Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Lydia photos have been a bit scant recently. First of all, finding the time to get the camera out has been a challenge, and then finding the time to load and work on the photos has been a bigger challenge. But here are some from the other evening (NRA bib) and some from just this afternoon.

We thought we were onto a new feeding/sleeping phase, but we're learning that it was only a temporary thing. She slept for between 11 and 12 hours for a few nights this past week, but toward the end of the week, she was getting up in the 5 o'clock hour, and that's just not compatible with Jenn's sleeping/work schedule. So we're tweaking things a bit.

Lincoln has been into his John Deere DVDs big time. He doesn't want to watch any other shows, which is fine with us. He's never been terribly interested in television. So when we have other DVDs on, such as Toy Story or Chicken Run, he says after just a few minutes, "Can I have the John Deere DVD, please. I like them because they have John Deeres in them." It's really cute. He has parts 1 through 4. If you're looking for a gift idea for his upcoming birthday, there's a new DVD of part 5 that comes with all of the songs on one CD.

The other day Lincoln asked me, "How does Mommy get the milk in there?"

Lydia continues to be a spitter-upper, and she continues to poop-bomb her clothes.

Lincoln has been quite antagonistic toward Gretel recently. He moves the heater when she's laying in front of it. He also doesn't want her within feet of his personal space. "I need some space, Gretel!" he says. "Get out of my space!" He doesn't hold Betty to these standards, though. I told him this morning that if he continued to be mean to Gretel then I would take the heater away from him. So he turned the heater toward Gretel in one of the most selfless moves I've seen him make toward her... ever. That's not to say he's not into sharing. It's not unusual for him to offer me a bite of his dessert, and you ought to see how into dessert he is! The good news is that Gretel has really been good with him. She looks quizzically at him and just keeps on doing her thing. She still has many puppy moments, but she's turning into a good family dog.

My new snow-thrower has been getting a workout recently, and I love it. It was a great purchase that has literally bought me more time in the house this winter.

Our local Sears Hardware is going out of business, so for the past couple of weekend Lincoln and I have gone over there to see how deep the sales are. They've been at 10-30% off, but I heard from one of the workers that they'll be dipping to 70% before it's all said and done. So we'll see if I can be there when the fridge we want drops. Hmmmm...

Anyway, that's all for now.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Things have been quite busy at the Gates Home. On Jenn's agenda has been her expanding role with BeautiControl. Things are gaining steam, and you know how Jenn doesn't do anything other than first-class and 100%. As for me, ABF has me busy. We had a leaders' meeting last Saturday evening, and things couldn't have gone better. I really enjoy working with the folks who have volunteered along with us. We're trying to get a series of guest-speakers lined up for March, and it's my job to contact them and coordinate the schedule. Also, I've been developing the upcoming Life Answers ABF Men's Retreat, and that has consumed my mind as I develop content then edit and adjust it. God has been answering my prayers for guidance in this area in very big ways, and that's exciting, but it still takes up a lot of time.
On Wednesday, Lincoln and I went with Grandpa Doug to the Cleveland Boat Show up at the IX Center. There were some nice boats, and Lincoln had a great time.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Last Friday was Dad's birthday and the Hopwoods joined us in a collaborative gift. I found an old trunk on Craig's List (a little creepy Craig's list is, if you ask me) and fixed it up and we "filled" it with blankets and games and a puzzle and fishing magazines and a Wild West documetary DVD series to go down to the Leesville Lake cabin. I say "filled" because those trunks are so big that even when you put what you think is a lot of stuff into them, they still look about 75% empty. But the trunk totally looks like it belongs at the cabin, and the wallpaper I found to line the inside (that's right, I wallpapered!) looks like it was meant to line trunks. We were really excited about the whole package because we know we'll all be able to use it at Leesville, and while that may sound selfish, we know that Dad enjoys sharing Leesville Lake, and the trunk will always be something that the whole family had a hand in.
We found a chair for Lydia because we discovered that she'll sit for long stretches of time in Lincoln's chair and watch him play. She's not crazy about sitting on a lap for a long period of time, but she loves the small, cushy chairs!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Big Snow

We have been blasted with snow this mid-week. Good day to go get a snow blower! And because Lincoln received a snow shovel for Christmas, we can put him to work!
Gretel and I braved the white-out, blizzard snow and the treacherous road conditions and drove past three closed areas of the national park to find an area that was open.
The plow had been at this particular location an hour earlier according the the policeman I spoke with and there was already another 4+ inches in the parking lot. The snow in the meadow was mid-calf on me and quite deep for Gretel.
At the front end of this week we finally put Lydia on a flexible routine and moved up her bedtime. She had been waking up angry and hungry between 4:30 and 5:30am and that just wasn't compatible with Jenn's sleeping schedule. We're three days into the change and things seem to be going quite well!
I was able to track down my camera and catch this photo of the dogs before they moved. I can't explain why they're sitting like this, but it made me and Jenn laugh.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


We finally got Bear to pose for a photograph. He's proven to be an important part of the Gates Family.
I've been playing around with close-ups. The place I really want to do this is in the National Park nearby, but until the weather gets nicer, Lincoln's toys and books will have to do. The books on the left are the old Disney books from the Mullen side of the family. There just aren't books like these on the market today, for a variety of reasons. But Jenn and I enjoy them as much, if not more so, than Lincoln.
Lydia looked really cute in the outfit from Auntie Em.
And finally, I've found that it's quite tough to get a good photograph of Lydia smiling because whenever she's happy she doesn't hold still. So this is about as close as I can get right now.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

If you're looking for a New Year's post that's deep and thought-provoking, you won't find it here. Not a lot is going on with us today and that's great. We had a fun New Year's Eve gathering with some of our Community Group friends. Lots of good food and fun game time and a ton of laughs.

I'm gearing up for the good bowl games today, rooting for Michigan State, Wisconsin, Penn State, and yes, even Michigan. (I'll probably end up rooting for Mississippin State by the end of that game.)

This morning Lincoln and I played with his cars and with my new 50mm Macro lens at the same time! He's starting to learn what taking photos is all about, and it's funny how he looks in the view-finder and moves the tripod around. Here's a sampling of what we came up with this morning:

Be mindful of Jenn this week as she heads back to work. The folks at Village will be glad to have her back. It'll be an adjustment for all of us, though, as we get used to a new routine. Be mindful also of Grandma Paulette as she takes on the Gates Kids on Mondays and Tuesdays. Enjoy your New Year's Day!