Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday. Yay.

 Well tomorrow 's the big day!  The grandaddy of sporting events.......the Super Bowl.  I am thrilled.  I really don't care, but I'll probably watch it just to be in the loop on Monday.  I will definatly use it as an excuse to eat ribs and wings......oh, and drink beer. 

 I will be pulling for the Cardinals because they aren't even supposed to be there and I just usually support the underdogs.  If Pittsburgh wins, well, thats cool too.  For me, tomorrow represents something else.....something much more important than a football game.  Tomorrow is the end of one way of life and the begining of another.  Hopefully, it will result in huge changes for me and my family, but you will have to check back later for the details...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Ride

Let me say this and be VERY clear......I hate car payments.  HATE them.  I despise making monthly payments on an item that is depreciating as fast as an automobile almost as much as I despise having to spend money to repair said vehicle.   I haven't had a payment in nearly 3 years.  However, as of last night, I have one again. 

I have driven a 1999 Buick Park Avenue since mid summer 2005.  It was nice and big, and pretty well equipped.  Oh yea, and it was supercharged.  Better yet, it got nearly 30 mpg on the highway. Thirty miles per gallon from a big, V6 luxury car with over 100K miles on it.  So I remain numb to the constant barrage of ads about these tiny tin cans that get "nearly 30 mpg".  Big deal.

But what was a big deal was the rapid decline of condition over the last 6 months. 
First, the supercharger belt flew apart.  Did I fix it?  Nope.  Took it off, kept digging. 
Next, brakes began to shutter like a 737 in turbulence.  Turn 'em? Do you know what that cost?  

Then, it basically had a stroke.  It lost most of the use of internal electricals.  No power windows, no power locks, and the fuel gage needle began to resemble a  metronome, swinging back and forth in smooth rhythmic cadence (full-empty-full-empty, tick-tock-tick- tock).  Really took the boredom out of everyday driving.

And last, I think the torque converter was going bad.  Or maybe it was the Johnson rod.  I have no idea.

So I traded.  I have a car payment again.  Windows work, brakes are smooth and I know exactly how much gas I have in the tank.  But really, those are just luxuries, and I could have lived with them.  In fact, with the exception of feeling safe driving my kids around, there was no truly compelling argument for trading.    But that was enough.  

Oh, and the opportunity to torment a car salesmen who just happens to be a close personal friend. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Well it is officially over..........child bearing that is.  During a 15 minute stint with my feet up in stirups and a spotlight on the "boys", Dr. Geoff DeLeary terminated my ability to add to our family. So its ice-down time, like a pitcher after the game.....time to protect the mechanics for the next trip to the mound, if you know what I mean. 
All in all, the procedure wasn't that bad.  In fact, given the choice, I'd prefer that over most dental visits (except dentist don't strip you of any pride you had walking in by making you wait, half naked, in a cold exam room for a half hour, before sending in a guy resembling Ghengis Kahn, whose job is to scalp you with a military grade razor you can NOT buy at Wal-Mart).  It feels like one of the kids sidekicked me just below my bellybutton, so its not horrible.  But, I get a quick reminder of what got cut on when I bend down too far.  I should be fine in a day or two.

Besides, the end result will be like having all the ice cream you want........without fear of getting fat:).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two versions of one image...

This shot was taken in Manteo NC.  As we walked across a bridge into town I saw these houses off in the distance.  They looked very "storybook" and almost like a movie set, but they were someones home (to my envy I must admit).  I love the Outerbanks of NC, and Manteo/Roanoke turned out to be an area we'd move to in a heartbeat.  

The two finished images came from the same original.  I liked them both better than the original but I cant decide on an ultimate favorite.  Any input would be greatly appreciated. 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

So I got to spend the majority of the day alone with Megan today.  It was great.  We had lunch at Olive Garden, dessert at DQ, and then got to see where my dad lives his other life (McGuire Nuclear Plant).  It was a very enjoyable day, and we needed it after last night.  

I took this shot of her a few nights ago before she climbed into bed.  When I saw it I just stopped and thought "where'd she come from?"  We just brought her home from the hospital, like, last week, and all of a sudden she's....well.... not a baby anymore.  She's a young lady, she's growing up, and I hate it.
"What'd I tell you about that flash?!"

Saturday morning

Okay, I'm bummed.  Well, we're bummed.  Annamarie and I have discovered a fantastic way to relax on Saturday morning....put baby down for nap, boot older kids out of the room/house, and kick back on the couch to watch complete idiots make a lot of money "flipping" houses.  However, this morning, TLC decided to replace Property Ladder with some brain-dead program about the Miss America pageant.  Remeber this....

"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, people out there in our nation don't have maps 
and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe
 that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should 
help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our children."
- Caitlyn Upton's world famous answer in the 2007 pageant.

Then again, maybe it would have been fun to watch.

Anyway, its now day three at home and at all is good.  Lincoln is adapting pretty darn well.  He's put himself to bed, alone, for the last couple of nights.  And at nap time, like right now, he goes to his crib and lays down, without a peep. (proof there is  a God, and he loves us)  Nolan sleeps most of the time, and at night, not to bad so far;  Annamarie is still exhausted and sore, so it worse on her. Dawson is fine we guess.  He's basically moved in with my mother-in-law and just comes to visit. Megan, well, I'll save her for my therapist.  

All in all, things are great.  I have a few more pics coming soon but it has taken about an hour to write this, so bear with me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

We're Home!

Finally!  Got the green-light about 10am this morning, and I must say it was time.  I seriously needed a shower an clean clothes.   

Nolan and Lincoln are now napping on the sofa under the watchful eye of there big sissy.  The Big Boy (aka Dawson) has yet to come from his grandmothers house.  We offered to pick him up on the way home, but no.  He was just fine he said.  Haven't seen him yet.  Scrap that he just walked in the door.  

So were all home now....time to be father of four.  Four.  I  guess we are following our good friends motto "If its worth doing, its worth overdoing".  :)


If that flash goes off in my face one more time........

I'm gonna punch you in your eye, your dad-gum EYE!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One Grandmother - Free
Two Grandsons - Dont want to think about it
Value of this Shot- Priceless

The big boy and the baby

I just thought these looked good kinda cool.

Hey little guy, I'm your big sissy........Princess Mimi!'re really small!

He's Here!

Well we waited for what seemed like forever, but,  Nolan Trace arrived last night at 7:09pm est!

This is number 4 but it I don't think I would ever be "use to" the miracle of babies.  The idea that at one moment they are breathless, almost lifeless, and completely dependent on the mother to survive.....and then a moment later, their crying and kicking and well, they're alive.   It was simply amazing, just like always.  

So heres a few pics of the latest Clark.......

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sometimes Lincoln just likes to chill out in the lawn furniture.  He was hoping for snow at this point.

Snow day

Woke up to snow this morning...... and hard contractions.  Annamarie and I headed to the hospital anticipating rapid progression and a baby fairly early on this cold morning.  Yea. Right.  This is Nolan were talking about.  So far hes doing what he whats, just like always.  

The contractions are strong, but spread out.   Were walking and bouncing (on the "birthing ball") and hoping this moves forward as soon as possible.

Well see.   

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Moving Day

I have to say I have some incredible friends.  The kind I could call at 2am and they would come running.  The kind I can leave my kids with and know, without question, that they're in probably better care than we give them.  So when one of them moved into a new house, I was more than happy to assist.  But I was not alone.  
      I sincerely hope that when the day comes for me to vacate this house, (and move into one more befitting of a family of six), that I have that many folks show up to help.    No moaning or complaining, and no standing around waisting time;  just one day of totally focused efforts to get the job done and get on with life. Cool.
I am certainly blessed to be surrounded by the type of folks I am, especially since I have children who, like all kids, are influenced by the friends I keep.  Well, I would be fine if they were influenced by my friends.  Friends, not acquaintances
      The number of names on that list is low, and sometimes I wish there were more.  But those we have are awesome, and each one has their own unique reason for being so special.  So if any one of them moved tomorrow, I'd be right there to help again.     
My Girl

What the hell?

Well this was an eventful evening, and it had nothing to do with the baby.  There we were, laying in bed watching television and "boom, boom"!  Not a boom like a car backfiring but like a handgun.  Two shots, rapid succession and very close.  Obviously law enforcement was called and they showed force!  Despite their searching nothing showed up out of the ordinary, but????  I cant say I was very settled the rest of the night.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Its about to get chilly.....

Why do I have this sneaky suspician that our baby will be born sometime in the next 24 hours?  Cause its gonna be REALLY FREAKING COLD!!!!  

 10 Degrees.......10 @#$% DEGREES is tonights low.  I had no idea we lived in New England.....

Anyway, that would be just about right.  2am.... 10 degrees and "Josh, wake up!  My water broke!" 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thanks Doc!

According to what we have been told since day 1, the due date of our fourth (and final) child was Jan.9.  Well.....maybe not.  

Today we get told that since the ultrasound dating is slightly different than the standard cycle-dating it may be the 18th. What?  Thanks for letting us know this in a timely matter.  

So, first they can't "sever the ties" with me on the right day, now they aren't sure about the baby delivery date. But don't worry, we dont have anything else going on in our life so what difference does it make?  Our calendars are wide open. 

Sometimes photos are only important because they are good shots.  Creative, imaginative whatever.  
Sometimes they are imortant because they say more than words can about what really matters.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So much for what I wanted to say.

Back to my "talk".

What I wanted to talk about...what I had planned and taken notes to talk about.......all thrown out as soon as we walked in and saw these folks.  So much for being prepared.  It became extremely obvious that I had written what I wanted to say, and not what God wanted them to hear.  I am just hoping that, in the end, what I delivered was the latter. 

It has been on my mind (and heart) a lot lately that churchs are operating in default mode.  We have, within almost any church in America, small sub-categories of the church where people "get involved".  Things like Sunday school, choir, committees, circles, etc.  They aren't bad, and I am not questioning them at all.  People use the things to be "active" in the church.  We hear "He's active in his Sunday school" or "She's active in her women's circle", or "They are active in the choir".  Great, everyone needs a place to fit in, like pieces of a puzzle, and I am happy we have those things.  But ultimately, unless the group is focused on a goal, or has a mission in mind, were just a social club.  Right?  

So the question is not about the activity, but about the purpose.   

Are we more concerned with being involved than being effective?  Is the circle or class your in giving you the opportunity to get in the game, or is it just giving you a comfortable seat to watch from?  Are you giving yourself the opportunity to be used the way God intended?

This was the premise for what I wanted to discuss.  I ended up talking about something else, and I honestly cant remember much about what I said.  If I am lucky,  though,  they heard exactly what they were supposed to. 

Special guest?

So I was asked if I would speak to the Senior Adults group in our church, at there monthly get together.   Me.  Asked to speak to a group of adults....senior adults.  What were they thinking?

I confess that I dont mind public speaking that much, its not that hard.  But what do you say to a bunch of people, more than twice your age, that could have any  measurable impact at all? 

Honestly, I still dont know......and I just finished.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Storm front

Due date +3

Its now 3 days past the due date and no baby. We are off to the OB-GYN office for a "non-stress test" whatever that means. I guess a stress test" assumes there's stress present but "non-stress" does not. Sensitivity wording no doubt.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Due date +1

Well, we went to the hospital yesterday....but no baby.  Annamarie had a slight scare when she noticed that the baby had not moved in a while, and she could not remember the last noticeable movement.  Turns out all is fine, but it was a tense few minutes driving to meet her at the ER.

So its now the 10th, and still waiting.  

Friday, January 9, 2009

Starting to learn a bit about layers.  Thought this turned out pretty cool.

Dear Nolan,

Okay dude, its now been 9 months officially.  You can come out now.

There's lots of people asking about you and wondering where you are.  Mommy's kind of tired of telling them the same things every time.  She's also tired of you pressing on her back and hips. Oh yea, and shes tired of not sleeping.  I think its time to come out and play.  

You cant stay in there forever, so dont try.

Love ya-Dad   


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dance of the SugarPlum Fairies starring Megan Savannah Clark.  

This photo was taken over a dune at Kill Devil Hills NC.  Megan was searching for seashells and it just before sundown on our first day of vacation.  Shot turned out great, and only noticed the seagull after taking it.
Lincoln Wyatt


If your unfamiliar with the current status of my beautiful wife then you need some background.  Shes pregnant.....VERY pregnant. Shes due any day, er , time now.  The actual due date is tomorrow, 1/9, but she has been at the threshhold for days now; and she's done.

We woke up this morning to several contractions back to back...startling us enough to jump up and begin getting dressed...then nothing.   Thanks Nolan.  

Its not like this is our first... far from it.  It's number four.  FOUR.  I know, "What were we thinking?"  We hear that a lot, and honestly, its a little old.  The truth is we always wanted several kids we just never expected to have them all so quickly.  Our daughter turned nine on the 6th, (yes Tuesday), and our sons, 7 and 1, were born on the same day.  Well not the same day, they're 6 years apart, but both on August 30.  (The odds of that cant be very high, so I consider it some kind of good luck sign.)   

Despite my daughters sincere feelings to the contrary, I was really hoping the baby would be born on the 6th, and they could share that day.  I mean think about it...4 kids on 2 birthdays.  I could save a LOT of money on parties, not to mention the reduction in planning and logistics!  But apparently his just like his siblings, and he's doing things his way- not ours.  Its 9 oclock on the 8th, and no baby.

So were still waiting.  Impatiently.
Heres another taken near there.  it was shot in a monochromatic format then processed in HDR.  What makes this shot special is the color that was revealed during the processing.  Originally a B/W image, it took on this sepia hybrid feel once it was finished. 
This photo was taken just outside Cherokee NC.  I am begining to experiment with HDR imaging (High Dynamic Resolution) and thought this one turned out pretty well.

So does this work?

I am now trying to post from my Google desktop....we'll see. If this works there may be no end to the useless drivel I will be able to compose. The next step will be to figure out how to post pics. Later....

Where do I start?

So this is blogging?  Kind of expected more....maybe fireworks or champaign or....something?  

Anyway, I felt it was time to join the technology age and, well, see what happens.  This is an "under construction" project so stay tuned and hopefully enjoy the things you see and read.