Friday, December 19, 2008

Say What?

Anyone else with an almost 2 yr old feel like the majority of your day is spent trying to guess what your child is telling you? A lot of the times I am impressed I can decipher Ry's communications, but many times she is left angry saying a clear frustrated "no" as I run through different possibilities of what she could be saying. I try to avoid words like "Barney", "blanket", or "crackers" because no matter what she was originally saying, she will now want Barney, blanket, or crackers. The sense of pride I feel though when I guess correctly, and Ry's face lights up and says "yes", is well worth the effort.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Welcome Home Elder Chow!

Well...not officially. My little brother will return home from his mission (Independence, Missouri) on Tuesday! Mike hasn't met either of his nieces, but I have shown Rylee her Uncle Mike's picture everyday. Can't wait for the madness to begin!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Warning: This will only be interesting to a select few

For a lack of something to post I have decided to do a food allergy post. Hold the sighs and looks of boredom, I know a post on food allergies isn't exciting. However, when I first found out Ry had allergies to milk, eggs, and peanuts it was a little overwhelming and I found it reassuring and helpful to talk to someone in a similar situation. So if you have found out your child has food allergies, or know someone in that situation I hope this post can be helpful.

I am by no means an expert on the subject, but we hardly notice the food allergies anymore due to a few helpful products and tips. Mind you, I only deal with milk, eggs, and peanuts (thank goodness) so I am of no help when it comes to the many other food allergens.

1. My favorite product: Blue Bonnet Light Margarine
This is the only margarine I have found that does not contain milk. The packaging states to not use it for baking or frying, but when your options are limited you use what you can. I do notice a little difference, but it definitely gets the job done.

2. Runner up product: Chicken or Beef Bouillon
Since you can't use any sort of creamy soups, most casseroles are out of the question. If I'm trying to achieve any sort of creamy sauce I make a rue (flour and margarine) and add the chicken or beef stock. The plus side to allergies, most alternatives are healthier.

3. Baked good without eggs...few and far between
Almost anything you bake (breads, cookies, cakes) calls for eggs. Our house always has unhealthy baked goods in it (right now...cinnamon rolls and cookies). Depending on what I'm making, I will either leave out the egg all together (breads and rolls), use an egg substitute (vinegar, water, and baking powder), or before I add the eggs I take a portion of the dough or batter I'm making, set it aside, and bake it without the egg for Ry. Then I just keep Ry's "special cookies or cake" separate from the real deal, she could care less, she's just excited to get dessert.

4. Going somewhere, bring your own food
Trying to feed Ry outside of our house can be such a headache, so we almost always pack her a little dinner. Sometimes we think, I'm sure there is something she can have...and I'm usually left wishing I would have heated up some nuggets and peas to avoid the stress of it. Case in point, Thanksgiving meal. Although there is a 20 ft. long table with about 20 dishes on it, Ry basically couldn't eat any of it.

If you are still reading this, that's impressive. If you are finding out about food allergies in your family then know it gets easier, and it's a lot more common. If anyone has been doing this for a while and has any tips for me...I would love to hear them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

All Things Christmas!

We have been enjoying this Christmas season, and it's so fun to see that Ry is even picking up on some of the holiday hustle and bustle. She will point out every Santa and snowman she sees. No worries...we are going to be doing Jesus's birth tonight for FHE, as of right now I'm pretty sure Ry thinks Christmas is all about Santa Clause, listening to Christmas music 24/7 and dancing all over the house, and saying "Merry Christmas, Ho Ho Ho".

So here are a few pics. of things we have done this past week:
Drum roll please - here is Ry's hideous stocking. I got a close up of the shotty sewing, and you can compare her pencil thin stocking to the normal size stockings of mine and kev's. The loop to hold the stocking...totally on the wrong side, but I had already reached my limit, so there it will remain.

Frosty the snowman!
Kev and Ry made a cute little snowman on our balcony. If you look closely, you will notice that beer caps were used for the buttons and the eyes. No, they are not our beer caps, we borrowed them.
The Nutcracker!
Kev surprised me for my birthday with tickets to The Nutcracker. I love this ballet, and I don't think I have seen it since I have been married. The dancers were phenomenal. We got to go with some of Kev's fellow residents, and went out to eat afterwards. Major props to Kev for coming up with this idea all on his own AND arranging babysitting!

Oh Christmas Tree!
So after Christmas last year, we bought this $5 fake (I know you can't tell) Christmas tree from Target, I guess you get what you pay for. This is the first time in 4 yrs. our family has had a Christmas tree. And yes, those are Ry's toy blocks we used to decorate the tree.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

5 Reasons I Shouldn't Sew

I was getting out our Christmas decorations, and realized Ry did not have a stocking. Because Kev and I already had stockings, I thought the logical solution was to make Ry a matching one. Well it's finished...and during the whole process I thought of the top 5 reasons sewing is not for me.

1. I have the attention span and the patience of a 2 yr. old
Projects that take longer than an hour in general are not for me.

2. As Kev likes to tell me, I'm not detail oriented
I like to just figure it out as I go rather than do any sort of planning. By the end I figured out the order I should have sewn things. Who needs an extra 1/2 inch of fabric for seams, hence why Ry's stocking will only fit a couple of crayons.

3. I literally laugh every time I look at the finished project

4. It's money not well spent
What a waste of $8. I'm not spending more money on buying a stocking, or trying to sew another one. Thank goodness Ry doesn't know her stocking is ugly.

5. I'll forget how bad I am and make another sorry attempt at sewing in a few weeks.

No pics. at this's pretty embarassing. The funny thing is, the whole point of making one myself was so Ry's stocking would match mine and Kev's. Looking at it now, it's nowhere even close to matching (that whole not being detail oriented). Can't wait until Kev comes home and sees it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

To Idaho and Back Again

So we made it back to Denver after 10 hrs. of driving, 10 hrs. of Barney on DVD for Ry, 10 hrs. of Harry Potter on CD(Order of the Phoenix for those who are interested) for Kev and I, one blowout (of the gross variety), and 10,000 calories worth of snacks. There is something I enjoy about Kev and I being trapped in the car together for 10 hrs. straight, especially because he can't go to sleep because he is driving.

Well, we had a great time in Idaho and look forward to returning again during Christmas break! Here are a few pics. from Thanksgiving break.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Stef!

This is Kevin highjacking the blog. Happy Birthday Stef! I just wanted to tell everyone in the whole world wide web what a wonderful wife and mother you are.

Love you,

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I have more time than usual on my hands since I'm here in Idaho and don't have an apartment to clean, dinners to make, a child to take care of (I love grandparents), cub scouts to prepare for, errands to run, or a husband to run to and from school. With the spirit of Thanksgiving I have been thinking about how grateful I am to be so happy. I phrase it this way because even though we:

  • had two E.R. visits within a month
  • had to say goodbye to our wonderful friends in Pittsburgh
  • have had a hard time making friends in Denver
  • (I) had to leave the perfect job
  • feel the pain of only having one car because pinky (Kev's bike) is recovering from a car accident
  • are up to our eyeballs in student loans
  • are equipped with an epi-pen in case Ry goes into anaphylactic shock
I am happy.

It is all relative because I know we have it easy. This brings me to why I'm really doing my Thanksgiving post. I know so many great examples of others who have been dealt seriously tough times, bad news, or unfortunate events, and have only grown and shown others that it is our choice to push forward and be happy. I want to say Thank You to these people that could be wallowing in self pity or be bitter because of their circumstances, but instead are examples of faithful, hopeful, strong individuals.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Internet At Last!

I'm so excited to welcome myself to this century and announce we caved and got internet. Rylee is feeling the affects of it now seeing that I planted her in front of a movie with some cheerios. Hopefully once I'm caught up on the e-mails and blogs I can be a good mother again. So here are a few pics. from our past couple weeks.
Ry was a ballerina for Halloween, and she has learned to do balance', battement, tendu, and second position.

Grandpa and Grandma McMinn came for a visit!

Ry, so helpful in the kitchen when helping mom clean up.

One of the pics below is of Ry's 'bonk', and we actually had another more serious 'bonk' and E.R. visit a couple weeks ago. Luckily (I mean that the nicest way possible) this time Kev was the victim and not Rylee. Let me paint a picture for you: Kev rides his bike to school everday. Two Fridays ago he was on his usual route to school, in a designated bike lane, going with the flow of traffic. A woman driving in the opposite direction attempted to make a left turn into a parking lot, and unfortunately she did not see Kev on 'Pinky' (Kev's bike). Kev and pinky crashed into the front passenger side of the woman's car, flew over the top of the car, and landed on the pavement. I make light of it now because besides a major gash on Kev's knee, he was remarkably ok. I'm so thankful for the safety we are blessed with! Some may think "safety, your husband was hit by a car", but the fact that he insisted on still going to school that day and will suffer no long term injuries...I'm grateful for our safety! On a funnier note, this lady called Kev later that day to see if he was ok, and to see if he noticed the major damage he caused with his body to her car...suggesting that perhaps it was Kev's fault because after all he did hit her car. I'm glad I can laugh at this because that's CRAZY!!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

still no wifi, but a quick update

It has been sad the past couple weeks to not be able to look at other people blogs, so I have to quickly catch up on other peoples' lives here at the library while ry runs around like a crazy woman. Ry's head is much better, but once in a while she will remember her 'bonk' and be a little sad. Not much is new with us...without pics. I feel like I have nothing to post. Ry finally received a long overdue hair cut, actually we just trimmed the mullet and I don't know why I waited so long. Don't get me wrong, it still resembles a mullet, but to a lesser degree.

We are SO excited to go home for Thanksgiving. There is a lot going on during the week of Thanksgiving besides visiting family. Here is a list of activities that I anticipate will be the highlight of my November:

  1. First, obviously, Thanksgiving dinner!!!!! (Not to mention a break from being responsible for dinners the whole week)
  2. Twilight movie and my date with Maja to go see it!
  3. Harry Potter movie!!! (Kev and I will finally have a babysitter and will be able to go to the movie)
  4. My birthday, although Kev won't be there for it.
  5. Grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles
  6. Daily access to the internet
  7. Grandpa Hank's big birthday bash!
  8. Lots of Ticket to Ride hopefully (we haven't played for months)

Now I need to quickly peruse everyones' blogs!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ry's first E.R. visit

It's not nearly as bad as it sounds. Ry was overly excited to run to her room to get her slippers, and on her way she tripped and hit her head against the corner of our wall. When I went to pick her up I saw the one inch cut in the middle of her forehead and it was bleeding pretty bad. So not wanting to act like an overreacting mother I went to Kev's school to get his advice on what I should do. Thankfully the Children's hospital is right across from Kev's school and he thought it best we take her in. Long story short, they were able to glue the cut together. I'll have to post pics. if we ever get the internet at home. At this moment Ry is running around the Library taking random books off the shelf, the Librarian is giving me disapproving looks, and my key board is only letting me type at half my normal speed.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bye Bye Wifi..

Unfortunately, the wifi we have been using in our apartment complex has mysteriously we are without the Internet. I am at the library right now trying to keep track of Ry and use the computer at the same time. So needless to say there might not be pics. for a while. I know, I know...the McMinn pics. are the highlight of every one's week. So if this news is going to have a devastating affect on you, please send donations for us to get the Internet!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fun Fall Photos

Here are some pics. of stuff we've done this week. This week Ry helped me bake a cake for dad, carved a pumpkin with grandma and proceeded to eat the 'eyes' and 'mouth' after she pulled them out (she'll eat pumpkin but not pears...that's normal), swept the leaves off our porch, and posed for a few fall photos.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Happy Birthday to Kev!

Kevin turns 29 today (October 8th)! Only one more year in your 20's Kev!! I know this birthday may seem like it is lacking a little luster since our traditional Red Robin dinner will only be with our little family and not all of our friends, but I know what will make your birthday a little more special...a corny little post dedicated just to you.

Just so you know the things you do everyday don't go unnoticed, here is a list of a few of the things I want to thank you for. Thank you for:

  • Being the same person I married: kind, loving, and selfless
  • Telling Ry to "come see dad" when you know I need a break
  • Riding your bike to school everyday so I can have the car
  • Getting up with Ry at 6 in the morning so I can sleep just a little longer
  • Cleaning up those messes that are just too gross or overwhelming for me to tackle
  • Adopting my frugality by foregoing the items you would like to buy, but still encouraging me to buy the things I want.
  • All the back and foot rubs
  • Sympathizing with me when you come home and Ry is having a melt down while I'm trying to cook dinner
  • Always thinking I look great (or at least telling me that)
  • Letting me control the t.v. and the radio
  • Being the most patient person I have ever met
  • Being interested in my day even though it was probably the same as the day before and the day before that
  • Indulging Rylee with the "Mr Knickerbocker", "Bus", and "Wa Wa Woo" song over and over and over again
  • Texting me throughout the day so I have some adult interaction and know that you are thinking of us
  • Never complaining when you lose me all night to a book, even though I complain when I lose you to football games
  • Watching Rylee for days while I neglected her to read the Twilight series
  • Not only watching Ry whenever I ask, but also tidying the house while I'm out(how many guys do that?!)
  • Reading our blog regularly and being one of the few people who thinks I post interesting news
  • Reading in our closet in the mornings (usually around 5) so you don't wake me up by reading in bed (I never asked him to or even hinted that he shouldn't read in bed...I'm not that awful).
  • Being such a hard worker, I can't imagine going to college for 10 years, yuck!

Last and what I most appreciate is that you show Ry and I that we are the most important things in your life. The highlight of Ry's day is when you walk through the door, and she instantly encourages and insists you to take off your shoes and stay. The highlight of my day is when you come home and I know that you are genuinely happy to be home with your family. I love you, and I'm glad we have forever together.

Humble Pie Please

Well I took a contemporary dance class today at a great dance studio, and it was a humbling experience. It was hard, the dancers were awesome, I felt awkward at times, and my ability to memorize choreography seemed none existent. To anyone who is even playing with the idea of taking a dance class, I strongly encourage you to pursue it! For additional motivation, I lost 2 lbs. the day after my ballet class. In addition, it is great to have something of my own, something I really enjoy to do, and a little time to forget the stresses of the day!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Enjoying Fall at the Farm

We enjoyed our first fall activity this last weekend. We went to Anderson's Farm in Erie, Colorado and it did not disappoint. The best thing is we got to go with our good friends from the Burgh, the Reids. They had animals, a small "train", pumpkin launchers, corn maze, and kettle
corn to name a few highlights.

So I thought this was pretty adorable because the pic. on the bottom is almost exactly one year ago at a farm. My has she changed!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Return to Dance After 10 Years

So ever since I graduated from high school, I have had the urge to dance again. Seriously, for the past 7 years it was painful to think of dancing and really wanting an outlet to dance, but feeling like that stage in my life was over. Anyhow, I totally stepped out of my comfort zone, found a dance studio and went to my first ballet class tonight. It wouldn't matter who the teacher was or what we did, it was so unbelievably fantastic to dance again! Now for those of you who instantly cracked up at the thought of me in a leotard and tights trying to lift my leg in the air....I wore a tank and sweats to ease into it and surprisingly a lot of the technique came back, however the flexibility did not. I'm also going to try a contemporary class, hopefully my old body can keep up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I realize my posts don't have much 'meat' to them, they're mostly just a means to post pics. so those who are interested (basically grandmas and grandpas) can see Ry grow. Anyways, my good friend from Pittsburgh is here visiting her fam and I'm so happy we've been able to hang out!! Her little girl, Dillon, and Ry are good little buddies and are so cute together. They're 5 weeks apart and have been best buds since the day Dillon was born.

Here's Ry helping me clean the floor, she's pretend spraying the floor with some soap and then wiping it up. I hope she keeps this up, and I'll be putting her to work in no time!

Last Friday we went to a Rockies game, which was really fun. Ry did great for being out so late, and I enjoyed the excuse to eat Red Vines and M&Ms all night.

We also went to Oktoberfest in Denver. I thought this would be similar to the Fall Festival we've gone to in Pittsburgh, but apparently it's an old German tradition that is all about beer. It wasn't a total loss though, the funnel cake Kev and I shared was completely worth the trip.

This week we've been stuck home more because Ry has had some flu bug, and has been getting sick on my carpet, in her carseat, and her crib. Yuck.

Friday, September 19, 2008


So just a quick post to express my appreciation to our wonderful friends we made in Pittsburgh. I now realize that our time in Pittsburgh and dental school was so awesome because we had such great friends. I also realize how blessed we were to already have friends and family in Pittsburgh before we even arrived. Now that we're in Denver I know not only is it hard to break out of your shell and meet people, but I'm afraid that our friends from Pittsburgh have set the bar unrealistically high. So to Jeff, Maja, Doug, Christen, Jaclyn, Mike, Jon, Brooke, and all you other wonderful Pittsburghers, we miss and love you! Thanks for your friendships and great memories!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bee Sting - Poor Rylee

While at the zoo this week we caught the sea lion show, during which Rylee started frantically rubbing her face and screaming and would not stop. It really caught me by surprise and I had no idea what was wrong, but after a few concerned mothers came to make sure everything was ok, Rylee was diagnosed as having been stung by a bee or a wasp. It was soooo sad. She was stung right between her nose and mouth, and it it was like she had no idea what was going on. I'll admit, I shed a few tears for her myself.

Holy Mullet

So I almost always have Ry's hair in pigtails, so I'm not sure if any of you have seen the full on mullet she has. For those of you who have seen Rylee over the summer, it is even worse now. The party in the back is getting longer everyday, while the business up front has made no progress. Here is a pic. of Ry's awesome mullet, and I must say that not many people could be so darn cute with such a raging mullet.

Ry's Crafty Apron

So since I have so much time on my hands and a sewing machine in my closet, I decided I needed a project. This was just a small project, but it is pretty cute. I found the coolest fabric ever and decided to make Ry an apron since she enjoys helping me bake in the kitchen. I seriously want to make some bedding for Ry out of this material, it's that cute. However, if you could see the apron up close, you would probably suggest I hold off on the bedding because my sewing is pretty shotty.

On a baking note, I won the blue ribbon apple pie award during our Ward's Chili cook off and Pie bake off! Not quite as cool as it sounds since there were only like 5 apple pies in the contest.


We went camping this weekend at Chatfield State Park. Now I admit I expected more from a campground in Colorado (it was like camping in a parking lot with a few trees here and there), but we still had a great time and I love camping food. Kev's cousin and her family joined us from Colorado Springs, and we were so happy to have fun people to hang out with. The next day we went on a 2.5 mile hike and averaged an hour a mile. Although the kids were setting a pretty slow pace, it was a beautiful relaxing hike.

Ry and Sam fell asleep in the backpacks about 10 mins. into the hike