A long time ago (either 1983 or 1985 according to various sources on the internet), I remember my mom taking my brother and I out to Dulles to watch the landing of the piggy-backed Space Shuttle Enterprise. I really don’t remember much about that day and I certainly didn’t understand the significance of the event we were witnessing.
Here we are almost 30 years later and once again, we had the opportunity to witness history in the making. I knew today was happing and even remembered to grab my camera this morning in hopes of seeing this historic event. Driving into work and seeing the unusually long back-up of people exiting heading to the airport made me wish that I had taken the morning off and headed to the airport to watch this historic event.
As my friend Sarah said, it’s pretty cool that the city stopped for a few moments to watch the shuttle, piggy-backed on a 747 make a low flying pass over Dulles and back into the city before returning to land at Dulles.
Working on the 16th floor in Reston and being able to see the tower at Dulles, I was hoping we’d be able to catch a glimpse and I gathered with my colleagues to catch a glimpse of the shuttle. It was an incredible site, but I like a lot of people felt a sadness as this chapter of our history is coming to an end. The dreams of so many of my classmates growing up included wanting to be an astronaut. Do kids today still dream of being astronauts and traveling into space?
Yesterday Cisco, Riot and I made our return to the agility world with a Saturday appearance at the PVGRC agility trial.
The day started off with Riot running in Open FAST. My philosophy in FAST is get in, get what you need, and get out. I don’t try for maximum points, I just try to find a nice flowing path that incorporates the send bonus and gets us the points we need. Riot Q’d with 58 points in 17.something seconds and got 3rd place for his first OF leg.
Next came Exc A Standard for Riot. It wasn’t a great course, but for a dog that was acting like a kid in a candy store before we got into the ring, I think he held it together pretty well. I had to call him off the teeter (and my voice isn’t completely back from a few weeks ago, so it was more like screeching him off the teeter). I’m very happy with his dog walk. He stopped just like he was supposed to and I kept on running. I for some reason changed my plan after sending him into the blue tunnel and he missed the panel. Totally my fault. His weaves looked a little slow and it looks like something tripped him up part of the way through. Below is his standard run.
It was finally Cisco’s turn. It had been a long day of waiting in crates for Cisco and that’s something he usually doesn’t do good with so I was a little worried which dog I would bringing out to run. I can’t tell you how great it felt to be running Cisco. He’s my old dependable dog. He may not be the quickest, but he knows me and I know him and being out there running with him, I just knew he was going to know where to go. We finished clean and I looked at the time and saw 42.39 and my heart sunk. JWW courses are known for having course times between 38 and 43 or 44 seconds and I knew 42 was iffy. I probably could have pushed him a little harder, but it was a great run. I had to go get Riot for his run so I didn’t have a lot of time. I tried to figure out course time between runs and thought course time was probably 40 seconds. Oh well, we didn’t get that elusive last leg this weekend. It turns out course time was 42 seconds and since times are truncated, that meant he qualified! With 0 MACH points. This is his fourth MXJ leg with 0 MACH points. So with that Cisco earns his MXJ which was my ultimate goal for him. I knew he wasn’t fast enough for MACH to be in the realm of possibility and he was stressing too much in standard, so I stopped running standard with him after his AX. He’s now officially retired from running regular classes with a grand total of 31 MACH points. He’ll begin his preferred JWW career probably at the June PVGRC trial. His last regular run is below.
Finally, I ran Riot on the same course I ran Cisco. Running Riot is a whole different experience. We still don’t have that experience together and Riot doesn’t always read turns and sometimes he read turns too well. The video for his run got messed up, but he had a couple of really wide turns that really slowed him down. Overall I’m very happy with the little guy and he did run the course clean coming in 1st at 35 seconds.
I’ve been reading about baby led weaning and other various techniques and methodologies to introducing babies to food. One of the ideas with BLW is that the baby starts feed themselves sooner than with other methods. I’ve also read that giving them a spoon while you feed them helps them learn to self feed as well, but so far that idea has led to waiting until she removes her spoon from her mouth and her pulling slobbery bits of oatmeal out with her spoon leading to a bigger mess.
So I’m not necessarily completely on board with any one method, but the idea of Emily starting to explore different textures of food now instead of just getting used to the texture of the oatmeal and purees is very interesting to me since I have a lot of issues with textures of food. I’m getting better, but still.
So in an effort to offer her more variety, I decided to give her avocado. It’s very soft so I didn’t see it as a choking hazard and just because Chris and I don’t like it, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t offer it to Emily. Well I tolerate it in california rolls, but see above mentioned texture issue.
Em was not a fan of the avocado. We managed to make a huge mess with it, but she didn’t make the connect to put it in her mouth. She did nibble on a few pieces of it I held up for her, but she was not impressed. I tried mashing some up and putting it in a little of her oatmeal which is how all foods have been introduced to her and she still wasn’t having it. I added some apple baby food to see if I could sweeten it up for her, but she still was not a fan of her oatmeal-apple-guacomole.
We’ll probably try again tomorrow—wearing only a diaper as we made a huge mess today.
Way back in 2007 I attempted to take a picture of the moon. It didn’t turn out so well and since then I’ve wanted to try again, but never got around to reading up on how to better take pictures of the moon or had a clear night with a full moon and the time to go out and get a shot. With all the hype around last night’s supermoon, I decided to try the moon shot again. Not that I had time to really read up on shooting the moon, but I had read a couple of posts on message boards about shooting the moon and I’d like to think I better understand how my camera works than I did three and a half years ago.
And this was my attempt last night:
There is still a bit of green fringe at the top and red at the bottom of the moon which I need to figure out what caused that, but much better than my attempt from three years ago, don’t ya think?
Six months ago a little bundle of joy came into our lives and turned our world upside down. We had no idea what we got ourselves into. But six months later, everything is feeling pretty normal around here.
Emily is growing by leaps and bounds, our little 7 pound, 21 inch bundle of joy is now 18 pounds, 7.25 ounces and 27 inches long. She’s doing a great job of sitting up by herself. Is getting the hand of eating—oatmeal, green beans, and squash to date. Has yet to figure out how to roll over back to front, but is a pro at front to back. Love playing with and examining her toys and anything else she can get her hands on. And is all smiles—well, at least until early evening when she starts to get grumpy because, like her mom doesn’t want to nap and miss any of the action during the day.
We’re looking forward to see what’s in store for the next 6 months.
As promised, here are a few of the pages from our 2010 blurb book.
A couple of random pages. The first was a picture I snapped of Riot with a tug toy that was a gift from someone in the Gaylan’s family when I picked Riot up. He loved that tug but it was in such bad shape, I decided to repurpose it into part of another tug. The next is part of a blog entry from Riot’s blog on a trial. (These pages are not part of the same spread.)
We spent a lot of time putting together Emily’s room so of course it deserved it’s own spread! I used the prototype we used to plan the grid wall that was on my computer as the background of the first page and tiled it to fill the page.
And the last one I’m sharing, is the spread from when Emily was in the hospital with RSV. The text is a blog post from my dad and all the photos with the exception of the patrick picture in the top left corner, are cell phone pictures.
And there you have it! A quick peek into our lives in 2010.
Well, I finally finished our 2010 Book! 2010 is longer than 2009, but not as long as 2008. We had a lot of big events happen this year, but I didn’t take the camera out as much as I usually do, and I didn’t blog a whole lot either, so there wasn’t as much text to be added to the book. (I ended up supplementing with text from my Dad’s blog.)
I’m again using Blurb for the printing of the book. I managed to get my hands on a Groupon for Blurb that someone else wasn’t going to be able to use, so I saved a bit of money on the book (it ended up costing about half of what it would have cost). I’m anxiously awaiting the next time there is a Groupon for Blurb, but I know of a couple of people who bought them and weren’t able to use them. I do wonder if Blurb ended up making or losing money on the deal and how many of the Groupons got used vs. expired because people ran out of time.
This is the first year I’ve tried using their PDF to Book feature so I’m a bit anxious to see how it turns out. It was so much nicer being able to work in Photoshop and InDesign, but it was also much more time consuming. In the past, the books have been a combination of layouts done in Photoshop and using the templates Blurb provided in their BookSmart software. Using Blurb’s layouts is so much faster than trying to design the whole book yourself. As always there are a bunch of spreads I like and a few I don’t particularly care for, but overall, I’m pleased how the book turned out.
I think I decided the overly scrapbook-y type book is not the right kind of book for me, but I do enjoy incorporating some textures and “papers” into my books to add a little more visual interest.
Here is the cover book. It’s a continuation of the mosaic theme I started on the covers a few years back. I’ll try to post a few of my favorite pages/layouts from the book. If you’re interested in seeing the whole thing, let me know and I’ll send you a link to download the PDF (it’s nearly 200MB—eeps!). Just send me a message via e-mail/facebook/PM/however you usually get a hold of me.
I’ll post a review once I get the book (which is estimated to ship the beginning of March).
Berkley came to live with us when he was 7 months old. He had been with his breeder before then. He was a potential show prospect, but just wasn’t going to grow big enough. I still think he had the just about the best head and markings of any berner I’ve seen. (Although I may be just a bit biased.)
Initially when B came to live with us, Chris and he didn’t know what to think of each other. I’d often see them looking at each other and Chris would occasionally say “He doesn’t like me.”
“Give it time,” I’d say, but truth be told, I was starting to wonder if the two of them would ever become buddies.
Chris used to be able to make this low rumbling sound that would always start Berkley barking. He knew how to get his goat.
Cisco is three and a half months older than Berkley and while they were close in age, they didn’t always get along. They’d play and wrestle some, but there was also some tension between them—especially when it came to food. There was probably a tiff or two a year between the two of them over food. A couple drew blood. One sent Cisco to the vet for stitches in his ear. I sometimes wondered if they liked each other but right when I’d start to wonder, I’d go pick them up from daycare and find them curled up next to each other, or I’d see one stick up for the other at the dog park. I think in their own way, they were buds.
Berkley even humored me and played agility with me. He wasn’t necessarily the most graceful agility dog and quickly earned the nickname “tiny tank” as sometimes he just didn’t feel like jumping. And when he didn’t feel like jumping, he’d just plow through the equipment.
Teaching him to walk on a 12” wide board was quite comical. Even though he was small for a berner (22.5” inches according to his jump height card and around 70 pounds), it was still quite difficult for him. We had taken the summer off from classes because it was too hot and when we got back to it, we encountered the dog walk again. He had not mastered the dog walk before the break, so we had no idea what to expect. Berkley just trotted across it, like he had always done it.
Berkley went on to actually trial and retired with 2 legs toward his Novice Agility Preferred title. I knew he was getting old and was going to have to stop trialing him soon, so I had entered him in a few trials in the fall of 2008. A few weeks before the first one, he woke up in a bunch of pain, it turns out he had pretty bad arthritis. I immediately pulled him from the trials he was entered in and his agility career was over. I wish we had gotten that last leg. Not that titles are everything, but it would have been nice to have just a few more letters after his name because he was such a good dog doing what I asked of him even though he probably could have taken it or left it.
I’m not sure agility was his thing. But he was a working dog, and would spend his time patiently waiting for a job to be done. We did try rally probably a too late in life. I did take him to one rally trial and he ended up with a 69—one point from qualifying. He was too busy looking at all the people to pay much attention to me.
Somewhere along the way, Berkley became Chris’ buddy, they hung out on the weekends when I took Cisco (and later Riot) off for some sort of training or trial. Berkley would hop up on the couch and burry his head in Chris’ side. He’d do it sometimes to me too, but more often that not it was Chris and not me. I loved watching the interactions between them later on after all the worrying I had done when we first brought him home.
Fortunately, Berkley didn’t like sleeping in the bed, he much preferred the floor, but he would hop up a lot of nights and clobber me. He’d always be around for a pet or two, but the second you’d stop petting him, he’d nuzzle to get you to start again or he’d go away. He’d always stay in close proximity to you, but usually wouldn’t sit next to you.
Berkley also wasn’t a fan of about 50% of the population. Some people he absolutely loved, other people he wanted nothing to do with, and a few people he would warm up to overtime.
Last April when Berkley hit 8, there was plenty of reason to celebrate—a Bernese Mountain Dog who made it to 8! But we started to wonder when the other shoe would drop. One weekend in July, just two weeks after he was declared healthy at his annual appointment, we found a group of lumps in his neck. We tried to think positive, but in an eight year old berner, we knew the news was not going to be good. Off to the vet we went on Monday and by Friday we had started chemo for Lymphoma.
The first signs the cancer was coming back came right before Thanksgiving with an enlarged lymph node in his chest—one treatment short of finishing his chemo protocol. We switched to a different protocol and treatments continued.
Chemo got us nearly 7 additional months with him. We were lucky to be able to have the extra time to spend with him and for him to get to meet Emily.
I know he had a good life and I hope he was happy. We were fortunate to have him nearly make it to 9 (which for a berner is huge), but it’s never long enough. We will miss him greatly.
Goodbye my sweet teddy bear. Rest in peace.
The past couple of weekends we’ve given Emily a taste of rice cereal. I think I’m going to need lessons in feeding a baby. She seems to be enjoying herself, but I’m not sure how much she’s eating vs. how much she’s wearing.
We had a session with FidoJournalism when Emily was 7 weeks old. Way back in October—it seems so much longer ago than that. Some of our pictures are up on their blog—actually they’re a lot of my favorites from the session. The last one in the blog post might be my favorite of all of them.
In retrospect 7 weeks probably wasn’t the best age to do family photos. I was adamant about doing them when Em was 6-8 weeks old. She was kind of in between looking like a newborn, newborn, and a baby and certainly nothing really got her attention so she wasn’t looking at the camera for most of them. I do still absolutely love the photos and will cherish them.
She just turned 5 months and it such a different baby than we had these done. I wish we could do another professional shoot at 6 months with her, but I think we’re going to have to wait until she’s a year to do another professional shoot.
I’m working on our 2010 photo book and realizing how much I rely on blog posts to help compile the book and remember what happened throughout the year. And well, since I didn’t blog much in 2010, I don’t have much to add to the book.
So in honor of re-instating this blog, I’ll show you a couple of pages from the 2010 photo book still in progress. I decided to play around with scrap booking type elements in this year’s book. The verdict is still out on how I feel about it. Maybe I’m just not good at using the different elements yet, but I think I prefer the cleaner format of books I’ve done in the past.
Yesterday’s snow storm brought the DC area to a halt. I’ve heard of long commutes during storms (heck I even experienced one in the late 90s when it took me over 3 hours for my usual 20 minute commute), but last night was ridiculous for so many people. If you made it home in under 5 hours, consider yourself lucky. Chris made it home in about 3. I was lucky and got to leave work early because Emily wasn’t feeling well (probably the only time I will ever feel fortunate that my daughter isn’t feeling well). We ended up having to venture out for Pedialyte for Emily before Chris made it home and the few miles to the pharmacy were pretty bad.
Today Emily is feeling much better and the roads have cleared off nicely. Hopefully they’re wrong about us getting more tomorrow morning…
I'm getting ready to move this blog to another blogging platform. I've been planning to move it all year and haven't been posting because I don't want even more posts to have to move. But I decided to post about what I've been working on at work.
We've been working on a really tight deadline, but we're about ready to launch our website for an online video contest for the Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. Check out the promotional video below.
There have been a lot of complaints about the new look of facebook.
As with any kind of change with any website people use on a routine basis, there is an outcry against the new changes. That's to be expected as people generally don't deal well with change. Typically we all get used to the changes and learn to accept and maybe even find that the new design works better. I don't think this is going to happen with the new Facebook design. The only thing this design did was make it harder to find the information I find relevant.
In the old design, I was very fond of the live feed tab, which provided a real time stream of what your friends were doing. This stream was updated automatically, without having to refresh the page. I wasn't too concerned when the rumblings about the redesign started because I assumed this was more of what was going to be surfaced in new layout. Instead it's not much more than a status update feed that may just as well be twitter.
The things I miss most are seeing when my friends are attending events (I may want to go too), friending new people (I may know them too), joining groups (it was hard enough to find updates about groups in the old layout, now it's pretty near impossible), and when my friends comment on other people's photos and videos (lots of times conversations happen around photos). The "highlights" area on the side in the new layout rarely provides information that I find relevant. For now the iPhone Facebook app still offers these features (although it doesn't allow you to click through to events).
Maybe I'll eventually get used to the new more limited stream of information, but as for now, it makes me feel like I'm missing information along with reading about applications updates I don't care to see.
The 2008 book is a compilation of all the pictures that Chris and I took, plus blog posts, and posts from tumblr. I got a little more adventurous and did some of the layouts myself instead of using the layouts provided by blurb. In most cases though, I still used Blurb's layouts.
I chose a 7x7 book because I like square things. I picked an Image-wrapped hardcover book -- an option that wasn't available last year, and upgraded to premium paper (another option that wasn't available last year). The cost of my 154 page book was $47.95. I uploaded the book on January 11th to the Blurb website and was given an estimated ship date of January 19th. On January 20th, I got an email apologizing for the delay in shipment due to some issues putting the book together and a code for $10 off a future order. My book shipped the 22nd and I had it the 23rd (I only paid for standard shipping).
The paper upgrade was well worth it. The pages are thicker and the paper as a bit more of a satiny texture. The only main complaint I have about the book is the bleeds did not go all the way into the spine of the book leaveing a bit of white showing in the middle of photos that spread across pages or pages with non-white backgrounds (as seen in the images below).
Overall, I'm very happy with the book and am planning on ordering another one next year. I really like the size of the 7x7 book. I think the price is very reasonable and until I have time to scrapbook again, this is a really good alternative. The photos are of decent quality -- even the ones taken with my iPhone.
Well it's 2009 already and this blog is still here. A little dusty perhaps but still here. I still haven't changed it like I was planning on, but let's face it, it may be 2010 before I get around to it.
We had pictures of the dogs taken to mark Cisco's 7th birthday and Riot turning 6 months. They were taken by Stephen Bobb of FidoJournalism and we think they turned out fantastic! (The picture in this post is one of the ones he took.)
Chris and I are both starting the year with the same companies we started last year with (this might be the first time in a long time we can say that). I'm not sure we can say we'll be ending the year the same way, but time will tell.
I could end this post saying I resolve to start blogging more, but lets play that one by ear.
Wishing everyone the best for 2009!