Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Sunday Afternoon at the Party

This evening there was a bit of a setback in that Lincoln screamed at the top of his lungs for over an hour and twenty minutes. We intervened a couple of times like the experts say to do, but that didn't seem to help. I finally picked him up ("Oh, my gosh, Ryan, that'll teach him to..." yeah, yeah, whatever) and his eyes were heavy, he stopped crying, and I set him down about a minute later and he fell right asleep. Poor little guy.

This followed a day where he slept pretty good in the AM, didn't sleep as well in the PM, but was an all star at Lauren & Logan's birthday party on little sleep.

Enjoy the pictures!

Cole, Lauren, Grace & Logan

Logan & Lauren tear into one of many presents.

Auntie Em makes Lincoln smile!

Jeremy was a wonderful Uncle for his little nephew.

First Buckeye Weekend

It's been a week since we've updated you on the Gates family, and as we sit with Lincoln and ask him about any changes this week, he doesn't have much to say. He rolled over a couple more times this week, but this has not yet become a consistent thing. He's spent some more time with the Hopwoods the past couple of days as they came up from Nashville for the long weekend. We're actually making 2009 summer vacation plans...yea!!!

Lincoln was a bit of a grouch during his first Buckeyes game. It was either because he was tired or because we wouldn't let him watch it. I think it was the latter. Anyway, we were happy because Time Warner Cable (the worst customer service company I've had the pleasure of dealing with, which is saying something because we're in the middle of an insurance nightmare as well) picked up Big Ten Network just before the game. So we were able to go to Grandma Paulette and Grandpa Doug's house for the game rather than upgrading our Dish service.

I mentioned health insurance earlier. This has been a bit of a nightmare because Jenn was recently declined for a kidney condition that is no longer present (this was confirmed with her CT and a letter from the urologist a few months ago). So I called the company and asked the monkey behind the telephone to tell me why she was declined, and through the course of the conversation the person read to me from the underwriter's guidelines.

The "customer service representative" agreed that Jenn fit into the category that should be absolutely accepted, as she fits all of the very specific criteria in the underwriting code. So she told me that she sent Jenn's case back to the underwriter with the underwriter's code highlighted and the pertinent information from Jenn's doctors. (What did the underwriting department do the first time except look for key words while ignoring the context?) But with the monkeys that work for these companies (they can't even pronounce the medical terms... and they're a health insurance company) they've showed no sense of professionalism as they charged our credit card on July 17th and then drug their feet for over 6 weeks now through the denial and appeal process. So we'll see how this all shakes out. (Between this experience, and our fence permit process with the city of Hudson, we're really questioning how these people can go to sleep at night. If we behaved this way to our clients, we'd be out of work in a hurry.)

Lincoln has a big day ahead of him. Lauren & Logan's birthday party is today in addition to his usual Sunday routine. Fun times ahead.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lincoln's Sleep Transport

Lincoln, sleeping

We were concerned about how Lincoln would do if we put him to bed at his Grandma & Grandpa's house and then move him home. Not 2 minutes after he was laid in his crib, I took the picture above (with night vision). There was no problem at all.

Lincoln met his Aunt Gwen, Aunt Beth and Uncle Keith & Aunt Linda for the first time and he seemed to have a good time. The hi-lite of the evening was the dinner that Aunt Beth and Uncle Keith made for us. The house smelled like an Asian restaurant and it was good. Pot stickers, stir fry... mmmmm!


Then on Sunday morning, Lincoln got a kiss from his mom.



Saturday, August 23, 2008

Olympic Sports (according to Ryan, Jenn & Lincoln)

If your home has been at all like ours, the Olympics have been on here and there. Michael Phelps & Usain Bolt were pretty darn impressive. And watching the U.S. Baseball team stick it to the Chinese was a lot of fun.

But be honest, there are a number of "sports" that just simply should not be part of the Olympic games. We'll provide two lists and include our justification for our decisions. Games that we, as the Gates Olympic Committee would cut:
  1. Badminton -- According to Jenn, this a just a dumb sport.
  2. Baseball -- If nations aren't going to send their best athletes, it should not be awarded a medal.
  3. Boxing -- Only if the current scoring system isn't scrapped. The way the sport is "judged" today is way too open to corruption. See: Roy Jones, Seoul 1988
  4. Flatwater Canoe/Kayak -- There are too many "rowing events," and some of them have to go.
  5. Slalom Canoe/Kayak -- See #4
  6. BMX -- This is an X Games event.
  7. Mountain Biking -- See #6
  8. Soccer -- There are already many HUGE soccer tournaments. Winning the World Cup is infinitely more prestigious than winning an Olympic Gold.
  9. Rhythmic Gymnastics -- See #1

  10. lincoln_grandpa_doug

  11. Trampoline -- See #1
  12. Handball -- Why don't these folks play Basketball? Or Soccer? Or Hockey? Handball is the lazy person's version of the real sports mentioned.
  13. Judo -- A "sport" in which the objective is to defeat your opponent, but for the purposes of "the Olympic spirit" has it's objective changed to judging ought to be banned. Similar in theory to #3.
  14. Modern Pentathlon -- Who came up with this combination: Fencing, Pistol Shooting, 200m Freestyle Swimming, Show Jumping on Horseback & 3km Cross Country Running? What does a medal tell us about the winner? That he has some odd tastes and skill sets.
  15. Table Tennis -- This isn't the Asian Games. We don't care about Ping Pong enough in the West to warrant a medal ceremony.
  16. Taekwondo -- See #12
  17. Tennis -- Wimbledon, The US Open, The French Open and The Australian Open do just fine to point out and reward the world's greatest tennis players.
  18. Triathlon -- Mixed feelings here. The Iron Man in Hawaii is the sports most prestigious event. Therefore, it's on my cut list.
The remaining events would continue to be included in the Olympic Games if it were left to the Gates family:
  1. Diving -- There is no more prestigious title in diving than Olympic Gold Medalist.
  2. Swimming -- See #1
  3. Syncronized Swimming -- I wanted to cut this, but Jenn and Lincoln voted to keep it. While it's a judging-based event (I'm not a fan of this) it's a skilled swimmer that can do this, and there's no greater pedestal for the "sport" than the Olympics.
  4. Water Polo -- The oldest team event... we respect that, and we respect the athleticism it takes to play.
  5. Archery -- We like including a sport that high-lights war-making capabilities.
  6. Track and Field -- This is the definition of the Olympics: who's the fastest? who can jump the highest? the farthest? etc.
  7. Basketball -- This is the only world basketball event that draws the world's best players.
  8. Road Cycling -- Similar to Water Polo, we respect a sport that has been contested in some form or another since 1896. Points were definitely awarded for longevity of sport.
  9. Track Cycling -- See #8
  10. Equestrian -- Been around for a long time (1900), and still the world's premier stage for the sport.
  11. Fencing -- See #8 & #5
  12. Artistic/Gymnastics -- Synonymous with the Olympics. Again, not a fan of the judging events, but any event that's been around since 1896 stays in our games.
  13. Rowing -- See #8
  14. Sailing -- See #8
  15. Shooting -- See #5
  16. Softball -- There's no greater event for the sport than the Olympics.
  17. Beach Volleyball -- While there are many, many tournaments throughout the year, the world clearly focuses a great deal of attention on ONE tournament, and that is the Olympics. The best athletes are there, and it's not about swimsuits, because the men are as entertaining to watch as the women.
  18. Indoor Volleyball -- See #16
  19. Weightlifting -- Longevity is one factor. Determining who is the strongest is one of the criteria that defines the Olympics.
  20. Wrestling -- See #19
There you have it. The summer Games according the Gates, and only 20 made the cut. We'll post a winter cut list in a couple of years. Feel free to contribute your comments, compliments and criticisms.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Camelback Training

Jenn reports that she took Lincoln on another walk today and he was an All-Star. He rode in his Baby Bjorn all the way around Hudson Springs Park.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

1 out of 1 Dads Agree...

Is there any doubt as to who the cutest little man is?


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Brunch & Hikes


This has been a fun start to the weekend. We found out on Thursday and Friday that Lincoln needs the swaddle to take quality naps. This isn't the worst thing because his swaddler can travel with him. He's proven that he's capable of sleeping without it an night. He slept a ton last night (11+ hours) and he took two good naps this morning and is in the middle of another good one now.


Jenn hosted a brunch for the Counselors of Camp Lincoln this morning. It was a lot of fun, and Lincoln was on his best behavior. On the menu: Praline Pecan French Toast, Sage Mustard Sausage, Garlic & Herb Tomatoes, Blueberry Peach Cobbler with Ginger Lime Whipped Cream and Pomegranate Breakfast Soda. We stuffed ourselves.

Then we took Lincoln on his first hike in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. He's been enjoying the Baby Bjorn and he was having a big time. He's been enjoying the outdoors lately, and this walk was especially fun for him. He was wide-eyed from the start and looking all around. It's good exercise because he has to hold his head up, and he was pretty tired when he got back in the car. He didn't put up a fuss when it was naptime after the walk.
Not a day has gone by that we haven't been able to learn something about Lincoln. I guess if we keep taking things one day at a time we'll figure him out by the time he leaves for college.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lincoln, Olympics and Television

Lincoln has figured out the nap thing. He's now really good about going down for naps provided we haven't waited too long and allowed him to get over-tired. He's also sleeping a ton at night. One of the things that's been funny with him lately is that he is completely into watching television. Anything that draws a simple mind so powerfully either must be a very good thing or a very bad thing. And we're pretty sure that television isn't a very good thing. This morning he was sitting on Jenn's lap looking out the window, she and I were watching Olympic hi-lites, and we looked down and Lincoln had turned his head and was now watching TV and sucking his thumb... sounds like his daddy on OSU football Saturdays! Anyway... We're trying to shield his little eyes and mind for a while longer.

Speaking of the Olympics, how 'bout Michael Phelps! And the US gymnasts pulling out some good performances to medal! And the Redeem Teamers winning with class. And the US leading China in the medal count (so far). USA! USA! USA!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sunday Fun

So Lincoln's learning about napping. He's sleeping between 10 and 11 hours at night. Nap-time is coming along slowly. He's starting to figure out that he can be soothed by sucking on his thumb. Every now and then when we check on him, he's out like a light with his thumb in his mouth.


It's been quite nice having almost all of the night to sleep.

We're enjoying the Olympics. I love the sports, but the propaganda that China is getting out of this is nauseating. This is the country that daily and routinely persecutes Christians. The opening ceremonies were beautiful, but when Christians are jailed just a few cities away, the stunning-ness of the show kind of loses its luster with me.

Last night Grandma & Grandpa watched Lincoln (bath, storytime and all) while Jenn and I went with Chris and Val to Downtown 140. We had one of the best meal experiences I've had... ever. It's right up there with Jenn's Five Fish Meal after we went deep sea fishing in the Outer Banks and with our meal at Cafe Miranda in Rockland, ME, on our honeymoon. If you ever make reservations to Downtown 140, ask to sit at the Chef's table. We got to watch the chefs make all of the food for the restaurant and we learned a bunch just by talking with the Executive Chef (Shawn) the Sous Chefs (Jonathan & Brett). Also as a point of interest, if you liked The Inn at Turner's Mill, the Executive Chef and the Pastry Chef at Downtown 140 will be very familiar to you.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Update to Yesterday's Post ~OR~
Sleep: Round 1

We completely understand that this update is akin to a mid-first quarter update during the Super Bowl, but we wanted to pass this information on to those who are interested.

Yesterday's post may have been interpreted as depressing, and yesterday's nap-times were just that. Lincoln cried and screamed for most of the day, getting no more than 1:15 of sleep, total, during the daytime. Then came the night time. He fell asleep around 8:15, stirred in his sleep a couple of times, woke up once or twice but went right back to sleep, was fed at 5:15 and went right back to sleep (he was placed back in his crib when he was awake), and then slept until 7:05 when he woke up happy.

Then at 8:40 am I received a call at work on my cell phone. It was Jenn's ringtone. I looked at dad and said, "This call is either for something really good or really bad." I answered, and Jenn reported that Lincoln was placed in his crib and proceeded to fall asleep in 5 minutes without crying or screaming. The LORD is answering our prayers, or at the very least providing us with some encouragement at the beginning of our quest. Praise the LORD!

Now, like I said before, this is a very early update and Lincoln still has a lot of learning to do. But we like to look for good news wherever it can be found.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sleep Training Gets Underway

It seems as though we're on the once-per-week update plan right now. We realize that this may not be the pace that our out-of-towners would like, and we'll try to keep the updates coming more frequently.

The newest phase of Lincoln's life is now learning to sleep without aids and props. While swinging was necessary to calm the little colicky baby, he's growing up and he needs to learn to sleep on his own. (We can't take a swing on the plane to Phoenix!) This has been a point in time that we've dreaded. Especially Jenn, who has the pleasure of staying with Lincoln for most of the week. It's a double-edged sword now, though, because she gets to listen to the crying and screaming now, too.

Forgive us for expecting the worst, though. After the first couple weeks of his life we know what Lincoln's capable of. We've been praying for the LORD to intervene and exceed our expectations when it comes to this next process. Signs of improvement have been seen: while he's still waking up a couple of times at night, he no longer needs to be fed, nor does he need to be rocked. A well-placed pacifier and he's asleep in less than a minute or two. (This, too, will need to be phased out, but baby-steps, right?)

One of the challenges that we've dealt with, more so during Lincoln's first few weeks, but certainly at other times as well, is unmet expectations. During the pregnancy, some books and advice were given that have proven to be very helpful. Other books were suggested and advice offered, however, that set standards and expectations that Lincoln specifically could simply not live up to. This was border-line destructive, and led at times to feelings of inadequacy and guilt. We've learned over the past 3 1/2 months that we are able to handle and manage so much more than we thought we could (especially Jenn, did you read the labor story?) and that we're not measured against what other babies have done and accomplished any more than parents want their teenagers and young-adult children measured against each other.

So first Jenn will be starting with nap training, then it will be on to overnight training. Please join us in prayer for Lincoln, that rest will become a natural thing for him and that he'll stop fighting sleep (sooner, rather than later).