Monday, May 26, 2008

Picking the lens up again

In preparation for the arrival of Thor, I've been trying to dial in my photography setup again. Shooting children is a world away from what I typically shoot, outdoor scenery or action stuff. Where is Kelly Stocksen when I need her?

I've been reading a lot of interesting articles on Strobist, and I think I've settled on a lighting setup. Today I was playing around with a DIY macro softbox as a rainy day task. I kind of felt like Jake for a minute, spent yesterday meticulously scrubbing my MDX in the driveway and today taking pictures of inanimate objects.

So today a couple thrilling shots of a remote and my new Ipod Shuffle Sarah got me for my birthday...

Getting back into it.

Well my 4 day life as a professional cyclist (I was getting paid for riding my bike) is about to come to an abrupt end. Its on the road for a couple days tomorrow morning, and time to start on a new project. It was really refreshing to have some time off, especially on the heels of a fast and furious trip to Oklahoma.

The Punisher and I got out on some exploration this week. Two good rides, one of them with about a mile of hike a bike up a steep, sandy section that seemed to go on for about a mile. I felt terrible on the bike our first day out, but the second day I had good legs for most of the day and I had one of the best days on my mountain bike in a very long time.

Jill is finally starting to get recovered from her head cold, but we took our extended weekend very slowly. We didn't do too much, but we did get out to see the new Indiana Jones movie. I thought it was OK (I liked Iron Man better), but Jill liked it more than I did. I thought the storyline just got a little too "out there" for me.

Other than that our big excitement was getting the puppies matching alligators from the Dollar Spot at Target. They've been very excited to have their dueling alligators, so we snapped some pics.

Molly seeming very proud of herself

The action shot as the two battle

The aftermath, Molly thinks its about time for a nap

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains...

O - K - L - A - H - O - M - A!

With our typical spring adventure oriented vacation put on hold for Thor's benefit, we decided we'd take some time and head back to Oklahoma to see families, friends, and of course the cows (which are somewhere between friends and family). We flew into OKC, then headed north to the land of Jill, Bartlesville, OK.

We spent some time with Jill's family, got to have lunch with BK, Amy & Ty and also got to see Grandma Vi before we headed south. Probably be our last visit to BVille, as Jim & Judy appear on the brink of being out of there. Some pics from the visit:

Jill and Grandma Vi, the youngest 91 year old I've ever met

Jill, Judy and Jim posing in Jim's perfectly manicured yard

She could have done better

After that we stopped through Tulsa, all too briefly, to catch up with some friends. Blake & Charla just had Vivian 5 weeks ago, but she was a trooper. I think it might have been my boring stories that caused her to sleep silently through dinner, but either way she was on superb baby behavior. The Doerrs, Jason & Jennifer Brandt and Jill & I grabbed some dinner at Red Rock Canyon Grill and caught up. No pics from dinner, I was too busy shoveling corn bread into my mouth.

One of these women is 7 months pregnant. The other just had a baby 5 weeks ago.
Neither of them look like it.

After that we headed down to Oklahoma City. As always, Georgia was gracious enough to let us stay with her. After a nice night's rest, we got up and headed out Sunday morning to go check the cows. Its like seeing long lost friends, some of these cows have been around as long as I can remember.

The herd begins and ends with its matriarch, Penelope

This was a really cute baby that wasn't camera shy

Martha discusses the day with Patsy and her new baby

These two argue about who the real boss is

Jill gets some parenting advice from P

Another cute and curious baby

Jill and Tuxedo exchange hellos

A good trip, and even better to come home to 7 days off before embarking on the next leg of my working adventure. I've got a new job, new responsibilities (baby needs some new shoes!) and lots of adventures so getting rested up is a welcome thing. Of course, my idea of resting is being on the bike for 5 hours a day.

Friday, May 09, 2008

A little wiser?

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday, pretty much a routine day but followed up with a really nice dinner with Jill and Sarah. I had my pick of restaurants, but with my birthday falling on a Thursday I couldn't turn down the opportunity to eat some Chicken Juliana at Pasta Jay's (one of their Thursday specials). So we met up with Sarah in Boulder, and despite having some pre-graduation events going on we got in without too much hassle.

After a great meal and collecting significant birthday presents and cards, we got out and walked around the Pearl St. Mall for a bit before heading back home. So I'll start my 32nd year out with few words and more pics...

Two crazy kids trying to find their way

A mother-to-be and an aunt. Not sure which is more excited..

The Tulips were ablaze up and down the mall

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Back by popular demand....Jill!

I gotta admit I'm shocked...People would rather read about Jill and her pregnancy than paragraph after paragraph of me talking about bikes and training? Yeah me too...

I do have to admit I've been purposely not doing much posting about Jill as I wasn't sure she really wanted her big 'ol belly posted online for all the world to see, but she actually admitted she was OK with it. She really looks great, so once I got the approval (and called out by Jennifer!), I hopped right to it.

We actually got some really good news this week actually. After a brief scare, Jill got cleared of gestational diabetes. Her "quick" test came back borderline high, but the longer, drawn out test confirmed normal behavior. A huge relief for both of us for sure.

Other than that its business as usual. We're around 75 days off from due date, and Jill's weight gain and growth have been perfect thus far. Our next visit is the exciting visit as we get our next ultrasound, and Thor (we do actually have a real name picked out we both agree on now) should be developing quite nicely by then.

June is packed full with classes for one or both of us. Neither of us has a clue as to what we are doing, so hopefully these classes will walk us through the first 25 years or so. Our spare bedroom has been quickly filling with all sorts of cool things that I am tempted to play with, but to this point I've refrained from doing so. Plenty of time for that...

One last pic from Jill posing with our infant seat/carrier that Shorty bought us, with a sneak peak at Thor's room.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

My new favorite trail.

Everyone has been telling me that I needed to get to Bobcat Ridge to ride, and today I finally got that chance. John "The Punisher" Perry was headed up, so I took the opportunity to hitch a ride with John, his wife Amy and her friend Liz. The trail system is relatively new, and sits just a bit NW of Loveland, is as good of an open space trail as I've been on.

Rocky. Check.
Technical. Check.
Big Climbs. Check.
Great views. Check.

There are several trails in the system, but the gem is the Ginny Trail. After a warm up on the valley loop, we headed up the steep, sustained climb and ground along for the next 4 or 5 miles. I did pretty well on the way up, the legs felt good but I kept smacking my pedals and crank arms. I know now not to put the fork in 90mm mode, but to climb with it at full extension to keep the bottom bracket high to help clear all the rockstacles (rock obstacles).

Up top, we opted to do the full trail and drop into the valley before turning back around and climbing back out. The downhill was incredible, fast and fun but rocky and technical enough to keep your speeds in check. Some sections were smooth and fast, others were tight and technical. The trail builders really did an amazing job on this one, kudos Larimer County.

Ended up putting in around 14.5 miles, with a substantial 2,700 feet of elevation gain. The Punisher took it easy on me on the climbs, but we made pretty good time of it and my form certainly continues to surprise me. John & I both had put in pretty good rides yesterday, so neither of us really wanted to turn the screws too much but it was refreshing to at least see John on a climb, which doesn't happen often.