Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ashley in the hospital

I am typing this while sitting in the surgical waiting room at the Irvine Regional Medical Center (aka Charise's "weekend getaway"). Ashley went into surgery at noon and should be less than an hour.

Last night, Ashley was had diarrhea problems and was throwing up when we went to bed. We thought it might be food poisoning from having had Pei Wei for dinner, but nobody else was sick. Even though she felt very ill, she was a trooper and kept playing games with my parents and I because we only have a few weeks left living near them.

At about 1:00 am, she began to have some really bad pain and tried to lay in bed an endure it, but after more than a half hour she woke me up. She was in tears as she described pain throughout her chest. I thought it might have been cramps from having thrown up so much, but it seemed much more than that. The pain grew worse and after the third time I asked if I should call 911, she said she thought so. I knew she has a high threshold for pain and was not prone to acting like a hypochondriac, so I was somewhat worried about the pain in her chest. The paramedics were very nice and quickly ascertained that the pain focused just under her ribs on the right side probably indicated gall bladder problems. They took her to IMC's ER where they gave her pain medication, which enabled her to relax and sleep a little bit. I was even able to go to the car and sleep for just over an hour. After ultrasounds, blood tests, x-rays, and urinalysis, the doctor confirmed that Ashley was having a gall bladder attack caused by gallstones.

Ashley was admitted to a room upstairs about 7 AM while I went to the store to get some formula for Lucy and then went to my parents to sleep for a couple of hours. Ashley slept until she met with the doctor who said that he would like to operate today. She went in at noon and should be out of surgery in less than an hour. The doc said she probably could go home tonight.

Throughout all of this, Ashley and I have kept saying that we are so grateful that this occurred last night while we were staying with my parents. Instead of wondering what to do with our two little princesses, I only had to awake Papa and Grammy and let them know what was going on. My parents were very helpful in taking care of the girls. It was also nice to have Dad there to assist me in giving Ashley a blessing. If this would have happened in San Diego or last week when I was out of town, it would have been much more difficult.

When I came in to help Ashley prepare for surgery, she said she had been reading in the Ensign - specifically a talk from April's General Conference - about how we should look for things to be grateful for during trials in your life. We are definitely grateful that this experience occurred last night.

I am also grateful for the Irvine Medical Center which is an awesome facility with beautiful common areas and patient rooms. It is very beautiful and 'homey'. The staff has been great. The cafeteria had the best hospital food I have ever tasted. I am sitting in this extremely nice surgery waiting room alone because the hospital only does emergency procedures on the weekend. I am practicing my new calling in life - southern Virginia redneck - by watching the NASCAR race on the TV as I type this.

Anyways, I will try to let you all know how it goes.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My trip to Washington & Lee

My trip to Washington & Lee was wonderful. Lexington is a great little town that we should really enjoy. I was able to meet with a number of people at the school who made me even more excited about attending.

As you read from Ashley, I also found a house (I added a pic to her post below). What she did not say is that I walked through about 15 houses and drove past/peeked in windows of another 10 - in only two days! I am exhausted.

Here is a picture of historical undergrad portion of campus. The newer buildings were build to look identical, so the entire W&L undergrad section is amazingly beautiful. There are more pics in the Snapfish folder. The law school building is located near the athletic facilities across a creek that runs through campus and looks more modern.

The entire campus and town is nestled in a mountainous area of southwestern Virginia. The town is very rural. Even the campus is covered in forests. When I was leaving the law building for the first time, I found these guys in the middle of the road. Click on the picture for a full view. Definitely not something you would see in Orange, CA.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lexington, VA - Population 6,867 + 4

Lexington, VA population: 6867 is getting 4 more residents. It's official - we are moving to Virginia and we are very excited for the new adventure. Chuck had a great visit to Washington and Lee and fell in love with the campus.

He also found us a HOUSE!! Click here for more pictures on snapfish. It's a 3 bedroom home at the end of a cul-de-sac.

We have 3 weeks left in California to enjoy our family and friends while also preparing for our move. Hopefully the move will go smooth - we are becoming pros at this. So when any of the other Gates families start planning their moves to join us on the East Coast we will have lots of advice to give.

While Chuck was in VA, my mom came to visit. It was so great to have her here so she could meet Lucy and see Leland. We were able to pack in lots of fun things in 3 days. We went to the beach, Cabrillo, the Zoo, Seaport Village, and the park. I will add some pictures soon.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

$250 !!!

This morning Chuck set off for VA to check out Washington and Lee campus and to hopefully find us a place to live. He called me about 20 minutes after being dropped off at the airport to tell me he took a bump and made $250 in flight credits. (Best part - we may be able to visit the West coast at Christmas now) The great thing about living so close to the airport (less than 10 minutes) is that he got to spend his two hour wait till his next flight at home watching golf. He volunteered to be bumped on the next flight, but they didn't need him, another $250 would have been nice.

We only have about 3 1/2 more weeks left in CA so we will be partying it up before we leave. We have loved our extended beach/Sea World/Zoo vacation. It definitely has been a very fun end to our year in Cali.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Added 'sister' blog links

I have added links to two blogs of our family and friends (see the right hand panel). Let me know if you have a blog that you want us to link to.

I am trying to play around with colors and layout, but blogger makes it hard to modify their templates. I either have to start from scratch and recode everything or do very minor adjustments to this template.

The Zoo

I decided I probably should add some posts too. I'm getting used to having two kids and doing fun excursions with them. We spend most of our days at the park. There seems to be a great park around every corner.

Today I took them to the Zoo. Check out the link to snapfish on the right hand side to view some of our pictures. Leland loved the elephants and the gorillas. She loved the gorilla statues just as much as the real ones. She had to give them all kisses before we left.

Lucy is getting bigger and stronger. She is starting to smile and loves to watch Leland. Leland is in her face all the time and Lucy puts up with her.

It's crazy how much Leland has grown up in the past few months. She loves singing and dancing and gets in her own little world sometimes. She enjoys playing soccer and is quite the monkey at the playground.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chuck testifies before the SD City Council

On Monday afternoon, I testified before the San Diego City Council on an environmental protection issue. I had three minutes to talk. I was very nervous the first minute, but by the end I felt much more comfortable. Ashley and Leland watched the meeting on TV at home with Leland screaming at the TV, "That's my daddy!" In the end the Council voted the way that we advocated and I was pleased.

If you want to know more about the issue, you can read the local news articles (Voice of San Diego or San Diego Union-Tribune).

If you would like to see a video of my testimony, you can see it from the City's archive of meetings. My testimony begins at 3:01:35 of the 7/16 meeting, so drag the cursor past the first three hours of video.

Photo room updated

I updated the photo room, creating one that is just our family pictures. The room code = gates. Feel free to visit to see our pictures, but please only add photos that include Chuck and Ashley's family.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Chuck weighing transfer options

As most of you know, we have decided to try and transfer law schools in order to (1) move closer to the area where we want to be after graduation and (2) graduate from a school with a better reputation.

We have loved our time in California and I have loved Chapman University. We realized that we missed the lifestyle of the south Atlantic region too much and feel that we are not the right fit for the LA/OC lifestyle and cost of living (too much school debt to buy a 3 bedroom house for $700,000).

We will miss our Gates family relatives so very much, but we are glad Heavenly Father made it possible for us to have this year with them. Plus, we are actively recruiting them to move east eventually.

Thus far I have been accepted to transfer to Washington & Lee, University of Richmond, and University of South Carolina. I am very flattered that I have not been denied anywhere as of yet. I also applied to University of Virginia, William & Mary, University of Maryland, and Lewis & Clark (#1 environmental school; located in Oregon).

W&L is ranked 25th in the country and would be a wonderful option. The only schools I would consider over W&L are UVa or William & Mary, but as of now we are preparing ourselves to commit to W&L. This weekend, I will be heading out to Lexington, VA to view the campus and look for a place to live.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Our 4th of July

Fourth of July is a major holiday in the Gates Family. Growing up, Chuck's family made a trek to Washington, DC every third year to spend the 4th in our nation's capitol and watch the fireworks explode over the Washington Monument on the National Mall.

This year was one of those years, but circumstances prohibited us from going to DC with Kriss (mom), the Johnsons (sister Char), the Dittbrenners (sister Amy), and the Conleys (sister Tiff). Those of us that could not make it, Ed (dad), the McBrides (sister Mitzi), and the Hocks (sister Lani), had a very difficult time missing out.

Once you have seen the fireworks on the Mall, all other fireworks shows pale in comparison. I have found that this often makes me not make the extra effort to attend a local community celebration. In short, I have become a bit of a 4th of July snob. But this year, I was determined to do something fun with our small family as part of our summer of memories in San Diego.

During the morning, we went to Cabrillo National Monument, an incredible place at the tip of the Point Loma peninsula (see map) overlooking the entrance to San Diego Bay. The views of the Pacific Ocean, the San Diego Bay, and the City of San Diego were absolutely amazing. We watched the movie about the landing of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (first westerner to 'discover' San Diego), toured the old light house and enjoyed a picnic lunch overlooking the bay.

After returning home for naps, we packed up our gear to head to Ocean Beach to watch the fireworks being shot from the pier. As we drove into the parking lot, we quickly realized that it was not a family atmosphere. Perhaps it was the man urinating in the middle of the parking lot. We decided to head somewhere else and drove to Mission Bay.

We found a relatively uncrowded area with great grass on a small peninsula of land overlooking the San Diego River to the South and the entrance to Mission Bay to the North (see location here). We set up a blanket and Leland and I played soccer until the fireworks began. From our spot we could see seven different fireworks shows. It was really fun to see Leland enjoy it so much.

It was a perfect 4th of July to complement our memories of our summer in San Diego.

Introducing the blog!

For a while now, I have wanted to start a blog for our family. Our Sunday School lesson today was on the 4th commandment - keeping the sabbath day holy. I figure that this blog will help me keep up my correspondence with friends and family as well as maintaining the 21st century version of a journal for our family history.

So, I welcome you to the new Gates Family Blog. I hope you enjoy reading about our lives together, both the adventurous and the mundane. It is my goal to post weekly, but don't hold me to that. Feel free to leave comments to let us know how you are enjoying our blog.

Love you all, Chuck