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Ryan has known his ABC’s for a while now.  After going to Emily’s preschool class one day, 8 years ago, I realized not only was it necessary for me to teach him his ABC’s early on, but also how important hand washing would be in our lives.

You see, the teacher gave the kids something to rub into their hands which would show up under a black light.  They thought it was neat to see their fancy hands, lit up purple-ish white, stuff stuck in the crevices of their pudgy little fingers.  Then the teacher gave them each a squirt of soap and taught them to add a little water, shut off the spigot, and then rub their hands together whilst singing their ABC’s.  Once the song was over they rinsed their hands thoroughly, dried them, and held them under the black light in order to see if the glowing substance was still there or not.  The goal, clearly, no more glow-in-the-dark hands represented no more germs.

And, baby, did their sweet little hands still light up!  At this time Noah was in the hospital where I was washing my hands seventy-eight million times in one day.  So, seeing that their little hands were still nasty, as most of them didn’t know their ABC’s at the time and weren’t singing the whole song, therefore were not completely cleaning their hands, I knew life with a boy would be a whole other ball of wax, and the kid needed to know a few things, two of which were his ABC’s and how to wash his dirty little paws.

First we simply taught him the ABC song and would sing it every time we washed hands.  Every time.  Then we reinforced it with books like Dr. Seuss’ ABC book, zoo animal puzzles, and other visual things.  Now we are adding on what he knows, like which words begin with the letter “E” and building his vocabulary.

But before the importance of Ryan knowing how to clean up after himself and conjugate verbs, more than anything, I want him to know, though I can’t force him to believe, that he is loved unconditionally, and this love is free, is the love with which he was created, and it comes from God who thinks Ryan is pretty special.

So building on what he already knows about God’s love and letters, here are the ABC’s we are working on as we drive around or have lunch or snuggle up for books at nap time.

At some point in his life he’ll face hard things and the world will tell him God isn’t good, He’s a big, bad meany in the sky who doesn’t care about him, or He doesn’t exist at all.  Hopefully he’ll be able to draw on something he learned, even before Kindergarten, that something being:

God is love and is in love with us.  And He is good.

A – Awesome

B – Beautiful

C – Creator

D – Divine

E – Everlasting

F – Father

G – Good

H – Holy

I – Indescribable

J – Joy

K – Kind

L – Loving

M – Maker

N – Never leaves us

O – Omnipotent

P – Pure

Q – Quick to forgive

R – Royal

S – the Surest thing there is

T – True

U – Undeniable

V – Valiant,

W – Wonderful, Wise

X – eXcellent

Y – “You are I Am.”

Z – He puts a Zip in our step 😉 or gives us Zeal and Zest for life


We add to these and expand on them, but just wanted to share a simple way to pour some love and truth into your hearts today.


…or my alternate title, “Why I Would Suck at Being a Jew.”

Ho. Lee. Smokes. Folks.

It’s the hours which lead up to dance parties, tooth brushing, stories, and prayers that have led to the rapid grays growing haphazardly out of my head.  These grays all started appearing a little over 3 years ago. True story. Ask my hair stylist. I don’t make this stuff up.


Those eyelashes...

Those eyelashes…

Let’s see…he dipped his head in the potty the other day, prior to flushing. We had errands to run and so I let him leave the house with urine tipped bangs. Whatever.

And the dog. Four pounds of fluff. Not just fluff, but she’s all bark and getting sassier as the days go by. She’s wound tighter than a $3 watch and needs medicinal marijuana more than any of the old hippies who have been fighting for it here in Colorado. And Ryan and she, Lady that is, have a love/hate relationship. It used to be I’d say he loves her and she hates him, but in more recent days, I think they both like to ruffle each other’s feathers. The look in his eye when he’s chasing her is just downright naughty.

And why does he punch?  It’s like he has so much enthusiasm and is trying to express himself, but why the punching?

Then I had to Google how to get toothpaste out of the carpet. Because. Even though he doesn’t HAVE to sleep during “room time,” a nap is preferred, but he is allowed to read or play with toys for a while. Quiet does NOT equal sleeping at our house. Apparently it equals torn books, wall hangings strewn on the floor, naked boys who try to wipe their own hinies, hand soap on the walls, and toothpaste on the carpet. Oh…and bronze glittery eye shadow from his big sisters not-quite-old-enough-to-wear make-up bag.

As Em walked up the stairs to change so she and I could head to Michael’s for creative inspiration, I heard a scream all the way down in the kitchen. Jason and I locked eyes and both headed up to the unknown.

He told his sister, “Look, I’m brown!”

She didn’t know what to say except scream, “MOM!”

Sure enough, the bronze shadown does wonders for his pasty white winter belly, as well as the creamy white chenille rocking chair where life used to be a mite more subdued and magical, swaddled and snuggled.

Now the magic looks a little different…

We went ahead and watched the helpful video on YouTube of how to clean up the carpet. The ShopVac dumped dirty water twice on the clean, dry spots of his room.  I hate carpet.  A lot.

But fast forward to him swimming contained in the tub while we cleaned up his room, then smiles and snuggles as we got moose jammies on and headed down for a yummy dinner as a family, holding hands in prayer, thanking God for our food…fast forward to the part where he embraced dancing a little bit more as I threw him atop my shoulders and we danced and raised our glasses like dirty little freaks in the family room, the only people in the neighborhood with our shades up, every day, all the time.

And he laughed and said, “More, more, more!” And I danced and let it out and sweated and hit “repeat” and played other inappropriate songs, and we danced and danced.  I danced away the frustration.

Fast forward to the part where he gets to pick three books and we snuggle close and he can practically finish the sentences…and then the part where he shuts the light, plops down real close, we hold hands and I pray. I thank God for creating Ryan Everett Graves. I thank Him for the opportunity to count his toes and trace his ear and nibble his neck and nose. How I get to be his mom and he chooses me, even after he knew I was disappointed with him for not being a team earlier, because I said so, but he chose me to tuck him in, anyway.

And I thank God that, even though 3 is the hardest thing I’ve done in years, he. is. three.

And as I mentally measure the length of his lashes as his eyes slam shut, ones every girl would envy, even this Latisse using mom, I’m carried away to a sweet dreamy place where everything from the day is forgiven, there’s a promise of a new day in the dawn, and in this moment where each breath I take smells of him and it’s all I can do not to hyperventilate with my love for him and my Awe of God,
I speak my thanks to God for this boy who brings my heart immeasurable joy.

And I ask for forgiveness, because life with a toddler, especially one who is a boy, does not allow for a sabbath rest.

But I have a feeling He understands, since He didn’t “do” the sabbath quite like the other guys of His day.

Why I Hate "CARS"

I don’t really.  If I did, I don’t think anything I ever said again from this point on would be credible, so I jest.  But, it’s okay for me, as a mom, to be mad at Lightning McQueen, Guido, Luigi, and all the Ferrari’s in the whole world.

Do NOT let his looks deceive you…this 3 year old boy has been up to NO GOOD!  NO JOKE, I’ve only grown gray hairs since he’s been in my life.  

Last summer Ryan would say something about punching in the face.  Jason and I would just look at each other and then say, “Oh, no, Ryan, we don’t punch anyone in the face.  Where did you hear about punching in the face?”

He didn’t have an answer, and then, one day, I was nuggled up to him on the couch while he watched “Cars” and I heard it.  It was one of those little tire helper guys, either Luigi or Guido, I can never remember who is who, and the real Ferrari’s had just driven into the store for new tires, and one of the little Italians exclaimed, “A REAL Ferrari!  Guido (or Luigi) punch me in the face!”

Frigging Pixar!  I know you make movies for my entertainment as I watch along with my child, but my toddler doesn’t understand that it’s just an expression!

Fast forward to tonight as I was off to Walmart, all by myself, for a solo mom-retreat…just a chance to BREATHE and get out of the house, aka, operation: get tampons. My life should make you jealous, clearly.  So, yeah, why not Target?  Tar-jay?  It’s so much more hip mom…Well, because the $87.88 I spent at Walmart for tampons would have easily been $158.97 at Target, and even though the last few days of parenting a 3 year old boy merited a Target splurge with no regret, I’m still trying to stay on a budget, thank you, Dave Ramsey!

As I headed to get the said item, I took a turn through the razor aisle.  Two guys, early 30’s, hard-working, were talking, discussing, the one holding several different products in his hands and as I pass by with determination to avoid all eye contact with other people while on my solo retreat I hear, “Hey, have you ever had hemorrhoids?  Is that okay if I ask you that question, ma’am?”  

Me:  Um, yes.  I’ve had 3 babies, so of course I’ve had hemorrhoids.
Guy 1:  Sorry, it’s kinda personal, so thanks for letting me ask.
Me:  You can ask me anything.  Literally.  I had a little boy who passed away so nothing phases me, and one thing I’ve learned is life is short and if your girl is suffering from hemorrhoids, you sure better take care of her.
Both guys in unison:  Oh, I’m really sorry for your loss, ma’am.  Nobody should ever go through that…
Me:  Thank you.  You guys are sweet.  He is safe and healed with Jesus, but let’s talk about your girl, she is the one who needs attention right now.
Guy 2:  I have a real deep respect and relationship with my Lawd, Jesus Christ.
Me:  Awesome…
Guy 1:  She’s in a lot of pain and just told me to go to the store to get her some stuff, said it’s burnin’.  Should I get her the “Cooling Gel?”
Me:  (holding his 3 items, side by side…)  You need to get her the “Maximum Strength” relief, plus, get her these pads to put the cream onto and get her an ice pack.  (*thinking, “Am I on a hidden camera?  Is this for real?  Are two guys asking me how to heal his woman’s hemorrhoid…in Walmart?)  Believe me, “Maximum Strength” is the way to go.
Guy 1:  (*What he said at this point, I cannot repeat…)
Me:  Oh.  Well then, she may have an infection.  You need to take care of her and get her to a doctor.  She may need antibiotics.  (*Dear Lord…just…Dear Lord…)
Guy 1:  For reals?  Okay, I have health insurance.
Me:  Good, yes, give her this, but watch her, make sure she doesn’t have a fever, and get her to a doctor to make sure she doesn’t have an infection.  You need to take good care of her, treat her right.  God loves her and made her.  He loves you, too, and He wants you to take good care of her.
Guy 1:  Yeah, at least for this week, I’ll do her right
Me:  NO!  God made her and designed her and loves her and you, and He has a plan for your lives, so treat her right, EVERYDAY, ALL THE TIME!”  (With more emphasis!)
Guys:  Thank you, ma’am.  (Outstretched hands.)  I’m (so and so) and I’m (so and so).  Here’s my card if you ever need some trees cut down…
Me:  Thanks.  Nice to meet you.  I’m Adrienne, like Rocky Balboa’s wife.  What’s your girl’s name?
Guy 1:  (Such and such…)
Me:  I’ll be praying for her, for God to heal her body.  Please, take care of her…
Guys:  Yes, ma’am.  Thanks for not being embarrassed to talk about hemorrhoids.

I turned the corner and had to post it on Facebook, because, clearly my solo retreat was over, right?  I headed to the tampon aisle, then bought mascara and chocolate and a few other things since you can’t just put tampons on the conveyor belt without anything else…duh.  (I guess there IS self-check out…)

SOOOO, I was at Walmart ALONE because Ryan, my 3 year old, is giving me a run for my money, like doing naughty things because he is bored or just seeking attention or who knows why?!  In the day to day, we are an awesome team, so this recent outbreak has thrown me for a loop.  For the most part, I am an extremely patient person.  I don’t start fights knowingly, try to apply both Jesus AND Dale Carnegie strategies to day to day life whenever I can, and am quick to forgive and forget and find peace.  But, yesterday as I was carrying Ryan upstairs for his nap, Ryan slapped me first, then punched me in the face 5 times, to which I calmly knelt down, turned him over my knee so he was face down, arms no longer able to get to my face, stood up, repositioned him with his arms and body tucked securely in my armpit, hugged him, put him into his bed for nap time, calmly told him I loved him, forgave him, that hitting his mommy or ANYONE on the face was completely disrespectful, never okay, and he was never to do it again, but that I loved him and forgave him, once again, and I’d see him later.

I was so sad, no story/snuggle time which is my favorite part of the day…

Then I went into my closet to put on my workout clothes and as I bent over to unzip my boots, I bawled HARD, sobs deep within, because my son punched me in the face.  My son.  With force.  On purpose.  And he has words…and he uses words…but this time chose to punch me in the face, with 5 forceful blows, only stopping because I am currently bigger than him.  And it hurt my heart…and my face.

I knelt down and prayed.  Breathed deep.  Thanked God for my boy.  Prayed some more and changed my clothes.

Before I headed downstairs I opened his door to find him standing at the end of his crib, crying with deep sadness, lips down turned.  I said, “Ryan, I love you and I forgive you for hitting me.  I was sad because you punched me in the face, so how you are sitting in your room crying, Mommy was just in her room, crying, too.  When you hit me, it really hurt my feelings.”  He sobbed deeply and said, “Mommy, I love you so much!  I’m so sorry I punched you!  I won’t ever punch you again!  I’m so sorry, Mommy!  I love you, and I forgive you, too!”

I’m not sure what he was forgiving me for, “What?  For putting you down for a nap you clearly need, buddy?!”  But I’ll take it.  I need forgiveness for all the screwing up I’ve already done to him and his sister…

I scooped him up and said, “Thank you, Ryan.  I forgive you and love you so much!  You are my very sweet boy!  My Giraffe!  Would you like to snuggle and read a book?”  He hugged me hard and said he did.

As I closed the last page he put his hands together flat, prayer style, and laid them on my chest, then rested his head on them, curling into me, like we fit together, mother and son.

Today he didn’t punch me or hit me or anything of the sort.  Instead he purposefully peed and pooped in his bed, in his clothes, during “nap time” while he didn’t sleep, along with pulling a canvas off the wall and chucking every stuffed animal out of his bed.  If he has to go potty while he’s in bed, he always just yells, “Mommy, I have to go potty!”  No big deal.  I head up and assist.  But he’s been potty trained for 8 months.  Honestly, I think he’s bored with just the two of us, staring at one another day in and day out, even though at the end of any day, no matter what, he chooses me to tuck him in.  And I’ll take it as long as I can get it.

I’ll take the snuggles and the poop and pee, but not the punches.  That’s not what “turning the other cheek” means.

I’ll love my boy fiercely, knees bent, eyes lifted, hands open to receive Divine strength and discernment…because this mama gets to go on retreats sometimes, and it’s those little things like even cruising the quiet aisles of Walmart at night, that re-fill my heart, or at least get my head on straight…

…except when other people are in the same aisle…and want my expertise on hemorrhoids.  Seriously?!  “Guido, just punch me in the face!”

*IF you are ever in need of hemorrhoid expertise and a woman has tampons in her cart, let her pass on by, then ask the guy near the end of the aisle, by the razors, the one who looks constipated, what HE MAY USE, and let that woman continue on her solo-retreat…

There is a Time for Everything Under the Sun

Our third child didn’t get a baby shower.  Not because historically it’s improper in the book of manners, but because I just didn’t think my heart could handle it.  The last time I had been pregnant with a boy, my friends gathered around me as we ate chocolate and vegetables and artichoke dip, all the while cooing over adorable blue polka dot blankets and all things tender and tiny.  It had been almost four years since I had first become a mom, and with that bit of experience, this time around was a bit sweeter and much more relaxing.  With almost four years of practice under my belt, this was going to be a lot easier, a piece of cake.  I more or less knew how to prepare and what to expect.

I had let my guard down and was burned.  That wasn’t going to happen this time.
My friend recently posted how she had taken almost 1000 pictures of her nephew’s birth, and prior to that, she shared pictures of the shower she hosted for her sister, a celebration of the anticipation of their third child.
I am not one to weep over regrets, but my heart sunk a little.  Why hadn’t I allowed the many who offered to host me a baby shower just do what their hearts wanted to do?  Receiving help is difficult for me.  Pride gets in the way of receiving, because I am a damn strong woman and can do a hell of a lot on my own.  However, I’ve found over time how strength is beautiful in numbers, how relying on God and others is not weakness shown but rather confidence revealed.  Real trust, to the core…an ability to recognize most great masterpieces are made up of more than one color, a brick is solely a brick on its own, and a tree will never grow if the seed isn’t ever planted.

No orchestra is made up on solely one instrument.

And only now, after just having loosely celebrated Ryan’s 3rd birthday (Em was sick, he didn’t knowit was his birthday or what that meant, really, and Jason and I were just home from Spain), am I able to understand it wasn’t out of guilt or feeling sorry for me that my friends, old and new, wanted to host me a shower. 

I realize now that a shower is to celebrate the anticipation of the little life about to enter the world, an opportunity to celebrate the woman carrying that life, the waiting parents, and a space for everyone to rejoice.  
There is a time for everything under the sun.  Pregnancy and the anticipation of a child is a time of celebration.  Only when news otherwise is relayed should the celebration turn into mourning.
There is a time for everything under the sun.

We don’t skip bridal showers because we think the poor couple won’t last past the infamous 7-year itch.  We don’t forgo weddings for the same reason.  There is no guarantee, on any given day, we will all make it to the 89 year old mark, so should we all skip cake and ice cream, all the years leading up to our day?   There is no guarantee, only hope and hard work, if our marriages will, indeed, continue happily ever after.  Just because a woman is pregnant does not mean the baby inside of her is meant for this side of Heaven.
And just because my heart was raw, carrying another son in my womb, unsure of the days to come, jaded a bit from loving and losing, doesn’t mean I should have denied my family and friends the opportunity to anticipate and celebrate the life growing in me and the arrival of our newest family member.
I’m not saying it was right or wrong to deny my friends and family a chance to host a shower for me years ago.  What I am saying is, in my selfish attempt to protect my heart from further heartache and disappointment, I shut down and didn’t even allow those who loved me to show their love faithfully as they had in the past.  They had celebrated with us, and also mourned when it was time.  
Birthdays, showers, anniversaries, holidays.  All of these celebrations, though marked with loss and memories, no matter how distant, are indeed, celebrations.

I’m not sure why I’m writing this 4 years from when my friends offered to throw me a shower, but I felt strongly to share my heart.  Maybe you are fearful to celebrate the anticipation of a child on the way, perhaps you have had adoptions fall through and it’s scary to let your head and heart go there again.  Maybe fear is gripping you as you allow your heart to fall deeply in love again after the loss of a spouse?  I don’t know.

I do know for several months I was fearful Ryan would die, just like his big brother.  And I had really, really, really, really, really fallen in love with Noah.  But I knew Noah was dying, and at the same time, I knew he deserved all my love and I loved him with all of my mommy heart.  I don’t live in fear anymore that Ryan is going to die like his brother.  He will die.  I don’t know when.  God knows the number of our days.  I do know this, however…I have jumped in with both feet in loving Ryan.  The ache and grief of losing his brother does not hang over me as I flip his curls through my fingers, rub noses, snuggle in our favorite chair while reading, and play choo-choo’s in the basement.  I’m in love and it feels really amazing.

Every Single Day is a celebration of the lives around us, even our very own.  Is there someone in your life who needs celebrating today?

The only loss in loving is to look back and realize we never gave it our all.

When Dreams Come True

Jason and I took Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University”class recently.  All I can say is literally every person should take this class at some point in their existence.  There would be no financial issues on this earth or in any government.  Just sayin’.

That being said, one of our cash envelopes is set aside each week for eating out.  I’ve enjoyed this because prior to Dave’s class, we ate out a ton and our monthly budget seemed to be slipping through our fingers.  Plus, my thighs were bigger.

Now we stick with our “Eating Out” budget and it’s like money has magically appeared in our bank account.  Crazy stuff.  I now believe in magic.

And I’m using my treadmill more and lifting weights, so that’s likely why my thighs aren’t as large.

White man overbite, November 2012

Anyway, I love our little “Eating Out” envelope.  Every once in a while when Ryan and I are out on the town running errands we’ll stop for a lunch date at our favorite spot and use about $8.00 of our “Eating Out” budget.  A couple of months ago there was a sunny warm day and Ryan was a hungry little lion, so we headed over to our favorite spot, ordered, got our food, and found a cozy 2-top outside in the sunshine where we shared our plate of goodness.

It didn’t occur to me then.  Nor had it occurred to me all the other times the two of us had shared a lunch date at this same little place…

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when the whole family was running errands.  It was my turn to choose our lunch spot.  We rotate who gets to choose where we are eating among Jason, Emily and myself.

I chose “Garbanzo’s”.

And as I spooned a mouthful of hummus into Ryan’s sweet little lips, I realized a dream of mine had already come true.  And as we shared the last falafel, I knew it had…

He may not have dark hair yet.  And at 3 feet, he certainly doesn’t tower over his mama, either.

But, I am so very grateful that unknowingly, Ryan and I found our favorite spot, and it’s there where we laugh and cry, or whine, over falafels.


So, along with Ryan’s page of translated words, one thing that he says regularly is, “Nice,” as in, “Yes,” “Nice, I like what you are thinking,” or “Totally!  Now we’re tracking, Lady!”

It’s pretty much my favorite thing, along with “Peas” and “Deek Doo” which translate: Please and Thank you!

Without further ado, here’s the little man after breakfast this morning…

Ryan is NICE from Jason Graves on Vimeo.

Ryan’s Translation

Thanks to everyone who tried to translate Ryan’s language!  It was good for me to read through them and have a laugh, for sure 🙂

The girl you’d want to have on hand if it were just you and Ryan alone in a room is…..

Karen Hochstedler
Congratulations, lady!  You got 16 correct!  
Heather Gieske and Annie Shoberg came in with 15 answers right, or as Annie said, about 30%…which, if I should have to point out to any of you, would not take you to the next grade level 🙂
Here’s the official KEY as translated by this guy:

Moo, moo = Cow (freebie)
Pay noun =  Penguin
Moe neen = Morning
Hail puh = Help
Honey = Sunny
Jiss = Juice
Obble bus = Applesauce
Moody = Smoothie
Icky = Snake
Eeb rah = Zebra
Hop hop = Kangaroo
Eebitt = Ribbit
Nay nay = Horse
Cow = Moo Moo
Boof = Bruce (Dog next door…)
Me Oh Me = Emily
Yay dee = Lady
Deet = Deer
Oonie = Ernie
Beet boot = Big Bird
Boot = Burt
Sue = Zoo
Rarrrr = Tiger
Boat Ee Goo = Bald Eagle
Dough Ghee = Doggie
Oat shyed = Outside
Bay oh = Bear
How whoooo = Coyote
Bieber = Beaver
Hoo hoo, ha ha = Monkey
Pwffft = Elephant
Maah tee =Manatee
Booty = Birdie
Poopie = Pee
Boobie = Boobie
Dood doy = Good Boy!
Mook = Milk
Dood nye moon = Goodnight Moon
Num num = Vitamin, or yummy
Cuckoo = Goldfish, as in the creature
Thanks, again!  That was good for my heart 🙂  
*Karen, email me your address 🙂

Some Friday FUN!

Below you will find a quiz.  It’s a language quiz.  And by “language quiz” I mean, it’s the language of my 2 year old son, Ryan.  A language I am expected to interpret and act upon every day.

Let’s be honest, it’s more like a game of MadGab, but I want to remember his sweet words at this stage in his life, so thought it would be fun to make it into a test for everyone else.  Don’t worry, I’m recording some of this, too, and will post those later next week so you can hear how sweet it is.

In the comments section, answer as many of the questions you can with one guess/translation per question.  I will keep this open until Tuesday, September 25th at midnight Mountain time.  The person with the most correct answers wins a pair of sterling and freshwater pearl earrings from bebe&boo.   *Hint:  “moo moo” does not translate = moo moo, it actually means something…

Welcome to my life…please translate the following words in your comment (I’ll go easy on you, to start…because I’m nice like that…)

  1. Moo, moo = Cow (freebie)
  2. Pay noun = 
  3. Moe neen =
  4. Hail puh = 
  5. Honey =
  6. Jiss =
  7. Obble bus =
  8. Moody =
  9. Icky =
  10. Eeb rah =
  11. Hop hop =
  12. Eebitt =
  13. Nay nay =
  14. Cow =
  15. Boof =
  16. Me Oh Me =
  17. Yay dee =
  18. Deet =
  19. Oonie = 
  20. Beet boot =
  21. Boot =
  22. Sue =
  23. Rarrrr =
  24. Boat Ee Goo =
  25. Dough Ghee =
  26. Oat shyed =
  27. Bay oh =
  28. How whoooo =
  29. Bieber =
  30. Hoo hoo, ha ha =
  31. Pwffft =
  32. Maah tee =
  33. Booty =
  34. Poopie =
  35. Boobie =
  36. Dood doy =
  37. Mook =
  38. Dood nye moon =
  39. Num num =
  40. Cuckoo =
Have fun and have a fantastic weekend!

Birthday Eve

I started a tradition after Noah died to take a picture of Emily on the day prior to her birthday.  Let’s just say it was my feeble attempt to make time stand still in the midst of her speedy growth cycle.  It’s been fun to look back over the years and watch her grow.

Here is Em’s brief history:

This is what the eve of 3 years old looked like…

Hanging with her friend, Annabel, on our lawn in Denver in 2006, about to turn 4.

South Dakota birthday with her long-haired daddy in 2007, eve of 5.

Still “5” in this picture on the eve of her 6th…

Wow, from 6 to 7 brought a lot of growth!

Preggers mom and our 7 year and 364 day old sunkissed daughter, eve of 8

Holy long hair, BatGirl, eve of 9.  And DANG!  my hubby is still the hottest man in my whole wide world in 2011!
The night before double digits.  She’s still “9” here, people…I have birthday pictures to prove she turned 10, but haven’t posted yet…still in denial, maybe?!

So, that was Em’s birthday eve journey.

Ryan’s has clearly been shorter.  However, it’s been longer than his brother’s, and for that I can’t even begin to express my gratitude.  To be real honest with *you* I was too weirded out last year to make a big “to-do” about Ryan’s first birthday.  There were a lot of “firsts” we got to experience with him and I think his first birthday just snuck up on me before I had the chance to really know what was happening.  I think even part of me was afraid to celebrate his birthday.  Losing a child can mess with your head and heart a little, maybe?!

But this year is a different story.

Ryan turns “2” tomorrow, August 28th.  His birthday “eve” journey has been shorter than his sis’ but we made up for it in the kitchen tonight as I tried to get self-portraits of the two of us.  Daddy’s in the Dominican Republic for work so self-portrait was the best we could do (Em was brushing her teeth upstairs…)  Anyway, thankfully, since he’s only turning “2” and won’t remember that his dad was out of town on the 28th, we’re officially celebrating this coming weekend.

But, in the meantime, I had to capture Ryan’s 2nd “Birthday Eve.”

Ryan’s original “birthday eve…”
No “eve” here…this is the real deal.  Ryan’s birthday, August 28th, 2010

Looking through pics I didn’t capture his 364th day, so here’s his official “1st Birthday”

Fast forward to August 27th, 2012…my little lover turns “2” tomorrow!

I don’t ever want to cut his curls!  What am I to do!?  Some old man already called him a girl the other day!  But I can’t get myself to cut his curls off!

Cracking up!  I could listen to him laugh ALL.  DAY.  LONG!

Look at all those teeth he grew in the last year!

“It’s my last day to be “1.”  Tomorrow I turn “2.”

I’m so in love with you, son.  I’m in love with your curls, your laugh, your voice.  I could nibble your ears, cheeks, and lips all day long.  Your toes warm my heart and I catch my breath in awe and joy that your head fits perfectly in the crook of my neck.  You are my little boy and you bring me so much joy.  Thank you for calling me MOMMY.

“Of all the boys in the world, there’s no other boy like Ryan…
And everything that he does is cool just because he’s Ryan…
Whenever he’s around, he can turn your frown upside down…
He’ll lift you straight off the ground, he’s a candy colored clown…
He’s a lot like his dad, he’s totally rad, he’s Ryan…
If you only knew…if you only knew him like I do, you’d feel the same way, too, because he’s too good to be true…
Ryan…there’s nobody else like Ryan…a sweet little boy named Ryan…there’s nobody else like him…”
(my remix of a song that actually had Em’s name in it on a CD long ago…I sing this to him at night along with some old school Jesus songs and Edelweiss and Favorite Things from Sound of Music…)

Happy Birthday Eve, Lover!  I can’t wait to celebrate with you tomorrow!

My Little Lover

Two exciting things happening in this picture:  One, Ryan is sitting at his big boy table, and two, he’s practicing blowing his own nose.  (Em’s old Jenny Lind table and chairs.)
Ryan and I have been heading out on bike rides in the mornings.  He thinks his sister’s hand-me-down helmet is pretty cool (hula dancer on the back and all…).  He yells, “Neigh, Neigh!” the whole time as we head over to a meadow near or home filled with horses.
Sometimes he wants to wear his hand-me-down froggy boots, rain or shine.
The shirt is wide open because so you can see his hairless chest…no, but really, we had to re-dress after lunch today.  Notice the little black eye!  I’m so sad!  Ry got his first little shiner while climbing up the steps on the playground last evening.  
This is the face I stare at every day.  He knows my name.  He hugs my thighs.  He kisses me and snuggles on my shoulder.  My heart is so very, very full…