Thursday, January 26, 2012

Writing Mandarin

Our cruise is fast approaching, and with that comes Grandma Laura's trip here to stay with the kids, as well as Great Grandparents Mullen coming midweek to see everyone, too. Jenn and I are looking forward to this vacation, and we're incredibly grateful to our family for helping us out so much.

Lincoln has been showing more of an interest in learning to read. He's starting to recognize some words that he hears commonly in our stories, and he let's me "quiz" him about spelling. Interestingly, he's much more willing to do this with me than with Jenn. We're not sure why, and it'll be interesting to see how Lydia and Henry are in this area.
Lincoln has also been showing an interest in drawing some of the Mandarin characters he sees. Jenn was painting a few things for our Chinese Take-Out and he liked watching her work. The block that you see in this photo is part of a larger set that has some of the common words, and a guide to show how to write each character. He's actually been doing a pretty good job at it. His proportions are off, but he's doing all of the correct strokes in the correct places. He says, "I'm learning lots of Mandarin!" (Would you believe that this block set was made in America?)

Henry has been on the front of our minds for a long time, but even more so recently with receiving the photos. It's clear that he's growing up fast, and that he's going to be a present part of our family very soon.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chinese Tea House Take-Out

There were some sniffles following Lydia around, and combined with getting another tooth, she was sleep deprived, until Sunday afternoon when she crashed and took a long nap. That she let me get the camera set up and didn't stir through a couple of takes ought to say something about her depth of sleep.

Last evening was our Community Group's Murder Mystery Dinner. You may recall that a year and a half ago we had Murder in Margaritaland.
We went with a Chinese theme this year, and the setting was Madame Wong's Tea House in Hong Kong, circa 1906. Decorating the house got to be a fun thing for me and Jenn, from suspending Chinese lanterns by fishing line over our family room to lighting the rooms with lots of candles (how much electricity was there in early-20th-Century China?). Everyone came in character, though I've got to say that finding a costume was quite the challenge for the men. Jenn found a great dress and even a wig. She was one hot wannabe Asian!

Each couple brought a Chinese dessert and Jenn and I went shopping at the Asian Market for dumplings (that were a major hit!) and we got takeout from Sunrise Kitchen, a local Chinese restaurant. For a long time I've wanted to have a party with Chinese take-out so everyone could sample a varity of things. So we had Pepper Steak, Kung Po Chicken, Lo Mein, Sweet & Sour Chicken, fried & white rice, and did I mention the dumplings?

Dong Wong, son of Madame Wong, is shocked, having just been accused of murdering his mother. Ah Si Now, purveyor of wisdom, has a laugh at Dong's expense.

Madame Hu Woo was hard of hearing... or was she?

Though she embarassed him, Chin Lo loved Madame Wong.

Sai Chee &
Madame Sung-Lo

Inspector Shun Sin &
Soo Yu

Boo Kim &
Madame Hu Woo

Madame Wong
& Doo Wong
(both deceased)

Chou Chyou & Wan Ting

Lie-Low & Chin Lo

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Logged In!

For starters, our dossier was logged in today in China! This is great news, and evidence that things are moving along on the Chinese end.

Lincoln really enjoyed his Cookie Trifle
I got to use the little tripod that Jenn gave me for Christmas at Edge this evening. I was monkeying around with exposure times ranging from 6 to 13 seconds. Here are some of the good ones...

Todd is a first-class youth minister, and a very easy leader under whom to serve.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Henry's Growing!

Lest anyone get the vibe from the last blog post that nobody was there (I had to leave before the festivities began), here are some pics from the actual event.
I don't want to be accused of overstating a fact, but I'm thinking that Em's shower might become the standard by which all other showers are measured in the circles of ladies that were present.

On a completely different note, and one that hits closer to home for Jenn and me, we got some new photos of Henry! He's growing, they tell us 75cm, and you can tell by the photos that he's filling out quite nicely. Also notice how bundled up he is. Poor little cold guy!

We pray for Henry constantly. Many times throughout the day Jenn, Lincoln and I lift him up to God in prayer. At night, Lincoln asks God "to give Henry the clothes that he needs and the food that he needs." His life now is nothing like our own, as he has the basics to grow, and that's about it. It's powerful to see the LORD providing his needs.

We're still waiting for our log-in date. Chinese New Year is fast approaching, so this date may get pushed back. It's in God's hands. We're happy to see that he's healthy and doing well.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

English Tea

What has two thumbs and the most amazing wife? This guy! Jenn has been working full bore on Auntie Em's baby shower and today was the day. It was a full-fledged Beatrix Potter/British Tea Party. The food, games, and presentation were 5-Star all the way, and the reviews from the guests were nothing short of spectacular. It was a lot of prep work, and a lot of clean-up, but wow! What a party!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

GI Bug

The GI-Bug has come to the Gates house. V/D X 4 is never pleasant. Things are improving, though, which is nice.

This story happened yesterday, and let there be no mistake, I am not making any of this up.
After Lincoln woke up from his nap, he and I went to the basement where he was going to pay with Play-Doh while I watched the Buckeyes. After we were downstairs for about a minute, he said, "Dad, I want a snack."

I answered, "Well, you had a big lunch, and you just woke up from your nap. Maybe we'll have a snack a little later."

Lincoln replied, "When a kid just wakes up from his nap and says he's hungry, you should give him a snack right away."

Here are some photos from the last couple of days.
Next on the Gates Agenda: Auntie Em's baby shower. You know how when Jenn starts planning something, it turns into a big deal and ends up first-class. Expect it.