Happy Christmas, 2007

While it’s not exactly the reason for the season, watching Angela rock out to her new copy of Guitar Hero III – Legends of Rock (Wii) in her PJ’s is a pretty good reason to love Christmas morning. That kind of sums up the Christmas we’re having here in Richmond this year. We’ve been just relaxing, hanging out around the house, and enjoying Ainsley’s first Christmas. That includes playing lots of Nintendo.

Beginning Rock Godess

As much as I thought I was pretty hardcore for having been able to rock Ainsley to sleep by playing a couple of hours of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, I was yet again shown up by Angela’s amazing multi-tasking skills. She was able to play Super Mario Galaxy while feeding Ainsley. There has to be several reasons why I couldn’t do that myself…

So, anyway, have a very happy Christmas this year and enjoy whatever holidays you and your family celebrate!

Ch-ch-changes!

First of all, let me announce what is probably the worst kept secret since we announced we were pregnant: Angela and I have made the decision to move to Franklin, TN (that’s near Nashville for you non-Tennesseans). We had been discussing the idea of doing so since July. When I say discussing, I mean Angela kept trying to convince me we should move and I kept trying to convince her we should stay in Richmond.

I caved.

Then, just a couple of days before she moved back to work, her company posted openings for her position in Franklin. She saw this when she returned from maternity leave and they said a transfer was possible. Instead of waiting until next year, as I had finally agreed to do, we would be moving at the end of this year. I felt like there was no way we would be able to move sooner and that this was the least I could do for my employer (I work for a fairly small branch office of a relatively small company, so it just seemed the right thing to give them as much notice as possible).

We’ve put our beloved Colonial up for sale here and found some nice temporary housing in Franklin, very close to Angela’s work. Angela of course has her job lined up to change over, although the application process for her to get a license in a different state is very long and complicated. It’s all in place now, though.

I, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure about what I’d be doing for work. I’ll expand on that more next week, though. I haven’t posted in quite a while and I wouldn’t want to sprain a thumb or something writing too much. For now, though, I’ll just say that it has been an exciting turn and it’s got me looking forward to all this change after all…

Ainsley? Oh, she seems to be growing by the hour. Of course, that was the one bit of change we were expecting.

A Nice Spring Weekend

Angela and I had a relaxing few days (mostly) at home over the past weekend.

We spent most of the weekend at home, although Friday night we went to pick up our race numbers for the following morning’s 10k as well as hit the grocery store for the first time in weeks. We cleaned up the kitchen that evening as friends were coming over the next day.

I guess most people don’t consider running 6.2 miles early on Saturday morning relaxing, but it really did feel that way. This weekend was the Monument Ave 10k, Richmond’s largest race, with about 25,000 entrants. Running the big races in Richmond is a lot of fun, as I’ve said many times before, because of all the crowds that come out. Saturday, with nearly perfect running weather, was no exception. Angela and I rode with our neighbor, Teri, down to the race, along with friends Meredizzle and Jess (who I dubbed "wing-nut" this weekend for no really good reason). We were running a little late, which ended up working out just perfectly. After rushing to get my bag checked in, I made it to the start line just about a minute before my coral started. I had a good race. Even though I was about five minutes over my best 10k time, I felt great after crossing the finish line. Probably a sign I could have pushed harder but also a sign I’m not that bad out of shape, either.

That afternoon, a bunch of friends came over for lunch off the grill (hamburgers, mostly) as well as playing the Wii. We sat around talking and getting to know one another for quite a while (we have a number of friends who don’t yet know our other friends, like most everyone does). Unfortunately, this meant that not everyone got to play the Wii as much as we would have liked. Also, it meant that I didn’t get embarrassing photos of people playing Wario Ware.

Sunday afternoon, we went to a baby shower for one of Angela’s co-workers held at yet another of her co-worker’s home. I have to say, if more baby showers were like this, I bet folks wouldn’t dread them so much, especially males. There was a keg of local micro-brew, great music, and good food. I had met the couple before and enjoyed getting to talk to them (well, actually, mostly him) more. The host, his girlfriend, and the rest of the guests (again, a lot of Angela’s new co-workers) were all lots of fun to talk with, as well. We love the people at Angela’s old job and miss them. However, it was great to know she’s again working with a bunch of nice folks who are fun to spend time with.

Incidentally, having co-ed baby showers is probably much more common now. Not that dads-to-be didn’t have any interest in their children before, it’s just that now we don’t feel this need to hide it1. Reading some great sites online written by dads as well as talking with other current and soon-to-be dads has really done a lot for me, both in encouragement and in excitement. Anyway, Angela and I have agreed that having a dads-are-welcome baby shower is really the way to go. Of course, there was at least one mommy at the baby shower who seemed to be upset.

"Why is he opening the presents?"

Well, maybe because he has an interest in his daughter, too, just like she does.

  1. I’ll write more about it after I’m done with Pregnancy Sucks – For Men, but the book I’m reading right now kind of falls into this. It was the only pregnancy book for men I could find and it plays up the whole dads-are-too-manly-to-care-about-pregnancy thing. I’m not just trying to do stuff because that gets my nagging wife off my back. She’s not nagging, actually, and I genuinely am excited about being a dad.

How I Know I’ll Be Married A Long Time – Part III

This past weekend, it had finally gotten warm enough I could no longer put off my duties as house grounds keeper. I spent part of Saturday trimming, edging, weeding and mowing. After Angela got home around 6:00 pm, I wrapped up and took a shower. Afterwards, I decided it was time to shave the beard off for the Spring. Pale, sweaty guys are disgusting enough. You add a beard on them, and man, good luck holding down your lunch.

As Angela stood there with a certain smile on her face that only comes from months of anticipation (not a fan of the beard, that one), she said to me:

"Now you’re going to have change you Mii as well."

I was thinking the exact same thing.

We’re Having A Baby

Well, it’s probably the worst kept secret of our lives, but just so the whole world knows:

We're Pregnant!

…and we’re both really excited. We had our first doctor’s visit this afternoon and everything looks great! So, around late August the whole world will get to know baby Coleman-Dyer (or Dyer-Coleman, we’re still working that out).

We’ve been dying to tell everyone, and lord knows Angela’s spilled the beans enough, but just wanted to wait out the until going to see the doctor. We’re both really neurotic like that, as you all know. However, I’ve been posting stuff here and elsewhere online over the past few weeks for my own sanity. Just look back through my Flickr account or here for anything tagged ‘baby.’ No, you didn’t miss it before. It was just all marked as private until tonight.

It’s so weird, I’ve never been actually nervous about writing a blog post before but I am now. I’m not even really sure why, but I am. We were really nervous when we told family, too. It’s just such big news (good news, though) and we really have no idea how to tell people. Everyone has been really excited for us and we’re just as excited to share the news.

So, We’re Pregnant

About 7:00am on Saturday morning (Nov. 16th), Angela ran into the bedroom, threw off the covers, and yanked me by the arm.

"Come here. You need to see this."

Of all the thoughts running through my head (not that many, since I was still mostly asleep), none of them had anything to do with family. I naturally thought something was wrong or that she was angry with me (both happen from time to time). Mostly I just figured the dogs were doing something she wanted me to see since that happens a lot. However, when she turned back around to me standing at the sink holding a little white plastic stick I was kind of shocked.

First Pregnancy Test

"Does that look like a plus sign to you?"

"Uh, yeah. Yeah, it really does."

"Okay. Listen to this: ‘It does not matter if the plus sign is light or dark. A plus sign means you are pregnant.’ Honey, I think we’re pregnant."

"Oh! Well, okay then. We’re pregnant. Wow, that didn’t take long."

I’ll spare you all the details, but here’s why I said that: we had sex without using contraceptives twice. The horror stories you heard about getting pregnant if you don’t use 'protection'? The ones which you scoffed at saying it was so unlikely to happen the first time or two that you needn’t worry? You were wrong, they were right. Apparently we rolled some pretty amazing dice on this one. Shoot me for saying so, but I so wished we’d put our pants on an driven up to Atlantic city that morning. Hey, we could have paid for a lot of diapers and private school. That’s all I’m saying…

Shortly thereafter, Angela noticed that the pregnancy test she used had expired six months ago. She’d done some short research during pharmacy school on various pregnancy tests and their efficacy but she wasn’t sure about how reliable they were after their expiration date. We decided we’d try again the next day. That day was spent over in Charlottesville with Meg and Travis. We went to a winery, out to lunch, on a short day-hike, and then out to dinner. I know it had to suck for Angela to watch me sample wines at the winery under the white lie that she had an upset stomach, so I don’t plan to do that to her in the future. We had scheduled the winery visit sometime earlier and didn’t want to change plans at the risk of raising suspicion. On the drive home, we stopped off at the local 24 hour, chain pharmacy to pick up another pregnancy test.

The directions said it could be used any time of day (most say morning only) and might take up to three minutes to provide a result. Well, it turns out Angela is so pregnant it took about thirty seconds to read "Pregnant!" So, without any real doubt:

We’re having a baby!

Uh Huh

Now, why all the screwed up timeline? Why am I writing about something just after it happened and you didn’t hear about it until sometime later? Well, we’re only about a month pregnant (or less) at this point. Right now, there’s something smaller than a raisin in Angela’s lower belly and having never gone through this before, we simply don’t know what’s going to happen to her body and with the pregnancy. We’re holding off on the news with pretty much everyone until Angela sees her doctor and has a checkup. Until then, we’re reading every book imaginable and trying to plan for something we really have little idea what to do for. Otherwise, we’re really excited. Also, to tell the truth, I feel incredibly guilty for not telling everyone. I want to so badly but I also don’t want to try and assume too much.

Surprise Birthday Party

Upon returning to Richmond after the VA Beach Half-marathon, we were pretty much in the mood to take it easy. We spent most of the time here around the house, all being pretty tired. Monday morning was labor day, and Jason J. treated the house to a big stack of waffles. Now, I hear that some folks down in Cookeville take their waffles pretty seriously, and Jason seems to know what he’s doing (although, I’d put Angela’s baking up against anybodies — have I mentioned what a lucky husband I am?). He even made sure we had some maple syrup to top off those square grids of deliciousness. Having had a rather large breakfast at around 11:00 am, none of us felt much need for lunch. Jason, Matt, and I stayed home with me hanging up some photo frames while Angela and Stacie went shoe shopping.

On The Lee Pedestrian Bridge

Me, Angela, Jason J., Stacie, and Matt all pose for a photo on the Lee Pedestrian Bridge in Richmond, VA.

That afternoon, we drove around Richmond for a little while since Matt had never been here before. We stopped at Tredegar Iron Works and walked over the Lee Pedestrian Bridge. I had hopes of taking some photographs of the bridge for wall art, but as it turned out, Angela had some secret plans which required getting back home. In my blissful ignorance, I drove us back home. Jason, Matt, and I went off on something of a fool’s errand while Angela and Stacie stayed behind (Jason claimed he wanted to buy a memory card reader). We hurried and then waited while Jason was receiving radio commands from the mothership as to when we were to arrive back home. I remained unaware that I was the central pawn in much larger events than electronics or grocery shopping. Upon returning home, the only strange tip-off I might have gotten was that there seemed to be a lot of traffic on our block. I muttered to myself that the neighbors must have company over. As I opened the front door to our house:

Surprise!

More Party GoersParty Goers

Lot’s of smiling faces; perhaps because they’d never seen me so speechless before.

…a living room full of all our friends! Angela had thrown together a surprise party for my 30th birthday. I had been completely fooled. I mean, who expects a surprise birthday party ten days after their birthday, particularly when their wife’s birthday is in two more days? I was completely at a loss for words for the next fifteen minutes, which is unlike me around our friends and family. I distinctly remember asking my friend Travis when his 30th birthday was coming around and he kindly reminded me it had been months earlier, and I had been at his surprise party (although he apparently had figured out what was going on before hand, unlike me).

Well, Angela had gotten us ten Bottom’s Up pizzas and a large assortment of cupcakes for food. Instead of just having everybody bring me presents, we had a White Elephant party (called a Dirty Santa party in my family at Christmas). That proved to be great fun, and far better than just watching the birthday boy open up a bunch of cards. You can see some of the best photos from the party on Flickr. We had all the people who had birthday’s in the months of August and September get together for the singing of Happy Birthday, which proved to be about a third of the party.

I’d said all along that I felt great being 30, and that party really only made me feel even better. I have a lot of great friends, and it was really wonderful to get to see so many of them all over having such a great time. I really want to say thanks to everyone who came and to Angela and the TN friends who schemed on this thing with her. It really meant a lot to me.

Thrity Something, Something Wordy

Nearly two weeks ago now, I celebrated my thirtieth birthday. However, you can save your old jokes for someone else. I just don’t feel old. In fact, I feel like I’ve finally reached the point I’ve been working towards all my life up until this point. It’s actually a great feeling. Of course, a big part of that is because I have a wonderful wife to spend my days with, not too mention good friends and a loving family. Those things will make anyone feel great, no matter how old they are.

Angela got me an appointment for a massage at one of the fancy spas in Carytown. It’s not something I do a lot, but man is it relaxing. My back and legs felt great after-wards, which was nice after all the moving the prior weekend.

Next, Angela and I went out to a really nice dinner to celebrate all three decades of me. She too me to Bookbinders in the Bottom. It was a really fun evening and she let me just geek out over cameras (more on that in a moment) during dinner. While he didn’t exactly come over to wish me a happy birthday, the Mayor was over at the next table chuckling with a guest. Angela and I shared a nice bottle of d’Arenberg Grenache Shiraz with our dinner. We had a seared tuna appetizer, served with soy and wasabi. I had the special of fillet and New Orleans grilled shrimp served in garlic sauce, while Angela had the fillet with crab meat. We shared some of the mashed red potatoes with our meal. For desert I had the black chocolate cake ala mode and Angela had The whole meal was wonderful and while I may not be back there too often, it will be something well worth the wait.

Other random things that happened on (or right around) my birthday that are of interest to me and felt like gifts:

I’ve got lot’s more to tell about my birthday and what all has been going on over the past couple of weeks, but I wanted to go ahead and get started and start from the beginning.

Fourth Anniversary Getaway

We Don't Know How To Ski

Angela and I enjoyed the most snow we’d seen all Winter during the first weekend of Spring.

Angela and I celebrated our fourth anniversary a week late this year since she had to leave for a conference out in San Francisco on the day of. It’s more important that we did something rather than get hung up on the fact that national organizations don’t schedule their events around us.

We decided on doing something a little different this time and drove up to the Wintergreen Ski Resort here in Virginia (just south of Charlottesville). Angela had never tried skiing before and I had only been once myself, about eight years ago. Since we were going so late in the season (the last skiing weekend for this resort, anyway), we weren’t even sure if we’d get to see any snow, let alone enough to ski on. I know that they make snow as much as possible, but with temperatures in the 70’s the previous week, I had my doubts.

Well, there wasn’t a whole lot on the ground when we arrived late Friday night for check-in. However, much to our surprise and delight, it snowed about 4-5 inches overnight. For having so much snow, the place wasn’t too crowded. We were able to rent our equipment and get out for the free beginner’s lesson with no trouble (that is, after a most delicious breakfast… mmm, chocolate chip pancakes). That’s one of the really cool things about Wintergreen; they have staff on the beginner’s slope (the Potato Patch, as opposed to the common ‘Bunny Slope’) all day long to offer lessons and help beginners in trouble. Although she didn’t seem to think so, Angela got the hang of it quickly. She needed to work on her turning some more, but she had great balance and was able to get herself stopped without too much trouble (much more than I can say for my attempt at snowboarding about ten years ago; that was not pretty). After a less-than successful first run at the green circle slope (the ‘Dobie‘), she kept to the beginner slope for a couple of more tries before we headed off to lunch.

After lunch, Angela had some spa time scheduled, so she took the truck up the hill to the resort’s really nice spa facility. I, on the other hand, was determined to get better at turning and generally staying upright on a pair of skis. So, for the next two-and-a-half hours, I went down the green circle slope just as much as I could stand to. Somewhere during that time, we got a little more snow; and by ‘a little’, I mean it was a complete white-out. My sunglasses (or make-shift goggles for a non-skier such as myself) were completely iced over and I was essentially just sliding down hill attempting to avoid the dark blobs ahead of me. I’ve never had so much fun while cold, sweaty, and blind. Just before the slopes closed for the evening, the sun came back out for my very last run. It was an insane change in the weather (although perfectly common for this side of the Blue Ridge Mountains) and I could not have asked for a better last run. I really felt like I had gotten a lot better in that day of skiing.

Later than night, Angela and I went out to dinner and were treated with an amazing sunset view. Afterwards, we chilled out with a massage (not something I do a lot, but I can see the attraction). We didn’t do any skiing on the second day, but rather just chilled out all morning before heading home. On the way back to Richmond, we stopped off at Veritas Winery for some samples. We were pretty impressed, not just with the wine selection, but also with the beautiful scenery.

All together, it was a great weekend and I couldn’t have asked for better company to spend it with.

Wintergreen Panorama