"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Saturday, June 18, 2011

June days and nights

I was thinking we should be doing something more fun last night, in celebration of Father’s Day, since Ryan has to work all weekend long. Then I realized that Ryan was having fun, sitting there watching National Geographic specials on underwater caves and the Redwoods with his sweet daughter curled up contentedly in his lap.


He was in his happy place. :-)


For the last four or five weeks, Ryley has been struggling with bedtime. Every night, when it’s time for bed, we hear, “I don’t feel good,” or “my tummy hurts.” Then, “what if I throw up?” and “will you please stay up here with me?” This is inevitably followed by tears and tantrum-like behavior when we say, “Sleep is the best medicine; go to sleep,” and walk away. Then this is followed by a little girl traipsing up and down the stairs all evening to complain (even after being warned against it) while Mommy and Daddy get very angry by the disobedience and shell out discipline accordingly until the whole evening is ruined and we’re all on the verge of tears. It has not been fun.

Well, as parents, there are so many conflicting emotions with this.  First of all, she has seemed fine all day long. Bouncy, chipper, energetic, etc. Normal. So the fact that it was happening at bedtime made us feel like she was making it up. Second of all, why was she having trouble with going to bed? She’s seven, almost eight, and we’ve not had this problem since she was a toddler. So we began to question whether or not there’s a reason she doesn’t want to go to sleep -- emotional, spiritual, or otherwise. So we prayed with her and we talked with her in depth about her fears and we had her quote the scriptures she knows. We prayed over her room and anointed her doorposts with oil. Nothing seemed to help. We were beyond understanding, and bedtime had become dreaded on all counts.

We were getting so angry with her at night. Yet in the mornings, she was so sweet and happy, and all was forgotten. Just like God’s are for us, we realized our mercies for her were new every morning. :-) That scripture took on new meaning for me.

Two weeks ago or more, we finally decided we needed to have Ryley checked out  by the doctor just to make sure it wasn’t an actual illness. We made an appointment with the pediatrician, and she was diagnosed as having a UTI and was put on antibiotics. But nothing changed regarding bedtime. We tried bribery, and that was the first little bit of progress we made. We promised her candy the next morning if she stayed in bed at night. She did, and we followed through, but the problem wasn’t solved permanently.

It was a mystery to us. I started googling things like “child stomach pain when lying down.” When we had finished the course of the medicine, we made another appointment with the doctor. This time she was diagnosed as having acid reflux and was put on two medications. It’s been almost a week, and she still complains every night, though it’s not the battle it used to be. Sometimes it’s so hard to walk that line of discipline and know when your child is telling you the truth. I guess a UTI and acid reflux combined would make one feel pretty yucky, but I wouldn’t generally associate stomach pain with either of those things. We’re just praying that as we’re consistent with this medicine, it does the trick and she’s feeling better soon!


Other than all that, it’s continued to be a good summer, and we have participated in a few more fun free events!

Last weekend was a free day at Delaney Farm, which is right up the street from us. We got to tour the oldest home in Aurora, which was timely with all the Little House reading and watching we’ve been doing:







Then, on Thursday we attended a free big band/swing concert in the park. We brought a picnic of fried chicken and had an extremely lovely evening!!!! It was lots of fun.


Can you tell we were some of the younger people in the crowd? But Ryan and I both love “big band” music.


We loved this couple!!!! They danced to every song!





And we danced too!!! Mid-twirl:


Ryley learned how to finger-weave a few weeks ago, so she’s been doing a lot of that recently when hanging out at home. She’s constantly making headbands, bracelets, belts, necklaces, etc.



This week I attended two funerals. My dear friend Kathy lost her mom to cancer, and that mass/wake was on Wednesday. Then our high school friend Alethea lost her husband in a motorcycle accident, and we went to that funeral yesterday, though we couldn’t stay for the whole thing.  Very sad for both families, and our prayers are with them all!

My company is moving in just 10 days, so things are starting to get busy at work. And Ryan is in the midst of being promoted at his job, so he has been super busy as well!!! I’m so proud of him.

So that’s the update from our neck of the woods. I read a blog consistently that makes me sick to my stomach every time I read it. I can’t quite put my finger on why it bothers me so much, but Ryan tells me to stop reading it, and I just can’t stop! I feel myself getting sucked in every time, and then I read it aloud to him, and he hates it more than I do. Ha! Anyhow, it makes me blog-shy because it makes me self-conscious about my own writing, and I hope nobody feels that way about my own blog. :-)  Oh, well. Thank goodness for freedom of speech.

Happy Father’s Day. I know I am so blessed to have a wonderful, godly daddy myself and to have married one for my little girl. God is so good. Love to you both!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


What a weekend! For one thing, it was hot. And hazy. And we don’t have our air cooler working yet, so everyone is hot and sticky and salty to the touch. You know that feeling when 12-hour-old sunscreen mixes with 12 hours of sweat? Yeah. That. :-)

But we had wonderfully full days! It turned out that this was the weekend for free events, and since it is my summer goal to take advantage of them, we were kept hopping.

Friday night we ate dinner at this awesome taco place called Yolanda’s (not free!). Oh, goodness. It’s near my work, and I have driven by it for five years but never tried it until last week. It is so delicious, and I had to introduce Ryley and Ryan to it!

After that we decided to find the Art Walk down in Denver’s Art District. It’s a monthly event, and we had never heard about it until this year. I’m not sure how we’ve gone this long without knowing that Denver had such a happening art district! But once we got down there, we quickly realized that it was not a “family-friendly” event, per se. We would enjoy doing it as a date night sometime, but it wasn’t a place for Ryley. So we did a drive-by, and we were more than content with that. :-)

Saturday morning dawned bright and early, and we headed across town to have breakfast at the only place in Denver where you can buy Kolaches….The Kolache Factory.


I have really grown to like these little bread-wrapped sausages whenever I go visit my brother in Texas, so I did some research and found out that they’re a Texas thing. The Kolache Factory was busy the entire time we were there! And it was delicious!!!

Our next stop was the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market, which Ryan had heard about from his boss. We loved it!


It was a happy little place, and there were lots of cute and tasty things being sold.


Ryley bought a little elastic bandana. So cute!


By the way, my aunt Coleen made her the sundress. Isn’t it adorable?

So on to our other free events! We have been meaning to attend a free day at the Denver Art Museum for years. But Ryan is never off work on that day, or we are out of town, yada yada yada. And then on Ryan’s birthday in March we were actually willing to pay admission, so we went all the way down there and found out they are “closed on Mondays.” But it finally worked out:




See how the walls are all diagonal and weird? They’re like that inside too. We got vertigo more than once.





It was a lot of fun, and we loved looking at all the exhibits. I love wondering what the artist was thinking when he painted a portion of a landscape or what was going on in his life at that time. Because for me, when I am putting together a puzzle or something, I can look at it later and remember what I was listening to or what was on TV while I was putting that part of the puzzle together. I know that sounds weird, but I find that kind of thing interesting!

I like thinking about the fact that the people in the portraits were probably in the same room as that painting, and I wonder how far the paintings have traveled.

We didn’t finish the museum. After three hours we were feeling hungry and mentally overwhelmed, so we decided to come back another day. We stepped outside, and it just so happened that this free People’s Fair was going on 50 feet from the entrance to the museum. You can kind of see it in the righthand part of this picture taken from a window in the museum.



The fair was in Civic Center Park, which is basically the Capitol’s lawn and surrounding streets, and we ventured in, in search of turkey legs and funnel cakes.

But unlike the Farmer’s Market, this festival was “dark” in feeling, if you know what I mean. It wasn’t happy. We kind of got the feeling that some of the vendors were selling pot behind their tomato plants. And after a grown creepy fairy sprinkled glitter on Ryley’s head and we found out that a funnel cake was $8, we decided we were done. We were in and out in 10 minutes.

And we were so hungry and tired that we decided to also forego the FREE sidewalk chalk art festival happening just a mile away. WHY did they schedule all these free events on the same weekend? Seriously, spread them out a little bit!!!!

My aunt and uncle watched Ryley so we could go see X-Men on Saturday evening, which was a nice air-conditioned finale to the day. :-)

Today Ryley’s best friend joined us for church (FREE, ha ha!, except for tithe, of course), and then we attended the free day at the Denver Museum for Dolls, Miniatures, and Toys. I was unable to find pictures ahead of time online, so I wasn’t sure what kind of experience we were in for. I actually warned the girls that we would go in and check it out but if it’s creepy, we’ll leave.


It was great. It’s run by friendly old ladies, and there were tons of dollhouses to look at. I don’t know if I would pay money for it, but the girls completed a scavenger hunt of dollhouse items, and it was a really cute museum. A nice way to spend an afternoon.


There is something about Ryley’s profile in the picture above that reminds me of myself. I don’t usually think she looks like me too much, but something about her hair makes her look very similar to how I did when I was her age.


Anyhow, so that was our weekend! Very busy, and the house seems a little cluttered overall, but there’s always next weekend to clean it, I suppose.

Because the free activities are a little lacking for the rest of the month. :-)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Taking Control of My Summer

“I woke up to the sound of birds singing!” Ryley said excitedly as she crawled into bed with us early this morning. “I love sleeping with my window open!”

I’ve been getting excited about this summer because, for once, I am determined to make the most of it. I know it’s trite to say that life is passing us by, but that’s just about right sometimes.

For several weeks now I have been making a list of things I would like to work on with Ryley…things that I have tended to gloss over during the busyness of the school year – like multiplication tables, organizational skills(!), scripture memory, and learning to control our emotions. There are also tangible things I want to complete – like organizing our garage, planting flowers, and “doing more” in our great city.

Too often we let our Saturday hours pass us by without eeking out any fun or productivity. We find ourselves watching too many episodes of Little House on the Prairie and then cleaning our house, over and over and over again. But maybe if we weren’t in our house so much, we wouldn’t mess it up and need to clean it as much! When I’m driving to the grocery store on Saturdays, I pass so many cars of people out and about, heading towards the city. I often wonder where  they’re headed, and I think to myself, “Look at these families out having fun! I want to do it too!”

All around, I want to be more heedful of what Ryley’s up to -- more present in her life. I want to really listen to her when she talks incessantly. I want to make sure I’m dealing with the issues that need to be dealt with and enjoying her personality at this delightful age. I want to help her grow.


(This is what Ryan came across on our computer tonight… We had NO idea our daughter was getting married! Ha! And to Bob Barbber, son of Vixen and Lina! YES! Can you tell she reads our framed wedding invitation a LOT??? :-) )

I want to be more mindful of where things are within our house, what comes in and what goes out. I want to know what’s in our fridge on a daily basis instead of wondering what’s growing there in the dish of three-week-old pasta.

I want to be a better person…a more productive and fulfilled person.

We should eat outside more.


We should play more board games.

We should go camping more.

We should go to the mountains more.

We should do more “new” things and go “new” places.

So as a result, I’ve taken control of my calendar. In general, if something is on my to-do list, it gets done. So I have crafted my to-do lists for the next few months, laying out our specific goals and planning activities for our family on the many “free days” that Denver offers. Ryley has a 36-page math packet to complete before school starts, so I’ve mapped out a way to get it done in a timely and Ryley-friendly manner. I may have overbooked us on some days, but only time will tell. We don’t have to do these things I’ve planned; but at least now we won’t forget they’re available! Like the hot air balloon festival, for instance…Every year Ryan and I kick ourselves for not being “in the know” enough to go!

Two weekends ago we started cleaning our garage. It felt so good, and we are still kind of riding on the high from that experience. We are excited to finish it so we can finally get a repairman in there to fix the garage door springs. We have not been able to open the garage door for four years. It turns out that half of the “junk” in our garage was just our collection of boxes. We keep the boxes for everything, and when going through it all, we found boxes for things we don’t even have anymore. How crazy is that?? We are box hoarders! We also look forward to having a garage sale sometime this month.



Progress: (with garage sale items to the right!)


You can see the floor! Haha!


Anyhow, so I injured my lower leg during the garage cleaning day, and I limped around for a week, thinking it was broken. X-rays proved it was not broken, but just a torn muscle (just a torn muscle!). But it feels so much better every day. Thank you, Jesus! It is not fun to be less than 100 percent, especially when your mind is whirling with all the things you want to do! :-)


Ryley’s grandpa bought her a telescope as an early birthday present, and being the science nerds we are, we are really enjoying it! Ryan loves it as much as Ryley does. I think it makes us look smarter than we really are, having it sit in the corner of our living room. :-)


The only problem is that Ryley’s bedtime occurs before it gets very dark, and the moon has been out in the mornings rather than in the evenings. But it is such a great gift, and we look forward to using it for years and years.



Ryley has been at work with me this week (daycare doesn’t open until next week), and my co-workers get a kick out of how much she makes herself at home:


You can’t read it very well, but the white paper “gate” she’s constructed says “Keep Out.” She’s created a little fort for herself where she can eat trail mix, watch Netflix, and read Nancy Drew all day long. She’s been having a blast.

Ah, summer days are here again. :-)