Friday, May 29, 2009


Cooking. You either love or hate it. I, personally, love to hate it. I love the opportunity to cook. I love trying new things.I love sipping wine and stirring the pot. I love enjoying the food. I hate whenever I want to make something specific I am missing one key ingredient. I hate that making most things worth eating takes more time than two kids will give you. I hate it when recipes call for obscure ingredients that cost a fortune and you aren't sure when you'll ever use them again (I have still never used the rest of that celery seed). I hate going through recipes, making grocery lists and trying to avoid mac and cheese, yet again.

So, in order to attempt to feed my family a better variety of meals, that I don't have to cook...I organized a frozen food exchange among my friends. Today, four moms and six kids came over to play and food was exchanged. It was awesome. My freezer is full and all I had to do was cook one meal, six times. Way easier. I am in my happy place.

The best part was it was sunny so us moms could sit on the deck, watch our kids and know that dinner has already been prepared. Although I will say with eight kids running around the backyard, the actual sitting only occured for minute intervals. On days like this, my favorite thing is when Shawn asks, "So how are your friends, what's new?" How the heck should I know? If I even got the chance to ask, I didn't get to listen to the answer because I was saving Lightening McQueen from drowning or they were monitering the fort to make sure both boys and girls were allowed. But I digress...

All that to say, I have cooked for the week. And inspired by my well-being, I also prepared recipies and a grocery list for the next week. Even typed it up and saved it on the computer to use again. How's that for handy...Move over Martha, eat your heart out Betty Crocker, I have arrived!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Knee

The other day at church, I fell onto my knee. I did not realize Gavin was behind me and he ran in front of my right side, causing me to fall on him and drop Brayden on the ground. In order to protect both of them as much as I could I lunged to the left and fell hard onto my left knee. Embarrasing? Yes. (Not to mention, with two kids wailing, avoiding attention was a no go.) I got a bloody rugged burned knee and three days later it is still red around the edges with a quarter sized burn/scab right in the middle.
I feel a bit ripped off, frankly. I would like my injury to look as bad as it feels. If it did, my whole knee would be black and blue, the scab would be bigger and you would see blood seep out everytime time I bend my leg. But you don't. You just see this measly burn mark. It's kinda lame. (The best part is, Gavin got a small dot of a scab on his knee and he calls it his boo-boo. Every morning when he leaves his room, he looks down and says, "oh my boo-boo" and starts limping...PUH-LEASE. I am not sure where he got it, because I tried not to limp at all, out of sheer pride and have only moaned to my husband in private. But he claims his is "just like mama's". Whatever, kid, I win this one hands down.)
All this to say, I have realized in the past few days, how precious knees are to moms. They are Useful for many things.
-Where the kids grab you when they want up.
-Where the kids use you for support, when they are walking by.
-When you are looking for toys under various pieces of furniture.
-When you are playing on the ground with the kids.
-When you are trying to find a blanket tossed behind a crib on the ground.
-When you want to close a door, drawer or babygate and your hands are full.
-When you are buckling your kids into their car seats.
And oh, so much more.
It's amazing really. I never would have considered my knee at all until this incident. I am now very thankful for both of them. I will have to get on them more often and tell God that!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Brayden's turned one and with this transition it seems all his character has been turned up about 1000 notches and I am enjoying every minute. He is so happy, so funny, so full of life and joy. He laughs lots, talks all day (sadly, I believe both my children have been influenced by my need to say so many words a day), signs please for just about everything and is always ready to run into your arms and snug in close. His four tooth smile,with accompanying scrunched up nose is enough to make me give him anything he wants...almost.

I have found it is in fact hard to resist, "the baby." No wonder so many get spoiled. When I punish him, I am nearly always terribley sad about it or trying my best to hold back laughter at his antics. This kid already knows how to work the charm, the sense of humor and the tears. He amazes me daily with how smart he is (he already knows how to get his shoes and coat when you tell him and will actually try to put them on) and how dumb he pretends to be (he also knows how to give you an innocent look when caught,hand in the snack cupboard that he knows is off limits). He keeps me on my toes and constantly amazed.

Today Brayden got his hand slammed in the front door by his brother. In defense of Gavin, he was attempting to prevent Brayden from escaping...he is very concerned about when Brayden breaks the rules. This means Gavin is constantly monitering Brayden, because, well Brayden is my rule pusher. Anyway...his fingers were cut and swelling and big, true tears rolled down Brayden's cheeks. It broke my heart. I couldn't stop the tears. My joy lover had his joy sucked out with one quick slam of the door.

It was hard to have him so sad for so long. You could tell his fingers throbbed and Gavin and I just sat beside him snuggling and trying to make him happy. The whole atmosphere of the house was sad. He refused to cheer up for awhile and both Gavin and I stumbled through dinner prep listening to the whimper of our joyless one, not quite sure what to make of it. It was strange to see the impact this little character has had on our family. In one year he has made such a contribution to this family. It amazes me that his demeanor could effect all our spirits so greatly.

He is feeling better now. Laughing with his brother at the baby gate and trying to get in to see me. Smiling his flirty smile, and hoping I'll let him in. Gavin laughing beside him, infected by the joy that has started creeping back into Brayden's spirit (maybe it was in the tylonol?).

I love it. I love how God makes us all so different. I love how families are knit together. I love how we each have something to bring to the table. I love how God knows exactly what needs to be on that table. And I love how Brayden brought us joy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sometimes you need the window down

Today we had no real plans. A Friday, all ours. And sunshine. It was a beautiful thing.
We packed up our lunches and met our friends down at the park for slides, swings and a picnic. We got sun on our noses and dirt in between out toes. It was awesome. (I would post pics, but our camera is broken...hopefully, I will get some from my friend Shiloah who joined us, because boy were the kids cute!)
Anyway...on the way home, we drove with the music up, our hands clapping and blue skies ahead. It was then I realized...we had the airconditioning on. Makes sense. The car was hot, the kids were hot, and my iced latte was now without ice. But with the airconditioning on...the windows remained up and this seemed wrong. Today was a window down day. Today was a day to expose the rest of the world to the music of my choice and my tone deaf attempt at superstar impressions. Today I was supposed to hold my hands out the windows and teach the boys to do the same. And so I rolled the window down.
"What doing mama?" Gavin asked.
"Rolling down the window, Gav."
"Window? No mama."
"Look, you can put your hand out Gavin." I showed him how to wave your arm up and down in the wind.
"No window, mama."
"Yes, Gavin. Sometimes, you really need to roll down the window. It's for your own good. Today is that kind of day."
"Okay mama."
It made me think, what other modern convienences are hindering my kids life experiences. Water shoes preventing the sand between their toes. Strollers that prevent them from long walks, where you can bend down to find your "special sticks" or "beautiful rocks". I know there are more.
Don't get me wrong. I am all for airconditioning and strollers. I am definately not above convienence. However, I decided today, to make it a priority that my kids don't miss out because of them. I want the sand in their toes, the watermelon dripping down their front, their special sticks drawing in the dirt. I want them to know the feeling of the window down, arm out in the air and their favorite song playing on the radio.
Today was a small step. Gavin will now accept the window down. The arm out the window, he's not so sure about, but for now, maybe that's a good thing!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Gavin's new response when I say no to something is, "Gavy do it someday."
"Mom, Gavy see teacher Rosa?"
"Not today Gavin."
"Oh, Gavy see teacher Rosa someday."

"Mom, Gavy play racecar puzzle?" (Yes, he referes to himself in the third person all the time.)
"Not right now, Gavin."
"Oh, Gavy play puzzle someday."

"Mom, Gavy go car."
"No, we're staying home today."
"Okay, Gavy go car someday."

It's all gonna happen someday. My son lives with expectance and I want to keep it that way. I want him to keep his optimism, his faithful and believing attitude. Seeing as I am, on a good day, a struggling optimist, I am not sure where Gavin learned this, but I will do all I can to not squelch it. I want my son to grow up continuing to trust, believe and live with the same assurance he has now, that his "Someday" will come

Thursday, May 14, 2009


It's been a long week at the Ryans. Gavin's has had 2 ear infections and asthma issues (including steroid medications that have him juggling more emotional inbalance than any teenage girl), we have been trying to refinance, which has included multiple trips to the finance office, which is no where near our house, and I have been trying to tie up loose ends and write thank yous for all the people I have worked with this year in MOPS and the Children's Ministry at church. Not to mention the various things that just happen, like the cat puking up hairballs and grass in my kitchen or a poop blow out so big, there was no way to get clothes off the child without getting it in his hair.
I am tired. I am fighting the urge to use my parents sayings, like "If you don't stop crying, I'm going to give you something to cry about" or "Put a cork in it". I am trying to decide who is more in need of time outs, me or Gavin. I am about to give up on Brayden ever using a utensil. I am spent.
However, tonight in the car, God gave me the reminder. An up beat country song came on. Gavin said, "Come on mom, it's a clapping song" and started to clap like I taught him. Brayden started his version of singing and swinging his blanket around. I looked back to see Gavin clapping and swaying, Brayden smiling so big with his blanket on his head like he was the funniest thing alive, and both laughing so hard. The song played out...
"That's when I love you, when I need you when I care about you, when I know without a doubt that I can't live without you. Every moment of the day and every single thing you do, that's when I love you."
I do love them and I need them and I do not know what I would do without them.
They are supposed to be in bed now. But they are giggling to each other in the other room. I have prayed they would be best friends. That these boys would grow up to love each other. That they would be the support, laughter, encouragement and prayer warriors each other needs. God answers prayers. And He gives us reminders daily...if we take the time to see them.
Thank you God for my boys...and for the reminders!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

the fort

So, for mother's day, I decided I would have Shawn watch the boys and I would call on my dad to help me with a little project. We have a "fort" in the backyard, please do NOT refer to it as a playhouse, for Shawn's sake. has a ladder on the outside to a door. The only catch was, you opened the door and fell through to the first floor. Clever, huh? It appears, some smarty pants decided to take out the second floor and so now my kids and their friends are left with a death trap. It's awesome. Friends come over, their kids happily go out to play and I have to run across the yard yelling, "Wait, don't open that, there's no floor." Why would their be?

So, for mother's day, I decided dad could come over and help me and Shawn could watch the boys. You may be asking at this point, "Why didn't Shawn do it?" Well, if you could see the list of "projects" that we have, most of which I have decided should be done, you would understand why I thought it would be best not to bother him with this one. Not to mention, I figured it was time I contribute to one of the "labor intensive" projects I come up with.

Dad, being the wonderful and doting Papa that he is, agreed. We of course figured it would take about 3 hours. I said 4, adding some extra time, just in case. We should have used Shawn's equation, "When in lieu of a project, always multiply by 8."

The fort tilts forward, the beams aren't level, the second floor was cut out crooked, and the guy who originally built it was not firing on all cylinders, as far as I am concerned. It took a good 6 hours and I still have to put the bench back in. Blood was drawn, Dad and I were both nearly reduced to dropping a few inappropriate words and if I ever have to see an exacto knife and carpet again, it will be too soon.

In all my efficency to use this day to get something done, I was bummed that I came in about the time my kids needed to go to bed. I missed spending mother's day with my boys and it was no one's fault but my own. Next year, no projects. Next year is family time. Next year, we're together. Next year, we'll play in the fort...not build it!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The dump

My sister asked me today, "If you have a third kid, won't you use the other room?" HA!
The other room is what we refer to as the office, but in reality is a dumping ground. It holds shawn's desk, my craft table (an old small kitchen table with all four chairs, the computer desk, filing cabinet, one set of storage shelves, one huge corner cupboard with all our CDs and Shawn's various sports paraphanalia, three rolling bins with my crafts stuff in them, two huge kids toys that fit nowhere else nad three chairs. Not sure where the chairs came from, but I feel the need to keep them. (Please note: I failed to mention all of the stuff that is shoved in, on and under said tables, chairs, desks and shelves).
I am a relatively tidy person and this room betrays my inner OCD. Everything seems necessary and unnecessary all at the same time. I am not sure what to do. My mother would love to get her hands on this room and begin the purging. Typically, I would be right there with her, but when I enter this room everything in it seems to say, "You might need me someday." What am I going to do with a feather boa, a set of juggling balls, Shawn's Neil Diamond records and my wedding shoes? Who really knows, but maybe someday... And so I sneak in and out, doing what I can to avoid purging and escape clean up. It's a last resort. The "maybe later" place. Or as we have so affectionately termed it, "the dump."
I keep my kids clean, our house clean, our clothes clean and attempt to get in enough showers to consider myself clean. I keep our food organized, our schedule organized, our toys organized and our car organized. The dump does not get cleaned and rarely gets organized (definately not completely organized ever)! As far as I am concerned, all mom's need a dump. It's the one place you never have to worry about and can always "get to later" without guilt. I cherish my dump. I love my dump. I am not ready to give up the dump.
So third child, beware, if you ever come you're sleeping with your brothers. This space is mine and for now, I refuse to give it up. Maybe later. You never know, my third child may need those juggling balls!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


So, I have been struggling with the overwhelming responsibility of speaking into my child's heart. At two, I know there can't be a huge expectation to see the fruits of the seeds sown. For a person like me, this is difficult. I want results and I don't want to wait until their 18 to get them!!!
I have been working really hard with Gavin on "being kind," as he has been struggling with sharing and just generally being nice to his brother. When he gets in trouble, I usually quote Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind and gentle, forgiving each other as God forgave you." (paraphrased for a 2year old) A little over his head...sure, but they are still words from God. Any Words God has are words of life and I figure it's safer to quote Him when I'm frustrated than to let my own words come out. Then we pray and ask Jesus to help us be kind.
The other day Brayden was crying. Gavin looks at me.
"Mom, baby sad."
"Yes Gavin, he is."
"Baby needs a happy heart." (When Gavin throws a fit and needs to take a break, we tell him to sit on his bed and try to get a happy heart)
"Yes Gavin, he needs to find a happy heart"
Brayden then threw his toys down and Gavin continued, "Mom, baby be kind."
"You're right Gavin, he needs to learn to be kind."
"Mama, baby talk to Jesus"
I wanted to dance for joy!! He's getting it! PRAISE THE LORD. I think God knew I needed a little bit of encouragement that these are not little deaf ears I am speaking to, but ears that are taking it all in and storing it away. Hallalujah and Amen!
Of course we still have a ways to go. Gavin still will only pray for garbage trucks unless prompted to talk about other things. Also, later that day, I was trying to memorize Proverbs 8:33 "Hear instruction and be wise, do not distain it". I was quoting it around the house to stick it in my head. I heard Gavin's little voice behind me "Instruction. Distain it." Hmmm...
I guess I got my glimpse of potential and then God decided to give me a small glimpse of the work ahead.

I never...

Being the director of children's ministry taught me a few things. Among the top things I took away with me was, never ever say "I'll never" in regards to parenting. I saw the best of all parents reduced to bribing their child into silence and the best of all kids screaming in tantrums as parents looked on helplessly. You really just never know.
But this does not mean I haven't thought a few things here are there. Mostly, I had thoughts along the "mom" lines and they were more in the catagory of, "I wonder if I'll ever?". Here are a few things I wondered about and am fully suprised to find myself doing.
Drinking black coffee on a relatively regular basis (the coffee is not a suprise...the blackness is).
Doing craft projects with my one year old and paint. Whose idea was that? He doesn't get it.
Getting excited about new recipies and frozen meal exchanges.
Sewing. Yes, I sew and I like it.
Paying an obscene amount for a hair straightener, because I really don't have the time to use a cheap one. (This one shocked me, cuz I am really usually quite cheap)
Singing the wheels on the bus over and over...I was going to swear off that song.
Considering mascara and lipgloss a "full make up day".
Knowing the names, colors and numbers of the Thomas the Tank engine trains and using those trains to teach my child. "Would Thomas treat Percy that way?"
Going to the Target dollar bin to let Gavin get a treat, just to get out of the house.
Reaching into the backseat while driving and find the book, toy, or cup that is desired all by feel. (Having a Toyota echo as the family car makes this space.)
Using the line, "Look at me when I'm talking to you."
Making up dorky words for items, such as "snug" (a hug) and "blank-blank" (blanky).

That's just a few. It makes me grateful that I learned not to say "never". It can't be tossed in my face. However, it doesn't mean I am still not regularly suprised at what I find myself doing on any given day. Thank you Motherhood for keeping life interesting. I really do love it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Welcome home

Dad has been gone for about 4 days now and we were running along pretty smoothly, until tonight. We were leaving our church and I told my son to "run run run" and unfortunately he did, did, did, right into a table corner. This corner happened to be right at eye level for Gavin and he now has a pretty decent gash right above his left eye.
I'll be honest. Gavin has seen his share of emergency room visits. Mostly because the little guy has horrible asthma and any illness results in breathing issues. However, this is the first time I have really seen blood flow out of him and I was really sad. Add that to the exhaustion of four days alone (and they were busy days) and I nearly started crying for him.
Fortunately, my little guy is tough and is really into water bottles. So with a little ice and the promise of his very own water bottle, we calmed down pretty quick. (This is when being two pays off...I am not sure how long a water bottle will hold that much incentive.) He was good to go.
So his little buddies walked him out to the car and helped him climb in. Then, in my state of "wiped" I climbed in too, put the key in the ignition and I hear a voice,
"Mommy, I need buckle."
Yes. I forgot to buckle my already injured child. Way to go Mom. I'm leaving this one out of my parenting books.
All that to say, praise God Shawn is coming home. Dad's often work a lot and aren't seen nearly as much as moms. But the reality is...whatever hours they give are such a gift. One less diaper is still one less diaper. Not dragging in the garbage cans and not having to take charge of the "war on moles" are gifts. Not being the sole entertainment at the end of the day is SO nice.
So thank you dad. And welcome home. Your son looks awful, but at least I got him buckled in.


Two things I realllllly don't like. Popping balloons and getting shocked. I think it's because usually, you never know when either is coming...BAM it just happens. Maybe it's the bit of type A in me coming out....but I want to know before you freak me out!
In regards to balloons, unfortunately, I worked with kids for 7 years and then proceeded to have two, which did expose me to balloons a lot. I don't know what it is about these floating time bombs that kids love so much, but waiting for them to pop (because you know with kids it's only a matter of time) tenses me up like no other.
I will say, I have learned to be less tense about it, but you won't necessarily see them floating around at my kids parties. As often as I can, I turn down the people who try to win me over by giving my kid a balloon (that means you Red Robin...balloon or not, you are still over priced and I am not sure if the refillable fries makes up for that). Balloons, they can be avoided.
Shock, that one is a bit harder. It's flip flop season and I am not sure what it is (maybe it's that I buy the $3 cheapo flip flops) but when I wear them I always get shocked. At my car and stores, I am always tentitivley reaching out, afraid to touch the door handles. I am sure I look like some sort of nutcase (I know this because I have recieved looks). No people, I am not OCD and terrified of "handles". Bring on the germs, but please help me avoid the violent voltage that scares me and stings my hand.
It's silly really, but I do not like it...and now with my two kids...I have been introduced to a new form of torture. Large plastic climbing toys. They are awful!!! Those slides will get you and frankly, there have been a few times I nearly let Gavin fly completely off onto his bum, only to throw my arms out at the last minute, because it took me that long to debate whether his saftey or mine was more important. He's worth the risk of high voltage.
Now Brayden wants to go on the slides too. He's too little to go alone and what does that mean? It means I go too. It's shock central. I would use the word "hate" here, but since we're trying to cut it out of our vocabulary, let's just say I EXTREMELY DISLIKE going on these toys. I do not like climbing and waiting for the next little twinge of ampage. Mostly I don't like going down the slide feeling the ping ping ping on my arms, legs and any other part of me that dares touch the plastic offender.
I love being with my sons and watching them enjoy the outdoors and play...but if I ever launch into a diatribe when I'm older about all I did for them, they may not understand, but this is going to be on my list!