Monday, December 29, 2008


We spent Christmas with in Birmingham and had a wonderful time! Shannon had to work on Christmas Eve, so Mary flew ahead on Tuesday to spend some time with her family. She was lucky (and very thankful!) to get a seat during the mad holiday travel rush. You can view pictures of our Christmas break here.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with family and friends. We're so thankful for ours, especially this time of year as we give thanks for the birth of our Savior.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I (Mary) went to visit the Smiths this weekend and had so much fun playing with Brady Boy! He is growing up so fast, I can't believe it! He is talking about anything and everything, and it's so cool. He notices every little thing too - railroad tracks, ducks, lights, mud puddles. I love it! What an exciting time for Clint & Jessica - they are having a blast! =)

We played a lot and made sugar cookies and decorated them. Brady kept calling the frosting 'butter' and was shoving fistfulls into his mouth, it was adorable.

are some pictures from the weekend - Enjoy!


p.s. Our next adventure is just a week away... stay tuned! :)

Friday, October 31, 2008


Looks like we're making San Fran in October an annual event! ;) We just got back from a week in San Fran and you can view our pics here. Mary had to work the 2008 ACR conference, and Shannon came along for the ride since it was in one of our favorite cities. We arrived on Wednesday 10/22 and since it was our only 'free' day together, we biked from San Fran across the GG Bridge to Sausolito. It was AWESOME! In between work events for the ACR, we got to go for a few walks and see a few of the sights, and spent yet another Halloween in SFO! Hurrah!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Soar Utah!

Yep I'm like any guy with a hobby I take it to the extreme (if you asked someone that doesn't have a similar hobby, however within the slope soaring "community" I'm no where near extreme). Some people travel across the country to go fishing, hunting, golfing, skiing, snowboarding, etc. but I travel to locations that support my radio controlled "Slope Soaring" habit. I mean if you are working for an airline and have sweet travel benefits you might as well use them even if it seems a little crazy. You can look back to my ATL-SFO trip in April for another slope soaring trip.

The event I went to was in Salt Lake City Utah and scheduled to go from Thurs-Mon. but I just went for Saturday and Sunday. Slope soaring is highly dependent on weather and more specifically WIND (the more wind the better in most cases). It has been said that there are two ways to guarantee no wind at a slope site.
1) Travel great distances.
2) Plan an event.
I'm happy to say that this was not the case this year. The wind was absolutely rocking the two days I was there (the major parts of the event). Saturday it was blowing steady 25-30mph all afternoon and Sunday was even stronger with a steady 35mph all day gusting up to 50mph at times. I got to see some really cool planes fly and see some very impressive flying. I also put faces with names from a forum I spend a lot of time on
You can see live feed from the park here. It is a Paraglider/hanglider site all year but the local RC club that shares the hill with the fullscale fliers asked permission to have the whole hill for the event instead of the little area they normally fly.

If you want to see or read some more about the event check out this thread on rcgroups. Pictures are towards the end of the thread.
My pics


Thursday, August 21, 2008


Mary here... and I'm in Chicago... again! This time I'm actually in Itasca (near the airport) for another conference. But we're hosting this one. Good news is our hotel is pretty nice so shouldn't be too bad!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I (Mary) flew up to Boston this weekend to troll with Christine and attend the APA Convention to present some data from my UAB projects. Here's a picture of me with my poster - The sessions went really well and there was a lot of interest in our projects. This was also my first taste of a large-scale convention so I’m even more excited about the ACR annual meeting this year!
You can check out the APA flickr photostream with pictures from the conference updated daily

Monday, August 11, 2008


We flew to Toronto this weekend for Harleen & Navneet's weekend-long wedding festivities and had a total blast! It was our first time trolling as a couple and we were greeted at the airport by Christine and Natasha sporting a 'welcome trolls' sign - love it. Friday night was the sangeet where us girls got beautiful mehndi designs on our hands. It was so cool to watch the henna artist at work. It was like she was just doodling away but the result was these gorgeous designs on our hands. It was a great party and Harleen & Navneet both looked awesome. Everyone toasted the happy couple and offered plenty of marriage advice and jokes. There was singing and dancing and of course EATING! The food was sooo good we were all stuffed to the gills by the time we left. On Saturday we hosted a lingerie shower for Harleen at the condo downtown and Shannon got out to tour the city some. The shower was fun and we enjoyed getting to hang out all together. Natasha handed out her awesome tote bags she made (I carry mine everywhere now) and we all ooohed and aaahed at the treasures stuffed inside (i.e., dentist samples and uab paraphanelia courtesy natasha;). Unfortunately it rained most of the day but that night we moved to the hotel in Markham to get ready for the big day! We picked up our beautiful outfits Harleen had picked out for us and got a good night's sleep. On Sunday bright and early us girls met Harleen in her room to watch as her Uncle applied her bangles all the way up to her elbow. Then we tied bells onto her bracelets and took lots of pictures. The photographer was HILARIOUS but really good. Everyone looked so great in their outfits, and Tanveer's friend Navrup even tied a turban for Shannon! Leena was of course a BEAUTIFUL BRIDE. We were all breathtaken. We knew she'd be gorgeous but WOW!

The ceremony was at the Gurudwara and it was beautiful. It went by so fast, and before we knew it they were married! We ate a delicious lunch and saw them off to the Doli. We had some much-needed downtime between the ceremony and reception so after naps and a change of clothes we were all glammed up and ready to partay! The reception was awesome and everyone had a great time. Leena looked sooo pretty and Navneet didn't look too bad either ;) We ate some more awesome food and danced the night away! You can see pics from the wedding here. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I (Mary) was in Chicago again this weekend for Board meetings. And while most of my time was spent in hotel meeting rooms and (sometimes) stuffy dinners, I did get a chance to venture out to THE BEAN for just a few minutes on Friday afternoon. I drug along one of my co-workers and she too was mesmerized ;) Here's a pic of me and my favorite Chicago landmark - I also grabbed some Garrett's Popcorn ( to take home, which - YUM! =)

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Shannon went to LA to visit Matt this weekend! It was a good trip. I (Shannon) was off on Friday and so was Matt so I caught a flight out Friday morning. I also got to see an old Auburn Aerospace Grad, Rylan. He and Matt both live near LA and work for Northrup Gruman. Rylan has only been out there for about a month but already has a sweet bachelor pad near the beach. We spent most of Friday helping Rylan and the cable guy set up his dish TV. After catching up and confirming that Rylan has more than enough channels to keep him busy we went down to the beach to do a little surfing. Unfortunately the waves had dwindled down to almost nothing. It was pretty much like swimming in a lake with an occasional wave. However, I did manage to catch one of my best waves to date. Just long enough to stand up and look around. Most of my normal "rides" are a slightly extended stand up and fall in one continual motion. I think it had to do with not being exhausted from paddling out against a rougher ocean. We floated a bit more but called it quits. Later that night we went over to Matt's friends house to help move a pool table. We stayed there for the rest of the night playing pool and eating pizza.
Saturday we got up early to do an early morning surf session. The waves were a little better but I was not. I don't think I got a good ride all morning, I did get a good workout though. Did some more hanging out and running errands. Later that afternoon we went back to the friend's (Kevin I beleive) house to shoot some more pool and eat some food cooked on the grill.
Sunday we got up early again to have a quick session with Rylan but the waves were not there. Instead we ate breakfast at a place near Rylan's appartment and I caught a flight home.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


We're back and happy to report that Ireland was every bit as magical as we hoped it would be! The weather was gorgeous, the locals were friendly and the island was absolutely breathtaking. You can see some pictures from our trip here.

We arrived in Dublin around 9 am local time on Saturday morning, so we had the whole day to spend in the city. We got lost plenty of times searching for the city centre, but finally managed to find it and did some sightseeing and shopping and a lot of walking. We enjoyed it but we were definitely anxious to get to the countryside! We drove to Citywest, just outside Dublin to stay the night and highly recommend the Citywest Golf Resort & Hotel ( The rates were reasonable and the hotel and grounds were gorgeous.

On Sunday morning we had our first 'Irish breakfast,' and noticed right away why it's famous! They give you SO MUCH FOOD! Eggs, mushrooms, beans, tomato, toast, potatoes, and then the meat - pork cooked every way possible! And salmon! Luckily they also serve fresh fruit, cereal and yogurt or we would've left the country with clogged arteries for sure ;)

Military Road Scenic Drive
From CityWest, we took a scenic drive through 'Braveheart Way' and down to Military Road and Sally Gap in County Wicklow. The scenery along the way was absolutely beautiful and we must've taken 100 pictures out the car window! We saw rolling hills of green and beautiful wildflowers, sheep in the pastures and some on the road!

Our first stop was Glendalough, the site of a monastery founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. The monastery is in ruins, but what's still standing is beautiful and surrounded by beautiful countryside. There are 2 old church buildings that are made of stone and a tall round tower and it's all surrounded by a cemetery. Since the site was once a monastery, it's considered holy ground and everyone wants to be buried there because they believe they'll get into heaven faster. The place is crammed full of gravestones, with multiple occupants in most graves. It was quite a sight! Our tour guide said it will continue as an active cemetery for another 50 years or so. From the main ruins it's a short (1-2 mile) walk to the upper lake, which is said to be St. Kevin's favorite place, and it was just breathtaking.

We spent the night in Waterford so we’d be close to Blarney for the next day. Nice B&B, very friendly hosts – Dunroven I think it was called?

Co. Cork - Blarney
We of course made a trip to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone and it was a fun time! Everyone’s there for a good time and in high spirits, so it made for a neat trip. We spent the day in Blarney and checked out the woolen mills and had lunch at a cute cafĂ© nearby.

Mizen Head
We’d read about Mizen Head in our Ireland books and Mary really wanted to check it out, even though it was a bit off course. So we made the drive and got there just in time for a spectacular sunset view of the cliffs. It was a beautiful sight and a really cool place. We hiked down to the signal point and enjoyed the last bit of daylight there before high-tailing it to look for a B&B before it got too late. We found a great place called ‘Sea View’ right on the beach.

Ring of Kerry
We’d heard that the Ring of Kerry is one of the most beautiful drives in Ireland, but it took seeing to believe it. Just when you thought one sight was the most amazing thing you’d ever seen, you turn a corner or climb a hill and see that it’s even more amazing from that angle!

We ended the day in Tralee, where we’d begin the Dingle Peninsula drive the next day. We checked out the Blennerville Windmill and had dinner at a Tralee pub. Cute town!

Co. Kerry
We waited out the rain and set out for the Dingle Peninsula around 11 am and lucky for us it cleared up quick and turned out to be a beautiful day! We took Connor’s Pass through the Slieve Mish Mountains and got some great views of Tralee and Brandon Bays. Mary also attempted to feed some sheep with little success.

Dingle Peninsula
The drive around the Dingle Peninsula was nothing short of awesome. We did it backwards to avoid tour buses, and while we did meet a few on the narrow roads, it was better than being stuck behind them the whole way!!! We especially loved Blasket Sound and had a picnic lunch there and spent quite awhile watching the surfers brave the rough waters.

Tarbert Killimer Ferry
To save some driving time we took the Tarbert Killimer Ferry to cross the Shannon River on our drive north to Spanish Point. This 20 minute boat ride saved us about 85 miles of winding roads. This was definitely a good find and now we can say we've ridden on a car ferry.

Spanish Point
After the Dingle Peninsula, we drove back up to Tralee and then on to Spanish Point where we stayed in a great B&B and enjoyed a nice walk on the beach before turning in.

Co. Clare

We stopped at the beach at Lehinch to play in the tide pools before heading on to the Cliffs of Moher and had a great time! It's amazing to see how much the tide changes from high to low. The areas we walked would be well under water during high tide.

Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs were everything we’d hoped they were and MORE! We spent HOURS there just taking in the majesty of the sheer rock cliffs from every possible angle. Over 100 pictures at least of just the cliffs! We hiked south along the clifftops in the ‘forbidden’ territory with the rest of the brave souls (which turned out to be 90% of the visitors;).

The Burren
We drove through the Burren and it was a really cool area – completely different from everything else we’d seen throughout the week. The Burren is a vast limestone plateau described as " a savage land, yielding neither water enough to drown a man, nor tree to hang him, nor soil enough to bury". We stopped to see the Poulnabrone Dolmen, and they had really nice info stations set up with detailed info on the tomb and a timeline of when it was built. Very cool!

Dysert o'Dea

Our last stop of the day was to see the castle and church ruins at Dysert O’Dea. The castle is still standing and is quite impressive. The Church, high cross and cemetery are a short walk away and you actually have to cross an active cow pasture to get to the church! It was really funny – an 11th century high cross standing tall in the middle of grazing cows!
We drove to Shannon and staked out the Shannon Airport to make sure we knew how to get there and checked out the nearby hotel - all booked up though. So we drove around a bit and along our way saw a cute baby fox!!! We ended up finding a fabulous B&B just a few minutes from the airport and the rest, as they say, is history!

Monday, May 26, 2008


And now we're back home safe and sound, catching up on laundry and housekeeping and email before we start the work week and begin our next weekend adventure!



We made it back to Birmingham on Saturday with time to spare thank goodness! We got to see David & Melissa become Mr. & Mrs. Precise and we had a complete blast at their wedding. The reception was at the Wine Loft downtown and it was a really cool place. We got to see a lot of our Bham friends which was great, and then there were the bubbles, which were the hit of the party! ;)

You can see all our pics here.

Congrats to the happy couple and all the best in the years to come!


We drove to Birmingham Wednesday night with Riley (who will be staying with the Macks for a couple weeks while we're traveling) and flew from there to Boston Thursday morning. We got to spend the day with Christine before the rest of her family flew in later that night. It was nice seeing her and she was kind enough to chauffer us around all day too! Shannon and I had a nice dinner at ma soba and waited out the rain before walking to Cheers. The weather cleared up just in time and we had a nice walk past the commons down Charles St.

Christine graduated from BC Law on Friday and we of course had brunch at Zaftig's before which was delish as always ;) Then we headed to BC campus for the very nice graduation ceremony. The weather ended up being on our side despite a few ominous clouds and a couple raindrops here and there. The sun was out for most of the afternoon, and they had a champagne reception for all the graduates and their families after the ceremony. We had a great time visiting with the Lees and meeting more of Christine's friends. Friday night we had dinner in North End at a great place called Taranta and then of course picked up some Mike's Pastries for the fam before heading back to Birmingham EARLY Saturday morning! You can see all our pics from graduation here and pics of our quick tour of Boston here.

Congratulations Chris!!!
We are so proud and happy for you!!!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Made a quick 2-day trip to DC for a meeting, not sure if that counts but I did it! ;) The weather was nice, but we just missed the cherry blossoms. Got to see a speedy tour of the monuments in the taxi on the way back to the airport - ha ha! And here's a tip: Don't eat at petits plats in woodley park - le yuck.

- Mary

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Shannon was in San Francisco over the weekend to attend JartFest 2008 and do a little sloping on the CA coast. You can see a pretty cool video of the festivities here:

Here is some information about what a JART is and some background information.

This was a very specific trip I took and made me question my SANITY once I got to San Fran. I flew there and back in the same day.
I left ATL Saturday morning at 8:00 A.M. Reached the slope site (Thorton Beach) via the BART and a local slope pilot by noon. I was able to fly and hang out till the sun went down. The costal lift is really SMOOTH compared to the conditions I typically fly in here in GA and AL. I caught a ride back to the airport from one of the local slope fliers and boarded a 10:30 flight back to ATL. This put me landing in ATL on Sunday morning about 6:30-7:00. So pretty much 24 hours after I left ATL on my little adventure I made it back home pretty exhausted but all grins from a successful trip. Slope soaring is like surfing, its kind of like getting something for nothing. I doubt too many people would understand it but it is a hobby I really enjoy. Non- Revving makes a "rediculous" trip like this possible, not something just anybody would go out and do.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I (Mary) had meetings in Chicago this weekend for work and luckily Shannon was able to take Friday off and come along for the ride! I was in meetings until late in the afternoon on Saturday, but Shannon ventured out and then we had a couple hours on Sunday to walk around before we had to catch our flight back (well one of us anyway;). We went to Lincoln Park and saw the zoo and conservatory on Saturday, and also went to Millennium Park to see THE BEAN! For dinner, we had deep dish (true chicago-style) at Pizzeria Uno ( which was delicious! On Sunday, we checked out Navy Pier, but were bummed to see that the ferris wheel was closed due to the weather (cold, wet and WINDY!). To cheer ourselves up, we went BACK to the bean for more fun and checked out the 'magnificent mile,' had garrett popcorn and walked down to the river, which is BEAUTIFUL. It was a great trip and a it's a beautiful city, we really liked it! Unfortunately, Shannon couldn't get on a flight out Sunday, and after three tries and one very close call, had to come back this morning at 6 am instead. But he's a trooper and is now safely back at home (thank goodness!) and says it's all worth it! ;) I'm posting a couple pics of the bean aka 'cloud gate' sculpture at millennium park - it's definitely one of the coolest things I've ever seen!

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Well, during the myriad of flight cancellations yesterday, we (me + work colleagues) had the fortune of having our outbound flights cancelled just THREE times on Friday and finally made it to Dallas just in time to meet everyone for dinner. I can't complain though, there were plenty of people who didn't
make it anywhere on Friday...

Sadly you'll find no stories or pictures of my time in Dallas here, we were in meetings all the next day and then it was back to the airport and home sweet home! But in our effort to document every flight, here's DFW! I can however recommend Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas - excellent food, fabulous wine list and outstanding service! And the Westin DFW was also very nice :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I (Mary) flew out to Las Vegas this weekend for Harleen's bachelorette party and we had a total blast! We did it all- saw the sights, gambled, buffeted and hit the clubs. Of course the highlight for me was that we ran into Paul Rudd @ the Wynn on Friday night just as we were leaving. He was so nice! So, by Sunday night we were all completely exhausted, but it was a great weekend. I had my first non-rev troubles though on Sunday and didn't make it onto the 2pm flight. The next flight to Atlanta wasn't until 10:50 pm so I met back up w/ the girls on the strip for a sightseeing tour and then headed back to the airport at 9 to try to get onto the 10:50 flight or one more leaving at 11:55 pm. Too bad for me, odds didn't look good that I would make either of those. Both were overbooked with standby lists close to 20. There were no seats available on any other airline's flights to Atlanta either, and I was even going to try flying to boston to get a flight out to atlanta, but that flight was overbooked too. I was completely exhausted and ready to go home, completely miserable at the airport but by the grace of God I made it on the 10:50 flight at the last minute and got home around 6 am on Monday morning. I slept for a couple of hours but then had to go in to work because we have a deadline today. Definitely a crazy fun weekend but I gotta say there's no place like home!

Saturday, March 8, 2008


We flew down to Pensacola to spend the day with the Smiths and celebrate Brady's 1st Birthday coming up this Monday!! We had a great time visiting with them, and we got to eat at Peg Leg's, which is ALWAYS a treat. I made Brady wear this eye patch, but he's a good sport and let me get a pic.

Monday, February 25, 2008

we're international!

And just what do you think was waiting for us when we got home last night?! OUR PASSPORTS BABY! It only took 2 weeks - we were so shocked at the efficiency and timeliness of the USPS. Don't quote us on that just yet though ; ) But we're super excited that we're one step closer to traveling abroad. Hurrah!


We went to visit Nee Nee & Paw Paw this weekend in Virginia. We flew into Richmond and made the drive out to Drewryville, which wasn't as bad as it sounds (except that our rental was a Dodge Caliber... but that's a whole nother story;). We were on interstates for the most part, but we did get brave and go the back way (Owen Rd. vs. Co. Rd. 58). Even so, the drive from the airport only took as a little over an hour. We really enjoyed spending time with Nee Nee and Paw Paw and Uncle Kenny. Paw Paw is doing really well, especially considering he just had a heart attack a week ago!!! He was getting around better than I do some days, and showing us the workshop they built and giving us a history of Drewryville too! Nee Nee showed Shannon all around the area, and of course took him by the post office (and Wal Mart;)! And she cooked us plenty of good home cooking too =) The weather wasn't too cold and Nubbin and all those animals kept us all pretty entertained! When we pulled up, there were 3 dogs in the driveway to greet us, but none of them was Nubbins! One was Uncle Kenny's ginormous puppy, Bud and the other 2 belonged to the neighbors on either side, which were new since my last visit. Now you can see actual houses from the yard which was so strange! The dogs are pretty cute though, Abby the beagle and Tater the, let's say schnauzer. Abby & Bud play together but Nubbins chases Tater off if he sees him ;) And it was my first time to meet Gray & Striper too. Gray was very interested in the visitors, but Striper hid from us, and Nubbins was lively as always. All in all, a great trip and we can't wait to go back and stay longer and GO FISHING!

Posting a pic of me and the grandparents here, but you can see more pics from our trip here:

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I (Mary) flew to Bham for a short trip this weekend to see Liz for her 17th birthday and hang out with the fam, and it was great fun. Liz requested a birthday 'dinner' of meatballs and fried potatoes, and had a few of her close girl friends over for a slumber party. They are a riot and it was fun to be around them, as always. LP made crepes for breakfast, and they were so delicious I stole the recipe! I was also lucky enough to get to have my favorite meal (brunch) at my favorite place (rojo) with some of my favorite people (see pic), so that was quite a treat too! It was a fun trip, but a short one and I hope to do it again soon, next time with Shannon & Ro in tow.