Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring Break Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean

[ Versión en español abajo ]

To celebrate the sale of Graham's business,* we took a cruise over Spring Break to the Eastern Caribbean. The kids were beyond excited and had a great time. The full photo album is available here if you want to see.

We took the Carnival Freedom, and actually had the same cruise director that we had on the Legend in 2010 - what are the odds?

Our first port was in Key West, Florida, and we walked across the island down to the Southernmost Beach to play in the sand

We only had one date night (Sean didn't want to go back to the kids' club after the first time, although he said he had fun), which was as we left Freeport. We had a cocktail, dinner, and then watched a movie by the pool. We had some fun evenings with the kids, too, and went to two concerts and three movies with them.

The second port was Freeport, the Bahamas, and we spent the day at the Junkanoo Beach Club at Taino Beach 

Our last port was Nassau, the Bahamas, and we took a ferry to Paradise Island and spent the day at Cabbage Beach near the Atlantis Resort (home to the world's most expensive hotel suite at $25,000/night) - our favorite activity was sitting and letting the waves come up and get us

As a side note, I'm making a wall grouping of the above pictures. The first two were coincidental (Barcelona, Spain in 2013 and Grand Teton National Park in 2014), but this time I took the picture on purpose to match... It's fun to see how much the kids have grown!

Sean's favorite on-board activity was taking the glass elevator - he pushed the button to call the elevator, then Claire would push the button to choose the floor

There was a Dr. Seuss theme throughout the kids' events, and our last day at sea we got to have a Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with the Cat in the Hat and friends 

Our little things had a fun time and were sad to leave the ship - they're already asking when we can go on another cruise...

*So now Graham is no longer working with Netchemia and is focusing exclusively on his own company, Edovate Capital, which we're both really excited about. Congratulations to Graham and the Netchemia team!

En español:

El negocio de Graham estaba vendido recientemente,* entonces para celebrar, tomamos un crucero durante las vacaciones de primavera a la Caribe Este en el Carnival Freedom. Los chicos estaban emocionadísimos, y pasamos un tiempo maravilloso. Todas las fotos están aquí si quiere verlas.

Visitamos Key West en Florida, Freeport y Nassau en las Bahamas y tres playas allá. En la nave, disfrutamos mucha comida, películas, las jacuzzis, espectáculos, y el ascensor de vidrio. El tema para los niños estaba Dr. Seuss, y comimos con el gato en el Sombrero y sus amigos en nuestro último día en el mar.

Los chicos ya están preguntándonos cuando podemos tomar otro crucero… ¡Ja!

*Ahora Graham no trabaja con Netchemia y esta solamente trabajando en su propia compañía, Edovate Capital, que es emocionando para nosotros dos. ¡Felicidades a Graham y el equipo de Netchemia!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Formans!

I've been struggling with my laptop and finally got a new one, so to celebrate both things, here are some pictures of our goings-on from the last few months:

Tapper girl - Claire put on a small show just before Christmas, showing us what she had learned in ballet, tap, and tumbling. She's no longer taking dance - she seemed a little too frazzled so we're taking a break.

Uncle Bart came to Denver to spend Christmas with us, and the weather was awesome on Christmas Eve, so we went to the park.

Growing girl - Claire at 7 years, 4 months

Big boy in his boots (a huge favorite) - 2 years, 6.5 months

Claire loves playing cards with Uncle Bart, any time and at all hours (this was first thing Christmas morning).

Sean got a strider bike and a basketball hoop from Mommy and Daddy...

...and immediately had to try them out...

...with a bit of help from Claire-bear.

Claire's big present from us was a big-girl bed and nightstand - she had a mattress on the floor for about 9 months and was very patient about it. (Photo progression: before, Christmas day, then later with the "Frozen explosion" from Christmas")

Sean still has a mattress on the floor as he tends to roll off his big-boy bed occasionally, but he's delighted with his new airplane wall decals.

After Christmas we went up to Keystone and Graham and Bart went skiing for a couple of days.

It was bitterly cold and Sean's a hair too young for ski school, so we rode the gondola up and down the mountain... 

...had the kids' faces painted, and generally stayed warm and had a good time. Our last day we went tubing, which the kids loved.

Bailey is doing much better - we now give her fluids at home every few days and she's put on a bunch of weight and has more energy. Yay!

I had a work trip to Boston in January (Brr! Pre-snow, though...) and got to visit the Cheers bar - appropriate for St. Patrick's Day.

In February, I went to Post Falls, Idaho, to see my lovely sister Lauri and spend some time with her and my amazing nephews (yes, it was Super Bowl weekend) - it was so great giving them hugs and just being with them! As a side bonus I got to see other family and even celebrate Tristan's birthday with him, which was special.

Also in February, Graham's brilliant cousin A.J. had his doctoral recital for his PhD in conducting at CU Boulder - not only did we get to attend, but we got to spend some fun time with family afterwards.

Claire drew some constellations for her science fair project (no help from Mom) since her class was studying space - she picked Ursa Minor and Ursa Major.

Sean still loves anything with buttons and really wants his own computer to smash (as you may have seen on Facebook, he didn't help with my laptop troubles).

We've had a good deal of snow, but nothing like Boston - Claire bought herself a shovel so helped Daddy with the sidewalk. Sean "helped," too, with a small sand shovel. We're enjoying the onset of spring and watching the lingering snow piles finally melt.

Claire was in a theatre Fun Club last trimester called "Play On!" and they performed their version of "Frozen" for us. It's here for the truly bold - it's hard to hear and total chaos, but she had fun. She plays "Medium Elsa" (there were 3 Elsas and 2 Annas, so expect to be confused).

Sean has taken to climbing into bed and sleeping with Claire (yes, I move him so he doesn't fall off), and he also prefers to sleep in his clothes for the next day rather than jammies - goofy guy.

Sean (a.k.a. Mr. Cool) started at a new preschool this month - we were sad to leave his Montessori, but his new school currently has him in a bilingual Spanish room, and then when he turns 3 he will move into a full immersion room (he should speak Spanish as a native Costa Rican, after all). He loves it so far and didn't have any transition issues, for which we were grateful.

My Mom came to visit this last weekend and we had a lovely time - she and I visited the Molly Brown House and Museum, which is really cool if you love history like we do.

The kids loved having Nana around and all to themselves...

Addendum to my last blog post about my new treadmill desk - after two days using it as it was (4 hours/day), my neck really hurt the next day from looking down. Adding an external monitor solved that problem and it has been fantastic since then. I use it about 3-4 hours every work day...

Ergonomics are a good thing

Thursday, February 19, 2015

DIY Project: Treadmill Desk for less than $15

I don't usually write posts like this, but then, I don't usually do DIY projects, and today I did.

Since I work from home, I've been wanting a treadmill/desk setup for a long time so I can walk and work at the same time instead of just sitting all day. When I looked online, treadmill desks run anywhere from $400-$4,000, and most are big and bulky. After a bit of Googling, I found this post on how to make your own for less than $20 and figured it was worth a shot.

I modified it a bit, so thought I'd share my process:

Here are the raw materials from my local neighborhood orange mega-hardware store:
  • Wooden shelf (I chose a white coating but there are lots of wood-type options), 11.8" D x 35.8" W - $7.48
  • 4 Eye bolts, 1/4" x 3" - $1.96
  • 2 24" bungee cords - $3.45
  • Drill with a 13/64 bit (not pictured)

I drilled two holes in each end, and screwed in the eye bolts. Done! It took about 15 minutes total.

One note on hole placement - I just randomly picked 3" from each end, since that was how it looked in the original  post. My treadmill has short, stumpy handrails, so that almost didn't work. Before drilling, put the shelf on your treadmill to check eye bolt placement.

I attached the bungee cords to the eye bolts in an X pattern, slid it on my handrails, and now I have a treadmill desk!

I spent my first day walking between 1.0 and 2.0 mph depending on what I was doing, and my Fitbit says I'm at almost 17,000 miles as of about 2:00 p.m. This is going to put a big boost in my daily activity level - yay!

My only note so far is that it would be nice to have my monitor more at eye level instead of looking down... Some DIY treadmill desks used bookshelves or wall-mounted shelves for that purpose, but I would have to face the wall for that, and I would rather face into the room. Personal preference - there's a lot can be done with this with not much money or time. AND I can actually take it off my treadmill if I want a heftier workout, which you can't do with the big, expensive desks.

Addendum:  After two days using the treadmill desk as it was (4 hours/day), my neck really hurt the next day from looking down. Adding an external monitor solved that problem and it has been fantastic since then. I use it about 3-4 hours every work day and put in roughly 6 miles/day. I happened to have a monitor that I wasn't using, but you can get a decent one for around $50-60 on Amazon.

Ergonomics are a good thing