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Goodberry's is Good Medicine


There is so much on my mind. So much to say, and so much to do, but then I look at Samuel and everything else seems so insignificant.

I’ve barely had time to seriously reflect on my first semester at Divinity School. My summer classes, and a propitious summer internship, will be starting up next week. The house is a mess, and the remnants of my last few home improvement projects still taunt me when I pass through the hallway, but Samuel doesn’t care about that. It doesn’t worry him, and I won’t let it worry me.

Parenthood is good. Already, it feels as though Samuel has been a part of our family all along. I look at him and love him. I take him in my arms, cup his head in my hands, press my belly into the bedspread, prop myself up on my elbows and just stare into his bright blue eyes. Yes. It’s true. I love him.

So many of our “first” moments are flying by faster than I can register them. We met my former boss and wonderful friend Bing Oliver at McDonald’s (his choice, by the way) this week; once the meal was done and the conversation was moving fast it suddenly hit me that this was Samuel’s first time in a restaurant. Sunday night was Samuel’s first time in church. Monday was his first doctor’s appointment. Wednesday afternoon he made it through his first cookout and Thursday morning he made it five hours without waking mom or dad up.

Today we took Samuel to the photo studio for his first big shoot. He did great. I have to give thanks to Ken Tart for having an infinite amount of patience, and diaper wipes. Ken was also kind enough to lend me a spare lens while my 50 mm f/1.4 is being repaired after conking out during Samuel’s first week at home.

Today we also had our first big scare as parents. I’m a natural worrier. I try to keep things in perspective, and I’ve been doing pretty good about letting things go, but having Samuel in our life pushes the potential for worry to a whole new level. I worry when he cries too loud. I worry when he gets too quiet. I worry that he’s too hot. I worry that he’s too cold. I worry about leaving him alone to rest, and then I worry about over stimulation. I worry. Kristen, on the other hand, is not a worrier. Whenever she begins to acknowledge the validity of my worries, then I know it’s time to get serious.

Today Samuel had us both worried. This afternoon we noticed he was breathing heavy when he was awake and wheezing when he was asleep. His doctor’s visit Monday revealed a healthier-than-normal baby (he had gained 14 oz. since he left the hospital four days earlier) so we took a little comfort in that and just kept an eye on him. Then he started crying. And crying. And crying. He was crying like I had never seen a baby cry before. Every now and then he’d take a break from crying to cough a little. Each time he’d cough, I would have an opportunity to suction a sizable chunk of mucus from his mouth. Then the crying would pick up again, and the cycle continued for about 40 minutes. Once he began to lose steam, I swaddled him up and he drifted off to sleep. I called the doctor for advice and was told to bring him in.

Samuel continued to spit up mucus in the car, but by the time we got to the doctor’s office, he was in a smiling, contented state. We described the symptoms to the nurse and got Samuel undressed so she could weigh him. The moment his diaper came off, though, he spewed a mucousy mess all over table and the nurse. It was like he had a Super Soaker 3000, loaded with slime, hidden in his pants. The nurse courageously threw herself between Samuel and her laptop; I had never seen anything like this before, but clearly she had experience dealing with such assaults. We cleaned up the mess and the doctor came in. He checked Samuel over and couldn’t find a thing wrong. Apparently, Samuel had developed a mucus plug that had given him a little trouble breathing, but he managed to expel it on his own just in time to shower the nurse and a moment too early to give the doctor anything to do.

Just in case you were wondering, this time he tipped the scales at 8 lbs. 6 oz. (that’s a post-mucus-explosion weight). It looks like he’ll be catching up to Abigail in no time.

Since we’d already made the drive to Garner, we felt obligated to go ahead and share another “first” with Samuel. For his first taste of Goodberry’s, Samuel decided to order his daddy’s favorite: a regular vanilla mint chocolate-chip concrete.


Hip Shots

Last weekend Kristen and I found ourselves in downtown Raleigh on the first truly beautiful, warm Saturday of the year. We had a purpose to our visit, and it was not photography, but I couldn’t resist trying to get a few shots off. I have been longing to just take a day to myself and explore the city, gathering pictures of people as they go about their lives. I want to improve my portrait techniques, and I want to take more portraits of real people, doing real things, in an effort to better represent real life. Part of my problem is I don’t afford myself the time to go out to practice photography simply for photography’s sake. I bring a camera along when I’m out for another purpose and end up feeling awkward when I try to break away from that purpose to figure out how to set up a good shot. My other problem is I feel awkward taking pictures of strangers who just see the weird guy with the camera and must be wondering what he’s up to; but I love looking at the simple beauty in life, at the way people interact with one another, and sometimes that’s best appreciated as an outsider looking in. Some of these photos were cropped with a viewfinder, most were simple quick-shot street photography. My favorite ended up being a serendipitous hip shot taken outside of the Museum of North Carolina History. There are four people in the picture, a group of guys, maybe family, maybe friends, all sharing a quick meal. The camera only found one face though, and that face is what caught my attention right away. If the picture had been of the men laughing and finishing their hotdogs would you have even noticed the boy sandwiched between his guardians? I couldn’t have set it up any better.


Krispy Kreme Makes Everything Alright

I saw the new City Plaza on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh for the first time this morning as public works staff were scrubbing the sidewalks and pruning flowers in preparation of the street fair Saturday. I have to say that considering all of the hype, and then the controversy that followed from residents upset about any obstruction of the view between the Capitol and Memorial Auditorium, the plaza was pretty unimpressive. It’s a nice bit of open space in a district that is already very pedestrian friendly. The light towers people were so concerned about are barely taller than the awning of the Sheraton that borders the square on the south, but they are blanketed in stainless steel oak leaves, which is a nice homage to the city’s history.

The best thing about the plaza is that it gives the Capitol District its first Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Four identical, smoked glass cottages sit at each corner of the square. Three of the buildings are slated to hold a Jimmy Johns Sandwich shop, a shish kabob restaurant and an arts & crafts center, but none of them are close to being ready to open. For now, doughnuts and coffee are the main attraction as the new Krispy Kreme stays busy churning out sweet snacks to passersby.