Change

I myself have spent the last 13 years hovering in the clouds.  Living at high elevation seemed to be my calling.  Actually it has been my passion for small mountain life and the snowboarding that comes every winter.  I recently saw a bumper sticker in my town of Mammoth Lakes that simply red “My life is your vacation: Mammoth Local”.  It Couldn’t be better said than this.  Can you imagine living in a town where everyone knows you?  The checkers at the super market call you by your first name. I see my friends daily whether they are strolling down the the “main drag” in town or pull up next to me in our “four light” town.  Four traffic lights!  That’s right…four, Quattro.  But of course with any good comes the not-so-good. Get pulled over and everyone knows.  Get injured or seriously ill, everyone knows.  Marital problems, everyone’s a therapist.  Kid on drugs, you’re totally screwed.  Go to 12 step meetings…well, that could go either way I suppose.  My point is that choosing a life of intimacy in a small town has been part of my life, our lives, and the only life Sophia has known for her duration of eighteen months.  Change is coming. Through life’s circumstances my family … [Read more...]

More Captured Moments

The biggest reason I started My Sophia Ryan was to document Sophia's memorable moments. I've been distracted with sharing my DIY projects. So here are just a few photos from this last month. Okay, more than a few. Time flies when you're having fun and I'm really glad I have all these photos to look back on in the future. I love capturing and preserving these precious moments, they fill my heart, they help me remember. How adorable are they? This is Sophia's best friend Timmy. He's four months younger than her and the cutest little boy you've ever seen. It's been so much fun watching the two of them grow and change month to month.Out for an afternoon walk, enjoying beautiful Mammoth.We spend a lot of time at the park. Sophia loves the swings, the slides, the other kids, and everything else that comes with going to the park. When we drive up to the park, she starts kicking her legs and waving her arms with enthusiasm. It's so cute!To the side of the park is this beautiful creek. She loves the creek-she really loves anywhere where there is water.Another park day.Watching her favorite movie, A Turtles Tale.These pictures didn't come out very good but I'm so glad I got them. She was … [Read more...]

Allen’s Final Chapter

This is part 3 of an inspirational story written by Sophia's Dad. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here. Gripping the edges of the dentist’s chair while the drilling commenced and waiting for the assistant to suck out the saliva in my mouth before I aspirate into my lungs, I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket.  It’s 5:35pm on Tuesday.  Given a brief moment of reprieve from the seemingly endless drilling, scraping and oh yeah; readjusting that dam device that keeps your mouth cranked open almost to the point of permanently creating a smile like the Joker from Batman I peak at my cell.  “Alan just passed away five minutes ago.” His estranged father at his bedside, his fiancé driving home from work having just left the Care Center (which I admitted Allen to just a week prior) a few hours earlier. “He sat on the edge of the bed,” straining to readjust himself to get his cancer filled lungs to cooperate as best as possible. He simply said, “I can’t hold on any longer, I’m ready to go.”  His head dipped down on his chest. There were a few feeble attempts to fill his lungs with precious oxygen and he was gone.  He left this world with a whimper, not a bang. To some, … [Read more...]

All You Need Is Love Sign

I haven't gotten this project right yet but I'm going to share it with you guys anyway. I really like this frame. It suits the rustic decor that goes with living in the mountains. Originally, my mom made this sign for our wedding we had here in Mammoth. She stenciled the letters of our names on a piece burlap, painted the letters white and framed it. After the wedding, I decided I wanted to stencil "all you need is love" on drop cloth and use the frame. Rather than using stencils, I printed out my own letters using Georgia font (size 400). I was going to trace them on the drop cloth and paint the letters the same way I did the monogrammed pillows I made recently. My husband thought that sounded like too much work and suggested he spray paint the letters I had printed then glue them on the drop cloth. He talked me into and it ended up looking pretty good. This is before I glued the letters down. I wasn't crazy about the drop cloth. It was too light in contrast with the color of the frame. I don't know, I just didn't like it. So I pulled all the letters off the drop cloth, stapled a piece of burlap over the board and glued the letters back on. I know it sounds a little crazy … [Read more...]

Summertime Pics

As I scroll through the dozens of photos I've taken of Sophia in just the last month, I can't help but feel overwhelmed with love and happiness. Sometimes I think back to the 72 hours it took to bring her into this world and I can barely even remember all the pain I went through because that finite amount of suffering seems so utterly insignificant in comparison to the infinite amount of joy and value she has brought into our lives. So it's no wonder why I take so many pictures of her. I can't help but want to capture the so many great moments of her life. With mobile phone photography it's easy to capture every waking (and non waking) moment of her life. I'm not sure if this is such a good thing. I hadn't thought about how this may affect her until now. As she gets older, she may act differently when she knows the camera is there. This may make her self-aware which could be a bad thing because a lack of self awareness is what makes children so precious and innocent. This is something for me to think about. Do you take a lot of pictures of your children? What are your thoughts on this? Anyway, as I glance over at my little toe headed daughter, her ink blue eyes catch mine and I … [Read more...]

Helpful Parenting Article: Talking to Toddlers

I recently read an article by Janet Lansbury, titled Talking to Toddlers- 4 Secrets That Bring You Closer  that was helpful and informative. The article discusses 4 ways to communicate with your toddler to alleviate frustration and build trust. The first secret she points out is to talk normal. Don't talk baby talk to your toddler. Speak slowly and in shorter sentences. The second secret she discusses is to turn 'no' into 'yes'. An example, "I want you to sit on my lap" rather than, "Don't bounce on me." She explains that this may not always work but it is better than responding with no and don't all the time. Children appreciate positive instruction. It makes them more likely to respond with compliance and makes them feel more respected. The third secret is to give the toddler real choices. Rather than asking your toddler what they want to wear, ask them if they would like to wear the pink dress or the white dress. Give them two choices and let them decide between the two. Asking them a broad question like what do you want to wear is too overwhelming. Her final secret is to first, acknowledge. She explains that acknowledging your toddler's point of view can be calming. … [Read more...]

July 4th 2013

Dinner at Friends With the girls and babies Sophia and Timmy Sophia loved this little girl Sarah she met at the party. Just a few pics of our little angel Watching the parade earlier in the day. She wasn't happy- too hot and it was nap time. We had a great fourth of July. Hope you all made some great memories and enjoyed your day as much as we did.   … [Read more...]

Rustic Bench Made From Wood Pallets

My husband and I have been having fun working on projects together and creating things from wood pallets we got from a friend. A couple weeks ago we made shelves that came out pretty good. You can look at the project here. Then we made a sign with our family name on it that I really like. You can look at that project here. This last weekend we made a bench. He actually made it and I took pictures! We needed a bench with a place for shoes for our entryway. We have white carpet, so I try to enforce the "take your shoes off rule" and it's easier to have people do this when there is a place to sit to take their shoes off and a place to sit to put them back on. The bench serves this purpose and I really like the way it came out. I do want to make a cushion for it that I'll get around to making and posting soon. Here is how it looks right now. Here are the steps my husband took to make the bench. Because we have made the shelves and the sign using wood pallets, they are all broken up. He cut the section above to begin with the seating portion of the bench. He hammered the ends to another piece of wood to create a somewhat ladder. He filled in the wide open spaces with pieces of wood … [Read more...]

Allen’s Update

This is part two of an inspirational story Allen's Gift, written by Sophia's Dad Brett, a Physician's Assistant. Intractable vomiting.  In the medical world the word “intractable” is used when nothing given as treatment or therapy relieves the given symptom.  In this case vomiting.  I mean think about it,  remember  the last time you had “the stomach flu”? Or how about the last time you went out and drank way too much only to spend the next 2 hours in front of the toilet?  For me, vomiting represents one of those bodily functions that causes the afflicted to be so miserable, so “please God I’ll do anything if you make it stop” type of agony.  But in the back of our minds we KNOW the vomiting will end soon and life will once again return to normal for us. I spoke with Allen today on my cell. “Hey buddy, you hanging in there?,”  I asked. “Doing the best (long pause) I can with (long pause) what God has given ( long pause) me to handle today,” whispers Allen with obvious great effort. “I wanna (long pause) go home so bad, so (another long pause) tired of this”. This time the long pause came from me. “Hello? Brett? (long pause) Hello?” “I’m here Allen,” I say as … [Read more...]

Trip To Incline Village, Lake Tahoe

Summer has officially arrived and we kicked it off with a family getaway to Incline Village in Lake Tahoe. It was fun and tiring at the same time. We had a few days of June gloom that could have put a damper on the mood of the trip however we made the best of it and had fun anyway. When the sun came out, we were very happy. Nothing beats the crystal blue waters of the lake and the crisp clean air in Lake Tahoe. It's a beautiful place to be. The best part of the trip for me was that it was an O'Connell family reunion (my Dad's family). My Dad and his four siblings were all there with a number of my cousins and their kids. I grew up spending Summers in Lake Tahoe with my cousins and aunts and uncles and it had been a number of years since we had a get together in Tahoe. So it was great to be back with everyone. I'm bummed I hardly got any pictures of the group but here are a few. Sophia with my brother Billy and his girlfriend Chelsea Sophia and Dada Loving the sand and frigid lake water Sophia, Bailey (Brandon's girlfriend), and Lauren Brett and I My cousin's wife Brynn and their daughter Cici Brynn with my cousin Matt's kids My aunt Karen and cousins Mike and Sean My … [Read more...]