Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'll Fly Away....

My new all time favorite thing to do in the entire universe!  My son laying on my chest, sleeping with a blanket over him, watching him, loving him.  At one point I started singing "go to sleep little baby..." from the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou movie.  Thanks to modern phones, YouTube was only a click away and we were listening to that and other songs from the soundtrack while he slept on my chest.  I was in heaven with my son's skin on mine and Alison Krauss singing "I'll fly away" on the speaker phone..... heaven.

What a great life I get to experience.

We are heading home in just a few minutes to usher in the New Year as a family together.

He is the most beautiful creature in my world and I am so happy.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Enzo Raines

Enzo Raines is born today, 12/30/09 at 12:03pm (all multiples of 3).  The amount of words I would like to write about this day is matched only by my fatigue.  They will have to wait to be written.  I'll just say that we are very fortunate and that my wife is amazing!  Enzo is healthy and beautiful.  Tami is healthy and beautiful.  What a superb day.

Welcome to the world my son!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


(Don and Aly got The Kid his first motorcycle, this one in wood.)

Usually we travel around town on Christmas visiting our families. This year we figured the giant kid-filled-belly entitled us to stay home and have family come to us. Pregnancy makes you royalty among those who love you and even among some strangers. Tami is the focus of conversations, her comfort and wishes are constantly looked after, gifts are given to her regularly, when we take long to cross the street and the lights have changed the cars continue to wait patiently and the drivers smile; like she's royalty. And me? Royalty by association, but with a twist. I get special treatment when with Tami, but my own friends will greet me with disappointment and a trace of derision if I show up at a gathering without Tami. Then, the good friends that they are, they try to convince themselves and me that they are happy to see me too. It's funny and makes me smile. I imagine Tami will get a little of this treatment later if she shows up to some places without The Kid.

As I was saying about Christmas, and in keeping with our greater royalty-like social status, we decided to stay home this year and invite family to visit us if they liked and that worked out great. Many of our family came over to visit, chat, bring food, cook, and clean up after. There is a lot to be said for being pregnant over the holidays.

This morning we were able to wake in a clean house though we hosted nearly 15 people throughout yesterday. And, we broke in the new waffle iron! Yum. Home made waffles, coffee for me and soy hot chocolate for Tami. But before the waffle iron was ready, we had left over pie. A delicious way to begin a day. And now for a lazy day, among the last we will share before The Kid arrives.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The "Supposed" Day

As you may notice from the count down labeled "days until The Kid Arrives," today is the due date; all but come and gone, the counter proudly displaying "0". While there are a few hours remaining, it's safe to say that this kid will not share his Aunt, my sister-in-law, Traci's birthday. While I'm at it, Happy Birthday Traci! So what's going on? With the baby- all normal stuff as far as we can tell. We do have another doctor appointment tomorrow morning so perhaps there will be more news then.

Tami and I have been spending a lot of time together and it feels like vacation. Which it is, so I guess that makes sense. In fact, as of last Friday, I don't work again until February as I took January off to be with Tami and The Kid. While we can't go hiking and go on motorcycle rides and trips together as we tend to do in summer, Tami and I thought we might try some games. We've played chess a few times in the past but we've never settled into playing games together to unwind at night. A couple of nights ago we tried Boggle. That was a good time. The coolest part is that when we finally decided to stop playing and tally up the score, we were both even at 85 points. Neat. We also have run many errands together, watched a couple of movies, and generally enjoyed each other's company. We do some things separate. I went on a morning motorcycle ride today while Tami was still sleeping. As I type this, Tami is at yoga. And Sunday I stayed home all day feeling crummy so Tami hung out with her sister.

My anxiety level has been fairly high lately, rising several times each day but never to a full panic attack. Back when I was having panic attacks my digestive system would shut down, belly swell up, and it would take three days before I could comfortably move around again, a few days more for my digestive system to normalize. Well, even without a panic attack, that's what happened Saturday and that's why I spent Sunday at home feeling crummy. It was interesting because I experienced the anxiety symptoms and the abdominal discomfort all without fear of them, so that's a big positive. Still, I knew that I would be lying around for three days until the bloating was down and I was comfortably mobile again. But I was wrong, this time I was up again after only a day and a half. I'm making progress. Since Sunday I've spent several hours reading more about anxiety and panic attacks from the book I have and from numerous websites. Reading and learning helps a lot. I think it is the reading and thinking along new lines that helped me to recover quicker this time. My anxiety level has been spiking so many more times each day now but it doesn't get as high as it use to five months ago. It's gotten a little scary, but I'm lucky to have been around Tami or good friends when it has gotten that bad in the last weeks and they have helped me to vent and keep it manageable. Tami is practically a saint when it comes to helping me get through tough anxiety peaks. I'm curious to see if my anxiety issues change after The Kid is born, specifically as a result of him being born. I wonder if there is a connection there. Either way, I continue to learn, improve my thinking, and become better equipped to handle anxiety. I think I am becoming a better person in the process. I'm even proud of myself for getting this good at managing the anxiety and that's a long way from before when I was berating myself for "having to deal with this issue at all." Hopefully I'm still being supportive enough to Tami's needs as I work on myself. I love her and think that I remind her and show her daily. Today I massaged her feet with lotion. Not just one foot, both feet! Does that count for two days of love and support? Well, as long as she keeps telling me she is happy we are spending so much time together, I think I'm doing all right.

I am excited to meet my son. And I admit that I am nervous about the big day- what ever day that turns out to be. I am nervous, and excited. There is a layer of giddiness under the surface like balloons waiting to be dropped on an expecting crowd. I have no idea what the effect of the celebration will be on me, but it will be a celebration.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Baby not quite ready yet

We went to the doctor's office today and all is well. Unless you ask Tami. The midwife says she thinks The Kid is going to be pretty late, possibly late enough to be a New Year's baby. Late enough that The Kid will not be out for Christmas. Tami is funny about this. Half cute, half frustrated. I reminded Tami that in the beginning of the pregnancy, she thought it would be cool to have a New Year's baby. She reminded me that I'm not expected to talk when she is pregnant AND frustrated. I think I'll stick to noncommittal laughing. She still gives me funny looks, but it's not enough to cause any problems between us. Also, I like to think that my laughing is part of her therapy and helps her accept that she will be pregnant for a little longer. She is taking it well besides referring to the midwife as a crazy lady now. We did hear the heart beat again. 138 beats per minute. The Kid was energetic when we got in there because we had just eaten. As I said, he is doing well and in position with head down but he won't be popping out any time too soon.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


(Notice the antlers. Yes, she puts them on every day this time of year. She is asleep on the couch next to me with them on as I type.)

The Kid's room is done, I'm only 20 pages away from finishing The Birth Partner, and the car seats are installed in the cars. I'm not sure when the "You're officially qualified to be a father" certificate will show up, but I'm expecting it at any moment. I am feeling pretty good about the big day- and it's not far off. 10 days, plus or minus a few. Tami thinks three to five days sounds about right. I don't know, I'm sort of hoping for six plus days so that my winter vacation will have begun and I'll be around all of the time. Then again, how much more exciting can it get then to drive off from work after getting a call saying it's time? We'll see how our story unfolds.

A couple of days ago we went on a tour of the hospital birthing areas. I was surprised as the birthing rooms were not as sterile and cold looking as I had envisioned. The furniture and the floors look like wood. The lights have lamp shades. Sure, there are more dials and tubes then in most rooms, and there is a big movable spot light against one of the walls, but it's more inviting than I expected. The midwifes and nurses were nice and the nursery, the place the babies go when they are in need of medical attention, was not scary looking. I, for some reason, expected it to be. Maybe the fact that even this room had big windows open to the hall made it less scary. How bad can it be if it's not hidden from view?

Today, Tami and I spent more time together in a day then we have since summer. In the process we cuddled lying down in the morning for the first time in days (big belly has made it difficult), decorated The Kids room, went through our birthing plan, talked about birth, went grocery shopping, got frustrated with each other over silly stuff, got over it, and loved each other. A good day. The only time we spent apart was when Tami went to dance class early in the morning and I walked into downtown to read The Birth Partner at the Campbell Cafe.

It was beautifully grey this morning. Clouds were low, moving, and thick. The rain was constant and light. Great for a walk, a read, and a think. One of the things I was thinking about was how often I am actively thinking. The councilor for my anxiety issues said that I associate relaxation with boredom. To work on this was the real motivation to go for a walk this morning. The goal was to just walk in the light rain and enjoy the feeling of being, without having to do anything. It's weird, but this is the first weekend in so long that I have nothing I have to do for work or night school; I'm all caught up for a while. Still, anxiety has been an issue lately, even sleeping has been difficult. Today was no exception, but I worked through it. Not fun, but doable. The triggers are more difficult to identify now that I am over issues with driving and riding. Today, one of the high anxiety episodes happened while looking for mayonnaise, another while sitting in front of the Christmas tree chatting with Tami, and once at the Cafe. Sort of all over the place. When triggers do make sense they tend to have to do with time, creating quality work, or thoughts of birth. Not sure how mayonnaise fits into the scheme.

As I was saying, my goal this morning was to just be and to appreciate. Last minute, I decided to take a book, too. I had to give in a little to a need for distraction, at least the book is pertinent to my life right now. While thinking and taking in the weather, I considered that I am always thinking or reading if I am not "doing something." When I don't have a book, I buy a paper. When I have nothing to think about, I assign myself something "useful" to work on mentally. I wondered if Buddhism and Taoism weren't created as an organized way to help the masses deal with anxiety. Maybe the idea of Nirvana was just thrown in to make Buddhism look like a religion and present a long term goal to keep the focus. Maybe the ancients just needed a way to relax when looking for the right mayonnaise in the grocery store. Well, these are the kinds of things one thinks about when considering the fact that it is difficult to make a mind silent. I'm not sure if I can just stop doing, reading, writing, and thinking cold turkey. I'm working to wean myself off. I remember going on walks and being wholly present in the moment, undistracted. I know it's possible. I'm sure The Kid will be plenty distraction enough to wean me from any thinking addiction. I believe he will also be plenty motivation to be present and to enjoy the moment.

You know, it's kind of weird that I now find myself always trying to be doing something. I use to think of myself as a fairly lazy person. I'm not going to tell my child "Do it right or don't do it at all." It's one of the things I was thinking about this morning. If I don't feel I can produce at a certain level, I don't want to produce at all. Maybe that's why I thought of myself as lazy for so long; I didn't start producing until later when I was confident that I could live up to some standard. And then there is always the fear of missing the mark along the way. Is this why it took me seven years to graduate college? It was torture to turn in homework the whole time, only slightly less painful to drop out several times in my first years of college. Maybe I should have told myself it's more important to do something than to do it right. Maybe just doing is good enough to start with, and doing it well should be a goal later on down the line. That's the thing about aphorisms and advice, even two contradictory ones can sound full of truth and insight. This I do believe to be true; the more comfortable I have become with failure, the more initially scary, and ultimately interesting, experiences I have had.

All-righty Kid. I'm ready to fail with you. But I'll try to do well. Who knows, by the time you're 30 I just might be doing the father thing right.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dear Santa,

I can't say for certain how you run your operation, but I can guess a little. I assume being good will qualify one for most gifts. But for some of the gifts out there, I assume one has to DO GOOD. That gift you see in the picture, clearly that is one of the ones you really have to DO good for. I've not done that much good this year. But, I imagine good deeds are like crimes committed in a year- cyclical. Perhaps this year there was a really low turn out on good deeds and that would move me up on the list. Also, maybe the top couple tens of thousands of truly worthy individuals aren't even interested. That would be crazy... but who am I to judge the noble? So, it's a long shot, but I thought I would put my name out there on the list of interested people. There are only twelve of these available so I'm not holding my breath. What are my qualifications? As I said, they are not that much, but I truly have worked this year on seeing the world from the perspectives of others. I've considered how my thoughts and actions affect others, how I sometimes propagate injustice and how I reap rewards without being the most deserving. And, I've started working to reverse such injustice. Humble beginnings, but I am happy to have actually done some good this year. That's my whole application. Now, Mr. Clause, just in case you don't know what is in that picture, let me tell you. THE F'N MOON!

So here is the deal. A book called Moonfire is being released to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Apollo II and there are a couple of special editions available. Twelve of these special editions include a rock from the moon! Now Santa, I have all that I need and then some. I certainly do not need my own moon rock. I'm quite okay sharing the one in Washington D.C. with the world. So, this is not a matter of need, it's a matter of "holly wow- I would love to touch that every day!" And to be fair, I have way more than my fair share of wants satisfied already. But, wouldn't you know it, every time I look there is a little more want left. Want is like room for ice cream. There will always be more. Now, I would be happy to acquire one of the twelve myself or pass on the request to family, but the $90,500 price tag is a little much. So, if you and your elves think you can work something out, and enough of the do gooders out there took the year off, and if those that didn't are just too crazy to appreciate this magic rock, well... somewhere a few hundred thousand names down your list of good, please find my name with moon rock written next to it.

Here is the link to learn more about it.



In the mean time, my beautiful wife and I have started preparing our Christmas tree. I'm including a picture of the work in progress so that you'll recognize it if you need to know where to leave a certain rock. That's our Kid with Tami. He may be out and about by Christmas too. He's a good kid, I have a hunch. Feel free to get him a rock, too.

We don't have milk. We sometimes have rice milk or soy milk. Once in a while, almond milk. Just a warning before you take a big gulp. It's good though. Also, I can leave out cookies, but I tend to eat them when they are out. So, get here early if you want a cookie.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kid Doing Great

I love my kid. I know, he's our kid. And, I'm sure Tami loves him too. But this is my blog. And I love him. I havn't even met him yet, face to face, but he is so great. He's perfect.

We just went to our doctors appoointment, 37 weeks pregnant. He is healthy, active, and doing well. Very active. He moves around a lot, every night, all the time, and when ever Tami eats.  His legs move a lot and a few days ago I laid my head on Tami's belly and I could hear his heart beating. Sweet!  No wonder the ancient Egiptians thought the heart was so important. Ever wonder where the term "know it by heart" comes from? It's that impressive.

I think pictures are important for blog posts, but Tami went off to"pregnant-lady-yoga" before I took a picture. So, what you have hear is an anatomically correct representation thanks to Tami's sweatshirt and one of the (many many) pillows we have acquired. The kid is turned, ready to go. I asked if he would turn around more and we were told he might, but he's filled out most of the room so he will probably be in this position for the rest of his stay in Hotel Tami.

The cool thing is that he is active, Tami and he are doing well, and I can hardly wait to meet him. Tami says "20 days to go, plus or minus 10."