I’ve always had a love for names. Since I was eight years old I kept a running list of names that I liked. I wanted to be prepared for the day when I would need to choose. Over the years the list was shaped by the different influences in my life. By the time we were expecting Ziva I had a robust list of boys names that I loved and only a few girls names that I liked. Here is the story of how we chose our little one’s name:
Ziva (Pronounced Zee-vah): I was set on a couple of names since the beginning of my pregnancy and assumed we would choose one of them once our little one arrived. My husband, on the other hand, was not quite sold on the ones I had chosen. We discovered a Jewish baby naming app from Kveller.com and went through each name, from A-to-Z, reading them out loud to each other. When we got to the last name, Ziva, it just spoke to us. We experienced a loss with her first pregnancy about a month before we became pregnant with our Ziva. In Hebrew, Ziva means glow, brilliance, or light, and she is the ray of light and hope that came into our lives so soon after the loss. We waited until she arrived to be sure that she look like a Ziva. It fits her perfectly. She’s a calm, alert, and happy baby. So far we love calling her “Z” or “ZiZi” for short.
Pearl: Named for my paternal grandmother, Grandma Pearl was a character and a force of nature. She and I were very close and I always knew I wanted to name a daughter for her. Our little Ziva Pearl was born with strawberry blonde, reddish hair just like my grandma used to dye hers. It was meant to be! Ziva’s Hebrew name is Ziva Margalit (Margalit is Hebrew for Pearl), which I absolutely love.
On March 21st, Ziva’s 1 month birthday and Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the month in the Hebrew calendar), we had a naming ceremony for her at the synagogue Brian grew up going to. During the Shabbat services, Brian and I were called to the bima for an aliyah and then the Rabbi blessed Ziva and we shared with the congregation the meaning behind the names we chose for her. Afterwards, Brian’s mother hosted a luncheon in the social hall for our guests. Though we were exhausted and happily delirious from our first month of parenting, it was a meaningful and love-filled day surrounded by friends and family as we welcomed Ziva into the covenant of our faith.
Introducing our brand new beautiful little girl, Ziva Pearl!
Born at 6:25 pm on February 21st, all 7 lbs 5oz of her entered our lives and swept us off our feet. It’s been a wild month of getting to know each other, visiting with family, and huffing as much baby smell as possible. I plan on sharing our full birth story soon. It was an incredible, empowering experience and I’m still a little amazed that it happened! We feel so lucky that it went as well as it did, and even luckier to have little Ziva finally in our arms.
It’s been a long year…. full of good, full of change, and full of learning experiences. The turbulent weather seemed to match the tone of life. Unpredictable, overwhelming, exciting and scary. Life has sped up so much these last few years, with big shifts in my life coming faster and faster. Looking back reminds me how much we really did and how many really good times we had, amid the chaos of lose and change.
I’m not huge on parties, so when it came to planning our New Year’s Eve I knew I wanted to do something special but different. We decided to make dinner at home together, then head Downtown to the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit to ring in the new year with the Zac Brown Band. With so many instruments and high quality musicians on stage, how can you go wrong? I would definitely put this at the top of my favorite live shows list. It was an intimate and thrilling way to count down to 2014.
Last winter was cold. I don’t have to remind you about our fantastically freezing Polar Vortex. There was something exciting about how extreme the weather was, and how life just had to slow down and shift to accommodate it. With that said, I’m glad we aren’t pushing through negative degree weather and heavy snow this year! I’m not as sure on my feet with a basketball belly under my coat, you know what I mean?
I loved my work, but was ready for a change. In March I got a new start at a smaller digital company in Ann Arbor and dove in to the new work. It was scary starting a new job, with an hour commute, right as I found out I was pregnant, but I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Brian, the loving husband he is, knew that I was ready to get back to Ann Arbor (one step closer to a feeling of home), and we started our plans to move.
After the long cold months of winter, we were eager to head home to California in April. Excited that we would be 12 weeks along while we were there, we made plans to announce the pregnancy in person to my friends and family. It was to be a trip full of celebrations and love with my sister’s baby shower and my best friend’s bachelorette. There was so much joy in the first half of the trip… only to be balanced by the heartbreaking end of our trip and our first pregnancy.
We returned to Michigan after the miscarriage and went into hibernation. I can’t imagine a better team I’d rather have by my side than Brian and Brinkley. May was a blur… an adjustment to life without the little baby in my belly. Learning to see life through a new lens.
As fast as loss can come on and sweep the rug right out from under you, love and abundance can swoop right back in and fill the dark spaces lifting you right back up. In early June we were shocked and elated to learn we are once again expecting a sweet little baby. My best friend got married, and though it was a planned elopement and I wasn’t able to attend in person, I was overjoyed for her and her new husband. To top it all off, the end of June brought the arrival of sweet, sweet little Stella Ray. My sister gave us one of the best gifts we could ever receive and we’ve spent the rest of 2014 just loving on her and watching this adorable little bundle of happiness grow!
Ann Arbor here we come!! July 1st we moved into our new Ann Arbor apartment. It’s been a tough transition, but a good one. There are things we miss about life in Royal Oak, but there are many things we love about Ann Arbor too (including the many summertime festivities that we were able to take part in, like Sonic Lunch, Art Fair, and Summer Fest).
We celebrated our first anniversary on July 21st with a trip back up north, you guessed it, to Traverse City! What can I say? We love it up there. We had big plans to spend a few days in Traverse City and then to head to Mackinac City to take the ferry over to Mackinac Island for our romantic anniversary. That plan was thwarted by another pregnancy scare and a day in the ER. So, instead of gallivanting around a historic island, we took it easy and spent the rest of the weekend with good friends, healing and waiting to see if we would get to keep our little one. Thank G-d for good friends and for things turning out alright.
We headed back to California again for my cousins beautiful Santa Barbara wedding. We spent a week taking in the sunshine and loving on little Stella Ray, and another week making the rounds with family and friends in the Bay Area. It was a great trip slightly tainted by our nerves, but we made it home all in one piece, the bun still baking in my oven. Whew.
I LOVE MICHIGAN FALL. I know, what comes after isn’t so hot (pun intended), but I can’t help but love everything about the crisp, sunny days of fall. My college roommate, Anne, came to visit us and we showed her some of the best fall has to offer. After asking around we decided to go apple picking at Spicer’s Orchard in Fenton. The drive wasn’t bad from Ann Arbor, and it was a great experience! We will definitely be heading back next year. The tractor ride through the orchard, bright blue sky, delicious apples, cider and donuts are all part of what makes fall here so special. We would definitely recommend Spicer’s for families looking for a day of fall fun. We can’t wait to go back with little ones someday.
The gorgeous days of fall football and apple picking quickly shift to grey skies… thank goodness for warm family holidays like Thanksgiving to help get us through. We haven’t had much snow this year, but we got plenty during our interstate drive from Michigan to New Jersey for Thanksgiving weekend. Brian is a master driver, and I’m glad he is cause I would have been a whimpering fool if I had to drive!
We spent the weekend with my cousins in New Jersey, playing with her little ones and reminiscing about our extended family. We even got in a day in Manhattan to check out the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I love exploring with Brian, but I don’t recommend traveling when you are pregnant. Maybe it’s just me, but long drives and long days trekking through cities are better enjoyed without worrying about pregnancy troubles (like swollen feet and fatigue). I know many women are able to go hard during pregnancy, but for me it felt like a little too much action. Still, we had a great time. 🙂
My dad came to visit! I love spending time with my dad. He’s great to adventure with and he has a gung ho attitude when it comes to projects. We spent the weekend hanging out, clearing out the baby’s room/closet and working to prep the nursery for when the little one (hopefully!) arrives. There is nothing better than time with family, and we have had so much of it this year, despite long distances and tough times. It’s really been a journey. I feel like I’ve grown and changed more than ever this year (easy to say when you’ve been pregnant most of the year, but I mean it figuratively as well).
We truly can’t wait to see what 2015 brings. Hopefully it’s tons and tons of happy times and snuggles with our sweet baby girl. Cheers to the new year!