Saturday, April 9, 2005

A Weekend Outdoors

Matty at FDR

We spent the day hiking, as we almost always do once a week, but let's first cover the days leading up to today.

ToothOn Wednesday, Gabriel got his 6th tooth. It is the top leftmost incisor, and it was apparently quite painful the night before it came in. Once it broke through, we had a happy little guy on our hands once again.

Friday morning, we had an e-mail from Jack waiting for us. He didn't really say anything except that he hasn't had time to call and that he's sent something. We can't wait to find out what it is... in three months when it eventually gets here! It's good to know that he's fine, just busy.

We taped the Holy Father's funeral, and we haven't watched it all yet, but it was neat to see our archbishop doing commentary for CNN. That makes twice in two days we saw him on TV... make that 3 - we'll explain. Since Gabriel was having some trouble napping and finally got to sleep just as we were about to leave for church on Thursday, we took advantage of the fact that our NBC affiliate was showing the memorial mass online. It was definitely a first for us to watch church on the computer, but it was better than missing the mass altogether.

Anyhow, Archbishop Gregory had to leave town right after mass to fly to New York to prepare to do the commentary for CNN Friday morning. We thought that he did a great job. How cool was it to see someone whom we know (and who, by the way, thinks Gabriel is a cool little kid) as CNN's expert?!

Later, we saw him again on Conan O'Brien. They did a fake commercial for a show called "House of Cards," in which the top Cardinals in the race for Pope live together and get voted off one by one until only one remains. That one is elected Pope. It's the modern version of the conclave - it was hilarious. In the beginning of the "commercial," they showed old footage of a meeting of either bishops or cardinals, and Archbishop Gregory was standing among them.

Gabriel has been crawling lately. Or creeping might be a better name for it. Anyhow, he's mobile. Now, in addition to running - yes, running! - around in his walker and taking things out of drawers and off of shelves, he is now a double threat because if we put him on the floor in the living room, there's no guarantee he'll be there when we get back.

Yesterday, we had a wonderful time doing lots of fun stuff. We started out by walking up to the Dogwood Festival during business hours, so it wouldn't be too crowded to get around with our stroller. We saw some cool booths, like those of Sarah Stanton Designs from Ann Arbor, and Marie Gruber, who was very nice. Puffs had a strong presence there, with their free samples everywhere, "nose slide" (slide out the nose like a, well, you know), and nose Segway, which was a Segway transporter with a giant nose on the front. That one caught us by surprise - we looked up, and there was a big nose zooming right at us. We had to jump out of its way! We were eager to see the dog frisbee contest, but it hadn't started yet. Maybe we'll see some of it tomorrow.

We went from the festival to the High Museum to see the Romare Bearden exhibit. It was amazing. Not being big fans of collage previously, we were really impressed by this exhibition. We will definitely be heading back there while it's there to see it again. The museum always has audio tours of the special exhibits, and this one featured Branford Marsalis and commentary by Denyse Graves, whom we are not used to hear speaking but even sounds beautiful reading a script. We met a woman who was there with her nephew, Elliott Thomas. She takes care of him while her sister and brother-in-law work and is supposed to be writing her thesis in the evenings (she's quickly learned how tiring childcare is). We were thinking that maybe Laura would like to quit nursing for a while...

Just as we were leaving the museum and about to cross the street, a computer fell from the sky, landed at our feet, and broke into pieces. While Patty was pretty confused about what had happened and couldn't actually identify the silver mess as a computer, Matt had actually seen it fall off the roof of a company van. We gathered the pieces, carried them up the street to the driver who had pulled over and was walking back, expressed our sorrow for his loss, and handed him the pieces. He tried to grab the laptop, but we had to explain that it was no longer in one piece and that he had to use both hands. He didn't seem upset about it; it must have been a company computer.

When we got back to the apartment, we had just a little while to get ready for dinner, because we were going to meet Steve and Kelly at Panahar, a Bangladeshi restaurant. Patty finished baking the baguette she'd begun earlier in the day, and it turned out pretty well, especially since there was no baguette recipe used, only an adaptation of the bread recipe we've been using. As we were getting ready to go, Gabriel was playing in the living room with his train and blocks when Matt noticed what he thought was green beans from breakfast all over Chip's train and hands. On closer inspection, he realized that they were green beans but had been processed, if you catch our drift. It had come out the side of the diaper, went onto the quilt, all over arms, hands, a pillow, blocks, and heavily covered the train, so much so that we had to give up trying to clean it until we could spend a good hour or so on it. It was one of those moments when you have to remember that your baby is precious and nothing that comes from that little angel can be gross. Otherwise, we'd have both been throwing up within seconds of seeing the mess.

M&G at Panahar

We managed to get out of the apartment and to the restaurant on time. Our reservations were under Sean Combs. If you don't know who that is, try this link. The woman who took the reservation seemed a little surprised by the name, but the owner of the restaurant thought pronounced it "Sheena Combs," so he's obviously not up on American culture. Double surprise because Sean Combs lives here in Atlanta. Anyway, this guy was such a salesman that as we ordered, he continually suggested more items and sold each item on the menu. We're sure we ordered twice as much as we would have otherwise. After ordering, we all felt exhausted. Matt and Kelly went to buy beer, because it was a B.Y.O.B. establishment. The owner described it as a cost-saving measure for the customer, as opposed to an inability to obtain a liquor license. Pretty funny. We were there to celebrate Patty's birthday, so the owner gave each of us couples a coupon for 25% off our entire check Sunday-Thursday with no expiration. And it's transferable, so we can lend it to our friends so they can experience the place. He also gave each of us couples a dessert of mango sorbet with pistachios on top. It was very good, and not something we would have ordinarily ordered. Gabriel played with the toys on his high chair cover the whole time and ate some bananas when we ate dinner, and he fell asleep in Matt's arms of course a few seconds before we left.

The Bread Bible

Steve and Kelly gave Patty two completely beautiful books: the Best Ever Curry Cookbook and The Bread Bible, which her mom swears by. Her mom runs a bed and breakfast called the Inn at Meander and offers cooking classes there. She's a food expert, so Kelly knew that as a new breadmaker, Patty had to have this book. We had a lot of fun with them yesterday, and that was the best present of all.

Finally, on to today! Today, we went to F. D. Roosevelt State Park, one of our favorite places in all of Georgia. We did the Dowdell Knob Loop, which we've circled in yellow in the link. Dowdell Knob is the place where FDR used to picnic often. He had a grill built there, and it still stands, although it's been filled in with concrete to preserve it.

Diaper change at Dowdell's Knob

It's probably the most scenic place we've ever done a diaper change! You can see FDR's grill at the right side of the photo.

Our little hiker

We finished our 4.3 mile hike in about an hour and a half, and of course, Gabriel fell asleep in the last 100 yards of the hike. He was a tired little hiker. We ended up driving about 3 hours to hike less than 2, but it was very much worth it.

That was a pretty tough hike, so we thought that we deserved some gelato. We went to J Ripples and got there just in time before they closed, although after they closed and we were leaving, a couple of groups of people went in and were served anyway. They're nice like that. We learned that they will be closing on Wednesday, so we will probably try to go every day until then!

Wednesday is also the day that we'll be leaving for 6 days in Manassas. We plan on going to Ikea, which we just learned is only about 7 miles from Dad's and Gail's house. We also have tickets for the Washington Nationals' second ever home game on Saturday night, and Tracey's baby shower is going to be on Sunday after the March of Dimes walk, in which we plan on participating. We also plan to get to the Mall (the National Mall, that is, not a shopping mall) and especially to see the new WWII memorial. We are going to have a great time, and we think they're going to be surprised to see how much Gabriel has grown!

The dinner last night, the baseball tickets, all of the time we've been spending outdoors - it's all for the same reason. Patty is going to be turning 30 in the next week, and she is having a personal crisis about it. We're trying to do everything we can to make this week a fun one, and so far, it's working! We will see what happens this Friday, when she is no longer in her 20's, but there may be a meltdown. The doctor may order a fifth of gin and a temporary end to breastfeeding, but perhaps there is a small chance that the transition will go smoothly.

Don't count on it!

Here are four virtual albums of photos that Snapfish just put online for us. They are from Camp Lejeune, St. Pete's Beach, a hike at Stone Mountain, Gabriel's 8 month birthday, and a couple photos of him standing in his playpen. There are some good shots of Alan Trammell getting thrown out of the game and of Kirk Gibson (of all people!) being the peacemaker between him and the umpires. There are also some rare photos of Grandma and Grandpa Kranz, and a few of Gabriel playing the organ. The organ photos go with the audioblog that we posted while we were there.