"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friends, Football, and the Fall!

Last Sunday, Ryan and I went to the Denver Broncos' home opener with our good friends Christie and Jonathan. What a beautiful autumn day for football!

Before the game, we tail-gated in the shadow of the stadium. Team spirit was definitely in the air!

This was just one of many Broncomobiles that we saw!

Christie and Jonathan brought their grill, and we brought the bratwursts:

Ryan applies mustard to his brat. Yummmmm!!

Doesn't it look tasty? We had chips and queso, too.

Time for the game!!

Skydivers + a massive balloon release = lots of fun!

I love crowd shots! They're so interesting. :-)

Especially when we're winning, and everybody is happy!!!

Bonus pic of Ryley:

Happy weekend to all!!! Go Broncos!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ryley Stories

Ryley has been sick with a fever off and on since Sunday afternoon. She came down with it when she was staying with my wonderful aunt and uncle while Mommy and Daddy were off frolicking at the Denver Broncos game (more on that another time!).

So, because of the fever, we had Ryley stay home from school for the last two days. Ryan and I adjusted our schedules so that he was home in the morning, and I was home in the afternoon. And when Mommy has to leave work to come home to a sick little girl, it's...nap-time! That's all there is to it. We don't stay home from school/work and then not rest.

However, even at her sickest, Ryley is just not a napper. She never has been. I gave up when she was three years old because I just hated fighting with her over it. Some kids aren't nappers, and I came to terms with that.

Yesterday, she felt sick enough that cuddling with me in our bed put her out with only 15 minutes of struggle, and she ended up napping for three hours.

But today! Today. She would not have it. We lay there in my bed for an hour while she threw fits and whined, and I had to answer three calls from work, and it just wasn't happening. I dozed off at least twice, to which Ryley got frustrated and said,

"Mommy, falling asleep is just not my talent! It's your talent, but it's not mine."

After an hour, she finally fell asleep and proceeded to nap for two hours. Yay!


Tonight we decided to run to Target to get some fresh air. Ryley likes activity, and I think two days in the house was causing her to go a little stir-crazy.

As we drove, she sang songs, and she seemed happy and back to normal.

"Are you glad to be out and about?" I asked her.

Ever so casually, Ryley replied, "Yes, it's nice to see what the rest of the world is up to." :-)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Colorado Fall

So, Ryley has a really bad rash on her rear-end. Isn't that a great way to start a blog??? But anyway, she's had it for about six months, and we finally made some progress this week after her appointment with a dermatologist, who confirmed it as Molluscum Contagiosum, which is apparently caught in swimming pools. The dermatologist also went on to treat the rash so that, in its healing phase, it now appears to look like chicken pox. It's itchy and painful, but there's little that we can do about it. I must say that Ryley has been very brave.

My mom was talking to Ryley on the phone this week and asked her if the rash bothers her while she's at school. Ryley's answer: "Yes, but I just have to deal with it."

When I heard her words, I cringed. Am I that heartless of a mother that my answer to my daughter is often "Just deal with it"? That is my phrase! I do! I tell her that (I had not realized how much!), but hearing her resign herself to that just breaks my heart. I've never been the kind of mom that uses a "wipe warmer;" I want my child to be flexible and to learn how to be a low-maintenance person who can deal with extreme hot, extreme cold, pain, and hard situations. Even so, my poor baby has a horrible rash in a sensitive place, and I fear that I have not been sympathetic enough. :-(


All else is going well. Work is still hard (I had to be a part of firing someone this week), but it is getting better overall, and Ryan and I are both growing in our positions and becoming better people because of it. Funny how that happens.

I also have volunteered to be a co-classparent for Ryley's 1st grade class. I am probably overcommitting myself, but this is the kind of thing that needs to be a priority in my life, and I am glad and excited to do it. As part of my duties, I attended the PTA meeting on Tuesday night. Wow. Let me just say that it was a big eye-opener for me! The kind of parents who attend those meetings are very interesting...very Type A, very controlling, very argumentative. I was so close to telling the lady next to me to just shut up. I mean it. I was really very irritated with all the interrupting and the know-it-all attitude. I googled her later just to see if I could find out what she does for a living. Yep. Interesting....

Throughout the month of September, we are editing articles for the winter issue of the magazine, so any free time I have has been taken with that. But I enjoy it!


So, Ryan has finally had a couple of Saturdays off (hooray!), and last weekend, we had a hankering to go to the mountains. We decided to go to Winter Park, and we had so much fun exploring the resort, hiking, experiencing the fall beauty, etc. It was rainy for some of the time, and we actually drove through clouds on the way down the mountain. It was breathlessly beautiful, but attempting to explain to Ryley that clouds are not tangible and cannot hold any weight was actually really frustrating. But that's what family days are all about. :-)

I kept making Ryan stop so we could take pictures! Sadly, these photos do not accurately portray how beautiful it was.

We took a skyway ride from our parking lot to the Winter Park Resort.

Ryan and Ryley went down the Alpine Slide.

Then we went for a hike out in the middle of nowhere. We need to do that more often!!!

Ryley was sad when we made her leave her walking stick behind. We promised her that other hikers would make good use of it. :-)

We loved how the clouds just played with the tops of the mountains...

Here, the clouds descend upon us....

We know we are so fortunate to live here. Maybe someday when we are wealthy authors, we will have a home up in the mountains somewhere....

We stopped in Idaho Springs on our way home for dinner at our favorite pizza place, Beau Jo's.

It was really a perfect family day. I love Ryan and Ryley so much!

Tomorrow, Ryan and I are going to the Broncos game with Christie and Jonathan, and we decided today that we are tail-gating in the parking lot before the game. We are so excited!

New experiences and memories await.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Peachy Keen

The farmer's granddaughter in me has always taken a real interest in learning lost arts of the land....like gardening, for instance. I'm not a great gardener by any means, but I like learning what it takes to make it work. I am fascinated by my grandma's stories of her childhood (she didn't have electricity until she was 12), or the fact that my mom went to school in a one-room schoolhouse from kindergarten through eighth grade. What did it take to survive in those days, before modern conveniences and I-phones??

On my grandparents' farm, there was always this great feeling as we sat down to a hearty dinner of hamburger (from my grandpa's cows), sweet corn (picked that afternoon from my grandpa's crops), and strawberries with sugar (picked from my grandma's garden).

So, when Christie mentioned that she'd like to learn to "can," my interest was piqued -- not because this is something I'd like to do longterm, but because I'd like to learn what it takes to stock your cellar full of preserves for the winter -- to, in essence, "live off the land."

We had some help from the Internet, a canning book, and two types of borrowed/bought equipment. And voila -- six hours and lots of elbow grease later -- 12 quarts of peaches and five pints of salsa appeared on Christie's countertop.

I don't know if I will want to do this every year. It's like gardening or anything that you like the idea of, more than the actual "doing" of it. I always start strong on my garden in the spring, but by fall, I am lucky to find anything salvageable among the weeds.

Even so, it was fun to learn, it's fun to understand, and for this year alone, I have peaches and salsa in my cabinet to show for it. :-)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Simplicity (and Ryley Stories)

Today, Ryley and I are doing absolutely nothing. And it feels wonderful! The best part about it? TWO MORE DAYS just like this one.

Maybe we'll go up to Windsor to can peaches with Christie and Kendra tomorrow.

Maybe we'll go to Colorado Springs to see the hot air balloons.

Maybe we'll go to church.

Maybe I'll do some editing for the magazine.

Maybe I'll clean the house.

Maybe I'll dye my hair.

Maybe not.

This morning, after Ryan headed to work, I had coffee in bed with my laptop and, in the spirit of simplifying our lives, figured out how to do online bill paying for all our bills out of our online bank account. Ryley held a three-movie "Little Mermaid" marathon for herself. Then she and I played Yahtzee, Jr. Then she and I attempted to clean her room. But I got bored.

Sometimes I like to just stare into space for an hour and not feel guilty about it.

I am taking a break from teaching piano lessons until October. I know it sounds crazy, but that extra evening a week is so nice to have, especially now that I've returned to work (more than) full-time, and the winter issue of SHINE is in full swing, giving me deadlines to meet every week. I don't want to cut out any part of my life permanently, but there simply aren't enough hours in the week to do it all at the same time...and still keep my sanity. :-)

We've all had the beginnings of the flu this week, however, our constant juicing seems to be padding our bodies with some extra nutrients, and we are already on the mend without ever having been really down. I think Ryan is finally on board with the juicing thing. So long as it's fruit we're juicing and not veggies. Ha!

My dear, life-long friend Kendra is getting married at Christmas! I am so excited for her, and I feel so honored that she has asked me to be a bridesmaid! We went to a little engagement get-together at her parents' house last week. It was a little surreal to have my daughter running around the backyard where Kendra and I used to run...to go downstairs and see the wedding dress in the same basement where we had countless sleep-overs years ago. It's changed, but not all that much. She's getting married in the church where we grew up (she's the only one of us to actually do that); she's walking down the same aisle we walked down for our high school graduation. Kendra is a true life-long friend.


In closing, here are some silly things Ryley has said recently:

"I am so tired of construction! Our neighborhood, my school, our grocery store, even this road! Everywhere I go there is 'nstruction! Ughhh!"


And...In first grade, they have a behavior system of green, yellow, and red. Well-behaved kids stay on green all day, but disruptive kids are moved to yellow, etc. There is an added element to this system called "Silver." Silver is reserved for students who display extraordinary kindness and go above and beyond the expected "green" behavior. Ryley has yet to achieve this goal, however, her friend Shauna has.

"I work hard every day to be on 'Silver,' but I haven't gotten it yet! Shauna has promised Amirah and me that she will teach us what she did to get on Silver so that we can get on Silver too!"

I would have liked to hear that conversation. "Oh, please, great Shauna, teach us!"


This afternoon, I made a comment that I wanted to dye my hair today. Ryley replied, "Mommy? I want to tell you something, but I don't want you to get mad because it's about God."

"What do you want to say?" I asked, somewhat sternly.

"I was just thinking that when people dye their hair and put on make-up, they are telling God that they don't think He did a good job. They are saying that they think they can make themselves more beautifuler than He made them."

"Where did you hear that? Who told you that?"

"Nobody. They are my own thoughts in my head."

Later, upon conferring with Ryan, it seems that this conversation is based on a conversation he and Ryley had this week about tattoos.


Ryley is beginning to understand that not all of her friends love God. We have encouraged her to let the love of Jesus shine, and we've told her that when she is continually nice to kids who aren't as nice, they will eventually notice that she has something about her that is different. There is one specific boy in her class who is a little mean to her; I've also noticed that his mom's SUV bears multiple bumper stickers that are very far from being in agreement with Christianity. On a daily basis, Ryley tells me all the mean things he says to her, and I just keep stressing, "OK, but you just be nice in return. Remember to let Jesus' love shine."

So, the other day, Ryley was frustrated about it and said, "I keep being nice to him, but he just hasn't noticed yet!"

On the flipside, she came home very excited yesterday because two of her other friends said that they love God, too. :-)

If only life could stay this simple forever.