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

Another 3 Months

I can’t believe Gabriel is now 9 moths and 1 week old!  Amazing.  I can’t believe all the changes he’s been going through lately.  Gabriel is full on crawling now.  Although he was for a long time just using his arms to pull himself around.  He does still do that every now and then.  He’s also gotten two bottom teeth!  Wow is that weird seeing teeth appear.  Boy do they hurt too!  We’ve been feeding him lots of oatmeal and vegetables.  He’s pretty funny with new foods.  Never really sure if he likes them.  He will make his funny faces but still open his mouth for more.  Only a few times will he refuse to eat something.

I know some have been requesting new pictures, so hopefully this won’t disappoint.  Check out all these pictures!

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.

Memorial Day

For memorial day weekend, we decided to invite our parents over for a little BBQ. My parents came over early so I could do some errands in the truck. We dropped Gwendolyn and my mom off at Arbor Gate, while my dad and I went to Lowes. I wanted to pick up some wood to make a new DVD/CD shelf. Patrick and I came up with a nice design the other week. When done, it will hold all our cd’s, dvd’s and have a small cabinet to hide our guitar hero guitars. 🙂

We picked up the wood, then headed back to Arbor Gate, which has become Gwendolyns favorite garden center. The place is pretty nice. It’s really big and has anything imaginable for your garden. All the plants are in really good shape, and they actually have deals on some.

When we were done shopping we headed back and got home right before Gwendolyns parents arrived. They had actually just gotten back from Hawaii with Patrick and his fiance Mandy. They told us about the trip and showed us some pictures. One day, we will have to go there! After catching up we cooked the hamburgers, which turned out awesome. I’ve been craving them ever since!

Overall it was a great day spent with the family. I’ll have some pictures of it soon.

Graduation Day

The weekend after I got back from Ohio, we went to Beaumont to celebrate Patricks Graduation. We drove up Friday night and stayed with Patrick. On Saturday morning was the graduation. He graduated from Lamar University with a degree in Electrical Engineering. After the graduation, we caravaned out to Galveston. We headed south to a secluded area of beach. Its a good thing too. For Patricks graduation, he had gotten a 16,000 roll of Black Cats firecrackers! Not to mention the few boxes full of other assorted fireworks. We spent the night sitting and eating around a bon fire, and blowing stuff up. What more could a new graduate ask for? 🙂

Sunday was mothers day, so we had breakfast with Gwendolyns family, and then headed over to my parents. We spent the afternoon with them, and took my mom out to eat. It was a great fun weekend.

Check out the photos here.

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

I’m not sure what to say or write now. As this post is one of the reasons I have not updated in weeks. I feel writing about it may make it all come back. Though maybe writing about it is a way to release all the feelings inside. So here goes..

On Sunday night, after returning from Galveston, my father calls me. He tells me that my uncle was killed in a car accident that morning. My mothers oldest brother, Frank Huber IV, was killed by another driver driving (speeding) on the wrong side of the freeway. Although not official, everyone assumes the other driver was drunk. As if that wasn’t bad enough, his wife Pat was only a few cars behind him, when the accident occurred.

We left early Wednesday for Cleveland. That afternoon was the first wake. I don’t think we were late, but by the time we arrived there was already a line out the door. I have to say Frank touched a lot of lives. He was very active and passionate about his hobbies. He had been involved in the Cleveland Soap Box Derby, where he participated as a kid, and then helped his own kids and nephews race. He also became the Scale Master, who did the weigh ins at the races. He also had a passion for MG cars, in which he attended many meets and runs. He had just purchased a new 1960 MGA only a month before. You can tell everyone there didn’t just know of Frank, they actually knew him, and I’m sure that Frank knew all of them.

Thursday afternoon and night we were at the wake again. I would say more people showed up that night than the night before. Friday was the day of the service and burial. We arrived early at the funeral home said our last goodbye, and drove to the church. The church service was really nice. What touched me most was the priest, talking how much Frank loved his cars. The reverend wanted to find a bible verse that might talk about cars, which of course there were none. So he found the closest thing. 2 Kings 2:11, in which Elijah is taken to heaven in chariot of fire. He then mentions that the song ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ come from that passage. He asks Franks family if it would be okay if we sung it, which they didn’t know he was going to do. He then brings out a guitar and sings and plays Swing Low. It was very touching. Another more touching moment was his son Tim, also picked up a guitar and singing ‘Worlds Apart’. I personally never know he can sing, and he sang beautifully. After the service, which filled the church, we went to the cemetery. The precession had to have been a mile long if not more. Once we reached the cemetery the clouds opened up, and down came the rain. As the reverend mentioned, it was a perfect for a Navy man. At the cemetery he was honnored by the US Navy, with a flag folding ceremony.

That night we spent at my uncle Bills house, with most of the family being there. We ate and drank, and remembered all the good times we’ve had with Frank, all saying goodbye to a truely great uncle, brother, husband, father, and son.

Some articles about the accident: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Deal or No Deal

We just got back from my parents house, and I just have to make a post now.  We went over there to celebrate Gwendolyn’s birthday.  We also haven’t been there since they’ve installed their new Bullfrog Spa.  Let me tell you, its the king of hot tubs.  With 4 seats, and interchangeable jet packs on each seat, you can customize your own spa.  Another feature I enjoyed was the mood lighting.  You can set the underwater light to a number of settings, changing its color, or having it cycle through colors at varying speeds.  Finally after spending about an hour in the spa, they had to force me out.  I’m still so relaxed as I type this.

When we came back inside, my parents said that they had a game for us to play.  I couldn’t think of what they could be talking about, and as it was getting late, I hoped it was a fast game.  We sat around the new kitchen table and they bring out a bunch of folded index cards with numbers on them.  They then say we are going to play Deal or No Deal!  The game was set up so they had 10 index cards (the briefcases) numbered 1-10.  Inside each card they had written an amount from $1-$100. (1, 2, 5, 10, 20,25,40,50,75,100).  Whatever money we won, was going to be our anniversary present, as our 2nd year anniversary is next Tuesday.  So to pick our ‘briefcase’ I thought of using one of the #’s 4, 2 or 9 (4-29 our anniversary).  I didn’t like only being able to choose one of those 3.  So I combined them:  4+2=6; 9-6=3.  We took briefcase 3.  To pick our next cases we went with #2.  Inside was $75!.  ouch.  Each turn my dad was playing Host, and the Banker.  My parents say he is really good at guessing what the banker will offer on the show.  I’d like to know how they come up with the bank offers myself. The banker offered us $22 on the first round.  No Deal.  the game then went as follows:

  1. Opened case #4 = $50! Banker offered $17.  No Deal.
  2. Opened case #9 = $40! Banker offered $24.  No Deal. We just lost 3 top amounts. 🙁
  3. Opened case #8 = $2! Banker offered $27.  No Deal.
  4. Opened case #10 = $10! Banker offered $36.  No Deal.
  5. Opened case #6 = $25! Banker offered $38.  No Deal.
  6. Opened case #7 = $1! Banker offered $55.  No Deal. It started to get more tempting now, and we had to debate if we should try one more time.
  7. Opened case #5 = $5! Banker offered $75.

Now there was only case #1 and #3.  With the amounts of 20 or 100.  Although my parents did not know what was in what case, I saw my dad try to sneak a peak into case #1.  At this point he was saying we shouldn’t take the deal.  I just couldn’t decide if I should trust him or not.  He might be wanting us to win, or he might be trying to save himself some money! 🙂  I said I would rather lose $25 and take the deal, then to lose $55.  So we took the deal at $75!  As it turns out, we should have listened to my dad, as we held the winning briefcase!  What a fun game of deal or no deal.  That was way better than watching it on tv, even if they added dramatic pauses, and it was for much less.  We still had a great time getting 75 bucks!  Thanks mom and dad!

Happy Birthday!

Just wanted to wish my lovely wife a Happy Birthday.  We had a wonderful time celebrating her birthday.  The past weekend, her family and mandy spent the weekend with us.  The girls went garden shopping, while the boys stayed home.  Gwendolyn found another mini metal chicken that matches the bigger one quite well.  I also gave Gwendolyn, two more funky (small) metal chickens for her birthday.  Our backyard is starting to look like a chicken coop.

I hope to get some pictures up soon.