Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hot Week in Utah

I was supposed to be attending my 3 week training boot camp this month. But those plans fell apart with no resolution yet. So I ended up going to Utah for my monthly visit with Maya during the week of my birthday and Father's Day.

We had a great time, of course. Maya is spending her days at her old daycare center, Sugarbear. She is really having a good time with some of her old friends that are there too.

Maya was very excited about their field trip to The Bear Factory (a Build-a-Bear knock-off) where she was planning to add a bunny to her large collection. Apparently the bunnies did not meet her expectations. So, she got a white bear that is a twin with her friend instead.

The bear (Sara) was a key contributor to the rest of the week's activities. She led us on a hike through Ferguson Canyon (after we had to scrap our planned rock climbing). She took us to dinner at Noodles & Company with Maya's mom, Emily. She played and swung on the swings at Grandma Ziggy's place. She took me (and some of the fam) out to dinner for my birthday. She took us for walks. She helped us pick out new books at the bookstore to read. And of course, everyday she patiently waited in the car for Maya to return after day at school.

Fun times, although they go by way to quickly.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fun with the Nephews in Texas

While in Texas for Carlyna and Logan's wedding, we introduced the Kneeland clan to world of Geocaching.

We tried to select some easy ones close to their house that would hopefully give them a good flavor of the 'sport'.

Our first find was an old abandoned bridge. The bridge itself was not as exciting as I was hoping for but it was a great first find for the boys.

The cache was hidden on the bank of the river which was a bit steep and treacherous since it had been raining almost every day for the last week. We managed to find it and make some trades without getting too muddy.

Next we tired to find one in a bamboo forest that we had to get to by crossing a river on a large metal pipe. Unfortunately we did not find it and even more unfortunate, I manage to find some poison ivy! Grrrr!

After looking at the photos, I noticed a lot more growing all over the tree!

We continued on to a couple more finds while we tried to stay dry as the thunder showers kept threatening us. Our last one required some bushwhacking and puddle jumping.

The boys had a great time trading their toys at each of the caches.

On Monday, we all went to see Shrek the Third and had lunch in the theatre at Studio Movie Grill. The food was great and of course Shrek was funny.

That brought our vacation weekend to a close as we packed up and headed to the airport.

Here are a few more pictures.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sad News

I'm in Utah this week for my monthly visit with Maya. I thought I would start this post with some good news first. But now on to the point...

On the way home from the airport Saturday night my dad got a call from my sister Sharlie. Jason's dad, Jim, had passed away this afternoon at home. They were treating it as a crime scene since he used to a criminal lawyer although it is most likely an accident as a result of a diabetic episode. They are doing a full autopsy so I guess the real cause should be known when they are done.

Jason is now on his way home from Africa where he (and Chris) were just starting to shoot a movie. He should be home by Monday night/Tuesday morning. Luckily Jason has done a lot of preparation and assembled a good crew so the shoot should go just fine without him.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Barbers.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Frederick Community Bridge

Tara drove up to Frederick for a visit last week.

She had heard about a bridge that was entirely painted with a trompe l'oeil mural. And it is right here in Frederick, MD.

That sounded quite interesting to me since that is my favorite style of artwork.

Trompe l'oeil (trump loy) means 'fool the eye'.

Here is one of the websites describing the Community Bridge project.

Here is the website for the artist, William Cochran, and you can take a class from him and learn how to paint trompe l'oeil.

After going through my pictures, it appears that I did not document the little details of the artwork very well. I guess I was more interested in the sunset and shadows. Tara did a better job of that on her blog.

Here are a few more pictures and here are Tara's pictures (and Yes, I stole a few!).

Friday, June 08, 2007

Congrats Carlyna and Logan!

Carlyna and Logan selected Memorial Day Weekend to get married so Jill and I devised a plan to make it a long weekend.

I needed to go to the Ft Worth NLECC again so I scheduled it for the week before the wedding.

Then Jill would fly down on Friday for a weekend of fun with the family and the wedding.

I ended up having to put in 12 and 13 hour days all week as I worked on lots of SQL statements and stared at Excel spreadsheets as a created bunch of quarterly reports for the last 4 years! Needless to say, I was worn out by the end of the week.

On Friday night Jill flew into DFW to join me and we spent the evening at Robyn and Landon's place in Plano. A late dinner of Sonic was yummy.

On Saturday we did some projects with the Amberg's (tree trimming, garage cleanup, making prepared meals, etc), had some great pizza for lunch then went to the Dallas Temple for Carlyna and Logan's wedding.

On the way, we realized that Jill did not have her recommend. Since we have recently moved it made it a bit more complicated. We do not know our new Stake President so she gave them her old one and our new Bishop. I'm not sure who the temple staff finally contacted but luckily we made it in just in time.

The ceremony was very nice and the sealer had a great sense of humor. We (I) took a bunch of pictures of Carlyna and Logan on the grounds of the Temple. They looked happy and were really enjoying the moment.

We headed to Chris and Holly's place (where we crashed for the rest of the weekend) to fill our time before the reception. We had fun with the boys and tried to stay clean.

The reception was quite large for a sit down reception. They spoke a few words, Logan surprised Carlyna with a piano solo and we enjoyed some very yummy Mexican food.

They looked very happy.

You can find more pictures of Carlyna and Logan here.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A lot can happen in a Year

Stephanie's recent post and visiting with Tara last week had me reflecting a bit.

One year ago (Memorial Day Week) was an incredible week that was the beginning of a lot of changes. Lots of friends had an incredible week of fun at Duck Beach.

A lot has happened this past year, here are a few big events (that I know of) that occurred to the occupants of two of the Duck houses:
  • Corey and Jill - Met, Dated, Engaged, Married, Moved to Frederick, MD
  • Maya - Graduated from Kindergarten
  • Tara - Trying to get out of Ashburn. Lots of traveling with Deb
  • Stephanie - Moved to Montana, went back to school
  • Erin - Moved to Utah
  • Gwen - Moved to Utah, and of course traveling a ton
  • Karl - Met, Dated, Engaged, and now Married
  • Anne - Running races and training for a Marathon
  • Deb - Still in NY
  • Jeremy - Engaged
  • Dan - Still in Herndon, working on his MBA
Any way. Life has taken us several different directions this last year.

Hopefully it is taking us to bigger and better places.

Good Luck to everyone

You are all missed

Where did May Go?

Wow - over a full month without posting!

And actually two months worth of life missing!

Is that sad or what?

So here are few things that proves that April and May actually did exist in our life.

Settling In
Jill has kept us busy with getting the apartment setup. We have hung pictures and magnetic boards (for displaying lots more pictures without the expensive frames). For the living room we purchased covers for the old couches and futon, a new red rug for a splash of color, and snake plant. With all the gift cards we got from the wedding we were able to buy all of the kitchen stuff we needed, which I really like! Now I just need to cook more.

Sara and Nate go on a Date

- They got a sitter for little Evander while we did a Friday night session at the DC temple. After, we enjoyed some great Chinese food and discussed such great topics as the going rate for babysitters, food allergies, and moving (them to Iowa, us to Utah).

A Visit from Matt and Cami
- They came up from Richmond to do some sealings then came to visit us. We went for a hike at Cunningham Falls which was nice. We tried out our new slow cooker by cooking a nice big pot roast with all the veggie fixings.

Mothers Day visit from Bruce and Donna
- Jill's parents drove down from Philly to visit for the weekend. We explored downtown Frederick where Jill and her mom found some cute little shops while dad and I tried to not look completely bored. We ate at a great Italian restaurant called Venuti's. Mmmmm! On Sunday I made another pot roast in the slow cooker. Mmmmm! 2 for 2!

Utah Trip
- My trip to Utah was a success (as always). It was Maya's last full week of Kindergarten at the JCC. Her class put on a play based on the a book about a cricket that wanted to be a butterfly. Maya was a ladybug in the play which is quite fitting since we call her Maya Bug. I bought more fish for the large aquarium but they have all died off, one-by-one. For some reason the original fish are strong and healthy but any new fish that I add have all died. Strange. Maya will be attending her old day care (Sugarbear Academy) for the summer months. She is excited with the possibility of see some of her old friends that may be back for the summer too.

Bike Ride
- I got the bikes off of the balcony and into the office. They had already started to rust! Once I got everything cleaned and lubed we decided to head out for a bike ride. Two of my bikes are too tall for Jill to ride but I was able to lower the seat on the full suspension bike enough for her to ride it. She had to learn how to dismount properly since she still could not touch the ground while sitting on the seat (a source of must frustration and worry for her). We rode around on a paved path by our apartment and Jill was great with her newly learned dismounting technique. Jill was commenting for days about after how much her butt hurt!

Texas Trip for Work
- I spent a week at the Ft Worth NLECC (National Law Enforcement Control Center). Work was fine and fairly uneventful. But having new relatives in Texas to visit with is fun. I visited with Chris, Holly and the boys (Ryan, Jake, and Kade) and their new dog Jazz. We went for a walk around the neighborhood, enjoyed some dinner and desert and I read a couple of stories to boys at bed time. Chris and Holly then taught me a new game based on scrabble called Take Two which was quite fun. I also went out to dinner with Carlyna and Logan. Only two weeks left until their wedding.

Sent in Camera and Lenses for Repair
- With a lot of apprehension, I sent in all of my lenses (4) and my digital camera in for repair and cleaning. I got my my camera and one lens just in time for Carlyna and Logan's wedding in Texas. More on that later. Hopefully the rest of the lenses will be repaired soon.

Well I think that is about it.

April and May really did exist even if I have been a complete slacker on posting.