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