Sunday, December 28, 2008

Embarrassing Stop In Limon, CO

The above video, while taken before the time of writing, illustrates both how I have apparently pronounced my gait AND how our girls don't miss anything. I mean ANYTHING.


We stopped for lunch at the McD's in Limon. And, given the little procedure I had recently endured, I was medically prohibited from carrying/lifting/holding/throwing/catching any or all three girls. This is a point that I cannot stress enough. Again, just to be clear, I was on doctor's orders and told that in "no uncertain terms" may I ever lift any weight, including luggage and heavy diapers. Funny, skiing would be fine.

This left the entire job to Elise. Which is no big woop for my dainty bride. She got out the stroller for Hadley and saddled her in. Then, one at a time, she unbuckled Mia and Bri and - like a Russian Babooshka - swooped up one 20+ pounder in her right arm, another in her left, and stridently walked into the busy restaurant.

I followed sheepishly behind, pushing Hadley in her little lightweight stroller. With both hands.

I could feel the penetration of eyes from every direction the second I entered. The jaws of Moms everywhere gaped in rage as the Dads wore an expression of both curiosity and, well, awe. I was simply embarrassed. Pushing the stroller to our table felt like walking the green mile.

So I began to limp.

Gave it a bit more flair. I tossed in a wince on every 3rd step and widened my gait. I tried to make pushing the stroller seem like it was, in its own right, a manly feat. But all my drama did little to simmer the stares.

I've tried to recall a time that I've felt like such a puny man. And then I remembered the first time I met "Papa", Elise's grandfather. He arrived at the Cheesecake Factory looking every bit of his 80+ years. When we were introduced, I kindly extended my hand for a shake - thinking at the time that my grip struck just the right balance of confidence and, yet, sensitivity.

It was only after Elise and I were married that I learned Papa was horribly worried for his granddaughter. Turned out that he was of the generation that judged an entire man's character through one shake of the hand. I apparently had a few things against me: (1) I was from California (2) I had never served in the military and (3) I was a pastor with a sensitive handshake.

Consequently, he summarily determined me to be a weak man.

How was I to know that this man was a decorated war hero? That he had broken his back crashing his plane and lived? I mean, how does one shake an elderly man's hand? Apparently, not kindly...

Ever since that dreadful handshake, I always felt like a small man around him. A very small man. One not to be trusted. Worse still, everyone in Elise's family knew it. Word spread like wildfire, "Papa doesn't approve of Dan!" They'd whisper.
"Why?" they'd ask.
"He didn't like Dan's grip!"
"Uh oh," they'd say, covering their mouths.
"I know," they'd reply, making knowing eyes.

Talk about a death sentence.

Things like this can really get in your head. I never knew how to shake his hand after that. It was like I was stuck in my own personal Seinfeld episode - fearing that I would over-compensate and break the poor man's hand. Then I'd get arrested for abuse of the elderly. Maybe court marshalled. The AARP would leave death threats. I'd have to go on Dr. Phil just to tell my side of things.

Anyhow, this is what happens when you feel like a little man. Or, perhaps, it shows the strength of a man to endure such moments, to rise above, to walk proudly through a McDonald's chin up, to extend whatever rehabilitating hand one has to offer.

Hadley the Koala

It's fun to see some personality in Hadley. I'm now starting to call her "My Little Koala" or, less often, "My Little Sea Anemone." This is because, when you touch her face, she wraps both her arms and legs around your hand, smiles wide, and won't let go.

She's now giggling too. Elise found that nothing thrills her more than throwing a few punches at your chin.

It's pretty neat to see the differences among the girls: Mia blew you rasberries (at 11 months), Bri wanted to be thrown anywhere, and Hadley is all about touch. Which, of course, could be due to the fact that you always want what you can't have.

Sisterhood of Traveling Car Seats

We had an unbelievable journey to Winter Park. Our girls are stud travelers! I'm buying them a Euro-rail pass right now, because they were born for this thing.

We made it in under 12 hours - which included just 3 stops (not including a rest area stop for the two of us NOT in diapers): A McDonald's in Hays, a McDonald's in Limon, and a Starbucks at the base of the Rockies. The DVD didn't get even introduced until Colorado.

Of course, my wife deserves all the credit. She had this traveling gig down to a science. The dear soul stayed up until 12:30 AM to pack the van while I slept. When we pulled out of the garage at 4:06 AM that morning, everything had its place, there was an "in-door changing station", packed meals, and toys all within proper reach. When we did stop, we fed and changed the girls in the van and let them climb around while Elise nursed Hadley.

My only contribution, which I'm rather proud of, was to feed Mia and Bri by tearing off a piece of their food and dropping it in their bib. They quickly figured out that all they had to do was to reach down and pluck out a bite. No plates, no mats...just bibs used for holding AND catching. Genius, really.

We now have a new-found confidence for our trip to Cali this summer.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Big Road Trip

It's 3:52 AM, Friday, December 26th...and we are about to head out to Winter Park, Colorado.
3 girls, one van, 12 hours.
Come on DVD player, come on. Work it.
Your prayers are needed.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas - New Entries Added...

This time last year, I was married. I also had one daughter, Brianna, who was completely manageable. She could barely sit up and she loved her boppy. We had two dogs and they took daily walks. We went places, we were mobile, we ate out - as evidenced here by Brianna's first In 'n' Out Burger back in November '07.

And now?

Merry Christmas 2008 from Elise, Hadley, Mia, Dan, and Brianna.

Below are some visual milestones of the last year:

January 22nd - Gotcha Day! I went to China to bring home our eldest daughter, Mia Grace.

February - Big Month

1st: Elise met her oldest daughter for the first time. We call this "love is patient!"

2nd: Mia and Bri become friends

3rd: Elise starts to feel sick, takes Z-pack
5th: Elise still feels sick, blames the doctor.
7th: Elise feels especially bad in the morning.
9th: Elise finds out she's pregnant, then passes out.
21st: we celebrated Elise's bday by driving to hospital

* March - May: an epoch of time I affectionately call "The Dark Days". Elise threw up daily, the girls learned to walk, and the free church meals expired.

* March: Mia had a staph infection in her right ear and was hospitalized for 3 days.

10 days later, we celebrated her first birthday! We also were able to miraculously purchase our church's new facility!

* April: doublebaths - twice as long. We also introduced our lettering system to tell them apart.

* May: Elise and I celebrated our 5th anniversary on the 10th. On the 11th, Mia and Brianna were dedicated to the Lord by the Brawners. Their friend Eva was also dedicated - why she got a rose, we'll never know. On the 12th, we celebrated my birthday (I think).

* June: the girls learned the art of staying cool. Also, our church did the neatest thing - for 4 weeks, we became a church with two other churches in town and called it "What if the Church..." We served together, worshipped together, and pulpit-swapped.

Mia also had her 2nd ear surgery.

* July: we took our first "real" family vacation to a dude ranch in Arizona. Elise had a blast. Six months pregnant, no electricity, two girls under 16 months, and mice.

I fell off "Turk" but had a sermon illustration.

We also celebrated

Bri's first birthday!

* August: we celebrated our annual baptism at Kill Creek Park. 88 people went down into the waters, declaring their faith in Jesus. Nothing like it. I also mooched some killer bbq from the various hcc tailgaters. Pastorperks.

Bower also had surgery on his left knee. Poor guy got accidentally kicked down the stairs and his knee kept popping out of joint.

September: we went on our last date.

* October: the global economy tanked AND Hadley Barton Deeble was born. Butde and Papa came for 6 weeks and built us a new house.

Oct. 20th: Bri also fell facedown on the bathroom tile. Her forehead popped right open like a melon, it looked like she had two pair of lips - one on her mouth, the other on the upper left side of her head. Children's Mercy glued her up just fine.

October 21st: Mia received her official U.S. citizenship papers!!!

* November: Mia got glasses, now making Sarah Pallin look like a fuddyduddy.

We went to Elise's parents for Thanksgiving, prompting her siblings to take birth control a bit more seriously.

* December: our girls can't wait to open their wrappings and boxes so they can play with their wrappings and boxes.

Also, we finally finished "baby-proofing" our house - myself included. I had a vasectomy on Friday, taking one for the team.

Merry Christmas Dear Friends!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Under Cover...

The girls are almost ready to lose their cribs. Whatever sanity we may have left is about to vanish.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tummy Time with Mia

Tummy time for Hadley at the Deeble household is an event. I can't just leave Hadley on the floor to have tummy time for fear of her life. So I have to sit beside her. So most of the time I sit beside her and praise her. She of course hates tummy time just like her older sister Bri.

One thing that has made me a little sad is that we have missed some of these milestones with Mia. Well not tummy time. The last three times that we had done tummy time, the minute I picked Hadley up from her blanket Mia would go get on the blanket and imitate Hadley. Yesterday she got on the floor right beside Hadley and laid there on her belly and lifted her head and legs. It was the most hilarious thing. Mia then decided that her baby and Bri's baby also had to do tummy time and then before I knew it Brianna also joined. It was a sight to behold. I kept wishing that I had a camera. But I of course could not leave Hadley on the floor with the girls to go get it.
The first shot below is not a good one but the only one that I could get of Mia doing tummy time. After Hadley's tummy time session yesterday, I flipped her over onto her back and Mia got down on the floor right next to her like you will see in the second picture. Brianna was place there for the pic.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Deeble Christmas Tree Chronology

Christmas 2003
Our First Christmas

Christmas 2004

Keiffer Gets a Stocking

Christmas 2005

Daddy's First Ornament to Mia

Our Wait for Mia Begins

Christmas 2006

The Glory Years for Keiffer & Bower

Christmas 2007

Brianna's First Christmas

Mia's First Christmas in China

Christmas 2008

Full Mantel

Full Life

Look What is Under the Tree!

No More Room on the Mantel