"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Seven is God's Perfect Number (featuring "Ryley Inventions That Will Save the World")

When it's been this long since I've blogged, everything starts to build up, and I don't know where to even begin. There is so much within me that I want to share, and yet I find that I only allow myself to release small tidbits at one time...otherwise, my readership would be overwhelmed by all my wild, random thoughts and would ultimately dwindle from five readers to one -- me! Ha ha.

Blogging just takes so much time. Does anybody know how to load pictures faster? It takes me literally hours to post.

It's been a really interesting few days for me at my job, and there is so much I want to "journal," but maybe this isn't the place right now anyway. We will have to wait and see how it all plays out.

So, instead, I will focus on the event of the year: our sweet girl's seventh birthday, which came waaaaay sooner than we were prepared for! In case you haven't noticed before now, we are a little crazy about Ryley. She amazes us every day with her compassionate heart and creative inventions, and our love for her just grows and grows. We are thankful to God for her life.

My parents were able to come up for Ryley's birthday weekend extravaganza, and it was so much fun to have them here!!! On her birthday, she woke up to this:

We drove up Mount Evans and had a picnic lunch at Echo Lake, which Ryley just loved.

We then returned to Denver just barely in time for her birthday dinner at Red Robin, followed by her birthday party with her friends at the local swimming pool.

The next day we had one last birthday surprise in store. We went to the Denver Aquarium which has a temporary exhibit of mermaids!

Ryley was thrilled. It is so much fun to surprise her like that. :-)

Then we went home and played with her birthday Legos all afternoon and evening. It was glorious.. :-)

What a perfect celebration of our daughter's life!!! We are so blessed.


And now, in honor of her birthday, I give you the following Ryley Inventions:

"The Genius Desk": This would be a desk that straps to the person with suspender-like shoulder-straps. The desk would wrap around the front of the person's body for 180 degrees. This way the person can do his or her work while walking around. They can have their desk with them wherever they go. The desk will also have its own electrical outlet so that the person could plug in his or her computer.

"The Baby Genius Desk": A version of the previously-mentioned Genius Desk, especially adapted for moms. With the Baby Genius Desk, the mom can keep her baby with her at all times and literally wear everything she needs to take care of the baby. On one side of the desk would be a crib so the baby can nap. One side would feature a changing station. There would be a highchair seat and a play area where the baby can crawl around and play.

(We simply can't wait to see the diagrams of these inventions!)

"The Homeless Person Neighborhood": When she grows up, Ryley plans to own a neighborhood of houses where homeless people can live. They would never have to move out of the house; the house would be free. Once a month, she would have a maid come through the neighborhood and teach the residents how to care for a home...like doing dishes, laundry, housecleaning, etc., and just make sure "everything's going ok." To pay for all these houses, she will get a second job, like "working at the grocery store."

When she explains these ideas, she is so full of hope. She has a tone in her voice that seems like the solution is so obvious, she's in disbelief that nobody has ever thought of them before.... Ryan says she is destined to become an engineer. :-)

Friday, July 16, 2010

God Cares About Our Posse

I was once told that you have different friends for the different seasons of your life, as well as for the different aspects of your personality. I think that's so true. I connect with each of my friends on a different level, specific to what we have in common...work, motherhood, spirituality, personality, interests, etc. And last weekend, I got to spend some precious time with my dear friend Gretchen, with whom I have a lot in common.

Gretchen and I were college roommates at ORU for both our freshman and sophomore years, and she was also a bridesmaid in our wedding. We had only seen each other two other times since graduation, so it was so nice to reconnect and talk and take walks around our neighborhood at 1:30 in the morning! But then again, Gretchen and I are not strangers to pulling all-nighters together. :-)

The more we talked and laughed and cried and reminisced, the more we realized that those years we lived together in a 15' by 10' space were incredibly "shaping" for us as people. Both of us have to press "snooze" on our alarms for about an hour before getting up (it all started then!). We can both sleep through just about anything (though I still prefer to have "white noise" since the big, clunky circa-1960s dormitory AC unit helped drown out the noise of the hallway). She remembered how I used to find a song I liked on a CD and play it on a loop through the night (I'm sorry, Gretchen!). We remembered that first miserable Thanksgiving away from home -- a weekend we now look on with fond, crazy memories! We used to dry our hair within inches of the other's sleeping face (the mirror was located between our beds). We posted our A+ assignments on a "good work board" we created outside our door. We were tired and silly and emotional and deep, and we still are. Gretchen was there the night Ryan and I had "the talk" and became more than friends. She was the first person I told when he kissed me. She was there when I came back to the dorms with a diamond on my finger. Gretchen and I go way back. :-) I am so grateful for her friendship all these years later.

The cool thing is that just as I prayed for my "future husband" throughout my childhood, I also began in high school to pray for my future college roommate. I used to pray that God would pair me with somebody of a similar background and with similar beliefs, with whom I could connect and have a peaceful living situation. I truly believe that in the same way God saved Ryan for me and took care of him and gave me everything I wanted in a husband, God also brought Gretchen into my life for that priceless period of personal growth, with the bonus of a lifelong friendship!

God is good like that. He answers prayer.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree

So a few months back, I spent an entire weekend in tears because I suddenly realized that Ryley is just like me. I had recognized certain behavior in her that I haven't ever seen anywhere except within myself, and it scared the crap out of me. Not that there's anything wrong with me....I just think that as a parent you always hope that your children won't perpetuate your mistakes and have to overcome the same obstacles that you did. You want them to learn their lessons early and easily. You want them to be free.

I don't know why I'm telling you this except for the fact that this past weekend I realized that my daughter never had a chance at a life where grammar rules don't matter. With parents (and even grandparents) who are anal about proper language usage, Ryley was always doomed to be a grammar nerd.

Ryley and her best friend were cooking out of her kids' cookbook on Sunday afternoon.

"I don't know where the strawberries is," said her friend.

"Are," said Ryley.


It was a nice holiday weekend. I have long thought that every weekend should be three days long...one day to just sit and stare into space, one day to have fun, and one day to get stuff done. And that's exactly how our weekend played out.

With my three "jobs," I feel like I am constantly on-the-go throughout the week, so I always feel guilty if I am just sitting doing nothing. Am I alone in that? Very rarely do I actually take time to read, watch TV or movies, or just have Joy-time. There is always something needing to be done. Anyway, Ryan worked all weekend, so Ryley and I had girl-time and cleaned the house.

On Sunday, the 4th, Ryley wore her gorgeous Independence Day dress, another beautiful creation from Aunt Coleen. Even baby Sarah was given the chance to match her "mommy's" outfit! So cute!!

I took Ryley and her friend down to the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, which was really a lot of fun since they had all kinds of craft activities for kids. I love this picture of the girls walking together and talking on our way to the festival.

Then, in the evening, we picked up the friend's grandma and went to find a spot to watch the city's fireworks in the middle of the pouring rain. It was a 4th of July unlike any I've ever had. I don't really know this lady that well, but both of us were on our own with our girls that night, so we decided to spend it together! It was actually really fun.

The girls cuddled under blankets in the van and watched the fireworks with the door open. They were mesmerized!


This parenting thing isn't easy sometimes. Ryley has had such a temper recently, especially when she doesn't get her way. I've personally never had a problem with my temper, so it must come from Ryan. Ha ha! Anyhow, it has been a real struggle in the past couple of weeks, and the meltdowns almost always happen in a public place where we end up being embarrassed. We've been dealing with it, but it's been a constant battle -- pretty much ever since Ryley asked Jesus to live in her heart. Her decision to follow Christ made the devil mad, and he's trying his hardest to get her back! Well, he can't have her. Greater is He who is in Ryley than he that is in the world, right?

So the most encouraging thing happened. At Ryley's new daycare, one of the teachers asked me this week where we go to church.

I told her where we go, and she said, "Oh, ok, I've asked Ryley several times, and she's told me, but I just can't think of where that is..."

So I gave her the crossroads, and she said, "Oh, I know where it's at. Hmmm. How long have you been there?"

I was starting to wonder where the conversation was going. What in the world had Ryley done or said???

"About six years," I answered.

"Well, you know, I've noticed this about Ryley since the first day she came here. There's something about her...some of the things that she has said...I can tell that she's been, um...'taught well.' She really knows the Word."

"Really?" I asked. "That is encouraging to hear because sometimes I wonder what's coming out of her..."

"No," the teacher answered. "She knows the Word. She's getting it. And I know that as a parent you need to hear that."

That was just what we needed...a little bit of encouragement that God's Word does not return void -- that it's sinking into her little spirit more than we think it is!!! Praise the Lord for a good church and a great foundation!


And here is our pic of the week. Ryley came down the stairs dressed like a cowgirl and saying, "Somebody poisioned the water hole!"

We weren't sure if her interest and fascination in the Old West is due to her recent exposure to the Oregon Trail game, or to Woody on the movie Toy Story 3, or to Little House on the Prairie. Maybe a combination of all of the above?? :-) Like I said, she's not far from the tree.


Tomorrow my old college roommate Gretchen arrives for the weekend. She is attending the wedding of one of her friends, but we will get to see her off and on through Sunday. I am just so excited to see her!

So the house is (mostly) clean, and work comes early, so we're off to bed. Good night!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Scattered Snapshots

This is Ryley in her much-too-large 3-D glasses, waiting for Toy Story 3 to begin.

This is a woman selling candy out of the back of her white van, in my office parking lot today. Yep.

This is a super-hip dad pushing a double-stroller while riding a skateboard.

This is the Lego bunny that Ryley made.

This is the handiwork of my aunt Coleen, who knew that Ryley would just love for Baby Sarah to have matching clothes. There are many more ensembles where this came from! Ryley feels like Coleen is her very own American Girl seamstress. :-)

These are the pictures I've taken this week.

On another random note, Ryley LOVES the name "Dolores." It's her new favorite name, pushing "Sally" into second place.

"Do...lor...es," she says slowly, letting the syllables roll lovingly off her tongue. "I wish that were my name."

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