Friday, June 29, 2012

11 months

I've forgotten how much I love this stage.

Showing independence yet cuddling, exploring her world, trying new things. Allie finds joy in {almost} all circumstances. She loves to have free reign of the toys when Reese is out of sight, she squeals and laughs to get our attention; throws back her head with excitement when food is coming her way. 

There is so much fun to be had when you're this big!! Here's what we've been up to:

~Pulled up for the first time 2 days after turning 11 never thought it was gonna happen

~She now stands more than sits...maybe walking isn't too far off

~Top 2 teeth FINALLY came through! That only took 3 months. :/

~Loves loves loves to swim! The pool is Allie's favorite summer pastime. When she goes down for a dunk she comes back up sputtering, gasping and smiling from ear to ear. 

~Hasn't yet learned to say a word...this is a big change for us given that Reese had about 7 by this time. Allie communicates through grunts and signing "All Done" ;)

~Got her first black eye from's so hard to see your baby suffer because of your other child (another new experience for mom)

~Has an uncanny sense of rhythm and beat. Even if it's just Reese singing "Jesus Loves Me", Allie will bob her head or rock on all fours. Gets me every time!

~Miss Personality! The nursery workers at church always have a story to tell about her entertaining them with crazy faces, laughs and antics.

~Down to 2 bottles a day...formula you're on your way out (yes!)

~Had her first Father's Day...She sure lights up when he walks into the room

~Has now been on 3 plane-ride trips in her short little life

~Baby food is a thing of the past. Even with {barely} four teeth, she loves table food and eats anything and everything we put in front of her. What a blessing good eaters are!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vacation to Oregon pt 3 ~ Wedding Day!

It's fitting that I finish off the last of my Oregon trip posts on June 18th...Diana's birthday! Happy Birthday my sweet sister. I hope your day is truly magical...your first one as a married lady!

May 20, 2012.
The day had finally arrived. 10 months prior Stephen Terry Andersen got down on one knee to ask Diana Grace Ryan to marry him. She said yes. Many many months of planning, emails, phone calls, appointments, scheduling all lead up to this moment.

 Today was finally here!

I woke up with such joy and excitement in my heart. My baby sister was going to be a bride! A beautiful, gorgeous and pure bride who had waited for her groom. Those that know me know I'm a true romantic at heart. I love godly, Christ~exalting relationships that end in marriage. It thrills me when we receive an invitation in the mail to friends' weddings.

But it takes on a whole new level of wonder and bliss when it's one of my family members. When it's a Ryan wedding. And when it's my sister. 
There's nothing quite like being the oldest sister who has been there for so much of her life. Who was the meanie who pushed Diana towards the drain when we took a bath as kids because she was afraid of going down it as the water drained horrible that I wanted to see the fear on her face. {to this day...I hate that that was me!} I was the sister who picked on her endlessly or knew which buttons to push that would make her fly off the handle. Diana was the baby of the family for 9 years and she knew just how to get her sisters in trouble. Like doing crazy antics at the dinner table to get me to laugh which would invoke a stern admonishment from our parents. Diana was a spitfire back then! Or watching with eyes bugged and a gasping mouth as she'd have a meltdown at the table because she didn't want to finish her food, followed by stomping all the way up the stairs and slamming her bedroom door. But I also noticed the Lord changing her heart to tenderness as she got older, her way of being open, honest and vulnerable to me when she would struggle with things or be passionate about something. Being told that you are your sister's role model...for good or humbling and many times had me examining my heart and motives for why I do what I do. I want to be a reflection of Christ to her!
I guess all of this just shows you the extra amounts of emotion that went into this day. My sweet sister was grown up now; ready to be a wife, ready to commit herself to Stephen for all the days of her life. all brides and bridesmaids do...we took lots of time to get beautiful for such an occasion!

{pictures by Jen Howell and Amanda Bacon}

And who better to document the event than our husbands! ;)

Next, time to help the bride with her dress and take some pictures...

{picture by my sister Kelly Turnage}

Simply stunning!

My cutest little sister Elise...Diana's flower girl!

Beautiful Cathryn, Diana's matron of honor.

From here we drove to the wedding site for lots of before pictures.

{spying on them from far away 
while they took their "alone" pictures}

All of Mama's girls...

My sweet Grandmom and Great Aunt Mary...
the fact that they came from so far away really blessed Diana!

Love Stephen's smile while kissing his bride. :)

All the sisters together!

Dad and his daughters...all 5 of us!

What followed next took me completely by surprise. Up to this point things had been a flurry of events. Lots of going here and there, doing this and that and spending time with family and friends with all the celebration intermingled didn't allow for processing what was happening. So, it all hit me like a ton of bricks as I started walking down the isle. I did my best to compose my quivering chin and to smile {looking down} as I walked towards Diana's groom. Stephen was beaming ear to ear; eagerly waiting for his bride! Probably one of my favorite glances as a sister. 
I took my place next to my sisters and watched as my Dad walked a smiling, tearful bride towards the alter. Then, the water works started. And I guess I wasn't the only one. Jen captured this shot.

Diana and Stephen's ceremony exalted Jesus Christ; their personally written vows included. They poured out their hearts to one another, promised to love and cherish each other and to make Christ glorious in their lives as husband and wife. What pure joy! 

Pouring of sand, taking communion for their first act as husband and wife, a sweet kiss and then introducing Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Andersen. As much as Diana and Stephen are serious and intentional about their relationship with Christ, in the same way they love to laugh, get crazy and have fun.
Let the good times roll!!!

{dancing back down the isle}

{First Dance}

Sweet story about this next picture...Back when I was 10 and living in our old house in Alaska we moved next door to an amazing Christian family. During that time they had a baby girl and you would have thought she was mine. I loved Bekah...every day without fail I'd go over and ask if I could play with her, take her for walks or carry her all over our two yards. She was my living babydoll. I even had my first babysitting experience earning 25 cents an hour to watch her. Money or not I loved every second. Fast forward 18 years...that baby met and held my baby during the wedding and Allie loved her just as much. Really really blessed me to not only see Bekah again (they moved not long after her 1st birthday) but for her to love on my daughter too. :)

{Saying goodbye to the newly weds}

Diana and Stephen, God's richest blessings on your new life together. It is our prayer that every day you continue to love Christ more deeply and passionately. With your hearts surrendered to Him and His Word, I know that there is nothing you cannot endure or withstand. May the glories of the Cross drive you to humility and forgiveness with one another. May He be your stronghold, the Love which your love for each other comes from and the sustaining power to protect and guard your marriage. 
We love you both!!! ~ Matt, Ashley, Reese and Allie

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Oregon Vacation pt 2

Saturday morning dawned bright and beautiful. The day before the BIG DAY!
Reese and Allie woke their sleep deprived parents up at 6:30am not wanting to waste a single minute of our trip. :) We stumbled along, getting Allie her bottle, Reese dressed and an oatmeal breakfast started. My parents came by the house for 45 minutes...we had to get grandparent time in wherever we could! Later my mom said...I wish we lived close enough where we could come over and visit like this every week...
So do I, mama, so do I!

After they left we got a call from Kris and Jen wanting to stop in to meet our girls! We enjoyed every bit of the hour and half we had with them.

Next, we took a trip out to Cannon Beach as a family to spend time with my parents, siblings and the bride and groom. 

Grandmom {my dad's mom} got to meet her second Great Granddaughter for the first time. Allie loved getting in snuggle time with her!

And a very special part of the trip was my sister Cathryn getting to meet her first two nieces!! She has loved them from afar for far too long. It did my heart good to see her laugh and enjoy them in person.

That afternoon we all gathered at the wedding site to rehearse what we would do the following day and to decorate the venue. Diana and Stephen chose the perfect place (indoors) for both the wedding and reception; the view from The Loft was spectacular as well. Here's some pictures:

Diana's attention to the littlest details was seen throughout her decorations and venue. She did an amazing job with all her planning!

And these next few...taking the opportunity to snag some pictures with my brothers: Tom above, Joe below. Can't believe how old and grown up they've become!

And one with the glowing bride herself! 
Despite having a cold, she was all smiles and very relaxed.

This photo was taken by my brother Joe. I didn't want to change how off-centered and cut-out we were in it. Makes it all the more sweet in my book!