Sunday, September 30, 2007


I have been trying to upload a few videos for the last week or so and was having issues. So I loaded them into our Snapfish Photo Group page. Go there to view all of the videos of Lucy "talking", Leland singing, Leland at dinner time, Leland & Lucy playing soccer (new), and dancing cousins.

Helpful Hint: If your internet is slow in loading the video and it is jumpy, hit pause for a bit and let the video load before hitting play again.

Here is one of Leland singing "I Love to See the Temple." Go to the Snapfish link to see two of her other performances... "Adam Was a Prophet" and a full on jam session.

Here is Leland dancing it up with her cousin Nick. As you Gates family members can see, he is the east coast version of Dillon Dittbrenner (Chuck's nephew). There is another video of them dancing at the Snapfish site as well.

Here is Lucy talking to Chuck.

Our new callings

Today, Ashley and I were called as Activities Co-Chairs for our ward (or church congregation for those who are not familiar with Mormon lingo). We are pretty happy about it because we get to work together to plan parties for our congregation. Also, it is something that keeps us free on Sundays and should not interfere too much with my studies. Neither of us has any experience in activities, but it should be fun. We will be calling upon those of you with experience, like Shana, Amy, Char, and Mom.

Come to find out, we are replacing a woman who has been in the calling for 5 years and was the ultimate decorator and planner. We have some big shoes to fill because she was great. We are like the poor soul who would get the calling after Charise.

This woman's activities were very nice soiree's with great food and decorations. But, it appears that some of that was lost on the good ol' country folk in our ward. Our bishop is a terrific country boy who just wants lots of families to come to the parties that are organized with lots of help from everybody and where everybody has a good ol' time. We are excited about the chance to just coordinate lots of involvement.

Ashley has already called a "meeting" of the two of us, and has said she will be "delegating" things for me to accomplish. She says we have no time because we are supposed to be throwing a big Fall Festival on Oct 27th, and with General Conference next week we are already behind. The bishop wants a hay ride, trunk-or-treating, a football game, and dinner - so we have lots of stuff to do and none has been started yet. It should be fun!

Environmental Law Digest

This week I was named to be a Staff Writer for the Environmental Law Digest. The Digest was one of the biggest draws for me to apply to W&L. There was a write-on competition, from which they chose 12 staff writers. It is an opportunity to get journal experience (a key resume builder for law students) in the subject that I want to practice. Plus, regular law review sounds really boring to me - researching citations and writing REALLY long papers on academic subjects, but ELD seems really applicable to current events and each summary is only about 2-3 pages long. Anyway, it is perfect for my interests and my strengths. Here is what the website says about the Digest:
The Digest is a completely student-run organization that edits and produces a quarterly newsletter, the Environmental Law News, for the Environmental Law Section of the Virginia State Bar.

The Environmental Law News contains articles on pertinent environmental and land-use issues; summaries of key environmental and land-use decisions from Virginia courts, the Fourth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court; as well as summaries of all environmental and land-use bills enacted or pending in Virginia's legislature, the General Assembly. Staff members are responsible for research, writing and editing involved in producing the Environmental Law News.

The Digest offers interested students valuable experiences including: exposure to current, substantive environmental issues; contact and networking with practicing environmental attorneys; and the opportunity to have their own work published. As a member of the Digest's staff, students gain journal experience while producing a publication that practitioners actually read and use.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Finally have a TV

After all of our frustrations, we finally got our TV, but not without more drama. The not so friendly online rep that told me I needed to purchase a $5 gift card in order to receive a refund decided to call the store after I got off the phone with her that day. At the end of our phone call I specifically told her that we did not want a refund, we wanted our TV. So what did she do?? Told the store to give us a refund and to put that $30 back onto the gift card that I told her I did not have anymore. It has been in the trash for 2 weeks now why we have been waiting for our TV.

The next morning a really nice girl from our Wal-Mart store called me to say they finally received the TV, but she had processed the refund the night before because of the call from the online lady. Fran from the store told the online lady, Janelle, that we (the customers) do not want a refund but Janelle insisted and told her that was our only option.

Long Story Short - we went to pick up the TV, the Store mangager gave us 10% off our TV, and the online people are sending us a $25 gift card to transfer the $30 trash gift card balance onto. So in the end we got our TV for $50 cheaper than we planned.

Chuck's addition: We still support the avoidance of Walmart and Sam's Club., but the kindness of our local employees has convinced us that it is okay to shop there in emergency.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Boycott Wal-Mart

I am a bit frustrated to the point of tears over the stupidest thing. We ordered a new TV from Wal-Mart (we left our old one in CA). We used the site-to-store shipping then you do not have to pay for the cost of shipping. Site-to-Store is where they ship your online purchase to the store for pickup. This TV was a great deal and wouldn't have been so great if we had to pay shipping.

Online and in our confirmation email it says expected pickup date in 7-10 days. Chuck ordered it on Sept 8th, it is now Sept 25th and no TV. When we called last week to figure out why it wasn't here yet they said, "Oh it's business days." Well they should say that when you are ordering! It's now been 16 real days and 12 business days. I have spent all day in the store and on the phone with no one accepting responsibility of the lost TV.

The online customer service rep on the phone said I should talk to the store manager about why the TV is missing. The employee at the store said "You didn't buy the TV from us, you bought it from the .com. We are just a place to pick up the items"

An Online rep called today after I returned home from the store because Chuck had written a rude email last night about our frustrations. This girl said the TV is probably lost and we should be able to get a refund. Since we paid for a portion of the TV with a gift card I would need to activate a new gift card with $5 so that the same amount can be refunded. I have to pay $5 in order to get my money back?!?! That's ridiculous.

We still have no TV and it's season premier week!

I now have decided to boycott Wal-Mart, which will not be easy because that's all we have in Lexington besides a CVS Pharmacy. But CVS will now get my business! Or I will drive the hour to Target. I worked at Wal-Mart for 5 years and we would always laugh at the customers who were upset about something and say "I'm never shopping here again!" We would say good-bye and under our breath say "See ya next week" We knew they would come back and if they really didn't one customer isn't going to dent sales.

I'm going to do it (or at least try for as long as possible). I hate shopping in Super Centers anyway.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A few pics

Here are a few fun pictures. Chuck said I can't do too many posts without pictures.

This is Chuck's favorite thing to do with all babies. Lucy LOVES it!

Chuck often takes the car to school which has my double stroller in it, so I have to use the single one. Leland loves it, but poor Lucy never gets a break.

Leland loves to wash her own dishes.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

football, soccer, and talking

Nothing exciting has happened in our lives lately. Just falling into a routine here in Lexington. W&L does a lot of intramural type sports that keeps Chuck busy while also trying to study.

Every Friday they play touch football. Chuck is on a team of transfer students. During the last game while I was talking to a friend Leland decided to go see Daddy while he was on the field. There was a slight delay of game while I had to jump up and run after her. It was pretty cute watching her run onto the field yelling "Daddy, Daddy!". Leland was pretty sad that she couldn't play too.

Leland loves playing soccer so on Saturday we went to a Women's Soccer game. It was really fun but also pretty hot. When Leland had enough of the heat we headed home. They were tied 1-1 when we left but ended up losing the game 2-1.

Today at church I came out of the bathroom with Lucy and ended up walking behind the nursery class that was out for a walk. They had one of those ropes with a handle for each kid. Anyway, Leland was at the front just chatting away to the teacher that was walking next to her. I thought it was pretty cute, but then I realized she wasn't stopping talking! She has become the chatterbox child that just doesn't stop. (She definitely gets that from her dad)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Potty Training

We are trying to potty train Leland, which has become a battle. About 4 months ago she loved the potty, wanted to sit on it all the time and actually went a few times. Well then we moved to San Diego, Lucy was born, and then we moved to VA. That's a lot of changes in a little girl's life in just a few months. Now that we are settled we thought we would give it another try. I know she's not even 2 1/2 yet, but diapers are expensive.

We had a breakthrough yesterday. After sitting on the potty for 30 minutes or more (she was watching Potty Time with Elmo while sitting on the potty) she had peed. She was so excited to get a big princess sticker. I just can't convince her to sit on the potty again. I know you shouldn't force them, but I can't even persuade her. I guess I just need to be patient and let her decide on her own that she is ready. She just needs to get a job in the mean time to help pay for diapers.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Blog Updates

A few blog housekeeping updates:

(1) Added lots of links to friends' blogs (see side column). So many that we had to distinguish family from friends. BTW, Adam and Shana are considered family, because if your kids call them Aunt Shana and Uncle Adam and they came over to your house three times a week for three years, then they deserve to be listed as family.

(2) Added e-mail subscription section in side column. If you want to get an automatic e-mail every time a new post appears, then submit your e-mail on the right.

(3) Still trying to work on why Firefox has printing issues. If you can figure that one out, you're a genius, please let me learn from you - oh master.

(4) Changed template to the lighthouse harbor theme - which is much more Chuck and Ashley even though it has less colors. Changed font of 'Posted by' line so that it is smaller than and a different color from the actual post. (That took a lot more time than and coding it sounds like it should.)

(5) Changed RSS subscription wording at bottom of page (also took too much time and coding) from Subscribe Posts - Atom (whatever the heck that means) to something a bit more logical.

In my efforts to improve our blog, I have become somewhat coding cognizant. If you are a beginner and want help, let me know. I can be your Blogging for Super Dummies resource. (Sorry, although the Blogging for Dummies blog and Dummies Guide to Google Blogger blog are quite helpful, they are sometimes still over my head. They seem to believe that even 'dummies' know CSS coding.)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Videos of Leland at the Airport

I have wanted to post these videos for awhile. They were taken in the Baltimore airport at the end of our trip from California.

Leland loved the moving walkways at the airport. After riding once with me, she decided she needed to do it all alone. You can tell that I was much more nervous than she was. Also, you can hear that for the entire trip, she was most excited to see her Uncle Todd.

While we waited for the luggage to come out, Leland was very inquisitive about the baggage carousel. I decided this game would help keep her occupied.

And here it comes!

We are so blessed to have such an angel as a little girl.

Sunday Walks

I like to take walks on Sunday afternoons. When we lived in Orange in an apartment in the middle of businesses and gas stations Chuck would say there was no where pretty for us to walk. Well now he has no excuse. We have a gorgeous trail close to our house that runs along a stream. So last Sunday we covered ourselves with bug spray and went for a walk. It was so beautiful, I can't wait for the fall when all the leaves start to change.

We recently got this cute park bench to be able to sit and enjoy the view of the mountains.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Buzz Lightyear

Buzz Lightyear is one of my favorite rides at Disneyland. Here are the pictures that they take on the ride. I think if you click on the picture they may enlarge. Obviously I was way into racking up the points.
Chuck was into taking pictures of Leland and I. Check out Lucy's face. Brighton (our nephew) is on the right.

Char (Chuck's sister) obviously knows when to pose for the camera. I love it!


Our sweet little Lucy - 3 months old

Sisterly Love - Leland and Lucy

Rathburn Grandkids - L to R: Leland, Leah holding Lucy, Emily, Afton holding Noah, and Nicholas

1st of many from Lexington

We are finally connected to the outside world. Our Internet is finally working after we convinced Comcast that they needed to send another technician to our home. For a week they kept telling us to just be patient while our issue was 'escalated' to a team of experts to fix. When the 2nd tech came to our house he discovered that the 1st tech listed the wrong modem serial #. The 'experts' could not figure that out apparently.

Without Internet for almost a month creates a few problems: my work has been just loading up and now I have to deal with it all and I have tons of pictures to share. So as I take breaks from working I will load pictures and update everyone on our wonderful new life here in Lexington.

This picture was taken the first time I saw the house. It was not until a few seconds later that I turned around and saw the beautiful view for the first time.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

No Internet

With no internet at our house yet I feel very disconnected from the world. I am in Maryland for the weekend with the girls to attend the baptism of my oldest neice, Afton. I checked my email tonight and had over 100 to go through (mostly work but some personal)

I realized we haven't posted anything to tell everyone how much we love our cute little town. I have already fallen in love with small town life. Yesterday in Wal-Mart I saw the man from the Recycling Center that had just unloaded my stuff out of my car a half hour earlier and we preceded to have a 10 min conversation about his grandkids serving in the military overseas. He was very nice and acted like I had been his neighbor for years.

We have had a thunderstorm or rain almost every evening we have been in VA. One night the power went out in WalMart while we were going through the checkout. Chuck had to unload all of our bags in the pouring down rain because the moving truck was blocking our driveway.

I have a cute little park at the top of our street that I have taken Leland to almost every day. She loves to push Lucy on the swing. Lucy is getting so big and looks nothing like Leland did as a baby. Her eyes are turning brown and she smiles and laughs all the time.