Thursday, June 30, 2011

Swimming Lesson #1

Jenn and I are officially the parents of "that kid." Yesterday was Lincoln's first swimming lesson. He marched down to his end of the pool behind his teacher, Miss Hannah, and then informed her that when he gets in the water he does a big cannon ball. And then he showed her. Then when it was time for the actual lesson, and he learned he'd have to listen and do things in the water that weren't completely comfortable, he proceded to cry for 40 minutes. The photo included here is pre-meltdown. I've got to give it to Miss Hannah, she followed through with the teaching very well and didn't let his crying discourage her. Afterward, Lincoln and I had a talk, and he thanked Miss Hannah for teaching him that day. We'll work on the attitude thing and see how next week goes.

We've been dealing with various degrees of sickness here, too. Lincoln got it first, and most mildly. Then Lydia, who's been congested and less interested in eating (though she's still got reserve on board, if you know what I mean). I dealt with some congestion for a couple of days, and Jenn seems to be the least affected. But the kids have been letting us sleep through the night better than they did over the weekend, so we're happy about that.

Lincoln's been very into Church in the Falls' Vacation Bible School and he's actually retaining some of the things he's learned. "I'm going to draw a picture for Mommy, because that's the kind thing to do." What?

Also, on the adoption front, after writing 23 pages of my autobiography we were informed that we don't actually have to write an autobiography. Oh. That's nice. At least I've got a manuscript started so I can shop it around to the major publishers one of these years. Some of the hoops that we have to jump through have been a bit more time-consuming that we originally thought while others haven't been as tough as advertised. I have to give it to the Social Security office. I was in and out of there in less than 20 minutes!

BTW (that's a little texting lingo for "by the way," for our younger readers out there), we passed the 400-post mark on The Gates Experiment and this post is #402. Never did I think we'd make it this long.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Daddy Day - Little Sleep

Today is kind of a disaster of a Saturday. Jenn has a long work day and I've got Lincoln and Lydia. My first clue that it was going to be a long day was when Lincoln told me at 9:45 that he was tired. I think he's still recovering from VBC, where according to his teacher, all of the kids were just a little on edge at the end of the week. He also woke all of us up multiple times last night having to go potty. I'll be glad when the Size 6 diapers are exclusive to Lydia's room.

Lydia has been pretty good, though a bit touchy. We made it to 12:50 and they both went down for a nap. Lydia started crying at 1:40 and then Lincoln came up from the basement a total wreck saying he had a bad dream. Now when he says he has had a bad dream, we're not sure he knows what this means and we're pretty suspicious that he says this whenever he wakes up for a reason that is not known to him. So I'm going to tilt at a windmill and see if I can get him to go to sleep twice in one afternoon. Lydia has been making noises off and on for the last 25 minutes now.

We did manage to squeeze in some photos this morning during our happy phase. And I menteioned previously that Lincoln has shown an interest in getting behind the camera. This is the photo he wanted to take...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grandpa's Boat

Lincoln finally got to go for a ride on Grandpa's boat. He'd been on the 9.9 a number of times at Leesville Lake, but this was a completely different ride. Chris and I took a trun behind the boat, then we headed over to the swimming area. The ride concluded with... wait for it... Lincoln driving the boat!

This all came on the heels of VBC earlier today and the boat ride occurred during nap time. Lincoln's going to be a pathetic wreck by the end of the week, but he's having a fun time along the way!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

VBC Starts

Lincoln started Vacation Bible Camp at church yesterday. I heard from a number of reliable sources that he was an all-star, and I know from personal experience that he was a live wire when it was through. He's pumped about going back today! This combined with Vacation Bible School with Grandma Paulette next week and we'll be poundin' him with religion!
Sunday was our Father's Day dinner, and Great Grandma & Grandpa Mullen came along with Grandma Paulette, Grandpa Doug and Great Grandma Gates. Auntie Haley and Chris rounded out our guests and we had a full table with good summer food.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Aeros Game

We all (minus Lydia) took a trip to Canal Park last evening to catch an Aeros game. The game was pretty good.
The Aeros had one bad inning where they gave up 4 runs, but they chipped away in the bottom half of the inning with a run, and then a single run in the next two innings, as well. One was even balked in... bummer! Paolo Espino (left, and look at his elbow!) came on after that bad inning and really held the Portland Seadogs in check for the rest of the game. Then after stretch-time and singing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" and "YMCA!" they stepped on the gas for a 6 run inning and the score would hold, with a 9 to 4 win! Go Aeros!

I've commented on the food at Canal Park before, and Chris did not disappoint. He downed a Nice 2 Meat You Burger, and they he split a Three Dog Night with Haley. Lincoln put away a hot dog, 1/3 of a pretzel, some ice cream, and a bottle of water that had an amount of floaties in it by the end that even the FDA would have to question its safety. He stayed up way past his bedtime, but I've got to say, he was pretty good throughout.

During the game, Lincoln wanted to play with my camera. Most of his photos were cocked to one side or another, and many were of the back of the seat in front of us. But this one turned out great!

Earlier in the day, Auntie Haley & Chris showed Lincoln how to play with his new "blimp" toy. It's really more like a rocket, but he calls it a blimp. Anyway, it was good for lots of fun in the backyard. And aside from the blimp/rocket, our two houseguests have been great at playing with Lincoln. The three of them were playing in the basement yesterday and Lincoln started spinning around really fast on his bum on the floor. Chris said, "Be careful, if you keep doing that your pants will catch on fire." Without missing a beat, Lincoln replied, "Chris, I wasn't born yesterday." Great timing!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Magazine Destroyed

Play time today consisted of starting with the usual toys and then progressed to destroying a magazine. After I uploaded the photos, I recalled Lincoln doing the same thing at Grandma Paulette's house. Check this out, and pay attention to the dates and their ages.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Chef To The Stars? No, Better Than That!

Auntie Haley and Chris are visiting from Scottsdale. I feel as though I've hardly seen them, mostly because they watched movies and slept most of the evening after they arrived and then today they went to Cedar Point on a perfect weather day. We'll find out probably tomorrow how their day went.

Jenn has become a Chef to the Three Year Olds! What other three year old boy gets a Spice-Rubbed Catfish and Slaw Open Faced Sandwich on Toasted Sourdough Bread w/ Japanese Bread Crumb Encrusted Zucchini Sticks... and then have it served on a car plate? Lincoln is one fortunate boy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Invasion of the Chipmunks!

Lincoln shucked his first ear of corn yesterday!

And now it's time for a Yard Update. Some of you know that we have a neighbor with many (many) cats. These are apparently the laziest cats in the world because we are being overrun with chipmunks this year, and they're taunting Gretel.
There's one that hangs out around the front yard. He sits right out on our walk the front door, just out of reach, and nibbles on seeds, knowing that every moment that passes there is a Boxer just inside the door that wants to chase him.
When he emerges from the tree, it is with the most relaxed stretch.
Then he ducks back to his little hideaway when it's convenient for him.
You've never heard a more pathetic whine from a Boxer in all your life.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The A-word

First of all, a little catch-up. Lincoln's birthday was over a month ago, but because I forgot my camera during the trip over to Grandma & Grandpa's, I used their camera, and it's been a while since I got the photos transfered back to my computer. So here are some photos from a month ago.

What I'm about to share may come as a surprise to some of you. We've spoken with our parents about this and with some of our friends in the area, but we haven't yet gone public here on the blog about our intentions of adopting.

You read that correctly. After the long and very difficult delivery process with Lincoln, Jenn and I started talking about adoption. I recall our walks around downtown Hudson when we spoke about wanting more children but not being real excited about more pregnancies. But because adoption is such a big thing, we let it pass for some time. Besides, adoption is for other people, right?

Then came Lydia's delivery. The delivery process went well, but things have been pretty rough for Jenn in the months since the delivery. We haven't had much to say about it here, and I'm not going to say any more than I have so far. After the two experiences, while we're not completely ruling out having more biological children, we've arrived at the point of wanting to adopt.

Jenn reached this conclusion first, and then I was right behind her. Perhaps she will tell her story here sometime, but until then, I can tell you that the LORD has clearly placed adoption on her heart. The hard part initially was knowing if it was, in fact, the LORD speaking or was it just a temporary desire or quest? Followers of Christ know of what I'm speaking.
Sometimes it can be hard to determine. So we prayed. And we prayed. And adopting a special needs child from China kept rising to the top of Jenn's mind. As she shared her thoughts with me, it became clear that we are in the right position. We've come to the conclusion that (a) we want more children, (b) we don't want more pregnancies, (c) we have a home (both our house and our "home") that can accomodate more children, & (d) we don't want to take a healthy infant from a family that truly wants a baby but cannot have one themselves. That led us to settling on searching for a special needs baby, and China has a great program in which the kids actually do get very good medical care, their kids come with reliable medical histories (as reliable as can be with adoption), and the waiting period and requirements to bring the child home are not terribly onerous. The waiting period is usually between 12 & 18 months. Because we want to preserve our birth order, we will likely be toward the shorter end of that scale, but nothing is for certain at this point.

What is so interesting to consider is that our child is probably already born, and is in an orphanage somewhere in China. Please join us in prayer for this little one, that the LORD will provide the best protection and care, and that all of the preparation that comes with adoption will proceed with ease.

One of the big things about adoption is considering the financial aspect of it. Jenn called our accountant, Dave Kearns, to ask a number of questions, and he wanted to put us in touch with a couple from his Bible study group, Joe and Diane, that is very similar to us in many ways that had adopted not that long ago from China. Jenn called Diane and she told Jenn that she and her husband would like to take us out to dinner and talk with us about their story. Further, she wanted to invite their friends who have adopted seven children, four from China. Jenn was thrilled, and we went out to dinner last evening. There are many more details than I can even begin to share here, but it was an evening that can only be explained by saying that it was directed by the hand of God. The friends that Diane invited, John and MC, were the very couple that Jenn had seen in passing at HCC and wanted to get to know! Be sure to ask Jenn about it the next time you see her.

It's been very encouraging to talk with friends like Joe and Diane, John & MC, and read blogs like what my college buddy, JT, and his wife have put together. Jenn has talked with other moms from church and friends of those friends about their experiences, and they all seem to confirm that we are following the path that the LORD has laid out for us. The need is great, and we believe we can be a part of meeting the need.

Back to Lincoln and Lydia:

On a separate note, Lincoln and Lydia have made many trips with Grandma Paulette over to CVCA to watch the diggers and dump trucks work. Lincoln loves it and Lydia enjoys being outside.

Lincoln "read" his first word yesterday. We were reading a Curious George story together and he identified the letters "u" and "p," sounded them out, then pronounced, "UP!" It was pretty neat!