On the way back from the river museum we had to make a bunch of stops so the trip took nearly two and a half hours. Clancey decided he was going scream about various things nearly the whole trip, like two year olds tend to do. About 5 miles outside of Clarence Clancey became decidely more quiet so we look back and this is what we see. Marshall is there on the left and Clancey would be the one sleeping under the coat on the right. If nothing else when we woke him up 10 minutes later when we got home he was in a good mood.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
We just got done at the Museum just a few minutes ago. Right now I'm in the Target parking lot waiting for Jen to pick a few things up so I have few minutes to blog. I asked each of the boys what their favorite part was, Marshall says his favorite part was all of it but he really liked getting the free plastic lizard toy from the cafe. Clancey said his favorite thing was seeing the turtles but I'm sure he liked his little lizard toy the most too. Nothing like traveling for an hour to get somewhere, dump $25 on tickets to get in and their favorite thing was a 10 cent plastic toy they got. I guess that's what being a parent is all about. ;) All in all the boys had a good time they got to touch stuff, pretend they were driving a steamboat, and see a lot of fish. They are both pretty tired now and I'm sure they will nap on the way home.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
With Christmas over Jen and I have been taking down all the decorations and cleaning up the disaster that was left in the wake of Christmas morning. The boys on the other hand have just been relaxing and recoving after the excitement of the past week. This picture captures how we all kind of feel today, ready to relax and enjoy what remains of our Christmas break.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Jen is taking down the tree which signifies the official end of the Christmas season here at the VanOort house. It is sad when the tree comes down because that means I have to head back to work soon and my next major vacation to look forward too isn't until July. I guess I still have nearly a week of vacation left but instead of looking towards Christmas I'm looking towards a ton of work I pushed off until January 4th. Oh well I guess that's just part of the deal. We are going to go one day this week to the river museum in Dubuque so the boys can have some fun before Marsh has to head back to school.
As we've been killing time here at WalMart we happened upon the camping and fishing isle. When Marshall saw that stuff he was really excited and wanted to go camping again this year but near a lake so we could go fishing this time. He has been studying each of the different lures trying figure out if it would be best to catch fish with.
This afternoon Marsh and I ran to Tipton to finally take the cans back after collecting them for a couple years now. It's one of those chores that you are always pushing off to "next week". We ended up filling nearly the whole bed of my pickup up with cans. When I dropped them off the guy at the counter told me to just leave them and he would have them counted in about an hour. So given we had some time to kill and DQ is closed for the year we headed to WalMart so Marsh could look at toys. Although Christmas was only a few days ago Marshall was still picking out all the toys he wished he had. Mostly he was looking at the Hotwheel Trick Track expansion packs that he could add to the sets he already had. Now I can't make too much fun of Marshall because I was over in electronics eyeing all the games I wanted.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Here is a funny picture from opening presents earlier today. Another funny story from opening presents earlier today. When Clancey opened his stocking he got a big bag of M&M's, his favorite candy. When he saw the M&M's he starts to yell "Nem and Nems, Nem and Nems" and then runs around the house like a guys who just won a big race with his arms in the air like a champion. All the toys he got and the thing that ellicits the biggest reaction is a bag of M&M's.
We just got done celebrating Jen's birthday with the customary rum cake and ice cream. The picture above shows the second time that Jen got her cake brought out to her. The first time the cake got brought out Clancey started to yell "wait a minute, wait a minute". So we look at Clancey and ask what do you want Clancey. He says "Do it again". So we gather that he wants us to bring the cake out again. So we figure what the heck, let's do it again. When we did again Clancey started in signing Happy Birthday with everyone else. Clancey wanted to sing with everyone else. That kid is something else.
Today is our third and final Christmas of the year up at Mema and Papa's. When we walked in the door we were greeted with the fresh aroma of Christmas/Birthday dinner. By the way today is Jen's birthday also otherwise known as screwed out of presents day ;) I'll post some pictures of the festivities later.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Our second Christmas is in full swing. Grandma Marsha gave the family Band Hero for Christmas and we've been playing it for about 2 hours now. We've played nearly every song on the game and it's been a great time. Now we are getting to do this dance game on the Wii now so it should be fun.
We made it too Grandma's Marsha's for our second Christmas. It was quite the heroing drive until we got west of Iowa City. In fact in Iowa City we saw a truck lose control in our lane, slide across two lanes of traffic, and nearly get plowed by a semi on the drivers side door. At that point Jen just about told us to turn around and go home but about 10 miles west it cleared up and the roads were dry. Now as you can see Jigs is helping the boys "engineer" the marble race. Everyone is here and even Mark decided to stop by. Its going to be a fun night.
Why did it have to wait until the day after Christmas and the day we have to travel to snow. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day it rains and causes a huge ugly mess outside and in our basement then finally around 4 in the afternoon on Christmas Day it starts to spit snow. By then your not dreaming of a white Christmas your dreaming of an early spring. Oh well I guess that is the time of year it is. Hopefull I80 won't be to bad for the trip down to Grandma Marsha's for our second Christmas. Marshall has been begging all morning to head to Grandma Marsha's. I really think he likes playing with all the toys she has but I think he likes her a bit too;)
Friday, December 25, 2009
Here is a picture of Clancey's new tractor that he got from grandma Marsha for Christmas. Grandma Marsha has a knack for picking toys the boys absolutely love and Jen and I absolutely hate. I guess that is what being a grandparent is all about, spoiling the kids and then sending them back to the parents.
We were also greeted this Christmas Day with a basement full of water. Now that was not in the plan for the day at all but when it has been raining for nearly two days now there is not much you can do about it. I really wish it would have just snowed a foor instead because we had no where to go and then the basement wouldn't have been flooded. I went out to get the hose but it was frozen so I'm waiting for it to thaw out so I can start the sump pump. Uuuggghhh.
Update: The sump pump is going and the water is slowly going down now. Hopefully by tonight it will all be gone.
Of course the consequence of Christmas is spending the rest of the morning putting together all the toys that the boys got. Here is me fully engrossed in assembling the latest addition the hotwheel world. Another parking garage.
Its Christmas morning here at the VanOort household and both boys were up at 6:30 and have been asking to open presents ever since. Jen and I told the boys that we could open presents at 7:00 so its just a few minutes until its time. As the parent I take my job of torturing the kids with presents very seriously ;)
Here is an interesting story from last night before bed. Clancey was having a rough night freaking out and not wanting to go to bed after we had read The Night Before Christmas. So I broke into a rendition of Santa Clause Is Coming To Town. Once I got done Clancey starts to say "No cry, Santa is coming" so then he says "oh man" realizing he was crying and needed to stop so santa would bring his presents. After that he reluctantly went to laid down and we didn't hear another peep. I didn't realize Clancey was old enough to start wielding the santa card on. Going to have to keep that in mind now.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tonight we went over to the church for Christmas Eve candle light service. We made it about halfway though before Clancey decided he had enough sitting still and being quite and I had to take him out. I guess that's the way it is with little ones. After this we are going to go drive around and look at Christmas lights and drink hot chocolate. After that we are headed home to put the kids to bed which Marshall is ready for. The quicker to bed the quicker to opening presents in the morning.
While I was out picking some things up, which by the way I forgot the green bean casarole onions, Jen told Marshall and Clancey that they needed to pick up toys. Being kids this was obviously something they didn't want to do. Jen then played the Santa card, telling the boys that they needed to pick up so Santa didn't trip when he came in the house tonight. Marshall says "Why don't we leave the toys out so when Santa trips we hear him and can come downstairs and see him!" ;)
It just isn't Christmas Eve without my annual last minute shopping trip. Today I ran to WalMart to see if they had this game Marshall really wanted, Dirt 2, which they didn't have. Then I ran over to Family Foods for some eggnog and few other things we didn't get. Now its time to head home eat some treats, play some games and wait for the jolly old fat man to make his appearance.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
While Marsh and I were in the living room playing video games Jen brought her computer in and sat on the couch to work so she could be close to the family. Clancey saw Jen using her computer so he went and got his so he could get some "work" done too. The picture was just to cute to pass up so I had to capture it to share with everyone.
Early today Marsh and I braved the weather to head out and run a few errands around town. First we had to head to the post office to see if the last of my gifts have showed up and get the mail. Turns out my gifts didn't show up yet so hopefully tomorrow or it may turn into a birthday gift ;) After that we headed to the library to take some library books back and get some more for the holiday. Once we were done there we headed back towards home and it was a nightmare. The sidewalks were slick, the wind was in our faces, and it was raining. Glad to be back inside enjoying the warmth.
This afternoon Jen and I decided we needed to make some treats for Christmas Eve tomorrow. While not everyone is going to make it over we still need treats for ourselves. Here is a picture of me making my famous salsa. I will probably make two batches one for us and I better make a batch to bring to my mom's house on Saturday.
About 4:30 in the morning our electricity started to flicker, I can tell because my computer has battery back up with an alarm on it, and then about 4:40 it went off for good and didn't come back. It's now 7:30 and we still don't have electricity. Today is Marshall's first day of Christmas break and it could be a long day without electricity to run the TV and Xbox, key items to parental sanity on long Christmas breaks. ;) I wonder how long it's going to be out?
Update 8:10 am - The electricity came back on shortly after I blogged about the it being off. In fact it when off and back on and Marshall never even knew it happened.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I walked into bedroom tonight and found Marshall with his shirt half on off entertaining his brother. I dub him the Bedtime Monster, although Clancey could give him a run for the title tonight because he is being a complete psycho. I guess that's what happens when you get woke up early from your nap to go pick up your brother who got out of school early.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Today after Jen and Marsh got home from church the boys decided to have a boy day. When we left it was snowing very lightly but by the time we got to CR it was snowing really hard and the roads were crap. At this point I wondered if we should turn around and head home but decided against it to see if the roads would improve if we just waited out the snow. Turns out that was the right decision the roads are way better now. First we hit lunch at our favorite place, Panchero's, then we headed to Radio Shack. I got a new electronics book and needed to get some parts so Marsh and I could do some of the projects. The boys on the other hand wanted to check out the radio controlled cars. After that we headed to the McDonalds play area for the boys. They had a good time even though Clancey had a run in with another kid but it all worked out, Clancey was not the one at fault. Now Marsh and I are headed to home to do our first electronics projects should be fun to see how much stuff we blow up. ;)
Saturday, December 19, 2009
This morning Marshall and Clancey were playing in the kitchen when Marshall decided he wanted to make a PB&J sandwich. He got the chair out so he could reach the peanut butter well while he was up their he decided to open the top cupboard up, he says to look for the bread and see if it was in there. Well much to his surprise he found a cupboard full of unopened toys. He excitedly runs to the bathroom to tell me about the hotwheel toys he found. Fearing the worst I came into the kitchen to find that yes indeed they had found "Santa's" christmas present stash. I go to tell Jen that the presents were found, well while I'm away Marshall gets back up there and gets the 2 hotwheels he can reach out gives one to Clancey and one to himself. So I come back into the kitchen and find them opening the hotwheels up, I grab them before they get them opened and put them back. Marshall doesn't understand and not knowing what else to say I told Marshall he found his birthday presents. At this point Marshall starts to cry because he thinks I'm mad at him for finding his presents. Making a snap decision I decided to just give the hotwheels back to them since they had seen them anyways. Now we don't know what to do. Marshall says he didn't really see anything else but I think he is trying to trick us and I don't want to reveal the truth about Santa quite yet so I think we are stuck making the hotwheel set he saw his birthday present and going to buy a new one for him.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Here is a video one of the E-2C pilots posted to Youtube of the Rockwell Displays I work on in action. The big 6x8 and the 9x12 displays on the left and right side of the cockpit are the displays my team wrote the software for. It's not very often us software guys ever get to see our software actually running in the field.
Today is the first day of my 16 day Christmas vacation and it didn't come a moment too soon. After a hard year of work it is nice to get a good long vacation. The nice part of Christmas vacation is it is the only time of the year that when you take vacation everything is on pause. No email is filling up my inbox, no voice mails, no urgent cell phone calls, it is great. Now let's just hope we don't get sick like we did last year.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Jen's blog "Notes From the Heartland" has started to become famous in the craft blog community. Tonight as she was surfing her craft blogs she noticed that one of the other blogs had listed Jen's blog on her favorites, along side some of the other big hitters in the blog community. In fact this blog had even listed one of Jen's projects on her todo list. Jen was pretty excited to see that she was starting to make a name for herself in the craft blog community.
Today we had somewhat of a shoe emergency at school, Marshall was told by the teachers that they would no longer help him tie his shoes. While we have been working on learning to tie his shoes at home he just isn't proficient at it yet and needs some help. Knowing that there is no way he is going to learn to tie his shoes over night and not wanting him to have to walk around with untied shoes all day, I went over to the shoes store today and bought him some velcro shoes. They were racecar shoes with LED lights in them, so Marshall was pretty excited. In fact this weekend we are going to have to get Clancey a pair too because his shoes are worn out and the lights are pretty cool for a little kid. Hopefully these new shoes help releave some of the anxiety Marsh has been feeling everyday about having to change in and out of his shoes at recess.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Tonight I was sworn in for my second term as a city council person here in the big city of Clarence, Iowa. Kind of hard to believe that I have already been a city council person for 4 years. Hell it's hard to believe that Jen and I have been in Clarence for nearly 6 years already. I still feel like a newcomer to the community. Be interesting what the next 4 years will bring.
Tonight after I headed off to the city council meeting for the night Jen took Marshall up stairs for his bath well, of course, he wanted to come back downstairs. Just like every other time he has tried to stay up past 8 this is how it always ends up.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The boys and I just got inside after playing in the snow. We built a snowman, had snowball fight, and sledded down our snow pile in the backyard. It was not too bad out around 35 degrees which made for perfect snowman snow. This was the first time that Marshall and Clancey ever got to go sledding. At first Clancey was a little scared but after going down once he was hooked and want to go over and over again.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Today, after being trapped at home nearly all week because of the blizzard, we headed into Cedar Rapids for most of the day. Let me tell you Cedar Rapids was a freaking zoo. The roads were still a mess and there were a ton of people on the road. The stores were no better, I think everyone in CR had the same idea. We headed over to go out for lunch and run errands. We had lunch at Casa Las Glorias our favorite mexican place, since Garcias closed. After that we headed to Target and the boys got to pick out new sleds. They were quite excited about that. Tomorrow after Marshall's Christmas program we are going to have find some place to ude them. Other then that nothing else too exciting happened but on a side note if you want to see weirder people then at Walmart go to Dollar Tree. That is quite the place.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Tonight Marshall lost his second tooth. Right after I got home and was in the process of eating supper Marshall came up to me to show me how loose his tooth was. When he showed it to me it was really loose and only hanging on by a little piece of gum. The first tooth he lost came out in the middle of the night and he spit it out in his sleep. Well this time we wanted to avoid that because we were worried he might choke, so I told him that if he got his tooth out before he went to bed I would double whatever the tooth fairy gave him. After I told him this he went right into the bathroom and started to work on getting it out. He was at it for around 10 minutes having no success, getting more and more frustrated and about to give up when I told him I would sweeten the deal a bit. In addition to the money I would let him play 2 hours of video games tomorrow without paying a marble, he earns marbles by doing chores which he can spend on treats like video game time. Once I said this he was refocused and quickly got his tooth out. Now in the process he managed to drop it somewhere on the floor so we spent about 10 minutes searching the floor with flashlights before we found it. It is now safely tucked away in his tooth pillow waiting the tooth fairies arrival tonight. Hopefully the tooth fairy doesn't give him a hundred dollar bill ;)
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tonight as I was leaving Marshall's room after reading a story about animals Marshall said he had to tell me something. He said "There are four animals you really have to watch out for. Tigers, lions, snakes, cause sometimes they can be poisonous, and foxes"
I was a bit confused by his last animal so I asked "Why do you need to be afriad of foxes?"
Marshall says to me "Because sometimes they will bite your shirt off, your underwear off, or your head off!"
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
If a snow day is good for nothing else it is a good day to go out and enjoy the snow. Jen took the boys out to go brush the snow off the Durango and let the boys play a bit. This is really Clancey's first time being able to get out and enjoy the snow and so far it's kind of a love/hate relationship. He enjoys the snow but at the same time he gets mad when it gets on him and makes him cold.
Today we are all stuck home because we are having a blizzard. They have talked and talked all week about this storm and today it happened. Personally I don't think it's as bad out as they thought it would be but my wife would kick the crap out of me if I tried to make it into work. So I guess I'm going to have to just hunker down and see what stuff I can get done from here today. On a side note Marshall is pretty excited about his second snow day in a row.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Here is a video of Marshall's school Christmas concert. Marshall is on the very right at the beginning of the video in the red and blue rugby shirt. Marshall did very good in the concert but just like everything he does he did act a bit silly but I guess that is who Marshall is. ;)
Tonight Jen and I are at our first school concert. Marshall just got off stage and did really good, I'll be posting the video later. Crazy to think Marshall is already old enough to be doing real school functions. Can't believe how old he is getting.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Yesturday while Marsh and I were in Cedar Rapids Jen and Clancey got the family tree decorated. Jen does a really good job of decorating so that is why we pretty much leave it all up to her. I'll post a video later of all the decorations because this year the house looks better then it ever has. I think Jen is trying to make up for our sickness ridden Christmas from last year.
Today for the, first time in a long time, Uncle Mark and his family came over to visit. Mark is in the process of finishing putting together the 68 Camaro my dad was building for my sister before he died. He needed to come over to see if I had any of the missing parts he needs to finish it, well it seemed like a good opportunity to get together and and have lunch. While Jen was at the church doing the cookie committee Clancey and I headed down to Tipton to get some stuff to make for lunch. We ended up getting bugers and chips for lunch, nothing to fancy, but we did grill them so that made up for it. It had been a long time since we had seen Mark and his family so it was really nice to get a chance to visit. Mark also tells me he has a new engine to put in my Camaro so hopefully next spring it will be back on the road. :)
This morning Jen and I got roped into doing cookie committee at church. Every Sunday after church they have fellowship time and serve cookies, coffee and other treats. Part of being a member of the UCC means that you will be asked every now and again to be one of volunteers that serves the members after church. Its not to hard to do and is nice because it gives you the opportunity to meet people you may not normally talk too.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
In one month I start training for my second Ironman. Last time I did the Ironman I finished in 16 hours and 33 minutes, more then 2 full work days of time to finish. When I did the race last time I was not properly prepared and it is really a miracle I finished at all. It was the second triathlon I had ever done and in fact that day was the first time I ever rode my bike over 100 miles or ran a marathon. This time is going to be different. I have far more expierence and understand what it take to get prepared. My goal is to go 13 hours and if I train right I feel this is an achievable goal. For now it's one more month of relaxing and enjoying the holidays because on January 4th my 36 week training plan starts.