Friday, December 2, 2005

Mommy Who?

Gabriel has forgotten all about his mommy and is having much more fun with his gramma this week. We're really glad that she's here, too. We're having a great time. We've been out to eat a couple of times, walking on the Silver Comet trail:

...cookie-baking, and to a MOMS Club meeting, and she's only been here for two days.

We dressed our little "grease monkey" (as his shirt says) like a greaser, using a Halloween box of Nerds instead of cigarettes, and he looked so cute.

Tomorrow, we are going to the Georgia Aquarium to see what all the hype's about. We're really excited about that, even though they don't have family memberships, which irks us, but that's a soapbox for another time...

XM Radio rules. We just got our Audiovox receiver yesterday, and we are obsessed with it. Our subscription comes with internet access, so Matt can listen at work, and we can also listen on the computer anywhere in the house (or anywhere with internet access, for that matter). The channels are great, the songs they play are interesting and not the same stuff you hear on the radio every day, and it displays the artist and song so you can actually get to know the music. There are all kinds of music (country and western, you say?!), as well as talk, news, local traffic and weather, comedy... plenty to keep even the most easily bored people (us) entertained for a very, very long time. We already have a few favorite channels, among them Fred, Lucy, and Ethel.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Playground Of Dreams

playground 1 We took Chip to the Playground of Dreams today. Even though it was chilly, and even though we didn't get out until almost dusk, it was a really nice day.

playground 2

playground 3

Friday, November 25, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. We are thankful for the family that's been there since we were born.
  2. We are thankful for the family we've created, and for the responsibility of raising Gabriel.
  3. We are thankful for our friends, old and new.
  4. We are thankful for our health.
  5. We are thankful for the fact that we no longer have to budget to buy milk.
  6. We are thankful for our beautiful new house and the country around us.
  7. We are thankful for Matt's great job.
  8. We are thankful for the great meal we had yesterday. Here are some photos:

Chip helped us pick out good potatoes to mash.

The little guy got a bath, a hair cut, and looked sharp for Thanksgiving dinner.

We had a great spread: turkey, corn, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, rolls, and Toasted Head Chardonnay.

The turkey was the best we've ever had. It was stuffed with aromatics like apple, onion, rosemary, sage, and cinnamon, and it was covered with a chardonnay-soaked cheesecloth while baking. It was so moist and tender that you can see where we pressed it with a fork.

The rolls were made from scratch and were delicious, too. It was a great meal, and will be great leftovers for the next month and a half!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

There Goes Another Hour Of Laura's Week

...a new series of The Bachelor starts after the holidays...

After a make-up tutoring session today, we went to the North Georgia outlet mall because Gabriel needed some things. He is now nicely stocked. He got three shirts, one of which is for next fall, a sweater, two or three pairs of pants, and two pairs of pajamas. We didn't get anything, but not for lack of choices. They just opened J Crew and Restoration Hardware outlet stores. It is now the best outlet mall anywhere and rivals Birch Run.

Here is Chip in some of his new PJs:

Friday, November 18, 2005


It's getting cold here in north Georgia. Yesterday was the coldest day yet, and that's the day Patty decided to take Gabriel to the top of a windy mountain. That's outside, folks. It turned out that poor Chip was underdressed, because it was colder on that side of the city than on our back deck, and we'd inexplicably put his warm vest in the coat closet where it belongs. There will be no Mother of the Year awards delivered to our front door.

Patty and Gabriel arranged a hiking date with one of the moms from the Dallas Mom's Club, Wendy, and her son Ty. They met up at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and attempted to summit the mountain with the children on their backs. It was supposed to happen first thing in the morning, but even though both adults are Yankees, neither wanted to go out in the cold, and it was postponed until later in the afternoon.

The trip up the mountain was pretty strenuous thanks mostly to the steepness of the trail. No, wait! It was the pack, Patty didn't have the pack adjusted correctly! Okay, so that's true - the pack wasn't adjusted very well, but the fact that Patty couldn't make it all the way up with Gabriel in the carrier was mostly due to the fact that none of us have been doing any physical labor these days. Chip did a good bit of hiking on his own but in the end he made the last part of the trip in Patty's arms because his hiking speed was less than... measurable.

Gabriel and Ty ran around a bit up at the top and then they all headed down. It was just too cold to be dilly-dallying around. After saying goodbye to his friend Ty, Gabriel and Patty went to pick up Matt from work.

Yesterday was also Moms' Night Out, sponsored by the Mom's Club. Patty headed out to Los Palmas to meet up for some child-free time with the other moms. Chip and Matt decided to have a Boy's Night In at home and had a lot of fun playing with Chip's toys after he finished taking a late-day nap. Patty had a really great time watching the suckers at the restaurant do some serious karaoke. She missed us and couldn't wait to get home. Since Moe's was closed, Patty stopped off at Starbucks to bring Matt a treat, which was really, really good. A good night was had by all.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sundays Rule

We had a great weekend - yesterday we relaxed, and today we went to church, cleaned, and had some fun.

We went to the Playground of Dreams yesterday, except we got lost and didn't get there until after the sun went down. Its main feature is like a gigantic wooden castle with all of the typical playground stuff (slides, monkey bars...) and then some (net ladders, chain steps, a rubber bridge...). It must have been good, because we stayed there for half an hour in the dark!

This evening, we went to Moe's for dinner and Starbucks for dessert. We decided to make at least Starbucks a Sunday ritual, because it's such a nice way to wind up the weekend and reward ourselves for straightening up the house. Also, we start the week relaxed and with a clean house, so it's perfect. Anyway, Chip made lots of friends everywhere we went, as usual, and we lucked out at Starbucks because they made a frappucino that someone didn't want, so they gave it to us. Score!

When we got home, we watched The Simpsons, Desperate Housewives, and a repeat of Extras that was so funny we've now seen it four times.

Here are a couple of photos from this evening, one with Mommy and one doing something he shouldn't (playing with the computer):

G and P Don't touch the computer

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Chip and the Giant Peach

Chip and the giant peach

We knew the last set of pictures would buy us a little time before we had to blog again, but now we’re stretching it. Actually, we’ve all been a little under the weather with various and not totally identifiable ailments - mostly colds and allergies - so we’ve needed all the rest we could get.

Last Saturday, we didn’t do much except tutor and go to a new church, where we all three made new friends. P invited the mommy and Gabriel’s new friend to MOMS Club, and they joined on Tuesday, but we’ll get to that. The church was tiny but very nice. It had beautiful chandeliers and an all-wood ceiling. The music was the kind we grew up with, and the cantor was a little shaky, unlike the professionals at the Cathedral, so we liked it a lot. The only problem was that the priest's microphone wasn't working, so we couldn't hear very much of the mass out in the cry area/narthex. Gabriel behaved really well, thanks to Cheerios, a book, and people-watching.

On Sunday, we did a lot of housework and earned an outing to the toy store and Starbucks. We got Chip a puzzle ("things that go in the air") and toy (a Winnie the Pooh airplane, of course) with his Halloween money, and we used our Starbucks gift certificate to relax and people-watch for a while. While we were there, Gabriel decided to age 18 years. Here he is with his coffee at work sweeping the store:

Starbucks sweep

On Tuesday, we had our MOMS Club new member breakfast at IHOP. There were probably over 20 babies there with their mommies, and we had a great time. Gabriel’s friend Ty made room for us so we could sit with them, and his new friend Christopher was there, too, and joined the club. Mommy ate chocolate chip pancakes for the first time at IHOP since she was a kid, and it was a special treat. Later that day, we went to a new park called Laurel Park and had a great time before we picked up Daddy from work.

Fast-forward to today. We went to the members-only preview of the expanded High Museum, and it was fantastic. We got to see the Andrew Wyeth exhibition, the relatively small African art section (briefly, until Chip tried to climb onto a throne), "Balzac Petanque", aka "Peaches and Pears" (by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, who did that crazy flag thing in Central Park among other, er, interesting things), and the Renzo Piano (he designed the new section of the High and is an amazing architect) architecture exhibit. We also listened to a great jazz band, where we waxed jazzy with an ivy league jazz professor. Gabriel played (who are we kidding, we all played) in the awesome new family art center, which is like a giant playground of art, where kids can draw with markers on glass while looking at their subject on the stool on the other side of the glass (see the photo of him drawing a "peaches and pears" still life, below - those things were everywhere!), build forts out of architectural pieces, dress like their favorite character in a painting, play with puppets, and create magnetic art on a metal wall. They can also build the High Museum from small blocks, and they can read books. We could have spent all day in that one room, but we moved on to a family workshop, where we all three pitched in to create a folk art angel, which is our first Christmas decoration this year. We had a great time. Oh, and we brought Flying Biscuit home for dinner. Woohoo! Here are a few photos from the museum:

the master at work

artwork fini

a peach, a pear, and a noodle

Friday, November 4, 2005

The Old Gang

[Thanks, Diana, for the title] The little rascals got together again today at Jake's house, along with a new friend, Sophia. Gabriel gave his buddies kisses, and they all played very well together. Jonah and Chip seemed to have a conversation (although we'll be darned if we could tell you what they said), and they all three used the slide at the same time: one going up, one going down, and one sitting in the middle. Jake is very good at sharing his stuff with his friends.

After playgroup, we came home and made the hottest curry ever made. It nearly burned a hole right through the wok, and we're pretty sure that we will need to undergo gastric bypass surgery because of this, but it was darn worth it. If it weren't for the Thai jasmine rice and the beer, we would also need tongue transplants.

What we're watching right now: the first season of Lost, Extras, My Name Is Earl, How I Met Your Mother, No Reservations, Kitchen Confidential (both of which are Tony Bourdain joints), and Everybody Hates Chris. For Patty, add Trading Spouses, Wife Swap, My Fair Brady, America's Next Top Model, and the View. She's getting stupider by the minute.

What Chip's up to: He's finally getting the hang of sign language. He knows more (which also means "no more" and "eat" to him), the sign of the cross, bird, dog, plane, and he knows where his toes, feet, belly, belly button, and nose are. We're working on "thank you" next. "More" and "bird" are the only ones we've taught him; the others he's just picked up or invented.

He is also good at following directions. He will throw away things when we ask him to and turn off the lamp on Daddy's nightstand, and he turns on and off wall switches when we ask him to and also opens and closes the garage door even though there are two other switches next to that one. He sits down on the bottom step when it's time to put on his shoes, and he always brings us matching shoes for us or for him, depending on who needs the shoes. It's getting hard to keep track of everything!

May The Force Be With You

Sorry it's been so long, but we've been so busy doing Halloween stuff that we haven't had much time on the computer. It would have been impossible to pack more into this Halloween. We had a party at a retirement community, went to a fair, went on a night hike, and trick-or-treated. We're all Halloweened out! Here are some photos from our week, and the rest are at Shutterfly. It's password protected; please contact us for the password.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Party Time!

We had a great time at the Halloween party today with the MOMS Club. It was at The Legacy of Dallas, an active retirement community. Yoda spent the entire time walking from place to place, and he began by leading all the kids to the fountain, where they all splashed and made slipping hazards all over the floor.

Laura and Daniel left on Wednesday, ending almost a week of lots of fun. Gabriel adores his Aunt Laura and can't wait to see her again. Some of the highlights were going to the park after church on Sunday, where Chip and Laura threw dirt at each other and the Chipster pointed out dogs to Daddy, and just hanging out at the house. We grownups had a great dinner on Saturday night at Imperial Fez, although we had to take out a second mortgage on the house to pay for it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Costume Crazy

We got it! By the time we got around to buying Chip's Halloween costume, it was sold out on every web site we could find (and we couldn't find it in any real stores, either). So we did what every other 21st-century consumer does: we went to eBay. We lost two auctions for it. One of those went from our $30 bid to $67, and the other went from our $36 bid to $76. Someone wanted to pay almost $80 for a costume! We were prepared to cut holes in a sheet for our little ghost, if sheets weren't so darned expensive.

Anyway, while we were watching those losing auctions, we continued to watch the e-stores and found one that restocked their costumes in Gabriel's size, so we bought one. Now, they've sold out again and the auctions are heating back up. One is currently at $66 and rising with just over half an hour to go.

We got our housewarming/anniversary present from Mom and Dad K today. Isn't it beautiful?!

You can see in the first photo in this post that we've been to the pumpkin patch. We went to Burt's Farm and couldn't believe how many people were there! You can see below just about half of the crowd. We stocked up on pumpkins and gourds of all sizes and have them all over the house and porches. It feels like autumn now. Here are some photos from our trip. Can you find Matt and the Chipster in the first one?

Since the mornings are beginning to get a little chilly, we figured that we should have the chimney cleaned. The next day, Tuesday, we had our first fire in our new home. Here's a picture:

And one more thing... it was Katie's birthday on the 9th of October, and although we thought about it for weeks ahead of time and many times since, we didn't call her or even send a card. BAD COUSINS!!!!! But Belated Happy Birthday, Katie, and just think - my dad got his birthday present a couple weeks ago, and his birthday was in August. That means that if you get a card before Christmas, you're way ahead of the game. Ha!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Boatload of Sushi

We just went out to Taki Japanese Steakhouse for sushi to celebrate Matt's recognition and bonus for work well done (as usual). To make it special, we got the "Love Boat for two", which was a chef's selection and included octopus (yes, that includes the suckers on the tentacles and they're chewy), various nigiri, some California rolls, some crab with a lemon wedge, and some beautiful large hunks of salmon, tuna, and yellowtail on the side. It actually came in a giant boat. We also went through a 300 mL bottle of cold sake, soup, salad, and a beef tataki (that's raw beef) appetizer. It was definitely one of our meal highlights of the year. As a reward for finishing the entire boat and Patty having room to spare in her bottomless pit of a stomach, our waiter brought us each rainbow sherbet on the house. We were in sushi heaven. Here is evidence of our sinking of the sushi Titanic:


Probably the most exciting one second of our life... or this season, anyway.

Climb Every Mountain

Gabriel took his mommy to Kennesaw Mountain today. We took the bus to the upper parking lot, and Gabriel climbed all the way to the summit from there. He ate lunch, and then we started back down to the parking lot, where we caught the bus back down. [That's the city of Atlanta at the horizon behind us, by the way.] We had a great time!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Attached At The Hip

Gabriel seems to be attached at the hip to his mommy. Here's evidence. Today's other photo is of the ring we made from the amethyst Chip got at the pumpkin patch:

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Super-Fun Day

Yesterday, Gabriel had a fun, full day. We started by driving Daddy to work and coming home for a nap. We got up to join some of the other moms and babies - about 10 moms and 12 kids - from MOMS Club at Sweetwater Pumpkin Patch, took Daddy for his haircut, went home for another nap (Mommy too!), picked Daddy up from work, and went to the Atlanta Botanical Garden to see the scarecrows.

They had a great program set up for us at the pumpkin patch. The kids stuffed a scarecrow (while Gabriel and a girl his age played on a baby-sized playset), then we all went for a hayride to the pumpkin patch. When we got there, Gabriel got to pick out a little pumpkin. After he made his choice, he wandered off for a minute and came back with his pants around his ankles - he's very good at wriggling out of his overalls. Everyone thought it was hilarious, and a bunch of people took pictures. We walked over to see the goats, pigs, and rabbit. Gabriel fed the goats and laughed when they licked his hand. After we fed the animals, we walked back and played ball until it was our turn to mine for gemstones. We found an amethyst, a Mexican lace agate, and a crazy lace agate. Finally, we went for a hike. On the hike, we saw beaver dams, beaver slides, and tree damage from beavers. As we neared a bend, Gabriel pointed and there was a teepee. Chief Pumskin left a note that we was out hunting and that he left us arrowheads, so Gabriel got to bring home an arrowhead, along with his pumpkin and gemstones. It was lots of fun.

At the Botanical Garden, we had a lot of fun, because there was a great bluegrass band (with some PG-13 lyrics), and a lot of really neat scarecrows, including one from one of our favorite Georgian artists, Howard Finster, apparantly the day before he died.

An aside: up until about 2 1/2 minutes ago, we thought that Finster was an odd choice for us to be such big fans. We'd only ever seen a small exhibition (recently expanded) at the High Museum and one original piece that Patty tried unsuccessfully to buy at a thrift shop. As we Googled his name, we found that Michael Stipe and David Byrne, two of the musicians we admire most, are also big fans. We're not sure how David Byrne found out about him, but Michael Stipe's a Georgian, so that's not too surprising. Anyway, this guy is fascinating (and reminds Patty of her great-grandpa). Check out his home page.

All of the pictures from our super happy fun day can be found here.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Smarty Pants

Crawling through tube at playground At playground

After work, we took Chip to Ben Hill Strickland Park. These two photos were taken as he crawled through a tube. He enjoyed the slide for the first time - previously, he hasn't enjoyed slides too much. Although there was some graffiti there, as you can see in the photos, it is a very nice park that has two playgrounds and a lake with walking paths around it.

"More" During dinner, he signed for more food. We've been trying to teach him this one for about 8 months now, so it's good that he's finally using it. It's his first really useful sign, but he also has signs for dog (any animal, actually), trees, and airplanes. Mostly, he just points. :-)

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Back On The Trail

On the Silver Comet Trail We finally checked out the Silver Comet Trail today. We parked at the Florence Road trailhead and went as far to the west as Paulding County - over 2.5 miles round-trip (it's possible we walked some of it). In the photo above, we are standing near the first foot of trail, which was completed on 9 July 1998. Sleeping jogger

It was a great jog, and the weather was perfect for it. Today was the first day that it was cool enough, and we almost had to bundle up! It seems that Georgia has missed the in-between weather. It went from the 80s to the 60s literally overnight. Anyway, the weather was comfortable enough for Gabriel, who fell asleep - when else? - in the last couple minutes of the jog.

Since Chip was asleep, we took the opportunity to sit on a bench and enjoy the fresh fall air. When he woke up, we went to Moe's, Starbucks, and Home Depot and didn't get home until a few hours later.