Category Archives: Friends

2010 year in review

** I started writing this in December, but I never was able to bring myself to finish this entry. 2010 was a tough year. 2011 is a fresh year and as sad as it is to move on from some things, its truly a fresh start in many ways. — March 21, 2011 **

2010 is going to be remembered as very tough year.  There were personal highs and very deep lows this year in our lives.  This year will be the year of a new beginning with our house.  We celebrated the house with some close friends on Saturday night to celebrate and thank them all for their support, love and help along the way as we have gone through the process of building.  Without them, we couldn’t have completed the build.  And that was a large, very good night for us to celebrate. It represents a big milestone in our lives. As part of that night, we asked each of them to bring a photo for our family and friends wall. Its one of the final touches we are adding to our house. We purchased a “tree of life” metal wall sculpture made by a local artist as the focal point of that wall and we are surrounding the tree with photos of all the people who are most special to us. The photos we adding at the party were just the beginning as we have lots more people to add to our wall. These strong relationships are so valued and needed for us to be healthy and their support in the last year has helped us pull through some difficult times. Continue reading 2010 year in review

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House completed, and we’ve moved

What a busy month it has been.  Our house was completed on October 30 and we received our certificate of occupancy.  The next day, we celebrated Peyton’s birthday and we were able to show the house off to Jen’s parents who came into town for the birthday celebration.

After receiving the certificate of occupancy, we still had a few minor things to be completed in the house – trim paining and the such – but all the major construction was completed.

We moved in the following week and although we planned to move furniture and rent a truck on Saturday, with the help of some of our fantastic friends, we were able to move in the last furniture late on Friday night.  My cousin Brett, his wife Trina, and our friends Annie, Madelyn and Russell all were huge helps in moving us in so quickly, as well as unboxing when we got to the new house.  My mom and dad came in on Friday during the day and helped unbox and move some of the bigger furniture, too.

Saturday night, we enjoyed a fantastic dinner welcoming us to the neighborhood.  Our neighbor and friend Kendall fixed prime rib on the grill.  Tammy and Kendall hosted all of us so that we could meet our neighbors and celebrate our new house.  Tammy also prayed for and asked for blessing over our new home.  Afterwards, we gave a tour to my cousin Amanda and her boyfriend Justin – and they helped us unpack some more afterwards.

Peyton is really enjoying her new room.  She loves sleeping in there — and a bad habit she developed in the rental house has disappeared.  A lot of nights in the rental, she would come into our room during the night – around 3am – but that hasn’t happened once in the new house.  She loves her room and is really comfortable in it.

I’ll be posting some new photos soon of the completed house.

VMworld 2009 and San Francisco family trip

I was fortunate to get the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for work to attend VMworld.  It was my first trip to the West coast and we had a great time.  Jen has family living just north of San Francisco and visiting the area has been a trip we’ve been talking about since we got married.  So, we decided to join the two events.

My conference ran from Monday, Aug 31 until Thursday, Sept 3.  Jen, Peyton and I flew in a couple days early and we were able to meet a college friend, Tammy, and enjoy the San Francisco Zoo.  We were also able to spend an afternoon playing in the park at Moscone Center and getting ourselves familiar with the section of the city we were staying in — Union Square area.  I was impressed with the area.

Our hotel was on Powell Street, one of the cable car lines in the city — which runs all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf.  On the same street as the cable car turn-around, we had the electric street cars and BART available for transit.  I think we used all of the above at some point during our trip.  We used the BART to get to our hotel from the SFO airport.  It was no DC Metro, but it got the job done — cheaply.

Jen’s parents joined us for their first trip to the West coast in nearly 30 years.  They flew in on Tuesday and stayed at a hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf.  Jen and Peyton could take the street cars or cable cars there during the day and they had a lot of fun site seeing and touring the area.  Jen’s aunt — Jim’s sister — Jeanette picked up her parents from the airport and took all of us on a tour of the city.   The whole family, minus me, spent one day visiting UC Berkley and that area across the bay.  Jim graduated from UC Berkley with an engineering degree, so it was good for him to see his alma mater and for Jen to get to visit it, too.

My conference wrapped on Thursday afternoon (coverage on the conference and my experiences are over on my tech blog).  We took a tour of the city a bit, were able to take some photos and then we headed to family dinner in Tiburon — at Jeanette’s house.

We took a boat tour from Fisherman’s Wharf one evening.  The trip took us from the wharf out the bay to the Golden Gate Bridge, under it briefly and then back to Alcatrez and back.  The bridge and the ‘rock’ were very cool to see – up close and personal from the water.

We moved hotels from the city to Tiburon, too, that day.  We stayed in the The Lodge at Tiburon, where Janet and Jim stayed after their wedding 34 years earlier.  It is at the foot of the mountain where St. Hilary’s Church, where they were married, and Jeanette and Bill’s house is located next to the church on the hillside.  The Inn was a nice place with a pool, fireplaces and a great restaurant.

Tiburon was fantastic.  I think we all enjoyed our time there.  It was relaxing and beautiful.  We were lucky to be in town for the annual Labor Day parade and music in the park.  We enjoyed a beautiful Saturday afternoon with music and the local parade.

We had a great dinner one evening at a restaurant on the bay with Jeanette, Bill and cousin Merrill.   Merrill also treated us to a home-cooked dinner at her and Tinman’s beautiful townhouse.

As for sites, we visited Muir Woods one day.  It is a redwood forest just north of San Francisco.  It was really cool to see these huge towering trees.  It was peaceful and serene.   The trees were amazing.

Of course, we visited and took photos with the Golden Gate from the Marin Headlands and the visitor’s center just on the Sausalito side of the bay.  I noticed on a couple trips back and forth across the bridge that they were painting the bridge.  I’m told that once they finish, they have to start again painting the bridge – its a constant process.

We attended the Sausalito Art Festival on Monday with Merrill and got to see some of that area too.  There were lots of great artists and the festival was great – more music and food.  We also got a chance to see the San Francisco Bay model – a several acre model of the tidal basins and San Francisco bay.  It was used by the US Army Corps of Engineers to simulate changes in the bay and ecological impact of changes to the bay.

Jen planned a special trip for me one day and we traveled south of San Francisco to Cupertino – home of Apple, Inc.  We were able to visit the company store and drive around the campus and see the buildings where all these wonderful Apple products I enjoy were designed and created.   We also drove through Mountain View – home of Google – on our way down.  It was my first visit to Silicon Valley and was pretty cool to see headquarters for many of the major tech companies that we use at work and home.

All in all, it was a great trip.  We enjoyed getting to see family, friends, the sites and enjoy life.  It was an excellent break from things and maybe it was the thousands of miles in between, but we really got away from everything…

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

Summer update

Wow, I can’t believe its been almost 2 months since I’ve updated the site.  We’ve been really busy!  This past weekend we held our annual summer party and we had a great time.  I think we had around 35 or 40 people show up throughout the afternoon and the kids definitely enjoyed the pool.  Peyton enjoyed playing with all of the kids that came out.  She tried to keep up with the much older kids and with no nap, she was worn out by 9pm.

In other news, we have been busy doing some improvements around the house.  We have cleaned out our two front flower beds and we’ve put in new bushes.  I had some friends help me paint the house back during May and I’m sad to report that there are still a few places I haven’t finished… gotta get those soon.  But for the most part, we have cleaned up the yards pretty well and clean out most of our flower beds.  Most of the beds had kinda gotten out of control.  All of the bushes had over grown and we’ve been trying to tame them for a couple years now.  We also have been busy painting and freshening up the inside of the house too.

Peyton has had a few birthday parties to attend lately with friends.  She always enjoys herself at those.  We had one in June at a farm in Calabash and though it was hot, Peyton really enjoyed some of the animals.  She wasn’t crazy about the pigs or the goats, but loved the horses and the sheep.

We enjoyed fourth of July activities around Conway this year.  We hung out with friends on their boat for the annual Riverfest festival.  We had a great time that afternoon and we watched the fireworks show from the boat – that was really cool!  We hung out with the same friends again on the fourth and enjoyed food, a few more fireworks and lots of fun again that day.

Peyton is also really enjoying the pool now too.  She loves to get in and go swimming.  She can float on her own (well, with the help of inflatable arm floaties) and she likes to kick.  She doesn’t venture far from me or Jen when we’re in the pool, but she enjoys switching between the floats and splashing around.

I’ve talked about how social Peyton is and that definitely hasn’t changed.  She has moved up into a new classroom in the daycare.  She is back with all of our friends (who are older – but only by a few days) who had already moved up.  She loves being back in the class with them and talks about them all constantly at home.  Peyton has also started asking to see some of her other friends from time to time.  I guess we’ll be busy arranging play dates soon enough so that they can get together.

We haven’t taken any trips since our trip to DC in May, though we are planning a trip end of August for a work conference.  I’m excited and we’ll be visiting family in San Francisco area.  I’ve never been to the west coast – Las Vegas last year was the furthest west I’d ever been – so I’m excited to see something different.  We’ll spend 5 days in the city and then the next 5 days a little further North in Tiburon.

So, that’s what’s going on in our world right now.  I’ll try and post some photos soon from some of our recent events.

Kayak adventure

Jen and I had our first kayak adventure.  We went out on the Waccamaw River with friends in their kayaks.  Our friends Greg and Annie own kayaks and actually do some tours and rentals for anyone interested.  We put into the river just underneath the old Conway bridge and we went north on the river just a little ways up past the train trestle.  From there we floated back downstream a ways and went up into Kingston Lake.

We had a great time and I can’t tell you how relaxing it was to be on the water.  I was the first to flip my kayak.  To make a long story short, another boat was approaching  in a narrow section of the lake and I was trying to get out of his way.  I lost my balance and over I went.  The boater helped me out of the water and back into a drained kayak.  Fortunately, I didn’t lose anything either.

Here are some photos from the day…

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

Washington DC trip to see the grands

Sorry for my updates being few and far between.  Life with a two year old is pretty hectic, but I’m just making excuses.  We spent the end of last week in Washington, DC, visiting Jen’s parents.  Peyton had a great time and Grandma and Papa Coffin’s house.  On Friday, we visited the National Zoo and Saturday we visited Gravelly Point Park and National Harbor in Maryland.  We had a great time seeing the grands and spending some time with friends in the area.

I’ve edited together a couple videos from our trip – one from the National Zoo and one from Gravelly Point Park.  I’ve posted them both on YouTube and on our MobileMe gallery (links at the top of the page). Photos from the zoo are here…

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

Peyton is doing really well.  She’s expanding her vocabulary every day – sometimes to her mother’s and my dislike.  She’s learning a lot and she continues to be very social at daycare.  We have had a couple incidents where she has bitten another child at daycare, but hopefully that won’t be happening again.  She was disciplined both a school and at home and we believe she learned her lesson.  Even when playing now, if Jen or I even seem like we’re biting, she’ll stop us and say “no bite.”

Our baby girl has also developed a big love for animals.  Elephants are her favorite.  She saw her first elephants several months ago at the circus.  We visited the circus again the following month after she begged to see the elephants, again.   So, the visit to the zoo was nice for her to see the elephants.  She also liked the tigers and panda bears.

She’s also mothering her dolls now.  She likes to put them to sleep (under every kitchen towel, sheet, or blankey she owns).  She’s also been heard disciplining them.  I came into the living room one day to find Tigger, her doll, the elephant and a bunny all in “time-out”.  I asked what they had done and they’d bitten (ding, ding – I think she got it!).

There should be more things posted soon.  Jen and I celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary on June 1.  We don’t have any special plans, as of yet.  No special trip or anything planned, though we’ve got our fingers crossed for maybe making a trip to California in the fall…