Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas #5

Lincoln and his Grandma Laura

We wrapped up this Christmas season by spending a day in Columbus with the Parkinson family. After a week of driving around, Lincoln "going to bed" in his car seat, meeting all sorts of new people, Lincoln was an absolute all-star on Sunday. Jenn and I had a great time with Larry & Marti, Kas, Cindy, Trevor, and Lincoln's Grandma and Grandfather and Auntie Haley. The Wii was out in full force, and Jenn and I are sold on the Wii fit (especially after watching Trevor and Dave play it so well!). I'm not sure how much I ate because there were cookies and fudge sitting out during our entire stay.
The Parkinson Family

(What follows will probably be boring to non-family, but it's important I include it for record-keeping purposes.) Lincoln has initiated a change in his feeding schedule. Nursing has been a challenge over the past several weeks, and it has become clear that he is not interested in nursing 5 times per day. So we've decreased his frequency of eating to 4 times daily, and we're giving him big volumes of solids (bananas, chick peas, broccoli, sweet potatoes, blackberries, mangos, rice, barley, oatmeal, pears, apple sauce, bok choi, papaya...). He seems much more content with this schedule. It also means that he has to stay awake longer, which has actually not been much of a problem. For weeks (months?) now we've heard from folks who say, "Has he dropped a nap?" or "Is he staying up longer?" And for a long time the answer has been, "Lincoln isn't like most babies." But now, at just shy of 8 months old, he's starting to stay awake longer in between naps and feedings.
Grandfather Dave and the Parkinsons
love playing with Lincoln.

Lincoln has reached a couple of milestones recently. He's now in the stage where he does not want strangers picking him up and/or taking him away from his mom, his dad, or his grandparents. We found this out over the Christmas time. A second milestone is that he's becoming quite a "grandma's boy." He actually cried when I took him from his Grandma Paulette. Can you believe it? Lincoln loves the women in his life!

Another milestone that may be coming: Jenn reports that he nearly voluntarily rolled from his back to his stomach in his crib last night. Have no fear, though, he didn't complete the job and he returned safely to his back. We're preparing ourselves for hearing a shriek in the middle of the night announcing a rolled baby boy. Any day now...

The end of 2008 is approaching. I looks as though our New Year's Eve and New Year's Day is going to be pretty low-key. Exchange some clothes, straighten up some things around the house, watch some football, have some pork and sauerkraut at Mom and Dad's place, rest... sounds like a good plan to me.

Finally, we're going to miss Great Grandma Gates. She's headed to Charlotte with the MacDermotts today, but she'll be back around April sometime. Great Grandma was great for Lincoln on Mondays and Tuesdays. It made him laugh when she would push his toys back to him with her cane. It was fun to watch! Take care (Great) Grandma!
A Happy Grandma.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas #4

Lincoln & his Great Aunt Kristine

Gates Christmas is wrapping up, and we've had a good time. The MacDermotts have enjoyed Lincoln, and it was all Aunt Kristine could do to wait until Lincoln was ready to be held both folks other than his mom, dad, Grandma Paulette and Grandpa Doug. But when the time came, Lincoln enjoyed playing with his Great Aunt Kristine's bling.
Gates Family 2008

The Gift Exchange was a lot of fun, as some of the family gets really creative. Some of the family also appears to be ignoring the agreed-upon limit. Either that, or they're really good bargain shoppers. In any event, everyone seemed to have a good time.
Lincoln loves it when his
Grandma Paulette reads to him.

Lincoln refused to nap... at all. But his awake times weren't a disaster, and he became a slap-happy chatterbox by the end of the day. We're about to make the trip to Columbus for the last of Five Christmases.

It must also be said that the food was phenomenal. The LORD has certainly blessed us with not only the food to begin with, but family that cooks and prepares it so well. Aunt MarySue, Grandma, Mom, Aunt Kristine, Jenn (Hertle), Emily & Jenn were awesome with the dinner, the dessert, and the late-evening appetizers.

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."
Matthew 1:23

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas #3

Lincoln enjoyed his toys right out of the box!

It's Christmas evening, and the Gates family has had a very pleasant Christmas Day. Immanuel is amazing... to think that God sent Jesus to live with us, to save us. Praise God!
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

After a "normal" morning, Jenn, Lincoln and I exchanged our presents to each other, then we loaded up the car and went to Brookfield for Mullen Family Christmas. This was the first time since our wedding that so much of the Mullen Family was in the same place at the same time. It was nice to see Lincoln's Grandma and Grandfather and his Auntie Haley again. Lincoln can't spend too much time with them. Having an afternoon with the extended family, both the Mullens and the Schumachers, was enjoyable, too. We hadn't seen Jenn's cousins Hillary and Jillian since our wedding, and now with Hillary beginning nursing school in northeast Ohio, we'll get to see her a smidge more over the next year or so. As always, Grandma and Grandpa Mullen were gracious hosts.
Mullen Family, 2008

Everyone from the Mullen family was generous beyond belief, and Lincoln was the primary beneficiary. His wardrobe expanded; he was given some really cute, fun toys; and the family found some very creative books, such as a book with googly eyes on sea-creatures (you'll have to see it, it's hard to describe it) and even a book about sushi that reads like Seuss. How fun!

Lincoln was really a trooper today. He nursed well, which has been an issue lately, he napped well in the earlier part of the day, but then he skipped his later naps. It was looking like the evening was spiraling out of control as he cried very forcefully for a time. But then he settled down with the help of Sunny, the gift Jenn and I gave to him this morning (pictures to follow). Then, while he was sitting on my lap during the gift exchange portion of the evening, he relaxed, reclined (really!), and proceeded to enjoy watching the activity and the conversation for nearly an hour. It was like the hand of God came down, touched Lincoln's head, and gave him the gift of rest. It turned out to be my favorite time of this Christmas day, because he's rarely so calm sitting on my lap for such a long time.
Lincoln experienced a late evening of calm, pleasant interaction.
The Dino-Blanket from Aunt Cheryl was a hit!

Jenn's headed back to Brookfield tomorrow while I'm at work, then it's the home stretch of the Christmas partying through the weekend.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas #2


Christmas #2 is over, and boy, was it a fun day! The Gates-Gates-Hopwood crew knows how to do Christmas! We had a non-busy day with time to hang out, exchange gifts, have a great meal, and watch the kids play with their presents. Guess who made out like a bandit? Nope. It was "Mia," Grace's doll. Grandma Paulette made the two of them matching pajamas, Mia got a sleeping bag, and Grace got some hot pink sheets that I'm sure they'll both use. Lincoln received some very neat things, as well. When Grandma Paulette goes clothes shopping for Lincoln, it clearly becomes habit-forming. She picked some wonderful clothes that we'll really enjoy watching him grow into.

The time, effort and generosity that is evident each Christmas season is truly amazing to us. Thoughtfulness is on display, and we're so blessed to come from families that love through giving.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6


Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Animal

This is a little out of order, but our first Christmas present arrived mid-week last week,
You can see the amount of
Betty hair in the tank.
and it was a Dyson Animal from Laura and Dave (the Parkinsons in AZ, for those outside the family). (Funny, they didn't want to check it on the plane!) Well, hallelujah! We're picking up Betty hair that we didn't even know was packed in the carpet because our old vacuum was leaving it behind. Now Lincoln will get fewer hairs stuck in his mouth!

Vacuuming is fun with this. It glides easy, it picks up everything and it is quieter than most vacuums. This is also really easy to clean. There's no bag, you just take the tank off of the vacuum, run it out to the trash can, and push the red button. The bottom folds open and the contents drop out. Easy as pie!

If you're in the area and you want to borrow our Dyson Animal, just give us a call!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Luke 2:8-12

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas #1

Great Grandma Gates had Lincoln giggling and laughing
after a long, stimulating and exciting day.

The first in a string of Five Family Christmases has now concluded. Donati Christmas was as fun and creatively amazing as always. The Rossmann Family's "T'was The Night Before Christmas" took the cake, with "Things That Go Together," "Sprouting," "Growing," and "Water" coming in a collective close second. But who's judging? Donati Christmas is always a treat!

Lincoln was an all star during the day. He was Little Mister Social, he napped like a champ, and ate like a little baby bird. This was the first time he'd seen the Rossmann Family and Uncle Keith and Aunt Linda Donati. Everyone was so generous and thoughtful when it came to presents for Lincoln. Of course he has no idea how to open presents, but the fun was seeing him play with his new toys and picturing him wearing his new clothes when he grows into them.

Good news from the Hopwood corner of the Gates Family: Jeremy and a buddy are back in the IT business as of the first of the year. Five Iron Technologies is where you can meet all of your business IT support needs in the middle-Tennessee area. This is an answer to prayer and a gift from the LORD. Praise God!!!
"With ma in her kercheif and I in my cap..."
Uncle Keith and Aunt Linda play along
with the Rossmann Family gift presentation.

The second leg of the Five Family Christmases is on for tomorrow with the immediate Gates Family. The Hopwoods got into town late Thursday evening, and we're locked and loaded for a RELAXING, LOW KEY afternoon and evening tomorrow.

Christmas is approaching.
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn
Luke 2:1-7

Lincoln enjoying one of his Christmas presents.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008



Lincoln continues to improve. He's got a mild rash on his belly, which seems to indicate that he was dealing with roseola. This is his second day without a fever, and he's been a good little boy during his feeding time, playing time, and napping time. Lincoln thanks all of those who have mentioned him in our Christmas cards, and he can't wait to see his extended family in just a few short days!

Have you done your Christmas shopping online this year? Have you been happy with your shipping times? I have not. We ordered with what we thought was plenty of time to deliver, and we're still waiting on a number of items. In fact, we'd be waiting on most of it if I hadn't called Amazon and re-arranged some things. It turns out that there were two items that were holding up the entire shipment. We would have had to celebrate Christmas in February if we hadn't called!

Ally Lengacher's baby shower, thrown by Jenn, last Sunday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

No Fever!

As of this morning, Lincoln's fever is gone. He's at his Grandma Paulette's today so this ought to be a banner day!

Monday, December 15, 2008


Lincoln's temperature this morning was 99.2. We're glad to see improvement because yesterday was a tough day for him. It seemed as though he was getting tired of being sick and was especially cranky, especially for his bottle at night. Jenn and I were joking that as difficult as he was at the end of the day yesterday, his fever would break overnight, he'd go to his Grandma's for the day, and she'd call us and say, "Lincoln had a great day, and he even learned to walk." Ha! Ha!!... Ha! Ha! .... Ha.... Hmmmm. That would be typical, as he's always a perfect little angel for Grandma Paulette and Great Grandma Gates!

One of Lincoln's milestones that we noticed yesterday is he's recognizing his name. Perhaps he's known this for some time, but yesterday was the first day I noticed him looking at me after calling his name. I guess he's done this for a while, but in the past it has always seemed so random.

The cold weather is coming to Northeast Ohio today. We've been in the 50's lately, but that'll change this evening. Coming soon: Lincoln's cold weather hat. You'll want to see this!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More fever; Good little boy


We're now into Day Three of Lincoln's fever. We thought it was on its way out yesterday when it was less than 100 with no meds, but this morning he was 103.5, so we know we've got a bit more time with it. He's definitely short on patience and stamina, but he's been a good little boy. This morning he took a 2 hour nap and then played on the floor for about 40 minutes. Good stuff! He'll make it through this, and hopefully the sick days will be left behind for Christmas.

Jenn's hosting shower for friends from church tomorrow who are adopting a little boy from Ethiopia. They're going to get him shortly, and they have to stay in the country for a week or so, which means they'll be spending Christmas in Ethiopia!
It's almost like a little analogy of Jesus. For a long time the world waited for the baby and went through ordeal after ordeal, and on Christmas He came. And for the friends of ours, they've been waiting for a long time, and certainly been through lots of ordeals (endless paperwork, delayed court appointments, phone calls, etc.), and on Christmas, he'll be theirs. Let this message be not lost on us.

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Baaa-aaaack!

I don't know what happened, but the old format is back. Sure it's not a big change, but losing the wish list and the tag list was a bummer. But no more.

Also, Lincoln's been having a pretty good day. He's still impatient unless he's being held, and he's still a little hot-box, but he's eating well and sleeping well, which is about all we can ask for.


Lincoln's been a bit off over the past couple of days. Jenn took his temperature yesterday morning and it was 103.2. Yikes! So we went to the doctor yesterday afternoon, and other than the fever, he checked out pretty well: still very active, distractable, hungry, napping well, making an appropriate number of wet and dirty diapers, etc. So it seems as though he's got a virus. He's not showing any signs of meningitis, which was certainly on our radar with the fever. He's responding well to Tylenol and Motrin, and so far he's still sleeping through the night. Jenn's been taking great care of him, feeding him (tons!), and giving him the close attention that he needs. Through this morning, his fever has been hovering between 101 and 103. As long as he's getting attention and has a toy in his hands, though, he's seems to be happy and somewhat comfortable.

Coincidentally, this was to be Lincoln's first week of napping during the day without his swaddler, his final sleeping crutch. This has actually worked out well because he's falling asleep quickly and hopefully learning that he can sleep without the swaddler. Not that we wished for illness to aid in this process, but you know what I mean.

So until this fever breaks, the plan is to be restful over the next couple of days. It's during this process that we're especially thankful for the good health that Lincoln has enjoyed for his first 7 months. With the exception of a runny nose here and a brief cough there, he's been the picture of health. The friends of our friends have a young son who is critically ill, and their situation hits so much closer to home now that we have Lincoln. So we'd appreciate it if you'd keep him in your prayers. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Approaching Mid-December

It's near mid-December, Christmas is almost here, and 2008 is almost gone.  Holy cow!  Our Christmas tree is up and it was fun looking back at our ornaments from when we were even Lincoln's age.  We're thankful for parents and grandparents who preserved those memories for us.

Not a whole lot of new stuff to report since Thanksgiving. Jenn and I are just about through shopping for Christmas and we're excited for our many family Christmas get-togethers.  I'm drawing a bit of a block right now trying to remember the exact order of events, but we've got the Donati Christmas the weekend before , followed by Mullen Christmas on Christmas Day, then there's the Gates Christmas on Saturday (27), closely followed up by Parkinson Christmas on Saturday evening/Sunday.  Sounds like an action-packed week!  Please keep Emily, Jeremy, Grace and Cole in your prayers as they're doing a bunch of traveling (driving & flying), as well.

Lincoln's First Christmas

It's not like you come to our blog to hear lots about me and/or Jenn, so I'll mention a few more things about Lincoln.  He's absolutely content to sit up on his bottom and play with his toys for a long time.  We've seen inklings that he's thinking about moving himself, but he's just not mentally there yet.  It's nice for us because we can set him in one place... for now.  We're several weeks into the "babbling phase."  He's become quite the little performer (not quite to the level of singing Victory in Jesus with his hum, but we've still got some time!).  He keeps Great Grandma Gates in stitches.

Lincoln and Mangos

His chow-hound nature has been well documented, and we're adding papaya, blackberries, and a few other things that I can't remember now and that I didn't taste until I was in my 20's.  Word from Grandma and Grandpa's is that he's NOT a broccoli fan.  But like avocado, he may warm up to it.

Lincoln's "Concentration Face"

The weather is ugly out right now.  Windy, cold & rainy.  Blah.