Monday, December 31, 2012

Castle Christmas:

We got to spend several days with Doug's side of the family. All three siblings have a baby boy all born within five months of each other. It is safe to say, this Christmas was very baby focused. We passed around the babies, guarded the stair case, played games with a baby monitor humming in the background, and were all up and going in the morning much earlier than we have in the past.

Some of my very favorite things about Doug's family are the conversations that we have together, the constant source of humor, the true feeling of all liking each other and genuinely enjoying the time we are all able to be together.

Some highlights of this year: spending time at our home with Dad and Julie, making fun of Dad for being a zoo friend, car rides to visit grandparents and to Tulsa, Dad's chili, game nights, boy burger date, Mom's Christmas lunch, Anson cuddling with me, matching Christmas jammies, quoting parts of Home Alone that were left off of the t.v. version of the movie, Beth's bacon toy, and time with aunts/uncles/grandparents/cousins.

We have told Greg and Beth and Brad and Jeannette 'bye' many times since they have both lived long distance our entire relationship. But this year it was much much harder. Harder not knowing when we will see them all next. Harder now that we have our little boys. We are so thankful for the wonderful time that we all got to spend together and are excited for more time together in the future.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

This Past Week We:

- Had a 12 month Dr. visit. Everything looks good and we have an almost 20 pound, almost 30 inch baby.
- I made two pecan pies for two different dinners
- Watched a little boy for a few hours who peed on our carpet because I did not get to the bathroom to help him fast enough. Something I am sure will happen more in my future.
- Had a going away potluck for some families here at camp
- Went to Lowe's to buy some stuff for Doug's newly arranged office. 
- Went to Doug's mom's annual self-esteem dinner.
- Had a Christmas party in town.
- Doug took Henry and I out to pizza because he loves us so well.
- Found a little monkey in my pantry
- Doug had a dentist appointment

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Weekend:

This past weekend Doug and I attended a marriage conference. It was put on for our staff and we just had to drive down the hill to go to the sessions. We had a babysitter arranged for us that came to our house and loved on Henry well. We really enjoyed having a weekend to sit down and intentionally talk about our marriage. We were also reminded of what a huge blessing our relationship is and how blessed we are to have a marriage that is not full of conflict and big issues. The biggest thing we took away from the weekend is that we need to be much more intentional in praying together and studying the word together. We were also challenged with the idea of our marriage being a shining light to the gospel of Jesus. People are watching how believers love each other and we need to do that well. Be examples for all to see of God's work in our lives. 

Then we had a fancy Christmas dinner with our closest friends. The meal was beautiful and delicious. We watched Henry run around the house with a banana in his hand, ate duck, played our favorite game, and ended our evening encouraging Alex as he moves on to his next adventure. It was such a festive, encouraging time as close friends. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thankful For:

- A healthy, growing, boy. (20 pounds, 30 inches)
- Free Christmas music through Pandora and Spotify
- Only being a phone call or text messages away from long distance family
- Getting to see all of that long distance family in the next few weeks
- Three free pounds of coffee given to us over the past few weeks
- God's tremendous love, grace, and mercy that challenges and encourages me daily

Friday, December 7, 2012

This Past Week We:

- Made a Sam's trip and blew Henry's mind by showing him all the Cheerios.
- Our super talented and wonderful friend Justin came over and filmed a short video of Henry. It is not finished yet, but once it is you will see it. I know it will be good.
- We had people in our living room this week watching sports
- Had lots of good play time outside since the weather has been so nice.
- Worked on our Christmas card, letter, and mailing labels. Tis' the season.
- On one of my runs this week I ran through a pasture full of horses and saw several deer. That is a ranch run for you.
- Enjoyed lots of evenings at home this week.
- I made my first pot roast.
- Henry slept through the night!!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Henry's Apple:

Doug was eating an apple after lunch and someone decided he wanted to have the apple. Henry was entertained for at least 20 minutes playing with his apple. We have entered the fit throwing stage, so there was quite a fit once apple time was over and we put it in the trash. Our little baby just keeps growing up.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The First Year:

I have heard parents say that having a child is one of the best things you could ever do but it is also the hardest thing you could ever do. I never really understood what they were saying until now. This past year has truly been the best and the hardest year of my life.

The best: watching the love for our little one grow and grow and grow. Knowing that he is our child and there is no one else in the whole world like him. Seeing him grow stronger, faster, smarter by the day. Watching the transition from simply being his caretaker to being one of his favorite people in the whole world. The feeling that 'we are actually doing this'...the knowing what he likes to eat, how to fall asleep the easiest, games he likes to play, how to help when he is in pain. His smile and laugh. The love...oh, the love. Nothing like I have ever experienced. The excitement that comes from learning about our boy. Playing together. Bath time. Snack time. Genuinely laughing at things he does. Seeing our friends and family embrace and love him. Watching Henry play with other babies. The daily dose of joy he brings us.

The hardest: Learning how to be on the same team as Doug, we are not against each other. We have to work together, take care of each other, and not get frustrated with each other when we are simply worn out and exhausted from our baby. Those cranky days, where nothing works and everything is a big deal. Getting him in his car seat. Teething. The worry. The desire to sleep in a little longer but the reality that is not an option any longer. Transition from working outside the home to staying at home, some days it would be easier to 'go to work'. The lack of sleep. 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm, the witching hours.

We talk to Jon and Emily a lot about parenting. It is great to have close friends that are going through the same things. We were talking about how babies make everything harder, but also make everything better. If you want to go somewhere it is a lot harder. More details, things to think through, planning involved...but if you just leave the baby with a grandparent or a babysitter you just wish the babe was with you the whole time. So, you end up bringing the baby because you want them with you, but take on the added stress and responsibility that come with bringing them along.

This boy has changed our entire world. He has makes it better each and everyday. Even on the hard days.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

1st Birthday Party:

This is our first child birthday party to throw. We like simple, easy, and cheap. That way we can focus on the people that are here, our baby boy, and not be stressed and worried about putting on the perfect party. We had family and a few neighbors over. Ate cake and ice-cream. Opened presents. Watched Henry run all over the entire house with his new toys on wheels. He knew it was a special day and enjoyed having grandparents here and older kids to chase with his toys. We enjoyed having people in our home that care for and love our sweet little one. Another beautiful reminder of how blessed our lives are.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our Thanksgiving Break:

We had a pretty perfect Thanksgiving break this year. Doug convinced me that we should stay home and save money by not traveling, get stuff done around the house, and enjoy being at home together with our little family. He was so right, it was just what we needed.

We celebrated a birthday.

On Thanksgiving I made pumpkin bars and green beans and we walked next door to have dinner with our neighbors. We stayed until little one was in desperate need of a nap. We walked home, took naps, and watched football. Doug worked in a our yard a whole lot. It is looking more like a yard and he is making our woods more beautiful. Henry and I went into town to give him some time to work. We came home to find a huge smile plastered on Doug's face and a roaring fire with a ton of wood piled up that needed to be burned.

We painted our guest bathroom. Hung up a mirror and some hooks that have been needing to be hung up for years. Doug built a work bench in the garage.

We went shopping on Black Friday, mainly because Henry was up at 5:30 that morning. We walked around Lowe's and Walmart and the only Black Friday deal we bought were a pair of $8.00 work gloves.

We watched Home Alone and listened to a lot of Christmas music.

We ate all of our meals at home...homemade pizza, muffin melts, spicy peanut noodles, chipotle bowls, pumpkin crumb cake, grilled cheese and tomato soup.

We went to church.

Had lots of good Henry play time.

Watched OU beat OSU in a close game. [boomer sooner]

We decked the halls, so to speak. Started meal planning for Christmas week with lots of family members coming and going.

It was the perfect combination of accomplishing tasks and resting and being together. I love time with just the three of us. There were so many moments over the past few days where I was reminded again of how full my life is of beautiful things. Our marriage, our child, our home, our friendships, and our ministry. So much to be thankful for.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fall Wedding:

Our dear friends, Rhett and Jennifer, are married. We had such a wonderful weekend celebrating with them. Karen came over to stay with Henry since we had rehearsal dinner one night and the wedding the next. He loved all the Grandma time and I don't think she minded much. Doug and Justin planned a fun bachelor party the night before the wedding, they were out late into the night running around camp doing challenges. A pig was involved. It is safe to say, fun was had by all.

 The wedding was in a beautiful barn. I might have cried off and on throughout the entire ceremony. So much love and focus on our great God. I made sure to have a great view of the second groomsmen. He is mine.

The reception was full of so many great people and great conversation. Yummy food. Lots of dancing and laughing on the dance floor. Connecting with old summer staff. Simply enjoying the celebration.

We are so so so so happy and thankful for the love between our sweet friends, Rhett and Jennifer.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


12 Months:

- You take steps here and there. But only when you want to and never when we have the video camera out.
- You got a new car seat and you love looking out the especially like the horses down in camp.
- We celebrated your actual birthday with a wake-up call from both mom and dad with an Elmo balloon, pancakes for breakfast, play time outside, pizza for dinner, and banana for dessert.
- You are a big fan of milk in your cup and you are mostly weaned!
- Your naps during the day are generally pretty short, but that means you like to be in bed at night around 6:30 or 7:00. Still waking up throughout the can go ahead and stop doing that.
- You have a new love for being naked and you think it is rather funny to crawl off as fast as possible down the hallway when we are trying to get you in the bath.
- You have started to hug our necks, wave, and you have attempted a few kisses. All are super sweet.
- Your favorite toy is your walker. You push it all around the house, run with it down the hallway, and you are a champ at getting it unstuck from corners.
- You have a fake laugh. It makes us for real laugh lots.

Monday, November 19, 2012

One Week, One Year Part 3

      Well now you know why Danae is the administrator and primary author of our blog. She is far more consistent than I.  But I promised a week's worth of posts and I will follow through (even if part 7 isn't published until Henry's 2nd birthday).

Part 3
      The relief Danae and I felt upon seeing our baby boy after almost 36 hours of labor was soon erased by news that he was showing signs of some difficulty breathing.  After only about 4 minutes with Henry he was taken to the nursery to be monitored closely. As we approach Thanksgiving this week one of the things I am most thankful for is that the nurse was paying close enough attention to my son while administering the routine tests that she noticed a very slight flaring of his nostrils that indicated an issue.  Within hours of his birth Henry stopped breathing while asleep and had to be stimulated in order to get his lungs going again.  It is not worth stating what could have happened to our sweet baby if he had not been under the close watch of the nurses because he is here, and he is safe, and he is healthy.

       This was the first visit I made to the nursery to see Henry.  I was so thankful Henry was awake. He was just staring at my face and was so alert.  I got so much comfort just looking at those eyes. It was about 5 hours after Henry was born that I got to hold him for the first time, but his breathing took another dip just minutes after the nurse handed him to me so he had to go back to the bed.

        My dear friend Jon drove over from Tulsa to be with Danae and I that evening and while he was there the nurse came in to tell us that Henry had stopped breathing again.  I completely broke down. Tears and tears and tears. Something in my eyes must have been irreparably damaged because I have been exceptionally weepy since that time (no thanks for that Henry).  To this point that was the absolute worst I had felt, and my darling wife was going through all of this while recovering from the ridiculous labor. We were desperate for some good stuff.

       It was about 11:00pm before Danae got to come into the nursery with me and by that time we were both able to hold Henry and feed him.  Henry was alert and searching our faces (and just plain beautiful) and we cherished our first moments together as a family in spite of the complications. When we left him he seemed to be doing great which provided much needed peace for some much needed sleep.
       Day one of Henry's life was eventful to say the least.  We were not at all expecting what happened the next day but [SPOILER ALERT] there were more tears.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

One Week, One Year Part 2

         I will try to be brief in my retelling of the first week of Henry's life, but I want to take the opportunity to get this stuff down so that I don't forget the details (though at this point that seems impossible). At any rate I have decided to split up his first week into two posts so as not to overwhelm.

Henry just 11 hours old
         Saturday November 19th-  I went to work around 7am and worked until about 8pm. After work Danae and I went to our neighbor's house to watch the Sooners lose to the Baylor Bears (tear). We went home and talked then went to bed around 11:30pm. We only slept about an hour and a half because at around 1am Danae's water broke.

         Sunday November 20th- Saturday turned into Sunday in a blur of packing up our things and being giddy with excitement. We made it to the hospital around 3:00am believing our baby would be born that day.  That was not to be. As we were settling into the room we talked to the nurse about how we were hoping to do this thing with as little medical intervention as possible (to keep things cheap and natural).  21 hours later we accepted the reality that we would not be having a Sunday baby and all of our thoughts on medical intervention were tossed out the window-- we were just in survival mode. We laughed at the ridiculousness of the whole thing. The IV towers kept multiplying as time went on to accommodate the various medical fluids needed to keep everyone safe-- it looked absurd.

        Monday November 21st- Things were getting a little rough by 8am on Monday.  There was very little sleep/food (no food for Danae) and several tense moments where Henry's heart rate dropped dangerously low. This was definitely one of those situations that was far bigger than me. I was helplessly watching those monitors and doing everything I could to hold it together for Danae and for the baby.  I was flat out scared. The nurses were great (all three shifts), Danae was incredible, and by 12:26pm we had Henry! At the announcement of our boy I leaned down and said to Danae with a smile "Manhouse" because there is now a masculine majority.  Danae knows the truth-- her boys are wrapped around her little finger.

          I will leave you here for the night, faithful readers, with the joy of our baby finally being here!  Sleep tight and I will see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

One Week, One Year Part 1

        One week from today I will be the father of a 1 year old boy.  The faithful followers of this blog must be thinking 'Father? Where is Danae?'  Well Danae is not here (on the blog) today and in fact I will be taking over the controls for a week in order to document some of my thoughts and feelings about completing year one as a dad. Without further ado:

Day 1 Pre-Henry Baby Days-

         This is a picture of me in the women's clinic minutes after seeing an image and hearing the heartbeat (a complete surprise to me) of our tiny baby confirming that Danae was in fact pregnant.  What you cannot see in this picture is the large tears that rolled down my cheeks as soon as the doctor left the room (I kept it tough while he was there).  Upon seeing those tears Danae searched my face trying to determine if I was happy, sad, terrified or crazy. I was probably a mix of all of those (except sad), but at the time I just assured her how happy I was that I was going to be a dad.

         It is funny now looking at Henry and thinking that this was the same little guy I was thinking about, learning about, praying about and even singing about all those months.  There was so much mystery in the pregnancy. We knew very little about our baby; gender, personality, eye color, hair color. We knew there were fingers and toes and all the right organs (we took the Doc's words about certain organs). Most importantly we knew there was a tiny heart that was beating away and there was so much comfort at each appointment hearing the loud whoosh that we knew meant our baby was growing and healthy.

         Danae was a great pregnant lady. She was beautiful, joyful and graceful. I hope I did enough to take care of her and protect her.  We spent hours and hours talking about our little one and our dreams and ideals as parents.  It was an incredible time in our life but not as incredible as life has been since our boy made his appearance.