Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas 2011, pt. 1

The time between my last blog post and this one make me think of the Mark Twain quote, "The report of my death was an exaggeration." We all are, in fact, here and doing quite well. December has been jam packed with events and activities, and the rest of the month is going to finish up like the first half.

Where to begin?

Jenn and I spent an evening with friends at our ABF Christmas Party. Jenn was one foxy lady. When I got home from work and saw her looking really good in a new, very nice dress, I knew I'd have to pull out my best suit pants and tie. I think we look pretty darn good together!
The adoption paperwork is now in the hands of our agency, Chinese Children Adoption International, and it will soon be on its way to the Chinese government. This past couple of weeks has been quite the ordeal with finally getting our U.S. Immigration
papers back and then getting things to New York and back, and I can't say I'm real thrilled with FedEx on this front. But it's out of our hands now. Jenn was on task from day one of compiling our paperwork, and it's hard to imagine anyone getting to this point in a more timely fashion. Now we're up against Christmas in this country and against Chinese New Year in China. We know it's all in God's timing, but since we don't know what his specific month-and-day plan is, we're praying that things moving along quickly with the agency and the government. All in all, Henry is getting closer and closer to coming home!

We got a late start on Christmas decorating at our house this year.
You may recall that we got the ball rolling in November last year. With work schedules and nap schedules and getting her at this time and there at that time, we didn't get around to finding a Christmas tree until last weekend. All of the blue spruces had been cut down, so after some hiking around and not finding anything over 8 feet, we headed back to the barn to get a pre-cut tree. We ended up with an 11 foot blue spruce that turned out to be quite nice. Getting it to stand safely was another story. This took about a day, and we lost 2 ornaments in the process. I'm going to refrain from giving too many details here, and instead we'll leave this story to the lore and imagination of our immediate Gates family.
Lincoln finished a third round of swimming lessons and he has made great progress. He can swim 5 feet toward the edge with ease, and he's close to being able to float on his back without assistance. He is absolutely unafraid to jump in the water. Funny story: Mr. Tyler, the swimming teacher, likes to pepper the kids with questions to keep them interested and on their toes. Yesterday, he asked Lincoln what his favorite Christmas carol was. Lincoln replied, "Angels We Have Heard On High."
Mr. Tyler then turned to Autumn and asked her the same question. She replied, "What's a Christmas carol." That's right, folks. My kid's the one that rocks out to the old-school Christmas carols!

Lydia continues to grow. She's been battling a runny nose for some time now, and Jenn and I are ready for this to end. She was so congested last weekend that she woke us up every 1.5 to 2 hours on average. Not cool. She's walking with ease now and getting more comfortable with changing directions. She's also eating nearly everything in sight, though in the last 48 hours she seems to have been on a vegetable strike. I think we may have broken this, though, because when she inadvertently put a piece of broccoli in her mouth we all through a big party of clapping and cheering for her, which she thought was simply fabulous. She then ate the rest of her broccoli.

Lincoln has been coming up with some lines lately that have us scratching our head in amazement. For instance, the other day Lydia was in the bathtub and she tipped over her toy boat. Lincoln said, "Oh, look. Lydia capsized her boat." Jenn and I looked at each other and exchanged, "Did he learn that from you?" Unbelievable.
Oodles, the Elf On The Shelf, has been quite the hit this Christmas season. While we certainly have a disobedient boy on our hands from time to time, he knows that he needs to give Oodles a good reason to take a good report to Santa. Each morning he goes looking for Oodles, and when he saw him on the mantle sitting next to one of our Santas, he said, "Oh, now that's funny!"

The other day I put some Christmas lights around the railing of his top bunk, and when he found his room lit up he said, "Hey, Dad! I was really surprised when I walked in my room, and I made this face!" And he proceeded to show me his surprised face. It was really cute.

Jenn and I are looking forward to hosting the Mullen Family Christmas for the first time. It definitely a change in tradition, where Christmas was at Great Grandpa & Grandma Mullen's house for decades, but if anyone is up to the task of putting on a good Christmas and receiving the torch from a prior generation, it is Jenn.
Last evening I took two of my small group middle schoolers to Urban Vision to do some small, odd jobs in preparation for their Christmas Store. This isn't the space to get into all of the details of Urban Vision or their Christmas Store, but suffice it to say that this is one very neat, special mission organization and event. They've got things figured out and are doing a good thing for the North Hill area of Akron. Brandon and Zac, the two that went with me, had been on the Chicago Mission Trip with Edge, so they know what serving others is all about, and it was a good evening to share with them. Afterward, we went to dinner together and had lots of fun.

Christmas is in 10 days. Yikes! We wish you a Merry Christmas...

1 comment:

Emily said...

My favorite Lincoln line from this week was when he went to hug me and his head bumped my belly. He looked at me and said, "Sorry, I hit your big baby."