Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Benjamin Comes Home!

Another day, another surprise -- the hospital called us this morning and said we could pick up Benjamin today.

The photos above were taken just outside the entrance to the Pediatric Wing as we emerged with Benjamin. In the background, located on the hospital grounds, just next the Pediatric Wing, you can see a church, dedicated to St. Panteleimon. (It's nice to live in Greece!)

Below are of Benjamin's arrival in the house today. Pres. Sophia had stayed behind with Paul, and she was carrying him around when we arrived (see below).

The second photo below is of Yiayia holding Benjamin for the first time.

At bottom is of the two boys sleeping together for the first time.

Now we're just waiting for Phoebe! I suspect she may be another 2 weeks or so. We'll see. Please pray for her -- and all of us!

Paul Comes Home!

Just after the Liturgy for the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul ended yesterday, the hospital called to tell us that our biggest boy, Paul, could come home! It came as a surprise, and we thought it a confirmation that his name must indeed be Paul.

Excited, all three of us went down to the hospital to pick him up. The second photo is of his grandmother, Pres. Sophia, holding him for the first time.

The photo immediately above is him getting tucked in for the car ride home.

All the photos below are from the babies' room in our apartment. The second photo below is of us reading the 8th day naming prayer -- it was a great blessing that he was officially named on the feast of his patron saint and our fervent intercessor, the Holy Apostle Paul.

It was also interesting that two different stories about the saint emerged yesterday from Rome, the place of his martyrdom. The first involved the discovery of perhaps the oldest known icon of the saint, and the second involved the saints' relics which are located in the church built on the site of his martyrdom.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Holding the Babies!

Well, the two boys were taken out of the incubators and moved into open cribs. Benjamin (our second boy) moved yesterday, and we got to hold him for the first time then. Paul (our first boy) moved in today. In the top photo, Pelagia is holding Paul for the first time. In the photo immediately above, she is holding both boys together for the first time. Paul is at left and Benjamin at right.

Below it's my turn to hold my two sons -- again Paul at left and Benjamin at right. At very bottom is our daughter, Phoebe, who is still in the incubator. She seems to have had a slight infection, which fortunately the doctors caught very early, and she's on the mend now.

As for their names, these are tentative. In Greece, babies are generally not named until they are baptized. Even in official government documents, they are identified as "Unbaptized baby boy/girl Edwards" until they are baptized and become true "persons" as members of Christ's Church.

Nevertheless, after getting to know them a little, we're thinking that they will probably be baptized as (in order): Paul (celebrates June 29), Benjamin (celebrates October 13), and Phoebe (celebrates September 3).

Saints of God, pray for us!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pentecost in Panorama

I realize this pales in comparison to baby news, but a friend just sent me these photographs from Pentecost Sunday two weeks ago, and I thought I would post them here. We truly had a Pentecost that Sunday -- in addition to the regular parish priests Frs. Alexios and Panayiotis (see immediately below), who are Greeks, we had Hieromonk Lazar from Martinique (in top photo with me) and Hieromonk Silas from Costa Rica (at far left in top photo). Both are under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and are missionaries in their respective countries. Fr. Silas is actually a monk of Vatopedi Monastery on Mt. Athos who now serves as the only Orthodox priest for 6 countries in Central America.

Continuing the international trend, in the photo immediately above, to the left, you have Christopher, an Orthodox convert from Haiti who is also studying theology here at the university in Thessaloniki.

It was fitting that we should all be together on Pentecost, having Spanish, French, English, and Greek.

These photos were taken after the Liturgy at the house of some friends here in Panorama.

As for baby news, the update is that the babies are doing well, except for the little girl (Phoebe) may have an infection. They have started her on antibiotics in hopes of catching it early.

Pelagia is expected to come home from the hospital (finally) tomorrow, with one or two of the babies possibly coming home as early as the end of this week. Please keep praying for us!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More Baby Photos!

For those who just can't get enough of the Edwards babies, here's an update. Above is Pelagia visiting the babies for the first time today, Saturday. Here she is with Baby Boy 1, who--I am very happy to report--spent less than 1 day on oxygen and is now doing fine, as are the other two.

Below is a video I took when I visited them yesterday. It goes in order--first Baby Boy 1, who opened his eyes to see who was playing with him, then Baby Boy 2, then Baby Girl.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Babies Arrive!!

The three babies, all together, as they make their way from the operating room to the nursery around 1:45 PM today. From left to right, Baby Boy 2, Baby Boy 1, and Baby Girl.

The happy mama.

The two photos above are of Baby Boy 2 -- weighing in at 1.96 kilos (4.3 lbs).

Baby Girl -- weighing in at 1.6 kilos (3.5 lbs).

Baby Boy 1 -- weighing in at a hefty 2.53 kilos (5.5 lbs). Unfortunately, he needs a little help breathing, so you see here a tube giving him a relatively low dosage of oxygen. This RDS is relatively common for babies born premature, and his case does not appear to be, at this point, particularly serious.

Please pray for us!

Below is a video I took (about 4 mins) of my first visit to see the babies in the nursery.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mom's Last Day

On Saturday afternoon, we went to visit Pelagia again, and we spent most of the time at the hospital cafe. Our neighbor Ann and her future daughter-in-law, Marie, also came to visit with Pelagia. This would be my mom's last visit to that hospital -- at least, let's hope so!

After we got back from the hospital, my mom wanted to go back to Villa Luna for a bite to eat and for a final look at the view out over Thessaloniki and the gulf. We had a very nice dinner there and watched the sunset. In the bottom photo, you can see Presvytera Sophia taking some nighttime photos of the city.

I took my mom to the airport about 6:00 AM on Sunday morning, thus ending her 6 or 7 week stay with us. But hopefully she'll be back soon to see her grandchildren!

Saturday Morning Liturgy

On Saturday mornings, I usually serve Liturgy by myself at our parish here in Panorama, St. George's. But Pelagia doesn't like to take photos, so it was nice to have Presvytera Sophia here to take a few.

The Market

On Friday, the moms and I had an adventure in the center of Thessaloniki. We went down to the university, where I dropped off some books at the library, and then walked across town to Aristotle Square, where the market is buzzing. On the way, we stopped at the Church of Panagia Dexia and venerated the wonder-working icon of the Panagia there, and then went on to see my spiritual father, Fr. Spyridon, at the Church of Panagia Ahiropoiitou, the enormous basilica church built in 450 AD. The photo at top is of the moms outside the entrance to that church. As you can see, it's situated significantly underground the modern street level.

Finally, we made it to the market, which began with a colorful tour of the fish market section, as you can see in the photos immediately above and below. We ended in the clothing and fabrics section of the market, as you can see at bottom.

Quite tired by this point, we then met my friend Philip Navarro and an American pilgrim passing through, Herman, for lunch near the Church of St. George (Rotunda). We had a very nice, traditional Greek meal, and then headed off to visit Pelagia during visiting hours.


Early last week my mom and I walked over to Villa Luna, the cafe/restaurant with the great view near our house. We had a blended fruit mix and enjoyed the sunset over Thessaloniki, as you can see above.

On Thursday, my "other" mom, Pelagia's mom, Presvytera Sophia, arrived after an extremely long trip from the West Coast of the US. After a quick lunch, we took her down to see Pelagia during the visiting hours from 4:00-6:00. Amazingly, she stayed awake the whole time, although you can see her fading in Pelagia's hospital room in the photo at bottom. :)

The photo immediately below is of Pelagia playing hookie from her room and hanging out down in the hospital cafe, which has to be one of the least attractive cafes of all time. It's always interesting to see someone dragging their IV behind them into the cafe.

12-13 June 2009 Mom and Kh. Sophia

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Nursery

Here are the first pictures of our new nursery, which Pelagia created. This room was formerly our guest room, then my office, and now the nursery.

In the top photo you can see our cat sleeping in his favorite chair.

The mural on the wall was designed and painted by Pelagia.

Now we're just waiting for the babies to arrive. It will almost certainly be this week, some time between Tuesday and Friday.

Lunch at the Beach

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Well, today, my mom got the afternoon off work. For one of the few times since she's been here, she got to do something else besides work around the house and visit Pelagia in the hospital. It was a beautiful, sunny day, with a high around 80, so we invited our neighbors James and Ann Lillie to go with us to the beach for lunch (to Nea Kallikrateia in Halkidiki, to be exact -- see map above). We had a nice, traditional Greek meal, then walked to a cafe next door and had a coffee on the beach before heading back home.

Ann was the only one to test the waters, so to speak, as you can see from the photo above. The rest of us just enjoyed the smell and sounds of the ocean and the nice breeze. In the photo immediately below, you can see my mom and some of the remnants of our lunch. At bottom, you can see where we were sitting. The Greeks really know how to live!

At the very top is a photo from a few days ago of my mom watching sunset falling on Thessaloniki from our balcony.