Saturday, October 30, 2010

a party for my Lebe

We call Leland all sorts of names:

Lee Lee
Le Ry
 but our favorite name for him is Lebe (Lee-Bee) - just cuz it's happy and he's happy and he makes us happy.

Today we celebrated his sweet & precious life with close friends & family.  I had fun with this party - especially after always wanting to celebrate a birthday in the fall.  Here are some photos of the event.  I know he will not remember....but we will never forget.
Homemade Italian wedding soup, Mac 'n' Cheese; decadent peanut butter bars, and pumpkin muffins
Cupcakes that capture the joy this child contagiously gives out
Cookie Decorating Station with take-home boxes
L-Decor - homemade picture garland utlizing the letter press birth announcements we sent out once he arrived.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Kajal Girls (Photo by Dan O'Keefe) aka "Kajal boy"

So those of you who know me.  I mean, really know me. 
You know I'm a passionate girl. 
I go hard or I go home.

Recently, I've been working on a project
that has been so exciting.
It's been a project that will help our city.
Help our economy.
Unify CLE.

It's honestly a very small metaphor
to the very big endeavor in this world today.
Pride about where we come from.
Acceptance of diversity.
Appreciation of truth, even if it's not on trend.
Desire for relationship with people who look/speak/act different than us.

Cleveland went through a hard time this year.  This basketball-player-guy left.
He was allowed to leave.  I wish him luck.
It's just the way in which he left.
 Cleveland is used to heartache, they say.
I think, however, it's GOT to be one of the most underrated towns around.

What I have learned recently is that this city is not JUST beautiful because of its:
  • Coast
  • Cleveland Metroparks
  • Skyline
  • Historical Districts
  • Nationally renown cuisine
  • Theatre districts
  • Fantastic & Affordable boutiques
  • Bridges
  • Rivers
  • Ballparks
  • Historical hotels
  • Century old homes & churches
  • Architecture and Charm
  • Affordability
  • World Class Healthcare
It's richness is in the kindess of the man who pulls over to make sure
the little stuffed animal he found on the road got home to a teary 2-year old.

It's in the phenomenal chefs who choose Cleveland to start their business
and transport us to all parts of the world through their cuisine.

It's in the small & large business owners who choose to
take risks each and everyday so that Cleveland can have more jobs.

It's in the authentic people who desire to see others succeed in what they do.

I love choosing to look at what is great - believing the best - choosing what is right over what is assumed.
I mean, if I were a city, that's what I'd want too.

Christine, Jonathan Sawyer (Chef/Owner of the Greenhouse Tavern), and me! Photo by Mike Jones

Friday, October 22, 2010

all in how you look at it.

It's been one of those weeks. 
Hectic. Busy. 
My housework didn't all get done. 
My laundry sits in baskets.

I had a talk with my husband last night about gratitude. 
I looked back.  I remembered. 
Times when life was tougher. 
When I felt like I was owed something. 
When I felt like I deserved better. 
Then I open my eyes to the reality of life. 
I am so grateful. 

At the start of 2010, Joel and I had a talk.
Surrounding contentment
Our prayer in 2010 was to live in the moment. 
Isn't it a shame when we anticipate the future 
and lose the joy of the present?

I find it hard to be anything but joyful 
when I live a life of thanksgiving. 
It's hard for me to throw myself a pity party
when no one is joining me in it.  
It's not a fun party to attend anyway.

In a meeting this week, the subject of 'what is cool" came up.
I have not forgotten what was this person told me. 
"I stopped caring if people think I'm cool" 
and I just thought...
'that is pretty cool." 

Off to love life and thank God for each bit of it. 
I love life just how Leland loves his blankie.
Hope you are too.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

the real Leland Ryan

Many of you know Leland via Facebook...see him here and there at social functions. 

I am here today to tell you about another VERY side of Leland.

He is into mischief.  Plain and simple.  He is a little mouse with how quietly he will find trouble to get into.  In fact, all within a 30 minute period of time today he managed to:

1-Crawl into the diswasher
2-Climb up half way the stairs
3-Unfold all the laundry (this one i noticed from the giggling)
4-Play with the modem
5-Remove all the tupperware from one entire cabinet
6-Empty out half of my makeup kit

L likes to get into the modem cables         

He looks innocent and sweet....but if he is awake....then he is up to something!  ;-)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I remember the thought of a first kiss.  It used to freak me out.  I've heard it said that a woman judges the future of a relationship based on a first kiss.  I've had some bad 'first kisses' but I remember when Joel and I started becoming friends...and then a little more than friends.  I remember him trying to nab that first peck.  I kept on refusing...


I really really liked him.

I was kind of afraid that, if the kiss was bad, it would spoil it. 

It was date after date and I could feel that impending energy...."Ahh....he's going to try and kiss me again!" and somehow, some way, I'd figure a way out of it.  ;-)  Little did I know that my avoidance of the inevitable kiss only made him try harder. 

As the years have gone by, I've enjoyed the simple meaning of a kiss and how it expresses such care.  I love when I give my mom a hug and kiss on her cheek - a special bond only she and I share.  I love when I see my husband kiss my Grandma upon greeting her.  I've enjoyed each and every kiss with my little lover, Jude.  While he tries to act all 'too cool for school' - he is a tender child with more love to give than I even realize.  Most recently, I've been amused at my little 11 month old, Leland and his attempts to kiss.  Most of those involve a wide open mouth, a great glob of slobber and a big ole smile afterward. 

Don't take those little kisses for granted.  They are magical.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oct 16

We had a great visit with Ry & Kim and the kids this weekend.  Joel's brother and our sister inlaw are some of the few people we laugh til we cry with.  It's refreshment in so many ways.

Our weekend started out with a night out in downtown Kalamazoo...delicious food, excellent customer service and live music.  Laughter is always present.  I love that.

Joel & I not only drove to MI to visit our fam but to celebrate our nephew, Elijah.  He turned 10 Saturday, October 16.  Elijah is not just any 10 year old.  He is one of the most tender little men I have ever known.  I love that Jude looks up to him so much.

Elijah's life and age are symbolic as Joel and I met and became friends right around the time he was born. He was also the first grandbaby on Joel's side and we have such sweet memories of him growing up.  Seeing those 10 candles on the cake made me so grateful for his sweet life and spirit.

On his 5th birthday, tragedy came, however.  Joel's brother passed away on Oct 16, 2005.  I will never forget Joel getting that dreadful phonecall...the tears...the shock.  A sunday afternoon that should have been merely spent celebrating Elijah's 5years of life...became a day we learned of Matt's death.

As the years have gone by, we celebrate Elijah on that date...and hug him a little tighter.  We miss Matt terribly.  His life creates an unmistakeable hole in our family...but we celebrate the gift of life in Elijah.  For that, we are SO grateful. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

like father like son

i just cannot believe the resemblance between my youngest and my husband.  There is something so wonderful about seeing the face of my son in my love....and my love's face in my son's. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

ah life

I can't believe how long its been since I've poured out my heart on this little blog.

I sit here, for the first time in 2 weeks, with a few minutes to spare.  I can hardly believe just a year ago I was taking it easy, super duper pregnant, chilling with Jude during the day and watching foodnetwork tv. These days, it's been literally GO GO GO - all the while, with the same (plus way more) responsibilities of the family.

It felt good to stop and breathe this morning.  I cleaned my windows and little Leland followed me around.  His breathing is unmistakeable.  His giggles make me pee in my pants.

I guess after a hectic season, it always feels good to stop and notice the blessing of stillness.

Joel and I had a fantastic date night last weekend - I'm still reeling from the conversation...the food and the night as a whole.  He just completed the design of the 80+ page historical book commemorating the Cleveland City Mission.  It was a project he willing took...not just as a side job to provide for us....but because it was something he loved and believed in.  (pic of the book he designed below)

Last weekend was the banquet officially celebrating the 100-year birthday of the CLE City Mission.  It was emotional to say the least.  I listened to countless stories of lives changed by the acts of mercy over a hundred years.  It is truly possible that we joined some of the most compassionate and kind people in all our city in just that one night.

I love that my husband is, in a small way, a part of that rich history.  I love that we got to sit and be a witness to the faithfulness of God through human hands. 

Isn't the book SO pretty???  Way to go baby!  ;-)