Friday, January 29, 2010


Lincoln's songs have been part of our lives for some time now. "This Old Man," "I've Been Working On the Railroad," "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt," etc. Two of his favorites lately have been "Meet Me In St. Louis" and "Carrot Stew." Go figure. There's a line in the chorus of "Carrot Stew" that says, "We'll get a pot and a carrot or twooooooo, and cook up a carrot stew." When it gets to the part of "carrot or twoooooo" the song crescendos, and when we were driving home from Mengyu's apartment, Lincoln actually sang the line. Jenn and I looked at each other and howled with laughter. Later than night he sang a few notes from "Meet Me In St. Louis." It's not something he' do on command so I can't record it, but oh my goodness, it's hilarious.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Edge Games, Potty & Prayer

Things continue to chug along at the Gates Home.
I've been busy with work, both with the veterinary side and with taking on a few more small roles on the business side. The latest is developing material for a website for the clinic.

Lincoln is growing up, one day at a time. On Thursday, Jenn took Lincoln to get a new potty. He loves it! He doesn't use it for it's intended function yet, but he loves to sit on it, sans diaper, for long periods of time. When he was showing it to me on Thursday evening after work, he sat there for a moment, and then looked up at me and said, "Close." So I nodded, not knowing exactly what he meant. Then he stood up, walked over to the door and shut the door in my face. Hmm. So I promptly grabbed his How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? board book, opened the door, handed it to him, and then shut the door behind me. He stayed in there for another five minutes or so. Then I went back in the bathroom to find him playing with some of his bathroom things in the drawers, still sans diaper. I picked him up to take him to his changing table to get him ready for bed, and as soon as he realized I was taking him out of the bathroom he started crying and saying, "Poop. Poop. Poop." I said, "There's no poop in the potty, and you were playing anyway." He settled down after a minute or so. In the 36 hours since then, the potty novelty has yet to wear off. We're not going to tackle actual potty training for a while, but we want him to like the potty, and that seems to have been accomplished.

The Edge Games started last night. You may recall my posts about taking photos at last year's Edge Games (post 1, post 2). This year, as an Edge Small Group leader, I'm a team coach. My small group is part of Fiji. I should explain that there are eight teams: Cambodia, Togo, Uruguay, Fiji, Aruba, Bahamas, Djibouti and Iceland.
These eight teams are made up of a couple of small groups and all the friends they can invite. There were around 500 kids there for the first night of the Edge Games, and there were two sets of games, relays (involving a dizzy-bat race and Spam) and a fun game in the gym where each team was assigned a corner, and then had to make it across the gym to the opposite corner either crab-walking, crawling, rolling... whatever the game leader decided to call out. It was utter chaos in the middle of the gym when the teams collided! Then there was a "capture the bacon" style game where the kids run to the center and send yoga-balls and inner-tubes back to their corners. The game always ends with about 15 middle schoolers attached to an inner-tube trying to get it back to one of their corners. Again, it was chaos.

Jenn took Lincoln to Toddler Open Gym last night. When I arrived home from Edge Games and asked her how Lincoln enjoyed it, she said, "Well, all the other kids had fun!" Apparently he was a bit "clingy" for the first 40 minutes.

Another of the neat things that Lincoln has been into recently is praying before our meals. We've always prayed before bed time and he's learned to fold his hands and bow his head. Sometimes he even says, "Amen," at the end. But lately he's been very interested in praying at lunch and dinner time... even mid-meal. Yesterday, he and I prayed five times before I finished my ramen... and he wasn't even eating. He had been play with his tool box, then he walked over to the table and said, "Pray." So I thanked God for Lincoln, my meal, the blessings God gives us and the forgiveness that is ours. Lincoln stood beside my chair with his head bowed and hands folded. When I was done, he went back to his tool box. He came back four more times.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Shower & Sled

Jenn and I were both off of work today, and it's been a big day for the three of us. Lincoln now does very well in the shower with me, and he even enjoys making the shower look ship-shape when we're all done.
Jenn and I have been giving some thought to taking Lincoln sledding. We thought he might enjoy playing in the snow. Well, not so much. He was okay with watching me throw snow balls. But as soon as he got snow on his shoes, the interest was lost. He let us tow him around a bit, and he and I went down the hill once (one of the hills back around Virginia Kendall Park), but with the snow flying up in our faces, and with his having snowy eyebrows by the time I stopped the sled half-way down the hill, he checked out in a big way. There's always next year.
On another note, we've been enjoying our Christmas gifts in a big way. Jenn and I played Wii Sports Resort last night and had a good time. Lincoln's been playing with all of his new toys, too. And a big "THANK YOU!" to everyone who gave Lincoln clothes. He's wearing them all (he tends to get messy at times and wearing two outfits in a day happens at the Gates Home).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Aperture Learning Curve - Early

Jenn's Christmas present to me was Aperture 2, Apple's RAW photo editing software. I LOVE IT!!! I'm cleary not an expert at this stage on the learning curve, but I'm already fascinated at what this program can do. Again, I want to say at the outset that I am a very amateur photographer. I'm not a professional, nor have I taken any photography courses. I do not claim expert status. There, I feel better!

The first photo was taken at dusk on Grand Turk. Ever since I started playing around with a long shutter speed in the dark in Salt Lake City, I've looked for cool opportunities to practice. I set the shutter speed to 1/4 second, set the aperture to 2.8, and set my ISO to 100. This is what I got:
Pretty cool, if I do say so myself, for an amateur. I was attempting to get the ship to light up on the "film" more so than it did to our own eyes, and that came out alright. Of course the sky was also lightened in the process, but that was alright with me.

So then, taking Jenn's gift, I monkeyed around with one of the pics in this series (I'm only showing you one of several here to save you the boredom) a bit and came up with this:
Richer colors. Less bleaching. Manipulating shadows. It's been a blast to play with the color, light and exposure of my photos. My more experienced photo-friends (you know who you are) may be rolling their eyes about now, but for this novice, dipping my toe in the photo editing software pool has been a lot of fun.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Rose Bowl Winners!

GO BUCKEYES! There was much relief in northeast Ohio, as well as the whole state. Even when they were winning, Tressel-ball was making me nervous.

Jenn, Lincoln and I enjoyed our New Year's Day pork and sauerkraut with Grandpa Doug, Grandma Paulette and Aunt MarySue.

We had a fun trip down to Columbus to see the Parkinsons on Saturday. Lincoln warmed up right away and we had a fun time catching up.

And I'll say it again: JOSH CRIBBS FOR NFL MVP!!!