Caleb's birthday...2nd edition

Man, I wish I was one year old again. Caleb turned 1 last Wednesday (7/23). We invited a couple Salem people to the park and had a party. This weekend, we had Kara's Dad and Karen come to visit...& spoil Caleb. Here are some pictures to make you feel like you were there.

Grandpa Santos and Caleb at Boone's Treasury (McMenaminn's).

His mini-birthday party with some great presents, including this caterpillar that plays over 26 different tunes. Yes...26. Out loud. Great for Caleb. Great for mom and dad?

Can you tell which one is 6 months pregnant?

Caleb loved his stroll through the park. He's in his "pointing-at-things" stage.

Caleb's first shrimp platter. Ten minutes after this picture was taken, there were five fries left. My boy likes shrimp!

I love my parents.

Allow me to use our family blog to brag.

I love my father and mother. And this is not some lame attempt to honor the fifth commandment. I really do love them. How do I love them? Let me count the ways...

1. Commitment
They've been married for a billion years and not once has the word "divorce" come up. I'm not condemning people who are divorced. I'm just thanking God that my dad and mom decided long ago to be faithful to each other and have stuck to that vow. Makes me say "Hey, if they can do it, I can do it".

2. Humor
My parents love to laugh. Like any good dad, my father will crack a joke (if that's what you wanna call it) at the dinner table and give his nudge, nudge, wink, wink smile. Even though the whole family is rolling their eyes and groaning like old hardwood flooring, we still appreciate that our parents don't take life too seriously.

3. Selfless
Given the opportunity, my parental units would give us the shirts off their back and then ask if they can put any laundry away for us. I've never known them to think about themselves first. Except that one time when Dad took the last of the peanut butter and didn't write it on the grocery list. Sad day.

4. Godly
Their faith in God has and will always stay strong and real. In the 18 years I was at home with them, they never forced Jesus on me. They lived it. And like any pastor's kid, I had tons of opportunities to turn and run. Due to the fact that they never cornered us with the Bible, I felt freedom to move my arms about, to breath, to doubt, to fall, and ultimately to fall in love with the Savior of the world.

Thanks Dad.
Thanks Mom.


365 days gone by...

Our little Caleb turned one year old on Wednesday. One year ago, Kara was recovering from an emergency C-section and I was sleeping on a hospital cot. But we were both staring into the eyes of a little boy that we'd been entrusted to raise. One year later, so much has changed. So many ways that Caleb has grown. And though we knew that one day he would learn to say "da da" and "ma ma", it still didn't take away from the excitement and awe when he uttered them for the first time. Or when he ventured out and learned to put one foot in front of the other and use his arms to balance his weight as he runs giggling towards me when I get home from work.

Even though we've only been in Salem for 4 months, we have been blessed with some great friends already. And they love Caleb, so that's a plus in our book. We decided to have a party for Caleb with our Salem people at Riverfront Park in the evening. Funny thing, cuz when we were partying on the grass, not 30 feet from us were "carnies" setting up they're movable ticket rides for Salem's annual "bite of Salem". Complete with cheap beer and repetitive mariachi music, everyone was impressed that we would go to such lengths for Caleb's first birthday party. Alas, it was a coincidence. But a party ambiance nonetheless.

Here's some pics of the Mexican Carnival birthday.

Caleb and his new friend, Jeffrey made quite a pair during the party.

Grandpa was showing him how his new (hand-me-down) 4x4 works.
It says "lil' man" on the front.

We told people that he loves to throw things. So he was ecstatic when he saw these. So were we.

Mom fed him his "organic" cupcake with "non-organic" cream cheese frosting (requested by Dad). Mom posed mid-bite for this picture and I think Caleb's open mouth is a clue.

CAPTION: "Organic cupcakes? Are you kidding me, Mom?"

Isn't he cute, folks?


Scariest Day of My Life

Let me take you back to 11:45am this morning. There I was trying to be the amazing husband that my wife believes I am by taking a load of laundry down to the basement. In order to get to the basement, I had to descend the long flight of stairs at the back of our home. Looking back, I thought that I had closed the door to the stairs...

Minutes later while I was shoving a load of smelly towels into the washer, I heard what sounded like a small toaster oven tumbling down the stairs above. Thinking that it was the stairs of our neighbors and not our stairs, I continued shoving. Seconds later, I heard a much bigger sound coming down the stairs and it was followed by a spine-tingling scream that sounded like my name. It was my wife.

I rounded the house after leaving the basement at a dead sprint, and found my wife at the bottom of the stairs, holding my almost one-year-old son Caleb in her arms, screaming "He fell down the stairs." I grabbed him into my arms and he continued crying, but not a cry that tells me "hey Dad, you probably want to remember to close the door next time" but a cry that I've never heard come from my son. And he falls down a lot. But this was different.

Remember how I said that there was a second, much bigger noise that came after the first noise. Yeah, the second noise was my wife. When she got to the top of the stairs after hearing our son fall, she panicked and rushed down the stairs but only made it past the first three steps. After that (according to Kara) she slipped and hit her back, butt, head, elbow, & knee as she tumbled down the stairs. She stopped herself from falling on top of Caleb, but in the process scraped herself up pretty bad.

Our neighbor called 911 immediately. I've never seen my wife like that, and I hope I never have to see her like that ever again. The fear in her eyes was potent. Don't get me wrong, I was pulsating with adrenaline too, but knew that I needed to keep somewhat of a level head for Caleb and Kara's sake.

When we got to the emergency room, we immediately turned all our attention on our unborn daughter, Sam. Immediately the worst case scenario began to play over and over in my mind. Did I just kill my daughter? What do I say to my wife if they don't find a heartbeat? How will I face tomorrow? Suddenly suicide made sense to me. Here me say, I didn't want to commit suicide, but it definitely made sense.

The first nurse that tried to find the heartbeat...couldn't. After 5 minutes of searching, she decided to wait til all the straps were taken off of Kara (they were keeping her attached to the gurney). After she was free of the most uncomfortable emergency equipment ever, another nurse began the search again for Sam's heartbeat. I will give Sam my heartbeat? Take me, God. Don't take my daughter!

30 seconds went by...no heartbeat. Just the subtle heartbeat of my wife's placenta. 45 seconds...nothing. My heart has never been that high in my esophagus before. One minute...still nothing. I began losing faith, to be honest. Thoughts that never should be in a father's mind reared their ugly heads and I lost it.

Then suddenly...thump...thump...thump...thump. A heartbeat. Blood rushed back into my face. Tears rushed into Kara and my eyes. We wept. We bawled. We felt alive again (Ok, that may have been dramatic - but it sure felt like we died a little bit there). Sam is ok.

Long story short (too late). Kara is fine. Caleb is fine. Both were x-rayed and discharged. Yes there are bumps & bruises, yes there will be more pain tomorrow when the adrenaline wears off. But they both fell down 18 stairs, and not one broken bone.

By the way, we've already named our daughter "Samaria" which means "protected by God". No joke.


July 4th!

So Kara and I were talking the other night about how it would be good for us to start making Salem traditions that are unique to our new life in northern Oregon. Oh, look! The very next week is July 4th. It's time for us to implement our new plan.

We decided to join a July 4th tradition at the Schilling household. Lori Schilling used to work for Salem Alliance Church and was actually there during my year internship, so we became good friends. They invited us to their house for food, friends, fun, & a private fireworks show. We're not talking the little puny ones that spin on the ground and catch your cat on fire. We're talking about "grade A, shake your neighbor's teeth" fireworks. Logan & Erica Martin (our new Salem friends) went as well and we had a blast. Lost of good food, even better company, and new memories to look back on.

The next day we were invited to a Lion's Lumberjack Breakfast in Albany (about 20 minutes south of Salem). The Lion's Club put on a humungous pancake breakfast with eggs & sausage. $6.00 and you could eat all you want. Logan & Erica invited us along to this long-standing tradition for Logan. He's been coming to it every year since he was a young lad.

We wanted to make traditions. Well, we got 'em.

The Browns & the Martins. Logan meant to look scary in this pic. At least, that's what he keeps telling us.

Caleb was freaked out by the first few booms, but then with the help of Mom's sound cancelling hands, he enjoyed them...somewhat.

Caleb playing on the jungle gym at the Lumberjack breakfast. Such a big boy.

Logan & Erica...what can we say?


Picture Update from June...

Caleb didn't know what to do when his bathtime fun was tripled with his friends Mattie and Chesnie.Once again, his fun was tripled with "dress-up time" at the Gilbert House Children's Museum. Can you see the fun on his face? Can you?

Always a good time with Grandpa & Grandma Brown in the pool.

Caleb's first wedding experience. We are HOT!!

Good times with the Brown clan (minus Joni).