Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

May the love of Jesus be felt in your home today and each day this year.

I pray God's blessings on each and every one of you as we remember a tiny baby that changes the world.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Introducing Colin...

Colin Cavanaugh Ryan...

Sometimes God has miracles planned for you, in our case that was Colin. Not only has he been a little miracle to us as a family, but he also probably saved my life. While pregnant with him (which was totally unexpected!) we had an ultrasound, which was unusual on its own since Chloe, Stephen, Paige and Quinn didn't have them (well, Quinn had one 12 hours before he was born, but that hardly counts). I decided that I wanted to know if I was having a girl or a boy so I could be prepared and at the ultrasound they said it was a girl. So I started buying pink and we had a name picked out and everything was wonderful until we got a call saying they found a mass of tissue in my uterus that wasn't supposed to be there. We needed to go in two weeks later and have another ultrasound to see if it had grown any. Well, this couldn't be good. We started praying and got others on board in prayer as well. Two weeks later at the ultrasound we found out its not a girl, its a boy! Oh, and by the way, the mass is still there, it hasn't grown but you are now considered a high risk pregnancy, I can't see you anymore, you need to go to a specialist in Omaha. In the middle of all this I heard the song, "Before The Morning" by Josh Wilson on the radio and it really spoke to me in my situation. I listened to it over and over through the next few weeks. At the same time I got more and more prayer and as we prepared to go to Omaha I just wanted to hear from the doctor that it wasn't cancer. On March 17th, St. Patrick's Day, we traveled to Omaha and had a 3rd ultrasound. As we waited for the doctor to come in with the results we just confirmed with each other one last time that this baby was from God and his health and safety were first priority. The doctor came in looking perplexed and said, "Well, I don't know why your doctor sent you down here, but there is nothing abnormal on your ultrasound at all. You are perfect, the baby is perfect and I don't foresee that you should have any issues from here on out." Praise God - total healing! Yet, if it wasn't for the pregnancy in the first place who's to say when we might have discovered that mass of tissue. Matt and I went to Grisanti's to celebrate and we picked out names while we were eating. Our baby (definitely boy the 3rd ultrasound confirmed!) was to be Colin Cavanaugh - Colin meaning "Victorius / Destined" and Cavanaugh meaning - "Caring / Discerning". On July 25th we had a perfect little blond baby boy (with tons of blond hair!). He will be 5 months old on Christmas Day and is an absolute blessing to our family. He has a wonderful sense of humor, loves to laugh and wants to have conversations with people - you must make eye contact when he jabbers! All the kids adore him as do Mommy and Daddy. He is the cherry on top the gift of my family - God proves Himself to be generous above and beyond our wildest dreams. Colin is my little kiss from Heaven.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Introducing Paige and Quinn...


I have introduced you to my oldest kids - Sarah and Philip and I've introduced you to my middle kids - Chloe and Stephen. Now it's time to introduce my younger kids - Paige and Quinn.

At age 6, Paige is my baby girl and while she still likes to cuddle sometimes and enjoys "Mommy/Paigie" time she is NOT my "girlie girl". Pink is her favorite color but she prefers to wear it with no frills, ruffles or lace. Give her jeans and t-shirts anyday and if they happen to match her big sister Chloe's clothes then she is even happier! I have to beg her to wear dresses and I have finally realized that if she says she's not going to wear it, it doesn't matter how cute I think it is... she really isn't going to wear it so I won't buy it. Paige has a smile that lights up a room and she is just a tiny, petite, little thing. People mistake her for being younger, but it doesn't bother her. She just smiles her little smile and says, "Thank you." She enjoys dance and following in her sister's footsteps or dance steps. She is already starting to do some of the trick flips and lifts that Chloe typically does. Paige has a few friends she likes to play with but there is no doubt that Chloe is her best friend. And God knew she would make a fantastic big sister because when she was four God blessed us with Quinn and then this year Colin came along and Paige is always there to help with them when needed. Quinn is already following in her footsteps.

Quinn defines "spark plug" in our family and he is the most "2" of all the 2 year olds we've had. Our lives would definitely NOT be the same without him. He is the first child that I was pregnant with while teaching dance and I can tell. I taught dance the entire 10 months (43 weeks) that I was pregnant and all you have to do is turn on the stereo and it becomes obvious. His rhythm and movements are incredible and he learns the choreography that his older brothers do. His favorite dance this fall was "Jingle, Jingle" that the older boys did with Chloe's class and every week Quinn would come over and "practice" with them. The boys wanted him to perform with them and I said, "No, if he performs with you then no one will watch you, they won't be able to stop watching Quinn." And it's the truth. He has an infectious smile, the biggest brown eyes you've ever seen and a sense of humor that keeps our entire family in stitches. He is his Grandpa Tom's boy and they are quite the duo. But when it comes right down to it, he is very serious about his dancing. A few of his other favorite things include "playing guitar" and having others play Guitar Hero while he "plays" along. He is definitely our most musically inclined child.

Next up is our baby boy, our miracle baby, Colin...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Emily of Deep Valley" Book Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Emily of Deep Valley
Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (October 12, 2010)
Mitali Perkins

I have never read the classic Maud Hart Lovelace books including her Betsy-Tacy books and Emily of Deep Valley. I have been collecting the Betsy-Tacy books so I can read them with my daughters so when I had the opportunity to get this new re-release of Emily of Deep Valley I had to try it. I am pleased to say that I am looking forward to the Betsy-Tacy books based on this one (though this one actually comes after the others chronologically). It really took me back to the simple times of my childhood when some of my best friends came in the form of characters in classic books (Laura Ingalls Wilder, Trixie Belden, The Bobbsey Twins, The Boxcar Children, The Happy Hollisters, etc...) girls who lived in worlds where so many of today's issues didn't exist. With places and people that were quirky and fun and all around books that I don't have to censor for my children.
I am thrilled to have finally discovered Maud Hart Lovelace and the beautiful new packaging that this classic book comes wrapped in.


A word from Mitali: Who In The World Is Mitali Perkins?

That's a good question. I've been trying to figure it out myself, spending most of my life crossing borders.

I was born Mitali Bose in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, and always tried to live up to my name—which means “friendly” in the Bangla language. I had to! Because my family moved so much, it was the only way I could make new friends.

By the time I was 11, I'd lived in Ghana, Cameroon, London, New York and Mexico before settling in California just in time for middle school. Yep, I was the new kid again, in seventh grade, the year everybody barely makes it through.

My biggest lifeline during those early years was story. Books were my rock, my stability, my safe place as I navigated the border between California suburbia and the Bengali culture of my traditional home.

After studying political science at Stanford and public policy at U.C. Berkeley, I taught in middle school, high school and college. When I began to write fiction, my protagonists were often—not surprisingly—strong female characters trying to bridge different cultures.

Mitali Perkins is the author of several books for young people, including SECRET KEEPER (Random House), MONSOON SUMMER (Random House), RICKSHAW GIRL (Charlesbridge), and the FIRST DAUGHTER books (Dutton).


Often cited as Maud Hart Lovelace’s (of Betsy-Tacy fame) best novel, Emily of Deep Valley is now back in print, with a new foreword by acclaimed young adult author Mitali Perkins and new archival material about the characters’ real lives.

Emily Webster, an orphan living with her grandfather, is not like the other girls her age in Deep Valley, Minnesota. The gulf between Emily and her classmates widens even more when they graduate from Deep Valley High School in 1912. Emily longs to go off to college with everyone else, but she can’t leave her grandfather. Emily resigns herself to facing a “lost winter,” but soon decides to stop feeling sorry for herself. And with a new program of study, a growing interest in the Syrian community, and a handsome new teacher at the high school to fill her days, Emily gains more than she ever dreamed...

In addition to her beloved Betsy-Tacy books, Maud Hart Lovelace wrote three more stories set in the fictional town of Deep Valley: Winona’s Pony Cart, Carney’s House Party and Emily of Deep Valley. Longtime fans and new readers alike will be delighted to find the Deep Valley books available again for the first time in many years.

If you would like to browse inside Emily of Deep Valley, go HERE.