Sunday, December 25, 2005


Originally uploaded by bendblock.
We had a wonderful Christmas, Eleanor's first. We spent Christmas Eve at my (melody) parent's house. It was an exciting day full of food, fun, and even a treasure hunt. Eleanor received a new wardrobe (as in clothes, not furniture), and several toys for teething (which I think she has begun). We had a nice quiet Christmas morning, where Eleanor opened (or played with ribbons on her) presents. She got a pair of lion shoes that she wore with her pretty pink Christmas dress. Matt got a batman figure to replace the one that was stolen by the people who detailed his truck.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I've added new pictures and a new moving pictures. Click on the picture of Eleanor eating her Hershey's bar to see more photos. Click on "Moving Pictures" to see a video of Eleanor opening a present.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Being "On Call"

***This was originally published as the "Chaplain's Corner" in the Baptist Medical Center's employee newsletter "The Connection."

It’s hard to know if my inability to remember very much of my daughter’s first few months is because of sleep deprivation or other distractions. After all, I did start work here just two weeks after she was born. There were so many adjustments to be made and so much to learn, at work and at home. People always tell you that a new baby will change your life forever, but you kind of have to live through that to know what it means. I’m still finding out. Every day my daughter, Eleanor, shows me something new about herself and I get glimpses at the woman she will become.

But I have to say that, in many ways, I’m enjoying it more now than in those first few, sleep deprived weeks. While my wife and I were attempting to adjust to providing care for our new baby who seemed to demand constant attention, I also was introduced to the concept of being “On Call.” All of us at Pastoral Care, like many other departments, take turns being on call overnight. It can be exciting, as you never know when you’ll get called. And it can also be draining as you pull back into the driveway just getting home from a call, only to hear your pager go off once again.

I remember clearly one night, after having stayed up late surfing the web, I went into the bedroom to try to lie down and get some sleep. My wife and the baby had been in their beds for a while (at that time her bed was still in our room) when I crept under the covers. I recall laying there on the edge of the bed, looking over at the pager on my nightstand, just waiting for it to go off, afraid to really let go and go to sleep because I knew if I did it would buzz and wake me up. I then turned over and saw my wife experiencing the same thing, only she wasn’t looking at the pager, she was looking at the baby, just waiting for her to wake up, to cry, to need comfort. I had to laugh. We were both “on call.”

For many of us the demands of life feel like a pager ready to ring and interrupt our sleep, or a baby, ready to wake up and scream at a moment’s notice. Our responsibilities with work, family and friends seem to compound at this time of year as we rush to fit it all in before the end of the year. As family gathers, it can be hard to enjoy the holidays when we’re on edge, waiting for some new crisis or need to break loose and fall upon us.

But this time of year is also when we are reminded of God’s presence with us. Immanuel is coming. He will be born in a manger. This is the time of year when we remember that, though God may seem distant, He is coming, out of love, to dwell among us and to transform our lives, our relationships and our communities. This baby will be born, and He will change all of our lives forever. It is our joy to find out just how, as He reveals himself to us and as we seek to let him use us to reveal Him to others, bit by bit, day by day, in this holiday season and throughout eternity.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Making Cookies with Great-Grandma

Eleanor and I had a very busy day today. We went to my grandma's house to make her traditional Christmas sugar cookies. If you look close enough, you can see the flour on Eleanor's cheeks.

Eleanor is such a happy, thumb-sucking, fat baby. If you click on the photo, you can see more pictures.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Moving Pictures

When Matt came home from work this evening, Eleanor was in a particularly good mood. She was sitting in my lap as Matt and I were discussing the days events. Somewhere between my recounting my trip to the Hospice facility to visit my grandparents and his description of a particularly emotional death he worked with today, Eleanor started laughing...all out laughing. We caught the end of it on this video. Click "Moving Pictures" on the right under "Photos" to see it. (Thanks to Aunt Glenna for the JussPress Link)

PS- Happy St. Nick's Day!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Mirror Neurons

Originally uploaded by bendblock.
When I went in for lab work yesterday, my doctor asked how old Eleanor was. I told him four months and he replied, "already?". I felt the same way. A third of a year has passed since Eleanor was born...already?

We went on a picnic to the river front today. It was a beautiful day.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Not Happy

Not Happy
Originally uploaded by bendblock.
When Eleanor was a couple of days old and we were still in the hospital, a staff member came in the room while she was crying. It was about three in the morning, Matt and I were exhausted and Eleanor was screaming. The staff member (later we found out she was a nurse’s aide) told us that Eleanor was starving and that we needed to give her some formula. I doubted her and my doubts were confirmed a few hours later when we talked to a doctor. I’m pretty sure she’s not starving now. At her four month doctor visit today, she was one ounce shy of fifteen pounds. She is quite the chunk.

The doctor said that it is time to start her on rice cereal. I’m a bit conflicted about starting so soon. From what I’ve read, starting “solids” later (closer to six months) reduces the likelihood of the child developing food allergies. Eleanor is at an increased risk of food allergies because Matt is allergic to peanuts. So, is she missing out on anything if we wait another month or two to introduce her to cereal?

This whole parenting thing is confusing. Everyone has an opinion about everything. How do you know who to listen to? The medical community changes its mind on how to do things with every generation (or so it seems).

Eleanor has been Little Miss Fussy Piddles this week until today. We think it was from all the traveling. She was her happy self today, and then I took her to get shots. It was not near as bad as last time. Yesterday, I started preparing her for the shots by telling her that it was going to hurt, but only for a minute and it would keep her from getting bad diseases. I even explained as best I could in Indonesian, just in case she understands that better. She did really well through all four shots, much calmer than last time. I was quite grateful for this since Matt could not get off work.

So, Matt will be finishing his chaplaincy residency either in August 2006 or August 2007 (depending on if he is offered the second year or not). Where do you think we should go after that?