Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 Thankfulness Cont.

To continue my list of things I'm thankful for in 2006 is:
Number Two
I’m thankful for my baby girl, Isabelle Agnes. She has taken our lives to a whole other level. I love holding her and starring into her beautiful dark eyes looking, fully trusting and innocent, back at me.
I love to watch her as she grows and changes. I love the fact that she loves to be read to….at 4 months! I even love reading “Moo Baa La La La” over and over again and getting up in the middle of the night to feed her. I am amazed that I have the privilege of shaping this little life. I pray we can give 100% and more than anything else, I want her to grow up to have a heart like David. That’s all that really matters in the end. I am thankful that her presence in my life has reminded me of the plight of the lost children in the world. When I’m starring into her eyes I keep thinking, “somewhere in the world right now, a mother is looking into the beautiful eyes of her baby daughter and making the heartbreaking decision to abandon her or worse…”

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2006 Thankfulness

I decided I would take a few days and highlight some things I am thankful for in 2006. As you can guess from my blog, 2006 has been a year of real blessing and I can't stop thanking the Father for the good things in my life lately. So let me start with this:

Number One
I am thankful for Conrad, my husband. Having been a single adult for a decade has given me a great appreciation for marriage. I love being married. I love belonging to someone and having someone belong to me. I love Conrad for his faithfulness and gentleness. I love him because he’s easygoing and usually up for almost anything (excluding extreme sports!). I love him because he’s giving and full of compassion, and anyone in need is likely to be on the receiving end of his giving. I love him because he loves my family like his own. And when my Grandpa was sick, Conrad was there, with my dad, helping out, like it was his own grandfather. I love him because he’s the best daddy. He loves our little girl better than anything and his eyes light up when he sees her. And he works hard at caring for us and providing for us (oh ya, and he’s pretty good looking too!) I love you, honey!

...More to Come Tommorrow...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas In Review

Isabelle's first Christmas was great! We had a really good time with friends and family and Isabelle got lot's of thoughtful gifts! Unfortunatley she slept through almost every present opening and seemed mostly overstimulated the entire weekend...but I can't blame her, as, let's face it, who isn't after three or four days of Christmas Celebration!! Her favorite gift, I think, was the Baby Einstein play station that my parents got her. Of course, this also lended itself to overstimulization and she about freaked out after 5 or 6 minutes in it.:) Over all tho, I think she had a great time!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Big Brown Eyes

Right Now Isabelle is totally a momma's girl. She's happy when I pick her up and hold her, or when I read to her, or put her to sleep. Not even Conrad can put her to bed these days, only Momma can. I figure I'd better enjoy it now, because more sooner than later she will be utterly a Daddy's girl. It always happens! But when I'm feeding her or talking to her and she looks at me with those big brown eyes, my heart melts and I think I'd give her anything, up to half my kingdom! Can you blame me?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Life of Grace

Today I was reading back through some old emails that I had labeled “keepers” and found one from a dear friend. She and I were interns at Teen Mania together and became fast friends because we were both from Ohio. We remained friends and visited one another throughout our college years. I even had the privilege of being in her wedding way back in 1997. A couple of years ago, her husband was taken from her and their two small children in a freak bicycle accident.

I remember seeing my friend at the funeral and being absolutely in awe of her strength and reliance on the Lord. And as I got deeper into my marriage, and reflected back on what it would mean to loose my husband and the father of my children, my admiration for her only grew. The email I found was called “reflections.” It was her thoughts and feelings on the one year anniversary of her. She wrote about what she missed most about her Love, what he meant to her life, how she felt when he died, and what she was thankful for. She also wrote the following:

This is what I have learned since my husbands death…
• Life can be short so don’t waste the moments I have right now. God, people and relationships are what matter most, so I need to spend my energy in the right way. Let people know how important they are to me. Share your feelings now.
• This world is not a fair world, so instead of asking why, ask why not me? I have received many blessing that I did not earn so why not accept the tragedies as well. It is not fair to say that I only accept the good in life and not the bad as well. If everything was fair I would never get what I don’t deserve and always get what I do deserve. I would rather live in a world filled with God’s grace than a completely fair world.
• I am not in control of my life. There is a randomness to life that is beyond my control.
• God gives us what we need to get through difficult times. He carries us when we can’t go on.
• I have realized that withdrawing from others means death to my soul. Choosing to live, love and give again means my heart will grow and that I will experience sorrow again. If you love much, you have much to loose. I can make a choice - life or death, it is up to me and no one else.
• Take life one day, one hour, one minute at a time. Set small goals that you can accomplish and eventually you have accomplished a lot.
• The best way to get through grief is to share your feeling with others. Talk about it. Journal about it. Schedule time to do it.
• When someone is sharing with me I can be a better listener by not trying to fix their pain, but by being interested in how they are feeling. Accepting their feelings and not trying to change them.
• Don’t waste the pain, be a better person because of it.
• Everybody grieves differently; there is no right or wrong way. Don’t compare myself with others.

And if my friend is reading this today, I wanted to let her know that her life has been an example. One day, when the rains fall on my life, I pray I can respond as Christ-like as you.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Baby's First Christmas

I can't believe that it is almost Christmas. We are ready on this end, and as far as I'm concerned it can't come soon enough! I know Isabelle is only four months old, so I'm sure we will have more fun opening her presents that she will! Christmas also came early for us, as Conrad got his Perminant Resident Card in the mail tonight! And it only took the government about a year and a half to process it! Whoo hoo!

Friday, December 15, 2006

All I want for Christmas...

All I want for Christmas...I already have. I am very thankful for all of the blessings in my life. Especially my amazing husband who is more than I ever asked God for. And for my beautiful daughter, who is perfect and sweet. These two are better gifts than I ever deserved. And I'm thankful that the Lord doesn't give us what we deserve!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Why I’m A Blogging Slacker

I know I have been slacking on blogging lately. But don’t worry, I’m not a person prone to much guilt, so I haven’t been suffering from Blogging Guilt! I have however been getting calls and emails asking why I haven’t been posting. So I decided to tell you why:

1. It’s Christmas, and I have been baking cookies and wrapping presents. I like doing these things. ESPECIALLY when they are done in moderation. I hate doing things last minute and I don’t get WHY you have to have 17 different kinds of cookies every Christmas…WHY?
2. I have been shopping. I like to shop…but I don’t love to shop. And I despise malls at Christmas time. I will go to great lengths to avoid that crowded “dashing through the snow!” That’s why I love the internet. My favorite sites lately are (so cool!) and of course, gift cards are a beautiful thing. And this site might brighten your day:
On that same note, I will say that I have been hearing horror stories of being scammed. So I’ll tell you a lil’ story. We have been shopping for a digital camcorder. To make a long story short, we found a site that listed several hundred dollars lower on the camera we wanted. WITHOUT reading reviews (WHY we did this I’ll never know) we ordered. Found out that the camera didn’t come with cables, cords, or a battery….THAT would cost us hundreds more. At that point, I canceled our order, got hung up on the “customer service” guy, and THEN read reviews on this company. Scary scary reviews of credit cards being charged thousands of dollars from companies in Italy and Nigeria…what?? Needless to say, my internet shopping has been cut short while I canceled my credit card. So I feel obligated to say Buyers Beware:
3. I had a bad morning today. I usually leave early for work and leave Conrad and the baby sleeping soundly in the morning. This morning I went into the office with Conrad and we dropped Isabelle off at daycare. It was really hard to leave her there this morning. Maybe it was because I usually pick up, not drop off. Or maybe it was because her usual caregivers weren’t there. Or maybe it was because I laid her down in her crib and had to leave her giggling there alone. I don’t know why, it just made for a really bad morning. My husband is now ready to go to heroic lengths to make sure I am not the one taking her to daycare  I don’t think he can make it through another morning like today. And I am still praying for a job miracle. This one is okay, but eventually something will have to change. What? I don’t know.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Blast from the Past

Over the weekend, we went to visit my family. My grandparents just built a small house on the side of my parent's home. It's a cute little house but it required my grandma to downsize quite a bit and that required my expertise...throwing things away! Anyway, we ran across a box of old pictures and I thought I really had to post some of these for my family to see...and there are a few self discriminating pictures as well.

Yes indeed I was a cheerleader!

My mom and I, nice hair, huh?

And this is a singing group my whole family used to have called the Young Lites...classic. I'm related to almost everyone in this picture...maybe everyone?!

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Return of Tin Tin

Any of you who have traveled outside of the U.S. have run into the world renowned Tin Tin and his trusty side kick Snowy. One night I was trying to do something..anything with Isabelle's little tuft of hair and I resorted to what mothers all over the world resort to. Conrad came home from work and said, "She looks just like Tin Tin." So I had to take a picture.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thanksgiving Pictures

I got some thanksgiving pictures from my mom. This year my grandparents got a HUGE table that we could all sit at, and I am happy to report my first year away from the "kids table" was nice, apparently you have to have a kid to sit away from the kids table.

And this is my dad trying to make an OSU fan out of Isabelle. He swears she likes to watch football...hmmm...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Eventful Week

I'm not sure about you all, but we have had an eventful few weeks. Conrad's brother was visiting(as I mentioned previously) and actually got baptized while he was here. I wanted to post a picture for everyone is India to see...and yes, that's actually a horse trough, but we were assured no horse has ever actually used it.

We also set up our Christmas tree a week or so early...we were so excited about our first Christmas was Isabelle!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Our Christmas Traditions

The Stallard Family at Our Wedding, 2005.

In my family, we have a few Christmas traditions. In our extended families, we "trade" names and buy a present for only one person, except for the kids, who get gifts from everyone (make a note that "kid" is defined as someone who is still in school, hence motivation to continue ones education well into the 20's). My family is also extremely practical. Every Christmas, until she passed away in 2003, my Grandma Fran got us ALL bra's, underware, and sox for Christmas (as well as many other things...her "love language" was Gift Giving)

So, every Thanksgiving, we sit down with (or call) family members and do a gift exchange drawing, or you get a sort of absentee ballot drawing thingy, if you are not there. When you put your name into the hat, it must include a list of items that you would like to have. Not just one, but a list...hence my post for today...

Now, that I am not only one, nor two, but three, this drawing takes on a new level of complication. I have to think of lists for myself, Conrad (who insists he doesn't want anything for Christmas...and we all know that never works!), and Isabelle, who is too young to browse through the Toys-R-Us Christmas Catalogue just yet.

So on my list, I have decided that I want some good parenting books and some new worship CD's. And I need suggestions. Shanygne told me all of the Growing Kids God's Way books were great and a couple of other friends suggested Sheparding Your Child's Heart. Any other suggestions? How about suggestions for new worship CD's...I feel out of the loop on this too! How about kids worship or scriptures memory CD suggestions? Help! Christmas lists looming!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Early Teether

Well, the verdict isn't quite in yet, but we think Isabelle is teething early. Her daycare teachers have confirmed what we were thinking. Although we haven't seen any actual teeth popping through, we do have boughts of inconsolable crying, lot's of drooling, and loud sucking on her whole fist. I guess this is one reason I'm glad I'm no longer nursing!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


We have been waiting with baited breath for this to happen. It has been a week or so in the making. The sunday before last we had a little taste of it, but last night, Isabelle giggled big and bold and over and over again. She had been chuckling here and there. Of course, we exhausted ourselves doing sumersaults and making funny noises and anything else we could think of trying to get her to outright giggle, but yesterday it happened. I was making dinner and Conrad's brother, Hubert was making noises at her while she was swinging and she just started giggling and giggling and giggling. It was great! We just stopped and held our breath, not wanting to make any noise that would distract her from the joy. It was so cool!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Maternal Guilt

Okay, I know I was having a bit of what they call maternal guilt when we sent Isabelle off to her first day of daycare. I wanted to make it "special." Short of taking pictures, which I wasn't sure I actually wanted to remember the agony of the day, I did want her to have something "special." So I knit her a scarf...yes, I knit. Don't get too excited, I only knit in straight rows, therefore, the only thing I can a scarf. Granted, I can make some pretty snazzy scarfs...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Power of Welcoming

In Columbus, we have one of the largest universities in the U.S., I actually think it is the largest with about 100,000 students. I used to work regularly with an organization on campus called International Friendships, which "welcomed" internationals and met thier practical needs like picking them up at the airport, giving them a place to stay, and helping them navigate thier way around thier new country using local Christians. All just to show them the love the Christ. It is such effective missions, as many of these students might never have heard of God's love in thier own, sometimes closed access, countries.

I just found an article that made me cry, in my big "life events" happening lately, I seem to have forgotten to take advantage of the opportunity to share God's love all around me. Read the following if you have a couple of minutes:

"But They're so Different"
How to reach the world that's moving into your neighborhood
by Ravi Zacharias

Did you know?
More than 1,500 religious groups are in the United States today, and more than 600 of them are non-Christian?

Muslims in America (including Black Muslims) number nearly 3 million, a larger "denomination" than either the Assemblies of God or the Episcopal Church in the United States?

The U.S. armed services have Buddhist chaplains?

More than 40 Hindu temples, 600 mosques, and 150 Buddhist churches have been built in the U.S.?

A Gallup survey suggests 10 percent of the U.S. population claim a religion "other" than Christian or Jewish, totaling perhaps 17.5 million adults. (Source: Those Other Religions in Your Neighborhood by Terry Muck)

Chances are you have already encountered a person of an entirely different worldview. How can you share the gospel with those who seem so different?

See the opportunities
In Beirut several years ago, I was driving to Sidon with a Lebanese man named Samuel. At a roadblock, Syrian soldiers waved our van to a stop. The soldiers asked Samuel, "Do you have any explosives?"

Samuel smiled, pointed to me, an evangelist, and said, "Yes, this man is full of dynamite!"

They looked at me suspiciously. Samuel started to rummage through our luggage. The soldier stood with his machine gun braced on the window.

Samuel pulled out a red New Testament and gave it to the soldier. "Here," he said. "This is the dynamite I am talking about. But it's not the kind that will hurt." The soldier accepted the book and waved us on.

Samuel then said to me, "You will never know how angry I was the day 50,000 Syrian soldiers came into this country." He described the pain of civil war between the factions-the Hizb'allah, the Druze, the Phalangists. "Our beautiful country was torn apart. Beirut is in ruins. I prayed God would bring peace. I saw 50,000 Syrians occupying our land, and I knew they wouldn't want to leave.

"I wept angry tears. Lord, what are you doing? Then it was as if God spoke to me, 'For all these years, you have been complaining that Syria has shut its doors and will not allow missionaries to enter. For all these years. Every day. I answer by sending 50,000 Syrians to you. And you are still complaining.'"

Samuel said, "The change in my perspective was overwhelming. If God moved peoples throughout history from spot to spot in order to get the redemptive message to them, why do we think he has stopped doing that?"

Today in North America, possibly more than any other time or place, we have access to virtually every culture, even those officially shut down or resistant to the gospel: Saudi, Iranian, Japanese, French, Chinese. God is providing a way to reach people we might never touch in their own lands.

Respect the longing for respect
Most people who leave their homeland develop a greater attachment to their old culture—at least for a while. They admire things like tradition, respect, relationships, family. That's why many of the older generation who came to the U.S. now wonder if they did the right thing. They see their children growing up in a society without moorings, and their values are threatened.

This creates a tremendous opportunity. Many of these people are great respecters of family units and admirers of others who have respect for life and for God, even if we don't share the same religion. Many of them will send their children to Christian schools. Even though they don't want the Christian message, they want the benefits of it—decency, civility, respect.

One of the most powerful avenues to reach them today is a Christian home. In most cases, inviting a Hindu, or a Muslim, or a Buddhist into your home immediately gives you a level of respect. Friendship and love speak louder than words, especially if you are there as a friend when they are going through some difficult time. It's hard for them to believe the Christian life is for real until they have seen that life lived out.

Use the holidays
Because most world religions are so oriented to festive occasions, make use of the festive occasions Christians observe. Friends from other cultures will find it very hard to turn down an invitation to observe your celebration—whether in a church, your community, or in your home.

"We want you to come and celebrate Thanksgiving with us."

Or, "On Easter our family goes to church and then has a great Easter dinner. We'd like you to come."

Simply sharing your priorities, the things that cause you to celebrate, is a great way to communicate your faith.

A lot of Muslims see Christianity as just a cerebral subculture, not as an effective culture. When they see it woven into life, they are intrigued.

Speak their name in prayer
One of the most attractive elements of Christianity is that God is personal. For a Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim, the idea that God has a great plan for an individual's life is brand new. They may have never heard their name spoken to God.

A Hindu couple who heard me preach invited my wife and me to their home, and our friendship continued for several years. Last year, they both became followers of Jesus.

That man has often told me, "You graced my home with your presence the first time you came. And I sensed a blessing from you and your wife."

What had we done? Simply offered friendship, and on that first visit, I said, "Do you mind if I pray for this home?" They saw it as a blessing.

When you offer to pray, it may take them by surprise. But many Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists do not want to miss the possibility of a blessing. They will say, "Please do." A simple prayer that God will reveal himself in this place, and that his love and wisdom will reside here, is powerful. They may have no concept of a personal relationship with God. They wonder where you come up with these words.

Christians can speak to God on behalf of their friends. Such a genuine blessing impresses an Easterner. And they will think about that long after you are gone.

You Can't Spoil This Story
The Good Friday service in Dampara Baptist Church, Chittagong, Bangladesh, was packed. Little children sat on the floor in the aisles and across the front of the church. Rows of people stood in the back, craning their necks to see the crucifixion scene as depicted in the "Jesus Film."

Weeping and gasps of unbelief could be heard in the shocked hush as Jesus was crucified. As the Bengalis watched, they were feeling the agony of Jesus' pain and the disappointment of the disciples.

In that emotional moment, one young boy in the crowded church suddenly cried out, "Do not be afraid. He gets up again! I saw it before."

A small boy's encouraging cry gave new hope to the viewers of the film. "He is risen!" is the cry that gives new hope to us all.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

...A Few of my favorite things.

Since I went back to work I was a little concerned about my life being in a rush. I realized that some things would fall through the cracks, so I did a small inventory. I knew time with God, my husband, and my daughter where priorities 1,2, and 3. Then church and ministry came in at number 4 (even though we are still in the process of getting plugged into ministry at our relatively new church.). I also know that I fall in to the "cleany" category (vs. the "messy" category) and that I LOVE having a clean house.

So, I shopped around and found my new best friend. Her name is Carol and she now cleans my house every couple of weeks. She's pretty inexpensive and she makes me very very happy. Yesterday was her first day and when I came home from work to a clean house I was almost giddy with excitement. We have a huge expanse of white linolieum (much to our dismay) and it has NEVER EVER been that clean. Conrad says I must love Carol more than I love him. Not true, however, I think I may write her into my will :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Snot Bulb?

After our trip to India, Isabelle got her first this something you scrapbook a page about? Hmmmm...I think I'll pass, but she has been amazingly cooperative in spite of her cold, and this thing has hung on for some time. After a trip to the doctor last week (where he told us she now weighed 9 pounds, 14 ounces...whoo hoo!) we confirmed what we thought, that there is nothing you can give a baby this small to help ease the pain of a cold. She's all congested and it wakes her up at all hours since she can't breathe. And I think Isabelle has a sensitive gag reflex cause she gags at the smallest thing! At first this concerned us now we kind of laugh (I know, we are cruel parents!) And all the phlem in her throat makes her gag! Poor kid. Besides the little snot bulb and saline water (which we use daily) I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for how to ease congestion in a baby?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Voice Inside My Head

I'll take a break from "Mommy Blogging" today and comment on something else. Friday night Conrad and I were watching the Hamilton ATF live on God TV (which I realized that must have been why Shanygne G was taking her husband to the airport on Thursday, since Hamilton has always been Kevin's baby!) And as I listened to Ron talking I realized that THAT was the voice in my head. I guess 17 years of going on TM Missions trips and working with TM...and Ron is the voice in my head. I know that may sound strange to you outside of TM world, but I think those of you inside understand what I'm talking about!

Although that is funny, Ron and Katie really have deposited so many good things into my life. And my heart for the world and any leadership qualities I may possess are a credit to them and a direct result of thier passion for God (Oh ya, and thanks to my mom and dad too:). But I guess today, I am really grateful that I have had the opportunity to be a part of Teen Mania. So, thanks Ron and Katie...wherever you are today!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Empty Arms

Today is my first day back at work. Conrad and I took Isabelle to daycare this morning and left her in capable arms. A friend, and actually the person who was going to watch her in her home, but took a position running the daycare (our 2nd childcare option), met us in her room and actually took Isabelle this morning. I was sad on our way to work and my arms feel very empty this morning.

When I got back to work, a bunch of people had quit or moved on and I got a new boss, who starts today too. It's kind of weird to be back! But it was REALLY good to see my good friend Natalie, who I have missed our regular chats with. I told Natalie that seeing her today was the highlight of my first monday back! Thanks Nat!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Our Last Days Together

Today is my last day of maternity leave. Monday I start back to work. On some level's I feel like I'm ready to jump back into it, but I am absolutely dreading leaving Isabelle at daycare on monday. Yesterday we went and visited daycare and the moment we walked in, four or five toddlers gathered around her saying, "ooooohhhhh baby." and touching her. Her eyes were wide open and she was smiling in wonder of all these new little people. That made me feel somewhat better about Monday.

Our daycare is at our old church, Grace. I was even on the daycare board when we were at Grace. I know the staff pretty well and I am especially excited that Miss Sally (my friend and ex-pastor's mom) substitute teaches in the infant room. She loves Isabelle and will give her some extra love, I'm sure :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

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More Pictures from India...

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Isn't family great?

Our trip to India for the last couple of weeks was sooo great! I can't describe to you how wonderful it was to see Conrad's family again (the ones I met last year when they came for the wedding) and the ones I had only heard about or talked to on the phone. It was really like coming home. I know some of my friends were asking me if it would be wierd to visit India the first time without Conrad, but it really wasn't (although I missed him much seeing his old stomping grounds!). I love his family like my own and it was pure joy to introduce our little Isabelle to everyone and to just spend time together for a while, however brief our visit.

During our visit, we had two big "parties." Now, clear your mind of any American concept of party, a few friends over for a bbq type of thing...or even a big family holiday gathering. The first party was for Isabelle. They did invite just 30 or 40 people over to meet her and I, and they brought her gifts, mostly gold jewerly(of which, she now, officially has more than her mother!). USUALLY they invite 150 - 200 people over, but we decided to do the "real" party next time we visit, when Conrad can make it. The second party was held in honor of Conrad's Aunt Agnes, who we named Isabelle Agnes after. She died just about a year ago and in the Indian Catholic tradition, they have a year celebration after the death of the person and hold a mass in rememberance and have worship and lots and lots of food. Now, Agnes' husband and sons live in a flat, and they set up big tents outside the house for the 150 -200 guests that showed up. Defnately something the tenents association would frown on around most complexe's in the states.

We met tons and tons of family members. And my one funny story involves being introduced to all of these extended family members. In Conrad's family, all female older relatives are called "Mommy" such as, my nephews would call me Danielle Mommy and also thier Grandma, Mary Mommy. Well, every aunt, older cousin, was introduced to me as Such and Such Mommy....and EVERYONE else was introduced to me as Mommy's brother, or Mommy's brothers cousin's sister and so on. I caught on after a while that when they were refering to "Mommy", it wasn't always the same Mommy, but all of the aunts, it could be anyone!) And to add confusion, Conrad's mother has one brother. You call your mother's brother, Mama, and his wife is called Mami(pronoucned Mommy). Conrad finally clarified when I got home that there is a VAST difference in Mami and Mommy....although they sound exactly the same to me.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dubai @ Ramadan

I guess I forgot to add some important details about our trip to India. We just happened to have two significant layovers. The first was at JFK, where my Aunt Becky, from San Diego, just happen to be flying out of New York at the same time we were flying in. She had not seen the baby yet and was really excited to meet Isabelle. Her company had taken a bunch of the ladies on a 2 day extravaganza to NYC. Now that's a nice perk! (A big hello to all of Aunt Becky's Co-workers, who I found out read our blog)

We then had a layover in Dubai, UAE. My brother-in-law, Alfred, lives there and we stopped over and got a whirlwind tour of Dubai, which is a pretty cool city, I might add. And I made a long list of things to do NEXT time we visit Dubai, and hopefully for a longer time. I hear they have a Shopping Festival....seriously, we'll have to plan our next visit around THAT! But it was good to introduce Isabelle to Alfred for the first time too!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Hello Sweet Sweet Cyberspace

We are finally home from India. Isabelle, my mom, and I had a GREAT trip! Besides missing my husband, I can honestly say I missed my computer the most, and I have been happily passing jetlag time (as you might notice from my posting time) catching up on friends blogs. And can I just say that I have such a witty group of friends I have been laughing out loud! I guess I am also up because Isabelle caught her first cold...and I feel bad about calling the doctor at 0'dark thirty to get a medicine recommendation. So the little congested thing just fell back asleep in her swing. Of course, her being up may also have something to do with the fact that she slept for 8 hours straight this afternoon!! I think thats the longest she's ever slept! We wore her out on the trip home. The final leg of the trip from JFK to Coloumbus was delayed 3.5 know what hell that is when you've already been traveling for 30 hours!? We were delerious with lack of sleep!

By the way, I guess I will spend the next few posts giving you trip highlights. So for now, I'll start with an overview:

Isabelle is a natural traveler! She is easy going and flexible and smiles at everyone, so makes fast friends with strangers. And I am sooooo glad that my mom went with us because it would have been very difficult without her. I can just imagine asking the stranger next to me on the plane if he would kindly hold my baby why I went to the bathroom.

We arrived in India to the welcoming experience of what I like to call Indian buracracy. Our bag arrived before us, so was claimed by customs. The experience went something like this: Oh, it's here. Can I get it? Wait for 30 minutes. Let's go and look at it through a locked glass door. Is that it? Yep. Can I get it? No let's go back to the waiting area (with overly sleepy grandmother holding hungry and poopy baby). Wait for 20 minutes. Let's go look at the bag again. That it? Yep, Can I get it? Hold on, fill out two papers. Wait for 10 minutes. Can I get it. No, let's go look at your OTHER luggage just to confirm (confirm what? I dunno). Walk back to waiting family. Check out baggage. Go back to little glass room. Okay NOW you can get your luggage, go through security gate and meet axiously awaiting family members.

But when we went through those doors, we had almost 20 people waiting to see us, with flowers and cold water and smiling faces(all of which fit into one SUV and 2 makes me rethink the saying, "how many people can you fit on a Guatemalan bus?"). It was soooo good to see all of Conrads family and to meet those I've only heard about or talked to on the phone. And they were very excited to meet Isabelle. My mother in law said, "Now that I have Isabelle here, I don't miss Conrad so much." I was wired with seeing and talking to everyone and was awake the rest of the day! Good for jetlag. But my mom went right to sleep as soon as we got home. So I will post some pictures, but let me prefence them with this: The first thing my Indian family told me was "Danielle, it's so good to see you, you've gotten very plumpy!" (Indians obviously don't have the same hang ups or filters for these things as americans do!) I know, I know, I just had a baby, cut me some slack. So I won't be posting many pictures of myself. I am going to need a few months back at the gym and some quality therapy, but I think I'll recover!! :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Goodbye for now...

We are off to India tommorrow so I will probably be disconnected for a couple of weeks. Pray for us as we travel. I know lots of my mom friends are probably old pro's at international travel with children, but this will be my first trip! We are excited and, as you all know, and many share my passion, I do love to travel, but there can be so many variables with a small child.

My friend Rachel shared some wisdom from her wycliff friends who said don't fret as much when traveling to places like Asia because the asians on the flight have much more grace for a crying baby than americans, since they are probably used to living in more community settings, it doesn't seem to frazzle them as much. This helped alot!

Off for now!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Journey to India

This weekend we will be leaving for India! We are excited to see Conrad's family and introduce them to the newest addition to the family. My mom will be going with us to help out, since Conrad can't go this visit. The more I think about it the more I am glad I won't be going alone. Can you imagine trying to go to the bathroom in an airplane bathroom with an infant?? Hmmmm.... Anyway, I'm also excited because we will be stopping over in Dubai, United Arab Emerites to see Conrad's brother, Alfred. We will only be there about 8 hours and it will be at night, but things will be hopping because it's Ramadan and the city will be alive with people getting thier days worth of eating in! I asked him to take us for some good arabic food. It will be my frist visit to the middle east!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

First Shot Over...

Isabelle went to the doctor again today and she is now 8 pounds, 1 ounch...whoo hoo! She also got her first two shots. She didn't like it at all...neither did I. You have to hold down thier little hands and they give you that know the look...the how-could-you-let-this-happen look? It was painful. But I have to say that she got over that faster than when the doctor put the tongue depresser in her mouth....she cried forever over that one!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Gift of Service

If you have ever read the Gary Chapman book, The Five Love Languages, you might be familiar with your love language. My primary language is Time Spent. Lucky for me, Conrad is also Time Spent. But my mom is acts of service. I never realized how great is it to have a mom who's love language is acts of service. My mom has been great since Isabelle has been born. She comes and visits us on the weekend and watches the baby so we can get several consecutive hours of great is that?? And when the baby was born she came and helped out. AND, Isabelle and I are traveling to India by ourselves so my mom is buying a ticket and going with us, just so she can help us with the travel! Thanks Oma...we love you!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Milk Stupor

Okay, I am working on scrapbook pages and taking some really funny pictures of the little one. Here is one of my favorites. i call it the Milk Stupor

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Strong Willed Child?

We are wondering if we will have the strong willed child? Only six weeks and we have seen some hilarious display of will. We have even had discussions about whether or not babies display willfullness so early. But if this little girl doesn't want to be moved and you move her, she grunts loudly until you leave her alone. My husband asked where she got that from...I'll never tell, and don't ask my mother.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Six Weeks on Tuesday

We can't believe that we've had our little girl for six weeks. She truly has changed our lives. Everyone says "Your life will change." Like it's a big revelation or something... But who says you want your life to stay the same? If I did, I guess I wouldn't have gotten married, or had a child. Change is good.

Isabelle is growing like a weed and doing well. For all of you interested (because it did provoke quite the controversy in the past blog..the whole family bed idea), Isabelle is sleeping soundly in her cradle. What I really want is a flexible child. I'm not really concerned in having a "routined" child since we don't really want a "routine" life. So we are trying to teach her to fall asleep where ever we lay her. And so far, she does great at the couch, the cradle, the floor, the Pack N Play...but not the crib yet. Still working on that! But Momma is sleeping better without Isabelle in bed!

Anyway, last weekend we went to my parents for another baby dedication. When you are a PK, or a grand PK, you get two of things like this! It was very good and we believe Isabelle will be blessed from the blessing of her grandfather!

I'd better go, I have to watch Anthony Bourde eat durian on's like a train wreck...I can't tear my eyes away. Rachel and Mark...are you indulging in this treat?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Update on Project Sleeping Beauty

I thought I would update you on Project Sleeping Beauty. As we speak our sweet little Isabelle is sleeping (maybe not SO soundly, but sleeping none the less) in her crib upstairs. Of course, this is a success, so it's easy to share.

Sunday night we tried the cradle and she cried a solid 20 heart wrenching minutes. We couldn't take it. We both cried for half of those. We picked her up and decided to try again later. We fortified ourselves with re reading the chapter on crying in Baby Wise and decided to try in the daytime again.

So today, as she got sleepy and fussy for her first nap, I prayed that the Holy Spirit would bring peace and restful sleep to her and headed upstairs. I clicked on the baby moniters and reassured myself by skimming Babywise again. I showered through the first 15 minutes of the crying (and that helped!) It's not a total success as she wakes every five or so minutes for 30 or 45 seconds of crying before falling back asleep! We are keeping on tho! Hopefully well on our way to forming healthy sleeping habits and contented baby!