Friday, November 14, 2008

Ayla's First Video!

She ain't doing anything but being a beautiful newborn...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just hanging out...

Just chillin' with ma and pa on a Monday night!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The first first of many firsts to come...

Please welcome to this world AYLA JADE SYLVIA SANGSTER!

Ayla (pronounced A-La) joined us on Monday, November 3rd, 2008 at 7:25pm after 20 hours of labor. She was born in the water. She weighed 8 lbs and 5 oz and is 21.25 inches long. She has a full head of dark hair (no surprise there! - the only question now is will it be straight or curly?).

We have been so blessed. She is the most beautiful being we have ever seen. We are 100% in love and engrossed.
Between tears of joy, we just stare at her. She is amazing! Even her poops are wonderful!

I could go on and on, but I'll spare you for now...

Photo galleries are here -


The name game -

Many of you have been asking about her name. So, here goes an attempt to explain. Leigh and I had agreed that if it was a boy the name would honor my side and if a girl the name would honor Leigh's side of the family. Since we didn't find out what she was going to be before birth, we had a boys and girls name picked out. For the girls name, Leigh new she wanted to honor her grandmother Edna Sylvia . After struggling for a while to come up with something and then having our initial couple of name choices come up too often in recent babies we knew or heard of, we took the letters of Edna and Sylvia from a Scrabble board and just started making lists of Boggle like combinations. As soon as AYLA came up, we both went "OH, that's really nice!" Seeing the name on the board also reminded me of the Clan of the Cave Bear books that I read years ago where Ayla is the main character. The character Ayla is strong, compassionate, beautiful, independent, very intelligent, patient, a leader, a uniter and a very powerful healer.

After writing several names down from our little game, we took them to the bookstore and began to look them up. Ayla is Hebrew for "deer or gazelle". Ayla is also a feminine Hebrew name meaning Terebinth (Pistachio tree). This tree grows in the desert, is very hearty, can survive long droughts, gives food and shelter to travelers and has a very extensive and deep root system. Another recorded Hebrew meaning is "goddess". When we found out that Ayla is Hebrew and celebrated in the Torah, we were happy her named also reflects Leigh's family Jewish heritage. In Turkish, Ayla means "Moon glow". The name may have its roots in Old Persian, where it means "moonlight".

We found Jade in a book and again, both of us immediately went "Yes!" Not only does it go really, really well with Ayla (we may call her Ayla or Ayla Jade), but it has significance to us as well. Jade is a rare occurring stone that can be found in only a couple places – SE Asia and Guatemala. Guatemala in 2001, I first started collecting jade. It was also immediately after that trip to Guatemala in 2001 that Leigh and I met and began to fall in love. Jade has rarity and beauty and color - green has been a very powerful and symbolic color for Leigh during her pregnancy, both for the lushness of Portland and the natural world and for her Buddhist meditations. It also reminds us of Asia. Jade comes from the earth. The jade stone is healing. Jade encourages practicality, wisdom, mental peace and tolerance of others. It can rejuvenate during periods of stress, reduce fears, banish negative thoughts and increase a person's capacity for giving and receiving love.

Lastly, Sylvia is to honor Leigh's paternal grandmother, Edna Sylvia Neuman Miller per Jewish traditions of naming babies for beloved family members who have passed away.

Ayla has already brought us so much joy and happiness. We can only imagine this to continue and expand as she grows and continues to teach us how to be parents. We are so very thankful for her and Leigh's health. She is precious and beautiful and we are so in love. Sometimes we just have to look away because its so overwhelming!

Leigh and Ayla continue to recover from birth. The birthing was long, difficult and incredibly beautiful. Leigh is now more rested but still sore and stays to the bed. Ayla sleeps often but eats well too. I bustle about taking care of both. The bonding between us continues to strengthen and we are still adjusting our sleep schedules (unfortunately).

We would like to thank everybody who has been so supportive to us in the months leading up to this little precious angel, especially the last few weeks. We felt your love and prayers as Ayla was arriving and since and the three of us or full of gratitude. We look forward to Ayla bringing joy not only to us but to you and to the world as she grows.

We are very, very proud and happy mama and papa.
With light,
Jason, Leigh and Ayla