Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I haven’t always been the most motivated person around. In fact, I frequently exhibit some distinctly lazy tendencies. I’ve been known to skip the gym and instead sit at home to watch a show while sipping on coffee and munching a cookie. Or to take a nap instead of mopping the floor. Not exactly an even trade. Okay, this may actually happen more frequently than occasionally. I enjoy relaxing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I get a lot of stuff done. My love of relaxing combined with the perfectionism instilled by my dear comb-wielding Mother has led me to be an extremely efficient worker. I work quick, I work fast, or I don’t work much.

I have found that when I hit a large long-lasting roadblock that I tend to find a way around it rather than working through it. Sometimes this is fine. Sometimes it is not.


Prior to college and through my junior year I had been known throughout the music department for my capacity to memorize pieces well and quickly and for my nerves of steel and love of performing. I lived for the adrenaline rush of blasting out a Beethoven sonata that I had just learned in front of a crowded room. It was thrilling. And then I went through a bad breakup, my memory faltered, and my love of performing vanished. I still had a year left in order to complete my degree and a senior recital looming on the horizon.

I was terrified. I couldn’t do it. I hadn’t been able to make it through a single piece without at least one major memory slip in over a year and I knew there was no way I had the stamina or strength to make it through an entire program. I tried to find a way around it. A paper. A project. A recital using the music. But I was stonewalled. It was a recital or nothing.

I distinctly remember sitting down and realizing that it wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t going to graduate. I had completed five full years of classes, two full length recitals, sat in a practice room for six hours a day, had tens of thousands of dollars in student loans just waiting to come due, and I had failed.

And then I found out I was pregnant. And I knew that I had to find a way. It was no longer just me. I wasn’t just letting myself down. I couldn’t give up knowing that someday I would be telling my own daughter that she could be anything she wanted to be when I hadn’t been able to do it myself. My recital took place less than a month before my bulletin year expired. I was three months pregnant with Ryann. And I was proud.


I’ve never been an incredibly active person. I’ve never played sports. I’ve never found pleasure in exercise. And I love food. This didn’t show its effects until Jared and I met. Jared also loves food.

We love to cook. We love to eat. We love to feed others.

By the time I got pregnant I was 50 pounds above what I had been. 50 pounds. And I knew there was more to come with Ryann. I got lucky with my pregnancy and craved almost entirely fruit. I would regularly down half a watermelon, 2 peaches, 5 apricots, a banana, a bowl of applesauce, and a pear for breakfast. Thank goodness it wasn’t Snickers. By the time Ryann was two months old I was back to where I began, which was still well over where it should be.

This started my gym habit. Before this I could never sustain any exercise regimen. I didn’t care enough. It was too hard. I didn’t see results quickly. But now I had Ryann. I wanted to be healthy for her. I wanted her to see that health is valued. So we went to the gym.

Three mornings a week I would load her into the stroller at 7am and we would walk the half mile down to the gym to an early morning BOSU class. I would keep her stocked with toys or lay her out on a blanket a safe distance from the weights and would breathlessly bounce around with the ridiculously chirpy leader. Two nights a week we would jaunt back down for yoga. Ryann’s second year saw us at the gym every day at lunch. Ryann making eyes at the old men on stationary bikes, me trying to get in a couple miles on the treadmill.

It was hard to have the motivation to get down to the gym instead of having a relaxing lunch. But we did it and we had fun doing it. These are some of my most precious memories. And I was proud.


Ryann gave me a tenacity that I had never known before. She made me a stronger person. She gave me a faultless reason to better myself, my home, and the world. I will not stop now.

Ryann kicking it at BOSU

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Reminders of Joy

One of the things that we did while my Mom was in town over Ryann's birthday was to go paint ourselves silly at Paint Yourself Silly. Jared was a bit on the fence about this excursion, but ended up having fun painting his itty bitty Christmas ornaments. Mom went all out with her freckled elephant mug and I stuck with my limited painting skills and colorblocked a votive set.

This is the second time I've ventured down to Paint Yourself Silly and as fun as it is sitting, painting, and gossiping with friends, picking up the finished products is the best part. The colors are more vibrant, the finish is smooth and sleek, and even the crudest chocolate-dipped-cherry-esque Christmas ornament ends up looking intentional and new.

When my sister and I were pre-teens our parents enrolled us in a pottery class together. We not only got to paint pieces, but form, fire, and finish them. This class led to the shining moment in my art life. While Kristin went on to become a successful artist, this class was my spotlight. Actually, now that I'm thinking of it, she made a two-foot long lounging gold leopard that has resided on Mom's patio ever since. However, the two pieces that everyone in my family remembers from that class are two cats that I made. One is a fat little paperweight that I made for Dad, who I don't think has ever done a stitch of paperwork in his life. The other is a stovetop spoon holder for Mom. Apparently my young self was a bit sexist.

Both times I've moonlighted at PYS I've been taken back to that class. I remember the dust, the slip running through my fingers, the kiln in the corner. I remember the fun of creating something, the enjoyment of something so simple. I remember washing my hands and jumping into the van when Mom picked us up at the end of class. I love finding those moments of simple joy and fun. They are what Jared and I mold our life for. They are the point. Simple and true, happiness and peace that you don't fight for or work for, that just are.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Little Bit of Home at Work

I finally got around to putting up some pictures at work. Maybe this will help with the Office Manager/Student Worker confusion. Now the office reflect just a bit of me.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Visitors

We have been thoroughly enjoying storming the town with our friends, the St. Clairs. Becky and Jason are a blast and their little girl Kayla is insanely fun. We've been watching 'choo trains' on Youtube, playing in Ivanna Cone's mini kitchen, and visiting the bison out at Pioneers Park (unfortunately Kayla was more than a little dissapointed that they were not elephants).

Not only has playing with Kayla been so much fun, but it's been amazingly bittersweet to imagine what this visit would have been like if we weren't down one tiny person. Picturing two little rugrats tearing up the house and demanding to stay up later and have just one more cookie. We've teared up being able to see so clearly what Ryann might have been up to by now, how much she might have been talking, how opinionated she may have become.

Kayla's expecting a sibling in May, along with several of Ryann's little friends. The next batch of children are on their way. It's nearly time to jump on the bandwagon.

Waiting for her 'maconi uh cheese'.

Playing at the Pioneers Park Nature Center.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Displaying Our Wealth

Because in this case, we like to show off what we have. A beautiful shining daughter, a warm and welcoming home, and a heartful of memories to cherish.

Guestroom Wall Hangings

Ryann's Masterpiece, drawn with Daddy the week before she died.

Poptop Love

My tiny Poptop containers make the perfect snack holders for work. Love.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

'Tis the Season

Usually I'm one of the crowd complaining about how quickly stores jump from Halloween to Christmas.

'What about Thanksgiving?'
'Wait until December!'
'They're just out to make money.'

But I've found that this year it's different. I'm loving the holiday cheer. I'm soaking up the bright colors, shimmering decorations, and spiced treats. This year needs a little extra cheer and currently Pier 1 and Target are doing the job.

It Has Begun

The first juice up this morning is the green one. It felt like I was drinking straight up salad - green and tangy and strong. It took me a full hour to drink the entire bottle.

I'm looking forward to the mid-morning juice, pineapple-apple-mint.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Old Stomping Grounds

This past weekend we piled into the car and headed down I-80 so that Jared could see a couple of my old homes. When my sis, Kristin, and I attended Union College our parents lived nearby.

We started out in a crazy awesome old schoolhouse in Goehner. Seriously. We had an indoor half court gym with built in concrete bleachers, a 1200+ sq. ft. hardwood floored performing hall complete with a stage, a grand staircase entrance, and my own bedroom was approximately 600 sq. ft. I had my bed in the middle of the room, a huge sectional couch on one side, blackboards lining the walls, and my walk-in closet was as large as my bedroom is now. It looks like whoever owns it now is doing some major work. They've boarded up about half of the windows and it looks like they're dividing the massive rooms into more manageable ones. And they took out the gym. That was a sad revelation.

We then traveled down the road to Beaver Crossing where we found this.

Tomorrow, Tomorrow! I'll Juice You, Tomorrow!

Tomorrow I start my Foundation Cleanse. I'm a bit nervous and I miss food already. Saturday! You feel so far away! I'll let you know how it's going and how I feel.

Although I'm doing this here thing primarily to cleanse, I would also welcome losing a few pounds. A few facts about me and what has lured me to try this cleanse.
  • An unidentified autoimmune condition which tends to flare up a bit more in cold weather. I woke up last Wednesday barely able to bed over. Ouch!
  • Along with the above, autoimmune conditions often flare up more due to certain chemicals. I've found that diet and stress play a huge roll in mine. Hopefully this will flush out any stray ick that may cause me problems this winter. (I've also recently limited my gluten intake and my body and brain are already thanking me.)
  • Last ditch effort to shed a few before gaining a few more with the wee babe we plan to create in the near future. For myself, better beginning weight = happier-healthier pregnant me.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thank You

Ryann's birthday was a good day, but hard. It was made much better by all of the stories and memories that we were able to read throughout the day. Thank you so much for helping to make this day so special. You brought a smile to our faces, tears to our eyes, and frequently a resounding laugh would break out. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Birthday Cake

For Ryann's second birthday we decided to make an irresistibly pink strawberry and cream cake and matching cupcakes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What I Want for Ryann's Birthday

This is a heads-up to everyone.

I'm going to ask for something specific from you as a gift to us on Ryann's birthday.

Tomorrow I want to see this comments section flooded with an influx of stories that you have of Ryann, be it photos or memories or general reactions. I want to know how Ryann touched you. This is the best present that I can think of. This is what I want for her birthday.


Tomorrow is Ryann's birthday. She was supposed to be two years old. We were supposed to be baking and planning and cleaning in preparation for a party, instead we're spending the week packing up her room. My Mom's here to help us. She's gone with us to Target to get storage bins, cooked us dinner, cleaned the house. Tomorrow we'll all go visit Ryann's grave and spend time together. Our family, as it is right now, for a moment.

The stuffed friends who
aren't going to the garage.
Ryann's half-empty room.