Thundercats are Go!

Well, parenthood has just dealt me another solid blow, and Karli and I are now outnumbered. Luke Douglas Hurren was born yesterday at 12:15 pm. Mom and baby are both great and now home resting. For most people, it will be enough to know that the baby is here and healthy, but some people (women) always want to know the gory details, so here they are:

It all started on Friday afternoon, when Karli managed to convince her doctor to induce labor on Sunday. She was so excited to finally have the end in sight. Dr. Nance told us to call over to the hospital first thing Sunday morning and see if we could get in. We were expecting it to be packed over there, it being the end of the year and all, but when Karli called at 5:40 Sunday morning, they told us to come right in. She woke me up and I got showered and packed while we waited for my Mom to come over to watch the kids. We left the house at 6:10 and I sped over to UVRMC, telling Karli that she would have to start screaming in pain if we got pulled over.

By 7:30 Karli was admitted and hooked up to her I.V. after only the third poke (pretty good for her veins), and they started her on Oxytocin at 7:50 to get the labor going. I went downstairs to eat some breakfast, thinking everything would be pretty peaceful for a while, but while I was gone Dr. Nance came and broke Karli’s water. By 9:10 Karli was dilated to 4 cm and having contractions 2 minutes apart. They were pretty painful but she toughed them out very well. At 10:20 an awkward, older couple came by and offered us the sacrament. At 11:00 Karli’s brother Kyle & his wife, Mindy, came to visit for a few minutes, and Karli’s sister, Kara, came to help coach. As soon as Kyle & Mindy left, Karli’s contractions started coming hard and fast, about a minute apart with little rest in between. By 11:30 she had enough and asked for an epidural, which came about 5 minutes later. Then things got a little more peaceful as the drugs kicked in. At 12:05 the nurse checked and Karli was dilated to 8 cm. 5 minutes later she was completely dilated, effaced and ready to start pushing. Dr. Nance came in, set the table up for delivery & told Karli to start pushing. One contraction later the head was out and the baby started crying. 5 seconds later the rest of him was out and I got to cut the cord.

(Men can start reading again here)

The baby weighed in at 6 lbs 10 oz and was 18″ tall. Pretty scrawny, but cute, if alien monkeys can be called cute (you can check out the photos on my flickr account in the right sidebar to judge for yourself). We hadn’t decided yet on a name, but as soon as I saw the little guy I thought he was a Luke. Karli later agreed and we gave him the middle name of Douglas, after my Dad. Karli’s Mom was nice enough to point out that if we have a girl and name her Sky, we will have Luke, Sky & Walker. Porter would be all over that.

All in all it was a great experience. I’m somewhat excited, a little overwhelmed and very happy.


Happy Christmas

So, another Christmas has come and gone.  Despite all my previous bitching about the holiday, we sure had fun the last couple of days.  The boys had predictable, but very funny reactions when they came out this morning.  Porter went straight for the Star Wars toys and Walker went straight for the bag of Swedish fish, or as he calls them, ‘fithee thweetth’.  Then, they went on to a few more toys and the crowning presents of toy pirate ships.  Porter’s Black Pearl ship took me an hour to put together, then it was off to Grandma’s house for breakfast and more presents.  There, Walker got his best gift, a Harley-Davidson big-wheel that makes motorcycle noises.  Needless to say, he was in heaven.  Porter got a camera, which he totally loved, but his favorite gift was, of course, more Star Wars toys from uncle Jeremy.  Karli got a new camera and I got a ladder and a new printer, among some other things.  I also got my best surprise gift from Karli: a huge glass mug.  Now I can support my Mountain Dew habit in style!  After presents we watched some movies with the boys and let them play with their new toys while the adults snacked and played Settlers.  I was happy to finally get home this evening, clean up the mound of garbage, put the kids to bed and set up my new printer.  All in all, it was a pretty great day.  Again, the mood was summed up by Walker on the way home.  After loading up all the presents and turning on Shrek for the boys to watch, Karli spent about 2 minutes recapping all the fun things that had happened today, and finally asked the boys, ‘Wasn’t that so much fun?’  The only response from the back seat was from Walker: ‘I can’t hear!’  You gotta love the ungrateful little buggers.

ps Here’s a copy of our yearly Christmas letter for anyone who may not have received one.  (I totally sent it to you, I swear.  It must be in your email’s junk box.)


What’s worse than trying to herd cats?

Taking my 2-year old and, now 4-year old, bowling, that’s what.  I hope Porter had a fun birthday, because I feel like I’ve just finished the running of the bulls in Pamplona, and then been hit by a truck for good measure.  What a night!  I’m still amazed that among the 5 little boys, ages 5, 4, 3, 2 & 1, nobody broke any fingers or toes.  Between chasing down Walker, who thought it the height of hilarity to run in front of the people next to us as they were about to bowl, and getting Porter, who was giggling at the feel of the finger-dryer fan blowing up his shirt, to climb down off the ball return before having his fingers mashed to a bloody pulp, I actually managed to bowl a 133, which is pretty good for me.  Taking into account the one frame I flubbed because as I was about to let loose, our whole party yelled at Walker and I turned to see him falling on his can halfway down someone else’s lane, causing my ball to veer wildly in the wrong direction, I could have done even better.  So I guess the party was a success.  The mood of the evening was all summed up for me on the ride home when Porter says to Walker in the back seat, ‘En garde,’ and Walker shouts back, ‘No!  I’m guard!’  I can’t wait for teenagers.

Merry Freaking Christmas

I’ve been thinking the last week or two that I really need to write something here, but I just haven’t had anything to say.  Then I got to thinking back to my days as an editor of our high school newspaper, when I loved writing snarky editorials, bitching about this thing or that thing that I just absolutely couldn’t stand.  I thought I was being funny, and a few people kept encouraging me, so I kept doing it.  There were probably more people that thought I was a self-righteous wanker, but screw them.  If you’re one of those people that can’t stand a good, hard-core, get-things-off-your-chest-that-have-been-grating-on-you-for-years rant, then I invite you to stop reading now.  Otherwise, let the bitching begin.

Can I just say that I hate Christmas?  It’s true.  I really don’t like Christmas.  Hopefully nobody is gasping right now, because those people should have stopped reading during the last paragraph.  But there are probably a few thrill-seekers out there who kept reading anyway, in spite of the warning, who are now spluttering, “who doesn’t like Christmas?  What are you, a communist?  What about the cute little baby Jesus in the manger and all the joyous children opening presents and the sugarplums?”  If that’s you, seriously, stop reading.

Now, the idea of Christmas I don’t find too terrible.  One day a year we celebrate the birth of Jesus and give presents to our loved ones.  That’s not a bad concept, even though Jesus was actually born in the spring and we only celebrate in December because the early Christians were trying to unpaganize themselves.  Still, not a bad deal.  But where has Christmas gone from there?  It has somehow morphed from a small, yet meaningful holiday into a gigantic gluttonous orgy of commercialism and waste, known as ‘The Christmas Season.’  Let’s walk through some of the things the ‘Christmas Season’ means to me.

First of all there is Santa Claus.  We tell our children that there is a magical being that lives in a remote, unreachable place that somehow can see all our actions, judge us, reward our good deeds with gifts and punish our bad deeds.  Eventually our children catch on that we were blowing smoke all this time, which may or may not come in a very traumatic way, but the real problem I have is this: while we are deliberately lying to our children during their highly formative years about Santa Claus, we are also teaching them about God, another magical being that lives in a remote, unreachable place that somehow can see all our actions, judge us, reward our good deeds with gifts and punish our bad deeds.  “But this one really does exist, not like that other one we made up.”  No wonder we have so many psychiatrists, not to mention liquor stores.

Next, there’s the presents.  I think giving gifts is a good idea, but come on.  Do we really need to rack up a mountain of credit card debt just to meet the expectations that advertising agencies have drilled into our 2-year olds?  Do we really need to buy old college roommates gifts, just because we feel guilty that they bought us a gift and we couldn’t possibly not return the favor with something of equal or greater value, lest we appear chintzy?  I’m hoping for a large Christmas bonus this year, not so I can buy anything special for my family, but just to float the bills I’ve already incurred.  I know I’m a tightfisted bastard, but it just seems like too much to me.

Now the thing I really can’t stand: Decorations.  What a waste of time and money!  Every year, earlier and earlier, we lug down the boxes and boxes of decorations from the attic, spend countless hours setting everything up, all the while listening to our Kenny G or Celine Dion Christmas CDs that are too awful to stomach the rest of the year.  Then we get to climb up on roofs and into trees to set up the thousands of Christmas lights, hoping we don’t fall and kill ourselves, just to watch our electricity meters start marching double-time to Mannheim Steamroller’s ‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’  This is assuming we’re not one of those rich jerks with a big enough yard and pocket book to actually hire a professional company to do all this decorating for us.  If only my Christmas bonus was big enough to afford some real holiday cheer!

I assume nobody is left reading this post by now, except maybe my wife, who knows me better than anyone but probably still can’t believe what a jerk she married.  Hi, honey.  If anybody else is still reading, thanks for letting me get out my old-school, crazy rant, and I wish you all a Merry Freaking Christmas!