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.

Shelley and Natasha at the Cooper HS Christmas dinnerShelley and Natasha at the Cooper HS Christmas dinner
 
Kim and Shelley at the Cooper HS Christmas dinnerKim and Shelley at the Cooper HS Christmas dinner
 
Megan, Vicky, Erin at the Cooper HS Christmas dinnerMegan, Vicky, Erin at the Cooper HS Christmas dinner
 
Megan & Kim at the Cooper HS Christmas dinnerMegan & Kim at the Cooper HS Christmas dinner
 
Shelley and TraceyShelley and Tracey
 

2009 Thanksgiving Classic

112109_gymnastics_feature

This was the second meet of the year for the 5 Star Gymnastics team. It was hosted by Top Flight Gymnastics at Randle Cooper High School. This meet was more widely attended and reunited 5 Star with two very tough squads (Legacy Gymnastics and Top Flight). The team’s event rotation was beam, vault, floor and bars. Below you will find event videos for Natalie on all four events.

Beam

Vault

Floor Exercise

Bars

Scores
112109_scores

2009 Champion Challenge

110709_gymnastics_feature

This was the first meet of the year for the 5 Star Gymnastics team. It was hosted by Champion Gymnastics. This meet was more widely attended and reunited 5 Star with two very tough squads (Legacy Gymnastics and Top Flight). The team’s event rotation was beam, vault, floor and bars. Below you find videos of Natalie and the level 4 team scores.

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Scores

110809_scores

P90X Success!

102909_chris_p90x_after_feature

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.

P90X Rocks”

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.

102909_chris_p90x_before_sm

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”!

102909_chris_p90x_after_sm

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.

“Repost” – Corey and Jodi Get Hitched – “With Video”

061309_morgan_wedding_feature

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.

The gang having dinner the evening before.The gang having dinner the evening before.
 
Corey and Jodi open a wedding present.Corey and Jodi open a wedding present.
 

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 Purple Iris at Hartwood.The Purple Iris at Hartwood.
 
 
Jodi and father make the walk.Jodi and father make the walk.
 
Jodi and Corey with the hand fasting ceremonyJodi and Corey with the hand fasting ceremony
 

The first kiss as the married coupleThe first kiss as the married couple
 

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.

The parents and the couple pose.The parents and the couple pose.
 
Corey and Dad.Corey and Dad.
 
Corey, Jodi, Eli and Natalie.Corey, Jodi, Eli and Natalie.
 
Chris, Mom, and CoreyChris, Mom, and Corey
 
Chris and CoreyChris and Corey
 

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.

Natalie starts the signing of the guest plateNatalie starts the signing of the guest plate
 
The couple's place setting.The couple’s place setting.
 
The wedding cake.The wedding cake.
 

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.

Happy 80th Birthday Pearl

100309_pearls_bday_041_feature

This year is my grandmother’s, Pearl Blankenship Hollan, 80th birthday. In an attempt to surprise her, her children (Ron, Kelly, Lisa, and Angie) hatched a scheme to throw her a surprise birthday party. The function was to be hosted at Angie’s house and was to meant to be a SURPRISE. As the day approached, everyone worked their individual plans in order to all arrive in the Southwest Ohio before Saturday October 3rd. Ron and his wife Sue made the car trip from Canada via the Blue Ridge Parkway and Kentucky (needless to say – not the shortest route). They took the opportunity to sample some of the fine Kentucky bourbon at Woodford Reserve. Kelly made the trek from Southeast West Virginia with son Corey and his new wife Jodi. Angie and Lisa live in the area and did not need any additional travel planning. My family lives just 45 minutes south of Angie’s and did not require travel planning. Everyone’s plans were easily executed by Friday and the stage was set for a Saturday sneak attack.

Saturday started out peachy, but early events showed that the best laid plans may have some flaws. Kelly, attending to her typical Saturday routine, made an unconscious phone call to her mother Pearl. She had forgotten that she was making the call from my house which has a Kentucky phone number. D’oh!!! Dam that caller ID!!! As soon a Pearl answered, she panicked and hung up the phone. Quickly realizing the mistake, she handed the phone to me and told me to call my grandmother and wish her a belated birthday. Deceitfully quick thinking I thought to myself. I proceeded to make the call. I tried to play the “my cordless phone’s battery died…” Pearl could smell the lie over the phone even being a state away. She continued test my story and told me she thought that Angie was planning a “surprise dinner” for her. She went on to say that she also thought that Ron was going to be their since she had never received his typical birthday card in the mail. I played dumb and told her that we had a very busy day planned between Natalie’s gymnastic practice and Eli’s soccer game. We wouldn’t be done until late that evening. I then give her my congratulations and quickly exited the phone conversation. Whew… tragedy averted!?!? However, I’m not so sure the crafty 80 year old is not on to the whole devious plan.

The party went off without a hitch. Of course Pearl claims she knew the whole time. The family had a lot of fun chatting and reliving many old memories. Below you will find some of the candid shots.

Pearl is the guest of honor at her birthday partyPearl is the guest of honor at her birthday party
 
Where are the candles?Where are the candles?
 
Shelley smiles for the cameraShelley smiles for the camera
 
Corey and Jodi sitting around talking about the “good ol' days”Corey and Jodi sitting around talking about the “good ol’ days”
 
Pearl's birthday cake.Pearl’s birthday cake.
 
Natalie is enjoying Great Grandma Pearls birthday partyNatalie is enjoying Great Grandma Pearls birthday party
 
The kids entertain Auntie SueThe kids entertain Auntie Sue
 
Angie and Kelly (sisters) pose for a pictureAngie and Kelly (sisters) pose for a picture
 
Kelly demonstrates a manual face liftKelly demonstrates a manual face lift
 
Ron, Angie, Lisa, and KellyRon, Angie, Lisa, and Kelly
 

WEBN Fireworks

090609_fireworks_035_feature

The 2009 WEBN fireworks is an annual event hosted in Cincinnati every Labor Day weekend. The evening was capped off by a 30-40 minute fireworks display launched from barges stationed on the Ohio River. I can say that this is an annual event a that finds the Wykles making the trip to NCC to enjoy the show. This year’s show was the first time that Shelley was in attendance and not an employee of NCC. A bit strange to say the least.

WEBN fireworks - Corinne enjoys her Kona Ice.WEBN fireworks – Corinne enjoys her Kona Ice.
 
Andy has a taste for Kona Ice alsoAndy has a taste for Kona Ice also
 
Shelley smilesShelley smiles
 
Shelley and NatShelley and Nat
 
Sunset over Covington, KYSunset over Covington, KY
 
Natalie is getting pumped for the 2010 WEBN fireworksNatalie is getting pumped for the 2010 WEBN fireworks
 
Corinne is waiting patientlyCorinne is waiting patiently
 
2009 WEBN fireworks2009 WEBN fireworks
 

2009 Soccer Season

100309_soccer_011_feature

This year’s outdoor soccer season has come to a conclusion. Eli played in the Boone County Youth Soccer League this year. He got to play with a number of kids that he already knew which made things easy. Eli and friends (Aidan, Corinne, and Caroline) complete 6 games with an undefeated record. It was clear that many of the Grasshoppers had previously played soccer. Most of their competitors clearly were quite green and suffered against the skills of the Grasshoppers.

Eli has already started talking about playing indoor soccer this Fall. This negotiation will be tough considering Natalie’s gymnastics season is also running parallel to most of the indoor soccer games. More to discuss.

Eli working on his scoring techniqueEli working on his scoring technique
 
Eli is working wiht the ball...don't bite that tongue off.Eli is working wiht the ball…don’t bite that tongue off.
 
Eli in the open field lining up the shotEli in the open field lining up the shot
 
The team shakes hands.The team shakes hands.
 
Action shot from the first gameAction shot from the first game
 
Nice high kick.Nice high kick.
 
Eli scores a goalEli scores a goal
 

First Day of School – 2009

081909_bus_feature

Today was another momentous day for the Wykle family. Many firsts were accomplished today.

  1. Shelley started a new position at Cooper High School as a full-time Chemistry teacher.
  2. Eli started kindergarten at his beloved Little Red School House.
  3. Natalie caught the school bus from home instead of suffering the “before & after school care” program at the local YMCA.

Here were a few shots from the Goodridge “open house” hosted on 08/18.

Open house at Goodridge - Natalie's new classroom.Open house at Goodridge – Natalie’s new classroom.
 
Natalie, Eli, and Shelley pose outside Ms. Walter's room.Natalie, Eli, and Shelley pose outside Ms. Walter’s room.
 
Natalie, Eli, and Chris pose for a snapshotNatalie, Eli, and Chris pose for a snapshot
 

At the day’s conclusion, all were happy and excitedly discussed their productive “firsts”!

Natalie, Shelley, and Eli; 1st day of school - 2009Natalie, Shelley, and Eli; 1st day of school – 2009
 
Here comes bus 143!Here comes bus 143!
 
Natalie waits for bus 143Natalie waits for bus 143
 
Natalie waving from her first bus pick up from home.Natalie waving from her first bus pick up from home.
 

PA Wykles Visit KY Wykles

080109_wykles_feature

At the end of July we had the pleasure to host my cousin Mark Wykle and his family from Pennsylvania. Mark, Beth, Ben and Elyse made the 10 hour trip from their home outside of Philadelphia, PA to our humble abode in NKY. The trip was only the second time (first trip in 1999) that Mark and Beth had visited us since settling down in Kentucky. Mark’s sister Jennifer also joined the fun to fully reunite the Wykle threesome that have grown up together sharing everything since infants.

The trip introduced both Natalie and Eli to their long distant cousins from the East. The kids had great fun playing and connecting with other kids with the “last name of Wykle”…”Cool” was uttered a few different times by Natalie. Poignant thoughts given that Natalie has so carried her own scarlet letter, being called “Wykle” by her friends. I tried to tell her that it is just a natural thing that seems to happen with our name…your dad also was call “Wykle” and your mom has now been branded the same by good friends.

The visit was a great success and a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo was a definitely highlight. The day was cut a bit short by some rain, but only after many of the exhibits had already been enjoyed.

Ben and Mark heading to the Cincy ZooBen and Mark heading to the Cincy Zoo
 
Elyse and Natalie pose on the gorilla statueElyse and Natalie pose on the gorilla statue
 
Elyse, Natalie, Eli, and Ben hang on.Elyse, Natalie, Eli, and Ben hang on.
 
The gang hangout at our favorite mexican eateryThe gang hangout at our favorite mexican eatery
 
Natalie, Eli, Ben and Elyse pose for a “cousin” pictureNatalie, Eli, Ben and Elyse pose for a “cousin” picture
 
Chris, Natalie, Shelley, and EliChris, Natalie, Shelley, and Eli
 
Wykles poseWykles pose
 

The visit also corresponded to Shelley and my 11th wedding anniversary that allowed us to eat a fabulous dinner at one of our favorite restaurants – Maggianos. Here are just a few shots from the evening.

Natlie and Mark at dinnerNatlie and Mark at dinner
 
Beth and Shelley at dinnerBeth and Shelley at dinner
 
Fernie is making Elyse laughFernie is making Elyse laugh