Wintery Well-being

Our little guy has barely had a week where he hasn’t been sick or under medical care this winter (since daycare began). We are told by our pediatrician that it is because of being in daycare and his age, but mostly when he was born. He was born so that he could hit cold and flu season as he started daycare…and only a few months old.

In January H was diagnosed with RSV and, then, one morning, we woke up to H in respiratory distress. We rushed to Children’s hospital and spent the next night at the hospital. In March H had his hypospadias repair. He was born with a hypospadias condition so we have known that he would need surgery after 6 months. The procedure went better than expected, even, and he hasn’t missed a beat.

Oh, and I almost forgot. His sickness has never kept him down and, now……..he can pull up!

Henry in Church

We have been incredibly blessed, as pastors, over the years. We have experienced loving churches…and, as a clergy couple, we’ve sometimes made that difficult, for instance, the churches seldom get to see our spouse.

Both of our amazing churches were excited for the arrival of little H and when we returned from maternity leave (and, then, paternity leave) they were excited to worship with H…and they have been understanding has been split between church with mommy and church with daddy. When H does come to worship I love to see the faces of the congregation and little H! It’s so fun to see love being shared.

My church doesn’t have a nursery program and Henry is generally the only baby…so the people of the church pass him around and take care of him. It has been lots of fun to watch and, then, tonight, we got a special treat because we got to worship together as a family on our first Christmas Eve.

Church is a wonderful place to raise a child!

Daycare

Paternity Leave is nearly over so daycare must soon begin and we’ve decided to start half day daycare this week, a few of the days, just to get him acclimated.

It is overwhelming to let go of him and leave him with people that we basically don’t know (although we met and vetted the daycare, of course)! It is also really exciting to see him with the other children and receiving such great care.

We hope that he continues to do well with all-day care starting next week! Pray for us (I think it’s way harder on me than H)!

Two Weeks in Greece

We’ve had a house guest for the past two weeks. My sister-in-law and her husband went to Greece and needed somewhere for T, our nephew. Well, I’m on paternity leave with H (our little guy) and T is in school during the day…so…sure. Carrie and I have enjoyed a great, great, great time with our temporarily expanded family.

It wasn’t super-easy, by the way. We had to get up and have T at school over in Saint Louis every school day. Those were early mornings, but, of course, we were already up with a baby, anyway. 🙂 It was also just hard because Aunt Carrie and Uncle Scott do things a lot differently than at home. Aunt Carrie and Uncle Scott tried to make adjustments but T was also really flexible and did a great job.

In the picture above you can see a meal that T made with Aunt Carrie one night!

We are a little sad that T is going to go stay with his Nana & Babop (his grandma and grandpa Berry) for a few days until his mom & dad get home…so we ended with a big family dinner. My parents and Carrie’s parents all came to Collinsville to eat with H, T & Carrie and me. It was a great night and we feel blessed by this family!

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He has been 42 months in the making… On August 7 a few minutes after 2am Henry Lawrence Berry Carnes came into this world healthy and happy.  He weighed in at 7 lbs 1oz and is long… 21 & 1/4 inches.

I am overwhelmed by experience of these past few days.  One can be mostly prepared for the child birthing experience: reading books, going to classes, planning as a couple.  On the other hand there is no preparation for the emotional experience of first holding your own child.  It’s only been a few days but I think I love this little boy more everyday than the day before.

Carrie is on maternity leave right now and after her eight weeks of leave I will go on paternity leave.  We are both soaking up every minute we can with this little guy before he has to start daycare in mid-November.  We both want to say thank you to our churches for being flexible in planning our maternity/paternity leaves.  We are so blessed to have these amazing churches.

Summer Camp

It has been three years since I last volunteered at church camp (I took a three year hiatus while I worked on my doctor of ministry three weeks each summer).  It was an amazing week.  Nicole Cox said it this way:

“Another year of AIR camp behind us. And we are all richer for it. Oh I am so grateful for the ways God has changed our hearts this week. I’m grateful for the relationships that deepened. I’m grateful for moments to laugh uncontrollably and to weep without shame. I’m grateful for experiencing the fullness of being in God’s creation. I’m grateful for a place to experience healing and renewal in my heart and spirit. What an amazing week. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: God lives at Little Grassy. I never feel the Spirit like I do in that place.”

June 22 facebook post by Nicole Cox
A Trip to Scotland

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Is the world ready for ANOTHER Carnes???

Carrie and I are pleased to announce that we are (okay, she is) fourteen weeks pregnant.  If all goes well, we will welcome our firstborn child into this world in July.  Like most expectant parents, I imagine, we are apprehensive as we have loved our freedom and our life together, but we are also excited for the experiences ahead.  We have been aunt Carrie and uncle Scott for several years, now, and we have been foster parents to an amazing young lady, and now we endeavor upon a new adventure, together.

Happy Holidays!

This isn’t exactly a traditional “Christmas letter,” but with such a long silence on our family blog I thought it time to share an update and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This has been a tumultuous year for the Carnes family.  We have moved to a new city and both have new jobs.  We sold our beloved home and left our former churches in the capable hands of other United Methodist pastors.  Whew.  Hard…but also exciting!

  

We were fortunate that in a difficult economy our home sold quickly (despite the water main breaking right in front of the house) and we still consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have had some really great neighbors in that neighborhood!

I did a lot of the packing, of course, but the actual move and the initial unpacking and setting up of our new home was on Carrie.  You can see that she had her work cut out for her when the movers left that day.  I was off in Chicago working on my final summer residency for my Doctor of Ministry.

My doctor of ministry is in preaching so my preaching each Sunday is part of my education and my education is affecting my preaching in very real ways.  I’m loving it!  When I got back from school I was in my first Sunday in my new congregation, Collinsville First United Methodist Church.  Carrie had already started the previous Sunday in her congregation at “Journey” a church start of Belleville Union UMC.  Carrie is appointed by the bishop to be the associate at Belleville Union, but she seldom works in Belleville.  Her primary work is in Freeburg, IL at Journey.

The Collinsville Church provides a parsonage in which we live.  We appreciate their hospitality and we are constantly working to make it ‘our own’ and when that involves painting…we thank the trustees for being so accommodating! 🙂

One way that the church showed hospitality and generosity, both, was partnering with us to put in a fence for our dogs.  As you can see from the picture of Jack, above, the dogs are loving it.  While we miss our former communities, friends, and congregations, we have found new places of love and support.  Also, being in the Saint Louis area allows us to be near to Carrie’s family.  We’ve been able to participate in family events and be with our nephew.

It was also fun to be near the total eclipse and we were fortunate to be able to go down to the lake and go out in the boat for the eclipse with other family and friends.  One of the highlights for Carrie was our purchase of half a hog.  Not only did we get the traditional cuts of meat, but she got some of the organs and she is excited to experiment with the hog head.  I have to say…I don’t know.

Lastly, we both had the opportunity to go to a preaching event at Garrett-Evangelical in Evanston in November.  We enjoyed an evening in Chicago before it began and immensely enjoyed it.  I think that is just about all that is fit for print.  We are preparing for the holidays and look forward to our time with both sides of the family over the next few weeks!