Thursday, January 31, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Sorry for the quick post, but we wanted to let everyone know that we made it home safely. Needless to say, returning to a home that has been unoccupied for almost 7 months makes for some very interesting problems. Let me see if I can recap some of our adventures!

Get ready for a marathon post!!!

We left our apartment in Cabarate about noon to make the 20 minute drive to the Puerto Plata airport. Our friends were so kind to take us and drop us right at the door. We arrived and were through the initial X-ray by 12:30 and found that the counter didn't open for our flight until 1:00 so we proceeded to wait at the entrance to the line for the counter. We were glad we were the first ones there so that we could hopefully get our seats together and make sure all the problems with our reservations had been fixed. Well, at 1:00 we are the first ones up to the agent and guess what, the problems had not been fixed. We had been worried about mine mostly because they seemed to be the most messed up, but they were fine. Delta still had Matt departing on Nov 30, 2007 which was our original departure date. Well after an hour and them trying to charge us again for the ticket change (that we had already paid for in October), we finally got to head into the airport.
We had very good and on time flights into Atlanta and a small delay on our second flight into Denver. All of our bags made it and we hoped into a cab and proceeded home. We arrived home about 1:30 in the morning and found a drift of snow/ice on the driveway that we dragged the bags over. We stuffed everything in the garage and proceeded to head in to turn up the heater (did I mention that it was in the 30's when we arrived here), turn up the water heater and check on the sump pump to make sure the basement wasn't filled with water. All went well and we collapsed into bed after adding an electric blanket to the down comforter.

We work early (a little before 7) due to the time difference (3 hours from the DR) and set out to get stuff done. Well, it didn't start off too well. The water was not hot even though we had turned on the water heater the night before and NEITHER car would start! We adjusted the water heater up and thank goodness it kicked in. Matt's truck was deader than a doornail but mine had some juice left, just not enough to start. Matt immediately put mine on the battery charger and several hours later it was charged enough to start. Matt spent the morning outside shoveling snow/ice and in the garage as we had to move everything that we had stored there back to its original place. We had to move the outside table & chairs and the huge BBQ grill back around to the patio on the back side of the house. Did I mention that this was a noisy process, what a great way to announce to your neighbors at 8 in the morning that you are home!! I unpacked all of our bags and started sorting out laundry so that we could wash everything before we put away all our summer clothes (not much need for them here now). After I finished unpacking, Matt took the air compressor and blew all the sand out of the bags (its amazing how much sand we accumulated).

He tossed my snow tires in the back of my car and off we went to the garage to have them put on. While waiting on the tires, we went to one of our favorite coffee shops for great coffee and these wonderful breakfast burritos that they have (yes, you will hear lots about food because we have missed our favorites for 7 months now). The car was ready so we went back home so that I could shower and get ready for my meeting at 2:00. On the way to my meeting, we stopped and got our cell phones turned back on so we would have some way of communicating with everyone. We both have new numbers so if we haven't given them to you yet, we will soon!! I had my meeting at Gambro and it went well. I will start work with them on Monday, Feb 4 and I will be there until at least June and most likely into 2009 as they get ready to implement a new Accounting System (yep, the stuff I love to do). After my meeting we stopped off at Jayme & Andy's to pick up the baby tree and our computer backup that we had left with them. It was great to see Jayme & Hannah and to chat a bit. We were starving by that time and headed off to Texas Road House for their wonderful BBQ ribs. Yep, more food that we missed!! After eating we headed out to the grocery store to get a few things that we needed as the refrigerator is empty. We were both exhausted by this time so thank goodness we weren't pushing two carts out, although I did think I was going to have to pry a drooling Matt away from the ice cream cases! It was an early to bed night for two very tired people.

The day started out by waiting on the Comcast guy to come install our cable and internet. We spent the morning working on laundry and continuing our unpack. As everything came back on, we were testing all the TV's and resetting them all up. Well, the VCR downstairs is DEAD!! Won't even turn on!! We have an older TV down there that requires the tuner so we have to figure out what to do! After the comcast guy was done, we headed off to pick up our car insurance cards (no idea where any were) and to have lunch at Subway (yep, more food we missed). We were all dressed in our ski clothes and we headed up to Loveland for our first day of skiing. They had received 5 inches of new snow the night before and very heavy winds. As we left Denver, the gusts were in the 30 - 40 mph range so we weren't too sure we'd be doing much skiing. As we climbed near the Eisenhower tunnel and the ski resort, the thermometer dropped to 6 degrees! Yes, 6 degrees!! Thank goodness the winds had calmed down up there and we had a great day skiing. I managed to make 5 runs and Matt did 6, not too bad for our first day. Needless to say, we returned to Denver very tired and legs were already sore!! Matt worked on the office all night long and got all of our computers up and running (in addition to our home phone via vonage). I think we might have managed to stay up until 8 in the evening, but it was a huge push!

We woke a bit stiff and sore and decided to postpone our first back-country ski day. We attacked the kitchen and cleaned out everything. We had probably 5 bags of stuff that we threw out (and I had done this before we left also) and the entire kitchen got scrubbed from the tops of the cabinets to inside the cabinets to the fronts of the cabinets. We finished up early in the afternoon and decided to go run some errands. We headed over to Denver West to go to Best Buy to try to fix the VCR problem (no luck there) and then to Office Depot for some supplies and then to Bed, Bath & Beyond for some stuff. We were starving again so we headed over to Outback for some great steaks (Definitely missed that place!!). As we were finishing dinner, the snow started to fall. It was very heavy. We decided to go ahead with our trip to Costco to replenish the freezer with food and while we only spent an hour (and an amazing $360), there was a good inch of snow everywhere when we came home. On our way home, we got to see a nasty little accident from the road conditions (yep, Matt was driving and not me thank goodness). We made it home safe and sound! We spent the evening relaxing and Matt even managed to play a bit of guitar.

And that brings us to today, Thursday:
As I write this, there is snow everywhere and its in the 20's. We haven't ventured outside yet today. We had planned on going skiing but with the temperature there a NEGATIVE 16, we decided that our blood probably wasn't thick enough for that yet. We're in the process of going through 7 months of mail and sorting and filing (YUCK!!). We hope to hit Loveland tomorrow for one more ski day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We made it home!!

Just a quick note to let you know that we made it home safely. Still very let jagged and heading off to bed early again so I'll update more tomorrow on all of our adventures since we left Dominican.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Packing up...

Well, its finally here, we leave tomorrow. We've been packing all day and are just about done, just those little necessities that we need for tonight and tomorrow morning. We've got our appointment with our landlord to have the inspection to get our deposit back (lets just hope she shows up on time) and then friends are taking us to the airport about noon.

Later today, we are going to drop off some remaining items that we aren't taking back (food, cleaning supplies, etc) at a friends house and then its off to dinner with everyone for our last night here. We are hoping our airline tickets have finally sorted themselves out even though we can't view our seats or change them. Keep your fingers crossed for us tomorrow.

We are going to drastically miss our relaxed laid back lifestyle here but are looking forward to being in our home and skiing. It will be quite the culture shock to have to drive everywhere, to have one store where you can buy everything you want at one time and last but not least, to have to wear shoes!!!

I thought I'd share a few more observations from living down here:
  • Its really bad when the electricity goes off before you've made your morning coffee.
  • Washing clothes in a bucket in the shower for 5 months gets a little old.
  • In the Dominican Republic, Santa arrives on a donkey instead of a sleigh.
  • When doing dishes in a single round kitchen sink, you tend to come away wetter than the dishes.
We're not sure when we'll return to Cabarete, but we know we will at some point. Its been a great 5 months and we are already looking forward to our next trip even though we don't know when or where that will be. We have been so fortunate to have our time down here and to meet all the wonderful people that we have. We will truly miss them and look forward to meeting up with them again in the future. Thanks so much to everyone who has made our time here truly GREAT!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Soakin up the sun...

Well, we've been busy soaking up the sun before our return to the states on Sunday. It has definitely been an interesting couple of days...

We had good wind on Tuesday so Matt took advantage of it to kite. It was going well until he came close to the shore and crashed. Needless to say, seeing your hubby coming out of the water with blood pouring from his face is not something you want to see everyday. He took a nasty spill in the shore break and his board came up and whacked him just above his right eye. He was bleeding and already had a huge lump on his forehead as he exited the water. I landed his kite, wiped the blood off and helped him look for his sunglasses that he lost. We never found the glasses but did finally manage to persuade him to go back to the house so I could make sure we didn't need to head to the doctor because of a concussion. Overall, he is fine, just earned himself the nickname "Lumpy". Yeah, I know, not nice but thats what he gets for scaring me to death.

Well, we hoped yesterday would be a bit less dramatic and it was... barely!! He was no longer banned from kiting (like he was on Tuesday afternoon) but he was definitely grounded with having to stay close to the beach and checking in with me about every half an hour. He had quite a few good sessions and then on his last run of the day, he crashed and the waves took his board. He came body surfing in on a big wave and then next thing I know, he is doubled over in pain. I'm yelling at him to land the kite (which he proceeds to do with a nice kite line over my ear) and then I run back to him to figure out what is wrong now. He hurt his back surfing on the wave. After a few stretches he was fine, but nothing like scaring me to death two days in a row.

Lets hope todays sessions are a bit less dramatic!!!

We are hoping for lots of beach and kite time over the next three days before its time to clean everything off and pack it all up for the trip home. We've had lots of problems with our airline tickets and Matt spent hours on the phone yesterday trying to get it all resolved so we are hoping we make it home!!! They changed our flight times with no notice (thank goodness it leaves an hour later instead of earlier). Overall, we'll be glad to get back to our home we haven't really seen in 7 months, but we'll be sad to leave the beach and relaxed life here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Back home... at least for now...

Sorry for not posting in almost a week, but I've had a nasty flu bug and am just finally feeling almost normal. Matt didn't catch the entire thing, thank goodness, just some cold like symptoms. Lets just say that Matt has told me that there is not a need to share EVERYTHING and that I can keep my bugs to myself!!!

Lets see if I can get us all caught up here.

I last posted on Tuesday when we were waiting on wind in Las Terrenas. We planned on driving to Samana City on Wednesday to hopefully see the whales. Matt, Kim & Jay made the drive down to the southern tip of the pennisula while I stayed in Las Terrenas and slept as I felt awful. After a pretty rolly 4 hour boat ride, they did not see any whales as it seems they haven't really shown up yet. They heard lots of great stories and were told that in past years as many as 4,000 whales could be seen in the area, WOW!! I wish they would have seen the whales, but I'm also glad I didn't miss them.

On Thursday, we made a very short (like minute long) drive to the point just outside of town and found a beautiful bay for them to kite in. It was a beautiful bay surrounded by lots of palm and mangrove trees. The wind was onshore so it had them kiting close to me so that I could take lots of great photos. Overall, the beach was beautiful and deserted but did not have the same safe feeling that we do here in Cabarete. Nothing bad, just felt like we really had to keep an eye on things to make sure they didn't "walk" off.

We decided to extend our trip by one day (Friday) to hopefully give everyone another day of kiting before making the drive back along the north coast. We drove up to the point called Portillo and were looking for a way to access the beach. We tried playing stupid tourists saying that we needed inside a gated neighborhood for "la casa de mi amigo" (my friend's house), but while the guards did let us in, they didn't buy it and proceeded to follow us around until we finally left the neighborhood. We decided to hop a curb in the rental car and park alongside the beach and walk up to the point. It was a beautiful bay but we had to watch the weather a bit as the wind was up and down and it looked like rain. Kim and I even built a fort out of old plywood, sticks & coconuts to protect the camera from rain since we were so far from the car and the sky was threatening all day. All in all, not a great kiting day but it did allow me to get some neat shots from my position on the beach.

We left Las Terrenas early on Saturday morning and returned to Cabarete just a bit before noon. Neither Matt or I felt good so we napped almost all of Saturday afternoon. We finally woke a bit before dinner and managed to eat a bit of pasta. Yesterday was pretty much a repeat although Matt did walk down to the beach with his kite gear only to return when there wasn't enough wind.

Today we actually managed to head down to the beach for a couple of hours and Matt took his 10 meter kite out for a sail. I worked on my tan while reading and relaxing on the beach. We made it into town tonight for some dinner on the beach so life is finally returning to normal.

We can't believe that our time here is almost at an end. We have less than a week before we return to the states and work. We're busy trying to clear out all the food from our cabinets and the cupboards are looking pretty bare so it will be lots of eating out for us this week. We are both ready for a change and are looking forward to going home but we will miss our wonderfully laid back life here and all of the wonderful friends that we have met.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Las Terrenas

Well, after a small series of mishaps...  We made it safe and sound to Las Terrenas yesterday afternoon.

It all started out with the fact that our rental car was to be delivered at 9:00am to us at our apartment.  Well, after multiple calls and over an hour and a half of waiting, we decided to go shopping around for another rental car.  The first place we went tried to do a dirty deal and change the price after we went all the way into town to sign the papers.  We hopped on moto-conchos and headed back to another dealer who we were finally able to rent a car through.  So our departure was delayed by over 3 hours and we didn't make it out of Cabarete until noon. 

We had a very pleasant  three and a half hour drive to Las Terrenas.  We had heard of a new road and a really rough old road.  Well, we found the old road.  It was steep, twisty and did I mention that we could lose the little Honda CRV in some of the potholes!!!  We finally arrived in town in one piece (us & the car).  We made the whole trip with only 2 U-turns (good in our book!!) and found the little bungelows where were are staying pretty easily.  Well, thats not quite the end of the story....  After finding a quick place to have lunch, we headed back to unload the car where we had a bit of a mishap.  Matt put the key in the back to unlock the cargo area and when he twisted he thought  "That didn't feel right". Yep, sure enough he had one part of the key in his hand and the other in the car.  Ever try having a car key made in a third world country???  Its not easy!!  It took Kim & Jay over an hour to get a key made (remember that Kim speaks fluent spanish) and there were no Honda keys available so they had to make it out of a Toyota key.  They came back and were not too sure if it would work!!  It did!!!  Yeah, we can get our bags out of the car!!

We had a nice dinner last night of pizza, pasta & calzones and then an early night to bed as the electricity went out (and to think that this part of the island has had electricity for the past 8 years, and yes, I did say 8 years).  We do wonder though, how many actual hours of power they have had with all the power outages here.  Who knows!!

Today we spent the most of the day exploring the beaches and waiting for wind.  Yep, still waiting on that wind to show up!!  The coastline here is beautiful with very flat water and lots of palm trees.  Its much more tropical and lush in this part also.  We visited Playa Coson & Playa Bonita today.  We're heading to Samana tomorrow to do our whale watching (hopefully, keep your fingers crossed for us) since the wind forecast looks good for Friday and bad for tomorrow.

Hopefully, we'll have some great whale pictures to share tomorrow!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Yeah... Sun & Wind!!!

Just a quick post to say that we are so happy that the sun and wind have returned today. Matt had a great day sailing his 14 meter kite early and then after a brief rest he took his 10 meter out. I had a quiet day reading on the beach and resting at home as I'm not feeling all that well today.

Also, please check out our photography & designs website...
Matt has been hard at work getting photos up and designing the entire website, I think he did a fantastic job!! Please leave us a comment here to let us know what you think of it.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sunny skies have returned

Well, we haven't found the wind yet, but at least we found that bright yellow thing in the sky!! YEAH!!! We actually awoke to sunny skies and haven't had any rain all day.

I had a call with the company that I'm going to do some work for this morning and then we set off on foot down the beach to La Boca (the mouth of the river). It took us about 4.5 hours to make the walk to and from and to have lunch. Unfortunately lunch "looked" at me, so while Matt enjoyed the fish, I enjoyed some rice & beans. We had a great walk down the beach and enjoyed being outside. We collected some shells on the way back to add to our collection here.

We have been so amazed at the lack of shells that we have found here. All of the ones that we find here are pure white (we have no idea why) or are these little purple things. Matt did manage to find a conch shell near the reef today. It was in the water and he was a bit afraid to pick it up as he wasn't sure if it was still someone's "home" and might pick at him.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Rainy days are here again...

Well actually, they never left!! We keep hoping that the weather will clear and we can get some beach time again. We're getting a bit stir crazy. This is just like Tropical Storm Noel in October that decided to stick around forever!!

We've watched as wave after wave of dark storm clouds have rolled onshore and the pouring rain quickly follows. To quote Matt, it has been raining "Cats & Buckets". When I asked him if he meant "Cats & Dogs" he quickly replied "No, I mean Cats & BUCKETS!". Should give a visual, huh?

On the plus side, we've had lots of computer time so Matt has been working on the photography website and I've been working on my next digital scrap-booking kit. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with all the kits other than give them away for now, especially as we return to Denver and to work.

As we get closer to the end of our trip, we've decided to explore Dominican a bit. We are planning a trip next week with friends to the Samana peninsula so we'll be a bit out of touch. The peninsula is on the eastern most tip of the island. We are planning on visiting the beautiful beaches of Las Terrenas to do some kite-boarding and then to watch the whales from Samana City. We had no idea that just a few miles from where we are living is one of the most fantastic breeding grounds of the humpback whale. We are so excited to be able to see this wonderful creature up close, however, I'll be on lots of dramamine!!

Nothing too much exciting here, just wanted to give you a quick update!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

WOW and a Huge THANK YOU

Wow, I have been overwhelmed by the number of downloads of Rusted Glow. After 24 hours of being available, it has been downloaded over 400 times. I never imagined it would be downloaded that many times. I'd like to thank everyone for their wonderful comments, it is so wonderful to know that you are enjoying it. Be sure to send me a link to your layouts using the kit, I'd love to see them.

Thanks again and I'm already working on the next kit. Its 4th of July themed (for us Americans) as I'm trying to scrap some wonderful photos of my niece from a couple years ago when she visited us on the 4th.

Take care & thanks again,

Monday, January 7, 2008

Charles Bridge

I just wanted to share this layout that I did with my Rusted Glow kit available below.

This is a picture of Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic, that we took on our Honeymoon in 2006. This was at 4 in the morning as that is the only time that the bridge was empty. During the day, the bridge is filled with people and street vendors.

New Kit - Rusted Glow

My third kit "Rusted Glow" is based on the DSO January Color Challenge. Kim created a wonderful color swatch for this month so I just could not resist. Be sure to check out the thread if you like this color scheme, there are so many wonderful kits that you can combine to make this a MEGA kit.

Kit contains 11 weathered papers, 1 brass brad frame, 1 twill ribbon, 2 ric rac ribbons, 2 flowers, 5 weathered brass elements, 4 rusted elements, 6 peach rusted elements and 3 pearl brads. Special thanks to for the use of her actions in creating this kit.

Click Here to Download and please leave a comment either here or on 4 shared if you download. If this is your first visit here, click on the Free kit label on the right to be taken to my other two kits.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A new wedding layout... Of Andy & Katie

I'm trying to get all the scrapping done before we head home at the end of the month so I'm going through all the photos that I haven't scrapped yet. The good news is that I am in June of 2006. The bad news is that I have two huge trips to do (our honeymoon and this summer in Europe) so I'm not really all that caught up (as if a year and a half is in anyway caught up).

I wanted to share these adorable photos of Andy & Katie renewing their vows in their beautiful backyard in June of 2006.

Credits for June 2006:
Template #13 by Yin
All papers & embellishments by Petite Moineaux douceur enivrante kit
Photos by Angela
Font: Pristina

Gallery posting at DST
The weather here is clearing and is somewhat better today. We at least have patches of sunshine along with the wind and rain.

I went shopping over in Ruby's store and I came up with this wonderful winter themed kit.

Of course, I don't have the normal winter photos right now so I went hunting in my photos not scrapped and came up with a few. The first one was a photo of last year around Christmas time when Denver was hit with the first of 3 very heavy snowstorms within a month. We were all set to fly from Denver to Missouri for Christmas when the entire city was shut down (including the airport for 3 days). Needless to say, we didn't make it back to Missouri. These are some pictures we took of the snow piled up against the back door and of the backhoe trying to clear the more than 3 feet of snow from our neighborhood roads.

Credits for Let is Snow:
Based on a template by gluecksybabe
All papers and embellishment from Ruby Rynne A Winter Tale Kit Available Here
Wordart from Atomic Cupcake Wonderland kit (recolored)
Font: Papyrus
Photos by Matt & Angela
Special thanks to for use of her tear action

Journaling reads:
We were all set to fly out to Missouri before the entire city was shut down by the blizzard. We had over 3 feet of snow drifted up against the house. They had to use a backhoe to begin digging us out of the neighborhood - December 21, 2006

This next photo was a bit older. This is from a hut trip that we did back in 2005. This is a night photo of Walters Cabin (on Vail Pass in Colorado). Matt froze while trying to get the perfect shot and I think he did!!

Credits for Walters Cabin 11-19-05:
Based on a template by Di Hickman
All papers and embellishments from A WINTER TALE kit by Ruby Rynne
Photo & editing by Matt
Font: Vinque Font
Special thanks to Atomic Cupcake for the use of her pinking and reverse stencil actions.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Stormy Weather...

Well, its stormy here again. Thank goodness it didn't develop into the Tropical storm that they thought it was going to. We've been getting lots of rain and wind since yesterday afternoon. The winds really picked up about a quarter til 6 yesterday evening so we ran to the beach with Matt's 10 meter kite. He pumped up the kite and I ran his lines and we had him flying in under 15 minutes (it was getting dark fast!!).

Here is a picture I took of the approaching storm - Gorgeous colors with the sun setting!!

Credits for Storm #3:
Based on a template by Traci Sims
All papers & embellishments from Chigger Lane Designs MEMORIES OF SPRING Kit
Photo by Angela
Font: Hobo Std
Special thanks to for her actions in creation of photo tear and colored glass elements

What are you looking at?

Some photos of the little one clowning around with a box... Who needs toys??

Credits for What are you looking at?:
Papers & Embellishments from Chigger Lane Designs DANCING DARLING kit
Photos by Laura
Fonts: Mkidge & ActionIs
Special thanks to for the use of her colored glass action for the title

Thursday, January 3, 2008


After Spending the Week in New York, I wanted to send you some photos of Downtown Cabarete.

This is the only paved road in the town, and the major Hwy (the only road to connect the cities on the North Coast.)

In so many ways it reminded me of Manhattan, just a bit smaller, and more Chickens and Donkeys.

On at last photo, this is outside the hardware store. We don’t know whether the chicken are for sale, or for lunch (the place next door only sells grilled chicken)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Little Christmas Darling

I just wanted to share this latest layout features the little princess of the family. This is made with photos that Laura took for their Christmas cards. The little red and white dress that still looks a little big is the one that she was supposed to wear in our wedding (over a year and a half ago). The middle picture is her adorable Christmas dress.

This layout is made from my Downhome Christmas kit (available free in prior postings) and a template by Di Hickman.
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