Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Greatest Gift This Christmas

On Christmas morning we went to Ashley's parents' house to open gifts and grub on some good grub. This year we decided to just do gifts for those who've yet to graduate from High School. So, it was odd when Heather, Ashley's sister, started passing around matching boxes to each of us.

We waited for everyone to get a box, counted to 3, and dug in. Inside my box was a simple card which read, "You will be a recipient of a new niece!" Confused at how Heather and Gardner would already know the sex of their new daughter, I quickly racked my brain. The light bulb went off and then Heather blurted out the great news. "We're adopting a baby girl from Uganda!" Cheers went up and tears flowed (mainly from Ashley's eyes).

Many circumstances came together to lead them to this point, but the video below of an orphan meeting her new family was a big contributor and you can see why.

Bottom line: Another parentless child will be rescued and we couldn't be happier about it.

James 1:27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Snow In Winston-Salem

I tweeted last Tuesday, "Don't be an amateur scientist." Thursday, I didn't heed my own advice.

I don't generally keep up with the weather forecast unless I have outdoor activities planned. So last Thursday when everyone started talking about snow coming to Winston-Salem, it was the first I had heard about it. Then, I dismissed it. They were talking about 3-5 inches of snow falling in a city that was currently 54° and sunny. Even though I made a B+ in Dr. Viney Aneja's Meteorology class in college, I know almost nothing about weather (other than the fact that it NEVER snows in Winston-Salem when the Meteorologists say it will).

Even though I know almost nothing about weather or the reasons for the forecast for snow, I presumed none such snow would settle on the ground. I was being an amateur scientist, similar to those who "choose a surgeon based on the carpeting in his office and a politician by his hair cut."

I was wrong.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Visit To The Doc

Kessler had his 2 week check-up today - 3 days early. He's almost back to his birth weight! With newborns you're able to notice tiny changes, what seems like, every hour. He's becoming more and more alert. He continues to sleep and eat well. We are so blessed and thankful. We continue to love him and love being parents. Wednesday was the first time someone said, "Oh, you're Kessler's dad." It was an odd and satisfying feeling.

These are 2 photos taken at our appointment (from my phone):

Hopefully this is an estimation of his future height, but it's probably just the pounds and ounces of his weight.

This is him being alert.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Just Calm Down

At my office, a common phrase you'll hear is, "Just calm down!" It'll be said, humorously, after someone is dramatizing a situation; personal or business related.

Newsweek ran an online retrospective of the past decade. One of the features was overblown fears. The top overblown fears of the aughts were things like Y2K, shoe bombs, web predators, and Anthrax, among others.

What can we learn from this? Don't watch the news and "just calm down!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Ref Punched The Cotton Candy Guy

Bill Simmons, ESPN's The Sports Guy, has a section in his weekly column called, "GREAT CALL OF THE WEEK." Sometimes, it's sports related. Other times it's not. This week's made me smile.

"I took my 4-year-old daughter to the Clippers-Magic game Tuesday. Every Clips game turns her off on the NBA just a little bit more. After all, dead crowds and sloppy basketball isn't exactly a hook. She spends most of her time rooting for the cotton candy guy to walk by, asking if various players have "permanent tattoos" and listening to people in our section yell at the refs and Mike Dunleavy. Not the best way to develop a fledgling NBA fan.

In the second quarter, one official made a horrible call against the Clips that got a groan from our section. The guy behind us even screamed "Donaghy!!!!" My daughter was confused. "Why did he scream that?" (I explained that Donaghy was the name of a really bad ref.) "Is that Donaghy right there?" (No.) "Why was he a bad ref?" (Because he just was.) "But why?" (Now I'm debating whether to dive into the Donaghy scandal, ultimately deciding to repeat that he was just bad.) "Daddy, I want to know why Donaghy was bad."

Needing an answer she would understand, I fibbed and told her Donaghy was a bad ref because he punched the cotton candy guy once. She couldn't believe it. "He punched the cotton candy guy?" (Yup. And nobody got to eat cotton candy for the whole game.) "Are you making this up?" (Nope. That's what happened.) "Well, he's a very bad ref," she decided. "You shouldn't punch the cotton candy guy." (I agree.) And with that, she let it go and started watching the game again. Telling white lies to your kids so they'll finally be quiet -- that's my Great Call of the Week."

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Kessler In Living Color

Born 12.7.2009 @ 10:12am
Weight: Average
Height: Average
Eyes: Bluish gray
Hair: Light brown
Middle name pronounced: State ən

A little over 24 hours has passed since Kessler was born. It's been quite special; the whole process, really.

Much of what there is to say regarding the birth process and meeting your offspring has been said in many ways and in many places, so it seems trite to even attempt to put it into words. Here are some of the things that impacted me most:

Ashley's patience, focus, and effort
- Males, be very thankful you don't have to carry a baby in your belly and push a baby out of it. Ashley did it with a calmness and grace that quintupled my love for her. Since, she has only continued. Her intelligence and precision give me a confidence that my son is being cared for as well as possible. I'll now stop gushing about my wife, so you can go vomit. But, just know she's extraordinary.

Family and friend's care - Through the wonders of email, facebook, twitter, and mobile computing I was able to share updates on the process of Kessler's arrival. The overwhelming response of facebook comments, @replies on twitter, texts and emails was encouraging and a welcome distraction from the waiting. As soon as he was born, I snapped a quick pic with my phone. I posted it to twitter which then fed into my facebook page for many to see. In the 24 hours since, it's been viewed about 290 times! Also, many were praying. My faith was strengthened and I trust the prayers impacted both the outcome and our feelings throughout.

Kessler's great Aunt - Ashley's sister and true best friend, Heather, was a tremendous blessing to both of us. She came to our house and decorated for Christmas (with Russ's help too) on Saturday while Ashley and I were at the hospital. She came to the hospital and sat with Ashley for many hours on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and all of Sunday. She came back to the hospital and was with us through the early parts of labor; staying up basically all of Sunday night. All this, to encourage and love her sister (and me), resulting in a rare bonding experience.

Many other things had a great impact on me. Some just aren't fit to print on a public blog. The whole process was incredible; too extraordinary to even believe.

Our first night as parents went well. We opted to try to keep him in the room and if we couldn't sleep, we'd let the Nursery take care of him. Well, he slept unless he was eating, so we kept him in the room. Yes, I pounded on wood after I typed that.

We have loved holding him and just looking at him. Objectively, he is a cute baby. Subjectively, he's the cutest baby in the world. No one has been able to confidently say he looks like either of his parents. He's a great dude and I expect his greatness to only increase as he ages. He is not a fan of any sports teams. He does not have a favorite color and he is not potty proficient.

We love him.