Monday, August 31, 2009

Potty training

Gavin is pretty much potty trained. We started a little over a week ago and with in a day or two he was to the point where, if we remembered to put him on the potty, he was dry all day. Number two has taken a bit longer to conquer, but we are pretty much there as well. To this, I should be holding up my glass and toasting to success: saving money and space in my garbage can. I am going to admit, the success is not all I dreamed it would be.
I have spent the last two weeks taking my kiddo to the potty about every half hour to hour. Not only that, but usually I am trying to find a creative way to make it "fun" to stop whatever he is doing and go to the potty. (Sidenote: it isn't fun, so this is a hard task.) When he doesn't want to go, timer to let him know we'll be going soon. Now, every time the timer goes off for dinner, Gavin thinks we need to go to the toilet.
If we leave the house, we go potty. When we get somewhere, we go potty. When we are in a public place, we can take up to 10 minutes trying to go potty. It is a major production to try and make sure he goes potty without his pants getting dropped on the bathroom floor and his hands all over the public toilet seat.
Today he spent 15-20 minutes trying to get out all the "stinky poo-poos". I think potty training has made him hold it longer and he sat on that toilet forever!
"Are you all done, Gavin?"
"No...there's still more, Mom. Look I see it!" (What is it about boys? Their inherent nature to be proud of their poop is beyond my comprehension. I figure at this point, let him be proud if it gets the job done!)
During this 15-20 minutes, Brayden desperately wants to be part of the action and will make every effort to be in the bathroom finding any sort of mischief he can. Logan, the little boy I watch, follows Brayden into the bathroom, not to be left out. I spend the time trying to herd kids out of the bathroom, making sure Gavin doesn't fall in the toilet (after all, that's a long time to hold yourself up) and then running back and forth...because if I shut myself in the bathroom, Logan decides it's prime time to touch the untouchable wine glasses and if I go out of the bathroom, Gavin thinks he is all done, but of course changes his mind when I come back.
In the end, we have a completed stinky poo poo, two little boys angry that they weren't part of the potty party and one extremely tired mom who is considering locking herself in the bathroom without any of them for a minute alone.
I have a new appreciation for God and the patience he has when he tries to teach us lessons. He already knows I am not going to be an overnight success and yet He still takes on the challenge of trying to help me be a better person! I know I probably take a lot longer to grasp things than it will take for Gavin to get good at the potty thing. I am sure I exasperate Him. To this I say, "Thank you Lord for not giving up on me. And if you need a minute alone in the bathroom I totally understand!"

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I was determined not to do a big birthday for Gavin this year. I wanted low key and simple and so I decided to approach him with the subject. Typically, his idea of a good time is going to the movie store or shooting ice cubes across the kitchen bad could it be.
So, we asked Gavin what he wanted for his birthday....

Really? I mean Reeeeaaaallly? Does anything good happen at McDonalds? Isn't that the place we go out of desperation, not intentionally for a birthday! I thought I could avoid the golden arches for a fast food birthday awhile longer, I mean until at least 5! Apparently, the big golden "M" on the side of the road is a strong enough reminder to convince my little guy that a happy meal is the way to go. I hummed and hawed and finally humbled myself. I truly did NOT want to give my son greasy food and a play gym of germs for his birthday, but no matter how many times I asked, I got the same answer. And so, I finally sent out an invite to three mom's of Gavin's best little guy buddies. Arthur, Koen & Isaac could all make it and the plans were set.

And I am happy to was awesome! Not only did we have the whole play structure to ourselves (which was super nice so Brayden could play without getting annihilated) but it had been sanitized the night before...BONUS! (You gotta wonder about these places and hearing a little bleach happened the day before can only do a mom's heart good.) The boys got along fabulously, the happy meal toy was a car, which fell into theme with our little gift bags and the boys LOVED getting their very own ice cream cones. Gavin loved his presents, oohed and ahhed over them, with lots of, "Oh wow," "Oh thank you," and "Mom, look at it mine?" He kept talking about how his friends were with him and showing us how his thumb could hold his pinky now to make a three, cuz ,"my fingers are old enough to do it now."

At the end of the night, we were buckling him in the car and he looks at me with the biggest grin and says, "Mom, what a great night!" It was and much to my shock it all happened at a McDonalds. I'd like to take a moment to thank Ronald and to thank my son...who at three, has simple taste and a very thoughtful and thankful heart! You are a delight Gavin! Thanks for reminding me a few friends and some ice cream is really all you need!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gifts from God

Last night I went to the Triple Door...a venue in Seattle for different performances. My friend Dana and the band she used to be a part of, Late Tuesday, reunited to play once more. Along with the band, a good friend of my husband (well, and my friend too) Scott, painted on stage during the concert. There was a large turn out and my sister and I sat in the back, like any other customer, with our dinner and drink and enjoyed the concert and watching Scott do his thing.

As I sat there, I continued to get overwhelmed at how incredibly gifted these people are. Dana's music, her ability to play piano and turn what is in her heart into a song is amazing. And Scott, well his work has blown me away over and over again. The man has traveled the world sharing his art and it's awesome to see how the Lord has used it. I see these gifts and it's hard to believe that one person inherited so much talent. I get a bit can you have a bad day, when you are that good at something so cool?! But I know they do.

I remember the days in college sitting on the couch while Dana sat at the piano and we would discuss how homework, boys and life were all confusing. Now we have the conversations via cell phone, still similar, now it's just work, men and life that are confusing. I have heard Scott talk about how being on the road and touring with bands to do his art loses the glamor. I know his schedule is crazy and that there are times he has to pick up different jobs because art isn't the steadiest of matter how amazing it is.
I know for them it must get tiring at times...They continually go out there and perform, sharing their inside stuff. Singing and creating about what means the most to them. They both love the Lord and have committed their gifts to Him. Putting into song or creating a visual representation of the work God is currently doing in their lives. I cannot imagine how emotionally draining that could be, especially, because when they are done, they have to greet the crowds of people who all want to see them and be close to the gift. Not to mention, they both have personalities that everyone wants to be their friends (their facebook status alone proves this).

When I think about the truth of what these two do, I am overwhelmed once again, but this time, not by the talent they have been given. But by their willingness to use it. No matter the misconceptions people get about their lives, the emotional drain it takes on them, the inconvience of the schedule, the continual barrage of people wanting to be in their space, they have let God use them and continue to do so!

I have a memory of Dana singing me to sleep one night at my house...sweet music and laughter. I have a piece of art that Scott gifted to me (on his birthday of all days) is a powerful piece on the Cross. Both the memory and the art are precious to me, not just because they are from my friends, though that is dear to my heart as well. But because they remind me of people who have not run from God with their gifts, but they have run to matter the cost. And though my gifts may not be as apparent as theirs are, I know I am called to do the same. These two are living their lives as a reminder.

Lord, I pray that as they continue to work and perform, their audience sees Christ in them. I know I sure do! Thanks you two!

P.S. you can learn about these two at or

Friday, August 21, 2009

better than i thought

Today was a good day. I witnessed some great interactions with my boys:
  • I asked Gavin if he wanted to play play dough and his response was, "No, not really now mom, but thanks." vs. "No! I don't waaaant to!"
  • Gavin got a "Chewy" aka fruit snack for going potty and says, "Mom, we need some for my brother and friends to celebrate too." vs. "Miiiiine!"
  • Brayden found Gavin's special cars and brought them right over to Gavin. Vs. Finding the cars and running away with them.
  • Brayden sat on his chair and signed please and said "Dow" translation: down. vs. Standing up and screaming at the top of his lungs.
  • Gavin, in the middle of dinner says, "Thanks mom for the good dinner." Vs. "I don't like that."
  • Brayden picked up his shoes and toys and put them away when I asked vs. running away when I ask.
  • Gavin accidentally knocked his brother over and stopped to help him up vs. running right on top of him.
  • Gavin came to find me when the DVD player skipped vs. sitting in the TV room screaming and crying that it's broken.
There were actually quite a few more obedient, polite moments of today. I believe Gavin is truly learning to be thankful, he's catching on to the idea we've been teaching him that we celebrate with each other when someone succeeds...especially our family, they are both learning to help each other out, they are both learning to ask for help instead of screaming and whining, they are learning to obey and help out around the house...they are part of a team.
It's easy to see the negative things your children immitate. They pop right out at you. When your two year old udders, "Piece of junk" and your one year throws your keys across the room, because you tried to throw them in your purse, you realize quickly they will pick up on every little thing. You start to see those things more and more often. Sometimes you forget to look for the positive things you have been trying to instill.
The last few days I have seen some of the positives shine through. It started me looking for them and there are many a day, if I keep my eyes open and my attitude positive. It's so easy to see all the things they do wrong and all the work ahead of you. As parents we start to get discouraged. However, these little people who have lived only a year or two are catching onto sooo many good things too! And as parents I think we need to let up on ourselves sometimes, because, if we look closely, maybe we're doin' a better job than we thought!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Still havin' fun!

Here is the sunset out of our windsheild on the way home from our road trip to Bryce Canyon

Shawn and I after we hiked the Canyon!
The view from the top

This was a 1.3 mile hike...the last .6 miles we went up over 500 ft. in elevation, I am striking my tough pose, because, well, I felt tough...I did it!
That's Shawn down there and it doesn't even give close to the perspective on how far down we hiked!
Driving through Zion, we stopped for a couples shot!
This is me being a dork on the 6hr. drive! You gotta find something to keep you entertained!

Hotel Paris...Shawn took the shot as we drove down the strip.
Me at the O show...I was so excited and it was so cool!
Shawn, when we first got to Vegas...This was actually the view from our room too, but we were 28 stories up...great digs!
So..Shawn and I went away on a vacation to Vegas for 4 days and I have good news...we still enjoy being together! It was great...we went out to nice dinners, saw the cirque de soleil "O" show (awesome!), hiked Bryce Canyon, drove through Zion National park and rode the New York New York Roller Coaster! We had so much fun, good conversation and found out that we really still enjoy each other's company...sans kids. So nice.
We did miss the kids a bit and it was good to get the snugs upon our return. They're antics are cute again and we definately have more patience than when we left, but we'll see how long that lasts.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Yes, this is Brayden Ryan at his finest. Dad picked the Pjs and he picked the rest. Fully representing himself and his spirit, here is Brayden sporting his wristbands, hat, lion slippers and wait...the umbrella didn't make it into the picture. The kid is a crack up. We adore him and though his go go spirit makes us tired and his stubborness makes us grouchy at times, we are loving watching this kid grow up. He is so full of life and laughter and as you can see, has an uncanny ability to accessorize!

Evan Thomas

Hey there and welcome to the world, Evan Thomas! This is the newest member of the Ryan family...Shawn's brother's first kiddo. He's awfully cute. Makes me long for the days of many many naps and cuddles. Love you little man!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I get it from my mom

I am more like my mom than I care to admit. I want to say I am my own person, but the reality is...i am a product of my mom and dad and well, they definately have had a major impact on who I am. I am fortunate, in that, I love my mom and dad and think they are amazing people, so at least I am a product of people I admire.
Anyway...for our anniversary in June, mom gave Shawn and I a card with reservations for a hotel downtown, money charged to the room and cash to go out. Piece de resistance, she volunteered to babysit the boys. A complete 24 hours all to ourselves! A gift beyond description.
It was awesome! Our hotel was about 4 blocks from downtown shopping, the theatre and the Cheesecake Factory (a personal favorite) and Shawn and I partook of it all! We slept in, woke up and slept some more. We chatted over good food and sipped drinks after we were done, without rushing to get anyone out of the restaurant. We sat through a movie together in peace and enjoyed walking around town, holding each other's hands. Ahhhh!
Now, knowing my mom, before I left the house, I changed the sheets, cleaned the bathroom from top to bottom, had a dinner ready and vacuumed the house. She is a cleaner and she is a helper and well, I knew if I didn't do it, she would. And so...I made sure things were in order. I came home to find my front yard weeded, my house dusted, a load of laundry done, the boys had been taken out to dinner and the backyard had been worked on. If I was gonna do the basics, she was going to go beyond. Pretty much, my mom paid us to go away and then continued to bless us as we were gone. It's humbling. And amazing.
I have some traits of my mom I could probably do without...our need to plan, plan, plan, our desire to have a place for everything and everything in it, our tendancy to see what needs to be done instead of what's been done, I am sure there are more that both of us choose to pretend aren't there too. These are things I think we would both love to learn to relax about. However, I can see my desire to serve people, to help people, to find ways to bless others, to give little gifts I know they would enjoy, to see others smile and know they feel special, to offer "let me do that for you"...has come from my mom as well. What an amazing legacy.
I don't think much about it, until I am the recipient. Mom blesses me in so many ways so often, I know I take it for granted. She is still my mom and well, sometimes I can get frustrated or take her for granted. But most days I am just amazed at all she does for her family and those around her. I hope I can be more and more like her as I get older and maybe continue to pass on the blessings she has passed to me! And I hope I can be the type of person that one day, my kids can proudly say, "Yeah, I get that from my mom!"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Well done!

Here are some of my prouder moments...after seeing Gavin spill salt, on accident and use his diggers in it, we created our own digger area on a cookie sheet (we actually use rice now). Hours of entertainment and pure genius!
The tray is toppings to a salad I made for dinner and I was just so impressed with how pretty it looked. I was proud of the pretty!


Here's a bit of July...Brayden following in his dad's footsteps with the mower...Mom sharing her favorite thing, reading, with Gav...our new neice, Ashton...ears plugged for the fireworks, with cousin maryn...enjoying the zoo with cousin mare...playing in the fort...sporting sweatbands with dad!

I want

I want a lot of things. Obviously, my priorities are salvation for the lost, world peace, the end of child prostitution, etc, etc. However on my petty list, at the very top, I want my son to stop using the phrase "I want" or "I don't want". If I hear that one more time!
Suddenly, somewhere, somehow, Gavin got the notion that he gets a say in what he wants for dinner, or when he gets his diaper changed or which direction we drive in the car...
"I don't waaant that!"
"Gavy don't want diaper change"
"Gavy want to go that way"
Listen up buddy, no one around this house cares if you want avacado on your plate and we most definately don't want to hear you whine about it!
He has also taken to throwing himself upon the ground to emphasize how much he wants or doesn't want something. The bigger the fall, the more desirous he is. It would be slightly amusing if it weren't my child. But it is and that is unfortunate.
So...we institute time out the minute he starts to whine and lower himself to the ground in what I have labeled a "Wantrum." After two days of immediately sending him to timeout for the whiney demands of wanting and not wanting, or removing privileges he claims to not want (like not wanting to read books before bed, in order to not go to bed) he has improved slightly, but we still have a long way to go.
It's hard. Obviously, we can't teach our child he has no say in his life. He can not want to play in the pool and want to play at the water table instead. Fine. That's reasonable. But how do we teach him there is a difference between that and not wanting to get in the car when it's time to go and wanting to watch a show instead. He doesn't get that choice. As a matter of fact...he really doesn't get a choice in much. He's nearly three and frankly, I still make his choices for him, cuz yes, I am smarter. I know better and I am going to make the wiser choice. When he gets too many choices, he really can't handle it. So he needs to get over it.
That's what I want. I guess we are both going to have a long waiting period to get what we want.