And baby makes...

August 12, 2001

Forgive us if we get a little behind on our correspondence. We knew about the mouse that came with the keyboard, but no one warned us about the cat. Photo by Roni.
We welcomed a new baby into the Gehlke family this past month. Although we had been anticipating his arrival for some time, we were nonetheless surprised when we were actually able to bring him home from the nursery the evening of July 25. Fortunately, we were prepared. We had made several stops at the shopping mall over the previous weekend to purchase supplies: a comfortable bed, food and soft toys. We had even selected a name for our little addition: Everett, or Eevee as Ben likes to call him.

Although we all agree that Eevee is the cutest baby you've ever seen, he bears little family resemblance. For starters, he has beautiful gray eyes that complement the gray hair on his head... and his face... and his feet. He has a very shrill voice when he cries. And he has already shown an aptitude for climbing. Best of all, he is potty trained.

The only one who seems to be having a difficult time adjusting to our new family member is our cat, Ariel. The mere sight of Eevee in her living room is enough to send her into a hissy fit. She has been spending a lot of time cowering in a corner of our bedroom, or hiding under our bed. Pets often get that way around new infants, but we hope that with time she will learn to like Eevee -- or at least to tolerate him.

Ben, meanwhile, is tickled pink over having Eevee to keep him company. Every morning you can find them playing together. He has taken to Eevee like any good big brother would, showing him the ropes as well as the ribbons and strings. They listen to stories together at bedtime, and will even try to sleep together in Ben's room, although often unsuccessfully. Eevee tends to be a night owl, and will fight sleep for a chance to be up with Mom and Dad.

On July 31, we took Eevee for his first doctor appointment where he received some shots and a clean bill of health. Looks like the newest Gehlke is well on his way.

It's the first day of the new school year, and Ben sports his cool new second-grade look. Photo by Roni.
Meanwhile, the eldest Gehlke child has embarked on the next phase of his elementary school days, beginning second grade the morning of Aug. 9. Sporting his new short haircut and toting his backpack of books and school supplies, he marched boldly into Mz. Gordon's classroom with his new classmates. We switched Ben from the yellow to the orange track this summer, so most of his 20 classmates are unfamiliar. We hope the new schedule will provide him with some more challenging reading assignments and learning opportunities.

Our festival-hopping days are largely behind us, but late July and early August still offer some events that have become annual traditions for us. On July 30 we attended the Delta Pear Fair in Courtland, the first time in several years that we have been able to attend on a Sunday without having to race back home in time for Glenn to be at work. Naturally we went overboard and came home with a pear pie and a loaf of pear bread. The following Sunday, we visited the California Dry Bean Festival in Tracy where we baked on one of the hottest summer days we have had in weeks. The show has expanded in recent years, so it took a few hours to see all the booths. We spent $5 to sample 10 different bean recipes. That's not bad for lunch for the three of us.

Roni has been keeping busy lately with her various work and volunteer activities. Changes at the Brentwood News and Ledger Dispatch have created new opportunities for writing assignments and she has been taking on many of them. If you are in the East Contra Costa County area, you will be seeing more of Roni's byline in the papers for the next several weeks, in addition to her regular "Our Back Yard" column that can also be found posted on the Web site. She has also been serving on DuPont's Community Advisory Group that is providing input on the redevelopment of the company's former chemical processing facility near our home, and she has attended several meetings of the Delta Memorial Hospital Foundation board on which she also sits. Did we mention that she is handling many of the details for next month's Oakley Almond Festival, as well? Yes, Roni is one busy lady right now.

This sight just broke our hearts. This seriously injured but affectionate little kitty came into our yard for help one July Sunday. Its bottom lip somehow had been torn away from its jaw. Sadly, we had to turn it over to animal control. Photo by Roni.
Our various activities and Ben's long summer break have left less time for gardening. Unfortunately, this has given our arch nemesis Mr. Gopher the chance to re-establish his presence among the garden and other vital areas of our back yard. Our 4-year-old evergreen ash tree suffered what we hope was not a fatal blow sometime during July. Several of its leaves have died and it is looking rather sickly, even for this time of the year. The root system is fairly well established now, so we hope it will bounce back with some tender loving care. We have more gopher traps at the ready. We wired drip sprinklers to most of the niches in our living wall. Now, if we could just get the sprinklers to turn on when they are supposed to, the plants they are supposed to be irrigating would look pretty good. The wall has taken shape in the 15 months it has been in place, but we still need to get the weeds out and finish planting all the niches. Perhaps by next spring.

That will wrap it up for another month as we eagerly await our tax refund from the president and our new living room furniture set that has been held up at the factory overseas since July 1. (Helpful shopping tip: When the store says it comes in a variety of colors but only one color is in stock, take it or leave it.)

Glenn, Roni and Benji

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