Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Gates-Family Hike

More Saturday hiking!
This time Jenn got to join us for our early morning, Gretel-off-the-leash hike. The excitement came when Gretel stuck her head in a ground hive. She got stung a couple of times but other than some itchy swelling, she did okay for the rest of the walk. She's sleepy on Benadryl now.

Lincoln and I play a game with Gretel called, "Sit, Stay, Okay."
We have Gretel sit on the trail, we tell her to stay, and then we hike out between 25 and 50 yards. Then we turn around and yell, "Okay!" and watch her sprint to us. Lincoln is full of giggles as he watches her ears bounce.
In the photo above, she's waiting on the edge of the woods for her command.
This evening Lincoln is going over to Grandpa Doug & Grandma Paulette's house as Jenn and I go to the new Inn at Turner's Mill for our seventh anniversary. We're thinking Calamari and Walleye right now, but we'll see what the rest of the menu looks like. It'll be seven years on Monday. Wow!

On a tangent note to our anniversary, I'm as excited about our small group at church as I've been in the last 3 years. We've got a great group of folks who are really interested in growing closer together (see Murder in Margaritaland as an example of the fun we have together) and learning what it means to be Godly, Christian husbands, wives and parents. It's really cool. For the first time with this particular group, we'll be on the topic of "marriage." I've compiled a bunch of different sources and it's looking like the next couple of months for our small group are going to be really, really cool.

For our last event before we get into the swing of our Bible study gatherings, we're going to Blossom tomorrow to see The Greatest Generation - Music Of The '40's (Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Roegers & Hammerstein, etc.). We were planning to see the Disney show at Blossom last week, where they play scenes from Disney movies and have the Blossom Festival Band play the score along with the show, but it rained big-time last Friday evening... and we had lawn seats. So we shifted our plans. So I'll have a review of the '40's show in the next couple of days.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bedtime Routine

After a lengthy absence, it's video time on the Gates blog!!!

Lincoln and I have a bedtime routine. He even refers to it as... "My routine." First I say, "I think you need to tell Mommy a few things."

Lincoln then finds Jenn and says, "Goodbye. Night, night. Love you," and gives her a hug and a kiss. Then we go up stairs to his room. He goes potty, brushes his teeth, puts his nightime diaper on, puts his pajamas on, gets Bear from the top bunk, we read stories together, he climbs into bed, we sing songs, say our prayer, and then finish with a kiss and a hug. Sometimes we'll play a bit between the steps, but we always go in that order. What follows was a portion of our routine this evening.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


This is a show stopper.

Last night before dinner I asked Lincoln if he wanted to pray before we ate or if he wanted Mommy or Daddy to pray. He replied, "I'LL pray." We each then folded our hands and bowed our heads and this is what we heard from his little voice:
"Dear God,
Thank you for this day.
Thank you for this food.
Thank you for loving us, taking care of us, and forgiving our sins.
In Jesus name,

Good stuff, Mister Man, good stuff.

On a separate, less spiritually-touching note, I finally had to replace the battery in the John Deere 150 tractor yesterday. I'd been having to charge it every now and then for the last 24 months. Then on Sunday Lincoln and I were all ready to mow the lawn, and we sat on the tractor only to have it be completely unresponsive.

Late August, 2009
1 Year Ago!!!
Lincoln was not pleased. "Battery died," he said. "John Deere doesn't work," he told Jenn.

So yesterday I asked him if he wanted to help me change out the battery. He got excited and said, "Lift the cover up." He knows right were the battery goes! (As an aside, it's a little scary just how much he knows about where things are on cars, SUVs, lawn mowers, etc. I'm scared I'm going to come home in a few years with the other car disassembled in the garage.) So we replaced the battery, and it fired right up. There were two happy boys at the Gates home.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Catch-Up, Cuyahoga & Christmas

It's been interesting being away from blogging for a while. With work, home, church, etc. taking our time, I feel bad that we haven't kept current photos up. That, and trying to recap the past two weeks will be tough. The main thing is that there hasn't been a lot of new stuff lately.

Something that has interested me a great deal is the number of hits I'm getting on the Clinic's photostream. We post photos of cute dogs and cats, as well as intersting surgical and medical cases. It fascinates me that a Joe Blow veterinarian like me can take photos that are useful to people all over the world. I just saw one of my photos on some webpage that was translated into Spanish about demodectic mange. Holy cow!

Ledges Trail
Cuyahoga Valley National Park

For historical purposes: Lincoln is now taking about an hour to fall asleep at naptime and bed-time. He's becoming more defiant. He's confusing his, "I don't want..." with his, "I want..." Whenever there is something to do, he says, "I'LL do it!" Potty training has hit a snafoo as Lincoln's interest in independence has led to his not always wanting to ask for help with his pants. We've been able to counteract this a bit with increasing the reward for going without an accident as well as allowing him to stand up on the potty to go pee-pee (thanks for the idea, Kiels!).

Getting back to some fun news, a package arrived from Grandma Laura & Grandpa Dave with gifts from their Alaskan cruise. There were many thoughtful items inside (such as the John Deere knock-off with a moose instead of a deer... Lincoln loves it!) When Jenn told Lincoln who sent the package, he immediately responded, "That was nice of her." Crack. Up.

We've been on a number of hikes lately in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and those are always fun. Gretel's getting much better on her leash on the hikes.

Our schedule is getting pretty busy over the next couple of months. First, our anniversary is coming up in less than two weeks.
SEVEN YEARS! Can you believe it? I love Jenn as much as I ever have and it's crazy to think about all that we've experienced together during these years. What a friend and partner!

As September heats up, Community Group and Edge get rolling.
I lead a group of now-seventh graders, and Jenn and I lead our adult small group. They're time-consuming, but fun. Especially our adult group, which has really gelled over the past few months.

Buckeye Football is just around the corner and the Browns don't look like they'll completely stink this year, both of which I'm sure will take up some of my time on weekends. Our annual Chili Party that we throw with our friends, the Wingaders, is coming up soon. I'm not sure when Apple Picking will fit in. Jenn and I looked at the calendar recently and she said, "September is full, and that means October will be here before we know it." No kidding. And in the midst of all of the busy-ness, Lydia will arrive! The due date is October 12, but who knows when the day will actuall come. Hopefully Lincoln will not have an advisory role, or else Lydia will attempt for a November birthday!

And speaking of plans for the future, let's talk Christmas plans.
  • The Donati Christmas is set for Saturday, December 18.
  • Grandma Laura, Grandpa Dave and Auntie Haley are arriving in northeast Ohio from Scottsdale on December 18 and then leaving for Columbus on the 22nd. So we'll be doing Mullen Christmas at our place before Christmas.
  • Our goal is then to get down to Columbus just after Christmas to see the Parkinsons.
  • Yet to be determined is a date for extended Gates Christmas (hopefully on the 24th or 25th).
All of this planning is with the goal of having Lincoln wake up at our house on Christmas Day. So we'll see how this Christmas season goes as far as the planning and timing is concerned. I'm not sure Lydia will care one way or the other.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hike @ Ledges

In order to give Lincoln something to do and simultaneously wear Gretel out, the three of us went on a hike on the Ledges Trail at Virginia Kendall Park. Lincoln was awesome, and because we were there so early, Gretel got to spend a good part of the walk off leash. She's getting to be a pretty good dog on walks for me.

I spent yesterday at a TTA course at Ohio State. That was a blast from the past: sitting in a lecture room for 6 hours and then cutting on a dead dog for another 2 hours. What's a TTA, you ask? It stands for Tibial Tuberosity Advancement, and it's a relatively new procedure for the correction of stifle instability due to injury to the cranial cruciate ligament (laymens: ACL rupture). I'd heard of the procedure, but I'd never seen it performed. After observing the lectures, seeing the videos, and peforming the procedure myself, I'm a believer. And the neat thing about TTAs is that dogs walk on their operated legs within days (if not hours). That's a major improvement over previous procedures!

The excitement today is that Chris and Val are coming over for dinner this evening. Dinner with the Mahovlics is always a fun time.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Two fun things that we've done recently:

First, we hung a bird feeder on our deck. Let's just say, if you hang it, they will come.

Secondly, Lincoln, Gretel and I went for a walk down to the beaver dam. It was a Herculean feat just to get to the boardwalk, but we had a great time and saw some cool things: a blue herron very close to the path, an ant hill, some fish, a lock... there was just so much to distract a two-year-old!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Murder in Margaritaland

Last night was our highly anticipated Murder in Margaritaland! We'd never been part of a murdery mystery party before, but Jenn and Mary chose a theme, made a menu and put together a very fun evening for our Community Group.

Jenn was "Coconut Jane" and I was "Coconut Joe." We owned the resort of Margaritaland. The rest of our friends were various characters visiting the resort from the local tatoo artist to a lottery winner to the casanova bartender to the pool boy to the famous state-side actress looking to get away. It was funny to see how some of the folks were perfect matches for their characters. We had a blast. Neither Jenn nor I even came close to finding the murderer. The food was fantastic! And we were able to polish off the evening with hanging out with friends and talking life and kids.
Our hosts for the evening, Mary & Sgt. Lord.

Jack Daniels &
Izzie Islander
Bindy Barkeep &
Sandy Beachbum
Lifesavin' Sam &
Kylie Cocktail
Thurston Howard III
& Candy Cotton
Starr Bright &
Lucky Numbers
Tatum Tatt &
Cabana Bob