Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grandpa's 91st Birthday

 Tonight we met with family to celebrate my Grandpa Jim's 91st Birthday. Grandpa is a special man and it was nice to be able to share a meal with him and other members of our family.

Ryan likes to visit  "Gampa Vannah Koy" and his roommate Arnie at the nursing home. We were happy that Grandpa made a trip over with my mom to see our new house this week and we had a good time sitting outside and watching Ryan golf.

Ryan had a great time at the Pizza Ranch, getting his fill of pizza, cheesy Ranch sticks, mashed potatoes, applesauce, mandarin oranges, and ice cream, singing songs for everyone, and crawling around under the tables. He also had fun imitating Uncle Wade's face (or was Wade imitating him?) We were hoping Abbie's baby could share Grandpa's birthday, but it looks like we're all going to have to wait a little longer. Her due date is tomorrow and if she is half as excited as I am, she's about to jump out of her skin. (Okay, she's justifiably TWICE as excited as I am, so I'm guessing it's bordering on unbearable.)

Ryan picked out cards and colored them for Uncle Wade's and Great-Grandpa's birthday and we also gave my Grandpa a new picture collage for his bulletin board.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa! We love you!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cat and Moose

Ryan hasn't shown a lot of interest in stuffed animals, but with a rainy morning and waning interest in other various toys, I pulled his Cat and Moose out and got out his little lawn chair to play with. Ryan thought it was funny that the moose could sit on the stool.
He also like propping up the cat in the lawnchair and giving it a hug of comfort after it had been unceremoniously "rabbit-shook" by Nika.
Here's Ryan and his crew.

Where have the last two years gone?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Before & After: Kitchen

We have a tendency to buy houses with white walls. We also have a tendency to paint those white walls all sorts of bold colors.  On Saturday, my mom and I tackled the kitchen/dining area. Keying off our new accent chair in the living room, Adam and I picked a deep purple that has some red or brown tones in different light. Yes, this is the second kitchen I've painted purple, but I like this color even better than the last one.  For the half-wall by the stairs, we picked another bold color: spring green. It was brighter than we expected, but gives the area a fresh feeling and frames the dining area as a separate space from the kitchen prep area.



Now, we are looking for suggestions of what color to paint the big wall that leads down the stairs. This would ideally be the same color as the living room that opens to the kitchen and the entire hallway. Originally, it was going to be  light green or a buttery gold, but with the bold color the green turned out, we're thinking more tan now.  Thoughts?

P.S. Paint colors are Diamond Vogel 7719 for the green and AC 134 for the purple.

Friday, August 26, 2011

New Furniture

 Ryan says, "Look at the new chair Mommy and Daddy bought in Omaha!"

 "I helped Daddy put it together."

 "It's an accent chair for our living room and I think it's just my size!"

 "But the box is even MORE fun...Mommy and I colored it with crayons tonight--now it has a window, an airplane up high in the sky, and a puppy dog inside! I like to peek out the doors!"

 "Here is the dark brown leather recliner that will be coming in October."
"And here is the matching couch." (Didn't buy either set of pillows.)

"Now Mommy just has to pick out paint colors for the kitchen, living room, stairwell, and hallway...oh and figure out how she's going to do all this painting with such a big helper around!"

Any suggestions for paint colors? I'm sliding down the purple/orange/green slope but am afraid it can get semi-Mardi-Gras-ish very quickly. I just refuse to live in a "many shades o' brown" house.

It just wouldn't go with the purple front door.

Amazon Replaced my Broken Kindle

Wondering what a broken Kindle screen looks like? I wasn't. Not until I dug my Kindle out of my suitcase on Monday and discovered the "save" screen had these weird lines through the screen. And they didn't go away. Not when I turned it off and on (thanks for nothing, magic IT solution to all things). Not when I closed the cover and calmly placed it back on its bookshelf to give it a chance to think about whether or not it wanted to start playing nice. Not when I turned it upside down and shook it like an Etch-a-Sketch. Not even when I did a hard reset (slide power button and hold for either exactly 15 seconds or over 20 seconds, as suggested by many "broken Kindle formus").

Of all the forums and message boards I read, I spotted a glimmer of hope when someone suggested customer service might be able to help me out.  I called them at the U.S. Kindle Customer Service Number 1-866-321-8851 and after a menu or two I had a live agent. She asked for my Amazon account information, I described the problem with my screen, and she said they would replace my Kindle at no charge!! Yay!  She gave me simple instructions to check my email where a free shipping label was waiting for me to print, then when I received the new Kindle, to pack up my old one in the box and send it back with the shipping label. I was not charged anything-not even postage.  They do need a credit card number to keep on file in case you don't send the old one back.

The entire phone call was less than 5 minutes and the process was completely smooth. My new Kindle was literally on my doorstep two days later, and all the books I had purchased were accessible through the archived items. I gave them a shout-out on facebook because it's always nice to hear the good customer service stories instead of the bad (I'm talking about you, Countrywide Mortgage/Bank America).

I wanted to post this in case you or someone you know ever has the same situation where your Kindle screen breaks--make sure you call customer service before you go out and buy a new one! I'm not sure what I need to do differently to prevent another break. I had stored it in a nice case and didn't drop it or anything, but I guess I'll be careful how I pack it in a suitcase.

Thanks again, Kindle, for the great customer service! Can't wait to get back to reading! I don't think it's coincidence that I'm currently reading The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk on my Kindle at the same time I received exactly the kind of service he promotes.

Kudos, Kindle (even though you broke)
You're Amazing, Amazon (even if you make me go broke with your irresistible free shipping threshold)

Sunday, August 21, 2011


On Sunday night, we headed to my friend Aftin's dad's farm for a bonfire with a few other high school friends. The boys had fun watching the cows.

And riding on their daddy's shoulders.
We roasted hot dogs and s'mores and had a great time catching up.

Ryan and me with Stef & Piper and Aftin & Walter.
Thanks for the fun night!

Rynomite goes Round and Round

Ryan did relatively okay on the trip to and from Omaha, considering he never napped in the car. We don't have a portable DVD, so we tried to watch Mighty Ducks on our laptop on the way there (battery ran out after 20 minutes) and watched some Shrek on the way home. Those are the closest thing I have to kid-friendly movies. Maybe we'll get a portable DVD for his birthday or something and then I'm pretty sure I could just tape a few episodes of Sports Center and maybe an Animal Planet show here and there and he'd love it.

Besides snacking (goldfish, raisins, grapes, string cheese), the thing that keeps him most entertained is watching himself on video. I had a few of his "singing" videos on my iphone and a few of him running through the sprinkler. He LOVES watching himself sing and he joins right in with a big grin on his face. So, to keep our sanity on Sunday night during another car ride, I recorded him singing "Wheels on the Bus". It's kind of long, but I think you'll like his different interpretive phrasing and arm movements for "All through the town." He's keeping up with a syncopated rhythm and a rat-tat-tat-tat...okay now we're getting carried away.  I'm thinking this video on my phone will be a back-pocket trick I can pull out when he starts to get really sick of riding. Plus, I won't have to sing it anymore, PTL, because now whenever I start singing with him, he says "Mommy, no!" I can take a hint, there, kid.

So, here it is...Rynomite "you spin me right round" singing the classic parents=bonkers hit, "Wheels on the Bus."

Uncle Andy & Aunt Kim

Ryan got to go along with us to Omaha, but instead of accompanying us to the furniture mega-plex, wedding, and reception, he got to spend lots of quality time with Uncle Andy and Aunt Kim!

The night we arrived, he stayed up late to "play toys" with Andy and waited for Kim to get home from work.

During the break between the wedding and reception, we went back to Andy's and he took Ryan swimming!
 Ryan was trying out his "butterfly" inflatable ring and arm floaties for the first time. He was pretty proud marching all the way to the pool with his new accessories.  Once in the pool with Andy, he had a blast and threw an absolute fit when we had to leave the pool 45 minutes later.

We had a bit of a rough night sleeping since Ryan doesn't do well sleeping in the same room as us. And therefore we do not do well either. In fact, we don't sleep at all. After many different tactics (on the couch, on the floor, on the bed, one of us on the floor, one of us on the bed) I finally just put him back in the Pack N Play and let him cry for a bit and he eventually settled down.  In the morning we were so tired that we overslept a bit and I didn't dare turn around to check the time at the risk that I'd be staring at a little tow-head who thought it was time to get up even though it was way too early. I held out as long as I could and finally turned over when I heard suspicious noises.
 Note to self, do not put Pack & Play near a nightstand that holds a box of Kleenex. He had actually scrunched up and blown his nose on all of them. He's an excellent nose blower-especially at his age...something he may want to consider putting on his future resume: "Early adopter of Nose Blowing."  At this point we only had 45 minute to shower, get ready, eat breakfast, get Ryan ready, pack the van and get out the door.  Ryan kept busy watching Buster, Andy's classroom hamster. I think Buster remembered a little incident they had last year and seems to be saying, "So...we meet again."
Andy also entertained Ryan by showing him some live books on his nook. 
Uncle Andy has a Nook. 
Uncle Andy reads a book. 
Ryan took a look at the book on his Nook.

Then, it was time to say goodbye to Uncle Andy and Aunt Kim. Hugs and kisses all around, says Ryan!
Thanks, Andy and Kim for letting us stay with you and for taking care of Ryan! We really appreciate it and hope to see you again soon!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nikki's Wedding

Last weekend we headed down to Omaha to see Andy & Kim and to attend Nikki's wedding. Nikki is a friend of mine from high school and it was so much fun seeing her in her gorgeous gown and getting to see other classmates and friends again. Here's a picture of some of our "Class of 2000".

The reception and dance were a ton of fun and it was great hanging out with some of the girls again!

Thanks, Nikki, for inviting us! We had a great time and wish you and your groom all the blessings in the world!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rynomite's Got the Joy

Adam's mom taught Ryan this classic Sunday School song, which you can see he has embraced with great enthusiasm. He is also slightly in love with the camera (see the end). My favorite part is the re-emergence of the German accent first seen in "How I vonder vut oo awe", now displayed in the question, "Vare?"

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Grandpa's Church

August 14, 2011 was the last time Adam's dad preached at the Reformed Church in Hometown. After 15 years leading that congregation, he has accepted a call to another church. The great news for us is that it's only about 10 miles from where we live! We attended his "last lecture" and heard a terrific sermon from someone we love and admire very much. 

Ryan thought it was pretty cool to hang out on the stage after church.

And even more fun to play "keep away" from Grandpa.

It was a little sad to walk away from church. This church is the reason Adam and I ever met--his family moved here in 8th grade. It's the church my dad grew up in and my Grandma, Aunt & Uncle still attend. It's where we got married. The people have been wonderfully kind to our family. But, sometimes it's time to move on to the next chapter of here's a kind farewell to FRC. We'll mis you!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ryan & Lincoln

Lincoln (bird legs) and Ryan (fence post) watching the hot air balloon (tiny speck above Ryan's head) from the gazebo in our backyard.
I was going to crop this picture and make the post just about the "hot balloon" the boys were watching, but my favorite part of this picture is my grandma watching two of her great-grandsons make grand discoveries.
No one would mistake them for twins, but I think these two will have a lot in common (like their mothers making them divide their nickels into Savings, Tithe, and Spending and probably having to take piano lessons whether they like it or not.)
There is lots to discover in the big, big, backyard when you have views like the Fareway parking lot and the dumpster at the Nederlander. Sounds like an episode of Dora to me. Let's go exploring! Who can spot the Frito-Lay's delivery truck? Is there anyone bringing cans to the redemption trailer? Don't go near the power station! Okay, so I don't watch Dora and I'm guessing there's more Spanish and monkeys and less cul-de-sacs.
Grandma and Grandpa sure love their grandsons (and grand-daughter) and grandchild-to-come. But as you saw in the previous post, getting them all in a picture is about as likely as the Twins making the playoffs (but thanks for your loyalty, Dad).

It was fun having my family over for supper in our new house-we enjoyed the fellowship and the food turned out well (although next time I'll have a strong urge to just order pizza). So glad they could come over and it's always a treat for Ryan to play with his cousins! He got to spend all of Thursday with them and even got to introduce the Splash Pad to Lincoln and Emily. What a fun time for "the little guys" as Emily calls them.