Thursday, December 27, 2007

A little more Christmas....

It is such a blessing to have so much family living so close by. As a result, we get to extend Christmas one more day in order to spend leisurely time with everyone! Here is a glimpse of more Christmas fun.....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Morning

Merry Christmas Everyone! May you be blessed to spend time with loved ones doing what you love to do!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

When life gives you LEMONS....


Granny and Grandad have a lemon tree and we are thouroughly enjoying it's fruit this year!

Christmas Eve~Eve

This year the Ryan family gathered on the eve of Christmas Eve to enjoy a traditional lunch and then exchange some gifts and attend our church service together. A good time was had by all and we especially enjoyed having our cousin James with us as his counts were high enough for him to join us...our own Christmas miracle.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

'Tis the season

As mentioned in the holiday quiz, I have been working on getting the perfect (and ever-so-evasive) Christmas card photo. So very soon you should be receiving yours in the mail. In between cookie timers yesterday, I went online and ordered the cards and they will be ready to pick up today. I will race to process the addressing and stamping and get them to you sometime the week before Christmas. Yay! I thought you may enjoy some of the photos that led up to the one we finally chose (which you shall see when it arrives is far from perfect, but fun nonetheless!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Holiday Quiz

Kathryn had this on her blog and asked all her fellow blogging friends to answer this questionnaire. I have seen dozens of variations of this type of deal where bloggers "tag" each other to answer random questions about their husbands and various other topics and I have ignored them to this point, but I have not blogged about anything recently, so, here I go:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?Both, but when you do most things last minute like I do, gift bags are lifesavers!

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial, it lasts longer. Maybe if we lived someplace where we could hike up a mountain in the snow and chop down our own and have sap sticking to our fingers as we try to read in bed that night....

3. When do you put up the tree? As soon as i get around to it, usually soon after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down ? As far into January as I feel I can get away year it may have even been February. I have a hard time letting go.

5. Do you like egg nog? Never tried it. What exactly is it? May have to google the ingredients.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Hands down, it was 1974. My mom was expecting and delivered my very own sister on Dec. 23. They brought her home in a stocking. She was the gift that keeps on giving.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? I have one nice one that is ceramic and broken in places from kids and so many moves. As a result of that, I also have 3 for the kids to play with. Little People, Veggie Tales (we lost the baby Jesus this year, wish you could order replacement parts. There's gotta be a lesson in that...keep Christ in Christmas or something), and Playmobil(lots of little pieces all over the family room each night, you should get it)

8. Hardest person to buy for? With Woodforest Visa giftcards, how hard is it anymore, really?

9. Easiest person to buy for? Again....Woodforest Visa giftcards. I used to hold on to ideals of finding something special for everyone on my list, but the truth is, money works in almost any situation. Everybody's doing it.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. I have a not so wonderful tradition going of waiting until like December 15 to get a good snapshot of the boys. Then I race to the photo shop at Sam's and do overnight development of hundreds of cards asking for an advance on the envelopes. Then I race against time to get labels printed and have the envelopes ready to stuff by the time I pick up the photo cards the next day. It is very merry. At least this year I can do some of it via computer instead of standing in the store.

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? My spiritual gift is mercy, people. Like I could identify any gift as "worst". Please.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? CHRISTMAS VACATION, and all the sappy Lifetime and Hallmark Channel movies. So bad, but so good. Kind of like when 'Gran' Alice Horton puts the 'Tom' ornament on the Horton family Christmas tree and they use that little computer generated sparkle when they pan over all the ornaments with names on them quite dramatically ending with Tom and Alice, or maybe this year she will have to have someone else do it because the sweet thing can barely be represented anymore just sitting in her chair as the matriarch of the show glancing lovingly at her family and the photo of she and Tom on the side table as the snowy computer video effects close the show for that day and the "in memory of" message appears on my screen. Good stuff.

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Again, mercy. No way would I ever be able to give away something someone gave me.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Sugar cookies with frosting. Yum.

15. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear.

16. Favorite Christmas songs? I really like a variety. An old favorite is the Amy Grant album I have on cassette. I love the musicians at our church and all the songs they sing at our Christmas Eve services.

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home, our families are all here! I would love to go to New York and Disney some time during the season though.

18. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Who cannot? Thanks to the song. You know Dasher....

19.Open presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning. And whenever we do "Christmas" with our extended family.

20. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Honestly , and this is gut-level here, the bell-ringers for Salvation Army outside the stores. I get a guilt trip every time I brush past them. From the minute I see them while parking, the mental anguish begins. Then I resolve within myself to look them in the eye and smile knowing that I decide which charities I give to in advance and give to them not because of mounting pressure as I come out of a store with things for me and my family who feel very blessed, yes, but can not stand feeling guilted into giving. AAGGGHH. Maybe I should just drop a dollar in.

21. Favorite ornament theme or color? I like the ones the kids make. We have two trees though, and one is 'Patriotic" (red,white and blue, stars and stripes) I started it the year after 9-11. As we decorate and enjoy it, I talk with the boys about the soldiers who are away from their families at Christmastime and how thankful we are to be Americans and have the freedoms we do, thanks to the brave men and women who sacrifice for us. It makes me cry. They think I am nuts. Being the only woman in house full of boys is really fun. And I mean that.

22. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? Look at me....I like it all. Traditions are really so satisfying.

23. What do you want for Christmas this year? To continue teaching my family the true meaning amidst all of everything else going on, and for them to "get it". The things I really want and can't have are not concrete. Lots of hard situations our loved ones are dealing with this year, and I wish I could fix them all. Is the question referring to something material? Oh, I can never think of anything.

24. Who is most likely to respond to this? What kind of question is that? Probably someone who doesn't have/take the time. Silly.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another Champion in the family

Casey and the Lumberkings won their first tournament this weekend!
They were the # 1 seed after the pool play on Saturday night, but did not get to compete on Sunday due to a rainout. They were named the Fall Ball Classic Champions.
In two games they scored 24 runs to the other teams' 6. Not bad!

All I want for Christmas....

Well, okay, maybe not ALL I want for Christmas.....
Cody pulled his second tooth today, only two days after the first!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hey Tooth Fairy!!

Cody's face will never be the same....he's lost his first tooth today! It's a first grade tradition in our family. Casey lost his first in the fall of his first grade year, both of them just over seven years old.

A night for Victory

Both Cody's Sundevils and cousin Hudson's Jayhawks won the championship game last night for their respective divisions! It was a big night!

We are the Champions, My Friends


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Championship Bound!


Cody's fall baseball team, the Sundevils, are headed to the championship game on Wednesday of this week. Here are some pics of the team after winning the semi-finals on Saturday.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Hope you all had a fun evening with your family!

Napoleon Dynamite, Andre Johnson, and Spiderman as they appeared on October 31, 2007.


On a sugar high with all our loot!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mission Organization

I must confess I have a secret longing to one day have one of those Pottery Barn looking laundry rooms with the cute little cubbies, hooks and lockers. (see something along those lines here: )
Maybe even cute little wooden framed names for each of the children identifying their own personal space for their own things. A nice front loading washer and dryer in some really cool and trendy color. Ahhhh, the things I aspire to! I am not sure that if we budgeted for and bought all that nice organizational stuff and got it all just right if I could even keep it that way, but it is a nice dream. I think I could. (until someone leaves a pack of gum in their pants and I have to scrape it off the walls of my new dryer, it would be downhill from there!) Oh, to make my laundry room a happy place! But for now......

Friday, October 19, 2007

Toddler TV

Thank goodness for good old PBS. Curious George,Clifford, Super-Why, Big World, Sesame Street (ending with Elmo's World) Dragon Tales, Word World, and Barney. That has sadly been our lifeline the past few days. First, I was sick. You don't want me to go into that. Suffice it to say, don't eat raw cookie dough when baking if you don't first check the expiration date on your eggs. Then my internet was down and I spent, oh, the whole doggone morning on the phone with AT&T.
Calling utility companies and the like has moved into a new era. How we all hated talking to machines when they first replaced the human operators. If that was not bad enough, they added the menus where you have to press 1-5 depending on your need and jump through four thousand hoops before you can figure out how to get to a representative. Well, whoever came up with the latest deal where you have to 'verbalize a short response indicating your need' did not have children in the background making noise or a terrible ragweed allergy prompting them to clear their throat every few minutes. The machine replies repeatedly, "I am sorry, I did not understand your response. Let's try choosing from this list...blah, blah, blah..." This was only the beginning of my frustrating experience yesterday. To top it all off, when I finally did reach a real live person the first time, she 'accidentally' hung up on me while transferring me to another department. Now tell me why on earth I had to give them all the preliminary info if not to direct my call to the right place? Then, the second time I called and endured the machine to get to the real person, I finally got a guy who called himself "Bob". I must say I have never heard a "Bob" with that particular accent before, but whatever. I could understand the machine better than I could understand him. UGGGHHH. Like I said in the beginning, thank goodness for PBS so Coleman was too busy zoning in to hear my choice of words and tone especially when talking to the machine. (no one hears what you say then, right?)

So this morning I have lost time to make up for on the internet! Thanks PBS!

In the meantime....

Okay, so I have been a little silent on the blog. Fall sports have kept our family running and I have barely had time to keep up reading the blogs I love. So sorry. Hopefully when I am inspired with some little something soon, I will make the time to come and write about it! But in the meantime, don't miss these posts on other blogs I read:

  • 'A Great Cause' on Joy's blog (find out how you can help)
  • 'Every Mother's Worst Nightmare' on The Quad Family blog
  • '30 Compressions, 2 Breaths' on The Quad Family blog (scary, but better safe...)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


There are times when the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and even years seem to march ahead at a pace that affords us little time to reflect. But really, what is life without the special memories and defining moments that make us who we are? Yesterday I had the chance to pause and look back.

A dear and wonderful soul went to be with Jesus on Saturday. Tuesday we remembered his life. His name was Jay Sills. Husband to Ruth, father to Gary, Cheryl, Cindy, Callie and Sallie, a grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend to many. The service was truly a celebration of a life well lived. The music and message were the most inspirational I have ever heard. A life like his lends itself to an amazing memorial. Some of the things that were said about him bear recording and remembering, though I am certain this is just the beginning of a list that could go on and on.

  • he was a family man, who put his family first (after only His Lord)

  • he taught his family what was important spiritually, physically, morally, and otherwise

  • he was dependable

  • he was a man who could admit when he had made a mistake

  • he was fun

  • he had a way of putting a positive spin on things

  • he made time to be involved in the lives of those he loved

  • he served the Lord diligently

  • he served his country

  • he was an overcomer

Needless to say, even when the pause was over and my life came at me full speed as we picked up Coleman, Chris headed off to work and the boys got off the bus with homework to do, mouths to feed and practices to be taxied off to, I spent the afternoon pondering things in my heart. What kind of legacy am I leaving? What can I do to make the most of every moment that I have? What kind of wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend or neighbor am I? When my life is said and done, what kind of things will the people I leave behind have to say about me?

All of that thinking took me to another place. A place of gratitude. I am so grateful for the life God has given me. I am so thankful for the wonderful people in it. So many wonderful influences.

The influence that Jay Sills had on the life of his son Gary and his daughters has impacted me directly. You see, Gary served as the student pastor at my church during some of the most impressionable years of my life. I had the privilege of learning about being a disciple of Christ under his and Mona's leadership. Chris made the comment on the way home from the service of how thankful he was to Gary for making such an effort to get him to fully commit his life to Jesus. Gary, Callie and Sallie introduced me to what it really meant to worship the Lord in song. Gary and Mona were working at our church during the years that they were adding children to their family and I looked up to Mona as a wife and mother. She was a fabulous role model, and I am sure did not even know it. Gary so graciously led worship at our wedding and helped to make it the type of day we wanted it to be, a day where God was glorified. And when it came time for us to choose where we would serve the Lord in ministry as a couple, there was Gary again. He was filling in for his brother in law at a brand new church in The Woodlands ministering to the four students they had attending. I am not sure how things went down, but Kerry called Chris and I to come to Fellowship and serve as Gary would be moving on.... and the rest of that is history.

All of that to say, we have no idea how God wants to use us in the lives of others. When the time comes, may I be found available to Him to use as He wills. Lord, be the center of my life and what my legacy becomes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

the song of my heart (lately)

you know how sometimes a certain song will just really hit you in a different light for reasons you cannot explain? maybe it is just me. the boys and i have been listening to 'a collision' dvd by david crowder for months on end since i never take the time to switch dvds in the suburban. yesterday evening on our way out the song "wholly yours" was playing and casey was singing along which prompted coleman to join in, repeating after him. suffice it to say that i wept. just like that, right on research forest in 5 pm traffic. over a song i have heard a million and one times. perhaps hearing the words fresh and new out of the mouths of the boys just got to me. a friend recently wrote in her blog about how her children have been instruments of God in her life on many occasions. this was one of them for me. and now that song echoes in my mind all day long. i thought you might enjoy seeing the words in print and pondering on them yourself. i don't know the rules of printing someone else's song in your blog, but i am giving the credit to the author, and i know he wrote it to encourage believers and to bring glory to God, so hopefully it will be okay.

i am full of earth. you are heaven's worth.
i am stained with dirt, prone to depravity.
you are everything that is bright and clean, the antonym of me. you are divinity.
but a certain sign of grace is this: from the broken earth
flowers come up pushing through the dirt.
you are holy, holy , holy.
all heaven cries holy, holy, God.
you are holy, holy, holy.
i want to be holy like you are.
you are everything that is bright and clean
and you're covering me with your majesty.
and the truest sign of grace was this:
from wounded hands redemption fell down, liberating man.
but the harder i try, the more clearly can i feel the depth of our fall and the weight of it all.
and this might could be the most impossible thing: your grandness in me
making me clean.
glory, glory, hallelujah.
so here i am, all of me. finally everything.
wholly, wholly yours.
i am full of earth and dirt and You.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Are you ready for some football???

Casey is playing flag football at the YMCA this fall. Here is some of the action from today's game. Okay, it is not all about winning, but since you're wondering....I guess I'll mention it, his team dominated. He has got some great moves!

Compelling Advertisement

I think Coleman wins the bid for

advertising Domino's new OREO Dessert Pizza....

(fyi...contrary to the way it appears, it was not too big a hit at our house.

I just think it made for a great photo op!)

Thursday, September 20, 2007


We have implemented a brand new budget this fall, courtesy of Dave Ramsey. I have found it easier to stick to when I limit myself to as few "errand" days as possible. With my new found time at home, I am finally getting to some long ignored projects. For example, I have been taking old photos from the boxes they are stacked in and at least stuffing them into albums with photo sleeves. I once had high hopes of becoming a scrapbook queen, and on some level, I am holding on to those hopes. In the meantime, I want to be able to enjoy the photos with the kids.

So today I am feeling nostalgic. Why does it have to go by so fast????
Among the best advice I have gotten as a mom is the encouragement to enjoy every stage and so I do try to soak it all in each day and then embrace the next phase as it comes my way.
But give me a break!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A blog of my own

So, I have been slowly enticed into the world of blogging. It started with a friend or two who moved far away and I just needed to keep in touch with them and all they were doing. Then, through links on their blogs, I became a blog stalker. I read the blogs of people I have never met. I have always loved people and since becoming a momma there seems less and less time to be really involved with lots of people as much as I'd like on a daily basis, so the world of blogging is like a way for me to feel like I have a life outside of my house and all the responsibility inside.
I have ultimately decided that I can no longer sit back and read all of my daily blogs. I am going to push aside the questions that loom in my mind of who in the world will read my blog and what kind of material will I have and just start writing. Of course, I would like to start with a bang. I have been pondering what funny story to tell, what photos to add, etc. But since I made the decision to start blogging, things have been rather busy. That is what brings me to the following conclusion: I am just gonna start it up. No bells, no whistles. Just me, getting that first blog out of the way so I can get on with this already. Done.