Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Emily!!!

Wow! I can't believe my little Emily is FOUR YEARS OLD!!!

She went from this:

To this:

For those of you who don't know (how can you not know?), Emily is our niece. The first born daughter of Katherine's brother Dave and his (awesome) wife Faith. We've been so blessed to have Emily as our niece and to have been able to see her as much as we have since we live so far way from her (boo). Emily for sure holds a special place in our hearts. She and her sister, Ally, are right up there at the same level as our own kids (Lyla and Will... remember?).

One good thing about Emily getting older is that pretty soon she'll be old enough to come up and visit us on her own... not that we don't want David and Faith to visit, we're just looking forward to some niece/cousin time with Emily and Ally.




Saturday, August 29, 2009

Not what I was expecting today.

*Warning, the following is a frank and somewhat graphic discussion of bowel movements. May not be suitable for some readers.*

Quiet Saturday. Katherine took Lyla to Target and Meijer to get the necessities, I stayed home with Will, vacuumed and then had a nice video conference call with 'Pa (aka Katherine's dad, aka Jeff). Katherine and Lyla came home right as Jeff and I were wrapping up so they go to say hi. Lyla really liked seeing 'Pa on the 'puter. Then Katherine fed Will and I went to pring in the groceries.

As I was finishing up I heard Katherine say to Lyla, "You need to poop? Do you want to poop on the toilet?" Lyla said yes, so I took her in there. We've been going through the motions with her as a bit of pre-potty training: If she looks like she's pooping or mentions pooping, we'll ask her if she wants to sit on the toilet and take her in there. Usually, as soon as I set her on, she'll say "All done" and want to get off.

This time was different. This time she sat up there.

We've been talking about potty training for awhile now but have yet to buy any gear for it because we haven't zeroed in on a strategy yet. So Lyla is sitting on the regular seat with me holding her up. She's so tiny that if I were to let go, she'd *kerplunk* right into the toilet.

So she's sitting up there and we're talking about what to do. She notices the toilet paper, so I explain that to her. Then I look and she's making her "pooping" face. It's unmistakable, the strained look she gets as she pushes... well, you know how the mechanics of it work.

So she's pushing, and I'm holding and... poop starts coming out. Right in the toilet. It was awesome... except for the fact that it was poop. Just because it was my little girl, didn't make the actually poop any less, uh, gross.

So she's pooping and I just start crying. I'm yelling out in excitement "great job Lyla!" I'm yelling to Katherine, who is feeding Will in the other room, "She's pooping! She'd doing it!!!" See, part of our strategy is to be as encouraging as possible. We don't want to shame her in any way, so we've been making a big deal about every positive steps she makes toward going potty on the potty. Telling us when she has a dirty diaper is rewarded with congratulatory affirmation. Wanting to sit on the toilet is cheered.

You have to realize, though, that our excitement isn't fake. We have two kids in diapers right now. We change at least 10 diapers a day... maybe more. We're really looking forward to Lyla being potty trained. But again, we're restrained because we don't want to put any undue pressure on her... she's not even two yet.

But this time, I couldn't hold back the emotion. I'm crying, I'm cheering, I'm beaming. It was an onslaught of emotion for me. My little girl growing up. My little girl figuring out how to poop in the potty. My little girl offering Katherine and I some much needed relief of the constant demands of this current situation. I'm pretty sure I heard "Cat's in the Cradle" in the background.

So she poops. She gets down and I wipe for her and we get to wash our hands in the sink. Then I send her out to tell momma what she did (sans pants since I didn't have a new diaper ready). Much rejoicing. Some discussion as to whether or not we should take a picture... we decided against it. Who wants to look at a picture of that, regardless of how significant it is? Hugs. Kisses. High fives. It was a glorious moment in the Ring household.

Chances are that this was a one time thing, that we still have a lot more diapers in the future. But the thing you have to realize is that today offered Katherine and me some hope that one day soon our kids will be potty trained. That our kids are getting older and as much as I don't want my babies to grow up they are able to take care of themselves more and more. We have a long way to go still, but at least we know that it won't always be like this, taking care of two kids under two, twenty four hours a day, seven days a weeks.

And that, my friends, is something to celebrate.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Lyla and Will show

Okay, so Will is clearly Lyla's favorite ("HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL HI WILL"... we hear it all the time). And Will nearly explodes with squeaks and laughter whenever Lyla looks at him. It's beginning to feel like Katherine and I are just there to take care of the details so they can spend time together.

I'm definitely not complaining, I love how close they are and hope it sustains their relationship into and through high school. I think I'm mostly looking forward to when Will is a little older and able to hold himself upright so when Lyla hugs on him and whatnot.

Here are Bonnie and Clyde goofing off while I'm trying to get a decent picture of them:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Ally!!

So one of the only things I love as much as being a Husband and a Father is being an Uncle. And I'm super lucky to have the two best nieces in the world. Today (well technically yesterday because I'm posting htis Friday morning) is one of my niece's birthday!


Ally turns 2 today, which is kind of unbelievable especially since she's just over three months older than Lyla (wait, Lyla turns two in three months? AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!)

This (and the one above it) are pictures from when we saw Ally and her family in Missouri last July:

Here's one of my favorites from last Christmas:

And of course, who could forget this?


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Random videos

Facebook friends, you can see the videos at

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ring Family Reunion 2009

So I was going to start this out by reminding you about our trip to St. Louis for July 4th last year (2008), but it turns out I didn't write about it. I only wrote 4 blog posts last July which I'll chalk up to having a 7 month old and the fact that it was summer.

Anyway, since you don't know, my family (the Rings) has an annual reunion in St. Louis, MO. It's been going on for like 16 years but last summer was the first time I (and thus Katherine and Lyla) had been. We had a blast, enjoyed seeing a ton of my extended family, and showing Lyla off to everyone. So we decided to return this year in order to have a blast, see a ton of my extended family, and show Lyla and Will off to everyone.

We drove down on Friday July 3rd and it took us about 9 hours, which isn't bad for having to stop frequently to feed a baby. We definitely were worried about having the kids in the car for that long but they both did fine. Arrive Friday and spent the next two full days visiting with family, eating a ton of food, drinking beer (sorry if you're offended by that but it is part of the weekend's events), playing with kids, and NOT taking pictures.

One of the things I've noticed about having two kids is we hardly have time to take photos any more. I thought that it would be because the novelty would have worn off by the second kid, but that's not it. I love taking pictures of Will, he's so adorable and stinking cute. Unfortunately, having Lyla run around makes it hard to focus on taking pictures. Plus our digital camera is O-L-D old and the compact flash card will take about 10 pictures and then get an error requiring it to be reformatted, which means stopping, uploading all the pictures onto the computer, and resetting the card. And if you only just started reading this post, back up a few lines because I just explained that WE DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THAT!!!

So if you want more pictures of Will and Lyla, feel free to donate either a new digital camera or a new compact flash memory card. We'd appreciate it.

The main thing we were looking forward to about this trip was Will getting to meet all of my family. Which, he did. Magnificently. Here's a list of people that Will got to meet for the first time (and Lyla got to interact with for the first time where she could remember who they were and interact with them... which was super cute.):

My dad, aka Grandpa Ring, aka Mosquito Mike (his nickname back in the days when I was a kid and we used to wrestle... we don't do that any more):

Aunt Julie (I think this photo is funny because Lyla seems to be baffled by that plastic Easter egg):
Uncle Jeff:
Fei, Uncle Matthew, and Aunt Anna (I'm bummed that I don't have pictures of them with either Will or Lyla because there were definitely opportunities for some cute ones. Fei if you got some with your camera, please email them to me.)

Here we all are. This is the first time my immediately family has all been together in awhile so it was definitely a great trip.

Here's a cute one of Lyla and Will posing together.
This one it pretty cool. It's a picture of all the Ring men. From L-R: Uncle Pat, his son John (my cousin), John's son Allen, my brother Jeff, Dad (in the red shirt), my brother Matthew, me, lil William, my uncle Bob, my cousin Mike, my uncle Tom (Mike and Robert's dad), and my cousin Robert. Very cool.
Here are Mike and Rob talking with Katherine (Will's in there too).
Here are John and Allen, avoiding being photographed.
Here's my camera's version of the annual group photo. It was a very muggy day and the lens had fogged up. Great jorb, camera!! (Seriously, anyone want to donate a new camera?)

The trip was short but definitely fun. I would have liked to spend more time visiting but we didn't have it. Plus we had to head out on Sunday to get to Branson, MO where we spent a week in a vacation rental with Katherine's family. I'll post pictures from that trip soon.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Where's Lyla?

Many of you probably have been asking yourselves that very question. "Where are updates about Lyla? Where are updates about Will? I'm going through withdrawal here! I'm starting to get the shakes! WOULD YOU PLEASE UPDATE YOUR BLOG ALREADY!!!!!!!"

Sorry for the absence. Life happens. And as Katherine and I have found out, when you have two kids under two life happens hard and fast and we feel like we can barely keep up.

So thanks for your patience. I will update the blog with more pictures, videos and stories soon. In the meantime, please enjoy this video: