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Laura and Nate at the Hollywood Bowl on September 11, 2005 for the Na Leo Pilimehana and Keali'i Reichel concertPhoto AlbumLast Sunday evening the three of us visited the Hollywood Bowl to see a concert of Hawaiian artists. Once again, we purchased the tickets online and they were emailed to us. We saw a band called Na Leo Pilimehana and a singer named Keali'i Reichel. The evening was set to begin at 7pm and we actually left at about 3:30. We got there in plenty of time. We parked right out front and waited for the gates to open. We got in, bought some dinner, and ate on one of the picnic tables. We had a pretty nice time. We then went to our seats. They we not too close, but were actually pretty good. Nate was very active and was not tired at all. he climbed the stairs quite a few times and was still wide awake. We gave him lits to drink and a teething cookie. He was still pretty active. We made it through the first act just fine, but decided we'd skip the second act and come home. Nate needed to get some sleep and we were really there to expose Nate to something new. We left around 8:20 and headed to the 170 freeway via Hollywood Blvd. We got home about 9:30 and Nate was soon fast asleep in his crib.

Dad in Pass Christian, Mississippi on Nate's birthday.On September 22 Nate celebrated his first birthday. Nate has been a true blessing to all of us and his first year of life has been the best year of life for Laura and me. He's such a wonderful little boy. He's always happy, he's fun to be around, and he always makes us laugh. We celebrated Nate's birthday at the park next to our house. I went down to mom's house to pick her up then returned her home after the party. Dana was able to spend the night. It was great that she was here. We had take-out Chinese food and spent the evening visiting.

Photos of Pops in Pass Christian, MSJust about all of Nate's family members were there. My dad, Nate's grandfather, was on a rescue mission in Pass Christian, Mississippi so he was not able to attend. He was there to help the people that had suffered the effects of hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Obviously, we're all proud of him are glad he represented our family so well down in the Gulf region. Dad drove from Laguna Niguel to Mississippi with tons of supplies. He and the rest of his group helped the people in town and left everything they took with the people in Mississippi. His original plan was to fly home from Pensacola, FL to Orange County via Houston, but Houston was evacuated and completely empty and the airport was not operational. He made it out of Mississippi quickly when it was clear Hurricane Rita was headed in their direction, too. They left Pass Christian and headed to Pensacola to see if they couldn't get another flight out of town. They couldn't so they went to Daphne, Alabama where they slept on the floor of a church. Early the next morning they drove back to Pensacola where they were able to get a flight to Atlanta and then another one to Los Angeles.

Nate's first birthday cakeAlthough we celebrated Nate's birthday on Saturday, his actual birthday fell on the previous Thursday. I took the day off work and Nate, Laura and I spent the day together shopping for party supplies and Nate's birthday presents. It was a great day. Dad called us from Mississippi to get a weather report while we were out. He did not have TV reception down there and called to see if we could get the information online. The three of us had a party for Nate at home and let Nate eat as much of his cake as he could. He did a great job and was fun to watch. I think he enjoyed himself.

Nate got the last of his immunizations this week. He did a great job and the doctors at Glendale Pediatrics all seem to enjoy him. He's getting ready to walk. He takes about 4-5 steps then sits down. If he's holding on to a couch or a coffee table he can take several steps. We're very proud of him. He has also begun drinking cow's milk and all sorts of regular foods. He can chew and is really becoming more of a little boy than a baby. It's absolutely amazing to watch.

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At the Red Crtoss Center in Saugus.Photo AlbumA hurricane has hit the Gulf Coast of the United States. The entire city of New Orleans, along with many other Gulf Coast towns such as Biloxi & Waveland, Mississippi, have been completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Today, New Orleans sits under water and the entire town has been evacuated to centers in neighboring states and around the nation. Many of the the evacuees have been sent to Houston, TX where they're living in the Astrodome. Thousands and thousands have taken up residence in Baton Rouge, LA making it Louisiana's new "biggest" city. A report on TV said real estate prices in Baton Rouge were nearing "California-Like" levels. The New Orleans Saints football team needs to find a place to play. As of today, they have thought of San Antonio or at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Hotels in Baton Rouge are filled with people who lost their homes in New Orleans so there would be no place for visiting teams to stay. San Antonio is being discussed. Universities in New Orleans have closed and students have been sent to other schools around the nation.

Watching this all unfold on TV has been somewhat unreal. We all really can't believe this is all happening. It's hard to watch so many people suffer so much and feel absolutely powerless to help them. Laura and I wanted to fly to the region this weekend to offer any assistance we could, but there has been so much post-hurricane violence in the city that we didn't think we would be safe. Instead, we took Nate to the local Red Cross center where he made a donation.

After a stop at the Red Cross, we headed out to Moorpark where Dan & Tara were having a Labor Day party. We had a very nice time and it was a good chance for Nate to spend some quality time with friends and family. After the party we came home and went to sleep. The next morning (Saturday) we met up with Dan & Tara once again at mom's house as she was having her 61st birthday party. It was pretty low key. We had lunch and some cake then drove out to Laura's parents' house as her dad was also celebrating his birthday. We had dinner there, visited for a bit the began our trip home. We stopped at the grocery store in Palmdale to pick up some fruit and milk then continued home. Once home, we gave Nate his bath, fed him, then put him to bed.

Observing the behavior of so many people in New Orleans has been quite interesting. It is very important to me that Nate always be part of the solution and not part of the problem. I hope Laura and I will be able to make him self-sufficient so he'll never be sitting around waiting for someone else to take care of him. My dream is that he's the guy out there helping others. Watching some of the able-bodied men on TV complain that the help they're getting isn't good enough for them is quite disheartening. The general consensus is that Louisiana was ill-prepared for this hurricane and that Texas was the State that came through in the end to help its neighbor. The whole event has served to focus me on preparing our home for any disaster that may come our way. If anything, we probaly need to prepare most for either a fire or an earthquake.

Tonight Laura, Nate and I will go to the Hollywood Bowl to see Keali'i Reichel who is a singer from Maui. The weather has cooled somewhat and were looking forward to a pleasant evening.

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Visiting other places is one of my favorite things to do. Doing it with Laura and Nate makes it even better. This week we the three of us, plus our niece, Heather, went on a quick trip to Minnesota to attend a St. Paul Saints Baseball game. We all had a great time.

Thursday morning we woke up early and were out of the house by about 5:45 or so. Considering it was a workday for most people, we decided the 405 freeway would have too much traffic so we opted for a route Laura felt would get us to the Los Angeles Airport faster. We went south on the 5 to the 110 Harbor Freeway to the 105 freeway which took us straight to the airport in about 50 minutes. I think we averaged about 65 mph and didn't hit any traffic at all. I dropped everyone off at the Northwest Airlines in Terminal #2 and went to park in Lot B near the Proud Bird restaurant. By the time I had returned, Laura had checked all our bags. I had printed our boarding passes online the night before so we were all ready to go.

Considering we got to the aiport so quickly, we had plenty of time to get some breakfast before the flight. After we ate, we got on the plane, found our seats (31A, 31B and 31C) and were on our way to Minnesota. Our plan was to arrive in Minneapolis/St. Paul at 2:09pm, get our rental car, check into the hotel and head straight to the St. Paul Saints game where Nate and I would be throwing out the first pitch.

The flight was pretty easy. Nate was well-behaved and slept most of the time. It was raining when we landed. Our seats were near the back of the Boeing 757-300 so I let everyone else get off before gathering Nate's stuff deplaning. On my way out the flight attendants and captain we greeting each passenger. I asked the flight attendant if she could, "Get a picture of Nate and me with the Captain in the background." The captain overheard my request and said, "Do you want to come up to the cockpit and take some photos?" I couldn't believe it! Next thing I know, Laura, Nate and I are all in the cockpit of the 757. The Captain told me to sit with Nate in the right seat and told the flight attendant to take our picture. Laura joined us in the seat and we took a second picture. We also got a picture of the captain in his seat on the left side. It was an amazing experience and I still can't believe we were sitting in the cockpit of a Northwest Airlines Boeing 757-300!

Still on an emotional high, we headed to the rental car counter where we waited in line for about 25-30 minutes to get our car. Once the paperwork was complete, we were instructed to go to the parking lot and, "Select our vehicle." We had about 10 cars from which to choose and decided on a silver Chrysler PT Cruiser. It was a perfect car for us. It was tall enough that I had plenty of headroom and the seats were very confortable. We arranged for a carseat for Nate ahead of time and they had it ready when we arrived. It was up to us to install it. I had brought along a motorcycle tie-down to make sure we would have a very secure seat for Nate. Once it was installed, we loaded our luggage and headed to our Hotel, the Days Inn in Roseville. It wasn't anything special at all. While it was a clean bed and shower, it wasn't much else. That was fine, though, as we were only going to be there for two nights. We freshened up a bit, ate dinner at Chile's in Roseville, then headed to Midway Stadium on Energy Park Drive in St. Paul.

As instructed, we arrived at 6:15 and checked in at Fan Services inside the front gate. There were tons of people tailgating in the parking lot and listening to the same 80's rock that I enjoy so much. After we checked in we were ushered under the stadium where we waited right by the 3rd base dugout until it was our turn to go on the field and throw the ball. While we were waiting Nate became very friendly with "Mudonna" one of the Saints' mascots who was a big, pink pig-like character. Nate loved Mudonna and laughed the whole time they were playing with each other. Once our names were announced, Nate and I headed out to the mound. I held him in my left arm and threw with my right. I felt I threw a pretty good pitch. The catcher didn't have to move to catch it. It would have been called a ball by the umpire, but I was "only" about a foot off the inside of the plate. The announcer mentioned that I had won the pitch on eBay. After I threw the ball he said, "Nice pitch, Steve!" He then aded, "I wonder what he could have done without the kid in his arms!" That was pretty funny. I had gone through the pitch a million times in my mind and wanted to make sure I did my best while I was on the mound in Midway Satdium. I have read so many books about the Saints and have seen so many videos on the team that it made it an extra special evening for me. Nate and I got to keep the ball. I wrote on it, "Nate and Dad - 1st pitch, St. Paul, MN August 11, 2005." Click on the Video Clip icon above to see the 27 second video of the pitch. If you look very carefully you can see our names on the scoreboard behind us.

After the pitch we went to our seats. When we arrived at the stadium earlier in the evening we picked our tickets up at the will-call window. There were four of them for us. We sat in Section I, Row GG, Seats 1,2,3,4. We enjoyed the game a bunch. Nate was pretty active so Laura and I would take turns taking him out to the grassy area behind right field so he could crawl around and use up some energy. It worked out well. Nate also spent some more time with the mascot. I think the mascot enjoyed Nate because they spend quite a bit of time together and Nate would laugh whenever he saw her. It was great.

Photo AlbumAround the seventh inning I went back to the Fan Services desk to get the autographed team ball that was part of the auction. The wonderful lady who was working there wasn't aware that a ball was part of the auction and said, "If you write your name and address dowm I'll do everything I can to get the ball and mail it to you immediately." I had Nate in one arm and was trying to write my information down with the other. She offered to hold the index card for me while I wrote my information down. When she noticed I had come from California she asked if I had come just to throw a pitch. I told her that was the case and she asked me where my seats were and told me she'd get right back to me. To make a long story short, I was at the souvenir stand looking at hats when she came up to me and said, "I want to apologize for the confusion and, on behalf of the Saints organization, we want to present you with these items. She gave me a Saints hat, a DVD about the team's first ten years in St. Paul, a pen that blows bubbles for Nate, the autographed team ball and a book written by Mike Veeck, one of the teams owners, Called, "Fun is Good." It wasn't until after I arived home that I realized the book had been autographed by Mr. Veeck. To say I appreciate what the team did for us would be an understatement. The reason I wanted to throw this pitch so badly is that I have been following the Saints for over ten years. Laura and I actually visited the stadium on our honeymoon and returned a few years later to see a game. We've been to several of the parks in the Northern League (Duluth-Superior, Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Madison, Fargo, Winnipeg and Lincoln) and I have always admired the approach the team's owners have taken to operating a professional, independent baseball team. While I can't really name any of the players on the team, I can name the ownership and the front office staff. I think they're miracle workers. When they treated us so well on Thursday evening, I knew they really practiced everything they had always preached about running a successful business. It was a wonderful night and will provide us with a memory that will last a lifetime.

The next day we slept pretty late. I think we were finally out of our hotel room around 11:00am or so. I guess that was to be expected as we had done a lot the previous day and hadn't had more than about 5 hours sleep in two days. We left St. Paul and headed south to the Mystic Lake Casino which was about 30 minutes south. We only had time to hit the buffet the head back to St. Paul for The Wiggles concert at the Xcel Energy Center which started at 3:30. This is the same place where the NHL team, the Minnesota Wild, plays. It's a big place and is very nice inside. We parked in the structure near the facility, changed Nate, then neaded in for the show. I had bought our tickets online and printed them at home so getting into the show was very easy. Once in the arena, I stood in line to get Nate a concert T-Shirt and a Wiggles pillow. We found our seats and really enjoyed the show. There were references to hockey all over the place. There were several jersey hanging all over the arena and I think they are from all the high school hockey teams around the state. There were lots of signs hanging around that read, "Minnesota, the State of Hockey."

After the show we headed over the the Mall of America where we had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe and browsed the mall until it closed at about 9:30. We then headed back to the hotel and went to sleep. The next morning we got ready and headed to the airport for our flight back home. Once again, Nate did a tremendous job flying. He saw the Grand Canyon from the air and was very curious about everything going on outside the window. When the captain announced we were over the Four Corners region we wondered if we were flying right over Nate's grandpa who was on his way to a motorcycle ride in Colorado that same day. We arrived safely at home, got our luggage, jumped on the shuttle to Lot B, got in my truck and headed home. We were back home by 3:30pm Saturday and had that evening and had all day Sunday to rest. Nate was visibly happy to be back home. He crawled into his own room and just started touching everything and laughing. It was really nice to see that.

In all, it was a wonderful trip and one that was well worth the time and effort.

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Laura and Nate the day she received her M.A. Degree in School CounselingDanny & Tara dancing at the wedding reception at the Five Palms hotel on Maui.In all our lives there are certain events that are more inportant than the others. I think most of us would agree that the birth of a child is one of the greatest things a person can experience. Other significant happenings include getting married and graduating from college. This month, we have experienced both: Laura earned her Master's Degree and Danny married Tara.

Laura has been working on her degree for about six or seven years. She had to juggle her work schedule, the starting of a new business and, of course, Nate's arrival. Through it all she stuck to her goals and accomplished what she set out to do. Towards the end of her degree program Pops came up to Valencia every Monday night to watch Nate while Laura was in class. It was a good time for all of us. Nate and I got to see his grandpa every week and Laura was able to attend her classes at Azusa Pacific University

We are all very proud of Laura and admire her ability to set a goal and see it through. Last night Nate, Laura, Laura's parents and I attended her graduation ceremony on the football field at APU. Laura looked very beautiful in her cap and gown and it was actually an emotional moment when she received the degree. She now holds a Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in School Counseling. She has also earned the credential that licenses her to be a school counselor in California.

Photo AlbumLast week was our trip to Hawaii with the family. As you know, we all went to Kihei, Maui to attend Dan & Tara's wedding. They were maried on the beach in front of the Five Palms hotel in the southern part of the city. It was a beautiful setting and we all had a great time.

The trip began when Laura, Nate and I drove down to Dad & Dana's house on Sunday night, July 17th. We went out to dinner, dropped their dog, Dusty, at a friend's house who would be watching him for the two weeks they'd be gone, then headed back to the house for the night. The three of us slept in the guest room. We woke up the next morning and headed to the Orange County airport. We had originally purchased our tickets on Aloha Airlines out of Burbank, but were notified a few months later by the airline that, under their new bankruptcy restructuring plan, they were closing their Burbank operations and we could either have a refund or fly out of Orange County. We chose Orange County. Coincidentally, Dad & Dana were on the same flight.

Nate on the Aloha Airlines flight from Santa Ana-John Wayne to Kahului, MauiMonday morning we dropped Laura, Dana and Nate off in front of the airport loading area then went to park my truck. We all met up in the airport, got our boarding passes then had a quick breakfast. We boarded the flight and took our seats in the very last row. They were very good seats for us and we settled in for the 5 hour and 40 minute ride. We had given Nate some medicine to ease the pain of the pressure on his ears as the plane gained altitude. Nate was an absolute trooper the entire flight. He didn't cry at all, and wasn't even fussy. He seemed to be enjoying the ride. We took his stuffed animal (Geoffrey the Giraffe) and also took with us a portable DVD player. He watched The Wiggles, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Booh Bah. The landing in Kahului was pretty bumpy, but Nate smiled through the whole thing. He actually did better during the landing than some of the grown up passengers around us. We were so proud of Nate and how he did on the plane that it almost brought a tear to our eyes.

Nate and me in the water off the coast of Kihei right in front of the Sugar Beach Resort.We arrived in Maui about the same time everyone else seemed to be gettig there. I saw mom and Alicia in the airport as well as Amber, a friend of Tara's. Laura went to pick up our rental car while I watched the luggage. Once she returned with the car, we loaded up and headed to the store to stock up on supplies. We were staying in a place with a kitchen so we needed to get some food and drinks. Our first stop was Wal-Mart (which was behind Home Depot) then we headed to Costco. It was a bit odd going to all these stores on Maui. It seems to be changing quite a bit there. We saw Dad and Dana at Wal-Mart so we shopped together then headed to the Sugar Beach Resort where we'd be staying for the week.

Dan met us at Sugar Beach and helped us carry our things to our room. The room itself (#309) was pretty run down. It needed some new furniture, plumbing fixtures and a major cleaning. However, we did not plan on spending too much time there so it was really no big deal. We got Nate's Pack and Play crib set up then headed out to visit everyone and head to the beach. Our first day was spent just getting used to being in Hawaii and starting the process of winding down.

Pops and Nate on Sugar BeachMonday and Tuesday was spent on the beach and just relaxing. On Tuesday we headed up to Lahaina and had dinner with Dan & Dana at the Kobe Steakhouse. On Wednesday it was decided that most of us would go on a Harley Davidson ride. We met in Derek Diegel's room around 8:30, planned the day, then headed to the place in Kihei where we would rent the motorcycles. We got all situated them headed out on our ride. There was quite a bit that happened, but in a nutshell my motorcycle was leaking oil pretty bad. We called the shop to ask what we should do and if we could have a replacement and the guy told us to put a couple quarts in it, continue the ride to the winery and he would meet us there to pick up the motorcycle. My passenger (Nestor, Alicia's husband) and I would simply ride double with other guys. At this time we were at the Chevron station in Kula. We filled the Harley with oil then headed to the winery. We only got about 100 yards when the whole thing went up in smoke. There was so much smoke coming out of this motorcycle that it actually stopped traffic in both directions and people were coming out of their houses to see what was going on. Some of the guys on our ride are pretty skilled mechanics and determined that the mtorcycle was damaged when it was rented to us. It's too bad that we had to get this motorcycle. It really put a damper on my day. While I won't go into details, the guy who owns the Harley Davidson rental shop in Kihei wasn't too kind to me and actually tried to claim that I must have crashed because, as he put it, "Harleys don't break unless you crash." We disagreed about that. The following day he conceded the motorcycle was at fault and refunded my money. Dan's new father-in-law had spoken to him on the phone and was able to make him change his point of view. Lou saved the day.

Dad & Dan on MauiThat same evening at 5:30 was the wedding. We made it right on time and had a great time. The wedding was in a beautiful location with the island of Kahoolawe and Molokini crater in the background. After the wedding ceremony there was a wonderful dinner in the hotel's restaurant. It was really nice. Nate fell asleep outside and Laura and I took turns laying down with him on the lounge chair on the beach where the wedding took place. It was one of the best nights ever. It felt wonderful having him sleep on my chest. The next few days were spent relaxing on the beach, traveling around with Dad and Dana to different beaches on Maui and just having a good time. Dad, Nate and I visited the Maui Ocean Center in Ma'alea and saw much of the sea life that can be found in Maui.

On Sunday the 25th it was time for us to leave. The three of us got to the airport around 12pm or so in plenty of time to check in our rental car, our luggage and to have lunch before we boarded our 2pm flight. To make a long story short, our flight was canceled due to a mechanical failure on the plane. We jumped on a different flight that took us to Honolulu where we were put on the next flight to Orange County. The only problm with the flight was that it wasn't leaving until 11:55pm. That means that we spent a total of 12 hours in airports that day then flew overnight to Orange County. It was a very draining night, but we finally made it and we're all home safe and sound now. Although we had motorcycle, room and flight problems, we still view the week as a success as we got to spend time with family and friends and Dan & Tara are now married.

Last night Laura and I went to dinner at the Yardhouse in Pasadena with friends to celebrate he Master's Degree. Nate went to Dan & Tara's house for the evening.

It's now time to get ready for our trip to Minnesota later this week to throw out the first pitch at the Saint Paul Saints game on Thursday night and to see The Wiggles perform on Friday.

UPDATE: 10 JULY 2005
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Photo AlbumNate is now standing up. We went into his bedroom and noticed that he was able to pull himself up and stand in his crib. He keeps his balance by holding on to the crib rails. We are very pround of him as he's doing a tremendous job. Just to be on the safe side, we lowered the crib floor so he can't climb out. Nate is also crawling. He's moving all over the house and is very fast. We had to set up a portable play pen called a "Pack and Play" so he could play without the risk of bumping into a table, falling on the wooden floors, sticking something in the electrical outlet, etc... Every morning when we go to get him out of bed he's standing up smiling. He's got three teeth (two lower, one upper) and the next upper tooth is starting to pop through. We can tell that he's hurting sometimes, but he does a good job handling it. We give him Tylenol or Motrin drops when he really needs them.

A couple weeks ago I was on eBay looking around when I noticed the following auction by the Saint Paul Saints baseball club in Minnesota:

"This auction is to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a Saints home game. You pick the game, and you'll see your name in lights on the video scoreboard. The winner also receives four reserved seats to the game as well as a team autographed Northern League baseball.

This is a no-reserve auction and the bidding starts at a low $35. The winning bidder will be contacted by a Saints representative to set up your unique and memorable event. This would make a wonderful Fathers' Day gift.

In the event of a rainout, your ceremonial first pitch will be rescheduled. No parking, housing, or transportation will be provided. Thanks for looking and good luck. GO SAINTS!"

Well, I won the auction for $127.50. We'll take Nate to Minnesota next month to throw out the pitch. Our Neice, Heather, will be joining us. We'll be there for the August 11th game which is on a Thursday night at Midway Stadium in St. Paul. The Saints will be hosting the Joliet Jackhammers. We'll throw out the first pitch then watch the rest of the game. The next day we have tickets to see The Wiggles at the Xcel Center. We'll fly up on Thursday morning, go to our hotel (Days Inn Roseville, MN), freshen up a bit then head out to the stadium. After the game we'll head back to the hotel. The next morning we'll visit the Mall of America, have lunch then go see The Wiggles show. It will end around 6:00pm so we'll have the evening free in the Twin Cities. The next morning we'll come home.

This was my first Father's Day, Laura and Nate got me some very nice pictures to hang on the wall. They were done in black and white and each frame had several pictures in it. It was very special and they are hung near the entrance to Nate's bedroom. I was extremely happy to get them and I know I'll have them forever.

Nate has started his swimming lessons. He goes to the Santa Clarita Athletic Club every Friday morning at 10:30 and swims with his instructor, Natasha. He seems to get a bit upset during the lessons. He has cried the entire time during his first two lessons. Interestingly, he never cries in the pool at home. I'm sure he'll be fine. He's still very young (9 months) and this is a very new experience for him. He does a good job when he gets dunked and when he floats on his back. He has ten more lessons to go. His lessons were a gift from my dad & Dana, Nate's grandparents.

Nate had his nine month doctor's appointment this week with Dr. Henry at Glendale Pediatrics. He checked out just fone. It was nice because it's summer time and Laura and I were both able to be there. Nate checked in at a shade over 23 pounds, 8 ounces. The Dr. Henry noted that Nate has a well-formed head and is big for his age.

Today we went to the Ringling Brothers Circus at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield. It was a pretty good show. Our seats were in the middle and in the second row. We got to see everything up close. Nate did a good job, drank two bottles of milk and had some cotton candy. We got our tickets online and they were actually emailed to us. We simply downloaded them, printed them up then headed to the show. They scanned them at the door. It was very quick and efficient.

Laura has will be graduating with her Master's degree in School Counseling from Azusa Pacific University in less than three weeks. She took her comprehensive exams this weekend and passed her oral exams last week. She has one final project to do and she will have completed both the MA degree and the credential.

On the 4th of July we walked down to the mall, spread out a blanket and watched the fireworks show put on by the City of Santa Clarita. Nate did a very good job even though the fireworks were very loud.

UPDATE: 30 MAY 2005
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Photo AlbumToday was the final day of our three day weekend. It has been a very relaxing time and I'm looking forward to one more day or relaxation. The day began when Nate and I went up to WalMart and Sport Chalet to pick up some swimming supplies for him. He got a couple inflatable toys, some bathing suits, another UV protecting shirt and a wet suit. After we got home, we packed up and headed to Dan and Tara's house in Moorpark. We stopped at the grocery store on the way to pick up some things to drink and got to theri house around 12:30.

As soon as we got there we went in the pool and just had a good time. Tara's parents were also there. Nate did a good job in the pool and letting everyone hold and play with him. He looked at home in the water and seemed to have a pretty good time all day long. We kept sunscreen on him but he got a little pink on his forearms where the wetsuit did not cover him. It's not too bad, though.

We arrived home around 7pm and relaxed a little bit. Laura went to the grocery store. When she got back we gave Nate his bath, fed him and put him to bed. He had a long day, he played really hard and now he's sleeping.

This weekend has been really great. It's nice to forget about the daily pressures of work and concentrate on really enjoying life with my family. It certainly puts things into perspective and, if nothing else, makes one think about how wonderful things are when Laura, Nate and I have nothing else to do but have fun with each other.

As always, click on the "Photo Album" link to see pictures of the day.

UPDATE: 29 MAY 2005
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Photo AlbumIt's been another very relaxing day around the Lorenze home. We woke up this morning and had a very relaxing time around the house. At about 10:30 friends of ours, Grace & Scott, came up from West L.A. for brunch. We went to the Greenhouse Cafe in Saugus because we always know we can get a table there. On the way home we stopped at Best Buy to get an S-video cable, a new CD (UFO - Strangers in the Night) and some speakers for our new TV. Although the new TV is wonderful, and well worth the $148 we paid for it yesterday, it needed some help in the sound department. $29 later we have a solution. The TV sounds great now and it even sounds much better than anything we've ever had.

Grace, Scott, Laura, Nate & I walked over to Whole Foods Market to get some ice cream. We sat at a table there to eat then walked home. It was a nice walk and a very nice day outside. Once home, Grace & Scott had to leave and the three of us headed to the pool where we joined our neighbors and their grandson, Connor. Nate did a wonderful job in the water and started to kick his legs to make himself go. He seems very relaxed in the water and I think he's going to end up being a good swimmer. Once we got out of the pool, we showered off at the pool shower. This was Nate's first time in a shower. He did great and seemed to enjoy it.

After we changed into some dry clothes we had a barbeque. It was very relaxing and tasted great. We'll spend the rest of the evening relaxing, working on the computer, watching Boston vs. New York on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball and watching the Nextel Cup NASCAR race. Tomorrow we're headed to Danny and Tara's house for a day of swimming and relaxing.

Click on the "Photo Album" link to see pictures from today.

UPDATE: 28 MAY 2005
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Photo AlbumIt's Memorial Day weekend and we're relaxing around the house. This is the first time in a long time that we have three days together without having to be anywhere or do anything. Last night our TV stopped working so we had to replace that. We looked around online and found a nice 27" model at Circuit City for $148. It isn't the fanciest one available, but it really isn't all that bad. We brought it home, plugged it in and it seems to work just fine.

While we were out we stopped at Sport Chalet and got Nate a UV protection shirt. It's designed to keep the sun off him and we think it will come in handy this summer, especially while we're in Hawaii.

Once we got home we thought about going on a walk, but our neighbors were in the pool so we stopped there and Nate ended up going in. He enjoyed it very much. Click on the "Photo Album" link to see pictures of him in the pool.

Yesterday was another day of work, but it was Friday night so Laura and I went on a date. It was our third time we have been out on a date since Nate was born. We went to Don Cuco's on Lyon's Avenue in Newhall for dinner and were home pretty early. We have a babysitter named Jessie who watches Nate while were out. It's very difficult for us to leave Nate, if even for a few hours. However, he does just great, Jessie's trustworthy, and everything works out well.

UPDATE: 15 MAY 2005
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Nate with Pops on Manday night while Laura was in schoolOnce again, it's been a pretty long time since I have last updated the site. While things on the website have been a bit slow, things in our lives have been quite busy and exciting. Nate is sitting up all by himself. He's playing with his toys and it looks like he's getting ready to crawl. Photo AlbumNate is also eating solid foods (baby food and smashed bananas. He's becoming more talkative. He says "Dada" all the time and also says "Mama." He continues to enjoy watching his Baby Einstein DVDs in the morning and watching shows like The Wiggles and Dora the Explorer.

Laura will graduate with her master's degree in July. Until then she attends class one night each week. This session it's Mondays that she's gone. Because she has to leave for school before I get home, Nate's grandpa (Pops), drives up from Laguna Niguel each Monday to watch Nate. We have dinner each Monday night in the bar at Chiles where we can all watch the baseball and basketball games on TV. They all recognize us now when we come in which makes it very nice. Nate ususally eats a french fry while we're having dinner.

Laura and I celebrated our 10th weddig anniversary this month. Considering we met while Laura was in college in Utah, and I spent some time there the two years were we dating at a distance, we felt that we should celebrate our anniversary by going to Utah and spending the weekend together. On Friday night we drove down to dad's house in Laguna Niguel and spent the night. Saturday morning we boarded a Delta flight from Orange County to Salt Lake City. This was our first night away from Nate and it was very difficult although we had a great time. We really missed Nate and were happy to see him when we came home Sunday afternoon.

We rented a car at Enterprise at the airport and then checked into the Hotel Monaco. It's a great hotel and we ended up having a great dinner in their restaurant Saturday night. Saturday afternoon we drove down to Provo to see where Laura lived, worked and went to school when we met. It was a nice trip down memory lane and we had a great time.

Nate has done quite a bit this month. He's growing faster than we can believe. This morning he and I walked up to the College of the Canyons and watched a baseball game. Nate saw a caterpilar and a lizard. Last night the three of us drove to Bakersfield to see the Bakersfield Blaze (Texas Rangers Class A affiliate) play the Visalia Oaks (Tampa Bay Devil Rays affiliate) play at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Nate had a great time. He was very interested in everything that was going on, got to meet the team's mascot, he ate ice cream, he shook hands through the fence of one of the players (Matt Rico, #23 for Visalia, drafted in the 6th round by Tampa Bay in 2001).

Later in the month Laura, Nate and I decided that we needed a midweek "family day." It was last Wednesday and dad's motorcycle club, The Orange County Dualies, hosted a reunion of the cast of "On Any Sunday," in Newport Beach. We wanted to be there by about 6pm to have dinner prior to the 8pm showing. We ate at El Torito then went to the show. Nate's teeth were hurting him quite a bit so he and I spent most of the time in the theatre lobby.

The Dodgers were playing a day game so the three of us stopped by the stadium to see the Dodgers take on the Florida Marlins. The Dodgers lost 6-2.

Nate is getting ready to crawl. He's growing very quickly and is already eight months old. Life is really great with Nate. He's very well behaved, laughs all the time and has made our lives wonderful. Coming home at the end of the day and seeing him smile and get excited is one of the best feelings a person could have.

Dad, Nate and I have continued having dinner every Monday night at Chile's while Laura is in school. It's really a nice time. Laura has class on Monday evenings so we take the opportunity to make it a "boys' night." Speaking of dad, he's in Washington, D.C. this week. He spent the night Monday the got up early and headed to the Long Beach airport where he and a friend took a JetBlue flight to Washington. They be checking out a few museums and taking in an Orioles vs. Detroit Tigers game on Friday night.

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Nate looking at himself in the mirror.I guess waiting over a month to update the web page probably isn't the best way to go about things, but it has been a very busy time around our home and there hasn't been too much time to work on the computer. We've been having a wonderful time with Nate. We're doing all sorts of fun things and going different places. The photo here is Nate in Dr. Henry's office in Glendale getting a checkup.

Nate getting ready for the ride to San Luis ObispoQuite a bit has happened in Nate's life. He is now six months old and it seems as though he wants to talk. He's making much more noise than he ever has. He's still teething and we can now see his teeth popping through. It must hurt him, but he's been really good about it. We have a special cream to rub on his gums and we also have some tablets that Laura rubs on his gums until they disolve. They seem to work well.

Neighbors of ours have a grandson who is close in age to Nate. Laura noticed that Nate really enjoyed the company of the other boy so we thought he needed to be around other kids every once in awhile. To that end, Nate is now enrolled in Gymboree.

Some of this month's significant developments in Nate's life are: He experienced his first Easter, he now has a favorite toy (his stuffed giraffe), he has started eating solid food (rice cereal), Nate loves to jump in his bouncing chair, but has outgrown his swinging chair. Nate loved the time he spent spending the night with grandpa & grandma every Wednesday night while Laura was in class.

Photo AlbumFor Easter Laura, Nate and I decided to spend the weekend in San Luis Obispo. We figured Nate would enjoy some time out of the house. The trip began with a nice drive up Highway 126 and Highway 101. We stopped a couple times along the way to change and nurse Nate, then checked into our hotel. Once we freshened up, we headed out for dinner and ended up having a very nice one at a place in the San Luis Harbor right on Avila Beach. It was a nice little place with great food.

The next morning we headed up to San Simeon where there is a place to view Elephant Seals. We knew Nate would enjoy that. We all had a good time then headed home. Solvang was our next stop where we had lunch at the Greenhouse Cafe. After that, we stopped at grandma's house in Woodland Hills for a quick visit. In all, it was a very fun weekend.

Take a minute to look at our pictures of the weekend by clicking on "PHOTO ALBUM" icon above right.

Photo AlbumThis month was also significant in that Dan had his bachelor party motorcycle ride from Barstow to Laughlin along the Mojave Trail. It was my first offroad ride with my Suzuki and it handled the event flawlessly. Check out out pictures by clicking on the "PHOTO ALBUM" icon on the left.

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Nate holding his toes.Today would have been my grandma Helen's 83rd birthday. I wish she and Nate cold have known each other. While that's not possible, I can at least take comfort knowing that I can pass on to stories to him about all the experiences I had with her. She was a wonderful person and Nate will know all about her.

This past month has been a pretty good one around our home. The most important thing was Nate's visit to the emergency room. Three weeks ago, Laura awoke at 3:30 to nurse Nate. She noticed that he felt hot. She took his temperature and learned that he was running a 102.7 degree fever. We stripped him down to his diaper and considered calling 911, but realized we could get to the hospital faster by ourselves. We loaded him into his car seat and got to the hospital immediately. Fortunately, we live about 500 yards from Henry Mayo Newhall Medical Center so we got there in no time at all.

Nate and his dad at Valencia Summit Park.We were relieved when we saw the waiting room was empty. We only had to wait about 5 minutes, but we were somewhat comforted when the nurses didn't seem too worried about Nate. We figured that if this were a life-threatening emergency that they would have moved a bit quicker. That said, they got us in pretty fast and took his temperature. By this time it was 102.1. The emergency room physician called Nate's pediatrician and they decided to release him when his fever dropped into the normal range and advised us to give him some over-the-counter medication. We did that, came home, put him in bed and he has been fine ever since.

Nate got the second round of his immunizations this month. Actually, the immunizations were given to him the day his fever went so high. The physicians and we figure the high temperature was a reaction to his shots. We learned that this happens 25% of the time. That was a relief to find out there was nothing else wrong with our little guy.

Nate in the swing at Valencia Summit ParkLaura has been completing her master's degree at Azusa Pacific University. In order to graduate on schedule, she needed to take a class that is only being offered at the APU center in Orange County. To simplify things Laura has been driving to the school on Wednesday afternoon with Nate. My dad meets them there and takes Nate to his house. After class, Laura meets them there and she and Nate spend the night. This works out well for all involved, but our house really seems empty and lonely when they aren't here. Tomorrow dad will be taking the train from his house to ours so he can watch Nate for the hours before I get home from work. He spend the night here and we'll probably go out to dinner.

Laura and Nate have been keeping their schedule on Thursdays by going down to mom's house in Woodland Hills.

Nate continues to develope right on schedule. He's sitting up, he can roll over about half way, he's holding on to things, pushing himself up with his arms and holds both of his feet in his hands. Best of all, Nate has a wonderful laugh and he loves to use it. Not a day passes without Nate spending some quality time laughing really hard. His smiles are beautiful and he smiles all the time. We get several comments in public from people that notice how happy he seems to be.

Nate has just surpassed the 20lb mark.

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Nate looking at the reptiles up closePhoto AlbumI've always thought people who treat animals well will usually treat other people well. I also wonder about people that don't treat animals as well as they should. I guess it's one of those "pick on somebody your own size" kind of arguments. Either way, a goal of mine is to insure that Nate treats animals and all living things well, especially those more vulnerable than he.

To that end, he has tons of stuffed animals in his room, is being raised with pets in the house (two cats) and will have as much experience around animals as we can make possible. Today that meant a trip to the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Nate and his dad watching the giraffe.The day began with a trip to Ventura where Laura had class. She had to attend the final session this term at the Azusa Pacific University center. Her class lasted about two hours. During this time Nate and I went across the street and window shopped. I got something to drink at Jamba Juice then the two of us walked through the Home Depot. Laura called when class was over. We headed back to the car and continued up the 101 to Santa Barbara.

On the way to the zoo we hit some traffic along the coast. As it turns out, people were slowing to see the little town of La Conchita where there was a mudslide a week or so ago that crushed several residents during the storms.

We arrived at the zoo around 11:00 or so and had lunch. After that we spent the day walking around and simply enjoying the place. It touts itself as the "World's most beautiful zoo" and it's easy to see why. It sits right on the ocean in a very lush setting. Make sure to click on the 'Photo Album" icon to see more zoo pictures.

Nate did a great job all day long. His teeth are coming in and he continues to handle it well. He has a tremendous sense of humor and is a really easy guy to have around. It's true that babies are a lot of work, but Nate makes every day so much fun that it never really seems like we're working.

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The family on top of Mammoth MountainPhoto AlbumNate is exactly four months old today. He's doing very well. His teeth are coming in and he weighs 17.5 pounds. Getting your first set of teeth doesn't appear to be the most fun a baby can have. Nate is clearly in some pain, although it's sporadic and doesn't seem to last too long. To help him out we have him chew on either a teething ring or a cold, wet cloth. Tonight we rubbed some medicine on his teeth. The stuff we used was especially designed to help babies when they're going through this process. It came in a cotton swap with the medicine in the middle. We had to break off one end then rub the other on his gums. It worked.

Nate hit another milestone today in that it was the first time he has been left with a babysitter. Laura's mom and sister came down to watch him because I had to be at the School Business Managers Academy this weekend at the Riverside County Office of Education and Laura had a class at Azusa Pacfic University all day that's part of her M.A. program. Dad loading the giraffe into my truck in MammothWe called home and checked on Nate all day long and rushed to get home just as fast as we could.

Last weekend was a three day weekend (Presidents' Day, I think) so we joined Dad & Dana at their condo in Mammoth. Dana's friends/coworkers, Tim & Jill, joined us along with Jill's neice. Laura, Dad and I did not ski, but everyone else did. While they were out the rest of us just relaxed around the condo, went on a few walks, went out to lunch a did a little browsing in the stores. We even rode the gondola to the top of the mountain. Nate did great. If you look closely you can see him. I was carrying him in a pouch. One of the stores we visited had a very large giraffe for sale for about $45. Considering Nate's room is done in a jungle theme and that he really like the giraffe he has now, we bought the big giraffe and brought it home with us.

On Thursday of this week Laura and Nate drove down to Mom's house for their weekly visit. A good time was had by all and mom enjoyed the fact that Nate was teething. She called us later and said that he is always so well behaved that it was neat to see him go through the teething process.

In anticipation of Dan's bachelor party ride to Laughlin, I ordered and received my special Renthal Handlebars for my DRZ400S and the bracket that will mount my steering stabilizer to the motorcycle. The handlebars were manufactured with a bent crossbar to allow the stabilizer to fit. Although I have not mounted anything yet, I can tell it will give the motorcycle a very trick look.

Neighbors of ours have a duaghter who is a professional photographer. She took some pictures that are included here. Look at the PHOTO ALBUM to see them all. The picture of the hands is Nate and me.

Very special to us this week was a gift we received from the Young Family who had students at my school. They made Nate a beautiful blanket from material they found in Downtown Los Angeles that had images of hockey players on it. It was especially nice in that it had Nate's full name stitched into it along with his birthdate and time. We really appreciate it and cant say enough how wonderful it is.

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Nate in his jumperThere have now been more than 3,000 visits to this site so far. Thank you to all of you that are keeping tabs on Nate. This evening I ran into someone I hadn't seen in a few years who told me, "Hey, I just read about your trip to Van Nuys Airports with Nate a couple weeks ago." It's really nice to know people are reading what we have to write.

Nate & Laura at Summit Park near our home in ValenciaThis past week has been very wet. It has rained quite heavily. So much so, in fact, that my school was closed on Monday and Tuesday. Laura, Nate and I stayed home and did things around the house and had a pretty good time. It raining so hard outside that it didn't make sense to go out.

Laura has been working on refinishing some of our funiture. We were thinking of buying a new dinner table, but thought we try and refinish our current on just to see what it would look like. We figured we were getting rid of it anyway, so what difference would it make? Well, she first refinished a smaller end table. It turned out so good that we decided we'd keep the current stuff and refinish it all.

Dan and Tara invited to their new house for dinner Saturday evening. We had a great time and the food tasted really good. We played video games (motorcycle racing) and now I'm thinking maybe I should get one of those X-Boxes so we can "race" here at home.

Nate is growing right before our eyes. He is laughing, making all kinds of noises with his mounth. We know he's trying to tslk to us. His legs are very strong and can stand up if we help him balance. He's making tremendoud progree for such a young boy. This eveing Laura dressed him in an outfit that said "18 mos." on the tage. Nate isn't even 4 moths old yet!

Tomoorow well head to Mammoth to spend the weekend with Dad & Dana. This will be the first time Nate has seen, or been in, the snow.

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Nate relaxing on the couch.This past week has been a very productive one in Nate's life. He is going through a tremendous period of growth and discovery. We have noticed that he can now hold his hands together. This is something we've noticed he just began doing. He seems to be very interested in looking at his hands once they are together. Nate is also cooing and making many more sounds. While he won't be talking for several more months, he is communicating with his mouth. He makes sounds, we will imitate them, and he will make more sounds. He smiles all the time and especially likes it when he sees himself in the mirror. Nate and AliciaA few weeks back Dr. Henry told us that Nate neededto spend more time laying on his tummy. He does not like doing that too much and the longest he can go right now is about 2 minutes. We will gradually increase his tummy time as on a regular basis.

On Thursday, as she does each week, Laura went to visit mom and Alicia. They ordered lunch and visited. Alicia spoke to Nate in Spanish because we want him to get used to the two different languages.

We're noticing that Nate really wants to stand up. He is pushing hard with his legs and could probably stand if his balance was a bit sharper. It will be in a few months, but it sure is exciting to watch him grow and develop.

Last night we went to Dan and Tara's house in Moorpark for dinner. It's a beautiful house and we had a nice dinner and played video games. We had a really nice time.

I spent Friday night and Saturday at the Riverside County Office of Education once again for some trainings. The rains are coming down pretty ahrd and the drive back and forth to was a bit slower than usual. Tonight (Sunday) I got a phone call from our superintendent notifying me that the schools in our district will be closed tomorrow due to the flooding and the washed-out roads in the community.

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Nate and dad at the wedding on New Years Say, 2005.New Year's Eve came and went without too much fanfare. Laura, Nate and I stayed home. It's been raining quite a bit this week so it was a good night to have a fire in the fireplace. We bathed Nate and put him to bed at his usual time then we stayed up until after midnight. I called mom at 12:00 to wish her a happy new year then Laura and I celebrated with a bottle of champagne.

Nate and HarrietThe following day we got up and watched the Rose Parade then we headed down to Laura's brother's house where her sister would be getting married later in the day. Nate did a pretty good job being around everyone there, but it was obvious that he really loved being around Harriet who would be his great grandmother once removed.

Sunday the 2nd Laura, Nate and I went out to lunch at our favorite Italian place over on Lyons Ave. then headed over to Pier One Imports to look for a piece of furniture to fill a space in our living room. We didn't see anything that suits our needs so we headed over to Target to get some more diapers (Huggies, Size 2).

We pretty much stuck qround the house after that and worked on the computer. Laura is enjoying her new laptop and camera quite a bit and has discovered how to make and edit videos on her laptop so she's been working on that tonight. She took both of the pictures here, too.

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Dad gives Nate a bath every night at 10:30We got off to an early start this morning. There were lots of chores that needed to get done. We took our Christmas tree down (we have an artificial one) and stored all our Christmas stuff in the attic. Once that was done Laura steam cleaned the carpets then we headed to mom's house for a visit. Laura and Nate visit mom every Thursday and this time I had the chance to go with them. Mom and Alicia ordered pizza and salad so we all had lunch and visited. Nate fell asleep in his grandma's arms.

Nate and his grandma on December 30th, 2004 at her house in Woodland HillsWe talked about our upcoming trip to Hawaii when the whole family will converge on Maui to attend Dan & Tara's wedding. Granted, it's about seven months away, but we are all very excited.

On the way home we stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up some pictures Laura had emailed them. They actually have a nice service that allows us to take pictures with a digital camera, email them to the store, then pick them up in an hour. They're pretty inexpensive, very quick, and we have the option of having our pictures enlarged or put on all sorts of things like calendars and coffee mugs.

Here you see a picture of me giving Nate a bath. I give him his bath every night at 10:30. It's my absolute favorite time of the day. We place his basin on the side of the sink, fill it with relaxing baby bubble stuff, top it off with warm water and clean him up. Before we begin any of the bathing, we put his towel in the dryer so it's warm and comfortable when it's time to dry off. When we're done with the bath, I take him to his room, put on a fresh diaper and his pajamas, then feed him a bottle Laura has pumped for him. While he's enjoying the bottle we have music playing in the room. Usually it's Hawaiian or classical. We got a very nice 2-CD set of classical music from some friends and have found that Nate really enjoys listening to them.

Our hockey viewing selection tonight was the Great Lakes Invitational Tournament which featured the University of Michigan vs. Michigan State.

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Nate and his dad at Van Nuys Airport on December 29, 2004.This morning was a very nice one around the house. We started the morning configuring our computers after we switchd our internet service from SBC to DSLExtreme. That simple change saved us about $25/month on our internet bill. SBC was about $50/month and now we're only paying $25. We have a wireless network at home with a desktop and two laptops. There is a router that sits upstairs in our loft that sends a signal to all our rooms and even to the garage. It goes about 400 feet or so outside. It's nice to have the ability to sit outside on the patio and be online.

Nate and dad watching the airplanes at Van Nuys Airport.Once all that was complete we thought Nate would enjoy a day watching airplanes so we loaded up and headed to the Van Nuys airport. We stopped at Jack in the Box to pick up some lunch then tried to get as close as we could to the action. We found a hotel that has a parking lot that sits right on the airport. We went into their parking lot and backed my truck up to the fence, dropped the tailgate and had a picnic. Nate enjoyed the planes and was able to track them with his eyes as they went by. The taxi way was so close to us that we had to cover his ears when the jets went by. Van Nuys hass the world's busiest general aviation airport. We saw twin engine turboprop planes and jets, but only saw one small, single plane. The weather was very cloudy and it had been raining off and on all day. My guess is that most of the people who fly for pleasure decided to stay on the ground today.

After we were done at the airport we headed home. We drove the Old Road both ways as the 405 and 5 freeways were stopped due to some traffic problems. We got home just in time as it began raining heavily shortly after we arrived.

We started a fire in the fireplace, made some dinner and found some hockey games on TV. Nate really does enjoy watching hockey so we flipped between three games: United States vs. Belarus in the World Junior (under 20yrs) Championships from the campus of UND in Grand Forks, North Dakota, the Michigan vs. Michigan Tech game from Detroit and the St. Cloud State vs. Boston College game which was being played in a tournament in Florida.

We'll continue to have a quiet night at home. Tomorrow is Thursday which means Laura and Nate head to grandma's house in Woodland Hills for lunch. I'm on vacation this week so I will get to join them. I'm looking very forward to that.

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Nate in his new toySend an eMail to Nate at nate@lorenze.comThis has really been a time of growth in Nate's life. Since the last time this site was updated on December 6th, Nate has attended his first funeral at St. Clare Church in Canyon Country, met his uncle and aunt-to-be for the first time, made reservations for a trip to Maui in July, went to see a show at the Staples Center downtown, celebrated his first Christmas and will be attending Laura's sister's wedding on January 1st. Nate continues to be a wonderful boy and we can't believe how fortunate we are to be his parents.

Laura and Nate at Staples Center for the Disney on Ice show.Nate was very well behaved at the funeral and several people commented to us that they didn't even know he was there. He was very quiet, very patient, and made it through the entire service without getting fussy. There was a reception that followed the service and we asked if there was a place we could change Nate's diaper. We were told to use the kitchen counter top so we did a quick change there, visited with those in attendance then came home after stopping at Taco Bell around 11pm.

This month also saw the coming of the annual Lorenze Family Christmas party. While it rotates between the homes of family members, it was held at my cousin Cathy's house this year. That was a good thing for us in that she lives just two miles away. The party was fun and it was very nice to see everyone in the family again. Dan and Tara were there and told us that they would be getting married in July. We are very happy for them and can't wait for Nate to be able play with his new cousins Ashlee and Carlie. It's great that they're getting married, but the fact that they're doing it in Hawaii made it even more exciting. Family and friends will be converging on Maui the third week in July for the festivities. Teddy Bear at Toys R UsWe'll be staying at the Sugar Beach Resort in Kehei. Laura, Nate and I looked around for the best deal we could get on airfare. The best I could find was $592 out of LAX. Before booking the flight I decided to try where I could "name my price" and see if any airline would accept it. It worked out very well for me as I got our tickets for $400 each and we're flying directly from Burbank to Kahului, Maui. We're hoping Laura will be SCUBA certified by the time we go so Dan, Tara, Laura and I can all go diving. I am also looking very forward to showing Nate the beach and ocean and possibly taking him to a luau.

Nate and his Uncle DanOn December 23rd Laura, Nate and I went to the Staples Center downtown to see Disney on Ice - Monsters Inc. We sat in pretty good seats and Nate really enjoyed the show. He paid very close attention for the entire two hours then fell asleep in the car on the way home. We were actually quite surprised that he enjoyed it as much as he did.

Christmas was special in that it was our first as a three-member family at home. We went to the 9pm service at church where we sat in the "crying room" in case Nate decided to make any noise. He didn't. He was great the whole time. Nate and his grandmaUnfortunately, there we two other kids that were out of control and made the night almost unbearable for us. They were so loud that people outside of this soundproof room were turning around to see what all the commotion was about. I think we'll just sit in the main room next time.

After the service we came home and let Nate open one of his gifts. Friends of ours, Eric and Jen, who live in Las Vegas, sent Nate a package and we let him open this one early. It was a beautiful cashmere blanket and a keepsake frame kit where Nate could put his handprints and pictures. It came from a place called Red Envelope. Nate appreciated it very much. Laura and I also exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve and we had a really nice time. Nate received several thoughtful gifts that really meant a lot to him. The generousity that people have shown us has been amazing and we're all very appreciative.

Nate and me at Staples CenterOn Christmas morning Nate got to open the rest of his gifts and saw that Santa had brought him a big teddy bear and some blocks for his first Christmas. Santa Claus actually saw the teddy bear on the shelf at Toys R Us an thought he looked lonely. He bought the bear and made sure he had a home in Nate's bedroom.

After Christmas Laura's sister and her boyfriend came to stay the night and told us that they would be getting married on New Year's Day. They are pushed for time as her boyfriend, now fiancee, is in the military and is going back to Qatar in February.

There is still a week of vacation to go. It's raining very hard outside but is very warm inside. We watched the USA vs. Switzarland in the IIHF Juniors World Championships from Grand Forks, ND tonight and pretty much relaxed around the house. We'll probably do some home improvement projects this week and just enjoy the time off before returning to work in a week.

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Nate and Dr. HenryI walked into the front door of our school this morning and was handed a message by our school secretary. It said to call a man named Frank who lives next door to our school maintenance man, Tim Nolan. I called him immediately and he told me that he had found Tim in bed that weekend and that he had passed away during the night. Tim was 51 years old. This hit really hard and our entire school staff is devastated. Nate's scaleTim was much more than a coworker. He was a friend and a member of our very tight knit staff. He was a person who was truly good to the core and would have done anything to help anyone. He never had a bad word for anyone and he was always happy to see you. He worked very hard, never complained, loved his family and was a terrific example to our students. Tim was special to each of us. He will be missed.

Contrast the sad news of Tim's passing to the joy of having a child like Nate. Today was another milestone in Nate's young life in that this was the day he received his first shots. Laura took Nate to see Dr. Henry at Glendale Pediatrics this morning. Nate in his hat.Nate got his shots, was weighed, measured and examined. We learned that he is is the 75th percentile in height, the circumference of his head is in the 80th percentile, and he is in the 90th percentile in weight. He's 2 1/2 months old and weighs 14 lbs, 13 ounces. He's a big boy and is built very solid. Dr. Henry advised us to do some exercises with Nate to help him turn his head to the left. It seems as though he has always been turning to the right and we need to have him turn the other way more often. Nate looking in the mirrorThis probably has to do with the way he watches hockey with me on TV as well as the way he sleeps, so tonight we turned him around on his other side for the Monday Night Football game (Seattle vs. Dallas) but he was just too tired from the day and wanted to get some sleep. We placed him on the side opposite of how he usually sleeps and he was just fine with that.

After seeing Dr. Henry, Laura brought Nate to my school and interviewed one of our teachers, Mrs. Rosenberg (the one we visited in Minnesota last summer) for a school project she's doing. It was nice to see Nate on campus and I got to take him home in my truck which was a pleasant surprise. It's not too often I get to drive home from work with my boy. Nate was crying while he was on campus. We didn't really know why but figured it was because the shots had made him uncomfortable. When I put him in my truck for the ride home he immediately fell asleep, as he always does in the car. Once home, he woke up and resumed his crying. This is very unusual for him. We changed his diaper and noticed that, as soon as we undressed him, he stopped crying and appeared to be very comfortable. We figured it had something to do with the outfit he was wearing rubbing against the Band-Aids covering the marks left by his shots. We let him lay in front of the TV without his pants on and he was very quiet and seemed to enjoy the football game. Of course, he peed on the carpet, but that was OK as we were just thankful that he was happy and comfortable.

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Nate and Grandpa at the USC vs. UCLA hockey game On December 3, 2004.It's Friday night so we went out and had some fun. Dad had invited us to join him and Steve Kehl for a USC vs. UCLA hockey game held at Disney Ice in Anaheim. These are club teams and not university-operated with NCAA-caliber athletes, but it was a good time nonetheless. It seemed like everyone there was a USC fan and I only saw one person all night wearing UCLA colors. The facility is the same one used by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for training purposes and was actually pretty nice. The seats weren't reserved as it was general admission only. Tickets were ten bucks.

Nate and Grandpa at Marie Calendars in Anaheim after the game.Nate got a souvenier USC teddy bear that was wearing a hockey shirt and he got a couple USC hockey pucks. Considering UCLA is my alma matter, I would have got him the UCLA stuff, but there wasn't any available. Maybe they sold out.

Nate was able to wear his University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux hockey outfit, but most there thought it was a Notre Dame jersey.

After the game the five of us went to the Marie Calendar's on Euclid Ave. for pie and coffee. We left there about 11:40 and made it home in 45 minutes. Considering it took us over two hours to get there, were were happy to have made it home in such a short time. Nate will get to see his grandpa again at the annual Lorenze Family Christmas party in a couple weeks at my cousin Cathy's house here in Valencia.

Nate has been growing quite a bit. He's about 15 pounds right now and we had to get him bigger socks as he's growing out of them. He feels very solid and appears to be quite healthy. He is on a breast milk diet and will be until he's about six months old. HIs hair is brown and his eyes look to be turning blue. He's very well behaved, smailes all the time, doesn't cry all that much, loves his bath every night at 10:30 and usually sleeps through the night. He loves to ride in the car and he likes to be held and bounced. Nate loves to go onhis walks through the neighborhood and especially enjoyed his walk with his grandpa who drove up to visit him a couple days ago. They walked through the park and over the The Habit for lunch.

On Monday Nate has his next appointment with Dr. Henry at Glendale Pediatrics. He's going to get his shots so we're anxious to see how he will do. I predict he'll do just fine and it won't be too difficult a day for him.

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Nate watching the Minnesota vs. Michigan college hockey game.

It's Sunday morning, the final day of Thanksgiving vacation. Tomorrow it's back to work. There's a church that rents the school I work at every Sunday. Today I was awakened by a call from one of our secretaries that the alarms had gone off and nobody there knew how to reset them. Although I was having much more fun snuggling with Nate, I had to run up there and shut the bells down. I decided to ride my Suzuki and at least have a little fun. It was a nice day for a ride although it was cold enough out that I needed to wear something wrapped around my face to keep my nose and mouth warm. Nate has a few cloth diapers and I simply wrapped one around my face. It worked just fine. We got the alarm situation resolved and I rode him.

Laura's mom and sister visiting and checking out the website.Yesterday Nate's grandmother and aunt came down to visit. They checked out his website, looked at pictures we had on the hard drive, then ran over to Kohl's to check out a sale they were having. They also brought us a Christmas outfit for Nate which is really neat. I'm sure some pictures of him will show up here eventually.

As we a known to do from time-to-time, Nate and I watched another hockey game on TV. This time it was Minnesota vs. Michigan State. As always, Nate was very interested and watched intently. Laura made a great dinner tonight and we ate while sitting in front of the fire and watching the game.

Nate at Kmart in SaugusDad emailed and invited us to attend a UCLA vs. USC club ice hockey game at Disney Ice on Friday. We'll head down there to check it out and see what the caliber of play is. It's not an NCAA game so I have no idea what it will be like.

The pictures here are Laura's mom and sister visiting us and looking at this website, and the other is a picture I took of Nate while he was sitting in my lap. The close-up of his face was taken at Kmart while we were running errands.

Later today we had to pick up a few things at the store. We needed batteries for Nate's swing, some diapers, socks for Nate, laundry soap, fire logs and a few other things. We tried going to Target, but it was so crowded we couldn't get a parking place. We thought K-Mart might be a bit less crowded so we headed over there. IT was less crowded and we were able to get everything we needed. After that we headed over to Starbucks for some coffee and I had to pick up the fire logs at Long's Drugs as they're on sale there.

Our neighbor, Rose, came over and brought some clothes for Nate and visited with him for a bit. I wom a few things on eBay. The best was the onesie I got for Nate. It was an official University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux piece and I got it for one cent brand new. I bought another, the next size up, for $2.25. Those were some pretty good deals and they should be here in time for the hockey game this Friday.

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Nate in his car seat on the way to Julie's for Thanksgiving.Photo AlbumThanksgiving up in Lancaster turned out very nice. We had a very realxing time and, best of all, we didn't have to do any of the cooking. Julie did a great job and the day was a success. We ended up staying later than we originally though we would as it was nice to visit with people and Laura got to see some people she hasn't seen in years. We never ended up making it to the Staples center for the Clippers game. That's OK. The tickets were just $6 so it was no great loss.

Today, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been a good one around the house. I washed both cars and Laura made a great lunch and dinner. Friday night around the house is a good one in that Nate loves to watch hockey on TV and there are lots of games on Friday. We watched the University of Minnesota vs. University of Michigan game and gave the remote a workout as we were flipping between the Boston College vs. University of Denver game and the Bridgeport Sound (CT) Tigers vs. Hartford (CT) Wolfpack minor league game. True, we watch quite a few hockey games, but Nate really does enjoy them.

The picture on the left is not of the highest quality, but I thought it was worth putting here as I really like it. It has kind of a neat look to it. It's Nate in his car seat getting ready to go to Julie's house. I took it through the back window of the car.

Photo AlbumConsidering I had the day off work, I had some time to take a few pictures and make another slide show for you to view. This one is called, "A Day in the Life of Nate." Take a look at it. It will give you an idea of what Nate's life is like now that he's over 2 months old. It's the one in the upper-right corner of today's entry.

The one in the lower-right corner is a view of Thanksgiving Day yesterday.

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Nathan in his bathtub.Photo AlbumToday was another relaxing day around the house. I had the day off and we got a chance to get some things done. Laura prepared some of the food for Thanksgiving at her sister's tomorrow and I cleaned the garage and put things in the attic. We took a walk to the shopping center across the street and through the park and the walkways that wind their way through town. It was a beautiful fall day today. A bit of a chill in the air, but not cold.

Nate had anothe great day. He and I watched the Central Hockey League's Colorado Eagles (Loveland, CO) vs. Odessa (TX) Jackalopes on TV. He really does enjoy hockey on TV. He was hungry during the game and wanted to eat, but was staring at the game and acted like he would rather watch than eat. We waited until after the game to eat.

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Nate and Laura at the pumpkin patch on Valencia Blvd.You've probably noticed by now that I haven't been updating the website on a regular basis. I have so much fun with Nate at home that it's hard to sit down at the computer and work on the site. Nate is so much fun to be around that simply staring at him is the best entertainment I've ever experienced. He is making all kinds of great baby sounds and is an absolute blast to spend time with. Just this past weekend we had one of those lazy days around the house and just made a fire in the fireplace and proceeded to watch sports on TV all day long. We watched a Supermoto motorcycle race, an LA Clippers vs. Chicago Bulls basketball game, an LA Lakers vs. Phoenix game, the University of Minnesota vs. University of Denver hockey game, and few football games. A lazy day to be sure, but one that was well-deserved by all of us.

Nate - About 1 1/2 months oldNate loves to watch games on TV. He particularly enjoys hockey and basketball. He tracks the players as they run from one end of the court to the other and seems to enjoy listening to the squeeking of the sneakers on a basketball court. He sits and watches very patiently all during the game and stops paying attention only during commercials. Right now we're watching the Lakers play the Milwaukee Bucks. Laura and Nate are relaxing on the couch, Sparky (our 15 year-old cat) is asleep in front of the fire and Lucky (our very large cat) is eating.

On the Ventura PierThis month has been a very good one for us. Laura is continuing her stuies at Azusa Pacific and is in school on Wednesday evenings. She just began a new course last week and this one is being offered at the university center in Ventura. Nate and I usually try and do something special on Wednesdays. Last Wednesday we went to Best Buy and got an S-Video card to install into our computer to allow us to see our computer screen on the TV. This works out well as I enjoy watching the Bakersfield Condors hockey club play their games and the team streams live video over the internet so we can watch all their away games. I realize this doesn't sound too interesting to most, but to me it's really great.

Nate at Sears after having his Halloween portraits takenSpeaking of the Bakersfield Condors, we went to a game on November 13th and Saw the Condors play the San Diego Gulls. We only stayed unitl the first intermission as the announcer was particularly loud that night and we thought Nate's ears were too sensitive at this point to stay. I am now on a mission to find ear muffs that will protect his hearing. I need the same kind that the hunters use but I don't think it will be too easy to find infant-sized hunting earmuffs. I need to find them fast, though. We've got tickets to see the Los Angeles Clippers vs. the New Jersey Nets on Thanksgiving evening. I actually won these tickets on Ebay for $6. We also have tickets to see Disney on Ice at the Staples Center on December 23rd. This will be a wonderful Christmas activity for us.

Nate in his Chicago Blackhawks outfit on his way to the Bakersfiled Condors vs. San Diego Gulls Game.The highlight of our month was probably receiving a visit from my cousin, Sandra, who lives in Berlin, Germany. She brought her boyfriend, Terry. My uncle, Craig, was also with them. He lives in Texas. they brought some very nice gifts with them including a wooden train and the best diaper-changing cream ever.

A couple weeks ago we went for a walk along the path at the Ventura pier. It was a really nice day and we got the opportunity to try out the stroller dad got for us. We took a picture of Nate on the pier that is interesting in that we took a picture of Laura in the same spot when she was pregnant. I posted that picture here a few months back. I have also been attending a training at the Riverside County Office of Education called the School Business Managers Academy. It lasts for a year, I attend one Friday/Saturday per month and it's presented by ACSA, the Association of California School Administrators.

Nate has settled into his schedule very well. We bathe him at 10:30 each night. He has a bathtub that we set on the counter next to the kitchen sink. We wash his hair with baby shampoo and wash him all over with an Aveeno shampoo that is made to be very relaxing for babies. Nate never cries and seems to enjoy his baths quite a bit. Before bathing him we put his towel in the dryer to insure it'll be nice and warm for him. After the bath I get to feed him a bottle of milk that Laura has pumped. While he's drinking we listen to music. Lately we have been listening to the Po'okela Chants by Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu. These are traditional Hawaiian songs that have a strong African influence. The distinctive rhythm patterns seem to apeal to Nate. There are no instruments on the CD other than a single drum and the songs are amazing. Laura and I saw this performer up near San Jose last year at the Sounds of Hawaii Festival in Mountain View in July.

Nate's development is coming along rapidly. He's cooing, holding his head up and he smiles alot. He's pushing with his legs (he's quite strong) and he is sleeping through the night. It's easy to see him getting bigger as he seems to be growing so rapidly. He's begun growing out of some of his clothes already.

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Nate and his hockey ticketSorry about the three-week break in updating the website. Having Nate in the house is so much fun that I am finding I don't want to do anything but hold him and play with him. The thought of sitting down to the computer to write isn't as attractive as the idea that I could hold Nate and give him hugs and kisses all night long.

Nate and his Grandpa at the hockey gameNate has really turned out to be a wonderful child and has given us more joy than we could have possibly imagined. We decided early on that we wanted him to be comfortable around noises and comfortable going out and visiting different places. We have taken Nate out to dinner about 10 times in his first month. He's been to our favorite Italian place on Lyons Ave., The Pasta Grill, he's been to Chile's, he's been to our favorite Sushi place, Ginza Garden and he's been to our pizza place, Numero Uno. Thus far he has not cried anywhere, He simply sleeps the entire time. It seems as though he relaxes when he's out and about in the community.

Nate has also been to the Del Mar Fairgrounds to see the flat track motorcycle races and he attended a hockey game (Manchester, NH Monarchs vs. Utah Grizzlies) at the Staples Center on Ocotber 23rd. Dad joined us for that one. Nate did a super job. Again, he was quiet the entire time, drank from his bottle the milk that Laura had pumped, and was very well-behaved even in the restroom when I was changing hid diaper during intermission. The Staples Center has extrememly nice facilities for changing babies in the men's room, and I assume the women's as well. Here are a couple pictures from that evening. The first is Nate with his hockey ticket and the other is him with his grandfather.

This weekend we took Nate to the pumpkin patch to get his first pumpkin. He'll be a cat for Halloween and will be attending his first Halloween party this weekend. We'll be trick-or-treating with neighbors.

We have been pretty lucky in that Nate loves his bath time and he is a pretty good sleeper. He usually gets his bath around 10:00pm, has some milk, then goes to bed around 11:00pm. He can sleep until about 4:30am. Right now he's in his swing, asleep, and we have game 4 of the Boston vs. St. Louis World Series on the TV. It appears Boston will finally break the curse of the Bambino. Laura is at Azusa Pacific University tonight.

I have been considering changing the layout of the website a bit as most people who look at it want me to put more pictures on it. Expect some improvements soon.

Also, I have written a newsletter to send to people who aren't checking the website and might enjoy something in the mailbox. You can view it online HERE. Remember to use the "BACK" button to return to this page.

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Laura in the park.If there is anything better than being married to Laura it would probably be having her as your mom. Nate and I are unquestionably the two luckiest guys on the planet. Laura has taken to motherhood quite smoothly and has made it look relatively easy in the process. We have worked hard to get to this point in our lives and are just so thankful that Nate has joined our family.

Nate ready for a car rideNate is a very good little boy. While it's tough to tell exactly what he's thinkng, he seems to be a very content guy. He rarely, if ever, cries. He also sleeps well and loves to get a bath. Changing his diaper is pretty simple and he cooperates during the entire process. In all, I would have to say that we have been very fortunate with this little guy.

Nate has been seeing his pediatrician, Dr. Henry at Glendale Pediatrics, on a regular basis. He loves his doctor and is well-behaved when he goes to visit. Dr. Henry keeps us up-to-speed on all the things we need to know about babies and he was also the one who performed Nate's circumcision. He's a pretty young physician so we believe he'll be around to see Nate through his teen years which makes us very comfortable.

At his appointment yesterday, the remaining 2" of Nate's umbilical cord fell off and Nate was given a clean bill of health.

Nate is off to a good start as far as getting out of the house is concerned. He loves to ride in the car and is very well-behavied in public places. He has been to Carl's Jr. when we stopped for lunch, we took him out to dinner with us when we went for sushi Monday night and he has made several trips to various stores around town. He enjoys walks through the park in his stroller and has even gone down to Orange County for a Welcome Home party for a guy in my parents' church growth group who had just returned from 15 months in Iraq. Wherever we go, Nate seems to be the life of the party.

Laura is in school tonight at Azusa Pacific. Nate and I are watching the baseball playoffs at home. There's a triple-header tonight (Houston vs. Atlanta, New York Yankees vs. Minnesota and Boston vs. Anaheim) and we'll be watching all the games but we'll probably take a break to walk through the park or run over to Home Depot. Nate will be sleeping on my chest most of the time. I think he likes it quite a bit and I know that I just love it more than anything. Having a son, and snuggling with him during a baseball game, is about the greatest thing I can imagine.

Here, you can see Nate sporting a nice outfit that was handmade for him by Mrs. Glos who works at the same school I do.

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Nate's first day of life

Dr. Frields and Laura on September 22, 2004Watching your wife give birth to your son has got to be one of the most emotional things a person can experience. So many things were going through my mind and I couldn't help but feel during the entire process that I am the most fortunate person on the planet. Seeing Nate come into the world, and knowing that he is depending on Laura and me to protect him, is an overwhelming thought but it's also the greatest feeling I've ever had. Having my new son fall asleep on my chest while I was sleeping in the hospital was a wondeful experience.

NateOn Tuesday Laura and I had an appointment with the OB/GYN at Glendale adventist hospital. We thought it would just be another check-up although he did tell us last week that we would be making some decisions this time. After he checked Laura and gave her a clean bill of health, he told us that he would like to induce labor and asked that we check into the hospital at midnight. We were quite surprised but I think we still didn't really believe Nate would be born the following day.

Laura and I came home and had about 5 hours to take care of things before we headed back to the hospital. We cleaned the house, gave Nate's bed linens one final washing, vacuumed and made sure everything was ready for him in case he really was going to be born. We headed over to our usual Friday night dinner place, Don Cuco's Mexican Restaurant on Lyon's Avenue in Newhall. We had a great dinner and our conversation centered on how grateful we were to be going through this.

Laura and NateWe drove down to the hospital at about 11:30pm Tuesday evening and were completely checked-in by 12:10am Wednesday morning. We were in Room 14 which is the same room we had when we were here three weeks ago. Laura was immediately hooked up to the I.V. which put into her system the medicine that would induce labor. It kept dripping into her system for the rest of the day. In addition, the epidural was inserted into her back by Dr. Liu which was meant to take away some of the pain that she would be experiencing.

Laura stayed on the I.V. until about 3:00pm at which time her OB/GYN, Dr. Frields, came in and said, "OK, let's get that baby out of there." We both looked at each other and were a bit surprised. We knew we were there to have the baby , and we knew that it would really be happening, but it still felt amazing when we realized that it was actually happening.

Laura, Ruby & Nate.At 6:10pm on September 22, 2004 our son entered the world. To say it was emotional would be an understatement and I was in tears the entire time. Laura did a wonderful job and didn't complain about anything and smiled all the way through. When Nate was born he was not breathing. There were two physicians and two nurses in the room. I heard one physician ask the other if he should notify the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Dr. Frields said, "No, I can get this." After about a minute (although it seemed like an hour) he was proven right. Nate need to have lots of things done to him, but he eventually let out a cry and we could see that he was breathing. To see those professional people work was an amazing experience.

My and Laura's parents, along with our family friend, Alicia, were all in the waiting room as the delivery was progressing. I would go outside every so often to give them an update. It was nice that they all had a little time to talk and it appeared they all had a fun time.

At about 6:20 I went out to the waiting room and said, "Nate's been born and he's perfect."

We stayed in the hospital until Friday morning when we were relesed to come home. It was an odd feeling to put Nate in his car seat and simply come home.

Nate has proven to be a very quiet little guy. He's pretty easy to have around the house and seems to be a happy little boy. He sleeps most of the time but seems to wake up as soon as they sun goes down.

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13 Days to go

Laura sewing the changing table pad for Nate.Another relaxing day around the house is just what we needed, and today it is just what we got. We began with a very nice morning and breakfast on the patio at the place across the street. We did some grocery shopping and spent the rest of the day working around the house. I cleaned the garage then Laura and I set up Nate's stroller. Once it was set up, we folded it down and put it in the trunk of the car along with the Pack & Play so we'll be ready to hit the road with Nate just as soon as he gets here.

I took about an hour off and went on a motorcycle ride through town and up San Francisquito road towards Lake Hughes. I didn't go all the way as I needed to get back to do some things around the house. It was fun, though, and I'll be going on lots of rides in the future.

We had dinner out on the patio. It was a little cooler today that it has been in the past. It's in the 70s so we thought it was time to make chili. It's one of my favorite dishes and Laura makes it better than anyone.

Laura is making a changing table pad for Nate tonight. She has a piece of foam ruber that is about two feet by three feet and is covering it with a brown vinyl that looks alot like leather and wil go perfectly in Nate's safari-themed room.

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14 Days to go

2005 Suzuki DRZ400S arrives at its new home.Another great part about being married to Laura is that when I say something like, "I bought a motorcycle on the Internet last night and I need to go pick it up at the dealership," she says, "OK, but can we stop at Del Taco first, I need to get some lunch?" Laura at Numero Uno in Santa Clarita.That's how my Saturday began and it ended with me riding the new Suzuki DRZ400S through the streets of Valencia for a couple hours tonight. The fun part about the ride was that I passed several police officers and, for once, I was riding a totally street legal motorcycle and I even have a motorcycle license. It was a good feeling to know everything was on the up and up.

We woke up fairly early this morning and relaxed at home for a bit then we received a call from Dad & Dana who told us they would be stopping by to drop off a couple presents they had for Nate. They arrived around 2:00pm and we visited for about an hour before they had to get back on the road. They brought Nate a little sweat suit outfit that says, "Junior Aviator" on the front and also brought him a USC jersey. I'm sure he'll enjoy those very much.

Friday evening Laura and I went to dinner at Numero Uno on San Fernando Blvd. for a late dinner. We had a nice conversation and we both love their food. All-in-all, a successful way to begin the weekend.

I talked to mom several times on the phone today. I'll call her one last time before I go to bed. She's alone for the weekend and enjoys it when people call.

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17 Days to go

Laura with her dinner during a break in her counseling course at Azusa Pacific University on September 15, 2004.One of the best parts about being married to Laura is that we are finding more and more that we have pretty much the same goals in life. It's not a question of me wanting to do one thing and her wanting to do another. There have been a few folks in my life that seemed to be at odds with their spouses when it came to setting and keeping goals. One person wanted that, while the other wanted something completely different. That's not the case here. I think we have such a good time together because we want the other to accomplish as much as possible over the course of our lifetimes. I can say that I derive more pleasure and a greater sense of accomplishment from her successes than I do from mine. The day she graduated college was extremely special to me and the day she completes her Master's Degree will be another great one for me. Each time she was promoted at work I felt that I was the one who had actually been promoted. Her successes are mine and mine are hers. It's a nice position in which to find one's self.

Tonight we find ourselves back on the campus of Azusa Pacific University. It is a really nice campus and a fun place to spend 4-5 hours each Wednesday evening. I'm sitting outside right now overlooking a parking lot and the marching band is practicing off in the distance. They aren't too easy to see in the photo, but they're there. Laura came out during her break and had about 10 minutes to relax so she went to the cafeteria and got a salad which she took back to class with her.

A view from my table at APU with the marching band in the background.Our drive to Azusa from Valencia was a bit slow, to say the least. The traffic was awful and it amazes me that anyone would want to commute along the 210 Monday through Friday. To drive that round trip 20 times each month would send me to the funny farm.

Laura had a presentation to do in class tonight. She prepared it on PowerPoint and she told me during her break that it went well.

Yesterday we drove down to Dr. Frield's office at Glendale Adventist for our weekly checkup. We had a 4:45 appointment. He measured her belly, checked everything else, then told us to come back next Tuesday. "If you haven't had the baby by then," he said, "we'll decide what we're going to do." We're not exactly sure what that meant, but we do know that we're very close to meeting Nate.

I asked Dr. Frields about circumcision as I didn't really know who performed it, where it was done or even when it was done. We learned that Dr. Frields' associate will do this for us before Nate leaves the hospital. I'll be with him in the room as I think this is something we need to go through together. I think the fatherly thing to do would be to say something like, "This is going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you," but I think I'll just level with him from the beginning and offer some words of encouragement along the lines of, "Dude, I am so happy I'm not you right now..."

Nate's room is all ready for him and lots of people are anxiously awaiting his arrival. It's truly a wonderful time for both Laura and me.

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23 Days to go

Duke Hall at Azusa Pacific UniversityIf you want to talk about a person who is determined to set a goal and to see it through to the end, you need to talk to Laura. Tonight is Wednesday evening and, believe it or not, Laura, who is set to give birth at any moment, is attending class at Azusa Pacific University where she's completing her Master's Degree in School Counseling. Is she at home relaxing like the doctor advised her to do? Nope. She's determined to get the degree done and it appears nothing is going to stand in her way. I actually think it is wonderful as I know our son will see this quality in her and will be all the better for it.

Inside Duke Academic Center at Azusa Pacific UniversityLaura and I both drove down to the university and I waited outside the classroom while she was inside. I wanted to be ready in case she went into labor and needed to get to the hospital. It didn't happen tonight, but we were ready nonetheless.

On Thursday evening Laura and I had an appointment with Dr. Frields at Glendale Adventist Hospital. I thought it was at 4:45 but it turned out that it was at 4:15. Laura called me at work around 3:15 and we discovered our times were off. She drove down there on her own and I drove down to meet her. We both arrived in time for the appointment, but the doctor was running about an hour late. We walked out of the office at 5:45 and had dinner in the hospital cafeteria. Being an Adventist hospital, the cafeteria is pretty much vegetarian and the food was pretty bad. After dinner Laura drove home and I had to go back to work.

The doctor checked Nate, listened to his heartbeat and pronounced him healthy. He told Laura that she can stop taking her Terbutylene Monday evening and we'll expect Nate shortly thereafter. Nate's middle name is William after my grandpa who was one of the greatest men I've ever known. Coincidentally, grandpa's birthday is September 17th. If Nate can hang on until next Friday he'll be born on grandpa's birthday which would be a tremendous tribute to a great guy.

Laura and I were given some very thoughtful gifts by two students at my school and their parents. We are very greatful for them and appreciate the gifts more than we can say. We know the family took alot of time to go shopping, select a gift, wrap it then deliver it to us. We're grateful to have people like that in our lives.

September 4th was mom's 60th birthday. She came out to our house and we had a very nice day.

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30 Days to go

Laura will be feeding Nate in his new chair.It's been about 3 three days since the last update. Nate hasn't arrived yet, but we can tell he's getting ready. We got word this morning at about 5:45 that Kendra had her baby so were very happy for her.

Laura has been doing a wonderful job. This morning she went across the street to the pharmacy to get a refill on the medicine that is preventing her from going into labor. She will be taking this medicine until next Saturday (about 9 more days) then will stop. At that time she'll be 37 weeks pregnant and that should be sufficient for Nate. Our physician told us Nate would be just fine were he born today, but the longer we wait, the better it will be for him. So, Laura takes the medicine, handles the side effects and keeps a smile on her face.

I stopped off at Toys R Us on my way home from work this evening to pick up a few stuffed animals. I selected animals that would be found in the jungle to keep with the theme of the room. There are lions, tigers, monkeys and much more. Nate's jungle prints for the wall arrived a few days ago so the final touches on the room are all coming together. I went out last night looking for the stereo/sound system for Nate's room. I got a few good ideas but didn't find anything that was just right.

One of the great gifts we received at the shower was this rocking chair. It is very comfortable and looks great in his room.

All-in-all everything is going great and we're simply in a wait-and-see mode as far as Nate is concerned. My guess is September 13.

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33 Days to go

Laura in Dr. Frields' Office August 30, 2004 8:45amWell, it's been quite a week. After spending Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Glendale Adventist Hospital, we got to come home and finally sleep in our own bed. Laura has been experiencing some pain, but she is a very strong girl and is making the best of it. She continues on the Terbutylene every four hours which means she does not get a good night's sleep right now.

Opening gifts at the baby showerWe had a doctor's appointment with Dr. Frields at Glendale Adventist this morning at 8:45. Laura was in some pain and she really does look like someone who is about to have a baby. As we arrived at the hospital, we parked on level P2 right next to the elevator. We were in the elevator and a couple of hospital employees who saw her looked concerned and told us they would go get a wheelchair. We told them we didn't need one and made it into Dr. Frields' office without incident. The doctor measured Laura's tummy and did some other checks. She did just fne and he told us we could leave. He mentioned that he would admit Laura to the hospital immediately if she wanted, but she doesn't want to. She could get the pain medication were she in the hospital, but she can't have it here at home. Right now we're looking at about two weeks before Nate is born. My guess is about September 10th.

This week we had the shower at David & Margo's house down in Orange. They did a wonderful job and we appreciate everything they did very much. Those in attendance were very thoughtful and generous to us. The gifts were more than we could have ever expected and we actually felt a little guilty that people have done so much for our son. We are very fortunate to have friends and family that are so supportive. All the way home we talked about how lucky we are.

When we arrived home later that evening, we went straight to bed as we were so tired. Sunday morning we woke up and sorted through all the gifts and put them into Nate's room where he'll be sure to use them all.

1339 website visitors so far
36 Days to go

Thank you very much to all of you who have written or called in the last day or two. Some emails we've received are congratulating us on the recent birth of our son. Well, we certainly appreciate the kind words, but he is still waiting to be born. We don't have an exact date yet, but we think it will be in the next couple of weeks.

Laura came home from the hospital yesterday afternoon and has been relaxing at home since. She is taking the Terbutylene which makes her nautious and gives her a serious case of the shakes. As always, she has a great attitude and is really staying strong throughout the entire process. We have the baby shower tomorrow then a doctor's appointment on Monday. We'll discuss with our physician if we'll continue her medication or if we'll stop taking it and allow Nate to be born now that he's at 35 weeks.

The baby shower will be held at David and Margo's home in Orange Saturday afternoon. It will be a co-ed affair and we think it will be more of a party than a shower. We really appreciate all the work David and Margo have done on behalf of our son and their nephew. We know they have been planning the festivities for quite some time and we realize this has been alot of work. We just hope we'll be able to convey to them how much we really appreciate it. We know Nate appreciates it, too.

As the day when our son will be born draws closer, we have the opportunity to give even more thought to the types of parents we want to be. While there are many things we want to teach our son, I feel a tremendous responsibility to teach Nate to live independent of me. Don't get me wrong, I look forward to having him as a part of my life for the rest of my days. However, I view my role as his father as being responsible to teach him to live and prosper in my absence. I won't always be here for him and I would be uncomfortable if I thought he couldn't make it without me. For that reason, I will encourage Nate to go away to college or out into the world when he's 18 years old. I'll even encourage him to spend a year overseas as an exchange student like I did during my junior year in high school. In my line of work, and in life in general, I run into two very different types of parents. One group likes to think their children will need them for the rest of their lives and don't seem to want to let go once their kids become adults. When I hint that this might not be the healthiest thing to do they are the first to say something like, "When your kids are grown up, you'll understand."

The exact opposite are those who want their children to go out and experience the world and see how they will do on their own. In this group you'll find the parents who encourage their children to go away to school and to see other parts of the world.

It appears to me that parents evolve over the course of time and that there are a couple different types them. The first type are those that are fabulous parents of small children. As long as mom and dad are in charge, everything is fine. They dedicate their entire lives to their children and define their primary role on the planet as "parent." Unfortunately, there comes a day when the children will be all grown up and these parents now have to accept the fact that the children have minds and lives of their own. Making the transition from a parent of children to a parent of adults seems to be where most folks get tripped-up. I guess it's that process of "letting go."

Although I realize we will be far from perfect, I will work my hardest to give Nate roots and wings. That is, I will give him a solid foundation and a solid home with intact parents. I will also encourage him to "leave the nest" when he graduates high school and pursue a life of his own. Of course, I want him to come home for the holidays and keep close contact with us, but I think it's important that Nate be given the opportunity to discover how he will fare in the world without me.

On a lighter note, I worked a little bit on the antenna for Nate's aircraft radio frequency scanner this evening. I am installing it outside and running the line throuh the attic and into his room so the reception will come in nice and clear.

1271 website visitors so far
38 Days to go

We woke up at about 7:00 this morning and Laura had several visits from her nurses and her physician, Dr. Frields. The topic of discussion was whether or not Laura could be sent home. At issue is the fact that Nate is at about 34 weeks and 4 days. We have been asured that he would be just fine were he to be born today but, to be sure, it would be best to keep him where he is for a bit longer. We learned that 35 weeks is the goal and, if we can make it past that point, the rest is just icing on the cake.

I was fortunate enough to spend the night in Laura's room last night. I woke up and took a shower in the room. We don't have any toiletries other than toothbrushes so I used the soap in the dispenser to shower and wash my hair. Laura was able to brush her teeth. Breakfast has arrived and she's eating now. I am going to go check on my truck and have some breakfast in the hospital cafeteria.

1255 website visitors so far
39 Days to go

Laura in Room 14 at Glendale Adventist Hospital.Laura & Nate's heart monitor.It's funny how, when you wake up in the morning, you never really know how your day is going to end. Monday started out like pretty much any other day. I went to work, came home, worked on the ceiling fan in Nate's room a little bit, then sat down to watch the Olympics. Everything was going just fine. At about 11pm Laura went to bed and I continued watching the gymnastics events. About 11:30 I could hear Laura and it sounded like she was having some pains. They were worse than any she had had before so we called the doctor who told us to come to the Maternity Center at the hospital.

Initially, Laura was put in the triage room (bed 4) where they assessed her situation. She had several monitors attached to her. Her heart rate, as well as Nate's was being watched. She was having contractions (2cm) but were about 6 weeks early so everything was done to inhibit them. They gave her injections of Terbutylene every two hours for the next eight hours. This medicine was explained to us as similar to something you'd take for asthma as it relaxes your muscles yet makes your herat race and gives you the shakes. It did exactly that.

In an interesting coincidence, the bed they gave Laura here at Glendale Adventist has sheets on it with the logo of Centinela Hospital in Inglewood where I was born 40 years ago. Now My son's mom is preparing to give birth to him while resting on these sheets. Clearly the hospitals use the same laundry service but it makes you wonder how this could have happened. Strange coincidence? HHMMmm..

The logo of Centinela Hospital in Inglewood where I was born.The physician is still gathering enough information to further assess the situation. Around 8am the decision was made to admit Laura to the hospital. She was moved to room 14 of the Maternity Center here at Glendale Adventist. The room itself is very nice. It's the same room where babies are delivered. It has three white walls and one blue one. It has a simulated wood grain floor and all the comforts of home. There is also a lounge chair that folds out completely flat and into a single bed that I could sleep in. The nurses gave me some linens, a blanket and a pillow and invited me to stay awhile. That was very nice of them. I wasn't prepared to stay the night, so I just crawled into the bed with shorts and a shirt on and tried to get some sleep. It was actually very comfortable compared the the chair that I had been sitting in since midnight.

Laura's nuse, Cindy.During the course of the night and into the morning, the nursing staff has been monitoring Laura and making sure she is comfortable as they try and get the contractions to slow down. We have been assured that Nate will be just fine even if he were born today. That's very comforting. Also comforting is the fact that we feel like we're getting excellent care by some very professional people.

Laura's nurse, Princess.At about 11:30 this morning I drove home to get a few things and take a shower. When we left last night, we left the lights and TV on thinking we'd only be gone a couple hours and be right back home. It obviously didn't work out that way so I needed to go back to straighten things out. I took a shower, packed a few things for the both of us and came back to the hopital. On the way home I called dad to let him know everything that was going on. Debbie and Sherrie from work also called to check on Laura. During the return trip to the hopital I called mom to give her an update, Laura's mom called as did Margo. I think everyone is up to speed on what's happening.

Right now I'm sitting in Laura's room and she's asleep. She appears to be comfortable and in a good mood as she usually is. I'm watching the United States vs. Australia in the bronze medal round of beach volleyball keeping the journal current. Interestingly, the hospital has wireless Internet access so I can update the website on my laptop right from the hospital room. This is a technology that will, unquestionably, be common when Nate is grown, but seems really amazing at this point in history.

The United States just won the volleyball game.

At 5:30 this evening the nurses came in to check on Laura and ask us some questions about how things will go on the day of the delivery. They were the typical questions about health, living habits and what to do in the case of a life-threatening emergency to mom. Of course, everything will go just fine, but it's good to be safe. Here are Laura's nurses on this shift. Princess is on the left and Cindy is on the right.

Every time I review what I have written so far today I find a spelling or grammatical error or two. Keep in mind I am running on very little sleep (actually, about an hour) and am correcting the typos as quickly as I can find them. There appear to be quite a few visitors to the website today. Laura and I appreciate the interest very much.

1234 website visitors so far
41 Days to go

Laura and her dad at Louis Burgers in Lancaster.

Saturday morning we woke up around 7:30 and headed out to Lancsater to have breakfast with Laura's dad and Nate's grandpa-to-be. It was just the three of us as the rest of her family is on their way back from Texas after visiting with her sister, Darlyn, who moved there earlier ths year. We ate at a place called Louis Burgers because it is Laura's dad's favorite breakfast place. We had a very nice visit and made tentative plans to take Nate deep sea fishing when he gets here. We came home and pretty much relaxed around the house. Laura is feeling very pregnant lately and I had lots of homework to get done.

Sunday was another day to rest at home. We had a nice lunch, read a bit, did some homework and watched the Olympics for a bit and basically just hada lazy day. Days like this are very nice every once in awhile.

Last night we ordered the art prints that will adorn the walls of Nate's room. We're tryong to make the room look like a place you'd spend some time during an African safari. The prints depict African animals and scenes from the African continent. I think they will look terrific in Nate's room and think he will enjoy them.

1213 website visitors so far
43 Days to go

Nate's sign we ordered from Sporty's Pilot Supplies in Ohio.Things have been pretty calm around the house these past few days. Nothing too much is going on. We received a few things for Nate's room yesterday. Nate now has this sign that will hang in his room just so there's no confusion as to who will be sleeping there. In addition to the sign, we received Nate's radio that can pick up all the aircraft/airport radio frequencies in the southern California basin. The radio is capable of playing music, then interupting itself when a pilot is communicating with the airport. It's very interesting to listen to Southwest Airlines pilots requesting permission to land at Burbank Airport. What's even better is that, from our front balcony, we can look up and see the airliners flying between Las Vegas and Burbank. So, now that he has the new scanner, Nate will be able to hear the pilots talk and see their airplanes at the same time. I figure he will learn something from this activity and have some fun at the same time.

Listening to Nate's heartbeat and hiccups.We got out the Doppler radio and listened to Nate as Laura noticed that he had the hiccups. It is truly amazing how we can hear his heart beating and him hicupping. It's really been a great gift for s to be able to listen to Nate before he's born. Sometimes he will be very active and other times he will be quiet for a little bit. It's reassuring to be able to hear his heart whenever we want to.

As for this afternoon, Laura and I went down to the Sam's Club in Sylmar do do some grocery shopping. It's a pretty inexpensive place to shop and really isn't all that far from home. There was quite a bit of traffic on the freeway so we decided to take the 14 from the 210 instead of taking the 5 as it was very congested.

Tonight we're relaxing at home and watching the Olympics from Athens. The United States is doing very well and it looks as though this trend will continue. We've won tons of swimming medals as well as the all-around men's and women's golds, just to name a few.

Dad is out of the hospital and is now at home. His back is doing very well and it appears he'll make a full recovery which will be nice.

Tomorrow Laura and I will drive up to Lancaster to have breakfast with her dad.

1156 website visitors so far
47 Days to go

LAURA WITH NATE AND LUCKY WITH ONLY 58 MORE DAYS TO GOIt's been quite some time since the last update so I have a great deal of news to report. In my quest to make Nate's room a fun place to spend his first days of life, we put a ceiling fan and recessed lighting in his bedroom. There was no electricity in the ceiling prior to the installation so it was quite a job. We went to Home Depot and bought the fan, which was on sale. We got another one in the same style but a different color for our bedroom. From the attic above the room we cut a hole in the ceiling then installed a brace between the rafters. The fan was then installed and we left it that way without hooking the electricity up. Next, we headed over to Lowe's and got the recessed lighting cans and the brass decorative rings. We also got some 45 watt flood lights so they wouldn't be too bright on Nate's eyes. We measured the ceiling, made marks where we wanted the lights, then cut some holes. The lights themselves were designed to be fireproof even when insulation is placed over them. While we don't intend to place them under insulation, we thought this would add a measure of safety to the room. Once everything was installed, Laura's dad came down to help with the electrical. He was able to wire everything just right and now it works beautifully. The following day we added a dimmer switch.

THE CEILING IN NATE'S ROOMLaura and I decided we wanted to make valances for Nate's room. We used the giraffe print material that Dana bought. We got some 1" x 4" pieces of wood and some 1/4" inch thick foam rubber and stapled everything together then hung the finished pieces over the window and the sliding mirrors. I think they look pretty good and certainly add some style to the room.

Dad went into the hospital again. This time he was having his back worked on. He had some pretty major work done and now looks as though he'll be moving around much better than before. He had the work done at St. Joseph's in Orange and is now in the HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Tustin. Hopefully he'll be able to carry Nate around when he gets here. Laura attended Kendra's baby shower on this past Saturday and I visited dad while she was there.


Saturday turned out to be quite a full day for us. After the baby shower, Dana and Laura drove to the hospital in Orange to see dad and where Laura and I would meet for the ride home. I had dropped Laura off at the shower earlier in the day. We visited for a bit, moved dad into a room where he could be alone and not have to share with the guy who snored so loudly in his previous room. Laura and I stopped at Coco's in Newhall for a bite to eat then came home for the evening. That is when things got intersting.

First off, you need to understand that Laura is not the type of person who ever complains about being hurt or sore. Have you ever been around people that seem to love telling you about all their aches and pains and how much they hurt all the time? Well, they annoy Laura and me about as much as they probably annoy you. In any case, I have learned over the years that we have been married (almost 10) that whenever Laura says she hurts, she hurts really bad. The last time she mentioned an amount of discomfort, she ended up in emergency surgery. Anyway, Saturday night she mentioned that she was having abdominal pains on her left side. They got quite severe and I was able to convince her to call her doctor. We made the call at about 9:00pm and were advised by his on-call nurse to come right in. We jumped in the car and headed to Glendale Adventist and checked-in to the Maternity Center.

Laura was hooked up to a machine which monitored her vital signs and she was simply told to drink lots of water, rest, then head home. She felt silly thinking that was all it was. However, she had a doctor's appointment today and learned that Nate is a very big boy and that, by his stretching inside her, he has torn one of her ligaments and that's why she was hurting.

As always, Laura has a smile on her face and has been very upbeat throughout the entire process. We're very close to meeting Nate and just can't wait until he gets here.

I visited the dentist again this week and was fitted for a night-guard because I seem to be grinding my teeth pretty hard while sleeping. I also got my new prescription glasses this week which are really nice and help to clear things up a bit.

Finally, we went out and got a wireless Internet router for our home. This means that we can go anywhere in the house, the garage or up to a thousand feet down the street and work online with the laptop computer. Now we can update the website from the couch, while laying on the bed or sitting out on the patio. I find this absolutely amazing.

58 Days to go

Laura on the flight from Omaha to Las Vegas on Southwest AirlinesWe're home. It takes some getting used to when we first get here. Valencia, CA and Vermillion, SD couldn't be more different. It's always nice to spend some time each year going to school in South Dakota and seeing how another part of the nation lives. South Dakota is truly a wonderful place. People who don't live there will tell you how awful the winters are and that summer is no good either as the bugs and humidity will insure your winter-inflicted misery continues all year long. However, those who live there, and have managed to survive, tell a completely different story. They love the place. There is no traffic, no crowds anywhere, the air is clean and people treat each other well. Housing is affordable and there really are some good jobs to be had. It truly is a great place and one of which we hope to see more in the future.

Home is nice, too. We love our condominium and it was just great seeing the cats again. Our neighbors did a wonderful job watching the place for us and we'll be forever grateful. The trip home was another long one starting with the day in Omaha. We left our apartment in Dakota Dunes around 9:30am Friday morning and headed to Omaha to make our 4:00pm flight. Considering we had qute a bit of time before our flight, we decided to look around Omaha for a bit. We tried to find the mall that we had seen on or last trip here and actually found it off the side of the freeway. However, we missed the correct offramp, took the next one, tried to work our way back and got lost. We tried for a long time and never did find the place. We decided to just head back downtown and eat lunch at one of the big hotels there. It was a very nice hotel and a good lunch. Eventually, enough time had passed and we returned to the airport.

Laura in the Maternity Ward at Glendale Adventist HospitalOn this trip we really wanted to make sure we were on the first boarding group (remember, we were on Southwest) so we actually stopped by the airport around 11:30am and checked-in. Lucky for us, not only were we in the first boarding group, but Southwest has changed its check-in process and is now able to check us in for the entire trip home. That meant that we were in the "A" boarding group from Omaha to Las Vegas and also in the "A" group for the Las Vegas-Burbank leg. We were very happy about that.

Both flights were full and we were pretty squished. I took my laptop on board so I could play some games during the flight, but there just wasn't enough room to open it up. The people in front of us reclined their seats and I had absolutely no room for anything. We arrived in Burbank just before 8:00pm and Laura's mom and sister picked us up. They took us home then headed back to their homes. Laura and I sorted through the mail and cleaned up a bit then rested from a long day of travel. It almost seems as though we never left.

Laura and Rose in Nate's room.Our neighbor, Rose, was kind enough to have the bedding for Nate made. I think she and her sister, Linda, arranged for their aunt to sew it. It looks wonderful and was made from the material that Dana bought for us. It has jungle prints on it. It looks really good. Between Dana, Rose, Linda and their aunt, we have a wonderful bed set for Nate when he arrives.

I installed a ceiling fan and some recessed lighting in Nate's room and a ceiling fan in our room. It really cools the place down and it's something we probably should have done a long time ago.

Laura had a doctor's appointment a couple days ago so we headed down to Glendale Adventist. She had to have some sort of a glucose test. All the results were good and there are no problems. We stopped by the Maternity Center to see the waiting room where we'll all be pretty soon. It was very exciting to see where our son will be brought into the world.

I talked with Dad and Dana yesterday and today. They're vacationing in Kauai and will return on Monday. Uncle Nick should be enroute from Sioux Falls to Taipei as of this writing. He's got a long flight and we hope it goes safely for him.

All-in-all this has been quite a good summer. We're back into our regular schedule now. This looks to be one of the best years of our lives as we'll have little Nate in 58 more days.

UPDATE: 29 JULY 2004
65 Days to go

Laura and Nick at Little Italy's in Vermillion, SDMy presentation went just fine this morning. I was very glad to get it over with. I turned in my final dissertation critiques and officially ended summer session number four in South Dakota. It's only the dissertation and the comprehensive exams that stand between me and the completion of the degree. I can almost smell the finish line.

Laura and I arrived on campus at about 9:00 this morning and saw Nick who was having breakfast with another student. We got some coffee, hot chocolate, cereal (Apple Jacks) and an English muffin and enjoyed breakfast before my class began at 10:00. Class today was just the people who needed to give their presentations. I think we were all glad to have finished the course.

After class, Nick, Laura and I went to lunch at Little Italy's in Vermillion and had a nice conversation then went back to the campus so Nick could catch a ride to the home where he's staying and I could say my final goodbyes to my advisor. We stopped by the Dakota Dome to take some pictures of the football stadium then Laura and I headed back home. We're leaving for Valencia tomorrow and we need to start packing. We have acquired a few things since we've been here so we had to go to the UPS Store in Sioux City to get a box.

The Shirts the Nick bought for Nate at the USD Student Store.Nick was very thoughtful and bought Nate these sweatshirts. They are in different sizes so Nate will always have a nice shirt to wear. Hopefully he can wear one when we come back for graduation. Nick also bought me a frame for the degree. It is an extremely beautiful frame and he really didn't have to buy it, but I appreciate it very much and will have it the rest of my life. It's awesome looking.

Tomorrow we turn in the keys to our apartment at 9:00am then head south to Omaha. We have some time to spend around town before we board our 4:00pm flight home. We change planes in Las Vegas and should be in Burbank at 7:55pm. This is my last update from South Dakota. I am going to pack the computer, pack everything else, lay out some clothes for the morning, then Laura and I will go out to dinner at Appelbee's in Sioux City. It's been a wondeful trip, one that we'll remember forever. It was good having Nate along even though he didn't get to see much. He's kicking quite a bit, Laura says she can feel his hands and fingers moving all the time and she can even feel him stretching. It was also wonderful having Laura here with me. Even though she's seven months pregnant, she has never once complained or said that she was uncomfortable. She has made my summer here the best one yet and I appreciate her more than she will ever know. As for Nate, I hope he will be back in South Dakota sometime in his life when he's older and can get to know the State as well as I have. It's a great place.

Note: I've added some new pictures to the July 11th entry.

UPDATE: 28 JULY 2004
66 Days to go

Sgt. Floyd of the Lewis & Clark Expedition was buried on this bluff above Sioux City, Iowa.It's about 1:06 in the morning right now. I didn't want to go to bed until I finished my dissertation proposal presentation I have to give day after tomorrow. In the morning Laura and I will drive to the university and I'll transfer much of the document into a Powerpoint presentation and use that while I'm addressing the class. As I mentioed before, my professor will be up in Sioux Falls tomorrow so our class has been cancelled. I plan on being at the university only for about an hour then Laura and I are free to do as we see fit. This presentation is my final activity of the summer so I guess I can pretty much consider myself finished with my 4th and final summer here.

Nick is staying at Dr. Bright's house so I hope that we'll get a chance to head over there and see how his eye surgery went.

This morning Laura and I went to school. I went to class and she to the computers. A while back we registered with Target and Crate & Barrel (at least I think that's what we did), and Laura has been managing the registry online. The funny thing is, we can see what people have been buying for Nate! First off, we have to say that we are very appreciative and really feel kind of funny registering at all. It's strange to tell people, "Here's what we want you to buy for us." Oh well, people were asking so we gave into the pressure and did it. We tried to keep things as reasonable as we could. Nate will be very appreciative of everything that comes his way and he is not one who needs fancy stuff at all. He's a kid, after all. He will be just as pleased with something from Wal-Mart as he would be with anything else.

After class, we came home and had lunch. We're trying to finish the food we have in the apartment because we don't plan on taking it home with us on Friday. The menu selection was slim, but that's a good thing as it means we're finishing most everything we have. I am working hard on the cookies right now.

Wellington at the Dunes - Dakota Dunes, South DakotaLaura is coming down with either a cold or the flu. She's got a bad case of the sniffles, a very sore throat, and I think her innner thermostat is a bit off. The entire time here, she has blasted the air conditioner. I normally like it cold, too. However, she wanted it REALLY cold. Today was different, though, as she didn't even turn it on and it was warming up in here. I asked if we could turn it on for a while and in a few minutes she was cold. This doesn't look too good. It's a shame that she'll be sick on the way home.

We went to the Super Wal-Mart to get some cough drops and went over to have dinner at Quizno's. It was a tough time for me as the Quizno's place is about 100 yards from the Sioux City Explorers' stadium and they were playing the Winnipeg Goldeyes tonight. I really wanted to go but needed to get my homework done. It's finished now so maybe, if Laura feels better, we can head over there tomorrow night.

On our way home we stopped off at the Sgt. Floyd memorial on a bluff overlooking Sioux City. Sgt. Floyd was the only one who died on the Lewis & Clark Expedition and this is where he was buried with full military honors. It was very neat standing in the same place where this took place. The picture above is one I took while we were there. It kind of looks like a postcard but it's not. I took this other shot out front of the apartment so we'd remember where we stayed.


Laura at the U-Brew coffee house on the USD campus.As we do each morning, Laura and I woke up and headed to the university. I had a meeting with my advisor at 9:30 and we like to arrive a bit early so we can have some coffee or hot chocolate before things get going in the morning. This is a shot of Laura at the computer counter in the U-Brew coffee shop on campus. Considering it's summer, it isn't very busy so it's a nice quiet place to relax and get ready for the day. Once I head to class, Laura does her work on the computer then answers her email. The bulk of her time this morning was spent doing a Lexis-Nexis search and gathering information to help us start our after-school learning center this fall.

Class today was pretty basic with not too much different from the other days. My professor has to sit on a panel in Sioux Falls on Wednesday so we won't have class that day. I'll use the time to finalize preparations for a presentation I have to give on Thursday which is our last day of class. I don't think the presentation will be all that involved, but I do need to be prepared and have something worthwhile to present. Essentially, we have to present our dissertation topics to the class, review methodology and such things, then give them the opportunity to critique it. Not something I'd choose to do for fun, but something that needs to be done so I guess Thursday will be my day.

Tonight at about 9:30 we decided to go for pie and coffee at Applebee's in Sioux City. More than anything, it was a chance to get out of the house and get some fresh air. The weather has been surprisingly nice. Not too hot and not too humid.

Nick has left for the University of Iowa. He'll be spending the night in Des Moines then driving to Iowa City early tomorrow to have the surgery done. We sure hope all goes well for him.

Update: 24 JULY 2004

The student store on the campus of the University of South DakotaIt's Saturday today so I didn't have class. Laura and I began the day wth a swim in the pool then had some lunch, got dressed and headed into town to get a few errands done. I needed to get some ink for the printer and she needed to pick up a few things. Our main goal, however, was to find a duffle bag because we have more stuff now than we did when we arrived. We didn't really get too much, but we were at capacity as far as our suitcases went when we got here and we have some extra stuff to carry home. We went to the Mall in Sioux City and to the Target Greatland which appears to be a super-sized version of a regular Target store. We didn't see anything that suited our needs so we decided to try another day.

After our errands we went out to dinner at the Red Lobster and had a long, leisurely meal. It was nice to sit and relax a bit. Next, it was back home and a quiet evening here watching some TV and doing homework. We'll be leaving in about 5 days and it is a bittersweet depature for us. I have been in South Dakota the past four summers and this is my last one. I have enjoyed it so much I don't really want it to come to an end. I still need to come back to do a few things on campus, but those trips will only be a few days in length, not a whole month.

One tradition I have had over the past four summers is to buy a "reward" at the end of each summer. I like to have something to look forward to so I always stop by the student store on campus and find something that I'd like to take home then wait until the last day here to buy it. It's usually something like a T-shirt or sweatshirt. This year I'll also be getting something for little Nate as I know he'll want some USD merchandise. Laura and I plan to return to the campus in May for graduation. I don't know if they'll allow it, but I'd like to be carrying Nate when I receive the degree. On that day, I'll have him all decked-out in USD stuff so he'll be looking good in the pictures.

As for tonight, it's more homework and preparation for my Monday morning meeting with Dr. Bright. We'll be finalizing my dissertation topic and will be planning the research design and methodology. I'll begin the review of current literature this weekend. Not really all that exciting, but kind of cool nonetheless.

There are now only 69 days until Nate's due date.

UPDATE: 23 JULY 2004

Lewis & Clark Imax movie at the Washington Pavillion in Sioux Falls, SDThis morning began with a trip up to the campus to meet with Dr. Bright and discuss dissertation topics. The meeting lasted about 1 1/2 hours and was very productive. Laura was waiting for me outside his office and ran into Nick so they had a chance to visit for a bit. After the meeting was over we had a quick lunch at McDonanld's in Vermillion then headed up to Sioux Falls for the Lewis & Clark movie at the Washington Pavillion. The movie was extremely good and we learned alot about their journey up the Missouri River. It was even more significant for us in that our apartment and the university are both right on the river. It's amazing to think their expedition passed right by where we now are.

The Birdcage. Home of the Sioux Falls Canaries.After the movie we headed across town to see the Sioux Falls Canaries play the Sioux City Explorers. The game was pretty good although we didn't stay for the entire thing as I wanted to get home to do some homework. Just like in Fargo, we had seats up front in Section J, Row 1, Seats 1&2. We stayed for six innings then headed back down to our apartment which turned out to be 82 miles to the south. While I wouldn't say it was cold outside, it was a bit cooler than it has been of late. It was actually very nice. We had some nachos and a pretzel and just watched the game for a bit. If you look at the bottom, right-hand corner of this picture, you can see Laura in the red sweater.

We got home around 10:15. I called mom to make sure she's doing OK. She is. Laura is feeling very tired so she's off to bed. I still have some homework to get done tonight and hope to be in bed by 12:00.

UPDATE: 22 JULY 2004

Delzell Education Building on the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.This is the Delzell Education Center on the University of SD campus. It's where most of my classes have been held over the course of my time here at the university. It's a standard midwestern-style building but has played a significant role in my life for the last four summers I've been on campus.

This morning at 9:00 Laura and I met Nick at the U-Brew coffee shop on campus. It was really good to see him again and we had lots of catching up to do. I had to get to class by 10:00 so Nick and Laura visited for a few hours while I was gone. After class we went to lunch at the Mexican place across from the school. Nick is planning to spend the weekend in Yankton with a USD professor riding horses then he's headed to Iowa. On Wednesday we'll meet at U-Brew again and talk about his invitation for us to go and visit him in Taiwan. We would really like to go there and see him and learn a little bit about another place.

After lunch Laura and I came home and relaxed for a bit. We watched a little news on TV then played a game of Scrabble. After the game we watched some Home & Garden TV (House Hunters and Home to Go) then settled in for the evening. I'll do a little homework then we'll go to bed. Tomorrow it's off to Sioux Falls for the Lewis & Clark Imax movie and then the Sioux Falls Canaries vs. Sioux City Explorers baseball game.

UPDATE: 21 JULY 2004

Old Main building of the campus of the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.So far, everything is going just fine here at the University of South Dakota. Laura and I have adapted well to the Siouxland, as it's called here, and we feel like we know our way around the place. The area is nicknamed the Siouxland due to its location between Sioux Falls, SD and Sioux City, IA. These cities are about 80 miles apart.

Class is going well. This is my last course in the doctoral program. Essentially, I have five written assignments to get done while here. I have to review four dissertations that have been written by others and approved by the university then I have to submit the proposal that will outline what I would like my topic to be. It's still a challenge to come up with just the right topic, although I have been assured by several professors that the topic isn't all that important as nobody really cares what graduate students have to say, anyway. May sound harsh, but it's good advice. My current professor lets the class know that we need to select a topic that is very narrow and something that we can actually complete. For example, you would not want to write a dissertation entitled, "A study of the attitudes of elementary school principals" because it is way too broad. To how many principals would you have to speak? What does "attitudes" mean? If you studied principals in South Dakota, could you generalize that information to principals in other states? Why or why not?

To make things more accurate and to insure the dissertation can be completed, a narrow topic has to be developed. Something along the lines of, "A study of Sioux Falls elementary school principals and their attitudes regarding the School Board's new suspension policy enacted during the 2004-2005 school year." This way, everyone would know what you're studying and you would have a sample population that is a bit more accessible than simply stating, "principals" which could mean just about any size group. It makes for some pretty odd sounding titles, but at least it's something that can be completed. I realize a subject like this isn't of too much interest to anyone, but I'm beginning to believe the purpose of a dissertation is to prove you can compile information and report it in the proper format.

The I. D. Weeks Library at the University of South DakotaOnce my proposal is submitted, it needs to be approved by a committee of four professors. Once approved, I can commence with the gathering of information and the writing of the document. I also have to take the 3-day long comprehensive exams. Once the dissertation is complete, the committee will review it. If they approve it at that point, I will be asked to defend it orally in front of them. Once that's completed successfully.....I'm done! My goal is to graduate in May. We'll see how that goes.

You may know by now that we have decided to name our son Nathan so we can call him "Nate the Great" all the time. We both really like the name as "Nathan" would be great for those times he wants to be addressed in a more formal manner and "Nate" will be great for all the other times in his life.

Laura and I have been seeing lots of different sites here in the Dakotas. Our apartment is right where the Little Sioux and Missouri rivers come together. If you were to look at a map, we are about 1/2 mile from the point where Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota come together. The pace of life here is somewhat slower than home, but that's usually a good thing. There are wide open spaces and a serious lack of traffic.

We have some things we want to do before we leave. I want to see the Sioux Falls Canaries baseball team play again and I would like to see the Sioux City team play as well. We'll head down to Omaha to see the Class AAA Royals (Kansas City affiliate) play the Las Vegas 51s (Los Angeles affiliate) and well also head up to Sioux Falls to see an Imax film about Lewis & Clark at the Washington Pavillion. I believe the Washington Pavillion is the performing arts center of Sioux Falls as that's where the symphony plays and where all the other "upper-crust" performances take place. There's also a dinner theater near Sioux Falls that we'd like to see before we leave.

Welcome to South Dakota!Nate is kicking quite a bit. He's really easy to feel through Laura's tummy now. Sometimes you can also see Laura's tummy bounce. As of today, we have 73 days to go until he's born. The pregnancy has gone very well thus far and we couldn't have asked for a better experience. We both think Nate is going to be a very good little boy. It's fun to think of everything we get to do with him when he's here. Although my main goal for him is that he's compassionate towards those less fortunate, that he treats all animals as very special beings and that he never defines himself by his possessions. I also think it's important that he be very smart and that he learns to follow through on his committments and dreams. How many times have you heard someone tell you, "Oh, he's very smart. He would have done great in (fill in the blank) if he would have just applied himself." I believe most people would do great at most anything they wanted if they applied themselves. Life is all about application, not brains. You need a certain amount of intelligence to be sure, but the guy who can focus on a goal and work hard to get there is going to end up on the top of the heap when all is said and done.

I got a phone call this afternoon from a friend of mine who is a professor of physics in Taiwan. Nick is back in town and we're going to get together for coffee tomorrow before my class and plan some activities for the end of this week and next week. Nick has a severe problem with his vision and is losing the use of his eyes. He had surgery at the University of Iowa last year. Laura, he, his wife and I drove to Iowa City from Vermillion, SD and he had the procedure done on only one of his eyes. He had just a minimal amount of vision both eyes and was concerned that, should the surgery be unsuccessful, he would lose what he had. The decision was to only operate on one eye. The specialist in Iowa did a wonderful job and Nick has much better vision in that eye now. He returned to Taiwan after earning his doctorate here. He had planned to return to Iowa earlier this year to have the other eye done but made the decision to have the other eye worked on in Taiwan. The surgery there was not successful and he has returned here to have the surgeon at the U of I fix that eye. It has been quite a journey for Nick and it looks like everything will turn out just fine for him. Hopefully, Laura, Nate and I can visit Nick in Taiwan in the next year or two. Nick requested that Nate call him, "Uncle Nick." We think that's a wonderful idea.

Last night Laura and I had a pretty interesting dinner. We went to a place called "HuHot Mongolian Barbeque" in Sioux City. We had seen a billboard for it on the freeway and decided we'd give it a try. This place was pretty much a buffet where you go through, put some food into a bowl, then give it to some guys that throw it on a big hot surface and cook it up then hand it back to you on a plate. The food that you put into your bowl is frozen. It was a pretty strange concept, but we enjoyed it and had a good time.

This evening we headed over to the Super Wal-Mart to pick up a few groceries that should last us until we head home next week. It's Wednesday evening right now and we'll be headed home a week from Friday. In all, this has been a wonderful month and one that we will remember for the rest of our lives.

UPDATE: 20 JULY 2004

Here's a link to some of the PICTURES I've taken while in South Dakota. The service I use to display them does so in a somewhat random order. There's really no rhyme or reason to the way they're presented. Click on the "View as a Slide Show" link.

UPDATE: 11 JULY 2004

The MetroLink station in Burbank, CAOn June 29th Laura and I headed off to the University of South Dakota. We took the MetroLink Train from Newhall to the Downtown Burbank station. We changed trains to the Ventura County Line and went one stop to the Burbank Airport. We boarded a flight to Phoenix, changed planes and headed to Omaha, NE. The flights were rough, to say the least. Southwest has no assigned seating and both of our flights were very full. The airline gives you a boarding pass with a number on it. If you have numbers 1-45 you get to board the plane in the "A" group. It's easy to get a good seat as an "A" passenger. Numbers 46-90 board next and passengers 91 and higher go last. We generally get to the airport in plenty of time to get in the "A" group. However, that only meant that we boarded in the first group for the Burbank-Phoenix portion of the trip. By the time we arrived in Phoenix, the people there had already received their boarding passes. As luck would have it, we were in the last boarding group. Laura devised a plan, though, that had us boarding with those that needed special assistance. She is showing and is now very obviously pregnant. They let us do it and we boarded with all the people who, to me, seem to cheat the system every now and then.

We arrived in Omaha at about 11:20pm and took the shuttle van to our hotel. The next morning we took the shuttle van back to the airport and got our rental car. It's a Dodge and it's red. I don't know what model it is, but it sits pretty low to the ground, has a fin on the back, is hard to get in and out of and has Missouri plates. It's fine for a month, but nothing we would want to drive on a permanent basis.

Laura in front of our apartment complex in Dakota Dunes, SDWe drove north from Omaha to our apartment in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota which is about 2 miles from downtown Sioux City, Iowa. Our apartment is nice although we can hear the guy upstairs when he walks around. The complex is great, though, and we have a furnished 2-bedroom unit right in the middle of a beautiful master-planned community. We go swimming in the evening before going to bed. There are both indoor and outdoor pools. Our first free evening in town we went to see a baseball game and firework show. It was the Sioux City Explorers vs. the Kansas City T-Bones.

A day or so after we arrived, we headed up north to see a baseball game and visit a coworker. I wanted to see another minor league baseball game, this time in Fargo, North Dakota so we drove about 320 miles north and watched the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks vs. Winnipeg Goldeyes game. I had purchased our seats online so they were good ones (Section J, Row 1, Seats 1&2) right in the front row near the on-deck circle of the home team. The stadium is really nice and sits on the campus of North Dakota State University.

Sign on Northbound Highway 29After the game we went into town and got a hotel room. We stayed at the Radisson in downtown Fargo. It was the 4th of July so the girl at the check-in counter said she'd put us on the 12th floor facing in the direction of the fireworks show. While we didn't see too many fireworks, the room was great. Laura talked them down in price from $109 to $79 so we were pretty pleased. It was a relatively cool day in Fargo (55 degrees or so) and I needed to get a sweatshirt. Laura had a sweater, but I came to the Dakotas without anything to keep me warm. My previous three summers here have all been quite hot. I was wearing shorts, a T-shirt and sandals. We drove to a few different places like Target and JC Penny's as well as a place called Herbergers in the Fargo Mall. While none of the stores had any more winter clothes, we did see the mall in town that was very nice. It had seating areas with leather sofas all over the place. Very tastefully done. We finally found a blue hooded sweatshirt at Wal-Mart. After that we had dinner at Chile's.

Doran, MinnesotaLater that evening we decided to go out for some pie and coffee/tea, but we drove around for a long time and couldn't find anything open. We investigated Fargo a bit and looked at the houses and the different neighborhoods. We ended up back at the hotel eating snacks out of the vending machine. I made coffee in the hotel room.

Laura with the Rosenbergs in Doran, MinnesotaThe next morning we drove over to a small farming community in Minnesota near Fergus Falls called Doran to visit the Rosenberg family. Mrs. Rosenberg and I work together and her family was visiting relatives for a few weeks. We visited for a couple hours in the farmhouse then took a tour of the farm. It's a beautiful place and very peaceful. I think the town had 59 residents.

After that, we drove down Highway 75 all the way to Iowa then crossed over to our apartment once we neared Sioux City. It was a long drive, but was very beautiful and we got to see parts of the country that many will never find the time to visit. We feel very lucky.

Tuesday, July 6th was my first day of school. I had to activate my student I.D. card and find the class. The thing I really love about this university is that everyone remembers who you are. Laura dropped me off on campus and, as I was walking into the Education building, I passed the Chair of the Department of Educational Administration. I said "Good morning" and he replied, "Hey, Steve, how ya doin'?" I haven't been on campus for 11 months and he remembered who I was. That was a very nice touch.

Since the first day of school, Laura has been staying on campus while I am in class. We live about 33 miles from the campus and I only have class from 10:00-12:25 so it's nicer for her not to have to drive so much. There is a nice coffee shop with lots of computers in it so she can do her work online, send emails and plan for the baby shower with her friends & relatives all from the USD campus. It works out well for both of us.

Our days are spent right now just settling in, going grocery shopping and doing school work. This summer has been great so far. During the previous three summers here I became used to the dorms that had no television, private bath or kitchen facilities and I had to go to the computer lab to do homework. Now I am living in a nice place with lots to do, Laura's here and we have all the comforts of home.

We did make it a point to find the local hospital just in case the baby is born early. If that should happen he'll be born at St. Lukes in Sioux City, Iowa.

South Dakota School for the Blind & Visually ImpairedFriday morning at 9:00 I had an appointment with Dr. Marjorie Kaiser, Superintendent of the South Dakota School for the Blind & Visually Impaired up in Aberdeen, SD. This was about 300 miles from our apartment so we drove up Thursday night, stayed at the Super 8 in North Aberdeen (Aberdeen, as we learned that evening, is home to the very first Super 8 hotel anywhere) then went on a tour of the school with Dr. Kaiser the next morning and spent some time in her office discussing potential dissertation topics. She completed her doctorate about 5 years ago and now I have the same professor as my advisor. He recommended I speak with Dr. Kaiser as our interests are somewhat similar. It was a very valuable trip and I really appreciate all the time she took with us.

Yesterday was Saturday, July 10th and we went out and did some grocery shopping. We also needed to get a printer for our computer. We already have a printer at home so we didn't want to get anything special. The cheapest one we could find was a Lexmark for $35. It included the ink cartridges. I noticed that the ink cartridges alone are $40 so I think I'll throw the printer away when the cartridges run out and just buy a new one. I checked and the cartridges are not refillable so buying a new printer everytime seems like the most economical plan. We also went to the Barnes & Noble in town and got something to drink at the Starbuck's in the store. We looked at the children's book section and decided we are way too excited to become parents. I can't wait to read to our son.

Our little guy is kicking a whole bunch. It's actually quite easy to feel him through Laura's tummy. I don't know how she does it as it's got to be an odd feeling having a little guy inside just waiting to get out.

Today, July 11th, we drove around Sioux City looking at different neighborhoods then stopped off at the Sam's Club to get Laura a book and some lotion. We had a snack there then headed back home. We're making tacos for dinner tonight then I will do some dissertation reviews then we'll probably watch TV or play Scrabble then go swimming before turning in for the evening. Tomorrow it's back to school.

Only 85 more days to go!

Update: 27 JUNE 2004

MY FIRST FATHER'S DAY BREAKFAST IN BED!Wow! It's been 17 days since I have last updated the site. Sorry about the delay. It's been pretty busy around here and I haven't had a chance to get to it as much as I would have liked to. We have pretty much been working on the nursery and getting everything ready for Nate, our baby.

Also, this was the first Father's Day since we found out we're going to be parents, so I was pretty thrilled that Laura made breakfast in bed for me. I was sleeping so hard I didn't even know she was up early and cooking away. It was very nice of her and something I will remember forever.

LAURA AT HOOVER HIGH SCHOOL IN GLENDALELaura took some time out of her schedule to take a test as part of her Master's Degree in School Psychology at Azusa Pacific University. We drove down to Hoover High School in Glendale where she spent about 5 hours in the exam room. After the test we drove down to Dad's house for Father's Day and went out to lunch at Acapulco's in Laguna Niguel.

LAURA, ALMOST 6 MONTHS PREGNANTA couple days ago Laura spent the night at Dad & Dana's. This time she decided to take the Metrolink and the Amtrak Trains. Southbound she took the Metrolink from the Newhall Station to Union Station in Los Angeles. There she transfered to the Orange County Line and took it down to the Mission Viejo/Laguna Niguel Station. On the way back the schedules worked better for her to take the Amtrak train from San Juan Capistrano to Union Station then transfer to the Metrolink to the Newhall Station. All-in-all it was a very good way to travel. It cuts out all the stress and costs less than driving. It's a good thing she took the train as Interstate 5 was closed due to brush fires near our home.

NATE'S SHOESNate was given a very nice gift by Vicki C. at work. She brought him a very nice pair of miniature Converse high tops. Laura thinks they are the greatest and I know Nate will just love them. It's hard to tell how small they are in the picture. Take my word for it, they are small!

The task that has been keeping me so busy as of late is the painting of Nate's bedroom. It was one of those jobs that got bigger as I went along. Originally, the plan was to install crown moulding and paint the walls. I decided it would be nice to put in the chair rail so I could do one color on top and another on the bottom. Well, you can't just put in a chair rail and forget about new baseboards. So, new baseboards went it. I thought it would also be nice to frame the window in moulding so I did that. I have to admit, it looks really good. At the last minute I decided to change the color of the ceiling to Navajo White to the bright white of the moulding would be accentuated a bit more. The top half of the walls was done in a collor called "Sandstone" by Dunn Edwards and the bottom was a color called "Belize" which was also Dunn Edwards. I have heard people tell me what paints they like the best and I have always considered the brand named paints to be the same. Maybe they are, but the Dunn Edwards paint went on very easily and really did a nice job covering the ceiling and walls. From now on, it's my paint of choice. Rather than gloss or semi-gloss, I chose a flat sheen for the room. It looks very nice a gives the colors a pastel quality. Very nice.

NATE'S ROOM BEFOREThe crown moulding was another adventure altogether. After measuring the room and getting my supplies from Home Depot, I came home, tried a few cuts, realized how warped the ceiling and walls we, then prompltly quit. After I thought about it some more, I decided to give it another go and took my time paying an extreme amount of attention to detail. Cutting compound angles is much more challenging than I had thought. It took a bunch of practice cuts, but I eventually got it down and was able to make the cuts the proper way.

WOOD STRIP BEHIND THE CROWN MOULDINGThe one problem I ran into was that my nail gun is only capable of shooting 1 1/4" nails. These wouldn't have been long enough for the job. I checked the Harbor Freight Tools website to see if they had any deals and they were advertising a gun that shoots 2" nails for $39.99. I woke up early Saturday morning (Laura was in Palm Springs with her girlfriends for the weekend) and drove out to Simi Valley to the nearest Harbor Freight store. When I got there I found that the $39.99 nail gune was on sale for $19.99. It was my lucky day. I bought it and came right home after driving through Wienerschnitzel on L.A. Avenue.

NATE'S NEW DRESSERI had seen a website were a professional carpenter was explaining how he put a strip of wood behind his crown moulding so that every nail he drove would be able to go into wood, not drywall. This made alot of sense to me and would be much easier that trying to hit a stud with each nail. Besides, with the curvature of the ceiling and the wall, it was vital that I sink nails much more closely that the typical 16" spread you'd get if you only aimed for studs. The wood strip turned out to be a lifesaver for me.

Once the moulding was installed, I painted it white then masked it so I could paint the walls. I have read where it's better to install the moulding after painting it, but the nails left holes that needed to be patched and I know I needed to pain the walls, so it worked best to save the walls for last.

NATE'S ROOM AFTER PAINTINGNow that the walls are done, Laura found a great chest of drawers at a place here in Valencia. She went out shopping with her mom and sister and called me from the store. I ran down there with my truck and we brought it home. I think Nate will enjoy it as it fits with the Safari theme of his room.

It's Sunday night and we'll be headed to South Dakota on Thursday. We have alot to do between now and then. I have ordered a laptop computer to take with me, but I don't know if it will arrive before we leave. Even if it does, I don;t know if I will have internet access on it. Worst case scenario, I'll keep a daily log while we are there then upload it when we return.

Our plan right now is to fly to Omaha Thursday and stay there for a night. We'll move into our apartment Friday morning. The Fourth of July we plan to be at a Sioux City Explorer's baseball game in Iowa which is only about 10 miles or so from where we'll be living.

Update: 10 JUNE 2004

0-3 MONTHS HAWAIIAN SHIRTKELLER-THE BEST JUMPER IN ALL THE LANDAnother busy day today, although the things I had to do were pretty fun. I had a couple different dinner appointments. The first was work-related and the second was with our neighbor, Andrea. Laura and she walked over to The Alamo across the street and had dinner. I drove there from work and met them . We visited for a bit then came home and all visited some more. Our other neighbor, Rose, came over as well.

Keller and I were the only guys in the house, so we checked the internet for some good hockey websites then he decided to jump for awhile. Not only is he a good looking boy, he is also very strong. Hopefully, he will be a good friend to our little guy when he arrives.

Some good news happened this morning when I walked into my office and found a present on my desk. It was from one of the families at my school. It was a Hawaiian shirt for a 0-3 month old child. I know our guy will love it. Some bad news, however, is that the Lakers were soundly beaten by Detroit tonight in Michigan. I think they lost by about 20 points or so.

Tonight Laura is packing for a trip to Palm Springs with girlfriends. I'll stay home and work on the baby's room. She and a girlfriend are meeting another girlfriend at the Ontario airport at about 10am then heading out to Palm Springs for the weekend. They'll be staying in Sally & Dana's condominium.

Update: 8 JUNE 2004

THE MOUSE WHO CAME TO SCHOOL TODAYToday was a very good one. Some of the parents at my school gave me quite a surprise. I thought I was walking into a classroom to attend a meeting first thing this morning, but soon discovered they had prepared a wonderful baby shower for our little guy. They had cake, coffee, flan, juice and lots, and I do mean lots, of presents. They even sent us a bouquet of flowers. It was very thoughtful of them and Laura and I appreciate it very much.

THE BASKET OF PRESENTS GIVEN TO LAURA NAD ME BY THE PARENTS AT MY SCHOOLThere was a mouse in the girls' bathroom. I got him out and decided he would be a bit happier running free in the field so I took him away from the school and let him go. I snapped a picure of him as we were walking out to the field.

THE FLOWERS SENT TO ME AT SCHOOL BY THE PARENTSLaura drove down to Santa Monica to get her hair done at the Vidal Sasson Academy. It's a long drive, and it takes a long time to get a haircut, but it looks really good so she figures it's worth the extra effort.

I attended a retirement function for some of the people that are retiring from our school district this evening. I got home during half-time of the Lakers game and was pleased to watch them beat Detroit to even the Finals at 1-1.

Laura is planning to spend this weekend in Palm Springs with friends. I think I'll use the time to work on the nursery. There are a million things I want to do, but I think I'll either tackle the crown moulding or a ceiling fan this week. Eventually, I'll have both of them ready for his arrival, but I only have time to do one while Laura's away.

Update: 7 JUNE 04

I think this weekend was a good one, although it was not really all that exciting. Friday evening Laura went up to celebrate her parents' 44th anniversary with them. I went down to the UC Irvine Medical Center to see my dad. He was feeling just fine and his surgery was deemed a success.

LAURA RELAXING AND GETTING A FOOT MASSAGELaura and I both got home some time around 10:30pm, relaxed around the house then went to sleep. Saturday morning we woke up and went back down to visit dad. We were there for about two hours then set out to run some errands. While we were in dad's room it came across the TV that President Reagan had passed away. Laura and I both believe he was the best President we've ever had. Back in 1981, I was standing in line to get into the youth hostile in Innsbruck, Austria when he was shot. I sent a get-well card to him and received a thank you card in return. That was pretty special. Laura was only 10 years-old that day. The day he was sworn in as president I was in Wiesbaden, Germany camped outside Rhein Main Air Base where the US citizens who had been held hostage in Tehran were sent immediately upon their release. It was a very happy time for alot of us.

THE TRAVEL CRIB AND SLEEPER THAT WERE GIVEN TO US BY MY COWORKERSAfter leaving the hospital, we had lunch at the El Torito across the street from the hospital then headed up to the Ikea store in Burbank. We're looking for a chest of drawers finished in a dark cherry that will match the crib. We didn't see anything we liked or anything that came anywhere near what we're looking for.

We started home and decided to stop by Wal-Mart near Arcadia to see if they had anything we could use. Once again, we came up empty-handed.

Earlier this week Laura and I attended a baby shower that was thrown for us and two other couples that work with me. It was very thoughtful of everyone involved and we appreciate it very much. We received some very nice gifts including this travel crib/changing table that will accompany us on all our visits to the park, relatives' homes or anywhere else we may find ourselves in addition to a pretty neat little device in which our little guy can sleep. If he gets fussy, we simply zap it with the remote and it will start rocking him. Pretty amazing what people can think up.

Sunday was a day to relax around the house and catch up on some much needed sleep. I ran over to Home Depot to get a brass air conditioning vent cover to replace the white once in the baby's room. Other than that, nothing too much happened.

We watched the Lakers lose game #1 of the playoffs to Detroit. Monday night we saw Tampa Bay beat Calgary in game seven to win the Staney Cup. That is always very exciting.

Update: 3 JUNE 04

DAD AND DANA RIGHT BEFORE DAD'S SURGERY AT UCI MEDICAL CENTER JUNE 3, 2004Have you ever had one of those days when you were so tired you got a headache? Well, today has been it for me. This day was very significant in that my dad (grandfather to be for the first time) was having surgery at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center at 8:00, Laura had an OB/GYN appointment at Glendale Adventist Hospital at 9:30, I had to go to work, and a kindergarten class at my school was perfoming the musical, "Stone Soup."

LAURA IN DR. FRIELDS' OFFICE AT GLENDALE ADVENTIST HOSPITAL JUNE 3, 2004Last night I got home from work about 11:00pm and set my alarm for 4:30am the next morning. Today I got up when the alarm went off, got ready and was on the road by 5:15am. I drove down the 5 freeway to the 210 to the 57, exited Chapman Blvd. and arrived at UCI Medical Center about 7:30. I went to my dad's room but found that they had already taken him to the prep room where they would get him ready for his surgery. The kind receptionist found him for me and took me to him. Dana was there and we got to visit for about 30 minutes, speak with all the doctors (there were four) and wish my dad well before he was wheeled away. Once he was in the operating room, I jumped back on the 5 freeway to the 605 north, to the 210 west and the 2 south, exited Holly Dr. and arrived at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center at 9:38. Fortunately, the doctor was running about 20 minutes late so I was able to meet up with Laura in the waiting room and join her for the appointment. Our son was doing very well. We got to listen to his heartbeat, the Dr. measured Laura's belly and he was done. We made sure that Laura was OK to fly to South Dakota next month (she's fine) and we made another appointment for the day before our departure just to make sure.

We had lunch in the hospital cafeteria then I left for work. Laura was going to go to UCI Medical Center to visit dad, but he was still heavily medicated and wouldn't have noticed if she was there. She decided to visit Saturday then headed back home.

All in all, it was a very good day. Dad got the surgery he needed and will be better than ever when he recovers in a few weeks and our son is healthy and right on track.

Laura came up to our school this evening to see the kindergarten performnce. We had dinner at a local place then enjoyed the show. It was a great way to end the day.

Update: 31 MAY 04

THE UPSTAIRS LOFT AT HOME.THIS IS WHERE WE COME TO RELAX AND WATCH SOME TV OR USE THE COMPUTERThis is the final evening of the Memorial Day weekend. It has been a very busy one for us, but also a very productive one. Our goal this weekend was to convert the downstairs 2nd bedroom from its office configuration to a nursery. This meant moving the office stuff upstairs into the loft which has a couple of futons and a big TV in it.

THIS IS THE CRIB WHILE IT WAS STILL IN THE BOX RIGHT AFTER WE CAME HOME FROM WAL-MARTAll-in-all, I think the loft turned out pretty well. There are some spiral stairs leading to it which means that all the big stuff has to be disassembled before it can be taken up. Only the small stuff will fit up that staircase. I was a little concerned that it would be too crowded upstairs once I got everything there. Fortunately, it doesn't look too crowded at all.

The downstairs room was clean, just a little crowded with stuff. After about a day and a half we were able to get everything out of there and set out looking for a crib. We've been casually looking at furniture for a few weeks and haven't really been too impressed with anything we've seen. We finally decided that we would get one of the cribs we saw at Wal-Mart and that it would be just fine. We got a mattress with it which is, I believe, the same kind Laura and I have in our room. I think the crib looks very nice. It's consistant with the theme of our home which is simple, clean and functional.

HERE'S THE CRIB ALL SET UP AND READY FOR THE LITTLE GUY. HIS JERSEYS ARE READY AS SOON AS HE GROWS INTO THEM!I was glad that we decided to stay home this weekend. It really isn't all that much fun leaving on the three-day weekends. Laura and I both love to get out and about, but on long weekends it seems like everyone else has the same idea. So, staying home and taking care of business is pretty appealing. Laura's sister, Julie, came down for breakfast this morning. We tried the Egg Plantation in Newhall, but the wait was over a half hour. We went over to the Greenhouse Cafe in Saugus which has great food and never seems to have a wait.

After Julie went home, Laura and I headed to Target, Lowes and Pier 1 Imports looking for a chest of drawers with a cherry/dark wood finish. We didn't see anything at all, so the quest will continue.

I was able to locate a copy of Dr. Kaiser's dissertation online at the website and will need to read it prior to our visit in Aberdeen, SD on July 9th. It should be shipped to me in a week or so.

Tonight was a relaxing night around the house. I watched the Dodgers beat Milwaukee then watched the Laker game. The officials in this game sure called a lot of fouls. To me, this just slows the pace of the game and ruins the entire experience. Although I thought far too many fouls were called on the Lakers, there seem to have been way too many called against Minnesota as well. Now that the better team has prevailed, it's on to the Finals to play the winner of the Detroit vs. Indiana series.

The Stanley Cup Finals are also on right now. Everytime the whistle blew on the basketball court, I'd switch it over to the Calgary vs. Tampa Bay hockey game. Tampa Bay won and the series is now tied 2-2.

Update: 27 MAY 04

LAURA LOOKING VERY PREGNANT ON MAY 27, 2004The busy schedules continue and there hasn't been a whole lot of time to get things updated on the website. Laura and I have been doing lots of stuff to prepare for the arrival of our son. We've decided we'd like to get his bedroom ready prior to our departure to South Dakota. Considering we're leaving the 1st of July, we have quite a bit to do in a very short amount of time.

Although they won't go in his bedroom, we got a new sofa and loveseat. We figured leather would work better if the little guy spits up or pees on the furniture. This way, we can simply wipe it up and be done with it. The old furniture was made of fabric and would have been more difficult to keep clean. Laura's sister came down tonight and took our old ones for her new house in Lancaster. She then helped us move the new funiture upstairs from the garage.

OUR OLD SOFAS THAT ARE NOW AT JULIE'S HOUSE IN LANCASTERLaura ordered the new couches online from Sam's Club and had them delivered. The trucking company called yesterday and told us they would be at the house between 8am - 12pm. Laura waited for them and they were her some time around 1pm. I was at work at the time and reeived a call from Laura that, in retrospect, was kind of funny, but was quite serious at the time.

The truck driver told Laura that he would only deliver the couches "curbside." Essentially, he wouldn't carry them inside. We kind of expected this. After all, our condominium is on the second story and nobody wants to move the heavy stuff upstairs. When he arrived, he made an interesting discovery: his truck would not fit through our community's front gate. He told Laura that he would have to leave the stuff out on the street! Fortunately, Laura is a pretty good negotiator and got the guy to use his 2-wheel cart to bring them through the gate and to our garage. From there, we were on our own. Tonight at about 9:30 we got everything into place and I think it looks pretty good.

THE NEW LEATHER SOFAS WE ORDERED ONLINE FROM SAM'S CLUBLaura has gone to bed for the evening and she mentioned that she is feeling a bit nautious. It's rare that she doesn't feel well. We think the baby is going through a growth spurt as he's moving around quite a bit and she can feel him kicking all day long. I still haven't been able to feel him yet.

We watched the Lakers beat Minnesota tonight on TV. They now lead the playoff series three games to one. We were both very happy about that. I also discovered that I can recieve all the Fox Sports channels on our DirecTV setup and was able to watch the Minnesota local show that aired the St. Paul Saints vs. Winnipeg Goldeyes minor league baseball game. While that may be boring for most, I was thrilled.

In preparation for the final summer of my doctoral program at the University of South Dakota, I am continuing my quest for the perfect dissertation topic. I was advised by a professor to make contact with the Superintendent of the South Dakota School for the Blind and discuss the matter with her as, I was told, she wrote a dissertation much like the one I would like to do.

I sent her an email and she was gracious enough to meet with me on Friday, July 9th. Laura and I will head up to Aberdeen, SD and visit the school and meet with Dr. Kaiser. Friday was the best day for us as I will be in class Monday-Thursday.

Update: 22 MAY 04

BABIES ARE US STORE IN VAN NUYSTo say this was a busy week would be a huge understatement. Laura and I have both been very busy taking care of things around the house and at work. There hasn't been much sleeping going on around here lately.

Of primary importance to us is setting up the baby's room and making sure that everything is in place prior to our departure for South Dakota. We'll be gone during July and will have about two months from the time we return until the time our little guy is born. Although we expect and hope that everything will go smoothly, we want to be prepared if he should arrive early and we really don't want to wait until the last minute to get things done.

WE FINALLY GET TO PARK IN THESE PLACES!We continue to look for furniture such as changing tables and cribs. Being the good shoppers that we are, we're going all over the place looking for the best deal. We have been to quite a few places and they all seem to be pretty similar. There are many choices of cribs. Some are expensive and some cheap. While we want something of good quality, we don't really want to get something that is too expensive as we are only going to be using it for a short time.

On the advice of friends, we went to Van Nuys this morning to check the Babies R Us store. They had lots of stuff and it gave us a chance to see many different things in one place. We decided to check a couple other places before making a decision. We stopped at the Wal-Mart in Van Nuys to see if they had cribs. They did and some of them were actually pretty nice. It was interesting to find that they had some of the same brands for sale that Babies R Us had. We also learned that dresser drawers that are marketed as "baby" furniture are much more expensive than the same exact product over in the regular furniture department.

I walked over the the SuperCuts place across the street to get my haircut this morning. Honestly, I don't know why I'm even writing about that other than to say that I got it cut a lot shorter than I was expecting. Hot tip of the day: When the lady cutting your hair asks you how short you want it, don't answer by saying, "Whatever you think looks good, if it's too short it'll always grow back."

Later in the day Dad and Dana, future grandparents, came out to our house for dinner. It was very nice to see them. We sat around and talked a bit then went over the The Habit for a hamburger. Afterwards we returned home and looked at some photos they had brought with them. They told us of a get-together they are planning for the family in September to celebrate the fact that both Kendra and Laura are having babies this Fall. That should be lots of fun. All-in-all, this was a good day.

Update: 15 MAY 04

NICO'S FAMILY RESTAURANT IN WOODLAND HILLSToday began with the greatest of intentions. We planned to drive down to West LA and buy a crib and perhaps some other baby furniture. We struggled through the traffic only to find that the store that had advertised such wonderful deals was really just another one of those places that charged way too much for the products they sold. We looked around for a bit, then decided we could do better elsewhere.

We left the westside and headed to the San Fernando Valley and stopped at a coffee shop on Sherman Way for lunch. We looked at a children's furniture place on Topanga Blvd to see if they had anything worth considering. Some of their stuff was OK but we didn't really find anything that we felt we had to have.

While we were driving around I noticed that I had a fairly large ding in my windshield. I remembered hearing a rock hit the glass as we were driving up the Grapevine last night on our way home from Bakersfield. Considering it was night, we didn't notice the damage that it had done.

PRIMO AUTO GLASS SHOP ON SOLEDAD CANYON ROAD IN CANYON COUNTRYWhen we arrived home after shopping for baby furniture I called an auto glass shop and they said they could repair the crack for $45. We jumped back in my truck and headed right over there. They ended up doing an OK job on it although the guy who fixed it appeared to be quite pleased with the result. Essentially, I can still see where the ding was, but now it won't get any larger and it does look a whole lot better.

We arranged our day to be home in time for the Lakers game. Laura and I each made a prediction as to the result of the game. She said we'd win by 3 and I said we'd win by 12. The final score was Lakers 88 and San Antonio 76. The Lakers will now play the winner of the Minnesota vs. Sacramento series.

Update: 14 MAY 04

OUR FIRST CAL LEAGUE GAME OF THE SEASON - MAY 14, 2004Seems as though the Lakers are not playing tonight this was our first chance this season to get to a minor league baseball game. We headed up to Bakersfield to watch the Bakersfield Blaze play the Modesto A's which serve as a Class A affiliate of the Oakland A's. Minor League baseball has always be fun to watch. We always get a good seat and it's cheap. We sat in Section 2, Row 1(there is no Section 1). Our seats were right next to the visiting team's dugout on the 3rd base side. It's also more interesting knowing that the players are among the best in the nation and have been drafted by Major Legue organizations. In the case of tonight's game it was the Oakland A's and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

HIGHWAY 99 SIGN HEADED NORTHAfter having read the book Moneyball I have been following the A's minor league system a bit more carefully. Moneyball was written by the general manager of the Oakland A's, Billy Beane, and simply discusses his belief that scouting for talent can better be done on computers by guys trained in statistics than by guys flying all over the country searching for it. So far, much of what he believes appears to be true. His former assistants are now general managers for the LA Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox. They're young, have no real baseball background, but have degrees in statistics and are proving to be quite successful with their laptops. Going to Bakersfield gave us the oppourtunity to see some of the guys that Billy Beane has drafted using his computer-generated selection technique.

As luck would have it, we ended up sitting next to the parents of an Oakland pitching prospect, Jeff Coleman. His mom told us Billy Beane had drafted him after his junior year at the University of Hawaii. We'll make an extra effort to track his progress and see if he makes it all the way.

During the game we called dad to see how he was doing. He had a doctor's appointment today and we wanted to make sure everything was OK - it was.

On the way home from Bakersfield we ran into quite a bit of traffic in Castaic. I think they were doing some road construction. Interstate 5 was reduced to a single lane. That added about a half hour to our normal hour and ten minute Bakersfield to Valencia drive time. It looked even worse for the people headed north.

On Saturday morning Laura and I will head down to the Valley and to a place by LAX looking for baby furniture. We're starting to work on the little guy's bedroom and want to make sure we have everything in place before he arrives. He's kicking alot and moving all the time. I'm thinking he's anxious to get here.


Update: 13 MAY 04

LAURA - ABOUT 5 MONTHS PREGNANTNot too much going on today. Laura and I had planned to attend a Class A California League Baseball game tonight and watch the Stockton Ports play the Bakersfield Blaze. The Blaze are a Class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Ports serve as the high Class A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Laura reminded me that the Lakers vs. San Antonio game was on tonight and wondered what we should do. She has turned out to be quite a Lakers fan. We thought about going to the baseball game and taking a radio with us, but decided to watch the basketball game tonight and go to the baseball game tomorrow night. Are we glad we did!

The Lakers game was one of the most amazing games in the history of the NBA and we are glad we got to see it. After the game we walked over to the grocery store for some popsicles and cat treats then came home. Laura then logged onto the Sam's Club website and ordered a new sofa and loveseat that should be delivered to our front door in a couple weeks.

As we were walking to the store, Laura could feel the baby kicking quite a bit. He's been pretty active lately.

I've made a slight change to the website tonight. I have split this page into two halves. For many it has been a long download as I keep adding more and more text and pictures which slows down some folks who have slower connections. Hopefuly this will speed things up a bit for you.

Update: 12 MAY 04

LAURA'S 1ST MOTHER'S DAY FLOWERSThis has truly been a busy week. Mother's Day was this Sunday and it was probably one of the more significant of our lives as it was Laura's first. Even though our son has not yet been born, it seems only right that she be honored as a mom. She has gone through so much to get us to this point that she deserves the honor. After all the drives to San Diego, and after all the shots in her behind, and after all the sickness, she did it. It was nice to be able to send her flowers. The flowers were also special in that they were in her bouquet the day we got married (not the exact flowers, but the same kind). I think they're called Stargazers and they smell great.

LAURA AT BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY IN WOODLAND HILLSWe had plans to meet my mom at her house in Woodland Hills at 10am (Laura's mom and her family were at our house on Saturday). She had mentioned that she would be going to breakfast with her helper, Alicia, and that they would try to be back by then. We knew most places would be crowded on Mother's Day so we were kind of expecting that they would be late returning home. We were right. We arrived by 10am, but they were not yet home. We went to the McDonald's by her house and had something to eat and continued to call mom's house to see if she had returned.

After about a half hour she had not returned so we decided to head to the Burlington Coat Factory at the Fallbrook Mall. We had heard that they had great stuff for babies, so we thought we'd check it out. Considering the name of the place we didn't expect too much. We were pleasantly surprised, however, to find that they did, indeed, have tons of stuff for the little ones. Right now we're looking for the furniture. We are doing the kid's room in a tropical/Hawaiian-type motif and need a crib that will match. Eventually we'll put in a ceiling fan that has blades that look like palm leaves.

MOM'S HOUSE IN WOODLAND HILLSWe checked the place out for a little bit then headed over to mom's house. We had already sent flowers. My mom's gift was something we put together that had a bunch of baby supplies in a travel bag. Essentially, this will be a bag of things she can share with our little guy when he goes to grandma's for a visit. She enjoyed it. Alicia was also there and we had a really nice time visiting. One of the toilets in the house wouldn't stop running. We checked it out and determined we needed new parts so we ran down to Osh and got what we needed. I know you'll be pleased to know that it's working just fine.

Our cat, Lucky, went to the veterinarian this afternoon. He has a moderate heart murmur. He went through a nuclear medicine treatment down in Irvine last year to correct a hyperactive thyroid. He was radioactive for a week after his procedure. Today, however, he went in for another ultrasound to see how he's doing and to see whether or not we should change his medications. Currently he takes three pills every other day. We were advised to change to just two of the medications and to administer them only twice each week. This only has to go on for another month so we feel like he'll be a very happy little cat in about 30 days.

MOM & ALICIAIn addition to the vet visit, Laura was able to confirm our accomodations in South Dakota this summer. We'll be staying in a community just south of the university called Dakota Dunes. It's a very nice little community and was the only place we could find a completely furnished (even forks, knives and an iron) apartment for a month. It's a corportate housing place and is very near the Gateway Computer Company. The nice part about it is that the apartment we got is in a community surrounded by very upscale homes. It's one of the only areas in South Dakota with homes that are so fancy. It'll be nice to experience that neighborhood if only for a month. We'd love to have visitors while we're there. If you have a couple days, come out and see us. We'll make sure you have a good time.

The cheapest flights to the area are to Omaha, NE. Southwest Airlines can get you there and back for about $200. You can stay with us so you won't need to worry about hotels or a car. We have plans to meet friends in Fargo, ND on one weekend and then friends in Minnesota on another weekend. You're welcome to go with us if you're there at that time. Otherwise, we'll show you the wonderful sights of Sioux Falls, SD and Sioux City, IA. We'll be there during July.

Update: 8 MAY 04

Last night I had nice dinner with my dad. We met at the Rusty Pelican in Glendale which is right off Freeway 2 across from Glendale Adventist Hospital. Aside from a waiter who didn't listen too closely to our orders, it was a very nice evening. It was really nice to get together and talk and just relax. I think it was made even better because we could see the hospital from our table. As I've mentioned before, Glendale Adventist is where our son will be born.

Laura had lunch with her friends, Stacey and Molly yesterday at the Cheesecake Factory. They were both very thoughtful and arrived with presents for our little guy. We are very appreciative of the gifts. We know it took valuable time out of their busy schedules to go shopping for our little guy. He'll enjoy the gifts when he arrives. In the mean time, we'll enjoy just looking at them.

I have decided an interesting part of this site would be the adition of a "Grandparents Page." Essentially, it would be a picture of all th grandparents and a little information about each one. I have asked the grandparents to each send me a picture that they feel best displays their personality. Once they arrive, I'll put them here. I think it will be pretty fun for all of us.

Our little guy will actually have five grandparents; two grandfathers and three grandmothers. We hope that each one will have a significant impact on his life. I was fortunate enough to have had a wonderful relationship with one of my grandmothers. Interestingly, I lived with her for a large part of my college years. I'll never forget how great those days were and I want my son to have that same experience.

Our guy's grandparents will be Leonard & Roberta in Lancaster, Steve Sr. & Dana in Laguna Niguel and Nancy in Woodland Hills. A goal of our is to make sure each of them spends as much time as possible with our son.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and I was very happy to have been able to send Laura flowers for her first. I sent the same kind of flowers we had in our wedding so it made the day extra special. Her parents and two sisters came down today with our two neices. We had a barbeque, watched the Dodger vs. Pirates baseball game and the Indiana vs. Miami basketball game. All-in-all it was a good day.

Earlier this morning I found a little time to turn the ultrasound video into a computer file. I transfered it onto the server and it's now available for all to see. The original was taken from a VHS tape our doctor inserted into the ultrasound machine while he did the exam. This is not a video that was taken with a camera.

The first video is of the whole ultrasound session. It about 50mb in size and will probably take the better part of a weekend to download. It has everything in it from start to finish. If you decide to view it, you may notice it's a bit choppy on the initial download, but it should be better when you look at it a second time.

Recognizing that 50mb is a significant download, I edited the video into five smaller clips. Each clip lasts about 30 seconds, except for Number 5 which lasts about a minute.


PART 1On this clip you can get a pretty good view of the baby's spine, his head, and you'll see the heartbeating. The doctor recorded the sound so you'll be able to hear the heartbeat.

PART 2Part two shows the spine once again and also gives you a good view of the femur, the knees the bottoms of his feet and the parts that let us know we're having a boy.

PART 3This clip gives you a good look at his spine, his head, his hands, fingers and his ribs.

PART 4This is a pretty cool clip. You can see that he has both of his hands on his ears. You can also see his face (he's very cute) arms and his heart beating.

PART 5Once the picture-taking was over, the doctor has to enter into the ultrasound machine the results of his examination. In this clip, you'll see him moving his cursor over the drop-down menus and entering data into different fields. For example, there's a section that says "Fetal Kidney Activity" and he selects the "Normal" option. He does this for about 15 different bodily functions and body parts.

Update: 6 MAY 04

What an exciting day! The day began with a trip to Glendale Adventist Hospital for our 10am appointment with our doctor. I took my camera to take some pictures, but soon discovered I had left the memory card in my computer at home. So, no pictures. Fortunately, we had a videotape with us and the ultrasound machine had the capability of recording the entire session. I pulled the tape out of its sleeve only to discover that I had brought a copy of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I figured out that we could record over it by placing some tape over a certain part of the cassette. It worked, the session was recorded, and we got some very, very good news. I'll post the video soon.

The ultrasound session consisted of looking at about 15 different areas of the baby and determining if everything was OK. The doctor looked at the brain and checked to see that it was properly formed, he looked at the heart and saw all four chambers operating perfectly. He then turned on the sound so we could hear the heart. He looked at the spine and we could see each and every disc. He looked at all four limbs and we saw all the fingers and toes. He was able to check that the kidneys and liver were functioning properly. He looked at the baby's face and saw that everything was forming exactly as it should be and he looked at a bunch of other things. Everything he checked was in great working order. We were very relieved.

After the appointment, Laura drove me to work then went and had lunch with some of her girlfriends in Burbank. She picked me up later that evening and we had dinner before coming home.

I have a message on my phone from my aunt, Jelena. I haven't heard from her in awhile and I was extremely happy that she had called. I'll call her back as soon as I'm done updating the website. I can't wait to speak with her about the baby. There is an extra special part to this whole story about which I have not yet written here. It's really cool and I know she will enjoy hearing about it.

Oh yeah, if you're interested in the gender of our new child, click HERE and you'll know. As I had promised her for years, I got my mom on the phone right away. As soon as the lights in the ultrasound room went on, she heard the great news. This has really been a day to remember...

Update: 5 MAY 04

In about 14 hours we will know what the sex of the baby will be. Everyone has given us their ideas and the predominant belief is that we're having a girl. I have a hunch we're having a boy. Either way, we'll be thrilled.

Yesterday was interesting in that Laura felt the baby shift positions. She looks a little different now. Rather that having a belly that is a bit "spread-out," she now has a belly that looks like she has a basketball up front. It looks really great and is really exciting to watch as it happens.

In the morning Laura and I will drive down to our doctor's office at Glendale Adventist Hospital We have a 10am appointment. If we're lucky, the baby will be in the correct position for the doctor to get a good view of the parts that will tell us if we're having a boy or girl. After the appointment, Laura will drive me to work, then pick me up later in the day. All-in-all, I suspect this will be one of the more memorable days of our lives.

Today was quite normal. Laura used our steam cleaner and cleaned the carpets. We had a barbeque and ate outside on the patio. The weather has been great, so eating outside is really enjoyable.

I bought tickets to see my favorite Hawaiian artist at Cerritos College in early October. My plan is to make this our child's first concert. Keali'i Reichel sings mostly soft ballads that should be very enjoyable to a newborn. He's from Maui and only leaves Hawaii for a couple weeks each year. Whenever he comes, we will try to be there. Last year we made a weekend of it when he played in San Diego.

Right now the Lakers are losing their second game in a row to San Antonio in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. I couldn't bear to watch the last couple of minutes.

We'll announce the gender of the baby here tomorrow evening. Later this evening, before going to sleep, we'll listen to the heartbeat once more. Once we hear it we find that we sleep a little better.

Update: 2 MAY 04

This weekend was pretty busy, but also pretty fun. Laura and I spent Saturday helping her sisters move into their new house in Lancaster. Most of their family was there so we got to see everyone again. I took the ceramic dog that Julia had painted earlier in the week and wanted to give it to her and take a picture. That didn't work out. I did get a picture of the dog by himself, though.

Essentially the day was spent moving stuff from one house to another and having lunch at a place called Louis' Burgers. We drove home around 5:00 to meet Dan and Tara who were coming by for dinner.

When they got to our home, we decided to go to The Greens for dinner. This is the miniature golfing place. We had a nice dinner outside by the fire pit then played 18 holes of golf. We had a really good time. The weather was perfect, there was a band playing that was really good and everyone was in a festive mood.

It was very nice of Dan and Tara to come out. They brought Laura a birthday present that was very nice. We know it's a long drive for them so it's even more appreciated.

While they were here, they gave me the pictures Dan took underwater in Hawaii. I scanned them this evening and made a photo album out of them. Here you can see a shot of me just after jumping off the boat in the Molokini Crater. There are plenty more. Click the words "PHOTO ALBUM" to view them.

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