Sunday, March 20, 2005

Chattahoochee Nature Center

Gabriel in orange polo shirt 20Mar05

Gabriel wore his new polo shirt today. With his daddy in his dark blue polo shirt, they were quite a pair.

Sculpture at Chattahoochee Nature Center

Today we took Gabriel hiking for his birthday at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. We hadn't been there before, and we were surprised to find that they have owls and bald eagles there, as well as a beaver habitat, frog pond, and pitcher plant bog. There are several areas that recreate different Georgia ecosystems. We only had half an hour to hike around, so we went pretty quickly. It was a beautiful place, even though it was small. In the middle of the woods, we found the grave of a Civil War soldier and the remains of his family's home not too far away.

Gabriel feels the bark of a tree

Whenever we hike, we stop frequently so that Gabriel can feel tree bark and leaves, and we pick up sticks and other things that he can hold and examine. He had a great time looking around and exploring.

M, G, and ducks in tree

We decided after our hike that we wanted to just hang around outside somewhere for a while, so we went to Azalea Park (or Chattahoochee River Park, depending on where you look), just down the road. It's a place with a sheltered picnic area, a really nice jungle gym, and a boat launch, so there were a lot of families there. We sat and watched the ducks and birds for a while (Gabriel loves birds and water, so we could have sat there all day) and then walked around. Matt saw a coworker who had broken his leg snowboarding, so he was hobbling around while his wife took photos of the park. We took some pictures too; there were some interesting sights there. For example, we found some ducks in a tree. Some of them had climbed quite a steep branch to get to their perch - it was pretty amazing. You can see them in the photo. The crabapples, dogwoods, and weeping willows are in full bloom right now. The crabapples seem to be everywhere we go. Every spring, they become so full with white blossoms that we half expect to see one explode with them some day.

When we got back to the apartment after hiking, church, and the grocery store, Gabriel was ready to walk on his own. We put him in his walker, and he walked from the living room to the kitchen, to the bathroom, to the closet, to the bedroom, and back to the bathroom. We found him in there banging on the toilet having a good old time. It sent his mother into convulsions, but we realized that all of this exploring is an important part of his growth, and that he is quickly growing into a smart little boy.

8 Months Old

Gabriel at 8 months

Gabriel turned 8 months old yesterday. We made our traditional brownies and ran out of icing, so they just said "8". The weather wasn't too great, so we didn't take him out for a hike; we're going to do that today. We did buy him a new shirt, sleeper, and pants, but that was just because he needed them, not really for his birthday.

We watched Napolean Dynamite last night. On our movie scale of 1 to 64, we give it a 38. It was funny, but we would have found it funnier if our expectations hadn't been built up so much. Also, we had to watch much of it with subtitles, since Gabriel was sleeping. We don't recommend watching a comedy with subtitles.

We also finished City of God the night before last. That movie gets a solid 55. Despite getting off to a seemingly aimless start, it turned out to be a movie we will probably want to watch again. We weren't sure at the beginning that it was a true story, but the fact that it is makes it that much more powerful. It's disturbing, mostly because it's true; there are scenes that are not for the faint of heart. It sounds like a downer of a movie, but the central character tells a story of his life that is really worth watching.

One of our favorite TV shows is "Distraction", which is a game show on Comedy Central. The contestants have to answer questions while being, say, thrown around by professional wrestlers or having bottles broken over their heads. The winner has to face a round of questions where every wrong answer means the destruction of a prize. The "winner" last week lost all of her prizes. Every time she got one wrong, she had to push a plunger randomly wired to blow up a prize. She didn't even win the pudding. It's on every Tuesday at 10:30 pm. We recommend the "Appetite for Distraction" quiz game on their web site.

The NCAA basketball tournament just gets worse and worse. On the bright side, though, Patty is now in second place with her "Crunk Pix." We're happy for West Virginia, but they really messed us up. North Carolina, don't let us down!