Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Here's video of Katelyn (and Mommy) opening her present from her cousins.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Parallel lives - random thoughts from Greg

Right after Katelyn was born, I bought letters to put her name on the wall of her room... six months later, today I'm finally painting them and hanging them. It is quite interesting how parenthood changes your time usage.

If you are "long-time" readers of the Herald-Gazette, you'll know that we were NOT fans of "Oh, just wait till the baby comes!" As a matter of fact, I have vowed to NEVER say that to expecting parents. It's just such an unfair statement. Yes, my time management has changed quite a bit since the arrival of our Dukeling, but I absolutely refuse to blame her for adjustments she has precipitated in our schedule. Fact is, we're the ones with earthly responsibility of her existence. If Allison and I had made different choices at certain points in time, we would likely be experiencing a very different life right now. But we love our current one (teething and all).

This weekend, I have been pondering the similarities of parenthood and the pastorate. Both are relatively new to me, and really, surprisingly similar. For example: as a parent, I have to think about my daughter's best interest for the long-term, not just right now. Just because she WANTS to roll off my lap and hit the floor doesn't mean it's a good idea. Similarly, I have to look at the long-term for my church as well. Just because something is "how we've always done it," or someone's "pet project" doesn't mean it is in the best interest of the church to be involved or to endorse it. I have to look at what we want to see happen in the next couple of years, and consider if those things line up. And sometimes people get their cheese moved, and they get mad.

Sometimes, things are just hard. Right now, Katelyn is teething. A very unpleasant experience for her that must be endured. And it hurts. A lot. It is necessary, though. Just think about what it would be like if you didn't have teeth. In a church, we fight a battle that is not of flesh and bone, and the Devil thinks he can convince us that we can't win. His problem, though, is that Christ already won. We now fight the battle to recruit as many more people as possible to the Army. And it's hard. And it can hurt, a lot.

Perhaps the most obvious similarity for me is that I am HIGHLY imperfect at both. I am SO thankful for God's grace in both. God has blessed us that parenthood and the pastorate are well intertwined. Our church has pretty much adopted Katelyn as their own, and we have been blessed beyond measure. I pray that my efforts in both areas will have lasting impacts on the Kingdom of God.
Christ be praised. Peace.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Teething Soothie: Thumbs up!

Katelyn's favorite pacifier has always been the Soothie: the same one they gave out in the hospital. Well, lately she's been chewing on them more often than sucking on them, I guess because she's teething. (As an aside, I don't know how long this teething thing is supposed to go on, but it seems like forever and still no evidence of teeth). So I went online to see the difference between the regular Soothie, which she's been using since she was born, and the Super Soothie, which I saw in the store. They looked exactly the same to me, but the regular Soothie says 0-3 months and the Super Soothie is 3+ months. Although they do look the same, the Super Soothie is thicker, and is designed for babies with teeth. But while I was on Amazon, I also found a product called the Teething Soothie, which is like a Super Soothie, but with bumpy teething edges on the sides. I got all excited and ordered three. They came yesterday, so we opened one up, washed it, and offered it to Katelyn. She immediately started happily chomping away.

This thing is great. It's big and a little heavy, but she can still use it as a pacifier if she wants to. The best thing is that she can hold it and chew on it as much as she likes. Some of the teething rings we've bought are too big and awkward (and cold!) for her to hold herself, we we end up having to to hold then in for her. She can grab and munch on this whenever she wants. It's just the right thickness, too. I think we'll keep one in the freezer for the times when she seems to need something cold.

Just thought I'd share. :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Spittin' Good Time

Well, now that the Dukeling has firmly implanted herself in our lives, we apparently have less time on our hands. So we have been shamefully neglecting the blog. Meanwhile, Katelyn is getting bigger, prettier, and more interesting all the time. When we go out we are often complimented on how what a beautiful baby she is and what nice chunky thighs she has. She's also quite a social little thing and is quite happy to charm just about anyone she meets with a big toothless grin. We acknowledge that we're very blessed to have such a sweet, happy, and content baby, and we are thankful that God knew we needed an easy one to start out with!

Last week, Katelyn learned that blowing raspberries was fun and attention-getting, so she did it all the time. She seems to speak some kind of language that involves lots of spitting and drooling. It's cute, but we'll also be happy whenever she decides to learn to speak English.This week she's doing a little less spitting and is now spending a lot of time sucking on her tongue or lip. Since that's not quite as cute as the raspberries, I'm hoping she gets tired of it pretty quickly. Also, she hasn't rolled over yet (unless you count "Flop," which we don't) but I think she's getting very close. In fact, while I'm writing this she keeps rolling on to her side, so we'll see...maybe it will be soon!

Katelyn has also become a fine traveler. The first trip to New Mexico in June was pretty rocky, but we have made several trips since then, and she has been wonderful. She adapts well to new places and really does well in the car. Something else to be thankful for! We had a really nice trip last weekend when we went to Los Alamos to see Jamie and Melissa and the little Duke cousins.

My brother Jeremy is coming this weekend, to meet Katelyn and celebrate his birthday. We're definitely looking forward to it. It's always fun to see someone new fall under her sweet spell!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Power of Determination

While visiting Grandma and Grandpa's apartment in Albuquerque, Katelyn showed a whole new level of determination.  After spitting out the plug, the following ensued...

I'm thinking she's going to be a tough one to discourage!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Was that a smile?

Katelyn is getting so big! I weighed myself and then weighed myself holding her, and she is over 11 pounds! As I was watching her bat at the toy book hanging from her bouncy chair, I started thinking about all the things she has learned to do since she was born. Considering that it's only been seven weeks, she's got quite a list:

Eat. The first few days, she seemed to think that eating was a major nuisance. After all, before she was born she had been receiving all the nourishment she needed without having to work for it at all. Even after she realized it was necessary, it still took her awhile to get good at it. Now she's very efficient.

Control her eyes. Instead of just blankly staring around, she can now focus on objects and people. I don't know how good she is at tracking or how far she can see, but she definitely seems to enjoy looking at the world around her. Everything seems interesting to her, even ordinary things that most people wouldn't bother looking at.

Move her head. She can definitely turn her head towards interesting objects and people. Her neck is stronger every day, and she can even hold her head steady for a few seconds. She's not quite the bobble-head she was when she was born, but she's still got some work to do in order to completely control that noggin, which gets bigger all the time.

Flop! For a couple of weeks, starting when she was only about three weeks old, she loved playing "Flop" so much that it was dangerous to put her on anyone's chest, because she would immediately start turning herself over. Now that she's put on some weight and her tummy is rounder, "Flop" has gotten harder and she doesn't do it as much. Her new game seems to be "Plug - Unplug."  We call her pacifier her "plug," and at times she thinks it's fun to spit it out, wait for someone to put it back in, and then spit it out again. 

Put her hand in her mouth. She has now discovered that she has fingers, and that they are convenient to suck on when nothing else is available. Most of her arm and leg movements are still totally random, but now she frequently has a damp right hand, because it's been in her mouth.

Suck her tongue. She also found her tongue, and not only sticks it out but sucks on it occasionally. It doesn't seem to provide quite the same enjoyment as her fingers, however.

Coo. Crying is no longer her only form of verbal communication. She makes all kinds of interesting noises when she's playing or hungry. She's always made fun noises in her sleep and when she's eating, but it's fun to see her start to "talk" to toys or people. She is very good at vocalizing when she wants something with a very powerful "EH!"  The trick then for us is to figure out what she actually wants.  Fun stuff.

Smile? In the last week, we have seen a few happy little grins that we hope will be all-out smiles soon. Most of the time she's a fairly content baby, but she will flash a happy little face when she sees her favorite people or toys, or if she's got a full belly and she's playing happily in her crib or playpen.

There are also a few things that I don't think she had to learn, they just come naturally. She's showing signs of becoming a champion belcher, she is very talented at snuggling, and she has a tendency to make people go totally gaga over her. She's a sweet little thing, and we're enjoying her very much!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Enjoying the little things

Over the last few days, I've been receiving a crash course in being a new mommy.  There is so much to do, keep track of, and think about, in addition to all the physical discomfort (wait - make that pain!) that goes along with delivering and nursing a baby.  It can get very overwhelming very quickly.  So, I'm learning to enjoy some "little things" that keep me happy when the bigger things all seem to be crashing in.  In no particular order:

I'm not usually impressed with babies in general, but I sure do think that Katelyn is beautiful and adorable.  Today, she is really sweet.  I am enjoying that.

I am finished with pregnancy, which I didn't enjoy, and labor, which I really hated.  Enough said there.

Greg is quite possibly the most wonderful husband and father ever.  He is so helpful that I've actually only changed maybe three diapers so far.  I am enjoying having him around all day, because soon diapers will be part of my normal routine!

Sleep has become a "little" thing, in terms of quantity.  I am enjoying every little bit I get.

When I do get to sleep, I can sleep on my back.  And I have banished the three extra pillows that were a requirement for the last few months.  What a relief!

I can eat pastrami sandwiches.  And the Subway BMT.  And very nearly anything else I want.

With Mom here this week, I have not had to worry about cooking, cleaning, or shopping.  That's a pretty sweet deal.

I can lean over the sink when I brush my teeth, and not drool toothpaste on my belly.  I can also see my feet without leaning over.

And one not-little, very important thing: even when I'm not sure whether I'm doing anything right; when Katelyn would rather sleep than eat and waking her up is a half-hour chore, while keeping her awake while eating is another forty-five minutes or so; and when I wonder if I should really go to sleep or keep watching her to make sure she's still breathing, I can remember what Greg told me a few nights ago.  God is watching her.  And He loves her even more than we do.  That's definitely something to enjoy.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Parenthood: Day 1

Well, here we are.  Katelyn seems to be sleeping off the effects of Mom's painkillers.

Yesterday was quite a day. Allison woke up with a contraction at 5:30 a.m. I woke up about 6:30, and her first words were "I think I'm having a baby today."  Needless to say, my morning cobwebs disappeared pretty quickly.  I spent the first hour of awake-ness keeping track of times and lengths.  By the time 8:30 rolled around, contractions were becoming exponentially closer together.  Allison called the doctor and his nurse said "Wait till they're closer together."  Well, that lasted about 10 minutes.  By 9:12, we were in the van, on the way to the hospital.  When we got to the entrance, she was having a contraction; this TOTALLY freaked out the little old lady at the desk.  She called upstairs, while we just took the elevator up.  By the time we got to the maternity ward, the charge nurse was running down the hall thinking the baby was falling out or something (but very pleased that it wasn't).

They put Allison on the monitor at 9:40, and checked her at 4cm.  When the doctor came in about half an hour later, she was at 6cm, and he broke the water.  He said then, "I don't think you're going to be pregnant very long."

There are moments in life when I, once again, realize that I'm married to an amazing and remarkable woman.  It was just awesome to see her handle this ordeal.  Things happened so quickly that she had no chance to even really think about an epidural (though there were IV meds).  Even the nurses were amazed as they watched her go through it.  At 12:43, only 4 hours after the "big ones" started, we had ourselves a cute, smelly, screaming little girl.  I did cut the cord, but in the chaos almost didn't even realize it was for real!
I got to hold Katelyn for a while while they got Allison re-situated.

After that, I took her down for the official stuff (vaccinations, shots, footprints), and watched her first bath (which she was highly unimpressed with).  The pediatrician came in and confirmed that everything was good, and a little while later they moved Allison out of the delivery room to the nursery room.  We really like that the hospital lets babies stay in the room with Mom, but will take her to the big nursery if Mom's worn out.  (that won't happen much longer!)

I went home to feed our furry friends, and came back this morning with Mom's long-desired pastrami sandwich.  Things are going well.  Katelyn is learning this eating thing, and Allison is quite happy to have room for food again.  She devoured that sandwich!

As I sit in the room with my two girls sleeping, I'm thankful for a very smooth pregnancy and delivery.  Though Allison didn't enjoy being pregnant, she had no significant health issues at all; and while delivery was still highly unpleasant, there were almost no problems whatsoever. To think that just over 24 hours ago that wiggling mass of blankets was still inside her mother is quite amazing.  We are thankful for God's unending blessings in Christ.  I think of how all we know was created through Christ, the Word in flesh, God the Son.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:1-5 NASB 

We know that God has been preparing us for this for a long time, and yet we still feel totally unworthy and unprepared.  I pray that my daughter will one day accept Christ as her Savior and Lord, and that our testimony will strengthen her faith in Him.  Thank you for your prayers, love, and endless Facebook comments.  We are blessed.

The Dukes of Snukeville

Friday, April 30, 2010

Big News!

Katelyn Ashley Duke
Born April 30, 2010 at 12:43 p.m.
6 lbs. 11 oz, 19 inches

Monday, April 19, 2010

Full term...and counting

Just in case anyone was wondering what's going on in Snukeville...not a whole lot.  I am now at 38 weeks and have official permission from my doctor to go ahead and have this baby anytime, but seeing as how none of has any control over when that event might be, I guess we still have to wait.  Meanwhile, Dukelingland is taking shape but still looks like a disaster area thanks to all the cans of paint on the floor.  Hopefully the fishes will be painted and the cans of paint removed before the Dukeling makes it's debut, but if not, oh well.  I am posting a picture of the current progress on that, just in case anyone is curious. we wait.  I am more grumpy and miserable all the time, but other than that, things seem to be going well.  The Snukeville Herald-Gazette will have an exclusive announcement once the Dukeling arrives.  In the meantime, if you haven't seen said announcement, you may safely assume the Dukeling is still doing its thing, hanging out and growing but not yet making an appearance in the world.  And in case you're wondering: we still have not opened the envelope (actually, I think we lost it again), and the yellow and blue walls are not an indication that we know the baby's gender.  We just really like yellow and blue.  In fact, we bought two little "coming home" outfits: one if it's a boy, and one if it's a girl, and the girl outfit is yellow and blue.  So there.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Our New Arrival!

Our new baby!
Originally uploaded by gfunkdukeofsnuke
After a LONG and DIFFICULT delivery, we are proud to announce our first child! For all the details and a GREAT picture, click the "Our New Baby" link!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

and that's a true story

We were in the doctor's office today, and I told Dr. Castelli that I would not be on his end of the delivery.  He proceeded to tell me he didn't deliver his own child... that was "work" for him... he had no intention of thinking of his wife that way.

We have an awesome doctor.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Things Dad is learning (mainly about paint)

blue covers lime green better than yellow
no matter how hard you try, you always dribble a little (and least I haven't dumped a can yet)
this yellow is VERY bright.
despite my greatest efforts otherwise, I'm actually improving at painting.

this kid better love this room!  ;-)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Not so mellow yellow...

Here's the first coat, covering the hideous lime green (though I know that most of you will likely think yellow to be just as hideous). The picture doesn't show the green really well, but you can really see the yellow!  Really, it's great for the little room... there are only two small windows, so it is pretty dark in there.  The yellow adds a good brightness, I think.

"Just wait until the baby gets here..."

Why do people say that?  If we had a penny for every time we say something and someone responds with, "Oh, but just wait until the baby gets here..." usually followed some statement of gleeful doom, we could probably keep the Dukeling in diapers for a month.  We have been quite emphatic in our declarations that we're clueless about babies.  I don't think we really need constant reminders of how much our lives will change once we go from being a couple to being three...or maybe someday more.  I will say one thing: hearing those words never makes me feel any more comfortable about this impending change (which looms closer every day).  If anything, it just makes me that much more terrified.  And it really doesn't help when it's followed by some platitude like, "Oh but don't worry, you'll be a great mother" or "But it's so worth it!"  Here is a truth about life: If you're about to say something that will have to be immediately followed with something else to make that thing sound better, or less horrifying, or irritating, or mean-spirited...just consider not saying anything at all.  We will find out all too soon what will happen "when the baby comes."  Don't spoil the surprise!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Let her eat cake!

So last night at about 9:00, I was working on finishing an assignment for my oh-so-exciting Digital Imaging class, and I started thinking about cake.  Then I couldn't stop thinking about cake.  Poor Greg wanted to help but we had just ran out of eggs, one of the essential ingredients for cake.  I somehow managed to finish my assignment and turn it in - only a day late this week - and then fully turned my attention to cake.  Greg called our local King Soopers, which actually sells single pieces of cake (they even come with mini sporks!), and found out that they don't close until midnight.  So there we were, headed to the grocery store for at 10:00 pm for a slice of cake, a dozen eggs, some flavored carbonated water, and treats for Lucy and Rusty, who went along for the ride.  Ah, the joys of pregnancy.  Kudos to my wonderful, understanding husband, the Duke of Snuke.

Monday, March 1, 2010

the full moon

Dukeling's due date: April 30
Full moon: April 28


Sunday, February 28, 2010

No Pictures, Please!

I am not a fan of pregnant belly profile pictures, which explains why you have not seen, and will not see, any of me.  I would really prefer not to put pictures of myself out there that will only lead to comments about my size relative to so-and-so, or other comments that make me uncomfortable.  It has nothing to do with body image.  I'm really not worried about my size at all.  In fact, my doctor declared this week that my size and weight are both, "good," so I'm perfectly happy to take his word for it.  I just don't think I'm very photogenic, which is why I don't change my profile pictures very often.  There aren't that many pictures of me out there that I intentionally want to use to identify myself.  I also don't think I'm "cute" or "glowing," and I'm really not sure what people mean when they say either of those things.  So, I have not been, nor will I be presenting myself for an unflattering photo every few weeks, and then posting that photo for friends, relatives, and friends of friends and relatives to see.  I am not against posting pictures taken with family or friends or at some special occasion, because those are actually meaningful beyond, "Hey, look at how big I am this week!"  I hope I don't sound critical of those who do enjoy taking (and seeing) belly pictures.  It's just not something I am choosing to do, and I really don't believe I'll regret not doing it.

On a related note, please don't expect to see many pictures of me in the hospital after the Dukeling is born.  By that point, I will be more than happy to pass the spotlight on.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Seriously, though...

those videos are disgusting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some questions that we commonly hear regarding the Dukeling:

When is the baby due?
We have heard both April 30 and May 2

Is it a boy or a girl?
We don't know. We decided it's more fun not to know.  Plus, since we don't know anything about babies anyway, it doesn't seem to matter much.  So we're looking forward to the surprise!

Are you registered anywhere?
We are registered at Target, but since we're clueless, there are probably things we need that we didn't register for.

What do you still need?
Again, because we're clueless, we really don't know.  We are not refusing any gifts at this time (although we're not expecting them either, so no pressure)

If you have a question that is not answered here, please leave it as a comment.  We just might answer it! :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

"So... how are you feeling?"

As most of you know, we've waited a long time for baby #1, most of which has been our own choice.  When we first got married, our greatest fear was having a baby in the first year. I remember making it through month three and breathing a sigh of relief!  Then, we made it through college for Allison, and me for seminary.  Only when I turned 30 did I start to realize that if we didn't get started soon, I'd be in the nursing home by high school graduation.  Now, in our tenth year of marriage, here we are... two months (or so) from parenthood.  So... how am I feeling?  TERRIFIED!

Don't get me wrong... I love kids.  Remember, I taught music nine+ years, and the most fun for me was the relationships with students and fellow teachers (well, most of the time!).  But I've ALWAYS been scared of babies.  I mean, their necks don't even work!  And they POOP in their PANTS! GROSS!  However, I do realize that only in the most extreme circumstances is that a permanent feature, and eventually these little wiggleworms do grow to be little boys and girls, which become young men and women.  It's just been the baby thing that's terrified me.

I know that I'm weird, but one of the most frustrating things to me is when people say to me, "OOOOOOOHHHHHHH, but you'll LLLLLOVE it!"  I think it frustrates me because I'm not really a "feeler".  Well, actually, neither me or Allison really are.  I know I'll LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOVEEEEE my child, just like I LOOOOOOOOOOOVEEEEEEEEEE my wife, but I'm just not the gushy type.  Love is more an action for me than a feeling.  As the old DC Talk song proclaims... "Luv is a verb!"

Now, you gushy types out there (and you know who you are), PLEASE don't take this personally.  It's just me (and us).  I figured out a long time ago that I'm definitely in the minority on this "feelings" thing.  Most people are much more emotional than I am (and that is, more than likely, a HUGE understatement). Since I got over the crying fits of my youth, I've always been pretty much on an even keel emotionally.  One of the things I ask of all who read this, though is PLEASE, don't tell us how we're going to feel.  That really frustrates us.  I already know I love my child, and we will love it more and differently than anyone we have ever loved before.  But please, let us figure it out, and don't try to read into our responses.

Allison put in the info that much of what we will share will be "tongue-in-cheek."  We joke about a lot of things, simply because we don't take OURSELVES that seriously.  And that makes our lives a lot more fun together.  Actually, the main reason we haven't found out the gender early is that we think it's a lot more fun that way.

We're looking forward to the new adventure we're already on together.  We laugh all the time about the crazy things Dukeling does.  For the record, I think it's a boy... but we'll find out soon enough.
Thanks for your love and prayers.  Pray for us on our new adventure.  And yes, we are scared out of our wits.

Introducing The Snukeville Herald-Gazette

Since the announcement that the Dukeling is on its way, there has been a sudden flood of interest in the Dukes as a family.  This blog is an attempt to stem that tide by providing an occasionally serious, often tongue-in-cheek chronicle of the happenings in Snukeville.  Greg and Allison will be the most frequent authors, as we do not expect the Dukeling to add its commentary for several years yet.  Feel free to log in frequently, view the posts, and comment...or not.