Thursday, August 23, 2007

Kürbis' Photo Shoot

This morning Sharon and I were so excited to get to have our first ultrasound of Kürbis. Sharon was feeling a little nervous going into it (the whole carrying another human life within your body thing is striking her as a big responsibility for some reason or another) but we were so thankful to be told that we had a practically perfect ultrasound. They told us that he/she weighs 10 ounces, is 60mm long, and the due date of Jan. 18 was confirmed. We've posted some fun pictures of Kürbis from the interior or exterior views, and if you look real closely you can see that he/she already has Sharon's nose. To the disappointment of many, we decided to stay with our decision not to find out the gender, but we're both thinking that it is a girl. To celebrate the ultrasound, we went to Target this evening to start our baby registry, which was a lot of fun but also a tad overwhelming. With all of baby stuff out there, it is a little tricky figuring out exactly what we need, especially since we don't even know what continent we will be on a year from now. Anyways, without any further ado, here is the star of our show; introducing Kürbis Koerber...

Above is Sharon's favorite shot of Kürbis as you can make out his nose and other facial features.

Here is the stereotypical "Oh no! Our baby is really an alien!" ultrasound photo that I've always thought is a little creepy when I've looked at other people's babies. Although I'm obviously biased, I think that this is one of the least alienish looking ultrasound faceshots I've seen - so much that I'm still holding out hope he'll grow into a human after all.

Here is Sharon and I posing with Kürbis after the ultrasound. It was a memorable day for both of us and we are still thanking the Lord for the encouraging results. It is a little strange thinking that this will likely be the last that we will see of Kürbis until we meet him face to face in 5 months - and I'm sure he'll look a lot different in color.
- Mike

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Family Vacation and Manny

This past Saturday, Sharon and I sadly had to return from a great week at the beach in Ocean City, NJ with my entire immediate family. This is one of the highlights of the summer for all of us and we were blessed with nearly perfect weather and an awesome place to stay. The only bad thing about the week was that the stomach flu showed up at our beach house as an uninvited and unwanted guest that especially struck fear into the hearts of those with young children. Although my brother told me that dealing with puking, sick kids is what makes you a real parent, I was not excited to spend my vacation witnessing that type of authentic parenting. Fortunately, my four nieces and nephews were spared the worst of the sickness and I didn't come down with the bug until after we returned home to Massachusetts. In spite of that minor setback, we all enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with family and enjoy the beauty of the ocean. I could have lots of fun pictures to share with you all, except I've gotten accustomed to relying on others to take pictures for us - something that we'll probably have to remedy after our kiddo is born.

For those of you who were dying to know what the name of our new car would be, we will no longer make you wait in unbearable agony. After numerous minutes of intense discussion and debate, Sharon and I settled on the name of Manny. We derived the name Manny from the word Manna because just as Manna was the Lord's provision for the Israelites in the dessert, this car was God's unexpected blessing for us just when we needed it. Wow, that Seminary education is already coming in handy for the monumental things in life such as naming a car. At the beach, we also found out the reason my brother and sister-in-law were looking to upgrade to a minivan. Chrissie is three months pregnant with their third child so Sharon and I ended up being the ultimate beneficiaries of the fact that three car seats don't fit in an Escort wagon. However, Manny will definitely be a great vehicle for us and our one car seat that will, Lord willing, be bringing home Kurbis from the hospital this January.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

This week, Sharon and I were forced to say goodbye forever to a very significant part of our family - our 1995 Mercury Sable which we had (sometimes) affectionately referred to as Puck (as a loose acronym for Piece of Crap). We had driven it back to Pennsylvania wondering whether or not it would pass inspection due to the numerous problems it has been having recently. However, as we left the Boston area, it seemed like it was trying to tell us that it still had some fight left in it. Shortly after leaving Massachusetts, the brake light which had come on the past week abruptly went off. Then as soon as we entered Pennsylvania, the ABS warning light also went off and I began to think that the Sable just may actually make it for another year.

When I first got the car in 2001, I foolishly declared that I wanted this to be the car in which I would drive my first child home from the hospital. This was a foolish statement because: #1 - I had no clue even who I was going to marry or when that would happen (if ever) and #2 - I didn't know at the time that 1995 Sables were one of the more unreliable used cars according to info I later got from Consumer Reports. This proclamation of mine seemed to turn into a bit of a curse as the Sable refused to be sold (in spite of numerous efforts on my part) when I went to Germany for three years. Then last year, it passed the state inspection with very little trouble. So when I found out that Sharon was due this January, I was certain that Puck could at least hold out until then. However, the state inspection revealed the need for extensive repairs, signalling the end for our Sable as we were forced to sell him for a mere $100 for scrap. Although Puck didn't quite make it until January, I do think that it is a significant victory that he did get to transport the unborn Kürbis around numerous times over the past couple of months.

The news that we needed a new vehicle didn't come as a huge surprise, but we ended up getting a new (to us) vehicle
from an unexpected source. When I asked my sister-in-law Chrissie to put her family on the lookout for a good used car (due to their auto expertise), she floated the possibility that they would give us their 1997 Ford Escort Wagon. They were already looking to buy a used minivan so they would have more room for their two boys, so the timing was good for them to bless us with the generosity of a car. So after a rushed (and eventful) title transfer and state inspection, our new car is all packed up and ready to take us to the Ocean City, NJ for our first trip with it. We have yet to come up with a name, but we are excited to have a car that should last us for at least a year until we decide what we're doing next. Although it is somewhat sad that Puck will not be able to take Kürbis home from the hospital, we are grateful for the numerous good memories that we have with him (especially as our trusty transportation for our honeymoon). We are even more thankful for the generosity of Matt and Chrissie in blessing us with their car that we are looking forward to having for at least another year or two.

Out with the old...

In with the new (to us)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Treasuring the Moment

This past weekend, Sharon and I finally had the opportunity to return to the Boston Harbor Islands ( a camping trip with our good friends Bill and Alice. My brother and sister-in-law introduced us to this unique camping experience during our first (and their last) week in the Boston area in August of 2005. We've been talking about a return trip for the last two years, but we weren't able to make it actually happen until this past weekend. The island that we camped on (Lovells) is so unique because it is located a few miles out in the Boston Harbor with breathtaking views of the city in the distance. However, the other side of the island reveals a view of open ocean as far as the eye can see with amazingly clear water for swimming. I wish I had some photos to show just how spectacular the location is, but I guess their absence means you will have to check it out for yourself (and invite us to join you, of course).

As the four of us sat by the fire on the rocky beach on Friday night, we reminisced a little bit about our time at Seminary because Bill and Alice will be finishing school and moving out next week. As we discussed some of the ups and downs over the past two years, it really made me appreciate how much we have enjoyed our time at Gordon Conwell and been blessed with great friendships. On the other hand, I feel like I have sometimes taking these (and other) good times for granted because I'm always so focused on the future. As I prepare for fatherhood, I want to learn to really appreciate moments in life while they're happening rather than only enjoying them through later nostalgic reflections. Especially since I've heard from parents how quickly kids grow up, I want to be able to savor the special moments in our son's or daughter's life as they happen. This is something that will not come naturally to a planner/future-focused person such as myself. If any of you parents have any suggestions in ways to slow down and truly appreciate time with your children, I would love to hear your advice. On the other hand, I know I still have five months until the baby is born, so maybe I should practice by appreciating this time of preparation instead of focusing on the future :)
- Mike