Its September!
So most of my blogs lately start with a post about how long it has been since my last post and how sorry I feel that I have not posted more recently. I do feel sorry, but honestly with Facebook now I share photos on there and do some status updates so I honestly just forget about this site. Well here is a more indepth update on the wrapping up of summer...

Novali: Cooking with Novali
We had Novali all summer and one of the fun things we did was cook. Novali got a cute little kids cookbook and once a week she would pick dinner, shop for things on her list, and cook for everyone. Usually was had some leftovers for her to take to her mom or at least for lunch at work the next day.

Working hard in the kitchen.

Dinner is served!

Team PLP: July 09
July was a pretty good month for Team PLP... but I had no races in August. My two events in July went okay, I took 4th out of 98 on fourth of July weekend so that was great. It was fun because Hermen raced with me and we had a fun weekend in Grand Rapids with Erin and Heather. My second race of the month was back at the Tire Rack Test Track, it was a rainy day, I ruined my race rubber so I was on street tires, and I was very tired...

Team PLP finally got some groupies!

Hermen tearing it up at GVSU.

Wedding: August 1st, 2009
So Heather and I had this thing called a wedding... it was a lot of work, a lot of fun, and yes married life is great. We still have not gotten our official wedding photos but when we do I will post a link. I have a few photos linked above from friends and some that I took of the event(s) of the wedding. It was a great time and we had our one month anniversary already.

Verona Hills Golf Club.

Bad Axe, Michigan.

Rehearsal Dinner.

Saying our vows.

No photos yet... I have some on snapfish. My parents were here for my wedding, my sisters wedding reception and just to hang out and visit family. They stayed with Heather and I and it was a treat as always to have them around. I am excited for this winter when Heather, Novali and I will go and visit them!

So I am caught up... well kinda, I owe everyone photos of my sisters wedding reception, my brothers visit to South Bend, Labor Day Weekend, and pictures of my parents visit. Soon, soon... really I will try to do it soon this time. Thanks!


Photo Update
Haven't posted pictures in a while. So here is a couple updates in one and catching up on photos. I have been doing tons of yard work, finding time to get some racing in, and of course traveling. I got three new albums of photos posted so check those out:

Novali: June Pics
This past weekend Novali moved to South Bend for the summer. Pretty exciting! Heather and I are looking forward to spending more time with her over the next two months. Novali really likes South Bend so far and we have been doing a lot of yardwork, decorating her room, and just doing different fun small town stuff.

Novali doing yard work with Heather's mom... she likes gardening.

Novali played outdoor soccer this spring with her elementary school.

House: Fun Yard Work
Well one big project at the house has been doing the yardwork. Wow its been a lot of work, but it is really paying off so far. We have beautiful flowers around the front of the house and once we get the huge tree from the backyard cut down we will start some plans for the backyard. Novali and Heather had fun planting flowers and I like finally having a hose for washing my car!

Bags and bags of leaves... and then more bags.

Novali loved the bed of daisies that we had.

Team PLP: May-June
Well I am off to a good start for the racing season. Unfortunately I have not been able to race as much as I would have liked because of my busy travel season. I did race in my first Divisional SCCA Event and that was a lot of fun... but man it really showed me how much farther I have to go in my driving development. I did well in my other two regional events though and am really looking forward to work on my car a little in the garage now thats it nice out.

Team PLP pitcrew (me) changing the wheels to race rubber.

I won PAX for the first time ever out of over 70 cars!

So May and June were busy months as always! I think July will be a little more chill... wait... what am I thinking... I get married in just a couple of weeks! Wow so lets buckle up and get ready for that because it is really coming up soon. This weekend for fourth of July I have a wedding and an autocross.... hopefully I can try to catch a tan as well. Ciao!


What's the Haps
Wow... What's the Haps you might ask... or What's happening in my life? WOW... yeah its an understatement to say that I have been busy. Things always pop up that keep me busy which doesn't help on top of an already packed schedule. So here is what has been going on...

For Memorial Day we had Heather's parents in town. Anita and Dave brought us some furniture from their home which finally means we have furniture in the "kids" room. It is very cute now and Novali was very excited about her new furniture and room. Now she wants to paint the walls purple and decorate it when she moves in for the summer... we will see how that goes with the purple paint. We were thinking a light blue.

While the DeCourval fam was here we fixed a toilet, cut down trees, did some gardening, moved stuff and showed them around our town. It was a nice fun weekend despite all the hard work... next time they visit we will have to do more relaxing. Novali was excited because she got to plant some flowers, and thanks to my grandparents for that thoughtful birthday gift of money for flowers.

The following weekend I was supposed to go on a retreat for work. I got a Grant from Indiana Campus Compact and it was a retreat for all the people who received the fellowship. Well it got canceled so then I had a weekend to get caught up! Cleaned the garage, organized the basement a little and Heather and I did a HUGE donation of old clothes to Goodwill. Feels good to help people, and also get tons of clothes that no longer fit me out of the house...

This past weekend I was the Equipment Chief for the Great Lakes Division Autocross Series event in Peru, IN. It was a big event with about 100 drivers through out the weekend. This was my first event and I was hoping to see if I could hang at this level... well I learned that I can't, at least not yet. The event had several past and current class champions... and even an overall national champ. It was some stuff competition!

I think being in a chief position for my first big event was a mistake. It took away from my time walking the course and preparing myself to drive. My first run in one heat I barely got my helmut on in time to drive right up and run. Usually I get time to focus and clear my mind before a run.

Well this week is hectic as well. On Thursday I head to Chicago for a Chapter retreat with my fraternity Brothers from WMU and also a little bachelor party as well. While we are there we are stopping at a benefit event for one of our fraternity Brothers who was killed in the line of duty in Chicago. He was a police officer and passed last week. Very sad because he was expecting a son later this year. Hopefully we can raise some money to help the widow and his future son. Sad to lose a life so young, he was only 27 years old.

Last night Heather and I did some more yard work... and sat outside to eat dinner on our little patio. I do enjoy nice summer nights! Well hopefully my next post will come sooner than later. Ciao.


Yard Work
Finally had a weekend at home... no trips, no weekend work, no Beta projects, no conference calls... nothing but just being home and having fun.

Heather was on gone and Friday and Saturday so I had some good guy time. Ordered hot wings for dinner, I went to the Tire Rack to watch the finale of the One Lap of America race. I got to watch the Nissan GTR compete despite the freezing cold. Then I ran some errands, enjoyed some basketball and just relaxed.

Sunday, in honor of Mother's Day I did yard work. Growing up we always bought my mom flowers and helped her plant them for Mother's Day. This year I can't be around my mother, so Heather and I spent most of the day in the yard together. Our backyard is a mess of a jungle so we ignored that and we worked on the manageable front lawn, bushes, and landscaping. We have been pleasantly surprised a lot this spring as our flowers and plants have grown in nicely.

Don't even know what this is... but it was purple and cool.

Heather loves daffodils and we had TONS of them.

Memories of Holland, MI... Tulips.

I need to start learning the names of our flowers... no clue.

We have several flowering bushes around the house as well.

These Lilac bushes are especially nice and smell great.
Well keeping up our huge yard is a lot of work. We bought a lawn mower, hedge trimmer, weed whacker, and lots of chemicals for killing dandelions! The worst part is all the leaves... in the fall my dad and I bagged 22 bags (30 gallon/50 pound bags), this spring I did 12 more, and this weekend another 14 bags! In pounds that is 2400! Wow...

The bags and bags and bags...

The hard work is paying off... at least in the front yard.
Hopefully we will tackle the back yard soon. I am hoping this summer Novali will enjoy some gardening with Heather and I. Maybe we can grow our own tomatoes! We will see...


I just got back from Washington DC for a conference. It was nice on Saturday when Andres and Miguel came down and visited. We walked around a bit and had a late lunch together and caught up. They even got to see me in action as we walked by a young lady with a flat tire. I sprang into car mode and changed her tire in less than 10 minutes. Andres took a picture and Miguel posted it on Twitter so it was a team activity.

The conference was pretty busy but on breaks I finally was able to post pictures from Novali's birthday. I have been trying to post more often but it is difficult. Maybe now that I am on twitter it will push me more to blog and then post the link. I am on the road a lot the next few weeks but once May hits it will slow down. This upcoming weekend not only are we having guests at our house... BUT... I am an instructor for Tire Rack Street Survival school on Saturday and on Sunday off to Northeastern University for some consulting. The weekend after that I am off to San Diego for a board meeting. I have never been to San Diego so I am looking forward to that trip. After that life will slow down a little bit... at least I hope!

Aside from traveling the next couple weeks I will be busy with yard work and other projects around the house. There is so much to do and so little time lately. Not to mention that this is a super busy time at work for me, April is always hectic with end of the year programs and graduation. It has been a great year so here is to a busy but great ending. Ciao!


Birthday Season
April is birthday month in the Centellas family. Tons of them... just in my immediate family Miguel was on the 7th and Novali and my dad on the 10th. I got to call Miguel and my dad for their birthdays and this year for Novali her birthday fell on Easter weekend. The last couple years we started a little tradition of staying downtown Chicago for Easter and visiting a different church. Two years ago we did the Moody Bible Church and last year we stayed at the Drake and visited the Fourth Presbyterian Church across from the Hancock building. (Blog: Easter Bunny)

This year we got a room at Palmer House Hilton. Luckily we got upgraded to an executive floor room because on Saturday we planned a little birthday party for Novali. Andres came for the weekend and it was set to be a fun downtown adventure. We checked in early on Friday and then we walked to Millennium Park and ate at the Park Grill.

Novali and her birthday hat at the hotel.

Dancing with Tio Andres in the hotel room.

Friday night we had dinner with the Gomez family at one of Novali's favorite places, La Villa. It is a nice little italian place where we have gone for several events. She opened some gifts and we had a good time with family. Heather and I gave Novali a locket with a picture of Nono in it so now she can take him everywhere!

Saturday we got ready for her party. She had 5 or 6 friends coming up to swim in the pool, eat pizza and have a fun party. Heather and Tamara set it all up. Heather made some gifts for Novali to give her guests. She met them in the hotel lobby with a party tiara and a note card to go to our room. Once everyone arrived and changed it was pool time! The kids had a good time, Andres and Heather helped entertain all the kids in the pool. We also let them get into the hot tub for just a short time... then it was pizza time! The kids ate and then Novali had brownies her mom made for her as her birthday cake.

Every kid loves a pool party.

Happy Birthday!

The party ended... and then we just enjoyed walking around downtown some more. We did some shopping, Novali asked me to buy her a fedora and she wore it around all night! It was a lot of fun and we ended the night watching High School Musical 3 in our room.

Sunday was a super early morning. We found the Chicago Temple online that had sunrise services in their sky chapel. It is 400 feet above the street level and was beautiful to see. We enjoy a nice early service, some pictures at the hotel and a quick breakfast and then took short naps. Then another quick stroll around downtown and packed up.

The beautiful Methodist Chicago Temple.

In the Palmer House after church.

It was a fun weekend, and I can't wait for next year as we make plans for another cool hotel and another Easter service. I posted more photos on Novali's website: Easter/Birthday 2009.


Maybe Spring?
So really spring is being lame and not really coming all the way in yet. We have gotten into the 60s and very nice outside, and then this past Sunday it was snowing! So what is going on over here while I am waiting for the good weather? Lets give some updates.

Plants - Novali and I planted some seeds in little indoor green houses. It was supposed to take 2 to 3 weeks for the plants to grow. Well in less than two weeks the plants are coming over grown! I had to take the lid off the green houses already. I am wondering how long I can hold off planting them but the ground is still very cold. Hum...

Workout - despite the spotty warm weather I am running at home outside in our neighborhood. It is nice as I am learning the side streets around here well. I also like getting ideas for our landscaping from other houses in the area. I am working on the perfect route around for distance and avoiding all the hills. The hills makes for a scenic neighborhood, but are hard on the knees. But to answer your question, yes I am trying to work out regularly.

Work - April starts in a few short days and it is a busy work month for me. All the end of the year programs, leadership awards, student government elections, and preparing for summer orientation all hit at the same time. However the slow summer time is coming soon!

Travel - well I have five trips in 5 weeks coming up. I am off to San Francisco this weekend to a conference where I am presenting 5 workshops. While out there I am skipping over to Berkeley to do a program for them as well. Then back here for a couple days and then off to Chicago for Easter Weekend with is also Novali's birthday. It will be fun, doing a little hotel pool party and Tio Andy will be visiting also. The following weekend I head out to Washington DC for another conference. It will be nice because I hope to catch up with Andres and Miguel while out there. I want to see little (or not so little) Javi. The following weekend I am waiting to hear on a consulting trip to a Chicago area college which at this time shall not be named. Then I finish with first weekend in May in San Diego for another conference. So on the road again... and then May-August will slow down a little for me.

The House - We did some spring cleaning, raked some leaves and cleaned up the front and side yard. The backyard is a whole other story right now. So many trees and we are waiting to just see what starts to grow where as the ground warms up. I really am looking forward to landscaping and doing work around the yard. Wish me luck...

So there are a few quick updates from me... Ciao!


Girl Scout Cookies
Last weekend another bonus of the nice weather was that in front of nearly every store we visited had Girl Scouts in front selling cookies. Who can say no to their cookies? Well for one, not this guy that's for sure. I got some thin mints (that I know Heather likes) and I got some Samoas (they changed the name a while ago but they will always be Samoas to me.

I was pleased, felt like I was supporting a good cause and during the rest of the shopping trip was looking forward to tearing into some Samoas! Yum yum...

Well that evening, sat down after dinner to a family movie with Novali and Heather. Of course it was time to bust into the Samoas. I had one... then two... and then I had the dumb idea of wanting to read the nutrition information. I turned over the box as I was getting ready to reach for my third cookie. I started reading the nutrition information from the top.

It started fairly normal, yeah only 2 cookies are a serving. Seriously... all snacks are like that, does anyone really follow that? Well then it said the calories, 140 in two cookies. Man then the news started getting worse. Then the bad news hit, 11% of your daily fat intake in two cookies! What's worse is that for saturated fat... a whopping 29% of your daily value. WOW. In two tiny cookies... no wonder they are so delicious!

Don't Girl Scouts have to get some type of health merit badge? Don't they feel bad selling these cookies to unsuspecting consumers? I mean, yeah I am still gonna finish the box, but thats the point... I think they need to come up with something else that won't make me feel bad about myself.


Roses are Red
March has arrived, we moved the clocks forward an hour, and spring weather is slowly starting to show its head. We had Novali this past weekend and it was a ton of fun doing things outside. We got her on Friday and its always fun chatting with her in the car and hearing about her day.

Saturday was a fun day and started early. Everyone got up and made breakfast... some pancakes in fun shapes. I got some pancake shapes a while back and have been waiting to use them. So we mixed some pancake batter, cooked some sausage and had a nice big breakfast. Before getting ready for the day we through in a roast that would make a delicious dinner.

Pancake shapes: Heart, Star and Bear.

Novi's bed... her cool disney pillow.

Novali made her bed and then we went shopping. It might of been her first trip to Lowe's... we went shopping for plants. We got some indoor pots to start growing some flowers early. She had a ton of fun picking out the types of flowers she wanted to plant. We decided to get a rose bush as well and try to plant that for Heather. We toured around Lowe's for a while, Heather met us out there, we went looking at patio bricks and things we could do to out big back yard.

After we returned from the store we got to work outside. There was a lot to do... Heather and I cut ivy off the front of the house and cleaned around our landscaping. Novali climbed our front tree again, dug up some worms and wanted to make them her pets. Then we started to work on the rose bush. Novali started to dig the hole as I got the top soil and tools out. We dug a hole for the roots, and then planted what we hope will be a full flowering rose bush (wish us luck).

Novali up in the tree again.

Hopefully red roses will be growing soon.

We ended the night with some delicious roast pork sandwiches and watched Tinkerbell. We relaxed and everyone went to sleep early because we were very tired from all the hard work!

Sunday we slept in, and then we worked on our indoor green house. We can't plant outside until the end of April or early May. So we decided to start planting some flowers indoors. The little green houses we got hopefully we will let the flowers start to sprout indoors and once it gets nice outside we can transplant them.

It was a tun weekend. Novali got to talk to my mom and dad and also with her Tio Andy. It is great because Andres will be coming to Chicago for Easter weekend which is also her 8th birthday. Can't wait for that weekend! For more pics from the weekend go here: Spring!


What a Month
So I am very behind in my blogging... yes I am aware. It has been a very hectic month! I made a consulting trip to the Michigan Multicultural Greek Symposium at MSU for a weekend, I did a trip for my fraternity board to Dallas to help facilitate a retreat, and then I had a trip to St. Louis to present at a conference. I have been a busy bee... and on top of that had my one year evaluation at work and kicked off a busy semester.

Well what's new in my life? Not much, still traveling a lot, still enjoying our big house, still having fun in South Bend, and of course still having a fun with Novali on the weekends. Heather and I had her this past weekend... It was a snow filled weekend. Unfortunately we don't get good snowman making snow here, but we braved the outdoors and tried... we didn't get far but managed the worlds smallest snow man. Novali climbed a tree and did well for a city slicker.

Our little snowman.

Climbing up the crabapple tree.

Another fun indoor trip was to the movies. We have a discount theater and they were showing the Disney movie Bolt. It's is about a girl and her cartoon dog, very good and very funny for all ages. I highly recommend it if you have not seen it yet.

That ended the weekend... right now I am wrapping up Sunday night getting some work done to make the weeks work a little easier and Heather is doing laundry. I had a car club meeting this week and it is really giving me cabin fever being locked up in the house waiting for warm weather. Hopefully there won't be too many more snowy weekends before we can do things outside again... like finally use our driveway to wash cars... reminds me I need to buy a hose. Ciao!

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