Sunday, April 26, 2009

Warm has come back to Ohio

It's been a beautiful weekend in Ohio. It's been really sunny and warm, allowing us to get some work down outside and also to go on walks with Lincoln. Jenn's had him out a bunch, and on Friday she picked me up from work and we all went down to the beaver dam in the national park.

Lincoln is on the move... all the time. He's no longer content to sit in one room and play with his toys. He's got to be up, or crawling around. Lately, his favorite place to go is to the dining room where we keep the dog's cages now and swing the doors open and closed... open and closed... open and closed... and on and on and on...

The only exception to his moving around is if we put him on a blanket out in the yard. He is not a fan of grass yet, so he'll actually stay put for a while. This came in handy when I was spreading mulch last week.

Since it's been so warm, he's not having to wear his footed pajamas as much. His set of Monkey PJs are really funny.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Back from Kalifornia

I'm on the Santa Monica Pier with the
north side of the bay behind me.

I'm back from my meeting in Santa Monica. The best weather day was actually my free day, which was awesome! I got a mild sunburn... I don't think I've ever had a sunburn in April. The beach was neat, the Santa Monica Pier was okay, and the town was pretty interesting. The food at the hotel was unbelievable. All you can eat sushi, fruit & yogurt parfaits during breaks between lectures, big breakfasts... it was all 100% first class.

Night time on the Promenade.

The meeting was fantastic. I didn't learn a whole bunch of new medical information, but lots was re-enforced, and I really benefitted from talking with the other veterinarians who do what I do with Pfizer. It wasn't exactly what I expected it would be. As it turns out, the 87 DVMs who were part of the original Canine Obesity and Slentrol® education plan (who were at the meeting in Salt Lake City, 2008) where whittled down to 40 for an ELITE (a Pfizer acronym) group of veterinary peer educators. I found out after my arrival that I was part of this new group... in fact, I'm one of only two in Ohio. I must have been nominated or recommended by my Pfizer reps. It shouldn't change my responsibilities too terribly much, but I

will probably have to travel further for my meetings with veterinary clinics in order to reach more people. For instance, I'm going to Youngstown for a presentation on Tuesday. I was worried back in January and February that Pfizer would cut the budget on my program, but I learned that now they're as committed as ever to support us (the 40) get the message out to the clinics in our area.

View from my balcony.

I got home really late (or early, however you want to look at it) on Thursday evening/Friday morning, and went to work on Friday morning. Pity the owners who had to hear the, "Your dog is overweight," talk the day after I got back from the Obesity meeting! It's rewarding, though, to be able to remove the guilt from the owner and tell them that there is a real solution that works >95% of the time. To see what Slentrol® can do for dogs and their owners, click here.

It was really nice to get back home. Lincoln looks older than when I left. He learned a new word while I was gone: cat. So as of now, he knows "dog," "all gone," and "cat."

Next on the Gates agenda is Lincoln's First Birthday. Holy cow.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Yeah, Emily!!!

Emily (Auntie Em) has been a bit slow when it comes to her blog updates, but she posted some stuff yesterday, including the video below! It's from late March when she was up in Ohio on her Spring Break. It's kind of funny that Emily now has almost as many videos of Lincoln on her blog as I do here. Hmmm... I need to get my act together!

Thanks a bunch to Em for posting this! Lincoln is no doubt looking forward to a week with his Auntie Em on the beach.

On another note, one of the latest "words" from Lincoln is, "all gone." When he finishes his food, we show him the empty container and we say, "all gone!" And he repeats, "all gone!" In other news from the baby-fascination department, Lincoln loves opening and closing the cupboards while we say, "open" and "close." He also loves the light switch, and we're working on "off" and "on."

I leave early tomorrow morning for Santa Monica via Los Angeles. The hotel where I'm staying is right across the street from the Santa Monica Pier. I'm hoping to post some fun pictures when I get back.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Warm Daddy Day

These Daddy Days are starting to get nicer outside, and as a result, Lincoln and I can get outdoors more. It was nothing short of bright and sunny! Today we went to Hudson Springs park for a little walk, and I took the camera with the remote control that Larry & Marti gave me for Christmas. I don't have too many pictures of me and Lincoln together (his mother is much more photogenic!). So I decided to put the remote to good use and packed up Lincoln, his diaper bag, my camera bag and the tripod (also a gift from Larry & Marti) and we took off!

There's a path at Hudson Springs and that made taking the stroller easy. Also, because there's a nice path, there are lots of dogs, and we all know how much Lincoln enjoys looking at dogs. Interestingly, he likes to watch birds as much as he does dogs, and there were a bunch of ducks and geese there today, too. It was tough to get the lighting just right with the photos given all that there was to juggle, but he and I got some good pics. Lincoln was Mr. Pleasant along the walk, as well. He's really into pointing at things now, and when we'd pass folks on the path, he'd point at them. Well, they thought he was waving, and all of the walkers gave him a great response.

After our time at the park, just as he was starting to get fussy, we went to the bakery (the same place I went last week) and he and I split a cinnamon roll. So between that and his puffs, he had a nice morning breakfast.

He's upstairs napping now. If he only naps for 40 minutes or less, then I can tell Jenn about it. But if he naps for more than an hour (or 2?), I won't be able to report that to Jenn without her banging her head on a wall. He's just not napping for her when she's home.

Everyone in the Gates family knows how Grandma Gates (with her background in dietetics) pays close attention to how her grandkids and great-grandkids eat. She wants to make sure they're healthy boys and girls. She told me yesterday that she's amazed at how well Lincoln eats. That's high praise for our little boy! The latest thing that he can put away in record time is cottage cheese. That doesn't last long in the bowl at all.

We're all looking forward to the NBA Playoffs and seeing the Cavs go for the championship. As Cleveland fans, that's all we've got right now. Since my post about the Indians and Eric Wedge's losing starts, the Indians have done little more than spin their wheels. Great. And now the hottest news from the Browns is that they're looking to trade Braylon Edwards. Boy, I'm glad we wasted the #3 pick on him. GO CAVS!!!

Time is flying by... I'm headed to Santa Monica, CA, this week for my Pfizer meeting. And every day that passes by is one day closer to our vacation in the Outer Banks. We're looking forward to that trip in a BIG way. But the biggest thing going on that shows us that time is passing quickly is that Lincoln is almost 1 year old! It's hard to believe that his due date was a year ago tomorrow, and that he wanted to stay in Jenn's belly for nearly another two weeks. Holy cow, how things have changed.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cory's films

I've got a couple of videos for you today. Some of you know my buddy Cory Sheldon. He and I go way back. If you were at our wedding, you saw Cory, as he was one of my groomsmen (and his dad, Rod, officiated our wedding). He's got loads of talent when it comes to visual communications, movies, and computer animation. The first one here is a project that he and a couple of guys took on for the Akron Film Festival. They entered the 48-hour Challenge, drawing and accepting the following criteria:
  • The film must be entered within 48 hours of receiving the subject
  • Subject: Action
  • Film must include a ping pong ball & a Hot Pocket
  • Film must include the line, "I found it in the Erie Canal."
  • No more than $200 could be spent on the particular project
This was the result (plus, you'll notice a particularly powerful debut performance by an actor portraying a young doctor):

The next piece here is a trailer that Cory just finished for a film that's been in the works for a while. I'm not sure when the release date is, but whenever it is, I'll be there.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Dad and I went to the Cleveland Tax Day Tea Party. It was awesome to be around so many Americans who are fed up with the onerous, burdensome taxation that our local, state and federal government imposes on us. The speakers were great, the signs were even better.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Indians lose again

While I've not published it prior to today, those with whom I've talked baseball during the off-season can attest to the fact that I am not an Eric Wedge fan. I've never believed he's the best manager available to the Indians. Ultimately, the reason I'm most down on

Eric Wedge is that, with one exception, his teams get off to slow starts. In a town where we like to think of our team as a contender, entering the month of June with a sub-.500 record makes it tough to make the playoffs, and only once has Eric Wedge taken the Indians into June with more wins than losses. In 2003 the Indians were 21-32 by June, in 2004 they were 22-26, in 2005 they were 25-25, in 2006 they were 26-26, they lit it up in 2007 at 33-19, but then in 2008 they fell back to earth going 25-30. That's five out of the last six seasons finishing up May at .500 or worse. And now in 2009 they're off to a whopping 0-5 start. Eric Wedge had better thank his lucky stars that the Cavs are so hot and that Cleveland fans still care about the Browns' Draft. If the Indians are sub-.500 come June, especially after having spent the off-season bringing in the show-stoppers Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa, I'll be the first one calling for a change in Indian's leadership.

Daddy Day at Gander Mountain

April is moving along, and among other things, we're really tired of the cold, wet weather. I'm not one of those Ohio residents that complains about the cold weather... I actually like it. I love snow, I like driving in the snow, I like playing in the snow, I like wearing sweaters and flannel shirts and heavy coats. But I've reached my limit with the cold weather. My now-absence of patience is a combination of having a taste of warm weather just a few weeks ago, my sickness of a few weeks ago, and the need for us to get outside as a family (Lincoln is getting bored with the inside routine). So I'm calling on Al Gore and the rest of the Global Warming believers: Where is the warming? When can I expect this abnormally warm weather? It's supposed to be "warm" today and if it remains that way, our plan is to take a trip to the Akron Zoo.

Lincoln's first word was "dog."
No surprise there!

The Gateses had a great breakfast this morning. I went to a local bakery and picked up some cinnamon rolls and scones and the three of us enjoyed a pleasant sit-down morning. Lincoln had a morning meal of the cinnamon roll, blueberry & lemon scone, cinnamon Life cereal, pear juice, Puffs and raison bread toast. Guess what? He likes cinnamon rolls! Shocker, I know.

Yesterday was not a good resting afternoon for Lincoln, so the two of us took a drive up to Gander Mountain to

Lincoln likes to spend his time learning how to do the important things.
look at handguns. My experience looking at handguns has been very mixed, and most of it has to do with the salesman helping me at the time. I've worked with some real jerks, guys who want to, let's just say, show how cool they are. But yesterday I worked with a guy named Dennis who was very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. So that was a good place to start. I've been giving gun purchasing a lot of thought, and after talking with Dad about his experiences with some instructors and what they've had to say, my choice of firearm has really changed. At first I was interested in a .357 Magnum or a .45, but when considering those guns for a CCW license, those are some big guns that are hard to conceal, and would be pretty uncomfortable to carry. And if the gun isn't comfortable to carry, am I really going to want to carry it? Probably not. So when I combine those thoughts with my experience shooting Dad's old .38 Special, I started considering a .38 Special. If you would have asked me to consider one of those a few months ago I would have said, "No way."

So yesterday on our trip to Gander Mountain, Lincoln and I looked at .38 Specials, and Smith & Wesson has some really nice new models. One of them is hammerless and one of them is standard. The hammerless is much more costly, and I'm pretty settled on the .38 S&W Special +P. It's small, very light-weight, and packs a punch. Lincoln was an all-star at the store. He always is at any kind of store. He loves to look at all of the new stuff, especially the shiny stuff, and Dennis was very friendly with him, as well.

I had the CCW stuff on my mind yesterday because I was talking to a client who had recently been assaulted by a thug in a family restaurant at 11:30 on a Saturday morning. This client of mine did nothing wrong. He was stopping to get some breakfast before visiting his grand-daughter in Columbus. He's licensed, and while the assault happened so fast he couldn't have protected himself with his weapon, he's glad he's licensed now because the friends of the defendant (who will be arraigned this coming week on felony charges) who were at the restaurant now know where he lives because his address was published on the police report. Nobody ever plans on having to defend themselves, but it would be nice for one to know that he had the legal right to do so should a situation ever arise.

Somewhat related to the Second Amendment, I've been reading the Federalist Papers recently, and holy cow, those guys were wise and prophetic. Many things are striking, but one of the things that I notice is that we have so few leaders in Government today with the wisdom of our Founding Fathers. Certainly there are wise men today, but Washington is full of politicians that want the benefits and the power that comes with elected office. We have few, if any, politicians that seek to solely advance American Exceptionalism during their time in D.C. How great would it be to identify the great American thinkers, and have the media not destroy them before they could get to Washington to defend liberty.

But enough about American History for now. Time for an Easter thought. Jenn and I want to extend our Easter greetings to you this day. May you take a moment today, and every day, to consider the love that the LORD showed by taking the punishment for your (our) sins so that we can enjoy close fellowship with Him without penalty. Wow!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Waking up from his naps.

For a few weeks now Lincoln has been sitting up in his crib when he's either not interested in sleeping or after his naps. Sometimes this is funny, and other times it is not. And then when he gets up, he's on the move. Sitting still and playing is a thing of the past. He's also back to eating a ton of food at each meal now that our sickness of last week has passed... and he's more and more interested in feeding himself.

On Monday Jenn had a dinner at Hyde Park with her clinic and that left me to take care of the evening routine with Lincoln. It started with a dinner of left-overs at Grandma Paulette & Grandpa Doug's house. I wasn't sure how Lincoln would take his evening bottle after he ate the turkey and biscuits, and the near 100 Cheerios that his Grandpa Doug gave to him, but he took the bottle like it was the last thing on earth.

Today, Jenn fed him tofu bites rolled in crushed Cheerios... it would have been an Enviro-weenie's dream. Most of it made it in his mouth. We've just got one funny eating story after another here at our place.

Easter is approaching. We've got some fun family plans coming. It's also a neat time to especially focus on Jesus and his resurrection.
And speaking of Easter, this is one of my favorite Easter songs. For those of you who know me from way back, you'll remember that the Gates Family has been big Carman fans for a long, long time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Snow in April

Lincoln doesn't know enough to be tired of the cold weather, but his mom and dad are ready for the warm weather. We had a taste of it a couple of times, as evidenced by our visits to the Zoo (see below), but this beating of snow that we've taken is getting a bit old.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

We're all feeling better!

The three of us were feeling much better yesterday, and it was relatively nice outside yesterday so we decided to go to the Zoo. Jenn settled on the Cleveland Zoo, thinking that Lincoln might nap on the way there. Silly us. But when we arrived, he was still very pleasant and we had a great time. There's a huge California Condor there that he really got into. He also liked the Giraffes, some of the Primates, and the fish.

Lincoln and the Red Panda

He did sleep in the car for most of the way home, and when he woke up, he was really good. This may not seem like much, but it's allowing us to reconsider our travel plans come May when we drive to the Outer Banks. Oh, boy, are we looking forward to that vacation! Of course, there's a lot to do between now and then, but we've had our minds on it for a while now.

Jenn and I loved this picture above because it's so typical of our visits to the Zoo. It's fun to point things out to Lincoln, and he usually gets around to seeing what we're seeing, but he often has his own pace and agenda when it comes to these things. It's not unusual to see one of us pointing at something interesting and also see Lincoln gazing lazily off in a completely different direction.

What you see above is Betty's job. This is what she does when she wakes up in the morning after she eats her breakfast and realizes that she's not getting anything more to eat. Some may joke that she's Union because she takes a lot of breaks for naps, but when she's at her job, she works really hard. We were laughing recently that Betty would be disappointed to hear about jobs leaving Summit county. In her little Pug brain she would think of it in terms of thousands of bones leaving the county! Oh, the crazy humor in the home of a pair of veterinarians!

We just about cannot keep Lincoln down. He doesn't like to play as long while sitting down. Rather, he enjoys standing up next to his toy basket and emptying it out. He also enjoys standing on the outside of his Exersaucer. Every now and then he'll tolerate sitting inside of it, but he'd much rather work his way around the outside of it.

Aside: I understand that a number of Emily's college friends drop by this blog every now and then. I'm not sure if you're interested in looking for what to expect from your own kids or you're just interested in knowing how things are going with us. Either way, thanks for coming by! If you've got your own blog going of your experiences, let us know and we'll post the link on the side bar. Feel free to comment, too... we love hearing from our readers.