It's that time of year again...

For presents, movies, fires, and Alex's Annual Top Ten (or 5 or 11 or whatever) Blog! Saddle up folks, this one might be good! If not, well there's always next year.

Top 5 Trips of the Year (lots to choose from!)
5. Ruby Springs Lodge, MT. Fishing, shooting, laughing, Moscow Muling.
4. Watercolor Beach, FL with Ashley's family. Sun, bikes, sun, beers, food, and sun. LOVED IT.
3. Camping with Molly and Will. Have you met them? You should.
2. Surprise visit to Georgia for Mother's Day. Holy surprise!
1. Did you have to ask? HONEYMOON!!!! DUH.

Top 8 phrases of the year
8. Brotally (hybrid of bro and totally)
7. Y.O.L.O. (You Only Live Once - thanks Chris Brickell for that one!)
6. "Toyota Service, how may I help you?" Glad those days are over!
5. "Chevrolet Service, what's the problem with YOUR car?" Glad those are over too!!
4. "You gotta get your veggg". Worker in Antigua on why they eat so healthy there.
3. GO DUCKS. Need I say more?
2. "I DO". I said that on March 20.
1. "I DO". She said that on March 20. SCORE!

Top 10 Books Read this year
Oh wait, I didn't read that many. Some honorable mentions..."Little Bee", "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years", "Don't Blink"

Top 5 Favorite TV Shows of the Year
5. The Office
4. Keeping up with the Kardashians. Wait, what?
3. Modern Family - Laugh out loud every episode!!
2. The Biggest Loser
1. Survivor!!!

Top 5 games of the year!
5. Catchphrase!
4. Yahtzee!!
3. Battle of the Sexes!!!
2. Words with Friends!!!!

Top 5 Family Members
5. Really, you tought I'd actually do that?? Pfff.

Top ? Things Learned this year
1. Ashley is a great chef!
2. Ashley is a great launderer!
3. Alex is neither (see "failed steak dinner" and "shrunken sweater" categories)
4. Ashley loves making things. Wreathes, plants, Christmassy things, creative things
5. Alex loves to run but never does it......
6. Ashley actually liked Spin class!
7. So did Alex
8. Still got the magic...sold 11 cars this year and didn't work 1 day in the Sales Department!
9. Drove approximately 12 cars this year...liked the Toyota Sequoia the best.
10. Ashley is a great wife...but you already knew that, didn't you?

Top 5 iPhone Apps. Am I a geek or what?
5. ForkFly. Coupons in Portland galore!!
4. Twitter
3. Words with Friends
2. PDXBus (saved our butts many times!!)
1. Facetime. How freaking cool is that?

Are you tire of this yet??? ME NEITHER!!

Top 3 Marriage Moments

3. Ashley's Birthday. She finally got a good one!
2. Christmas tree decorating. It was interesting.... but we ended up friends, so it worked out.
1. Honeymoon. End of story.

Top 5 things Ashley caught while fishing in Montana
5. A bush
4. A bridge
3. A hat
2. the boat
1. A FISH!!!

Top CD's of the year
3. Jamie Cullum. What that this year or last? Can't remember. Who cares it was good!
2. Project 4. Shout out to Mark Wade! Buy it in iTunes...support him...
1. Dave Barnes Christmas Album. BUY IT NOW, QUICK!

Top New People Met or struck up a friendship with this year. To be PC, there is no order here!
1. Brody (www.nivenspt.com). Once an enemy (kind of in high school - we were idiots). Now a friend and getting me in shape!!
1. Terah soon to be Wade. A wonderful addition to the Wade family!
1. Molly. Funny how you meet people and take it from there!
1. Gene. Your architectural plans will shape my future. Literally!
1. Will. Have you met him yet? Why not?
1. Eric. Duck fan, loud like me = great guy!
1. Whitney. Also a Duck fan, keeps Eric in order, easy to hang with!

Top 6 Memories from 2010
6. December 9, 2010. 1st Annual Casebeer Ornament Exchange! What a night!
5. June 18,2010. Watercolor Beach, FL. LOVED IT!
4. March 21, 2010. First day of the best vacation ever...aka HONEYMOON!
3. December 4, 2010. Civil War win sends DUCKS to the National Championship game!!!!
2. February 9, 2010. RRRRHHHOOODDDDEEESSSSS!!!!!!!!!!
1. March 20, 2010. BOOM. MARRIED!

Well friends, its been a great year. Maybe I'll be better at posting more next year. I hope so! I hope that your 2010 has been wonderful as well, but you know what? 2011 is going to be a great one regardless. Starting with a DUCK victory on January 10!!! Anyway, enjoy the Christmas season and until next time, make a top 10 memory before the year is over. You won't regret it!


What's your favorite color?

Don't ask Ashley this question on Sundays. Any other day, fire away. But on Sunday? Stay away from anything having to do with Blue. Why, you ask? Well, there is a phenomenon I hadn't heard of until recently (read: marriage). It's called "The Sunday Night Blues". Da daaaaa da dun (sing with me). Da daaaaaa da dun.

It's inevitable. Every Sunday night (unless Monday is a holiday, then it's the Monday night blues) about 6 o clock the blues come upon us. It starts with a rather frank statement, something like "Babe, I think I've got the Sunday night blues". I say, "NO YOU DON'T, IT'S ALL MENTAL! FEND IT OFF!!!" Then she says, definitively, "Yep, they're here". Dang.

Most Sundays I can't do anything to stop the blues. Sometimes you just have to talk about Monday. How bad it's going to be, and long with week is, and far off the next weekend is. But not me! I'm an optimist! I'm going to work out more this week! And we are going to have some great dinners and have the best week ever and hey, the weekend is right around the corner! But not those afflicted with the Sunday Night Blues. It is a very bleak outcome. However, I figured out a few solutions. Here are my tips for curing the Sunday night blues:

1) Beef Stew. It was cold, rainy, and sucky. Stew helps all of that.
2) Yahtzee. What else do you do while you wait for stew?
3) Wine. Well that helps a lot of things, and the blues is one of them.
4) Conversation. Take her mind off the blues!!!!
5) Movie. In our case, it was reruns of "Sister Wives". Disturbing, but it took her mind away from the blues and into happiness.

Once I heard of these blues, I was convinced that they were indigenous to Ashley. Nope. My friend Kevin has them too. Every Sunday. I tested my theory last night, and sure enough - he had the blues. So does Ashley's Dad. He had the Sunday night blues even when he was here and he had one day left to visit!

They are unstoppable my friends. Don't give in. Don't let the Sunday night blues take you over. Stay positive! Have a glass of wine - it's healthy, in more ways than one! Eat a big fat meal and watch trashy TV! It will make Monday morning much easier.

Until next time, enjoy MY favorite colors - GREEN AND YELLOW!!!!


Ducks, Doc and the Drive

What time is it? Update time! Not that anyone cares, but here are some recent thoughts, experiences and reactions to the world around me (and the world not so close).

Did you hear about what happened to the Ducks? They scored another touchdown! Ba doom, ching! Man the Oregon Ducks look good this year. Granted, the 1st half of the Tennessee game was crapola, but the 3 halves they have played thus far have been a) unstoppable. b) shutouts and c) exciting! I love watching the Ducks when they are in rhythm. It is one of Oregon's best qualities!! I'll be attending this weeks slaughtering, if you are interested.

How about some recent "Service Drive" experiences at work? Here are some typical conversations I have each day. In person, mind you.
- Hi there, how can I help you?
- Well, I can certainly do my best. I noticed that there is some scrapes under the front bumper. Did you maybe run over a few curbs?
- (silence). Yeah maybe one or two. How much will it be to fix it?

- Hi there, what can I do for you today?
- Ma'am (or sir), did you happen to notice that all interior lights are currenty on?
- Were they on this morning?
- Did you leave them on possibly all nigth?
- (silence) How much for any oil change?

And lastly this interatction...
- Ok ma'am, let me try to understand. You are telling me that the windows just fall down?
- Ok. When does this happen?
- Normally at the end of a day at my house. You need to fix this.
- I will certainly do my best. Tell me a little more about this condition. Do you have kids?
- Why?
- I am just wondering.
- Yes I do. They are 4 and 6.
- Do they sit in the rear ever?
- (silence).........yes.
- Is it possible that they are rolling the windows down and you might not notice?

Just another typical day on the service drive!

And now on to a more serious topic - Doc. For those of you who either live in North Carolina or have read my blog, you have met Doc Hendley with Wine to Water. He is an incredible man on an incredible mission. Currently, Doc is in Cambodia in the Sway Reign region digging wells so that these people have fresh water for the first time in their lives. 80% of the deaths in this region are directly related to poor water quality. Unbeleivable stat! So Doc is doing something about. Please check out their new blog, it is awesome. Video updates, great photots...go to http://winetowater.org/blog

Well that's all for now friends. I have uploaded some pictures from our recent adventures here in Oregon! Until next time, roll up your windows!


The Casebeers Went Camping!

Or shall I say, the Casebeers did nothing while our friends treated us to a great weekend in the wilderness. I have no idea how to set up a tent, no clue how to cook food outdoors, and did not know that I couldn't burn my Styrofoam cup in our bonfire. But you know what? Everything worked out OK.

Our good friends Molly and Will - freshly married 4 weeks ago!! - took us camping on the beautiful and scenic Oregon coast this weekend. We loved it! Will and I arrived a little late due to work and school duties, but when we got there Molly and Ashley has already set up the tent, had a fire going and had the wine open! Needless to say I was impressed from the get go. What was even better was the fresh pot of coffee on Saturday morning. I was expecting to have to drive 10 miles in to Starbucks (I'm lame) but nooooo. Coffee was fresh, hot and tasted as good as anything else! Ashley and I were in charge of breakfast, which consisted of eggs, bacon, toast and lots of coffee. We were aided by the help of a great grill and competent friends.

After breakfast we wandered down the coast to check out some local historical landmarks. Devil's Punchbowl, Cape Perpetura, and the 500+ year old tree hidden miles back in the forest, tide pools, and the like. It was a beautiful day to be hiking around! The afternoon was filled with Bocci Ball, beers, more fire and no showering by Will and myself. The girls opted for the public restroom. I opted for poor hygiene. As it turns out, this was not much appreciated by Ashley come Sunday afternoon. Annnnnyywaaay.

Another revelation about camping is that you don't have to eat hot dogs over a campfire for dinner. You can eat grilled salmon, asparagus, warm bread and wood fired corn on the cob if you camp with the Marra's! I was shocked at how great dinner was. But then again, I'm not that smart and my expectations were out of whack. We had a great meal, great games by the fire and a great time together!

Sunday morning - more coffee, eggs, and sausage. More goodness. We had a few more sights to see and the road to hit. But leaving the camp site made me want to do more camping! I love sleeping in nature. I love fires. I love the fact that all you can do is play games and have great conversation. And eat all of Molly and Will's good food.

A camper tip, from the pro Alex: Don't sit too close to the fire or else an ember may fly out and hit you directly in the eyeball, causing a scab. True story.

Other thoughts from the camping trip:
- sleeping under the stars and by the ocean is better than not.
- sleeping not in a bed sort of sucks
- showering is overrated
- brushing your teeth is not
- TV, phones, music, electronics, etc....also overrated
- Fires will forever be fascinating
- I still hate sand, but love the beach. Go figure!

Well friends, enough rambling. But I did want to recommend to go camping at least once a year. I know we will. Until next time, take a shower for goodness sakes!!



Oftentimes I am extremely guilty of being content. And being content with being content. I am also guilty of not being grateful for what I have and appreciating the little things. I recently listened to a Dave Barnes song and it just made me think of "the big picture" - aka perspective. Here are the lyrics:

"We will have love, we will have pain. We will have days and days and days that feel the same.
We will have fear, we will have joy. There may be little girls and little boys.

We will have friends, we will have peace. There will lights and nights and music til you sleep.
We will be strong, though we were still weak. We will live thru so much more than we could take.

Amen, Amen. With the dawn the love began again.
Amen, Amen. What is done and yet to come, Amen

We will have hope, we will have doubt. There will be memories that we could never live without.
We will have tears, but there will be grace. There will be prayers that we never thought we'd pray.

Amen, Amen. With the dawn the love began again.
Amen, Amen. What is done and yet to come, Amen.

In the sun or the storm, the flood or the flame.
When everything's wrong and I'm the one to blame.
When heartache grow old, I swear I'll say Amen.

Amen. With the dawn the love began again.
Amen, Amen. What is done and yet to come, Amen."

I like this song. In fact, I love this song and you should immediately to go iTunes and download it! But I really feel like it says a lot about perspective. Interpret it how you may as well, but I think it has a lot to say.

More thoughts on perspective...

- The sound of grocery carts rolling down the street in our neighborhood.....perspective
- The fact that troops have been in the Middle East for 10 year....perspective
- I still have 4 grandparents....perspective
- Marriage is all around us, as is new life.....perspective
- I talked with 1 of only 200 living survivors of Pearl Harbor yesterday....perspective
- I have a wife who loves me.....perspective

I don't even know if any of that makes sense to anyone but me. But I guess that is what blogs are for. To put things in perspective. Until next time, experience something. Reflect on it. And realize the perspective of it all!


Recent memoirs

Some highlights and lowlights as of late

From the last month:
- Highlight(s): Going to Cour de Alene with Toyota and "The Lion King" with Ashley
- Lowlight: leaving Toyota Service Department and starting all over at Chevy Service Department

From the last 3 weeks:
- Highlight: 4th of July in Neskowin. Duh
- Lowlight: Working on the 5th of July when everyone else had it off

From the last 2 weeks:
- Highlight: Running 16 miles on a Saturday morning with my Mom and Uncle
- Lowlight: Running 16 miles on a Saturday morning with my Mom and Uncle

From the last week:
- Highlight: A weekend in Cannon Beach with great friends drinking amazing wine
- Lowlight: Drinking too much amazing wine

From this week:
- Highlight: Getting to hit golf balls at lunch
- Lowlight: Realizing that I need to hit more golf balls to stay good at golf

From today:
- Highlight: Dinner tonight with Ashley (Spicy Mustard and Brown Sugar Salmon with Cilantro/Ginger Rice.....and wine)
- Lowlight: Pulling a 75 year olds dentures out from in between his seat in his Cadillac.

Looking forward to next week:
- Highlights: Heading to Laguna Beach for a wedding!
- Lowlights: Work next Monday

Looking forward to next 2 weeks:
- Highlight: Oregon Best Ball golf tourney with best friend Matt and the highly anticipated Marra-Harding wedding!!! Can't wait!
- Lowlight: Missing Oregon Brewers Fest this weekend

Looking forward to next 3 weeks:
- Highlight: Another great friend's wedding in Bend! The Robinson-Cowart Nuptuals. Can't wait!
- Lowlight: Another weekend that we are gone from beautiful and exciting Portland!

OK that should catch you up on what is going on in our lives. And what we are looking forward to. What are YOU looking forward to? Any interesting lowlights as of late? Would love to hear some feedback! Until next time, don't get caught like a deer in the headlights! Or maybe you should...maybe it would be a great story...


A Tradition Like No Other

We all have our traditions, whether it be breakfast in bed for Mom on Mother's Day, camping over Labor Day, the summer trip with just the guys (or girls) or just coffee every morning with your wife. Tradition is a strong word that for many can conjure up great feelings. For me (and now Ashley), there is one tradition that we were just involved in that will forever be something we look forward to doing again. That is the infamous Neskowin 4th of July weekend celebration.

Neskowin turned 100 this year. It started as a small community of houses on the Oregon Coast and is now a haven of fun, family and rest. They have a small golf course, Proposal Rock, long beaches and exquisite views of the Pacific. There is one restaurant - Hawk Creek Cafe, which has the best cinnamon rolls and wood fired pizza on earth. There are signs everywhere made by children asking you to slow down. Practically every house could be in a magazine and the feeling you get going there is indescribable. But when 4th of July rolls around, everything changes. Everyone shows up and everyone goes America to the gills.

On the morning of the 4th it is go time. We wake up and Uncle Chris makes his famous Blood Mary's - complete with American Flag stir rods. Lots of people have caught on to this tradition and they show up around 8:00 to cash in on the free drink. You then gather the crew and costumes and walk down to the Flag Pole where the entire community gathers. The judges, who can be persuaded by six packs of beer or bottles of wine, walk around to every float and talk to the families and begin determining who is going to win the prizes. We, of course, put on the full show in the parking lot to tip the scales in our favor. At around 10:00, the parade begins. The funny thing is we are just parading for ourselves. No one really shows up for this other than the people who are there for the weekend. I like that.

As the parade rolls thru Neskowin, people are dancing and singing, putting on a show, showing off their costumes or cute kids and dressed up bicycles. The Casebeers of course are drinking our Blood Mary's on the float and singing as loud as we can. This year's theme was "Glee" - we had 3 choreographed dances to 3 different songs and man did we do it right!!! Once the parade gets back to the starting spot, everyone gathers at the Flag Pole to sing American Songs a Capella. It is beautiful. Jimmy leads the crowd as we all sing and celebrate freedom. Then the Blue Angels fly over and thunderously rock the town and drown out our voices, but only for a few seconds. We are back to the singing until Kay Kay decides its time to hand out the awards. Her family has been around Neskowin for over 80 years so it is fitting that she decides the winners. There are different awards handed out - Slightly Inappropriate, Best Family, Most American, Best Superheros, and Best in Show. When the awards are over, people begin to disband and most head to Judge Barbers for a complimentary Gin Fizz. Not much is wasted however, because the Sand Castle and Kite Flying contest is about to begin.

Chaos ensues as people scramble back to the house for lunch and getting ready for round 2. As the day rolls on, most awards are given, and by the end of the day pretty much every family or kid ends up with one. Its a feel good story, really. As nighttime comes, various parties are hosted and dinners and drinks are had. We crammed about 20 people in our house that sleeps 4 and waited for the bonfire, cigar and fireworks to end the night.

Leaving Neskowin is a strange feeling. You leave wanting more, you leave feeling like America is the best place to live, and you leave loving family and friends and tradition. You already talk about going back next year. It is truly one of the best traditions I have ever been involved in.

What about you? Do you have unforgettable memories with tradition? I encourage you to be apart of one, or you know what? Go out and create one. I read a book ("A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Don Miller) recently that encouraged me to be a part of a bigger and better story, or just go around creating fun stories. That is what Neskowin is all about. That is what life is all about. Until next time, let your tradition live on.


Life carries on. . .

Hello friends! I've given up on the honeymoon updates. You all know how it went anyway. It was amazing, the food was incredible, we relaxed and pampered ourselves beyond belief. I mean, really. How much better can a vacation get? We loved it and will never forget that week of our life.

Since being back, life is fun! We are enjoying Portland (although the weather SUCKS!) and enjoying life together. I love cooking, exploring the Hills of NW Portland (and Forrest Park!), making new friends and just figuring it all out together. That's really the best part.

We have had some great adventures so far! One of our top highlights was doing our first "Portland Hill Walk". It is from the book - creatively named - "Portland Hill Walks". It was more like "History of NW Portland while hiking 5 miles". We loved it! It took us from NW 25th and Raleigh all the way to Pittock Mansion, one of the highest elevations in all of Portland. We gained about 950 feet in elevation and learned so many cool things about the hills of Portland. Needless to say, we can't wait for our next walk!

Another great highlight was our recent trip to the beach with our friends Molly and Will. This was a great break from reality! A little wine tasting, a huge sand dune in Pacific City, and a great bonfire on the beach. It was so much fun getting to know them better and just getting away for a bit.

Other adventures include Ashley's amazing cooking, my amazing softball skills with the Capitol Auto Group team, and our double incredible apartment. But of course the best adventure to date was our surprise trip for Mother's Day to Alpharetta. We were missing the fam and needed to see them. So we surprised them all!! We literally just showed up in the house on a Thursdsy afternoon and everyone freaked. Needless to say, it was an amazing weekend and we can't wait to go back!

In the coming weeks there are more adventures for sure, but until next time, enjoy your city!


More Honeymoon Adventures. . .

When I left you last time we were just getting into the swing of things. We hadn't really made many friends, but were enjoying the sun, the rum and life together. We decided to take advantage of a few day trips the Island had to offer, the first being a snorkeling adventure on the Scaramouche ("scare-uh-moosh"). We didn't know what to expect, other than some great snorkeling. But we got much more than anticipated! The scenery, of course, was amazing. The boat was also pretty cool - it was used as an "extra" in the 1st Pirates of the Caribbean. Speaking of that movie, one of our destinations was an island they used in the movie! You know the scene where Jack Sparrow is marooned and finds the rum under the trees in the sand? Then they burn the island down to create a smoke signal? "Why is all the rum gone?" Yes, that island. Anyway, we quickly befriended the captain and some other people on board and had a great day. The only bummer was the monsoon that came in for an hour or so. But it made the experience all the better!

Another Island adventure we went on was a trip to Happy Island. We saw this place on our way to Palm Island and wanted to go. You see, there is this man made island about a mile off shore, and all it is is a bar. You'll see from the pictures below. It is literally a bar, and that is it. The owner (and builder) says, "It is great, mon! No traffic, no police, no worries bro!" We convinced a local worked to take us there in his boat for a drink (no we didn't go alone, we dragged 2 other couples along with us). It was great! Rum punch was flowing, as was Bob Marley. Talk about as local as you get it!

Day 4 brought us something we didn't anticipate - a tennis match against 2 Brits. We met Mike and Sue on about Day 2 and instantly struck up a friendship. They are well into their 60's, and live in Sussex, England. A great, entertaining pair! Every morning they greeted us with one of 3 statements: "Where have you beeeeeeen?" "What have you been dooooing?" or "We've beeeeen loooking for youuu". They were so fun to be around! Well they asked to play a match of tennis and we obliged. Did we take it easy on the old timers? Nope. Kicked their butts 6-3. Did I feel bad about whooping up on grandparents? The jury is still out on that one. The bright side to the match, however, was an invitation to England (we may score a plane ticket too, he runs Virgin Atlantic Airlines!). We shall see...

Day 5 was the goodbye day from Palm Island, and hello day to Hermitage Bay, Antigua. Our friends Mike and Sue, and John and Kakee came to the dock to see us off, which was nice. We did not know what to expect at stop #2, but our expectations were high. We had amazing food, great friends, fun adventures and lots of sun. Could it get any better??? You be the judge.

As for life in Portland, things are going well...we are loving shopping for the apartment with our gift cards, spending time with baby Rhodes, and being married. Loving the last one the most. Until next time, why is the rum gone?


The dust has settled...

Hi everyone. I'm back. Again. I know, I say it every time I have a long lay off from writing. But there has been a major dispute with my editor, so I have fired them and have hired a new one....well actually I married her. I have a feeling this editor will be around for a while, as our relationship started on a great note! That note was called the honeymoon! But first, let me walk you thru the most incredible day ever: The Casebeer Wedding Day.

I'll spare you the details of the day leading up to the ceremony, because who cares about girls getting their hair done and guys getting European shaves? For those of you who were in attendance, you obviously witnessed the greatest wedding of all time. For those of you who missed, well you missed the #1 Wedding of the Century. The officiant was a great friend of ours, Eric Scofield. To say he did a great job would be the understatement of the year. He made the ceremony so personal, so loving, and so incredibly memorable. We are forever in debt to you, Sco! And could the music have been any better? We had the world renown PW Gopal travel to Georgia to play some very special songs...3 actually. Did he move people to tears? You know it. Could not have been any better! And the cherry on the cake was my brother helping him out on the keys during our communion. It was at that point that yours truly lost control. Unbelievable.

And the best part of course was being introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Casebeer....sounded weird, still does, but it is so so cool, gratifying, and worth it. We, as you know, have had a LONG and arduous journey to this wedding. Years, miles, tears, fears, smiles all encompassed the "I do's" and the vows. But, we will both tell you, it was and is clearly worth it. For those people who tell you a long distance relationship does not and can not work, well we proved you suckers wrongs!

And for the reception? Well let's just say party of the year. Decade. World. Eternity. Needed to last longer!! We had our friend DJ Nickel fly out all the way from LA and rock this wedding, and rock it he did. Have you ever seen Harry Marks lose his mind to AC/DC? Have you seen my godfather Ed announce that he's having such a great time he's flying everyone to Vegas next weekend? How about Nana going hands in the air during "Shout"? I mean, it was unreal. Nickel mixes like no one has ever heard. It was so great. A night NO one will forget!!

So off to the Honeymoon we went...on such a life high. That feeling of being married, being together, and starting a journey is one we'll never forget. The journey at hand was getting to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to a private island called Palm Island. We couldn't wait! A great start it was in first class (thanks Dad and Mom!). They treat you like kings up there! And we needed it too - so tired from last night's festivities. But we made it to the Island after 2 planes (one really tiny, sweaty one) and one boat ride. Waiting for us was the General Manager with a Rum Punch (which turned out to be the drink of the trip). We also met some friends, who at first glance seemed odd, but turned out being some of the greatest people on earth. Jonny and Kakee. You'll hear more about them.

Also waiting for us was a beach front villa and a great meal. We were treated like kings again and had a great night one. Day 2 brought a ton of sunshine, 2 massages and the meeting of more friends. Mike and Sue were from the UK and we ended up spending a lot of time with them during meals and even played a tennis match - which we won! We were mainly concerned with getting tans, however, but did not realize how intense the sun is down there. Too close to the equator, we decided, as I ended up with a nice burn. Great start to the tanning process!! So we bought some strong sunscreen at the little boutique...for $32. Ouch.

Stay tuned for more Honeymoon adventures...I'll write about Day 3,4 and 5 soon. For now, the day's focus is Jesus. The fact that he resurrected changes everything. He was who He said He was. He did what He said He'd come to do. And that fact alone means so much to us as humans. It gives us hope, not only for today and tomorrow, but for eternity. Let's celebrate that today!

Have a happy Easter, and until next time, stay out of the sun!


Another great trip to the gym. . .

Remember when I was "that guy" at the gym about a year ago? Ok...maybe it is more frequent than once a year for me, but today was I NOT that guy. There were many "that guys" tonight. Should I say them guys? Those guys? Them there guys? At any rate, I was not that guy. They were that guy. Join me on my journey on the treadmill.

While I was running, there were 3 great games going on. You would think I'm talking about basketball or some sport on TV. Nope. Racquetball. Live. On 3 courts in front of me. Court #1 consisted of 2 dudes, probably mid 20's. They were that guy. Their attire? Let's start with the headband and move all the way down to the short shorts and knee high socks. Yep, you know that guy. In fact you see him sometimes running in a park or downtown. Tonight he (they) was (were) playing each other in a rousing game of racquetball. It was riveting watch them play like they were trying to swat flies. Swing swing swing MISS! Swing swing hit sideways! Swing swing hit the other player! Miss again! Water break! Hilarious.

Scene #2 was slightly more interesting because it was a boyfriend/girlfriend combo. Again, mid 20's. Athletic looking and friendly. I was first thinking that the boyfriend would go easy on his girlfriend, because naturally boys should always beat girls. Well she whopped his A. Had that poor boy running all over the place, whiffing, sweating, hitting himself in the shin because he swung so hard and missed, and so on. After 35 minutes it was game, set, match.

The last court was a solo match. One man vs one man - himself. A little different scene here, a mid 50's guy, sort of short. You might have seen him playing men's league softball or perhaps on the golf course. Poorly dressed. He was playing 2 balls - a blue one, and a red one - at the same time. Just whacking away. Swingswingswingswinghithiththitmissmissmissswing and so on. I don't think he took one single break. It was really impressive. Not sure whether he was waiting for someone to show up to play him or if he was ok going mono e self. Your guess is as good as mine.

Anyway, upstairs I ventured after my run and saw a 20-something attractive woman. She was working ONLY her abs and gluteus maximus. You can only imagine what she was wearing. One word - I-N-A-P-P-R-O-P-R-I-A-T-E. MOVING ON!

Needless to say, not sure how much actual working out I did. Entertainment value was high though, and that made it worth it!

In other news, Ashley is gone now. But this time it is ok - she's home for the WEDDING! That means we are within days folks. 15 to be exact. Not that I'm counting. But I am.

Ok that's all for now. Enjoy your workouts, don't be that guy, and until next time, don't worry about whiffing, sweating, shanking or losing. Don't care what anyone on the treadmills think - just play and have fun!


The countdown is on, and other things...

Well friends, we are within a month of the Event of the Year. The time has finally come, the journey is nearly over. Actually, it is just beginning. Either way, my (our) excitement is boiling over! And no, I'm not talking about The Masters 2010...you know what I'm talking about - the Casebeer/O'Dea Wedding!!! March 20th can't get here soon enough! Ashley and I have come so far together and it will all be celebrated in 27 short days! Anyway, just had to get that excitement out of my system.

A Rhodes Mckay update....she is doing very well! And of course, cuter than ever. I put a few more pictures up below...check her out! Although she is a little confused thus far...she thinks days are nights, and nights are days, and that means Mom and Dad are getting zero sleep. Rumor has it that can last up to 6 weeks!! I hope not . . .

In other news, I apparently have an ugly jacket. I still will not admit this despite the facts against me. Let me explain. I bought this jacket (its stylish) about 5 years ago...still in great condition, the type of jacket you wear out on the weekend. Suede with silk lining, it's classy. I think its nice! Ashley does not think so. Neither does our friend Molly. Neither do the bouncers at the Crystal Ballroom, or the Asian lady in the elevator on the way down from our apartment. Neither does the cab driver I asked on the way there, or the two random dudes on the street. Neither does my brother (thanks for the backup, jerk!) and neither does ANYONE I ASKED LAST NIGHT. All I needed was one yes to keep me going. All I needed was some confidence and one vote in my direction, but noooooo. Everyone hates the jacket!!! And in return, I hate them all. Just kidding. But seriously people, you need a sense of style like the master of style, Alex Casebeer. Can't wait until the next chance I get to wear it out!!!

Well I hope your Sunday is a great one. Weather is amazing here, and yet here I am blogging at 11am. Time to get out of the house and enjoy NW Portland! Until next time, enjoy this February weather. I just hope it doesn't rain so I can keep wearing the suede jacket!!


I'd like to introduce you to....

....a great story. A story of love, triumph, laughter, tears, and...well, a new life. This was a day that my family will never forget and one that will be treasured forever. This is the story of Blankity Blank Blank. *Editors note: can't reveal the name until the very end, just like my stupid big brother. Yes, he wouldn't tell any of us the name of this baby girl until we met her. So I won't tell you either! Just keep reading...it will be worth it.

9:30am I get a call from my brother saying that Chris' water broke. This was shocking because it was 8 days early, so no one (except for Matthew and Chris probably) was prepared at all. I texted Ashley the good news and waited for the official word to go to the hospital. I wanted to leave immediately, but Matthew said it would be pointless... contractions far apart, no word from the Doc, nothing really to report. Just wait. And wait some more.

I had a hard time focusing at work (do you think any Toyota Service customer cared about my pending uncle-dom?? Nope. They were worried about the stupid recall! Idiots!) I kept texting and wanting to leave but decided to wait and leave around 4PM. I went to lunch and it dawned on me - WE HAVE NO CHAMPAGNE. Quickly I ran into Costco and made an impluse purchase. Dom Perignon it is! I mean come on. When will the 1st grandchild ever be born again?? When will my 1st neice ever be born?

At 7PM still no word from Matthew on what is going on...only things like "We're still waiting to hear from the Doc". Vague. I hate vague. I wanted to hear "Baby will be here 9PM!" Nope. The word from M is have dinner, take your time, it will be a while.

So we eat dinner with Dad and Carrie and head to the waiting room around 9:30PM and are so full of excitement! We want to meet this baby and hold her and be merry....little did we know, this was going to be one long freaking night. We meet my mom and friend Kim and waited. We check emails, play cribbage, read magazines, and wait. For something, anything! Another family comes and meets their new baby before we hear anything! Jealousy sets in.

Finally Matthew comes out and says they are hoping for a 1AM delivery. Sounds good to us, we say. Can't wait! So we wait some more. And get tired. Matthew says "go home, get some rest". We do, and come back at 1:00. But every time I think about how tired and pathetic I feel, I think of Chris. I think of a baby entering the new world and I smile. I realize that my 'troubles' and weariness pale in comparison to Chris. We hear that she starts pushing at 1:47AM. This is great news! The end is near!

2:47...still pushing. We are worried. And tired. 3:15, pushing. 3:45 I am sleeping on a hard floor, Dad is fighting fatigue. We think of Chris and perk up. And almost cry. 90 minutes of pushing?? Can't they do something?

I get a great idea to download some iPhone games at about 4am....this keeps us entertained for about 20 minutes (highlighted by my dad giggling at "Paper Toss", and then cussing it out because he couldn't make the damn paper into the waste basket!). We go back to worrying, because Chris has now hit the 3.5 hour mark of pushing. It seems inhumane to us. Finally, Kim (the birthing coach) comes out and gives us bad news. She has to go into surgery to have a C Section. This is devastating for a myriad of reasons. We thought, Why couldn't they have done this 4 hours ago? Why did she have to go thru all of this pain and frustration when this could have been done a while ago? On the other hand, that means that the end really is in sight. That means the nameless baby is almost here!

Or so we thought. Matthew tells us to go home, you will not be able to see the baby until about 10AM. Surgery, along with recovery, moving rooms and a bit of rest means we all have to keep waiting. But we oblige and leave the hospital, frustrated and sad. But hopefully that everything will go ok. We think of Chris...the pain medication, the effort, the pushing, the tears, the fighting for her daughter's life. It is almost overwhelming and we all dream of the moment when we can meet baby blank. So we head to Ashley and I's apartment to get a few hours of sleep.

And a few it is! We sleep from 6:30 to 8:42, when my dad calls because he can't sleep. Let's get coffee and some food, he says. Ok, we're all awake too. But suddenly I hear my phone do the text thing that it does and read: She's here! 7:55am! 7lb 9oz and beautiful like her mother. We scream and throw our clothes on! Can we come now? No, we have to wait until 11 to meet her.

Naturally, we get to the hospital at 10 hoping to maybe break some rules to see her early. Matthew comes out to meet us. More bad news. Chris is having a terrible time recovering and we have to keep waiting. What is the baby's name, for crying out loud?? You'll have to wait, he says. My dad offers him $300 to tell us, and he declines. IDIOT! I offer to hogtie him and beat it out of him...he declines that as well.

So we wait. And wait. I get some wedding planning done. Carrie and Dad cancel work meetings. Ashley declines sub jobs. We wait. We worry. We can't wait to meet blankity blank blank baby blank blank!!!!!!!

My dad says, "This baby is stubborn, just like her dad!" My mom says, "She is patient, just like her mom". I say, "She will be beautiful. Just like her uncle".

Matthew texts us: move to floor 4, it is time! I look at the clock: 1:17PM. I first got the call 32 hours ago. It has been a long day. We watched as 3 other families met their babies, natural delivery and all. We saw the same guy who fell off his chair in the waiting room and kept snorting meet his twin granddaughters. We saw another grandma in the waiting room come and go and go...and yet we didn't even know my neice's name!!!!!

2:15. Matthew comes to the waiting room. Are you ready, he asks? My dad says, No let me finish my magazine artic-OF COURSE WE ARE READY!!!!!!. So we march back to room 462 begging for the name. We go to 462 forgetting how tired we once were and tired Chris actually is and realize we are going to meet a baby girl who has just entered this world!

We are introduced to a beautiful, calm baby whos voice simply squeaks. She opens her eyes, squeaks again. Matthew can't keep his eyes of her. Neither can we! She is perfect. She has fingernails! She has a head full of beautiful black hair! She is healthy, and we are relieved. Chris is REALLY relived.

We are all smiling and happy and finally, Matthew and Chris say together...Meet Rhodes McKay Casebeer.