Monday, October 25, 2010

Luke turned one

Well, it's official (as of 11 days ago), my little baby is now a moderately sized toddler. We celebrated his first birthday on October 14th and again on the 16th with a slightly larger crowd. I think he had fun. He threw up at one point which I take as the ultimate sign someone is having a great time. It may have also had something to do with the large quantity of mac and cheese he ate. Our boy loves food that incorporates cheese. And also just food.

I can't believe that our little boy is one. It seems like yesterday we were living in Kansas and preparing for his arrival. I remember the day before. Getting the call that my doctor had swine flu and would be replaced by another OB (I was okay with that since the outcome was still me becoming unpregnant). Picking Mom and Pop Hunter up at the airport. Trying to fall asleep that night even though I was over the moon excited to meet our boy.

The morning of the blessed event I woke up at 4:30am due to incredible excitement/anxiety/thirst. Mom and Pop came over for breakfast. I didn't eat since I had surgery scheduled for 11:30. I just watched longingly as they sipped their waters. We all went to the hospital at 10 and I got set up for surgery-gowned, IVed, briefed of every way I could die during a routine C-section (apparently I was giving informed consent. I just thought our anesthesiologist was an incredible pessimist). We rolled into the OR at 11:30 and 15 minutes later we heard a nurse say "That baby's got a round head!" Then we heard his cry. He cried for 10 seconds and then was peaceful. He didn't cry again for 3 days with perfectly portrays his laid back personality although at the time we thought he might be broken. He wasn't. He was perfect. The first time I laid eyes on him, all I could see was Joel. Then he went through an Alfred Hitchcock phase but now he looks like Joel again which is good.

Son, I love you so much. I never imagined I could have so much joy in my life. Our days are blessed because of your smile, your laugh, your obsession with tupperware and your naturally curly hair. I still can't believe I get to be your mom. I can't wait to continue helping you become the man God has called you to be. That man will surely be an incredible one. And a handsome one. And a brilliant, dexterous, charitable, eloquent and temperate one. That is good with children.

I love you kiddo. Happy birthday plus 11 days.

The first time I held my boy.

Good Evening...

Current photo-Playing in the tupperware cabinet. What a genius.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

About a Girl

I realize we haven't blogged in a long while. It isn't because we don't want to, it's because we don't know what to say. Since our last blog, our little niece has gone to be with Jesus. It is still weird to see myself write that. We miss her terribly and although that part hurts our hearts, it it also a constant reminder that her life and her memory are with us. This blog is not intended to make you sad but I can't skip over talking about this one life that touched the lives of thousands.

We know that Ava is doing better now than she ever was on earth. Even when she was fully healthy. Even the knowledge of this fact doesn't lessen the missing her. It may be because I can't really understand that on this side of heaven but really I think it's because all of our lives were more blessed with Ava in them.

As we continue to mourn this great loss, I think mostly about Luke. I think about how Ava loved him and how excited he would be every time he saw her. I think about how she would help me feed him by wiping his face between every bite of food whether dirty or not. I think about how she would watch TV with him while holding his hand and about how impressively high her voice would get when she would talk to him. I always want him to know her. I always want him to understand how many people got to learn about Jesus because her life was short and not long. I want him to be brave like her.

I have always claimed to believe that God redeems all things. Admittedly, it is harder to stand by that statement when it is truly tested. God has been gracious in showing us a glimpse of how he is and will continue to redeem this hurt. The most recent stats from Josh (Ava's dad) for Ava's memorial service were that 9,000 viewed it throughout 49 countries. 4,000 of those viewed it live either in person or online. I know very few people whose lives have reached that many for Christ. Let alone the life of a five year old. Ava is truly an inspiration.

I have one request from all who have travelled this journey with Josh, Lisa and Noah. It is the best way you can honor Ava. Find out if Jesus is who he said he was. Start there. Allow it to be that simple.

We love you and thank you for every prayer and every word of encouragement.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010


July into August has been a whirlwind to put it modestly. Our niece Ava's situation placed a perspective on our lives that can't be described outside of the sobering situation itself. When the life of someone you love is being threatened, it is hard to continue on with the tasks at hand. Everything seems trivial by comparison and to be honest, everything is. At the same time, our love for this precious girl needed to be the number one motivator for doing all things well. We are blessed beyond words to be surrounded by people who love and pray for our family as if it were their own. We are positive that this is the reason that she is doing well and why Hunter Vision was able to open its doors this past Monday.

As August 2nd rapidly approached, Joel, Josh and Hunter Vision's clinic director and whiz at everything, Katie, worked diligently to get Hunter Vision up and awesome. It worked. The place is incredible. Joel performed his first Hunter Vision procedures last week on the Hunter family and the Hunter Vision Family. Joel (the elder), Becky and Josh Hunter all received SBK (next generation LASIK). As did Ashley Simonds and Shawn Romano. Everyone is seeing like eagles as the saying goes. Our official opening day is four days past and so far it is running like a well oiled machine that runs really well. Thank you again for praying for us. You are a huge reason why.

One more note about Ava. She is doing great recovering from surgery. You can see how great in this video that her dad posted yesterday. Please keep praying for her. She is still in the thick of her battle. What an awesome kid she is. God is good and we know he can perform a miracle. Please pray that he does.
Big Cousin Ava and Luke last December

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Medical training can be roughly split into two halves.

The first is composed of learning the seemingly impossible complexities of how the human body works. From a biochemical level upward to whole organ systems, there are details that would require the most hardened cynic to not see the fingerprint of an almighty God who knit us together with an unfathomably delicate touch.

The second involves learning how this perfection of creation can be assaulted. It is time in the hospital working with people who are afflicted in ways that just don't seem fair. Nowhere is that disconnect more glaring than when kids get sick. It is during those times that it requires the most hardened faith to still see God's hand working in the details.

My niece Ava is one of the best people I have ever met. She has a tumor in her brain. One cell, at some point, just kept multiplying because one gene, out of 100,000 or so, isn't working to tell it to stop. And now it is up to us, the believers who trust in a God who loves us, to steel up our faith and ask to see God's hand still working in the details.

God still does miracles. The same God that knit those genes together out of 3,000,000,000 base pairs of DNA into 46 chromosomes for the first man He made can fix any of them at any time. He asks us for faith. Faith that has seen what the devil can do and then stands defiant in a belief that God still rules this world and can hold us together when we can't to it ourselves. Pray for Ava. God still hears us and He is still in the details.

Matthew 21:21: Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hunter Vacation

Luke Bonding with Uncle Jan

I just got back from the Hunter family vacation in Put-in-Bay Ohio. If you don't know where that is, I don't either but it is beautiful. It is in Lake Erie and you can see Canada from where we stay so it's somewhere near Canada. We take a plane, an automobile and a boat to get there and it's worth every mode of transportation.

Our Uncle Jan and Aunt Michele own a beautiful home on the island and the whole family (this year sans Joel and Josh) spends a week together there. They are kind to invite us and are pretty incredible hosts.

Luke finally had some quality time with his Hunter cousins and he seemed to love every moment. He's a lucky kid.

I came back home to a completely empty house. Actually, all of our furniture had been replaced by dog hair. Our movers must be practical jokers. Or else the never vacuuming under furniture finally caught up with me. I could have made a complete second dog. A large one. That is hollow. And has random pieces of currency in its fur.

We move back to Florida in 5 days. Today our Kansas friends are throwing us a going away party. They are all really great and we're going to miss them.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy 8-Months Son!

Luke-1 Day old
Luke-8 Months Old
Well Luke is growing like a weed. An extremely attractive, quick-witted, financially responsible, career driven yet family oriented, weed. I can't believe he's getting so big. It seems like yesterday I was lying in an OR hopped up on morphine and now I'm sitting at a computer drinking coffee. And also Luke is a lot bigger.

I can't get over how blessed we are to have him as our son. He's just so much fun. And also really good at chess. We don't play with pawns though. Those are a choking hazard.

Before too long he'll be walking and talking and hopefully growing some teeth. I know he won't be my baby forever and I will fight the urge to treat him like he is.

As for now, I am embracing every moment of him loving to be cuddled and kissed and sung to. It won't be long before he notices that the songs I make up don't rhyme at all. And are all sung to the tune of Billy Ocean's "Caribbean Queen." I don't know why. I can't help it.

Luke, I can't believe I get to be your mom. I can't wait to see the amazing man you become. Just don't become him too fast. I love you son.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

7.75 Months

Luke is rapidly approaching 8 months of age. In that time he has reached the following milestones:

Rolling over
Rolling over the other way
Saying, "Mama"
Saying, "Dada"
Saying, "Yaya"
Inventing the word, "Yaya."
Growing extremely long sideburns...

and the list goes on a little bit.

He's well on his way to crawling. He rocks back and forth on his hands and knees. I was hoping he'd wait a few more months to become mobile because I quite enjoy not having to chase him around the house but I'd give it two weeks tops.

Having this amazingly brilliant, well-mannered, incredibly articulate young man in our lives for the past eight months has resulted in a quite a lot of video footage. I was recently watching some of our almost eight month old footage and realized that our son has become much more handsome with time. Although in our euphoric new parent haze, we couldn't imagine our son becoming any more attractive than he was at birth. Here is some of said footage. You can see how the months have been good to ol' Luke.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Luke and a Burp Rag

Here's a video that Joel and I stumbled across the other day. It was taken about a month ago and really made us laugh. You'll hear said laughter in the video and probably think it's a our handy man or our mail man or some other type of man. It's not. It's me. Luke should be so lucky as to inherit such a manly laugh.

This is 6-month-old Luke getting over stimulated by a burp rag. He makes noises like a baby pterodactyl. Or what pterodactyls sound like in movies and in my imagination. Joel makes noises like a Joel. Enjoy.

(Just a preface to this video: Our kid does occasionally wear pants.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Update and First Date

I realize it's been a while since we posted. We've had quite a month. I just got back from a two week stint in Orlando. We intended it to be a one week stint but once I was down there we decided I better tab on an extra week. There was a lot to be done.

The timing was prompted by my brother Tim's college graduation. Congratulations Tim!!!

It was great for Luke to get to spend some time around his Aunt's, Uncles and cousins. Here are some pictures of Luke with some family.

The Ariza Crew
Luke and cousin Elijah
Luke and cousins Ava and Noah
Luke really likes grass
Luke thinks aunts are hilarious

I got to see the clinic for the first time since last summer. It looks amazing! Josh and Lisa have done a great job picking out paint, wood, tile, etc. and the clinic is going to be top notch once it's finished. One of my primary goals was to go with Lisa and get furniture. It was a big job but we did it and it's going to look awesome.

Another Florida task was finding us a home since we move in 5 weeks. This was actually more difficult but we found a great house that is being rented to us by a great couple. It was definitely a God send. Now we don't have to worry about getting pull out couches for the Hunter Vision lobby.

I didn't have much social time but one thing I had to get in was a meeting for Luke and little Janie Simonds. She is adorable. Luke thought so too. Here is some footage of this newly formed May-December romance.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

First Food

Our baby boy is becoming a young man. He turned 6-months old last week and had his introduction to solid food last night. He didn't love it but he did provide us with some priceless entertainment. He was eating rice cereal which, in his defense, looks super disgusting. That's what the pediatrician recommended so at least I have a scapegoat for this trauma.

Luke is currently weighing in at 16 lbs. 3 oz. which means he gained over 10 lbs. since birth. The kid's a genius!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Slap Happy

Here is a video of one of my favorite things Luke does. When he gets really tired he gets slap happy and starts laughing uncontrollably. I like that fatigue makes him deliriously happy and not the alternative. This is the best time to test out new comedy material if you want a boost of confidence.

Monday, March 8, 2010


First, a message from Luke

The thing about parenting is that there are no do-overs. We have one shot to try to help this little man live to his full potential when he's a big man. I am often overwhelmed by the blessing and the responsibility of this task.

Joel and I are fortunate to have had upstanding parents from whom to glean wisdom. (You can probably tell I was trying really hard to avoid ending that last sentence in a preposition.) Pop (Joel's dad) recently preached a great sermon on parenting. I would highly recommend it to all parents. I can vouch for his and Mom's credibility as I am married to one of their credentials.

Our blog cut off one side of this video. As Joel said, "It looks like the camera man had one eye." He would know. He's an ophthalmologist. If you'd like to see the full-screen version, you can go to

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Goings On in Overland Park

Yesterday I took Luke to his 4-month check up. He did great! He had gained about 4 pounds since his last appointment and had grown 2 and a half inches! He's so talented. He had 6 vaccinations which he took like a young Lou Ferrigno. But with better control of his temper. He averages about a 5 second recovery time per shot. Impressive.

Unfortunately he had a rough reaction to the vaccinations later in the afternoon and we had about an hour of inconsolability (I'm not even going to check to see if that's an actual word). He finally regained his composure and was great for the rest of the day. Plus last night he slept like a..... well, I was going to say baby but 1. I think that would be redundant and 2. I don't think the person who created that phrase had ever met a baby. If used accurately it would describe someone who wakes up crying a lot. So Luke slept like an adult last night. 8 hours strong.

Today, I received word from Josh (Hunter) that Hunter Vision has received an NPI number so I'm going to work on getting registered with Medicare. So far I have learned that tackling this project will require less skill and more willingness to come across like an idiot on the phone with someone who doesn't like their job. I'm pretty comfortable with that so hopefully the process will go smoothly.

To end this blog, I am going to include this picture of Luke looking super crazy...

Luke doesn't really look like this but I would love him even if he did

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Four Months Luke!

Yesterday Luke turned four months! Oh, and it was also Valentine's Day. Joel and I generally forego the big Valentine's Day hoopla . We usually just spend a low key day together at home. For instance, last year we spent a large portion of the day tying a heart shaped balloon to Roxie and taking pictures.

This year we raised the bar. Joel, being the awesome husband he is, bought me 2 dozen red roses and the best card ever. I bought him the movie "Unforgiven" and a Take Five bar. He wins.

Front of card

Inside of card. Get it?

Roxie celebrated Valentine's Day by pooping in the house. Twice. I almost celebrated by dropping her off in the woods somewhere. I did have to take into consideration, last year's balloon incident. I sort of had it coming.

Joel and I enjoyed the day by watching the recent addition to our DVD collection (an excellent film), going to the gym together and building a fire (in our fireplace). I then continued the festivities by washing my new ipod shuffle on gentle cycle in the washing machine. That's the problem with tiny, pocket-sized electronic devices. They often end up in pockets.

Luke ended the day with a Valentine's Day photo shoot for his lady love, Janie Simonds. We want to make sure she doesn't forget him while they live many lonely miles apart. I think we succeeded.

Here is a video of Luke's shoot. You can see how much he loves wearing a suit.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Glorious Sleep

As of this week, Luke is officially sleeping through the night. (knock on wood) It started last Saturday night and I thought it was too good to be true. Then it happened again on Sunday. Still, I went to bed Monday night expecting to be woken up in 2 and a half hours. Nope. He slept for 6 and a half hours. Finally after 5 nights strong, the week reached it's pinnacle with Luke sleeping 9 hours. In a row. Without medication.

I woke up at 7 this morning and asked Joel to go check and make sure he was still kicking. He was.

Today I am feeling great and as Joel observed at 7:30 this morning, "You must feel rested because you're actually talking to me in the morning." Why yes I was and yes I do. Thanks Luke. This week has been quite marriage building. You deserve a pony.

This is what Luke looks like now. Handsome.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Working On Working Out

I was going to call this blog, "Back in the Saddle" but didn't for two reasons. 1. I think Joel already used that title for one of his blogs and 2. I am not really back in the saddle. I merely sat in the saddle one time and considered sitting in it again a couple of other times and that is not a very good title for anything.

I finally reinstated my gym membership. I bought a new pair of work out pants in an size appropriate for my new, more maternal physique, used some Christmas money to buy a new ipod shuffle to try to trick myself into thinking exercise is fun and hit up the Lifetime Fitness across the street. Entering the gym for the first time in a long while I was wishing I was wearing a t-shirt that said, "I had a baby kind of recently. That is the reason I look the way I do." I don't think they make those.

As I made my way to the rows of dumbells to choose my poison, I thought, "I'll just pick up something light and go up from there." I did not go up from there. I might as well have curled a couple of cans of soup at home.

After my intense upper body work out featuring some Arnold presses with 7.5 lb. dumbbells and some upright rows with a barbell that didn't have any weight on it at all, I figured I should get in some cardio. I hopped on the treadmill in front of a flat screen with CNN playing in closed caption not realizing that reading while walking makes me motion sick. I decided to walk 4 miles per hour, a decent clip but one I've easily managed before. About half a mile in I was panting like I was in the last leg of a marathon and tripping over my feet trying to keep up. I decided to check my pulse thinking it was up 170 or so. It was 190. From what I hear, that is very high. I just told myself that the treadmill pulse gizmo was inaccurate and kept on. I didn't die, so don't worry, that's not how this blog ends. About a mile and a half later, I decided that I'd rather be home sitting on the couch so I left. Three days later, my arms are still pretty sore and I am considering a second visit to the gym. Although I would hate to burn myself out too quickly.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

This week has been a big week in the baby department. Two beautiful girls were brought into this world by two incredible women.

Our cousin Angela delivered her baby girl, Lydia, on Monday, January 4th. Ang, not expecting to meet this little one until March, had to have an emergency c-section due to a very serious medical condition (you can view Amber's blog for more information). The good news is that God is faithful. Ang is a tough cookie and appears to be on the mend. Little Lydia is thriving and doing as well as possible for a 2 lb, 11oz human. She is a perfect, tiny baby and has amazing parents to love and care for her. We are continuing to pray for the health of mom and baby and are thankful that they are doing so well.

Our dear friends Andy and Ashley Simonds had their daughter at about 12:30 am, January 7th. Janie Caroline Simonds is sweet and beautiful and all things grand. She will make an excellent match for our boy Luke in a couple of decades. We are hoping to find a way to arrange a marriage for them and so far, I have to say, Luke seems to be quite taken with her. Andy and Ashley are going to be amazing parents and we are so thankful to have them in our lives. Little Janie Simonds is one blessed child.

Luke first setting eyes on the lovely Janie. He is clearly spellbound.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Year in Review

Well, it's 2010. A big year for our family. In just six months we will move back to Orlando for the grand unveiling of Hunter Vision, the best LASIK and cataract center on the planet. Joel and Josh are an amazing team and this practice will surely be remarkable. As we begin a new year's journey, I like to take a look back at the previous year and recount its happenings.

With the arrival of our son, 2009 was the most transformative year of my life to date. Here is a list of some of our most memorable moments in the past year. Joel and I (in chronological order with captions by Joel):

1. Went to the Florida State fair together for the first time (Joel may not have added this to the list but it was monumental to me).

Lizzy paid a dollar to see this. It was the only ride she let me skip.

2. Found out we were going to be parents.

Luke at 10 weeks. If you zoom in, he is already reading a tiny book (1776).

3. Located the worst movers on the planet who, for a small fee (not small), kindly damaged and /or destroyed our belongings before dropping them off in Kansas.

A box of ours, courtesy of The Movers Group. They pay a giant to kick boxes to each location.

4. Moved to Overland Park, Kansas for Joel's fellowship with the world renowned Dr. Dan Durrie.

Phone picture of Durrie Vision I took after my interview in May 2008.

5. Filed many complaints with the Better Business Bureau against The Movers Goup.

Lizzy is proud to be partly responsible for this rating.

6. Took up camping and fishing together (well, we camped once and fished twice).

The fist looks bigger when you hold it out in front of you like this.

This may be my favorite picture ever of Lizzy.

7. Joined Covenant Chapel and made some wonderful friends.

Luke's first visit to church (This photo doesn't quite fit in the chronology correctly)

8. Welcomed our handsome, talented, intelligent, articulate, astute, innovative, industrious, affable.....son, Luke Joel Hunter!

First family photo.

9. Had some amazing visits from, Pop and Grandma Hunter, Uncle Josh and Aunt Lisa, Grandma Ariza, Aunt Kari, Aunt Kaci and cousin Elijah, Uncle Isaac and Aunt Rhonda, Titi Nessa and Uncle Josh (the other one) and Aunt Lauren.

We don't have a photo of all of our loved ones that visited. Here is a picture of me with a Polish chicken at the Kansas City Zoo

10. Had a white Christmas for our first family Christmas!

Pretty Christmas view off our porch.

I was going to resolve this year to always know where my phone is at all times and have it fully charged (right now I actually think it's dead under Luke's crib or dresser or maybe in my car) but after reading this, I might have to switch it to letting thing go or letting bygones be bygones or letting sleeping dogs lie or to coin a new phrase, "not be mad at our mover anymore."

Happy New Year to you all! 2010 is the year of perfect vision!