Photos from our trip to San Diego

A couple of weeks ago we took a family vacation to San Diego, CA. Instead of flying out there, we decided to drive, which at first doesn't seem like a very smart or efficient thing to do, but we made the road trip part of the vacation, so it actually turned out to be a blast. In the slideshow below you'll see sites we saw on the road to and from through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California as well as the fun stuff we did in San Diego. LaJolla Cove, Laguna Beach, The Zoo and Legoland highlighted our time in SoCal. Driving through Tonto National Forest in Arizona and seeing the Palo Duro Canyon in the panhandle of Texas on the trip back home was unforgettable.

San Diego is a beautiful place, but there's no place like home.

Out of Town

Working remotely full time has its distinct advantages. But it also has disadvantages. The primary one being traveling. Thankfully, I'm not on any type of strict, routine travel schedule. I normally spend a week working at the office in Virginia every 6-8 weeks or so. Last year I spent a total of 41 days away from home for business travel. That works out to spending about 10% of my the year out of town, which isn't too bad compared how often a lot of other people have to travel. In 2009, my hope is that number stays the same or, even better, goes down. However, it doesn't look like that will be the case. I'm already on pace to surpass 10%. So far this year, I've spent 22 out of 141 days out of town to date. That works out to be about 15%.

Hopefully that number will trend downward as the year goes on. That's a lot of time away from my favorite people. :)


By the Grace of God, we have found a house that will soon be our new home. In two weeks, we'll say good-bye to this house and all the memories we've made here and move to the new house. We're ready to start some new memories there for sure.

This is our new house on Snowshill Drive in Frisco. We love the street name because it is such an oxymoron. Its not on a hill. And chances are slim that there will ever be much snow around these parts.

New House

They say that home is where the heart is. Well, I think our hearts are already there. This past weekend we started packing. The first phase was the de-decoration phase. In one day our beautiful home underwent an amazing transformation from cozy, homy abode to a stark, barren shell. And all we did was take down pictures, artwork, nic-nacs and curtains.

I was pretty surprised by the sudden difference in the feel of this place. Now that all of our personality has been removed (other than furniture), I'm ready to get to the next house and make that one "our home".

In the design world, there's this concept of form vs. function. There's a fine balance in there somewhere. Even though this place is still fully functional, the form is gone. Its like viewing a website with only the text - no pictures, colors or style.

I am thankful for a wife with the talent to work such magic on this shell and make it a home. Next time your wife asks to buy some new decoration for the house, don't be so quick to balk at it. A little decoration goes a long way. :)

Pink Tie Event

Friday night from 6:30-9:00pm Chloe and will attend the 2009 Daddy Daughter Dance sponsored by the City of McKinney Parks and Recreation association. Our big date takes place at the McKinney Recreation Center along with 125 other "couples".

I am really looking forward to it and for Chloe, it is the highlight of the year. I have really enjoyed seeing her excitement about it ever since I told her about it earlier in the week. I gave her the cutout advertisement from the parks and recreation magazine that looks like this and she has carried it around with her constantly all week - she even has it by her side when she gets in bed each night. She looks at it as she falls asleep. Needless to say, she is eagerly anticipating this grand event. She calls it "the ball".

So she already has her dress picked out. She's going to look like a true princess, that's for sure. Last night, I asked her if she wanted to help me pick out which shirt and tie I should wear with my suit. I don't wear suits very often, so she probably had never seen my full tie collection. I thought she was going to fall over when she saw I had a pink tie. She was pretty surprised and I immediately knew she wanted me to wear it, cuz it was the obvious choice to match her princess dress.

But then something strange happened. I asked her which one I should wear and she said the black one. Hm. Really? Then I asked, "Are you sure you don't want me to wear the pink one?" She said, "Yes, but I think the other daddies will think its silly."

Isn't that sweet? She didn't want me to feel silly wearing a pink tie, thinking I'd be worried what other people thought about me, a man, wearing pink. I'm amazed at her ability to think like that, being only 4 years old. I'm more amazed by her choosing something that she thought I would like better, even if it meant the opposite of what she wanted.

What a sweet little girl! I sure am looking forward to our date at the ball tomorrow night. I'll post some pictures at a later time.

Working Smarter

This morning I read a great article on A List Apart titled, The Four-Day Work Week Challenge, by Ryan Carson. The basic idea is that most people spread their work out over whatever time period they have to work with.  So if you have all week to get done your list of things, you'll take all week to do it.  But if you have only 4 days to get everything done, you'll be able to do it in 4 days because you'll be forced to work smarter and more efficiently.

Ryan admits:

I thought the idea was ridiculous. How in the sam hill would we be able to get everything done? We have way too much to do in five days a week, let alone four.

I would love to be able to do this. Not only do you get a 3 day weekend every week, you're forced to cut out unnecessary distractions like meetings.  In my book, meetings are poison for productivity.  I don't think Rosetta Stone would ever be kosher with only working 4 days, but one day I'd really like to do this.

However, you can take the challenge in many different ways. Instead of getting into work early and finishing late, tell yourself that you have exactly eight hours to finish all your work for the day. Set a mental barrier at the end of the day and know that you will shut down your computer and pack your bags exactly at five o’clock.

Even though I can't reduce the work week by a day, I can and do timebox my workdays.  I usually make a point to stop working by a certain time and plan my work around the end of my day rather than letting the work dictate when I stop.

Even if you love what you do - and I do - you should still be vigilant about keeping a good life-work balance.

Ryan echos one of my favorite sentiments:

Will we lie on our death bed and say “Damn, I wish I would’ve got more done at work?” I doubt it.

I know I won't be saying that.