Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pray Pray Pray

I know that many of you have been praying for our precious Ava over these last 8 weeks. I cannot express how we covet your continued prayers. I'm asking you to please continue praying. She's fighting. We are hopeful. God is good. As my my cousin Josh said in his blog last night;
Psalm 103:1-5
Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits -
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ruby Dawn

Ryan's brother Chris is an incredible photographer. I've mentioned him before, but wanted to link you to him again so you can see more of his recent work shooting film.

Chris took these amazing shots a few weeks ago, you can see more on his photo blog. I love that he turned our weedy backyard into an artsy backdrop for this pics. He is brilliant.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


You guys, this post totally flies in the face of everything I promised you yesterday... but seriously - Ruby took her first steps tonight! Of course, the camera was rolling. She's 14 months old... certainly on the "higher-end" of the age range, but we are so proud none the less!

Immediately following her first steps she face-planted onto her two front teeth, giving herself quite a swollen and bloody lip... I guess that's just part of the walking thing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

8 months old - the lost footage

This is the last Ruby baby video I'll post because I know you're all thinking, "Oh great, how did this occasionally humorous and interesting blog become so completely 'momish'? I wish Amber would go back to being interesting again..."

I will, I will... just give me a sec to show you one more minute of lost footage.

Monday, August 23, 2010

swimming lessons - the lost footage

Remember a long time ago when Ruby was a baby?

Well, back then, there were a few videos that I took with a waterproof camera and could not figure out how to get into iMovie, so the footage was lost, unwatched until today... it only took me 8 months, but I FIGURED IT OUT!!

Here is a fun flashback to when Ruby took swimming lessons as a 7 month old.

She's got places to go!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weekend of Wonderfulness

What a weekend! It's amazing how much we did considering it was one of the few weekends we decided to stay in town!

Saturday morning we woke up and the power was out, so after a few hours while the house got hotter and hotter we decided to go downtown to see this inflatable water slide on Lyon Street. It was a special 2-day event for anyone in the city who wanted to ride. We spontaneously met Chris and Amanda on the top floor of Ryan's parking garage at work to see the festivities from the air. The slide wasn't really as high, fast, big or awesome as we thought it might be, but thouands of people were lined up to slide anyway.
After that we grabbed gyros at the Pita House then Ryan and Chris stopped at MadCap for Ryan's favorite coffee. Amanda and I hung out with Ruby, who loves having her hand in a glass of ice.
We got home later that afternoon and the power was STILL OUT, stuff in the fridge was in danger of spoiling... very unfortunate! Luckily, it came back on that night soon as we had packed our overnight bags and loaded everything into the car to spend the night at Ryan's parents.
Today after church we went to the Tour de Gaslight in East Grand Rapids. Ryan has been so excited about this race, to see pro riders going as fast as they can around and around a .8 mile loop for 70 minutes. It really was amazing to watch, especially to see them take the corners at the speed of light. I would've crashed into the pole that held the "start line" tape... so I was really impressed.
We spent the entire afternoon in East, ran into a handful of friends and enjoyed all the fanfare... especially Ryan, who might have liked today more than Christmas.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stinging Nettles

With a prediction of thunderstorms all day, Ryan and I decided today was the perfect day to take a hike at Aman Park. We have lived in GR for 4 years and have never heard of this 331-acre park right in our own backyard. Luckily, we subscribe to Outside Magazine which recently featured Grand Rapids as the top town for mountain biking, (I know, we were a bit confused too). Needless to say, because of that article we hiked at Aman Park today.

It was really wonderful - lots of trails and very few people. Many of the trails we hiked today are along a meandering river or along the ridge looking down into the ravine. Really beautiful, and it never rained a single drop, so we were happy.
I learned a very important lesson today: Do not wear bootie-short-shorts while hiking in tall weeds in the middle of summer on a trail you've never been down before. I'm not positive what kind of weed it was, but Ryan and I both got stripes of tiny fiery, itchy barbs on our legs after walking through weeds on an uncut path near the river. We both were nearly loosing our minds when we realized the best option was to just keep walking through the unidentified mystery weeds as they scraped our bare legs with every step.

There was no escaping. I'll admit, I nearly took off sprinting from agony. Ryan kept saying "Nettles!" "Nettles" and I've never heard of those - but I just googled it and, by golly, I think he may have been RIGHT!! Have you ever heard of stinging nettles?

Luckily, that part of the trail was only about 1 mile long and we made it back to the main path where we stopped for a minute to survey the damage, only to be swarmed by a ridiculous amount of mosquitoes. One bit me on the forehead - which was an interesting choice considering all the juicier bits he had to choose from.

Other than that one horrid mile full of stinging nettles, it was such a great day - we are excited to hike at Aman Park again... I'll be wearing long pants!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cox Family Reunion

It was another gorgeous weekend at the lake... but this time, 21 family members were there with us! Here are a few pics for you to enjoy!

Grandma Cox's Surprise 80th Birthday Party

Ryan's mom is pretty much one of the most incredible hostesses I've ever known. She worked for months organizing all sorts of creative ideas for all of us to celebrate Grandma Cox's 80th birthday 5 months early... Grandma was very surprised!
Aunt Carol wrote a song to the tune of "Jeremiah was a Bull Frog" since that's the only tune Uncle Bob can remember. I think Grandma loved hearing all 21 of us sing to her.
Then we all read some facts to Grandma about what she was doing/where she and Grandpa were living when they was each of our ages. The most hilarious part was when each of us read the title of the song that was popular when Grandma was our age and everyone would break out in song. Uncle Bob even threw in a leg kick for emphasis. We laughed a lot.
The finale of the evening was a slide show of old pictures from Grandma and Grandpa's life - which included many classic and stylish outfits and hairdos. Thanks to Aunt Katie for pulling that together!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


It seems like just yesterday Ryan and I were in the "all of our friends are getting married" stage of life. Suddenly we've entered the "all of our friends are having babies" stage. I like to think that we're creating the Hope College Class of 2032.

Just a quick post to say CONGRATULATIONS to a million of my friends who are having babies right now!
Would you believe it if I told you I have a bunch more friends who are pregnant right now? I know! It's crazy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Remember the Scut Monkeys? Well, let me introduce you to this year's Residency Softball team, the FOREIGN BODIES!!! Tonight was the first game, and it wasn't pretty.
They tried their best... upon getting mercied, realized that perhaps the off-season wasn't as productive as necessary.
Some would have called it a brutal defeat, but the Foreign Bodies were just warming up. Ryan got a hit and a run because he is awesome!
The new name "Foreign Bodies" gives the cheering section a bit of a problem. What do we yell? "Go Bods!" "Here we go Bodies, Here we go!" I don't know what to cheer. Hopefully by the next game Ruby and I will figure it out.
Ryan wants you to know that by "Foreign Bodies" they are specifically talking about something you aspirate, not something that gets stuck in your eye - which is what I initially presumed.

14 months old next week!

Photo by Sam Stratton
Since Ruby will be 14 months old next week, I figured I'd do a quick post about everything she is doing these days. She is more fun than she's ever been... and more trouble than she's ever been. I'm loving my time with her, and she is such a good girl! Here's a little bit about the shenanigans of our life right now.

Ruby's Favorite things:
  • Going outside, coming inside, getting in the car, out of the car, into our out of her high chair... basically she gets really excited about any transition.
  • Her silky blanket that she puts over her head while she sleeps.
  • Watching Ryan mow the lawn - he goes out of view with each pass of the mower, then when he comes back into view she cracks up because she thinks he is playing a game with her.
  • Saying "Hello?" while holding something, anything, everything up to her ear
  • When she's in the bath she loves putting the wash cloth on her head then laughing when I ask her "what's on your head?"
  • Reading books with Ryan every night before bed.
  • Chucking food off her tray (this is a terrible habit that I'm trying to figure out how to deal with)
  • Putting food on her head (as seen below in this picture of her from dinner tonight when she smeared cheesy shells all over her hair.)
Favorite Foods:
  • Yogurt
  • Apple Sauce
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Corn Pops Cereal
  • Crackers (specifically saltines)
  • Turkey
  • Bread
  • Green Beans
  • Capri Sun
  • Ice Cream
  • Dadoooo (this is what she calls Ryan lately)
  • Mama
  • Good Girl! (she repeats this to herself whenever I say it to her)
  • Woah!, Wow!, Oh! (always with a lot of inflection)
  • Hi!, Hey!, Hi-00000! (we've been working on that last one so she can say it to her Uncle Aaron next time he sees her)
  • Bye-Bye (she says this to parked cars as we pass them on our morning walk)
  • oof (this is what she says whenever she sees a dog)
  • uh-oh
  • No! No! No! (she typically says it three times while shaking her finger. I think her Aunt Sarah taught her this.)
  • please and thank you (sound like "ees" and "gaah gooh")
  • knock-knock (she says it while she's doing it)
  • cock-a-doodle-doo (Ryan's been working on this one with her)
  • She will mimic pretty much anything we say that is 2 syllables or less. I'd like to think she says the whole alphabet, but only when I say each letter first.
  • almost 14 months
  • almost 19.5 pounds (7th percentile... tiny peanut)
  • 90th percentile for head size (she's kinda like a stick-figure cartoon)
  • She is the best sleeper I know, sleeping from 8pm-8am and taking two 2-hour naps each day (I'm hoping to keep her on 2 naps until she is at least 16 months... we'll see how that goes!)
  • She is a speedy crawler, is standing up by herself, but hasn't taken her first step yet.
  • Speaking of steps, she climbed up the whole staircase yesterday (I was right behind her the whole time, but she never needed my help.)
  • She will sit down if I tell her to.
  • She can point to her nose, eyes, ears, head, feet and seems to know a lot more than I realized! Just because she can't say it doesn't mean she doesn't know what, or where it is!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Please Keep Praying for Ava

Photo by Mark Beeson

I woke up this morning praying for Ava. As the weeks pass, her diagnosis remains grim - which is not an easy thought to deal with. Please keep my cousin Josh, his wife Lisa and their kids Noah (12) and Ava (5) in your prayers.
This was Josh's blog last night:

August 1, 10:40 p.m. I just got in from the office and the final run through to make sure it is all ready for tomorrow. I am full of relief and excitement. 6 years ago, Dr. Joel D Hunter and I decided we would make this journey together. It has been in the planning and development stages for as long as I can remember. Hunter Vision becomes a reality tomorrow. Our first appointment is at 9:00. The day we dreamed about is here.

The way I dreamed about it is not here. That went out the window a month ago. Lisa and I have had a tough couple of days following the appointment with the Oncologist. The world they live in has, in their mind, given our daughter 18 months or less to live. We wrestle with this everyday. From hour to hour we feel great about what God will do then terrible about what He may choose. These moments of significant life milestones seem to magnify the thought of life without her. This wasn't my plan. She is supposed to benefit from this business venture. She is supposed to not have to worry because I worked hard to make her life better. But, she is now fighting for her life. I don't get it. Really, I don't.

I am glad I can trust God. I don't know how I would deal with this is I didn't fully believe that He has her right in the palm of His hand. He loves her more that I do. I don't know how that is possible.

Tonight I am having trouble living for today. The future of Hunter Vision has for so long been a part of all my thought and now it is here. It's presence is pushing me to thoughts of the battle of and for our future. I go to bed tonight praying for Ava. I am also praying for me. I need strength and wisdom beyond anything I have. I need God to show up big.

I want hope. That's what I pray for tonight. For Ava and for our family. It was a heavy day. In every way.

Josh has been giving regular updates on his blog if you'd like to continue praying more specifically. We aren't giving up hope... and the only way that's possible is through the Giver of Hope Himself.