Sep 07

Firsts

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” - TS Eliot

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It would be quite the mental feat and terrific (if not boring) research effort to aggregate the times I’ve camped, swum, and eaten bananas in my lifetime. But for Anabel, it’s math I could understand when I was 30 months young: three. Anabel has camped once, swum once, and eaten one banana. Not the whole banana, mind you, but enough to consider it eaten.  

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Almost everything, almost everyday, is a first — some more memorable than others. I’m doing my best not to be the parent that brags to others (especially non-parents) about how Anabel grabbed a spatula with her right hand and transferred to her left hand. Though TS Eliot was likely not referring to living vicariously through your daughter, I’m taking liberties on his quote.  Much of my exploration has indeed circled back to the beginning. Through her eyes, even the banana is an object of wonder.  

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We recently went camping with Anabel for the first time. We were invited on the Labor Day trip by Kate Dodt - our great friend that we traveled NZ with. Prepping for the overnight trip was akin to packing to climb the Grand Teton, trying to consider every detail and need. The weather report forecasted lows of 39, and I have no idea how a tiny, 12lb body handles 39 degree weather. So we threw in the bear suit, the panda suit, and enough layers to double her body weight.

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But per usual for Anabel, she was a champ. She loved it in the mountains — as far as I can tell— and was certainly happy watching the sunset with mom.

We also took her recently for her first swim with her cousin, Esme. There isn’t much more to say than that, so enjoy these photos of tiny people in miniature swimwear. 


Aug 12

4 Months with Anabel

Happy 4 months Anaberry! I can’t believe how much you have grown in the past month. At your last appointment you dropped in weight to the 20th percentile (not surprising after mommy going back to work and bottle bootcamp) but we know you are growing as your cheeks have plumped up so much in the past two weeks!

You have developed such a vibrant and aware personality and daddy and I are loving playing with you. You’ve discovered a few new things now that you’re older: your piggies and splashing in the tub, your LAUGH, and your ability to ‘rock n’ roll’ all over your crib! You love to play in there before falling asleep and are always pulling the covers over your little head as if the world is just too much to handle :) You also cut your first tooth this month! Your bottom left tooth showed up last week much to our surprise, it’s adorable.

Aunt Jen visited last weekend to help us pack up and get ready for your first move. It was quite the workload but we did it and you are all settled in your very own room! It is so nice to have Grammy’s rocker in your room where you can eat and be read to at night. I’m reminded every time I rock you of my Grammy and that she is looking down on us from Heaven; cheering me on as your mommy and enjoying watching you grow while laughing at all of your silly noises. She would have loved to snuggle you in that rocker and you would have loved to know her.

You and cousin Esme are becoming more and more aware of each other. It is fun to see you two hold hands even if it is unknowingly. You are bound to be best buds and enjoy being mischievous together :)

Daddy and I fall in love with you more and more every day. I am constantly amazed and intrigued by you and am so grateful for the joy you have brought to our lives. I wish I could keep you 4 months old forever!


Jul 25

3 Months with Anabel

It was about 10% instinctual, the rest has been the proverbial “building the plane while flying it.” Maybe 10% is too high. Then again, the CIA doesn’t believe in stating percentages as it sounds too firm. But, being a human with the ability to apply critical thinking, I think 10 sounds about right. 

I’m not solely talking about knowing what to do in the first couple of months with a newborn— how to change diapers, calm her down, manage the schedule. I’m talking about being a father, making a connection, protecting a child, leading the family. Some of that existed naturally, in some areas more than others, but many of my actions the first two months came from a sense of duty rather than instinct or connection. 

People talk often about how you ‘fall in love’ immediately when you meet the baby. I did have that. But I fell in love with the miracle which came from Meghan and our love for each other. 

But that’s changed now. Around 2 1/2 months, Anabel started looking at me directly. She began to turn her head when I was speaking to Meghan across the room. She lifts the corners of her mouth to a curled smile when I sing to her. Her gaze has steadied. She initiates conversation with me, as incoherent as it may be. 

I don’t believe it always starts out naturally for dads. Or, at least it didn’t exactly for me. I love Meghan, but did what I needed to do out of a deep love for my wife, and her instantaneous, instinctual love for our beautiful baby girl rather than my own instinct. I questioned how was I to be, to act, to serve, to lead? 

That 10%, however, has risen steadily, day-by-day, and now it’s nearly impossible to think of my life without Anabel. 

I love this girl. 


Jun 29
"Stellar bow placement" -Mom to Dad.

"Stellar bow placement" -Mom to Dad.


Jun 26

She’s got a lot to say, just like mom.


Jun 18

Two Months with Anabel

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Dr. Sara says, ‘you’re perfect’ and I agree.

You are healthy, smiley, and playful. You coo, squawk and bat at your toys on the play mat with excitement. You love the light up toy on top of the play mat and your mobile. Your sneezes are still adorable. You are 22 inches long and over 9 pounds! You are nearly sleeping through the night only waking up once between 330 and 530 :) You are attentive and love to be talked to. You have different cries including a ‘fake’ cry. You go to work with daddy sometimes and all the women there love to hold you while daddy has meetings. You are stubborn. You don’t like a bottle.

This month a lot of ‘firsts.’ You attended your first graduation ceremony when I finished my Master’s degree and took your first flight to California to visit Aunt Kate, Uncle Ty and cousins Wyatt and Emmy. Aunt Kate adored you, Wyatt was intrigued by you and Emmy loved to play/pull your hair. You were an angel on the flight, hardly making a sound. You visited the beach and Mimi helped you put your toes in the water. You had your first real scare when Emmy squealed in her high pitched voice a little too close to you. Your eyes got big, your first frown appeared followed by a brief cry. It was the saddest but most adorable moment.

You know I’m your mom and sometimes when you cry you just want me. I have never felt so special than when you snuggle into my shoulder and your crying ceases. I love being your comfort.


Jun 18

One Month with Anabel

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"To be a child is to know the joy of living. To have a child is to know the beauty of life."

One month has flown. I still have to remind myself that I am a mom! Every inch of life has taken on new and deeper meaning with your arrival. You have changed so much in such a short time. We love to watch you grow but I am already mourning the loss of moments passed. One of the most memorable moments in the first month was your dedication at the Mile High Vineyard Church on Mother’s Day: May 11, 2014. All of the Williams family was here in Denver to witness your dad and I commit to be Godly examples to you, pray for you and raise you with the values we believe are true.

There is nothing I want more than for you to have a life filled with purpose, redemption and love. You are 21 inches long, over 8 pounds and have not lost a lock of your hair! Your eyes are the most shining deep blue and you are showing them off for longer periods of time now. You have the most adorable sneezes. You love to be swaddled in ‘your bag’ for bedtime after daddy reads you a book. You don’t really know you have a big monster of a dog for a sister but we take walks with her almost every day. You like to be outside. You are a sweet baby who rarely cries if you’re not hungry. You are gassy ;) You are very alert and have had more visitors than I can count come to meet you.

You are loved beyond measure.


Apr 13

Anabel Jane Williams

She procrastinated a bit, but she arrived.

It’s odd having a date in your mind, a date completely life-altering, come and go. For 9 months, we thought about March 27 — the day our baby girl would be born. But March 27 came and went, without a new little human in the world, and nothing really changed at all. It’s almost like planning a wedding, then, when it gets near, telling people, “It might be a few weeks — we’ll let you know.” But now the 27th is just another date in March, because our little one was born April 3 at 12:54am. 

Meghan was a champ. I mean, I know this girl is tough — I’ve seen her tramp weeks on end in the Annapurna Mountains with hardly a complaint, finish a yoga teacher training class while planning a wedding and working full-time, hammering through hundreds of hours of clinical hours while completing her Masters (again while working full-time) and being pregnant to boot. I’ve seen her dominate the Courage Classic, a 180-mile bike race over Vail Pass. But I’ve never seen anyone handle something like this - natural labor - with such focus, determination, and grace. She was in active labor for about 6 hours, in varying degrees of difficulty, and when it was all said and done, Meg had done it all naturally and we had a sweet, healthy, 7lb 13.5oz baby girl. 

As is the custom at Mountain Midwifery Center, we went home just five hours after delivery on a beautiful, dark snowy morning. The spring storm left 5 or so inches on the ground as we carried out our baby girl in her new car seat, wrapped in a blanket, taking her first nap in the fresh Colorado air.

Along with Meg’s mom and sister, we were fortunate to have wonderful staff with us that evening, as well as a fantastic doula named Barbara, who was especially helpful in active labor at our house before we left. 

It took us a couple days to settle on a name — such an epic responsibility to give a person a name, a name they will have for life. What if Apple Computer had been named Mango Computer? I mean, I’m not comparing her to a multinational corporation, only saying that names have power. I had so many thoughts for each name we had on the list - what profession it sounded like, how people would say it or not say it, what nicknames people would use, how she would write it, where people would think she’s from seeing it on paper, whether she would like it, and if it would suit her personality.

A million different scenarios played out for each one in the first couple days, and I, prone to over-analyzing, just couldn’t help myself.

We finally gave her the name Anabel Jane Williams, meaning ‘lovable gift from God.’ The name gives homage to Meg’s grandma, Anna, and also to her mom (JoAnn), my sister (Joanna), and my grandma (Jean). Looking at her, we know it fits. 

In the first couple of days, we had a ton of visitors drop off food, support us, and give love to baby Anabel. It is certainly times like this that make us feel so grateful to have such wonderful friends and family. 

Nearly three years in to marriage, and a combined 57 years on earth, Meg and I have brought a new life onto the pale blue dot. The next adventure begins. 


Jan 17

A baby on the way

“I love these little people; and it is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.” -Charles Dickens

"I have a chronic case of Walter Mitty syndrome…I am constantly foiling imaginary bank robbers and enemies. I waste hours every day envisioning a life far more dramatic, far more macho, than the sedate circumstances in which I usually exist.

That’s part of the reason why I wanted to start a family. When you start a family, you’re signing up for drama. You’re signing up for worry. You’re signing up for life-and-death. You’re signing up for a life that means something more, even if it isn’t as fun a life as when you were single and drinking Coors in the Giants Stadium parking lot. Kids make your life significant. They give your life a spine.” - Drew Magary, Someone Could Get Hurt

We’re having a baby. 

My good buddy Marcus Naramore recently gave me a book on “21st century parenting” from a writer at Deadspin, and the quote above made me laugh really hard - it’s perfectly suited to me. It may not quite capture the feelings of Meghan, but I know for most new dads, the above rings true. 

We’re expecting towards the end of March - the 27th to be exact. When I mentioned the date to a coworker, she said: “Oh, nice…an Aries!” which I didn’t really understand. All I know is that sometime in the next 10 weeks, Meg and I are going to be parents of a brand-new human; a precious baby girl. 

Meg is now at 30 weeks - the cutest pregnant lady I’ve ever seen and the hardest-working woman I know. She is working as a resource nurse for the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital and finishing up her NP degree from CU Denver. She’s done an amazing job balancing it all, and has even been accepted into a nursing honor society for her grades and effort in the program. But I have to say - we’re stoked for May when she finishes everything up. I am, indeed, a lucky man.

As for me, I’m working as Marketing Director of TEDxMileHigh and loving the work. We have five amazing events and substantial programming scheduled for 2014, but more important is the caliber of individuals I work with at the organization - they inspire me daily.   

And as for the baby - I’m enormously, immensely excited. I’m also anxious, nervous, and, at times, rather exhausted thinking about what exactly I need to do. From what I’ve heard, this is normal for a first-time dad - as it is for a first-time mom. There’s a million thoughts going through my brain simultaneously, and anyone who knows me knows that I’m better off sticking to one task at a time. 

This life we’re signing up for - this life of drama, of laughter, of worry, of joy, of sorrow - is beautiful and significant. This new aspect of life we’re signing up for arrives on March 27.  


Aug 04

Recently…

It’s been 14 months since we returned from traveling back to Denver. This may also be the last time I use traveling as a life marker. It’s interesting how people use certain events to measure distance and time in their lives. The time each milestone, or marker, lasts depends on the situation, but it seems like every couple years there’s a new line in the sand from which all subsequent time is measured. Big events can be stacked, but there’s almost always one that’s the deepest, the most relevant, the most impactful.

Our time in the last few months has been taken by a combination of school and work, especially for Meg who is putting in an unbelievable amount of energy into each. She is an amazing doer. No, an amazing accomplisher. She can’t help but do everything excellently, with all her energy, to finish always a job well done. I’m extraordinarily proud of her.

Meg also recently competed in the Courage Classic, a race that raises money for the Childrens Hospital. With her sweet new Bianchi, she and a few close friends from work (Kate Dodt, Jen Alpern) did over 150 miles in the mountains over three days, including climbing over 5 passes of 10000ft each. I went to bring more cowbell, and supported their awesomeness as they dominated Summit County.  

I’m one year into my job at TEDxMileHigh. For me, I haven’t had nearly the kind of busyness that Meg has had, but starting a new job in a new industry, at an organization with a startup mentality, run by a core team of 4, has been challenging. It’s pushed me in areas that highlight both my strengths and weaknesses, and I couldn’t be happier to have that type of position: one that is never boring, has room for growth, and allows me to learn daily. And if I’m not learning, it’s my own fault. 

Whether life is busy, or slow, the following quote is always on my mind, and I leave you with this: 

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Teddy Roosevelt


Mar 10

Winter. Last year, we missed it. This year, made the most of it. Photos above are from our trip to Jackson/Yellowstone. 


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Feb 10

It was one of the best autumns, maybe ever.  

I’m no historian, but I bet this was one of the prettiest, longest-lasting periods of fall that Colorado has ever experienced. Amazing—- and we took advantage.

We ran the Golden Leaf Half Marathon, took a road trip to Crested Butte with our good friends Adam and Mary, and soaked up the colors for a couple of months, heading to the mountains almost every weekend to indulge.

It gets in your blood, the colors do. It’s addictive to see the mountains lit up in every shade of red, yellow, and orange. It’s an all-consuming fire that burns only passion and envelopes only hearts and minds. 


Jan 27

We arrived back to the USA to family at the end of May, 2012.  After over 10 months of travel and honeymooning, spanning 8 countries, hundreds of miles trekked, and incalculable stories, we were picked up at LAX by Meghan’s sister Katie, her husband Ty,  and their little boy, Wyatt.

We were tired. But there couldn’t have been a better situation than landing to a place where we instantly felt so comfortable, connected, and relaxed.  It was a long time coming, but we were with family.  I can’t remember exactly how many days we were there—it was a blur—-but I do remember eating delicious meals, getting phones and running errands, being blown away at the excessive street advertising, and getting ready for life in Denver. The Fowlers were amazingly gracious hosts, and our transition back to the US was infinitely smoother and easier because of them.  

The summer was nuts. 

Although I would recommend a year of globetrotting with your new spouse, I wouldn’t recommend coming back the way we did with the pressure, stress, and anxiety that it carried. 

Summer bullet points: 

  • Meg went to Ohio for a wedding after CA, Micah to CO
  • Reunited with Gracie 
  • Micah attended TEDxMileHigh the following day and started teaching for 3 weeks—-summer science remediation for troubled 7th graders. Didn’t know his ass from his elbow as far as science goes.  
  • Moved two times in three months, not counting move back to US.  Housing market in Denver=slammed. 
  • Meg started work, school full-time (again)
  • Attended a combined 7 weddings, in 4 of them
  • Micah searched for work, landed a job at TEDxMileHigh

After months of traveling by car through NZ, living simply and quietly, camping on the beach next to rolling waves in the moonlight, we had returned to chaos. More than anything, we weren’t absolutely prepared to take in so much so soon, and it was exhausting. In many ways it was an amazing summer—-I loved catching up with many of college buddies at weddings and was honored to participate, we eventually found a great little duplex in a perfect location in Denver, I found a job I love, Meghan got her job back at the hospital….we felt blessed, but we felt exhausted.  And sometimes, that’s an okay place to be. 


Dec 02

The Last Three Weeks in May-Auckland

This blog, and our year abroad, would never be complete if we didn’t mention how we spent the last three weeks of our time in New Zealand.  

After camping in Spirits Bay, and moving down to the Bay of Islands, Meghan and I were running low on funds, without jobs or a place going back to the US, and unsure about how we could spend the next three weeks of our lives in New Zealand.  I knew a friend from John Brown University that was now living in Auckland with her husband, so I gave her a ring, hoping that they would be kind enough to put us up for a couple days in the city while we adjusted and figured out our return home. 

Instead of a couple days, they invited to stay until our departure. Spending three weeks with Emily and Erlo Jones was, without a doubt, one of our most shining memories of New Zealand.  We were worn out and tired, having traveled 20K+ miles, and they took us into their home, and into their lives, for those three weeks. I’ve rarely experienced the kind of hospitality, generosity, friendship, and humanity that were showed to us during that time in May.  Erlo and Emily continued to go to work during the week, but allowed us to use their home as a base to search for jobs, find housing upon our return, and relax as we transitioned from travel back to life in the US. They ate with us, took us to their favorite vineyards, showed us around Auckland, and watched movies with us. They showed us where we could go to hike in the rainforest just west of the city, how we could spend our free time, and made sure we were always comfortable.  They had also traveled extensively, and understood that bringing people in is one of the most amazing gifts someone can give.  

We had a lot of experiences in New Zealand of amazing hospitality, but Emily and Erlo showed us a deeper level invitation—they showed us love. 

During the last three weeks, with wifi in the house and Emily and Erlo’s goodwill, I was able to solidify a short-term teaching position from New Zealand upon my arrival to Denver. Meghan got her job back at the Children’s Hospital, and we found housing through a friend of mine. And we didn’t have to do it from some crazy hostel in downtown Auckland. 

Three weeks is a long time to share your life with a couple that you barely know. Emily and Erlo did it with grace, without self-interest, and out of love.  We couldn’t be more grateful for our time that we shared with them, how much they let us in, and the friendship that was built. 


Aug 27

Meditation, of the Vipassana order, didn’t suit us.  So we headed out immediately, to the desolate, strikingly beautiful area north of Auckland called Northland.  In Northland, the towns are few and dotted, and the landscape is ocean and sand.  The dense rainforests of west Auckland faded as we pressed on. 

The first night after the meditation, we slept curtly curled in the Concerto on the grey cotton seats, cold and wary, but happy to be together.  I tossed and turned, but I suppose I slept as well as one could have after a bent, short night in a small car—-I think both Meghan and I felt a sort of relief just to be away from the meditation center.  We awoke to a stunning orange sunrise, burning up the dark of the night and dousing Bream Bay in every color imaginable. A perfect beginning to a new day outside of Vipassana. 

We decided we’d go as far north as possible—-so we drove passed the small village of Waipu, through the bustling but terribly boring city of Whangarei, passed the Bay of Islands, and into the area known as Ninety Mile Beach.  Ninety Mile Beach is a narrow stretch of land (and a misnomer—-it’s really only 55 miles long) that runs north until the northernmost point of New Zealand.  It’s supposedly a famous tourist attraction, but, like many other places in New Zealand, nearly untouched.  

We continued north until Spirit’s Bay—-one of the most stunning areas in New Zealand—-where we camped on a large patch of grass 50 meters from the sea.  We ate warm soup and sandwiches, snacked on chips, and played cards after reading a couple sections of the bible.  We ended up staying on the beach the entire next day and night, and finally left on the third day.  I can hardly remember what we did during those few days, but it was perfectly relaxing and a great final camping experience in New Zealand.  Our phones were dead, our camera out of battery, so we didn’t take a single photo.  The picture of spirits bay above is one I found on the internet to remind myself what it looked like, but the credit is not mine.  

After relaxing a couple days, we drove south to the Bay of Islands, one of the most recognizable spots in all of NZ, where it poured on us for two straight days.  No matter, we took in a couple of relaxing nights in the town (and in a bed) before we headed back to Auckland.  



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