"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Friday, February 18, 2011


This photo sums up everything about Ryley's personality.

And yes, we do use the doorbell. :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Life…and a “Nice Smile”

Well, if ever there was a blog post long in coming, this one is it. And as with all my journaling, I feel like once I get all of these thoughts out of head, I will feel at peace.

Where to start?….

Oh yes.
Ryley has an aunt and great-grandma who love to sew. Better yet, they’re adventurous seamstresses who like to try out new patterns on Ryley and her babies! She doesn’t mind. :-)

Coleen had fun making these adorable matching PJs for Ryley, Elisabeth, and Sarah!

Meanwhile, Honey made this jacket and beautiful cape for Elisabeth!


Such fun!!!

As you can see from the background of that last picture, we are up to our elbows in Girl Scout cookies! Here’s Ryley the night we picked them up:


The pile is finally dwindling. Thank goodness!

Girl Scouts has been so good for Ryley; we’ve befriended some interesting families, and it’s exposed us to a whole new side of Denver we probably never would have experienced otherwise.

Just last weekend, Ryley participated in her very first slumber party! Oh my, the anticipation! We had not been certain we would allow her to do slumber parties just yet, but when she was invited to this particular girl’s birthday party, we hardly hesitated at all. 

The mom and I have gotten to know each other fairly well over the past several months; she is much older – she had her kids later in life.  We’ve been to their house before, and I love it…an older home in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood, only eight blocks from the Denver Zoo, with the same exact layout as Jamie Crook’s house, for those of you who attended her 4th grade birthday party with me (I don’t know why that party left an impression on me, but it did!). Anyhow, in so many ways the mom reminds me of my aunt Gail. They have money, but they’re thrifty. There’s no pretention – no feeling like you don’t (or can’t)  measure up.  They hang their daughters’ artwork on clothesline around the living room, and I did not see a TV on the main level. They recycle. Their daughters dress themselves (you can tell), yet they’re not allowed to have pierced ears. They live a life I’m not brave enough to do. I really, really like them. And I trust them.

So Ryley had the time of her life having pedicures and watching the original Parent Trap. (I told you I liked them!) Ryan and I went on a little date, and when we didn’t hear from her all night, we took that as a sign that she was all right. And she was. :-)

And now this family is moving away. We are so sad. They are a fixture in our school and growing community of friends. Our friendship was just beginning. I haven’t felt this sad about someone moving in a long time.

Ryan and I are slowly coming to the realization that we are raising a nerd. That’s a good thing in the longrun, I’m sure. :-)


She spent Saturday afternoon looking through her microscope, which is wonderful, but she soon realized that her beauty was interfering with science.

“Ughh! I wish my eyelashes weren’t so long!” she said, complaining that her view through the lens was obstructed by her long lashes . :-) I love it.


Recently she’s taken to clipping her book light to her belt loop so she has it handy wherever she goes. You know, in case she needs to read in the car. She looks like a maintenance man or janitor! Oh, she cracks us up.

She read in a magazine this week that if you have trouble with being cold right after you get out of the hot shower, you should try gradually decreasing the temp toward the end of your shower so it’s not such a shock when you get out. So, of course, she tried it. And she was so frustrated when she was still cold!!! And she was frustrated with the magazine for misleading her.

“Mommy?” she asked the other night. “I have something I need to talk to you about.”

I was doing dishes, and she was supposed to be in bed. She pulled a chair out and sat down at the kitchen table. I knew then that it was one of those things. I sat down across the table from her.

“Sometimes I wonder…What if we’re not in the right religion?” Her voice shook. It was the same shaking that was in her voice when she asked us who Lady Gaga was -- fear of the answer.

So we had a nice long talk. I told her it was a very good question and that it’s good and healthy to think these things through. God wants us to come to our own conclusions. Daddy and I are here to guide her and answer her questions and raise her in the way we believe is right, but she has to still make her own decision.

I explained “faith” in things we cannot see. We talked about the things God has done for us. We talked about why Daddy and I believe the way we do.
We talked about how sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we’d like Him to (in her case, for a baby brother or sister), but that we know He has our best interests in mind and that He has a plan for us that is being pieced together bit by bit.

We talked about the time she saw Jesus when she was 2 -- She still remembers it vividly.

This is tough stuff. Our daughter has a soul. A spirit. She’s given it all to Jesus, yet we are still at war for it.

A couple of weeks before he died, my Grandpa told me that as parents we must be “wise as serpents and gentle as doves.” I cling to that wisdom. It is  so, so true. And every day is a battle.
A couple of weeks ago, Ryley and I were in Target when she saw a display of Valentine’s Day dishes. An idea sparked in her head that we should make Daddy a special Valentine’s dinner! Because he is BOTH of our Valentine. And we love him so much! And he is so wonderful!  So she has been planning ever since.

So as we were standing in the store mulling over the options and prices of specialty dishes on Saturday, I felt sick at the idea of spending so much money on frivolous things. We don’t have extra money to just throw around.

But I felt like God was telling me to indulge Ryley…to let her have this experience of giving. After all, isn’t that spirit of generosity what we’re trying so hard to foster? So even though it will be a cheesy dinner on plates we will only use once a year, it will allow Ryley the opportunity to imagine, create, and give. So I bit the bullet.

We both dressed up and greeted Ryan at the door when he came home from work on Sunday night. Ryley removed his shoes and escorted him upstairs so he could “freshen up.”

And then dinner…. Crunchy chicken and twice-baked potatoes that Ryley helped to make!
Heart-shaped ice cubes.


Deliciousness all around. :-) It was a huge success! Ryan was surprised, and he loved it!

I’ve had some weird moments in the last few weeks where I have felt inadequate professionally. I was actually really down about it for a couple of days…

It’s good to be humbled, I suppose.

Anyhow, so today I had a meeting about some potential editing. I brought them the magazine I edit, and I felt like things were going fairly well, though I could tell it probably wouldn’t be a good fit.

Then I was told, “Well, at least you seem to be a pleasant person.” Followed up by: “And you have a nice smile.”

That’s no lie. Word for word what he said.

I seem to be a pleasant person, and I have a nice smile.

Well, at least there’s that. :-)