Wednesday, July 20, 2005

All Clear

Photos are up, along with a couple of small textual changes in the birthday post. Enjoy!

Programming Note

The following two posts have been posted without pictures. We've been trying for 2 days to upload photos, but we haven't been successful. We will post the photos when we can and will post a note when we do so.

Happy Birthday to Our Big Boy!

One year ago today, our lives changed in a big way. In a 7 pound, 10 1/2 ounce way, more precisely. At 6:43 pm, in a big comfortable birthing room at Piedmont Hospital, Gabriel Luke Angle made his appearance. The labor was fine at the beginning, but pitocin is a terrible, terrible thing, and after the epidural, we played some Boggle, watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and chit-chatted. Of course, it was difficult to talk through the oxygen mask, but they decided that Patty might stop shaking uncontrollably if she had the oxygen. The pushing was really easy, which was obvious from the way the two of us and the nurse only paused in our chat during pushes and continued the sentence after the push, and Gabriel entered the world like a champ.

The first thing we noticed about Chipdip was how tall and skinny he was. He seemed like a giant spider sprawled across his mommy’s belly, and he had a hard time keeping his legs and arms in close to his body, since he’d never had the room to spread out before. It was the most amazing thing. And even though we’d watched every baby show ever made, it was still really scary that he didn’t breathe right away. It’s impossible to see a human being who doesn’t need to breathe, and not be freaked out.

The second thing we noticed was that he looked African-American! His skin color, his hair, the shape of his cute little nose... nothing except his blue eyes looked white. Of course, he’s grown into just about the whitest kid we know, but for a while there we wondered whether someone had switched him in utero!

The third thing we noticed, and the thing that everyone else noticed for a good month, was that he was born with frosted tips in his hair! He had curly sandy blond hair with white tips, and it looked just like Matt’s hair used to look when he paid to have the same thing done.

He’s been a perfect kid in every way, but he’s becoming challenging because he is so headstrong. He definitely takes after his mother in that respect. We think that he is going to be a success in whatever he is inspired to become, because of his determination. We hear that personalities don’t really change. He’s also the loudest kid on the block. As long as they’re happy sounds, we think he’s pretty funny and a lot of fun. He has a lot to say, and we think that’s pretty cool.

His birthday celebration began today when Uncle Jack called from Iraq to talk to the big boy. Of course, he decided then to become uncharacteristically quiet, but they got to chat a little bit.

The kid and the kid

Later, Mommy took the one-year-old to Zoo Atlanta. We had to wait for about 45 minutes in the car until the rain stopped, but we made good use of the time by eating, Mommy reading and doing makeup, and Chip exploring life in the front seat. We went to the petting zoo, where he played with the goats, particularly one white kid. On the way into the enclosure, we looked down and there was an alligator at our feet, on the other side of a fence. That was a surprise!

G rides a wooden horse

After we played with the goats, Gabriel got to play on a wooden horse. He loved it, which boded well for the chance he'd like his birthday present...

There weren’t many other people at the zoo because of the rain, but one of the other families was there with their son who turned one today, too. Gabriel liked watching the potbellied pig and sheep, and he noticed the golden tamarinds and gorillas. We went to see the pregnant panda, but she has been taken off display so that she doesn’t get disturbed. Gabriel got a t-shirt as a souvenir of his first birthday celebration (part 1 - the big party is in a couple of weeks).

Facing forward!

After we left the zoo, we stopped at home for a snack and turned around his car seat. Now he gets to face front, and he loves it! He loves being able to be a part of the conversation, and we’re happy to be able to see him better. It's also great for us, because for the first time in his life, we don't have to climb up into the back seat to put him in his car seat. It's a huge luxury!

G & Jennifer

We also stopped by the office at our apartment complex so Gabriel could play with his grown-up friends there. In this picture, he's playing with Jennifer, who walked him around and gave him birthday kisses.

G sees his present

G opens present from Grammie and Grandpa

We came home and gave him his present - a rocking horse, and to open a couple of gifts from his Grammie and Grandpa. He got some clothes and a really funny toy called Goofy Giggles. It’s a toy that our friends have and that we think is hilarious. It makes funny noises and moves around on the floor like crazy. It can be controlled remotely or by Gabriel. He loves it, too. He loves his horse and even wanted to ride on it tonight. It still may take some time before he tries to climb up onto it, but as long as we’re holding him, he reaches out for it.

We tried to make him a cake, but Alton Brown failed us for the first time. The recipe called for a greased pan, but that wasn’t enough and the cakes fell apart. We baked a second batch and will hope that greasing and flouring the pans will result in them staying together. We’ll find out tomorrow when we take them out of the pans and frost them.

We had a great day today, and we think that Chip did, too. We can’t believe that he’s one already, because we’re just starting to get used to the whole parenting thing. He’s really made our lives fuller and happier, and we’re really grateful that God entrusted him to us.

Monday, July 18, 2005

At Least He Can Hold His Own Bottle...

Chocolate drinker

We found the Chipster in the kitchen today drinking out of a bottle. That doesn't sound too bad, until you look more closely and realize that it was a bottle of (homemade - yum!) chocolate syrup! There can only be one person to blame, and a certain person who is probably flying a helicopter over the Washington Monument right now knows who he is...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A Magical Boy

Gabriel Potter

Today was the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, if you haven’t heard. It’s not big news, we know, and hardly anyone will be reading the book. People have been reserving the book since the beginning of the year, and we just walked in and bought it on our way to Starbucks this morning. They even gave Gabriel some glasses to celebrate the occasion! Shortly after this photo was taken, Cheerios started floating across the room and his stuffed animals came to life...

Feeding Mommy

Today isn’t the first day he’s exibited special powers, however. Three days ago, he took Mommy’s fork while she was eating rice and fed her rice with it! He actually stabbed the rice with the fork and put it in her mouth accurately. He’s also been feeding us Cheerios and whatever else he can get in (or on) his hands.

He has been getting into our water bottle/food storage container cabinet in the kitchen for some time now, but instead of throwing everything out onto the floor, he is now starting to actually investigate its contents. Today, he tried to fit a circular lid on a rectangular container:

Wrong lid

Then he looked around in the cabinet and found the right lid, even though the lids and bottoms weren’t even together in the cabinet in first place:

Right lid

After finding the right lid, he decided to experiment with two lids. He wanted to see which one should go on top:

Two-lid experiment

In other news... The more we pack, the more there is to do. There are boxes everywhere, but still there are pictures on the wall and our cabinets are full of dishes and food. We hope that unpacking is easier than packing, but we won’t hold our breath. At least we’re official with the house; we were formally approved for our mortgage yesterday and we are relieved, to say the least. Now there is the matter of correcting the wrong credit score that they used to calculate our terms. We can’t believe how much work we’ve had to do to get this house. It’s especially remarkable, since we really think we were meant to be in that house. Shouldn’t things that were “meant to be” be easy?

We’ve gotten our proofs back from our photo shoot with Linda Wan, who also photographed our wedding. We think that they are absolutely beautiful. The intent of the photo shoot was to capture us as a family in our first home (in Ann Arbor). We think they do just that, and we can’t wait to see the actual photos. Here are the proof sheets:

Proof Sheet 1

Proof Sheet 2

Proof Sheet 3

Proof Sheet 4

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Weather's Cuban, Try the Food

We got to go to the grand opening of a Barnes & Noble yesterday, because our friend Kris invited us. She works there and was the photographer for the night's festivities. It's in a really nice new shopping plaza called the Edgewood Shopping District with a Target and all the other categories of stores that you usually see - grocery, computer, pets, linens, etc. Everything is brick, and it melds into the industrial area there very well. We sat down for some Cheesecake Factory cheesecake and espresso in the cafe and also had cookies and a scone from folks walking around the bookstore with platters. Gabriel played with a train set in the children's section, and we found an awesome pop-up book about dinosaurs. It even has a tab you can pull that makes the dinosaur tear the flesh off of a victim! How cool is that?!

If one is so inclined, a prayer or two for the successful closing of our new house would be appreciated. Not only by us, but by the guy who needs to sell it so he can move into his new house, the agents who will be getting commission, the mortgage brokers, the movers, and whomever will be putting a roof over our homeless heads if this doesn't close next Friday. But mostly us, ha ha. We trust that all will go smoothly, especially since we feel that it is Providence that brought us to that house, but we can't help but be a little nervous anyway.

We also trust that our pork loin hasn't spoiled in the fridge, because we're going to barbeque it tonight. Not that Patty will be hungry any time soon - she and Gabriel walked over to Papi's for some Cuban food for lunch. It's about a mile walk, so it was fun to get out. As soon as they stepped out the door, it started pouring, so they came back in for about 5 minutes until the rain passed, and the rest of the day has been beautiful. Anyway, lunch was pan con bistec, which is a pressed sandwich of steak, potatoes, onions, and swiss cheese on Cuban bread, and maduros, which are fried plantains. All had a healthy half-bottle of salsa verde poured all over. The bread was soaked. Yum. After lunch, the duo sat outside and watched traffic go by as Mommy drank a Cuban coffee, which is like 6 ounces of espresso with a good tablespoon or two of granulated sugar at the bottom. No wonder they put a stirrer in the cup - the sugar was a surprise at the end! Check out Papi's's (?) web site. It's a really good site, which is a surprise since the place is so tiny. The story behind the restaurant is really, really interesting.

Next door, there is a resale shop called The Lucky Exchange that we've never visited, so a visit was in order. There was a great bowling shirt (stitched with the name Curtis) for Matt, but at $20, there wouldn't be enough use for it. There was also a Betsey Johnson dress, which Patty spotted from across the room practically, but alas, it was size small. The medium Karen Miller dress didn't look quite right, either, but it was a fun shopping trip anyway.

Gabriel sent out his birthday invitations this morning, so if you have planned to be at the party, you will get one in a couple of days. We also sent some to a few people just as souvenirs, like his Great-Grandparents and Uncle Jack. They turned out really great, and we are super happy with the way our printer worked printing envelopes last night. It's an HP PSC 1600, and we love it. It scans, copies, and prints, and the only thing we haven't been able to figure out is how to copy or print in black and white, even if the original is in color. For example, our Mapquest map doesn't have to have the color logo for us to get where we're going. So we still have some kinks to work out, but that's what the manual is for.

We're starting to wonder when these hurricanes will take a break. It's supposed to keep raining for the next week! Gosh! It's making it really hard for us to find dry boxes in the recycling area. We might even have to buy some...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Dennis Has a Go at Atlanta

Gabriel doesn't like hats

We've been trying to get this blog online for over 2 days now, and the internet powers that be have finally allowed us to do so. Sorry for the delay, and please enjoy!

A lot of our time lately has been spent packing. It’s been pretty easy so far, since we’ve been forced to keep everything organized in our little apartment. We’ve packed more books than clothes, which sounds about right to us.

Jake, Gabriel, Zoe, and Jonah in the pool at Zoe's birthday party

Zoe’s birthday party was Saturday. Of Gabriel and his three closest friends, he’s the last to turn 1. We had a great time at Zoe’s house, and the babies all got to go for a swim. As usual, Gabriel had nervous Mommy right next to him. They had fantastic food - the best was the proscuitto-wrapped melon. Bill, Zoe’s daddy, makes a great sangria! And Patty wondered why she needed a nap that afternoon...

We tried Dad’s and Gail’s recipe for barbeque pork loin yesterday, with a twist. Marinating the pork in Wasabiyaki gives it a slight kick. Even Gabriel liked it. We’re trying to introduce him to more and more grown-up foods. Besides the pork, he ate pasta with sweet potato and mozzarella. We’re almost regretting introducing him to toasted oats/Cheerios. There are days when he eats little else. There are also meals in which he eats more than us, particularly at breakfast. He eats healthier than we do, though, so he is just fine.

Cindy’s left, but Dennis is here. He’s dumping lots of rain on Atlanta, which is keeping the temperature down a little, but it’s also keeping us from visiting the park and the botanical garden. It didn’t keep us from the barbeque grill, at least.

As for Gabriel, well, he’s learned to say “dog” and “truck.” They sound a lot alike, but if there’s doubt, sometimes he pants instead of saying “dog.” He’s also obsessed with lights and the windows at the cathedral (they are quite brilliant when the light shines through them). He’s getting more and more vocal, and he’s keeping us laughing with his “commentary.” He doesn’t understand the concept of an indoor voice yet, so he draws a lot of attention to himself, which is oh-so-fun in church just before communion when everyone is silent. At least they’re happy sounds, for the most part!

We just watched The Incredibles yesterday. It’s a great movie, but there are definitely some things in there that parents might not want their kids to watch, like a guy suing someone for saving his life when he jumped off a roof, and stuff like that. We thought it was hilarious and really graphically interesting. There were a lot of references in the movie to other things, like Jason Lee’s character in Mall Rats, for instance, and two of the original ten Disney animators who voiced their own characters and talked about how it was done "old-school." Bonus points for having a character modeled on Edith Head, Patty’s all-time favorite behind-the-scenes movie industry employee (unless of course you count directors, in which case Alfred Hitchcock gets the title). Also more points for having Wallace Shawn do the voice of Bob Parr’s boss. He played the bad guy, Vizzini, in The Princess Bride, as well as Rex in the Toy Story movies. We were pleasantly surprised that Violet was voiced by Sarah Vowell, from National Public Radio. We give it a solid 59 out of 64 on our movie scale.

Gabriel and Daddy playing catch

Today was a pretty busy day to start the week. Dennis made the drive into work very interesting for Matt, with lots and lots of rain and some pretty wicked wind (nothing horrible, like tropical, but bad for this area). When Matt drove over the river on I-75, he noticed it was really, really high, probably the highest he’s ever seen it. Gabriel and Patty got up and had some breakfast, which included a bowl of cereal for the Chipmeister. Well, sort of. He had some Cheerios and some milk, mostly just a spoonful of Cheerios and then a spoonful of milk. He doesn’t have the finer points of cereal eating down quite yet, but if he’s a true Angle (and we know he is), it won’t be long.

Patty took the little one out to run some errands, including getting a few things straightened out with our new phones. The old number that everyone has works and Patty found out a few things about her new handset. Beware: her caller ID works again, so if you call and she doesn’t answer, well....

CVS sells disposable digital video cameras now, so we're sending one to Jack in Iraq. We can't wait to see what he sends back on it!

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Cindy Strikes!

Gabriel standing

No, not Matt’s mom, but the tropical storm, which we think is probably not even a tropical depression any longer. Whatever the storm is being classified as it sure did bring a lot of rain to the Atlanta area. It was just overcast this morning as Matt drove into work, but as the day went on it got thicker and by the time the workday had ended, it was raining. But let’s back up....

Matt decided that even though his gorgeous bride seemed to be doing pretty well at home today that she might be able to use a good lunch to sustain her energy through the rest of the day. Matt had to go out to get something to eat anyway, so it wasn’t much of a decision. It was off to gather a to-go order at Noodle, our favorite noodle house here in Midtown. Of course Matt didn’t tell Patty that he was coming, so lunch was a double surprise. Lunch was really tasty and it hit the spot in a big way. They hadn’t eaten there in a quite a while, so it was a nice change.

Gabriel and Mommy popping bubble wrap

Gabriel popping bubble wrap, close-up

After taking Matt back to work, Patty and Gabe came home to get some more packing done. Yes, we’ve started packing the non-essentials up and are making some small bits of progress. We’re determined to be ready when the movers arrive this time. The Chipster seems to be doing his best Gandhi impression, not wanting to eat or sleep very much. We think he probably snuck some calories in on us at dinner time (more on that later), but during the day his intake was way down. We can’t complain about the corresponding slow-down in his output, though. After pooping away most of the past couple days, Gabriel didn’t dirty too many diapers today. Our nostrils salute him.

Patty and Gabe came back up to Marietta to get Matt so they could take in some dinner before Matt’s 8:00 scheduled softball game. As luck would have it, the rain started to pick up and they went off to grab some sushi at their friend Clay’s favorite sushi joint, Hashiguchi. While the food was good (possibly very authentic, but how would we know?) and the service leaving a great deal to be desired, the eavesdropping there was great! The couple one table over from us was there on their first date through JDate, which is a Jewish internet dating service. Their conversation started out funny: the woman asking for spicy tuna rolls, except not really spicy but mild instead and made by a specific sushi chef. It only got better from there, culminating in the man telling his date that he had also been dating another woman for four months (!!) and the woman using some colorful language to describe why what he was doing was wrong. We thought that the woman was very close to getting up and walking out, which we would have applauded for several reasons, but some smooth talking by the guy saved the date, er, I mean day.

When we finally left the restuarant, it didn’t seem to be raining too hard so the Angles were worried that Matt would actually have to play softball. We drove out Lockheed only to find the lights off and only one player in the parking lot, who did confirm that the later games had been canceled. In celebration, ice cream was in order! After a trip to Baskin-Robbins, the three decided to finally head home.

Gabe continues to acquire more and more skills. He is now throwing things by holding them over his head. Sometimes they do go forward, sometimes they just come right down on his noggin. He’s geting really good at it, though, and we play catch with him now. We’re really impressed with his standing skills. He can now stand unsupported for quite a long time and when he’s ready he just crouches down and then sits. He doesn’t panic or get upset, and he doesn’t usually fall over. He’s really, really close to walking, and even took a step a couple of times tonight as he tried to prevent himself from falling forward while we were playing with him. He is amazing!

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

A Little Jog

Gabriel playing

We’ve had a great weekend, and now it’s back to the grind. Back to the grind, that is, with the exception of the packing. The countdown is on to the big move, and we are determined to be prepared for the movers, since we now know what kind of damage extra boxes and bubble wrap can do to our wallets.

Gabriel at Jake's birthday party

On Saturday, Gabriel took us to Jake’s birthday party. It was also Diana’s and Diana’s mom’s birthday party, so it was a big day at the Fleming household. We had a great time (Gabriel playing with aquaintance Mackenzie in photo), and the food was super fantastic because they had a great caterer.

Storm damage in Vi-Hi

We were surprised to see pretty severe storm damage in the Highlands, because it hadn't even rained at our apartment a scant two miles away the night before. The house across the street and over one from this one had just been sold, and those people have to be thanking their lucky stars because their house wasn't even touched. We were happy to see that it didn't look like there were probably any injuries from the tree in this photo, but those owners are probably not very happy anyway.

Dad drove overnight and tried to get himself on a daytime schedule at Chris and Yolanda’s on Saturday, but he ended up sleeping until our bedtime so we had to wait until Sunday to see him. On Sunday, we had some lunch at Ray’s, drove out to our new house to show Dad and test our new cell phones (he loved it and they worked great), went to church, had a quick carb-loading, and M and Dad went to pick up Gail just in time to meet her at baggage claim.

The Fourth of July is one of the biggest days of the year for us. It’s the day of the Peachtree Road Race, and this year was our third in a row. After running in extreme heat and even more extreme pregnancy in the past, this one was a breeze. In fact, Matt didn’t even train and did great. None of us got a PR this time, but we all had a blast. We added on a couple miles of walking because we went home and realized that Gail and Gabriel were at the park, so we had to go back. Thankfully, no one minded the mix-up.

Selina and Gabriel

After the race, we all went back to the apartment and took up every horizontal space with our sleeping bodies. We were a tired bunch. At around 3:00, we finally headed up to Chris and Yolanda’s for barbeque. Dad made his famous teriyaki pork, and we had pasta salad, beans, and turkey dogs. Yum! It rained, and we were having fun anyway, so we didn’t go watch any fireworks.

Today, P&G spent some time at Starbucks and Barnes & Noble, and Gabriel made lots of friends as usual. We had a great time, and Chip got a book called Planes. After work, we all went to Ikea, and no one vandalized our Jeep this time. We bought a few things for the kitchen and picked out a faucet for our new kitchen and possibly some new lighting.

The packing has begun. Over the weekend, we packed two boxes of books, and today Gabriel helped his Mommy pack all of our movies, four more boxes of books (we have a TON of books!), a box of framed photos, and another box of photo album stuff. We're trying very hard to be ready for the movers so we don't have to use any $8 boxes and so we can get them on their way as quickly as possible.

Saturday, July 2, 2005

Mall Rats

Not much to say about today (like you expected that, eh?) except that we spent it almost exclusively at the mall. Today was an off Friday for Matt, so Patty was able to get up on her own, without worrying about Gabriel and what he needed. After spending a little time starting her day off, the Chipster did require some breakfast so Patty took care of that in a way that only she can. He went right back to sleep after nursing, so Patty gently nudged Matt awake to let him know that she was going for a run. Five kilometers and one stop at Starbucks later, Patty was back with a coffee for herself and a hocho for Matt.

Pretty soon they were all off to the mall to do some looking and some actual purchasing. They didn't really expect to be there that long, but six hours later they were finally ready to leave. Patty had some new "walking around" shoes, Gabriel had some new shoes of his own as well as a World War I era plane mobile to put up in his new room, and the three of them had a lead on new cell phone service. Gabe did really well as his parents looked in (with very little exaggeration) every store at Lenox Mall. They returned their beloved meat thermometer, which had stopped working several weeks ago leaving the two cooks with little to judge meat doneness on besides a vague idea of what the meat is supposed to feel like. Williams Sonoma apparently gaurantees almost everything they sell for life. Patty and Matt had gotten the meat thermometer over a year and a half ago (as best they could figure) and W S took it back with no questions asked.

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the Angles detest Sprint PCS. Not only is their customer service questionable, but they don't seem to have coverage in the forthcoming new Angle abode. After doing some serious searching around, we decided on changing over to T-Mobile. Their coverage map indicates that our new house should be in the middle of the their highest coverage area, so we're keeping our fingers crossed. Either way, they aren't Sprint. After determining that T-Mobile had a family plan with two phones and a decent amount of minutes for less than they are paying for their Sprint "service", Patty and Matt had only one hurdle left to leap: getting out of their Sprint contract.

Under normal circumstances, we would have had to pay a $150 early termination fee if we wanted out of our Sprint contract. We figured that since we didn't have coverage in our new house, it wouldn't be a big deal. They told us that that was the one condition under which we could terminate whenever we wanted (not having coverage at home). The problem comes in that their coverage map shows our new house to be very well covered indeed. It took about an hour on the phone (in the heat outside of the T-Mobile store) to convince the fine shysters at Sprint that they might show coverage at our house, but we sure weren't getting any. And that's what having coverage is all about, being able to actually use it. Finally Matt was able to talk to a sympathetic ear (after being told that he should take the phone into a Sprint store near the new house because they'd know where the coverage holes were in that area) and they agreed to waive the fee. They even made it clear that we would be welcomed back to Sprint whenever we wanted. Can you say, "Yeah, right"? Now Patty and Matt each have a phone. We currently have temporary numbers, but one of the phones will have our old number on it as soon as we can determine that we really do have coverage in Dallas and the people at T-Mobile can "port" (that's an industry term, apparently) our old Sprint number over to our new phones. We really love the phones! Patty's has all sorts of bells and whistles while Matt's is a little more understated.

Matt's dad should be getting into town early on the morning of Saturday the second as race day is right around the corner. He'll probably take a couple of hours to sleep off the drive and then who knows what we'll do. Gabe seems to maybe be sick. He certainly has been a pooping machine lately, and we're not sure if his diarrhea is due to a new tooth that seems to be working its way in or from him being sick. Hopefully tomorrow will be better for him but right now he's none too happy about the state of things.