Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Season, pt. 1

Thanksgiving was a great time with family. Lincoln thoroughly enjoyed his time with cousins Grace and Cole.

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, we are in full Christmas mode: music, decorations, stories, lights. Lincoln is getting really excited. I told him today that only good boys get presents for Christmas and then I asked him if he's a good boy or a bad boy. He replied, "I'm a good boy. But sometimes I'm bad." He's also learning the Christmas story. With all of his other books he has them memorized and I'm guessing it will only be a couple more days until he has the whole thing in his little mind.

He's been helping to decorate our Christmas tree. Speaking of our Christmas tree, we went to Herritage Farm in Peninsula to cut down our own tree on Saturday. It was freezing, but Lincoln was a trooper and Lydia slept the whole time in the Baby Bjorn. Lincoln took the tape measure to measure the trees. He had gotten out of the tape measuring routine for a while, but he's been back in the groove of measuring lots of things lately. Whenever we ask him how big something is, he says, "Five and a half inches." Seriously, everything is 5.5 inches, including our tree.
This is the first time since Jenn and I have been married that we've been able to use all of our ornaments. We had two pretty good sized trees in Columbus and Brecksville, but they were still too small to use the ornaments each of us have collected over the years. They all fit on this one!

Lydia has actually started to show some degree of consistency with her overnight sleeping patterns. We'll see how long it lasts, but right now when Jenn feeds her at 8:45 and then puts her to bed, she doesn't get us up until 3:30ish. That's a big step. She's also starting to smile more, but not with any predictability.
Lincoln has seen the 24 day Advent Calendar that Grandma Laura gave him a while back. It's all he can do to keep his hands off of it now. We want to keep an element of surprise and anticipation about it, but he's making it hard!

One of the biggest areas of excitement now is the concept of Christmas lights. Lincoln get's totally pumped up when he sees houses decorated, so this evening we took a short walk down our street before bed-time to see what things look like after dark.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving with the Gates, Gates, Hopwoods & Watsons. The blessings were abundant and evident.

Pre-Thanksgiving Get-Together

The Hopwoods arrived and Auntie Em has been enjoying her time with Lydia and Lincoln has been loving his time with Grace and Cole. As a parent, it's really neat and special to see how he plays with his cousins. They're all so good together, the way they play and interact. I'm equally proud of Lincoln for tagging along and communicating with them and of Grace and Cole for doing such a good job of including him and helping him along... they even taught him to play Ping Pong!

I'm pretty sure Lydia's hair is here to stay!

I'm blogging here at home as I give the dogs a break from their cages. I took a bunch of photos of our dinner and of the family, so those'll go up soon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

IFC Thanksgiving Dinner

Lot's has been going on with us lately. Jenn and I have been running on fumes as Lydia has yet to consistently move beyond waking up every 3 hours on the hour. She's super cute, though, so we're okay with it.

Lincoln has entered a new phase of his verbal skills. He's coming up with some funny stuff, a la Kids Say The Darndest Things. Spend more than 15 minutes with him and you'll see what I mean. For instance, he picked up a Reese's and asked, "What is this?" I answered, "A Reese's Cup." He replied, "It's a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. That's what you meant to say."
Sunday evening we all went to the Internation Friendship Connections Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner at HCC. There were over 700 people there, and most of the internationals had never been a part of a Thanksgiving Dinner... they didn't even know what Thanksgiving is. Yunfei was there and it was nice to catch up with her. We haven't seen her since the HotAir Balloon Festival. She's quite busy doing her graduate work and working. Lincoln took a while to warm up, but once he was comfortable with his surroundings, he become the center of attention of the four tables surrounding his chair. He was a total ham after dinner. Maybe is was the combination of 1/2 a Pumpkin Pie and 2/3 of an Apple Pie!

Lincoln is more than excited to set up his Christmas Tree. While looking for something in the basement, Jenn and Lincoln found our small, artifical tree. Jenn told him we could set it up in his room. They then went to Hobby Lobby and picked out some train ornaments and blue and white jingle bells (Lincoln really wanted blue jingle bells!). After Thanksgiving, we're going to get the house ready for Christmas. (Not a minute before, like some crazies I know! [You know who you are!])

We are greatly anticipating our time with Auntie Em, Uncle Jeremy, Grace & Cole. They're driving up this evening our Thanksgiving dinner is planned for Thursday. This will be the first time the've seen Lydia! (Recall Lincoln's first Thanksgiving.)

I'll post our Thanksgiving photos as we get them. Enjoy your time with your family this Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Growing Fast

Today was Lydia's 4 week visit to Dr. Maggie (that's what Lincoln calls her). She's growing like a weed! She's also probably got reflux. It doesn't bother her much now, but she's spitting up with the frequency and volume that Dr. Prevette thinks she may start being bothered by it between 6 and 8 weeks of age. So we'll see. It was a good visit overall.

Some record-keeping items. Lydia is pretty much eating every three hours around the clock. This has been very tiring for Jenn as she never gets much more than 2 continuous hours of sleep through the night. Lydia had slept for between 5 and 6 hours at a time over night a week or so ago, but that time has passed. She wants to be held and/or moving all of the time. Sitting her down when she's awake may be a peaceful thing for 10 minutes max. She's also very good at going back and forth from drowsy to amazingly alert within a short period of time. It's really funny to watch. Especially when I'm holding her and talking with Jenn, I'll look down at her to see her looking up at me in earnest concentration. She's a big-time cutie.

I forgot to mention in my last post that Walmart was playing Christmas music last week. Ugh. Can we just enjoy Thanksgiving first? I'm not a humbug at all, but my goodness! Let's not get sick and tired of Christmas music and decorations before December 1! Several years ago I asked rhetorically, "What's next? Christmas music and decorations before Halloween? Well, lo and behold... So I'm deliberatly avoiding Christmas stuff until the long Thanksgiving weekend because I want all of us to enjoy the season. We'll also be paying attention to Advent this year as we anticipate Christmas. Lincoln will surely be excited about it this year.

Lincoln was particularly funny at dinner time tonight. He was as slap-happy as I've seen him in a long time. Here's some still's of the laughs:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bird Feeder & Chili Party

Last Wednesday Lincoln and I went shopping for our Operation Christmas Child. I explained to him that we were shopping for Christmas presents for a little boy his age. Once he got into it, he said as we were walking up and down the isles through the shelves, "He would like that dump truck. He would like that drill. He would like that Thomas. He would like..." And every time I said, "We have to fit all of this in a shoebox."

Yesterday was a fun day. In the morning we took the huge pinecone that Jenn and Lincoln found on a walk the other day and coated it with peanut butter and bird seed for the birds in the yard. Lincoln had fun making a mess with the supplies!

Last night was our annual Gates-Wingader Chili Party.
There were eight different chilis and it was again a fun mix of people. Our circle of friends doesn't overlap the Wingader's circle too much, so this party has historically been a fun time to meet new folks and catch up with others, and last night didn't disappoint. The criteria for voting on the best chili is that one has to sample all eight. Not that that was a problem, it was fun being a food critic and it was funny to see a number of people actually making notes (me included!). The icing on the cake was Jenn's chili taking home the trophy!
Another nice thing last evening was that Lincoln AND Lydia stayed at Grandpa Doug & Grandma Paulette's and Lydia had her first bottle. That went very well, she didn't miss a beat.
A mild case of the Sick Bug is going through the Gates Home. Lincoln has had a major runny nose. Lydia has had some mild congestion and Jenn and I are on the edge, not feeling sick, but definitely feeling on the edge. That may just be the lack of sleep.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is this not the cutest 3-week-old little girl you've ever seen?


Things are just busy. Nothing terribly urgent, but Jenn and I just have lots of little things going on. I feel bad that I haven't been current with photos lately, but finding the time to upload photos when Lincoln and Lydia are doing their things when they're awake, and Jenn and I are keeping up with things when they're asleep is pretty tough.

Work has picked up again following a slow period. Our experience fits with the stories our clients have told us about their own businesses (mechanics, florists, insurance, etc.): uncertainty is ruling the day. Nobody knows what's going to happen in the coming months where taxes are concerned, where hiring is concerned, and where business expansion is concerned. We have areas where we'd like to expand, but if our capital to expand is taken by the expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts, that's not good for anyone. So all in all, we're thankful that business has been somewhat steady right now.

As for the national news since I last posted, Jenn and I were glad to see the increased number of capitalists in the House, the Senate, the Governors' mansions, and the state legislatures. (Did you see that there was a net gain of 680 state legislative seats? Wow.) I say all of this at the risk of insinuating to one or two of our readers (you know who you are... wink, wink) that our faith is in the Republican Party. It is not. As long as we have the opportunity to have a small say in whether or not we live under a government that will mind its own business or stick its nose in ours, we'll opt for the former.

Moving on, Jenn and I have been very humbled and thankful for the amount of friends from our ABF that have committed to bring us meals over the past week and next several weeks. Especially for Jenn, it's such a huge help to not have to prepare dinner. One family brought us an authentic Korean meal on Monday (they're from South Korea!) and it was fantastic! And last night our ABF leaders brought us a great Italian meal with a Cherry Pie. Guess who said after dessert, "I need more of that!"

One of the neat phases Lincoln is in right now is that he's enjoying when we sign songs before bed time. There are about 5 songs in the rotation. The one that he knows forward and backward and sings along with me is "Zacchaeus Was A Wee Little Man." He does a great job!

He's also enjoying the International Children's Story Bible. This is the Bible that includes my illustration of the Nativity Scene that I drew when I was 11 or so. He's so into reading these stories that last night when he was being disobedient, I said, "Because you are disobeying Daddy, we are only going to read one story tonight."

He replied, "Two stories."

I said sternly, "One story."

Then he leaned his head a bit and said, "One story and three Bible stories."

Thankfully Jenn and I had decided a while ago that reading from the Story Bible was considered one story no matter how many individual stories we read from it. I can't deny him Bible stories, can I?