Gabriel’s 1st Birthday

Amazing. We have a 1 year old in the house.  Not only that, the little guy is actually starting to walk around!  He took his first steps at Christmas, and has been getting better and better.  Now it’s not unusual to see him walk from the living room into the kitchen.  There is still a lot of falling and crawling, but he is getting so much better.  It’s exciting and scary!

For his birthday we had an awesome Robot themed party on my birthday.  I imagine we will be sharing lots of parties together from now on.  At least non of the big birthdays will land together.  (me turning 50 while he’s turning 16 or something)  The party was lots of fun, with our friends and family over.  Gabriel also gave 12 people special presents that came.  In the week that followed 12 of us got sick with a nasty stomach bug!  We thought it could have been the food until we took Gabriel to Mothers day out and they said that the week prior all the kids and teachers had gotten sick also.

I know I haven’t posted in a while so here is a quick run though of the holidays:

Christmas was great.  I think next year will be more fun with Gabriel as this year he just seemed to enjoy the wrapping paper.  Although that’s not to say he doesn’t enjoy all his new toys, he does love them.  We finally put up most of his baby toys, and now he has big boy toys.  🙂  Like I mentioned earlier, Gabriel also started to take his first steps at Christmas.  We tried to get this on camera, but of course he is very camera shy.  ‘Oh look camera, I better stop what I’m doing!’  I don’t know if you may have noticed in my photo albums but Gabriel had a visit from Santa.  We got some great pictures and he seemed to really like Santa.

New years was pretty low key.  Gwendolyn’s parents came over and our friends Cory and Annie.  We played some Beatles Rock Band and shot off two fireworks.  It got way to cold to stay outside!  Luckily our neighbors had plenty of fireworks we can watch from the comfort of our home.

Check out all the photos: Santa, Christmas, 1st Birthday

Future Child

This is a post I’ve been waiting a long time to write.  Gwendolyn and I are going to be parents!  It’s still such a strange thought, even after thinking about it for 5 months.  I know anyone reading this will have already known about the little guy, so I figured this post should be written to our future child to read in the future.  A digital time capsule, if you will.

Dear Future Alexis or Gabriel,

Well at the time of this writing those are our chosen names.  I hope you like it, your name that is.  You have no idea how hard it is to come up with a name.  Anyways your mom and I would just like you to know how much we already love you.  We can’t wait to hold you in our arms.  Actually next week will be the first time we get to see your precious face, as we are getting our first ultrasound.  We can’t wait for that appointment.

Right now we are just preparing for your arrival.  Today we actually hope to pick up your baby furniture.  ‘Uncle’ Cory and ‘Aunt’ Annie are going to help us pick it up.  We have a while to go on decorating though.  You are not due until Jan 16th.  Which is 7 days after my birthday!  I know for sure your mother would love for you to come early, maybe we could share a birthday!

I hope you are enjoying your life so far.  I hope we are giving you everything that you want.  Please be kind though, as money does not grow on trees.  I know you will probably already be spoiled though (probably from your grandparents), and I hope you appreciate it!

Love
Mom & Dad & Future Mom & Dad

p.s. I know I’ve probably told you this a 100 times already; Don’t go so fast on the hover board, and don’t sit so close to the holographic TV!

Slaying the Beast

I’m ashamed its taken me this long to write about an awesome weekend.  I’m finding it harder and harder to write continually, I guess I’m just going to have to power through!

IMG_7673.JPGThe weekend for which I’m speaking was the 4th of July.  It started off Friday morning with my sister, Joann, flying in from Cleveland.  We spent the morning chatting and getting ready for the party.  Later Gwendolyn’s family arrived along with our friends Cory and Annie.  Once everyone was over, we fired up the grill, and cooked those delicious hamburgers once again.  Then we all had to wait patiently for the sun to set so we could start the show.  Once the sun set and with a few hundred dollars in fireworks, the show did not disappoint.  There was also a few exciting moments, when we tried to fire off 6 artillery shells, and the shock from the first few knocked over 3 other tubes, the first went flying towards are neighbors, which exploded over their heads.  The other two that happened to land facing our house.  Oh and Patrick and Joann were standing there. 🙂  They hit the side of the house and bounced down and exploded in the grass.  Later we had a small artillery shell, and lost the launch tube for it.  Patrick decides to throw it in our field.  His aim was a little off as it went straight to our fence and exploded, catching the grass on fire.  I could do nothing but laugh as Patrick ran to the fence and started to stomp out the fire.

IMG_7702.JPGSaturday Gwendolyn went home with her family to spend time with her brother, while I went to Kemah, to spend time with Joann.  Kemah was fun, and while there we decided to ride on The Beast.  The Beast is a speed boat that takes you out for 20-30 mins, that goes really fast and plays loud music and gets you really wet.  Now that last part I wasn’t so sure of.  Yes I saw people walk off soaking, but I couldn’t imagine how you could get so wet on a boat.  I’ve been on a few boats and never got soaked unless I jumped in.  I did see that the employees had water guns.  Given that, I thought that they must go around and just soak everyone or have some hidden fire hose to drench you.  When we were buying our tickets we had just missed a boat leaving, which turned out fine as I got to go change into my swim trunks.  Then again, when the boat came back a lady ended up slipping on the ramp off the boat and paramedics had to come get her.  After waiting an extra 20 mins, we finally boarded and headed out.  It starts off nice and slow heading away from Kemah, but then you get on open water, and then you feel the speed.  We had gotten seats in the middle of the boat, thinking it may be a good place to stay dry.  Then the boat starts to turn.  We hear a family behind us to the right screaming, and turn around to see them getting soaked with water.  It was amazing how much water was coming on board.  It stayed that way for about a minute with the people behind us getting soaked and us laughing at them.  Teaches them for sitting in the back.  Then suddenly it was our turn.  It felt like 50 buckets of water were being shot from the lake.  All you could do was laugh at how wet you were getting.  Then the boat would turn away and you’d enjoy the ride for another minute or two, until it turns your way again, and then it was like sitting through a monsoon.  Just put your head down and laugh as the water pours off your head and back.  Since we had a late start getting out, the captain kept us out another song or two.  The ride was a blast, and fairly cheap.  I would definitely do it again.  There was a casualty though.  Since I didn’t think we were truly going to get drenched, I had wrapped my camera in my shirt.  After the first soaking or two, I looked at it, and my shirt was soaked through, and my camera was sitting in my lap in a puddle of water.  I shook it off and put it in my mothers purse.  After the ride I looked at it and saw that water had seeped in where it shouldn’t have.  I tried to dry it out but alas, it was gone.  I felt a sense of loss as it was my first digital camera, and a good one that I’ve had for the past 6 years.  :'(  I’ll miss you my sweet Canon Powershot G1.

After the ride on The Beast, we went to eat at Babins.  I thought the food was great and although the service was a tad slow to start, it did give us time to dry off.  My sister got the Blackened Tuna, which I tried for the first time.  It was pretty delicious.  I had the catfish and shrimp which was also pretty good.

After Kemah my parents went home, and I went to Gwendolyn’s parents.  We had a great night with the family there, going to the book store and then a stop for ice cream on the way back.  We had a great night just hanging out and chatting, we stayed till about midnight before heading home.

Sunday morning, Joann was going to see if she could change he plane going home.  She was due to leave that afternoon but decided to see if she could leave on monday.  I called over there early Sunday and find out she did change her flight.  She wanted to do something fun and outdoors, so we all decided to head to lake Conroe and rent a boat!  We were able to get an 8 man ski boat, and a giant tube for $90/hr.  I couldn’t believe how cheap renting a boat was.  That also included free gas.  I would have thought renting a boat costs way more.  Anyways, off we went onto the lake.  First we decide to just test out the boat, which was pretty fun, although the lake was pretty rough, so we had some pretty hard slams into the water.  I decided to move up to the front where Joann was sitting and where its much rougher.  It only took a second for my hat to decide it would much rather be in the water.  I watched as both Gwendolyn and my mom tried to grab it, but it maneuvered perfectly around them and dove in the water.  Being this was my World of Warcraft hat, I demanded the captain, my dad, to turn the boat around.  I kept my eye on the hat and guided us back to it.  Once close enough I dove in and rescued my WoW hat!  Since I was now wet, I figured we might as well try to do the inner tube.  Oh what a way to torture yourself.  There really isn’t a better way to beat your chest and arms, unless it’s on an inner tube behind a speed boat.  It really was fun, and somewhat painful.  By the 3rd or 4th time, I couldn’t take any more.  My skin was raw at my elbows and my knees.  Joann had hit the tube so hard that we thought she broke her nose, although she did hurt her jaw pretty bad.  It was such a beautiful day to spend outside and on the water.  I wish we could do that every weekend.

Like I said, that was the most fun I’ve had on a weekend in a long time.  And it was great to get spend it with my family and sister!

Pictures!

One last weekend

Finally we seem to be catching up to current events. This past weekend was our last weekend before we take off to Gatlinburg, TN for a Johnson reunion. On Saturday we spent the evening with my parents, as my moms sister Mary was in town. My uncle Dick and aunt Vicki, along with my cousin Dan and his wife Jen, and their new baby Jacob. I made my parents make some hamburgers since I’ve been craving them since Memorial Day. They turned out pretty good. I think mine were better though. 😉 We had a nice night of chatting and catching up.

IMG_7182.JPGOn Sunday we caught back up with Cory and Annie. We said we’d continue our Geocaching this weekend so that’s what we did. We meet at 10, and went for some breakfast. This time I was much more prepared. My gps already loaded with all coordinates, and I had laptop as a backup. We went over the plan at breakfast, and afterwards we went on the hunt. There were two caches I really wanted to try to grab. Each one had a travel bug that I would like to take to TN. We found both fairly easily, but neither one had the travel bugs in them that I wanted. One did have a Navy Travel Bug, which was a navy jet, that wanted to travel more miles than the Air force jet. Since my dad and most my family had been in the Navy I had to take it with us. It didn’t want to be held for more than 24hrs so we stashed it in the last cache of the day. I think we did pretty good for still being new at this. We tried for 13-14, and we found 9 of them. Gwendolyn actually found her first nano cache! I couldn’t believe how small it was, no bigger than a half an inch! Unscrew the top though, and find a rolled up sheet of paper of all the past finders. We finished the day with a stop at Carvel ice cream. Then we were amazed as Cory at two large cones. And I thought I loved ice cream.

Like I mentioned earlier, next week we’ll be in TN. We are going to head out on Saturday and try to make it to Memphis. Then Sunday morning we will visit Graceland. I’m not much of an Elvis fan, but Gwendolyn would like to see it, and it does have some sort of draw to it. It must be because I used to listen to Paul Simons Graceland over and over as a child. 🙂 After Graceland we’ll head up to Pigeon Forge, where our cabin actually is. Pigeon Forge is just a few miles away from Gatlinburg, but is more of a shopping strip, where as Gatlinburg feels more of a small town. Don’t get me wrong though, Gatlinburg is 90% shopping also, but much nicer. 🙂

While there, we plan to partake in all the usual tourist stuff. Shopping during the day, and mini-golf every night, along with ice cream. We’ll also visit the Aquarium and Ripleys Believe it or Not museum. What I won’t be partaking in, is Dolly Wood. I’ve managed to not go the past 3-4 times in Gatlinburg, and I don’t plan to go now. What I’m really looking forward to though, is a ride through the Smokey Mountains. We are taking our motorcycles, so we can enjoy one of the best roads in the US. Its known as the Tail of the Dragon, or Deals Gap. It has 318 curves in 11miles. It borders the Smokey Mountains on the South West side and crosses over North Carolina and Tennessee. It will be one hell of a ride.

Also while we are there, we’ll be a an hour or two away from Patrick, so we’ll go visit him in his new house. We should have internet access at the cabin, so hopefully I’ll make a post or two while there. As for the rest of this week and weekend, don’t expect much else, we gotta get packing.

Camping Fun

IMG_7026.JPGWhat an awesome weekend! After a year of planning, okay not literally, (but I did have the idea a year ago to go camping with 4 other couples) we finally got one couple to go camping with us. Our friends Cory and Anne, from Gwendolyn’s HCPL days came along with us at Huntsville State Park. Overall the park is very nice with plenty of shade, a nice lake, and plenty of trails. The only thing negative about it, seems to be the lack of ‘privacy’. While most parks have spots that are more secluded or surrounded by brush, this one lacked either. It was pretty crowded, but I have to say, we were with a very polite group of campers. It was always peaceful and quiet.

IMG_7005.JPGGwendolyn’s favorite new camping thing is the camping kitchen we got at Academy before we left. We went to the store planning on getting an extra little table so we could keep our picnic table clear, but then Gwendolyn discovered the camping kitchen. She and Annie loved cooking on it this weekend. Check it out! One of the funner things we did was go mountain biking. Before leaving I bought a bike rack to take the bikes camping. Since Gwendolyn and I are on an exercise kick right now, what better way to get some exercise in while camping. Looking at the trails, I saw a loop that went around the entire lake, that was about 6 miles. Before this Gwendolyn and I have only ridden about 4-5 miles. Although I really wanted to do the big loop, I decided we should start small and ride to the front of the park and back. That was a good choice. Although we both had to walk our bikes up a few hills, I’m very proud of us both, for making it through. I know at about the 3/4’s mark for me, my legs were on fire. I was just dreading the next incline. The next day amazingly we didn’t feel to bad, so we decided to go for one more ride. We rode about 1.5miles to the damn, enjoyed some s’mores that were packed for us by Cory and Anne, and came back to pack up.

IMG_7014.JPGSpeaking of Cory and Anne, they made the camping trip so much more enjoyable. It was so much fun sitting around the campfire laughing and playing games and enjoying the funky flames! It even makes camp life easier when you have help cooking and cleaning. Amazingly this was Cory’s 2nd time to go camping! I have to say he’s already well equipped and well adjusted to the camping life. Thanks for joining us, guys. You rock!

Be sure to check out the photos!