Thursday, August 30, 2012

ava's reaction.

as i said before we wanted to document ava's reaction to the news of a new little sister. as you might imagine we did not know what we were going to get. but we did see a little reaction and you can watch it HERE.

in case you missed it she said she will teach the baby to play guitar and color. sounds good to us.

 * * *

i have not mentioned this before on the blog...mostly because i know there can be a range of opinions when it comes to pacifiers and bottles. i have learned a few things since becoming a mother and one of them what you need to do to get your child to sleep.

thus we have the bottle.

when ava was 7 months old and i had to stop nursing because of chemo we switched real quick to formula and bottles. then around september ava decided to wake up real early (5am or so) very unchractersitic of her and i made a little mistake. i started making her a bottle and giving it to her in her bed. it soothed and she feel back asleep until around 9am. dream. after a week or so i asked my mom about this and she informed me that it was not good for her to fall asleep with milk in her mouth. so we decide to stop. after 1.5 hours of crying and unable to fall asleep without a bottle we started giving her a clean, empty bottle when she went to sleep. basically to soothe her like a pacficer but it was a bottle. i set goals. after chemo we will get rid of it. after nyc trip we will get rid of it. then we moved so i could not disrupt sleep during a big life change. then i got pregnant and was so sick i needed her to sleep well during naps and through the night. ava is an incredible sleeper. we are so thankful. needless to say i have been making excuses for bascially 2 years as to why i could not take this bottle away from her. it comforted her. she loves it. why take that away?

however, randomly a month ago i told her that if she gave her bottle to the baby she could go pick out her very own lipstick. she did not love the idea. so yesterday i tried again after she has bitten through the nipple. ha. i just laughed. i am so immature. i explained that we were done and we had no more bottles...she quickly said, "i bite it. give it to the baby and i can get lipstick." so we did. after about an hour of crying she slept for the first time since she was 7 months old without her bottle. i did not cave. i stayed strong and she did it. seriously people this was a huge milestone for our family and it was about a bottle. but if you have tried to get your kid off a pacifier than you get how huge this is.

as soon as she woke up (she slept fine but not as long as usual) she said, "lipstick!" off we went. she naturally chose bright bright pink. always a classy choice. she was yelling, "woo hoo!!" all through rite aid.

night time was a bit tougher. she cried and tossed and turned for about 2.5 hours. when i checked her monitor at 11pm and she was still moving around my heart sank. i felt so guilty. it's just a bottle? i should go give it back to her...but after a few minutes she fell asleep and slept until 8am. we have officially moved past sleeping with a bottle. victory.

this weekend we are headed back to chesapeake for leslie and coleman's wedding. we are so excited. justin is marrying them. i am the maid or matron but i like maid better of honor. ava is the flower girl and we are honored to all be apart of this huge day. more to come on the wedding next week. we will be on instagram documenting the weekend. my username is: libbyryder

the bridal party is getting ready in oxford shirts...thus we needed a mini one for ava.

enjoy your thursday. it is almost friday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

it's another little girl.

the big news. we will welcome another little girl this coming january.
here she is a bit smashed...but she is perfect to us.

we sat holding hands real tight as the ultrasound technician took what seemed like hundreds of little measurements and photos. she kept saying..."oh, beautiful. right on. good job. looks great." to which there are no words for what those words did to our hearts. we could breathe. she is fine and she is healthy and she is ours. something we do not take for granted. not even a little bit what an incredible miracle all of this is. when we saw her little profile and her ankles crossed we knew it was a girl...ava crossed her ankles when she was a baby, too. when she officially announced it was a girl...i wept. a boy would have been the best but in our heart we knew it was a girl. in a second i could envision our family and what ava would be like and that it will probably be hard b/c girls can be a pain for sure. mostly i cried because we are here. i am 20 weeks pregnant with a healthy little girl. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!? this is real. this is life. i did not know if my body would ever be healthy and strong enough to grow a little human. but it is. God is good. this is incredible. i realize i have been pregnant for a while now and you would think the joy and emotion would already have sunk in...but clearly not. seeing her little hands and feet and how she likes her hands real close to her nothing short of one of the most amazing things i have ever seen. she is a she not an it or a baby...but our daughter. almost exactly two years ago to date i sat in a chair wondering if i would see ava grow up or grow old with justin and in two short years i am healthy, with a little girl on the way, and my hair is to my shoulders. who would have thought? but i love it. i love that time heals. i love that in one second everything seems to change forever and then you realize that in the midst of all the ways it changed us...we are making it and our story will not define us but simply add to our character, our heart, our strength, our life, our family, and how this little girl...she signifies victory. ava gave me purpose to fight and this little girl has given me hope. hope of a full and more complete life than i ever imagined. today my heart is bursting with thankfulness.


we want to tell ava together that she is going to have a sister so we are waiting for tonight when justin is home from work. i may even video tape it. so if she does something real cute or even if she does not we will have it recorded. instead we celebrated with lunch at the park even though ava had no idea what we were celebrating.

she is constantly on a bug hunt. today it was butterflies.

thankful for technology because we feel so many of you celebrating this joy alongside us.

Friday, August 24, 2012

baby post

i always love seeing my real friends and even my blog friends (who i do not know personally but feel like we are friends. if you read blogs maybe you can relate) little and big pregnant belly's. i also like to keep track of how i looked and how i felt and not forget the hundreds of emotions and thoughts that all rush together during pregnancy.

so here you go: baby ryder number #2 at 19.5 weeks.

a few little things i don't wanna forget about baby number two:

*threw up, constant nausea, bad skin, and exhausted for first 15 weeks.

* i like to eat and trying to be healthy but what comes to mind specifically is: salsa and pretzels. pickles. popcorn with hot sauce on it. anything chick fila sells. frosted mini wheat cereal. lots of water with limes. ice cream (from kline's is the best and almost eating it daily. uh-oh.). greek salads. frozen grapes and blueberries. i do eat protein and veggies.

*hate coffee for the first 15 weeks and then i am good to go again. but only decaf.

*this pregnancy has been nearly identical to ava's...sick for a little bit and then basically feel like myself just a little larger.

*more anxious for labor and delivery than with ava b/c know i know what is coming.

*i will be wearing leggings basically for the next 4-5 months. don't judge.

*i am finally beginning to feel our little one move inside me. not a lot but enough know he/she is there.

*ava loves to talk to my belly and yesterday told me she was going to teach the baby to dance.
ah, i love that.

*hey little baby...your daddy is obsessed with you. get ready. he can't wait to meet you.

baby gender will be revealed next week tuesday. can. not. wait.

Monday, August 20, 2012


our home feels right and comfortable...maybe for the first time since we moved to our new little city and new home. i think most of it has to do with that fact that for nearly three months we have been packing, unpacking, driving, flying, and traveling all over the east coast and MI...but now we are home and i can feel it. i do not mind being on the go. i like traveling. we desire adventure and exposing ava to new places and people. creating memories that will help define her childhood. summer camp. the beach. time with family. road trips. woven through all that is our little ava building relationships with her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and the special treat of being a young life staff kid and in turn being loved and cared for by people she may not actually be related to...but love her and teach her and guide if she were their own. i love that. i treasure that. thank you.


i think mostly what is going on is that we just needed to get through this year. the first year anywhere can be so hard. it is all about firsts. everything you do is with new people. i have often felt insecure and lonely and missed what is meant to be known. to do life alongside people who know you...your heart..your story...where you have been and where you are going. i hope you have people like that around you. wherever you might be it changes everything to have relationships that are real and genuine and safe. where you can be you...really you...and show the parts of yourself that might be embarrassing or that yours not proud of but where you desire to grow and evolve and change.

i think we are moving in a direction where life here is becoming more comfortable and the people around us do not feel so new. my heart is healing. i believe with everything that i have that sometimes in life you just need time. i think i needed time here to adjust. to be me. to be vulnerable. to feel secure again. we moved here during a time where i felt so incredible unstable. six months post-cancer. ava at 18 months was by far the toughest age thus far. i felt scared, alone, and sad. even with justin beside me and friends all over the country and more relationships than i am able to keep up with sometimes...i still felt unsure of who i was, where i was going,  and most of all if i would every completely heal emotionally from cancer. physically i was healthy. thank the Lord. but emotionally and spiritually i felt drained and empty. i am so much more aware now of where i was then and where i am now.

pregnancy brought a lot of the physical pain and discomfort that reminded me of cancer back full force when the nausea, fatigue, and throwing up lasted 15 weeks.  so now that physically i am enjoying pregnancy and the sickness has subsided my overall well-being feels healthier. i am beginning for the first time in a long time to be me again. to experience joy. to celebrate life. to keep my eyes on what matters. not so focused on what is hard and what i wish was different. today is a good day. my house is clean (for the first time in 3 months). i played with ava really played. i want to be that mom way more. i am counting the days until 8.28 to find out the gender of this little baby. i envision ava as a big sister. what the nursery will look like. who will come to the hospital. my growing belly and rejoicing that i felt the baby move today. more than a little flutter...but real movement. there is nothing more real than feeling a little babe move inside your womb. it is unfreaking-believable. rejoicing to be a place in this pregnancy where it is not clouded by horrible pain and nausea. but instead i am just me with a bigger belly and bigger butt.

thankful for healing and growth. i will continue to do both.

Friday, August 17, 2012

check up and ava.

yesterday i took a little drive. about an hour away to the UVA cancer center. this was the first appointment i have gone to alone. it was my choice. i had already cancelled the appointment in july b/c we are gone so much so when it was rescheduled to yesterday and justin was at wyldlife camp (young life for middle school students) i knew i would do this one alone and i felt ready. mostly because i am not having any symptoms or anything that is cause for concern. they just like to keep tabs on me and get some blood work and then feel around for any lumps. all is clear and it will never get old. the whole..."everything looks great libby." although i was not anticipating hearing anything different it does put my heart at rest to know that i am healthy. healthy enough to be growing a little baby inside me. i am 18.5 weeks and feeling good. i love chips and salsa and pickles. they seem to be two consistent food items i am always ready to eat. other than that i just feel a little bit slower. i am anxious to find out what we are having in the next couple weeks and then i can begin the nursery planning and figuring out if we can use ava's clothes or if we are starting at square one with a little boy. either way i am good to go.


ava is growing up. for real this little girl is saying funny stuff and her personality is so evident. she is mostly like her daddy. pretty much everyone says she looks like justin...but with my lips.

she is busy. active. and a little crazy sometimes. she is for sure our little extrovert. she will be relaxed with me and the second people show up she is showing off, singing, and running around ready to go.

some things i do not want to forget about ava at 2.5 yrs:

favorite food: bagel and cream cheese. any form of cheese. dora the explorer yogurt. oj, lemonade, water, milk, and sprite on special occasions. blueberries. bananas. popsicles all day everyday if she could. the basics: mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, hot dogs. not a huge veggie fan so we are working on that. loves guacamole and black beans. we are a chipotle eating family.

favorite songs:  call me maybe. we are young and bunny songs my mom taught her.

favorite shows: mickey mouse clubhouse, max and ruby, and cailou.

favorite dvd: clifford. curious george. strawberry shortcake.

obsessed with: being a ballerina. dancing. singing. lip gloss. nail polish and doing things all by herself.  she is for sure our little independent woman.

funny things she says: "i am going to rough you up" (daddy taught her that while they were play wrestling) "i need a second." "where are we going?" "what time is it?" (over and and over and over)

currently: sleeps in a crib (she LOVES it). not potty trained (our goal is by the time the baby arrives). barely has any hair and is called a boy 9 times out of 10 (regardless of what she is wearing. ie pink does not seem to help people). still allergic to: eggs, peanuts, and mustard (in turn when she is playing with her kitchen everything she makes is peanut butter).

we you not the best at: sharing, sometimes push, and take things from others. you get easily frustrated if you can't figure something out.

what you are real good at: manners. putting on our shoes. listening (most of the time). coloring. "reading" books, singing. dancing. smiling. giving hugs and kisses. remembering who people since she seems to meet new people everyday. traveling. sleeping all sorts of places. making friends. talking and your deep concern for others when they appear sad or upset. i have prayed for you to have heart that is full of compassion and empathy. i hope it only grows deeper and deeper.

ava. my sweet and active little girl. i am thankful we have you and our family will only have one of you. what a gift that is. i am thankful for your spirit and desire for adventure. i love that we are a little team and you want to go everywhere with me but the second daddy comes home you become more interested in him than me...i am okay with that. you are beautiful. to daddy and i you are the most stunning little girl. your big blue eyes, smile, laugh, high energy level and gusto for life are what make you are tough. sometimes too tough. but i am thankful you are strong. i think i may have given you some of my strength and i am thankful for that. as we anticipate a new little baby joining our family please know began with you. well with mom and dad first and then you. but you made me a mother. a fighter. hopefully a more patient and understanding person. thank you for what you have taught me and for giving me a reason to fight. i will never stop fighting to show you what matters in life and what it is all about. we hope you see Jesus in our life. how you learn. what you learn. how to treat people and that a heart that overflows with love will change everything. you changed everything. you are going to make a great big sister.

off to the harrisonburg fair. i love sketchy rides and elephant ears. hopefully our night will have both. happy friday. belly picture to come. i promise. it's not that great yet...basically i have just grown everywhere. ah, the joys of pregnancy.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

On the road again...

We like to keep things fun and adventurous this summer...In turn we have been all over the place and loving it. Not all of it. But for sure most of it. Like family and new friendships and seeing the country. From VA to NY to VA to NY again then VA to FL and back to VA to OH to MI and back home again. We are driving home from MI as I type this...Justin making a phone call and Ava watching curious george, reading go dog go and singing "we are young."
So far so good. Ava is a better traveller than both of us and for that I am grateful.

This past few days were spent with lots of family and celebrating my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary and my grandma's 80th birthday. Along with a few days on lake michigan with my immediate family. I grew up going to the lake but it was justin's first time and he loved it...although he loves basically any body of water.

Good time to relax and let Ava run and swim and play in the sand. I continue to feel good...just a bit tired and upset stomach. But nausea and throwing up are over. Will post a belly pic this week. Thankful for a few days with family and all that being back in MI means to me. It is a beautiful state.

Right now things feel good. Slowing down a little bit and looking forward to the fall and preparing for babe number two. Lots of nursery ideas floating around my head and imaging our life with another. We find out the gender on aug. 28th and will post it for sure.

Any guesses???? We think girl but starting to get excited about the idea of a little boy in our house.

A few pictures from our trip. A lack of service=phone was dead basically the entire trip.