Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Thanksgiving Coda

Yesterday, after the glorious finish to a punished season, we all went down to the Riverfront to see the lighting of the Christmas Tree and the fireworks show. This was the twins first experience with fireworks. Henry loved them, Lydia... let's just say that she's reminded us at least a dozen dozen times that, "Fireworks too loud!"

The Hopwoods were there, along with Grandpa Dave and Auntie Haley... it's just been a fun family long-weekend these past few days. Haley went back to school and Dave went back to Columbus this morning, and while they probably won't miss the madness here, we'll miss them. It was great to play catch-up after the past few years with them being so far away. It is our understanding that Grandma Laura is chomping at the bit to get some grandkid time.
And here's a flashback to Thanksgiving the other day...
At the end of a fun long weekend, Lydia and Henry are put to bed, and Jenn is reading to Lincoln, and it's not yet 7:00pm. Life has caught up to the little ones, and an early bedtime proved to be necessary. Just in time for the Christmas Season.

Friday, November 23, 2012


When I consider the concept of Thanksgiving this year my mind jumps to how far Henry has come in six months, and in an odd way it seems to dwarf anything that I could possibly hold up as a point of Thanksgiving and blessing in my own life. Consider the millions of orphans around the world, and consider that around 40% of Chinese babies die in the orphanage, and cosider that every 2.2 seconds an orphan ages out of the system with no where to go, and consider that around 9 in 10 end up in drug, sex or human traficking. This is what Henry has escaped.

More important to our personal situations than statistics, though, is that his life situation is really representative of mine and ours. Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, what have we got? Some temporary possessions and relationships, sure, but without someone to rescue us out of certain death and despair, we're lost. The beauty is this: Jesus has come, and we all have something for which to be thankful.

Often when I'm praying with the kids, I thank the LORD for our warm house and good food and warm clothes. It's my effort to train them how to pray and to name tangible things that they can recognize. However, to simply focus on these things on a day dedicated for Thanksgiving misses the point, I believe. When giving thanks, don't ignore the big picture. Kind of like missing the forest for the trees.

Ella tried to fingerprint the lens
The following photo is special when my family considers how many individuals from across at least four generations have sat in this very high chair.
We're continuing to enjoy Grandpa Dave and Auntie Haley. They went out early this morning for some Black Friday experience, and this evening Jenn and Haley took off for some girl-time shopping. Fun family times, we're having. After putting the twins to bed, Lincoln enjoyed a movie night with the guys, as we finished watching another round of Cars 2. It's been a fun evening of good, non-crying playtime, conversation, movies and rest. Sounds good for a Thanksgiving weekend.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Week

Things have been busy at the Gates home. For starters, work has been busy for me, which is a good thing. Auntie Haley came into town on Tuesday and Grandpa Dave arrived on Wednesday. Wednesday turned out to be a nice day, so we're squeezing every outdoor opportunity that we can get.

Today we're going over to Grandpa Doug & Grandma Paullette's house for a big mix of family Thankgiving, and then on Saturday we'll be watching The Game.

We've lots for which to be thankful, and I'll address this topic more when the Thanksgiving photos go up. Right now I'm blogging while the kids are in the tub. Fun times at the Gates home!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Christmas Tree Expo

While we're trying to keep Thansgiving in its place and not allow society to push commercialized Christmas on us in early November (or late October!), we did decide to visit the Christmas Tree Show at the John S. Night Center. It's a fundraiser for Children's Hospital, and it's not like they can save this fundraiser for late December... they want people to purchase the trees and have them ready for home decoration. Naturally, Henry had never seen so many Christmas trees.
And Lydia continues to ask, "Where's Grandpa Dave?" On that note, we look forward to having Auntie Haley stay with us for the next couple of days!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Grandpa Dave Visits

As Grandpa Dave has navigated his myriad of interviews, we've really enjoyed having him use our home as his eastern base. Lydia especially enjoys seeing Grandpa Dave... it's just the cutest thing to hear her walk around the house and say, "Go see Grampa Dave," over and over again. We're also very, very happy that Grandma Laura and Grandpa Dave will be moving to Ohio soon! We'll miss visiting Scottsdale, but we'll enjoy even more having both Grandparents much closer.
Lincoln has enjoyed having the bigger version of Henry's jammies. Today, as I was putting Lydia to bed, Henry was knocking himself out pulling *all* of his clothes off of their hangers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Big Day @ Preschool

Yesterday was Lincoln's turn to be Student of the Day. There are lots of little, fun things that add up to the Student of the Day getting lots of fun attention.

And it just so happened that yesterday was also Lincoln's Thanksgiving program. They did a little presentation remembering the Pilgrims and the Indians. Grandpa Dave was Lincoln's guest at the dinner that followed.

Lydia and Henry enjoyed watching their brother on the state, too.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Last Hiking Hurrah for 2012

This afternoon we took advantage of what will probably prove to be the last warm Sunday of the year. Along with Grandpa Dave, we went to Kendall Lake for a hike/walk. Wow, was it pretty. And, wow, are the beavers busy at the lake!

Then when we got home, Lincoln got to work on his homework: his poster for Student of the Day.

Henry Turns Two

Friday was Henry's birthday, and we celebrated on Saturday with Grandma Paulette & Grandpa Doug as well as with Grandpa Dave, who was in town after a big, cross-country drive. Henry's been with us for 5 and a half months, and he's now 2 years old. Hard to think about the idea that this was his first birthday that celebrated him. And even after he saw what a birthday party is about with Lydia, he still didn't get the concept that even though the routine of the day was different, that it was still, in fact, all about him. Once he saw what was inside his wrapped presents, he started to get excited, and he and the two other kids had lots of fun playing with his new gifts.
Getting back to Grandpa Dave, he surprised the kids by not even stopping in the house, but heading straight for the back yard where they were playing on the new play set. And with this weekend's weather, it was a great day to be out. (It was also a great day for my buddy, Josh, and me to hack apart that old hot tub and load it up for the landfill!)

It's been well documented that the kids enjoy playing in the pantry. It's also been well documented that they like to sneak upstairs and get their "buddies" and then suck their thumbs/fingers, which under normal circumstances is only allowed at nap time and bed time. We found this in the pantry the other day.
On Friday evening, Jenn went out for a Craft Night with her lady friends while I took the kids back to the Clinic to putz around, move some logs, and kill time before going to Retro Dog for dinner. They were really good, Lincoln moved lots of pounds-worth of logs (much more than I expected he might!), and then we all went for hot dogs, french fries and a stawberry milkshake!
Finally, Henry loves the present that Jenn picked out for him: this little red wagon. It's small enough for him to pull it around the house, and he loves pulling things and pushing things: dogs on strings, lawn mowers, shopping carts, etc. We had the wagon sitting in the library before his birthday party, thinking that because the kids are rarely even over that way that he wouldn't see it. Well... while I was washing dishes and Jenn was prepping food, guess who came into the kitchen pulling a little red wagon? It was pretty funny. At least we knew he liked it! And then this morning, as we all were getting ready for church, this is where we found him.