Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas...

From the four of us, to all of you. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for keeping up with us.
Christmas is a time when we gather with loved ones, but Christmas is only about one thing... that is God's gift of His son as Savior and Lord to all who believe. We wish you all a merry Christmas.

Greg, Lisa, Jackman, and Brolin

Friday, June 17, 2011

Brolin...The Story Behind The Name...

Well, our long awaited new-baby-name-guessing-game was a colossal bust. In the mad dash, the contest lasted all of 10 minutes at around 8:00 am, so naturally we had about zero guesses, with no correct answers.... Much different results from our first go 'round with Jackman. As most of you know by now, we had some fun with the naming process of our firstborn. It might help to go back and read "Jackman... The Story Behind The Name..." before you dig into this. You'll need a frame of reference if you weren't there for it, or didn't at least read the blog.

Anyway, a brief introduction is in order. Apparently when we named our firstborn 'Jackman', we knocked one out of the park. As it turns out, his name has been Hugh-ly popular (get it?). The only problem is when you knock one out of the park your first time at bat, everyone expects at least that much the next time up.

Well, obviously we never gave any thought whatsoever as to how difficult it would be to come up with a name that complements 'Jackman', and it all its own at the same time. With Jackman, it was apparent that we went with a movie star's last name - that would be the theme, although we did not know it at the time. It's qualities were that it was highly unique, yet down-to-earth and friendly. Jackman sounds like it could be every boy's name on earth, but I guarantee you don't know another one - that's what we were looking for in a name. Set the bar mighty high I know, but we definitely cleared it.

Rewind a few months - now we've got the Deuce on the way, and he needs a name... what do we do? I had another list this time, and it had several of the actors we love who just didn't make the cut, plus about a thousand -man names, plus the name Mitchum... my brand of deodorant. Hey, what's wrong with that? It's so effective you can skip a day... or at least that's what they used to say.

Well, the criteria that had to be met were as follows:
1. Actor's last name
2. Nobody's first name - unique
3. Sounds like anyone's first name - simple
4. Works with the middle name 'Cody' - Family name on Lisa's side
5. Sounds good when you yell it paired with the name 'Jackman', as if two little boys just did something they were not supposed to do, and are now in a stink-storm of trouble. Example: Jackman!!! ______!!! Get out of the garbage and get your rear ends in here right this instant!!!

Now you see why we just couldn't just name the boy Tom.

So what was the only choice possible in a world full of names?

Just look at how cool that looks. Just the grouping of letters alone looks tough enough to give you a black eye. And think about it... when you say the name 'Brolin'... we are talking about a name that is versatile enough to suit anyone from a broom-pusher to a brain-surgeon... the sky is the limit. Just read this aloud, listen, and you'll see what I mean. "Hey Brolin... you missed a spot over by those tables." Now try this one: "Hey Brolin... mighty fine work doing surgery on that dude's brain." See what I mean.

Well, you may ask "Brolin? Brolin who? Who's Brolin?" Granted, he doesn't have the same kind of status Hugh Jackman does now, but he does have the added advantage of being a super value pack - a father/son duo.

You probably know the younger Brolin, Josh. Brolin exudes pure meanness as the infamous drifter, Tom Chaney in True Grit.

He is Llewelyn Moss in No Country For Old Men, brimming with confidence, either due to the nickle-plated .45 or the circa '80's 'stache. These are by far the younger Brolin's best efforts of his entire career. Sadly, most of his work is terrible... I mean pure bilge. I think the last thing he was in that I really liked was The Goonies... a solid 25 years ago. I guess he bought into the Goonies code - never say die! Well, like the old-timers say, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. The Coen Brothers got Brolin, and the rest is history.

As for the elder Brolin, his work is probably not nearly as well known to my culture-poor generation, even though his career is wrought with as much stinkiness as his son's. He was in a lot of TV stuff that I don't really remember. The one thing I do remember him in was his crowning achievement... The Amityville Horror.

Brolin played George Lutz, a dude that got totally ripped off by his realtor and subsequently possessed by evil. You could actually smell his Old Spice in this flick. He was rockin' that late 70's bulletproof hair too. This was the baddest the elder Brolin ever got, but he's still awesome in it. I mean he's sharpening his axe, and he ain't planning on bustin' wood with it.

He's also sporting that late 70's lumberjack style, both pictures from The Amityville Horror.

And by the way... I did my homework just to make certain that we got a unique name. The name Brolin isn't even really real, so to speak; or at least it wasn't until Craig Kenneth Bruderlin changed his name to James Brolin. Apparently, Bruderlin isn't a cool name, but Brolin is. It was cool enough to jumpstart a man's otherwise lifeless Hollywood career. If at this point you are wondering why we named our son after a pair of actors whose good movies over the course of a combined half-century could be counted on one hand, I'm afraid you missed the point. It's not about them... we liked the name.

In the end, I hope both of our boys' names are characteristic of who they are to Lisa and I now, and who we are confident they will become as they grow up... Each of them, matchless and one of a kind, yet unpretentious and down to-earth.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

And This Is How It Happened...


Me and my son, Brolin (the Deuce)

He threw us a curve with that brown hair

Sang a little tune earlier...

Lisa, playing with her son

Sometimes things don't go according to the plan...
You would think us, of all people, would be prepared for the unexpected. Well, we were just a little bit surprised today.

Rewind to yesterday, the 13th. Brolin was already a day overdue, and we went to the baby doc to see what's up. He said he had a full load of inductions the next day (today, the 14th), so he lined us up to be induced at 6:30am, Wednesday morning, the 15th.

Well, me and Lisa decided to go buck wild with our guaranteed extra day (at least that's the way I went about it). We didn't go throw a party or anything, just got some lunch together, one last time before the kids go off to college, and picked up some necessities, like cookies and frozen chicken sandwiches. We enjoyed the evening with the Boy, and went off to bed, knowing full well we had another day to mentally prepare for the new addition.

From my point of view, the story picks back up around 4:3oam, when I heard Lisa on the phone with a baby doc, explaining that she was having unbearable contractions. You have to understand neither of us have slept well for about a month, because if Lisa ain't sleepin', I ain't sleepin'. After a minute or two, I came to grips with the fact that this was actually happening, NOT according to the plan.

I soon found out Lisa had been up since 2:30am having contractions. The doc told her to hold tight, and come in later when they got closer together (they were over 15 minutes apart, and sort of sporadic when she called). Within 30 minutes they were clicking like clockwork at 6 minutes apart, and the cliche', chick-flick, mad dash to the hospital was on. We virtually passed my mother on the way out the door (still not ready to leave Jackman at home alone - too mischievous).

I saw a new side to my loving wife on the way to the hospital... the fire-breathing side. Rush hour traffic will bring out the worst in all of us, but you should try it one day while you're having a baby. Seriously, Lisa did really well. God was smiling on us this morning. No kidding, if we had left five minutes later, Brolin would have been born on I-65 North.

We checked into the hospital at 7:07am. Lisa was at 7cm. They called for the anesthesiologist immediately. Lisa was screaming in pain just like in those bad acting movies... I promise, no one slept late in Homewood/Mountainbrook this morning. Well, he came in approximately 7:30, and the nurse told him Lisa was already over 9cm. I remember her saying, "It's too late to give her an epidural". You have never seen a wave of hopelessness rush over a human being like it did my wife in that moment. She went pale, her bottom lip rolled out, and her eyes started welling up. This was BAD. There was that uncomfortable silence that lasts a lifetime, then this old-timer, renegade, cowboy anesthesiologist said, "lay the bed flat and roll her on her side, I'm gonna make mama feel better". He made anesthesiology look cool, just like Run DMC did for Adidas. That dude is gonna get a Christmas card.

The baby was ready to be born when we got to the hospital. At this point we had to wait an extra 10 minutes for the medicine to take effect. Then it was finally time to call the doc in. It literally took less than 5 minutes. He just walked in and caught the boy. It was over so fast I wondered if I had missed something. Brolin was born at 8:01... 56 minutes after we walked in the door.

We both breathed a silent sigh of relief after Brolin got to stay in the room with us past the 10 minute mark. We've had him with us all day. We just look at him and each other, and wonder what to do next. It's kind of neat. It's such a unique experience - our second-born is like a first-born. We're tired, but really looking forward to all four of us being together.

Thanks to all of you who have taken care of us, kept up with us, and prayed for us.

I'm thankful God does things his way.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

ETA... Unknown

Lisa feeding the Boy while he's passed out cold

Well, so much for keeping everyone up to date. All I can say is that "Cyclone" would have been a fitting name for my firstborn. That should go a long way towards explaining the difficulty I have had with keeping the blog current, and provide sufficient reason for why I probably won't update it everyday after the Deuce is born. Now that the excuse-ities are out of the way...

Today marks the official due date of the Deuce (Baby Boy Harper II). It is also exactly two months before Jackman's second birthday. That's a lot of twos. Maybe too many.

If the Deuce were born today, it would complete my perfect would of easy-to-remember dates. He and the Boy would have the same birthday, just different months. Lisa's birthday is September 17th, the same as my bro's. I proposed to her that day - on her birthday. We got married on New Year'e Eve - a Tuesday; easy to remember. My birthday, November 5th, is the same as Roy Rogers', Ike Turner's and Kevin Jonas'... who couldn't remember that. Perfectionness.

It looks like the Deuce will make his own special day. That will be okay. I can memorize another birthday I guess, I'll just have to forget one of your's to make room. But Facebook has that covered, so everything is just peachy.

You probably want to know how Lisa is feeling, and probably haven't had a second thought about yours truly. That's okay... I've had 2 years and 9 months to get used to it. She's feeling "very pregnant, very hot, uncomfortable, and ready". She's done really well as far as I'm concerned. As tired as she is, she still puts me and the Boy first. Don't worry, I'm taking care of her and making her get rest. The Bible teaches that my wife is an even higher priority than even our sons, second only to God himself. I take that pretty seriously.

Well, in any event, the ETA on the Deuce is... SOON. We are thinking between now and Wednesday. Once things really get rolling, I'll post updates on Twitter, and they will show up on the righthand side of the blog, and on my Facebook status - so stay tuned.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Family That Prays Together...

Our little family prays together every morning... even on Saturdays and Sundays. That hasn't always been the case though. For years before the boy came along, me and Lisa didn't pray together. I actually thought it was good enough that I just reminded her to pray. I'm not sure at what point we realized it was important to pray together, but we have done it ever since.

When Jackman was born, praying together became even more important to us. Don't get me wrong... prayer itself does NOT make us stronger - God does that. Prayer just puts us in touch with the One who gives us grace, strength and peace. Well, praying together did a lot for helping us to communicate with each other as well. I'm not talking about some kind of psychiatrist-type communication garbage either. I'm talking about discussing hard issues about our baby boy that neither one of us even wanted to think about. Back then, the possibilities were really scary at times. In hindsight, I can see how if we had not been praying together we would have been too afraid to even speak to each other about the possibilities, but since we were praying about them together, we were able to encourage and comfort each other through a tough time.

After the boy came home (and especially since he has become mobile and vocal), praying together as a family has entered into a whole new realm. I confess that all three of us peek during our prayer time together... but it is all because of Jackman. Besides, I've never found the verse in the Bible that says "no peeking", and I'm almost certain it does not exist. Jackman actually likes prayer time. We do it in the morning to start the day. I have to admit, I love to see the look on his face when he watches Lisa pray. He just watches her and smiles like he knows something special is taking place. When we finish, he claps. That means something too, because he doesn't just clap for anything.

I guess a good question for anyone who reads this blog is: do you pray together as a family? If so... good! If not... why not? We've learned there really is no good reason not to. Think about it this way - most people spend a lot of time thinking... even worrying about who they need to talk to about important matters, most of whom probably won't really be listening anyway. What if you and your family could have a few calm and easy minutes with someone who actually cares about those things and can actually do something about them? It doesn't hurt that He also created the entire universe too, so He is more than qualified to handle whatever we can lay on Him.

The best thing is that He's glad to do it for us because it frees us of worry. Instead of complaining and groaning to everyone we see, we're free to brag about Him. And its hard NOT to brag on God for taking care of our problems... at least that has been our experience.

Anyway, if you and your family aren't praying together already, don't wait - start today.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Overdue Update...

The 2nd Baby Boy Harper as of 01.17.11

Well, it has been quite a while since I last posted an update. Jackman has finished college and has a nice little family of his own now. Of course I am kidding, but time is flying around here. As soon as he was walking, he was running, and into everything. That was just about the time the blog slowed down.

The boy is doing good. He's learning how to drink through a straw and also out of a cup. He actually likes milk... sort of. He's still not eating yet, but he is progressing. Lisa and I have seen pretty amazing progress over the past few months, especially when you consider the fact that when we began trying to teach him to eat, all he would put in his mouth was a generic, green, hospital brand pacifier (good thing I picked up all those that fell on the floor while we where there - I know the nurses will love that).

Jackman still has reflux, which causes him to throw up a lot. Sometimes he will have a good few days in a row, and sometimes it won't be so good. But every time we go to the doc, they are thrilled about his growth, and the surgeon is also very happy with the way his esophagus looks. We aren't anticipating any kind of surgeries at all as of right now.

The boy recently said his first word: baby. Now he says it approximately 800 times a day. Today I taught him "Bob". I know, not a big stretch from baby, but I expanded his vocabulary by 100% today, so that is worth something. I have been trying to teach him "mama" while Lisa is away so she would be surprised. When he is in the high chair, I get a picture of her, point to it, and say "mama"... you know the drill. Well, a couple nights ago I told him to go to mama. Of course he took off running, ran straight past Lisa without so much as a look, and straight to the bookcase where the picture sets. He was quite proud of himself.

He's a big help too. He likes to help out with laundry. He laughs his tails off. He likes to help load the washer. The other day he handed me every stitch off clothing out of the basket, piece by piece, and when he was finished, gave me my crocs to throw in too. Folding clothes is more of a challenge because he like to swoop in like an attack jet on a bombing run and make a mess of things. Or sometimes he does does his "fox in the henhouse" technique, and flies in and steals some folded clothes and runs off with them, all the while laughing like a madman. Never a dull moment.

Probably the biggest development for the boy is that he is going to have to get used to sharing the limelight. Turns out, the new addition will be a little boy (name yet to be determined). He and Jackman will be the same age difference as me and my brother, and while some people may have a different opinion (which, of course, would be wrong), I think we turned out pretty good. I like the idea of them being close to the same age, and I think it will be good for the both of them.

Stay tuned. I'll be picking up the pace on the blog again as we get closer to D-day (that means delivery-day). There's always the possibility we'll spill the beans on the name, but right now there is 0% chance for two reasons. First, we don't have one yet, and second, where's the fun in that?