Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today was the Second Annual Gatlin Family Turkey Trot. We dressed up the whole family in warm clothes and headed out for some exercise before stuffing our faces with turkey, dressing, and pie. We try to keep the excitement up with talking about the Turkey Trot days in advance and all Thursday morning. Whenever we saw someone on the run I screamed Gobble Gobble! (We weren't the only people out jogging - the military is a strange bunch exercising on Thanksgiving day) The kids ride bikes, K and I run while Lucy rides along in a jogging stroller. We toured the base, saw some airplanes, steam vents, ran a lap around the track while the kids played at the playground and it all resulted in a loop just shy of 3 miles.

By the time we got home Kristi and I had worked up a nice sweat while the kids were freezing. They ran inside to watch the Macy's Parade as Kristi and I did some post race stretches. Also pictured here is the not so frozen tundra. The Freedom Rink boards are mostly in place, now just waiting for some really cold weather. I wore Titan Blue to show my support as they battle the Lions in the traditional Detroit Football game on Thanksgiving.

I ask all of you to remember those military members who are far from home. Especially those deployed to Camp Bucca. They are close to my heart this time of year. May they stay safe and return home soon.

After drafting this story up I found Lucy in the living room like this. She apparently worked hard on the run and has to rest for a few minutes with her friends.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Houston, we have an addiction

For several years our kids have had a healthy fascination with space. When Riley was a kindergartener she was really interested, and we spent a lot of time reading space related books from the library. We bought a space puzzle and a space bingo game. We even planned a star watching night just for her during a vacation to the mountains--unfortunately, our plan was a little thwarted by a full moon that night, and we didn't see the numbers of stars like we had promised her.

Fast foward a few years. Ted is channel surfing one morning when he stumbles on the NASA channel showing video of astronauts in their orange suits. We watch it for a little and call in the kids...Cory is now into the space thing, and has told me he wants to be an astronaut when he grows up--here he and Lucy are in a space ship he made...Lucy removed his styrofoam controllers, so you might say they're Lost in Space:--so I knew he'd love it. During the broadcast, I notice that it is training for an upcoming launch, and lucky for us, it's in just a few short days. A little research at the NASA website reveals that the launch will be at a perfect time for the kids to be able to watch.

We mark the calendar and set the DVR just in case we miss it, but they got to watch the shuttle launch live on the NASA channel Nov. 14. Everyone got a big kick out of it, and later that night we watched it again on the DVR. After the kids were in bed, Ted and I surfed back to NASA and watched a little of the communication between the shuttle and Houston. Somewhere along the line Ted mentions that the voice of the guy in Houston sounds just like a good friend of his (a guy he'd heard a lot through the radio while he flew). We pay closer attention and soon realize that, indeed, it is one of our friends from our time in Vegas. Cool.

Now I am hooked on the NASA channel. They're currently showing live video feed of the mission in space, and I keep it on a lot of the day. I'm not sure why I like it so much--the days when they're doing the spacewalks are the best because you get a lot of good video of space and Earth--not just inside the International Space Station. My addiction is so bad, in fact, that I can tell some of the astronauts apart by their voices.

Another fun piece is the opportunity we've had to watch the space station fly by our house. NASA's website has a link to see when the shuttle and space station will be in your sky, and it's currently flying over us when it's dark outside, yet early enough in the evening to take the kids out. We had a lot of our friends out with us last night looking for it, and got to see it move across the sky. Way cool. In a few days we'll be able to see both the space station and the shuttle separately, with the shuttle kind of chasing the space station in orbit. That will be fun.
The space shuttle will return to Earth in a few days. What will I do then?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bathroom Graffiti

We have bathroom graffiti. I wonder if this makes Ted feel like he's back in Iraq. Remember the Chuck Norris graffiti?

Anyway, our graffiti stems from someone's intense love for Baby Lu, so it could easily have been done by any one of us, but the handwriting is a dead giveaway. When confronted, she told me sheepishly, "I just forgot." Apparently she forgot twice, because it's not only on the side of the bathroom countertop (the toilet is right next to it, so you can see it easily even if this picture is poor), but also on the wall between the towel rack and a shelf. I couldn't get a very good picture of the writing on the wall, but it almost looks like some of those rub on wall designs that are becoming popular in the home decorating world--only done at some cheap bargain basement closeout place.

At least we know she loves her.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Today is Lucy's 2nd Birthday. We had our friends over for dinner Saturday night to celebrate. Lucy enjoyed eating the cake, but not the singing and blow out candle part--She looked pretty nervous during the entire song, and when it was time to blow out candles she started crying and fussing. So the big kids blew them out--they were very eager to, anyway! The nerves disappeared at gift giving time. She loved opening presentsThis is that great age when kids don't try to open every present as quickly as is humanly possible. She likes to open a present and play with it for a while before going on to the next one. In fact, she probably wouldn't have known there were next ones if it weren't for the fact that her brother and sisters were shoving new ones in her lap. She'll have a few more to open today, and I'll make her one of her favorite foods tonight--macaroni and cheese.

2 Great Things About Our 2 Year Old:

1. She's a very agreeable baby--makes us wonder why we wouldn't want more of them?

2. She's still a baby!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Let Freedom Rink

This year we are busy preparing for another fun (read long) winter in the northeast, and Ted is building the ultimate fun for the kids. He and two of the other dads in the Circle headed to Lowe's this morning for supplies to build an ice rink in our side yard. Ted's been reading up on the ins and outs of a homemade ice rink online for a few weeks now, and he's hopeful for a COLD, COLD, COLD winter. I'm just really scared that Cory will be good at the skating thing and want to play hockey for real. As we've mentioned before, Cory is fascinated with hockey. It all started last year when Ted and Cory went with some neighbors to a minor league hockey game. Cory came back in LOVE with the "Doubles" (it was the Lowell Devils, but Cory says it "doubles"). The 'Doubles' won, and he was hooked. We had some neighbors whose kids play hockey, and they ended up giving Cory an old stick and puck, which you may have seen in this picture. Once the snow and ice came last winter, Cory loved going out with his hockey stuff. Imagine the fun he'll have if this ice rink thing works!
We'll keep you posted on the progress and success of Freedom Rink (Although, this might really put a dent in our igloo capabilities this year).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day!

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including my life." ~author unknown

Sunday, November 9, 2008

At Least It Was Warm Water!

I was Baptized today. The church had all the candidates draft up some words before they were immersed to give some background/context/thoughts on what it means. I'll paste those down below. I'm glad I did it, we'll have to wait and see if I'm any different. Kristi asked me on the drive home if I felt any different. She was mostly joking, but there is some truth in the question. What I found very interesting was how comfortable (and not nervous) I was throught the whole event. (Kristi says I was nervous - and doing funny things with my feet).

I tried hard not to make a big deal out of it. It wasn't about a big production for was just something I wanted to do. Here's the story I wrote.

I was born and raised in a Christian home. I attended church from birth through college. I was baptized as an infant, then was confirmed/joined the church when I was a young teenager. But I was just going through the motions. I did not have a relationship with the Lord.
Things changed when Kristi and I moved to Las Vegas. We started attending a Church with a message I had not understood so clearly before. We started attending a small group Bible study, and I had many close friends who had firm foundations as Christians. We had our first child in Nevada as well. I was surrounded by contrasts. I lived in Sin City, but I was seeing God for the first time.
I developed a personal relationship with Jesus and have been a firm believer for over 9 years. The issue of Baptism has been something I wrestled with for quite some time. Is it necessary for salvation? Did my infant baptism mean anything? Many friends and various churches have shown me different sides of this issue. My pride kept me from finding an answer and held me back from taking a step that was a simple command from Jesus.
I am being baptized today so that I jump over the hurdle and just move on. It’s not necessary for my salvation, but I pray it helps me to rise up and find more of Christ in my life.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I love you all the way to to the top of this puzzle!

This puzzle is taller thanyou are Dad! That is how I was greeted when I got home. So of course after dinner we had to try it out. Cory and I puzzled while the girls jumped around the living room. They eventually settled down and worked with Mommy on a craft (sewing a pillow). Little Lu just be-bopped around the whole time helping each of us with our various activities.

A quiet night at home for us.

Apologies to Sam McBratney and his children's book Guess How Much I love You

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm a Right-Wing-Nut-Job how about you?

Historic Election? Today in the office there was much discussion of the election results (as you would expect). One of the more interesting parts I thought was a discussion of Al Franken and his run for Senator in MN. The focus of the discussion was how extreme Franken's views are and how could he ever be elected. I reminded them that MN had recently elected Jesse Ventura as Governor. "Yeah but he wasn't that bad" was the response. So then I said Obama has been judged the most liberal Senator currently in office (by multiple independent groups) - yet he was elected to the highest office in the land. What a politician thinks is not always what is important to voters. Others commented that Obama will lean back to the center. I'm not so confident.

Many of you have heard me say term limits are something DC really needs to help clean house and prevent all the good-ole-boy pork barrel type stuff. In the same way I can see good in a DEM President for a change. I think we will benefit from "some" house cleaning...but let's not let it last too long because some may throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Game of Life

Riley purchased The Game of Life a couple of weeks ago--it brings back so many memories from our childhood. She loves to play it. Everytime a friend comes over she gets it out to play. Today she and her buddy are on their 3rd game...she has yet to "win" (and I mean EVER in all the games she's played since buying it). Luckily she doesn't seem to care, either (see #5). This last game they decided at the end they would just keep their money and start over in new careers...I wonder if they've been influenced at all by the Air Force way of life--retire after 20 years and start doing something new. Seems like a good Life if you ask me.