Saturday, May 30, 2009

Big News! HUGE!

I've been holding off on letting anyone in on a little project I've been working on but I think it is time to let it out.

I've decided to express one of my hidden talents and why not do so with one of the bigs in the biz.

The news is published in a link here!  Me and Don together at last.


It is great to have the family back together.

Kathi and Brianna had a great trip which you can check out at  It has been fun to swap trip stories and photos.  We both experienced very different trips, ours was a fun and relaxing vacation while theirs was a ministry based trip with lots of work to do.

Owen is finally coming around to being himself again. 

We are off to The Dalles for my brothers birthday.  I'll bet it is very hot there.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Time To Say Goodbye

As sunset falls on the Naragansett Bay it is finally time to say goodbye to the small but mighty Rhode Island.  This will be our final night here with a flight back to the wacky west midday tomorrow.  It has been a wonderful trip filled with great memories and good times.  I hope to return someday to see more of the North East and its offerings.

To Jennifer, Jonathan, Natalie, Nathaniel, and Aidan - Thank you for a wonderful time.  You are great hosts and fun tour guides.

Portland, here we come.

Casual Thursday

Thursday we kicked back, took our shoes off and relaxed at the beach.  Okay so we were only there for a 1/2 hour - stupid wind.  It was still a nice break for the kids.  Alex was proud of himself for getting in all the way in up to his shoulders.
The shoes are off and the ladies are out ;-)
The Downing boys at play
Jen getting in some shots
Alex and Natalie avoiding the seaweed

We had Five Guys burgers for lunch and played a little Catan to finish off the evening.  I call that a great day.

Wednesday Part Two

The second part of Wednesday we ventured off on The Cliff Walk in Newport.  This walk is beautiful as it strolls along the shore above the cliffs behind many of the local mansions.

A natural spring that pours out of one of the cliff walls at the bottom of 40 Steps.
Our host family: the Downings.
The boy and I.
The Breakers mansion which we toured later in the day.  This was by far the neatest mansion that I saw.  Built in 1893 for $7 million for Cornelius Vanderbilt II this house has over 65,000 sq/ft of living space.
Can you find the fisherman?
Sailing FAIL!

Unfortunately the day ended with me being dehydrated.  I had a massive headache and couldn't eat.  A little water and a bit of rest I was better.

Wednesday's Event

Wednesday we ventured out to the Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown, RI after running a few errands around town.  Around the lighthouse were plenty of rocks to climb around along the shore which Alex took full advantage of. 

Much to the delight of my neice we saw a family of geese on our way out of town.
The Beavertail Lighthouse: currently under rennovation.
Alex and a fishing boat.
The lighthouse had a small aquarium with a touch tank for the kids.
The view of the bay on our way home.  Many of the boats are returning for the summer season.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Thanks to a customer of mine we were able to enjoy a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park last night.  We hit the road early to pick up the tickets and then hopped the subway to get to the game.  We arrived plenty early to enjoy the festivities around the park.

The fourth ticket was sold to an eager scalper who took it off my hands for $10.  That $10 then was used to get a Red Sox hat for the boy.  Our seats were out in the bleachers with all the true fans.  The Red Sox fans bleed green - it's true - they are great fans. 

The park itself is cool in an old school kinda way.  It is small and tight and full of tradition and gives you a sense of what baseball was like in its early days.  Although the park has gone through some rebuilds, modifications, and additions it still has that classic feel. 

This was Alex's first professional ball game and he had a great time.  He cheered with the best of them.  He enjoyed a Fenway Frank and some cotton candy and wished for more but the one thing that has kept up with the times was the food prices.  $7.25 for a beer - yikes.

Alex and I entering the game.
Some classic seats near the third base line.
Think he's having fun?
The Green Monstah!
Me and my boy at Fenway.
This is a panorama of the view from our seats.  As you can see we were a little too far away to catch the newances of Wakefield's knuckleball.  

Thanks for the good time Boston.  Oh yeah, and congrats on the 2-1 victory over the Jays.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Party Time!

Thanks to Aunt Nenn we rocked for Alex's birthday. She made him a special cake and got some sweet party favors.
The birthday boy and his rock'n cake.
Mmm... time to dig in.
The rock'n partiers.

Catch Up - Monday (aka Birthday Day)

Monday was Alex's 8th birthday.  We had a good day.

Our plan was to go to Mystic, CT and have some pizza, which we did, and then go to the aquarium to see the fish, which we didn't do.  The kids were bummed but were good sports about it.  The reason we didn't go into the aquarium was the price of entrance.  $29 for adults and $19 for kids - sorry but for a couple hours at the aquarium, no thanks.  

After the disappointment at the aquarium we ventured out to see some lighthouses.  Here are some photos from that adventure.

Out front of the Mystic Pizza.  They should make a movie about this place.
Anchor's away - downtown Mystic, CT.
A schooner tied up along the Mystic River.
Looking up the Mystic River from the Mystic River Bridge.
Running across the Mystic River Bridge.

Then onto The Judith Light House
Alex in front of The Judith Light House.  We couldn't get to the lighthouse as it is currently occupied by the US Coast Guard.
Nathaniel after a sand removal from the shoes.
Checking out some wildlife.
The crew on a rock jetty we crossed.
A little caffeine for the ride home.

Let's Play Catch Up - Sunday

On Sunday we took a tour of the summer homes on the island.  These homes were built around 1900 and housed the wealthly for about 8 weeks during the summer when they would come up from the city for a little break.

The first house we visited was The Elms. This house was completed in 1901 for $1.4 million for Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind.

Alex and I in one of the trees on the property.
This was my favorite statue on the grounds.

The next house we visited was The Marble House.  This house was completed in 1892 for Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt. This house became the focal point for Mrs. Vanderbilt's political movement for women's right to vote.
Alex and I in front of our new summer home.
The Tea House on the grounds of the Marble House.  This has an amazing view of the bay behind it.  It also has one of my favorite features, a hidden tunnel from the main house to its basement for the servents to bring tea without being seen.
This is the view from the tea house.
Our awesome tour guide looking through the door of the Tea House at Marble House.

Next... Alex's Birthday

Office Nerf War

In honor of my sons love for Nerf...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Boston Photos

We really enjoyed our day downtown Boston.  We walked quite a ways along the Freedom Trail and saw some great sights.  The day started sunny and then the fog rolled in towards the end.  The kids were real troopers.

The one thing that I found amusing was the old guys standing outside of their businesses shooting the breeze.  Listening to them was a kick in the pants, especially the old Italian guys who I couldn't understand.

Some more pics...
A contrast of old and new.
Notice anything about the teapot?  We thought it was cool.
In this cemetery lies Benjamin Franklin and his parents, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, the victims of the Boston Massacre and many others.
Bell In Hand Tavern.  They claim to be the oldest in the country however their sign says 1795 and as we know from a previous post the White Horse Tavern also claims to be the oldest.  The White Horse sign says 1673... I'll let you decide.

The boy and I at the fountain in front of The Old North Church.
Statue of Paul Revere near the Old North Church.  This is were we began our walk along the Freedom Trail.
This is a memorial for the soldiers and civilians who have lost their lives in the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.  Each dogtag represents a life that was lost.

From the New England Holocaust Memorial downtown Boston.  These numbers represent the lives lost in the concentration camps during WWII.  Both memorials we say were very moving sights to see.

Today we toured a couple of the old summer homes built in the early part of last century.  More on those later.

For now I say Happy Birthday to my girly Brianna who is now 12 and is currently serving the Lord in Russia with her mom and grandma.  Tomorrow is Alex's 8th birthday.