Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend @ Leesville Lake

Memorial Day Weekend was a Gates Family Reunion. The Hopwoods joined us at Leesville Lake for a whole lot of nothing. Sure we shot, swam, bubbled, hiked, cooked, gamed and relaxed, but it was low-key and no pressure. Here's a photo-sampling of the weekend...

On a separate subject, I was sad to learn of Jim Tressel's resignation. Nobody is bigger than Ohio State football, and I expect the product on the field to remain good. Call me crazy, but I just don't have a problem with a college kid selling a trophy and making a buck. This is certainly not an offense that ought to lead to the firing of a coach. I'm not surprised, but I'm saddened. I'll remember Jim Tressel's tenure as one where he was competitive nearly every game, where he kicked the crap out of Michigan, where he ran a more conservative brand of football than I would have liked but where he won... a ton, and where he eventually was brought down by some kids who broke rules that the NCAA say are important. There are worse offenses he could have committed, and ESPN's holier-than-thou approach to reporting (notably Pat Forde) has been added to the list of reasons I'm not a big ESPN news fan. I'm officially a Luke Fickell fan now. Go Buckeyes!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Green Hike

Lydia decided to sleep in today. That this occurred on a day that Jenn and I did not have to go to work is nothing short of a gift from God.

Jenn and Lydia went hiking with Diane, a friend from Community Group, this morning, so I took Lincoln and Gretel and we went on a hike, too. It's definitely getting greener with the non-stop rain we've had for the last month-plus. This first set of photos is of the "Mossy Log." It's a very distinctive log that we pass on our favorite place to hike, and we noticed last year how things around this log really change as the seasons change. It's like a microcosm of the whole park. The first photo was taken on April 10, the second photo is from today.
Lincoln hiked very well today. We went well over a mile, and he didn't complain at all about the length or the pace.
Gretel finally got some good exercise, and she's been very low-key today since we got back.
Funny story from this afternoon when I was working in the yard. I had just finished filling the bird feeders, and then I finished the weed whacking. When I was done and walkinga across the patio, I saw Lincoln dumping bird seed on the pavers. I said, "Lincoln, what are you doing?!!" Without missing a beat, he said, "I'm putting out bird dessert." Well, that was simple enough...

Finally, the kid's got some good mechanics...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring Video

When I leave for the weekend it's hard to keep the blog updated. Jenn does a fabulous job keeping up with the home and kids, and when I get back, she's spent, and then it's catch up for the two of us. So I haven't had the camera out much lately. But here's some stuff from the past month.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day, B's & Catch-Up

Lydia has making her "B" sounds like it's going out of style. It started on Thursday, and she's barely taken a break. Recall that when Lincoln started articulating new sounds, it was the beginning of a booming vocabulary, so we'll see how much Lydia gets into. (Or how much Lincoln lets her get into!)

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Lincoln, Lydia and I will share our thoughts with Mommy/Jenn as a family, but it must be said pubicly that Lincoln and Lydia have a wonderful Mommy and it's so neat to witness the role that Jenn has played as they've grown, and will play as they continue to grow. Lincoln and Lydia are quite fortunate little kiddos.

Playing a little catch-up, here are some neat photos from our trip out west that didn't make it in the last post.

First, this bunny made a bee-line for the thicket. Can you spot him?

And this lizard did the same thing. It's amazing how many of these little critters are running around the sand.

And while Lincoln and I were out for a walk, we stumbled upon these two coyotes. They don't want much to do with people, so they didn't bother with us.

Lincoln is getting more and more comfortable trying new, tough things. He's really becoming "all boy."
And finally, a self-portrait...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Back from Scottsdale

This past week was our visit to Scottsdale, AZ, to visit Grandma Laura, Grandpa Dave and Auntie Haley. Given that the weather has been total CRAP in NE Ohio this "spring" (there is no global warming), a visit with family in a warm climate was very, very appealing to us.
The kids travelled pretty well. We thought Lydia would be a good sleeper on the plane, but alas, she was not. Lincoln took a decent nap on the flight from Chicago to Phoenix, and that allowed him to stay up later and get adjusted to the time change. Lydia, on the other hand, vomited such a volume as we landed in Phoenix that it dripped through the bottom of the car seat. She was sick and unhappy for the next 18 to 24 hours. It took her a while to get on AZ time, but she was still a good girl for her grandparents.
Lincoln was highly stimulated during the entire trip. There was very active play time and someone to occupy him at all times. As a result, he took naps of between 2 and 3 hours every day.

The hiking was great. We went to the Dixie Mine Trail, as that's one that Grandma Laura and Grandpa Dave thought would be a good one for Lincoln. He did very well. He even got to use his new CamelBak that he received for his birthday. Lydia was a pleasant rider.

The plant life in the desert never ceases to impress me. The cacti weren't flowering as much on this visit as our last visit, but what we did see was still beautiful.

On Friday, the grandparents took the day off and we spent the morning at the Phoenix Children's Museum. There was a large school field trip with kids who were quite comfortable with pushing Lincoln out of the way, and with parents/chaperones that were equally rude. Lincoln, though, showed good manners and patience beyond his years, and we all had a good time. After patronizing the Chattanooga Children's Museum and the Phoenix Children's Museum, I must say I'm becoming a fan of children's museums!
Of course we took in the Phoenix Zoo. The Bighorn Sheep exhibit is still in my top-ten exhibits that I've seen at any zoo. (Akron's jellyfish, Pittsburgh's aquarium, Nashville's gibbons, and Phoenix's giraffes [the best place for an up-close look], and Columbus' otters come to our minds quickly.)
One of the really neat things we got to see was one of the rattlesnakes shedding its skin, pictured above. I'm not sure Lincoln could really appreciate it, but Jenn and I were amazed.
This was the Trip Of The Pool. Lincoln couldn't get enough of the pool, and he's becoming quite confident in the water. Swimming lessons will be just around the corner. He loved splashing, shooting the water canons, floating around in his boat (while shooting the water canons), and jumping into the water to have me or Grandpa Dave catch him. After a while I started letting him go all the way under the water, and he did a great job of holding his breath for an instant.
Lydia had her first pool experience, too.
Flashback 2010:
Saturday was Lincoln's birthday, and Grandma Laura & Auntie Haley put together a Pirate Birthday Party for him!
There was a Pirate Ship Cake, eye-patches for Grandpa Dave and Auntie Haley, a treasure hunt, "sea-themed" Jell-O with Nemo gummies, lots of gold doubloons... it was just a fun time for all of us!

We were sad to come home. Lincoln cried at the air port when it really sunk in that he had just said good-bye to Grandma Laura.

On an unrelated note, the Indians just keep winning and winning and winning. You may recall my analysis of the Indians under Manager Eric Wedge.

Indians closer Chris Perez didn't look too sharp at the end of Spring Training 2010, but he's been hot lately for the league-leading Indians at the start of 2011.
While I'm still not a fan of their current owner, it's fun to watch these young guys win. Of course it'll all come crashing down when it comes time to pay them, but we can enjoy it while it lasts, right? As of today, the Indians have a 4.5 game lead on the Royals (who are perennial faders), a 8 game lead on Detroit (who knows if they'll fold or not, but as long as they're relying on Johnny Peralta, I'll take the Indians), a 10 game lead on Minnesota (when they get their guys back from injuries, look out) and a 10.5 game lead on the White Sox (bury 'em while we can!). Who knows where they'll finish, but a hot start beats a cold one any season.

Staying on this tangent, I have to say I'm pleased with the Browns' draft. Atlanta offered themselves up for highway robbery, why wouldn't the Browns pounce on it? Julio Jones will need to be as good as Jerry Rice to justify trading so many picks away, especially to a proven drafter like Holmgren and his team.