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Hello all! We’ve had a very busy last few months, so I apologize for not posting too often. However, lucky for you we have our annual Groundhog Day card and letter for you to read to get you all caught up on our adventures.

GroundhogDay2014Final

Happy Groundhog Day everyone!

It’s that time of year again when giant rodents all over America come out of hibernation and predict the change of seasons for all of us based on the sighting of their own shadow. That also means it’s time for us to reflect on the last twelve months, which have had some ups and downs and big changes in our lives.

Shortly after our last Groundhog Day card, Stacy’s father, Gene Schacherer passed away on February 4. We came home for the funeral and to be with all of our family. There were a lot of sad and happy moments as we reflected on his 69 years of life. There was a very large turnout for the visitation and funeral – a testament to how much of an impact Gene had on everyone who knew him.

In June we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. You can see Stacy with her anniversary flower bouquet on our Groundhog Day card. Also in June we went back to Iowa to celebrate Colby’s brother, Matt’s wedding. Matt and his bride, Amber were married in Altoona, Iowa, Amber’s home town. It was a fun wedding, and a great opportunity to see all of our family again. You can see Colby and his brothers all dressed for the wedding in the top-right picture on the card.

In late June Stacy’s mom, Carmen, and Stacy’s brother, LeRoy and his family came to North Carolina to visit us. We showed them around Raleigh and explored NC State’s campus, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and tried out some great Carolina-style barbecue. We then took a day trip to Wilmington, NC to tour the USS North Carolina battleship and hang out on the beach. We also took a trip to Beaufort, NC to see a different part of the coast. The surf was up while we were there, so we didn’t get to go in the water. However we still got to walk the beach for shells, see some dolphins, tour the Maritime Museum, and tour Fort Macon–a Civil War fort that guarded the Beaufort inlet. When it started to rain we toured the North Carolina Aquarium. It was a busy weekend, but everyone had fun.

In August Stacy returned to Iowa for the centennial celebration of her home town of Wallingford, Iowa. She was home for a week and was happy to see all of the Schacherer clan. Colby stayed in Raleigh so he could continue working on his dissertation. He finished it during the fall semester and successfully defended his dissertation on December 18. Everything is now complete for his PhD except for the official commencement ceremony, which will be held in May 2014. His dissertation is entitled “Dynamics of Phosphorus Release from Wetlands Restored on Agricultural Land”. If you have insomnia and would like to read all 232 pages, let Colby know and he’ll email a link to where you can download it.

In December we packed up our apartment in Raleigh and started our move to Seattle, Washington (more on that in a second). Stacy’s mom and Colby’s dad came down to Raleigh and were incredibly helpful in getting us ready for the move. They stayed for almost a week to help box up our stuff and get our apartment in ship shape (so we could get our deposit back). While they were here, Adam and Marissa Howard very kindly hosted a going away party for us. It was a lot of fun, and made for a great send-off from all of our close friends we’ve made in Raleigh over the last five and a half years. We later shipped our stuff to Seattle in a “U-Pack Relocube”. We had to shed a bunch of our larger items (gas grill, couch, bed, etc.), but we got most of the rest of our stuff in the container. We sold Stacy’s car and drove Colby’s loaded-down Ford Fusion back to the Midwest for the holidays. We stopped in Illinois to celebrate Christmas with Colby’s Mom and her husband, Buck. We then moved on to Estherville to celebrate the holidays with the rest of our families. After the New Year we started the second half of our 2,800 mile drive. We stayed on I90 for two and a half days. It was a beautiful drive, and despite a lot of wind the weather was favorable.

On January 6 Colby started his new position as a “postdoctoral researcher” at the University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is still doing soil and root research, but has switched from studying phosphorus to studying methane-a potent greenhouse gas. He has also switched from Carolina bay wetlands to Alaskan bogs and fens. Colby will be headed up to Fairbanks, Alaska for most of the growing season (June-September) to study methane at a “Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) station”. He is working on some laboratory experiments on campus in Seattle in the meantime. The picture of both of us on the center of the card is on UW’s campus near Colby’s new building.

Seattle is beautiful so far. It’s is actually as warm as or warmer than Raleigh in the winter, and isn’t nearly as rainy as everyone says. It is surprisingly hilly though. We haven’t explored the area too much yet, but we’re working on it. Our new mailing address is 6189 Radford Drive, Apt. 1911, Seattle, WA 98115. We’ll keep our current cell phone numbers and email addresses.

We had to leave our foster dog, Forrester with the Triangle Beagle Rescue when we left Raleigh. We had him for almost two years, and he was featured in our Groundhog Day card/letter last year. We’re missing him, but hopefully he finds a permanent home soon. Our beagle, Maisie is doing well. She handled the road trip to Seattle well (with the help of some meds from the vet). She’s adjusted well to Seattle, and is happy that there is a dog park across the street. The park goes all the way down to a beach on Lake Washington, as shown on the card.

In other news, both of Colby’s grandmas are now in the Good Samaritan nursing home in Estherville, IA. They both have Alzheimer’s, but seemed stable and happy while we were home over the holidays. They both have great men taking care of them too, so they’re in good hands.

That’s it for our news since the last Groundhog Day. If you are interested in visiting Seattle, give us a heads-up. We hope you and yours all the best.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Stacy, Colby, and Maisie

That concludes our Groundhog Day 2014 letter. Now that we’re caught up we’ll try to post more frequently with pictures and stories from our adventures in Washington and Alaska. Thanks for stopping by!

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Hello all,

Stacy and I sent out our annual Groundhog Day card and letter last week to family and a few friends. Since I’ve been a little too busy with grad school lately, I haven’t really updated this blog as often as I should, despite there being a lot of big news in the last 12 months. I’ll repost our letter here. Consider this our “catching up on blog posts” post.

The 2013 Moorberg family Groundhog Day card.

The 2013 Moorberg family Groundhog Day card.

Happy Groundhog Day everyone!

It’s that time of year again when giant rodents all over America come out of hibernation and predict the change of seasons for all of us based on the sighting of their own shadow. That also means it’s time for us to reflect on the last year. This last twelve months have been pretty busy for us. Stacy is still working at the hospital. She’s also been busy working on a variety of crochet projects, including some afghans that will be auctioned off to benefit the Relay for Life. Some other notable projects include an afghan wedding gift for Colby’s mom and husband (more on that later), and some bearded stocking hat Christmas presents for Colby and his brothers.

Colby has been busy with school and research. As you read this he’ll be just finishing up with his preliminary exams for his PhD, and will be preparing for the oral exam to become a “PhD candidate”. He’s also been homebrewing in his free time, making a bunch of different styles of beer and hard cider. Some notable recipes include the “10YR Amber Ale” (a soil science inside joke), the “Hot Mess Pale Ale” (included 10 roasted Anaheim peppers that were soaked in tequila prior to fermentation), and the “MoBro American Black Ale” which was brewed during “Movember” (more on that later) and  included five ounces of hand-picked hops from the Department of Soil Science’s hop field trial plot.

For Memorial Day weekend, Stacy’s sister, Brenda and her kids, and sister, Corey came to visit us. It was the kids’ first time to the coast so we took them down to Wilmington, NC. There we visited the USS North Carolina (picture on the card). We also checked out the North Carolina Aquarium, and then headed to the beach so they could swim in the ocean for the first time.

In June we took a trip to the North Carolina Zoo for our fourth anniversary. It was a really fun trip, and one of the best zoos we’ve visited. We also did some traveling out of the state for some big events on Colby’s side of the family. In May we flew to Iowa to see Colby’s brother Matt graduate from Iowa State University with his bachelor’s degree in Agronomy. It was nice to have a break and get back to Iowa at the end of the semester to partake in the celebrations. Congrats to Matt!

In September we flew to Wisconsin to participate in Colby’s mom’s wedding. Ruth married her husband, Buck in the end of September in an outdoor ceremony with the foliage at peak colors. It was a pretty wedding, and a great opportunity to see all of the Green family. Congrats to her and Buck!

In November Colby’s grandmother, Dorothy turned 90 years old. It’s quite the achievement! We couldn’t make it back because Colby still had class, but we were celebrating from afar and over the phone. Also in November, Colby’s dad came down to Raleigh to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. All three of us also had a blast that weekend at a NC State football game (two of the pictures on the card).

There isn’t too much news from Stacy’s side of the family, other than everyone is healthy, especially Stacy’s dad who is now three years cancer-free!

Our beagle, Maisie is doing well. She’s had a new buddy for the last twelve months though. Forrester (the tri-color beagle on the card) is our current foster dog with the Triangle Beagle Rescue, and is our sixth foster dog so far. He is a senior foster dog who is around 11 years old. The older foster dogs don’t usually get adopted too quickly, so we’ve had him for a while. If we still have him by the time Colby finishes his PhD, he just might end up becoming a permanent member of the family.

As usual, we’ve done a lot of cycling this year. We took part in just one charity ride though.  We rode in the inaugural Velo4Yellow bike ride in September which raised money for the Livestrong Foundation. Off of the bike, Colby also organized a team in his department for “Movember”, a charity that raises money and awareness for men’s health issues, testicular and prostate cancer in particular. For “Movember”, each of the participants, referred to as “MoBros”, grow mustaches during the month of November. The team of four MoBros raised over $760! Colby also helped out with his Masonic Lodge’s barbecue fundraisers that sell hundreds of plates of Eastern Carolina style barbecue and brought in over $8,000 for the North Carolina Masonic Home for Children, and the Masonic and Eastern Star Home.

As you can tell, it has been a busy year. During all that, Colby has also been feverishly working on his PhD research. He submitted his first paper for peer review last November, but is still waiting to hear any news on that paper. He’s also currently working on finishing up his three PhD experiments, which will be wrapped up by the end of the spring semester. The plan is for Colby to complete the data analysis and writing as soon as possible, successfully defend his dissertation, complete his PhD, publish his current research, and become gainfully employed by the end of 2013. There’s a lot to do between now and then though, as Colby’s PhD adviser would surely tell you.

We hope all of you are doing well, and we’re always happy to get news from home – whether it is over the phone, in a letter, in an email, or on a Google+ hangout. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to keep up with us, Colby posts occasionally on <colbyandstacy.wordpress.com> with big news, or interesting stories and adventures. Colby also has his soil science blog <colbydigssoil.com>, just in case you want to learn about soil science, or Colby’s research.

 Happy Groundhog Day!

Stacy, Colby, and Maisie

So that’s our news from the last 12 months. As it turns out, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, so he is predicting an early spring. However Sir Walter Wally, the groundhog from the North Carolina Natural Science Museum, did see his shadow, so apparently North Carolina is still a ways away from spring weather. Also, Foursquare offered a Groundhog Day badge.

Happy Groundhog day everyone!

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Matt (right) and Colby (left) at a St. Louis Cardinals game at the 2010 SWCS annual meeting

Colby’s older brother Matt recently got his first job in his new career field – agronomy. He will be a research associate with Schillinger Genetics, a non-GMO soybean genetics company. Matt was a contractor for several years, but eventually decided that it wasn’t for him. He ended up in the Iowa State University Agronomy Department. He is in his last semester there and will graduate with a BS in Agronomy in May.

You can read about what the genetics company does on the link above. Matt said they breed non-GMO soybeans for a variety of uses, but he mentioned specific uses including fish food for aquaculture, tofu, etc.

Matt’s always had a green thumb. We’re sure he’ll have success in his new career. Good luck in your new job Matt!

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Happy Groundhog Day from the Moorbergs!

 

In the beginning of every year we send out a Groundhog Day card (above) to family and family friends. Here’s our year in review that went with that card:

Happy Groundhog Day everyone!

It is that time again when the seasonal destiny of billions of people rely on the expertise of the wise (and sleepy) groundhog. We hope this holiday greeting finds you well. We have stayed pretty busy over the last 12 months. Before spring comes early, let us catch you up.

Colby is now roughly half-way through his doctoral program. He research focuses on nutrient release to surface waters from a wetland restored from agricultural soils. He finished up his greenhouse experiment in the fall and now has two field experiments in the works. The plan is for Colby to finish his Ph.D. in soil science by the end of the summer in 2013 and hopefully have a job lined up after that.

Stacy finished her first full year as a teacher at the psychiatric hospital where she works. She enjoys being a teacher more than her previous position at the same hospital as a “mental health technician”.

In May we flew up to Marionette, Wisconsin for Stacy’s brother, Randy and Melissa’s wedding. While in Wisconsin we got to see Lambeau Field (Colby’s still a Vikings fan, don’t worry) and try some good Wisconsin cheese and sausage. It was fun to meet Melissa’s family and to see all of the Schacherer clan. We also squeezed in a trip to the Twin Cities to make for a mini-vacation. We spent one day at Target Field with Colby’s brothers and dad. It was awesome to finally see a Twin’s game in the new stadium. Target Field is an awesome sports venue. We had great seats right behind home plate – though on the very last row of the upper deck. The next day we toured Stillwater, Minnesota with Colby’s mom and brother, Matt. Stillwater is an old river town and is now kind of touristy, but has a really cool river front area and some good craft breweries.

Over the summer we didn’t really do a whole lot that was noteworthy. In September we participated in a BikeMS ride in New Bern, North Carolina with Colby’s (now former) fellow grad student Amanda. BikeMS is a fundraising event for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. There were about 2,500 riders and 400 volunteers for the two-day event. Everyone camped in a park next to the convention center in the downtown of New Bern. New Bern is a 300-year old river town on the mouth of the Neuse River as it flows into the Pamlico Sound (the water between mainland and the outer banks) and dates back to colonial times. The event was a lot of fun, had very little hills, was well run, and was for a good cause. We rode 75 miles both days. We’ll definitely be participating in that ride again next year.

Also in September Stacy’s mother retired from Holy Family Hospital in Estherville – just in time to help out with the (Iowa) wedding reception for Randy and Melissa. Stacy flew back to Iowa for the reception and was happy to see all of the family.

Maisie is doing well. She’s still her same old spoiled, stubborn self. She has done well putting up with our foster dogs though. We are still fostering dogs for the Triangle Beagle Rescue or North Carolina. We had one foster dog throughout 2009 – a pup named “CD” was our foster dog for 9 months and was adopted right before Thanksgiving break. In January we got another foster dog named Smokey and he was adopted in less than two weeks. Now we are on our 6th foster dog with TBR. His name is Forester. He’s a senior dog (10 years old). Senior dogs usually don’t find homes as fast as the young ones so we’ll probably have him for a while.

We had visitors for Thanksgiving. Colby’s dad, Stacy’s mom, and Stacy’s sister Judy came to visit for about 5 days. This was our first time hosting a holiday get-together. We had a lot of fun. Since it was the first Southern Thanksgiving our guests ever had we decided to fry a turkey, which turned out awesome. We all went to the NC State-Maryland football game that weekend. It was the last game of the season and State had to win to clinch a bowl game birth. NC State trailed 41-14 in the third quarter, then proceeded to score six touchdowns in 21 minutes to win by double digits and clinch a trip to the Belk Bowl in Charlotte where they beat Louisville.

We went back to Iowa for Christmas. For the first time since moving away, our winter trip back to God’s Country didn’t have any snowfall. It was actually warm! This was the first Christmas we’ve had since Colby’s parents split up so it was a little different, but it was great to see everyone. It was also great to see that Stacy’s father still has a clean bill of health after beating lung cancer two years ago.

Colby is still the gamewatch coordinator for the local Iowa State alumni and fans in the Raleigh-Durham area. This season we got around 1 to 2 dozen people coming to each of our gamewatches. Iowa State had a memorable season with some marquee wins over #2 Oklahoma State, and of course beating the Hawkeyes. We have several gamewatches lined up for basketball season. It is shaping up to be a great year for both the NC State and Iowa State b-ball teams.

Colby also launched a website/blog, ColbyDigsSoil.com, which is a blog about soil and wetland science. It’s meant for a general, non-scientific audience. If you follow it, expect to learn some of the basics of soil and wetland science, and some posts about his trips to his field experiments. You can also keep up with news about Stacy and Colby at colbyandstacy.wordpress.com which we’ve kept up since our engagement.

That is pretty much it for our annual Groundhog Day letter. We hope all the best to you and yours. May you all have longer winters or early springs… depending on if you’ve gotten enough snow yet.

Yours in erroneous weather predictions, 

Stacy, Colby, and Maisie

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In addition to going to Kelly and Dane’s wedding reception, we also squeezed in a trip to see my mom. Let me preface this with a sad announcement. In March of this year my mother informed me that she had filed for divorce. This was a huge shock to my brothers and I, and my dad too from what I understand. I never posted anything about it on our blog because deep down I hoped that it was just a big bump in the road of their then 31 year marriage and that it might pass with no permanent changes to our family. Unfortunately those hopes did not pan out. Two months after my mother filed, she moved in with a guy named Buck who is a crane operator in the Chicago area whom she had met while on a trip to the North Shore of Minnesota when she was working on her children’s novel. It was a difficult spring for us boys and my dad. I couldn’t really get a read on whether it was difficult for my mom, but I would assume it was. I feel sorry the most for my little brother Joe who got caught in the middle of it since he’s the only one of us boy’s still living in Estherville. This is as much as I will discuss about this matter through this website because I feel that any further comments on the matter, or offering my opinions on the matter online would be inappropriate.

Now, for the real reason of this post. Stacy and I visited my mom who is living with her boyfriend, Buck. We stayed at their house that Sunday night, then drove home to Raleigh the next day. On Sunday My mom, Buck, his son Luke, Stacy and I all went to Bucks boat that he keeps in a marina on the river in Chicago. These pictures are from some trips we took up and down the river.

This is Luke in his Dad’s boat

Us two, getting some sun

A scene from Wayne’ World was filmed from this building

They have a water cannon that shoots out over the river at random times

Buck drove the boat slowly into the water stream so Luke would get soaked, then he stopped and turned around before it got the rest of us.

Stacy and I, Luke behind us

Trump tower is the building in the middle. This was the only night shot that worked for me. It was hard to get a long-exposure shot with a handheld camera on a boat on water… imagine that.

This was the first time I had spent any significant time in downtown Chicago. The other times I’ve been there I was just driving through and didn’t get to see much of the big buildings.  I was surprised how nice the downtown area is compared the sprawling industry you have to drive through to get downtown. Chicago is definitely not one of my favorite cities, but my mom seems to like it and I wish her the best of luck there and hope that she finds a publisher for her book soon. We did have fun on the short visit and on the boat tour of downtown. It was awkward, but good to meet my mom’s new family.

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***Note: this is part two of a two-part trip to the Midwest over Memorial Day weekend. Here is a link to the other leg of the Memorial Day weekend trip***.

After Randy and Melissa’s wedding, Stacy and I rode with Stacy’s sister, Brenda, and her family from Marinette, WI to Minneapolis. There we met up with My dad, brothers Matt and Joey, and Joey’s girlfriend Bailey for a Minnesota Twins game at Target Field.

This was the first trip to Target Field for all of us. My dad has been a huge Twins fan ever since the Washington Senators moved to the Twin Cities in 1961. Harmon Killebrew to him was like Kirby Puckett was to my brothers and I. So, growing up in a Twins fan family, finally getting to see the Twins play in their very own outdoor stadium for the first time was a big deal. I have fond memories of the Metrodome, but it’s days were numbered for a championship-caliber team like the Twins.

Target Field was, in a word, awesome! I’ve heard and read lots of great reviews of the field and have seen many games played in it on TV; but finally getting to watch a game there was a great feeling. The panorama I took (above) turned out pretty well. It’s hard to get the stadium, the field, and the beautiful Minneapolis skyline beyond right field in one picture frame, but it turned out pretty well.

The Twins played the Angels for the finale of a three game series. They ended up loosing by one run after several rallies that could never quite pull the Twins ahead. It was an action packed game that was very enjoyable despite the loss. Here is the box score, and some pics from the game:


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Score Hits Errors
LAA 0 0 3 0 1 0 0 1 1
6 11 0
MIN 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2
5 13 2

Here’s the Twins “Minne and Paul” logo in center field. When the Twins score a home run, the logo lights up and sparkes and Minne and Paul shake hands. On a rooftop in the background there is a water tower that was painted to commemorate the late Harmon Killebrew who passed away weeks ago.

In center-right field the Twins put Harmon Killebrew’s autograph on the outfield wall. Rest in peace Killer!

Above is Burt Blyleven, the TV play-caller and Hall of Fame pitcher for the Twins. A picture of his younger years was being shown on the big screen.  Below is Burt’s countdown to Cooperstown – counting down to the date when he’ll actually be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Here’s Stacy and I, sitting in our seats on the very top row of the upper deck behind home plate.

My brother Joey decided to make a guest appearence in our self pic (look at Stacy’s right shoulder below).

The Twins were in a middle of a rally, so all of us put on our rally caps.

Here’s our gang at Target Field – (left to right) Dad, Matt, Me, Stacy, Joey, Bailey.

After the game that night we went out to a brewpub near Target Field named Rock Bottom Brewery. They had good food and great beer. I’d recommend them for a pre- or post-game meal/beer. Dad and Joey had to work on Memorial Day (It’s been a wet spring which has delay their construction jobs lately) so they took off after dinner. Matt and Stacy and I stayed at a hotel a few blocks from Target Field and drank by the pool the rest of the night.

The next day my Mom met up with us. We had planned to go out on a ferry boat on the St. Croix River. Unfortunately they were all docked for the weekend so we went and found a barbecue joint downtown near the river. After lunch we found a stairway that led to an unknown location. So we walked up them and found that it kept going… and going… and going until we were completely out of the valley. The stairway hike, and the humidity, took us by surprise, but we ended up with a great view of the valley and Stillwater.

I had to get a shot of Mom on the way up too.

After the stair hike we went back downstairs and did some shopping in the downtown area. They had lots of tourist and nick knack shops. We eventually ended up at the Stillwater Brewing Company, a tiny craft brewery right on the main drag.

They had great beer. It was surprising to see such a small brewery. Apparently the city of Stillwater doesn’t allow them to brew onsite so they do almost all of the brewing process off site. All they do is fermentation, keg filling, and tasting on site. That doesn’t seem to bother them though. They make a mean beer. Here are some pics of the brew tour.

This is their front door. They didn’t have a “real” sign out front so this will have to do for displaying their logo.

This is their tap room. Nothing fancy, but almost every beer they had was pretty good.

This is Zachary Morgan, the tap room guy, head brewer, and tour guide. He is standing next two one of their two fermentors. Their capacity is 10 barrels (40 full size beer kegs) which is small even on a microbrewery scale. Their set up is great though. Instead of using normal “brewery plumbing” they built their brewery using all dairy milking barn connections which makes it so they can do many of the brewing steps in the one fermentor pictured. This cuts down on their water use, which they claim is 1/4 that which would be used for a traditional brewery of the same size. They are also right in the heart of (or across the river from) America’s Dairyland, so it probably makes a lot more sense to use dairy plumbing.

Another thing they do is use recyclable kegs (shown below) that apparently keep the beer fresh for 4 times as long as normal stainless steel kegs.

The kegs are kind of like large plastic Christmas tree balls. They have an aluminum bladder that the beer goes into. As beer is drawn out of it, CO2 is pushed in between the plastic exterior and the bladder. This prevents “bad bugs” from getting into the beer, thus, making it last longer. They put them into cardboard containers that are the shape of traditional kegs. Apparently the whole thing is crumpled up and recycled when the beer is all drank. Seems like a great idea to me.

After the tour was over we did a quick trip to the Mall of America so I could pick up a Minnesota Twins garden flag to hang in front of our mail box. We found one, then rushed to the airport. We got to our gate with plenty of time, only to find out that our flight would eventually get delayed for 2.5 hours because they had to replace some hydraulics part. I went and bought a copy of The Divinci Code which I am about 10 years behind on reading but I finally got it done. I read the first 2oo pages while we were waiting, and on our 3 hour flight. I finished it a couple of days ago and was impressed that the book lived up to all of the hype. I plan to find a read a copy of The Lost Symbol in the near future.

The trip back to the Midwest was a welcome break from my school and Stacy’s work. It was great to see all of the family, and be a small part of Randy and Melissa’s wedding. Seeing our first game at Target Field was well worth the extra leg of the trip. I can’t wait to go back again.

Pictures from this leg of the trip can be seen on our Picasa web album here: <https://picasaweb.google.com/106430300860637143481/TwinCitiesTrip?feat=directlink>

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Happy Groundhog Day everyone. For the 2nd year, we have sent out a Groundhog Day card and letter to some friends and family. Groundhog Day is the most under-celebrated holiday. So instead of putting more emphasis on the commercial holidays by sending out a Christmas card, we instead send a Groundhog Day card to celebrate the little guy’s big day. Below is our Groundhog Day card and letter. Enjoy!

***This just in, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow (likely from the huge winter storm over Pennsylvania), and has predicted an early spring! The NC Natural History Museum’s Sir Walter Wally did see his shadow predicting 6 more weeks of winter (note: Wally’s ceremony was indoors… so I don’t know how accurate that prediction will be).***

—-

Happy Groundhog Day!

It’s that time of year again, when groundhogs everywhere sneak above ground for the first time all year and determine the seasonal fate of human civilization. In celebration of Groundhog Day, the most under-celebrated holiday with untapped, holiday potential, we present our 2nd annual Groundhog Day card and letter.

It’s been a busy year for us. Since last Groundhog Day, 2010, we’ve had several visitors. First was Colby’s brother, Joey. He flew down for a week in March. That weekend we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in style, and even developed our own scoring system for golf – you’ll have to ask us for the details. Colby also put Joey to work on some of Colby’s research in the greenhouse.

Stacy’s mom and sisters, Judy and Corey, all visited during the summer as well. During their weeklong stay we took them for a day at the beach in Wilmington, where we went to the Battleship North Carolina, and spent the afternoon at Wrightsville Beach. Colby gave them a tour of NC State’s campus, and Stacy took them over to see the beautiful Duke Chapel on Duke University’s campus.

In June we attended a wedding in Des Moines and reception in Kansas City for Colby’s cousin Aaron, who married his long time partner, Gabe. A few weeks later in July, Stacy’s brother, LeRoy, was married to Amber. Congratulations to both of the couples. The weddings, family, and friends were well worth the long car rides back to the Midwest. It also sounds like our 2011 wedding slate is already filling up with Stacy’s brother Randy’s engagement and wedding planned for this year.

Also in July, Colby gave his thesis defense which went very well. The thesis is titled Phosphorus Release Mechanisms in Rhizospheres of Wetland Trees and is available on the web at the following address, should you be interested enough to read it http://repository.lib.ncsu.edu/ir/handle/1840.16/6434. Colby’s parents drove down to North Carolina for the thesis defense. We gave them a tour of Raleigh, took them to one of the best eastern Carolina style barbecue restaurants in the area, then we all went up to a cabin in the mountains for a few days of R&R.

This fall semester Colby began research and classes for his PhD. He will be continuing on at NC State and is planning to graduate with his PhD in soil science in the spring of 2013.  His dissertation research will also focus on wetland soils and restoration.

Stacy is still working at Holly Hill hospital, though with a new job title. She is now the teacher for all the children’s units. Previously, she was a technician on the 5-12 year old unit in the psychiatric hospital.

Colby officially graduated in December with his Master of Science degree in soil science. Colby’s parents and brothers, and Stacy’s sister, Judy, all came down for the event. We all went to a reception held by Chancellor Woodson in the alumni center the night before graduation. Then Colby participated in the University-wide ceremony in the RBC Center (where the Carolina Hurricanes play hockey and the NC State men play basketball), and then attended the Soil Science and Crop Science departmental graduation ceremony. It is gratifying to finally reach one of the major stepping stones for Colby’s graduate work. Now there’s only five semesters to go. We didn’t do too much sight-seeing during the short visit, but we did go out on the town a few times. We went to a dueling piano bar one night which everyone enjoyed, along with having dinner at one of the popular brew pubs in town.

The following week we flew back to Iowa for the holidays. We were back for just under two weeks. It was good to be home and see friends and family… and snow, for a change. It was interesting to see how all the nieces and nephews in Stacy’s family have grown so quickly, and to catch up with the rest of our family members.

We continue to stay busy by volunteering for the Triangle Beagle Rescue – the group through which we adopted Maisie. We foster dogs in our home and keep, care for, and train the dogs until they are adopted into a “forever home.” We had two dogs, Cecil (Colby named him after the state soil of North Carolina) and Spunky, who were with us for several months. We also were short term fosters for Petey and Lexie, and we now have our next long-term foster named Davie. The foster dogs are fun, but Maisie sometimes gets a little jealous of all the attention they get.

We’ve also gotten involved with local Iowa State alumni. Colby is now the local game-watch coordinator for the Iowa State Alumni Association. He organizes a place and time for local ISU alumni to meet up with other alums and cheer on the Cyclones. We had a game-watch for all of the televised football games this last season and now we have a few planned for the basketball season. We’ve had a good response and nearly always have a dozen or more show up, and the numbers continue to grow.

As you can see it’s been a busy 12 months; and there is an equally busy slate for the next 12 months, but that’s how we like it. If you would like to keep up with all of our activities, we keep a blog of all of our goings-on at https://colbyandstacy.wordpress.com/. Best of luck to all of you and yours.

May you all have early springs,

Stacy, Colby, and Maisie

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