Monday, June 22, 2015

My First Father's Day

Since Evie is only coming up on her second month of life on this earth, my experiences and history as a father are pretty minimal, to say the least. It's really mostly just been lots of feedings, diaper changes and bouncing up and down trying to put her to sleep. But I'm told that whether you've been a father for 50 days or 50 years, you still are elligible to be celebrated on Fathers Day! How about that?

So yesterday was my first Fathers Day, and I found that I tended to carry myself around with more pride than usual. I wanted to parade Evie around church so people could see that I am the father of a gorgeous, baby girl, and I was probably beaming every time someone wished me a "Happy Fathers Day!" I even carried her with me up to the front of church when I won a prize for being the newest father in the room! (the prize was a multi-tool and a Slim Jim, which tasted fantastic)
Daddy and Evie all dressed up for church
I also felt very loved and appreciated yesterday. To kick things off, Karin took all of the overnight feedings on Saturday night rather than having us split them up like usual. This was a HUGE gift! I haven't had a decent night's sleep since before Evie was born... Six, straight hours is pretty much unheard of at this point! Thank you so much!

I was also able to Skype with my dad before church so I could wish him a Happy Fathers Day, but also so grandpa could see his only granddaughter. Unfortunately, the call had to be cut short due to a frustrated, crying child who needed a changing...

The afternoon had us taking the short jaunt over to the in-laws for dinner, which consisted of grilled veggies and rib-eye and porterhouse steaks! It also gave my father in-law (A.K.A. "Grandfather") some much-appreciated "Evie time" as well. Gifts were exchanged (I got this awesome book), and we ended the night by watching a movie. All in all, a fantastic, first Fathers Day!

I also want to take a few moments to thank / honor both my dad and my father in-law for their work as fathers. I look forward to raising children who can also look back one day and thank me for helping them through difficult times, teaching them right from wrong, and helping them walk with the Lord. I also want to say Happy Fathers Day to all the men in our church who are currently showing me how to raise a young child - whether they know it or not. Lots of great examples to choose from!

Friday, June 5, 2015

"Better Buy a Shotgun!"

As I'm sure it is with just about ALL dads with new daughters, the running joke among friends, family and co-workers so far has been that I'm in trouble in about 16 years.

I'm pretty confident that Evie is a cute baby. The only reason I pump the breaks slightly on that statement is because I know there is some level of bias involved coming from her proud papa. But even those who aren't biased seem to fall pretty far on the same side of the fence.

Sure, she had some goopy eyes for a while thanks to a blocked tear duct. That wasn't the cutest thing in the world. But she's a baby - cut her some slack. And of course she regifts some of the milk she's been fed. Who hasn't done that in their lifetime? I'd like to think the huge, toothless grins that we get to enjoy now more than make up for all of that. Take a look for yourself.

She's too much. I makes my heart hurt. That image is actually the background of my computer at work. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy showing her off whenever someone visits my desk and asks how "the little one" is doing. Boom. She's adorable. Deal with it.

If she's cute now, she'll probably be cute later. And that could give a dad some headaches - or so I'm told. I guess I'll just have to do my best to get ahead of that before the time comes. Or as my dad if I can get some practice in with his bow and arrow.

But for now, I'm just going to enjoy this tiny, little face while it's still this cute, and get in as many kisses as I can before dad starts getting annoying and embarrassing. :-)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Month of Firsts (Obviously)

I was always amazed when my parents would tell me stories of when I was a newborn or a toddler. How could they remember that far back in their minds? That was 30 years ago! Maybe my soon-to-be middle aged mind simply can't comprehend having memories that old just yet? I mean, I can barely remember where I park my car at work every day! (Literally happened just yesterday...)
1 Day Old

But after just a month of being a dad, I know exactly how 30-year old memories are possible. Stories and memories from Evie's birth will stick in my mind forever. And I look forward to remembering even more as the years go on.

Another thing that parents say is that time flies when you have a kid. Well, last week Evie hit the one month mark already! And I must admit, it certainly didn't feel like an entire month since she joined us! Of course, individual days seem like the clock isn't moving, and you'll never conquer the mountain of poopy diapers and gallons of baby tears (I can hear Karin yelling, "Amen!"). But those days do pass, and when you stop and look back, they've seemed to pass too quickly!

Sure it's only been a month, but she's already changed so much! Here are some pictures from Month #1 - a month of "firsts!"
Evie's First Bath
Meeting cousin Elliot for the first time!
All dressed up for Steve & Kelly's wedding in Milwaukee
First walk in the stroller!
Evie's One Month Photo Shoot

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I'm a Dad!

For those of you who have children, you'll understand best why it's taken me a full month to FINALLY write the post about my daughter's birth. The last, four weeks have definitely been the whirlwind I anticipated in my last post, and it's taken some getting used to by all of us.

On Monday, April 27th, Karin and I went to her doctor to get an update on the progress of her pregnancy. Even though things weren't as far along as everyone had hoped (the doctor hinted at wanting us to wait a few more days), we had our hearts set on going straight to the hospital to begin the induction process - we wanted to meet our baby girl!

A quick selfie in the hospital bathroom to document my
weight the day before my daughter's birth
As we parked the car and made our way up to the labor and delivery floor, the true impact of what was about to go down hadn't hit us yet. This seemed to be the theme of most of the pregnancy, as a matter of fact. Despite the ever-growing baby belly and the stack of shower gifts that piled higher and higher in the nursery with each passing shower, neither of us really were ever stopped in our tracks by the realization that we were going to be parents, and responsible for this new, tiny, little life.

Once the induction process began at 6pm on Monday, it was simply a waiting game. Thankfully, the hospital that we went to recently underwent extensive renovations, so the delivery rooms were comparable to a decent-priced hotel room. Karin was comfortable in her bed, we had a 42-inch TV on the wall, and I was also provided with both a reclining chair and a couch that I could sleep on at night. On top of that, we had some really great nurses who kept us both informed and at ease. (Shout out to Jen!)

As Monday came to a close, all of us made guesses as to when our baby girl would arrive. A few of us were optimistic that she would arrive in the early morning on Tuesday, but you can see that clearly wasn't the case.

Tuesday morning ushered in another round of induction medication and more waiting. Thankfully both sets of soon-to-be grandparents and an eager uncle were there to keep us company. Contractions were slowly creeping in and getting more consistent, so we knew things were progressing as they should be. An epidural was eventually administered, which signified that the final stretch was just around the corner. Karin thoroughly enjoyed not being able to feel the pain (or her legs)!

At around 7:30pm, the nurse informed us that it was time. I marched down the hallway to the waiting room to give everyone the update.

That's when it hit me.

This was really happening. In the next hour, I was going to become a dad. My life was about to change forever. Adrenaline was surging through me to the point where I could either explode with happiness, have a panic attack, or break down weeping. I somehow managed to hold it together.

Selfie in my scrubs - ready to meet my baby girl!
Less than an hour later - at 8:18 pm - we heard that cry that every parent longs to hear. It was then that the journey began for all of us. We were now a family - father, mother and daughter. And it was time for us to start our lives together.

Here are some pictures from the hospital :-)
Meet Evangeline (Evie) Naomi Huenink. 7 lbs, 8 oz and 21 inches long.

Mommy and baby were happy and healthy after delivery!
This little girl is going to have my heart forever.
Grandma & Grandpa Huenink are all smiles over grandchild #1
Grandpa Henley was quick to show the world his first grandchild!
Grandma Henley and Great-Grandma Pintor can't get enough of tiny Evie!
Uncle Eric has the magic touch - a future babysitter for sure!
Thank you to EVERYONE who extended congratulations on the birth of Evie. We know we have a long road full of love and learning ahead, and we value all of your prayers moving forward.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Withstanding the Whirlwind

Any day now I get the privilege of emerging from a hospital delivery room declaring that I am a dad! The countdown is currently at nine days until "Baby Hue" is due to arrive, and I'm gradually starting to realize that I have no way of escaping the whirlwind of parental responsibility, sleepless nights and poopy diapers that is heading straight towards me - much like this clip from one of my favorite, 90s movies, Twister.

If you've seen the movie (which I hope 100% of you have) you'll know that (SPOLIER ALERT!) Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt end up strapping themselves to some piping that runs deep into the ground, which keeps them from being sucked up into the cyclone. The storm passes and dissipates soon afterwards, and the two escape unscathed - in the miraculous way that only movies can provide.

While there's no escaping the whirlwind of fatherhood that is bearing down on me like an F5 monster tornado, I thankfully have some pipes that I can cling to when being a dad seems impossible. Fixing my eyes on the Lord and leaning on His promises are what will keep me from being picked up and thrown around by fear, self-doubt and worry.

Proverbs 1:33 says, "Whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster." And later in Proverbs it also says, "In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge." (14:26)

At no point will I (or anyone) have the capacity within myself to be a perfect parent, and at times, it almost paralyzes me with fear. I'm going to mess up a thousand times as my little girl grows up - and at times I'm sure it's going to feel like I'm sprinting through a cornfield with a mega tornado bearing down on me. But the Lord promises me confidence, peace and refuge if I listen to His word and abide in Him.

It's these promises and verses that I need to memorize and keep at the ready - to withstand the whirlwind and to lead my family.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It's a......

Whew! What a whirlwind of a Christmas season, am I right?

Between a trip to Wisconsin, running webcasts for work during break (while I was supposed to be off), family Christmas parties, awesome church services, video editing (for said church services), a New Years Day party and new blogging gigs for a couple Packers blogs I have been BI.ZEE!

So I apologize if any of you were stuck in limbo waiting for any baby updates for me. The baby is still on its way, and still growing like a weed. However, there is one major announcement I wanted to pass along to all of you.

Back in December, we finally got to have the ultrasound that we've been waiting for. The one where we got to find out if we were having a baby boy or a baby girl!

Here are some pictures from that morning. Isn't the baby so, freakin' precious! Look at that little nose!

We then hosted a Gender Reveal party that next weekend to let our friends and family know the answer to the question they were dying to know.We had green (boy) and red (girl) themed drinks, snacks and decorations. I even went around and polled the crowd for their guesses on which it was going to be. It was a great afternoon!

Feel free to watch the video below to find out for yourself. Not only did we have friends and family over to our place for food and festivities, but we were able to stream the reveal LIVE to anyone who lived out of town or out of state (like, virtually, all of my family).

In all, I think we had over 40 people log in to spend the afternoon with us and find out the great news.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Baby's 30th Christmas?

Just about every family has one hanging on their Christmas tree year after year. It's a staple of their decorations every December. It makes them smile and remember back to a certain stage in their family's life. And no, I'm not talking about the time you had to forcibly pull your cat out of your Douglas Fir when it tried to munch on the popcorn strings.

I'm talking about the "Baby's First Christmas" ornament.


You get the picture.

You or your parents probably still have it stored away every year, and take it out to hang next to your family's dog ornament, your (insert favorite sports team here) ornament, the ornament you picked up on your family trip to the Hoover Dam, or the ornament your kid(s) made in Kindergarten.

This year, Karin and I started hanging up some of our own childhood ornaments now that we have enough room in our new apartment for our "big tree." And one of the ornaments she found was my "Baby's First Christmas" ornament. Adorable, right?

Baby JGHue - approx 4.5 months old
While I may seem to be making fun of these kinds of ornaments, that's not completely the case. The truth is that I cannot wait to commemorate every milestone in our future baby's life - and I know we'll find an awesome ornament for Baby Hue come next Christmas.

However, now that I see the ornament from my first Christmas in 1985, I wonder if they make a "Baby's 30th Christmas" ornament. Hmm...