We lost our precious lil' love to AML Leukemia on March 8, 2010. As an incredibly strong family unit, we fought this horrid disease for 2 1/2 years........only for it to come back a fourth time to finally claim Hunter's life. Zen and I are truly devastated and the beautiful light that used to brighten our days and enhance our souls, no longer exists. Our hearts are truly and forever broken. We have a long journey ahead of us, but we are committed and devoted to surviving and living our life embracing Hunter's amazing spirit. With tremendous honor, we will carry on his legacy of love, his legacy of courage and his remarkable ambition to live strong, live fearlessly and live with passion.

You will remain forever in our hearts baby love. We carry you with us every moment of every hour of every day.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ryder Zen - a scrumptious lil' bundle of love

Ryder Zen, 5 days old.

Our newest lil' bundle of joy arrived on Thursday, August 5th at 11:08 pm. He was a relatively big guy coming out at 8 lbs. 15 oz. and measured 22 inches long. He came rockin' down the birth canal to Kings of Leon and entered the world extremely calm, cool and very, very observant - super wide eyed and ready to be loved. As we requested, once Zen cut the cord, he was immediately placed on my chest and Zen and I took in his sweet face, his scrumptious lil' toes and his extremely peaceful energy. He's truly a dream come true. He is now 11 days old and he has been nothing short of amazing. He's the most laid back baby that seems super content with all that is going on around him. We've already taken him on several outings and he has seemed to enjoy each and every one of them. We honestly didn't think we'd get another baby that was as mellow as Hunter........but he seems to be proving us wrong. We've got ourselves, yet another "chill baby".

He's already got a very sweet demeanor about him........very gentle and very soft. We embrace his little body with such adoring tenderness, with which he seems to be enjoying thoroughly. I'm quite positive he feels the overwhelming amounts of love and gratefulness that he's held with every single minute his lil' body is in our arms. He sleeps snug as a bug right by my side every night and is already an amazing snuggler.

The labor and deliver, I thought, was going to be a piece of pie. I seriously thought he was going to slip out like a fish and come out in about 4 hours. Well.........that was NOT the case. Ryder definitely made me work pretty hard, and boy, was it painful. I started having very mild contractions the night before at around 10pm and they seemed to continue throughout the night. At around 7am, they seemed pretty regular and started picking up in intensity. We arrived at the doctors office at 9:30 and they hooked me up to the baby monitor. The contractions were about 4 min. apart and were heading in the right direction. Our extremely cool doctor, that we love, love, LOVE, came in and said "we could either send you home and wait it out OR we could send you over to the hospital, break your water and get this lil' guy out". He knows all about Hunter and knows how very anxious we were to have Ryder in our arms. So, OF COURSE, Zen and I both opted for BABY NOW!!!!!!! So he sent us over and broke my water around 1pm. Well nothing happened and the contractions seemed to be fading away and becoming very inconsistent. So I walked the halls, bounced on the labor ball, rocked in the chair and still..........not too much activity. So we induced with a pretty mild dose of Pitocin at 7pm. Still not too much happening, so then upped the dose of Pitocin about an hour later and then low and behold - at 9pm...........GAME ON. All I will say is HOLY FREAKIN' CRAP - it hit me like a Mac Truck and before I knew it, I could barely catch me breath. Those contractions came on so quick and SO STRONG, I felt as if my body was going into convulsions. Right around 10:30pm I started asking for some relief. I just couldn't endure the pain any longer. I requested the epidural at that point and my nurse said, "sweetie, you're almost there, he's about to come out", and somehow or another I got the point across that mamma needs some relief and please get it as soon as possible.

So by the time the epidural technician came and got it in my body with the first test dose it was already 10:48. By the time it hit my system is was about 10:58 and Ryder was born at 11:08. So I didn't get much relief....in fact - I got none at all. I guess I should have asked for it sooner. Now I know.

None the less, as soon as he was on my chest..........the pain was forgotten and our baby boy was born.

Zen coaching me through the contractions.
Always so nice to feel his touch and hear his voice.

Holding on to Hunter's favorite train, Henry. I wouldn't let go and wanted him with me through the whole process. Henry still sleeps with me at nighttime and stays clutched in my hand throughout the entire night. I will forever hear in my head Hunter's sweet voice........"mom.....Henwy".
He is never far from my thoughts.

My note to Hunter:

Hey baby cakes.......your presence has been felt and has completely embraced us these last couple of weeks. Your dad and I are missing you and loving you more than I can possibly express. Even though our hearts are still very broken, you've filled them with such an overwhelming amount of joy and beautiful memories......memories that I've cherished every single day that you've been gone. You carry me throughout my day and gently snuggle with me at night. And I want you to know that I will never let you go.

Your little brother was born last week and you must have done a good job coaching him in the belly because he came out super cool.......you must have told him he's got some big shoes to fill. I certainly hope you shared your love of music with him......I'm hoping he's got some killer dance moves to share with us once he starts moving around.

I still sleep with Henry clutched in my hand and Ryder will soon see him and hold on to him as tightly as I do. Lightning, Mater, Hudson Hornet and the rest of the crew are kept close at hand as well. They make me smile and I can still hear your precious voice when you'd ask for them.

I am off to sleep. I hope you visit me in my dreams........I am in need of some wonderful Hunter snuggles. I love you so much and miss you terribly. Sending you smooches, sweet dreams and lots and lots of toe kisses....XoXoXo mom


  1. AMAZING! I am in tears...so happy to hear the wonderful news. The picture of you and Zen holding a baby once again is so powerful and moving. I am so happy that you have this wonderful little boy to bring some joy to your lives. I know Hunter is smiling down, so pleased to see his Mommy & Daddy loving his baby brother. Congrat's does not seem enough. Lots and lots of love to you all! Ryder is a gorgeous addition to a gorgeous family!

  2. Hey Lenore and Zen,

    I have been checking back on you guys every single day. I AM SO HAPPY to meet Ryder. You guys have beautiful sons. I am so happy that he is healthy and wonderful, you both truly deserve this level of peace.

    Thank you for sharing all that you do with us. I can't touch on the letter to Hunter bc Lenore I am really not as brave as you.

    Sending you all of my love and SO MANY hugs
    Your Stranger Friend

  3. Congrats to all four of you. Miss you guys.


  4. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful baby boy. Congratulations to you all, he sounds like the perfect addition to your amazing family. I can't wait to watch him grow.

  5. God Bless Baby Boy Ryder Aug 5th thru Forever and Then Some...!!! ;~)


  6. Congratulations!!

  7. WOW Congratulations! He is beautiful just like his brother. You both deserve to love a little one again. Your journey so far breaks my heart. Life is not fair! I can't wait to see what journey Ryder takes you both on...........

  8. Tears are running down my face, happy ones of course!! congratulations to all of you!! I am so happy to hear this news...enjoy your little Ryder!

  9. Kelly Roberts - I love this picture- he looks like a little sweet pea in a pod of green! Lenore, I rejoice for you and Zen, to finally have this little guy in your arms! Congratulations to you all.

    Heather Hotvedt Bryce - Congratulations he is precious. And once again thank you for sharing.

    Marla Mosher xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo -m

    Kay Frederick - He is an angel. Perfect. Congratulations!!! :)

  10. Andrea Rivas Schmitt - So beautiful! Congrats!!


    Hilde Burm - Hello Angel Hunter, congrats with your cute little brother ! x x x

    Matt Nolan - He's got your Coolness alright, Hunter!

  11. Janet Melton Byrum - Precious Hunter, your doing a great job as a big brother,Ryder is perfect! Watch over his every step and please keep giving mommy and daddy signs of peace. You are loved and never will be forgotten, you live on in the hearts of all of us.

  12. Cathy Donovan Holt

    Your new baby brother has arrived and I must say he is as handsome as you. I know you will be his big brother and guide him along every step of the way. Whisper things in his ears like what drive Mommy and Daddy crazy, but also what makes them smile and laugh. :) Ryder is a lucky little boy to have you as his big brother. I know your sweet hand played a part in making the smiles return to Mommy and Daddy's faces once again. You are a never ending blessing....... I told you before, and I will tell you over and over again, you have made me a better Mommy and in all the days I live I can NEVER THANK YOU enough for that....

  13. Priscilla Tallman - so sweet. lenore, i hope you get your hunter snuggles. you are blessed to have such wonderful children and they are blessed to have you. hunter, keep on sending those wiggles!

  14. Laura Gifis Starks - what a way to make a tear drop ..... so touching ...

  15. Kathleen McAuley - Hearbreaking and heartwarming at the same time! I'm speechless...

  16. Leahanna Rowland-Reid - Hunter, I walked the track for Relay for Life during Ryder's celebrated entrance into the world... I know Ryder has the most admired & loved big brother ever!!! We know you will watch over & protect your family. Thank you for being our super hero!!!

  17. Kristine Hendershot - Congrats on being a new big brother Hunter! I know you were there the whole time Ryder was coming into this world and already met him before! I also know that you will keep him safe, healthy, and protected along with your AWESOME mommy and daddy! Hugs, Kisses, and Wiggles! XOXO, Kristine

  18. Christian Leffler - Wooohooo congratulations!!!

    Luis Carmona - Beautiful! Congratulations on the new blessing

    Tom Miller - Congrats!

    Maria Sevastos - Todd - he is your mini-me...
    very handsome lil' man!!! God Bless

    Jason Ford - Congrats to both if you!!

  19. Matt Weber - Congratulations to you and Lenore!! Look forward to catching up with you. Cheers!!

  20. Corrin Crone Phillips - Toddy, I am so happy to hear the news of Ryder's arrival and to see the photos of you three. Ryder is magic. Huge congrats from G and I. I can't wait to get my hands on him...he is so, so, so super cute. We love you guys.

  21. Heather Golick Goodfried - Congratulations Zen!!! Ryder is adorable!

  22. Fannie Brett - Congrats on your new born Toddy, be well you and your beautiful family. peace. fannie

  23. Jodi Fung - Congrats! "dirt bike" is here! Yay!!!

  24. askforthemoon:

    dear world, please welcome ryder


  25. Dave Finch - Congrats Man! : )

    Mary Kay Patrick - Welcome Ryder! Congrats Daddy! XO

    Plain Jane - congratulations zen!!! much love to you both!!!

    Matt Nolan - Love it when premonitions come true with 52 mins to spare! Congratulations Daddio. All the unconditional love of a Son is yours, welcome Ryder!

    Wendy Parker - Congrats Zen!! Miss you and love you both so much!!
    So happy Ryder is here...

    Hadley Fried - congratulations, daddy!

    Leahanna Rowland-Reid - Happy Birthday Ryder!!!

    Elmira Zainabudinova - Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxo

    Kristine Hendershot - Congratualtions Zen on little Ryder's arrival! Couldn't be happier for you and Lenore if I tried!

  26. Anna Perry - am heading off to dreamland and cannot stop thinking about you and yours and hoping you are getting enough rest, but then realizing how you and Zen must be in a high state of euphoria//////none the less, I will be dreaming, and smiling, and clutching my heart for you, Zen, Hunter, and Ryder....... much love....

  27. Jen Schenk - Congratulations on your new beautiful baby!

    Priscilla Kobbe - He is absolutely perfect !!!

    Kristin Hackley - Lenore - I am so, so happy for you both! Congrats on your new little "Leo"! He is so darn cute!!!!

  28. Corrin Crone Phillips - OHHHhhhh Momma! I am so, so, so proud of you. Ryder is stunning. I am so happy that he is here. How are you doing? Sending kisses to all three of you. I love the photos. What is he like?

    Corrin Crone Phillips - Huge congratulations to Zen Todd and Lenore Davis on the birth of their little man Ryder Zen! We could not be any happier for you two! I can't wait to snuggle him!!!

  29. Cheryl Diane Way - Yeah! He's absolutely perfect! So happy for you three.

    Carola Hanat - Congratulations!!!! Ryder is beautiful! Love and hugs to all from both of us.

    Heidi Byrne - congratulations on your beautiful babe ♥ though i'm not surprised :) i love reading anything your write, you've got an amazing talent, can't wait to hear all about Ryder

  30. Rachelle Runnebaum Lienemann - So beautiful!! Can't wait to see the three of you:)

    Rochel Ferman - congrats on baby ryder! so happy for the two of you!

    Anne McLuckie - Congrats he is beautiful xxxxx

  31. Alicia Corbett - Congrats Lenore, I'm so HAPPY for you and Zen! You certainly make beautiful babies! Welcome to the world Ryder!!!

    Stefani Sucic - He truly is amazing...much love to precious Ryder and Mom and Dad!

    Diana Jadé Welcome into the world, Ryder!
    Good job, Lenore!... You too, Zen!
    All the best in the world, I wish to the four of you....

  32. Lou Ornelas - Congrats kids! Another of your offspring taking me deeper than I ever thought I could feel. So happy for you. Can't wait to hangout and wrastle with the little guy! Hope to see you soon. Loving you Big Time!!! OXXXO x OXXXO x OXXXO x OXXXO

  33. Robin Fuqua - I just peed a little when I saw that boy! Seriously Lenore that child is a squeeze bucket! Mmmmm...BABY! I am so stoked for you guys that I am going to go run laps around my house screaming "WOOOOOO BABY WOOOOWHOOOO!" LOVE YOU AND THE ZEN!! xoxo

  34. Suzanne Novak - I'm in soooooooooooooooooooooo many happy tears for you and Zen and your new precious Love...Lenore, I love you strong Mama...keep it up! I wish I could be with you and Zen to celebrate...xoxoxo (I'm goin to try n stop the cries now and go to bed ;))

  35. RickandCourtney Fowler-Kelly - Ryder is amazingly beautiful, just as we knew hed be :) God bless and hold you and Zen tight w/ Angel Hunters arms wrapped tightly around you and your embrace this, the newest blessing in your life :) XOXO

  36. Erin Sawatzky - Ryder is STUNNING!!

  37. Cathy Donovan Holt - Welcome Ryder, you are so new....but SOOOO very loved. What a lucky little boy you are. You have just begun to see the love that will surround you.
    Health, Happiness, Love and Laughter wished to you always....

  38. Jodi Fung - He is all love!!!!!!! You two make gorgeous babies, while looking gorgeous yourselves! Xo

    Elmira Zainabudinova - sending love your way!

  39. Kristen Eppolito - He's so beautiful...

    Randi Tucker - I love him!!! YAY for babies!!! I am so happy that you have such a sweet little guy to snuggle!! Time to start trying for another one!!!
    :) Love you guys!!! XOXOXOXO

    Carlina Terrana Womeldorph - Omg, he is SO precious!!! It's sweet because that pic next to your profile pic... Let's just say, he looks so much like you. But, I am sure others would say he looks like zen. Xoxo

  40. Bernadette Restelli - Congrats Lenore. I'm so happy for you.

    Loretta Wiggins - A precious bundle of joy. Lenore...Ryder is so cute. God bless you all.

    Julie Strefeler - Omg...so happy for you Lenore. He's perfect! Congrats! ♥

    Meriam Emam - Congratulation Lenny! So happy for you..

    Rosemary Schieble Cortinaz - ok, I've had my cry for the morning... thank you for sharing!!! hugs to all

  41. Peggy Morgan Davis - What a Beautiful lil Blessing! Ryder is a Beautiful lil man. The pictures left me breathless. Much Love to all of you. ♥ xoxo

  42. Jenna Briola - Welcome Ryder!! And Lenore, the pic of you holding Hunter's train while (presumably) in labor brought me to instant tears. Such love. He was right there with you

  43. Eva Wright Mania - Pure Perfection!

    Sarah Wilson - he is adorable, congrats

    Maisie Pacia - He is adorable!!!

    Lindsey Huls - He is absolutely perfect! Congratulations Lenore, Zen, and Angel Hunter. ♥

  44. Marlee Blaire-Brown - ryder is a gorgeous baby... so happy for you...

    Kimerlee Curyl - congratulations to you both! the photos are breathtaking...

    Tony Tringali - Congrats!

    Amity Candee - a true blessing.....

    Heather Pace - Beautiful, miraculous, amazing, overwhelming joy!

    Priscilla Tallman - what a handsome little dude! these pics are amazing. such peace. ♥

  45. Minette Didi Wong - Lenore & Zen, Wow....these are such beautiful pics and I am so so happy for you both. Ryder looks like an angel. Congratulations on delivering such a precious little boy. You guys deserve all the love xxxx Wishing you good health. big hugs xx

  46. Jay Coleman - Good job!!! wait...... he has my hair!?!?!???
    Cant wait to meet him!!

  47. Linda Fernandes Bryce - omgosh...omgosh.....finally!! I am so incredibly happy to see this perfect...precious little face! For never meeting you guys...i sure do love you! Congratulations and cherish every moment! xo

    Elmira Zainabudinova - cute! i am so very happy for you

    Anna Marie Cruz- Beautiful. Congrats! ♥ ♥ ♥

    Maria Debiec-Rennaker - Absolutely adorable!

    Michelle Saber - He is so Beautiful! Congrats!!!

  48. Trish Lum Attles - Ryder is a beautiful and wonderful blessing

    Trish Lum Attles - NOT to mention, that YOU look amazing Lenore!!

    Kristen Eppolito - XOXOXOXO to you, Zen, Ryder, and angel Hunter!!!!!

  49. Katie Drake - LOVE. Can't believe he's finally here for you to enjoy. He's absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for the pics. Glad to see your new happy reality. Love you. Kx

  50. Sheryl L. Koesterer - Thank you for sharing the pictures of your new little love. He is precious. Many hugs and kisses to you all.....

    Nannette Troutman - He is so precious, welcome little Ryder

  51. Ann Audley Ralston - He is perfection

    Johnathan Cordell - HE IS A LITTLE RYDER !

    Ryka Milovanovski - Lenore what a sweatheart! He is beautiful. So happy for your family!!

  52. Karli Tucker - He is soooo cute!! Can you bring him to the hospital so I can see him someday???

    Jodi Helffenstein - We love you, Lenore. Congratulations to you and you family. Smiles everywhere!!!

    Tania Isaac - LOVE THIS!!

    Nicola Kosciuk-Galassi - Biggest Congratulations!! So sweet!! We love you guys! xoxo

  53. Michael Johnson - The beauty and love in these photos leaves me speechless.

  54. Anna Perry - The sky is high with love for all of you from all of us. That is one perfect Ryder-man! Thank you so very much for all of the beautiful photos and for the love and beauty, happiness and sorrows that you trust us with so eloquently. Brother Hunter must be truly dancing up a storm these past few days after helping with his bro's arrival..... I know you're enjoying each and every moment and that makes me so happy too. Ever so tender is life, every tender moment makes life a joyful canvas

  55. Jordan Rennaker -he is precious!

    Jane St Bernard-Voight - Thank you for continuing to share you journey with us all!! Congrats to you, Todd, angel Hunter and Baby Ryder!!!

    Karrie Danhof Hendrick - Such a cutie! So so so happy for you guys!

  56. Michelle Spencer - beautiful baby, may you enjoy this precious time.

    Cheryl Lynne Armenia - Amazing pictures!!! He is GORGEOUS!!! He looks so peacful and content.

    Deborah Heap - He is just beautiful, and Lenore you look amazing! Love and hugs and happy thoughts from the UK xxxxxxx

  57. Mary Long Hutchison - He is absolutely beautiful! Congratulations!!

    Eva Wright Mania - Pure perfection!!! How blessed. He is simply beautiful :)

    Christie Fisher Bechler - Absolutely Beautiful!!! Perfect in everyway!

  58. Andrea Herbst Stepien - BEAUTIFUL!!! Congratulations! xoxoxox

    Faye Kommers - Beautiful! Congrats

    Daphne Brogdon - omg could not be more beautiful. Joy!

    Kelli Zook - Too precious!! Thanks for sharing your family with all of us.

  59. Tanya Ritchie - what a cutie ..so precious....many blessings to you all..

    Timothy Hemingway - Absolutely Beautiful, Congrats to you and Zen!!!!!!

    Annie Shaughnessy Dauer - He is adorable Lenore!!! So thrilled for your family.

  60. Jenna Briola - So beautiful, all of you. Welcome to the world, Ryder Zen! I'm sure big brother Hunter is all smiles today!

    Sarah Hobbs - Thank-you for sharing the pictures. Please give Ryder a hug for me.

  61. Robert Flanigan - Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious. Congratulations! So happy for you. What a lucky and blessed little kid!

  62. Rachel Ciancio Hemingway - just precious! Congrats, so happy for all of you!

    Joan Coraggio - Lenore, I'm so happy for you. Life is incredible.

    Samantha Tino - He is so darn cute. He looks like he is very sweet. Thanks for sharing such amazing photos. PS: your husband is the BEST photographer! Love it!

  63. Becki Neuman - Smiling! So happy for you. He's beautiful!

    Carla Copeland - Oh what fun to see your photos - all look healthy and oh so happy! Ryder looks as though he's been in the real world a couple of weeks! So beautiful. Congratulations, once again...Carla

    Kristin Smiraglia Travis - Just precious Lenore. Congrats to you and Zen...

    Marla Mosher - xoxoxo u

  64. What a beautiful addition to a beautiful family! Ryder, is absolutely solidly perfect! The photo of you clutching Hunter’s train brought me to tears. I know he was there with you two to welcome the new addition to the family! Congratulations

  65. Have been following your story since Hunter died. Am so very very very happy that Ryder is here safe and sound. I hope he brings you infinite amounts of joy and starts the healing process in both of your hearts. Hunter is never far and I'm sure you'll see him often when looking at Ryder! Wishing you the very best and sending lots of love/hugs!

  66. Congratulations that is one awesome little guy you all have there! Very sweet post, and I am so happy for a you guys as your journey continues (and I continue to follow). I wish you peace, joy, laughter, miles of smiles and many new memories!

    tt, in Texas

  67. I had a feeling that Ryder must have been born since you hadn't updated in so long. He is absolutely gorgeous, just like his big brother! I am so amazingly happy for you - even though I don't know you in real life, I feel like I know you. You deserve this.

    Hunter must be so happy that his mommy and daddy have been given such a gift. He will always guide his brother!

  68. Ryder is absolutely beautiful! I am so happy for you all and Lenore I still think you are the most amazing mommy I have ever come across. Your love for your children is so deep and the way you can express it is breathless.
    I am captivated everytime I read your blog.
    God Bless your new addition and Hunter your guardian angel.

    Heather Craig

  69. Brooke Kester and FamilyAugust 22, 2010 at 2:31 AM

    Lenore... What indescribable gifts from Above, Hunter's Angelic Presence as well as the arrival of his Lil Brother Ryder!

    Thank you so much for always sharing with us, how you are doing, how you are feeling, and most of all, making sure we all keep the Gift Of Each Day, foremost in our minds.

    You are an amazing mommy, wife, and friend.

    Love & Blessings to You, Zen, Hunter and Ryder,
    The Kester Family


  70. P.S. - Lenore, I still can't get over Hunter and Ryder's noses! They are almost identical! Cute lil button noses! :) ~ Love, Brooke

  71. Congratulations! He looks so much like his big brother. Be happy:-)

  72. Such pain...such beauty. So beautiful - thank you for sharing.