Thursday, November 24, 2005

2005 Thanksgiving dinner!

We had a great Thanksgiving dinner. It was a gift from Uncle David and Aunt Sylvie. They are from Canada and have some different traditions for Thanksgiving. Their families prepare a "meat pie" which is also what they provided for our dinner. As shown above they also included mash potatoes and gravy, string beans, cranberry sauce, fresh salad and home made bread. It was delivered warm and ready to eat. What a blessing! [question: Did you find the symbol hidden in the food?]

I should probably back up a bit from here. Our church organized meals for a week or so after both of our parents went home. This is a practice of our church group intended to make sure a family in need is comfortable and relatively stress free. This provision of meals has occurred after the birth of all three of our little ones. Providing a Thanksgiving dinner is going beyond the call of duty. We have truly been blessed with a wonderful church and group of friends. Thank you!

Psalm 118:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving kindness is everlasting.


We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this morning (pictured above 2005 and 1950's parades). The boys danced to the Rockette's, the school bands, the rock bands, the commercials.... Come to think of it they danced to just about everything.

We had chocolate chip pancakes (dad's favorite) and a bath. All before noon. Amazing right? Not really, the boys got up at 5:30am. There is an unfortunate pattern developing for these pre-dawn events - it consistently happens on weekends and vacations. I can be going to work and not hear a peep out of anyone but as soon as Saturday rolls around the internal clocks starting ticking away. I am told by those wiser than I that sleep will come back in about 20 years. sigh.

Here are some pictures of the boys and Joelle enjoying the parade. I will post some Thanksgiving feast pictures later.

You can almost hear Joelle saying "save me!"

So what is Ben thinking?

"sugar and spice and everything nice" finally makes a great deal of sense!

Are we finished yet?

Naptime before the big meal!

Monday, November 21, 2005

The change is notable

Nathaniel has been helping with our cooking needs.

Ben wanted to help out so he asked if he could mow the lawn.


I thought it would be nice to put up some more pictures for everyone to see. As I am sure you can understand 3 is more than 2 - and when you are refering to how young children effect daily life it seems to work the same way the Richtor scale works. Sometimes I think it has something to do with Joelle's crying - although she does not cry very much when she does it is loud! I firmly believe that a baby's cry is the single most powerful sound in the world. Everyone looks around when they hear it and it is the first thing anyone tells you that is remarkable about their Siamese cat. Nathaniel typically first asks what she is doing and follows that up with "I know - it's okay". Ben once offered his blanket but quickly retrieved it when he came to his senses. He has been quiet adept at giving her a passifier. The change in our home may have something to do with Joelle being so delicate and the boys so... hmmm... full of energy. Cannot say that I am sure exactly what caused it but our lives have shifted slightly towards the crazy side and the change is notable.

There is another shift that is worth mentioning: the girl shift. Pink, Lilac, Mint, Peach and other such colors have trickled in to our home like water through the roof. It's everywhere! On top of that I am already treating her differently than the boys. I talk to her more tenderly, pick her up gently and even hold her with more care. When the boys came along I tossed them in the air, rolled them around on the bed and was chided more than once by the grandmothers about "being too rough with the baby". But this seems natural. I really do not mind and did nothing to contribute to this frame of mind at least not consciously. Maybe Janice is using mind control? hmmm...

All noise and pink aside we are truly enjoying Joelle and so are the boys. I am not sure the boys are really aware of the new division of attention especially with the grandparents being here over the last few weeks. But the crown has been passed or should I say a tiara has been placed on Joelle's curly haired brow.

You can see the boys "taking care of" Joelle in a movie here.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Joelle Elise born Nov 2, 2005

Our little girl has made her debut 5 days early. Joelle Elise Stewart entered the world November 2nd at 8:12 pm EST. Just a little slip of a thing at 9 pounds 22 inches long with a 13 inch head/chest. It is worth mentioning that Nathaniel formerly held the record at 7 pounds 13 oz, 20.5 inches - at 11 days early. She is a big little girl.

She was the easiest by far of all our births (size notwithstanding). Ever so politely at 7:15 am she started pulling some strings every 6 minutes. Janice smiled. Being the seasoned pro that she is Janice waited one hour to confirm the regularity of the contractions. She called me at 8:15 am. I start my day by stumbling out of the house at 6 am and then falling into my midtown desk around 7am. My cel phone has become a source of excitement for both me and my coworkers - eyes watch and ears listen whenever I would answer my phone. On Halloween, a few days ago, Janice came in to the office belly first through the elevator. A collective gasp went through the office. They watched as she ambled along with our two active boys in tow. At 8:15 I could hear my boys were noisily playing behind Janice's voice as she let me know it was time. I could also hear her smile.

I stopped at Publix to get some diapers and found out the man behind me in line was waiting on the same call I had just recieved. His wife was due on Saturday. He congratulated me in that way that only fathers can. Janice met me at the door - the contractions had receded a bit but she was convinced our little one was due. She started cleaning the house top to bottom rushing around like a mother bird gathering straw and string for her nest. Our boys played the part of pesky squirrels pulling at each strand just after it was set in place. Fortunately our good friend Renee Allen gathered up the boys and took them away (thank you again!). Ben seemed a bit concerned but Nathaniel just waved and smiled. Our home was quiet. Those of you that are parents will understand the quiet of a house deserted. It was nice.

Janice did not slow her pace any and soon had contractions coming every 3 minutes. In an effort to assist with the preparations my parents arrived and Janice answered the door. Seeing us still at the house wondered if it was a false alarm. I smiled. The amazing thing about Janice is her composure even in the midst of the tremendous pain. She will pause for moment stare at some deep point in space and then continue the conversation where she left off as though nothing more than a moment of thought had transpired. Amazing.

We were soon off to the doctor (It was requested that we see a doctor before heading to the hospital). On the way we called our doctor and upon hearing that the contractions were down to less than 3 minutes waved us on to the hospital. Number 3 is unpredictable. It was just after 2pm and we had not eaten anything. I am sure if the Taco Bell attendant had paid attention I would have received one of those stone casting stares reserved for the scum of the earth. Janice was panting away eyes closed in a painful trance - sitting increased her pain and here we were ordering a 7 layer burrito and a soft taco. Janice is gracious too.

We made it to the hospital at 3pm and things moved pretty quickly from there - we went from an available room to a labor and delivery room with contractions down to 2 minutes and dilation at 4 centimeters. Then time stopped for about 2 hours although the contractions did not. We waited and I helped Janice work through the pain as best I could. Then suddenly we were at transition and I was ready for a 40 minute bout with Janice the hun. She is feisty when it comes down to the end showing a great deal of focused strength and intensity. 10 minutes later Joelle had arrived.

Upon her arrival I noticed that she seemed big - bigger than the boys. When the nurse rambled off the stats at 9 lbs and 22 inches Janice and I looked at each other amazed. The machine of the Women's center at Northside Hospital kicked in to high gear. This is our third pregnancy there and it is always like watching the well oiled gears of a giant clock to see these people work. Within seconds Joelle was cleaned, checked and handed to me wrapped up tight - about an hour after delivery when Janice was seen as fit to leave we went to our room. Around 12 midnight and nearly 1000 phone calls later we fell asleep until 2am and 4am and 6am and 8am and well you get the picture. Visiting hours began at 11 am. Like a big birthday party at a small house our room was full with everyone coming and going for two days.

After much poking and prodding, with a collective nod we were given permission to leave. Out come the cameras. There are specific moments in everyone's life where they understand the life of the rich and famous. Photographers calling out, video cameras following every move and this was one of those moments. The nurse wheeled Janice holding Joelle through the hospital double doors to my father and me waiting with the car. [Believe it or not our little 2000 Toyota Camry can take 3 car seats in the back (just don't sneeze while in the car).] Then it began. "Oh -wait that looks great." "Smile, no look over here, over here please - yes I see the truck - over here please." "Nathaniel stand right there. No - there. No - right there. Good - where's Ben?" "Which camera do I look at?" "Oh no - need some film, hold that pose." and on and on until finally we found our selves waving out the window and pulling away from Northside.

At home Janice followed me in the front door with the video camera and I followed Janice up to the room to place Joelle in her crib. The light was perfect. She is beautiful - a porcelain doll. Well, I think so. I saw that - you smiled.

Click here to see then end portion of the Joelle is born video. If the video does not play you will need to make sure you Quicktime is updated. Mac update click here . Windows update click here.