Monday, December 31, 2012
Here it is New Year's Eve and I'm trying to conjure up the last blog entry of the year and I'm having a bit of writers block. Considering this year I've had the least number of blog entries since I started my blog it's not surprising. I feel like I need to write a very poignent entry but I'm not sure I have it me tonight. Overall we've had a great year again this year, I guess I'm not going to bore everyone with a recap of the year but all in all we had a great year. Next year looks to be another fun year for our family. Clancey is going to start kindergarten, I have another Ironman, and we have another vacation to Beaver Island planned. I'll be sure to keep the blog up to date with all of the fun stuff we do this year.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Friday, December 28, 2012
You can't beat lunch at Hickory Park and it's even better when you have the staff sing happy birthday. It had been a while since I had a barbecue dinner and it was as good as I remember it being. Now I'm going to have to workout extra hard tonight to get rid of all these extra calories.
My animal loving brother in law got the boys and aquarium for Christmas and since then the boys have been excited to pick out some fish and ornaments for their aquarium. We ended up delaying our trip by one day because Clancey was sick but today we finally made it too Ames to drop the boys off and celebrate Jen's birthday at Hickory Park. Before headed over for lunch though we made a side trip to Earl May so the boys could pick out some ornaments for the aquarium and then when they get back next week we will take them to Cedar Rapids to get their fish. Guess that means Jen and I are going to have to get the aquarium set up while they are gone.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Here I am baking my very first cake ever and doing a very poor job at it. While mixing up the ingredients wasn't that bad remembering to actually grease the pan was a big struggle. Two times I managed to dump the batter into the pan and forget to put the grease in. Finally on the 3rd attempt I succeeded in actually getting the pan greased, and by I succeeded Jen came over and did it for me after a lengthy swearing tirade after I failed the second time. It's baking now so all I have to do is frost it which will probably turn into another failure of some kind and lead to everyone just eating the cake right out of the pan. I just have to keep telling myself its the thought that counts.
We got our food and I ended up getting a stupidly big tenderloin for lupper, lunch/supper. If I would have known it was this big I would have probably gotten a cheese burger or something, I didn't need a 10 pound sandwich. Well the food ended up being alright, not horrible but not spectacular either, bar food is the best description. Probably owed Jen something a little better for her birthday, I'll take credit for tomorrow at Hickory Park. Now I'm probably going to have to bake her a cake tonight to make up for it the less then spectacular lunch.
Today we had planned on going to Hickory Park for Jen's birthday lunch and then leave the boys with mema and papa but had to change our plans since Clancey was sick. Finally after bumming around the house for most of the day we decided we had better take Jen out for lunch and what better place then a Tavern next to the river. While the place may look a bit on the rough side were assured the food is really good from Jen's brother Mike. If it's not good we are going to blame him. ;-)
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
Watching 24 hours of A Christmas Story is quickly becoming a family tradition and as you can see we are settled in. I guess what we really do is watch the first one straight through and then catch bits and pieces of the other 11 airings over the day. It is always quite sad tomorrow night at 7 when the last airing is done and Christmas is officially over for another year. I guess we can't worry about that now because we have a full day of fun ahead of us.
We spent the afternoon playing 9 holes of golf at Pebble Beach Golf Course, virtually at least. About 2pm the UPS man stopped by and dropped off our day early Christmas gift for the boys and I. The new version uses the Kinect so you can get a real golf experience. You would think that me with my golf experience I would be unstoppable but turns out the Marshall is the golfer in this family. After running neck and neck for most of the 9 holes he managed to pull a shot ahead and beat me in the end. Plan on a rematch tomorrow so I can take the family golfing crown.
This afternoon we got out the Magic the Gathering cards and played some multi-player Magic together. It was Clancey's first time ever playing, and to be perfectly honest I had my doubts about the ability of a five year old to play the game. Well it turns out he was actually able to play. Granted I built him a very easy creature only deck, since he can't read, but he was able to understand the basic rules and play the game. Now not being able to read does hinder your ability to respond to what other players do but in a group game he could still have fun playing. We ended up playing a couple games and he really enjoyed it. Marshall is going to be really excited tomorrow when he opens his full box of Magic cards for Christmas. I'm guessing we will be playing a whole lot of games tomorrow.
We have all of our treats set out and we are ready for our consumption of vast amounts of calories to commence. Our we get some treats eaten we will start playing some games, we're thinking Kinect Bowling first and then we aren't sure. Probably some Magic The Gathering and Go at some point to.
One of the things the boys wanted to do most today was play video games do of course they got an early start at it. One of their current favs is Minecraft. For those who are familiar with Minecraft its a game that is best described as a game of virtual Legos. Given creative nature of both of the kids they really enjoy being able to create these huge virtual towns.
We are all up and preparing our treats for a our big food and game day. As you can see Marshall is getting his little smokies ready for the day while Clancey are conjuring up plans to sleep in front of the tree and capture Santa. Ok, to be honest, I'm conjuring up plans to capture Santa and take all of his gifts while Clancey reminds me that he is magic and there isn't anyway I can actually catch him.
This afternoon, when we got home from mema and papa's and got Harley picked up from the pet resort, we started working to get all of our treats made for our big Christmas Eve celebration. Jen was working on baking cookies with the boys while I dipped almond bark pretzels. Tomorrow we have a few more things to make but not too much difficult stuff that way we can focus on have a fun day. Tomorrow the plan is to have a fun filled day of playing games, tracking Santa and gorging ourselves on treats. Can't wait!
Sunday, December 23, 2012
In an effort to avoid all of the bad roads up north we headed to Ames to drive over in 30 today. That meant we were in Hickory Park territory and both the boys agreed we should stop for some lunch. Once we are done here we are making the trip across the state to head home for our big Christmas eve celebration.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
After a long drive across the state and a great lunch it was time to open presents. You can always count on papa to come up some pretty creative ideas and today he came through like always. He made Clancey his own lightsaber and both of the boys got there own shelves to mount by their beds. Mema knitted both Jen and Michelle these big scarf things which were pretty cool too. Now that all the presents are open its time to find a place in the couch and nap.
After a 6 hour hell trip across the state we finally made it to Thor for our ate lunch. We had thought about turning around but I'm glad I didn't because the dinner was freaking awesome. Now the we are done there it is time for presents and the kids are bouncing off the walls excited.
Here we are stuck in traffic on 380 trying to get to our first Christmas of the year. Sure hope the traffic breaks up fast because I'm really looking forward to that ham and cheesy potatoes when we get there. This trip is turning into quite the nightmare so far.
On the way to mema and papa's we had to make a quick detour to get our car looked at. As we were driving we developed a pretty bad shake at 70 mph so we stopped off at Dave Wright Subaru to get it checked out. They think it's just snow jammed in the rims, hopefully that means we will be back on the road soon. Until then we will be hanging out in the waiting room watching cartoons and eating suckers, that is the benefit of being with a kid in Sponge Bob pajamas :-)
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Sunday, December 16, 2012
This morning was the big Christmas program at the UCC church. Both of the boys did great and, in fact, today was the first time that Marshall ever stood up and read in church. Every year the church puts on a pretty good Christmas pageant and always have the older kids do something pretty clever. A lot different than when I was a kid doing the Christmas program. With it being so warm out these days it's hard to remember that Christmas is less than 2 weeks away but now with the Christmas pageant over we are in the final stretch. This is my last week of work until I get a couple weeks off and I can't wait.
With the boys church Christmas program on Sunday the family all gathered at our house on Saturday so we could all go together. It had been a while since we had seen Mike and Michelle, it's possible the last time was in August, so it was great to catch up with them. Since Michelle is pregnant I figure it is my duty to scare them both about the first year of having a baby ;-) I had to work again on Saturday for a bit so, while I went to work, they all drove to Kalona to string town grocery to pick some stuff up. We all met at a Mexican restaurant in Cedar Rapids for lunch and then last night after the boys went to bed we watched Ted, which happens to be an awesome movie.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Sunday, December 09, 2012
Friday, December 07, 2012
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Tonight was the big North Cedar Christmas concert and both of the boys did great. This was Clancey's first Christmas concert in the world big stage as part of the North Cedar School District. Let me tell you how weird it is that both Marshall and Clancey are both in the Christmas concert together now. Even crazier to think that next year will be Marshall's last year in the elementary concert before he goes to Middle School. Overall the concert was good and went off without a hitch. I guess Marshall stepped off the riser while he was doing a dance as part if one of the songs but managed to recover very quickly and didn't let it break his singing stride. Now that the big concert is over we can start looking forward to the church Christmas program.
Sunday, December 02, 2012
Every year when we put the family tree up Jen hides a green pickle ornament in the Christmas tree for the boys to find. Then person who finds the ornament first gets a small prize for their effort. This year, and I also thinks last year's winner, was Clancey and he took home the big prize of a Little Debbie Christmas Cake. I'm thinking that Marshall and I are going to have to do some training so we can beat Clancey next year.
I can't remember the last time it was 60 degrees in December 2nd and you could be outside in a tshirt comfortably. This afternoon, in honor of the absolutely spectacular day, the boys and I headed out to the park to have some fun. First we played some basketball for a bit and after we got to hot and sweaty doing that we headed over to the big open part of the park to hit some golf balls. It was clear that neither Marshall or I had hit golf balls in awhile because we were both really struggling to hit decent shots. To be perfectly honest though we were enjoying the day so it didn't matter that we were struggling. Once we were done hitting golf balls we headed back to the house so I could get ready to go out for a run. Today it was just a short 40 minute run at around 9:15 minute pace just something to get the legs loosen up for tomorrow's bike test to start my 20 week outseason training plan.
Here is the video I took of the big VanOort Family Christmas Tree expedition yesterday afternoon. In years past we've been able to sled down the hill to get to the best trees but this year with it being nearly 55 degrees there was going to be none of that. What that also meant was there wasn't going to be any pulling the tree up the hill on a sled either, that left the boys working their butts off carrying the tree up the big hill. We haven't managed to get the tree decorated yet because Jen wanted to get some new big LED lights to put on it. In fact she is in Cedar Rapids right now picking out the perfect set along with running a whole host of other errands. The boys and I are spending our time playing video games and picking up the house, the perfect boy day. Probably have to go get some lunch pretty soon and then this afternoon it's a run for me to enjoy the 60 degree December day.
Saturday, December 01, 2012
Here is the 2012 VanOort family Christmas tree. Both the boys and mommy all decided the that this was clearly the best tree in the lot. This year as you can see above the boys carried the tree up the hill themselves leaving daddy time to take a video of them. Can't wait to get it in the house and decorated all the decorations.
Here we are at the Kelley Tree Farm searching for the VanOort Family Christmas tree for the year. So far Clancey likes every tree but Marshall is being far more discriminating in his favorite. I'll be sure to update the blog as soon as we find perfect tree.