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Wide White: February 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Think before you forward

I received an email forward recently that baffled me.

The email read:
Sign along the road in northern Kenya near the Saudi-Arabian border!!

First, I realize that not everyone does well with geography, but not only does Kenya not border Saudi Arabia, they aren't even on the same continent!!

Second, if you know anything about Kenya, you'd know that their major languages are English and Swahili. This appears to be Arabic script. I'm assuming the person who put this together correlates everything Arabic with Islam, Islam with Obama, and probably a little terrorism connection sprinkled in somewhere. Because Obama is trying to terrorize our nation, right?

Not that I needed to know, but I decided to look this up online, curious to know more about this epic failure being perpetrated as fact. I was able to find the original picture - taken in Oman - that was clearly photoshopped:

Partisan ignorance is alive and well...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Carson and Keira caught on camera

Family and friends have asked for pictures and videos of the twins. Rather than clutter everyone's RSS feeds with numerous posts, I thought I'd throw a number of the videos in one post here. Watch if you want or move along.

I'll do what I can to keep up with Wide White, but if posts are ever sparse around here and you wonder why, just come back to this post and hit play.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Welcoming my kids into the world

I haven't kept up with developing new blog material very well and with the kids in the house now, I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that my priorities have changed.

So, for those who keep coming back looking for new material, here are some of our first moments with the twins. At this point, Carson was an hour and fifteen minutes old and Keira was 33 minutes old.

(If you have problems viewing the embedded video, you can view it on YouTube by clicking here.)

I think those were also our first drinks after they were born...nothing like a Sprite/cranberry juice mix!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dad for a week (with the pictures to prove it)

I've been a dad for a week now and it just gets better every day. (I only added "with the pictures to prove it" to the title so more people would actually take a look at this post, though I did add a few pictures. Photos just seem to draw people in far better than anything I spew.)

Yesterday was my first day back in the office and my coworkers asked how I'd been sleeping. I said it wasn't bad. I had 7 hours the night before, don't really wake up to the crying, and can't do much to stop the crying anyway, given my milklessness. Plus, my sister-in-law had pulled the night shift the night before.

Well, last night was different. There was no sister-in-law pulling a night shift. My sister who's living with us had to get up early to drive to Eau Claire. I wasn't asking her to stay up late with the kids since I can sleep on a bus on my way to work.

So, I got night shift duties (until 2 AM anyway) and less than 5 hours of sleep.

And I'm still loving it! I'm waiting for the newness to go away. I feel like one of these days "reality" will set in and it will be a chore to go home and see them. But I hope not. I'd be more than happy if this was my permanent reality.

For those looking for more pictures than what I posted last week, I put an album on Facebook that you can view here as long as you have a Facebook username and password. I'll try to get some up on another site like Picasa or Flickr at some point for the non-Facebookers out there. Until then, here are a few that we've taken over the last week.

A kiss from Mama to Carson.

Sweet Keira. (Mom was really digging the floral pattern in those hospital nursing gowns...)

Carson makes many faces and apparently blows bubbles too.

Carson and Mom.

Keira, content as usual.

This is typical: Keira is chilling and Carson has mischief written all over him.

This is what happens when it's early in the morning and Jamie asks me to take Keira for a minute so she can take care of Carson.

Carson's first bath at home. He loves to lap at the water when the droplets spray onto his mouth.

My first day back at work, working from home.

Keira, deep in thought. Her Aunt Jessy took this as she was pulling a night shift for us.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Proud Papa!

Last night I became a father. Carson Isaac was born at 9:18 PM at 20 inches long and 6 pounds, 12 ounces. Keira Faith was born at 10:00 PM at 21 inches long and 7 pounds, 5 ounces.

I can't quite put into words how proud I am of my wife and children.

For those interested in trying to appreciate this a little more, I'll try to summarize the events of the last week for us.

We hit 38 weeks with the pregnancy last Thursday (a week ago yesterday). Most doctors don't like to let twins cook for longer than 38 weeks. The average twin birth goes to ~36 weeks. Our doctor and midwives scheduled an induction for Wednesday, 2/10.

We didn't want to do the induction. Twins can and do go to 39, 40, and in rare cases even 41 weeks. We were able to get an appointment with our care provider on Tuesday to discuss it further, as our preference has been to try to allow things to progress as naturally as possible.

The appointment (along with our own scientific Google research ;) ) helped convince us that trying to get these kids out in the 38th week was better than letting them cook much longer. So, on Wednesday morning we went into the hospital for the induction.

To make a pretty long story about Wednesday short, Jamie was hooked up on pitocin all day but saw no progress and we went home at 5:30. We were a bit dejected since we had been told at our Tuesday appointment that things really should move quickly since Jamie's body was ready to have these kids. (She had been dilated to 2-3 cm and 80% effaced for a few weeks.)

We were told we should be able to come back to the hospital Thursday morning to try again, this time with them breaking her water in addition to the pitocin to try to encourage labor.

We called the hospital at 6:00 AM yesterday to see what time we should come in for the induction. The hospital was too busy to take us and we were told to call back in 2 hours. We called at 8:00. They were still too busy and we were told we would get a call if they had room. We started preparing to have to wait until next week to go in again for the induction.

This was really getting a bit frustrating. Yesterday marked the beginning of our 39th week. The risk of problems with twin pregnancies increase significantly into and beyond the 39th week. There are reasonable medical arguments about this that go either way, but the fact is, the statistical bell curve of problems is on the way down by this point. We didn't want to wait much longer.

We got a call at 9:45 saying that we could come in at 11:00. We were really excited!

We arrived at the hospital at 11:15 and got the pitocin drip going by around 12:30. The midwife broke Jamie's water at 1:45 and by early evening labor had finally begun.

I won't go into detail on the labor itself. I'll simply say that my wife was phenomenal. I couldn't be more proud of how well she did! She had nothing to prove to any of us but still, she made it the whole way through without an epidural or any other pain medication!

Between the lack of pain medication, Jamie's composure, and how well labor progressed, our attending nurse said that after 14 years on the job, this was the best twins delivery she'd ever had. I figured that vote of confidence - along with the subsequent nurses who have expressed surprise and admiration after hearing of how it went - had to count for something!

I suppose there are a number of reasons things went so well. Our support group was phenomenal. We couldn't have asked for a better nurse, midwife, doula (thank you Kara Jo!), doctor, etc. As previously stated, Jamie was phenomenal. Her focus, concentration and determination were impeccable. She worked so hard to prepare her mind and body for this before and during the pregnancy. She was ready and it showed. And we prayed numerous times together throughout the day. I think we had some peace because of that and were able to just let go of our anxiety in a way that we hadn't quite done on Wednesday. In that sense, I think the long, drawn out experience of having to go in Wednesday and then come back the next day was beneficial for us.

I think Carson and Keira are about as pretty as a baby can come. Well, close to it. I realize that parents are biased and maybe I am. I guess I'm okay with that.

Carson is on the left, Keira is on the right. I love this picture! I call it The Wink. ;)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Super Bowl halftime show patterns

I hate the Super Bowl halftime shows. Okay, "hate" may be a bit strong, but I feel like the NFL has this great opportunity to entertain America and they consistently blow it.

We have the infamous 2004 "wardrobe malfunction" to thank for the recent spate of horribly boring halftime shows.

Ever since that Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson stunt, the NFL has been understandably conservative in its entertainment choices. Here's the list of entertainers for the last 6 years:

2005 - Paul McCartney
2006 - The Rolling Stones
2007 - Prince and the Florida A&M University Marching Band
2008 - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
2009 - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
2010 - The Who

None of these artists has been particularly relevant on the music scene since 1990. Sure, they've all continued to perform and have even released a few singles. But let's be serious, their heyday is long over.

I realize that 60-year-old white men (okay, so Prince is the exception) are relatively safe and won't reveal taboo body parts to the rest of the world. But it seems less than coincidental to me that 10 of the 15 Super Bowl performances from 1990 to 2004 prominently featured women and there's not a single woman who has performed since Janet Jackson.

Now, I didn't like Jackson's performance. Taste is important and she wasn't tasteful to say the least.

But let's get a performance that we can get excited about for a change!

Also noteworthy: Brits have performed in 2000 (Phil Collins), 2005 (Paul McCartney), and 2010 (The Who). Leona Lewis in 2015? No? Susan Boyle? The Darkness? Any better suggestions?

Friday, February 05, 2010

Best action scene ever

I have to thank Bill for sending this to me. It's priceless!

My favorite part is the slide underneath the semi trailer...on a horse! The numerous vehicles somehow magically jumping over cars that are randomly strewn about in their way also provide excellent viewing material.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Another reason I still blog and tweet

Yes, that's right, tweet.

I've been tweeting a lot more lately than I used to - more than I've blogged actually. It's much faster for expressing quick thought or linking to a story that intrigues me.

Those of you non-tweeters, you can stop laughing at the word "tweet" and any other twit/tweet references. Yes, tweet/twitter/etc. are ridiculous-sounding words, but we didn't come up with the name now, did we? Thousands of people drive Hyundais despite an awful name.

Okay, a crappy Korean car was a bad analogy.

Regardless, I was reminded tonight of why I still engage in social media like this. This blog's 4th anniversary is in 9 days. I posted some thoughts about this blog a few months ago, but at the risk of sounding redundant will throw a few more out there.

I started with the idea of being a big shot in Wisconsin conservative politics. "Wide White" alluded to my last name and my political leanings (wide right...I know, it's a stretch). In some ways, I started to move towards being that big shot, especially after breaking through with a big post outing a state senator for some rather contentious comments he made.

Over the last 4 years, I've left politics as a career, left the state of Wisconsin, and have all but left political activism as I've struggled to support a party I once (naively) thought was so great.

Naturally, the content on this blog shifted. It was heavily political. Now it's more personal. There's freedom in being able to say what I think, but there's also more limited readership since the content is rather unpredictable. I garner roughly 25-30 percent of the readership I once did.

But I'm no longer pressured to post every day. I post when I want, what I want. If people want to read it, that's great (and I'm a bit surprised). Posts range from local politics to family updates to national issues.

But back to why I'm still doing this. As I've said before, my "blog father" (that's such a weird title) is Owen Robinson over at Boots and Sabers. Owen has a wife who occasionally blogs on Boots and Sabers too. Her name is Wendy and she also happens to tweet at @Samdham. Tonight, she said:

When @onejoey goes more than a few hours w/o tweeting and his wife goes w/o blogging, I wonder if they are bringing babies into the world.
So excited for these people I've never met!

And that's what "social media" - Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. - is really all about. For all of the great ideas and collaboration that social media offers, I think the greatest value is in the relationships that are formed and maintained.

Blogging has provided much more than a writing/venting/thinking outlet for me. I've met people I didn't know before like Owen, Sean, and Bill - some briefly at an event, others for lunch, and others have stayed at my home - and have kept up with family and friends who are hours away, like my mom and my cousin. This blog has served purposes I couldn't have known it would when I started it.

So thank you for reading. More than that, thank you for interacting! It's never fun to post something you think will have relevance to a lot of people and receive no feedback or interaction.

And for those of you thinking about jumping into the Twitter fray, you can find me at @onejoey.