Saturday, April 30, 2011

Soccer Pictures

Above is the team picture that Clancey got to be a part of.  As you can see everyone is smiling except Clancey who has the intense I'm ready to kick some butt look.

Here is Marshall's individual picture and you can see he is looking good as always.  He is a very photogenic kid.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Soccer Is Over

Tonight ended up being the last soccer of the year. For some reason they decided to not have the last game of the year and end the season tonight. So tonight the kids played a big scrimmage for about a half hour, which Clancey got to participate in, and then got their medals and treats. This season the coach endes up taking Clancey under her wing and he got to be in the pictures, participate in every practice, and she even gave him a medal. This is Clancey's first medal and he was pretty proud of himself. I am really proud of the kid. The whole season he wasn't afraid to get in there and be rough and tumble with the big kids. They would knock him down and he would get right back up and go after it. Marshall had a good season too. He did a lot better not being afraid to go after the ball and even went for a couple goals this season. Later tonight I will post the pictures, they are really good.

Another Video Game Kid

I think may have done bad by creating another video game addict. Last night Clancey asked if he could have my DS to play. That's when I realized that I had an old Gameboy that apparently Jen must have told Clancey about. So I went digging through all my old electronics and managed to track it down. I put some batteries in it and it still worked. Well this is what Jen said Clancey looked like all day, looking down at the Gameboy playing Mario Brothers. We may have to limit his video game time along with Marshall too.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

123 Days Until Ironman

123 days probably seems like a pretty weird number to report on my Ironman progress but there is a reason, mainly because I forgot too the Monday after I got back from vacation. Also I gave a presentation today to a bunch of North Cedar kids first through fifth grade about my Ironman experience. I figured that was worth reporting on so now 123 doesn't seem so weird. The presentation went good and I was personally surprised how engaged all the kids stayed in my presentation. I brought all my race day gear to show them and just kind of walked them through an Ironman day from prerace all the way to the finish. I even brought some powerbars and Gatorade for the kids to sample. The kids seemed to enjoy it and I enjoyed it.

As far as training goes the last couple weeks have not been great. With a nagging ankle injury and vacation last week my training hours have gone down recently. It was going good for the first 12-14 weeks but just like ever year I've been losing motivation. When you get to this point you've been at it for 127 days without any races or anything else to really show for it so it just starts to wear on you. This week has been better and with Ironman Kansas coming up in 48 days I am starting to get back into it. Next week in Huntsville I'll have to focus on getting my workouts in. I still feel like I'm in good shape and ready for Kansas just maybe not going to get the times I really wanted.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Great Eye Appointment

Today Clancey had an eye appointment down in Iowa City. The last eye appointment that he had the doctor was not seeing as much progress as she wanted and mentioned that he may have to go in for surgery again. Today was an entirely different story. On all the tests that they performed on him they had seen significant improvement. In fact at the end of the appointment they said that it was unlikely that they would need to perform surgery on him at all. They want to see him again in a few months just to keep an eye on him but with surgery off the table we can worry less. I was not all that enthused about him having to go have surgery again because it is a lot for him to go through for what amounts to very little real gains. I'm hoping things keep going well and we can put this problem behind us.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In Chicago

After a 5 hour airplane ride from Puerto Rico we made it to Chicago. Being I'm traveling with, what I am now calling the Jen the Travel Gremlin, the flight was not without an issue of some kind. This time someone managed to check into the flight without a ticket but then disappeared between the 25ft from the gate to the actual plane. We sat on the ground for 45 minutes while they looked at everyones ticket and ID just figure Steve had not in fact snuck on the plane. He did show up after the whole ticketing mess but not after he delayed us all. Once the plane got off the ground it was smooth sailing which made me happy. Now we get to sit in Chicago until 9:40 when we make the one hour flight back to Cedar Rapids and then home.

Happy Easter

Being we are stuck in the Puerto Rico airport on Easter Day we figured we
had better make sure we told the boys Happy Easter. We got word from the
Easter Bunny that he was planning on leaving you two a pretty awesome
candy, we can't wait to see it when we get home. We love you both and we
will see you tonight.

At The Airport

Jen and I made it to the airport and here we sit until 3pm. I suppose we
could have wandered around the island for the day as opposed to sit at the
airport but oh well. I'm hoping our trip to Cedar Rapids is a bit less
eventful then the one to Puerto Rico when we had rescheduled flights, half
a plan lose there cookies, and show up 12 hours late. So far things have
gone very smooth no lines anywhere and no problems let's just hope it stays
that way.


We are officially debarked from the boat and done with our cruise. The
cruise was a great time and I can't wait to go again soon. We managed to go
from our room through customs and onto the airport transfer bus in about 5
minutes. The key is being able to carry your luggage on and off the boat.
We were the first people to get off the boat and didn't have to wait in any
lines which was awesome. Now we get to sit at the airport until 3pm but at
least we know we will make our flight.

Leaving Port

We are just now leaving port and I'm pretty sure that someone got left
behind. They had the gang plank out until 5 with the Carnival people
looking down the pier like they were waiting on someone. Right at 5 they
pulled it in and left. The other day after the last person they pulled the
plank in so I'm pretty sure they were waiting on someone. Tonight when the
line formed to get on the boat people were singing and dancing, it was a
very festive event. I'm sure that person that got left wishes they were
part of it. Well tomorrow at 7am we will be back in San Juan and starting
our trek home. Here we come boys. :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Back On The Boat

Here we are back on the boat for the last time, next time we get off we
will be back in San Juan. Overall the cruise was a lot of fun. Jen had a
couple days in the middle where she didn't feel all that good but she
toughed it out. We both agreed that St. Thomas, St. Kitts and St. Maarten
were our favorite islands. In fact in the future we may come down to one of
those islands for a week or two visit. While we are sad our vacation is
nearly over we are happy to get back and see our boys.

Last Time On The Beach

Well here we are, Jen and my last day on the beach. St. Maarten's beach is
one of those beaches that they put on the Carnival commercials. White sand
beach, crystal clear water and the boat in the distance. The trip has been
great I couldn't think of a better way to spend a week, except maybe for
being at Ironman. I was just looking at the weather in Iowa and quite
frankly I'm not looking forward to going back to 50's after a week in the
80's. I guess you have to get back to real life sometime so you can earn
another trip down here in the future. I'm thinking next year Jen and I will
do a week on a single island somewhere maybe we will bring some friends
along as well. It would be pretty fun.

Lunch Time View

I had to take a picture of the view from the Hard Rock Cafe we are eating
at for lunch. We sat out on the balcony and took in the sights and sounds
of the boardwalk. After this we are going to head down to the beach and
enjoy the rest of the day laying in the sun and playing in the water. So
far it is a great last day of vacation which is what we need before what is
going to be another long travel day tomorrow. Hopefully this time its only
2 flights and no 6 hour stint on the runway waiting to take off. We will
worry about that tomorrow today is all about sucking in the rest of this
sunshine and amazing views.

French Side of St. Maarten

The bus just dropped us off for 45 minutes of shopping on the french side
of the island.

Great View

We made our first stop at the look out point that overlooked the western
side of the island. What a view.

On The Tour

Jen and I are on the tour and it is in a nice air conditioned bus and is
far less harrowing then my 4x4 ride from the other day. So far it is nice
and relaxing and a good view of everything on the island.

St. Maarten

Here we are on the last day of our cruise in St. Maarten. We are getting
ready to go on the island tour and then after that its downtown for some
shopping and then to the beach. Like I said yesterday the beaches here are
all nude beaches and I think that Jen is kind of excited to do a little
nude sunbathing. Its one of those bucket list kind of things. I suppose if
she does it means I'm going to have to also. Should be fun.

Friday, April 22, 2011

On To St. Maarten

We left port and we are on our way to St. Maarten for the last day of our
cruise. Hard to believe the cruise will be over in two days. We had a good
time but I'm thinking Jen is more of a land kind of girl. Next year when we
go on vacation we will probably go to a Sandels resort down on St. Thomas
or St. Kitts. Tomorrow we are going to tour the island and then head to the
beach, which are european style beaches meaning clothing optional, we'll
see if we partake in nude beach going. ;). We may be too american for that.

Shopping On The Island

Jen and I just got back from from shopping on the island. I decided to buy
a Just Do Me T-shirt, which technically I bought before Jen was with me,
and Jen bought some jewelry. Which I was more then happy to buy given I was
in a Just Do Me T-shirt. Now we are going to go out on deck and watch
people run for the boat at depart time. My goal is to see the boat leave
and watch someone sprinting after the boat. :)

Shopping For The Boys

Jen and I are our shopping for the boys. Jen is making this harder then
necessaray but I guess that's her perogative.

On The Boat

We just got our safety briefing and now we are on our way. Its going to
take about 45 minutes to get to our first snorkel place but it looks like
we are going to party to the whole way. Looks like its going to be fun.

St. Kitts

This morning we docked in St. Kitts and the plan for the day is for me to
go snokeling and Jen is going to take some time in on the deck getting some
sun. Jen is feeling better but not much of a swimmer so she thought it
sounded great to sun bathe this morning while I'm gone and then when I get
back around 2 we will walk into town and check things out.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Setting Sail

After watching the last person sprint to the boat with only minutes to
spare we are setting sail towards St. Kitts. Not sure what the plan is for
tomorrow but I do have to get some snokeling in yet so we will have to
decide tonight. Tell the boys we love them mema and papa and we will be
home soon.

Back On The Boat

I'm back on the boat after my adventure in St. Lucia and Jen is feeling a
bit better now. In what has become somewhat of a nightly ritual we got some
ice cream headed out on to the deck on the third level to watch the boat
set sail. Tonight we will be able to see what they do to unhook the boat
and get it ready to take off. I'm interested to see how they go about
unhooking the large ropes that are tethering us to shore. For tomorrow its
off to the island of St. Kitts and then St. Maarten for our final island on
Saturday. Can't believe that vacation is nearly over and it will be back to
the real world again on Sunday. Let's just hope our travel day isn't as

At The Beach

We finally made it too the beach here in St. Lucia after a harrowing drive
down what we would call in Iowa a level B road. The beach is absolutely
stunning with waves rolling in and the amazing views. I'm getting ready to
go take a swim and enjoy the ocean a bit.

Enjoying A Local Beer

We made our first stop on the tour at a road side stand and I sampled a
local beer called Piton. It tasted a lot like a American Light Beer. The
roads here are narrow and like all foreign countries the locals drive like
loons. It is pretty fun so far wish Jen could have made it.

On The Tour

The 4x4 tour just started and the guide is telling me about the area. Jen
was feeling a bit under the weather this morning which meant I headed on
the tour myself. I know I should have stayed back but Jen demanded I go
because it cost a fair amount of money and she didn't want to see it go to
waste. Hopefully when I get back she will be feeling a bit better and we
can head out for a quick walk before the boat takes off.

St. Lucia

Last night on the way out of port at Barbados Jen and I had found a nice
spot on the deck to watch as the boat left port. As we were sitting there a
Puerto Rican family had taken the deck chairs next to us. All of a sudden
the mother of the family starts speaking very excited in spanish and runs
to the side of the boat. Jen and I have no clue what she is saying when the
husband translates to us. He said she see's something in the water. Sure
enough we look over the side of the boat and see a group of dolphins swim
next to the boat. It was pretty cool.

Today see's us in St. Lucia for the days activities. Our plan is to do a
4x4 ride to a secluded beach and swim for a while. I think we stop on the
way and shop in a couple small villages and take some pictures. Should be a
good time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Relaxing On The Deck

Well we are back on the boat, lunch eaten and we are relaxing on the deck.
We found this nice private spot on deck 3 shaded by life boats with a great
view. Up on the main lido deck it is pretty packed on loud, not all that
relaxing so the other day I found this spot the is away from the crowds and
let's Jen and I relax and enjoy ourselves. It is a perfect view of the
boats sailing on the horizon and just feels nice. We have discovered a few
secrets on the boat that let you get away from the crowds and just enjoy
yourself. This afternoon we plan on watching the boat leave port for the
first time which should be neat.

Back At The Boat

After walking into town, checking it out a bit we are back the boat getting
ready for some lunch. After lunch I may head out to the shopping area just
off the boat dock to get a little free internet and maybe enjoy a local
beverage before we set sail again. Bridgetown, Barbados was a neat area.
Unlike the other areas we've been this was a fully functioning city that
wasn't soley made for tourists which meant we got to experience a little of
the local culture. It was nice to just bum around a bit and kind of relax
today. Tomorrow we will probably hit up a shore excursion again if we find
one we like. We took a ton of pictures and will be sure to bore everyone
with the slide show when we get back.

Enjoying A Coke

I have been in major caffeine withdrawal so I told we needed to stop some
place so I could get a coke, since they don't sell diet dew anywhere here.
On the way back to the boat we found this little restaurant where I could
get a coke and Jen could write the boys a postcard. It had a quite a few of
the ocean from the porch where we sat and was nice and cool in the shade.
I'm not quite brave enough to eat any local food given I don't want to
spend the rest of the cruise on the toilet but it sure does smell good.

In Barbados

Jen and I made it too Barbados for our day here. Today we decided to forgo
the Carnival sponsored excursion and walk into town ourselves. On the way
in we got asked by no less then 10 guys if we wanted a taxi ride. So far it
is really neat to explore on our own and take in the full city flavor. When
you are on excursion you get to experience what Carnival wants you to see
when you are your own you see everything. I'll report in about all the
things we see and do.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fun Day On The Ship

Today was our fun day on the ship and well needed. Jen and I kind of over did it yesterday in St. Thomas. We took in all the island had to offer and ended up going to bed at 9pm and even missed our fancy dinner cause we were both beat. Today was spent lay on the deck, taking in a couple shows,and just relaxing. Tonight is elegant night and then we plan on going to the comedy shows. Should be a good night. Tomorrow when I get on the island I'll be able blog more because data rates won't be so stupidly huge.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blackbeard's Castle

We made our way to Blackbeard's castle for a visit. I'm thinking this place
is more of a tourist trap then a real historic site but I think its a good
mix of what the island has to offer. We sampled some Run earlier and the
Aged and Spicy was pretty hard but the fruity stuff was pretty good even
Jen liked it. Right now we are at an old house that Jen is really enjoying.
Next its on to some shopping and lunch back on the boat.

On The Beach

I don't know if it gets much better then this, laying on one of the top ten
beaches in the world listening to waves beach against the shore and doing
nothing. We get to spend two hours here at the beach and then we are headed
to visit Blackbeard's castle. After that it is on to some shopping where
I'm going to get a hat and some goggles so the next time I'm at the beach I
can get a swim in. Then finally a boat ride back to the boat.

Exploring St. Thomas

Jen and I are off the boat in St. Thomas on the Ultimate Island Experience,
which was once again Jen's idea and a good idea at that. They've taken us
to a couple lookout points and we have gotten great pictures. Now we are
headed to the beach to swim in the ocean for a couple hours. So far this
cruise has been a great idea and I have to thank Jen for making me do it.
Tell the boys we miss them Mema and Papa.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

On Deck

We made it over to the dining room for a bite to eat and then we headed up
to the top deck so Jen could enjoy some sun. Now that we made it through
our day of travel hell we are taking it all in. Jen couldn't believe all
the food that they served in fact just a whole week of laying around
relaxing having people serve you would do for her let alone everything
else. We are thinking this could become our yearly thing.

On The Ship

Jen and I just boarded the cruise ship and we are ready for our vacation to
really get started. It wasn't too bad getting on the ship but I have to
admit the Jen was right again about getting here early. We beat most of the
crowds and it only took about 30 minutes to board. Now its time to relax
and enjoy some fun time together.

Exploring San Juan

Jen and I finished our breakfast and went out to explore the streets of San
Juan before we boarded our cruise ship. The big ship in the background is
our cruise ship we will be boarding later today. Right now it is about 80
degrees and we are enjoying the sun and the warmth.

View From The Hotel

This morning with the sun up Jen and I are able to see the area we are
staying in. Last night as our taxi driver sped down the road zipping in and
out of traffic and then taking us down side roads and back alleys it was
hard to know where we were, just that we were at the right place. We are
going to go track some breakfast down and then go explore a bit before we
have to get on the boat. I'll post more pictures as we go.

San Juan

Jen and I just landed in San Juan and are making our way to our hotel.
Today was one of the longest days of travel I've ever had. Up at 3:30am our
the door at 4:00 and traveling ever since. We are just happy to finally be
here and can hopefully get a few hours of sleep before we have to get on
the boat.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stuck On The Plane

We boarded this plane at 4:30 and it is now 6:00pm and we still haven't left. Right as we boarded a severe thunderstorm came through and they shut down the airport. Well now it has cleared here but we have to fly the same direction the weather is headed so we have to wait. This has been a damn long day so far. Wake up to a delayed flight and a missed connection at Chicago. Get a reroute through Denver to DC which was one of the roughest flights of my life and now we are stuck on the ground in DC. We really just want to get this vacation started. Sure glad we left a day early or we would have certainly missed the boat. Hopefully the cruise goes better then the travel down to it.

Update 7:25
Here we are still stuck on the tarmac here in DC.  Right now they aren't letting any flights head north or south-east which means we are stuck. In fact they pulled the gate back up and they may let people get off the plane.  ugghhh we just want to get out of here.

Wild Ride To DC

We just landed in DC and that was one wild ride. The plane was shaking and droping, people were puking and kids were screaming, hell even the oxygen masks fell out on some seats, it was something else. Poor Jen hasn't flown for over 10 years and we weren't even supposed to be on this flight so I feel bad for her. I do have to say in all my travel it was some of the roughest turbulance I've ever expierenced, the pilot got applause when we landed. Hopefully the next flight isn't as rough. The one consequence of the rough flight is that I'm going to have to eat supper by myself.

In Denver

Here we are in Denver on a altered flight schedule. Never feels right to go 600 miles in the wrong direction but at least we are scheduled to be in San Juan tonight. The next two flights we have are going to be pretty long so right now I'm making sure every device I own has a full charge. Looking forward to getting to San Juan because it is going to be a long day.

At The Airport

This morning I was greeted by an email in my inbox that told me my 6am flight to Chicago had been delayed by 2.5 hours which made us miss our connecting flight to San Juan. After getting on the phone with United on the way in to the airport we managed to get book on a new flight to San Juan via Denver and DC. We now get to San Juan at 8 tonight instead of 2. I do have to thank Jen for saying we needed to go down a day early because otherwise we would have been at risk of missing the boat if this would have happened tomorrow. None the less we are at the Cedar Rapids airport waiting to board to head to Denver and start our trip. :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Celebrating Papa's Birthday

Mema and Papa got here this afternoon to watch the kids for the week while Jen and I are on our cruise. Turns out it was papa's birthday the other day so we used the opportunity to celebrate his birthday also. Here you can see the boys gathered around papa so they can all blow his candle out together. Also now its less then 12 hours until we leave on our vacation. Yahoo, looking forward to the vacation but we are going to miss the boys. Extra kisses for them at bedtime tonight, since I doubt they will be up at 4am when we leave.

Lunch At The Cafe

Here is a picture of Clancey and I enjoying some lunch at the cafe. I was surprised to find that Clancey is pretty popular down here. I guess that is the story of his life, all the ladies are going to love Clancey.

Story Hour

With it being my first day of vacation and Jen having to run into Cedar Rapids to run some errands before we leave, I got to take Clancey to story hour. The story is Old MacDonald and the kids are really enjoying doing all the farm sounds. I'm thinking after this Clancey and I will head to the cafe to get some lunch and then we'll head home so I can finish my packing, do a workout, and then get ready to go.


Jen and I officially leave on our vacation tomorrow and we can't wait.  While I guess I technically started my vacation from work today it was really just to get ready for leaving tomorrow.  It will be an early day tomorrow up and 3:30am so we can get to the airport and be on our 6:00am flight our of Cedar Rapids.  I'm not entirely sure yet how much connectivity I'm going to have on the cruise ship or the islands so I may not be able to update my blog very often while we are on the trip.  If I can't we will take plenty of pictures and I will be sure to post a big update when we get back.  So far the weather looks great down in the Southern Caribbean but even if it wasn't that great we will be on a cruise ship relaxing which will be nice no matter what.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Big Night

Tonight we had a big night and I didn't take any pictures so I will just have to tell you about it. When I got home we headed off to Little Home Preschool in Lowden for Clancey's preschool orientation. Well during the orientation Marshall got up and headed to the bathroom because he had a loose tooth. Turns out that Marshall managed to get his tooth out while he was in the bathroom. At this point he has lost 7 teeth and I have to imagine it is getting hard to chew.

Once the presentation was done we all got to head down to Little Home to take a tour. An funny side note was that everytime we referred to Little Home Clancey corrected us and said it was Big Home. Clancey really enjoyed the tour and was excited to get started. They have a summer camp this summer and I'm thinking we need to send Clancey for a week or two.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Soccer Night

Tonight Marshall had another soccer game and he did good. Of course Clancey was once again disappointed that he couldn't get in the game and play but we keep assuring him that it will be soon enough. Clancey has made a friend of the coaches teenage daughter and they generally play soccer together the whole time. Too bad that next week Jen and I will be on our cruise so we won't be able to go to the game but Mema and Papa will be able to come watch.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Camaro Fired Up And Ready To Go

This afternoon I thought I would spend some time to get the Camaro running. Always feels good to get it out and running for the year.

Jen Gardening

With it being a great day we all used the time to get outside and enjoy the day. The boys and I went out to the park to try and fly a kite but it was way to windy. We ended up just playing on the equipment for a while. Jen used the time to get out and do some gardening. Here she is planting some snow peas, to be truthful picking up the snow peas she just managed to dump all over the ground. The boys and I also spent some time getting the Camaro out and started. I had to spend most of the afternoon trickle charging the battery but once it was charged up it started right up. It was nice to get it out for a drive. Always reminds me of my dad when I do.

Skateboarding Outside

Today with the temperatures spiking into the 80's the boys really wanted to get outside and play.  For some reason Clancey also had it in his head that he wanted to use "Daddies Skateboard".  While I was outside grilling brats for lunch I decided to head downstairs to get the skateboard and let him have give it a try.  At first Clancey was a bit timid on it but it didn't take him long before he was trying to do some tricks.   

Look at me daddy I can stand on the skateboard and roll.  Yes you can Clancey.  I'm sure it won't be too long until you are at the X Games saying look at me everyone I just pulled the first Quadruple Double Inverted Corkscrew Flip and your mom will be totally freaked out.

Once Clancey had led the way then, of course, Marshall wanted to give it a try.  Hey look at me Daddy I can roll too, even faster then Clancey.

Oh crap Daddy this thing is kind of unstable and hard to balance on, especially when Clancey puts his foot in the way.  Secretly Clancey didn't want Marshall to show him up, he knew I was taking pictures ;)

Ouch the concrete hurts to land on.  Take note that Clancey is headed straight for the skateboard so he can have a turn.  I'm not entirely certain that he didn't trip Marshall so he couldn't get a turn.

Check out my first skateboard crash.  Yeah it hurt but I didn't cry because I "Dug Deep".