Having an infant in the house again has reminded me of many things that I had forgotten about after our daughters grew out of that stage. It has also caused me to learn a few new things. Here are a few that I have been reminded of lately:
- While it rarely happens, a child sleeping in on Saturday morning is a wonderful thing.
- Middle of the night diaper changes are often times the equivalent of attempting to wrestle a spastic octopus.
- There is nothing quite like seeing the unbridled joy on your child’s face when you walk in the door after being at work all day.
- Seventeen pounds doesn’t sound that heavy until that seventeen pounds is a teething baby that you’ve been holding for six hours.
- It is absolutely possible to fall asleep standing up. I’ve done it multiple times while holding a baby at 3AM. The feeling of knees buckling while holding an infant is scary.
- While the sight of a baby spitting up is bad, I promise you that feeling spit up is worse.
- Older children make great playmates for infants. Quite simply, older siblings rock!
- Sleep deprivation is a very effective form of torture…especially if inflicted by a small child.
- The sight of a content sleeping baby is one of the most beautiful things in the world.
- If a baby is going to sneeze during a meal, it will typically be with a mouthful of some dark colored food. Green beans are bad. Prunes are much worse.
- It’s really cute watching a baby smile in their sleep. I often wonder what they are dreaming about.
- Sometimes a clean shirt is nothing more than a target (for spit up, poop, puke, food, etc).
- Being a parent is exhausting work. There is a reason that God didn’t design us to do it alone. I have all the respect in the world for the single parents out there…you have a really tough job.
- If teenage kids had any real idea of how much work being a parent is, there would be significantly fewer teen pregnancies.
April 19, 1984…25 years ago. A date that has been one of the primary mileposts in my life. That is the day that my Dad died of cancer. I was twelve. To say that it had an impact on my life would be a massive understatement. To no small extent my identity to that point in my life had been very much tied to being “Sam Davis’s son”. He had been one of my few friends. We hunted and fished together. I worked for him during the summer (he was a plumber, electrician, AC, refrigeration, etc). My relationship with him was very much the foundation of my life.
Then he died. It was early in the morning. It was almost time to wake up to get ready for school. My Mom came to get me saying she needed help…my Dad wasn’t feeling well. We tried to call the local doctor…no answer. It was a small town, so she called the doctor’s dad who lived near the doctor. I don’t remember exact details, but the doctor’s dad showed up at our house to try to help us get my Dad to the doctor. He was already dead by then. The rare cancer (Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome) had finally won. We later heard that the doctor was addicted to something and there was suspicion that he was high at the time. Was there anything he could have done had he been able to get there sooner? Probably not but, we will never know.
When the doctor did show up to pay his respects a few hours later I was sitting outside. I still remember that he drove a Jeep with no top. I remember walking over and seeing a Hall & Oates cassette in the front seat. From that point on, I refused to listen to anything by Hall & Oates.
That morning I remember wanting to get away. To be at the farm…in the woods hunting…for that matter I wanted to be living in the woods. To run away from all that was going on that day. My Mom had the guy who had been working for my Dad, Ellis Nasif, take my brother and I out for a drive so that we wouldn’t be there when the hearse showed up. We went to what seemed like the most natural place in town to go to on that day…the local sporting goods store owned by a friend of my Dad where we had spent a good bit of time. We bought pellets for my pellet gun.
The next few days were all a blur. The funeral, the burial. His pallbearers were the men he had gone elk hunting in Colorado with. One thing that I remember is taking my Dad’s 35mm camera and taking pictures that day. I barely knew how to operate it, but the pictures turned out perfect. I’m still amazed at how those turned out…I never took pictures with that camera again that turned out worth a flip. I wrote a couple of times (here and here) before about the effect that the burial had on me…it was one of the most difficult moments of my life. Perhaps more so than the death had been at that point. Seeing my uncles shovel the dirt into the grave was simply gut wrenching.
Little did I know the effects that this would have on me. I mentioned that my relationship with my Dad had been the foundation of my life. With that foundation gone, there were some significant aspects of my life that crumbled. I retreated into a shell. I spent a lot of time during lunch and recess sitting in a corner on the top row of bleachers in the gym. As far away from people as I could possibly get. I was empty and lonely.
Another result of this was that I started stuttering. It was frustrating and humiliating, and I had no control over it. I hated being asked to read in class…I knew that I couldn’t do it.
People who know me now are likely unaware that I ever stuttered. I haven’t since I was sixteen. I had another life changing experience then. I had been going to church for a couple of years, and had learned bits and pieces of what Christianity was about, and I had recently put it all together…realizing that I had made choices that were contrary to God…choices that caused me to be separated from God. The only solution to that separation was the sacrificial death of Jesus that was the only way to bridge that separation. God freely offered it to me…I just had to accept it.
The church that I was going to had an event called “Youth Week” where all of the activities at the church were run by the teenagers. That Sunday night a guy that I knew in passing at church named Chris Kennedy had the job of preaching the sermon. I don’t remember much of what he said, but what nailed me to my seat was when he talked about how God offers us the opportunity to have a relationship with him that can never be broken. A relationship that nothing can break. I remember him reading a section of the Bible from Romans chapter 8.
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)
Did you catch that? Even death can’t break this bond? The finality of separation that death causes had been unbelievably real to me…I was never going to see my Dad again. The hope that there is a relationship that even death has no power over was a very bright light in the midst of a very dark cave. That night was the first time I let people know that I had made the decision to accept Christ as my Savior. That night I also prayed for God to take away the stuttering problem. Two weeks later I volunteered to speak at a school assembly. I had not stopped stuttering yet. Just before getting up to speak I prayed again…”God, if you don’t come through in a very big way, I’m about to make a fool out of myself.” Moments later I got up and spoke without stuttering, and haven’t had a problem stuttering since. God answered that prayer in a very very big way, and to this day I remind myself before I am speaking publicly that my ability to speak clearly is a gift from God.
One regret I have is how for years I was privately critical of my Dad for one of his failings and didn’t fully appreciate the very good things that he did do. My Dad was not a spiritual leader in our family. My Mom has told me that in the months before he died that he had talked about making that more of a priority, but he didn’t live to see it through. For many years, that failure overshadowed everything else in my memory. I still loved and missed my Dad, but I had lost some respect for him because he didn’t have a positive spiritual influence on our family.
In the last five to ten years I have come to have a better appreciation for what he did do well. Much of who I am today can be traced back to the influence he had on me. The time I spent working for him instilled in me an ability to tackle nearly any problem…there is very little that I will not try to fix myself. He gave me a strong work ethic. He gave me a love for the outdoors that continues to beat strongly. He had started to pass the torch of “manhood” to me before he passed away. I remember hunting with him and field dressing the last deer that he killed (part of the antler is viewable in the picture above). At one point during that, I looked up from my work on the deer and saw him standing there holding the flashlight for me. He was looking with a sense of pride. I look back on that moment as him inviting me into a path towards manhood.
Five months ago, my wife gave birth to our son. We named him Sam in honor of my Dad. I hope to have as positive an impact on the lives of my children as my Dad had on mine.
The pain has lessened over the last 25 years. For a long time, I dreaded April 19th every year. This is the first year in a while that I have done any serious reflecting on that day. I still love and miss my Dad. I wish he could have met my wife and kids. I wish they could have known him.
A good friend of mine posted this on his blog back in October. I just saw it tonight and enjoyed it. With our messed up tax system here in the US, what would it be like if ten friends paid their bar tab the way that we pay taxes?
So the stork came to my house this week. Apparently the Sandman thought the stork was a Pterodactyl cause he hasn’t been back since.
The first night in the hospital, Sam slept like a dream…between three and five hour stretches. Julie and I both got decent sleep. Since then…well, we’ve been awake a lot at night. Sleep deprivation is not fun.
I love my son…just would like a bit more sleep.
What a day! We both woke up at around 5am. We stayed in bed talking for a while then got up to get ready to head into the hospital for the 7:30am induction. After checking in and getting everything set up, Dr. Manneh broke the water at around 8:30. Based on Julie’s past history of rapid labor, we were expecting to be done well before lunch. Well…God had different plans for us this time. Lunch came and went. Julie was progressing, but much slower than in past pregnancies. When we came in, Julie was at 3cm…by 1:30, she had only gotten to 6cm. However…
About that time, things kicked into high gear. She went through the classic “self doubt” signpost (I’ll try to get a link to that at some point). At that point, I knew that she wasn’t far off. The nurse checked her again…still 6cm. But the self doubt phase (characterized by the woman saying she “can’t do this”, is typically right before transition. Because I was aware of this (and because I had seen her go through the same phase with both of our daughters), I had the nurse check her again pretty soon after. The nurse got a surprised look…”wow, you are completely dilated.” Julie had gone from 6cm to complete in 15-30 minutes.
Right after birth, the nurses were all saying that he looked big…that he was definitely going to be 8 pounds. Once they weighed him, we were all shocked. 8 pounds 12 ounces. Based on the ultrasound from a few weeks ago, they were estimating that he was going to be just over 7 pounds at birth. Uh…really glad we induced early. He would have been well over nine pounds had we not.
Some may know the significance of the names, but others may not. Sam is named after my dad. My dad was my best friend growing up. I learned a lot from him about hunting, fishing, and repairing things. I worked for him during the summers, and most weekends we were either in the woods or on the lake together. My dad died of cancer when I was twelve…an event that had a huge impact on my life. There was never any doubt that we were going to name our son Sam.
Isaac is a Hebrew name meaning “laughter.” It is a name that has continued to stick out to me over the last few months. As we were nailing down the middle name, I kept coming back to it. When I would look through a list of names, I caught myself just looking to see if Isaac was on the list.
Thanks again to everyone who joined with us in praying that Sam would hold off until Tuesday. That was a huge deal.
Another big thanks goes out to our moms. My mom has done a wonderful job of taking care of our daughters while we have been at the hospital…a job that she did when Marybeth was born also. That is a huge blessing to us. Thanks mom! And Julie’s mom has been in the delivery room at the birth of all of our babies. She is a tremendous help. We are SO glad that they were both able to fly in for this birth.
Tomorrow morning (Election Day 2008), we are supposed to call the hospital at 6am to confirm Julie’s appointment to induce labor. The appointment is at 7:30am, but because it is an elective induction we can be bumped down/off the schedule for various reasons. Based on past track record, once they break Julie’s water, she will likely be in strong labor within 15 minutes. And if the past track record continues, this should be a very quick birth…possibly by mid-morning even.
Thanks to everyone who prayed over the last few days for labor to hold off til Tuesday. God chose to answer your prayers with a “yes”.
Check back on the blog sometime around mid day or in the afternoon. I expect to be able to post the birth announcement with pictures from the hospital.
Our former next door neighbor in Orlando really wanted to see what Julie looks like at nine months pregnant and was bummed when we were moving at seven months pregnant. We promised her that we would put pictures up of Julie at that point, so here you go. Jenn….the picture to the right is just for you. It is Julie at the beginning of the ninth month.
We were at the doctor for Julie’s weekly OB checkup. We had already been talking with the doctor about scheduling the birth. With Julie’s history of rapid labor (two babies…a total of 5 hours and 20 minutes of labor), we are very concerned about just getting to the hospital in time. On top of that…Julie has said that with Marybeth she wouldn’t have realized that she was even in labor until transition…which was 20 minutes and a couple of good pushes from birth.
[Stop rambling Jarvis…get to the point of the post] (also…if you don’t want pregnancy details…stop reading now)
Anyway…during the checkup, we were talking with the doctor to schedule the birth for next Tuesday (November 4). When she checked for dilation/effacement/station, she got this surprised look on her face and said, “Wow! You are three centimeters, and the baby is REALLY low. I hope you make it til Tuesday.” We were a bit surprised…Julie was 2cm on Friday and hadn’t had a ton of strong contractions since then, so we weren’t expecting that.
Now…this is where you come in. We really need you to pray that this baby holds off til Tuesday. The hospital won’t schedule an elective induction before that day…and we really don’t want to have the doctors that are on call before Tuesday.
So…check back Tuesday/Wednesday. The hospital has wireless internet, so I should be able to post the birth announcement with pictures here reasonably quickly.
It’s been a while since I posted. I had one friend ask me if the RSS feed was broken because he hadn’t seen any posts in a while. No…it works just fine…it just requires that I actually post something! There have been a few not insignificant life changes going on in my life since my last post on August 4.
First, after a considerable amount of prayer and soul-searching, Julie and I made the decision to leave the missionary staff of Campus Crusade for Christ. We had each served with CCC for over fifteen years. It was a good time and a great place to work. We left behind lots of friends…a ton of really great people who are doing great work for Jesus Christ.
Second, I made the decision to step out of working in a corporate IT environment (the type of work that I had done at CCC) and move into an IT consulting arena. Professionally, consulting is something that I have been considering for a while. It is an opportunity to be challenged and to learn more technology and learn it faster than I would ever be able to do in any single corporate IT department.
Third, we moved from Orlando to Minneapolis. Yep…from Florida to Minnesota. And yes…nearly everyone up here has asked us the question, “Why?” It’s almost like they are all asking…”why would you do something stupid like that?” So far the weather has been nice…personally I never liked the brutal humidity in Orlando. Ask me in a couple of months when we are at 20 below zero…maybe I’ll acknowledge the insanity then. :-)
So, here I am. Living in Rogers MN. Julie is eight months pregnant. I’ve been working as a consultant for three weeks so far…and yes…I like it. I’m working for a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner named Virteva. We are currently renting a home from a very nice couple while we wait on our home in Orlando to sell. So…if you would like to buy a home in Orlando…consider buying ours.
Last week when we went in for the monthly OB checkup, the doctor said that Julie’s belly hadn’t grown as much as expected. Probably nothing, but she wanted to send Julie in for an ultrasound just to make sure. The ultrasound was this afternoon. The ultrasound tech (Megan) was fantastic. Definitely the best experience we have ever had in an ultrasound. I made sure to brag on Megan to her boss.
Towards the end of the ultrasound, Megan switched the machine to 3D. WOW. It was really cool. I hope to get more pictures up in this post later tonight, but in the meantime, check out the picture of my son eating his own foot!
The Realm of the Verbal Processor has been on mute for the last week. We got an early morning phone call on Sunday June 29. Julie’s grandmother died. We were able to get reasonable flights to PA the same day (and Julie’s grandfather offered to pay for the flight). Grandma was 85. She and Grampa had been married for 64 years. They had been dating since they were both 14 years old. Needless to say, this had been really rough on him losing his sweetheart of the last 71 years.
In a brief conversation with Grampa this week, he mentioned that they had grown a lot closer after they retired to Florida 25 years ago. What struck me was that after 40 years of marriage (25 years ago), they grew significantly closer in years 41-64 of their marriage. That is really cool…something that Julie and I aspire to. For that matter, we have a great marriage legacy in our families. Thinking about that prompted me to write the post just below this one.
Grandma will be missed. It is only just becoming “real” to Julie. It hit pretty hard yesterday…capped off by a birthday card last night. My birthday is June 30…the day after Grandma died. They had already sent me a birthday card…it was in Grandma’s handwriting. With our traveling to the funeral over the last week, I didn’t open it until last night. Seeing her Grandma’s handwriting on my card tipped things over the edge for Julie last night. It’s very possible that this was the last birthday card she mailed.
That Sunday morning when we told my five year old that Grandma had died, she had this very brief look of shock and horror and then quickly recovered and said, “We won’t get to see Grandma any more til we get to heaven. So when we go to Grandma and Grampa’s house, we’ll only see Grampa? So now Grandma gets to see the fence?”
Julie was a little confused at first until she realized what Marybeth was talking about. “You mean the one with the pearls?” “Yeah…that one.” Then Marybeth started talking about all the things that Grandma gets to do now. She wrapped up with this (in what is a typical stream of consciousness conversation with MB): “It’s very sad for us that we won’t get to see Grandma for a long time til we get to heaven. We’ll get to see her when we go to heaven, but I don’t think God wants me to go to heaven when I’m five…when I’m a grown up. Then some day we’ll all get to go be in heaven, and there won’t be any more earth, and it will be great because no one will have to die any more.”
She just had a perfect balance of appropriate sadness because we will miss Grandma mixed with appropriate joy at recognizing that death is not the end of things. She even got the end of things right. I’m not sure how she knew this because I haven’t been teaching her any lessons from Revelation, but she nailed it.
It has occurred to me a few times that Julie and I come from a tremendous legacy of long marriages.
Both of my sets of grandparents celebrated 55 years of marriage before my grandfathers passed away. Until last week, all four of Julie’s grandparents were still living…and both sets were approaching 65 years of marriage. My parents…nearly 21 years before my dad passed away when I was 12. Julie’s parents…more than 35 years and going strong. Julie and I will hit 13 years in August. We are in really good company…and proof that marriage not only CAN work…it can work well.
Not all of those 300+ years of marriage were easy ones. Just speaking from my own experience, somewhere around years 7-9 were tough for Julie and I…mainly as a result of me working through some anger issues in my life. But during those rough times, Julie and I never considered bailing on the marriage. Our commitment to each other from the beginning was that our marriage is for life. That is the way that God designed it…I’m not going to argue with him about it. I committed that as long as Julie and I were alive, we are together. That commitment was to her, but more importantly, that commitment was made to God at our wedding. He is the one who prepared each of us for the other.
And what we have seen is that our relationship with each other just continues to grow stronger. The rough times have actually helped our relationship to deepen. No doubt that the rough times were not fun…they definitely were not. But without the conflict, our relationship would not be as strong as it is.
Here is part two of my interview with Wally Mead. This section is a bit shorter than the first one…in the flow of the questions this just seemed like the best place to break it up. I plan to post the third and final part of the interview next Tuesday, so be sure to check back for the final ten minutes.
My plan is to do some more of these personal type interviews, so I posed a question yesterday…who would you like to see interviewed? Joey started off a fantastic list of people. (He also emailed me offline saying that he would be impressed if I got his whole list…heck…I’ll be impressed if I get half of his list! Although I do already have one of those lined up!) I’d love to hear from you who you would like to know more about. So…go to the post and leave a comment voting for who you would like. If the person is already mentioned, feel free to throw in another vote for them.
But…without further rambling by me…heeeeeeeerree’sss Wally!
Based solely on the number of hits that the Wally Mead interview has gotten, I would say that the SMS/SCCM community has a fair amount of interest in getting to know more about some of the people that we see on the forums or presenting at conferences. So…who would you like to see interviewed?
Leave a comment below to let me know who you’d like to hear from. If someone has already mentioned someone that you are interested in, leave a comment anyway…let it be like adding a vote. Don’t know if I will be able to make an interview happen with those that you are interested in hearing from, but I’ll do my best. Just give me ideas of who you are interested in getting to know.
Oh yeah, I will be working on cleaning up the second part of the Wally interview and hopefully posting it later this week. Check back to hear it…or subscribe to my RSS feed to be automatically alerted.
Over the last several months I’ve developed a relationship with Wally Mead. Wally is a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft where he works with the System Center Configuration Manager product team. He handled a bug report that I submitted about SCCM (here and here…bug was fixed in SP1) and we connected offline afterwards. He had seen in the bug submission that I work for Campus Crusade for Christ, and he has had interaction with CCC in the past.
This week Wally has been in Orlando at Tech-Ed, so I invited him to come out and let me take him on a tour of CCC’s headquarters. After the tour we sat down and Wally allowed me to interview him. Below is the first portion of the interview. I will post parts 2 and 3 sometime next week.
I’d like to also offer a public thank you to Wally for taking the time to sit down with me. It was a very enjoyable time, and if Chris ends up coming to UCF, I look forward to seeing you more often!
Another thing…who else would you like to see interviewed? Let me know on that page and I’ll see what I can do.
Part 2 of the interview is live now…
[Update 6-22-08: It was brought to my attention in the comments below that if you don’t have the Adobe Flash Plugin on your computer, you will not see the audio player that is just below the “Enjoy!” line. You can get it here if you don’t already have it.]
Today around 12:30PM, Julie came up to me and asked a pretty simple question:
Would you like left over lasagna for lunch or a pork chop sandwich?
Simple question, but also very significant. That question marked the first time in more than two months that Julie had offered to fix a meal for me. It was the first time in more than two months that she felt up to it.
Still not 100%, but my wife is on the way back. It felt good to see her able to do things that she hadn’t been able to do in so long.
I gave her a big hug and had the sandwich.
Got a text message from Tim first thing this morning asking me if I had heard about Steven Curtis Chapman‘s five year old daughter. Yesterday afternoon Maria Sue Chapman died after being hit by an SUV in the driveway of their home. She was Steven and Mary Beth’s youngest daughter and one of their three adopted daughters. The news report that Tim heard said that one of Steven’s sons was driving the vehicle.
I can’t even begin to imagine what their family is going through right now, but I know they need for us to be praying for them today.
What has made this all the more sobering is that Maria was five years old. My youngest daughter is five. Her name is Marybeth. When Julie was pregnant with Marybeth, she had been reading a book by SCC and had come to really appreciate the honesty and transparency of both SCC and Mary Beth Chapman. As we were thinking of names for her, we kept coming back to Marybeth. Not that she is named after Mary Beth Chapman, but her name was influenced by MBC. All the more sobering.
Julie saw a shirt recently that read “When the belly button pops, you’re done!” I was highly amused.
Anyway, last night as we were going to bed, I reached over and had my hand on Julie’s belly…she has a little “bump” which is how I’ve been referring to the baby…”bump”. It just so happened that the way my hand was positioned, the tip of my middle finger was on her belly button. Then she coughed…and I felt the belly button pop out. She coughed again, and it popped out again. I started laughing, but she had no idea why. Once I told her, we both were dying laughing. We laughed so hard that we both ended up going into coughing fits after a few minutes.
It was so nice being able to laugh with her. That is the first time we have laughed together in the last couple of months because of the morning sickness. It was fun seeing her laughing and enjoying something related to this pregnancy!
For all those who have prayed for Julie’s morning-sickness, thank you. It appears to have broken on Saturday. We were talking that morning, and Julie mentioned that she really wasn’t sure if the anti-nausea medication that she was on was really doing any good. Matter of fact, there were times that she felt more sick after taking it, so she stopped taking it on Saturday. That evening she ate a full meal, and asked for dessert, and did NOT feel sick afterwards. First time in two months that has happened.
Sunday was an okay day. Then came Monday. I walked in the house after work and immediately went “Wow”. Did we hire a maid that I didn’t know about? Julie had a phenomenal day and had cleaned the entire house. This from the woman who just the week before was getting sick moving from the bed to the couch and back. She has been feeling really good all week. It has been so nice seeing some life in her eyes and hearing some spark in her voice.
No…the hangover does not refer to alcohol…didn’t have even one alcoholic beverage at MMS. It refers to a whole combination of things that adds up to my body simply being spent from last week.
Some of it is the really busy schedule. Some of it is my lack of discipline in actually going to bed at a reasonable time. Some of it is the jet lag of going from Florida time to Nevada time and back. Some of it is from getting dehydrated in the desert. Some of it is the significant jump in my caffeine intake last week…coffee and Diet Coke were nearly essential to keeping me alert for some sessions. But now my body is going through caffeine withdrawal.
What it all adds up to is that I’m just all over shot today. The tank is empty. I’m done. And I think my body has worn down enough that I’m going to get sick…I think I have a sinus infection coming on. I would appreciate your prayers for my health.
I’m going home early today.
Julie had an OB visit today. While there we got to hear our baby’s heartbeat for the first time…right around 160 beats a minute. I took my MP3 player in and recorded it. I was going to link to it in this post, but my hosting provider doesn’t allow uploads of audio/video files unless you pay $20 for an upgrade. The only reason I would need the upgrade would be to add that file. I’m cheap enough that it’s not going to happen. :-)
One cool thing that happened today is that Julie and I both started to feel more of a connection with the baby. This has been much slower in coming with this baby than our two daughters. I think it is mainly because this one was such a surprise to both of us. It was cool seeing that connection take place with Julie today. With as sick as she has been lately, it was nice to see her getting some enjoyment from the pregnancy.
[Update: I figured out how to get the heartbeat on the blog. I used MovieMaker in Vista to combine the soundfile I had from the MP3 player with a picture of Julie and my daughters to create a movie file. Uploaded it to YouTube. Pretty simple. Should have thought of it sooner.]