Monday, October 31, 2011

Boys Headed Out For Trick Or Treating

Back From Trick Or Treating

The boys just got back from Trick or Treating and they have quite the haul of candy. The boys hit up a lot of streets but finally had to call it quits cause it was just too cold. Given the amount of candy they had it was probably good that they came home early, they have a ton of candy. Now that Halloween is over lets get the Christmas season started.

Trick Or Treating

Tonight is trick or treating night here in Clarence and Clancey is excited as heck. He's been trick or treating before but I think this may be the first year that he really understands what it is all about so he was raring to go when i got home. I've taken the boys out trick or treating all the other years but this year Jen volunteered for the duty which means I'm left at home to hand out all the treats to those who venture down our street. Most years we really don't get that many trick or treaters simply because participation isn't high on our road and it gets pretty dark when the sun goes down. I can't wait to hear how it went when Jen and the boys get back home.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Clancey's Second Cake

Present Time

We are to Clancey's favorite part of his birthday, opening presents. Once again papa out did himself and made Clancey this awesome toy chest. It opens by turning the skull on the front of the chest and it even has a secret compartment on the bottom that papa hid a bag of golden dollars for Clancey. Turned out to be another great birthday for Clancey.

Boys Knocking Down Blocks

Birthday Number Two

Today Mike, Michelle, mema and papa all came over to celebrate birthday number two with Clancey. We had a party for Clancey on his actual birthday but decided to have the family get together today. Marshall was really looking forward to Mike coming over because he really wanted to challenge him to a game of chess. Clancey, on the other hand, really just wanted someone to just play with him. At first it was a quiet game of catch which quickly turned into a game of building towers and knocking them down. I'm not sure Clancey knows any quiet games. ;)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ready For The Party

Jen and I are dressed up and ready for the party. Now we just need the people we are going with to show up. Its like this every year having to wait.

Boy Trip

Jen had some stuff she wanted to get done today so she sent the boys and I out the door to find something to do. We decided to hit up the DQ for lunch since we had pizza last night and you can never go wrong with ice cream. Once we were done there we headed to cedar rapids to walk around Best Buy and get some groceries. As you can see I really wore the boys out today. Tonight Jen and I are headed to a Halloween party which should he a good time. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Scooby Doo At Work

So I'm walking to the bathroom after a meeting and what to my wondering
eyes should appear but Scooby Doo standing at the door at work. Had to get
a pciture with him.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Clancey's Birthday Party

Clancey's Birthday

Today is Clancey's forth birthday are having a party for him. Hard to believe the kid is already four years old it seems like just yesterday that he was born. In fact if you want you can go back and look at the live blog I did of his birth four years ago. We decided to do things a bit out of order for his birthday. First it was presents, then we did cake and ice cream and finally we did supper. Seemed like the logical order to Clancey, why not do all the good stuff first and then do supper. I better go help Clancey put together his hotwheel set before he gets mad. I be posting a video later of Clancey opening his presents and blowing out his candle. So stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Early Off Today

Today I left work early so that Jen and her friends could attend a meeting. That meant that I was in charge of picking Marshall up from school and then taking him down to his piano lesson in Tipton. The one bad part was I had to wake Clancey up from his nap at about 3:20 and he was not a happy camper. After he threw a little fit he got over it and has good since. This is the first time that I've been to Tipton for the piano lesson and it gave me a chance to meet his new piano teacher who is quite good. I think he is going to learn a with her. Once I get home we will have a quick supper and then I have a council special session to talk about repairing one of the streets in town. Hopefully it doesn't last too long because I really don't want to spend all night at the city hall.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Report For The Day

I figured I better put some kind of entry up for the day since I haven't posted anything all day. Today was kind of a busy day. Last night about 10:30 Michelle and her friend Roxanne got here after watching one of their friends compete in a body building competition. I guess there friend was doing this as kind of a bucket list thing and ended up getting second place which was pretty neat.
This morning when the kids got up we herded then off to Sunday school and then when they got back they got to aunt Michelle for awhile. Once Michelle and her friend were gone Marshall's friend Nathan stopped by so he could play for a while. Clancey really likes Nathan a lot too so he was pretty excited to see him. The boys gathered a ball and headed outside to play soccer for a bit while Jen worked on painting her library sign and i played video games. It wasn't too long though before the boys came in and wanted me to go play with them too so i headed out to kick the ball around for a bit. Once we were done playing soccer it was time for Nathan to head home and for me to head to work for a couple hours. I had to go in and pack my office up and move it to another building. My new boss wants my team collocated with the rest of the teams in the department since I was the only one in another building it meant I had to move. While I was in CR I used the opportunity to head to the rec center and get my run in for the day. I finally got back home right around 8:30 so it was kind of a long and busy day for me. Glad im in bed resting now. :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

At The Mall

The boys and I decided to head to Cedar Rapids to kill some time. Of course we had to go to Panchero's for supper and then once again Clancey begged to go to the mall to play at the playground area but first we went to the game store to check it out for a bit. I'll tell you what the mall play area is something else. The behavior that parents let there kids get away with is amazing. Sometimes I'm not even sure that all the kids that are here even have a parent in the area supervising. I guess if nothing else it toughens the boys up a bit to deal with all the half wild kids that are here.

Jen Getting Ready

While Marshall and I were playing Magic The Gathering Jen was darting around the house getting prepared for the big non-man event tonight. When Jen puts on an event she goes all out, as you can see she is on the porch cleaning it up and even going so far as to stage it for the event tonight.  Maybe she should start staging the porch for me every night when i come home from work. ;)

Magic The Gathering

While Clancey was napping I took the time to sit down with Marshall to teach him how to play Magic The Gathering. Back in the old days you had to teach people to play this game with real cards but now days you can teach people on the Xbox which is quite a bit easier. The game is pretty advanced for a 7 year old but Marshall is pretty smart so im betting he will pick it up fast. I'm hoping that I will actually have someone who can play my in the game soon. I'm betting that once Marshall gets the hang of the game he is going to make for a very worthy opponent.

Great Day

This afternoon after I got done with workout the boys and I headed outside to enjoy a little of the absolutely gorgeous day. We didn't play too long because Clancey had to go down for a nap since the boys and I are going to get kicked out of the house tonight for a bit. Jen has a big cooking class and there are no boys allowed so we have to go on a late night boy trip. Ill be sure to keep the blog up to date with all the fun things we do.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Marshall Is A Genius

We've always known that Marshall was quite intelligent for his age but we didn't realize that he may actually be a genius.  Today in school Marshall's ELP teacher gave him an IQ test and he ended up scoring 151.  The teacher was just flabergasted that he scored that high and told Jen that only 8 in 10,000 people score that high on a standard IQ test.  I went to look up IQ on the web to see what it said about his score and it turns out that you are listed as a genius with a score of 152 and above.  So I guess he isn't technically a genius, he has very superior intelligence, but I am proud of him none-the-less although I'm not entirely sure I'm up to the task of raising a genius. ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IQ_reference_chart

Thursday, October 20, 2011

North Cedar Math Night

Tonight I went over to North Cedar Math night to help the kids show off the robot we've been working on for the First Tech Challenge and also to tell the kids about my career as a software engineer.  Jen had yoga so I ended up bringing both the boys to sit through two hours of people chatting about careers in math.  I have to say as much as I complain about how naughty Clancey can be sometimes he was an absolute angel tonight.  It is a lot to ask anyone to sit for two hours but a 3 year old and a 7 year old it is almost impossible, but the boys did great.  In fact I had a number of parents comment to me how well behaved my boys are.  Jen and I are really lucky to be raising such good kids I think I see MIT in both of their futures :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bathroom Just About Done

For those of you who follow my blog but not Jen's blog you may not be up to date on the status of her bathroom project. As you can see the bathroom is coming along just nicely and i expect it to be all the way complete within the next week or two. In fact tonight I got to take the second shower in the bathroom, I took the first shower Saturday night but it didn't count since the plumbing was vibrating as I took it. Apparently a valve wasn't turn on enough and it was causing the shower to be starved of hot water and subsequently the pipes vibrated.

If you have been keeping track we started this project in late July and have been stuck taking bathes upstairs for the past 3.5 months. It is heaven to finally have a shower back and not have to take bathes after a tough bike workout in the basement. After this project we only have one remaining project left, tearing down the chimney and fixing the boys wall and ceiling. I'm not sure what Jen is going to do when there are no more major house projects to take on but I'm sure she will think of something.

Ironman Training Officially Started


Today marked the official start of my Ironman training for the year.  I have 201 days to go until my next Ironman and 328 days until my second Ironman and the end of my season.  This year is going to be somewhat of a long training year with a 47 week training season.  I'm focusing on making this a breakthrough year for me and I am really going to focus on quality training and minimizing missing workouts.  I have a goal of going 13 hours at Wisconsin this year and truly believe I can do it if I work hard.  While I do plan on training hard this year I am also going to make sure the impacts to the family are kept to a minimum.  The quickest way to an unsuccessful triathlon season is losing focus on priorities in life and creating tension at home.  I think Jen has finally resigned herself to the fact that I am officially a yearly Ironman athlete now and, while she may not openly admit it, is quite proud to tell people her husband is an Ironman ;)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Soccer At The Park

When i got done with my run the boys and i headed down to the soccer fields so that we could play a little soccer. One of our favorite games to play in the backyard is a form of soccer where you try to kick the ball and hit the tree, I figured that they would enjoy it even more at the real soccer fields. We had a really good time for about 30 minutes when Clancey started to get a little tired. I don't blame the kid though we've had a long busy day without any naps. We're at home right now and he is relaxing with a little milk and some Nick Jr. I'm thinking an early bedtime tonight.

Clancey Makes A New Friend

Today after we got back from our boy day we decided to head to the park so the boys could play and I could get a run in. While i was out running apparently little mister Clancey made a new friend, a yellow cat that was hanging at the park. He was really lobbying to bring him hone with us but me being the non-animal lover that I am, I told him the his friend would have to stay at the park. Maybe someday he will convince me to let him get a pet but I'm just not ready to make that commitment quite yet.

Playing At The Mall

For today's boy day we first headed over to Panchero's for our standard lunch of burritos and quesadillas. Once we were done there I took the boys over to best buy so i could pick up a cord that I needed for my bike trainer. The whole time we were out and about Clancey was absolutely begging to go to the mall so he could play at the indoor play ground area. Of course I kept telling him we had to head home and didn't have time just to torture him a bit. Well after we got done at best buy I finally took them over to the mall to play. The boys are both having a good time and I'm not sure they are going to let me leave.

Back Home

Last night about 6pm I pulled into my driveway after about 20 of being transit. To top it all off the night before I left I stayed up until about 1am hanging with one of friends who lives in France now but happens to originally be from Linkoping. So in about 2 days I managed to get about 4 hours of sleep which added to my tiredness. I guess its my fault but I don't get to see Anders very often so its nice to get to hang out when i get the chance.

When i got home the boys were waiting at the kitchen window waiting for me to pull up. I did get hugs from them before they demanded there candy. It was good to see the family because after a week I missed them quite a bit. Today I think I may take the boys out for a boy day so we can spend some time together. I'll be sure to keep the blog up to date with the days events.

Friday, October 14, 2011

In Detroit

Here I am hanging in the Detroit Delta lounge after a long flight over the ocean from Amsterdam. The worst part about travel back the US is you have to go through about 5 security check points on the way in. I'm always happy when i clear customs because that means I've cleared the last security check and don't have anymore long lines.

In Amsterdam

We just got to the KLM lounge here in Amsterdam and are waiting to board our next flight to Detroit in about a half hour. I stopped by the service desk here to see if i could get a flight to Cedar Rapids from Detroit with no luck, its looking like I'm on standby. You would think when your plane ticket cost nearly $7000 you would get priority but I guess not. I may just end up sitting around Detroit for awhile waiting to get on a later flight.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Headed Home

Here I am at the airport in Linkoping getting ready to make my long trip
back to Clarence. Right now it is 5am Friday here in Sweden and 10pm
Thursday in Clarence. After this long day of travel I will arrive in
Clarence 6pm Friday. Right now I am a bit worried that I don't have a
ticket for my flight from Detroit to Cedar Rapids but I'm sure I'll get it
figured out before I get there.

Enjoying a Fine Swedish Bar

Here we are at the Bishops Arm, the local Linkoping hangout, enjoying a
fine local beer. We had a great week of meetings and are celebrating our
success.

Streets Of Linkoping

I'm out wondering the streets of Linkoping. Looks just like I remember.

Inside The Cathedral

Jen tell Marshall I'm actually inside the cathedral checking it out. This
one was built in the 12th century and took over 300 hundred years to build.
It is amazing that they could build these things without any heavy machines
or modern technology.

At The Cathedral

I came to check out the cathedral again while I was out and about. Pretty
neat still.

Shopping

We got done a bit early today so we could head out and do a little gift
shopping in the city. I looked for the laban pants but they didn't have any
at the Liten and Fit that would fit Clancey so he is not going to get his
standard gift from Sweden. I will make sure I buy a big thing of candy for
him though.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stupid Blackberry

So the week I'm in Sweden for the third time but the first time with a phone that I can actually connect to the internet with, Blackberry decides to have a global outage and my damn phone doesn't work. Today especially for me, who at any given point is carrying three data connected devices, I feel almost naked. I can't check Facebook, text people, or even get work emails. Finally tonight my phone is starting to work again but now the day is pretty much over and it really doesn't matter. Anyways today was a great day at the customer site. We managed to accomplish what we set out to accomplish and really declare the trip a success. I really wish i could say online what I get to work on over here in Sweden because it is pretty neat, but Im not sure I can and i don't want to risk it. Just trust me that it is pretty cool to get this opportunity. This is one of the first business trips in a long time that I felt like it was really a worthwhile trip and not just an opportunity to eat fancy meals on the company dime. We have more meetings tomorrow but I'm hoping for a half day and some time to go shop for a whole bunch of candy for the kids. Maybe tomorrow I can get some pictures of the city to post too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Done Working For The Day

Here we are debriefing from the days activities enjoying a bit of the team
beer with a brit, a frenchman and a swede.

View From Window

Just a quick picture of the view from my window in my hotel room. Not too shabby.

Morning From Sweden

I'm up here in Sweden getting ready for work and my first day of work. It felt good last night to get my first nights sleep in two days. I was laying in bed watching TV, surfing the web and next thing you know my Xoom crashes into my face. At that point I knew it was time to head to bed. For supper last night we went to an Indian restaurant. I have never eaten Indian food and, after living in an apartment full of Indians in college, I swore I never would. Turns out that is wasn't too bad but I'm not going to be going back anytime soon. Well I better go grab some breakfast so I can get ready to head to work for the day. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

In Linkoping

I just landed here in Linkoping and got to my hotel. I've never stayed at this Scandic before but it is a pretty nice hotel with a great river view. All in all the trip was a good trip and it didn't seem like it took that long to get here. Hard to believe just yesterday I was in Clarence and here I am sitting in a foreign country a quarter of the way around the world. I'm going to head down to the lobby to meet up with the rest of my group and go find some supper.

Getting Ready To Board

Here I am at the gate getting ready to board my final leg to Linkoping.
Looking forward to getting there and getting a shower and relaxing a little
bit.

In Amsterdam

I just landed in Amsterdam after a pretty easy trip over the ocean. The plane wasn't the nicest plane in the fleet and my video screen really didn't work so I had to rough it listening to music and playing games on my Xoom. Like always the service was spectacular and the meal was great. I managed to get a couple hours sleep on the plane so hopefully I won't be really tired when i get to Linkoping later today. Tell the boys I love them Jen and i will bring them home a huge bag of candy.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

On The Plane

I'm officially on the plane bound for Amsterdam too bad it is one of the junky 767 planes so the business class seats aren't as nice as they could be. I guess I'll survive. I'll check back in when I get to Amsterdam.

In Detroit

I'm here in Detroit waiting to board my long flight over the ocean to Amsterdam. The flight from Cedar Rapids was pretty uneventful except that the plane was really full and kind of hot. Normally they keep planes pretty cool but I was baking and the guy next to me fell asleep and started to lean on me. At least now I get to ride in high style and enjoy business class service. First thing will be some champagne and a Heiniken to celebrate my dutch roots and trip to Amsterdam.

At The Airport

Here I am at the airport waiting to board the first plane on my trek to Sweden. This flight is a short little jump over to Detroit and then I have my long flight over to Amsterdam. I've connected up with my travel companions and I'm ready to go.

Lazy Day

Today has been a lazy day around the VanOort house. Last night Jen and I went to the Love Dog concert down in Tipton and got home pretty late so we are a bit tired today. We slept in a bit and have spent the rest of the day kind of bumming around the house. Well to be honest Jen has done a bunch of laundry so I had clothes to pack for my trip to Sweden today. Now I'm just kind of relaxing and killing time before I have to head to the airport at 3. It should be a fun trip but I'm going to miss the family while I'm gone. I'll be sure to keep my blog up to date of my next 16 hours of traveling to get to Sweden.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

On the way home from Cedar Rapids we decided that we needed to stop off and get our pumpkins for Halloween. They opened this new CSA on highway 30 that has a ton of pumpkins. The hard part is going to be which pumpkins to actually pick.

Lunch At Red Robin

Today we all headed in Cedar Rapids to run a bunch of errands and to grab lunch. After we got done at Red Robin I headed over to my office so I could grab my laptop and backpack for my trip tomorrow. As I pulled into the parking lot I realized I didn't have my badge so I had to call one of my employees to come let me in.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Marshall Playing The Piano


Here is Marshall playing one of his latest songs on the piano. He is getting pretty darn good at playing the piano.

Crazy Clancey

Tonight when i got home Clancey wanted to show me what he did earlier so he grabbed the Diet Dr Pepper box and put it on his head. I'm thinking this kid is going to be quite the little class clown when he gets older. I have a feeling we will be visiting the school a couple times to talk with the principal about something Clancey has done.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Supper At DQ

Tonight with it being so nice out we decided to head to the DQ for supper tonight as kind of a special treat. DQ has some pretty good burgers for a fast food place so it is always a treat. Not entirely Kona qualifing food but I'll workout tonight to burn it all off.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Boys Playing Ball In The Backyard

Here is a video I took of the boys playing ball in the backyard tonight. It's been awhile since I have posted a video of the boys so I figured it was about time. These videos are always a treasure a year from now when I have forgotten how little the boys used to be.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Running Errands Today

Today after Marshall played bells in church, I'll post the video later, we all headed into Cedar Rapids to run errands. First we headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant, not as good as Garcia's but close, for some lunch. Once we were done there we headed over to Lowe's to pick out our new throne for the bathroom. We did end up picking an acceptable one that will be able to take all that the men in our family can give it. Once we were done there we headed over to Target to pick a few things up. The boys and I went and checked out the Halloween stuff while Jen went and got all the stuff that we needed. Clancey is funny, he loves to see the Halloween stuff but most of it scares him, even though he won't admit that. We had planned to go to the pumpkin patch on the way home but we were all pretty tired and Clancey was sleeping so we opted to do it next weekend. When we got home I headed out on a run while Jen and the boys enjoyed some time out on the porch. All in all it was an alright day.

Choosing Of The Throne

We are to the point of the bathroom project that we choose the toilet, also known as the man throne. I told her we need one with a big powerful flush but plenty of comfort for those times you really have to work at it. I told Jen with three boys it better be able to handle foot long turds without missing a beat. I better get back to helping choose before we choose some dainty toilet that can't handle what a man can throw at it.

Headed To Sweden Next Sunday

Next Sunday at this time I'll be getting packed and ready to head to Linkoping, Sweden for a week. Its kind of becoming an annual thing for me to end up heading off to Sweden for a week in late September/early October. Linkoping is a really nice place and I enjoy visiting the place even if i don't get much time to really do much site seeing. This will be the first time I'll be in Sweden with a smart phone so i will actually be able to live blog my trip. I leave from Cedar Rapids at 6:15pm Sunday and will get to Linkoping at 4:30 pm local time on Monday so it is going to be a long trip. At least I get to ride over the ocean in business class so i may actually be able to get some rest. Be sure to watch my blog for updates from my trip in a week.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Playing At The Park

When Clancey and I got back from our boy trip we all headed out to the park as a family to ride bikes and play. Clancey is probably going to be a demon spawn of satan tonight after playing hard all day but maybe he will sleep in a tomorrow. Marshall seems to be feeling better now. I think he just needed a Clancey free morning to relax without being bothered every 10 minutes. Probably play for a few more minutes and then home to watch the big game. Depending on how the game goes will decide if I ride tonight or not. If it goes poorly I'll ride if not I won't. He's to not riding my bike tonight.

Ice Cream

Its just not a boy day without getting to finish it with ice cream. Now that Clancey and I have had some fun, eatten lunch and had ice cream we are headed home to watch the cyclones whip texas. 

Pumpkin Farm

After the apple orchard I took out little group over to the pumpkin farm on the promise of animals. When we got there we were not disappointed, I guess Clancey was a little since he wanted to see a giraffe ;)  We kind of wondered around the farm for a bit, saw the cows, chased a chicken, saw a toad and got to pick out a small pumpkin. After that Clancey and I headed over to Mt Vernon for lunch at DQ and everyone else headed home.

Boy Day Minus One

Well Clancey and I ended up going on a boy day minus Marshall. Marshall wasn't feeling that good and Clancey is wound up so we headed out just the two of us. First we went to Wilson's apple orchard on Dingleberry road, yes I said Dingleberry road. I'm meeting some friends and their kids here. After this I'm not sure what we are going to do.