Saturday, June 20, 2009

Best Kindergarten Teacher EVER

Ryan visited our dear friend, Mrs Velasquez's, Kindergarten class last week to volunteer (year round school). They fibbed a little and said Ryan was a famous actor. Christy has trained her students so well. She has not only taught them reading, writing, and arithmetic but also advanced vocabulary including "economic downturn" and "glorious." After explaining that Ryan had a master's degree, she asked the kids what they thought of that. They all gave him a standing ovation. Here are a few of the drawings and writings of her class to thank Ryan for playing and reading with them.
"I liked when Ryan made us read the book and asked us questions. I like Ryan because he is" continued to say "jokes and playful and funny." The picture is of Ryan telling the class he couldn't read and the class laughing.

"I love when Ryan came to visit our class. Ryan is a actress. I love Ryan. He is the best and the world's best actress."

notice the red carpet

Sunday, June 14, 2009

36 Hours in Reasearch Triangle, NC

The New York Times has a fun series where they go to a place for 36 hours and tell you what's cool to do, where to eat, and where to stay. In the paper today, their destination was the triangle.
First the article. Here is a condensed version of what they like. I've included links to places we've actually been to:

North Carolina Museum of Art
Eno River State Park
Durham Bulls Minor League Baseball

Father & Son Antiques
The Scrap Exchange

Food and Drink:
Poole's Downtown Diner
Raleigh Times
Taqueria La Vaquita
The Pit
Mama Dip's

Cats Cradel

Stay :
Umstead Hotel, Carolina Inn, or Arrowhead Inn

Being two year residents here, I liked the article and wanted to give you our version on the triangle in 36 hours if you were to come visit us. So 36 hours in the triangle, a little Raleigh heavy, Lindgren style:

It seems our favorite places to go with people are to these three:

Duke Homestead and Tobacco Museum
The famous Duke family earned all of there money bringing Tobacco to the masses, and later gave their fortune to Duke University and Hospitals to try to make up for it. This sight of their old homestead has a cool tour where you learn how tobacco was cured and get to tour their old home and see how tobacco is grown in a field nearby. There is also a cool museum to Tobacco that was done in the 80's before Tobacco companies became the villains they are know as today. There are heroic pictures of tobacco farmers, and even a Liberty Bell replicated from hundreds of pounds of compressed tobacco.

Umstead State Park
Right in the middle of everything is a 5,579-acre park park that is about 15 minutes away from our apartment. It is a great place to see fireflies on a summer hike, ride your mountain bike, or canoe in the lake.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Right in downtown Raleigh near the State Capitol, this museum is free, big, and modern. They have a Butterfly Arboretum at the top, Whale Skeletons on the first floor, and lots of fun things to see in between.

Honorable Mentions: Durham Bulls games are cool and so is the Tobacco district in Durham. We've been to one Tar Heels game since we've been here and would go to more but tickets are hard to come by.

eh Target? We have a few Trader Joe's around which is essential, but does grocery shopping count?. Cameron Village has some fun shops if you're into the whole shopping thing.

Food and Drink:
Best BBQ place the Pit? Not good enough to try to those I've spoken to. I've tried out about seven different BBQ places in the area and my favorite is Clyde Coopers' BBQ. It's a cash only greasy spoon in an old brick building downtown. They sell pig ears for your dog in a bucket near the cashier. There are booths and a lunch counter. They bring out pork rines and super tasty fluffy hush puppies when you arrive. Every plate is around six bucks. The BBQ sauce is vinegar based with pepper and no tomato in it at all. True Eastern Carolina Q. The slaw is heavy on the vinegar as well. A true treat you can't get anywhere outside of the area.

Dessert and Large portioned dinners can be found at the cute 40's themed Hayes Barton Cafe. The Chicken Pot Pie and salads are great. The best part is the pieces of cake for dessert that are as big as your head. The coconut cake and chocolate pecan are definitely the best thing there.

Big Eds City Market is a great place to eat breakfast for a hot bowl of grits. They have a brass band outside some mornings. Also if you are in a hurry, the triumph of the Southern Culture is the chicken biscuit. If you like it a little sweet, go to Chick-fil-A, If you like it spicy, go to Bojangles.

They close down the main street in Raleigh one night in September For Raleigh Wide Open. We went right after we moved here. Last year we tried to go but it was too rainy. Last year we missed Chuck Berry and Arrested Development. This year who will it be?

Also at Moore square park in downtown Raleigh in the summer they invite formerly famous bands to play for free. This years highlights are Joan Jett, the Charlie Daniels Band and Candelbox.

Stay: We have an extra bedroom and love to have visitors. It's near a lake with a walking trail. We always clean for guests. We cook some, play board games, and probably wake up after you.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I survived!

Julie convinced me to sign up for my first triathlon. It was so much fun. Most of my anxiety was because I didn't know what to expect. I figured out a good strategy for swimming the hard way (even though Julie told me what to do in the first place). Biking was a little slow but I got a second wind with running. I did listen to my ipod while biking and running. I listened to an hour of General Conference while biking and music like Britney Spears, Warren G and Black-eyed Peas while running. Maybe that is why I did better running. There was a 72 year old woman racing who rocked the mic. Amazing! It was so much fun, Julie and I have already signed up for Peachtree City triathlon in August!