December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays, everyone!

From December, 2009

Here's wishing everyone happy Holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Solstice, Saturnalia, Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, Festivus and New Year. We hope you have a great time with family and friends, and take time to appreciate all the wonderful things that make life so special.

We'd like to thank everyone who has helped us and sent their good thoughts during this last year. We are fortunate to have so many compassionate people in our lives and we appreciate everything everyone has done for us.

Here's to a happy, hopeful and healthy 2010!

December 6, 2009

Montessori School Open House


Chip and his mom took Stella to an Open House at her perspective school yesterday. Chip says that they could have left her there and she would not even had noticed they were gone - so busy exploring everything. She is just going to love it. So beautiful there, open land and cozy rooms.

Here she is in her classroom next to the table where she will eat her lunch. So cute. And she is wearing a little dress that was given to her by her Grandmaw Rose.

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It was a beautiful, sunny day in Georgia. We had a wonderful dinner at Chip's parents house with all of the family. I am thankful that we were all able to be together today.

This is a picture of Stella and her cousin Noah having a sweet moment.

November 18, 2009

My First Vacation - Well, sort of

While Mommy and Daddy went to California, I went to Union City to stay with Cookie and Papa all by myself. I had tons of fun and kept everyone quite busy. I made friends with all of the neighbors and made my rounds about town. I was thinking I might stay a while, but I know that Mommy and Daddy were ready for me to come home.


Here is a picture of Cookie and me from the photo shoot she took me to while I was there. I even allowed for three outfit changes!

Stella

October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!


Stella hit a few parties tonight in her very cute costume. (The monkey suit got beat out - sorry Throops!) First we went to Auntie Suzy's and had some tasty snacks with her neighbors and later attended the costume contest/chili cook-off in our neighborhood. We did not enter the contest, but Stella loved seeing all of the other kids dressed up. And then we snuck home, closed the blinds, turned off the lights and hid from trick-or-treaters! Hey, a girl has got to sleep!

A special thanks to our dear friend Scott King for bringing us the jack-o-lantern!

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October 13, 2009

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top

From October, 2009

I'm finding myself constantly impressed by all the things Stella knows how to do already, but this one just kills me. Look at that enthusiasm! Seriously?!?

The new slide (yes, it's in the garage for now) has been a big hit. She and her two neighborhood companions, Sam and Claire, take turns fighting and screaming over who gets to play with it next, while the adults try unsuccessfully to teach concepts like "share" and "take turns". Fifteen-month-olds are good at many things, but sharing isn't one of them.

Here's Stella, discovering and mastering her new toy.

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October 4, 2009

Light the Night Walk

I have never been much of a "team player". I didn't play sports or have many extra curricular activities to speak of. I am certainly a far cry from a leader. But, in the face of my illness, it seems that I was chosen.

Team Jordan is a name we use often in our home. It started with Chip and I and then we added Stella, so it seemed the natural selection to name my team. I am proud to say that through the efforts of my team and so many generous contributors, Team Jordan was able to raise $2500 towards helping find a cure for Lymphoma and Leukemia. I am more than proud.

It was a picture perfect night. The weather was amazing, the Nashville skyline was the back drop and my dear friends and family walked with me for what is now personally, a very important cause. I thank them.

To see more photos.

October 2, 2009

Ruslana (Update below)


This is Ruslana. She is an orphan from Ukraine that my sister-in-law, her husband and children hope to adopt. They have worked tirelessly raising funds to bring this little girl home. And they love her.

They have been put through the ringer with paperwork, details and requirements and were finally granted approval last week. This week they have found out that they will be moving Ruslana to a mental institution and the adoption may, or may not, go through. It is impossible for them to be there in this time frame as they are being asked for fingerprints for the millionth time!

Please keep Ruslana and her family here that loves her in your thoughts.

From my sister-in law.....
News- we are pressing forward. The reality is that Ruslana will be transferred this week. Not in 2 weeks like we thought- THIS week. The institution has her paperwork and the bus is coming for her. Our prayer now is that the bus will break down!!:) Our dossier paperwork should have been finished already. We were lacking a couple of documents a couple of weeks ago, all which came in record time (remember our USCIS approval?!). I went to have one final background clearance approved only to find that it wasn't detailed enough for Ruslana's country. This caused us to have to head back to our local sheriff's department (AGAIN!) to have prints retaken. Actually, they didn't even have to reprint us. They just printed out our old prints- duh, prints don't change- and sent us on our way. These certain background checks typically take 14 days to process. Of course, I sent Ruslana's story along with the prints, and we're praying we get results this week.

September 27, 2009

Max and Stella

From September, 2009

Our friends Mike And Jennifer Sewell are in town for the weekend and stopped in on Sunday for a quick play date. Max and Stella met for the first time and had a ball, though I'm not really sure each knew the other was in the room. Regardless, here they are looking pretty darn cute together.

September 14, 2009

Stella loves capers, makes pasta

It was a big food Sunday at the Jordans. We started with what is becoming a ritual — morning bagels at Star Bagel in Sylvan Park. Daddy always gets a bagel with lox and Mommy steals his capers. Only this time, Lil' Miss S stole them. Daddy started liking capers at age 37. Stella at 14 months.

From September, 2009

Then we had a fun night with our new pasta maker making ricotta and sausage ravioli with our homemade spinach pasta dough. Yum.

From September, 2009


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September 2, 2009

My Buddies and Me


This is a glimpse into our afternoons. To the left is Sam and next to Stella is Claire. We all live within sight's distance of one another and meet up daily for walks and play dates.

This photo is pretty typical. Stella and Claire getting dirty and occasionally consuming rocks while Sam sits back keeping very tidy wondering why in the world they are playing in the dirt. So funny.

It has been amazing to watch these girls grow and learn together and from one another. Sam is 4 weeks younger than Stella and Claire is 3 months younger, but no worries there, she can hold her own.

Click here to see more of today's highlights.

August 19, 2009

Introducing Charles Samuel



Please meet Stella's new cousin, Charlie. Chip's sister and brother-in-law are adopting this precious baby. He was born on August 17, weighing 7lbs 11oz and is 19 inches long. He will be joining his three older sisters and he will be so loved.

We are thinking of them all as they make their journey home.

Oh, and do you think he is a red head? Our oldest niece is a red head and that would just be too cute!

August 2, 2009

Well, I guess I can walk now.

Stella's been messing around with a few steps here and a few steps there, but only when encouraged and usually for about 1.5 minutes, tops. But today the light bulb came on...

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Music:Department of Eagles, "No One Does It Like You"

August 1, 2009

Stella and the Meerkats


A big day for the Jordans.

In the morning we played with our first box of crayons. In the afternoon, we went to the zoo for the first time. We yelled at the meerkats (above) and had fun meeting all sorts of other animals, too. Then we rode a carousel for the first time.

Then we were frightened of the carousel for the first time.

And then our friend Samantha had her first birthday party. Lots of people and lots of fun.

Needless to say, Miss S is sleeping hard at the moment.

July 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Little Miss S! (and America)

Great Grandpa Lynwood Jordan Sr. and Stella

We had a great weekend celebrating Stella's first birthday with family in Georgia and South Carolina. Stella was a champ and hung in here all day Saturday with minimal nap time. We spent Sunday morning visiting friends Ryan and Carrie and Baby Layla (4 weeks old) before a wild time with family in the evening grilling burgers and hot dogs. It's crazy that we all have kids now, and even crazier when they all get together to run, play, scream, cry, misbehave, and generally stay as loud as possible for as long as possible. It's so much fun.

Oh, almost forgot. Stella's been showing signs that she's ready to walk the past few weeks, and yesterday she officially "walked" several times. Born on the Fourth; first teeth on Christmas; walking on her first birthday — what flair!

Hope all had a great holiday.

June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day to Me

My day started with presents in bed. The first was one of my favorite Stella photos in a frame. The second was my new "Team Jordan, est 2006" jersey t-shirt! You see here that Stella (and her mom) got one, too.

(Special thanks to my co-worker, Ellie, for helping Markana complete the vision.)

My day ended with Stella's first birthday party! Technically we're two weeks early, but M's folks were in town, Byron came for Father's Day and a few locals pals helped us celebrate before we went out of town for the 4th. Despite the 90+ temps, all had a good time watching Stella stuff her face with her first cake. (see all pictures at our Picasa page.)

Happy Father's Day to all Dads!

June 17, 2009

Handy Stella

Mommy had to go to Vandy today for a blood transfusion, so Daddy stayed home to watch Little Miss S. We ran out of fun things to do around the house, and since it was super hot and humid outside, we opted for the cool, wide aisles of our local Target.



This picture documents my first display of affection via inexpensive, mass-marketed stuff. (By the look on her face, it's working.) That's Handy Manny on the ball (for those of you who don't regularly watch DirecTV channels 190-205), one of the few toddler tv characters that doesn't make me crazy. To the left, a soccer ball. (Yes, I know. Why two?) Out of view to the right is a box of Tonka cars. She's already making "vrrrooom, vrrrooom" noises when we play with the cars, though you'd be hard-pressed to know the difference between the engine noise and her cow impression.

All were a big hit. We played on the living room floor a good part of the afternoon, and she had a hard time deciding which of the new toys she likes the most.

That is until she discovered the empty USPS box by the front door. Open, close. Open, close. Open, close. Open, close.

I hope Target enjoys my $20.

June 12, 2009

Wards and Westbrooks

We continue to feel fortunate to have so many selfless friends and family members. This past week we hosted M's parents, Mark and Shelia (again! they've been so helpful for so long!), my sister, Elisabeth, and her daughters, Madelyn and Lilly. As most of you know, M's ICE treatment has been many times worse than the ABVD, and there's no way we could've made it through the week without their help.

We love you all. Thanks again and again.

Stella had a big week with her grandparents and cousins, and we're convinced she's closer to walking than ever. Having older playmates around suits her, as she is (and always has been) a hyperbusy-body. But she's now at the age where she's also realizing words exist, actions have consequences (don't lick the floor!) and everything is enthralling. She probably learned more this week than in the last month. Needless to say, she slept hard most of the week.

Madelyn, Stella, Lilly, Elisabeth

June 1, 2009

My Beautiful Wife

Tonight we shaved Markana's head.

Her hair started falling out slowly over the weekend, and today there was no question that it was coming out for good. She's been one of the fortunate few that kept her hair through the initial rounds of chemo, but everyone said that this new treatment should knock it out for good.

Funny how losing her hair seemed so trivial months ago. She never seemed to care that it was going to happen. In fact, she chopped most of it off last October in anticipation. But now, after everything that's happened, and considering how well she feels physically, to have it all fall out is an unwelcome reminder that she's sick.

Actually, however, it's a hopeful sign that these *!@#*&@*#&! toxins running through her veins might actually be kicking some cancer butt. One more round this weekend and then hopefully the good news we've been waiting 9 months to hear.

I love you baby. You're beautiful.

May 14, 2009

The Kindness of Others

We were given such a wonderful gift. My sweet friend Heather had photographs taken of Jude soon after he was born. The pictures were beyond amazing and I have been so envious - Stella was such a "spirited" baby and would have never participated in such an event. Therefore, we had never had her picture taken professionally. (Though Chip has captured so many beautiful images)

This very gifted photographer, Mandy Johnson, asked those who follow her blog to nominate someone in their lives that they thought might need a little "happy" - that she would like to give back - treat them to a private photo session. So, Heather submitted our story and we were selected! Yesterday we had the pleasure of meeting Mandy and on her blog she has given a little peek at what is to come.

Thank you Mandy. And thank you, Heather.

May 9, 2009

Thanks Mimi and Georgia



Markana and I want to thank my Mom and Aunt Georgia for taking care of monkey this past week while we were in Houston for tests. They evidently had a good time, so much that Miss Stella hardly recognized us when we got back!

We wish them both a safe drive back to Atlanta, and Georgia a safe flight back to Colorado. We love you both.

May 4, 2009

Flip!

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Daddy finally broke down and bought a new toy: a Flip video camera. I have to say I'm thrilled with it so far, though I've not had much time to play around.

We've not posted anything for a while, so we thought we'd at least give a peek of what is surely the first of many videos to come. I can't remember the last time she woke up this happy. The smile almost rivals Max Sewell's.

April 9, 2009

You Say Tomato, I Say Ba-ba-da-da-da



Stella had a big time in our backyard garden recently, getting her first look at our soon-to-be tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini. She didn't quite understand the difference between food and soil, and got a bit over-anxious about the future bounty by trying to ingest a nice dirt clod. Then she got distracted by some nearby grass.

Springtime is gonna be fun.

April 5, 2009

Happy 3/4!


Baby Stella celebrated her 9-month birthday on Saturday. As you can see, she had the traditional 9-month birthday lunch of green peas and chicken sausage. Mmmm mmm. She also got to wear her Ronald McDonald PJs all day long.

We were glad that Markana's parents and brother could be here, too. They, as usual, were a huge help after M's latest treatment and we appreciate everything they do for us.

Happy B-day Stella Rose! Big #1 is right around the corner...

March 30, 2009

Because My Mother Said So

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We were in West Tennessee this weekend for a visit with my family. My Mother let me know before hand that I should bring a white onesie with me, because she was going to put Stella in the "Easter dress" that she bought her and take a picture.

I am not a girly girl. I do like a high heel (or I used to before a became pregnant/mother) and a fun dress, but I have never been "fru fru". Therefore, to the disappointment of most people that I know, I do not dress Stella in such things. But, Stella does own many of these things somehow...

Well, here is a photo that we captured with our camera and I must admit that she looks pretty cute. She looks "beautiful" my Mother says.

March 7, 2009

Baby Jude



We were so glad to finally meet baby Jude. We have been waiting for him for so long! If you have not read Heather and David's story (http://heltonbaby.blogspot.com/) I will give you the short. After many miscarriages and failed rounds of In Vitro, Heather's sister-in-law, Cami volunteered to carry their baby. And here he is!

Jude really is so lucky to have parents and a family that loves him so much. He is a special litle boy. We love him already.

We have secret hopes that one day Stella and Jude will marry. Silly, I know. But aren't they so cute together!

Congratulations Heather and David! We love you.

February 12, 2009

Stella Wins!

Well, not really. But when you post your picture to the contest it lets you create a pretend magazine cover. It also automatically generates the headline at the bottom of the page based on the overall cuteness of your baby. Amazing!

Thanks to everyone who voted for helping us select the best photo to submit. 'D' was the favorite with 7 votes, 'B' received 4, and both 'A' and 'C' received 1.

Cross your fingers!

February 11, 2009

Never Say Never

Please help us help Stella win a $125,000 college scholarship. We are shamelessly entering her photo in a contest held by Parenting Magazine/Gerber/Regis and Kelly. Our trouble is deciding which photo is the best bet. The deadline is Friday, so don't forget to vote! (see poll to the right)


A
B
C
D

February 8, 2009

Sink

From Stella, 2009.02

We had to move Stella's bath ritual to the kitchen sink, and so thought it appropriate to snap a few customary baby-in-kitchen-sink photos. We're starting to see the signs of a very mobile child — pulling up, crawling (well, scooting) — and therefore we are learning that it's time to baby-proof. Tonight's bath included grabbing a knife from the dish drain, dunking herself with the faucet and almost pulling up (and out) of the sink.

But aside from the usual baby stuff, we're also seeing signs that she inherited mommy's culinary talents. Like here, where she's practicing what does, and doesn't, fit inside a measuring cup.

From Stella, 2009.02

February 4, 2009

Look at me!

From Stella, 2009.02

Stella is 7 months old today and look at her grow! Fortunately for me, I have posed her in her bed like this - not of her own learning. But soon, very soon. She has not figured out how to crawl yet. Well, her knees and feet seem to know what to do and they are waiting for her arms to catch up. But when they do - watch out kitty cats!

.....who does this baby look like??? She is too funny.

January 27, 2009

A diversion from the usual...

I have slight reservations about posting such an entry here. After all, this blog is devoted to the ever-growing butterball we call Stella.

But lately I've been reading more and more comments about how worried everyone is about Obama as President, specifically Christians. And it worries me. This quote from a Jan 20 blog posting sums it up:

"...amidst the $170 million affair, the hoopla of our first African-American President, and the controversial issues that have been pounding our living rooms for the past year during the most expensive campaign in this nation's history, it remains a very sad day. A day when all I can think about is what a bleak future we are headed into with Obama as president." (see blog)

I could say many things in response (like "bleaker than what we're already experiencing?"), but instead I'll just add a few remarks as an opposing viewpoint.

To get it in the open right away, I support and voted for Obama.

Here is a man that in his first full week as President has brought a sense of unity to this country that has been missing for a long time. He has inspired thousands, if not millions, to do something good with their lives and their time. We've already seen the direct effect of thousands of people signing up to give of their free time, primarily because an inspiring leader asked them to. It's the call of a great leader that many of us have been waiting for.

One of the recent (and continual) hot buttons: Abortion.

I understand the highly emotional divide of pro life vs. pro choice, and I understand how it leads people to vote the way they do. But Obama himself was quoted to say that despite our differences on the issue, we can all agree that unwanted pregnancy is the real culprit. If we do a better job of avoiding unwanted pregnancies, we do a better job of avoiding the choice of abortion. He was trying to reframe the issue in a way we could unite behind and make a true, positive impact.

He also said that none of us are pro-abortion, and he's right. It's a horrible decision to make and it's a horrible circumstance that leads someone to even consider the option. I personally think we have to stop equating pro-choice with pro-murder - they are not the same thing. (but that's another post...)

To say I'm an Obama supporter is also to say I am not a Bush fan, but to be clear, it had little to do with his religious beliefs or abortion stance.

It had more to do with how he failed to rescue thousands of unfortunates in New Orleans. It had more to do with how he invaded Iraq and manipulated information to support the false claim of weapons of mass destruction. It had more to do with the thousands of servicemen and women who have died supporting his false claim. It had more to do with the failure to recognize and act on a failing economy, one that is now affecting so many of us. And it had more to do with the divisions and bitterness that he ultimately encouraged between people of this great, free nation.

Many have said that they are proud of Bush for ,"...standing up for his beliefs..." Commendable for an individual, perhaps, but unacceptable when you represent a nation of millions, many who don't hold the same beliefs.

But ultimately, I have the hardest time accepting that those who believe in the loving tenants of Jesus Christ would agree that he was a stellar President. He failed so many people. He gave hope to so few. He divided so many.

I am thankful that Obama is my President. Not because he's a Democrat or black or young or pro-choice, but because he has inspired hope, unity, even LOVE, in a majority of Americans in a way that I've never seen in my lifetime. Especially from a politician.

And that's something I think Jesus would be proud of.

January 22, 2009

Air Stella

Big fun at the Jordan house tonight.

After about three weeks off from the jumpy thing, Stella has proven her mastery of flight. For those who saw the earlier rounds of photos, the lack of enthusiasm was real. Much more entertaining was the flavor of the blue straps.

But now you'd think we arrived in Endor's forests based on the way she gets wound up and excited: laughter, flying, the occassional dog or cat to ram into. It's hard for us to pick ourselves off the floor from watching her.

I really gotta get one of those Flip camcorders...

January 16, 2009

C is for Cookie


This is one of those photos that Stella will hate me for later.

It certainly does her super cute face no justice, but I think it's hilarious. This is what happens when we let her loose with a teething cookie. Find a couple more pictures of what led to this here.

January 14, 2009

Birthday Buddies


Please meet our friends Yanique and Baby Ian. Yanique and I met at Whole Foods while working on an event together. I was pregnant when we met, and so was Yanique, though she didn't know it yet.

We saw each other whenever she was in the store and kept up with each other through email. Our pregnancies were so close together and we were able to share the ups and downs and help each other navigate this crazy, new experience.

To our surprise, Ian and Stella were born on the same day within hours of one another! We were at different hospitals and didn't realize until weeks later when we finally got above water enough to email. So sweet!

January 4, 2009

Happy Birthiversary!

The past few days have been a series of notable milestones — Markana's birthday, our three-year anniversary, and Stella's six-month birthday. Six months! To celebrate, we started our day with a walk to our neighborhood playground, where Stella now enjoys swinging.



(This photo, by the way, continues my unplanned photo series entitled "Stella: Suspended". See more here, here and here.)

From there, we moved on to brunch at one of Nashville's finest restaurants, Germantown Cafe. Stella is now sitting in a high chair at the table, and she loved being the center of attention and watching all the activity as people came and went.


She also loved the french onion soup.