I think we would have preferred going on our honeymoon immediately after the wedding at the end of last September, but with Michelle being a teacher the earliest we could go was Christmas. So after changing our destination countless times we ended up deciding on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico. Since we were going during the dead of winter, the only stipulation was that our destination would be hot.
We booked two weeks at the Azul Sensatori, a 5-star joint about twenty minutes out of Cancun. The plan going in was to just play each day by ear, with an emphasis on being extremely lazy. Most vacations we’ve been on together have been jam-packed with activities which usually results in us coming back more exhausted than before we left. This was our honeymoon and we wanted it to be just that.
Our room was great with a beautiful ocean view, but after a 30 hour downpour right after we got there the bathroom flooded. Michelle’s legendary service industry negotiation skills were put into motion and we were promptly upgraded to the honeymoon suite with premium services for the rest of our stay. Not too shabby at all.
We spent the first few days mostly sleeping, watching TV, and eating due to the crazy rainfall. But once that cleared up the weather went back to normal and we were basking in the 30 degree temperatures. After a couple of days of just lounging by the pool or on the beach we decided that we should venture off of the resort.
We booked a day trip to visit the Coba Mayan Ruins and a traditional Mayan village. This tour sounded great on paper, but didn’t bode too well with Michelle and I. Don’t get me wrong, the ruins were impressive as to be expected, but the tour guide really liked to listen to herself speak. While at the ruins she took us to a couple monuments, spoke for about 15 minutes, and then gave us about five minutes to check it out on our own. Coba also has the only remaining pyramid you can climb and this was our experience.
- Tour Guide: Blah, blah, blah….. [repeat for 25 minutes]
- Tour Guide: Ok, now you guys can go climb the pyramid. You have 5 minutes to get up it. 5 minutes to take pictures. And five minutes to get back down.
The tour also included a trip to a traditional Mayan village where we would get a chance to spend some time with a couple of families. We were told we would have the opportunity to speak with them and ask them about their lifestyle, culture, etc. This actually turned out to be a very strange experience. The tour guide once again directed everything like a drill Sergent (“stand here and take a picture”), and everything seemed to be staged. When we walked into one yard a lady was making fresh tortillas outside. The process was explained to us and we were to then move on. I held back from the group so I could take some natural picture of the lady without a bunch of tourists standing around. But as soon as everyone got out of sight, the lady wrapped up the tortilla mixture, covered it up, and went inside. I didn’t get the photo was I was hoping to.
On Christmas Day we took a 90 minute walk down the beach to a nearby village Peurto Morelos. The beach was quite beautiful and was bustling with activity as families celebrated Christmas. Michelle and I explored the town and then grabbed a quick bite to eat where I had the fortunate opportunity to experience the hottest salsa I have ever had. I ranked it a 10 on the Hemant’s Scale of Hotness (the hottest ranking yet). For anyone that knows me, that’s hot.
The next few days we got into the most excellent habit of laying by the pool reading books and sipping delicious cocktails in between deciding where we should eat. It was a very difficult existence. I also noticed something very odd. My legs and shoulders started to feel funny…a burning sensation almost. I had never experienced this before and after a moment of confusion I realized that I was actually burning. I guess there’s a first time for everything. This prompted me to use sunscreen a little more often….at least while still in Mexico.
After days of sloth-like behaviour we decided that we should probably get out and about again. Once again we booked a tour that would take us snorkeling at the stunning Xel Ha and to explore the Mayan ruins of Tulum. We were hoping that our experience with our previous tour guide was just an anomaly, but that theory quickly came to an end. We started to feel like we were in a kindergarten class visiting the museum in some big city. Despite this we had a great time snorkeling in the waters of Xel Ha to experience all of the marine life that inhabit it.
Once we wrapped up there we made our way to Tulum to see the ruins and the beach made famous by the film The Blue Lagoon. The tour guide took us to an area of grass and started his speech that would last 45 minutes. Since we only had 75 minutes at the ruins I started to slowly inch my way away from him at about the 25 minute mark, until I was far enough away to go off on my own. Michelle wasn’t far behind. I guess the tour bus thing isn’t for us. We probably should have just rented a car and visited these sites on our own. You live and learn, I guess. Regardless, the grounds at Tulum were quite very cool and the many monuments that speckled its surface were intriguing. It’s too bad that everything is roped off now, preventing you from really exploring.
Michelle really wanted to go to Playa del Carmen so we organized that into one of our final days in Mexico. The real goal was to actually meet my sister and brother-in-law who happened to be in a nearby resort for the 10th Anniversary, but because of malfunctioning voicemail, it didn’t work out. We did get a chance however to experience Playa and some more extremely hot salsa.
Our honeymoon ended up being as we had envisioned it. A time for us to get away together and just chill out. It was awesome not having anything more pressing than deciding where we were going to eat dinner for two weeks. This is a lifestyle the two of us could really get used to. I didn’t take a lot of photos which is somewhat unlike me, but you can check out some of my favourites here.No comments
This introduction is long overdue, but I figured it’s better late than never. Actually to be honest I didn’t want to introduce our new puppy Simone because she was so annoying in the first few months that I wasn’t opposed to sending her back to where she came from. Ha! But like all pets that tend to be an annoyance at the beginning, they usually end up growing on you. So with this post I can safely say that Simone will be with us for the long haul.
You may be thinking that Michelle and I have lost our minds in getting a second puppy, but there was a logical reason for it. Since both of us work full-time we were feeling guilty about leaving Darwin home alone during the day. We thought he would be much happier with a companion while we were away. We also thought it would be good for the two of us so that Darwin wouldn’t be looking for 100% of our attention.
We had joked about asking the breeder if she was willing to sell us his sister (since they got along so well when we left Darwin there when we were away), but we knew that Simone was being prepped for the show-dog circuit. Then one day out of the blue the breeder called and asked us if we were interested in buying Simone. It turned out that her body was a little bit long for what she was looking for in a show-dog. After a lot of deliberation Michelle and I decided to take her up on the offer. The brother and sister duo were going to be reunited (they are both from the same litter).
With the arrival of Simone, Darwin was a little bit ticked now that he had to share our love, but he did eventually warm up to her. The main problem was that Simone would not sleep through the night, plus we were having difficulties house-training her. It started to become pretty frustrating having to wake up at 3 am every night to take her outside. But after continuing with our training I’m happy to say that she has recently started to sleep through the entire night, and her house-training is nearly complete.
So everything is almost as we had envisioned it would be with a second dog. Darwin gets to hang out with his sister all day and the two make a pretty dynamic (and hilarious) duo. But something that hasn’t worked out is that instead of one dog insisting on 100% of our attention, we now have two demanding 100% of our attention.4 comments
She has also posted all of the photos from the entire weekend festivities in a private gallery. If you are interested in seeing them please send me an email or comment in this post and I will send you the link and the password. This private gallery is where you can order prints if you wish.1 comment
I finally bought a new camera a few weeks ago. I was in the market for a new one for some time, and while I was trying to make my decision Canon announced the EOS 7D. After reading over the specs I knew that this was pretty much the exact camera I was looking for in regards to features and price-point. I pre-ordered the camera the day it was announced and waited for the early demo model reviews to roll in. As I was expecting the reviews were very positive keeping me from having to cancel my pre-order.
The camera arrived a few days after the wedding so I haven’t had a lot of time to spend with it. That’s not to say that I haven’t fired off a bunch of shots with it. The amount I’ve played with it so far, I’m liking everything about it. I’m really looking forward to the next few months of really getting to know it.
This past weekend Michelle and I tied the knot. As my regular readers know we got engaged last year, and got to planning the event almost right away. Before we knew it the weekend of September 26th, 2009 arrived and the festivities were underway.
Friday night Michelle and I held a welcome event at our home. Since we had so many friends and family travelling from all over the world we thought it would be a good idea to have as many of them over as possible the night before just to catch up. We ended up having a very full house (and backyard) with over 100 people showing up. My mother and relatives were gracious enough to cook dinner for everyone, and I’m pretty sure no one left hungry. We wrapped things up at 11pm and I headed over to Curtis’s place to spend the night.
Saturday morning I woke up with a strange feeling in my gut. The funny thing was that I wasn’t sure if I was nervous or hungry. At around 11am I took my groomsmen out for breakfast. When we finished I deduced that I was in fact nervous since I was full, and still had the strange feeling in my gut. We headed back to Curtis’s condo to chill before the wedding ceremony.
We threw in the Goonies to help settle my nerves and at 2pm our photographer Kira Nelson showed up to take some shots of us getting ready. She didn’t spend too much time with us before heading back to our house to shoot the bridal party getting ready. Before we knew it, it was time to head over to the Broadway Theatre for the ceremony.
We ended up getting their a little early so the boys and I crossed the street for a drink at the Yard & Flagon. We figured it was a good way to kill some time, and to help take the edge off. After we finished up the time had arrived to get married. And married I got. The ceremony went perfectly.
Michelle and I decided a while ago that we didn’t want to take a big chunk of time to do photos. The plan was for the wedding party and Kira to walk from the Broadway Theatre to the Hilton and do photos along the way. Since the ceremony ended at around 4:30 and cocktails wrapped up 6:30, we would have plenty of time to get some great shots.
We arrived at the Hilton at around 6:15 to catch the tail end of cocktails. Dinner was served followed by the program. We kept it short with toasts to the groom and bride, as well as ‘welcome to the families’. I also prepared a slideshow (watch it below) which played just before Michelle and I addressed our guests. The rest of the evening was spent dancing to a variety of great music. I’ve always said that you can judge how good a wedding is based on how many people are dancing. I’m happy to say that the dance floor was more-or-less full for the entire night.
It was great that the wedding went exactly as Michelle and I had envisioned. It meant a lot to have so many family and friends at our wedding. Some traveled from afar, and some from near, but one thing was for certain – the wedding would not have been the same without any of them. Thank you to all. Michelle and I will cherish this day for the rest of our lives.3 comments
Last Sunday I arrived in Chicago for a software development conference called Agile 2009. It was a week long event that myself and 3 other Point2′ers were attending. Our week was jam-packed with workshops and talks, filling our brains with all sorts of knowledge. I’m not going to get into the details of the conference here, but if you’re interested you can check out my posts at Point2′s Developing Code, Connecting Industry blog.
- Day 1 at Agile 2009
- Burying Agile, The FBI, Harmful ScrumMasters, and More
- Hyperproductivity, Performance Reviews, and Too Much Pizza
- Coaching, Leading, and the Experience Design
Friday morning myself and the Point2 crew took a walk to the John Hancock Center and traveled up to the observation deck. We then spent some time trying to figure out what gifts to take back to our significant others. I failed miserably so hopefully Michelle is not too disappointed. We then headed back to the hotel since the guys had to catch their flight back to Saskatoon. I was staying for the weekend so we said our farewells and I took a walk to Navy Pier.
I decided to do the Skyline Boat Tour since I had already done the Architectural Tour with Michelle. This one took us a few kilometres out into Lake Michigan and described the high profile building making up the Chicago skyline. This was OK, but didn’t even compare to the architectural tour that takes you down the Chicago River into downtown. If you’re ever trying to decide between the two, please take my advice. It also didn’t help that it was pretty cloudy out. You could only see about halfway up some of the really tall buildings.
After grabbing lunch at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company I caught the train out to my sister’s place in St. Charles. Since I was in Chicago I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to hang out with my nephew and two nieces. I spent the weekend visiting with my sister and her family.
I just wanted to take it easy so the most eventful thing we did was take the kids out to Odyssey Fun World, a giant Ruckers type place. For lunch we went to Sonic. I cannot stress how badly I’ve wanted to hit this place up. I always see the commercials on the American stations, taunting me. I’m happy to say the burger was great, plus it was pretty cool because they are set up like the old A&W drive-ins.
My flight leaves just before 4pm today so I’m just getting the last of my visiting in. Fortunately I will see them all again in less than a month when they come out to Saskatoon for the wedding. Holy smokes! Did I just say less than a month?1 comment
Our friends Kris and Lindsay got married this past weekend in their hometown of Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada. Michelle and I headed out to wedding Saturday morning. The weather was awesome – real sunny and not super-hot. The ceremony was at a nice park on the edge of town, and was a great place for a wedding. This was one of the nicest ceremonies I’ve had the pleasure of attending.
Following the ceremony a few of us went out for a cocktail at the Hollywood Bistro in town. Unfortunately there were no celebrities there. Before we knew it, it was time to head to the Melfort Curling Rink for the reception. Dinner was delicious and the program was well done. All of the speeches and toasts were very entertaining.
The dance was next on the agenda and fortunately the majority of the attendees had the dancing bug. The dance floor was filled for the majority of the evening, and remained that way until the end of the night. These are always the greatest weddings in my opinion. And with all of these weddings I’ve attended this summer I’m starting to get really excited for my own. And as it happens, it’s the next one on the calendar.
You can check out photos from the day on my Flickr site by following the links below. Just a note. I noticed tonight that if you choose to watch the slideshow, the pictures are enlarged to fill the screen. This causes the photos to lose clarity since I don’t upload them at full resolution. To fix this, click “Options” near the top right of the slideshow screen and ensure that “Embiggen small things to fill screen” is NOT checked off.No comments
Michelle and I had our wedding engagement shoot with Kira Nelson on July 28th at various locations in Saskatoon. We spent some time at the River Landing, and a few other unique downtown locations, and had a glass of wine in the downtown lounge Flint.
Kira recently made a short blog post talking about our shoot showcasing some of the great shots she took during the evening. You can read her post here and see a slideshow of all of our pictures here. I hope you enjoy them as much as we had getting them taken.3 comments
One of Michelle’s good friends Sara who is currently living in France was back in Regina to get married to her main Frenchman Alex. I had met Sara only a couple of times, and had never met Alex so I was looking forward to getting to know them. I also had the pleasure of photographing their wedding.
The celebration was quite intimate with around fifty people and was held at an old country church in the Qu’Appelle Valley by Craven, Saskatchewan. The day turned out to be a scorcher, hitting temperatures in the mid-thirties (celsius). Let’s just say there were a lot of sweaty people. After the ceremony we had some refreshments and snacks while guests tried to fly kites. A few people managed to get their kites to take flight, but unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of wind that day.
The laid back reception was held at the Delta with the program intermingled with the meal. The food was delicious and the event was very classy. And as I had hoped, I managed to get to know Sara and Alex much better.
You can check out photos from the day on my Flickr site by following the links below.No comments
About five months ago Michelle and I were visiting the Fenrichs up at their cottage at Turtle Lake. I wasn’t feeling well so I just lazed around, mostly laying on the couch. Zoey and Molly, the Fenrich’s two dogs, must have thought I looked pretty comfortable sleeping there, so they jumped up on me and joined me.
Up until this point I had no real interest in getting a dog, but having those two dogs cuddle with me set something off. I knew Michelle was more of a cat person so I started bugging her that we should get a dog – specifically a Chihuahua. It actually started off as a joke, but a few weeks later I found out that Michelle had been talking with breeders. It seemed my joke actually gained some traction. The next thing I knew we were at a dog show in Saskatoon to meet some Chihuahuas from a breeder in Regina.
We officially made the decision to bring a dog into our house and started dealing with Rosalie Juravle-Clark of Happy Paws Dog Care in Regina. We really liked the integrity and philosophy of her breeding practices and knew that we would get a quality puppy from her.
Two weeks ago Michelle and I made a trip to Regina to meet the puppies. Even though they were only nine weeks along, neither of us could believe how small they were. We spent about an hour playing with the dogs before heading out. After some discussion we decided on a little male from the litter. Rosalie told us we could pick in two weeks.
And today we made a quick trip to Regina to pick up our new puppy. We were a little worried as to how he would behave in the two-and-a-half hour car ride to Saskatoon, but he had a grand ole’ time playing with Michelle the whole way back. He’s been with us for about eight hours now and has been a blast as he awkwardly runs and jumps around the house . So may I take this time to officially introduce you to Dragomir Chirpy Tiberius. That’s actually his registered name, so you can just call him Darwin.
You can see a few more shots of Darwin at my Flickr site by following the links below.3 comments
For those who have known me for a long time, it’s no secret that I used to be pretty engrossed in amateur astronomy. Back in 1990 I got a job specifically so I could buy a telescope, and after working full time for the entire summer I was able to purchase my dream scope. I used it pretty religiously for the remainder of high school, but once I got to university its usage dropped. And once I started my professional career it became non-existent.
Recently I started getting the itch to get back under the night sky and my telescope was sitting in the garage tempting me. I vowed a few weeks ago to start getting active in amateur astronomy once again. Luckily telescopes aren’t like computers that become obsolete after six months. My quality scope I bought almost twenty years ago may not have computer guided controls of today’s models, but its optics are still top notch.
Last night Michelle and I were out for a walk and I couldn’t help noticing the half moon in the clear night sky. I knew that Michelle had never viewed anything through a telescope before so I decided tonight was the night to fire it up. After cleaning a thick coat of dust off of the telescope I hauled it out to the backyard and aimed it at the moon. I fumbled a bit finding the controls, but it didn’t take long to get back into the groove. I centred the field of view on the bright moon, pulled it into focus and immediately remembered why I loved the night sky.
You can see more photos of Michelle and I under the night sky on my Flickr site by following the links below.2 comments
Michelle’s brother Christopher Parker married the love of his life Dazawray Landrie on Saturday, May 16th, 2009. The wedding ceremony was held at the Forestry Farm in Saskatoon. Things were looking pretty scary weather wise leading up to the wedding. The ceremony was being held outside and it was snowing regularly right up to the big day. As it turned out, the Saturday of the wedding turned out to be a great day. Whew.
The wedding was short and sweet, followed by some mingling while a few key family photos were fired off. There was a few hours to kill before the reception which was being held out at Langham, SK – about 30 minutes outside of the city. Michelle was co-emcee for the reception so we grabbed a quick lunch and made our way out to Langham to get a few things organized.
The community hall where the reception was held was decorated beautifully. The wedding party, friends, and family did a great job of getting everything in order. Dinner was lasagna and Caesar salad, which was a little unprecedented, but delicious. I seriously believe that may have been the best lasagna I’ve ever had.
The dance followed the reception and a good portion of people stuck around until the end. Michelle and I are happy to say that we shut the thing down…as we do at most wedding we attend. I didn’t bust out the moonwalk or worm this time around, but we did make use of our recently acquired ballroom dancing skills. We were waltzing like nobody’s business.
I fired off quite a few shots at the ceremony and a handful at the reception. You can check them out at my Flickr site by following the links below.No comments
The final step of the kitchen renovation was installing the tile backsplash. This was a job that I was pretty sure I could tackle by myself. I did a lot of research on the subject and nothing really seemed beyond my capabilities. It would be the first home renovation (involving cutting things) I would take on completely by myself (note: Michelle helped with the grouting).
Michelle and I liked the look of travertine (a type of stone) the best after shopping around many different stores. Surprisingly enough the stuff we liked the most was from The Home Depot. The only problem was that there were stocking issues with the stone and it was not available through a special order. Annoyingly we had to check back at the store regularly to see if they had received any (or found some that they had lost). We ended up having to buy the 42 square feet we needed over two separate occasions as they received shipments. This put our plans of getting the tile installed right away a little out of whack.
We borrowed a wet saw from one of Michelle’s colleagues and I was underway. My plan was to get the tile on the wall over a Saturday and Sunday, and then grout one night during the week. I was calling this my best case scenario which I was sure was not going to hold.
As expected, my Saturday wasn’t as productive as I was hoping since Michelle’s dad and uncle stopped by to start work on putting in a cabinet outlet for the microwave. This chewed up a good chunk of my afternoon. Sunday however went quite well and I probably could have finished, but I thought it would be safer if I stopped. I was super tired and figured I would start making stupid mistakes….like cutting off my fingers.
The grouting didn’t go exactly as we were hoping. A day after applying the grout I noticed some problem areas that had cracks and small pinholes. I wasn’t sure what to do about these and started to get quite worried. After some reading and talking to some friends I just decided to repair the problem areas with the help of a grout saw and fresh grout. It appears to have worked.
After letting the grout cure for a few days I moved on to the final step of sealing the travertine and applying a silicone caulk around the backspash perimeter. Even though I finished this up late on a Thursday night I decided to clean the kitchen and put it back together. I was tired of it being out of commission for the last week and a half. Plus I wanted to wake up to something nice.
Here’s what I learned about installing the tile:
- Wet saws are extremely messy and spray water in your face.
- My knowledge of the Imperial System is terrible, making measuring my cuts go slowly.
- Cutting the stone around 7 electrical outlets/switches, 6 cabinet overhangs, and a window takes very precise measuring.
- Pre-mixed mastic adhesive should actually be sticky. The first stuff I bought was dried out, but I wasn’t quite sure since I had never seen the stuff before.
- Installing 40 square feet of backsplash is a lot, and is hard on your back.
- The mixing instructions on the grout package are not even close to correct.
- Using your fingers to smooth grout lines between travertine tears your skin apart.
- Packing grout between porous and ragged edges of the tiles is extremely difficult.
- Applying silicone caulk sucks.
- The feeling of accomplishment after the job is pretty cool.
You can see more shots of the tile install, and the “after” pictures on my Flickr site by following the links below.
- Backsplash Install Thumbnails
- Backsplash Install Slideshow
- The “After” Thumbnails
- The “After” Slideshow
Being proud new parents, Jason and Cheryl wanted some nice photos of their new daughter. They invited Michelle and I over one Friday evening for dinner, which would be followed by a photo shoot that would hopefully produce some nice shots of Jorja.
Cheryl really wanted some shots of her daughter in her “birthday suit”, but this proved to be a bit challenging since Jorja didn’t like the chills that came with being naked. While Jorja was wrapped up in a blanket, we practiced shots of Jason holding a Cabbage Patch Kid. Adding to the hilarity, I didn’t have proper lighting so we had to be a little creative with some common household items. With Michelle acting as my assistant we did manage to get some good shots.
You can see more of the photos on my Flickr site by following the links below.No comments
On Thursday, March 12 of 2009 my good friends Jason and Cheryl Fenrich became the proud parents of a new daughter, Jorja Ann. Later that day Jason gave me a call to announce the arrival, letting me know that everything went well, and that mother and daughter were both healthy. I asked him to let me know when they were accepting visitors so Michelle and I could meet Jorja.
The following Monday I got a text from Jason (you heard me right – Jason now text messages regularly) inviting us over to see the new baby. Michelle was at school late that night so after I picked her up we headed over to Jason and Cheryl’s.
It had been a while since I held such a new baby, but I think I did alright. She mostly slept while I held her which was alright by me. The less squirming meant the smaller chance of me dropping her. It was Michelle’s turn next and she looked like a natural holding Jorja. I think her motherly instincts kicked in.
I look forward to taking pictures of this cutie in the years to come. You can see my first shots of Jorja on my Flickr site by following the links below.1 comment