Friday, December 30, 2011

Hello 26 weeks/ 6 1/2 months of pregnancy!

I can't believe we are going to be parents of a little BOY in 2012!!!! Thank you Lord for this amazing, precious gift of life.

Happy New Year to all our family and friends around the world! I pray that 2012 brings you love, joy and peace. Remember, every new sunrise is a new day with the Lord.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We are family!!

Zev's brother, Deven and his wife, Lauren and their three kids, David, Will and Emily drove all the way down from upstate NY to spend Christmas with us!
We were blessed with lovely weather (especially for December; everyone is telling us that this has been an exceptionally warm winter and this Australian girl is not complaining!), except for yesterday when it rained, and were able to spend lots of quality family time together. Zev and I prayed over this visit, as we do for all visits with family and friends. I really do believe that being thankful for the families we have, around the world, and praying for them, makes a difference in the time you spend together.
It really was nice to have "one on one" time with them in the comfort of our house. We hung out at home a lot and did some fun things. The family arrived on Christmas Eve and after lunch, we went to our church for Christmas Eve service and came home to our neighborhood all beautifully lit with luminaries (tea candles in paper bags lined along each street). It looked so beautiful! Our service was lovely. It was nice to be reminded of the reason for the season. JESUS.
Zev climbed into the tree house on Christmas morning and fixed the flying fox (zip line) so the kids could zip down it. He even showed us how it was done....
The kids weren't super keen on the zip line though....I think it may have seemed a little too fast or too high. I love flying foxes and wanted to go on it but will have to wait until the baby is born. Christmas Day was spent lounging around at home and cooking up a storm. As you can see, Deven took the term "lounging around" very seriously...
In true Zev-style, Zev orchestrated a yummy and satisfying Christmas dinner, consisting of turkey (of course), a giant stuffed pork loin (yummy), mashed sweet potatoes, green beans with miso dressing (also very yummy), gravy, bread rolls, and pumpkin pie. We still have leftovers in the fridge.
Yesterday we had a boys day/ girls day where Lauren and I took Emily (who LOVES horses) to go watch "War Horse" and Zev took Deven and the boys shooting at the local gun range. It was actually a good day to do this since it rained yesterday. The family headed home this afternoon, via Philadelphia where they will go and visit Lauren's family. I just realized that I didn't take any frontal pictures of Deven, Lauren or myself. My belly is growing and I can feel our baby boy kicking (which is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world!) I must say that I like the low key Christmas approach; not too much fuss, but simple, family fun. I was a little concerned that the kids would get bored hanging around our house, but they were so well behaved and entertained themselves with reading, playing with their new toys, watching TV and just hanging out. I pray that our son will be a well behaved little boy :-) Prayer does work wonders...
I hope that you had a lovely Christmas. I do like having some quiet time now to catch up on work and update this blog. Sending you love and hugs wherever in the world you are! Oh and Happy New Year!
 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Matthew 18: 19-20 

Monday, December 19, 2011

You never know...

...when you will make an impact on someone.
I received these homemade German Christmas cookies in the mail today.  They were sent by my former German tutor for Criminal Law at the University of Tuebingen.  She only taught me for one semester, but I was struck by her intelligence and her willingness to include us "international students" (Antonios from Greece and I) in her class discussions.  She asked me a few months after that first semester if I could proof-read her letter to apply for an internship at a New York City international law firm.  Zev and I both reviewed her letter, which was excellently written and made some adjustments.  She got the position and wrote to me to tell me so and thank me for my help, and I told her that she obtained the position based on her own excellent credentials.  I was happily surprised to receive this package in the mail today; her thoughtfulness shows what a lovely young lady she is.

Zev receives thank you notes frequently from people he has helped in the past, whether by writing a letter of recommendation (he is really good at those) or providing career guidance.  I am proud of him because I know he is a great boss.  When he received an email from a young troop he mentored a few postings ago, I told him that he obviously made an impact on that young man's life, enough for the man to track him down here in Virginia and send a note.  I make it my personal goal to always send thank you notes. I know that it may sound old fashioned to some, but to me, it is really important; taking the time to write a note (not just an email or a text message) but a real note, to send to the person who made an impact in your life.

Anyway, when I think back on my relatively short life so far, I can think of so many people (family, friends and colleagues) who have mentored me and made an impact on my life. To you, I say, thank you!

 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 
Ephesians 1:16

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hello 6 months/ 24 weeks of pregnancy!!!

Today is going to be a great day; the sun is shining, Zev is home after 6 days TDY and I am FINALLY feeling normal after an 11 day long cold!! We will meet our son in 16 weeks! Praise the Lord for His mercy and love and protection. To compare the progression of my pregnancy so far, I thought I would post the other pictures showing the growth of my belly. The one below is the first pregnancy picture we took; at 14 weeks.
This next one was taken at 18 weeks.
And this one was taken at 20 weeks, just after we had found out we were having a boy!

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127: 3-5

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Vielen Dank Ulla und Manfred!

I wanted to share this awesome surprise that arrived on our doorstep this morning and which cheered up my day.  I have been sick these past few days with a cold and a sore throat and achy body.  Being sick and pregnant is no fun because I am not meant to take really any medicine (except small amounts of Tylenol).  Dr. Zev has been AMAZING though and incredibly patient (I can be a little grumpy when sick, I must admit) and he has shown once again what an excellent father he will make.

 My wonderful former German teacher, Ulla and her husband, Manfred sent us this box of original Lebkuchen from Nurenberg, Germany, which arrived on our doorstep via Fedex today.  Not only was Ulla retired and teaching me German as a labor of love, but she also introduced Zev and I to authentic German culture and traditions; from visiting castles to festivals and regional foods.  Right up until a few days before we flew out of Germany in July this year, they took us on a wonderful tour of Schloss Lichtenstein.  I couldn't have written my thesis without Ulla revising and correcting what I had written in German (and spending MANY hours doing so!) Receiving their gift today was such a lovely surprise and the box that it came in is GORGEOUS (complete with a pop out little Christmas scene). I will keep that box as a keepsake. 
Vielen Dank liebe Ulla, lieber Manfred. Wir vermissen euch beide und Deutschland so sehr.  Liebe Grüße, Zev und Fiona xoxoxo

Denn also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, dass er seinen eingeborenen Sohn gab, damit alle, die an ihn glauben, nicht verloren werden, sondern das ewige Leben haben.

Johannes 3:16

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Integrity and lunch with the girls

I want to post about the fun lunch I had this week with the "lunch bunch" girls on base, but first, I had to write down a cool experience I had yesterday at Bed Bath & Beyond.  I am trying to avoid the shops during the holiday season because it seems like everyone is in a mad rush to get things and people aren't as relaxed and chilled out as they could be.  Nonetheless, I had to go to BB&B to get some "Secret Santa" gifts for church and other things.  The store was so busy that I was asked to check out at the Customer Service desk.  The man standing next to me had a lamp in his hand that he wanted to purchase.  He had just returned the exact same lamp because it was broken.  As he was went to purchase the same lamp, the sales clerk (who was actually the manager of the store) said emphatically "oh no, you don't have to buy it- just exchange it!" The man insisted on buying the lamp, because as he explained "I dropped it. The lamp wasn't defective when I bought it. I broke the lamp." The store manager said to him "Don't worry, we exchange stuff like this all the time, really, we'll just do the exchange!" Another sales clerk even said "just don't take his money." But the man insisted on paying for the lamp, which as he had admitted, was broken because of his negligence.  As he said "it's the right thing to do."
I learnt a lesson from this man yesterday.  Would I have done the same thing if the option to simply exchange the broken lamp for a new one was presented to me like it was for this man? At the end of the day, someone has to pay for the broken item, even if it is the big corporate store in the sky that doesn't have a face.  I believe that this man was an example of integrity to the many other people in the store who witnessed what went on.  I applaud him for what he did.  Incidentally, I had to go return a top that I had bought online, at a local store, just a few minutes after the BB&B incident.  The store manager at this other store saw on my receipt that the top was valued at $24.99.  The voice of that man insisting on doing "the right thing" popped into my head and I told the manager that I only paid $19.99, even though that wasn't reflected on my receipt!  I thought it was interesting that the pair of workout pants I exchanged the top for were originally priced at $19.99 but rang up for $8.99 at the register!  Doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do, as Zev always says IS the right thing.  I just wanted to share this experience with you this Christmas season :-))
So on to the fun lunch I had with the girls this week.  Our monthly "lunch bunch" group went to an old (like pre Civil War) plantation house called Edgewood Plantation.  The owner of the house gave us a lively tour of her house, complete with interesting stories and while dressed in period costume.  After the tour, we sat down to tea and scones and little sandwiches, all while wearing fun hats!  I enjoyed the outing and especially hanging out with my fellow pregnant buddy, sweet Natalie!!
And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.  In your hearts do not think evil of each other."
Zechariah 7:8

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend

God blessed us with a lovely and relaxed Thanksgiving this year.  Zev's parents, Dave and Judy, drove down from upstate New York to spend a few days with us and we enjoyed catching up and a nice Thanksgiving dinner (inspired by Bon Appetit magazine!)  I was Zev's little Sous Chef while he directed the course of events!
Zev asked me to get 5 sweet potatoes from the Commissary.  Needless to say, they had these MASSIVE sweet potatoes, which you can see Judy holding above, and we only needed three!  They were sweet too!
Holding up our "thankful" bread basket!  The basket is special to me; I bought it in Rothenberg ob der Tauber in Germany, and it says "Unser täglich Brot gib uns heute" which translates to "Our daily bread give us today" and is of course reminiscent of the Lord's prayer ("Give us this day, our daily bread....")  I thought it was cool.  Can you see my belly in this picture!  That top was "long" on me a short time ago!
Guten Appetit!

The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins, He will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.  Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. 
Isaiah 51:3

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for a baby BOY!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Zev and I feel so abundantly blessed this year, especially with the recent news that we will be having a baby BOY!
I am 20 weeks and 6 days pregnant today.  On Tuesday, our baby measured at 21 weeks and the doctor said he looks healthy :-)))

We pray that you count your blessings and enjoy and appreciate the ability to breathe and smile every single day.
God bless.

Whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Proverbs 14:31

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dear baby....

To our unborn child,
I want to tell you about your daddy, Zev.  You will meet him soon and you will love him just as much as I do; maybe even more, if that's possible!  He will love you too and even though we don't know if you are a boy or a girl or what you will look like,  we already love you so much.  I wanted to record these thoughts, because even though I keep a personal journal to record this pregnancy, I wanted you to see in the blog book that we loved you even before we met you.  You are a creation of God and we can't wait to hold you in our arms.
 Your daddy really is an awesome guy.  He is kind, loving, generous, gorgeous, sweet, considerate and funny.  He is a hard worker and has strong values.  I lean on him sometimes and he leans on me.  But in different ways.  You'll see.  You'll also see that your daddy likes pizza and ice-cream and would survive on these two food groups if he could.  Seriously.
Funniness is important in life and comes in handy sometimes to break any sourness or bitterness that arises in relationships.  I knew from the day I danced with your daddy at that ball in Sydney, when I was "Wendy" and he was (meant to be!) "Peter Pan" that the rest of my life would involve this man.  We will have to tell you the funny story of "how we met" someday.  I like to tell it :-)) I hope that one day you will meet a person who loves you and cares for you and respects you.  It's important to dream and talk about your plans for the future.  Even if that involves living in 3 continents during the year and driving a motor home around the country.  One day, perhaps.  Never stop exploring the world around you.  Never stop dreaming...
I read this Psalm yesterday and I thought about how our lives are changing...for the better, with your upcoming arrival.  It's amazing to think that in 4 short months or so, we will be parents.  And trying to figure out how to balance sleep and changing diapers and nursing.  We have a lot of learning to do but I think we will be ok.  We feel so blessed by God.  I have been feeling little bubbles in my belly in the morning, and I think that it is you.  Is it? I love you.  See you at your ultrasound on Tuesday!
Mummy xo

Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways.
You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.
Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
and may you live to see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel.

Psalm 128

Monday, November 14, 2011

Veterans Day 2011

This weekend was Veterans Day weekend and as Zev didn't have to work on Friday, we decided to get outdoors and enjoy the great autumn weather we have been having. We went on a nature hike on Friday at this local reserve, where you cross over 14 little bridges along the way!
The colors on the trees were gorgeous. Zev color-coordinated his outfit as you can see.
Even though Zev would usually run through a trail like this, we walked it (because someone in the family is growing a baby in her belly!) and talked. It was nice.
I think Zev grew a little taller that day...
It was neat to spend Veterans Day in the States, as everyone seemed to celebrate the patriotism associated with the military and it was nice to see flags everywhere. A special flag committe even posted flags in our neighborhood. There are a lot of military retirees that live around us.
On Saturday, we headed to the old town where we visited the local farmer's market. I had heard quite a few people rave about this famer's market, so I mentioned to Zev that this might be something fun to do and out we headed. I must say, that after living in Germany and visiting some incredible farmer's markets (like the one in downtown Old Esslingen every Wednesday and Saturday!), the one we visited on Saturday was not that great! Still, the location on the water was pretty and we even got to visit the historic battlefields afterwards and learn all about the Revolutionary war and siege tactics and how the Americans and the French pretty much out bombed the English (using cannon balls of course!) I love having such interesting history in the local area. I also love the fact that we live close to some beautiful waterways!
The park ranger made Zev and I laugh; she was pretty serious about her military history and even gave some kids who were running up and down an embakment a talking to! She gave a thorough tour though, complete with verbatim quotations from old English, French and American generals (including General Washington!)

Yesterday we went to the church that we have been visiting the past few weekends and visited a Sunday school class too. The people were nice in that class and made us feel at home. The sermon was great too. The Pastor preached on Hebrews and about running God's race and endurance. Sometimes it's good to remember that life is a journey; more like a marathon and not so much a sprint.
Zev mowed the grass after church. I was preparing some dinner when I peeked out the window and laughed to myself when I saw this sight for sore eyes. Yes, he has his fresh coffee in his right hand as he is mowing our lawn. He just needs a ride on lawn mower with a cup holder and he is all set. Look at those gorgeous legs :-)
Hope that you have a lovely week! God bless xoxo

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
Hebrewes 11:6