The Times West Virginian

Family Times

June 25, 2012

A wonderful feeling

Dannette Daetwyler glad to be surrounded by extended family

FAIRMONT — Dannette Daetwyler was a tomboy’s tomboy.

Never baby-sat.

Never changed a diaper.

Never really expected to have a family.

Then she met Ryan Woody at work. When they got married five years ago, her “no kids allowed” frame of mind changed.

“He convinced me I’d be a great parent. We make a great team together now.

“Friends from high school laugh at me because I have kids. I said I’d never have any but meeting the right person can change your mind,” she said.

She wasn’t really surprised when she changed that first diaper.

“It felt completely comfortable. I don’t know what I was afraid of. Everything has come so naturally.”

She works part time for the Harrison County Board of Education, and Ryan works for the Bureau of Prisons in Hazelton.

She’s home by noon and he goes to work in the afternoon, so one of them is always there with the children.

“We decided we didn’t want them in day care. We want one of us to be home with them. So Ryan and I see each other a few days a week,” she said with a laugh.

It’s no accident that Brad and Carly are so close in age.

“We wanted them to grow up together, not be years apart. Besides, we got diapers and potty-training over all at once. And it’s getting easier. They play on their own together now.

“A lot of time, though, I feel like I have twins,” she said with a chuckle.

Being a mom “is the best thing ever,” she said.

“I like how proud they make me feel. They’re so sweet and smart and loving to each other. Yeah, we’re a proud mama and daddy.”

The children may be close in age, but they’re as different as they can be.

“Brad is sensitive. He wants to please you. He gets upset if he knows he’s done something wrong or gets in trouble.

“Carly is Miss Attitude. She’s stubborn already and dramatic. We will have our hands full in a couple of years.”

Both will start pre-K this year. Ryan will take them to school and Dannette will pick them up. Until then, they’re enjoying each second of summer.

“I feel like I spend my entire day in the kitchen,” she said, “especially in the summer. There’s breakfast, then cleanup, then snack and then lunch. I get that cleaned up and it’s suppertime.

“We go outside and play as much as we can in between eating,” she said, laughing. “Sometimes I feel all we do is eat.”

They’re slowly getting into the family vacation routine. Last year they went with a group of cousins to Nag’s Head.

“There were seven kids under age 6,” she said. “They all got along better than any of us anticipated. There were very few disagreements.”

The Woody children “loved the beach,” she said.

“They really liked the waves. My kids are fish. We swim all the time.”

They’re all the time visiting the grandparents (Danny and Sherry Daetwyler, and Bill and Linda Woody).

They’re raising their children with the same values they were raised on — respect and manners.

“We had similar upbringings. That’s what we’re instilling in our children, to treat each other the way they want to be treated. They’re young still, but they’ll understand that as they get older.”

Having a young family is fulfilling but not always easy.

“Just take it day by day,” she said.

“You definitely cannot plan what you think your day will be like or plan how your kids will react to something. They will throw you for a loop every time.

“You have to go with the flow. I’ve learned to be very flexible. I tend to be organized and have things on schedule. You can’t do that with small kids.”

Dannette has just one brother, while Ryan has two older sisters.

“It’s nice that we live here with the cousins. All three of us girls were pregnant together. Our kids are all within five months of each other, except for Carly.

“It’s just one big family. That’s a wonderful feeling,” she said.

Email Debra Minor Wilson at

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