Well, as the tagline of this site clearly states, this is an occasional blog. Sorry about a year between posts but life is moving fast, there isn’t much time for this kind of stuff. Ok, disclaimer complete… here goes…
We started the year by finishing up most of the renovations on the house. We had a really tough time getting the dust out but things are back to normal now. There are a few little projects that need some of my time but nothing critical so I’ll get to them as life permits. As I am a complete slacker sometimes, I needed some motivation to finish up the big renovation so we decided to rent our new home out for the Naval Academy graduation. It was a bit crazy the last few days but it was worth it. We left for a three week vacation at just the right time.
Our vacation started with a flight to Los Angeles where we had about 10 hours of layover time to kill. During the layover we went to Santa Monica and checked out the beach, the pier, and a nice little aquarium under the pier. It was a long time but it gave us a nice break before our next flight to New Zealand. Brianna wasn’t a big fan of being in an airplane for over 12 hours but we made the best of the ride and took lots of laps around the plane to stay busy. Once in New Zealand we proceeded directly to Nana’s house for a nap and some down time. Check out the “Our Photos” link for a plethora of pics. While we were in New Zealand we got to See Dana’s Aunties and all of her Brothers. Brianna got to play with her cousin Kodie and take a walking tour of the dairy farm where her Uncle Michael works. She liked the piggies the best but not more than the cows near her nana’s house. She said hello to them each morning as only a 2 year old would. “Hi Cows! Moo!” Dana and I managed to slip away for an evening of culture where we caught a Maori cultural show and dinner. It is somewhat similar to a Luau in Hawaii but a little more serious with the warrior culture of the Maori people. It was an excellent evening, set in the woods at night with a natural stream and an entrance by canoe (sorry, I can’t remember what they called their canoe)
After New Zealand we left for a little respite in Hawaii. There we spent about a week in a nice hotel in Waikiki overlooking the ocean and the city. We took in every zoo, aquarium and wildlife show we could find and Brianna even got the chance to play on the beach a bit. While we were in Honolulu we caught up with my cousin Jennifer and her family who was stationed with the Navy there. Brianna had a great time playing with 3 more cousins there!
Once we got home and settled in to our new bedroom (we let the renters have the first go of the new space), Dana dropped the news to me that she was pregnant. Apparently she knew of this for our entire vacation but didn’t mention it… I guess she thought I would figure it out but I think I was too busy chasing Brianna down. Though I must admit that I had dreamt she was pregnant a couple of times so clearly my subconscious was aware somehow.
As a result of the renovations, we added about 1,000 sq feet of living space. That space includes a larger laundry/mud room (with a spare fridge to keep the beer cold!), an expanded dining and kitchen area (complete with new powder room and pantry), and most of all, a beautiful master suite with coffee/wet bar and a luxury super shower. I was also able to carve out a small workshop as a result of the new mudroom layout. This has proven to be very valuable already as I finish little projects here and there. While we were tearing things up we replaced all of the siding on the house which makes it REALLY stand out… we also put on a 500 sq ft deck and about 800 sq ft of brick pavers in walkways and patios out back. (perfect for little brianna’s push toys)
Speaking of Brianna, she has really grown up fast. 2007 saw her go from wobbling to sprinting and climbing, she went from a few words in the beginning of the year to easily several hundred by the end of the year. Her personality is really starting to show as well. She loves to play like all kids do, but she likes to kick back and watch a movie or a cartoon as well. I’m doing my best to teach her some soccer skills.
Work had me putting in a lot of extra hours over the summer and fall as we prepared to deploy the system we have been designing for the Navy to the first location. But we managed to find time to keep little Brianna and Bella (our dog) busy in the yard and elsewhere as much as possible. As mommy’s tummy grew larger, we started to talk a lot with Brianna about the new addition that was coming. More on that later.
We really had fun this fall going to the Naval Academy football games with our neighbors. Our season tickets are fantastic and it is just a short walk to the stadium from our house. If you haven’t been for a game, it is a must see. The march on and the fly over alone are enough reason to go and lately the team has been pretty good too!
In November, my close friend and cohort Chris Richard finally took the plunge and married the lovely Kristin from Buffalo NY. They had a nice ceremony and a fantastic party. Brianna is sorry for stealing the show but she just can’t help it… she loves to dance and daddy couldn’t keep up with her. We wish Chris and Kristin all the best!
We played hosts for Thanksgiving this year, we had the neighbors over and had a great time playing games and relaxing over some turkey, beer, and football. Shortly afterwards, the baby preparations went into full swing. As a result, Brianna is now in a new “big girl” room, with new furniture and a new bed. And the nursery is being cleaned up and prepared for our new addition. Brianna is taking to the new room nicely and likes having dad lie down next to her for her nighttime story.
Christmas was fun this year with Brianna old enough to really enjoy it and start talking about Santa Claus with those big blue sparkling eyes of hers. It’s like magic when you look into them. We had my office mates over for a big Kiwi / NZ theme party where we treated everyone to some meat pies, sausage rolls, lamb sandwiches and a few other New Zealand delights. I think we have some new meat pie fans here now. Check out Ram’s Pies in Arlington VA if you want some!
I’m sure there are a ton of things I’ve left out for the year end wrap up but hopefully you’ll forgive me if it was something important. PLEASE - we love visitors, we have a great guest suite and plenty of couch space… come see us, we’ll make it fun!
As you can see, 2007 was a pretty good year for our little family. 2008 should prove a little more interesting with our new addition coming along nicely. Stay Tuned!