Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Georgia on My Mind...

I feel giddy. It has been scheduled. Much of the Ryan family, including Mom and Dad, is meeting in Georgia the first week in June. Since only Kelly and Kathryn have met Ryan (non-Skyping, that is) we are considering this family vacation Ryan's Coming-Out. Be prepared to gush.

I'm also finding myself excited to be in the mountains again. It feels like ages since we went on a hike, and the highest elevation I've seen in a long time was driving to Clermont for a baptism! Literally.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hot Buttered Popcorn...

Paris and I have often mused about how funny it is that our kids' diapers smell like buttered popcorn until they start table food.

I spent the better part of this afternoon fruitlessly tracking a messy Ryan diaper. I could smell it, I just couldn't find it!

Felt pretty silly when I remembered we had a cousin movie party earlier with - you guessed it - buttered popcorn. The real thing! Who'd have guessed?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our ninth wedding anniversary. Part of me can't believe it's been 9 years, but a bigger part of me can't believe it's only been 9 years. It just feels so natural to be married to Paris I feel like we've been together forever.

Last week I didn't feel old, even after celebrating my birthday. But today I kind of do after digging this picture out and taking a good look at it. (I think Paris looks particularly young here.)

A flood of wonderful memories attack me now as I look through old pictures. In honor of nine years, here are 9 memories from those early days...

1. Bike Riding groceries home from Macy's late at night
2. Williams Sonoma and THE PLATTER! Augh.
3. Proudly calculating the cost of our carefully prepared meals to the penny
4. "Plink" at the UVSC dance
5. Paris's unintentional-Mohawk
6. Racquetball and friendly competition
7. Cheese Curd from the Creamery (ANYTHING from the Creamery for that matter)
8. Rock Canyon Park/SFLC Elevator (Ha!)
9. The Dodge Shadow - R.I.P.

Paris, I love you. Since this is a semi-public site I'll save the gushy details for a letter just for you. But I do love you and appreciate you and your love through our ups and downs. You're the best.

What does Steve Martin say? 9 years and 3 kids later and we still got the heat? :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Snuggling Atticus last night...
Me (Teasingly): You are getting so grown up I might have to call you my little man from now on. You are way too grown up for your age!

Atticus: I know...Because I have a mustache. (Pause.) And pro-bly a uni-brow.

It's true. Both counts.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday, Monday...

It occurs to me this morning that I like Mondays. There's something refreshing about cleaning up from the weekend and getting organized for the week ahead. In my school/career days I dreaded Mondays, but as a Mommy I like them. Go figure.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


This week I had the opportunity to reread a talk given by President Hinckley in the October, 2005 General Conference called Forgiveness. Brought back memories, some sweet and some shameful.

I remember sitting in the chapel in Orange Park and feeling so touched the first time I heard this that I wept. I was pregnant at the time. I figured that played a big part in the waterworks. As I read it again this week I felt the same emotion, particularly reading the story of the Turkey-Lady.

I have been blessed with a personality that doesn't become offended easily, but I do tend to hold onto grudges once I've developed them. I suppose I feel an allegiance to justice. (Like I have the right to decide what is just!) Example: Ryan Carter. Oh, the shame!

Point is, this talk speaks to me. Love it. I've changed a word in the closing remarks for emphasis:
"May God help me to be a little kinder, showing forth greater forbearance, to be more forgiving, more willing to walk the second mile, to reach down and lift up those who may have sinned but have brought forth the fruits of repentance, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more."

This is going to be my Biggie for 2009. I'm going to start working on it now, though, so I don't have to eat the whole elephant on January 1st. I think this will be even harder than 2008's Biggie has been to date.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wyatt's Birthday, In Review...

I haven't recorded Wyatt's fabulous birthday yet...
Last Friday we got up bright and early to take Nanny and Cindy-Lou-Too to what I can only describe as a doggy amusement park. It was Wyatt who was most amused, though. Cindy-Lou sat between Nanny's legs most of the morning while Wyatt ran around, collected tennis balls, met new dogs and even tried to mark his territory once. We didn't even have to pay an entry fee for him.
Then we went to the Carters to meet Tricia and her family. I must admit I was a little nervous...I've never had an "Internet meeting" before. Felt a little like a blind date. :) We had an absolute blast! Tricia was a joy to visit with and our families got along famously. We're just angry with them for insisting on living in NC...The nerve.
Wyatt was traumatized by wearing a life-jacket but eventually recovered. He oversaw the lake activities safely from the shore or perched above us on the dock, like a Birthday King.
The water was warm and clear. The sun was out. We feared we'd never pry Atticus from the 3-person tube. Bless the Carters for letting him ride around and around with other people rotating around him. He finally relinquished his spot after Pres. Carter tried to dump him. :) Then he, Carter, and Jonah had fun horrifying their parents by swimming progressively further from shore and looking for snakes.

Debbie even Ryan-sat so Paris and I could try out the tube. In a united effort not to get "dumped" Brianna, Paris, and I held stubbornly onto the tube. Eventually it ran out of air and we did, indeed, dump.

Then we tried skiing. I felt pretty hard-core when I got up, but the next day I felt hard-SORE when I woke up. Still, after at least 5 years it was great to water ski again. Paris didn't get up, but not for lack of trying. In a repeated and determined effort not to let go until he was up, he broke the rope. Batting eyes...My big, strapping husband is such a stud. But after busting both the tube and the rope we fear we'll never be invited anywhere again...Menaces to society.
The plan was to grab a bite and go to the Lake County Fair. The boys didn't make it. Exhausted, they fell instantly asleep and dreamed what we can only imagine were happy dreams about birthday cakes and lakes.
These reviewers give the entire day 5 enthusiastic thumbs up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It is a Happy Birthday...

Well, yesterday was a pretty rotten day...All in preparation for a conversely wonderful birthday so far.

It started last night, a few hours early. Rhea, Aimee, Linda, Katelyn, Alison, Paula and Hannah had a little get together for me. We visited, played Taboo and had gifts/ice-cream cake. Fun. Thanks guys.

I got home and snuggled Atticus. He gave me a huge hug and said, "I love you the most. Even all the way to the moon and back. Even Mars. You're the best." Sometimes mommies really need that. Then he added, "And don't worry...Daddy is going to wake me up in plenty of time to make the waffles."

Sure enough I was awakened to homemade waffles with - drumroll please - homemade blackberry syrup. I didn't know you could make syrup! Everyone knows syrup comes from the Publix Fairy. I was impressed. My little birdies gathered around me, mouths open, and I fed them and myself the most delicious breakfast ever. (There are a couple purple stains on my white bedspread to always remind me of that moment.)

Then Ryan woke up and gave us tons of smiles. Yay!
Happy baby = Happy Mommy = Happy Birthday

Kathi called bright and early. So thoughtful.

Atticus is taking me on a Mommy date this afternoon to get me a gift. Then Paris is taking me to my favorite casual dining spot - Panera Bread - for dinner, after which I get to choose what we do for the rest of the evening. No surprise that means we'll go to Barnes and Noble, melt into the most comfortable armchairs there, sip a smoothie, and rifle through books that aren't about tractors or puppy dogs. Heaven.

My last couple birthdays have been pretty laid back, so this has been super-fun. I must be the only woman my age who still loves my birthday. I'm pretty sure I'll never pad my age.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Feeling the Ryan-Pride...

I've always been proud of my siblings. I guess that's an inevitable side-effect of being in a family...You assume yours is the best. I really am so proud of them.

Two examples from this month: Kathryn has started a super-cool cake business in Clovis.

Click the logo to go to her website or go to

Travis is running for office at his graduate school. His campaign video...

How could you NOT vote for him?

So I've been thinking about how the kids in our family are willing to take risks and try new things. I give full credit to Mom and Dad, who not only always told us we could do anything we wanted to, but led by example.

I remember Mom would decide she wanted to do something new: make chore charts, choreograph a Ghostbuster dance for Mickey Cox Elementary talent show, buy 3 houses at the same time (out of PURE love, seriously,) coordinate an unofficial Christmas Tone Chime concert in Mercer Square, learn stained glass, make Kathryn's wedding cake and centerpieces, remodel the house, learn viola, take goofy photos of all us kids and all our buddies at Fulton Mall, travel cross-country in an RV that probably shouldn't have made the journey, the list could go on and on!

So she'd just do it. The results weren't always textbook - okay, they rarely were, but textbook is boring. And I think the best part about it is that it wasn't always successful. Sometimes business ideas failed. Sometimes a cake would weigh 400 pounds and be a little too dense to eat. Sometimes we'd be nearly thrown in jail (or out of hotels.)

But we always came back for more. And it never killed or ruined us. There's very little to lose in life SO JUST TRY NEW THINGS! And that's what I've learned. Thanks Mom and Dad.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Beep-Beep, Comin' Through...

Happy birthday, Wyatt!

Here he is on the scooter Nana and Granddad got him. He thinks he's easily a cool as Olivia, the pig. Beep-Beep, Comin' Through!

Wyatt is 2...Can't believe it. I keep thinking of his birth. He beat Grandma to the hospital by 12 hours, but almost didn't make it himself.

He greeted the world with a pterodactyl-like scream. He continued like that, blue-faced, through the initial weighing/footprint jazz. He even managed to scream while he nursed the first time. Eventually the pediatric nurse drew him a warm bath and squeezed him into a tiny tub. Finally he was at peace. In his own little world with his ears submerged so the rest of the world sounded fuzzy. We laughed and laughed at that.

Then he was ostracised to the Boppy for Billy-Belt therapy. That took 10 days. Again, he was content to chill all by himself. Glowing. Literally.

So my favorite pictures of Wyatt are the the one in the tub and the ones in the Billy Belt. It reminds me of my independent little giant who doesn't need anyone else's opinion or company to be happy. And he was like that from the start. (See start of slide show for pics.)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Death of Ani-Music...

Today our family mourns the loss of a dear friend...Our Ani-Music DVD. A gift to Atticus from Kathryn and Caleb a couple Christmases ago, Ani-Music has been watched hundreds of times in our home. It lived a good life and at last has cracked. It will surely be greeted by past video greats as it sheds this mortal coil.
While I'm being fairly tongue in cheek, Paris and I really are sad to see this go. Atticus adores music and percussion and it all started with this DVD. He would watch it for hours and play along with it. He memorized the music and timing and would go on lengthy scavenger hunts around the house to create elaborate "instruments" so he could accompany Ani-Music.

He listened to the CD at night when he went to bed. One night I went in to turn the radio off. I happened to look over at him immediately before a climactic crash of drums. He raised his pointer finger and pointed as the drum sounded, as if leading the percussionist who delivered the resounding blow...In his sleep.

I suppose we thought we would always have Ani-Music in our home. It is yet another reminder that kids grow too fast and life moves on.

Conference Aha Moments...

I enjoyed General Conference this weekend. Here are a couple quick "Aha Moments."

- Salvation is an individual endeavor. Exaltation is a family endeavor.

- We should pray with the expectation to act, not just express.

I missed parts of some talks to walk a fussy Ryan or soothe booboos, so I look forward to reading them. (Many thanks to MaKynna, who was especially helpful Sunday morning.)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Like Mommy, Like Daughter...

I love this. Here is a picture of Ryan on my baby blankie; circa 1976.

This is hers; circa 2008. :)

Not identical, but at least a nod to blankies past.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes...

As part of my calling at church I was able to teach the Junior Primary class on Sunday. The kids were pretty cute.

Exhibit A -
Me: To learn how to choose the right we should read our...
Bailey (6, a regular visitor): Bible and Book of Norman

Exhibit B -
Samantha (5) reciting the 3rd Article of Faith: "We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and (long pause) ornaments-es of the Gospel."

Exhibit C -
Me: Since Gordon B. Hinckley recently passed away, who is our prophet now?
Reagan (3): Thomas S. Johnson

They're all pretty darned close. And for their ages I think they're amazing.

It reminded me of a story that our Temple President's wife told in sacrament meeting in Leesburg a couple years ago. Paraphrased; her grandchild commented repreatedly on being glad to be in the winning church. Finally she inquired what the child meant. "You know, how we have a trophy on our temples."