I know my entire blog must seem like an ode to my daughter sometimes. And maybe it is. ;-) But tomorrow she turns “a dozen” (her words, not mine!). And in honor of her twelfth birthday, I want to offer up 12 little-known quirks that make up our Ryley Elisabeth.
1. She is a sucker for “As Seen on TV” items, the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog, and any other odd invention she comes across. Years ago, she told us, “I am always on the lookout for things that will improve our home!” When I’m waiting in line at our grocery store pharmacy, Ryley will often round the corner, her arms filled with gadgets she picked off the “As Seen on TV” rack. Then she shows me each item in grand detail before I tell her to go put them all back where she found them.
2. You will never meet someone more enthusiastic about the last movie she saw. “That’s my new favorite movie!” she announced after “Frozen.” “That’s my new favorite movie!” she announced after “The Lego Movie.” Then “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Then “Inside Out.” Then “Jurassic World.” She’s constantly revising her list of favorites, based on whatever she saw most recently.
3. She loves pickled foods…pickles, artichokes, sauerkraut. Basically, anything that’s been soaked in vinegar for long periods of time! When we go to Five Guys, we even soak our fries in malt vinegar.
4. She has a compassionate heart for all animals, but especially dogs. She will befriend pretty much any puppy she sees. She can’t wait until she’s old enough to volunteer at the animal shelter or the zoo.
5. Antique stores and thrift stores are treasure troves for our girl. She could spend hours in one. She once fell in love with a piggy bank with the words “Dad’s Boat Fund” painted on it. Of course she had to get it for the sheer irony! She has also started a “small bottle collection,” for which she saves my old perfume bottles, vanilla extract bottles, etc.
6. On that note, our recent hotel stays unearthed a new issue…a love for freebies. “Mom, are these shampoo bottles for us to keep? How about the pen and notepad?” We stayed in three hotels, and at each place, Ryley collected all the free things that she could.
7. She runs everywhere. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve gotten on her case. She runs through the grocery store, her arms and legs flailing. There’s no patience for the journey…She must be at her destination now!
8. She has a soft spot for blankets and cuddly things. It could be 85 degrees in our house, but Ryley will still want a blanket while she watches TV. We recently had to help her find other places for her stuffed animals because she wasn’t sleeping well in her bed. She was hanging on to the edge for dear life while her plethora of stuffed puppies took up all the prime mattress real estate.
9. Soup is one of her favorite foods. Once again, it doesn’t matter how hot it is outside…She’ll take a bowl of minestrone or broccoli cheddar any day!
10. Whether it be a comic book about the Fantastic Four or an episode of Doctor Who, Ryley comes by her nerdiness honestly. To her daddy’s great pride, she loves all things super-hero and sci-fi!
11. She enjoys musicals (“Sound of Music,” “Fiddler,” “West Side Story,” “Into the Woods,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” etc.), and she belts out the tunes in a strong, beautiful voice! She’s always trying to sing the harmony part, too, and finds pure joy in hearing different parts.
12. As she gets older, we look forward to introducing her to more and more good comedy. She has a gorgeous laugh, and we love hearing it when something genuinely tickles her. She has a tremendous sense of humor and keeps us laughing too!
Her group of friends started calling her “Ryles” this past school year – a nickname I think is so cute I wish I would have thought of it myself!!
Happy birthday, Ryley! Daddy and I love you more than you will ever understand. You are a ray of sunshine in a very dark world, and we are thankful to God for entrusting us with your very precious life.