Friday, June 18, 2010

Welcome Connor!

For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, you may not realize that it has happened! We welcomed Connor into the world yesterday!

After 10 1/2 hours of labor, Connor Richard Burke was born at 4:28 p.m.. He was 8 lbs 3.8 oz and 20 in long. I think he's cute as a button, don't you?

For those who are interested, here's a little more in depth look at the labor and delivery:

I checked in Wednesday night because I really hadn't started dialating. They put a fully bulb (not sure on the spelling, too tired to look it up)in overnight to get that process started. At about six in the morning, they started me on pitocin. The next three hours were pretty easy, but the contractions grew stronger. At about 10:30, I got an epidural--yes, I am one of those who would be screaming for drugs--and at 11:30 they broke my water.

Over the next four hours, my contractions increased in strength and frequency, but I still wasn't dialating. Also, it seemed everytime I contracted, Connor's heartbeat would decel. They put me on oxygen and had me moving all over the place, including moving me to my elbows and knees toward the end (that hurt!).

Then the doctor came in to check me and I was still about 7-8 cm. She said if I didn't start dialating more by 4:00, then we'd have to seriously consider a c-section for both Connor and mine's sake. That must have scared my cervix into cooperating because I quickly dialated to ten and we were off.

The delivery itself was pretty easy, despite the fact that Connor was almost a pound heaverier than we expected. Two contractions and a little less than 10 mins later, the doctor pulled out a handsome little baby.

Connor is perfectly healthy and totally adorable! Not that I'm biased or anything. He has been eating and everything like he's supposed to and all his vitals are wonderful.

Thank you all for your support and advice over the last few months. You all are wonderful and I'm thankful to have such great friends. God bless...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stories through Music

Sometimes, because I am such a huge dork, I ravage YouTube and play a bunch of sappy songs just to make myself cry. Do you ever do that? Of course you do. I mean, you may not purposely search out songs to make you cry, but when you’re in a certain mood, you seek out things to improve upon that mood. In our day and age, we often turn to music. And why is that?

Last night was one of those nights. I just needed a good cry. No particular reason (well, I guess you could probably blame pregnancy hormones if you wanted to). I found just about every song I knew would make me cry. Songs like Skin and What Hurts the Most by Rascal Flats, I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing by Aerosmith, Letters from War by Mark Schultz, even the song we played at our wedding, I Will Be Here by Stephen Curtis Chapman. I could name several more, but you can tell what a sap I am from that small sampling.

It occurred to me as I went to bed, later than usual thanks to all that music, that I really admire song writers. Novelists have it easy.

A songwriter has less than five minutes to tell a story or evoke an emotion. They have only so many words to get that across, and often those words are repeated throughout the song. We complain about condensing our story down to a couple of pages for a synopsis, but their lyrics often don’t even take up a page. We moan and complain about having to expand on setting, characters, plot lines, songwriters rely on structure of music to help portray the meaning or emotion behind a story being told in less time than it takes to zap a Hot Pocket in the microwave.

This got me thinking about the type of music and the artists that I listen to when I’m in certain moods. For instance, when I need to clean the house, I often pop in a Shania Twain CD. Why? Because I know all the words and can dance around the house, which makes cleaning so much more fun. I also know that just about anything by Rascal Flats or Mark Schultz will make me cry. If I’m in the car, a good 80’s rock CD or Christian worship CD will have me singing at the top of my lungs (with the windows down if it’s not allergy season).

These artists, and the songwriters behind their music, keep me coming back again and again. I relate to their stories. I submit to their emotions. I am revived or renewed or encouraged. And isn’t that what we want readers to feel when they read our novels? Don’t we want to evoke emotion and tell compelling stories that they relate to so they come back again and again? I think we could take a lesson from songwriters, indeed.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Shade and The Box

Happy Memorial Day a little late!

I had a pretty good weekend—a lot of family time, a little shopping, even some reading and movies. Yes, I’m easily entertained. Also, there was a frenzy of baby prep as we now know that my induction date should be June 17th. Not very long left at all!

This weekend I finished reading John B. Olson’s Shade. This book kept me up until all hours of the night with its crafty twists and eloquent writing. The story had all the elements of a great thriller—suspense, twists, amazing characters…and its own unique twist on stories we already know.

With its themes of grace and forgiveness, it also emphasizes the importance of a strong faith in a world that doesn’t agree with the thoughts of an all-encompassing God. However, one thing I’d like to point out is that in all the book, not once did I feel preached at or hung up on the Christian factors.

From vampires and demons to paranoid schizophrenics and homeless people, the cast of characters was definitely a plus for this book. Even the most minor of characters was created with such realism and authenticity. I was drawn to the main character from the start—not because I’m tall and awkward like she is, but I am self-conscious of certain aspects of myself and that made me relate to her all the more.

I could continue to sing John’s praises in a really long post, but I won’t. I’ll just insist that you all go out and get the book and read it for yourself. Now. Shoo. Off to Barnes and Noble, or Books-A-Million, or some other book store. Can’t get to one? I’m sure you can find it on Amazon or the like. Just go get it!

Also, this weekend, hubby and I finally got around to renting The Box, a movie that’s been out on video for quite awhile. We both wanted to see the movie because the concept portrayed in the previews was one we found intriguing. Here’s the question: A man shows up at your door with a button box. If you push the button, you would automatically be given $10 million, even knowing that someone somewhere in the world—that you don’t know—would die, would you still push it? Yeah…heavy stuff.

The movie itself turned out to be a little different from the straight forward thriller we expected it to be. There’s a little bit more sci-fi type stuff in it. The movie takes place in 1976 and the amount of money is one million dollars (I posed my question a little different to take in inflation). But it spurred several debates between hubby and I. He tends to be more cynical than I am (he is a soldier, a realist (semi-pesimist), and a rationalist). How much of the world would actually go through with something like that? How many people would even consider it? Was there an Adam/Eve thing going on seeing as it was always the women that pushed the button?

That’s a sign of a good movie when it keeps you thinking and debating long after it’s over, right? Check it out for yourself.

Have you read any good books or seen any movies that really made you think lately? Do share!