Posts filed under ‘Elizabeth City’

Some Things That Did Not Get Blogged About in 2011

Well, goodbye 2011! I’ve seen a number of blogs highlight their favorite posts of the year. I’m going to highlight some of the forgotten posts– the ones I never got around to writing. :)

Billy Goat Trail – A Return Trip

Billy Goat Trail - Greg, Ryan and Ryan Climb Rock Wall

My Birthday Hike this year was on Maryland’s Billy Goat Trail along the Potomac River. Ryan and I thought it would be fun to do a group hike on that trail. As luck would have it, my friend Greg Z organized a group hike that following month. The weather was sketchy at first and we did have to wait out a storm under a bridge, but after that we had the trail almost all to ourselves.
Billy Goat Trail - Purple and Blue Wildflowers

My favorite part– my friend Greg Z told me when some of the people in the group were struggling on the rocks, he watched me get further and further ahead. Apparently he pointed and said, “THAT’s the one that’s pregnant.”

We walked the trail the opposite direction Ryan and I took in March. It was nice to see the trail from a different perspective. Also since it was a month later, we got to see wildflowers bloom!

A Most Pleasant Day

Mother’s Day Weekend, Ryan and I went down to visit our old neighborhood in Elizabeth City. We shared honeysuckle in our yard with some of the neighborhood kids. When Ryan went to shake Khalif’s hand, Khalif would have none of it.

“Nah, man.” Khalif said, “We hug.” And so they did. I believe that was our first neighborhood kid hug.

I was six months pregnant at the time and some of the kids marveled at how fat I was.

“It’s only temporary,” Ryan chimed in. Then when the subject came up again, “The pounds are going to just melt off.” Although he directed his statements to the kids, I know who his real target audience was! He was making sure his wife kept her self esteem in tact. : )

We went by Earth 383 for Free Comic Book Day. A number of the neighborhood kids joined us and Ryan organized a large game of RoboRally.

Elizabeth City May 2011 Visit - Moving RoboRally Pieces

One family wasn’t present, so the dogs and I walked over to their new home. When I was still a block away, the youngest kids spotted us and started shouting out my name. They ran inside and their older siblings emerged. The 17-year old son who always seemed somewhat indifferent, came running out with the biggest smile and hugged me in the middle of the street. I spent the remainder of our time in Elizabeth City visiting with that family.

Elizabeth City May 2011 Visit - Vicky and Vick (By Ryan Somma)

The next stop was Ryan’s parent’s house in Virginia Beach. When we returned home, I went swimming in the lake behind their house with my sister-in-law and her fiance. The water was the perfect temperature and it was so pleasant and relaxing to be swimming by manicured back yards along side of ducks and seagulls.

We finished our day with a big family dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant. There, I got my very first Mother’s Day card… that Ryan had secretly gotten his relatives to sign. It was a great day from start to finish.

My Relatives Kick Ass…Literally

New York Shaolin Test Day - Rachelle with Broad Sword
In May, Ryan and I got to visit the New York Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. That was just an added bonus though. We were really in New York to watch my sister-in-law test for her black belt in Shao-Lin. All the forms she and her classmates had to remember and execute was simply awe-inspiring. That afternoon also brought me the worst heartburn of my entire pregnancy courtesy of a “Magic Bar” I bought as a concession. I still made it through the entire gestation period Tums-Free.

 

Seattle Bug Safari

Seattle Bug Safari - Goliath Bird Eater Tarantula 4 (By Ryan Somma)
In May, Ryan and I visited Seattle. Our outings were blogged about except the Seattle Bug Safari. We very much enjoyed our visit there. The employee working that day was extremely friendly and informative. You could also see that they take their Yelp reviews seriously. One of the reviews indicated that people were getting confused and thinking the Gift Shop was the extent of the business. When we arrived, there were signs making it clear the Bug Zoo was in the back.

Annual Black Friday Cookie Decorating

Cookie Decorating - Sagan Decorating with Daddy
My family held our annual Black Friday Cookie Decorating again this year. Although we were late on the invites, it was heavily attended. When all the sugar cookies got decorated, some enterprising young girls started to decorate the other variety of cookies. Sagan also decorated his first cookie (with Daddy’s help).

 

Bull Run Occoquan Trail – Bull Run Regional Park to Hemlock Overlook

Bull Run Occoquan Trail - Henry, Sagan, Vicky (By Ryan Somma)
In December, Ryan started playing Skyrim. The scenery in that game is amazing and Ryan found all the walking in the game made him want to get out and do a real hike. So on December 3rd, our family took on a one way trip along the Bull Run Occoquan Trail. We traveled 7.5 miles from Bull Run Regional Park to Hemlock Overlook. This section may not have been as scenic as Skyrim, but it was still gorgeous in its own right. You walk along the water, get to see some rapids, pass by a memorial pet rock pile and see some neat trees along the way. This outing was Sagan’s longest hike to date (post birth).

January 1, 2012 at 11:02 am 2 comments

Relay for Life Donations for the Neighborhood Kids

Tonight, May 13th, Pasquotank and Camden County will be having its Relay for Life at Northeastern High School in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.  As such, this is my annual post to see if anyone wants to make a tax-deductible donation for 2011 to the American Cancer SocietyBUT THERE’S A TWIST!  This year, if you feel enticed to give, I would like to request that you to donate to one of the neighborhood kids instead of through my personal donation page.

In the past two years, the neighborhood kids have taken quite a liking to Relay.  They’ve accompanied us each year and have been active walkers. In 2009, one eleven year old walked a little over six miles with us! 

This year, four of the neighborhood kids are official members of our “Hunter Street Hope” team.  Before Ryan and I moved to Virginia, the kids were of wonderful help with Relay ranging from working on the Christmas Parade float to making thank you gifts for donations to actually updating the www.RiverCityRelay.com website and registering users.  I would love to help them make some progress towards their fundraising goals!

Tyrek
In November, Tyrek learned plastic canvas and helped stitch some Holiday Gobblers as thank you gifts for our November donations. Thanks in part to Tyrek’s efforts, we got three surprise donations from Magic Players at the Earth 383 Comic Book Shop!

Plastic Canvas - Tyrek Works
Tyrek Working on Holiday Gobbler
Holiday Gobbler - Grey and Pink
Finished Holiday Gobbler

Tyrek’s Donation Page

Risha & Vick
Sisters Risha and Vick were both active participants in this year’s Relay for Life float for the Elizabeth City Christmas Parade. They volunteered for duty two nights and helped transform a bunch of plywood into the float that won first place in the Civic Category!

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Risha Paints Magnolia Leaves
Risha Paints Magnolia Leaves
Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Vick, Debbie, Deanna Coat Front of Float
Vick, Debbie and Deanna Work on Float

Risha’s Donation Page
Vick’s Donation Page

Khalif
Khalif also helped decorate the Christmas Parade float, but his contributions extend much further than that.  Before I moved, Khalif served as the assistant to the Online Chair for our event. He attended the Team Captain Meetings (and also helped with the setup and clean up) and put his computer skills to work. He helped update the http://www.RiverCityRelay.com website and took the lead on registering users online during our Kickoff Meeting.

Relay for Life Kickoff - Khalif Prepares Team Packets
Khalif Prepares Team Packets
Relay for Life Kickoff - Khalif Registers Users
Khalif Registers Users Online

Khalif’s Donation Page

Whether you decide to give or not to give, thanks for letting me brag about my neighborhood kids!  They’ve made me proud…and I do I miss them terribly now that I’m in Virginia.

May 13, 2011 at 1:00 am 3 comments

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands Trail

One of my last outings before I left Elizabeth City was the Fenwick Holloway Wetlands Trail. One Sunday afternoon in January, the dogs and I snuck out there for a quick “hike”. The trail was built in memory of G. Bradford Fenwick, a Naturalist, and Elizabeth V. Hollowell, a Lover of Nature. It’s a series of wooden walkways and gazebos that runs along the Pasquotank River behind the College of the Albemarle and Albemarle Hospital. It’s short and flat and full of wonderful views.

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands - Jimmie, Henry, Vicky Shadows
Jimmie, Henry and Vicky Shadows on Walkway

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands - Baldcypress, Gazebos and Walkways
Baldcypress Trees, Walkway and Gazebo

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands - Walkway and Sunset
Walkway and Sun

Fauna
That afternoon, we spied the usual Canadian Geese. We also got to see several Nutria swimming around the walkways.

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands - Nutrias
Nutria

Flora
Perhaps knowing my time in the area was limited, it was the indigenous baldcypress trees that caught my eye that evening.

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands - Baldcypress and Sunday
Baldcypress Tree in the Pasquotank River

Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands - Baldcypress Branches at Dusk
Baldcypress Tree at Dusk

The dogs and I weren’t out long that afternoon, but we still had ample time to absorb the beauty of the Pasquotank and make mental notes of our happy times in Elizabeth City.

More pictures of the Fenwick Hollowell Wetlands Trail can be found on my Flickr site.

March 22, 2011 at 1:00 am 3 comments

News x 3

Happy Friday everyone! Families have been informed, co-workers are up to speed, neighborhood kids are in the know. Now is time to update my blog with all the latest news from our household.

1. Ryan’s Job Change
Ryan’s changing jobs. The timing actually worked out super great for me and my colleagues. We’re in the middle of a big migration project and Ryan’s been able to assist us out with some contracting work. Right now he’s integrating our application with Mettler Toledo balances. Ryan’s been a tremendous help! I’m still hoping I can convince him to stay with us permanently!

Lab Visit - ZJ and Ryan in Hair Nets
The Obligatory Hairnet Shot

Elizabeth City - Ryan Working on Balances
Ryan Working on Balance Integration

2. We’re Moving
Related to #1, we’re moving circa February 26th to my hometown of Occoquan, Virginia. I have very much enjoyed Hunter Street and I am sad to leave. Surprisingly, I have yet to find a neighborhood kid who seems as sad as I am! They’re resilient! Nonetheless, I do look forward to being closer to my family… and closer to the mountains. In November, Ryan and I spent a week gutting my maternal grandmother’s house. We’ll be working on reinnovating it once we are back in Occoquan (don’t worry some of that work will be overseeing contractors doing to actual work. :) ).

Grandma's House - Overgrown Exterior on 9_19_2010
Home Sweet Home….Eventually*
*It doesn’t look like this right now, Ryan already cleared away all the brush

Grandma's House - Living Room on 9_19_2010
Living Room on 9/19/2010

Grandma's House - Living Room on 11_1_2010
Living Room on 11/1/2010

Grandma's House - Living Room on 11_2_2010
Living Room on 11/2/2010

Until reinnovations are done, we’ll be staying on the top floor of my parents’ house. It should be a great exercise in patience and stress management. With our combined pets, we’ll have a total of four dogs and three cats on one property. We’ll see how that goes. :)

Last But Not Least….
Shortly after we were married, I received a Facebook inquiry from Tyrek.

Inquiry From Tyrek
Vicky When Is You Going to Have a Baby!

It took a while, but I finally have an answer for him.

August!

Ryan and I are expecting our first child in mid-August!!! We’ll be at 14 weeks tomorrow, which means I somehow survived the terrifying first trimester without the terrifying part. I skated by with minimal trouble from morning sickness. I really, really, really lucked out. A big shout out to whatever force it was that decided to spare me. I owe you one!

8 Week 4 Day Ultrasound - Marked Up
Ultra Sound at 8 Weeks, 4 Days

And so we have a lot of big changes coming. They’ll be a lot of stress, I’m sure. But there is going to be a lot of great things as well! : )

February 11, 2011 at 11:08 am 6 comments

Hunter Street Happenings – Week of January 16, 2011

Phew!  We had a busy week with a few extracurricular activities.  Enjoy!

Tuesday – Science Fair

On Tuesday night, Tyrek came over and finished up his report and backboard for the J.C. Sawyer Science Fair.

Tyrek Science Fair - Tyrek Gluing Items on Backboard
Tyrek Gluing Backboard

Tyrek Science Fair - Backboard, Plants and Report
Final Layout

I was feeling pretty good about Tyrek’s project. Then on Wednesday morning when Ryan and I dropped the project off at J.C. Sawyer Elementary, we got a glimpse of the handiwork of Tyrek’s classmates. Man, all of those kids worked really hard and some of them got super creative with decorating the backboards. Tyrek and the philodendrons have some stiff competition! : )

Thursday – Relay for Life Team Meeting
On Thursday, the Pasquotank/Camden Relay for Life had their Team Captain’s Meeting. Khalif and Terrance came with me. Khalif even got to spin the prize wheel and won a hat. Both boys were very helpful. Khalif got some people registered online, Terrance took some pictures for the recap and both helped the committee members pack up their cars. Since the meeting, Khalif and his grandmother have already raised $35 more dollars for Relay. Go Hunter Street Hope!

Relay for Life Team Captain Meeting - Prize Wheel
Prize Wheel in Action!

Saturday – National Blonde Brownie Day
The Year of Living Unofficially tipped us off that January 23rd was National Blonde Brownie Day. Early in the day, Ryan and I perused and picked out a Blonde Brownie recipe. That afternoon we made ourselves a special treat to enjoy after our supper of turkey chili.

National Blonde Brownie Day - Ryan Eats Brownie
Ryan Eats a Brownie

The brownies turned out to be quite serendiptious. At 3 AM, I had to get up for a support call. This exceedingly unappealing activity had a surprising silver lining. I may have had to get out of bed. BUT— I had leftover brownies to assist me!

National Blonde Brownie Day - They Are Even Better at 3 AM!
Blonde Brownies are Even Better at 3:31 AM EST

January 23, 2011 at 4:26 am Leave a comment

Qubit’s First Anniversary on Hunter Street!

A year ago today, Ryan taught the final class for the Computer Literacy Program and a little black kitten showed up on our deck afterwards. Despite our claims of taking him to the SPCA, the kitten ended up part of our household.

So happy one year anniversary to the egg-nog drinking, Christmas ornament batting, grapefruit chasing, dog food stealing, adoreably forgivable Qubit!

I wanted this post to be accompanied by never before seen (on the blog) Qubit pictures. It turns out that was harder than I thought. It seems I don’t take a lot of pictures of Qubit, but I managed to scrounge some shots up. Luckily there is no relationship between the quantity of pictures and the magnitude of my affection for the cat. He’s one of my favorites. : )

20091225 - Clint (bg), Qubit - (by Dad) - 4255656988_f5b19fc967_o
Qubit Yawning (Photo by Vic L)

Qubit Models Hat
Qubit Modeling a Crochet Hat for Henry’s Bark for Life

Elizabeth City Snow - Qubit and Tree
Qubit’s First Snow

Elizabeth City Snow - Tyrek and Qubit 2
Qubit and Tyrek

December 16, 2010 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

Craft Week with the Neighborhood Kids – Christmas Parade Float #relayforlife

Saturday night, the Elizabeth City Jaycees hosted their annual Christmas Parade which includes a float competition. I believe there were roughly 90 floats participating, including one sponsored by our Pasquotank/Camden Relay for Life. The week proceeding the parade, our Event Chair organized a series of decorating sessions to get the float ready. The theme this year was “Supporting Our Troops”. So we made our float the “Let Freedom Ring” float. One of those freedoms ringing would be freedom from cancer.

The neighborhood kids proved to be very worthy helpers as Ryan and I prepared for the wedding. I checked and they were more than willing to help with the Relay for Life float as well.

Monday
Monday night, Ryan and I were accompanied by Vick and Risha. We had a hearty, but not exactly healthy, supper at Taco Bell then we met up with everyone and worked on the float!

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Vick, Debbie, Deanna Coat Front of Float
Vick, Event Chair Debbie, and Kids Walk Chair Deanna Cover the Front of the Float

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Risha Paints Magnolia Leaves
Risha Spray Paints Magnolia Leaves for the Float

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Float with Risha, Deanna and Vick
Float Coming Together on Monday Night

Thursday
Thursday Ryan had a late conference call, but that didn’t mean I went alone. Khalif, Terrance, Jacal and young Malena all came to help. Our primary focus was lining the bottom of the float with little silver bells to compliment our “Let Freedom Ring” theme. The most difficult part of this operation seemed to be untangling the bells, though reloading the staple gun was a doozie as well.

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Khalif Untangles Bells
Khalif Untangles Bells

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Vicky and Terrance Hang Bells
Vicky and Terrance Hang Bells

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Vicky, Jacal, Malena Hang Bells
Vicky, Jacal and Malena Hang Bells

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Malena Sweeps
Malena Sweeps

There was plenty of time for play too. We posed for pictures and the kids had a chance to play some football.

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Khalif, Terrance, Jacal with Sign
Khalif, Terrance and Jacal with Santa’s List

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Terrance Football Catch
Terrance with the Football

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Jacal, Vicky, Malena
Jacal, Vicky and Malena Pose for Pictures

Afterwards I treated everyone to supper at their favorite Chinese restaurant.

Friday
Friday, my helpers were Vick and Risha. Only when we showed up, the float was already done! : ) So we decided to go out to eat and then took in Christmas lights before heading home.

Results
The neighborhood kids, Ryan and I were far from the only helpers on the float. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, I thought we ended up with a great float. Despite some very chilly weather, a number of people showed up to ride the float. Two survivors were particularly determined to walk instead of ride, which was super cool because that is what I wanted to do! The people who rode on the float rang purple bells. The walkers (that’s me!) got to hand out candy to bystanders.

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Side of Float on Friday
Float Waiting for Dark

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Lit Float Tree (Far)
Our Tree and Santa’s Wish List

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Front of Float
Back of the Float – The Flags and Wreath Were Mounted By Ryan!

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Float on the Move - Truck and Front
Float on the Move

Relay for Life - Christmas Parade - Float Turns on Main Street
Float Turns on Main Street

The judges apparently liked our float as well. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, including the neighborhood kids, our float won 1st Place in the Civic category!!!

More pictures of our float and the Elizabeth City Christmas Parade are available on my Flickr site.

P.S. Touched by the efforts of neighborhood kids? With 2010 coming to a close, you still have time to make a tax-deductible donation to one of their Relay for Life donation pages:

Vick’s Donation Page
Risha’s Donation Page
Khalif’s Donation Page

December 7, 2010 at 1:00 am 2 comments

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