Cowboys Game

CowboysMy sister and her husband own season tickets to see the Dallas Cowboys and are generous enough to take two people with them each game. They’ve taken neighbors and friends and Laura and I were the lucky two invited for the December 2nd game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Our seats are just off one end zone but really close to the field and with the huge, 60 yard screen that hangs from above, there are no bad seats in Cowboy’s Stadium.

It was a great game to watch, mostly because the ‘Boys won, but also because we were able to see Tony Romo (he was injured and didn’t play the last time we got to go) and Dez Bryant play. I ate a burrito the size of my head and Laura had quesadillas that she couldn’t finish. The funniest, or most annoying part of the experience, depending on how it’s looked at, was the loud girl sitting in the row in front of us. She only comes to two games a year, and she’s been there both times we’ve been there. She stands the whole time and screams at the top of her (very large) lungs, back up the rows to the people behind her.
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House Frame

Our house that is being built down in Dallas is coming along. The foundation is poured and the first level is framed. The wood arrived after 12:30 in the afternoon, and by six pm, when this picture was taken, the first floor was complete! We are happy about the progress on the house and look forward to seeing it go up, bit by bit.

Kiley at five months

Strawberry GirlOn November sixth, Kiley turned five months old, so we wanted to catch you up on what’s been going on since the first week of October.

So far, she is still tiny, but is growing and the pediatrician says that she acts older than her age suggests. She loves to flash huge smiles at strangers and laughed out loud for the first time. I was traveling to Los Angeles when I received a text from Laura with the audio of the laughing — it brought tears to my eyes in the Denver Airport!

She is starting to babble and talk a lot, notice Gus being around her and loves to hold our finger when sitting in our lap. We started her on formula this month, taking one ounce, then two a few hours later. By the next day, she was holding her bottle and getting excited when she saw it enter the room. At the same time we added the bottle, we were able to get rid of the gas drops finally. We use Dr. Brown’s bottles to cut down on gas and burping, and they’ve done a great job.

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Shelby Cobra

We had some pretty fancy cargo on my most recent flight from Anchorage to Hong Kong. Pictured is a Shelby Cobra, being transported from Los Angeles to somewhere in New Zealand. Someone certainly has an amazing toy, and lots of money to pay for us to transport it via air.

The dash is even signed by Carroll Shelby himself — wow! These cars are sold in the 2 to 5 Million dollar range.

Flying the 747-8

When the taxi instructions come down to us from the tower, I release the parking break. Even at just over 985,000 lbs, we start to roll forward; the mighty GEnx-2B67 engines are hungry to pull us forward and eager to power us into the dark and brooding Hong Kong night. I take my time in the turns and make them extra deep so that our 250 foot long frame will carefully round the corners of the taxiways. The cockpit is dark, still smelling like brand new leather and carpet, with just the dim glow of the LED screens in front of us showing the engine instruments and the flight path on departure. As I call for the before takeoff checklist, the captain reads from the front computer screen and ticks off the items one by one.

Huge and heavy, this machine of precision and power is easy to guide onto the runway. The clearance comes in over our headsets: “Cleared for takeoff.” I glance at my instruments, seeing the terrain display depicting the mountains off to our right as they sit unseen out the front windows in the darkness. The engine indications are all normal and the weight indicator shows that we are right at max takeoff weight: 985.0. With everything on the level, it is time to ride this rocket into the sky. I call for takeoff thrust and the captain “stands up” the thrust levers and then pushes the auto thrust switch to engage full power. Seconds pass with nothing; no changes, no sounds. The enormous and powerful, yet eerily quiet GE engines slowly come to life before calmly producing nearly 67,000 lbs of thrust each at max power. This mighty beast we sit atop charges down the runway for takeoff with the ease of a Sunday afternoon stroll, even when it is fully laden with cargo.

Passing our decision speed of 130 knots, the computer calls out “V1”. The captain removes his hands from the thrust levers as there is no aborting this now. Roughly ten seconds later, he calls “Rotate” and I guide the control column back into my lap as the nose starts to rise. Keeping the wings level, I pitch the nose for 12 degrees and wait — she’ll fly when she’s ready. We lift off the runway at a V2 speed of 180 knots as the lights of Hong Kong International blur past us in a hurry. Slowly and steadily, the lights of the airport melt away beneath us as we pull our way into the darkness. Gliding gracefully through the moonless dark air, we climb out at 350 knots all the way to our cruise altitude of 31,000 feet. Aboard Cathay Pacific’s newest 747 variant, the “-8,” it’s nine hours and fifteen minutes to Anchorage, and I’m looking forward to every minute of it . . .
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A few days ago, we visited a pumpkin patch to get some pictures of Kiley with the autumn pumpkins. While there taking photos, we bought a pumpkin to put her in it, just for fun. Today, we carved that pumpkin out, plopped her in it, stood back with a camera, and waited to see what would happen. Unfortunately, the skies were gray and so was Kiley’s mood. She wasn’t too happy and the smiling pictures were few and far between. We’ll try it again, and if we get any winners we’ll add them to the photo gallery linked above.