"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Monday, November 29, 2010

Meeting the Babies!

We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend in Dallas! Justin and Aly have the most beautiful twin boys…What a miracle they are! Just look at what God has done:


So identical that it is nearly impossible to tell them apart!



We had prepared Ryley by telling her that she may not be allowed to hold the babies. Being preemies, there are plenty of health risks in the first year. We have all taken tons of Vitamin C in the last two months and have managed to stay healthy just so we could see them. So what a wonderful surprise when within an hour of arriving, Ryley was able to hold both Will and Jack! She was at the height of her glory!



Then I got to hold a baby too! I don’t remember which one; I think it was Will. :-)

Mmmmmm. Turkey!


While the rest of us started Thanksgiving dinner….


Mommy and Daddy fed Thanksgiving dinner to Will and Jack!



Uncle Ryan and a baby :-)


Ryley was such a good helper! She read to the babies…


and made sure their blankets were just right.


There is so much tenderness and love in Ryley’s heart, and it was so beautiful to watch!


I love this picture of Ryley with Mammaw and Pappaw!


Look how Justin multi-tasks….


Playing Apples to Apples



More games with Pappaw:


Ryley and Betsy





Ryley and Mammaw


Ryley and her Baby Sarah:


Super Ryley, Super Will, and Super Jack!



We took some family pictures at a park:

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It got pretty silly. :-)


DSCF2746 IMG_1204



What an amazing weekend!!! It was a 14-hour drive each way, but well-worth it!

By the way, the route through New Mexico is not as fast as the route through Kansas/Oklahoma. We highly recommend avoiding Amarillo and all the little towns between there and Dallas.

So we are back in the swing of things now, and I think we all had a bit of the blues today. I have been feeling “behind” since it seems everyone has already decorated for Christmas, and I haven’t even thought about it yet. I expressed that to Ryley, and since we were expecting snow in the forecast, she said, “Well, sometimes the weather does the decorating!” Very sweet.

True enough, we had three inches of snow by this morning.

Now off to bed!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

“He Isn’t Safe. But He Is Good.” And I Am Thankful.

We’re leaving early Wednesday morning to visit my baby twin nephews (and their parents!) for Thanksgiving, so I wanted to take a moment to catch up my blog and post pictures of the last couple of weeks. I know that after our trip, all I will want to do is post pictures of sweet babies and our interactions with them! We have so much to be thankful for this year!!!!

So a couple of weeks ago, Ryley officially became a Girl Scout. Her Brownie troop had a special ceremony, and she received her sash:


She is very excited, and today Ryan and I took the time to learn how to iron on badges…She has earned three since this picture was taken. I bet Ryan never dreamed that he would be ironing badges on a Girl Scouts sash. :-) But he is a good Daddy.

On a side note, he and Ryley are making deviled eggs up in the kitchen this very minute. Ryley’s got her apron on and everything. :-)


Last week, after two and a half years, Ryley finally achieved her school’s prestigious “Silver Star” award. She has been working so hard on her behavior, and she finally did it!


I know it’s silly; it’s just one of those things, and we are proud of her and the positive decisions she is making. It’s an ongoing battle, is it not??? :-)


This week, I was able to accompany Ryley’s 2nd grade class on a field trip to the Butterfly Pavilion.


It was very fun to get to know her classmates and teachers better and even observe what Ryley’s like in her classroom and when interacting with her friends. My charges, however, had a lot of energy, and I learned that I was not meant to be an educator. :-) And I admire those who are.



Other than that, we’re just living life. Ryan is enjoying his new job at Noodles & Co. It’s been wonderful to have more time with him during his time of training. He has almost every weekend off, and he is home most evenings. I know this sounds strange, but we have had to learn how to relax as a family. In the past, if Ryan knew he would be off on a Saturday, it was such a rare thing that we would plan something fun to do together. But we’ve had so many of these recently that we’ve spent some of them just “being”: getting housework done, sitting on the couch, each doing our own thing, etc. And we feel guilty that we’re not having “fun” or making the most of our day together. We have had to re-learn how to be a normal family. :-)

It has been nice for me personally because I had not realized how much of a “single mom” mindset I had developed. Now, since he’s here, I lean on him more, and that’s good for both of us. :-) I love him so very much.


I’m not one who is good at imagining scenarios of change. When Ryan worked at Panera, I used to wonder what kind of circumstances would occur for him to leave. I knew he wouldn’t work there forever, but I just couldn’t imagine how it would happen. And so many times, he would talk about applying elsewhere, and it would freak me out. Then one day it clicked. It made sense for him to change. And within two hours of applying, he had an interview set up, and the rest is history. It was time. It didn’t freak me out. In fact, it was extremely anti-climactic. I guess it’s because it was in God’s timing, and it was His peace that led us through the change.

I changed Christian radio stations recently. I like to have Christian radio on, especially when Ryley is in the car with me. However, the one station I listened to was driving me nuts. Stupid talking points. Unintelligent humor. I would go online and rip their song choices apart in online music surveys. How sad is that? So one day Ryan asked me if I had ever listened to this other station; I answered, “No.” He said, “You should. They’re like us.” So I did, and I love it. He’s right; it’s much more “our style,” and I can still appreciate that the other station ministers to other people.

Why am I not good at imagining change?? There is another area in our lives that we are considering changing as well. It’s never even dawned on me that we could change it. I am a little conflicted, but it could, in fact, be really good for us. So we are praying about it, and we will see.


So off we go to Texas to thank God for our baby nephews, who are the answer to all our prayers! We thank God for providing for all of our needs for yet another year and for keeping our loved ones safe and healthy. We thank Him that He leads us constantly in every decision. We thank Him for our beautiful daughter and for the love and happiness the three of us share together.

Life isn’t always easy, but God is always good.

I love this quote from Mr. Beaver in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”:

"Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How I Know It’s November 3rd

All day today I had to keep reminding myself that it is November 3rd. Stuck inside my office, away from windows and the lovely scenes of autumn, I was startled by the familiarity of “11/3" every single time I had to write today’s date on a document. I would think in surprise, “Oh yeah! It’s November 3rd – my birthday!”

But as the day wore on, I began to wrap my head around this special date. This is how I know it’s November 3rd:

1. The air is ripe with the energy of political activity! My birthday has fallen on Election Day at least twice since I can remember, and it’s always within a couple of days of the election, regardless. This year I am thankful that (just in time for my birthday) the political campaigning is finally over…the commercials, the phone calls, the signage. I took Ryley with me to vote yesterday, and she was fascinated! The volunteers in our precinct made a big deal out of showing her how the process worked, and it made a big impression. She wrote this when we got home:


She is so silly.

2. Our garlic-seasoned pumpkin seeds are beginning to turn brittle in the bowl on our kitchen table. Only three days ago, I was so excited that I took the time to make them. Now I’m starting to think we should throw them away. Just looking at them makes my teeth hurt!


3. Animal teeth marks have begun to appear on the jack-o-lantern still sitting on our front porch. Every day it seems that the raccoons and/or squirrels have chiseled just a tad more progress.

Here’s Ryley (Dorothy) with our pirate jack-o-lantern before the neighborhood critters discovered it:


4. The leaves are half-fallen off the trees….There are just enough on the ground to crunch a little under my feet, but there are still enough on the trees to be a  kind of “faded pretty.”

Nov 3

Nov 3 c

5. Something different this year….Usually the Daylight Savings change occurs the weekend before my birthday, but this year, it’s the weekend after it. I am used to it being dark by 5 p.m. on my birthday, but this year I had an extra hour of light. Just an observation. :-)


I’ve had a delightful day!

I received these wonderful text messages within 30 minutes of each other, and I am certain that each sender did not know about the other:

Birthday wishes from my nephews Will and Jack:

Birthday Message1

And birthday wishes from my niece and nephew Olivia and Samuel:

Birthday Message2

Too funny! Aunt Joy loves all her nieces and nephews, and she feels very loved!! :-)

Ryley and I “went to coffee” after work/school, and that was fun and different for us. :-) Very girly.

Out for Coffee

Then Ryan and Ryley spoiled me with gifts and going out to dinner. They even indulged my geeky obsession with the “The Sound of Music” by purchasing the 45th Anniversary Limited Edition Favorite Things Collectible Set:


Jealous?? You know you are.


And here are some more pics of Dorothy from Halloween. We had so much fun with this! It was completely Ryley’s idea to be Dorothy, which was a refreshing change from her typical princess or fairy costume. She just read “The Wizard of Oz” a few weeks ago.



At our church’s harvest carnival and trunk-or-treat event:


I was pretty proud of the braids. We got them right on the first try! :-)


Dorothy 1

With the scarecrow:

Dorothy 2

Dorothy 3

Notice how Toto’s basket is becoming increasingly heavy with candy as the night wears on….


Happy November 3rd! I know mine has been perfect. :-)