Category Archives: Features

2012 Peace, Love, & Gymnastics

This was the forth meet for eNeRGy girls team this year. This event was hosted on home turf. Natalie bested her overall performance from the previous week. Scoring on Vault:  8.425 (6th), Bars: 9.275 (4th), Beam: 9.275 (2nd), Floor: 9.525 (3rd), and All Around: 36.500 (3rd). The Prep Op Gold team placed 2nd to a very good team from Durham named Bull City Gymnastics. We’ll need to keep any eye on these Bulls City girls they are super tough!





2010 Wykleville Book

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…

Vacation Photo Shoot

Shelley and I took the opportunity this year while on vacation to get some photos taken while in Punta Cana. Below are just a few choice shots, but the full album can be located here.









Punta Cana 2010

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.





The full album is located here.

Eli’s Achieves Yellow Belt

We have been in the constant pursuit of an activity that suits Eli. I think we have finally found a fit.

For the last few years, we have driven past the Ichiban Karate School and thought “hummm, I wonder”. Finally Shelley was motivated one day to stop in a check out the facilities. They offered a 2 week trail for $20. You could attend as many classes as you would like. Shelley and Eli packed in as many as they could manage. The main instructor, Renshi, has quite the knack of making the instruction fun. The kids seem to enjoy the conditioning.

Eli is in the “Little Dragon’s” age group. He has been quick to pick up the basic skills and has progressed quickly. He was just recently awarded the Yellow Belt Junior Grade. The attached video shows the awards ceremony.


Eli’s 6th Birthday

Eli has finally reached the big S-I-X. This year he wanted to have a sleep over for his birthday party. After a bit of waffling and contemplating, Shelley and I decided to float the idea with some of his friend’s parents. Most parents polled seemed agreeable to the idea. We sent out the invitations and 7 of Eli’s friends RSVP in the affirmative. On the official day, January 27th, Eli got to pick his restaurant of choice. He picked Dewey’s Pizza. We ate and proceeded home to open his family gifts.


Then Friday, sleep over time, rolled around. The event kicked off with some crazy “run around the house and shoot Nerf guns” time.  In order to regain order, we went had everyone sit and eat some chili and grilled cheese. The night consisted of bouts of chaos and order. The night wound down with cake, presents, pictures, and then bed time preparation. The kids then piled on the downstairs couch and watched Star Wars Clone Wars. This put the bunch into a trance and acted as a nice tranquilizer before bed. Everyone went down without issue and the night was considered a grand success.


2010 My Old Kentucky Home Invitational

This event was Five Star’s first event in Bardstown, KY this season. The “My Old Kentucky Hom Invitation was hosted at Nichols County High School. The level four team had a reasonable showing with Brooklyn landing a 1st place finish in the bars and Natalie taking a 3rd place finish in the floor routine. Kate had the level 4 high overall score with a 35.5. This meet was particularly tough because their were eighteen girls classified in the 9 year old bracket.







2nd Wykleville Book

2009_wykleville_ 001_feature

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…

2009_wykleville_ 001_thumb

Cooper HS Holiday Party

This post is horribly late. Shelley and I attended her first holiday function with her coworkers from Randall Cooper High School. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed the departmental basket give-a-way. We were not lucky enough to land a win, but fun was had by all. Below are a few shots from the evening’s events.