Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010

In case you couldn't tell, I have been playing around with IMovie on our Mac now that we have a new video camera. This is the last video that I will do for a while (given that I head back to work next week).

This past week was a fantastic time with friends a family. The week of Christmas was quite the highlight with the Pink Pig, Caroling, Grammy and Grandpa here, and snow on Christmas. It was one of the best Christmas weeks that I have had in a long time.

Some of my highlights from the "Christmas Season" as Sam calls it (as opposed to Christmas Day) were:

1) Putting Christmas lights up with Sam on our house and on Angie's House
2) Watching St. Nicholas with Sam and Maya under the baseball blanket
3) Sam wanting to color under the Christmas Tree when we first put it up
4) Maya really learning how to talk in sentences the last few weeks
5) An amazing few weeks at the South Atlanta Marketplace and Pride for Parents
6) Seeing our PA and Texas families

I am sure that there are more that I will add here later as well. As the kids get older, I am sure each Christmas will be filled with unique memories. The following video highlights our memories from this Christmas:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

White Christmas


It snowed in Atlanta on Christmas Day for the first time since 1888. That was a pretty special treat for our family. Of course Sam and Maya enjoy snow on any day, but it was fun to have it on Christmas. These are some highlights of our time together in the snow.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Maya the Artist

I have to admit that I have not been as good as documenting Maya's life as I was with Sam.  I promised that the second child would not get the shaft, but a series of unplanned technology changes has made it difficult.  Thankfully, we now have a new video camera and can begin taking videos of Maya.

With that in mind, here is the first Maya themed video in quite some time.  She is huge fan of painting and anything art related.  The video shows some of her better artistic exploits!  Enjoy and there will be more to come...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cold Days in Georgia

We are experience a colder than normal few days around these parts.  The high temp was only 26 the other day.  The kids are embracing it pretty well.  Here are two pictures of Sam, Maya, John, and Aisha watching it snow on Sunday.  John was belting out "Merry Christmas" over and over again as they watched it snow.



Sam wanted to play in the snow, which was minimal, but we went outside anyway.  What do you do after you get inside from playing in the snow?  Drink hot chocolate of course.  Sam has a new favorite drink I believe.



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Maya loves to Paint

Maya definitely has an artistic flair to her.  Katie loves to brag that she is routinely praised by her art teacher at school for her attention and love of art time.  At home, she loves to color and "shulk" (draw spoken in Maya's language).  Hours can be spent each day coloring different pages out of the Sesame Street coloring books.

A few weeks ago, I took Sam and Maya to the children's museum.  While there, I discovered a painting station that I knew Maya would love.  I didn't dare take both Sam and Maya into the station as it would have been too much to handle.  This past weekend we had plenty of free time, so the whole family decided to go Children's Museum.  

After a short stop at the balls (Sam must play there first), we went to the painting station.  Maya absolutely loved it and spent probably 30 minutes doing it.  Here are some pictures of her creations with her mom:



Coloring by the Christmas Tree

Sam has the holiday spirit!  Ever since decorations have started coming out last weekend, Sam has been taking it all in.

Probably the most random and funny thing that Sam has done is that he wants to color in front of the Christmas Tree.  We have no idea where he may have picked up this idea from, but it is so strong that we have moved the coloring table next to the tree because this has become a daily thing that he wants to do.  And of course, if Sam wants to do it, that means Maya does to.

Here are some pictures of Sam doing his coloring in front of the tree:




Saturday, November 27, 2010

Their Very Own Christmas Tree

Thanks to the Christmas Sale at the Marketplace, we were able to purchase several small Christmas Trees very cheaply.  So Sam and Maya now have their very own Christmas Tree in their room.  There are very proud of their tree as you can see:


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas Lights

Every year I have lived in Atlanta, I have put Christmas lights up on our house.  It is something that I look forward to every year and have a friendly competition with a certain Cowboys fan one block away. It is also something that I remember doing with my dad way back when and look am exciting to enjoy doing it with Sam.  This year I was able to bring a few pieces of my dad's old display along with us back from PA to add to our tacky holiday cheer on Thayer Ave and Sam is finally old enough to actually be helpful in putting up the light display!

Sam's job was to place the Toy Soldiers, Candles, and Lamp posts, as well as, test each light string.    No worries, the scene was no where like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  He only had to check about 5-6 strings of lights.  Each time he plugged one in, there was a loud "It works!" Sam took his job very seriously and was very proud of his work.  Every time he finished "his job," Sam was eager for his next one.

The best part of the display was when we had the official unveiling of the lights.  We started at the Barbers house and then walked over to our house for our unveiling.  There was a crowd of about 20 people and Sam got to walk up the stairs, very proudly mind you, in front of the crowd and light the display himself.  Katie said that you could see the rite of passage all over how he was carrying himself up the stairs.  

I am so thankful to be able to share these moments with Sam and have a little fun together.  I am also thankful that Katie "lets" us do the lights our way (tacky is more valuable that pretty).




video

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cycle of Love Pictures



This is the crew before our departure from the Right Stuff Ministries Thrift Store in Leeds, AL.  They were amazing hosts for us allowing us to sleep in the store and feeding us dinner and breakfast.  It was an amazing way to start out the trip.



One of the best view from day one of riding.  We rode through an extremely rural part of Northeast Alabama.  It was a beautiful time of year to be riding through with trees in all different stages of colors.  This was a dam that was along the way and made for a great lunch spot.



One of the less beautiful parts of Northeastern Alabama was the dogs that we encountered.  Several riders had close calls with dogs chasing them and trying to bite them.  Thankfully, no one was actually bitten and we all made it through safely.  Next year everyone will carry dog mace.


Day 2 saw us ride along the Silver Comet Trail in Northwest Georgia.  It is a 61 mile trail and made for some easy riding.  This is us loading up after one of our stops.  We had 4 drivers stationed along the route that provided us with food and water along the way so we did not have to carry everything on our bikes.

  


Since we had riders of different levels on the trip, we decided to meet up at Centennial Park and ride the last two miles together back to South Atlanta.  It was timed perfectly as everyone arrived at the same time.  It was an amazing moment pulling into the park and feeling a great accomplishment.




We finished the ride in the parking lot of the South Atlanta Marketplace and had a great crowd of people waiting for us there.  It was awesome to hear everyone cheering for us as we came down the home stretch.


There were many moments over the two days that were special to me and that I will cherish for a long time.  But my favorite part of the ride was the last five blocks back to our house from the Marketplace along with Sam.  He insisted on riding his bike to the Marketplace and even though my body had nothing left in it, he wanted nothing else but to ride home with Daddy.  Not much would stop me from getting on the bike again after that.  I hope that one day Sam and I will share in some wonderful bicycling adventures together!

Cycle of Love

162.88 miles… 16 hours over 2 days… 15 riders from Leeds, AL to the neighborhood of South Atlanta…4 support drivers…1 masseuse = One Amazing trip!

Words can hardly describe the experience that was the Cycle of Love . When I first wrote you back in August, I had 3 goals: 1) Improve my personal physical condition 2) Grow and deepen the relationships that I have with some wonderful ministry partners 3) Raise money for Pride for Parents. I am happy to say that all three have been accomplished!

Over the past few years, I had sacrificed personal health for being too active in ministry. There was not a lot of balance in my life and it got to the point in August where I was feeling a lot of pain that I knew was related to eating bad and not exercising. I knew that I needed to do something to improve my health or else something bad could happen. This ride has given me the motivation to get back into shape and feel good about myself again. Since August, I have lost over 10 pounds and gone are the pains that I was feeling related to treating my body poorly. There is no way that I would have finished the ride had I not trained and gotten into shape and there is a great sense of accomplishment that I feel having completed the ride.

On a ride like this with so many great people, there are too many stories to share in a short space. Not one of us would have finished this ride alone and I am very grateful for the community that was built on this trip. The conversations that were had and the tremendous feeling of accomplishment we felt together will live on for a lifetime. To borrow a line from Danny, one of the riders: “My body has never felt so bad and my mind so good.” As we rode into Centennial Park to gather before finishing our ride to South Atlanta, I am sure that we could have ridden over the Rocky Mountains together, our minds and togetherness felt that good!

Of course, all of this was done for a purpose beyond myself and those that I was riding with. I participated in this ride in order to raise money for Pride for Parents, a program of FCS Community Economic Development. A goal of $5000 was set to raise so that we could provide toys and gifts for families in South Atlanta at the South Atlanta Marketplace. Thanks to our other riders – Curtis Kester and Ryan Baldassaro, we were able to raise $3000 of that $5000 goal. What an amazing accomplishment! I am so thankful to all of those that gave and contributed to our ride. The knowledge of your support helped push me through some of the hardest points of the trip.

The hardest part of the trip was around mile 130. We were about halfway through day two and you could have easily convinced me to pack it in. Riding 130 miles was no small feat and I could have easily been proud of myself for what I accomplished. My legs were tired, my back hurt, and my bike was not functioning properly. While that decision would have been easy to make and I could have been proud of what I accomplished, I would have missed out on what was easily the best part of the trip, the finish. There is very little that I would trade for the amazing feeling of pulling into the parking lot at the South Atlanta Marketplace and seeing my family and other supporters greet us there.

Just like finishing those last 32 miles, I would like to finish the final part of our financial goal. If you are able, please consider helping Pride for Parents finish those last 32 miles strong. We are tired, our backs hurt, and our bikes are a little broken, but we can push on! We can be proud of the $3000 that we raised for this great cause, but reaching our goal will be even better! I invite you to help us push beyond mile 130 and get to our goal of $5000.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share this experience with you. So many of you have expressed a keen interest in supporting the ride. I am truly indebted to you for allowing me to participate in this life changing experience.

Sincerely (and just a little bit tired),

Jeff Delp

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Little More Halloween

Just had to share some more pictures from the weekend that our friend, Andra, took.  She's much, much better at capturing our children on film than we are...







Riding Bike on the Beltline



Since Sam was born I have wanted to get a child trailer for my bike so I could bring Sam and then Maya along on my rides.  However, I never thought the cost of the trailer could be justified for how often we would actually make it to one of the trails outside the city so I never purchased one.  With the 170 bike ride only a few weeks away, I had a need to get my hands on a road bike since my mountain bike was not going to cut it for the trip.  Thanks to a great deal found on Craigslist, I now have a road bike and a child trailer!  It was a great two for one deal.

This past Sunday a group of riders from the Cycle of Love went on our weekend journey to train.  We only had a few hours to ride due to the busy nature of the halloween weekend so we decided to stay close and ride on a new section of the Atlanta Beltline Trail.  The Beltline is going to change the way that we live our lives in Atlanta, even if it is still 15 years from completion (check out the website at www.beltline.org) .

It was awesome to share my first ride on the Beltline Trail with Sam.  I am pretty sure that Sam thought he was cool because he got to hang out with the big boys and their bikes!  He was super excited to go and packed a bag full of books, toys, and snacks to enjoy in the trailer.  We rode for about an hour and then stopped at a playground to let Sam get out for a minute.  He played literally for one minute and wanted to get back in the trailer and continue riding (much to the chagrine of Daddy who wanted a little more of break).   I am very glad that I got to share some of my training with Sam now with the trailer.  I hope that he shares some of my love for biking hen he gets older.

As we were riding the Beltline, we couldn't help but talk about how it would change our lives drastically.  The Beltline will be a 22 mile loop around downtown Atlanta of bike trails, walking trails, parks, and a light rail line.  It passes through the north end of our neighborhood, about 1/2 mile away at most.  When complete, we will be able to bike, walk, or take the train to 95% of the places we go in Atlanta.  Our kids, who will be teenagers when it is complete, will have their Atlanta world opened to them without the use of a car (good thing because I am still holding to the no license before 18 theory for Sam and Maya).   One of my biggest struggles of living in Atlanta is the lack of the urban amenities that I thought I would have when I moved to Atlanta (easy access to walking, biking, and public transit) and the Beltline will go a long way towards changing that.  I can't wait and yesterday was just a tease in terms of what's to come hopefully!

Of course, all the excited of the day was too much for a 3 year old to handle as he fell asleep towards the end of our ride:




Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

We had a fun Halloween weekend in the Delp house this year.  The festivities started on Thursday at the kids' pre-school with their Halloween parade.  Fireman, Sam and his trusty dalmatian, Maya were super sweet and held hands during the parade.




On Saturday, a few neighbors and I organized the (1st annual) South Atlanta Treat Street.  The event went really well, and it was great to have a safe and creative option for the children in our neighborhood.  Sam and Maya ate way too much candy and by the end of the night they were running in circles while naked in the living room.  Here is some of the fun from Treat Street.

Here is the cupcake walk:




Sam and Maya loved "Donut on a String".  They both took it very seriously, especially Maya.  She got right in the middle of the bigger kids and ate her donut.




Fashion Statements

We try to put all of the cute pictures of our kids up here so that you can adore them and see how wonderful they are.  Sometimes there is a not so cute picture that is too hard to keep off of here.  This is one of them.  This is how Maya and Sam needed to leave the house one day.  I tried and tried to get them to put their hats until their hoods, but to no avail, this was how they wanted to go.  And of course, Maya needed to get some good nose picking in for good measure as well.


Applesauce Making

One of my favorite memories as a kid was the annual applesauce making day at our house.   I loved to eat applesauce a whole lot more than making it, but I really did appreciate my mom and Nana making applesauce every year.  I don't think I ate store bought applesauce until I was in college and I was very disappointed.

We have tried to carry on the tradition of applesauce making while we have been in Atlanta and we have included several of our community members in the annual fall festival.  It has become a fun annual event that this year involved 6 different families/houses.  It was quite the assembly line!  Here are some pictures of our fun this year.  We made a ton of applesauce in a very short time.  It was a lot of fun and I am already looking forward to it next year!