Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Atlas Shrugged Movie Trailer and Previews

While the sources of the two books couldn't be more different, the release of Atlas Shrugged, pt. 1 is my most anticipated movie release since Passion of the Christ. Here's the trailer, a scene sample and a behind the scenes feature. The movie is due on April 15. (Interesting choice of days, huh?)
Can't. Wait.

Fun Video

More fun at the Gates Home!

Anatomy of a Cry:

The Lip

The Wail

The Recharge
What did she want? To be held by Daddy.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


I tried to get a photo of Lydia before I had to wake her up from her nap for her 4:45 feeding, but she woke up as I was (manually) focusing the lens. There are two funny things about these photos: First, the "I just woke up" look is the first of probably thousands of times I'll see this face. And secondly, she worked her second hand out of the swaddler and still took a good nap! She's made light-years of progress in the last two weeks!

Edge Games VII Finale

Last night was the conclusion of the Edge Games VII. My team put up a valiant effort, with Zac totally rocking the photo challenge and single-handedly earning what ammounted to be about 1/6 of our final point total. Megan finished third in the talent show and the art show, too. We finished in third place, and I'm pretty impressed with our group of 7th graders. Last year as 6th graders they won the whole thing, and now having won trophies in two consecutive years when there's 8 teams and 800+ participants... they did a great job. And the real winners are the new kids who came to Edge for the first time to see what it was all about.

I watched the talent show from the Audio-Visual Command & Control Bunker (my job was to "gong" the acts if they floundered or reached 2 minutes.
Brandon's Band was awesome and he had a kick-butt guitar solo!

"In 3rd Place... TOGO!!!

Cambodia & Djibouti... Extreme anticipation!

"And the winner is... Cambodia!!!"
It's really funny to see how the Edge Games finishes. It's the same year after year. There are jiggawatts of electricity buzzing through the middle schoolers all evening with lots of cheering, lots of competition, and lots of decibles. Then Todd narrows it down to the final two teams, and the buzz reaches near heart attack levels. Then he announces the winner, there's a big celebration, and within 6 or 7 minutes, the place is cleared out and everything has gone back to normal. It's really pretty funny to see how little celebration there is after 10 minutes has passed. Anyway, another fun annual tradition has come to a close for 2011.

Lydia is showing more and more personality. She's getting quite chatty and the funny part is that we can see her be impressed with her own chattiness.
And Lincoln is just being silly.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The latest...

Things are clicking along at the Gates Home. Over the last week Lydia has been napping and sleeping at night with one arm out of the swaddler. This is a giant step because just two weeks ago she wasn't ready for that at all. She's way more "mouth focused" than Lincoln was at this age (or he ever was!). It's a total crack up to see her go so frustrated when she can't shove every last square inch of a toy or bib or burp cloth into her mouth. She grunts and groans until we take the thing away from her and she goes back to being happy as a clown.

Lydia is also a big fan of the Baby Bjorn. She can ride in it for well over an hour and be thoroughly content.

Lincoln has been cracking us up with his sayings lately. He's latched onto the phrase, "I wasn't born yesterday," when we joke with him. He needed something to fall back on because he wasn't understanding that sometimes we tease... he was taking everything literally. Now he whips out the "born yesterday" line with relative ease and he's pretty good at knowing when is the funniest time to say it. He's definitely in the "Why?" phase. "Why?" follows every single thing we say.

I'm in the planning phase of our ABF's next Men's Retreat. If it's anything like our last retreat, it's going to be awesome. In addition to some speakers who are speaking on topics that they know well, I ordered a water balloon sling-shot. Could it get any better?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

First Exersaucer Day

Today was a fun day. Lydia had her first go-round in the Exersaucer:
Recall Lincoln's first time in the Exersaucer...

Lincoln and I tagged along with Grandpa Doug down to the Leesville Lake Cabin to work on installing the back seat onto the golf cart. I was able to take a ton of photos around the cabin and Lincoln had a blast "working" with Grandpa's tools in the boat.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Edge Games VII, and more!

It's time for the Edge Games! You'll recall my posts in previous years about working with the middle-schoolers at the Edge Games (2009; 2010, the photos have been moved from this second post, but I can't remember why I did that... anywho...). It's a whole bunch of fun and a fantastic outreach for the ministry. Last year we were on Fiji and we were the big winners in the end because two of our guys went crazy on the photo contests turning in a bunch of photos that ran us from 4th to 1st on the last day. This year they've limited the number of points a team can get from photos, and because our team is one of the smallest, the likelihood that we'll win this year is slim, but it's crazy fun playing the games anyway. We're also on a new team, Togo, with new colors, red. But we made the move with one of the girl's small groups that was on Fiji with us last year, so there's some familiarity. And Todd's brief messages at the end of each evening are very poignant. He and Jonathan do a great job setting up the whole event.

This week's games involved wrestling innertubes away from other teams, finding one's shoes in the middle of a pile of about 400 shoes, and a wheelbarrow relay race where the wheelbarrow had to eat Spam before running back to the team. It was great!

Yesterday Jenn and I both had to work and we were very thankful that our friends, Andy and Courtney Ucker, could come and take care of Lincoln and Lydia while we were away. It's a blessing to have good, close, reliable friends and we are so grateful for Andy and Courtney!

Last Wednesday, Lincoln asked if he could take photos of my tools. He really gets into
  1. tools
  2. looking into the camera's view-finder
  3. seeing the photo on the back of the camera after it's taken
So that's what we did for a while, and it was funny to see him pile up the tools and look into the camera at what he'd done.

Jenn and I recently went back in our blog archives to see what Lincoln was doing at the age that Lydia is currently. To our surprise he was further along in his sleep development! Lydia naps much more easily during the daytime, but at night, Lincoln was sleeping 11+ hours without a swaddle. Lydia can't put more than about 40 minutes of sleep together wihtout a swaddle and part of this is probably because she's not yet a consistent thumb-sucker. She's found her thumb on many occasions, but she doesn't reach for it as a calmin g influence when she's tired. One more small example of how each kid is different.

Finally, the cute puppy slippers that Larry and Marti gave Lincoln for Christmas arrived from LL Bean. (Lincoln's feet were bigger than we thought and he needed a bigger size.) We weren't anticipating that he'd want to wear them because when Jenn purchased a pair of duck slippers on clearance from Pottery Barn he did not want to wear them. But when I told them that some people call their feet "dogs" and that he could use is new "dogs" to keep his "dogs" warm, he put them on and he's loved them from the start. He was wearing his "Muddy Paws Band" morning-pajamas this morning and it was a perfect opportunity to show off his Dog Slippers. Thanks Parkinsons!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day Haircut!

Carl, the barber that has cut dad's hair for years, my hair for years and now Lincoln's hair for about a year is retiring as soon as he can sell his shop. It's great for him, but kind of sad for me. I've had other guys cut my hair before, mostly in Columbus when I couldn't make it back home when I really needed a haircut, but none were as good as Carl. And he's a good guy to talk with during the cut, too. Anyway, Lincoln and I each got our hair cut today and Lincoln was a very good boy. We even got to get breakfast at McDonald's before our haircut! It was a great morning!