Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March 6, 2018


Bowen has been seizure free on her medicine since 2016. Then in the middle of nap time, she seized just as similar as she had when she first got diagnosed. Two minutes and twenty seconds. It didn't hit me until a few minutes ago. When I decided to pick up my computer and write this. I have no idea why. We haven't really told many people yet or processed it fully.

Everyone knows how much I love the STARS program. How much they have meant to us. Not only did they handle everything perfectly, but they caught the seizure during her sleep, took the best care of Bowen anyone could have, and comforted Brett and I in ways we can never thank them enough.

Because of her teacher's write up about the seizure (love you Meredith), her doctor was able to pinpoint EXACTLY what happened, what was going on in her brain, and what her future plans are.

Everything is day by day. We've known that since the beginning. But I feel like we've been in this blissful no seizure phase (at least the big outward ones) since the day of her first seizure in 2016 that led to her diagnosis. But in the back of our minds, we knew that this day was possible. Where she would essentially ''fail'' her first medicine and have to move forward to other routes.

We are adding a second medicine this week and then will be admitted to TCH in the next months for further evaluation.

For some reason blogging is therapeutic for me, and even though I haven't since June 2017 (thanks Harvey), I really long to get back into it.

And I love STARS more than ever. The entire program. The staff. The teachers. The therapists. And the entire preschool and every single person there that makes it run. So I will continue not only to fight for what's best for Bowen, but fight for this program which showed their support for her when she needed it most. March 6, 2018.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Beautycounter...SAY WHAT?!

Hello. I'm Ryann. And I've always been skeptical (really skeptical) about selling things and products that people sell through social media. Until I started spending way too much money on Beautycounter. And now I'm eating my own words. I started with buying stuff just for the kids (the whole line is non-toxic and good/safe for you). We restricted food dye for Bowen earlier this year and after getting really good at reading labels I started noticing all the gross things in the bath stuff we were using...dye every.where. Then I slowly started to add more safe products for me....the mimosa body wash, moisturizer, lip gloss. And I became obsessed. Well I'm basically obsessed with anything that has the word mimosa in it obv. And on top of that if Gwyneth sells it on goop it has to be awesomeness right?! I mean....

You see Brett & I recently started both trying to lose weight that we have added on over the past few years and we've been successful so far. Then I thought you know what-- I deserve to also take care of my body and skin and before I knew it I was googling stuff like kim k's nightly routine...khloe's fav skin products...because apparently I'm also obsessed with the Kardashians? #noshame. I started buying so much different stuff and actually became passionate about it that my friend Myra encouraged me to start selling it. My immediate reaction was no, i don't have time, i'm too stressed, i don't want people to make fun of me. And I just kept going back to it over and over again. Ever since having to leave a job I loved I've been craving something to do for myself. Even though initially I never pictured it to be this exactly; but after getting the advice of B & some close friends I decided you know what? Who cares. I'm going to try it and if it makes me happy and gives me something to do for myself then what's wrong with doing that.

So here I am. Shouting it from the rooftops that I'M A BEAUTYCOUNTER CONSULTANT. Ah feels good to get that off my chest.

I've also discovered that it's kind of like feeding your kids broccoli. You probably don't do it every day. Or even every other day. but when you do, you fell DANG good about yourself. That's how Beautycounter is for me. I might forget to put sunscreen on them every single day and they might get banana boat at my parents house...but when I put Beautycounter sunscreen on them (which is non toxic and rated 1 on the EWG scale) I feel DANG good about myself. #momwin

So let's get into my top 5 favorite things I've tried so far that I love:

1) Sunscreen and sunscreen stick: by far my most favoritest stuff ever. it's completely 100% safe for you AND the kids. it smells fantastic and the sunscreen face stick is kid approved and mommy tested.

2) Kid Bath Pack: the body wash, shampoo, and conditioner are all legit. i love knowing that i'm using safe stuff on them (and cute packaging for the designer in me to display). my absolute favorite is the conditioner because benny hates when i brush her hair. it's a hot mess. but this seriously makes it less tangly!

3) Baby Gentle All Over Wash: perfect for the tiniest little babes and doubles as a bubble bath too! i wish i knew about this when i had a newborn.

4) LIP GLOSS: yep. there's makeup too. dangerous. i seriously have to restrain myself from ordering every color. i have peony which is perfect pink.

5) Citrus Mimosa Body Wash and Bar: like i said. i love anything with the word mimosa in it. y'all this smells so freaking good. it's the first thing i bought for myself and haven't stopped using it since.

If you want to see more products or just check it out, here's my personal page:

And add me on Facebook! I promise not to overshare or annoy you. Pinky swear.

Thanks for making it this far and thanks to everyone who encouraged me to go for it! I'm going to go hide now.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Epilepsy Awareness Month

Did I ever tell you that the neuro at TCH who initially gave us Bowen's diagnosis was the most rude and negative person ever? That she would never meet her milestones? Or be what we hoped she would be? I pretty much hate him. And I also love proving him wrong.

I don't say I can fully blame him though. Looking at a picture of her MRI you would see a few things. You would see that the right side of her brain is bigger than her left. You would see that her frontal lobe is abnormal. You would see that her parietal lobe is abnormal. You would see that she has too many folds on her right side. You would see that her corpus callosum is just not right. Sound scary? It is. You know what else is scary? Epilepsy. And the fact that we can't tell a seizure from a normal behavior. The fact that we don't know if the medicine is working or not. The fact that being hooked up to a fancy machine can't even give doctors answers. The fact that surgery will never be a black or white answer. 

But a few facts we do know is how much Bowen IS doing.
She currently says bubble, purple, turtle, mama, dada, more, this, ball, snack, night night, all done, open, help, and I LOVE THAT I COULD KEEP TYPING MORE WORDS. She is also pulling up, cruising, gets mad when I tell her no, bites her sister (then realizes she did something wrong and gives her a kiss), gives her baby medicine, pushes shopping carts, goes to school, loves school, and loves making friends.

We take nothing for granted and know that with HME things can change in an instant. So taking the advice of a dear friend and mentor of mine, we are soaking in and relishing in these moments and focusing on what she CAN do.

If you feel like reading more, here is more information on HME & epilepsy <3


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sweet Bowen Lee

"Never in a million years'' were the words that the neurologist used when he met with us yesterday to give us the results from Bowen's MRI. As most of you know she had an MRI Saturday and we so appreciate all the texts we have received checking on us. Sorry we have not written back yet as we were still processing everything. Long story short, the neurologist has diagnosed our sweet Bowen with ''Hemimegalencephaly" (I still can't pronounce it either so let's just say HME for short). Now try to stay off is the rundown:

  • It is a rare (really really rare) neurological condition/brain disorder. Her neurologist has been practicing for 30 plus years and has only seen 3 prior cases.
  • One half of the brain (the right hemisphere in Bowen’s case) is abnormally large (i.e. developmentally different).
  • This was NOT something anyone did (believe me I asked..did I eat something wrong? Do the wrong things?). She had this before she was born-- it's a chromosomal defect that occurs developmentally in the womb.
  • One of the concerns with HME is that the abnormally large hemisphere of the brain does not allow for the normal hemisphere of the brain to properly grow and develop.
  • Another concern with HME is the side effect of seizures.
  • The primary concern with seizures is if the severity of the seizure cuts off oxygen to the brain.  HME should be the explanation of Bowen’s developmental delays to date.  We have seen steps in the right direction thanks to therapy.  The concern is moving backwards (i.e. learning and developmental impacts) resulting from seizures.  Fevers lower the threshold for seizures stemming from HME.
  • Anti-epileptic drugs do exist, although there are side effects and they do not work all of the time for all HME patients.
  • Brain surgery in the form of a hemispherectomy exists in which the abnormally large hemisphere is disconnected and removed with the hopes that the normal hemisphere compensates for the lack of the other hemisphere (the technical term for this is “plasticity”).

So what's next? Her neurologist has referred her to a seizure specialist as well as a geneticist to sort of connect all the dots and figure out the best plan of action. The hard part is trying to get everyone to answer my phone calls :) 
The fact that Bowen has only had one seizure and doesn't seem like the ''typical'' fit for HME is so encouraging for us and we know if anyone can progress and prove doctors wrong it's her! One really important to thing us is that we cannot allow the label to define her. She is just Bowen. 
We will continue to keep you updated of course and we are always an open book for any questions you have. 
Brett & Ryann

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Average Day

I literally just spent 30 minutes writing a post about the average day I usually go through with 3 kids under 2.5. But then I realized no one really probably cares that I feel the urge to put champagne in my coffee at 8 AM or that I secretly pretend like I didn't see Cash hit Benny or that I probably let them watch more TV than they should (sorry not sorry). I think that wasn't even the point of my post. I had a conversation with a friend the other day about the perfect Facebook mom. You know the one that has the clean house and dinner on the table every night and posts it all over social media and makes you feel like shit.  It was so refreshing hearing her say, you know what, sometimes when they nap, I nap too. Or I check my email. Or I watch a TV show. Because IT'S THE ONLY TIME I GET. I will say that I'm very lucky that I have a lot of help. But kids still want their mommas. Just because I have help does not mean I will relinquish control of my kids all day. I get about an hour break these days to do things for just me. Yes, an hour. Sometimes if I'm lucky 2 hours depending on if all 3 sleep at the same time. But Cash and Benny sleep from 1-3 and  Bowen is usually awake for some of that so I like to soak up some Bowen and mommy time. So no, I don't use that time to cook a gourmet meal or bleach my bathroom. I use it to gain back some of my g-damn sanity. Usually that consists of running to the grocery store so I can throw dinner together at the last minute or buying Brett a shirt for work or maybe get Starbucks #icedcoffeeplease. Then before I know it someone is awake and I have my mom face back on again. 

Some days I think about it for a second. I'm up at 5 AM with one kid and have kids with me until 8 PM (with an hour or two break). That's like 15 hours of mommy-ing. Which I do love and is what I signed up for and I'm thankful for. But it's a lot. And it's hard. And it's overwhelming. And sometimes I want to go in my room and cry. Thank goodness for text conversations with Brett through the day, which pretty much consists of:

Me: I want to seriously shoot myself. How's your day?
B: Uh oh. You got this babe :) 
Me: What do you want for dinner?
B: I'll pick up pizza.
B: And wine.

I'm not really sure where the post is going and now that I (might) be writing again I promise this will be the only too long too serious one for a while. I guess my point is that outside criticism can be hard and unwanted. And the Facebook posts can be overwhelming and make you feel honestly sometimes inadequate.  I have every good intention of cooking one day or getting something done, and it just DOESN'T HAPPEN. And that's OK. Thank goodness I have Suzanne across the street who I can hijack a home cooked meal from in emergencies. It's hard to balance wife, mom, daughter, friend all in 1. But the people I respect the most are the ones who can relate to that the most and understand what we go through, which is hard. Shout out to my B- who always understands and is my partner in crime.


Friday, August 29, 2014


That is all Cash wants to eat right now.

He hasn't had dinner in two nights because all he wants are....RAISINS!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are raisins all over our house. In my car. In the front yard. IN THE SCHOOL PARKING LOT.

He actually hoards them in his tent sometimes for emergency reasons.

Raisins account for 99.9% of daily tantrums.

I hate raisins.

Except when I need to bribe him.

Then I love raisins.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


i always knew if we had a girl i wanted a boys name for her. my mom chose one for me and i wanted to continue the tradition. i googled and googled for months and kept thinking i wanted one with a ''c'' to match cash. our top choices were carson, cade (cash and cade, i mean come on), and coy.  but none of these ever felt like ''the one''. i love cade for a boy but for a girl i didn't want people to think her name was caden or cadence etc. and carson was too popular for girls lately. and then coy was going to be if we had a boy so i couldn't imagine it on her. then i asked for suggestions via twitter and a good friend wrote me a list- one of which was bennett. i had seen a little girl on instagram a few weeks before that named bennett and added it to our list but kind of brushed it off because it didn't start with a c.  rewind to even months before that when i was in austin for the ole miss game-- my bff JD and i were talking about names and benny came up. i even texted brett at like 1 AM ''benny suzanne i love it :)''....but again we brushed it off because it didn't start with a c.

after my friend suggested bennett on twitter, everything just kind of made sense and i made the connection between bennett and benny. bennett could be her formal name and we could call her benny. you see, we call cash ''cashy'' so that night i asked about bennett and call her benny? benny and cashy? and he said, it's perfect. <3 even more perfect that my dad's name is benjamin and that makes it a play off a family name kinda sorta.

plus who doesn't want an excuse to sing b-b-b-b-enny and the jets.

the whole point of this blog post is how it's kind of funny how fate works. i think benny was destined to have this name.  my dad's name is benjamin franklin (I KNOW, I KNOW). and he is named after my grandfather's baby brother who passed away tragically in a car accident at a very young age.  he was so special to my grandfather and his family and the tragedy that they had to go through is just unimaginable.  a few years ago my grandfather gave my dad his brothers wallet, which still had the tire tracks on it from the car accident.  it was a special moment and something my dad cherishes.  so after we announced the name to my parents at christmas, my dad called my grandfather to tell him that we were going to name her bennett and call her benny. and what my grandfather said next will always be so special to me.  he told my dad that his brother benjamin went by the name benny. that was his name. what they called him. what he was known as. and that is when i knew we made the right choice, and i couldn't be happier to have my daughter share his name.

have a great day y'all