Wednesday, October 29, 2008


You may have seen this on other blogs, and I've added it here. If you're any type of regular visitor to our blog, please click on the "Followers" link on the right hand side of the page. As it stands, we have no idea how big (or small) our audience is here at the Gates Blog.

Not much change from our past post.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Poop on a Plane

The story that must kick off this blog is the Poop on a Plane story. I've referred in previous posts to Lincoln's ability to be inconvenient. For instance, when he should have been napping during the afternoon in Phoenix he was crying, so Jenn and I took him on a drive. Rather than going to sleep, he talked to himself for most of the drive, then fell asleep when we pulled into Grandfather Dave's neighborhood. How convenient. So on the plane from Phoenix to Chicago, Lincoln had his own seat. He didn't travel the greatest, but he wasn't too bad. Having his own seat gave us plenty of space to move him around.

But... on the plane from Chicago to Cleveland he didn't have his own seat. Further, we were sitting by a guy that wasn't the most friendly. So Jenn was holding Lincoln on her lap, and right in the middle of the ascent she looked at me and said, "I think he pooped." She extended her hand to me, asking me to smell her sleeve. He had pooped. We couldn't go to the bathroom because the seatbelt light was still lit. We had to wait it out.

It stunk. Bad.

Then she moved Lincoln and saw that there were large poop marks on her shirt. Holy cow. So we proceeded to change his diaper right there on Jenn's lap. The flight attendant had to bring us a Blackberry-Smelling-Spray to make the area smell better. Poop was everywhere (we had fed him acorn squash, bananas & rice cereal the previous week), and it was definitely taking on the form of a baby-eating-solids poop. That's a time we'll never forget. Now, moving on to more pleasant things...

I've mentioned Lincoln's Exersaucer in previous posts. He loves it. In fact, when we arrived back home from Phoenix, he was thrilled to be back in it. When he first stood in it his toes barely touched the bottom. Now, it won't be much longer until we have to raise the level on it so he's not too tall for it.
"I must put one in my mouth, which one should it be?"

"I'm not sure about the orange one."

"But the green one... hmmm."

"I can't decide!"

"I'll let you know when I've made up my mind."

But enough of that fun. Can you tell we like to take pictures of him? Lincoln's actually been enjoying watching us review the pictures on the MacBook. It's not as if he knows what he's looking at, but he'll figure it out.

Last evening Jenn and I drove down to The Pines Golf Club for the Kretow reception. Both the Crafts and the Kretows were wonderful hosts and they put on a great party. The biggest surprise of the evening was up on the big screen. Before 8:00pm there was a slide show playing of the wedding, then after 8:00 they showed the OSU/Penn St. game (what a downer). But in the middle of the first quarter, the game was turned off, and up on the screen came Eric Craft, Elise's brother who is stationed in Kandahar, Afgahanistan.
Michelle Wisecup & Elise Kretow with the bloggers
Friends of the Crafts arranged to hook up with him via satellite over the internet. And it was actually Eric's birthday, so everyone at the reception sang Happy Birthday to him. Wow. It was really neat.  (Please take a moment now and pray for Eric, that God will protect him, keep him safe at his job, and return him safely home.  Thank you.)

Also at the reception was the Wisecup family. Michelle was a classmate of ours at Ohio State (and the shortstop on our Championship Softball team). She and her husband, Chris, have a son named Grady who is 5 weeks older than Lincoln. What a cutie. It was amazing to see the types of things that Grady was doing and knowing that Lincoln will be at that stage in just a few weeks. Grady loves to walk with assistance. He doesn't like to crawl, just walk. Given Lincoln's anti-fondness to all things belly-side-down, he just may shun crawling in favor of walking, too.  And Chris and Michelle seem to be doing well, too!

Home life is going well, too. Lincoln is consistently going to bed by 7:30-7:45pm which gives Jenn and I good time to spend with each other. Jenn's been cooking some wonderful dishes for us lately and that's been fun, as well.

I've referred to our Community Group in the past that Jenn and I really have enjoyed. This is in a state of limbo right now, though. Hudson Chapel has been moving forward with expansion plans, and this includes planting a church south of Hudson in the Stow/Kent area. They've been recruiting members to be a part of that plant, and 6 of the 10 in our original Community Group have decided to move. That leaves us and our good friends, Shaun and Jessica Kiel, behind at Hudson. Plans are underway now to find other left-behind folks and new folks to start up a new CG. This has been both frustrating and somewhat exciting at the same time... tough to put into writing.

Things are definitely cooling off here and looking like a legitimate autumn. It's a time that the Gates family enjoys.  Thanks to all who have recently left comments on the blog. We love hearing from you. And thanks for visiting our blog. There are lots of ways for you to spend your time during the day, and we're appreciative that you're interested in how things are going with the Gateses.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The cutest visitor in Arizona.

Story-time with Grandma Laura

Tuesday in Phoenix

Jenn and Lincoln swing in the park.

Jenn, Lincoln and I went to Pinnacle Peak today for a hike. It turns out that the trailhead is just about 1/8 of a mile past the point where we turned around yesterday. Oh, well... today was a great day for hiking, at 10:30am. It was in the low 80s. That's deceiving, though, because when the sun's right on you, it's HOT. So we lathered Lincoln up in his baby 45spf, loaded him in his pack, and set of on the trail. We made it about 1/3 of the way before we decided to come back. We can't have Lincoln getting too tired, you know. The views were great.
Jenn & Lincoln @ Pinnacle Peak
There were two golf courses around the base of the peak, and it was interesting to see the fairways out in the desert. The houses, I mean castle-like haciendas that were behind the gate near the trailhead dwarfed the homes I described yesterday. On our return to the car, Lincoln fell asleep in the pack. It's apparently quite comfortable! He's becoming quite the hiker.
Lincoln asleep in the pack.

We're fast approaching tomorrows five hour plane stay. It turns out that our flight is not direct but is stopping at some unknown point for some to get off and others to get on, but we have to stay on the plane. I haven't known Lincoln to stay in any one place for five hours straight before unless it's overnight. Please join us in prayer for Lincoln on this trip.

Yesterday Jenn made two different cheesecakes. One was a Key Lime Cheesecake. The other was a Tropical Cheesecake with Key Lime, Banana & Coconut. She completely winged it on the recipes for the first time, and you'd never know. We all enjoyed them for a couple of meals.
View from mid-way up Pinnacle Peak.
Troon Golf Course below.

Tonight Grandma Laura is going to watch Lincoln while Jenn and I go out to dinner with Elise & Paul. This will be the first time Grandma Laura gives Lincoln a bottle, a bath and puts him to bed. The circumstances are night & day compared with the last time she took care of him!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday in Phoenix

Lincoln loves swim-time with his Mommy.

We've had a big weekend in Phoenix.  It took Lincoln two days to get back into the routine, but he was an all-star on Saturday and Sunday.  Haley had a couple of soccer matches on Saturday, and another one on Sunday that we got to enjoy (Lincoln stayed home... either too late or too much sun).  The scores weren't too good, but Haley played well.

Haley in hot pursuit of the ball.

Lincoln has continued to enjoy the pool. Without his Exersaucer, we've had to find some other things for him to do that he doesn't bore him quickly. Swimming has provided that for him and us. He's still not interested in splashing, but we'll work on that some other time.  The pool is situated very conveniently with about half of the pool in the afternoon shade which allows us to keep from covering him with sunscreen.  

On Sunday afternoon and evening we had our mega-birthday party for Great Grandpa Mullen, me, Elise & Haley.  We had some good food and some good times hanging out.  Elise and Paul are doing well and enjoying their first week of marriage.  It's funny how Jenn and I haven't been able to see them in many months, and after next weekend, we'll have seen them three times in a two-week span.  Crazy.

Jenn and I have had lots of opportunities to read to Lincoln, as well, on this trip. Right now we're in the middle of The Swiss Family Robinson in one of his Disney Books. I'd mentioned in a previous post how some of the stories are politically incorrect.  In this summary of The Swiss Family Robinson they make special mention of the family praying for thanksgiving and protection.  I'm not sure if they'll include that portion of the story in the movie that's set to come out next year.  It's funny to watch him while we're reading to him because he'll often play with his toys or do a lot of "talking" which may lead you to believe he's not interested in being read to, but as soon as we stop reading to him he looks at us as if to say, "Go on..." And then we get back to the story and he often gets back to his toys or "talking." It's quite humorous.
Morning Story Time:
The Swiss Family Robinson

Today Jenn and I drove around to look at some of Scottsdale and WOW! are there some amazing homes and developments around here. We drove over to Pinnacle Peak and saw a gated community called Troon with unbelievable homes and a golf course. There were gigantic homes with (by Scottsdale's standards) enormous yards. The only bummer about the yards is that they're full of cacti. Anyway, we estimated that the homes are worth several millions, but you know what they say, if you have to ask...  Who knows, maybe when we're ready to purchase a second home we'll look into it.

On completely separate subjects:  1) I never thought I'd see a Jim Tressel coached team win a Big Ten game against an upper-tier opponent 45-7.  Saturday is going to be HUGE!  2)  Brady Quinn Time ought to be fast approaching.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

We're in Pheonix!

We left on Wednesday for Phoenix, and Jenn and I had been quite concerned about how Lincoln would ride and travel. All in all, he did pretty well. The plane to Chicago was full, so he had to sit on Jenn's lap, but that flight was only about an hour. Then on the plane to Phoenix he had his own seat, and after crying for just a short time, he fell asleep, and stayed asleep until we had to put him in the car. He was a tired little boy.

Things started out pretty good. We've enjoyed our outside time. It's in the 60's in the early morning and late at night and it's upper 90's in the midday. But even when it's 97, as long as you're not in the sun too long, it's actually pretty nice.

Grandma Laura has especially enjoyed spending time with her grandson. He was much smaller the last time she saw him, and to put the changes into perspective, he was still being swaddled & swung with loud white noise for naps. That seems like an eternity ago.

The challenge in the early part of vacation has been getting Lincoln to nap in the afternoons. He simply refuses to do so. It's come to the point of hearing a type of cry out of him that we haven't yet heard. We'll see how today goes.

We went to the Phoenix Zoo yesterday and had a great time. Lincoln loves getting out, and Jenn and I love the Zoo, so it was a great thing to do. Because the Little Stinker napped so well in the morning, our trip was pushed to the noon time, and most of the animals don't want to be too active during the noon time in Phoenix. But we still got to see a lot of neat things. The Squirrel Monkeys pere particularly active and crazy!

Then when we arrived back at home, we were pretty hot and we decided to get in the pool. This was Lincoln's first time in the pool since he was very young and Jenn took him to Life Center Plus. That was also the time that he got splashed on accident and screamed like a little girl. This time he was quite into the idea of the pool.

We've got a big day planned for tomorrow: we're having a mega-birthday blowout for Grandpa Mullen, me, Haley & Elise. It ought to be a good time. Haley's got some games this weekend, as well, and we're planning on going to at least one of them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Charleston down, Phoenix to go

Jenn and I are in the middle of our pair of October trips.  It's been a whirlwind, but we can handle it.

The porch of The Palmer Home looked out into Charleston Harbor.

Last weekend we went to Charleston for Elise and Paul's wedding.  The wedding was at The Palmer Home, and was beautiful, very intimate, and a pleasure to attend.  The reception at Fulton Five was wonderful, with great food and fun conversation.  It was a very small wedding, with only Elise's & Paul's parents, Paul's brother & sister-in-law, a friend of the Craft's, an intern-mate of Elise's from OSU, Paul's best friend, the pastor, and Jenn & me.

Jenn said these shoes, while they looked fantastic, were designed by someone very evil.
Fourteen in all... the smallest wedding we've ever been to.  Jenn looked like a total knockout, though her shoes did a number on her feet.  The uneven sidewalks throughout Charleston didn't help.  But did I mention she looked great!

The travel to and from the wedding... not so good.  It started on our first flight.  Jenn and I had awakened at 3:30 on Saturday morning to begin our trip.  We arrived at the airport on time, but we didn't board the plane on time.  No big deal, it wasn't too delayed, we thought.  As soon as the plane was boarded, the captain informed us that Air Traffic Control said that there was more traffic than anticipated in Atlanta and that we were going to wait on the runway in Akron for 45 minutes.  Interesting, because Jenn and I had a 65 minute layover in Atlanta, and have you ever been to the Atlanta airport? Additionally, the couple in front of us had a 75 minute layover before their trip to Shanghai!  Now I've been on delayed flights before where the flight attendants have been helpful by allowing those with the biggest rush to deboard the plane first.  Not this time.  Once we got to Atlanta after the 1:40 flight (we were told it would be 1:08), we were left on the tarmac past the E terminal, loaded on a bus that took us to the E terminal, and left to fend for ourselves.  Jenn and I ran to the B terminal and got on the plane 5 minutes before the door was closed.  Whew!  Dodged that one!
IMG_7704Waiting for Suitcase

Then I turned to Jenn and said, "Our bag probably didn't make it."

At the Charleston airport we waited at baggage claim until all of the bags were claimed.  Except ours.  So we went to the Delta counter and were informed that our bag was on the next flight, but that they could deliver it to us in the city by 6:00pm.  The wedding was at 4:00pm.  The person smiled at us and suggested we wait until the flight arrived.  Jenn was not happy, nor was I.  We were going to be in Charleston less than 24 hours and an additional 2 (?) hours would be spent in the airport!

So our bag finally came, and, to make a long story short, we were essentially swindled out of more money by our two cab drivers (to and from the airport).  Not a bunch of money, actually less than $10, but enough to leave a sour taste in my mouth.

On the way home on Sunday, flights were delayed, schedules weren't adequately coordinated... we just weren't real impressed with Delta and the way things went.  So from this day forward, it's going to take a lot to convince us to fly anything other than Southwest.


During this ordeal, Lincoln was staying with his Grandparents Gates and was on his best behavior.  He slept until 8:00am both mornings!!!  He didn't cry at all during the weekend.  He was our little champ.  He even grew a little while we were gone.  Then when he came home, he cried for 40 minutes before going to sleep at night.  He definitely knows how to perform for his Grandparents!

Which brings us to our next trip to see his Grandma Laura and Grandfather Dave.  Days until Phoenix:  1!!!  Lincoln had a blow-out poopy diaper yesterday while Teresa (of ORU fame) was watching him, so he shouldn't be uncomfortable during the plane ride.  He can't wait to see his Aunt Haley!

On another subject, Lincoln was with Teresa during the late afternoon hours on Monday because Mom and Dad and Grandma Gates were at an event for my Aunt Mary Sue.  For the first time, an "All-County Teaching Team" was named, and Aunt Mary Sue was awarded the top Private School teacher in the county!  Of course the Teacher of the Year award went to an Akron Public School teacher (it's no doubt political), but that doesn't diminish Aunt Mary Sue's recognition at all.  What an honor for her and for Chapel Hill Christian School!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words...

Is there a better example of the differences between the stages of life right now?  You can see my wonderful 1998 Honda Civic with the bright orange and blue Exersaucer in the back seat.  Parked next to it is Dad's awesome new Porshe Boxter.  Hmmmm......

OSU vs. Purdue

While I hope it's not nearly this close tomorrow, this ought to whet your appetite before the Purdue game.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lincoln and Mommy


Lincoln and Mommy have been having a great time together.  Jenn is still keeping her veterinary skills sharp, but she's definitely a mom first.


Days until our Phoenix visit: 6!


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Let the travelling begin!

It hit me for the first time yesterday just how busy October is going to be.  First of all, I knew we were going to Phoenix, but until the past couple of weeks I wasn't realizing that it was coming so soon!  And then yesterday I was reminded that Jenn and I will be out of town this weekend at Elise's wedding.  It was one of those things that I hadn't forgotten, but it just wasn't clicking that it was right around the corner.  So things are going to be fast and furious in the coming days, and the Gates family is looking forward to it.

We're off to Charleston on Saturday for the wedding (the weather is looking good at this point!) and fun times with Elise, Paul & the Crafts.  Then after the wedding, we hop on a plane to Phoenix!  Good times and pictures will follow.

If you didn't see the Buckeyes game this week, let me summarize it for you:  On the opening drive the coaches allowed Pryor and Wells to work their magic, and they marched down the field.  Then, until late in the fourth quarter, the coaches handcuffed Pryor and the Badgers took the lead.  Dad and I commented that it looked like Pryor was playing with one arm tied behind his back.  Then on the last drive of the game, Pryor was allowed to be creative and the Buckeyes took the lead.  Then in true Tressel fashion, it was left to the defense to hold the game, and thank the Lord, they did.  Go Bucks.  And then after the game, Tressel said (as always), "It was a good football game between two good football teams.  (Insert opponent's name here) fought hard.  This is Big Ten football.  I'm proud of my guys today.  We still have areas where we need to improve, but I thought our guys did some good things today."  RG to Tressel: loosen the reins and let Pryor go!


Lincoln is figuring out the spoon... slowly but surely.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

An evening with the Grandparents

The light is funny, but who cares?  Check out those jeans!

Lincoln with his Grandma Paulette

Lincoln loves his Grandpa Doug

Three Generations:  
According to Great Grandma Gates, Lincoln can do no wrong.

The Hungry Caterpillar

Three straight Daddy Days

This is the third Saturday in a row that Jenn has worked and that means three Saturdays in a row that I've spent with Lincoln in the morning hours. It's been pretty crazy to see how each Saturday has been a little bit different as Lincoln's grown and his attention span and tastes have morphed. This morning we played on the Exersaucer, I had him laughing for a while, and we read the first part of Mary Poppins from Jenn's old Disney books. As I've mentioned previously, he's loving those stories.  After he wakes up from his nap and eats, we're going shopping!  Lincoln loves to go to the store.

Yesterday I posted a video of Lincoln eating his cereal, and the video quality wasn't that great. I've boosted the quality (it's still not exactly Hi-Def, but it is an improvement) and if you haven't seen it yet, you'll have to check it out.

[If you've followed this blog from the beginning, you know that Jenn and I avoid getting too political here. I've got a space for that over at where you can go if you'd like to read my (our) social and political thoughts.  You can choose to go there or to avoid it.  This space is reserved for family news for our extended family and friends.  However, Jenn and I are quite convicted about the upcoming election, and the piece of information that absolutely sealed it for us can be found here.  Say what you want about the source of the web page, but the information on it cannot be denied.  It's more than a single issue, it's a world view.  As for politics and our blog, we'll leave it at this.]

A new website has been added to the favorites here.  Last night I received a friend request from Matt Powers, an old friend from high school.  Matt and his wife Emily were friends of mine at CVCA, and while we haven't kept up with each other in many years, I'll always remember them calling me at Lipscomb from Cedarville on weekend nights (Emily had free segments on her calling card) during our first semester of our freshman year.  TRES wasn't yet in full swing, and keeping up with friends was at a premium.  Matt and Emily got married after that semester (I was in their wedding!), and life went on for all of us, but I'm appreciative of that friendship to this day.

We're going over to Grandma Paulette & Grandpa Doug's house this evening and Jenn is making some kind of stuffed chicken dish.  We're all looking forward to it, and to the OSU/Wisconsin game after dinner.  Will OSU lay another egg on national television?  Or will this be Terrell Pryor's real break-out game?

Lincoln's up... I've got to go.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lincoln & Cereal

This is the third day that Jenn has given him rice cereal.  The first day he didn't know how to move it to the back of his mouth.  The second day he started to figure it out.  And today there's been a bit more progress!