I’ve been working on my skills at creating painted photos. This is a fun, but time consuming procedure and has been well received so far. With this kind of treatment, these images are only available as 16×20 or larger, and on specific textured surfaces such as canvas and some fine art papers. I definitely love these painted images and how they enhance the feeling of emotion in certain images. These are very impressive when hanging on the wall and if you get one, you’re gonna love it too.
My wife and I had the opportunity to stay at the Island Inn and Suite in St. George, Maryland. It was a free one night stay that I received as a result of purchasing ad space with Uniguest in some of their hotel directories. And with the surprise of being pregnant with our first child, we decided to use this one-night stay for our anniversary instead of the weekend long hike on the Appalachian Trail that we had originally be planning. Plus, with as crazy as this year has been, the idea of a short escape was greatly needed.
Those running the Inn are both friendly and helpful. When I called to reserve our room, I was asked if I wanted a sunset or sunrise view. One was a suite while the other was a room. It was free for me either way, so why not go for the suite. Keep in mind that neither of us had ever gone anywhere near this area, so it was interesting to find the place located on the single strip of landing running across the water, and only a small road separated the front of the building from the water.
When my wife and I checked in, the individual at the desk helped us out with any info we requested, and got us right into our suite. It was a very nice suite. It had relaxing colors, tons of space, a separate bedroom and living room, a sunset view, and more. My only problem was that I realized that it also faced the road. I’m not into relaxing on a balcony from a suite as the cars drive by. So I asked if there were any rooms available on the other side, and so the gentleman gladly helped us without any question or hesitation. Apparently all the suites face the road, so that’s my only bummer. But the regular rooms quickly made up for it. The regular rooms are almost as big, but are one larger room instead of being divided, so I think I liked the room better for our personal visit. A suite would be more suitable for a group function or event. We even had some nice chairs to sit on the balcony and enjoy the view of the water (without the road). It was a forced relaxation trip.
There’s a restaurant next to the Inn, but we decided to go out to eat instead. While we were out, we purchased cereal and milk, and bananas, so we could have breakfast the next morning. I never found any information about a provided breakfast, and the little space by the front desk didn’t seem like anything that could accommodate guests for breakfast, so I assumed that it wasn’t included with the stay. But considering again the purpose of this trip, it worked out in our favor. I think I greatly enjoyed eating breakfast on the balcony with the morning ocean air better than I would have in the little space by the front desk.
Among the things the Inn does provides is some kayaks. So after breakfast, we planned a little trip out on the water. I don’t know what it is, but something about water relaxes me mentally. I’m not into fishing, but I should sit next to a river or on a sandy beach for hours just enjoying the atmosphere. So the little bit of kayaking was really a bonus, even if we were only out for less than an hour. A hawk had made a nest on one of the post out in the water, so of course I wanted to see how close we could get to it. I think we got as close as twenty or thirty feet before the hawk stop screaming at us and began doing warning fly-by’s instead. I just sat floating in my kayak while calmly enjoying nature for a few moments before continuing on. I think Amanda would have soaked me if I annoyed the hawk much longer. Further down was a little sandy beach stop that was off limits, but nice to see. And after a while we finally headed back, showered, finished the cereal, packed up and headed home.
I really did enjoy my stay there and wouldn’t have any problem going back. The Inn is supposedly very popular for weddings, which I can understand why. But I just wonder where they actually have room to do anything since it’s so small. Of course the small size it what helps make it what it is. So though our anniversary plans changed, it has all been for the better, and I look forward to what further changes we discover in the future.
After almost nine months of development, and eight months of anticipation, little Zachariah Christopher Malone has finally arrived. Though his due date was November 7th, he was born 12:27 am on November 4th, weighing in at 7.3 pounds. This is after beginning the labor process at about 3:30 am on the 3rd. One of the decisions that I’m most thankful for having made was switching from a doctor to midwives. We went with the Family Health Birth Center
in Washington DC, and they were just amazing. In just the first visit alone, we had greater insight, awareness, and parental empowerment than we ever had with the doctor. I did like the doctor and his staff, but for my wife and child, I need more than we were getting.
The prenatal care consisted of a group session every other week with other expecting parents that are close to the same stage in pregnancy as we were. Each session including training on things such as SIDS, the labor process, breast feeding, daddy boot camp, and more. They have a staff of midwives, lactation consultants, and pediatricians on call 24 hours a day. After the delivery, they first ensured that the everyone was healthy and then left us for a while to just be a family. Then they returned to do all the weighing and measuring and so forth, and we were on our way home within four hours of delivery. Granted we were both extremely tired, it was much nicer resting at home instead of a hospital. Then the next day, our midwife came to our home to check up on mom and baby.
The labor process itself was a bit different as well. We showed up at the birth center when Amanda’s contractions were less than 5 minutes apart and getting very intense. The drive there was torture as everything caused her extreme pain, which was killing me. We thought we were getting close, only to find out that she was only about 4 cm dilated, and not near ready to start pushing. So one of the birthing assistants took us for a POWER walk. With me on one side, and our friend Lucinda on the other, holding Amanda up, we speed walked up and down an empty hallway for about an hour and a half. This did help greatly with her pain, but it didn’t help her open up more. So the next step was a birthing ball. About this time I’m loosing track of time, but I know she spent a lot of time in the family room on a birthing ball just rocking and rolling her hips in a big circle. Amanda later told me that the only thing she remembers seeing in that room is a label on one of the cabinet doors that said “Water.” Apparently that label was her focus point.
We finally moved into a birthing room (no hospital beds or iv’s), where she was checked again only to be told that she was 6 to maybe 7 cm dilated. We were also ticking down on our time. Because her water had broken, she only has 24 hours to deliver. If it starts getting close to that time, then we’d be moved to the hospital to be induced. We were only about four hours from that point, so this was horrifying news. Especially since Amanda has been working so hard at having a natural labor. They recommended she get into the tub with the jets and try to relax. My mom and our friend, Lucinda, we asked to leave us, but to stay near by in case we needed anything. The lights we mostly turned out, and Amanda and I were left alone. While she laid in the tube, hurting, exhausted, and scared, we prayed once again for God’s helping hand. He’d done so much for us, and brought us this far, so though things were getting dark, we trusted in Him and His decision. Though we didn’t want to go to the hospital and be induced, we surrendered ourselves to His well, yet begging for His help quickly. I stayed there by her side, sitting on the floor next to the tub, holding her hand, and crying as I watched her.
That was the beginning of the next two hours. She found a great amount of relief laying there, even falling asleep a few times in short spurts. I continued praying. The contractions were much more bearable in the tube, which I was grateful for. Eventually, she told me that she was starting to get the sense to push. Not huge, but the starting of it. I took this as amazing news, but tried not to get too excited just yet. Even still, I made sure to inform the midwife. That was the fastest two hours for me. One moment we’re crying and praying for God’s help, and next thing we know, she’s in active labor, giving birth to our first child. And as soon as he popped out, he was immediately put right on her bare chest for her to see and embrace him after all the months of waiting.
One of the amazing things that I give God credit for is for the timing of having my mom come up from Texas. About a month before hand, I started getting a sense that Zachariah may come a bit early, and that my mom may need to come up a bit early. But I never could nail down why I felt this, so I didn’t say anything. After about a week, Amanda confessed that she was experiencing the same thing, so I decided to go ahead and call my mom who was more than excited to be able to come up earlier than planned. She arrived on the evening of November 1st. Then on the 2nd, we celebrated Amanda’s 30th birthday. Then about 3:30 that night (the 3rd), she woke me up when her water broke. If my mom had not come up early, then she would have missed the birth, and would not have been the help she was.
The entire experience has been an interesting adventure, and I know it’s only the beginning. The hardest part for me was watching Amanda go through the pains of being stitched. I had to leave the room for a minute because it was so difficult to just helplessly watch her go through so much pain. But in the end, we have a wonderful baby boy, who only likes to scream when it’s bed time. I’m very grateful to God for His many blessings, including those of through family and friends.