Meet Our Children

Amanda, our oldest, lives in Ireland and returns home to visit her siblings as often as she can.  Amanda is a colorful mix of talents. I love it when she sings in Gaelic and since living in Ireland she has taken up her acting skills again and has recently been in some productions in Galway. She did all of her sister’s flowers for her wedding and will likely do her own one day as no one can create a bouquet as beautifully as our Amanda, who is affectionately also known as Aimee within the family. In addition to her acting she is also employed as a florist in Ireland and recently did the flowers for Jonathan’s and Alicia’s wedding. With each wedding we have seen so much artistic growth – I can’t help but wonder what Cici’s wedding flowers will be like!

UPDATE 2012: Amanda is continuing to enjoy life in Galway and still working with flowers but has also begun to follow another one of her talents up a side path that might lead to a new career. She is now getting paid freelancing writing jobs! So proud of her advancement there.. and could use a little of her good luck as well!

UPDATE 2015: Amanda’s free lancing has taken off to the point that it is the main source of income and she has taken her passion for flowers, art and the teensy tiny and converted it into a business. Tall Blue Starry had one of its creations in the Ascot parade of hats. Amanda’s adorable Teddy Bear Picnic hat was featured in many European news venues as of the  most interesting hats there. Still living in Ireland Amanda recently traveled to the south of France where she attended a week long millinery workshop. But even better, in my opinion – she has made it home twice in the past 18 months! Nothing can top that!

Here is one of beautiful creations modeled by her.Amanda

Jenny, our second child, is married to a wonderful man – John. They live about an hour from us and have an adorable little girl named Lydia Marie and wonderful son Xander! John is self employed (let me know if you have any construction needs and we’ll give you a free estimate…) while Jenny recently gave up her job as Campus Ministry Director to stay at home with Lydia and their recently adopted son. She too has recently begun her own blog and I am loving it! Jenny has often voiced the opinion that she is not as talented as her siblings in her writing and artistic skills. Yet one only has to read a few of her posts to see how short she has sold herself in that area, and if you could take a tour of her home you would see how talented she is in creating a comfortable, highly attractive house while also on a very tight budget.

UPDATE 2012: Since the beginning of this blog John & Jenny welcomed another blessing into their lives – a double blessing actually. Twins who are now about 8 months old and adorable! John is now employed full time but still doing the occasional odd carpentry job on the side. There are a lot of mouths to feed in his little household now! Jenny is continuing to blog and has begun a beautiful website all about cooking.  You can find her at The Ryan Table. She’s also on Instagram

UPDATE 2015: George joined the Ryan clan last Christmas season and is featured in the updated photo of his mum up above. In addition to homeschooling her oldest two, keeping the twins and almost toddler George occupied Jennifer is pursuing her own writing career. She spent a year writing for Holy Heroes during which time she also published her own book, Love With All My Might. She has several more goodies in the working and I, for one, can’t wait to see them published.

Jonathan, the third child but first son, was named before we were even married. We often strolled through campus or along the Saint John River that rolls its way through Fredericton and dreamed about our first child who would be a blue eyed blond curly headed boy. He was all that excepting the curls.  Jonathan gave us a scare early in life when he landed in the NICU at five days of age but has been robustly healthy since that rocky start. This fall, (Oct 2010)  Jonathan married his college sweetheart Alicia, a beautiful daughter in law who is the second in a family of seven children. Jonathan is currently employed by the diocese as one of their religious directors. Hopefully the diocese will also make good use of his talented writing skills. Alicia, a Belmont Abbey graduate, has recently found employment – no small feat in this economy and we are so glad that they are settling close by.

Update 2012: Jonathan and John have reversed job roles as Jonathan is now self-employed and enjoying it immensely. If you need any surplus equipment liquidated Jonathan’s the man! He and Alicia are expecting their first baby in November.

Jonathan and crew

UPDATE 2015: So many changes is such a short time. Jonathan has gone through a few career changes and is currently employed full time, as is Alicia. They have a beautiful son Frank who is soon to celebrate his third birthday and they are happily awaiting the birth of their second baby. Forever the entrepreneur at heart Jonathan is frequently exploring fresh business ideas with his dad and they both have ideas on the the back burner simmering away.

Last year Alicia had an incredible opportunity to travel to China and brought back lots of photos and really wonderful memories.

Fourth and the last of the 80’s babies is Miguel who was our first red head.  Recently Miguel finished his airborne training and is currently a member of the 82nd Airborne. Even though he is considering  following a military career, Miguel also is very artistic and prefers to work in black and white in his artwork. Before long Miguel will be deployed though we do not yet know when or where and prayers for his safety will be greatly appreciated as well.  When he can – he often comes home on the weekend though his ability to do this may soon be impeded by travel restrictions and we will miss those weekend visits.

UPDATE 2012: Miguel is finished with his stint in the army and is currently training to be a fireman. He is loving the challenges that come with this schooling. Miguel now has a 1 year old son, handsome Thomas, though sadly his marriage did not survive his stint in the army. We would welcome prayers for Miguel during this challenging transition for him as he does not yet have paying work.

UPDATE 2015: After three years of work as a fireman and other part time jobs, Miguel has transitioned from fireman to EMT and is currently living in Virginia. He is engaged and they plan to marry in January of next year. We are looking forward to celebrating this sacrament with them and hope to have pictures to share later.

After being blessed with four children in four years and 2 months we have a huge gap of four years before our fifth child and third daughter, Gabriela, was born on Miguel’s fourth birthday. I call her my miracle baby as I went into early labour at four months with her yet somehow we made it almost to her due date. An undiagnosed thyroid condition was the culprit and as such it is a miracle she was conceived, never mind made it to term. She is extremely artistic and is often creating new designs with her embroidery and bead work. She also loves to create graphic designs on the computer and is often heard singing quietly while she works. She has a beautiful voice which helps ease the absence of Amanda’s lovely voice. Gabriela is discerning her vocation and is feeling strongly led to a religious life and is grateful for any and all supporting prayers.

UPDATE 2012: Gabriela has branched out into nannying for a parishioner who works at the same school as her father. She is slowly building up a jewelery business and has some very beautiful creations for sale. She is also doing a little studying on the side and might sign up for classes at our local community classes. This summer, while she is off from her nannying job, she will be my right hand assistant for homeschooling as we lost a lot of time this year due to illness in the family and we have some work ahead of us to catch up!

UPDATE 2015 After two years of community college Gabriela earned several early childhood education certificates which she is putting to good use in assisting in the planning and teaching of the younger fry at home. She is also working part-time at a local school. Her discernment continues and she is very close to knowing what her vocation is. Stay tuned…

DISCERNMENT update. Last year Gabriela spent a year with the Franciscan Sisters of the Martyr St. George at their Mater Redemptoris House of Formation. It was a huge transition for all of us but most especially for myself and our youngest child. She returned home in May where she studied at the local community college to obtain her certification as a nurses aid and then in early October we drove her up to New York when she is continuing the discernment process as a postulant with the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne.  I hope to start blogging and sharing her discernment story soon and will backtrack to the beginning. It is a very moving and beautiful story.

Shortly after Gabriela turned two, sun shiny Anna joined our family – the only one to officially go past her due date shocking me so much by that fact that initially I would give her due date as her birth date! Like most of our children Anna is a gifted writer and also very artistic but has focused more on cartoons than any other art form.  Anna is the dream homeschool student: self directed and highly motivated. She knows she wants to go to college but, like our eldest, has so many interests she is not sure what to pursue as a career. When faced with the quandary of how to fill in a little spare time you will typically find her with her nose stuck in a classic like Emma or Jane Eyre, a love she shares with Gabriela and I.

UPDATE: Anna has finished her freshman year at Belmont where she is currently in the Honors as well as the Hintemeyer (catholic leadership) programs. Her scholarship is from the Hintemeyer program though so she has to work during the school year. Despite that and fighting mono all second semester – she managed to finish with a respectable GPA of 3.7 (Yes, we are incredibly proud of her.) This summer she is way too far away from us in Illinois assisting as a team worker for Totus Tuus.

UPDATE 2015  over the past two years Anna has pursued an education in art and her talents have grown incredibly. Below is an example of her work:

Anna art

UPDATE 2018: Anna has been accepted into the training program with one of our  american airlines. Stay tuned to learn more about this fantastic career change. Anna has always dreamed of flying the skies as an airline hostess and it looks like this dream is about to come true.

Josef Noah, is named for his great grandfather from the German line in the family, and ironically, looks the most of any of his siblings like his (German descended) Argentinian relatives. Once when looking a photo of family in Argentina one of the older children argued that it could not possibly be a picture from there because Noah was in it. I had to point out all of the different breakfast products on the table with Spanish labels – like the Dulce de Leche before they would believe it was not Noah in the picture. Noah is going to be a tall boy like his 6 foot 4 brother who is in the military. Like most boys his age he enjoys sports, working with computers but is also an avid reader with Brian Jacques being one of his early discoveries. Just shy of 15, he is also at that stage when teen males love to torment everyone around them with teasing and I am one of his primary targets. Despite his teasing, he is a great big brother and is often found carrying our littlest one, Cecilia, on his hip or on his shoulders to her great delight and my terror.

UPDATE 2012: Now 17, Noah is progressing in faith often getting up at 5 so as to be able to get a drive to daily Mass with one of the Fathers. He has also been promoted to head alter boy – much to our delight and pride. While hoping for a part time job with more hours so as to save for future educational expenses, Noah is enjoying a part time job at our parish. He loves biking and often bikes long distances to do small errands. He is seriously considering a career as a veterinarian. And he’s still prone to carrying babies on his hip – in this case his 2 yr old nephew, Xander!

UPDATE 2015: Josef is currently employed part time while he attends college and has taken the first steps required to pursue a degree in Animal Husbandry.

UPDATE 2018: Josef is in his second year of pursuing a liberal arts degree at Belmont Abbey where he shares an apartment with his younger brother Benjamin and another student from the Abbey. Last fall they treated us to a delicious chicken dinner in their apartment and I can honestly say Josef is following in his father’s footsteps as a great cook!

Benjamin, who used to be primarily addressed by his nick name of Teddy which was bestowed on him by Jenny shortly after his birth has recently begun to introduce himself as Ben, much to my dismay. I had grown very fond of his many nick names such as the Bear man, Teddy bear etc and prefer the formal sound of Benjamin to the single syllable of Ben. Like his father, Benjamin is quick to pick up new skills and especially loves to build computers with his dad. Like the majority of our children he too is an avid reader and is frequently found at the library with Noah scouting out new reading materials. Some of his favourite authors are Lloyd Alexander and J.R.R. Tolkien. In his physical build, he following in Jonathan’s shoes though his colouring is that of a brunet whereas Jonathan is one of our blondish blue eyed creations.

UPDATE 2012: Benjamin has expanded his horizons from computers to following in his older brothers footsteps – and is now a Jr Fireman at one of our local fire houses. Of course, once they learned of his computer skills they set him down in front of their computer and put him to work – repairing it. Less than an hour later – they were once again surfing the net! Ben now actually has a small part time business he is running online under his father’s tutorage.

UPDATE 2015: Like his brother Josef, Benjamin is also working part time while attending college in hopes of pursuing a degree in computer science.

UPDATE 2018: Benjamin after attending a local community college to get a few courses out of the way, joined Josef and Bethany at the Abbey.  His major is business. Weekends often find him making the trek home to work with his father and I on the new business we are building.

Bethany is our first American born of our children and is our ninth child and the last one born in the nineties. She is a cheerful and dreamy child, often doodling and coming up with droll jokes that she shares with us both verbally and in cartoons. Recently her status message on her gmail chat was “Hi it’s Bethany and I’m not really here at the moment so please leave a message at the tone………………………….” She too loves to read and while her ability to read is way beyond the Trixie Belden series it now a tradition that she gets at least one new Trixie Belden mystery in her stocking at Christmas. I’m a little worried though that she is going to completely outgrow them before I can give her all of the original eight that I read as a child if we stick just to Christmas Stockings. I feel I have a little glimpse as to how she will be as an adult because she is, in so many ways, the twin of her eldest sister. Not only is she physically following in her footsteps and will likely be  five nine or five ten, she shares many of Aimee’s traits and talents including her love of music.

UPDATE 2012: Bethany’s picture has been updated to show her with her beloved god son. Thomas lives with us every other weekend and she is one of his principal caregivers – by choice! She just worships the little fellow – and really what’s not to worship – he’s such a happy baby. Bethany too, is now a Jr Fireman at one of our local stations but is focused more on the EMS side of their services, esp as she is considering a career in medicine. Sadly she has outgrown the Trixie Belden series but our younger daughters, Emma and Elsa are enjoying having them read aloud to them.

UPDATE 2015: Bethany is now a SENIOR in high school – where has the time gone?

UPDATE 2018: I am not sure I can bring myself to put this in black and white but Bethany is now a SOPHOMORE – also at the Abbey. I need an emoji that symbolizes just how proud and yet dismayed at the same time. This summer will find her exploring historical sites in IRELAND as a participant of the Abbey’s study abroad program. This means she will also get to visit her big sister Aimee, and possibly her aunt in England.

Nathaniel is a Y2K baby and was born in July of that year and broke our pattern of two girls/ two boys/two girls… This has resulted in him being the lone boy in the ’00 generation of the family. Like Bethany though, he too is a twin and even more so in that we have a hard time distinguishing between baby photos of him and his older brother Miguel. Like Miguel he has red hair, is tall and seems very Irish in his facial features. His love for trains started before he was two and was very isolated by his hearing loss that resulted from continuous ear infections. Praise God his hearing returned late in his second year though we are still dealing with the resulting speech impediment. In addition to trains he loves collecting cars and remote controlled vehicles. At an early age he learned how to navigate his way around the computer and before he was three could find Rush Limbaugh and put the Rush 24/7 on for Hugo and I.  Hugo and I think he will either be a Nascar racer or a computer geek when he grows up!

UPDATE 2012: Little has changed for Nathaniel – he still loves Nascar, the weather and working on computers with his dad! One area in which there has been some change though is his speech which is greatly improved thanks to his speech therapy and OT Therapy. He is reading a much higher level than his grade and loves learning! With his love of computers, nascar and the weather – my new career guess is STORM CHASER! Not sure my nerves could handle that though!

Emma. Little Emma. With her delicate features and brunette hair and her frequent mature insights into life and heaven, she somehow leaves me feeling as if she was brought into our family  by a fairy, or elf, having left her in a flower blossom. She is very witty, observant and intelligent. Even though her occasional  adult observations typically catch us off guard she is a quintessential seven year old who is very much in love with life and all of her family. She has the uncanny ability to see hurt when it occurs in the family and delicately applies her balm of love & affection to it.

UPDATE 2015: Emma is now officially a teenager…. I’m aghast at how quickly time is flying. I will be updating the youngest four children’s photos soon so check back later.

Elsa, my dream for a curly little red headed girl answered.  After two handsome red headed sons I dreamed of but never believed I would be given a little red headed girl. Then in April of 05 Elsa Marie Bernadette arrived. She is a brown eyed delight as full of joy as her older sister and a wonderful playmate for Emma and a doting big sister to Cecilia. Elsa will often share with me how impatient she is for Cecilia to grow up so she can play house, dress up  and have tea parties with her. With three years between the two of them we were very worried Elsa would feel displaced by a new baby but our fears were unfounded. She loved her from day one and her love for Cecilia grows daily!

Cecilia, lucky thirteen, was born to us during the Christmas season of 08.  She is my other miracle baby. Coming into my late 40’s it began to seem that we were at the end of my ability to conceive and carry to term. I was not ready for this and so while at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament I prayed; “Your will – not mine. But if your will is that I am not to have any more children please give me the graces to accept this. But if it is your will that I have more – please let us conceive soon.” The very next month we had a positive pregnancy test and now we have another little red head running about the house – commanding our continuous attention.



  1. what a beautiful description of each of your children.


  2. […] Meet Our Children […]

    • How nice to get a glimpse at your cyber album!
      We do an Advent newsletter each year, but have never gotten that much into it for our 10 + 14 grands. It gets harder every year somehow.

  3. beautiful! love seeing each of their little pictures and descriptions


  4. Absolutely beautiful!!

  5. Hi! I like your blog! Carol Vidales sent it to me. I have nine kids and it’s my first time homeschooling! I think i met you one day in Morrisville. I wish we can share experiences…..

    • Welcome Luisana! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I checked out the families to families blog and marked it in my favorites! I’m looking forward to reading more of it! I Might be MIA for a few weeks as we are moving to a new house and will not have internet for a few weeks.

    • HI – I’m sorry I have taken so long to reply to your comment – we had a busy two months during Feb and March and now that Emma is pretty much recovered from her kidney and bladder surgery – things are little more calm… sort of! LOL Looking forward to hearing more from you!
      God Bless

  6. What beautiful children- you have certainly been richly blessed!

    • Thank you – we do feel richly blessed. And it seems on the days when you feel most overwhelmed by all the responsibilities – that is when the youngest says or does something incredibly funny and adorable or a little one hugs you and whispers in your ear – I love you! Just when you really need it! =)

  7. Thank you for sharing your beautiful family.
    As my own Benjamin, our tenth, who is now 4, grows closer to being big than tiny, your prayer with your last one is my own prayer at the moment. You wrote it exactly as I have prayed it.
    I read each profile a bit quickly this first time around…did I miss it…or did you not mention…have you homeschooled your children?
    I’m happy to have found your new blog via my good friend Gae’s, page.
    God’s blessings to you and best wishes to your husband as he pursues his Masters Degree.

  8. I enjoyed reading about your children. Thank you for sharing with us. You have a beautiful family.

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