Thursday, July 24

Moving & Merging

Though it's hard to believe, it has been three years today since I began Ryan's blog. I enjoy looking back through the posts and seeing the highlights of the past three years. However, it's been difficult to keep up three blogs, so I have decided to merge them. I have been contemplating this for about a year, and I have finally decided to give it a try. I will continue to post the events of his life, but I'm going to move it to my main blog, Consider it all Joy. I will keep this one up and may occasionally post something, but for the most part, it will just be an archive of the past three years. For those who are only interested in Ryan and not the other goings-on in our family, I will tag all posts specifically about him with Ryan label so they can easily be found on the blog. All your comments and visits have been greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, July 23


Oregon is pretty homeschool friendly, thankfully. We have very few requirements, and one of them is to test the student in 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 10th grade. We don't have to submit the scores unless the school district asks for them, but we have to test. As a trial run, to familiarize him with the testing process, and to just get a baseline for when he takes his third grade test, I decided to go ahead and have Ryan tested this year. He would have just finished kindergarten if he were in public school, but I thought the kindergarten test would be too easy for him, so I had him take the first grade test instead.

A friend of ours from our old church works for Basic Skills (the organization who does the testing), so she drove out to our house today and administered the test to Ryan. It was nice to have a familiar face to lessen the anxiety (for me...Ryan wasn't daunted at all!). He whipped through the test fairly quickly and only missed one (a double-digit subtraction problem)! Whew. I was pretty sure I had covered all the bases, but it's nice to have it confirmed. Ryan actually had fun doing the test, so that was an added bonus! Some parents test every year so they know where weak areas are, and I haven't decided yet if I'll do that or not. For now though, it is a relief to know he's doing fine...being responsible for my kids' education is sometimes very intimidating and overwhelming!

To celebrate Mommy's relief and Ryan's great job on the test, we decided to take Ryan out to dinner and then to get a scoop of ice cream at Baskin Robbins afterward. Ryan tried something new again and got Fudge Brownie!

Sunday, July 20

Fun with a Friend

We invited Ryan's and Abby's friend Frankie over for the day last Wednesday so his mom and sisters could do their activities at the fair without having to entertain him during the long day of showing rabbits, chickens, and horses. The three of them had such a great time! In fact, Ryan came completely unglued when Frankie's mom showed up to take him home.

They dressed up and played pirates and princess. I got out a huge pop-up playhouse that my brother and sister-in-law gave them years ago, as well as our play tunnel and a couple sets of walkie-talkies. They played for hours and then ate lunch outside. They were just getting ready to go running through the sprinklers when Frankie had to go home, so we'll have to have him over again soon to do that!

Wednesday, July 16


It seems like it came from out of nowhere, but suddenly Ryan is interested in baseball. He's been begging us to play with him after dinner and is wanting to play on a team. He is just old enough to start Little League this September for their fall ball program, which is two months long. He said he was willing to earn part of the $35 it costs to play, so I guess we'll sign him up and see how it goes.

We have been hitting and catching with him, though not with a real bat and ball yet. (Hmmm, suppose we should buy those, huh?) I am not sure he's ready (or me either) for it yet, but we shall find out in six weeks' time.

Monday, July 14

Ryan's Day 2008

The kids look forward to their special day every year. It's a special day where we thank God for putting them into our family, and we celebrate it each year on the day we finalized their adoptions. Ryan has been saying for months that he wanted to go to the beach for "Ryan's Day," and so when we asked him if he'd like to go camping at the beach too, he was very excited!

Unfortunately, Daddy struggled with a migraine most of the weekend, but Saturday (Ryan's Day) was the worst. After the kids and I got up and had some breakfast, we decided to ride our bikes over to a large sand dune in the campground and let Daddy sleep off the shot he had given himself and hopefully the migraine too. This was the first time we have taken the bikes with us, and it was fun to ride around the campground. (Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera with me!)

We met Daddy on our ride back to the campsite. His head was still hurting, but he felt good enough to take a ride into Tillamook. We drove into town and hit a few of the local spots (we were doing a multi-cache geocache which took us to the main attractions in town), one of which was the Blue Heron Premium Cheese Company. Daddy and I had been here before, but this was the first time we'd taken the kids. We quickly browsed the gift shop (okay, the kids had to use the bathroom), sampled some smoked brie (yum), and then headed out to the main attraction for the kids...the petting farm and old machinery.

We have noticed an interesting phenomenon with Ryan: Whenever we go camping, he seems to push away his fears and be braver than usual. Last year he slept in his own tent, and this year he climbed trees (he's usually terrified of things like that) and willingly fed the farm animals and alpaca (he typically is very skittish and stays away from them). Go figure.

We managed to pry Ryan away from the heavy machinery by letting him choose where we ate lunch...McDonald's. After eating lunch, they played in the play place for awhile. Once we dangled the Tillamook Cheese Factory & Ice Creamery in front of Ryan, he was ready to leave MickeyD's and go have some dessert!

See, I was there too!

The place was packed! We even had to park in the overflow parking, which we'd never done before. Despite the crowds, the wait in line wasn't very long and we even found a table fairly quickly. We ate our ice cream, looked at the Morning Star ship dry docked in the front of the creamery, and then we headed back to the campground.

Ryan wanted to go back to the beach, so that's what we did. I stayed in my jeans because I about froze the last time we went down there, but the kids assured me they needed to go in the water this time so they wore their swimsuits (so did Daddy, who regretted it later). We dug a long trench, Ryan played with his bulldozer, and Abby pretty much just dug in the sand the whole time.

Despite the temperature being in the 70s, the wind was blowing so hard off the ocean that it was really chilly (typical of the Oregon coast). Dismissing my warnings that they would get REALLY cold, the kids decided to get into the water. They had great fun...for about 10 minutes before Abigail decided it was entirely too cold (didn't I say it would be?) and she wanted to go back to the campsite!

Ryan, however, was undaunted by the icy water and blowing wind. He happily ran in the waves a while longer. I finally had to take Abby back to the more sheltered campsite and build a fire to warm her up (I confess, I was happy to go!), but Daddy and Ryan stayed a bit longer, playing in the water and sand and building a sand castle.

We ended the day with a hot dog roast, which is one of the things Ryan most wanted to do on his special day. It wasn't exactly how Ryan had planned the day to go, but he had a great time nonetheless. We are so blessed to have him for our son, and it is fun to make a big deal of it each year. We love you, Ryan!

Beach Camping

We decided to try a beach campground for the first time. Ryan wanted to celebrate "Ryan's Day" (the day we finalized his adoption) at the beach this year, and since we had to postpone our camping trip from last month, we thought we'd combine the two. So we headed out to Barview Jetty campground in Tillamook County.

Both kids were thrilled when we pulled into our campsite and it was surrounded by a dozen fantastic climbing trees! When we were at campsite, they spent more time up in the trees than they did down on the ground, I think.

We arrived around 7:00, so the first night basically consisted of getting the camp set up. Then we had some hot chocolate, went to look at the beach (which was just a short walk from our site), doused the fire and went to bed. It was after 10:00pm when we crawled into our sleeping bags. Ryan & Abby were so excited they had a difficult time settling down, despite the late hour.

The next day the kids and I were up very 5:15am! I tried to keep them quiet, so we went for a walk to the bathroom. Then Mommy tried starting a fire since it was pretty chilly, but due the dampness of everything (I'm sure it had nothing to do with my general ineptitude at starting fires!), I wasn't successful. Finally, I broke out the food and started breakfast. I guess Daddy would just have to get up if he wanted a hot breakfast!

The first evening while we were setting up camp, three boys from a nearby site came and wanted to play. The five of them had a fun time climbing trees, fighting pretend enemies (it was decided they would have pretend enemies since no one wanted to be the bad guys), and bushwhacking through wastelands.

After breakfast and cleanup, we headed to the beach for a walk and some geocaching. There was an awesome fort, complete with pirate flag, that someone had made from driftwood. I was a little nervous about letting them go inside it, but after taking a closer look, it was pretty sturday and looked like it had actually been there quite a while.

We walked about a mile up the beach geocaching and finding shells along the way. The wind was galing and it was pretty chilly, but we still enjoyed the walk and the scenery. Ryan stopped a few times to make a sand angel as well as inspecting dead crabs, broken sand dollars and shells, and any other treasure he saw lying in the sand.

We walked the mile back toward our campground, and then went back to our site to have lunch. After our lunch break, we drove Daddy down to the jetty so he could do some fishing. Though we brought all of our fishing rods, the jetty was just too dangerous to have the kids around so Daddy fished solo.

While Daddy was fishing we headed back to the beach. It was 65 degrees with terrible gusting wind, so the kids stayed out of the water. But they had fun digging and playing in the sand for hours. Finally, Daddy returned and we all went back to camp for dinner.

The next day was Ryan's Day, and Ryan got to make most of the decisions for the day!

We woke up our last morning at camp, had breakfast and then rode our bikes to the sand dune again. The kids played with the only other child there, dug in the sand (guess a kid can never get enough of that), and scrambled up and ran down the dune numerous times.

Once they tired of the dune, we rode our bikes to a geocache that was located near the jetty. The kids had a blast climbing rocks and driftwood while Mommy and Daddy hunted for the cache. Then it was time to go and pack up camp. It took longer than usual this time, I think because of all the sand. Everything had to be shook out or swept or something. We managed to get it all back into the van, with some help from the kids. Mostly they did some final climbing in the trees, begging me to take a picture of them in each one! On our way home we couldn't resist one last stop at the Tillamook Creamery for a final ice cream cone...YUMMY!

Ryan decided to try something new...Mint Chocolate Chip!

Tuesday, July 8

Keeping Cool...Sort Of

Our friends invited us over to visit and play in their hot tub this week. The hot tub was a little warm for Ryan (Mr. Oversensitive), but eventually got used to it and they all had a blast splashing and squirting and such.

Tuesday, July 1

Building a Crane

Last weekend Daddy took Abigail fishing, so I had some special time alone with Ryan. I don't often get to have him all to myself, and I enjoyed the time so much. He's been wanting to build a crane from a design he found in one of his books, so I thought this would be a good chance to start on it.

After a trip to Walmart for a couple of needed supplies and to Starbucks for a treat, we came home and did step 1 of the project. The dimensions for the tracks were incorrect, so we only ended up with one of the tracks being done this time. We'll work on the next seven steps sometime soon and post the finished product.

Wednesday, June 25

Party Fun

Ryan and Abby were invited to their friend's 5th birthday party last week. Ryan was so excited! Frankie, the birthday boy, seemed a little overwhelmed by the whole thing. This was his first party, and he was thrilled to find out he got to open ALL the presents! Very cute.

Since the hostess didn't know if it was going to rain or not (an Oregon hazard most months out of the year), she got a pinata with pull strings instead of the kind you have to hit so it could be done indoors if necessary. Thankfully, the day turned out to be lovely, and the kids all had fun pulling the strings. Ryan had no problem getting his share of the candy. In fact, we still have some left in the cupboard.

After the party, the kids ran around their one-acre yard chasing the chickens, the dog, and playing with the adorable baby bunnies. It was a fun afternoon party!

Monday, June 16

Summer Freebies

Ryan is getting very close to promoting out of his Level 2 swim lessons, but our last session ended about a week and a half ago and we haven't yet determined if we're going to spend the money for another round of lessons next month. So I made sure to take advantage of the free lessons offered this week at our local pool.

We got there a little early to make sure we got our names on the list, and then we went next door to play on the elementary school playground until it was time for our lessons. Ryan begged me to join in pretending it was a tall ship (I even got to be Captain, a huge concession by Ryan's standards!) and we were being attacked by the enemy.

Then we went for a short walk around the school and pool before going inside to wait our turn for lessons. It was pretty crowded, but from what I could see, no teacher had more than three kids, which is a pretty good ratio. There were only three in Ryan and Abby's class, and though I don't think they learned anything new, they at least were practicing and not losing skills they already have learned.

Just before their lesson was over, a pool employee announced that they still had spots available for the next session and we could sign our kids up for the next session if we so desired. I immediately got in line! Ryan was thrilled when he found out they got to get right back into the pool for another half an hour.

It worked out well too because the instructor the second time was much better. Also, most of the kids in this second session were rank beginners, so the instructor moved them to the deeper half of the pool, and they had that half almost to themselves!

Ryan showing his new gap off!

They were starving after swimming for an hour, so we drove over to the middle school where the free lunch program was being offered, and the kids had fun eating at the "real" school. Money has been really tight here lately, so I enjoyed this completely free morning tremendously (Okay, not really free since we pay taxes, but you know what I mean)! I'm not sure I'll feel as joyful after a full week of this, but today it was great.

Saturday, June 14

Lost His First Tooth!

One last picture with all his baby teeth intact!

Friday the kids had their biannual dental appointments, and both had great reports of no cavities! Ryan has had a loose tooth since his last exam and cleaning in December, but over the last couple of weeks it has really become much more wiggly. The dentist said his new tooth is coming in behind the baby one and that we need to get the baby one out as soon as possible to allow the new tooth to come forward.

So with encouragement to wiggle away, Ryan has been messing with his tooth a lot. This afternoon I was looking at it and accidentally bumped it a bit which caused it to be so loose that I knew it would come out easily. As I was holding a tissue on it to stop a small amount of bleeding, I casually gave it a tug and out it came! Ryan didn't even know I had done it till he felt the hole with his tongue. He is now the proud owner of a smile with a hole in it!

Sunday, June 1


Ryan invited his friend over to play last week, and they spent most of their time sword fighting and defending the fair Princess Abigail!

Saturday, May 24

Beating and Imitating Granpa

Ryan has really begun to love playing chess. Thankfully I can still usually beat him, but I have no gift for strategy ("I need the man in black!"). Daddy is better than I am, but Ryan was still happy to have a new opponent. He was especially thrilled to beat Granpa the second game they played!

While Granpa was here he had cold cereal one morning (hey, I did cook the other two mornings!) and apparently Ryan thought it was pretty cool that Granpa mixed Life and Cheerios in the same bowl together because now he's doing it too!