Wednesday, December 21, 2005

6 months later

Damien this month is 36 ½ “ tall , and weighed in at an even 35lbs. He continues to be in good health, with the usual energetic and active interest in everything around him. He continues his good track record with potty training, with a 99% success rate. His communication skills have also continued to grow, and we are very happy whenever he asks a full question or says “Please” and “Thank You” and “you’re welcome” without any prompting from us. He’s a very smart and polite little boy! He know most of his alphabet and recites them easily. He also sings songs that he learns at daycare, which he also continues to enjoy. He is very happy and comfortable around daycare and is quite at ease with the routine of going to and coming from daycare.

Nick this month measured 30 ½” and weighed 20lbs3 ½ oz. He is also in good health, with the usual expected stuffy noses and whatnot. He’s a great eater. He’s starting to transition from formula to mostly milk in his bottle, which he mainly only gets at bedtime at night and wakeup in the morning. The rest of the time, he pretty much eats whatever you put down in front of him, provided he’s able to grab it with his little fingers. His absolute favorite food of all time is carrots, followed closely by the old standby, Cheerios.

Both of the boys show good social skills, with each other and with everyone they come in contact with. They both will be very friendly after they are comfortable with the surroundings, which doesn’t take long at all. Example: visiting at Nana and Grandad’s with cousins from out-of-town, they behave and react and interact quite normally, and still respond to us as parental figures.
Both boys exhibit great affection for each other and for us. They play nicely together, though Damien sometimes needs to be reminded that Nicky is smaller and needs a chance on the big toys too. They also play nicely separately, demonstrating their own independence and interests. The most fun of all, though, is when Daddy and the boys are upstairs in the playroom, pretending to wrestle, Hide and Seek, and making as much noise as possible. At those times when Damien and Daddy are rough-housing, Nick does everything he can to jump in the middle. It’s big fun for the three boys on the big open carpeted floor!

This month was special for another reason. On Monday, we drove to Bethany offices to meet with Amanda and David, the birthparents. We weren’t sure what to expect, but were delighted with the outcome.
After moving into our new house, we put up pictures of both A&D in each of the boys rooms. We always took time to explain to Damien who the pictures were of. The day before the visit (almost exactly 6 months to the day from the day we brought them home) Laurie explained to Damien that we were going to visit Amanda and David. The boys knew it was a special trip because we got in the car to go for a drive. When we arrived Amanda and David were waiting for us, and Damien was able to name them from memory! (Studying the night before with Mommy really helps)

Both Amanda and David were excited and happy to see the boys, and the visit was a very pleasant time, lasting a full two hours. There was none of the tension that we had secretly feared. Instead, we played on the floor, laughed, and shared stories, all four of us enjoying the boys and marking the significant milestone in all of our lives.
Santa came early! Amanda and David had brought many Christmas presents for the boys and they had a great time opening each one up and then examining the empty boxes carefully.

Laurie and I are so impressed with Amanda, with her maturity and inner strength. It couldn’t have been easy for her to see the boys again, and say goodbye again. David as well, seemed very touched by how the boys have grown and appear to be doing quite well. We all hugged each other at the end, and in my mind we all felt the unspoken, that as Laurie said this was not “goodbye” but rather “See you later”, voicing our fervent desire and hope that this relationship will grow for a lifetime. As she hugged me, Amanda said, “Thank You..” and it occurred to me only as we were driving away that it is we that should be thanking her, for the greatest Christmas present we could’ve hoped for. She has given to us the most precious gift, the love of a mother and a father for their child, and so has God also demonstrated His divine Love for us, his children.

“For unto us a Child is born, unto a Son is given… a Savior, who is Christ the Lord…”

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Damien Watching and NOT Touching

Yes, I warned earlier that the Holiday madness was right around the corner. I'm facinated with the idea of how Damien and Nick are perceiving all of the "hub-bub" around these holidays, the extended family, and life in general. For instance, what was their Christmas like last year? We don't know really. I'd like to think that this is Damien's first time watching a Christmas Train circle underneath a Christmas tree. There are many, many things that we as adults take for granted that are brand spankin' new to these boys. I don't want to overstate that point- after all, Damien's 3 yrs old. He hasn't had TIME to see everything I've seen. All the joy and fun I remember is fresh for him. Last night, he and Laurie were watching the 1960's Rankin-Bass classic "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" on TV last night. I found (listening from upstairs) that I did NOT know every line in the show word for word like I thought I did. Have I just forgotten what it was to be a kid?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Day 2005

I have a lot to be thankful for.

A wonderful family. A loving wife and two beautiful sons that appeared in my life almost like a dream. A beautiful house with a big yard for them to play in. All basic life-sustaining needs being met. My brother is back safely from Iraq and reunited with his family. Most of my family in town, near each other, and getting together today to have the traditonal Thanksgiving dinner. And after, probably the traditional Thanksgiving day poker game.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gingerbread House 1

Gingerbread House 1
Originally uploaded by SnLGienapp.
I'll write more about this later but since I haven't blogged in a few days, I thought this was a good pic that Laurie took. Warning: Holiday madness just around the corner...

Monday, October 31, 2005

He came back

Originally uploaded by emmegab.
My younger brother and best friend in the world returned safely from Iraq this week. He's been active for over 18 months and was based at FOB Caldwell for exactly a year. He's been missed terribly by everybody, but especially his wife and 5 kids. You can read his first hand account on his blog- see the links I have over on the sidebar.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Gig Report- Week ending 10/29/05

That's the sad part. No gigs this week.

I'm advancing a couple of shows coming up. A joint church service for New City and a double bill of T. Graham Brown and my act, the Forester Sisters at the Historic Ritz Theatre in November.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Long weekend is over.

Okay, I didn't play in the "Bloggers Tournament" yesterday, I only signed up for it because it was free and so I could look cool with the banner on the blog. Instead, we had a Birthday party for Nick, who turns one year old this week. It was fun, perfect weather, we had a good turn out of friends and family and all their children. Dad Eland grilled something like 60 hot dogs, and there were very few leftovers. Give my wife credit for an accurate food budget.

It was one of those watershed moments in my life because many parents do it every day, (have a birthday party for their kid) and it was something I always knew I would end up doing, but one year ago I couldn't have predicted this. One year ago, this little boy was being born, and Laurie and I were completing a mountain of paperwork to complete our Home Study so that Maybe we'd finally be chosen in the next couple of years yet here we are. Less than 6 months ago this little boy was in a different home that we don't know very much about. Yet yesterday you never would have known that it wasn't always this way. I guess all families have a particular starting point.

Also, I'd like to point out that I'm happy that there are certain things in life that are not predictable, or revealed to us ahead of time. I'm too busy worrying about how to get through the next week, let alone the next couple of months or even years.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Blogger Tournament!

Poker Championship

I have registered to play in the
Online Poker Blogger Championship!

This event is powered by PokerStars.

Registration code: 5997706

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Forester Sisters performance

Forester Sisters performance
Originally uploaded by SkipGienapp.

Forester Sisters performance
Their first single, "(That’s What You Do) When You’re In Love," reached the Top Ten. The next one, "I Fell In Love Again Last Night," went all the way to number one. The string continued unabated for six years as The Forester Sisters became the first act to place each of their first fourteen singles in Billboard’s Top Ten since the introduction of the 100-position country chart. In the process, they reeled off five number one singles including "Just In Case," "(I'd Choose) You Again," "Mama’s Never Seen Those Eyes," and their duet with The Bellamy Brothers, "Too Much Is Not Enough. For their efforts, they received Vocal Group of the Year honors from the Academy Of Country Music.

Nick and Damien in the wagon

N and D in the wagon
Originally uploaded by SkipGienapp.
In June of this year, my wife Laurie and I adopted two boys. It happened really fast. We had been "talking" about it for nearly two years, had finally completed the home study and been approved in Feb, and in May we were expecting to be on the waiting list for another two years. We went ahead and bought a new house, never expecting that at the beginning of June we'd get a call asking us if we'd be willing to consider not one, but two boys, brothers, and could we do it rather quickly? From the first phone call to the day we brought them home was only two weeks. We moved them to the old house on June 16th, and then to the new house on June 30th.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Gig Report: Week ending 10/15

This past week I had a four day stint with Jeremiah French at the Dalton Trade Center for Perry Stone and the Voice of Evangelism and as usual the central preoccupation with the 5 day revival is that two of the services (Thursday and Friday) were uplinked live to the Daystar Network and taped for later broadcast on "MannaFest" on the Trinity Broadcast Network.

Saturday, I worked in downtown Chattanooga with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera at the Tivoli Theatre.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Gig Report- Week ending 10/9/05

Whooft. That's an expression of exhaustion.
Thursday, I performed a little known trick of "double-dipping"... two gigs in one day. I was on the audio crew with the stagehand union for the load-in and set up of "42nd St", part of the Broadway series at Memorial Auditorium in Chattanooga. Got done there at 1pm, drove as quick as I safely could in the pouring down rain to get back up to Lee University to do another set up in the Dixon Center for the Presidential Concert Series for Rockapella. Finished that show up and drove back to Chattanooga to take out "42nd St", all 4 52' trailers worth.

Saturday, drove to University of the South to do a wierd combination: Oteil and the Peacemakers, and Futureman.
Gigs on CST screw me up, I didn't get home until 4:30am EST and the rest of my Sunday was spent recovering.

I've come home late from a job many times. Awake till the "wee hours of the morning" just goes with territory. But the older I get the more my body hurts the next day. I'm not talking about injuries that happen because of dropped roadcases, falling off a stage (although I did do that one already), or even the occasional knee scrape or finger jam. What I'm talking about is just more of an overall bodyache, those tired headaches you get whenever you get up and you've missed coffee hour and you're disoriented because you're trying to decide what's for breakfast and your wife and kids have already had lunch and are laying down for afternoon nap. Then when they're getting ready for bed that night it only feels like mid-afternoon to you, so you stay up too late and then repeat the whole cycle...blah, blah, blah.

I enjoy being a sound engineer. I love doing the job, and I need the work for extra income. But sometimes I wonder if I have physical limits that will catch up to me. That's why I'm always looking for those "get rich quick" solutions. So I can then do only the stuff that interests me... instead of, you know, a job.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Perhaps I should explain...

Poker is another in a long string of money-making hobbies. A couple of years ago, I broke my knee by falling off of stage. (A whole other story). While laid up around the house for a month, I watched the 2003 World Series of Poker broadcast on ESPN about 12 times in a row. The depiction of Chris Moneymaker, an Everyman from Nashville/Knoxville, was inspiring to thousands, including me, to take up the game that has been around for centuries. I started playing online, and after 6 months of practice parlayed a $1 satellite tournament to a $25 seat, which I won, to the tune of about $1300 in real money. I've been trying to recreate that feat ever since.

Try this

Friday, October 07, 2005

Why join the blogging bandwagon?

Everyone else is doing it.

It's not, as my wife will undoubtedly accuse me of, an excersise in narcissistic futility. Mainly, I'm inspired by the other blogs I've read, mainly my brothers. Since I haven't posted anything worth reading to MY blog yet, I recommend you read his:

I really never knew my younger brother was such a good writer. At least, I enjoy his writing. But that's where the narcissism problem comes in. My wife's theory is that my brothers and I (I have several) have an inherent craving for media attention and notoriety. Maybe true. Andy and I have both been on TV and in the newspaper several times, but not as newsmakers. We both just happen to work in venues where there is sometimes media coverage.

He's a paramedic.
I'm a sound engineer.
We live in a smallish medium town. We've been here 20 years. It was bound to happen.

He's been writing his blog longer. Seriously, go read it. Check back here later.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Me, at the soundboard at Rhythm and Brews Posted by Picasa