Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Hajj

It's that time of year again; the time when I drag Adrienne off to some place without sufficient air conditioning in celebration of our anniversary. In keeping with our theme of tourist destinations long past their prime (Eureka Springs, Galveston, Keokuk, Lawrence, and Hot Springs were our stops the previous five years) we topped them all by heading on up to Bartlesville, Oklahoma for a weekend getaway.

Those of you who have been brushing up on your Oklahoma Christian University history will know that Bartlesville is the university's birthplace back when it was Central Christian College. No one can be a true alumnus without making at least one pilgrimage to the site during their lifetime. The school is now Oklahoma Wesleyan University, but Adrienne and I think it has more of a Casa Bonita feel to it. Just think about the business model OC missed out on - "Oklahoma Christian, the place for a quality Christian education and low-budget-all-you-can-eat-Mexican food all in a small-town-faux-Spanish-villa setting."

After the hajj was completed, we swung by Frank Lloyd Wright's only skyscraper. We'll save the discussion on why Bartlesville would need skyscrapers for another day.

And last but not least, we stopped by the Woolaroc ranch and museum where we snapped a few pictures that I think Hal would be proud of.

I know most of you who stop by the blog are looking for the kiddo so here is his latest video. Since Ben can't use his vocal cords yet, his oupa is teaching him to speak "duck". You'll probably need to listen closely.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

6 Month Reflections

Today Benjamin is half-way through his first trip around the sun. That's about 180 days more than I expected during those first few hours after he came into the world. Every one of those days has been a gift from God; though I have often forgotten to acknowledge it. Here are a few things I've been thinking about now that Ben has made it this far.

Ben's first five months have been the hardest five months of my entire life up to this point (followed closely by our time in Abilene). At times it felt like God had given Satan permission to beat our marriage with a shovel. Having a child with health problems put stress on our marriage that I was totally unprepared for. I know that your prayers helped us through those days, and the last three or four weeks really have been much better.

Ouma Kay is an incredible person. Her care for Ben, Adrienne, and me has been tremendous and has lightened our load considerably. What a blessing to have grandparents close by.

My faults seem magnified when compared with Ben's innocence. I desperately want him to succeed where I have failed and be so much more than I am. I want to teach him that the only way that can happen is by putting everyone else above yourself and following Christ with all your heart. May my example never be a stumbling block as Ben learns to follow God.

Anyway, here are a few more photos for your viewing pleasure:

Benjamin carries on his father's tradition of being just a bit awkward around the ladies. I suppose direct eye contact is something we'll be working on during his seventh month. He's probably feeling a little pressure after Shane "The Matchmaker" Coffman announced Ben's upcoming marriage to Olivia in front of the entire congregation the Sunday after she was born.

This is one of those pictures I've really been wanting since Ben was born - four generations of firstborn Gatewoods. Great-grandpa was in town with us this weekend to celebrate his 87th birthday.

And finally, this is a picture of our first top-secret campaign strategy meeting. Ben did most of the talking and decided the voter apathy that was apparent from our poll earlier in the week is a sign that the country may just be indifferent enough to allow a 6 month old and a cat to run the whole show. He already has uncle Hal working on the official campaign T-shirt.

Thanks for your love and prayers over these past six months,
Whit, Adrienne, and El Presidente