Thursday, June 30, 2005

Superwoman, LPN

Cindy Angle, LPN

Tonight we would like to present to you this month’s Urological Nurse in the Spotlight: Cindy Angle. That’s right, Gabriel’s grandma is finally getting a bit of attention for all the hard work she has been doing for the past 28 years and especially the past year or so. While she’s always been eager to go above and beyond the call of duty for her job (not to mention her son), these days Cindy is doing even more. In addition to all of her duties at the office, she has been giving talks to other doctors’ offices about interstitial cystitis. Recently she was asked to be in the journal for her professional society, the Society of Urological Nurses Association. The article is great, and can be found here:

SUNA July Spotlight

Between the article about Jack that the Marines put online a week or so ago and the article about Matt’s mom, people in our family seem to be getting a lot of ink. Stick around, maybe you’ll show up in something, too.

Today was hot here in Atlanta, really freaking hot. It hit 92 today and felt like a lot more. The air conditioning in the Jeep was barely able to keep up with the demand. Matt got a haircut today, and Patty and Gabriel came along. Patty is thinking about doing something drastic to her hair. Thinking about it. So we had a consultation session with Nicholie while she was cutting Matt’s hair. Gabriel had a good time crawling around on the salon’s floor and did his usual charming of the crowd.

The heat drove us to take refuge in ice cream. Marble Slab Creamery was our destination tonight, since we’re still bemoaning the loss of our favorite gelato establishment. We feel like we’re lucky because they’ve had double chocolate ice cream the past two times we’ve been there in a row. Sadly, this isn’t always the case and Patty took advantage of it tonight.

We’re looking forward to the holiday weekend and Matt’s dad and stepmom coming into town. We’re going to continue our Fourth of July tradition of exhausting ourselves by running the Peachtree Road Race, this will be our third year out of three. We haven’t been able to prepare like we’d have liked because Gabe has been with us, but we’re going to do our best. Actually, we know Patty (and Matt’s dad) are going to do really well, it’s mostly just Matt that we’re worried about. Oh well, he’s got three days to train, right? That should be plenty for 6.2 miles.

Gabriel fell asleep on the couch tonight in the arms of both his parents. He even rolled over in his sleep. As he was rolling over, he smiled and gave his Mommy a big kiss - all without once opening his eyes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Swedish Invasion

Gabriel had fun at the game today!

The Intimidators whooped the JSF team, 11-9, fighting back not once but TWICE from being behind. Number 6, M. Angle, plated two runs with a double and crossed the plate from second with the next batter, tying the game. Gabriel had a great time, as you can see in the photo, even though he did play with the spawn of an Ohio State family. His friends Brooke and Jordan didn't get as dirty as he did, but they are getting to know him better each week.

In other news, Ikea opened today in Atlanta. It was surprisingly civil, though incredibly busy, and a woman dressed like a Swedish woman gave us a card for a free coffee mug. We won! After buying a new duvet cover for the bed coming from Ann Arbor and a light for Chip's room, we skipped the marketplace, which would have made a dent in our cargo space not to mention our wallets, in order to get to the game on time. We did get a bonus gift, however, when we realized that another person slashed the driver's side window next to the arm-width hole. He apparently decided that the existing hole and the window-filling slashes on the passenger side gave him permission to add to the destruction.

That brings us to our latest breakthrough in home remedies. We (particularly P) get so worked up over the behaviour of people who leave every place they go less good than before they had been there (violating our theory that everyone should try to leave a trail of pixie dust behind them wherever they go, making the world just a little better by their presence, but we won't get into that whole thing right now)... where were we? Oh yeah, we've started talking about exactly what sort of torture we'd like to inflict on the offending person, and it works. It's sick and probably would not be recommended by the priests at our parish, but it sure keeps us from carrying that anger with us. Try it - it's fun!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Congratulations, Erica and Raul!

Monday photo for 27 June 05

We’ve had very spotty internet service for the past week, so we haven’t been able to post much. "We do apologize for the inconvenience," as they say. First things first, the big news of the day: Erica and Raul are engaged! They are planning a legal event in Quebec, a celebration of some sort in North America somewhere, and a celebration of some sort in Peru, Raul's homeland. Since this is a very recent development, details have yet to be decided. Whatever they do, it's going to be uniquely their event and will be very meaningful. It was no surprise which of them did the proposing... and Raul said yes. Of course, they're already common-law spouses by Canadian law, but they realized that to them, marriage is a whole different animal. We're so excited for them - they are a completely perfect couple, and it makes us happy to see them together.

First stairs (at Barnes and Noble)

And now for an update on the Chipster: Gabriel took his first flight of stairs today at Barnes & Noble. Once he realized that he could get up one step, there was no stopping him. And Mommy tried. We were set up in the children’s section so he could crawl around because he was getting antsy at the Starbucks that’s attached to the B&N, and he didn’t have any toys with him. One of the employees came by several times to play with him, and he even let him play with an Elmo doll and said that they can send it back if Chip drools on it. Now, we don’t think that’s the most ethical decision in the world, but it was sweet that the guy was letting Gabriel have the run of the place. He even let him flip through Harry Potter 5 (Nancy would have freaked out!) until Mommy brought over a more durable book, Guess How Much I Love You, which we know he loves.

Chip’s also becoming a cruising machine. He would let us walk him around all day, if we wanted to. He’s an expert now on pulling himself up on anything, even vertical surfaces. He’s also getting good at walking holding only one of Daddy’s or Mommy’s hands, even though he doesn’t feel very confident about it.

He’s doing a few other new things, too. He’s started pointing at things, which means that he’s ready to start learning words. He’s also been babbling a LOT lately, which means that he’s getting ready to start talking. His cutest sound is "oooooh." He learned how to click pens to get the ink part to come out yesterday, and don’t you know that he has made a few dots on the love seat as this is being written. At least we see these things coming... Anyway, he’s using his play cups to pretend to drink, and he imitates us when we yawn and cough. He loves coughing.

Cruising at Target

I left my credit card in my other diaper

He’s also really inventive at peek-a-boo. This was most fun the other day at Target, where he decided that he isn’t interested in looking at our mugs while we’re shopping; he’d rather turn around and see where he’s going. Shopping cart seats should really be reversible. Anyway... We put him in the actual cart and let him stand up and lead the charge, as it seemed. He turned around and kept hiding behind the cart seat until we called, "Where’s Gabriel?" at which point he stood up and laughed, before hiding again.

We’re encouraging G to eat more grown-up food, and he’s started feeding himself toasted oats, or "Toasty Doats" as we say, which are like Cheerios. Today, he had some macaroni and cheese for lunch and actually ate some of it. That was a surprise, since he really hasn’t liked cheese before.

Happy birthday Jonah

The party animal

This month and next, all of Chip’s playgroup friends are turning 1. We went to Jonah’s party last weekend, and we’re going to Jake’s this weekend and Zoe’s next weekend. Except for the brief instant the above photo was taken, Jonah seemed to have a great time, and we know Gabriel did. We'd cry too if there were 50 people saying things to us that we didn't understand while there's a flame in front of our face! It’s so interesting to think how quickly these little ones have grown. It’s not so noticable with Gabriel, since we are with him all the time, but when we first got together, none of them could even sit up, and they certainly didn’t notice each other. Now, they’re playing with each other’s hair, (sometimes) sharing toys, and learning how to walk. Jake even knows a few words, and Jonah took a few steps at playgroup last week!

One more photo, this time of Gabriel helping Daddy put away the groceries (notice the magnet advertising a drag show next to the church bulletin). He loves to help...

Putting away groceries

Thursday, June 23, 2005

It's Nice to Make Friends

Scramble for veggie puffs

Gabriel had playgroup today. He had a great time there playing with Jonah, Jake, and Zoe. It was really interesting to see how mobile they’re all getting. Jonah took a few steps today, and Jake is getting really good at standing. Zoe has gotten really comfortable with all of us, which is so cool because she used to be really shy. Even though we get together every two weeks, the little ones grow so much in between playgroups. They all have a lot in common, though, like their love of veggie puffs, as you can see in the photo.

There was an article about Jack today on the Marines’ web site. We would probably be surprised, but Mom is better than the CIA when it comes to sniffing out information. Whenever we need to research something, we call her and she finds it immediately when it would have taken us weeks. Even Jack asks her about Iraq stuff, because she finds out before he does sometimes. So if you ever need to track down that contractor who absconded with your money or the capital of Andora, now you know whom to call. Anyway, here it is.

Watchin' the game

Despite a strong start, the Intimidators lost to the Isotopes, 14-4. Matthew was 2 for 3 with a single, a double, and 2 RBIs. He had an amazing 5 putouts - 1 solo and 4 assisted. It would have been 6 but for the fact that Paul, playing 2nd base, mistook Matt for an 8 foot tall person, or for a 5 foot 9 person with ups. Gabriel made some new friends, but they were a little too touchy and grabby and made us nervous. One of them, Ty, watched Daddy play first base through the fence with him. Gabriel’s friends Brooke and Jordan were there, but they didn’t really get to play with him much because of the other kids. Steve met us for dinner at Moe’s before the game and came to watch, so that was a special treat.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Happy First Day of Summer

We’re sure that Matt’s grandpa would be proud of today’s theme since it was banking. It seems like Patty is getting to know the folks at one of our local Wachovia branches as well as she knows the people in the office at the apartment complex. We think we have now taken care of the vast majority of our debt thanks to the sale of our house in Ann Arbor and it feels really, really good. It was a required step before we can even apply for our new mortgage, but even if it wasn’t we would have done it just the same. Once all the payments clear and everything is recorded, we can get letters confirming that our balances are paid off and then begin the process of cleaning up our credit reports. We’re both very anxious to see how our scores change when this is all done.

While at the bank and then at the UPS Store, Gabriel made a lot of friends. It seemed that everyone was taking an interest in our blond little boy and there was a lot of smiling and interacting going around. Gabe was also able to do a lot of crawling on the UPS Store’s nice, clean carpet while his mommy waited on the phone for Matt to find some addresses. Surprisingly, the two adventurers were able to get everything done in one trip out!

The phantom tooth that is plaguing our boy still refuses to emerge. We’re not even sure if it is coming in on the top or the bottom of his mouth. All we do know is that his drooling, which had pretty much stopped completely, is back and that he puts anything and everything into his mouth. Oh, and he’s cranky. He’s really, really cranky.

Since we were busy with Father’s Day stuff on Sunday and didn’t manage to remember Chip’s brownie mix at the store last night, we’re celebrating Gabe’s 11 month birthday today. As you can see, Gabe couldn’t wait to sink his teeth into the last set of birthday brownies before his one year celebration:

Chip's 11 month brownies

Tommorow is the week’s busy day. The calendar says it’s Wednesday, but we know it as Playgroup and Softball Day! Playgroup is at Jonah’s house and Matt’s team drew the late (8:00) softball game. Maybe by the time the Intimidators take the field the temperature will have dropped a bit.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Teething Pains

Patty’s beautiful flowers

What is the sound of a bag of baby food jars hitting concrete? Surprisingly, it sounds like a juicy thud. Don’t ask how we know.

Well, we’re back to the routine after a nice week and a half of luxurious togetherness. We weren’t thrilled about spending the day apart, but it went okay, especially since we were on the phone with each other every five minutes trying to figure out how to pay various bills. It felt really good to get a couple of credit cards out of the way, including one with a 26% interest rate(!).

We found out today that the seller of our new house accepted our latest request for repairs following from the inspection. We basically let him know that we were through negotiating and that he could either do the repairs or give us an allowance with the price of the house. We might not have been such sticklers about it had he been reasonable about the requests from the beginning, but he had sent our requests back with "no" written by all but one item even though he had accepted our bid with the right to request repairs. We are still going to have a bunch of things to do once we move in, with the tree trimming/removal and retaining wall repair the most important and the most of the rest cosmetic, but the things he is going to do will really make the house ready for us. We can’t wait; one month exactly until our closing. Woohoo!

Gabriel had a pretty tough day today. He was tired, achy, cranky, and clingy all day. Nothing got done all day because he needed constant attention. It seemed that he was eating from sunup to sundown, and when he wasn’t eating, he was crying. He had 3 naps today, but it seemed somehow like he was awake all day. It’s always the hardest our first work day back from being with family because he has to adjust from constant stimulation to playing on his own.

Chip knocks on wood

He did have many happy moments, though. In this photo, he is "knocking on wood," as the song goes. We were watching Casablanca (still are, actually), and when Sam started singing the song, Mommy knocked on the table at the appropriate places in the song, and Gabriel joined right in.

The next thing we have to look forward to is Dad, Gail, and Mike visiting us in less than 2 weeks for the Peachtree Road Race. We don’t think we’ll be prepared for the race, but we’re going to do our best. This will be the first year Gabriel doesn’t run; he did a great job last year, even though it was supposed to make him arrive early and didn’t.

Our new printer is great. It has slots for various cards, and we can put the card from our digital camera in and print a contact sheet. We can fill in the circles under the photos we want to print and then fill in the circles under the format (4X6, six wallets, etc.). Then, we scan that sheet back in and it prints exactly what we want. It’s really neat.

Okay, enough blogging for tonight. Time for some family time.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Looking Forward

We just got back to Atlanta after a whirlwind week in Michigan. It was fun, sad, relaxed, and scary. We made some money and spent some. We said goodbye to our home and hello to our family. We packed a lot into one week.

Saturday: The first thing we did in Michigan was a photo shoot on Saturday morning. Linda Wan, who was our wedding photographer, spent about an hour photographing the three of us in our first home. It was our way of preserving some memories and making us feel a little better about moving. We can’t wait to see how the photos look.

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We borrowed Laura's car to go to Carr's Wash for Kids, which is a charity car wash held by the U-M football team to raise money for Mott's Women's and Children's Hospitals. Not only did Matt Lentz, Alan Branch, Mike Carl, and Marques Walton, along with one of their assistant coaches (or so we assume) wash our car, but the assistant coach called over Coach Carr himself when he heard we were from Georgia and we got to talk to the boss for a while. He asked us a lot of questions and said that he was headed to GA the next day to golf. It was really exciting, and we even got a t-shirt for our donation! Stevie B also autographed a page in our notebook for Gabriel, even though we had brought a book about football to be autographed. We forgot that we had it in all the excitement. And we only expected a car wash...

Monday: It took us three days to pack, so it was good that our movers showed up a day late because it was only supposed to take two. It was also a good thing that the buyers moved the closing back a day, because otherwise our stuff wouldn’t have been out of the house. Anyway, we were so busy that we were able to forget why we were packing a few times. It was hardest at night when we were taking a breather before bed and had started thinking about leaving, but we were successful in keeping away the bad feelings and focusing on our happy future.

Tuesday: The movers finally arrived about the time they were supposed to on Tuesday morning. A few more words about them below (just wait, it’s worth it). The closing itself was actually quite fun. The folks, Lance and Felice, who bought our house seem like great people, and we all seemed to be a lot alike. It made us happy to know that our house was going to people who would love it and take really good care of it.

We had a house closing party, but it was actually the night before the closing because we thought our closing was going to be on Monday and everyone already had plans to meet up in Northville at Buca di Beppo. Everyone, that is, except Matt, for whom the dinner was supposed to be a surprise. He had to be let in on the generalities of the plan when we had the issues with the movers being late, but the location was indeed a surprise. Our moms and Patty’s dad, Karlene, Vera, Emily, Laura, Vanessa, Chris, Bob, and Nancy were there with us to support us and celebrate our closing. We had a great dinner and lots of fun.

We learned an interesting fact on Tuesday: 7 steps is a flight. When the movers say that the first flight is free and each additional flight is $50, it turns out that a two story house is not indeed $50 but $200. We apparently had five flights of stairs. Should have charged more for the house. They took about 8 hours instead of the 4 that they estimated, and we had much more than we had estimated. We used a bunch of their boxes, which turned out to be $8 each, and the whole move turned out to be $2000 more than our estimate. We don’t think that there’s any way we could have known, and there’s nothing we can do about it now except laugh.

After the move, we headed to Toledo to visit everyone. The two of us went out to dinner at El Salto, and we had a fantastic Mexican meal and maybe the best margaritas we’d ever had. The strongest, anyway. After everything we’d been through, they tasted outstanding!

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Wednesday: On Wednesday, we visited Grandma and Grandpa for a little bit and saw their new apartment. It’s really nice, and we like it a lot; so do they. After that, we went with Mom to the Toledo Zoo, and Nancy, Nathan, and Ciara went with us. We spent most of the day there and wore ourselves out. That night, we grilled some fish and had a great dinner. The two of us finally broke down and went to the movies, after a break of a few years. We saw Star Wars Episode III, and although we were pretty critical of it that night, the next morning we agreed that it was really, really good.

Thursday: The next day was Thursday, and we got our things together and visited G&G Kranz, Grandma Angle, and the Millons before heading up to Laura’s house. It was 8:00 pm by the time we finally got there, so we ordered pizza because we were all really hungry.

Her house is awesome. It has hardwood floors, beautiful cove ceilings, a nice big back deck, and a lot of trees in both front and back yards. We found ourselves looking at it like buyers, since we’ve been looking at houses and watching all of the home shows on TV.

Friday: We spent the next two nights at Mom’s and Dad’s house, and they went pretty quickly. We got to be the first in the family to meet Laura’s "friend" Daniel. We like him a lot and are pleased with her selection, ha ha. On Friday, Laura graduated from nursing school. We had dinner at the Post restaurant with all of the Wolfgangs, Mark, Natasha, and Natasha’s mom, step dad, and niece. We ate a ton of appetizers and were full before dinner even got there. The graduation went pretty quickly, but not quickly enough for Gabriel who wanted to sleep but couldn’t. We got back from walking him around in time to see Laura cross the stage. We startled the people in front of us with our screaming for her. Laura worked so hard to be an RN, and she did so well. She got all As her last year and is already a fantastic nurse. Her patients love her, and she gives them lots of attention and thorough care.

After the graduation, we went back to Laura’s house for MORE FOOD! We all ate way more than we should, but that cheesecake was so good. On the way there, though, we almost got hit by a drunk driver and called 911 to report him. The police called back to get our information because they’d pulled him over and had arrested him and were towing his car. In a way, it might be good that we had the close call because maybe by getting the police to pull him over someone’s life was saved. We hope that no one’s life would have been in danger, but we are glad that he was taken off the street and hope that he will make better decisions in the future. Anyway, Laura’s party was fun and we were so excited for her big day.

On Saturday, we had a few errands to run and had to pack all of our stuff. Our flight was at 4:04 pm and was on time. We had an extremely smooth flight back to Atlanta, even though the landing approach was a little curvy and divey (that’s a technical aerospace term) for our tastes. Also, as we were descending, something started loudly vibrating, and it felt like the engine was about to fall off. Fortunately, it did not. The brakes left something to be desired, too, but at least we were on the ground by then. Gabriel was great for the flight except that he has reached the age when he just wants to be walked back and forth in the aisles the entire time. He made lots of friends on the plane today.

On the way back to our apartment (our only home at the moment!), our train broke down in a dark tunnel. In the middle of an announcement, the driver’s voice cut off and the train stopped. The electricity went out, too, but we realized that it was just in our car. The worst part was that the air went off and body odor accumulates quickly on MARTA. Thank goodness that Gabriel had stopped fussing and gone to sleep. If he’d been crying, we might have been in a lot of trouble with our fellow passengers! It just happened that we were almost to the station with rock (which may or may not be the natural earth) walls, so we were in a tunnel of rock and getting claustrophobic fast. The man sitting next to us said what we were thinking: "I’m assessing my options" as he looked out the window and made a trial call on his cell phone to check his reception. One woman got up and pressed the call button for the conductor, but wouldn’t you know, it didn’t work. We were getting ready to hide our valuables and had already chosen a portable stool as a good weapon (although neither of us admitted it at the time), when a man came into our car and turned the lights back on. Shortly thereafter, the air came back on and we started moving again. Hallelujah!

We are now back at the apartment and will unpack when we’re good and ready, which isn’t tonight. We think Gabriel’s getting a new tooth, because he’s been in some pain, is drooling a little bit, and chomps down hard on our fingers when we feel his gums. So life returns to normal...

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Go Blue!

It’s been a busy week so far. We’ve spent a lot of time planning our various moves, finances, and everything else related to these house sales. We have everything pretty close to under control, but there is so much to do that it was incredibly inconvenient that a water bottle leaked onto our cell phone today and broke it…

Gabriel took his first step yesterday, but we weren’t sure if it was real or a fluke, so we were pretty convinced when he took another step at playgroup today. We’ll consider it walking when he takes two steps. He had playgroup today, and he had a blast. Jake has the coolest toys, and we think that the Chipster was extra happy to explore new stuff. He’s got the old stuff at home all figured out already. Anyway, he is getting really close to walking. It was really interesting how differently Chip and his friends are developing. He’s very mobile but isn’t even close to talking or even making meaningful gestures, whereas Jake is the total opposite. He is starting to talk already and can say "Bye-bye, dada" and knows when to clap in the "If You’re Happy and You Know It" song! Zoe is getting to be a super crawler and is a really quick learner – she learned the "so big" gesture in about 5 seconds today. All of our babies are so amazing in their own ways.

Matthew had a great softball game today. Although his having-a-busy-day wife forgot his softball gear and had to drive all the way back to Midtown during rush hour to get it, making 3 trips to LockMart today and a grand total of about 3 ½ hours in the car, he got a hit and fielded a ball in his khakis and might have to start wearing a suit so he gets some home runs. In all he was 2 for 3 with 2 singles and an RBI. He had 2 putouts; it was a pretty slow day at first base. The Intimidators, or "Intimadators" as their new, soon-to-be-dishrag jerseys were printed, beat the whiny baby and so cleverly-named Security and Fire team, 11-4.

We decided that to drive up to Michigan with the passenger riding with his knees in his chest and unable to recline, with Gabriel getting antsy was not a good idea. Besides, the whole process of selling our home is going to be difficult enough for us without having to spend 12 hours sitting in the car brooding about it. We reasoned that it would be very much worth the money to fly, especially given the price of gas. We got plane tickets on Priceline, since regular fares were through the roof and there weren’t any last minute deals through any of the airlines. Surprisingly, we have very reasonable times for our flights – evening for one and afternoon for the other.


Patty undertook a new endeavour yesterday: gnocchi. It was a simple procedure, but getting the dough to the right consistency proved to be quite difficult. It turned out pretty well, although it could have been firmer. We should not have bathed it in flour before boiling so the pieces wouldn’t stick to each other, because that made them slimy. Other than the minor improvements, it turned out pretty tasty! We will likely make gnocchi again with a couple of slight alterations to the recipe.

The University of Michigan softball team won the College World Series tonight! Woohoo and Go Blue! We’ve been following their progress through the entire tournament, and we have been really impressed with both their star pitcher, Jennie Ritter, and their freshman future Olympian first baseman, Stephanie Findley. Ritter pitched almost the entire tournament, and Findley drove in all 4 runs today with a single and a 3-run homer. They are now the first U-M softball champions in history, and in fact, they are the first softball champions in history east of the Mississippi!

It seems like nearly everyone we know is moving to western Cobb County (known here simply as West Cobb). We know a couple of people that already live out there, like two people on Matt's softball team and our financial advisor, and several people that are about to make the move. The heck with all the headlines that intown is the happenin' home destination, West Cobb is the place to be! We also found out that Cobb is building a new middle school and a new high school that should be finished in the next couple of years, which is both great for Gabe and an indication of how much development is going on there.

Here’s a bit of advice to fans of drinking water and cell phones everywhere: don’t put those two things together. It breaks the phone. On a related note, don’t call us. At least, don’t call us if you expect to hear our response. We can hear you, but you can’t hear us. For some people, that might be an attractive deal. So if that applies to you, by all means, give us a ring. You won’t hear the obscenities we’re screaming at your egomaniacal self. Seriously, though, we’re hoping to get a new phone and for the love of all that’s good and holy, not with Sprint!

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Right in the Kisser!

We’ve put more photos of our new house online. They’re here.

We’ve been planning the paint colors for several rooms in our new house. Benjamin Moore has an excellent "Personal Color Viewer," in which you can choose a room and see how the colors will look. They have beautiful colors; we like the historical palette. We chose Norwich Brown for the guest bathroom, Breath of Fresh Air for Chip’s room (which will incidentally have an airplane theme), Kendall Charcoal (love the name – reminds us of Eve Kendall in North By Northwest) for the master bathroom, and Georgian Brick (coincidence, we assure you) for the second upstairs bathroom.

The Michigan baseball season ended today with a 4-3 loss to South Carolina at Georgia Tech. We walked over to see if we could watch the rain-delayed part of the game, but they didn’t cover enough of the field with the tarp and had to wait a few extra hours. Since security was pretty loose there while they tried to clean up after the storms, we took a few minutes and walked around the stadium. It's a really nice field and they were doing a pretty good job getting the drying agent down on the infield. We didn’t go back, but they only had one inning left.

Michigan softball is still going strong. They’re still in the winners’ bracket and are soon to start playing Tennessee tonight. They beat the best pitcher in college softball, Olympic softball gold-medalist Cat Osterman, and her Texas teammates, last night.

We thought we were through with the storms that have been plaguing us for a week and a half, but they’re still going strong. It stormed pretty good this morning, and it’s storming again now. We love storms, whether we’re inside or in a tent, and this is a nice treat for us.

ToothThe Chipster got a new tooth today; he’s up to 7! We'd begun to think that he might just grow up with 6 teeth. He is a southerner, after all... This tooth is his left lower lateral incisor, so now he has 3 on the bottom. It sure explains his grumpiness lately, which is good, because we were about to call the Gypsies. Guess he gets to stay for another day.

Since he's getting better and better at both crawling and standing, he's become very helpful around the apartment. For example, he likes to rearrange the closet:

Chip taking clothes out of his "closet"

unload the dishwasher:

Helping with the dishes

and fold the laundry:

Reaching for an item of clothing

Folding the shirt

Notice that he's only leaning on the dryer door maybe a little bit in that last photo, if at all. He's stood up on his own a few times this weekend. It seems like he's getting more and more confident. He's also persuading us to help him walk around. He's very clever in how he does it. We sort of suddenly find ourselves walking him around but never quite know how we got there.

The best thing he does now, though, is give us kisses. He kisses us when we smooch at him and ask, but he also does it voluntarily. He still smooches with his mouth wide open, but we like getting wet noses from him.

Postscript: We just want to point out that Richard Scarry was born on this date in 1919. Best illustrator ever!

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Happy Birthday, Aiden!

Aiden Christian

We have a new nephew, and Gabriel has a new cousin! Aiden Christian was born on 31 May, 2005 around 2:45 (or so) in the afternoon. He weighed in at just under seven pounds, a healthy baby boy. Tracey did wonderfully and had Jeremy and Gail at her side the entire time.

Having so recently been in this position ourselves, we know that this is a tough time for the three of them. We wish them well and are keeping them in our prayers. We can't wait to meet the newest little one and let Gabe get a look at his cousin, the only guy in the family younger than he is!

Celebration and Chip's Birthday Plans

We celebrated our contract on our new house by going out to our favorite restaurant, Baraonda for drinks and margherita pizzas. Matt had a white chocolate martini, and Patty had a Peroni in the bottle. It was fantastico! Gabriel ate his dinner, too, while we were there, and fell into a food coma shortly thereafter. Even in his sleep, he charmed the man sitting next to him.

We figured out what we're going to do for Chipdip's birthday party. We're going to have it on Sunday, 24 July. It's only two days after we start to move in, but since we're going to have movers do the big stuff, all we'll really have to do for the party is unpack the kitchen and decorate. We aren't sure about the theme, but we think it might be either trains (because he loves trains) or cowboys (because he's a country boy now!). We hope to buy a grill by then so we can grill hamburgers and hotdogs, and we'll have little snack bowls for the babies filled with veggie puffs. We'll put balloons on the mailbox and set up the kiddie pool in the back yard. Of course, the Angle Bar will be open for business, but then it never really closes. Besides the cake for Gabriel and the cake for everyone else and some favors for the guests which will remain secret for the time being, that's about it. We'll probably set the time for about 4:00 pm so that it won't interfere with naptimes for his friends and so we have more time to unpack and decorate that day. Mark your calendars!

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

It's Official!

Front of our new house

We are under contract for our new house. We didn't want to blog this until we were certain, but it's official. We will be closing on 20 July and moving in on 22 July. This is the most beautiful house. It's in perfect condition; we had to really look hard to find anything wrong with it, and all we found were a couple of barely noticable cracks and a broken retaining wall, which we'll fix in the fall when the tree next to it is dormant so we can trim its roots at the same time. The house is currently owned by its original owner, an architect/city planner, who changed the builders' plans to make it original and better-planned. When we walked through with our agent, who is incredible by the way and whose contact information we're happy to pass along should anyone be looking for a realtor in the Atlanta area, he kept remarking that the builders put in a lot of thoughtful details that most don't even consider. He used to work for a builder, so he noticed many thing that we wouldn't have noticed. He gave it an easy 95 out of 100 as far as all of the houses he's seen, taking off for the retaining wall most likely. When the realtor's amazed, you know you're onto something. We were also totally floored from the second we walked into the house, and as soon as we saw the magnolia tree in the front yard, we knew that it was a sign from above. Our dream of our southern house was to have a big porch and a magnolia tree in the yard. We've got both.

Anyway, it has 3 bedrooms and one of the most spacious kitchens we've ever seen. It's on between 3/4 and 1 acre of land, most of which is woods. The guest room is spacious, and the master bathroom is amazing. The jetted tub is in front of wall-to-ceiling windows looking into the woods. The top of the shower is open so that outside light gets in - it's a brilliant design. In fact, the kitchen/breakfast area bay windows and the family room windows are floor-to-ceiling and facing the woods, also. Because the house is on a cul-de-sac, we can't see our neighbors at all from the back deck. The landscaping is gorgeous, and there are many places we will be able to plant gardens and flowers. It's a perfect southern home out in horse country. It's also in Civil War territory, near a significant battlefield of the Atlanta campaign, Kennesaw Mountain. We wonder whether there might be some war artifacts on our property. It will be fun looking!

Gabriel is really going to love this place. He is finally getting his own room [which means that we're finally getting our own room!], and he will have the woods to explore and lots of places nearby where we can go to do fun stuff. Besides the Civil War stuff, there's a Six Flags, a water park owned by Six Flags, a great park (Oregon Park), and lots of fantastic hiking [not to mention that for us, there's some great upscale shopping and a really good farmers' fruit "stand" (little store)]. We can imagine him doing his homework at the kitchen counter while Dad reads the paper and Mom bakes bread. This house is perfect for all three of us.

Here are some more photos; all were taken from the listing realty company's web site:

Living room

Master bedroom
Master bedroom

Dining room
Dining room