Ryan's Clubhouse!

January 2012

Holy crap that was the fastest year I have ever experienced. I am the father of a 1 year old kid. What a heck of a year. So much has gone on in the past year, it makes me wonder if I need a 'Best of' blog entry or maybe a year in review.  I guess if you want that, you can just re-read all the past entries.  
So now that Ryan is one, he decided to start walking. Sure he was standing and trotting along as he help stuff, but he waited until his birthday party to actually take steps on his own. I think he just saw the kids in the big ballroom jumping in the bounce house and wanted in on the fun. Now that he starts to walk on his own I will miss how fast he is as a crawler. He is so fast, sometimes we see smoke coming from his knees and hands. However, I do look forward to all the things that come with walking. Teaching him to kick a soccer ball, chasing him through the house and walking to the bathroom to wipe his own butt for a change. 
We had an over-the-top Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed birthday party for Ryan. It was fantastically obnoxious! We rented the entire third floor of the Creative Arts and Events Center in downtown Greenfield. There was a two huge rooms, the first being the food and table room where we served popcorn from a machine, a bar filled with milk, punch and treats. Ang wanted tons of balloons that took two vehicles to transport. For his cake we had a cakery in Carmel make a great three tier cake with all the Mickey decorations which he demolished in 3 bites (not really, but close). We also had a video looping with slideshow of pics from his first year on earth. In the second room, we had 4 Mickey Mouse ball pits and one huge bounce house with a slide. The kids had a blast. For the older kids, we had a Xbox and a Wii setup as well as Disney movies playing on the wall. We had it all at this party...a party for a baby, who will never know it happened or even knows what a birthday is...ugh! In hindsight  sure it is easy to say overkill, but in the heat of the moment it seemed like a great idea - nothing is too good for my boy!
I am glad and sad to have the first year under my belt. I am sure that at this time next year you may hear of my very low-key party, but for now we will bask in the birthday sun and jump on our bounce house. Even though I know he didn't understand what happened, I did. I  am glad we celebrated in grand fashion. I am told that this blog is over the top. Oh well, I am kind of proud of this daddy job and I don't plan on winding down any time soon. I know this was supposed to be a year-long blog to tell the tales of Ryan's adventures throughout his first year, but maybe I will post something here or there to give you an update. Maybe the next time you check in to see how Ryan is doing, he will be driving his new car that we gave him on his 16th birthday party. Until then, thank you so much for being part of this adventure for me and part of the Great Adventures of Ryan Carter. 


Stay tuned.... 

Gobble, Gobble!

November 2011

The most glutenous time of year is the end of November. When we give thanks to the Pilgrims or Indians for introducing to us that it is okay to eat until your sick, sit on a couch with your belt unbuckled, watch football and fall asleep in the middle of the day. They taught us to be glutenous and to blame a chemical in turkey for our laziness.
Ryan is having an appreciation (scratch that) an thankfulness problem. It seems that he is in the zone as a baby. To the minute we make sure Ryan is fed. I think he has started taking this for granted because if he isn't fed by a certain time, he starts to cry - what's that about? Further, if he eats and runs out of food, he whines for more...ungrateful turd! Well, as a fellow eating overachiever I find his new appetite pride welling, but the provider side of me kicks in and wonders where he gets off being so rude? Can't he ask nicely, "may I eat now daddy?"..."may I have more please?" Ang is becoming an enabler parent by coming up with excuses for him. She comes up with the most outlandish things like, "he can't even talk yet!" or "he'd go get it himself but he can't walk!" I mean, talk about about your coddling parent. Funny, she knows just when to change his diaper without him saying a word and I don't see him crawling over to change his own diaper. But I digress, what is it about this baby that makes him feel entitled? 
Thanksgiving is here and it will be the day I can unleash the Kracken. This is the day I let Ryan have as much as he wants, what ever he wants because quite frankly, I hope it will eliminate the tradition leftovers problem. If he eats all the turkey and two weeks from now I don't have to throw out a reused cool whip container filled with leftover turkey, I am game! So if you hear, "Release the Kracken!" in a few days, you know why. I must warn you, guard your plate:)
I baby's lack of being thankful may seem a bit extreme or nit-picky, I'll admit. But it does help you to start thinking about how you handle certain issues with your child now, how it may affect him later.  I guess all I can do is over look that Ryan has an thankfulness issue and hope that he just has a hard time expressing just how much he loves all Ang and I do for him.  All I can do this season is be thankful that I have such a great kid and that he fills my heart everyday and also, that he is the solution to my left-overs problem..."Release the Kracken!"

Happy Thanksgiving!

Goat Sweet Goat!

October 2011

Fall is a time when folks sit around camp fires, put on their warmer clothes, break out the cider, wake early to harvest their crops, decorate pumpkins, paste fake leaves to their windows and remove the real ones, cheer for their favorite football team...oh yeah and they  dress their kid up like a goat and go door to door to receive free candy. This is hands down my favorite time of the year. Maybe that is becasue I grew up on a farm, played and coach high school football and I am an artist. Wait a second, God did it again. He took something that I loved and has forced me to share it with someone else. How pissy! If I were Braveheart leading my seasons into battle with God I would tell him, "you can take my Spring and you can take my Summer, but you will never take my Auuuutuuuumn!  Since I don't have any blue face paint or have my Scottish clan kilt handy, it is probably best that I concede to the good man upstairs and just share this great time of year...I don't have to like it...I don't have to like it at all.
       Halloween is coming up and I have to admit that we are having a bit of fun picking out the costume that best reflects Ryan's personality. Do we go with a sumo wrestler because he is constantly wrestling every toy and he is a big chub? Should we go with Mickey Mouse due to he affinity with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cartoon?  I know! We should dress him as a Hungry Hippo since we feed him a gallon of milk, four full pigs and a bushel of bananas per meal.  Nah that might cause psychological issues later on. After just one evening of going over costumes, it was obvious: Ryan is going as a goat. It is perfect! He eats everything in sight, consumable and non-consumable items alike. All he does is chew his shoe, his food, the couch and anything that is within hands reach. Man, this will be great! ...Crap, I better settle down. It might come off to God that I am enjoying this 'sharing fall thing' and I won't be able to have my Braveheart moment.
       Every year since I was a kid I have gone to the pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin to carve. We'd eat a carmel apple, drink some cider and head home to carve a priceless work of art into the round, orange canvas. I love carving pumpkins. One year in Middle School during the Bush/Dukakis election, I carved two pumpkins, each with the candidates face.  I brought them to school and they used them for stage decor during a mock debate in the cafeteria. It was a cool day for me. Ang and I carried on this tradition over that past 20 years by heading into Tuttle Orchard and taking in the season. Then we would go home and carve away. This year we threw the Turd in the Jeep and headed out to find his first pumpkin. He had a blast. Ang and I were finally the parents we've watched from afar in the straw-bale-pyramid, going through the corn maze, playing on the giant pumpkin and participating in the carnival atmosphere. We took about a thousand pictures capturing every moment of Ryan enjoying his first pumpkin patch visit. We will go home and carve into the pumpkin his favorite....what am I doing? I am smiling while sharing my autumn and drifting further way from my epic moment against God in which I stand my ground...I even bought blue face paint.
       Through this entire month of football (go Pack go), drinking cider, picking out Ryan's goat costume, the pumpkin patch, none was more special than watching Ryan march in his first Halloween parade at school. He was a hit as the goat and looked fantastic next to his best friend, cousin and frog, Brody. It was probably Top 3 all time cutest things ever seen by human eyes, grouped with new born kittens and Emanuel Lewis. Okay, after a long month, I have to admit that I really enjoyed sharing my season with Ryan even though my cider wasn't spiked, the pumpkin had a baby theme and the bonfires only included burning wood, sans appliances or plastics.  Sharing this with Ryan has its benefits too. I was able to do a bunch of fun things for 'kids only' that before would have made me the creepy grown-up with no kids going down the Halloween slide. This brings me to my realization: I guess I will spare the lives of my battle-ready seasons and leave my kilt in the crate, for now. I will use the blue face paint for my Blue Man Group audition and ease up on God for now, unless he asks me to share Thanksgiving or Christmas. 

Just a Big ol' Toy

September 2011

Heaven forbid in this day and age we try to muster some restraint.  It is more likely that Ang and I will finally get sumo suits and battle out our marital challenges on the mat. As it is, we will not get the suits...furthermore, we don't even have marital problems to wrestle out. (Just a side note: if we did go to the mat, I would totally win because she is a weakling) Since the likelihood of us getting sumo suits is nil, then we have to concede that we will never muster the restraint needed. This really sucks because I wanted those Sumo suits- crap! 
Restraint is defined as: a control over the expression of one's emotions or thoughts. I have a hard time believing that I lack the ability of self control, especially over my thoughts. (pause) Okay after reading over that last sentence it dawned on me, I don't think I lack the ability, I lack the capacity. I have gone on long enough. What the heck are we having a hard time mustering the restraint to..for..about, whatever? We have a hard time remembering that Ryan is not a toy. When I say we, I mean me. I heart playing with Ryan. Everything is a game or an opportunity for song and dance. Why? I dunno. Maybe it is that he smiles alot and that seems like an invitation. The invite reads, "hey daddy, I'm cute, wanna play?" he is like a crafty warlock casting his spell upon me and all I can say is, "uh huh, okay!" Sometimes I feel that all I was put on this earth to do is play with Ryan.
     I have the luxury waking him up in the morning, getting him dressed and we do the Hot Dog Dance with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse every morning before I drive him to Mimi's. The morning time is a very hustle and bustle time for Ang and I. Get bottles ready, make sure he has everything ready for Tami's and out the door. Typical house hold I am guessing, but for some reason Ang and I always find time to play with him once he is dressed even if it is just for a minute.  When I pick him up around 4pm we usually come straight home and play. We do flips, tickles and I like to chase him around the house. He screams as he tries to get away. Sometimes I catch myself playing with him like I was a kid and he is my action figure or a Little People toy figurine.  I like to talk as if it were Ryan's voice, "copy that Captain we are coming in for a landing...Woooosshh!" Sometimes we do the Superman thing were he flies around the room. We do the lines from the movie, "if you got me, who's got you?!!" and then I act like I drop him. He acts like he is scared for a second and then starts laughing. He is such a funny kid, just about anything gets him giggling. The best is when Ang works late and it is just us guys. We take our shirts off and play until 9pm or so. His bedtime is 7:30, but we don't care, Mom isn't home. Our guy credo is: While the girls are away the boys will play. 
     Is it a good thing or is a bad thing? Is playing with him all the time bad for his development? Should I be spending more time working with his motor skills, standing skills walking skills or verbal skills. Maybe I should teach him to blow kisses, clap his hands or say bye, bye. I can't help it if all I want to do is play, but so does he. I am sure he is getting plenty of proper learnin' from his mother and Tami. It reminds me of Rick Moranis and Steve Martin in Parenthood. See Rick Moranis's character is teaching his 3 year old daughter the square root of a large number and Steve Martin walks in holding his kid upside down with a toy stuffed in his mouth...

(Rick Moranis is teaching his kid square roots with flash cards and starts talking to Steve Martin)

"Our children are more capable of absorbing more information than we are..."
(Steve Martin holding his kid by the feet playing - Rick Moranis continues) 
"..yet we insist on treating them like adorable little morons....they´re like sponges, Gil, just waiting to absorb."

     Is this what I am doing, treating Ryan like an adorable moron? I do walk around carrying the dude by his ankles. In my defeatist tone I have to say, Crap! He is a sponge, maybe I should work with him more. Heck, did you see my grades in school? I am not sure if I am the guy you want developing a child, we should just leave that for his mother.  He needs his play time and I guess I need my Little People action figure time too. The funny thing is as a parent you can't help, but think that you are going to do something or not do something that is going to change your kid for the worse. I don't want to look back and wonder if I had only played with him more or maybe I should have played with him less and work on developing him more. I wish I could do everything perfect and he is top of his class at everything. I can only pass along to the Turdman what I know and that is having fun. I want him to know what playing is and how to use your imagination. Who needs toys when you have a giggling, screaming, crawling, pooping Little People figure to play with any time I want? 
     Maybe I am making this too hard. What ever happens, happens as long as you are having fun and you love the little turd. I guess I wish God would have giving me a warning or hint when he told me, "Chris, go over to that shelf and pick out a toy." Because I did and when I sat down, tore open the box to see my new toy, there were no instructions. The box only had some disclaimer and highlighted features, but who reads that crap? I want the toy! If I would muster the restraint needed, I would have read the instructions and I would have realized that it read: This is not a toy, this is a sweet baby boy. He is not just for play. He is a sponge ready to absorb, develop and love. Caution: Excessive shaking could result in stinky toots and diaper blow outs may occur.

He's My Best Friend

August 1st, 2011

can't say it enough, we are blessed to have the best people in the world surrounding Ryan.  It is important to have good, positive people in Ryan's life. These will be his influences and the people he is going to look up to for direction. He needs to have great friends. To name a few: Tami (Mimi), from daycare, has been so helpful and works with him so much. She is so gentle and a non-yell'er it surprises me she is human. Ryan...as well as Ang and I, are so lucky to have her as his first teacher in these important first handful of years. Shailynn has been such a good older sister-figure, I know he will benefit from being around her as he gets older and help take care of him like Krista has her family for years. Then there is his Nana, Ang's mom, is just what he needs in a Grandma. She will pass along the same great characteristics that Ang's Grandma Carter instilled in Ang. Ang was around her Grandma everyday and with my mother in Florida, I am glad he has a grandparent just down the road. From her he will learn how Ang became a sweet, genuine person. Sometimes, I found, these great friends or influences can come from the most unlikely places. I go through Ryan's day to day making sure I weed out the unhealthy influences, shield him from bad habits, attitudes, lifestyles, language and so on. As I was shielding, I would do so at eye level and it never dawned on me to look down. 
Ryan was playing on the living room floor one evening and Ryan was laughing. In an attempt to see what spurred this chuckle, I tore myself from a failing game of Angry Birds to find Ryan rolling around, pulling on Azzie's fur. Azzie just laid there and let him. he would meow ever so often in a firm, but friendly "ease up a bit there hos" meow tone. Then Ryan would scoot closer and tug at his ear, whiskers and then the inevitable tail pull.  Now, before I go any further, I have to clarify some things. Ryan is not a gentle baby. He has a GI Joe kung-fu grip, the kick of a wild donkey and the swing of young Mike Tyson. So when Azzie, our fifteen pound, orange, tiger cat just lays there and takes the abuse, you start to wonder, hmmmm.
Just then,  like a jumbo-tron showing an instant replay at a Packers game, Ryan's life started to flash in front of my eyes. It scrolled through like a Perry Mason movie ending...6 months, Azzie sleeping next to Ryan in our bed....5 months, Azzie and Ryan taking turns talking, Azzie let's Ryan win the contest...4 months, Azzie is massaging his head on Ryan's feet while eating...3 months, Ryan is in his bassinet crying and Azzie is laying at the base...2 months, Ryan comes home upset with new band-aids on his legs from his shots at the doctors-Azzie walks over and rubs up against Ryan and stops his crying....1 month, Azzie is doing the 2AM feeding and rocking Ryan in his kitty arms to stop his whaling from a colic fit....2 days old, Ryan comes home for the first time and Azzie had a "Welcome Home Ryan" banner hanging up and then changed his first diaper. Really, Azzie has been around Ryan's entire life and for the first few months of life, was his only daily interaction with people besides his mom and I. Whenever Ryan would have his colic fits as a newborn, seriously, Azzie would come into the room to either compete who's louder or just to be in the room as if he wanted to help. Either way all the other cats would run like we were starting the vacuum. Az always plays with Turdman on the Beekman and always tries to sneak through the gate during night feedings. He always wants to be in the room with Ryan no matter if it is the bedroom at night time, bath room during bath time.
This makes me happy Ryan has made such a good friend. Even though it isn't a conventional friend to have, it is a good positive influence, which he needs. Azzie is loyal, always there when you need him, never poops on the carpet, comforts Ryan when he isn't feeling well, he is always nicely dressed and almost never uses profanity. Even though they can't talk to each other, I have a feeling that they understand each other. Azzie says 'I have a tail and you think it is a toy' and Ryan thinks, 'you have a tail and I think it is a toy'.  In closing, they always say that a dog is a man's best friend because it is loyal and has unconditional love. I feel that Azzie is Ryan's best friend because if anyone...anything...anycat that can cuddle you while you tug at his tail, whiskers or ears is either dumb or loyal and Azzie ain't no dummy. Sure he is just a cat and I know that life has more to offer than cats. Sure he will learn to be like his mama from his Nana, ever cared for by his teachers, Aunts(3), cousins and Uncles, learn great traits from his church and friends, but others can offer so much. Azzie is a true friend and I feel Ryan will learn from him to not just be loyal, but to be there for your friends no matter what - in good times and in bad times, happiness or hairballs, in pajamas or....well in fur.

Lights, Camera, Toupee Action!

July 21st, 2011

Not sure if you know this about Ryan's mother, Ang....she is a freaky, picture-taking-happy person. "Oh his first toe nail clipping 'click!'... oh, he is wearing the same outfit as last Thursday  'click!'....oh he is a day older 'click!'" I am not exaggerating. She is a nut case! If there was a support group for wasted mega-pixels, she would need a sponsor or three. What is more, she is not good at taking pictures. Too blurry, "what is white balance?" or she turns the camera sideways in order to get the entire world in the shot. Of course she is not the one editing these shots or the one that has to rotate that pics clockwise for one picture or counter-clockwise times two for the next shot. She reminds me of Austin Powers, "yeah baby, work it...give me a smile..all in here, okay you're a lemur...give me a growl..okay now look this way, NO! not here, look over there...aaaand I'm spent, GOOD SHOOT EVERYBODY!" In reality the only thing that she achieves is a confused baby who is one step closer to realizing his mommy is craaAAAZzzyy and a husband that dreads the camera download. 
Now blaming Ang for consuming all the memory in our external hard drive is not fair. I do have my fair share of blame, but mine are well thought out and it's understood that I am capturing the moment, not the entire space/time continuum.  I would also not be fair unless I threw his other family members under the bus.  I would like to thank Krista and Mandy.....my sister and her girlfriend...Ashley and Tami...want me to keep going? These ladies in Ryan's life are just fuel to this fire and I see no end any time soon. We entered Ryan in the baby contest at the County Fair (along with Brody) and I bet we had pictures from 6 different vantage points. They had more people taking pictures of them than George Clooney at the Oscars. The aforementioned snap-happy sirens are at every event, cook-out, bath time, baby sitting and breath of these kid's life- luring these poor dudes in with their rattles and squeaky toys just to get them to look at them for a picture. They think everything Ryan and Brody do is just the cutest. Well they may be right, but something has to be said about the repercussions of their actions. Think about the damage to their eyes from the flashes or the affect it could have on their egos. Ryan's head is already ninety-seven percentile so giving him a bigger head isn't necessary. 
I know what you are thinking- Chris, you are posting him all over the Internet and have a freaking blog all about him. All of your Facebook friends could pick him out of a line-up and he has fans in England and Japan. Further Chris, you have entered him in a baby contest and now his face is plastered in the paper. Well all that may be true and you all make a good point, but I have to say it is all about quality, not quantity.  I truly love my new muse. He is so fun to work with, write about, draw and photograph. He gives my creativity an outlet and I get to share him with everyone else via those mediums. We have family in Wisconsin, Alabama, Texas, Florida and friends all over this great country, so this blog and Facebook are a good way to let them see how he is growing up and what he is doing. That is my argument and it trumps the 800 pictures of his first sock that Ang has consuming our memory....not to mention she will never look at that picture again. 
The county fair was a great experience for Ryan and us because he was able to do it with his Cousin Brody. All of his Aunts, cousins and honorary Aunts filled the cattle barn with flashes and "awww's". Yes, Brody was freaking hilarious in his Lumberjack beard with a rick of wood and Ryan woo'ed the judges as a Baby Toupee salesman and yes the picture in the paper will be a memory to pull out of the picture box years from now and yes I understand we will have to send them to therapy because of it all. Something inside me says, who cares, he is only a baby once and we want to capture everything. There is also a part of me that says too much of anything is not good. Whatever the answer is I know that Ryan is a lucky dude for these people. Capturing these times is very important to all of us. Capturing history...and diaper changes is a great part of who we are as family. Everyone loves to look back at old pictures, especially when you can see if your kid has a resemblance to your old pictures. As for Ryan, I think in the future, when he is sitting around with his wife and wonders what his first fingernail clipping looked like he will be so thankful that his mother will have it in external hard drive 14, Gallery 312, Subsection B, Pictures 801-962. (click!)

Permission to Speak Freely, Rrrrrrrr!

July 5th, 2011

"Mrs. Steeno! This is the Chief and we need your son immediately! There is a situation downtown that we need to get to pronto, but it is rush hour. The streets are jammed with folks on their way home."  "Well, I'm not sure, he hasn't had his bottle yet and he..." Ang started to say before the Chief interjected.  "Ma'am, not to be rude or interrupt, but this is a matter of emergency, we need Ryan now!" Ang held the phone to her chest as to mute the receiver and sighed at the freshly prepared bottle in her hand, obviously frustrated at the untimely request by the Fire Chief. She looks over at the her son playing in his bouncy chair, wondering how this laughing baby, ever become involved into such important and heroic work? As she was pondering this question and started to drift to the beginning, her dream bubble burst by the muffled voice of Chief Pattudy. "Mrs. Steeno, please...Mrs. Steeno are you there?" "Yes, I'm here and Ryan will be ready by the time you get here." After a short pause she started to speak again, "Chief Pattudy, please take good.." Sensing the concern and apprehension in her voice the fire Chief cut in, "Mrs. Steeno, rest assured, he is in good hands. I have ten of my best and bravest men riding in the trucks today. He is safer with us than anywhere in the county and that includes the 'Made in China' bouncy chair he's always sitting in." Trying to add humor to his reassurances was never Chief Seymor Pattudy's strong suit. One of the benefits of living in this community, is that everyone knows the Chief and knows he means well.  Her thumb hit 'End Call' and thought to herself as she walked across the room toward Ryan, only one more week and we won't have to do this anymore. She set the phone down on the coffee table as she knelt down to Ryan in his bouncy chair. He looked up with is sweet eyes and gave her a big laughing smile. She picked him up, carried him over to a what looks like a red cage engulfing a harnessed nesting chair on a swivel. Ang opened the metal cage door and locked the swivel chair in place. In a sequence of automatic latching systems the harness retracted back and the seat rocked into the lay back position. Once the contraption was locked and ready, Ang lowered Ryan into the seat. After closing the cage door, it synced the nesting chair to strap him into place with restraints rolling over his shoulders and across his chubby belly. Finally strapped in, a fastening gantry pulled up from between his roly-poly thighs creating the final 'Click' Ang was listening for to ensure all is correct. Almost on queue there was a knock on the door. Three men stood in the doorway alongside Chief Pattudy. "All secure ma'am?" asked the chief. With an approving nod, the men went into action as if this were a standard operating procedure. Checking the cage, inspecting the straps they started transporting it towards the door. Once outside, the men then lifted the cage to a mechanical arm which in turn connected the cage to the top of the giant red fire engine. Just before the the contraption was lifted up, an officer ran out of the house yelling them to STOP. He knelt next to Ryan's cage and attached his favorite stuffed striped horse with the dangling feet. The officer ran squeezed his chubby cheek and resealed the cage. Almost as if he was just switched to ON, Ryan immediately started to kick and giggle. As all mothers do, Ang watched with concern - arms half crossed and chewing in the top of her index finger.  Observing the mothers unease, Chief walked over to Ang, "Ma'am, he's fine up there. We could drive off a cliff and that cage would be fine and I bet Ryan would be laughing all the way down."  Realizing he just did it again, the Chief made a mental note to work on his consoling practices. Man, I am 0 for 2 today.  
     Using a baby for a siren is unconventional, thought the Chief riding in the jumper seat on Engine 4. He was taught at a young age by his Grandmother, when life gives you scraps, you make a quilt.  As he watched his number one guy weave the 8 ton engine in and out of traffic he thought back to three weeks ago to the day. Blindfolding his mind he drifted to this particular day because it brought a huge storm of that damaged much of the community, including the fire station. For a community like this, it was devastating, but nothing that hindered spirits.....

          Just so you know I have a entire story written out, but I figured this entry could get pretty lengthy and I would never have a chance to let you know the true inspiration of this story. Let's just say Ryan has discovered his vocal cords and is now exercising his First Amendment right to free speech, even if it is full of goo's, ahhh's and Rrrrrrr's! The boy went from Mr. Giggles to non-stop talking and sounds. When he actually discovers words, look out! 
          They always say that the key to a good speaker is not the content of his speech, but the timing of his delivery. Ryan has reversed that theory and has impeccable "un-" timing. On Sundays during church, Pastor Kim always prefaces the Morning Prayer with, "Be still and know that I am God" and then she goes on to start the prayer in silence and reverent stillness. Now, this is usually my favorite part of church service because it is a discipline. To practice obedient silence or stillness.....very monk-like. I like to reflect on the week, think about the people I may have wronged or pray for folks that need help. I sink into a peaceful state. Pastor Kim then goes on to deliver the best prayer that covers everyone here at home and the adversities across the globe. Unfortunately Ryan has no clue what discipline, silence or stillness mean. This prayer is his queue to work on his impression of a pterodactyl and kick at nothing from his car seat. Real nice timing Ryan! I look at Ang as if to say,  can you believe someone is letting their kid do that in church, let alone during silence and reverent stillness? Sometimes we look around like it is someone else's kid. After church we will talk to folks and say, "Can you believe that loud kid during the service? Someone should take him out and put him in the daycare. I mean, those are some baa-aad parents. They should take a lesson from Ang and I, just look at our boy, he is a perfect.." Just then Ryan will let out a familiar screeching pterodactyl laugh...Crap! I don't think folks at church mind too much because at Pastor Boles' house, they were making comments that it doesn't bother them and how it is a welcomed sound in the church to hear kids. The congregation is a family and kids are part of a family. Plus, if they all minded too much, I doubt all the ladies would flock to our pew after church. Sometimes I will look up from talking to someone and Ryan will be six women deep down the aisle. It is the church mother's "pass-around" routine to get their chubby baby fix for the week - can't blame 'em!

          There have been many situations over the past month or so that will secure Ryan into the Loudest Baby Hall Of Fame, but I don't want to bore you with the details about car ride banter, morning waking conversations with himself, dirty diaper dialect, Beekman talks or even the talking while having a bottle in his mouth, but I will fill you in on a good story about Ryan and Brody's first 4th together. Every year Aunt Cathy (well Krista's Aunt Cathy, but everyone has called her Aunt Cathy since we were in school) has a 4th party. I remember shooting bottle rockets at each other out in the street with Travis, Perm and Kramer. Man,  I hope that is not Ryan and Brody 18 years from now. Anyway, during this year's fireworks over at Aunt Cathy's, I swear we could hear Ryan over the booming explosions. As Snider and Wood were setting themselves on fire as well as some fireworks, Ryan and Brody just hung out and watched.  I think Ryan tried to match the screaming of the whistler part of Snider and Wood's Firework Extravaganza. As always Brody would just chill as if he is too cool for school. Just before we went to Cathy and Wood's for the show we went out for pizza with Brandon, Krista, Shai and Brody, meeting Michelle, Bryce and Kyns. The poor waitress tried on two separate occasions to speak, but was overpowered by Ryan's playful squeals. Zip it Ryan, geez - you don't see Brody acting a fool!
          I really love that he is developing into this funny little man. He has been an absolute riot to watch grow. Sometimes I forget that he is just 6 months old and he doesn't know right from wrong, inappropriateness or that certain situations and actions can make you blush. That is what is so neat about kids at this age, the pureness (is that a word?) We will continue to document his royal loudness and show it to him one day when he is quiet in his room, too cool for Mom and Dad. Remember when you used to laugh ever time your mother coughed? This is when you were bouncing in your bouncy chair and would get so freaking excited I think you'd wet yourself. Oh well, like I always end these entries, I guess I will just enjoy his loudness and constant laughter while I can. One day he is going to be too old (or cool) to be the siren on top of the fire truck that is no doubt on its way to put out Snider and Wood.

Visit Say Cheese and see some of the 4th of July pictures