Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cannon-balling into summer!

The first official 2017 Doud Cannonball took place at the Tanglewood pool this past Memorial Day weekend....Or as Dakota calls it, "Cornball!" We are hoping to have her diving off the diving board by the end of the summer, because she is becoming quite the swimmer.

Our baby boy is now ONE! He had such a fun party, and we felt so loved by our friends and family that came to help us celebrate. I think the highlight for the kids was the bounce house with a slide. And the margarita machine was a hit with the adults! It was so fun, and I hope to make this an annual fiesta. Look how adorable the cousins are in their dresses!!! Baby Dirk's girlfriend Willa was there and too cute for words. This video sums up Dirk's highlight.

The poor birthday boy somehow caught strep throat and had a 104 degree temperature in the wee morning hours of his birthday. We had to call the triage number for our pediatrician just to make sure he didn't need to go to the ER. Luckily we got him in to see his pediatrician on his birthday, and he got better with antibiotics in time for his party! 

Uncle Derek might have liked the bounce house as much as the kiddos. He certainly loved pelting Aunt Jess with the balls inside of it! 

Mothers Day weekend was amazing. We headed to Six Flags San Antonio and rode roller coaster rides (the kid versions) and played at the water park. I didn't realize how many rides Baby Dirk wasn't able to ride, but Dirk and I took turns letting Dakota get the full theme park experience. We both rode the tennis shoe roller coaster with her. At first, I was nervous she was not going to be a fan, but after our first mini-drop, she was all smiles. I love the picture of her and Dirk with their hands up! She loved how high we went in this airplane ride. It won't be long until she is riding the big roller coasters.

Daddy surprised me with a gorgeous hotel, Hotel Contessa on the Riverwalk. Baby Dirk and Dakota had so much fun playing in the curtains in our room. It is the best thing ever to watch them play with each other. Fingers crossed this continues as they get older. We walked down to the Riverwalk and Kota loved the ducks! I think she "talked" to each one we saw. After dinner at Rainforest Cafe, we headed back to the hotel for the evening. The next morning I met up with my BFF Amber and her Mom and some friends for a Moms brunch at McAdoos. It was a)Delicious and b)So amazing that Dirk and Joe watched the kiddos! 

I felt spoiled for sure! I also had a Mommy & Me photoshoot prior and got the pictures just in time for Mothers Day. They are stunning and something I wanted to commemorate that this may be all the children Dirk and I have. It's hard to think we are done, but sometimes it's even more difficult to imagine a 3rd in the mix. As much I would love to have a third, I try to balance all the questions- will we be able to give all three the attention they crave? (I sometimes worry about this with just 2!!!) Can we afford it?  And then what happens if one more, is actually twins? Hard swallow... We haven't made any permanent decisions, but we are going to pray about it this summer and see where that takes us. 

 I love how different Dirk Allen is than Dakota. He's not as cautious as she is, wanting to climb on top of everything. He is definitely the extrovert out of the two of them. He's waving to everyone now. And at swim school his favorite part is the bye-bye song, and he is the only child in the class that waves and smiles the entire time he is being spun around on the frog float! And then he gets angry when his turn is over, reaching out for the float for me to put him back on it. He loves water and spinning car wheels around. When Dakota takes his walker, he will find something else with wheels on it and entertain himself with that. He started walking this past weekend, taking 6 steps on Memorial Day. He only says a few words, Ma-ma, twoooo, Da-da, Oww!, and Bye. When I see him break into his wide grin, I am reminded how fortunate I am to call him my baby boy.

Even though it says "Never Grow Up," I do want them to grow up... but I want them to do it a little more slowly. Dakota is going to be 3 in three short weeks. She is chatting up a storm, growing into her own little person that cracks me up! When she sings, "I'm going to wash that man right out of my hair," I see her future in a high school musical unfolding. She is a wonderful big sister, and only needs a few reminders to share and not hit. She  is picking up social cues- saying please, excuse me, and thank you! At school, they say she will check on her baby brother and bring him toys. Often times when she is repeating things she hears, she sounds like an expert on the matter. I simply adore the girl she is growing into.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Boobonnets, Easter Sunday, & Camping Out, Camping Outside!

The past few weeks have been jam packed with events, it seems like life has been set at a fast and furious pace. Between mine and Dirk's work events, swimming lessons, the home projects we've started, and weekend birthday parties, we don't get much downtime....that was why I really liked the idea of going camping for our 5th anniversary - with our kids. I couldn't think of anything better than spending time outside with each other, as a family. We reserved a cabin at Inks Lake and had the best time exploring the State Park and Longhorn Caverns nearby. Dakota had us singing her Bubble Guppies song "Camping Out, Camping Outside" on repeat. She loved the ducks, but her favorite part she told me was the s'mores. She actually cleaned her plate with a wipe, because it was so messy and she likes things to be neat. Baby Dirk was not fond of the hiking or even the caverns, but did love finding duck poop, sitting outside in our papasan camping chair, and playing in the water at Devils Watering Hole. Dirk Ryan was our fabulous chef, and got to cliff dive at the same watering hole. It wasn't the most romantic anniversary outing, but we loved introducing Dakota and Baby Dirk to camping and are looking forward to the next State Park!

Below is one of my favorite recent pictures! I was running back behind our neighborhood and found this gorgeous patch of bluebonnets. I always think of my Granny when I see bluebonnets, and couldn't help but think of how fond she'd be of all her great grandchildren if she were here. 

I loved our Easter weekend in Manvel. We got to hang out with the cousins at Derek and Jessica's, go to Blakely's 2nd birthday party at Urban Air, and see lots of family on Easter. Granddad managed to get Dakota to put lip gloss on his ear (Silly Granddad) and Katie joined the big leagues in Easter Egg hunting. The cascarones were fun, as always, and Dirk managed to grab almost all the prize eggs. 

I finally was able to meet the adorable Lillian, and she is just the most precious one year old girl. Mimi and T-Paw and Naynay surprised us all with Easter presents! We are so lucky and loved. 

Each and every year, I am more moved by Easter Sunday and how it brings our family together. I was sad I didn't get Easter Bunny pictures this year, but at the same time I was ok with it, because I never want Dakota and Dirk to misconstrue what Easter is really about. We celebrate that He is Risen! But we'll always hunt for eggs because its fun. And Devin and Dakota were hysterical to watch. It's a favorite holiday.


Dakota and Dirk and interacting more each day. Most of it is the most adorable toddler and baby giggling and babbling. I have caught them holding hands from their different car seats while driving to school and most times Dakota is a super awesome big sister. 

Here's a few from the Doud's First Official Camping trip. Inks Lake was a great pick - only an hour and a half away and lots of shallow water spots we could enjoy. We saw deer, squirrels, geese, ducks, two different kinds of lizards, a snake, and a few stray cats. The weather was gorgeous and only a few pesky mosquitoes. It was so memorable and a great way to celebrate. Happy 5 Years to us!!!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Springing Forward

I had another magical moment that I felt like I had to come blog about or else it'd be long gone in my really short term memory bank.

Earlier this week, putting Dakota to bed after reading 3 stories, saying our prayers, and singing You are my Sunshine, she held my cheeks in her hands and squeezed so hard that air came out, sounding much like a "sart," as she says. She laughed so hard that I couldn't keep from laughing either. And for the next 5 minutes, she kept pressing on my cheeks and laughing hysterically. It was in that moment that I felt so incredibly blessed. I want this memory etched so vividly in my brain that I will never have to remember it, because I am constantly replaying it and savoring the sweetness of her laugh. 

The most handsome baby boy in the universe is knocking me off my feet with his ability to stand on his own. He's been working on his balancing skills and I know he'll be walking by the end of the month. He's only 2 months away from being a year old! He's been eating more real foods - eggs, bacon, and pancakes are some of his favorite. He also seems to enjoy dog food, and I'm always racing to beat him to the dog food and finding a piece or two already in his mouth. He has been obsessed with playing in the water - gets super excited for bath time and strains to put his hands in the toilet when we leave the lid up. Silly boy!

Lately, we have spent lots of time hanging out at parks after work or on the weekends. The weather has been so nice, and Dakota loves herself a swing! She loves when I do the "underdog" and makes sure I push Baby Dirk slow. Here are some of our park pics from our favorite parks - the Curlew or "pool park" and the dog park that Noodle likes us to go too, because he gets to play! Some things never change- Dakota and her animals, Daddy in his short shorts, and Baby Dirk in his Baby Bjorn. It breaks my heart, but I think he's finally outgrown it.


Looking forward to our Spring Break and some fun summer plans we've started to make - camping or "cabin"ing at Inks Lake, season passes to Fiesta Texas, a Del Rio get together, the Watermelon thump and hopefully a Jellystone Resort stay! We Douds like to get around.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

2017 in full effect!

It's unbelievable how quickly this year is passing. Valentines is next week??? I'm afraid I'm going to blink and Baby Dirk will be walking. He's already pulling up on everything in the house, including Dakota's walker. Where did my itty bitty baby boy go????

Had to capture his sweet Elvis lip I get sometimes. Note: He's standing in this one.

I loved this sweet pic from our Friday Night Movie Nights! Daddy blows up the movie mattress (blow-up mattress)and we pick a movie to entertain us for the evening. It's been fun, and my heart melts when Baby Dirk, Dakota, and Noodle all cuddle up. Dakota has Dotty - which she earned from going Poop on the Potty!

Dakota's sweet friends from Tanglewood. It's been so fun to watch these girls grow up. They all have become big sisters over the last year or so. I can't believe how nurturing they are with the babies. Dakota has her Big Eye beanie in hand (a different one all the time, but at least one at all times).

This was the year we should have been in the Super Bowl Cowboys.... we have such talent on our team with Dak and Zeke and Beasley. Daddy let me put Baby Dirk in Cowboy colors a few times this year. 
He looked especially handsome in them.

We love to cheer Dirk on. Dakota also loves to demonstrate her many talents as we record Baby Dirk's milestones. ha! 

Some early highlights that I don't have pictures of from - 

*New Years Eve- Dirk poured me a glass of champagne and we sat in our Adirondack chairs and we rang in the New Year together with sparklers on our back porch (2 hours before midnight) as cops searched for illegal fireworks in the cul de sac behind our house. I knew this was going to be an unforgettable year.

*Sitting in my doctor's office hearing her say I have Hashimotos - I'm still getting used to this one. I've been taking hormones and have eliminated gluten and dairy from our diet. Dirk is a trooper and eating the diet with me! It's a huge help that he's on board.

*Singing and dancing to "Shake it Oss" - Dakota loves the song from Sing, but dancing to her with it is the best exercise ever! She loves to say "mmm hmmm" after That's what People say....
and "it's like I got this music in my head saying it's gonna be alright" I love introducing her to music that empowers her.

*Baby Dirk big smiles - I just adore his early morning smiles. When he sees me looking at him, he opens his mouth so wide as if he's screaming, but still in a huge smile. It is the absolute best start to my day. 

*Enchanted Rock and Wine Hunting in Fredericksburg - I am still so grateful we had this weekend to relax! Dirk picked the most romantic cottage and I felt like I was on a Bachelor style date. Hiking and being goofy at Enchanted Rock and then sampling wine after wine after wine. It was so nice to reconnect as husband and wife and not Mom and Dad! 

* Children's Church - Dakota was so excited for children's church this past Sunday, she walked down the aisle all by herself during announcements and sat there at the foot of our Pastor while she read the latest events. It was pretty funny, because she was sitting there so quietly. The rest of the children were at the back of the church waiting for Children's Church. She eventually walked back, and came forward with the rest of the kids. Love her enthusiasm! She also loves to say, "That was a close one..." as in close call. I'm not sure where she heard it, but she says it to her Big Eye Beanies all the time- and rarely in the right context- ha!

There are just so many moments that I want to record and remember, but it's hard to keep track of them all. I hope to blog more frequently so I don't forget these special moments.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Let there be Peace on Earth

This morning sitting in church on the very back row (because we have a toddler and 7 month old likely to erupt at any given moment) I found myself pulling out the hymnal. The numbered songs and piano accompaniment took me back to my younger days at Grace United Methodist Church in Manvel, when my sister and I would try to hide our falsettos within the more experienced voices in the pews. This morning the choir director was taking requests, and the last song we sang was one that has been in my head all day, "Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me." I decided to look up the lyrics and history of the hymn, and discovered that the lyrics were written by a woman who had attempted suicide in 1944, Jill Jackson. How amazing I thought! That such an uplifting hymn could come from someone who years prior had been so depressed that suicide had seemed the only answer. 

Depression and suicide have been on my mind the past the few weeks; we have lost too many to it this past year. I had hoped to find a way to reach out to family and friends who might be struggling with depression and let them know how much they are loved and cared for. Let them know how important their lives are... even if they couldn't possibly fathom it in their battles with depression. It's not something people will admit they struggle with openly, which makes it even more difficult to combat. Life is gritty, and I see family and friends struggling with jobs, relationships, and health. Often times I think if I only I could give them the magic words to make it all ok, to fix it. 

The truth is not everyone has found a peace they can center their lives around. We experience heartbreak, loss, and failure - it's inevitable. I can only speak to the peace I have been given in my life that has kept me going through these times. I do not like to throw my religion or beliefs in others' faces, but I do hope to live a life that glorifies God, and give others peace and hope for a better tomorrow. 

I found a quote that summed up whatever advice I could possibly give, and was surprised to see it came from our outgoing President Barack Obama-

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”

Instead of making a resolution this year, I am focusing on living in the present and doing so peacefully. If there is ever to be Peace on Earth, which may seem somewhat comical to suggest when you watch the morning news some days, we have to lead the way. Some ways I have thought to be the example of peace in my day to day life - acting on my thankfulness, more listening - less talking, practicing patience, giving up being perfect, loving more, giving more, and not filling up our calendar so that there is time to simply be. 

Here are some favorite moments from Christmas 2016:

"Let There Be Peace on Earth"
Jill Jackson and Sy Miller
The UM Hymnal, No. 431
Jill Jackson

Let there be peace on earth,
and let it begin with me;
let there be peace on earth,
the peace that was meant to be.

With God our creator,
family all are we.
Let us walk with each other
in perfect harmony.*

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Adventures of The Douds, Party of Four!!!

Suffice it to say I am sleep-deprived. I'm now convinced of sleep deprivation's effectiveness as a torture technique (I would rather have my left pinky toenail pulled than have another week of barely of any sleep), but I have been wanting to update this blog for about 3 weeks now. So finally, during this terrible UT vs K State football game, I am getting to update what we've been up to lately.

Just have to first share a story from this past week that illustrates how awesome of a Daddy Dirk Ryan is.... Dakota had just filled her diaper with a huge (we were assuming from the smell) poop. While she's getting the hang of peeing in the potty, she has shown no interest (yet) in taking the Bears to the Bowl. I know it'll happen eventually, so I'm not pushing it, but she hates for us to change the poopy diapers. I'll let her play for a while, but after a bit I'm ready for some fresh air. I ask her first to let me change the diaper, and she does her usual, half-cry half-whine "NOoooOoo!" Seeing this was going to be a battle, Dirk asks to take the lead. Gladly! Thinking he was going to come up with some bribe, or worse, be demanding and force the diaper change, I sat back to watch. He knocks on her door, where she's playing in her room in said stinky diaper. "Daddy Door Fixer" here. She's curious. "Dakota, your door is a little off here. I'm going to get my tools to fix it." She's immediately interested, and yes- her door hinges were a little loose. Dirk tightens the door hinge and lets Dakota watch, and after fixing it proudly announces, "I'm going to need payment  for fixing your door, and I only accept dirty diapers." I smile, he's a genius sometimes. She of course lets Daddy change her diaper, and the door is fixed! 

Baby Dirk (reason #1 for the lack of sleep) has been cutting teeth this past week. He has two on bottom starting to poke through. He's not cranky, but he has gone on a sleep strike. I am actually surprised how smiley he still is. He's also starting to eat more and more baby foods- and he likes the sweet potatoes, mangos, and bananas. Not so much a fan of the sweet peas. He is going to be an adorable red-eyed tree frog for Halloween! It's insane that he is almost half a year old.

Dakota, or Goose, as she's been nicknamed lately, has been such a fun energetic ball of energy. She's loving her new school and friends and teachers there. Each night we say a prayer, and she always includes, "my friends and teachers"! Eli is her favorite friend at school. Her teacher told me that they separate the chairs at lunchtime nice and evenly at the table, but Dakota and Eli always slide theirs back together so they can be close to each other. Dakota is going to be her favorite character for Halloween, Molly from Bubble Guppies! She was also Anna from Frozen, and loves singing the Frozen soundtrack on the way to and from school. Have I mentioned how much she looks like Shirley Temple?


Dirk and I have had a full calendar of fun events lately that have left little time to fully relax at the house. We celebrated 2 weekends of ACL Festival (had to see Willy Nelson), drove to Houston twice in the past month, and have both had hectic work schedules. See pics from said fun events below.

ACL Music Festival

Boo at the Zoo with Family!

Family Photo Shoot

Labor Day Del Rio Trip with Friends

Hanging out at Nana and Nonos

We are looking forward to the Holidays and getting to see family, and maybe a little more sleep in the meantime.