Sunday, May 31, 2009

GGH OBX 2009

We're back from our family vacation, and it was a great time. I've been guilty in the past of being somewhat cynical about vacations. I enjoy the time while I'm there, but the coming back part has been so unenjoyable that it's cast a small shadow on the trip. But not this time. Jenn and I, both, did the things that we wanted to do on vacation, we enjoyed the time away from work, we spent some quality time with family, and we made it back safely.

The Hopwoods Arrive!

Driving on the beach was a challenge at first, but we got used to it after a few trips back and forth to the grocery store.

Taking walks on the beach played a significant part of the trip. Lincoln learned to say "bird" after seeing dozens of pelicans and sandpipers. He also now says "car" very consistently... which was interesting, because there was more traffic on the beach this time around than back in 2006.

We flew kites, Dad fished a bunch and even caught a couple in the surf, we swam in the pool (getting a beach house with a pool was a big plus), we visited the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the Wildlife Education Center, we climbed up Jockey's Ridge... it was a busy week, but very low-key and relaxing.

Three Kites

Morning Fishing

Deep In Thought

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Jockey's Ridge

Because Jenn and I weren't able to go to Franklin for Grace's and Cole's birthdays, and because Jeremy and Emily weren't able to come to Hudson for Lincoln's birthday, we had a birthday party at the beach... with a Western theme!

We didn't spend any time in the ocean because it was pretty cold, but we did take Lincoln to the water's edge for a "stroll" on one occasion. He wasn't real into it, but he was a good sport for pictures.




On the way back, we stopped at the Pittsburgh Zoo to stretch our legs and give Lincoln a break from the car. It's a very cool zoo, and their aquarium is phenomenal. Lincoln loved standing next to the exhibits and pressing his face up against the glass.

So now the Gates-Gates-Hopwood vacation has come to a close. Some may not look forward to family vacations, with family issues and weirdness. Unless I'm the weirdo in our family, I can't say that we have odd family issues, and our time together was just a lot of fun. Who knows when we'll do something like this again, but we've got a lot of fun memories now, and Jenn and I look forward to having a GGH vacation-week down the road.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Leaving today!!!

Tired boy with sweet potato in his hair.

We're leaving for the Outer Banks soon, but I wanted to get another post up about Lincoln's development. Grandma Paulette often comments that the progress Lincoln makes from week to week is observable and dramatic. Ditto for Daddy Day Saturdays. From playing with his cars and trucks (actually pushing them around the house), to climbing the stairs faster and faster, to opening and closing the little doors on his cars and trucks, he's not only a busy boy, but an increasingly curious little boy.

We're leaving in less than 2 hours, but I've got to go because Lincoln's trying to erase everything I've typed so far (he's done it a few times already!). Look for good beach pics to come!

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Corolla's Weather

Corolla, NC

Baby Steps

Don't have photos of this, as I was in the middle of the action, but Lincoln started taking unassisted steps yesterday. And lots of them. He was laughing while he was walking in just the same way as when he walked with his Lion the first time. He wanted to keep going and going. I envision him wanting to walk all around our beach house next week.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Busy Boy

There's a very busy boy in the Gates home and his name is Lincoln Glenn. He simply doesn't sit still anymore, and he's content to play with his toys, the dogs' toys, Jenn's cookware, magazines, remote controls... and when he's done with all of those, he climbs the steps.

Jenn often apologizes for not getting much done around the house when she's by herself with him, but who can blame her? He's a total handful, but a fun handful.

He's starting to say more of the words that he's learning. On Thursday he told Betty to, "Go away!" Jenn got a good laugh out of that one. He knows, "outside," "up," and we think he even knows, "pug." We've really been watching what we say around him because he's a little sponge.

In less than a week, we'll be on our way to the Outer Banks. We're really looking forward to it, and I've heard the Hopwood family is really getting antsy, too.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Denver & Bradley Wedding

My trip to Denver was a fun one, and Lincoln was a good little boy for his Mommy during the weekend, so it was a good couple of days for all of the Gateses.

(top) Uncle Keith, Aunt Beth, Mom, Aunt Gwen, Aunt Suzanne
(bottom) Randi & Aaron

Emily and I doing our best (corny) "Western" look.

Aaron & Randi's wedding, receptions, and rehearsal dinner was a great time. They looked good, the food was fantastic (sushi, spring rolls, pot stickers, chicken sate, appetizers at the bowling alley!... Jenn was sad to miss this trip and menu), and their chosen entertainment was a lot of fun.

The Bradley Family

Mom, Aunt Gwen, Uncle Keith and Aunt Suzanne arrived earlier in the week to help Aunt Beth get ready for the festivities.

Mom and Aunt Gwen planned the rehearsal dinner with the western theme: They're Gettin' Hitched. I set up a "photo booth" for everyone to have the picture taken with the Bride & Groom, and Mom took her photo printer so all of the guests could leave with their picture (see above). The Donati kids put a good Cowboy dinner together of Bar-B-Q, baked beans and cole slaw. Dad had even painted cut-out cacti (or is it cactuses) for the center pieces.

What a cake!

I mentioned the food earlier. And in keeping with Mom's motto, "Presentation Is Everything," the tables looked really cool.


Sticky Rice

Crab, Shrimp, Avacado,
Egg, Cucumber

Pickled Ginger, Soy, Wasabi

Beta Fish as Center Piece

After the wedding, and "pre-reception, we went to Lucky Strike for some classy bowling.

So what was a busy stretch of weeks for me is winding down. When I left the hotel in Denver, Emily said, "The next time I see you will be on the beach." Holy cow! Jenn and I can't believe that in less than two weeks we'll be keeping Lincoln from eating sand! We're really looking forward to that time away with little responsibilities (not no responsibilities, but little responsibilities).

Lincoln has progressed from using his "lion car" as a tool to help him walk from point A to point B, and is now using it as his way to meander through the house. He's learning to steer, and when he gets to a place where he decides to play, he just parks the car and takes a seat for a few minutes. After he's bored with the stop, he hops back on the car and moves on to the next thing. Every now and then, he'll shimmy his way to the front of the car and turn on the music, then shimmy back to the handle and walk around to the music.

Yesterday, after I got home, we set up his bike seat and took him on his first bike ride. I'll get pictures of him in his seat and wearing his helmet sometime soon. It's real cute. He tolerates the helmet pretty well, and when Jenn gets up to speed, he says, "Wheeee! Wheeee!"

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

Over a Year

Lincoln's over one year old now, and he's still showing us firsts on almost a daily basis. Yesterday he started copying faces that I made at him. A funny first. This morning was the first time that he cried when I left after dropping him off at Grandma Paulette's house. A non-so-funny first. Oh, well... he's growing up fast.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Birthday, pt. 3

Lincoln's Birthday has come and gone, and it was a very fun weekend. Jenn's menu was absolutely fantastic, the cake looked wonderful, everybody seemed to really enjoy themselves, family and friends were incredibly generous, and Lincoln had lots of fun playing with his new toys, looking at his Birthday cards & reading his new books. His mom and I are going to like the new clothes that he received, as well.

One of many hi-lites was Lincoln using his walk-behind toy for the first time. He was laughing out loud with every step, and he had all of us laughing with him. Another particularly fun moment was after he ate some of his Smash Cake, he looked at everyone looking at him, then he let out a loud sigh as if to say, "I'm full, and boy was that good!"

Jenn and I want to publicly thank our parents, our grandparents, and extended family that were a part of Lincoln's Birthday.

What I described as a busy stretch for us a while back is passing quickly. Next up on the radar is my trip out to Denver for Aaron & Randi's wedding. Jenn and I were just commenting today that it's hard to believe that we'll be on vacation in the Outer Banks in less than 1 month! Holy cow. That has always seemed a long way off. But then again, so did having a one-year-old.

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