Saturday, December 29, 2007

How to Make Your Baby Smell Like Garlic

So during the week my mom was here Kevin and I took a night to go out to dinner by ourselves, carefully timed in between Lyla's feedings. One of the types of food I missed most while I was pregnant was sushi. I love sushi. I love the rolls, I love the sashimi, I love the rice, I love the seaweed, I love edamame, I love it. Our favorite sushi restaurant in San Diego was Zen5 -- it was within walking distance of our house, had awesome rolls and different specialty rolls every day, and played loud reggae music all the time. It was always full of twenty-somethings, had a couple of tv's on and was so loud it was sometimes hard to hold conversations.
We had gotten a couple of recommendations for sushi restaurants here in Grand Rapids and were excited to give Mikado a try. We ventured out into the cold (about 30 degrees that night, so not too bad) and drove down to the strip mall where the restaurant is located. We walked inside the brightly lit space and were immediately seated. The first thing I noticed inside was how quiet it was -- only two tables were filled in the whole restaurant. Our server brought over warm towels and green tea, both of which helped combat the cold we had just escaped. We looked over the menu, which featured one half page of sushi and about three pages of other Japanese food. But we had come for sushi, and so we had sushi.
After we ordered our server delivered salads and tofu soup. The salad had a delicious peanut-garlic dressing, and we gobbled it up before the sushi arrived. Everything was very good, although the selection was definitely limited compared to San Diego restaurants.
We stopped for frozen yogurt on the way home -- TCBY is another place that is pretty empty in December in Michigan -- and then rescued my mom and fed the baby. She slept well that night (Lyla, not my mom), so we went through the next day with only pleasant impressions of the night before. I didn't even think very much about the meal until the following evening when I was feeding the little girl. She turned her face toward me and produced a distinctly garlic-y burp right in my face. Oh yeah -- everything I eat she gets too.... Right.
She hasn't had any bad reactions to anything so far, so I'm just eating as I normally would. It is wonderful to be able to have sushi again! And lunch meat! And sunny-side-up eggs. Life is good.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Uncle Jeff!!!!

Do you like my mustache?

Mwah hah hah hah hah!!! You'll never stop me!!!!

Lyla's first Christmas

Lyla had a good first Christmas. Katherine and I hadn't done much Christmas decorating because we had been pretty occupied with taking care of the baby. On Christmas Eve I wasn't feeling very much in the Christmas spirit, I was sad that we couldn't be in Dallas with the rest of the family and Katherine and I were feeling stir crazy from being in our apartment for three weeks straight and not spending very much time around other people. So we decided to go to a 7 pm Christmas Eve service at Calvary Church near our house. The church's chapel was beautifully decorated with hundreds of lights and they sang a whole bunch of Christmas songs, it was really nice. Then we went home; I had decided to pick up a Christmas tree earlier in the evening, and I set that up while Katherine started baking cookies. Then Katherine took a break to feed the baby and I started dinner. Then we gave Lyla a bath and after the bath resumed decorating/making dinner/baking cookies. All of that work and getting Lyla to sleep took a long time and we didn't get to bed until 2 am.

We awoke the next morning and headed off to a 10 am service at our church. This is the first church that Katherine or I have belonged to that had a Christmas day service. It was really good, we sang Christmas hymns and Pastor Tim spoke about how Christ's birth is God's gift of joy for us. That Christ is the eternal source of joy and that our sinful natures long after other things that are only temporary sources of joy that ultimately leave you worse off than you were before. He taught that the gift of joy given on the first Christmas day is attainable through faith and that joy and faith are designed to be paired. It was a great message and wonderful for me to hear because I had been feeling sad about the things that I didn't have this Christmas and I wasn't focusing on my true source of joy.

After church we headed up to Uncle Tom and Aunt Lynda's house (Tom is Kevin's mom's younger brother and, thus, Kevin's uncle and Lyla's great uncle). They live about 25 minutes north of where we live in this old farm house that they've been in for the past 10 years. We spent the rest of the day there, had a wonderful Christmas dinner, played board games, passed Lyla around, talked, had a wonderful post-Christmas dinner dinner (which included no leftovers), talked more and had a wonderful time surrounded by family.

In addition to Kevin, Katherine, Lyla, Tom and Lynda were: David, Jenn, Laura and Mike (Tom and Lynda's children), Matt and Andy (Jenn and Laura's husbands respectively), Loren (Lynda's brother), and Josh, Jeremie, and Jacob (Loren's three sons). Katherine and I had such a great time spending Christmas with everyone and were so touched by how much everyone's love for Lyla showed (primarily indicated by a strong desire to hold her).

Here are some pictures:

Christmas dinner

People holding Lyla throughout the day

Merry Christmas!!!

"And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” --Luke 2:9-11

Merry Christmas from the Rings (Kevin, Katherine, Lyla, and Dr. Jones)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Behind the scenes footage

Here's a picture of Lyla hard at work on the latest post for The Rings of Grand Rapids.

This one's for Drew

Lyla asked me to dedicate this post on her behalf. Lyla's friend Andrew was born on June 15, 2007 at 4:58pm with diaphragmatic hernia. After many months of surgical procedures, he passed away on November 19, 2007 (Lyla's due date). Though the two never met on the outside, they did spend a fair amount of time close to each other while in their respective wombs and grew to be close friends. They have a lot in common (great parents, fascination with Dinosaurs, etc.) and will always be friends. Lyla still likes to look at pictures of Drew that Drew's dad posted online and to gaze jealously at Drew's beautiful eye lashes.

Drew was gracious enough to give Lyla some of his baby clothes and Lyla wanted to show all the readers of The Rings of Grand Rapids what great taste in onesies Drew had. She insisted on wearing the white headband so people wouldn't confuse her for a boy. And Lyla's mom picked up the awesome grey sweatpants for her at Target because, well, it's winter here.

We love you Drew!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lyla hat

I don't know if I should be documenting the gross abuses of my role as father, but I really don't know how Lyla got up there. She has tremendous leg strength and very feasibly could have grabbed my beard and hoisted herself up. Luckily, Katherine spotted her and we were able to get her down.

Lyla finaly gets to go to church today

I know we've only missed two Sundays and one was because it snowed six inches, but Katherine and I really miss Fourth Reformed. It's been awesome to find this church and they way they've welcomed us in has really touched us both. We really love the community that the church strives to create and we really love how the Gospel is the foundation of everything the church tries to do.

Katherine's getting ready right now and I just need to get my shoes on (and poor myself some coffee and change Lyla's diaper and load her in to the car) so we're almost ready to go. The only thing that could stop us is the horrible winter storm that currently bearing down on Grand Rapids. Apparently, five people have already died and it's going to bury us in snow starting at 3 pm. So hopefully we will have time to go to Target (for diapers) and the grocery store (for bananas... and other food) after church... assuming we make it to church at all.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lyla Katherine Ring Collector's Edition DVD - in stores now!!!

Just in time for Christmas, the new Lyla Katherine Ring Collector's Edition DVD (also available in Laser Disc format). Complete with special features including: Behind the Scenes footage; Director's Commentary; hilarious Outtakes; and Deleted scenes

(Check out these screen shots from the 2-disc set)

Original Pilot

Hilarious Outtakes:

From Thank you Grandma

From Bellybutton!!

From Family portrait (unaired)

Plus deleted scenes:

Baby, how did you climb up on the banister?!? (unaired)

- and -

Squirm-osaurus (unaired)

In stores now, pick up your copy today!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007


Lyla's umbilical cord fell off two days ago and she's so excited that she wants to show everyone!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Diaper hat

I'd say 75% of the time... no, more like 3 out of 4 times, when we put Lyla on the changing table (either the real changing table upstairs or the Pack'n'Play one we set up downstairs) she calms down and enjoys looking around while we change her diaper. Whenever she's in the semi-calm state (on the verge of wailing), we play a game called "Diaper Hat." It's not a complicated game, really it just involves me opening up the diaper and putting it on Lyla's head like a hat. The effect is that it distracts her enough to prevent her from crying and gives me a place to keep the clean diaper until I need it. Plus I think she looks cute.

A few things to point out in the top picture: her umbilical cord stub is about to fall off and you can see her cute bellybutton; she has a Snoopy band-aid on her left leg from her vaccination; the one-mitt look - Lyla's lack of complete motor control still results in scratches on her face, but it's hard to keep the mitts on her.

Caution: baby snoring (may not be suitable for those with a low tolerance for cuteness)

Lyla has become quite adept at getting fussy right as we sit down to dinner, then falling asleep right after (only to wake up three hours later and demand attention... coincidentally right as we're trying to go to sleep). Because Katherine has to feed her in the middle of night, I've been taking the 11 to 2 and 8 to 11 shifts bookending the nights.

Last night we gave Lyla a bath (and since her umbilical cord has fallen off, we used the baby tub for the first time). Katherine and I have not quite figured out how to not make baths the worst thing Lyla's ever experience (that girl really turned on her crying A-game recently), but when she's done she looks soft and precious. I guess all the crying wore Lyla out because she spent the next two hours sleeping on Katherine's chest and then in my arms for an hour after that.

Here are my two beautiful girls:

And here's a video of precious girl sleeping in daddy's arms (hint: turn up your speakers to hear some quality baby snoring):

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Soooo cute!!

Man, Lyla is so cute. I am deeply in love with her and really enjoy watching how quickly she's developing. She's started recognizing shapes and looking at things (she seems to be really fascinated with my glasses when I hold her right in front of me. I also really enjoy watching her wake up. She makes the cutest faces as she reorients herself.

In terms of Lyla's further development, we went to the doctor for her two week check up. Lyla did great and only cried once when she got a vaccination shot but she only cried for like five seconds before returning to sweet little girl (Katherine cried a little too, neither of us liked seeing Lyla poked with a needle). Baby's growing just fine, she's grown just over an inch and is now 21 inches long. She's also regained the weight she lost at the hospital plus some so she's weighing in at 8 lbs 2 oz. It was funny because the doctor said she's in the 50th percentile for weight and the 90th percentile for her height... tall and skinny, just like dad.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Playing dress-up

After bathtime last Friday night, Lyla decided to put on a pretty dress. Lyla's grandmother had gotten her a dress to wear when we took her home from the hospital. But at the time, packing up everything we had at the hospital took a long time and it was so cold out that we skipped putting on the dress. So, one week later, we finally got to see Lyla in her pretty dress.

I didn't know that there was a market for ironic baby clothes, but those pithy tee-shirts are all the rage these days, so why wouldn't young hipsters want their children to reflect their apathetic worldviews. It is a nice picture, right? Well, that was one of, oh I don't know, a bazillion shots that it took to get one when she wasn't howling (she's not a fan of bathtime yet). Take a look:

After a lot of crying and impromptu attempts to sooth Lyla, Kevin discovered two new methods: 1. Lyla seemed to like it when I lay gently across her; and 2. well, see for yourselves:

(<-) Almost have it!

Got it! (->)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Thank you Grandma

We wanted to dedicate a special post to Katherine's mother Dorcas. Dorcas generously offered to come up here for eight days to help us out as we adjusted to life with Lyla. We really appreciate her willingness to take time off from her job to be here with us. We also appreciate her and Katherine's dad's willingness to be apart for so long. Fortunately the past week hasn't been too intense or too overwhelming but it has been so great having help in the form of making dinners, doing dishes, staying up at night with Lyla, changing diapers, and (I think what was the most helpful) just loving all three of us. I've said for the past three years that I'm lucky to have Dorcas as a mother-in-law; well, Lyla is very lucky and blessed to have Dorcas as a grandmother.

We took Dorcas to the airport yesterday and it was sad for all of us. We miss her already (and not just because Lyla decided to stay up until 3 am last night, apparently she was really really really hungry, she ate for 5o minutes straight!!! and also not because I had cereal for breakfast instead of a delicious egg cooked over-easy.), her presence in our house is just such a joy. We're very very grateful for the love that she and Jeff have for us and for Lyla and can't wait until the next time we get to see them.

Here's a slide show of Dorcas and Lyla's greatest hits:

We love you Dorcas!!

Winter wonderland

We were hit by a winter storm last night and we awoke to about 6 inches of snow. Our church service was cancelled due to weather which we were both glad and sad about. Sad because we were planning on going and it would have been our first trip back since Lyla was born. We've only missed one service (other than today) but the people at Fourth Reformed have been some amazing in how they've welcomed us and with their love and generosity that we really miss them already and are both excited about introducing Lyla. Oh well, hopefully next week.

Here's a picture (<-)of our neighborhood that Katherine and her mom took yesterday. Notice the light dusting of snow that is covering most of the ground. For most of you (especially Lyla's San Diego fans) this may seem like a lot of snow. Behold the wonder of six inches of snow!! I took this picture (->) from our front stoop. I wasn't really up for venturing out to get better shot of snow. Check out the accumulation on the railings or on the yellow kayak just to the right of the lamp post. (wow, I finished writing that sentence and realized that our pathway is kind of like those picture puzzles from Highlights magazine. Find the following items in this picture: a flag pole, a lamp post, a kayak, a frog statue. Awesome, I love that magazine!)

Anyway, winter is upon us. I asked Lyla if she wanted to go sledding, she said no. I can't say I blame her. We could easily lose her in 6 inches of snow.

Side note: Taking care of an infant usually occupies at least one hand and arm at all times. Katherine and I have had to develop some dexterity so that we can actually get other things done. Anyway, Katherine was quite amused at me working on this blog post while eating breakfast and soothing the baby:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Daddy time!! - or - Never leave me alone with a sleeping baby and a camera

Um, I came home from work today and found my little girl sleeping peacefully in her little bouncy chair thingy. Not quite sure what inspired what happened next but (like everything involving my little girl) the result was two parts adorable, one part hilarious. Observe:

Mommy time!!

What does Lyla recommend after an invigorating session of tummy time?

Mommy time, of course. Probably my second greatest joy as a husband and father is watching Katherine and Lyla grow in their love for each other as mother daughter.

How can a baby know, let alone love, her mother when she's not developed any social recognition capabilities?

Honestly, I don't know. Like wizards and geniuses, babies are powerful beings who are to be respected and feared. Not questioned. But seriously, Lyla and Katherine together is a picture of abounding love and I'm blessed to get to witness it. Granted, Katherine is also Lyla's only food source, but it's clear that their relationship has had a 9-month jump start on everyone else and that their bond is a special one.

What proof do you have that Lyla and Katherine love each other?

Seriously, what's with all the questions? Just look at the pictures, okay? Geez.

Tummy time!!

Lyla kicked-off her training regimen yesterday (when asked what she is training for, she responded that she hasn't decided yet but it's never too early to start) with some tummy time. For those of you who don't know, tummy time is, well, time spent on your tummy. It is supposed to help babies develop neck strength and head control. The books recommend short durations to start, which is good because Lyla didn't exactly love it. We'll see how future sessions go, but here's Lyla's first attempt at tummy time:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Your daily dose of cuteness

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Ever since Katherine and I found out on June 29, 2007 that we were going to have a girl, the Ring/Weir family has been abuzz about girl cousins!! See, Katherine's youngest brother Dave and his wife Faith have two beautiful daughters, Emily and Allison. Emily is two and Allison is coming up on four months. Unfortunately Emily, Allison and Lyla haven't met yet and aren't going to have that chance until next year (we were going to try to all get together for Christmas in Texas but it's too soon after Lyla's birth for travel to be comfortable).

I just KNOW that the girls are going to be good friends; Emily is going to be the ring-leader and Ally and Lyla (did you notice that their names are an anagram?) are going to be the henchmen, doing whatever Emily tells them to. It's going to be fun. Plus, the combined cuteness of these three girls is going to be unbelieveable.

Anyway, I just did my 4 pm check of and discovered that Faith posted an adorable picture of Allison sleeping. My first thought was "Man, Allison is sooooo big!" (Granted, I have spent the past six days inundated with a newborn, so my frame of reference is a little skewed).

My next thought was "These cousins are destined to be BFF." Why is that you say? Um, awesome sleeping positions. Duh. Check it out:

Baby's First Trip to Meijer!!!!

So this may not be a big deal to Lyla's non-Grand Rapids fans (but it should be, shame on you for not having Meijer as a central component of your identity), but Lyla made her first trip to Meijer yesterday! Again, for the non-Grand Rapiders, Meijer is a regional American hypermarket chain based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Founded in 1934 as a supermarket chain, Meijer is credited with pioneering the modern supercenter concept in 1962. It's a cultural phenomenon and a staple for 93% (unconfirmed) of shoppers in Grand Rapids. In fact, the Knapp's Corner Meijer that Lyla shopped at is pictured on the Wikipedia site linked above... how cool is that?

Lyla could hardly contain her excitement as we got ready to make the trip. Here's a picture of her hardly able to contain herself as she waits for Dad and Grandma to get ready to go:

Here's pictures of her face lighting up as we walk into the store:
Here she is as we turn the corner and enter the dairy section (note the joy on her face):
Man oh man, was it an exciting trip. With so many high quality and name brand items to choose from, I'm surprised that Lyla could take it all in, but she did great. She was able to get everything from the list Mommy had made for her and even picked out a couple treats that weren't on the list (mmm, mmm Cookie Dough ice cream).

Anyone who has shopped at Meijer knows, getting in and out of the store quickly is not an option and after over an hour of shopping, both Lyla and Daddy were tuckered out.