Ryan Donald, a name

I've been eating up Jenna's posts about her children's names, and I devour all of Kate's posts so why not share how we named our boys and girl?

I've always loved baby names. When I was little I used to throw Babysitter's Club books and Sweet Valley High books into my library basket and then I would wander through the nonfiction section and snag a few baby names books and just read through the alphabet of names. When the Internet came around, I would take great care to scour babynames.com when naming ... our herd of goats. The two does just had to have names that meant queen, the male kids had to be "princes" and the female kids had to be "princesses." I don't think anyone else in my family used the painstakingly chosen names.

 It's not surprising that I can find old emails conversations and chats with Chris from quite a decent way back with discussions about  potential baby names for someday down the road. 

You would think that after all of that baby name reading, our reasoning for Ryan Donald would have some profound, a stars-in-the-sky-spelled-out-his-name epiphany moment, but really all I have to give to you is - we liked it, and there is some family meaning. 

Our list of names had an unplanned trend for the boys and for the girls; we liked Irish boy names and French girl names. Ryan was our #1. People don't normally say, "WOW we LOVE that NAME!" but Ryan Harrington just sounded like our oldest boy! It completely fit. Ryan means, "little king;" perfect for the oldest boy of the oldest boy of the oldest boy. Ryan is also the maiden name of one of Chris' great-grandmothers so we can deem it a family name. 

Whenever we tell people Ryan's full name, I normally follow up with, "Donald is a family name ... " It isn't the best name ever, but I do love that it is my dad's middle name and my grandpa's first name. Plus since my grandpa went to Notre Dame, and we were living in South Bend when Ryan was born, it was perfect that he got Donald as a middle name. 

And I just looked up the meaning of Donald for the first time - it means "little chief!" So our Ryan Donald was born a little king, little chief, and oh is he! 

We didn't put much emphasis on for having a saintly base to his name. We think our names get a passing grade as long as there is just one saint that can be connected. I have all the hope in the world that there will be a St. Ryan someday even with my ordinary mothering especially after reading this the other day. There happens to be a St. Donald, but it is kind of a downer because there is almost nothing known about him. I do wish we had a specific intercessor picked out to call upon for Ryan. Maybe Kate could do a spotlight on Ryan? Hint, hint. 

How to not do bed time, but I don't really ever see us changing

Whenever I put the kids to bed by myself I internally bemoan, "Whyyyyyyyyyy????" How am I on my third child and I don't have a single one that I can plop into bed, cross a blessing on his or her forehead and twirl right out of the room? I mean, I do know why. I do everything wrong according to this expert. Everything. 

If I were to write down everything that goes into bedtime Chez Harrington, it would take too long to finish this post (I mean, come on ... Elise's birth story is advancing at maybe a word a week; prolific is not my name). So in hopes of brevity, the opposite of our bedtimes, I'll focus on my favorite part of bedtime. 


It's definitely rarely peaceful, but it's definitely always needed. When I'm doing it by myself, odds are I will lose my temper at least half the time or talk through my teeth as Conor so perfectly mimics. So yes, it is definitely always needed. 

Chris and I kneel down. Sometimes I'm nursing Elise, sometimes she is on Conor's trundle. The boys religiously scale our backs and fall and then give it another go. I'm normally the consolation prize for whomever loses the fight to get on Chris' back. They stay there for a variable amount of time; eventually they are hopping around and around with some fighting tossed in. We make the sign of the cross; Conor just taps his belly four times.  Chris shares all of his intentions, which are always so well thought out and humble and honest and pillar-ly, and I rattle off mine. Then we ask, "Ryan, what do you want to pray for?" A third of the time he replies, "I don't know," grumpily. Another third of the time, he will list a compilation of random thoughts that go through a four year old's head. The rest of the time he prays, "Thank you God for my family, for Daddy, for Mama, for Conor, for Elise. I love you, God!" Then we ask, "Conor, what do you want to pray for?" He always replies, "Pway Notre Dame!" Which could mean that he wants to pray for the university or the football team or he is theologically advanced for a two year old and understands that Notre Dame is French for Our Lady and he is asking the Blessed Virgin Mary for her intercession but choosing to refer to her as Notre Dame. Pretty sure it's the second option.  Then I ask Elise what she wants to pray for, and the boys laugh and remind me that she can't talk yet. But that doesn't mean she can't pray! 

Then we sing. When Ryan was little, we used to meet our friends at the bookstore on campus for story time. The lady who led it was amazingly enthusiastic, and at the end of every story time, she would lead the children in the same fifteen or so songs. One day I overheard her explaining that there were so many songs because she kept trying new songs, but the kids wanted to do all of them instead of just a few each time so the list just grew, and there was no going back. That's pretty much how it is with us. We sing four songs at bedtime. 

First, we start off singing the Our Father. Second, we sing a very simple Ave Maria, the way Chris' mom sings it during family rosary. Third, we sing the Antiphon from the Canticle of Simeon, "Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake. Watch over us, as we sleep. That awake, we may keep watch with Christ. And asleep, rest in His peace." Chris first heard it when he attended Lucernarium at the seminary on campus once, and it's been our lullaby ever since. It's such a beautiful one. I'll always remember holding Conor on my hip, Ryan on Chris' and the four (five with Elise in my belly) of us singing it to Grandma Harrington as our final goodbye before we put the boys to bed on the last night of her wake. Both boys sang every syllable. 

And fourth, we sing the alma mater. The boys never let us forget that one, and we take it away if they don't pay attention during the first three.

(I'm realizing that it's a bit comical that we take away the alma mater as a disciplinary action. Maybe the boys should put that down on their admissions essays ...).

Then Ryan gives Conor a hug, "I love you, Conor!" And Conor gives Ryan a hug, "I love you, Wyan." It's a chorus of "I love you, Dada!" "I love you, Mama!" "I love you, Wise!"

When we aren't out of holy water, Chris blesses everyone and then the boys insist on blessing everyone, too. This is a good card to play when you are young and trying to extend bedtime because how can your mom get mad when you are tapping her head, "Fada! Don! Howy Pirit! AMEN!"?




Four notes from yesterday

Some notes from an ordinary day:


As a third child, Elise rolled over back to front three times before any of us witnessed her feat. I don't even know what day the very first roll was. (I do, however give her ample amount of fatty-fat-fat rolls plenty of attention because gosh, baby rolls and baby breath and baby heads just deserve to be savored). Anyway, her milestones can slip through the cracks and that's just that, but let it be known that yesterday, January 14, 2016, she napped for two and a half hours straight. 

I've been so accustomed to her preferred commitment to sporadic slumber that I even went in to check if she were still breathing, a habit that hasn't formed while mothering her since she frustratingly has focused on developing a short nap habit. She was! And after such a restful sleep, I'm sure she would like you to know, "I woke up like this."


Poor Conor Baby (still his nickname since he is still the baby of my boys ... ) has an ear infection yet again. We've had a lot of cuddling and watching of his favorite "Raw-hood" (it may sound like  a more dramatic title for Straight Outta Compton, but that is his pronunciation for Robin Hood). He was taking a turn for the screamy side after dinner so I popped him on my hip and went about washing the dishes one handed. Eventually Ryan came in with an attempt to stall cleaning the play room. I sent him back on his merry melancholic way, and my mind was lost in the hot water and dish soap, and I thought to myself seriously, "There's Ryan, Elise is asleep, but I wonder when Conor is going to holler?" 

It took me a few moments to realize that he was still on my hip. 


It was so warm yesterday! All high 30s degrees warm! The kids and I ventured outside at almost five to the neighborhood hill to catch the last snow before it all melted away. We were like surfers rushing to catch the last wave except in the hearty Midwest. I was huffing and puffing to get all their snow gear with only mediocre at best expectations of the next two minutes to ten minutes we would spend in the snow before Conor shed his mittens and beg to be return to our heated home.  And then we went outside and there was no mediocre in sight. Ryan sled down over and over and over. He had a perma-grin under the Notre Dame perma-cloud. I stood at the top of the hill with an alert, red-nosed Elise on my chest tracking his escapades down the hill with nary a whimper from cold. Conor, who is timid in adventure, but not timid in both tackling and conversation, preferred to stand at the top of the hill clutching his Star Wars toy while shouting, "Go Wyan!". He did have one go down the hill which ended in him sprawled out in the snow moaning, "WHERE TIE-FIGHTER GO??"

No worries, we found it.


As a result of her splendid nap, I was feeling lucky so I took a swing at laying Elise down for bed before the boys. Once her shut eye gave me two-handed freedom I was off to finally make the hot chocolate I had used as a bribe, set it aside to cool, explain to Conor it was still too hot, finish the dishes, explain to Conor it was still, still too hot, put away the laundry, explain to Conor it was still, still, still too hot, vacuum the remnants of a toddler eating dinner, explain to Conor it was still still, still, still, still too hot, and supervise the last of the toy cleaning. Finally the hot chocolate was just right! I placed the mugs on the table, plopped Conor in the high chair and heard Elise cry. Hmmmm. Girlfriend was playing me with that stellar nap.  I tossed the options around in my head; how daring was I feeling with the rest of my night? Do I go nurse Elise down again and leave the floors in peril of the boys' hot chocolate sloshing so she knows it is time to sleep or do I go get her and live with the horror of a 7 o'clock nap, but not have to clean up hot chocolate? I traded hopeful freedom for the prospect of a mess and went to nurse that baby I just am not ready to sleep train yet. We nursed, and I kept thinking about the pending disaster area. When she had fallen asleep again, I hurried to our kitchen/living room/dining room. And what did I find?  The boys were sitting nicely with their animals and dinosaurs, a favorite puzzle, and hot chocolate with not a single bit of mess. 

"What's happening?" I asked.

Conor looked at me with his chipmunk cheeks smothered in brown from his overzealous tipping back and with the plump satisfaction you see after a good meal. He proudly stated while raising his mug, "HOT CHOC-AH-WATE." 

Ryan explained, "We are having a picnic, Mom." 

These brothers' dialect

^^^ Their parents look like goofs, but let me tell you about those boys ... ^^^

I remember listening to Fountains of Carrots once and grinning when Christy described her boys' interactions as an ongoing wrestling match. Oh, I KNOW. These boys speak a dialect of English that adds tackling and wrestling as punctuation and allows for quite the volume elevation. It certainly conveys enthusiasm and can successfully be used to get on a mother's last nerve, but don't look for it at a world leader summit. Anyway! A tame use of this was captured at my aunt's wedding last weekend if you care to watch: 

I love my cousin Melissa in the background saving six year old Henry from terrible twos and terribly confident Conor. Pretty much sums him up.

Sweeping my own words

This morning I decided that today was the day I was going to hem the too-long curtains in the boys' room. The task was a long time coming considering I originally bought the blackout fabric and the striped  material for the curtain when I was pregnant ... with Conor. Our move this summer and Chris' helpfulness finally got them hanging, but I put them up with frayed edges and brushing the heater which just won't do in the winter. Today I felt productive. So I completed my strength workout for the day by maneuvering boxes around and getting my sewing machine down. I set it up, found a bobbin, went to thread it and discovered that my recently fixed machine was broken. Fine. 

Later I thought I would be a fun mom instead of hopping from to-do to to-do. Last week I had picked up some dinosaur fossil toys from a neighbor. I told the boys to go to the other room so I could get their surprise all ready.  As I put the bones in containers and then covered them in uncooked rice, I thought, "Should I really give this to them? It's going to be a B to clean up. No, I think they'll keep the rice mostly in there. Maybe ..."

Ha! Oh Katrina. 

This is what it looked like when I just released a new product in my shop:

The picture is very forgiving. 

And then the vacuum died. Or maybe it's just taking a rest, I hope.

So here I am sweeping thousands of grains of rice on carpet. With each sweep a few grains go where I want them to, but others just hop up in search of more fun.

It's a good thing it was today that I released these mugs, isn't it?

Offer it up, Katrina!