12 December 2007


Apparently it's been well over a month since I have made any posts. Time seems to fly this time of year and this year appears to be the fastest yet! I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We were able to spend time with family...Samuel continues to keep his grandparents mesmerized and wrapped around his little finger. OK, maybe they're not so little. He had his 6 month checkup a couple of weeks ago. He weighed in at 19 pounds 9 ounces leaving him just 3 ounces shy of gaining 10 pounds since he was born! That put him in the 75th percentile for his age. He continues to be blessed/cursed with his father's head size, he's in the 95th percentile for that category, and as far as his height, he's off the charts. Over 100 percent at 29 inches long!!! I've gotta feeling we're gonna have fun trying to keep enough food in the house for him when he hits puberty!

In other news, Crystal and I have already received our Christmas present for/from each other. We decided to go ahead and invest in a good camera so that's what we did. It seems like each week Crystal gets more interested and knowledgeable about photography and she's getting pretty darn good at getting good portraits of Samuel. You can go HERE to take a look and even order some if you wish. Now, I need to learn how to take good wildlife, outdoorsy type shots!

I hope the holidays are treating everyone well and you've got all your shopping done. Christmas always seems to me, while being a special time of the year, also a very, very hectic one. I sincerely hope that we're all able to enjoy it! So from us here in Traphill, Merry Christmas! And come see us sometime.....

24 October 2007

5 months already?

Samuel hit the 5 month old mark on Monday. Where has the time gone? Looking back at pictures it simply amazes me how much he has changed in just 5 months.

We returned from our vacation this past Saturday on the Outer Banks. We had alot of fun and as usual when you have lots of fun the time passes much too quickly. I was able to do a little bit of fishing, although I couldn't catch a cold! I probably should've tried the piers but I enjoy surf fishing. Crystal was able to get this picture of me and her first words were "now that's a blog photo if there ever was one".

This was obviously Sam's first trip to the coast and apparently the beach immediately puts him to sleep. Every single time we got him on the beach he fell asleep, even while riding on the beach in the Jeep with the top down! Crystal was able to stand him up in the edge of the surf and when the wave hit his feet, he immediately jerked his feet up to get out of the water. And of course his father had to laugh at him!

Since Crystal has become more interested in photography, she insisted that we have a "family portrait" made on the beach. She chose a spot, setup the tripod and camera, and instructed me on where and how to sit. Then Crystal's best friend Angela began snapping pictures, and I must say that we were happy with the outcome.

I was able to take a couple of cute photos too. Here's a nice one of Sam and his mommy and my favorite, Sam looking utterly bewildered. Is he amazed by the piece of grass in front of him? We're not sure what that expression is.

All in all we had a great time and we look forward to being able to go back down to the OBX and spending some more time. I will try as time allows to get some more pictures up of the rest of our trip (including pictures of all my winning putt putt scorecards)! :)

03 October 2007

4 month check up

I thought I'd give a quick update on Sam and the rest of us. He had his 4 month checkup the other day and had some more shots. He is now 27 inches long, which is in the 95th percentile for his age; weighs 16 lbs. 12 oz., which is 75th percentile for his age; and has a head circumference of 17 inches, which is 97th percentile. Yes, he got his dad's big head!

As for Crystal and I, we continually adjust to being new parents and we both really enjoy it. Crystal is getting more and more into photography and we are now looking into the possibility of procuring her a much better camera. She has already set up a makeshift studio in our basement and thoroughly enjoys taking hundreds of photos of Sam and Maddie. Here's some of her "work"!

October looks to be busy for us. Golf tournaments, Outer Banks beach trips, and I have a weekend fishing/camping trip coming up. Hopefully we'll find time to make some more posts and keep the pictures coming.

12 September 2007

Football season

Brings a new picture...and apparently some good luck. He was all decked out in this outfit for Sunday's game against the Rams and the Panthers had a pretty good showing and won quite nicely!

24 August 2007

My 50th post!

And something I truly believe in. In my opinion, there are those in this country that choose to ignore the problem we face....and they need to be dealt with and gotten OUT OF WASHINGTON!

What follows is an email I received from a a very good friend and a military veteran. Please note that the following text is long and deserves to be read in it's entirety...it is long. Thanks for your interest!
This is the most cogent and powerful essay on the threat of Islamic
terrorism I have seen. Dr. Vernon Chong. It is without a doubt the
most articulate and convincing writing I have read regarding the War
in Iraq. If you have any doubts please open your mind to his essay
and give it a fair evaluation. It's also eerily applicable to other
current issues such as Iran's nuclear program, immigration, NAFTA's
impact on American jobs, trade deficits, etc.. I had no idea who Dr.
Chong is, or the source of these thoughts, so when I received them I
almost deleted them, as well- written as they are. But then I did a
Google search on the Doctor and found him to be a retired Air Force
surgeon and past commander of Wilford Hall Medical Center in San

If you would like to see who this fellow is, go to this Air Force web
site and look him up:

Subject: Muslims, terrorists and the USA : A different spin on Iraq

This WAR is for REAL!

Dr. Vernon Chong, Major General, USAF, Retired

To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it. Our
country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we
know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes

The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there
are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war and even
fewer who realize what losing really means.

First, let's examine a few basics:

1. When did the threat to us start?

Many will say September 11, 2001. The answer as far as the United
States is concerned is 1979, 22 years prior to September 2001, with
the following attacks on us:
* Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979;
* Beirut, Lebanon Embassy 1983;
* Beirut, Lebanon Marine Barracks 1983;
* Lockerbie, Scotland Pan-Am flight to New York 1988;
* First New York World Trade Center attack 1993;
* Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex 1996;
* Nairobi, Kenya US Embassy 1998;
* Dares Salaam, Tanzania US Embassy 1998;
* A! den, Yemen USS Cole 2000;
* New York World Trade Center 2001;* Pentagon 2001.

(Note that during the period from 1981
to 2001 there were 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide).

2. Why were we attacked?

Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks
happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush
1, Clinton and Bush 2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or
Democrats as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or
their immediate predecessor, President Ford.

3. Who were the attackers?

In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims.

4. What is the Muslim population of the World?


5. Isn't the Muslim Religion peaceful?

Hopefully, but that is really not material. There is no doubt that
the predominately Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but
under the dictatorial leadership of Hitler (who was also Christian
(?)), that made no difference. You either went along with the
administration or you were eliminated. There were 5 to 6 million
Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including
7,000 Polish priests).

http://www.Nazis.testimony.co.uk/7-a.htm )

Thus, almost the same number of Christians were killed by the Nazis,
as the six million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we
seldom heard of anything other than the Jewish
atrocities. Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he
had no hesitancy about killing anyone who got in his way of
exterminating the Jews or of taking over the world - German, Christian
or any others.

Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the world on the US , but
kill all in the way -- their own people or the Spanish, British,
French or anyone else. The point here is that just like the peaceful
Germans were of no protection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how
many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from
the terrorist Muslim leaders and what they are fanatically bent on
doing -- by their own pronouncements
-- killing all of us "infidels." I don't blame the peaceful Muslims.
What would you do if the choice was shut up or die?

6. So who are we at war with?

There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than
the Muslim
terrorists. Trying to be politically correct and avoid verbalizing
this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win if you
don't clearly recognize and articulate who you are fighting.

So with that background, now to the two major questions:

1. Can we lose this war?

2. What does losing really mean?

If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions:

We can definitely lose this war, and as anomalous as it may sound, the
major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom
the answer to the second question - What does losing mean?

It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war
means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home and going on about
our business, like post-Vietnam. This is as far from the truth as one
can get.

What losing really means is:

would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will
not subside, but rather will steadily increase. Remember, they want
us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would
not have produced an increasing series of attacks against us, over the
past 18 years. The plan was, clearly, for terrorists to attack us
until we were neutered and submissive to them.

We would, of course, have no future support from other nations, for
fear of reprisals and for the reason that they would see; we are
impotent and cannot help them.

They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It
will be increasingly easier for them.
They already hold Spain hostage. It doesn't matter whether it was
right or wrong for Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq Spain did
it because the Muslim terrorists bombed their train and told them to
withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain to do will be
done. Spain is finished.

The next will probably be France. Our one hope on France is that they
might see the light and realize that if we don't win, they are
finished too, in that they can't resist the Muslim terrorists without
us. However, it may already be too late for France.
France is already 20% Muslim and fading fast!

Without our support Great Britain will go too. Recently I read that
there are more mosques in England than churches.

If we lose the war, our production, income, exports and way of life
will all vanish as we know it. After losing, who would trade or deal
with us if they were threatened by the Muslims. If we can't stop the
Muslim terrorists, how could anyone else?

The radical Muslims fully know what is riding on this war, and
therefore are completely committed to winning, at any cost. We better
know it too and be likewise committed to winning at any cost.

Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing? Simple.
Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite and really put
100% of our thoughts and efforts into winning. And it is going to
take that 100% effort to win.

So, how can we lose the war?

Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by "imploding." That
is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and their
purpose, and really digging in and lending full support to the war
effort. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we
continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win!

Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don't comprehend the
life and death seriousness of this situation.

President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation.
Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim men
between 17 and 40 years of age,
Secretary Mineta refuses to allow profiling. Does that sound like we
are taking this thing seriously? This is war! For the duration, we
are going to have to give up some of the civil rights we have become
accustomed. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil
rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them

Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him?

No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our
Political Correctness, and all of our civil rights during this
conflict and have a clean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words
apply to war. Get them out of your head.

Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or the
Administration that it almost seems they would literally like to see
us lose.

I think some actually do, I hasten to add that this isn't because they
are disloyal. It is because they just don't recognize what losing
means. Nevertheless, that conduct gives the impression to the enemy
that we are divided and weakening. It concerns our friends, and it
does great damage to our cause.

Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and media
regarding the treatment of some prisoners of war, perhaps exemplifies
best what I am saying. We have recently had an issue, involving the
treatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war, by a small group of our
military police. These are the type prisoners who just a few months
ago were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their
hands, cutting out their tongues and otherwise murdering their own
people just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein. !

And just a few years ago these same type prisoners chemically killed
400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the
same type of enemy fighters, who recently were burning Americans, and
dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq. And still
more recently, the same type of enemy that was and is providing videos
to all news sources internationally, of the beheading of American
prisoners they held.

Compare this with some of our press and politicians, who for several
days have thought and talked about nothing else but the "humiliating"
of some Muslim prisoners -- not burning them, not dragging their
charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but
"humiliating" them.

Can they be for real?

The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of the
Secretary of Defense. If this doesn't show the complete lack of
comprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are
fighting, the life and death struggle we are in and the disastrous
results of losing this war, nothing can.

To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this
prisoner issue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome
burned -- totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world.
Neither we, nor any other country, can survive this internal strife.
Again I say, this does not mean that some of our politicians or media
people are disloyal. It simply means that they are absolutely
oblivious to the magnitude of the situation we are in and into which
the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us, for many years.

These people are a serious and dangerous liability to the war effort.
We must take note of who they are and get them out of office.
Remember, the Muslim terrorists stated goal is to kill all infidels!
That translates into ALL non-Muslims -- not just in the United States,
but throughout the world. We are the last bastion of defense.

We have been criticized for many years as being 'arrogant.' That
charge is valid. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so
good, powerful and smart, that we can win the hearts and minds of all
those who attack us, and that with both hands tied behind our back, we
can defeat anything bad in the world! We can't!

If we don't recognize this, our nation as we know it will not survive,
and no other free country in the world will survive if we are

And finally, name any Muslim countries throughout the world that allow
freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of
the press, equal rights for anyone -- let alone everyone, equal status
or any status for women, or that have been productive in one single
way that contributes to the good of the world.

This has been a long way of saying that we must be united on this war
or we will be equated in the history books to the self- inflicted fall
of the Roman Empire. If, that is, the Muslim leaders will allow
history books to be written or read.

If we don't win this war right now, keep a close eye on how the
Muslims take over France in the next 5 years or less. They will
continue to increase the Muslim population of France and continue to
encroach little by little, on the established French traditions.

The French will be fighting among themselves, over what should or
should not be done, which will continue to weaken them and keep them
from any united resolve. Doesn't that sound eerily familiar?

Democracies don't have their freedoms taken away from them by some
external military force. Instead, they give their freedoms away,
politically correct piece by politically correct piece.

And they are giving those freedoms away to those who have shown,
worldwide that they abhor freedom and will not apply it to you or even
to themselves, once they are in power.

Muslims have universally shown that when they have taken over, they
then start brutally killing each other over whom will be the few who
control the masses.

What is happening in Iraq is a good example. Will we ever stop
hearing from the politically correct, about the "peaceful Muslims"?

I close on a hopeful note, by repeating what I said above. If we are
united, there is no way that we can lose. I hope now, after the
election, the factions in our country will begin to focus on the
critical situation we are in, and will unite to save our country. It
is your future we are talking about! Do whatever you can to preserve
it. I reiterate. A national election is months away.

After reading the above, we all must do this not only for ourselves,
but our children, our grandchildren, our country and the world.
Whether Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal and that
includes the Politicians and media of our country and the free world!

Please forward this to any you feel may want, or NEED to read it. Our
"leaders" in Congress ought to read it, too. There are those that
find fault with our country, but it is obvious to anyone who truly
thinks through this, that we must UNITE!

Lastly, I wish to add: At the risk of offending someone, I sincerely
think that anyone who rejects this as just another political rant, or
doubts the seriousness of this issue or just deletes it without
sending it on, is part of the problem. Let's quit laughing at and
forwarding the jokes and cartoons which denigrate and ridicule our
leaders in this war against terror. They are trying to protect the
interests and well being of the United States and it's citizens. Please help us to support them.

13 August 2007

Fishing picture!

For Sam's 3 month picture, Crystal chose to do a fishing theme. We decided that we would do some sort of fly fishing scenario. I believe it turned out really well!!!

I really love this picture because it has some added "meaning". The creel and fish are Samuel's, the fly box and flies are mine (Sam's dad), the fishing net belongs to my dad (Sam's grandpa), and the fly rod was my grandpa's (Sam's great grandpa)! I hope when he is older that he thinks it is as cool as I do.

In other news, Crystal has returned to work and Sam is now going to "school". So far we really like where he is staying. Apparently he is getting plenty of stimulus because since his first day at school he has slept thru the entire night every night since! We both know how lucky we are. That is quite an accomplishment. We put him to bed between 8:30 and 9:00 and we usually have to physically wake him up in the morning to get the day started! He really is a great baby.

Recently we also got to take a "mini" vacation up in Virginia. We made a quick day trip over to West Va. to see some family. It was good to see them and catch up a little. Sadly, one of our cousins was battling cancer and she lost her battle a few days after we were there. On a lighter note, we were able to spend some time with my parents and our nephews.Here's RB ad Ben in front of a hut in the "indian village". And yes, he does have a mohawk that has since been cut. :)

We also got to have a get together with some of Crystal's mother's side of the family later that same weekend up in Hillsville, VA. It was good to meet family that I hadn't met yet and introduce everyone to Samuel.Here's me and Sam with his pawpaw Combs.

Here are more pictures if any of you are interested.

And, hopefully, this Friday will be Sam's first football game as local high school action starts this week. We're contemplating heading up to Mt. Airy to Crystal's alma mater to watch them take on the local Elkin football team. I love this time of year!

24 July 2007

A mini vacation

Crystal and I took Sam for his 2 month doctor check-up today. Dr. G said everything looked perfect and he was progressing just like he was supposed to be. Sam weighed in at 13 lbs. 9 oz. and was 24.5 inches long! It amazes me to think that in 2 months time he gained almost 4 pounds and got 3.5 inches longer! The time has flown by. With that in mind, Crystal returns to work next week. She has said that she is looking forward to getting back to work and interacting with people again, but she is sure gonna miss the boy.

Tomorrow (wed. the 25th), we are headed up to Clifton Forge, VA for a "mini" vacation. I have been going up there the better part of my life to some family friend's home place. They have a really cool camp site on the Cowpasture River. I know, it sounds weird, but it's just a name. This time we're not camping though. Probably wouldn't be the easiest of tasks with a 2 month old. But, his camping experiences will begin in the next year! We are actually gonna stay in the home place along with my mom and dad and our 2 nephews. It should be a fun trip and hopefully Crystal will be able to relax a little before heading back to work. I'll try to get some photos up when we return!

16 July 2007

The 4th

I hope this finds everyone well and we hope that you had a safe and happy 4th of July. We had a fun, yet busy time, as I am sure most everyone did as well. On Tuesday the 3rd, the boy was officially 6 weeks old and Crystal and I took him for his first haircut! Of course we are new at this parenting stuff, but we were assured that it was absolutely amazing that a 6 week old baby was having their 1st haircut.

We took some pictures of before, during, and after and I even took some video of the haircut. Here's Sam in the parking lot of the salon ready to have his locks 'shortened'.
As you can see, his hair was well down over his ears...and his momma just couldn't take it anymore! He did not seem to like being in the chair as Crystal was holding him, but as soon he got a bottle he was fine.

On Wednesday, we headed down to Baton to my parents house to have a 4th of July cook out. We were joined by David & Lynn Blythe, along with David & Brandy Blythe and Cortlyn and Koda.We all had a good time and were able to catch up with each other.

After the holiday on Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to be able to take off Thursday and Friday and spend time with Crystal and Sam. It amazes me to think that in just a couple of more weeks that Crystal will have to return to work and I'll be taking Samuel to daycare every day!

Friday brought us a visit from Rodney and Erin Phillips since they were in from Knoxville. And it was very good to see them.
We were able to spend some time together and even got to go over to "The Depot" for supper that evening.

Of course all good things must come to an end and very soon the new work week had crept up on us all. It was good to get to see family and friends and we continue to miss those we don't get to see very often.

Now for the grand finale. :) Crystal has taken Sam to have his picture made once a month for the 1st year of his life. Obviously, we are only on month #2, but we did get that picture back today and here it is for all to see. Samuel says "Happy 4th everybody"!

I've uploaded more photos of the past few weeks. Go take a LOOK.

And finally, we're very glad to have our friends Shawn and Shelly Blythe back from China (they had to go over there for work). Check out their BLOG for more details. Welcome home!

21 June 2007

1 month

Well, we are getting accustomed to having another person with us all the time now. Tomorrow (Friday), Sam will be 1 month old. He and Crystal are doing very well. Of course, like all new parents, we have been taking pictures all the time, only some of which I will put on here!

Daddy changing a nasty diaper.

Mommy, Sam, and Maddie.

Sam is growing like a weed. At his 2 week checkup he had gained 8 ounces and grew an additional inch! Most babies only gain back to their original birth weight in the first two weeks and ours gains a half a pound! He went from eating about an ounce at a feeding at the hospital and the following days to eating about 4 ounces at 2 weeks old, and now at 4 weeks old, he's chowing down 6 ounces per feeding! I'm gonna have to get the boy a steak knife soon! :)

Sam likes to sleep on dad.

And Maddie likes to give "high fives".

On Monday, Crystal took Sam to have his "1 month old" pictures made. She is going to take him every month for his first year to have pictures made. She was able to pick up the pictures from Monday's session today. And here it is....

Parenthood is definitely a new experience, but I don't think either one of us would trade it for the world.

24 May 2007

The boy is here

Samuel Merritt Duncan has arrived. He was born early on Tuesday morning at 3:30 am and now shares his birthday with his momma, 22 May.

As stated in the previous post, we were scheduled for an induction on Monday. The hospital gave us 4 call times to expect them to call. The first was 5AM. We both got up early to get ready just in case they called. 5am came and went so we decided to go back to bed and try to get some more rest since the next call time was not until 9am. The phone rang at about 6:30 and we both practically jumped out of bed. It was the hospital and they were ready for us. Needless to say, we quickly and nervously headed out the door.

By the time we reached the hospital, filled out the necessary paperwork, and got settled into our labor and delivery room, it was approximately 8am on Monday morning(we live an hour from the hospital). The nurses came in and got Crystal hooked up to an IV and we waited for the doctor to come check her out. He got to the room around 8:30 and decided to see how far she had dilated. She was still at a 1, which she had been for the past three weeks. He then decided to go ahead and break her water to help the process along. At about 10am the nurse had Crystal get up to walk. We walked for an hour around the 4th floor and came back to our room. She then started receiving "pitocin" by the IV. This causes the contractions to be "harder" than normal. After a few hours it was getting to the point that she was hurting very badly in her back, to the point of not being able to take it. The doctor gave her a shot of 'Stadol' which eased her pain for awhile, then it was back to severe pain. We then decided it was time for the epidural.

Let me say that Crystal is terrified of needles, but at this point, the large needle in her back was a welcomed thought. And what a difference it made! Once they got her epidural started, which in itself was not a pleasant experience, she quickly started feeling much better. I think she even began to realize that she didn't actually hate me!

After hours of contractions she was progressing slowly. Every couple of hours the doctor would come in to check her progress only to say that she had dilated 1 more centimeter. But, he was confident that she was still doing well even though a little slow and was sure that she could have the baby. Finally around 1:30am on Tuesday morning she had reached the 10 centimeter mark. With the help of the nurse on one leg and me on the other, Crystal started pushing. It would take her 2 hours!

The doctor finally came in just as Crystal had gotten very close to actually getting him out. With a few more pushes, she had his head out, and it only took her one more to get the rest of him out!

Of course, after making sure she was ok, I grabbed the camera and started taking pictures while they were cleaning up Crystal and Sam. Our hectic day and most of the night was finally over.

And we had our boy. He was 21 inches long and weighed in at 9 pounds 12 ounces! And has the fullest head of hair that anyone has seen!

This is his newborn picture taken about 3 hours after he was delivered! They actually had to comb his hair!

So, we are home now and trying to adjust to our new life and roles as parents. It is going to be awesome! I would like to thank everyone that came by to see us and for all the calls. It means alot that we have such caring family and friends. And stay tuned...I'm sure there will be much more about this kid on this blog!

*Many more pictures can be seen HERE.

20 May 2007

Weekend update

No...not of the Saturday Night Live variety.

Crystal and I went to the OB/GYN on Friday. The doctor "stripped her membranes" again. For more info on that click HERE.

They also said that if the boy isn't here this weekend that we would schedule an induction for Monday. As it is very late Sunday night, we are assuming that this will happen tomorrow!

The way Forsyth Hospital does this is to put you on a waiting list. We are to stay at home tomorrow awaiting a phone call. If there is room, we will receive a phone call at 5am, 9am, 1pm, or 5pm tomorrow. We have one hour to arrive and induction will begin. Apparently, induction is more painful that "regular" labor. The drug that is administered, "PITOCIN", causes stronger than normal contractions. We we're all hoping that it wouldn't come to this, but, the boy seems adamant that he is not quite ready to see us yet.

I am hoping that all goes well tonight/tomorrow and the next post you will read is about the arrival of Sam!

We really appreciate your thoughts and prayers!

I hope to update soon.....come on Sam!

09 May 2007

A quick update

Lots of you are asking about Crystal and the boy. We are still patiently awaiting the arrival of Samuel.

The doctor said this week, at the last checkup, that he has dropped even lower. Maybe he'll show up this weekend near his due date? Or maybe he'll put off his arrival until a lil later. Anyway, thanks for all the calls and concerns. I'll let ya know when he decides to grace us with his presence!

31 March 2007

Another dog

We are currently "fostering" another dog. To make a long story short, the owners decided that they didn't want the dog anymore and were going to take him to the pound. Crystal couldn't stand the thought of it so we now have an approximately 5 month old full blooded yellow lab puppy! His name is Luke and so far he's actually been a good puppy. No chewing and minimal whining.

Now, some of you maybe wondering what is wrong with Maddie. We wanted to get her professionally "groomed" and told them that we wanted the "summer cut". Well, needless to say, I nor Crystal realized what the "summer cut" was. Obviously the "summer cut" is just shaved. I could've done that! Poor little thing looks pitiful.

Of course I think it's funny and I'm pretty sure she won't be going back to a groomer. But she's still a good dog and her and Sage have accepted Luke into the pack very quickly.

If you know of anyone that's looking for a good dog, or possibly you yourself, get in touch with me and we'll get this puppers a good home!

UPDATE: (3 April) Luke has a new home. Crystal's boss's father recently had to have his long time friend, also a lab, put to sleep. He was more than happy to have Luke come to live with him!

18 March 2007

The boy has a name!

We have finally decided on a name for the boy with only 8 weeks left until his scheduled arrival.

I never knew how hard it was to name a kid! But the name we have finally decided on is...

Samuel Merritt Duncan

Merritt is the name that I have been pulling for all along. Merritt was the name of my great great great (3) grandfather. However, my lovely wife was adamant that it wasn't going to be his first name. After many names and much discussion we decided on Samuel, as it is my middle name, and the name of my great great (2) grandfather that I was named after.

And with the pressure of naming him gone, we look forward, with great anticipation of meeting our Sam.

26 February 2007

3d/4d Ultrasound

This past weekend Crystal and I went and had an elective ultrasound session for the baby. This type of ultrasound allows you to actually "see" features of the baby that a traditional ultrasound does not. We did some research on the web and decided to go with a place in Hickory, NC called "Baby in Me 4d".

The cool thing is that you can take family and friends with you if they so wish. Unfortunately, Crystal's folks weren't able to join us so I called my sister, Jessica, to see if she wanted to see her nephew "early". Needless to say, she was more than happy to go. This past Saturday, Crystal and I met up with my folks and my sister to have the ultrasound. It was an amazing experience and I am so glad we decided to do it.

Also, along with the package we chose there was a one year membership for a website called BabyPeeks. I have uploaded more photos to this site that you can go see and I'm sure I'll be keeping you up-to-date on that site as I will here on blogspot. The link to that site is HERE and I have put a link in the "Links" section as well.

Enough of the talking...here's some pictures!

05 February 2007

Hilarious baby video

Some or all of you may have seen this but I just saw it a few weeks ago for the first time. Very funny stuff. I only hope I'm not gonna be like this!

As always, click play to watch.

30 January 2007

The 5th Annual winter camping trip

This past Saturday night was the annual winter camping trip. As stated in an earlier post, Chad and I started this tradition in 2002. This year only three of us made the trip, Chad, Dave, and I.

Chad was the first to arrive. He brought along his dad and son for the first part of the day. Isaac helped setup the tent and build the fire but had the most fun throwing rocks into the creek.

Dave and I arrived around 3:30 pm and got the tent and beds setup.
Then it was time to set back and enjoy the fire.

The night's menu consisted of cowboy beans prepared by yours truly. Cowboy beans are nothing more than some browned burger (I used venison burger), beans, onions, bacon (although I left it at home), and a few other spices. We got a hole dug to cook in, Chad placed some coals in the hole, I sat the dutch oven in the hole and Chad placed some more coals on top. After a few minutes we stirred and let cook for a few more minutes and it was time to eat. And was it good!!! Dave, who doesn't like beans, even loved it!

We all headed off to bed around 12:30am and crawled into our warm sleeping bags. There was some rain, snow, sleet that fell that night, but nothing major and the three of us decided when we got up that morning that it wasn't as cold this year as it was last year.

We got up Sunday morning and quickly got the fire going again as there were still coals left from the night before.
Once we warmed back up we started the not so pleasant task of taking down camp. That's always my least favorite part of camping. But I am already looking forward to next year's trip!

UPDATE: In response to a comment left about a previous post("It is Time"), I have found a website that has weather data from previous years. As soon as Chad and I can determine the dates from previous year's trips, I will post the temperatures from those camping trips. This year's trip was, as we suspected, not as cold as previous trips. The temperature at midnight was 36 degrees warming to 41 at 3 am and then falling to 31 degrees by the time we rolled out of our bags at 9 am!

26 January 2007

The song changes again

The songs on the blog are probably gonna change more often now...due in part to the fact that no one comments on what is currently playing, therefore, I can play whatever I like!

The new song is "Send me on my way" by Rusted Root. I was introduced to Rusted Root by a friend in Montana. A greart band in my opinion...and a great song! Enjoy.

This should surprise absolutely NO one

Saw this quiz on another website. I decided to take it for fun. Not a shocker here! :)

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The South

That's a Southern accent you've got there. You may love it, you may hate it, you may swear you don't have it, but whatever the case, we can hear it.

The Midland
The Northeast
The Inland North
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

25 January 2007

It is time

...for the annual "freeze your butt off" camping trip. A very close friend, Chad Muri, and I began this tradition the year we both returned from living in Montana. Every year we gather at a remote camping spot on a forest service road near Mount Mitchell to hold our "cold weather" camping trip. This year seems to be shaping up to be one of the coldest! Currently the forecast calls for a low of 26 degrees on Saturday night.

For the first few years it was only Chad and I that would brave the cold.This picture was from the 2004 trip. Chad's Marmot tent is in the foreground and you can see my tent a little further back in the snow....obviously cold that year!

Last year we had some company, not only with us, but someone was actually in our traditional camping spot. Many forest service roads are closed during the winter and the one we choose to camp on is no exception. Since another party was where we normally stay, we adapted and moved up the road to the next available spot. That meant hauling all our gear and firewood further than normal.
Here, Dave hauls the firewood Chad has brought from the truck to the camp site.

Last year the trip was in March and Chad and I were joined by David Blythe and Jerry Bartle. This year's team looks like it will only be Chad, Dave, and I. With Chad and Dave already having boys of their own, and my boy on the way, I look forward to the trips that see us all sharing the joy of the winter camping trip together!
"Dave (sitting) and Chad enjoy the warmth of the fire while I (at the tent) only wish I was closer to the fire)"

Anywho, our trip is planned for this weekend, Saturday the 27th of January 2007 and the forecast is quite chilly. Check back next week for this year's pictures and stories...and as always, anyone is welcomed to join us! Just let me know if you want to come!

Until then.....

19 January 2007

New song

As Eddie says... a song about breaking your depression.

Enjoy! Pearl Jam: Down

Hurry home Shelly

A great friend of ours left yesterday for a month long stint in China. Her job requirements involve training the chinese to run certain machines that she has the MOST experience operating. Hurry home Shelly...we'll miss you.

Her blog can be found here.

18 January 2007

A quote from Appalachia

The book I have been reading is a comprehensive history of the Appalachian region. While extensive history and lore is recorded in it's pages, one passage stands out to me. And I quote:

'...There is no fundamental agreement even how to pronounce the word "Appalachia." Residents of southern and central Appalchia pronounce the term with a short a in the stressed third syllable; further north, the same a is given a longer pronunciation, as in "Appal-ay-chia." Most of the experts and bureaucrats who came from Washington and elsewhere to fix the region's problems beginning in the 1960's adopted the northern pronunciation, while resident experts favor the southern--which led to a situation, according to one commentator, wherein "people who said "appal-ay-chia" were perceived as outsiders who didn't know what they were talking about but were more than willing to tell people from the mountains what to do and how they should do it."'

And my point of view?.....there is only ONE way to pronounce Appalachia and IT IS NOT "appal-ay-chia"!!!

17 January 2007

Weird squatter

So I came home yesterday from work and went downstairs to get the woodstove going so the house would warm up since it was supposed to be (and was) downright cold last night. I get some wood from the porch, opened the door to the stove to toss it in and get it going, and I see a little fur ball hunkered down in the corner. Being startled, I instinctively slammed the door back shut. Once I regained my composure I reopened the door to take a look. The critter didn't so much as move a muscle so I used the fire poker to give it a little prod. Nothing...

So I nudged it a little harder. Still nothing. This obviously wasn't working so I reached in and picked up the little guy. STILL nothing. Now I'm thinking maybe it's dead.

Turns out it wasn't. What had moved in over night was a Glaucomys volens, commonly known as a southern flying squirrel. It would softly jerk ever so slightly and ever so often in my hand. Turns out, after doing some reading, that these little guys are completely nocturnal and it may take them up to 40 minutes to wake up!

Flying squirrels are "cavity nesters", meaning they find cavities in trees, etc. to make their home. Apparently this one had found the flue that vents outside of the chimney while the stove was cold Monday night (since it wasn't very cold here) and decided to see if this would be a good home. It musta been like heaven. A long dark tunnel into a very spacious and comfy "cavity" being the actual woodstove!

Anyways, after having Crystal take a few pictures
I placed the squirrel securely in a wood pile out of the cold wind and hoped he wake up soon enough and find another nest.

He wasn't back in the stove today so I guess he figured it out!

09 January 2007

The 1st snow of 2007

It's Tuesday the 9th of January 2007 at approximately 10:20 PM and it is snowing. It's been snowing here for about 15 minutes. We got some flurries early today but nothing substantial, not that this is at all substantial, but it is trying to lay. I wonder if the grocery stores have any bread and milk left? LOL...why do people here always freak out when winter weather is here and go buy bread and milk? Always thought that very strange.

From the basement porch overlooking the front yard.

And Sage isn't quite sure what to think...she was barking at the snow earlier.

It occurs to me how much fun I'll have next winter when I can take the boy out and play in the snow for his first time.....

08 January 2007

1st weekend of 2007

Crystal and I were able to sneak out of town on Friday and travel to Knoxville, Tennessee. We got there late, around 10 PM, and were warmly greeted by the Phillips'! We got to chat and catch up before heading to bed later that night. On Saturday morning we all got up and got ready and headed out for a day together.

Breakfast was devoured at the closest Cracker Barrel and then we headed south to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Rodney got us to Chattanooga, but he didn't quite make his "record" time of 45 minutes! Today was more around the average of an hour and a half. We went to Chattanooga to go to the Tennessee Aquarium. What an amazing place! If you enjoy fish, aquariums, wildlife, or simply getting out and seeing all the amazing creatures that we share the Earth with, you owe it to yourself to see this place.

There are two different displays to immerse yourself in. We started with the River Journey. Basically the aquarium is setup to take you from the high mountain streams and creeks on your journey towards the ocean.

So, naturally for Rodney and I, we began where we are most at home, up in the mountains chasing trout. And they sure have an impressive habitat created for our favorite fish.

Here's the gang in front of some more trout minus Rod since he was being the camerman.

And Crystal was able to catch me mesmerized by the school...

Moving further down thru the exhibit, Crystal caught a grey and a green tree frog staring at each other...
and some turtles and an egret overlooking some carp and small alligators!

On the lower levels, an aquarium diver was "hard at work" hand feeding the fish including this enormous catfish!

Ever seen one of these? These fish are some of the oldest species that still exist today around the world and in America. I was able, while living and working in Montana, to actually get to handle one of these amazing fish. They re known as sturgeon and there are many subspecies in existance.

The River Journey exhibit has "Rivers of the World". They showcase river systems of the world and these Mandarin ducks are found in Japan.

After finishing the "River Journey" you still have an entire different exhibit to view. This is known as the "Ocean Journey" and as the name implies, takes you on a journey through the ecosystems of the worlds oceans and creatures. Hyacinth macaws welcomed us into their habitat.
There is also a butterfly exhibit to see many different species and they have their own butterfly "farm".

A crab says hello...

and, while beautiful, I would not want to see this if I were a diver!

After finishing our tour of the Tennessee Aquarium, we headed around the block and took in some local shops, including my crew leader Jim's, long time friend's, Roger Wright, fudge shop, the Fudge Wrights, located adjacent to the aquarium. If you go, stop in and say hello! From here we walked over to the Big River Grille and Brewing Works for lunch. Sadly, at least for Crystal and Erin, their favorite Dookies suffered their first loss of the season to Virginia Tech, while the Tarheel fans of the group tried not to rub it in too bad.

After a nice day in Chattanooga it was time to head back to Knoxville for Crystal and I to check into our B&B for the night, also made possible by our hosts Rodney and Erin (last year they gave us a gift certificate for our wedding to stay here!) The room that we had was the Oak Suite at the Maple Grove Inn. This bed and breakfast was originally built in 1799 and turned into a B&B in 1993. Crystal and I got there, checked in, and learned that we were the only guests to be there that night. Not only that, we were gonna be the only people there that night! It is a little spooky to be somewhere you've never been, in a house that is 206 years old, and be all by yourself. We had a great time and it was a really nice place. We got all cleaned up and met Rodney, Erin, and Dylan once again to go out and get some supper. We chose Calhoun's, partly because it has great food and partly because it has it's own brewery with excellent beer and Rodney and I just happen to go camping and fishing with the head brewmaster!

Sadly we had to say goodnight and goodbye to the Phillips' and head home the next day to head back to Wilkes County, but we had a great trip with great friends and what a way to kick off the new year. Here's to many more!

Until next time...