October 17th, 2016 marked the launch of OA5, the return to flight of the Orbital ATK Antares rocket, delivering the Cygnus resupply craft to the Space Station, just shy of two years after October 2014’s explosive launch failure. I photographed the event from home with my NEX3N in three 30 second exposures, showing the arc of the vehicle’s climb to orbit.
For Halloween we were a Star Trek family, with me and Amy in our Original Series red shirts and Ezra representing the Next Generation.
Last year’s creeper head mask served as a front walk jack-o-lantern and candy table for the trick-or-treaters — of whom there were far fewer than last year, probably since Halloween fell on a Monday. Interestingly there were zero presidential candidate costumes despite it being close to election. Also zero Princess Elsas. Lots of Supermen, Batmen, and Ninja Turtles, of course. Two Kylo Rens, more Darth Vaders.
I just realized that in a couple more Halloweens I’ll actually have a son to take around the neighborhood, too.
At some point in October I turned forty, a milestone I commemorated with all the pomp and circumstance of numbers flipping on a clock — that is to say, I had an uneventful birthday that consisted of mostly work. (We did go to an Irish pub for a delayed celebratory brunch that Saturday.)
I snapped a contemplative self-portrait on Metro, then realized later that I had taken exactly the same photo of myself ten years ago when I turned thirty. At the time I was on the cusp of several life changes: about to get married, get a new job, and move into a new apartment. Ten years later we’re still happily married and have our new son, plus much else to be grateful for.
More transitions are coming, and I often struggle to keep up with work and child and house and life in general. In all things I must remember to find sustenance in the grace of Him who has brought me this far — sometimes easy to forget in this domestic whirlwind.
At the grand old age of three and a half months, Ezra is now able to smile and laugh, roll onto his side, recognize faces, vocalize, deliberately grasp things, feel textures, follow movement with his eyes, hold his head up unaided for minutes at a time, and even occasionally sleep through the night.
It’s been wondrous to watch his rapid physical and cognitive development, especially the changes in his personality as his sensory awareness opens up and he goes wide-eyed (or open-mouthed) at new things he can see and hear and touch and feel and taste.
And it truly is heartwarming to see our kid smile and laugh just at the sight of me. (Or maybe it should be puzzling because he seems to find something about me really amusing.)
Meanwhile we’re learning to speak Baby while transitioning him to grownup human languages. He really does have specific sounds for his various simple needs: hunger, diaper, fatigue, frustration. I speak to him in English and Tagalog, of course, but I’m injecting a few other languages: singing German and Irish songs as lullabies, and blessing his sneezes in French.
At about 13 lbs and 2 ft he’s slightly-low-average weight but also extremely tall for his age, with most of that height in his legs. As he approaches the size thresholds for his bassinet and car seat I’m already picturing a six foot teenager around our house in the 2030s.
There are still sleepless nights, especially as he transitions from bassinet to crib, goes through sleep disturbances affected by his increased sensory awareness, and suffers his first colds and allergies, but the truly hardest days of newborn life are behind us. Still, further challenges lie ahead: crawling, teething, solid foods, walking, potty training, college.
I think fatherhood most profoundly sank in for me a few weeks ago when I picked him up from daycare and said, “Hi, I’m Ezra’s father.” With those words came a rush of thoughts and emotions: from impressions of the sacramental importance of parenthood as theological ministry, to various realizations about my own parents, to “Hey I should learn to say ‘I am your father’ in a Darth Vader voice by the time he’s old enough to watch Star Wars.”
Saw this glint of late afternoon summer sun while walking the forest trail near our house. The wild overgrown look is deceptive, though; there are suburban houses right behind those trees.
For comparison, about the same afternoon sun last winter.
Another non-action use I have for the GoPro Session is static church service videos at First Baptist DC, shot from a mini tripod on the sanctuary balcony railing. I found audio pickup to be poor for sermons and readings, but acceptable for music, so here’s the church choir singing Sir John Stainer’s arrangement of John 3:16, “God So Loved the World,” with soloist Alex McKeithen singing the prelude.
Not very visible at this distance and lens angle but I’m at the far end of the front men’s pew, singing baritone.