (Okay, being the human that I am, even though I didn't have to , I might have let a few words slip out and I probably should have kept my mouth shut, but come on!)
And so, tonight when the TV comes on and the snacks come out, my question is, have we learned something here? To be honest, without the Thin Mints, I am concerned our other snacks aren't worth saving. I guess we'll see..

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

a good bad night...

Last night I walked the floors with my baby. It was the first time I have really had to do this. Oh, I did night feedings for awhile, but my kids, bless the Lord, slept through the night after 2-3 months and they never stayed up too long after they ate. An hour or so I think was the max. (I do not say this to make enemies....just to make a point). But last night, both Shawn and I got hours and hours worth of parenting in.

Brayden had an ear infection. After tylonol he was still sporting a temp of 102.8, he only wanted to be upright and still could not get comfortable. And so I watched the minutes tick by as I walked him, held him, patted him. I listened to the wimpering, felt the drool and snot accumulate on my left shoulder, and tried not to cry out as I tried to unkink my wrists from the "holding" position.

And I have to say, though I was tired and worried, I loved those hours. Maybe it's because I didn't have nights pacing the floor in their infanthood. Maybe it's because I was so exhausted I had lost my sanity. But as I held my baby, I kept thinking..."This is it. This is Motherhood. This is what I'm here for. This is my job. This is the story I get to tell when he's older. This is the night I'll remember. This is my baby and my chance to make it better." It was one of those rare times I was not living in the past or waiting for the future, but that I was living in the moment, relishing the fuzz of his pajamas as I patted his bum and the smell of his shampoo as he nuzzled into my neck.

Don't get me wrong, I did make Shawn take a shift so I could get a dry shirt and some sleep. And I did get up and hit the coffee stand for a few shots on the way to the doctor. I have been popping cough drops like candy and I haven't been the most patient of people with my kids today. But, I am still thankful for last night and that somehow, someway, my usual desire to get the hard stuff overwith, was replaced with an acceptance and appreciation of the moment.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A true update

Without the fluff, I am going to try and give a true update of the Ryans...this one's for you Shawn:

Brayden: He has the coolest blue eyes and flirts shamelessly with them! He is sooo close to walking. He is cruising around everything and trying so hard to keep up with his brother, whom he adores. He has his bottom two teeth and shows them off frequently, as he is soooo smiley! He looooves people, loves to be in the middle of the action, but also can entertain himself pretty well, when no one (namely Gavin) is taking things out of his hands. He eats just like his brother...everything and can down a 7 oz. bottle in two minutes and thirty seconds. I miss my baby, but I am so enjoying the little person I see developing before me.

Gavin: He is growing up so fast. He is using sentances way more and his favorite question is, "What doing?" He asks about 200 times a day (i am not kidding, ask any one who frequents this household) . His second runner up is "Whereareyou?" Yes, it's one word. He is into Little Einsteins and Cars right now. He loves to sing and will sing songs for you, his favorite being the "Choo Choo Train song" that his dad made up. He still adores garbage trucks and diggers and his best friend he'll tell you is "teacher Rosa", his Sunday School teacher. He is having a hard time sharing right now...especially with his baby brother, who he still refers to as "baby". (We are working on teaching him Brayden's name, but it's a no go). Unfortunately, this is our biggest reason for time outs. In a close second is whining...he has perfected the two year old art!

Gavin can now tell you about things that happened to him yesterday or a few days ago and he's started to try and tell you stories...usually we have no idea what he's talking about, but it's fun to see him try to tell you about his day. Overall, he is a really fun kid who is eager to please and ready to smile. It's fun to watch him learn and discover each day.

Shawn: He is still the dean at Discovery Elementary, but is also the summer school principal for Mukilteo School District. He has been working obscene hours to get ontop of the latter. He is finally done interviewing the staff for summer school, so we see him a bit more, but it's still a lot trying to do double duty. We are really proud of him and I think he's doing an amazing job. He is also applying for principal jobs, but with the cuts in education, we aren't seeing much out there. He does love his current job, so that is good.

Shawn doesn't have a ton of spare time, but he is going to Minnisota with his brother to visit his uncle and cousins. He is really excited about this and it should be fun. Other than that, he usually spends time with the kids and is starting to spend time working out in the yard again (we are so excited about this)! In an attempt to save some cash, we discontinued his subscription to Sports Illustrated and that has been hard on him. Seriously, especially with Griffey back. However, he has taken to reading Gavin's Ranger Rick magazine at night and has now decided he wants to raise racing pigeons. Except he wants to wait until the boys are older, so he can make them clean the cages. You think I'm joking?

Me: Same old same old. I still watch baby Logan on Mon. and Tues. It's very helpful financially, but hard for my person to stay home two days straight. My friend Shiloah is pretty consistant in visiting on one of the days which is really nice!!! I am still volunteering at church on Wednesdays and Shawn and I are now also taking a parenting class on Sundays. It's been good and I enjoy having something to do with just Shawn. I have attempted to take up sewing and suprised myself by really enjoying it. Not too great at it, but i like it (: Other than that...not much to say. Still addicted to coffee, still have lots of words to use up each day, still trying fruitlessly to keep "everything in it's place", still prefer anything with sugar over a true meal and still find myself very busy, but I cannot figure out for the life of me what takes up all my time.

Overall, we're doin' good. We are well taken care of by the Lord, by our family, and by our friends. It's been a challenging season in our lives, but one which I feel we are embracing the opportunity to trust God more and grow grow grow. I know it will be gone too soon and I am sure we will look back with fondness on these years...even without Sports Illustrated.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Secret of the Bunny Ears

I came home from our parenting class tonight, scrambling around to put things away and get the kids in bed. (One of my obsessive traits, I like to start the day without the toys out and everything dirty, as though by some miracle it could stay that way.) I had Brayden down and was trying to clean up a bit before Gavin and I sat to read books. As I was washing the ridiculous amount of sippy cups I finally decided to retrieve from the abyss we call our car floor, Gavin comes running to me in his footy pajamas with his bunny ears on. He then proceeds to hold a pair of bunny ears out to me, "Here Mama." I take them lightly in my wet soapy finger and thumb and place them on the counter...
"Thank you for finding those Gavin."
"No mama, bunny ears. Head."
Child, don't you see mama is not in the mood to be sporting bunny ears.
Here is the thing about the bunny ears. I think they are hilarious. Even better, Gavin loves them! Last May I finally had to throw them out because he had broken an ear and well, frankly they aren't as cute 2 months after Easter. His dad was thrilled. (He is not a fan of the bunny ears and, though not in front of Gavin, he reminds me of it regularly.)
However, I was passing the dollar bin the other day and found two new sets. That's right...two. One for Gavin and one for Brayden. Sweet! And as though they had never been trashed, Gavin went right back to wearing them. And insisting that his brother wear them too. Brayden, much to my chagrin is not a huge fan and this torments Gavin greatly. He can't understand why Brady keeps pulling them off. This is a serious source of concern and frustration for Gavin. We have daily talks about not forcing the bunny ears on Brayden.
And so, I glance at Gavin with his look of expectancy, now understanding how Brayden feels. I don't want to wear bunny ears either. But instead, I place them on my head, getting my hair soapy and wet and turn to look at my son. Gavin smiles at me as though he has just helped to make the world right. Like now I should be okay. Then turns back to the living room to finish playing with his toys.
Oh, child, if only all it took was a pair of bunny ears. And even though life cannot be fixed by a pair of bunny ears, I did find myself smiling as I washed the sippy cups, cleaned up Thomas the Train for the umpteenth time, and cleaned out the diaper bag. Gavin and I wore them together while reading books and I kissed him goodnight with my ears pointing to the heavens.
For Gavin, these ears (yes, I am still wearing them) make things better. For me, Gavin makes things better, and so I wear them. Who knows? Maybe someday daddy and Brayden will understand the secret of the bunny ears too!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Our Son

Why oh Why do parents think they are so funny when they put grown up paraphanalia on their children? Shawn and I are no better than any other parent as we decided these headphones were a great photo prop. The poor kid kept trying to get them off and we just kept popping them back on trying for that perfect shot.

Needless to say, the "perfect shot" I aimed for was never achieved, but we did get some we thought were funny. (Brayden actually started to think it was funny after awhile least we weren't torturing the little guy in our efforts...I wouldn't put it past us).

So there he was in his risky business outfit, sporting the headphones, with his two parents laughing and thinking we are so funny. And I am willing to bet, aside from a few grandparents, this picture will hold little entertainment value beyond a smirk or small sigh/laugh. But that's what makes it so great. That's OUR son in those headphones. Those are OUR son's chubby thighs, OUR son's tube socks, OUR son's party shirt. And we think OUR son is awesome.

And so we try for that shot that captures how great our son is...even though we never will. Oh we will keep trying. Keep laughing at the get ups, the funny faces, the poses and the messes he makes...but I don't think I will ever capture what makes us laugh, because I think maybe that's for us alone. Because he is our son.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gone, but not forgotton...

My kids have gone to Grandmas. Bless Shawn's mom, she took them this morning and I will get them tomorrow morning. I cannot believe the amount that can be accomplished in a day without kids. From weeding and cleaning up the front yard to sewing baby presents and birthday presents...I believe I have accomplished multiple days worth of work. (Don't worry, Shawn and I also got in a time together, dinner out and our favorite shows!) It amazed me. Not once did I stop what I was doing to rescue a wine glass from little hands testing boundries or to follow through on a time out warning because a certain two year old has the inability to share with his brother. I did not pour one glass of apple juice (let alone three or four), I did not clean up any blocks, or wipe any spit up. I never had to stop and remind Gavin to say please, thank you or use his big boy voice. I did not bend over to pick up a crawler who just wants to walk too and I did not have to find blanky and puppy or read any books. I was on no one's schedule but my own.

However, all day there were little reminders left by my little men everywhere. A cement truck in the middle of the couch cushions, a garbage truck on the bathroom counter and a pacifier on my nightstand. And as I go to start my nightly routine of turning off lights, brushing teeth and checking locks, I pass their bedroom with no need to check on a sleeping baby or move a passed out two year old back under his covers. I realize I will be ready to get them tomorrow, so thankful for my time alone with my husband, my day outside in the yard, and time to finish some projects. And so thankful for the opportunity to remind Gavin to be polite, teach Brayden that he has boundries, fill up the apple juice cups, teach sharing, help Brayden find his way and search for blankies and puppy so we can read books.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


"Hey Mom"...this is how I am now greeted in the morning. When did I become "Mom" and what happened to Mommy? When did full sentances start and why do I sometimes get sad when I ask Gavin if he needs help and I get a "No thanks."? Aren't we supposed to rejoice that they can take off their own shoes and zip up their own pajamas? It is a sad liberation. I have this two year old little man who is taking the world by storm and I am already praying for my attitude when I see him take a wife. Dear Lord, help me to let go and give the poor girl space!

Then there is Brayden, who each day I practice "mama" with. Maybe I shouldn't. If he gets that later, maybe "Mommy" will last longer. I am not sure. He is already so quick to follow his brother, he crawled 3 months earlier and looks like he'll be walking 5 months earlier! Sometimes, I am more concerned if I am ready than if he is.

It's a strange phenomenon. Rejoicing at each discovery they make and each time they accomplish a new feat. And grieving as we say good-bye to Mommy and hello to Mom. I am not needed for everything any more and it's a wonderful horrible feeling. Sometimes I cannot wait until Gavin knows that his maracha will jam his toy and until Brayden takes those first few steps without crashing. Other days I am so grateful to see Gavin still in his footy pajamas dragging blanky and snuggling "puppy" and Brayden clinging to my leg, fearful not to lean into my support.

As we get ready to leave the house, Gavin zips up his jacket, runs to the door, out to the car and climbs into his seat. He waits for me to buckle it and says, "Thanks Mom." Your welcome son. And thanks for letting me buckle you in. Thanks for not learning it all quite yet and leaving me a small part in getting you ready to go and keeping you safe. I think I still need that.

Monday, February 16, 2009

And so it begins...

Internet, E-mail, IM, Facebook...and now blogging. In a valient attempt to try and keep current I am starting our family blog. Whether I will keep up with or ever finish this here blog (do we ever finish blogs?) remains to be seen. I am not truly sure I know what blogging is or what it's all about, but I am going to give it a go.

I am raising Ryans. Gavin Ryan (2.5), Brayden Ryan (10 mo.) and if you include my husband, Shawn Ryan (30). All boys...even our cat Chaza Ryan is in fact, a male. This means I am usually engaged in some sort of activity that has to do with sports, trucks or food. It also means that my slightly OCD personality is challenged daily and my attempts at tidiness are futile and only slightly appreciated (my two year old seems to have a bent towards cleanliness, praise the Lord).

Shocking even myself, I have found I truly love raising boys. I have learned the difference between a front loading garbage can and a heil side loader, I can sword fight while cooking dinner, I can name at least 10 different types of construction vehicles in 10 seconds, I can make a little tikes basket with nothing but net, left handed and I have finally learned to understand the game of football. I have two little men and one big one to thank for this. Oh and one really big One...the good Lord.

So...that's the intro.. As for what happens on the rest of our journey, I guess we'll keep you posted. Afterall, if I understand correctly, that's what a blog is for!