Monday, February 25, 2013

Today is a Special Day!

Dear Dad,

As a parent, I ask myself what kind of mother I want to be; what kind of father does Adam want to be? Then we look toward those we admire. Wise, loving, intellectual, compassionate, forgiving, strong, affirming, involved, playful, dependable, interested, supportive, creative, committed, honorable, and teacher; these are all words that come to mind when I think of what makes you a great father, and someone I admire and look up to. You are a good father. You've raised and cared for your family well. My perception of my father is one of a man who has worked hard to support and provide. One that has been involved in my life and supportive of choices I make. Your guidance in life has always been full of wisdom and relevant.
The best thing a parent can give their children is quality time. I've grown up enjoying your company, whether it has been in travel, conversation, road trips, in cocoon seats, in stillness and quiet, building or painting, at your work after school, at my track meets, hearing stories of work and the past, fishing, golfing, or playing together with Nya. I enjoy your presence. You raised me up well with correction, discipline, and encouraged a life of integrity. You speak wisdom into my life. I have not been given memories of an absent father, who was just in the background of my childhood years or youth, but instead your support and involvement in my life has been key to me becoming a fulfilled, confident, respectable woman. Thank you for pouring so much of yourself into my life; including my husband and daughter as well.
Children notice everything. They see everything; even when we think things have gone unnoticed or they are not listening. Eventually they intertwine their observations into their own life experiences. At Compassion there was a sign that read, “Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate.” My parents have given me a lot of greatness to imitate.
As I get older I see life is full of fleeting moments that are easily overlooked; ones that now speak volumes into my adult life. Like a lesson on listening and conversing. We were living in Tahoe and I ran into the garage to tell you something but had no regard for your conversation with another person. I interrupted and you brought it to my attention that I can wait or approach in a polite way with respecting the conversation I am disrupting. I don’t remember the exact words, but I do remember the moment and now see the significant impact that brief lesson taught me about communication.
There was also a fleeting moment in which a lesson of integrity was shared. We were in the Safeway parking lot in Colorado Springs and you mentioned a rookie who took advantage of times to get more money on his paycheck. I can’t remember now if it was clocking hours or mileage. You brought it to his attention (and mine) that honesty is important and shows a lot of one’s character. At the time, I too would round up or down my times for usually whatever looked better on my paycheck. After that conversation, I decided I too want to live with integrity like my father, even if it was a mile and a minute at a time.
How about time you stood up for me and the other runners on my team in Pueblo during State? It was my senior year and last opportunity to run at State, as well as a let down for three others who qualified on my team. You addressed my coach about the injustice of choosing to run one girl over a group of girls just to get the win. A moment packed with valuable lessons. I learned life’s not always about winning. More importantly, to take a stand and do the right thing; even when the outcome is less favorable. Also, my dad showed me it’s never ok to wrong someone to get ahead in life…. or sport.  
Countless memories I have of times you've spoken into my life, either with words or actions. However, there is one that has left the biggest impression; the lesson of love and commitment. Now that I am married…. with children, I notice the significant impact your love toward your family and commitment to your wife has had on my life. Because of your commitments, choices, and love, I can say, “thank you” that I never grew up in a home of brokenness, bitterness or divorce; unfortunately a rarity in our world today. I respect your willingness to make sacrifices, changes, and work on past hurts, as well as the ways you love and pursue the woman you've loved since teen years. I understand marriage is full of blessings, beauty, adventure, and love and that it as well has moments of pain, hardships, and frustration. Thank you for being a man of perseverance, forgiveness, positive attitude, committed to commitments and promises, and a hard worker. You have exhibited a life of never quitting or giving up. You never speak ill of my mother, and continually speak of the beauty you see in her—which brings delight to your children’s hearts. You are both a testimony that marriage can last and the bond is not easily broken when we embrace our commitments and love for one another.
             “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Psalm 17:6. How true this verse is for us and our family. You are a good man and I am grateful you are my father. I can speak only highly of my daddy, all he has done for me and how he has loved his family. The world is a better place because of people like you, and I too want to have that legacy. I love you so much and am happy to recognize such a special day! Glad you are in this world. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 

With much love, 


Friday, August 10, 2012

A Passion for Tomorrow

Here I sit. It's 2 am and I've had a major break through. For some reason, my profound moments always seem to occur at the most inconvenient times. Compassion. It's always on my mind. No, not "having" compassion, but my previous place of employment, Compassion International. I loved every part of my job, and I continually wish for what was. We have an opportunity of a life time and we are living it up, so to say, here in Europe. Yet, a huge part of me has never let go of what we left behind.

At Compassion I loved my job, the people, relationships with people, the leadership, and most importantly the purpose for which I worked; To release children from poverty, in Jesus' name. I miss having an important role; if I didn't get my work done, it affected child sponsorships. What I did mattered. Now, I love teaching PE. But, if there was not a PE class, wouldn't children just drive their teachers crazy with extra amounts of energy? Does teaching Physical Education really make a significant and meaningful impact in a child's life?

It's been hard to find my calling and purpose overseas. It's not what I had imagined. It didn't go as I had planned. I'm not some heroin rescuing women from human trafficking. I have not adopted a child that is needing a loving home. I have not brought joy and happiness to countless Ukrainian orphans. Have I only been sitting in idle since I crossed over the Atlantic?

As a Christian I always feel as though I must be "doing," yet, I can't work my way to heaven. However there is also the thought, "faith without deeds is dead." So which is it?

An "Aha!" moment struck as I was enjoying the evening with a very special friend.  As I shared how I have not found my purpose in Ukraine and have not seen an impact from our work here, she indirectly pointed out something that opened my eyes. What is my day to day life saying to the world?

Maybe we do not need to be involved with something specific and count up the hours, the jobs well done, charity passed out, miracles witnessed, or the emotional investment in a project. And although the world is in need of humanity's goodwill, perhaps it's as important to live faith out in our day to day; letting it shine in the essence of our character.

So, now here I am at 2 am wondering what this means. I am a hard worker, and enjoy having a lot on my to do list. I enjoy being productive. I love the reward of writing a list with boxes to check off and making my way through the list. I can't sit still. I want to be God's hands and feet, touching the world; making an impact for him.

Is faith without deeds (clubs, projects, ministries, specific or volunteer work) really dead? The question to ask is not, "What am I doing as a Christian," but maybe it's, "How am I living my life as a Christian." Who am I when no one else is watching? How am I spending my money and resources? How do I choose to respond in my anger? What do I give my time to? Am I just doing my job or am I caring for my students as individuals?

My greater purpose is not to have a specific ministry to belong, but to let my life be that ministry; serving, helping, and loving others naturally.  My impact occurs not in a planned and controlled project or group, but in daily encounters.  It's in choosing to love and date my incredible husband of 8 years, giving my daughter a kiss when I'm frustrated, going to my students' games in support, buying the most wilted ugly flowers from the babushka trying just to survive and make a living. It's in the little things.

Moving forward I hope to seize ever opportunity to live for something greater. To make better choices. To love deeper, smile longer, and laugh harder than before. I pray my life, in the day to day, is not a series of "to do" but has a passion that pours out into the world around me. May my focus not be in comparing the present with the past, but in new adventures and daily blessings that lie ahead.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Coffee House - Brewing Hope

“To provide youth, adults and families with an effective and comprehensive Christian faith-based solution to life-controlling drug and alcohol problems in order to become productive members of society. By applying biblical principles, Teen Challenge endeavors to help people become mentally-sound, emotionally-balanced, socially-adjusted, physically-well, and spiritually-alive.”

This is the mission statement for Teen Challenge, a global program serving in 87 countries. Each week ICA, our church, hosts one of these programs in Kiev, Ukraine. The meeting is called Coffee House. At Coffee House, individuals are welcomed to enjoy coffee, tea, and cookies, while they mingle, get support, discuss thought provoking topics, hear testimonies from recovering addicts, and most importantly, learn about God and his great love for them.

Coffee House exists to impact and change lives bound to addiction. And, that it does! Adam and I had the privilege of visiting our first Coffee House on Wednesday. What an encouragement it was to see a thriving ministry making a positive impact on people’s hearts. Now this is a ministry being used by God to mend the broken. You could hear the Lord’s heart beat at Coffee House. You could see the smile on His face. You could feel the warmth and love of his presence.

One addict shared his testimony. He lived a life full of regrets; drugs and alcohol flowed through his veins. He was convicted and sentenced to serve prison time. As he was awaiting his trial, his conviction ran much deeper. It was a conviction of the soul; he changed.

Although his soul was renewed and revived, his deeds were old. Prison time awaited him. In prison, God sustained him, and the man saw this as his place of ministry. One day he was being transferred on a train, where inmates are not allowed to talk. If they speak, they are beaten. The guards are hard, rough, and intolerant of inmate rebellion. The man, while in his train cell, started talking to other inmates about the Lord. The guards remained silent as the man shared his testimony and spoke of Jesus.

This is just part of his amazing story. God does the miraculous and the impossible; like transforming rock hard hearts into caring, loving, and passionate people.

During the discussion of the night, a man was sitting on my right. A thick odor of alcohol engulfed him. A strange sense of joy overcame me as I thought to myself, “This man is wasted, but he is still here!” Certainly I was not happy that a smelly and dirty drunkard was breathing over me, but I was happy that a man whom Jesus loves, still came; drunk and all. He still felt welcomed, cared about, and wanted to know more about the God who loves him.

Here we meet alcoholics, former KGB, convicts, and the like. We witnessed many great moments at Coffee House. It’s a place where people are loved; not being judged for their past, but being encouraged by future hopes of change and salvation. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Remembering Poppy

Wish I Could Go Fishing...

It is six o’clock in the morning. Papa walks into my room and taps my shoulder, “Hey Sport, it’s time to go fishin’!” Dragging myself out of bed, I wake up to the smell of brewed coffee and cover myself in sunscreen. I always slept in my swimsuit the nights before we would go fishing, this way I would be ready to go, without delay. My job was to fill the ice chest with sodas and treats while he uncovered the boat and got our gear. After we were ready we would head to the doughnut shop and order two maple bars and a glazed doughnut. I don’t even like doughnuts, but for some reason they always tasted better when I was with my Poppy. “That will be one hundred and fifty big ones”, the woman at the register would tell him. Papa would smile and hand her two dollars as a down payment and say, “I’ll catch ya next time. Hey, you have a good one, Partner!”

Upon entering the lake docks papa pulls up next to the guard station and shows his pass. “Yeah, I’ll take two cheese burgers, an order of fries, and a large soda pop.” He was always known as a jokester. Everyone loved him for his personality and friendliness. He treated everyone with dignity, respect, and always put a smile on everyone’s face.

When papa would catch a fish, he would set the hook, and pass the real to me. I would fight the bass and real it up to the boat. Papa would always give me the glory, never claiming it as his fish. When we got back to the house he would tell Granny of the fish I caught and give me all the bragging rights. This is how he approached many aspects of his life. He always worked for the good of others, never thinking of himself. He was a very caring person and got the most joy out of serving and making others happy.

Growing up, I would visit Granny and Papa for six to eight weeks each summer, which never seemed long enough. Fishing with my Poppy was always my favorite thing to do, and I eagerly looked forward to spending the summers with him. We spent numerous summers together out on Lake Oroville, searching for the “village idiot”, as Papa would call all the fish we eventually caught. For all the hours we spent on the water, we never had much to show for it at the end of the day. Well, that is what I thought at the time. However, I have come to realize I always came home with much more than a fish, if we even had one. Those hours on the lake gave me what matters most in life. I may have not come home with a fish, but I always came home with a stronger relationship with this amazing person. I loved going out on the water and talking with Papa. Even when we would just fish and not talk, it was rewarding just being in his presence.

Papa was a very important and influential man in my life and in the community. Because of the strong relationship we built and the many hours we spent on Lake Oroville, my poppy became my best friend. He is my hero, he taught me many of my values, and helped me become who I am today. He was a man full of wisdom, love, comic relief, and selflessness. He always put others before himself and had a heart for making a difference and serving others. He was a man of honor, one who fought for his country, and served his neighbor. He taught me how to make a difference and show people they are important and appreciated. Every Wednesday he took a Pepsi out to his garbage man. How many of us think of showing respect and gratitude to the man that picks up our garbage? He brought the newspaper to the front door of his elderly neighbor. Once emptied, he would wheel neighbors’ garbage cans up their driveways and return them to their rightful places. He would hold the doors open for people (something he never forgot to do even with Alzheimer’s), greet people he didn’t know with a smile and “Hey, Guy” or “Hey, Partner”, and make everyone he’d meet smile. He had a positive and personal impact on anyone he met. It’s people like this that make our nation strong and great.

As I grew older, our friendship continued to grow as well. He worried about loosing his “fishin’ buddy” to boys or rebellious teen years, but our ties were too strong. It was so strong, in fact, that after the Alzheimer’s had progressed and had stolen the names and faces of loved ones from his memory, he knew me.

Knowing his condition and wanting to support my mother and grandma through this difficult time, I left Colorado and spent two months in Oroville in the summer of 2005. I admit I was frightened to know his reaction when he would see me. My family prepared me for the worst, which was that he may not recognize who I am. When I arrived at the house he shot out of his chair and with a smile he exclaimed, “Well, there’s my buddy!” I was so grateful and excited he knew me. He knew me! He may have not called me by my name, but I saw in his face and heard in his voice he knew who he was addressing.

He had not wanted to leave the house much before I got there, except to go buy M&M candies at Wal-Mart when his candy jar ran empty. He was in rehabilitation from heart surgery and disliked people making him walk the block. However, the first day I got there we drove up to the dam, a tradition of ours when I came to visit, and we looked out at the water level, talking and joking about all the fish we never catch. We talked a while and got out and walked close to the water. After, as I was driving back, he motioned that we should go swing by the visitor center, also a tradition of ours. While at the visitor center, he attempted to climb the steps of the tower, overlooking the view of Lake Oroville. He reached the third floor and decided he was done, but the amazing part is he remembered our traditions and initiated all the events of the day.

Those two months were very difficult, but I was thankful I had the opportunity to be there for him and my family. I was there to talk to him and was able to comfort him when he thought he was going crazy and was broken down in tears. One day he looked out the window and seemed very concerned. I asked what was wrong, and he replied, “Those bears in my car!” Instead of insisting that there were no bears in his car, I peeked through the window with him and bravely said, “Don’t worry Papa, I’ll take care of those bears!” I walked outside opened and closed all the doors to the car and returned to the house. “Well Papa, I showed them; they won’t be in your car anymore.” “Well how bout that!” he sighed.

God gave me the strength to comfort him when he would cry and I could joke with him, as he always enjoyed a good joke. All his life he was cracking a joke or wise comment. My favorite growing up was when a bug hit the windshield he would say, “Whelp, I bet he won’t have the guts to do that again!”

When the time came for me to head back to Colorado, my papa gave me one of the biggest hugs he has ever given me and tears swelled up in his eyes. It was the hardest good-bye, as I was not sure what was to happen the next time I saw him. I traveled back to Colorado the middle of August, 2005.

William Hollis Killingsworth was a great man, an honest and loving man. All who knew Papa loved and respected him. I have learned many lessons by the way he lived his life. He had a positive impact on all who knew him. I miss him immensely, but I am grateful for the many memories we share. He passed away later in October, but in the end, he still remembered his fishing buddy.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Things Kids Say.....

Oh what fun it is to be a teacher! You hear some of the most hilarious things from kids. I am sure I have already forgotten a great deal, but I wanted to jot a few down before they are erased from my memory forever. Here are a few of my favorite teacher-student moments; some are funny, while others are sweet, but they all make the list of favorite moments.

1) All time favorite moment: After coming back from a week long vacation I asked students in my PE class how their break was. People of the international culture often travel home or elsewhere every chance they get. On this vacation my students traveled to places like Egypt, Hawaii, and Australia. I noticed one of my 8 year old boys seemed very tan. I said, “Ivan you are so tan even your teeth look tan!” His reply, “Oh no, that’s because I forgot to brush my teeth today!” At which, all students around him scattered in disgust…. But it was a funny moment for all of us, including Ivan.

2) While at a school picnic Connor, a 6 year old boy, came to me and wrapped his arms around my leg. He looked up and smiled at me and said with much enthusiasm, “Hi Mrs. Runyan!” This moment made me happy to be a teacher.

3) Adam always says, “Puppy love is real to puppies.” I never really thought about it much until this week. I told a 5 year old boy, let’s call him “Romeo,” to come play. Normally a very active child, I found him on bench talking with a girl. Romeo’s response, in a thick childish Russian accent, as he stood up nice and tall and dramatically proclaimed, “She does not want to play, and I cannot be without she. I like she. I must be with she.” “Juliet” shyly turned to the side, looked away and batted her little brown eyes.

4) Oh Ivan. How I miss Ivan. Many of my favorite moments were with Ivan. He was a very entertaining child in my class. We often run a 1 lap warm up for PE. One day Ivan wasn’t running. Instead he was bent over digging through rocks. I asked him what he was doing and he insisted, “I’m discovering real gold Mrs. Runyan!” I offered to hold his ‘gold’ while he ran a lap, but he accused me of wanting to steal it. Can you believe it? Me, stealing Ivan’s gold from the school track!

5) While pregnant with Nya, a 6 year old student patted my belly, waived to it, and said with his hand to the side of his mouth to make louder for Nya to hear, “Hi Mrs. Runyan’s baby!” Pretty cute, really, and it was the only unsolicited belly touch that didn’t creep me out.

6) Connor: "Mr. Runayn, I know who your girlfriend is." Adam: "Oh you do!" Connor: "Yeah!" Adam: "Who is my girlfriend?" Connor: "Mrs. Runyan!"

7) Did you know I am a superstar? At least, I feel like one when I walk into the lunch room or down the hallway and 50-something 5-6 year old shout, “It’s Mrs. Runyan!” And, then proceed to charge me all at once. This was the case when I was washing my hands in the bathroom and I was spotted by one of my 5 year olds. “Mrs. Run is in the bathroom!” She shouted to her classmates down the hall. Immediately the class of 12 students, boys and girls, came rushing in the girl’s bathroom to give me a hug. Autographs anyone?

I’m sure there are many moments missing from this list. However, I can’t help but smile when I reminisce about these special times. There will be many more to come!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What is Health?

I teach Health. It is Sunday night, and I am thinking about what my lesson plan will be for Monday, as it is by nature that I procrastinate. The usual topic for health class is "Did you eat breakfast?", "Why wear a seat belt?", and physical activity vs a sedentary lifestyle. Tonight is different. I can't think about issues like soda and cookies for lunch, or if you went for a run or played video games. My heart is too heavy for that. Although these things do affect health and are important, they get lost in the deep dark shadows of things much greater.

What is heath? What does it mean to be healthy?

My daughter, Nyellie, was sick this week with a high fever of 103 degrees (39.4 Celsius), lasting 3 days. Medicine to break her fever was not working, so the doctor prescribed an antibiotic. Today, after two days of antibiotic, a rash has appeared throughout Nya's little body. As a mother, I am saddened by her discomfort and want so badly for her to be well. My reality: my daughter is sick.

I worry for my daughter's health, but 8557 kilometers away there is another little girl in the USA going in for a liver transplant today. She is not even 1 year old. While we rejoice that one baby's life is being saved and praying with all our heart, mind and soul that she will recover quickly and grow strong, parents are grieving over the loss of their baby whose liver was donated. Their reality: For one it is, "Our baby has a hope of a future!" For the other it is, "Our baby is gone."

A friend's mother is grieving over the loss of a good friend, while at the same time eagerly awaiting the birth of her grandbaby, due at any moment. Her reality: For those we care about, there is death and there is life.

As we enjoyed dinner with a friend, he shared a story of ministry efforts in India. This ministry works to find homes for children coming from mothers at brothels. They go into the trenches to offer hope and bring light where our worst nightmares will not dare to take us. While at the brothel to pick up a child they walked though the halls and noticed what looked like a row of storage closets. They asked the manager if they use that section of the building for storage too. The question was met with a heart piercing and sickening answer: It's used to break the will of new arrivals. Like cargo going in and out. New "merchandise", new slaves, are forced to stay in dark closet-like rooms. The door opens for only food and men to be serviced until the girls surrender their will and die to themselves. When women come with young children or are pregnant the brothel does not want the burden or responsibility, so they willingly turn them over to the ministry. These mothers' reality: "I am broken, hopeless, an empty shell of a human, and do not know what has become of my baby."

It is not just Mumbai, brothels exist everywhere; human trafficking exists everywhere. Women and children are forced into prostitution or sex slavery everywhere. Think your town is immune? Guess again. So long as the human race craves money and sex to a point that they are willing to do anything to get it, rape, trafficking, kidnapping, deceit, coercion, or other means, there will be brothels, there will be strip bars, there will be massage parlors, prostitution, child pornography, nude magazines, internet porn, mail order brides, exotic dance clubs, "gentlemen's club"...... there will be.

You may be perplexed why I would even list porn and clubs in the same sentence as brothel and human trafficking. But aren't there legitimate clubs with great shows and entertainment? Don't they all voluntarily do it for great pay? Prostitutes are all druggies and choose that lifestyle anyway, right? Plus, it's everywhere. Sorry to tell you, but if you have participated in any commercial sex avenue, you are guilty of paying into human trafficking. Paying for the actual act of sex or just merely sitting back enjoying the show (or pictures) makes the commercial sex industry thrive. There are woman trafficked everywhere around the globe, suffering for your pleasure and entertainment. That woman at the strip club, yeah, she has her reality too: She dreams of helping her mother sell produce in the market again back in South America; the life she knew before she was tricked into a promising waitressing job opportunity in the US, that landed her several beatings, life threats, waitressing tables in the morning, servicing men by day, and dancing for man's pleasure night after night, and with no pay. In fact, now she is worried about the accruing debt placed on her by her employer, because she must pay back the flight ticket, passport fees, and pay for an unsatisfied customer today. People, we are the problem, and we are the solution. Make a difference and make healthy choices! Think that is too heavy? I've gone too far? Well, that is the world's reality.

Research it. Learn about it. Stop it. Don't pay into it. Fight human trafficking and the commercial sex industry.

My child has a rash. One child is getting an organ transplant. One's parents are looking at an empty nursery room. One is entering the world. One will never know his mother. One dances around a pole stripped naked of her dignity. There is a different reality for us all.

So what is health? It is not the cookie you eat or the laps you run. Health is the everyday choices we make that can affect us and the world we live in, either positively or negatively. The ripple effect of the everyday choices we make holds a greater weight than we realize. Students in my class are going to be world leaders of all levels. Youth of over 54 nationalities who are children of ambassadors and diplomats, leaders of organizations, CEOs of corporations and world banks. They really are the leaders of tomorrow. What do I teach them about health? The curriculum, which is important, just seems pale in contrast tonight.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

12 months... and 2 weeks of life!

Parents always tell me babies grow fast. It is true! To imagine I was just getting out of the hospital one year ago and my whole life changed. I went into the hospital with a watermelon shaped belly, or basketball if you prefer sports, and come home a mother!

I am looking at my beautiful girl. I don't think I can call her a baby anymore. She is sitting on the living room floor, playing with a colorful wooden shape-sorter puzzle, and still wearing clothes size 6-9 months (she's always been petite). One piece of the puzzle is just out of her reach. She leans to the side and stretches her little fingers as far as they could to get the puzzle piece; the cat shape to be precise.... something about that cat! It always goes missing, and I, with my OCD tendencies literally can't go to bed unless that darn cat is found and in its place.... (wait, I was telling a story.) As I was saying, the piece is just out of Nya's reach. Instead of crawling she gets into the squatting position (perfect form I might add), stands up, and puts one foot in front of the other. She walks over to the puzzle piece. Then, getting distracted, like her mother often does, walks over to Riley dog and tries to share her cat cut out with him. She must know he loves cats!

That's right, she is walking! A year has passed and Nyellie is walking, talking, and getting so big! Not only is she talking, but she is bilingual! Nya said "give me" in Russian this week! Her very first word was a perky "hi", followed by dada, mama, dog and book. Although dog is more like "dagh" and book is "boo", but we understand. They really do grow fast!

Here is a glimpse of Nyellie over her 12 months of life!

Excited parents expecting Nya anyday! September 2010

Nyellie Addison Runyan born September 20, 2010!

New Born- So sleepy

1 month - 1st family vacation, Lviv Ukraine

2 months - 1st smile!

3 months - 1st International flight & 1st time meeting Grandpa!

4 months - 1st laugh while in Rome! Best sound ever!

5 months - Found her toes!

6 months - 1st foods, carrots!

7 months - 1st time to roll over, see grass, play in sand, see the sea, and swim in a pool!

8 months - 1st time crawling, waiving, giving a kiss, and standing up! Plus 1st tooth! Big month.

9 months - Boating and visiting all the grandparents!

10 months - 1st word, "hi"!

11 months - Started walking 4 days before her 1st birthday!

12 months! 1st birthday! Loved opening presents and being the center of attention.