Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What happened at Walmart

Today Ziva and I went to Walmart for a few last minute New Years things. The first thing that happened was that Ziva threw up squash in the drape aisle. And since that never happens anymore, I have taken to leaving the diaper bag in the car on most shopping trips (one less things to carry) so I didn't have anything with which to clean up. Thankfully, a nice lady who witnessed the episode had a tissue, and I managed to make that one tissue work to clean up Ziva's face, sock, cart seat, and the splat on the floor. The next thing that happened was that we spent about ten minutes in the completely wrong section looking for those little safety latches for cabinet doors. So after all that, the next thing that happened was that we ran into an old friend/teacher/sweet lady, which was great, but she also had some interesting information (which, sorry, I won't share unless anything comes of it). Who knows? If the first two events had not taken place, I might not have been in that exact spot and run into her. But that's not all! The last thing that happened was that right after we checked out and were about to leave, I noticed a very small boy running back and forth between a few checkout stands, crying and acting rather frantic. When I tried to talk to him he seemed scared, but I kept asking if he'd lost his mama, and he said yes with a very trembly lip and big tears. So I asked him his name and took him to customer service to page his mom. When she came, she seemed mad instead of glad to see he was safe. I felt sorry for the poor little guy. I'm sure his mom was frustrated that he wandered off, and I'm sure he'd been told time after time to not wander off, but still. I hope if Ziva ever gets lost in Walmart, I will be thrilled when I find her. The whole thing made me think of the story of the prodigal son. His dad threw the biggest party ever when he returned, even though when he left he had a heart full of evil designs, not innocent 3-year-old interest in the candy bar display. It made me sad that this little boy's mom didn't celebrate his return. I hope I'll always parent in a way that reveals God's father heart to my children.

Moving on...

Ziva had her 9 month check up today, and she is in perfect health! (Kill the fatted calf, let's have a party!) Doctor said she is doing all the things a 9 month old baby should be doing, and all the things a 9 month old baby shouldn't be doing (i.e., getting into trouble!). Here are her latest stats:

Length: 29 inches (90th percentile)
Weight: 18 pounds, 1 oz (45th percentile)
Head: 17 3/4 cm (80th percentile)

Confession: I'm not totally sure if they measure heads in inches or centimeters, but 18 inches seems like a lot! However, I don't think I could even tell you what a centimeter looks like (so much for education). So who knows. Probably all of you reading this. The main point is, she is still long and lean (I expect she'll be taller than me by the time she's in about 5th grade), but it looks like her head is getting bigger! It looks totally proportionate though, so I'm not worried. She's such a cutie!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Crazy hair!

Here are a couple more art projects we got to bring home this week, made from Ziva's hand and feet prints.

Liliana has some competition....Ziva has been sporting some truly crazy hair lately. It's grown enough that it can be crazy, but it's not long enough that we can do anything about it! You can see the full Wolverine-ish effect in this picture...
Here you see the Alfalfa view....

And the crazy face to go with the hair!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Keeping Busy

Ziva and I stayed home again today since the roads are still pretty slick, and we have been keeping busy. Ziva really loves taking books out of her bin and taking all the DVDs out of the TV stand. So she takes them out, I put them back in, she takes them out, I put them back in...like I said, keeping busy. Check out her faces in these pictures. She's been making some pretty funny faces lately and the only thing I can figure out is that she's rubbing her top and bottom teeth together, or something to that effect. So cute!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow Day!

This weekend I had a special treat and got to see some very dear friends from high school. We met in Siloam Springs and had dinner at a cute little cafe, saw Amanda's new loft (which is amazing and Southern Living worthy), and talked with Rissa's family some. And Ziva got ANOTHER free gift! (Thanks again, Vicki, for the devoted battery work!). It was so good to see these girls again....we laughed and talked and laughed and laughed...it felt really good. It's so great knowing that in spite of years, miles, and lots of change, we can still connect and have such a great time. I have been blessed with wonderful friends my whole life, and it's just a sweet thing. Here we are, all smiles!

Today is a snow day! Actually, more like an ice-covered-by-a-little-bit-of-snow day. Quite a change from hurricane days in Florida! So Ziva and I are staying inside bundled up. Poor Vince had to go to work, and he's been calling me with blow by blow accounts of the accidents he's seen. I'm praying he makes it to and from work safe and sound. I hate driving in this stuff! Ziva seems to be getting sick, so I'm hoping we can hold off the doctor visit if need it until Wednesday or Thursday when the weather clears up.

Yesterday Ziva took a couple steps!! I don't feel like we can truly call it walking yet, but she has been standing for a few seconds at a time on her own for several days now, and yesterday she did take a couple tiny steps from the coffee table to me before she fell. So exciting! The real thing can't be too far away!
This is very random, but if anyone watched Survivor last night, don't you think Randy is the absolute saddest person you have ever ever seen? My heart just broke to see him so hard and not even caring. I wonder what happened to him. I hope I remember to pray for him for a long time.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Watch her go!

Ziva is playing with one of the toys she got from our mystery Christmas friend. She can push it while she's walking, but it's a little too fast for her right now. We have to hold it from the front so she doesn't tank. She likes to just walk around it in circles for some reason.

Check out Ziva's moves....the only thing keeping her from walking on her own is her realizing that she can!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Angels Among Us

Yesterday morning I took Ziva to school at 7:30, just like every other day of the week. 5 minutes later when I came back out to my car, there was a huge garbage bag propped against the driver's door full of clothes and toys for Ziva. The parking lot was pretty much empty, but I still stood there looking around for someone who might know something about this mystery bag. But there was no one, so I hauled the bag into the backseat and went to work. Once I made it to my campus I dug through the bag and found a card. There was a note that said, "I don't believe in Santa, but I do believe in God, and every year He helps me find a deserving family to bless. This year He helped me find you."

We are so overwhelmed and grateful for the gift from whoever it may be. I think I'm even more overwhelmed simply because we didn't need any of those things. The giver could have given to another family who actually needed clothes or toys, who had children old enough to know the difference....and I realized that while the gifts were really for Ziva, the message is for me: "How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us." I don't often look for the extravagance of God's love...it just doesn't come naturally to me. I easily expect Him to provide for my needs, but I don't expect much beyond that, even though the Bible talks about God giving us what we want, not just what we need. This gift was a whispered reminder that His love for me really is extravagant, over-the-top, running over, lavished on me.

Thank you, Lord, for Your great love. May we know how wide, long, high, and deep it truly is.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

First Snow

It snowed yesterday.....just a tiny bit, but after 5 Florida winters, that seemed like a lot! We can't wait until it sticks and we can go play in it!

Ziva is turning into such a little social butterfly. When I picked her up yesterday Miss Angie told me that when Allie, the youngest baby of the bunch, arrived, Ziva lunged at her and gave her a big kiss. (She does know what kisses are, but hers are awfully sloppy!) And then today Angie and Steph told me that Ziva waved at a group of 5th grade boys who had come by to visit. That's the first time she's waved, and we've been working on that, so that's exciting.

Now that Christmas is coming, and this is our first Christmas with a baby, I've been thinking a lot about how Jesus came as a baby. Of course that's a simple, obvious thing, but now that I really know what a baby's life is like inside and out, it takes on a little different meaning....more amazing, that the Creator King would condescend to wrap Himself in a baby's body and submit Himself to the care of others for such a long time. I hope and pray that we are able to keep our focus on the glory of that "holy invasion" (thanks to Frederick Buechner for the phrase) this Christmas season. Below is one of my favorite poems, and it just happens to be about Jesus' birth, but it's not the typical Christmas poem. This is one of the treasures teaching has afforded me.

"The Journey of the Magi"

"A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley.
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins,
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

-T.S. Eliot

Saturday, November 29, 2008

8 Months and Thankful!

Thursday wasn't just Thanksgiving, it was also the 8 month mark for Ziva! We began the day by making and decorating handprint turkey cookies (I forgot to take pictures, but let's be honest, they weren't that pretty, and I ended up doing most of the decorating. It will be more fun when Ziva can help.), and Ziva and Daddy did a little "project" of their own, using Berry Bananas for paint. Here was the final product....

We headed to my parents' house in the afternoon for our Thanksgiving day celebrations. Our friends Mike, Brooke and Eden came, and Ziva had so much fun chasing and playing with Eden. Even though Ziva's not walking yet, she crawls so fast she still gave Eden a run for her money! We're expecting some steps very soon. Ziva can stand for a few seconds unsupported, and we think it's more psychological than anything else that she's not doing more. If she's got something in her hand, even if it's not actually supporting her weight, she stands better....she just thinks she's being supported, but she's really doing it on her own. So once she figures that out, watch out!

My cousin Katie joined us for Thanksgiving, too. She hadn't seen Ziva in a few months and was astonished by how big she's gotten! It was really fun to have her with us for the holiday.

And not to be left out, Ziva and Uncle Nate help Grandma stir the stuffing. She's quite the little chef!

All in all, we had a great Thanksgiving. We have been so blessed this year in so many ways, and we don't take any of it for granted.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Odds and Ends

Staking her claim in the fridge. She so thinks she's a grown up!

My $5 beauty college haircut. It took an hour and some intervention by the instructor, but I think the final product isn't half bad!

Ziva and I are off all week for Thanksgiving, which is so nice! Well, I had to work Monday and part of Tuesday, but they were very productive days without the students there! Ziva spent some fun time with Grandma while I was working. She has still been sick, and yesterday she had a fever of 101.5, so we went to the doctor AGAIN, and discovered she's getting another ear infection. So today we started a new round of antibiotics (only three days this time, so hopefully we will avoid another icky diaper rash.)
There are a million things I should be doing besides blogging right now....lots to get ready for tomorrow. We're excited about Thanksgiving at my parents' house, but we miss our Florida family!
I just remembered....Ziva had both her top teeth come in. Did I say that once already? I can't remember. There's a gap in between them right now, which is cute, but I guess it will go away once her other teeth start coming in. I'll try to get some pictures, but she doesn't like it when I stick my fingers in her mouth and try to get a closer look at those pearly whites.

Friday, November 21, 2008

RSV and Pudding

Here are a few things from school: These apples decorated the door of the classroom for a long time. But these stats are a little out of date...we went to the doctor again today (more on that in a sec) and Ziva is pushing 18 pounds now!

Today she made another pudding painting for Thanksgiving. I wish you could see the picture they got of her when she realized the paint was not only edible, but delicious!

So I got a call at work this morning from the baby room, informing me that one of the other babies has RSV and Ziva's been exposed. Since she still hasn't been quite herself even after finishing up the antibiotics last week, I made an appointment with Dr. Horton just to be safe....she seemed to have several of the symptoms for RSV, even though they could be anything else too. So we went to the doctor, and no RSV. Just a cold. We're really getting to know everyone at that office now, though. :) It stinks that she's still not feeling well, but I'm enjoying the extra snuggle time (although I fear we're creating some bad habits when it comes to sleeping and being held).
She just woke up.....more later!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our Life Lately

Here are a couple recent pictures. The remote control is one of Ziva's favorite toys, and she found a perfect place to store it!

Getting ready for the cold weather!!

We have spent the last several days in recovery mode. Ziva had an ear infection, so the doctor started her on antibiotics, which seemed to give immediate relief from the ear woes, but within 4 or 5 days of starting the antibiotics, they took their toll on her digestive system, and I'll spare you the details, but it led to the WORST diaper rash I've ever seen, poor girl. So we've spent as much time as possible playing without the diaper. I finally broke down and called the doctor again after trying several different creams on my own, and she called in a prescription cream, which, after two full days, is finally making a difference. Hooray!! Hopefully tonight she will sleep better than last night....I felt like I did the first week we brought her home. She just would not stay asleep for longer than two hours at a time!
On a happier note, I got to see several old and dear friends this past weekend at a women's conference in Arkansas. The speaker was one of my best friend's mom, and it was just a great time overall. I gleaned some great nuggets of wisdom, and so enjoyed seeing my old girlfriends!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another Tooth!

Ziva's third tooth is pushing its way through right now. You can't see much, but you can barely feel the sharp edge poking out on top...I think it's just one, not both her front teeth, so she'll have a cute little lop-sided grin.

She's getting over an ear infection this week...she had a couple rough days (but she was extra snuggly then), but she's back to normal now.

I found a really cute idea that I'm hoping we can try in the next week or so for "turkey cookies." You trace your kid's hand on cardboard and use it as a cookie cutter (or tracer, I guess). You cut out cookies the shape of the hand and decorate them to look like turkeys. Cute! Ziva's hands are still pretty teeny, but they'll make cute little cookies for Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

8th Graders on Obama

I have my 8th graders first thing every morning, and when I got to school this morning, I heard snatches of comments like, "We're all going to die!" and "It's the end of the world!" (and some worse). I was prepared for that; as I watched some of the exit polls come in last night, I was thinking about that very group and how worked up they've been and I knew would be after the election results.

Here's what Vince and I discussed and I shared with them, in case anyone out there is also freaking out and/or cares:
  • God is not surprised by Obama's victory....in fact, He allowed it, and He has good reasons (Romans 13:1-2)
  • God is in control...always has been, always will be
  • God commands that we obey our leaders and submit to them (He doesn't say "only if you agree with them")
  • We need to pray for our new president

The last thing I told them comes from 1 Samuel, which I've been "coincidentally" reading in the morning. I'm right around the part where Israel asks for a king, and God gives them what they want even though they're rejecting Him in the process. In 1 Samuel 12:13-15 it says, "Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked for, and behold, the Lord has set a king over you. If you will fear the Lord and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the Lord, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God. If you will not listen to the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the command of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers."

Do you see how it says the responsibility for right choices and holy living is up to US, not our leaders? Regardless of whether or not we're happy with the person in office, we have a responsibility to keep God's commands. That's all we can be responsible for, and God tells us not to worry about the rest.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Dollars and Sense"

Here's a link to a really great sermon series by Jon Courson, a wonderful through-the-Bible teacher. If you want encouragement and wisdom about our economy right now, it's worth listening to. Just click on the link, then play the "Dollars and Sense" messages. The first part was on 10-19, part 2 was 10-26, and part 3 was today.


Laundry Queen

Ziva is really getting into this helping around the house thing. Today she was my little assistant doing laundry. She pulled out dryer sheets...

She threw them in the washing machine....when she wasn't eating them, that is....

Satisfied after a job well done, and a tasty snack of laundry basket.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Thursday afternoon we made another attempt at the pumpkin patch, and it was a huge success! It was still a little windy, but the weather was beautiful, and we had lots of fun.

This one's my favorite

Ziva had never crawled on the grass before, and she seemed to like it once she got used to it!

Our little pumpkin is the cutest one of all!

Daddys are good for daring, 6-foot-off-the-ground poses....pretty cute!

Friday Night Lights

Last night we watched Rejoice's last game of the season. We just stayed for the JV game; our friend Mike is the coach of the team we played against, and we sat on their side with Norma and Brooke, Mike's wife. (We aren't traitors....it was just out of the sun!)

Ziva had fun playing with Mike and Brooke's daughter, Eden. We really like their family...they moved from Florida to Oklahoma just about a year before we did (with a little baby), Brooke was a teacher before having Eden, and Mike is a huge Chicago fan, so we feel like slightly different versions of each other.

Big smile in the new high chair!

Check it out....she's already pulling her weight around the house! Our rule is, if you wanna eat, you gotta work! (just kidding, of course!)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Poor Daryelle

Last week's babysitting attempt was a bust. Poor Daryelle (one of my senior students) arrived early, and Ziva seemed to be okay with her. When I left, she was sucking the strings of Daryelle's hoodie. But about 20 minutes later, just as my first parent-teacher conference was about to start, the phone rang. "She won't stop crying!" I heard over Ziva's screams in the background. I was torn! I told Daryelle I could run home after my first conference, but then I started to think that was a bad idea, and Ziva would just be worse when I left again. So after the conference I called to check in...still crying. I told Daryelle to just put her in bed and let her cry herself to sleep, which she did. I ended up going home after my morning conferences and let Daryelle go early, then Ziva came with me to my two afternoon conferences. It wasn't so bad....but now I know to let Ziva get acquainted early with a new babysitter! She's seen Daryelle since (with me) and was smiley, so maybe next time it will work out better.

Here are a few pictures from the last couple weeks. It's been cold, and it's been fun dressing Ziva up in some new clothes. We attempted the pumpkin patch this week on Vince's day off, but it was way too windy and cold, so we're planning to try again this week.

Daddy's littl girl! (big time!)

Ziva can't wait to open her new high chair. (The Bumbo seat no longer works as a feeding place....she squirms and bucks all over the place!)


Chillin' with Dad

Thursday, October 16, 2008


It's getting colder! And that means we've been able to dress Ziva in some of her new cute fall clothes. Check it out!
This outfit from Grandma is so cute! Especially with the hoodie!

Thanks to Kevin and Nicole for this adorable sweatsuit! It kept Ziva nice and toasty this morning when it was 43 degrees outside!

All bundled up after a bath

Tomorrow Ziva will have two new babysitters, a couple of my senior girls from school. School's out, which means no baby room, but we have parent teacher conferences, so we're trying out new sitters. It will be nice to add more people to the list of possibilities that we know we can trust! These girls seem great, so hopefully Ziva likes them. We know they'll love her!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Go Eagles!

Angie and Stephanie had matching Eagles onesies made for all the staff babies. They are so cute! Everyone wore their Eagle outfits Friday for a group picture, which didn't work out so well, but I got a few cute shots of Ziva before we left in the morning.

She doesn't have enough hair for the bow, so we had to improvise a little bit. Better than glue!

Ziva has become much more interested in playing, looking, touching, and squirming than eating, so we have to get creative sometimes with her feedings!

Playing with Mommy...she's almost looking at the camera!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It Takes a Village

This afternoon I got to see some very special people from my past. Kerwin and Vicki were like second parents...my best friend's parents, Sunday School teachers, and hosts of youth group central. Their family is bravely battling cancer, and they made a trip to Owasso to see some old friends. I was so glad to get to see them, even for just a few minutes. On my way home, I started thinking of how blessed Vince and I have both been in the area of investment...people investing in us.

We both have amazing parents that we love, and we are so thankful for all that they've taught us (and still teach us!), but we are also incredibly thankful for "the village" that came alongside our parents and poured their lives into ours. We have often talked about the special people that invested in us along the way, and I think those people are a huge part of our passion now to invest in teens.

One fun thing I always remember about Vicki is that anytime we did anything--watched a movie, went to camp, took a trip--she always wanted to know "What was your favorite part?" And my favorite part about Kerwin and Vicki is that people always mattered more than possessions. Their home was ALWAYS open to kids, which meant it wasn't perfect. We parked on their grass, we tracked mud on the carpet, we ate their food, we spilled their food on their furntiure and floor, we made messes in the bathroom and just about anywhere else....but we never felt even a hint of impatience, annoyance, or anger. Opening your home to half the teenagers in Owasso is messy, but we knew they loved us and that has eternal significance. A perfect house, not so much.

I love the Dees. Theirs was the house I went to when I first heard my mom's cancer was terminal, and I'm so glad that on that and many other occasions, their own agenda wasn't more important than their hospitality. Vince and I have already decided that ours will be that house in 10, 12, 16 years, and as long as we have kids at home. I'm thankful for the model I had in my own parents, in the Dees, and in many others, that people are more important than stuff. I pray that will be a lesson that Ziva learns not just from me and Vince, but from her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, friends...everyone that has been and will be a part of her village.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Free Hockey!

Here are a few pics of the little one this week.....

Chewing on her lower lip is her new funny little habit
This weekend Vince and I took Mitch and Rachel out for their birthdays (both in September). We went to dinner and then we went to see the Tulsa Rampage play. They're a minor league hockey team, and the game was so fun! They played at a pretty small rink so no matter where you sat, you were pretty much right on the ice, and we got to see a couple fights! They seemed a little staged, but the blood was real. Here you can see a little of the action....
We were really thankful for the free tickets Vince got when the team's owner came into his store. We have more tickets, so we plan on trying to go back, and maybe even see an Oilers game someday soon!