A year late, however I managed to put together the 2010 Wykleville year in review. I took most of the posts from Wykleville as the foundation and added many additional photos. I again used Blurb to produce the book and FotoFusion as the software creation tool. The “Extreme” version of FotoFusion is still paying dividends and allows full double page layouts and higher resolution. As you can see by the feature photo above, I continued to use Microsoft Autocollege product that to produce a few of the picture collages. It is a very simple program and does a very nice job of merging many images and maintaining the important parts during creation.
The first copy of the book that arrived had a printing error that was quite comical. See if you can spot the mistake.
You can check out the finished product by clicking on the icon below…
It’s has again been another successful summer vacation to the Dominican Republic.
It started out with an uneventful flight from CVG to PUJ. Both couples (Wykle’s and Nolting’s) have traveled multiple times to the same resort complex (Grand Palladium) in Punta Cana and knew the routine by heart. The shuttle from the airport to the resort was about 30 to 45 minutes which included a few other drop offs before arriving at our destination. At check-in we were processed by a very nice gentleman named Jose. He was quick and efficient and we both received “upgrades” to better rooms.
Both couples separated and proceeded to unpack and planned to meet prior to dinner. Once reconvening it was apparent that the upgrades were not the same. We had both booked to stay in the Palace. Shelley and I received a loft suite in the Palace, but the Nolting’s were moved to the Royal Suites. The Royal Suites the “all adult” section on the Palladium resort. It has more amenities and has a dedicated pool that only allows people 18 and older. After this revelation, Shelley and I proceeded back to the front desk to now have a nice discussion about our ability to move with our friends to the Suites.
After 45 minutes of friendly (yet persistent) discussions and pointing out several times that we are repeat customers (3 times) to the Palladium resort, Jose agreed to meet us in the middle. Due to considerable price difference (and our unwillingness to pay said difference) between the Palace and the Suites, he was unable to give us a “complementary upgrade”. He was able to relocate our room to an ocean view in the Palace. In addition to the room move, we finagled the coveted “gold” bracelet that allowed us unfettered access to all the Royal Suites benefits. We were able to eat in the Royal Gourmet restaurant and hang at the Suites “adults only” pool. This was a nice compromise (upgrade) and did make the entire vacation even more enjoyable. Thanks Jose! Here are a picture from both our room and pool side.
The first week seemed to move at a nice pace; relaxed and casual. Andy and I had the opportunity to impress the Europeans with our awesome football passing skills while the girls logged many hours of sun worship, reading, and swimming. Each afternoon (~4PM) the pool would typically liven up as people migrated from the beach and landed at the pool for pre-dinner drinks. We befriended a number of people from Germany, UK, Canada, and US.
As stated , I’m working on compiling detailed content for most of the major events that have unfolded since the last post in Feburary. In the mean time I wanted to get a post up that listed all of the photo album updates that have transpired since Eli’s birthday.
As you can tell by the lack of updated content (last post 02/07…UHG), I’m falling horribly behind on updates to Wykleville. Between work, travel, work, kids, health, work, and self…I’ve only able to post the new Picasa photo albums. With this simple public post, I’m vowing today that I will make a concerted effort this weekend to get back into sync with the Wykleville and make a grand push to bring everything up to present day. After all, this ongoing work makes my life easier at the end of the year when I go to compile the 3rd annual Wykleville blog book. Thanks for the understanding!
In keeping with last year’s promised tradition, I created another “Wykleville – year in review” scrapbook. I took most of the posts from Wykleville as the foundation and added many additional photos. Given the success from last year, I used Blurb again to produce the book and FotoFusion as the software creation tool. I upgraded to the “Extreme” version of FotoFusion in order to the full double page layouts and higher resolution. I also used Microsoft Autocollege product that to produce a few of the picture collages (soccer and gymnastic pages).
This year I did something a bit different on the front and back cover. In an effort to capture the look and feel of the Wykleville site, I wanted to duplicate the website layout on the book’s cover. I tried a few different methods to screen capture the site from the web browser, but was not happy with the results. The outputs from this method were quite low in resolution and would have looked crappy in the printed high resolution end product. The only alternative I could find was to create the site fully in a graphics program (Gimp). I’ve been using Gimp for many years. It is a free and open source program that mimics many aspects of the extremely expensive Adobe PhotoShop. This took a few hours of manual creation time, but I think was well worth the extra effort. This will allow me to remember the progression of the Wykleville site’s layout and design.
You can check out the finished product by clicking on the icon below…
I start this post feeling a little uneasy about posting pictures and writing about such a personal topic as health and fitness. However, I feel that I’m potentially in the best shape of my life and I would like to tell other how I’ve achieved this success. It resides in two simple words.
For those of you who have been channel surfing in the middle of the night, would have undoubtably ran across the infomercial for the workout system called P90X. It’s a system of workout DVDs that is hosted by a fitness instructor by the name of Tony Horton. As I watched the TV spot, I thought to myself…”why are you watching this?”. I would like to think that I’m the last person that I would expect to buy into such a pitch, but I was very intrigued by the promises made. Ultimately, it looked like a manageable workout system. No fancy/expensive equipment needed, no driving to the gym, and it doesn’t take six hours a night. Huh…maybe this thing could use a closer look. Then I then found a coworker that had extremely positive results with the P90X system. He and his wife had such positive results, he swore by the program. After talking with him, I decided it’s time to get of my proverbial ass!
In June 2009 (pictures below), I documented the start of the program with the prescribed “before” pictures. Yikes! At the start I weighed 181 pounds. I also did the compulsory measurements at the waist, hips, chest, arms, and legs (39″, 40″, 38.5″, 13.5″, and 19″ respectively). As a part of the program, Shelley and I decided to also modify our diet in order to maximize the workouts. We focused on increasing protein and reducing saturated fat and carbohydrates.
The start of the program was a “BITCH”. It is hard to go from sedentary to a program that expects 1 hour of exercise for six days a week. After the first couple weeks, the workouts got easier and Shelley and I was able to keep each other motivated. We followed the workout schedule and continued to be vigilant about what we were putting into our bodies. We also had considerable conflicts during the summer with many travel plans. This effected our ability to keep up the prescribed P90X schedule. We made our best efforts, but it ultimately took an extra 30 days to complete the 1st round.
In October (pictures below), I documented the end of the program with the prescribed “after” pictures. At the end I weighed 165 pounds. I also did the compulsory measurements at the waist, hips, chest, arms, and legs (34″, 37″, 40.25″, 13.5″, and 20.5″ respectively). The main area of change was undoubtedly the waist. So much so, I had to buy all new shorts and pants. I went from wearing 36″ pants to 32″s. As you can see, my face also dropped considerable bulk…especially under the chin. No more “FAT FACE”!
These last 5 months have went a long way in setting up a routine that I plan on maintaining. Shelley and I have started over with the P90X system. We should complete another full round of P90X by middle of January. We have both stepped up our ability to complete each routine and have increased our strength and stamina. It sounds obvious, but it’s true. Eat right and get active! This is all you need to get similar results.
This post is definitely late given that we returned from Punta Cana on July 18th. Busy times lead to prioritization of efforts…the Wykleville blog has taken a back seat. Needless to say, the trip was a hit! As can be seen in the above picture, only two couples (Wykles and Noltings) from the 1st annual adult vacation were able to make it. The Robertsons had family related issues that precluded them from attending the 2nd annual trip. However, in an effort to keep the tradition alive, a flat version of Tina and John made the trip. The “Flat Robertsons” had a blast also! You can see their escapades in a separate photo album here.
Given the great success of last year’s trip, the group decided to return to the same resort Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort and Spa in the Dominican Republic. The resort was the same and the weather cooperated perfectly, with only 30 minutes of total rain fall during our 7 days. The following pictures are a few shot from our first evening in Punta Cana.
Before leaving the mainland, we decided that we would again go on the Saona Island excursion due to the immense fun that we had last year. We were not disappointed, as the trip proved again that it was a nice distraction from the daily resort laziness. Our videographer turned out to be the same guy from the previous year. Ricardo claimed to remember us from the previous year…I’m not completely convinced, but it made for a cool instant connection.
This year we decided we would try and venture out and meet some other vacationers. We were quite successful and met many nice Canadians and a group of brothers from England. Here are a couple of pictures of our new vacation friends.
Conclusions – The second year was as memorable and delightful as the trip last year. We left the island vowing to make the trip again next year. The 7 days of rest and relaxation is therapeutic for both Shelley and I. After 11 years of marriage and kids, it is easy to loose ourselves in the day to day grind and forget about what made us who we are. Love, fun, and sun for us all!!!
Last weekend, the Wykles made a trip to Hagerstown, Maryland to attend the wedding of my brother Corey Morgan and his lovely finance Jodi Bowman. We left early on Friday to make the 7.5 hour car trip to Hagerstown. The trip was uneventful as expected. The ceremony was planned to be a small and intimate with only immediate family and a few close friends. On Friday evening we all headed over to Corey and Jodi’s house to check out all of the byproduct of all of the sweat/tears that has been invested in their 1920’s home. After a tour, the group headed out for dinner and then back to Corey/Jodi’s house to unwrap some wedding gifts.
Saturday arrived and the big day was here. We got moving early and decided to get a little exercise prior to heading over the ceremony. The kids hit the pool and Shelley and I tried to keep up with a little treadmill and P90X action. Needless to say, we didn’t execute our timing as we had hoped. We were late leaving the hotel and didn’t realize that the ceremony was 30 minutes away from Hagerstown. Time to drive like a bat out of hell! We arrive at what we thought was 20 minutes late at the Purple Iris at Hartwood in Martinsburg, WV. Thankfully, we made it in plenty of time and a service didn’t kick off until shortly after 12 PM. Whew! That would have been a had one to live down.
The venue was beautiful and the weather was picture perfect. The couple provided a string trio for everyone’s musical enjoyment. The ceremony was an outdoor service and was delivered in an expedient fashion. The ceremony was officiated by Pastor Debra and featured a hand fasting ritual.
After the ceremony many pictures were taken of all of the attendees. I have included a few of my own that were taken along side the professional photographer. Many more can be located in the photo album.
To wrap up the perfect day, the couple hosted a lunch reception inside the beautiful Hartwood Mansion. Ordeuvres were served and the attendees were encouraged to sign the guest plate. The plate will capture all of the signatures and will be fired in order to preserve the memory.
In an effort to continue documenting the life and times of the Wykles, I decided to take a stab at producing my own “blog book”. I wanted to take some of the more important post from the Wykleville site and document them in a book form. I also wanted this to be a surprise for the Shelley as a Christmas gift. After seeing some very neat samples online, I went and researched the different companies that provide book production. I settled on using Blurb after reading many positive reviews and a one week turn around. Blurb has their own free software that is required in order to upload the book. It also has simple production tools and upload the book. I found the software a bit limiting and not allowing me to achieve the effects that I was after. So I expanded my search and found FotoFusion. It is a nice piece of software that met my needs. After a free trial, I found that it was quite powerful and easy to use. It allows you to easily crop, rotate, and re-size the photos. It also has many different photo frames allowing you to create different looks for each of the pictures that you drop in. Finally, the front and back cover was created with a Microsoft Autocollege product that takes a folder and creates a nice college of pictures.
I created each page in FotoFusion and then drop them into the Blurb software in order to upload the finished product.
We finally got around to getting some family portraits taken this past Sunday. We tried a new company called Portrait Innovations in Crestview Hills. Everyone enjoyed the experience. You can find some of the raw photos here. More polished prints will be posted later.
Just going back into the “way-back” machine. I started to rack my brain and try to remember some of the songs that we played in wind ensemble and concert band. I was able to come up with a few of the more memorable, but I know that I’m still forgetting many. Here are links to the ones that I can remember.