End of Summer update

I have taken a break from blogging for the last couple of weeks. As what is starting to feel like normal for me, there have been some more big changes; new job, family visiting, learning to walk and oh yeah getting used to our beautiful baby.

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When I moved to Portland four years ago I found what was the perfect company for me at that time. I am in the mortgage business, and what I needed most at 25 years of age in a new location was an employer that would not only direct me well, but also educate and respect me. Last year the company that filled that expectation opened a mortgage banking side and I moved away from loan origination to work as an Account Executive. As an AE I worked directly with loan officers and quite frankly got sick of educating them on how to best do their job and take care of their clients. Because of the changes in the Mortgage industry, my growing family and the desire to work more directly with homeowners and buyers, I am going back to being a Mortgage Originator.

While making this decision I also determined that I needed a different company. I have for the last couple of years been looking for a way to incorporate some of my personal philosophies of community into my professional life. A friend of mine, Tony, has been working with a partner, Jared, successfully for over three years and after a couple meetings with them we were all convinced that we would be a good team. The two of them already have a good system of educating their clients in place and is really easy to fit me in. The last couple of weeks have been so refreshing. Having people around me that hold some of the same values, in a professional setting, is so hard to find. In this market, the system that we are setting up is very exciting and I have no doubt will be efficient.

A few days after Xander was born my parents came into town from Mexico City to be with their first grand-baby. Just after that Tara’s mom came from Florida to see the boy. In a couple days Tara’s dad from New York will be here as well. It has been a welcome assistance to have them here. Mostly it helps with the feeling that we are not just dropped off with a newborn. Our boy is a great baby. He sleeps through the night, eats well and poops like a champ. The new grandparents I am sure did not come close to their fill of Xander time but, they will see him again soon, we are all spending Christmas together along with my brother and his wife.

Through out the last month I have also been learning to walk again. I am working on a video but my abilities in that area are slow and will have it soon. Things are going ahead of schedule in the process, as normal I am pushing it. From day one with the new leg I have been walking with a cane, I hate crutches. It feels great to walk regardless of the fact that it is not going as fast as I want it to. I will blog more about this as it progresses. Right now we are still working on getting the socket to fit correctly and once we can get that dialed in I’m sure I will have some stories of breaking something soon.

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We need your pics

We are working on a new website for shirts for limbs. One of the pieces that we are looking for is an interaction with the process, a way to show that everyone is a part of this venture. To fill this piece we are asking that if you have received a shirt send us a picture of you wearing the shirt. We are going to have a slide show, of sorts, showing off all those that have contributed to the cause.

So please, wear your shirt.

Take a picture.

Then email the picture to me. tarverh@gmail.com

If you have a Fickr account you can add it to our pool here.

Here is a picture of the Saturday Market booth we do when daddy has gotten enough sleep to be able to enjoy a Saturday with Portland finest.

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Keep the picture clean, but send in pics of you doing what you do while wearing the shirt.

Tarver, Walking?

It is getting so close I can taste it. Last week I took my first step on a prosthetic leg. Through the process of what we created with Shirts For Limbs and some of the press that we have received, I was donated a knee.  Here, is the full story of how that came about.

The socket needed some adjustments and tomorrow it should be done. This is the piece that is so crucial fits just right. I am going with a suction type socket and over the last month I have been working on the strength of the stump, with that the shape has changed. Aside from all that I was able to walk on the leg. In a matter of minutes I figured out how this knee works and how to control it. When straight, and with heel pressure it locks. Then, when you put pressure on the toe it unlocks and bends for a step. Over about a half hour of walking back and forth between parallel bars, stopping to tweak here and there, I was able to walk! Half way through the process my prosthestist suggested putting my full weight on when stepping and not using the bars for support. I said I have been doing that the whole time and then he started paying attention to my hands.

It felt so good. I still have a decent amount of nerve pain in the stump but when I was in the leg and moving around there was no pain at all. I was so close to tears, I have not been able to walk with out pain for fifteen years. Tara said that if I would have had pants on she wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference from before.

This is by no means the end of the need to raise $$$ though. This knee that was donated will work as a great knee to learn on and possibly use as a back up. We still have the goal of $40,000, and I am still amazed at what has come in so far. Thank you to all of you that have donated and are keep up with the progress. There have been some cool things happening with legislation in Oregon that will help out in January. I will write more about that soon, but it is still going to leave gaps for amputees and I would love to be of assistance to help pick up those out of pocket costs, let alone what mine will are now. So please keep spreading the word.

Here are a few pictures of the process.

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Oh yeah, have I mentioned how adorable my son is. Here is a classic picture of Xander and Daddy taking a nap.

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New Club

Before Xander was born I really had no problem attracting conversation from complete strangers. Whether it be because of my tattoos, the scars on my head, the fact that I have one leg or the shirt that I am wearing that emphasizes that fact, people really have no problem approaching me and at times I have wondered if I have a sign on my forehead that says “I want to talk to you”.  Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting new people but when I am standing at the urinal in the men’s room I really don’t want to answer the question “what happened to your leg”, I’m a little more focused.

Over the years I have noticed that there are different ways a person gets treated depending on the different stages of life. In the last year and a half I have gone through a couple big ones that most can or will be able to relate to. The odd thing is that they are almost like elite / current members only clubs.

Single stage: Everyone knows someone that would be perfect for you, whether you are content with your singleness or not. Most of your friends are single people as well because they are the only people not trying to hook you up or telling you it is time to “settle down”.  In general you are treated as a lesser group and not quite complete. Damn the line from “Jerry Maguire”. “You, complete me”

Couple / in a romantic relationship stage:
Granted mine lasted all of a few weeks. Finally everyone is happy for you, or in some cases not.  Your friends wonder where the hell you’ve been until hearing that you are in a relationship, then are either happy that you have finally come around or are secretly jealous that you no longer can close out a pub on a weeknight.  At a certain point you start spending time with more couples at couple friendly establishments and everyone has advice on how fast or slow the relationship is going.

Newly wed / before kids: Most frequently asked question is definitely, “So how soon are you having kids?” as though you still are not whole. You disappear again but to everyone this time.  Ok, not really but that’s the other thing you hear on a frequent basis. Dinners out with people turn into cooking at home and playing a nice game of Scrabble.

Married / with a newborn: This is the one that feels more like a club in social situations.  I know that we are only two weeks into parenthood but it is crazy how both Tara and I are both even more approachable. Everyone wants to see the baby.  They want to know how big he was (7lb 6ozs) and if we are getting enough sleep (yes, we have a great boy). But then there are the other parents. Now, finally I’m not looked at like a pervert when I want to hold a baby or I am making faces at /with kids.

There are other stages that I have yet to get to and not one of them is assumed to be a point that produce a greater man as if I can ever be completed.  I am grateful for the man that I am now.

Xander Cole Hannant

Incase you read the comments on the last post let me be the 2nd to say that Xander Cole Hannant was born July 31, 2007 at 11:46pm after four long days of labor. He weighed 7lbs and 6oz. and was 21 1/2”. Tara started having contractions that were measurable (7-10 minutes apart). For the most part that was the longest break she got until he was born. Tara was amazing through this process and after only 45 minutes of pushing he slid right out. I had the privilege of catching him as he came out. That was probably the best part for me aside from seeing some relief for my wife. The little trouble maker started early by splashing Dad in the face with fluids blinding me. As soon as it was safe we were able to get him up to Mom’s belly. So without further ado here are some pics.

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The waiting game part II

Women amaze me, especially in the labor process. Something inside them kicks in and as a man you have to just sit back and think one of two things; the first being WOW that looks like it hurts tied with the feeling of I’m glad its not me, the other is trying to figure out something you can do to alleviate the pain. There’s not. We did the classes and learned all about the breathing and some suggestions for “the birthing partner” to do but aside from some encouraging words, the occasional back rub and holding her hand we get to watch in astonishment.

Late last week Tara started having minor contractions that got regular Saturday evening. By 3:30am Sunday (also our first anniversary) we were at the hospital with contractions right on top of each other every 3-5 minutes lasting a minute for a couple hours. I don’t know if it was my driving, the air in the hospital or the monitors hooked up on her but after being at the hospital for about thirty minutes they slowed to about ten minutes apart. After a couple hour-long walks and monitoring in between with no change, we came home to rest. We both were able to get a few hours of sleep. Contractions all yesterday were sporadic which also allowed for her to get some sleep last night. This morning they are starting to get regular again averaging 5-7 minutes. Tara is falling asleep between them. Exhausted she wakes, looks at the clock, breathes, gives a sigh of relief and falls back asleep.

Not wanting my wife to struggle much more hopefully/prayerfully my next post will be introducing you to baby Hannant.

The waiting game

I’ve said before that between everything with the chop and baby, this summer is pretty much a waiting game. In a matter of days baby will be here. We had a baby appointment today, and the only news we got was that everything is on track, and it should be any day now. Thanks that helps, especially with the routine questions. The main question that is getting asked constantly is, “are you ready?” I don’t know, baby isn’t here yet; I’ll let you know. I am as ready as I think I can be, Tara and I have had nine months to prepare, I think that’s good notice. I have heard all kinds of advice, some I can tell right away is, “not the way I would go about things” some I can’t tell whether it is good or bad however, baby’s not here yet, I’ll let you know. The other side of that question is the tangible side. Yes, we are ready. Baby’s room is all put together and collecting dust. We have all the clothes we need along with everything that baby and mommy require, and a little more. I think the only thing missing is a daddy with two legs, but that one is in the process of being resolved.

The hardest part about this waiting game for me is trying to do anything. I won’t go to far into it but with me being out from work so long there have been some changes. I need to make a decision of whether or not this current/new position will provide for my growing family. I’m almost to the point where I don’t think that it will, and need to make a change. However, making that decision now is hard while in this waiting game. I don’t think it looks too good with a new employer to start and a couple days in say, “my wife just had a baby and I have family in town, see you in a month.” In this process, I’m doing my best at supporting my wife. There is not much I can do for an independent pregnant woman aside from reminding her how beautiful she is, and putting lotion on her feet. So I sit, and with every cramp or moan wonder/hope to hear, “It’s time”.