Sunday, June 27, 2010

John Deere!

After church and Bob Evans we decided to take a short outing to Szlay's Farmer's Market. The perk there is that they have lots of big John Deere tractors, and we all know how Lincoln feels about John Deere tractors!
In addition to what's pictured above, the big excitements of the day so far are
  • Lincoln used Bob's potty (the big boy potty at Bob Evans)
  • Lincoln's receiving plum and watermelon samples at the farmer's market
And the day's only half over....

Movie Night

Our Community Group got together last night for Movie Night. It was "Drive-In" style without the double-feature. We're a single-feature crowd, and The Italian Job was a great flick for the occasion. We put the image up on a sheet, and Michael alerted the neighbors about the volume... everyone provided awesome snacks, and we had a great time hanging out and catching up.

Even Grace was up for a late show... or part of one.

And this is just playing around with both the shutter speed and the aperture... it would have helped to have my tripod.

On another front, if you've known Jenn and me for very long, you know that we like to plan vacations... almost as much as taking a vacation. Well, because of our baby situation, there's nothing on the near horizon, so we've been planning for late 2011, 2012 or 2013.
To our readers without kids:
So we're mulling some ideas that will be kid-compatible... you can probably guess what this entails...

Anyway, here's a Lincoln photo to tide you over. He's loving the big boy underpants!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dry Diaper

I'm sorry I don't have photos today. This is just a historian's entry.

Lincoln has been doing great with potty training. With only slight accidents here and there, he really wants to get this right. He's enjoying his big boy underpants and receiving his "special treat" every time he uses the potty.
This morning he woke up with a dry diaper, and as soon as I took it off of him, he ran to the potty and filled it up. Awesome.

The other funny thing from this morning is that he's very proud of the three words he's learned today:
  • dismantle (as in "I dismantled my Duplo tower)
  • cylinder (as in "stack the cylinders, not the cubes")
  • strudel (as in "pass the walnut strudel")

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kiddie Pool

The watersports continued today. It was hot and humid in the sun, and the water from the tap was freezing!

Faces of Lincoln, pt. 2

You'll recall an old blog post, "The Faces of Lincoln." Here's an update:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lincoln, Potty Training & World Cup

We've been working on preparing Lydia's room. Jenn ordered a nice, comfortable chair that goes with her new bedding, and she found some great stickers to apply to the wall that give the room a very neat, very cute feeling.

Potty training is actually going very, very well. Beginning on Wednesday he has been going pants-less in the house,
and he's been doing a very good job of running to the potty now when he needs to go. He hasn't had a Number 2 accident on the floor, and he's only having a couple of Number 1 accidents, and mostly because it catches him by surprise at times. And when this does occur, he stops himself very quickly and runs to the potty. He's loving the M&Ms!

Today Jenn put him in his big-boy underpants, and that worked well for a while. He had a small accident in them, but what can we expect from the first day in big-boy underpants?! We're very proud of his progress.

Lincoln's also loving the warmer weather and the fact that I'm watering some areas of the lawn. He's made a game of chasing the hose around, and that prompted me to hook up his water toy:
Gretel's training is clicking along very well. I think she's officially house trained, which means that she did this faster than Bridget. She's got a long way to go to get to Bridget's standard overall, but she's on her way.

On a completely separate note, Jenn was making some oven fries this evening for dinner (which were fantastic, BTW) and was commenting that the recipe called for them to be in the oven for a total of 15 minutes, which was far shorter than the amount of time that they actually needed to be in the oven. She then went on to say that "just once, I'd like for a recipe to have an accurate time." Have you had this problem? It seems fairly common, though I can't figure out why cooks and publishers continue to print clearly inaccurate information.

I couldn't let this post finish without commenting on the horrendous officiating during the World Cup matches today. The referee of the Germany/Serbia match lacked common sense to the fullest extent. And the referee of the U.S./Slovenia match should be relieved of all officiating duties for the rest of his life. He ought to be required to make a public statement detailing his call while standing in front of a high-def monitor to point out he foul that he saw but that the rest of the world did not see. Sports fans have long used the phrase, "We were robbed!" But today the United States soccer team was literally robbed of a goal. They should not have put themselves in the position to need that third goal, but neither should a referee make such an egregious error on the world's biggest stage. The man is simply unfit to perform in international soccer competition.
The other topic about the World Cup that amuses me is the term "Democratic People's Republic of North Korea." There is nothing Democratic nor Republican within the borders of North Korea. Their crack-pot dictator has repeatedly shown that he is not capable of particpating in modern society, and this is just in the sports arena... I haven't even mentioned his attack on a South Korean ship or the starving of his own people or the execution by firing squad of a man whose crime was making international phone calls. Finally, according to Voice of the Martyrs, "North Korea is the worst perpetrator of persecution against Christians in the world." Knowing what goes on in North Korea at first makes me angry, and then I'm prompted to pray for those who are being persecuted, and for those doing the persecution.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Family Photos

The Hopwoods were in town last week, and we took some time to take some family photos:

For some more photos and a video of Lincoln with the Hopwoods, visit Auntie Em's blog.

Potty training started today at the Gates Home. Lincoln is running around with only a shirt on and it's pretty funny. He's told us a number of times that he has to go, which is pretty good for Day One, I think. He gets an M&M every time he goes in the potty.

I'm in the planning process for our ABF's First Annual Men's Retreat.
I've lined up a couple of guys to do the teaching, I'm planning some great meals, and I think it'll be a really neat weekend for the guys. We're having it at Dad's new place down on Leesville Lake. It's a great size for the group we'll have, it's comfortable, it's in the middle of nowhere, and the only fee is that we have to restock the toilet paper... so it's perfect! I'm a rookie men's retreat planner, but I've found some good resources, and I'm praying a ton! I'll let you know how it unfolds. (BTW, if that photo looks familiar, see here.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lincoln and the Hopwoods go to the Zoo!

This has been a big week for Lincoln as the Hopwoods have been visiting. That means he has been able to spend Monday and Tuesday playing with his cousins, Grace and Cole. It's so neat to see him reach the age where he can interact with them. Playing has become a two-way street!
Yesterday they went to the Akron Zoo. Today they went to Crystal Lake, and we'll be going to the Akron Aeros game this evening... photos of today to come...

This is the coolest photo I've seen out of Auntie Em!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Edge Small Group Sleepover

Last night and this morning was the much anticipated "Mr. Gates' Small Group Sleepover." Six of my middle-schoolers from Edge came over at 6:30pm yesterday evening and went home at 11:00am this morning. I think it was a pretty neat time together. The intention was to use this event to mark the passage from the Six Grade year (immature by Edge standards, just learning what small group life is all about, etc.) to the period of time where they will be held to a higher standard with regard to their life and roles in Edge and our Small Group.

The underlying theme over the next two years for my guys will come from Robert Lewis' wonderful book Raising a Modern Day Knight. (If you're a dad of a son and you haven't read this book, you must. It's as simple as that.) In it, he defines what makes a man, describes a man's three responsibilities, and four principles that make up a real man. My plan is to draw on the themes of the book and weave it through the lessons of the coming months and years so that my guys leave Edge
(Middle School Minsitry) and arive at Tha Porch (High School Ministry) with a better understanding of how they should behave as men-in-training.

Also drawing on the themes of the book, I've used the idea of knighthood, and the code of conduct that comes with it, to design a crest that will keep us focused as we move forward as a Small Group. The sword represents the Sword of the Spirit while the four quadrants of the shield will remind us that we are to
  • pursue Jesus (Cross)
  • prioritize our home family and our church family (HCC logo)
  • learn our three responsibilities as men (W3):
    1. a Will to obey (God's will)
    2. a Work to do (the general work God has for us and the specific talents He's give us)
    3. a Woman to love (these guys can prepare to honor their wives now by learning to respect ladies)
  • practice the four principles of manhood (IV):
    1. real men reject passivity
    2. real men accept responsibility
    3. real men lead courageously
    4. real men expect the greater reward

A buddy from my adult small group, Patrick, joined me for dinner with the guys (burgers, dogs, brats, pineapple, corn w/bacon on the grill with fruit salad and watermelon) and outlined how a boy became a knight, working through the stages of Page & Squire, learning chivlary, etc. I wanted to show the guys that there are other men besides their dads, Todd (Edge leader) and me that they can look up to.

After dinner we had our ceremony (read RMDK and you'll see the importance of ceremony) where I gave each of the guys a bookmark with a special message about where we've been and where we're going, a copy of the crest, and details of what the crest means. They received the whole event very well. They seemed to be getting bored a bit with the knight stuff, but when they saw that our Small Group now had our own crest and that the bookmarks were personalized with their names, they got really excited.

We then played Ghosts in the Graveyard until 11:30pm, and then started Lord Of The Rings sometime after midnight. I'm not sure how much sleep I got, but I know everything was quite by 4:30am. After a big breakfast and some video games, the event concluded.
It was neat for Lincoln to observe a bunch of guys over a long period of time. He kept calling them "Daddy's Edge Boys" and he even started getting their names correctly by the time they left.
Also, right after the dishes were done, Lincoln and I went to see Auntie Em, Uncle Jeremy, Grace & Cole before they left for the Leesville Cabin for the weekend. Without exaggeration, I haven't seen Lincoln enjoying himself so much as he was when he was playing with Grace and Cole since he pushed his Lion Cart across the floor at his first birthday. He's going to love spending this coming Monday and Tuesday!

And here's a new Lincoln photo for this post: