Saturday, March 31, 2012

More Hail Pictures

Here are some hail stones we found over an hour after the storm went through. Some of our good friends had the rear window of their car broken out and even made it on to the news. I guess there was tennis ball sized hail here in town. Crazy!!

Epic Hail Storm

Tonight just as we finished up the trivia night fund raiser for the library a severe storm rolled through Clarence and dropped some of the biggest hail I have ever seen. The hail I saw where I was was golfball sized but there are reports of hail up to tennis ball sized. Jen heard about the hail coming and by the time she got out to her car it was already coming down and denting the hell out of her new car. She drove it down the the bank to get under the awning but it was too late, a lot of damage had already been done. Its dark out so we haven't seen the extent of the damage but I'm sure my car is destroyed and were not sure about the roof. Jen is on the phone right now with the insurance company starting the process of getting our claims made which I'm sure is going to be a nightmare to deal with. I'm thinking it may be time to get a garage built so we don't have to go through this again.

Jen and Her Baby


When Jen was first making the case to get a dog she kept telling me that there is nothing like a boy and their dog.  I was lead to believe that if I didn't get a dog for the boys their childhood would be less meaningful.  So I gave in and got the kids a dog a couple weeks ago.  Well, as you can see from the picture above, the real truth has come out.  If you are a regular follower of my blog you are aware that I got snipped a couple years ago which means Jen and I can no longer have babies.  I should correct that statement, Jen and I can no longer have human babies but as you can see we can certainly have dog babies.  While the boys like Harley and enjoy playing with him, more often than not I come in the room to find Jen carrying Harley around like a baby.  It appears I was tricked! ;)

Clancey Soccer Pictures

Here are Clancey's soccer pictures. I was at a bad angle for Marshall's individual picture so that is why only Clancey had both posted.

Marshall Soccer Pictures

This morning was both Marshall and Clancey's soccer pictures. Jen and I were commenting on how every year for soccer pictures the weather is horrible. Figure its been 70s and 80s the last two weeks and the day of the pictures its 40 degrees.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Clancey Parent/Teacher Conference

Yesterday afternoon we had Clancey's last parent/teacher conference of the year once again he is doing great. Remember he is in both the three and four year old classes because he was so advanced. I think we are going to have another genius in our midst. The teacher said he was advancing well and will be more then ready for kindergarten when he starts in a year. It's funny how at home Clancey is mister out going and bossy at home and the teacher says he is quite and subdued at school. We are real proud of him and Marshall and continue to look for great things from them.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Boys Posing With There New Bikes

Here is a picture I took of the boys each with their new bikes just before we called it a night and headed in to take baths.  As an interesting side note, Marshall has started to give Clancey his bath at night.  He fills the tub up, gets him in, washes him and then finally dry's him.  If we have his pajama's out he gets him into his pajama's too.  These kids we have are something else.  When Marshall takes his college classes this summer I'm just waiting for the professor to tell us that he is ready to start classes in the fall and offer him an intership.  ;)

Clancey Learns To Ride A Bike



Today has been an action packed day, not only did we go on an epic hike Clancey learned to ride a bike with no training wheels.  It all started about 7:00pm tonight as we were eating supper when our neighbor Joel came walking up the drive with a bike for Marshall.  He had seen the boys outside riding bikes when he saw that both of the boys bikes looked way to bike for them.  He had his brothers old bike still so he got it out adjusted the seat and handlebars and came over to the house with it.  Well it didn't take long and Marshall wanted to go give it a try which meant that Clancey wanted to ride Marshall's.  After like two times up and down the drive with me holding onto the back of the seat Clancey was shooting up and down all by himself.  In fact in the video I took you can see him slamming the breaks on and skidding out.  It's not going to be too long until he is going to be setting up ramps and trying to jump over things.  :)

Back From The Hiking Trip

 Here we are at the start of our big hiking trip.  As you can see the boys are looking fresh and excited to get going on the big hike.  There in the background of of the picture you can see the entrance to the largest cave in the park Dancehall.  On the way in though we passed a sign that said all the caves closed due to some bat disease which meant this was going to only be a hiking trip.  Although I'm sure that made mommy a little happy since we brought her car and if we went crawling through caves it was her car that would get dirty.
If it wasn't enough to see the caves closed sign at the entrance to the park they had posted them all through the park.  It's not clear from the signs how long the caves are going to be closed but I get the feeling that it's going to be quite a while given the signs they put up seem rather permanent.
 Here we are heading back out on to the trail after our lunch at the park shelter up by the parking area.  It wasn't but about two minutes after this, when we got down to the bottom of the stairs that Clancey had a poop emergency.  I pulled his pants down and had him squat behind a rock before I had to clean up pants full of poop.  Once he got done I was wondering what I was going to wipe him off with.  The car with wipes was all the way back up the stairs and I didn't want to leave him and Marshall down there by themselves.  I started digging through the back and lucked out and found two individually wrapped face wipes from Long John Silver's, given how often we eat at LJS they had to be years old.  Well it worked and I got it all cleaned up and the hike could continue.
 It wasn't too long until we started to encounter some local wildlife.  First we found a garter snake, which manged to bite me and draw blood while I was trying to catch it to show the kids.  Over the course of the trip we ended up seeing 5 garter snakes, which happened to be the number that Marshall said he wanted to see on the trip.  Later on we saw a couple deer and even a wild turkey.
Here we are at the farthest point out on the hike.  By this point Clancey was completely tuckered out and I had to give him a piggy back ride for about a mile on the way back.  About 1/4 the way back Clancey was complaining about a bug peeing in his ear.  Well I was worried that he may have a tick in his ear, which by the way he did happen to have one on the back of his neck not in his ear, but when I looked in his ear he had this big glob.  At first I thought some crazy bug had crawled in there but upon further inspection it seemed to be a big glob of ear wax.  Once I manged to fish it out it turned out that it was his tube falling out with a bunch of ear wax on it.  Well I have to say that today turned out to be a really fun day and turned into quite the adventure for all of us boys.  I think it gave Jen a well deserved kid break and she was able to get a lot of painting done while we were gone.

Eating Lunch

After hiking around for a bit the boys and I decided it was time for some lunch, that Jen lovingly packed for us. It is an absolutely perfect day to be outside having a picnic. I should have delayed my race rehearsal by one day so I could have ridden outside. Maybe this afternoon when I get home I'll go do a fun recovery ride.

At The Caves

The boys and I made it to the park and are out hiking and checking things out. Right now there is some crazy bat disease so all of the actual caves are closed but to be honest every other time we've come here Marshall had been too scared to go in the caves so I'm not sure we are missing anything. The park is really beautiful so hiking around is still quite fun plus Clancey is getting to experience it all for the first time which is neat.

Hiking With The Boys

In an effort to give Jen some time to catch up on her sign painting I decided the boys and I would head to Makoquta caves to do some hiking. We have our flashlights and lunches packed and we are ready to rock and roll. Should be a good time especially since it will be Clancey's first time.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Riding Bikes

After my epic workout I thought I would give Jen a break from the kids and take them up to the church to ride bikes. Both the boys need new bikes especially Clancey, he looks like a bear riding on a minibike. I think we will probably get Marshall a new bike and graduate Clancey up to his. I still can't believe how nice it is out for the past week.

Race Rehearsal #1

Today it was my first race rehearsal in preparation for Ironman St George and it made for a long day. Race rehearsal consists of 112 miles of biking or 6 hours which ever comes first and 6 miles of running or 1 hour which ever comes first. Pretty much what that means is you are working out for 7 hours which makes for a damn long day. I originally planned to bike and run outside but when I woke up there was dense fog and it was raining that meant I was headed to the pain cave for the next 7 hours. I got on my bike a little after 8 which meant I would be riding until 2 pm and running until 3 pm. All in all it went very well normally I get pretty bad back and neck pain along with blisters in my crotch. Today there was none of that I got through the 6 hours without too much pain. The run wasn't too bad either, early on I thought I might fight cramping in my quads but none ever formed. I'm glad to be done and am really happy it went well. I'm feeling good about my race coming up on May 5th.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Clancey's Accident

On Sunday we told Marshall that we would go to the pool, well with it being such a nice day we decided that we would get the porch furniture out and get the Camaro out instead. We promised him that we would go to the pool on Tuesday night instead on our normal Sunday trip. So tonight we all met down in Tipton, after Marshall's piano lesson, for dinner at the new Mexican restaurant and some fun at the pool. The Mexican restaurant was great and we had a lot of fun at the pool. Both of the boys are gaining a tons of confidence in the water and I'm sure will tear it up at lessons this summer. After we were done at the pool we were showering and that is when Clancey's big accident happened. He ran into the locker room to see what was taking Marshall and I so long and on the way out he managed to open the door and get his big toe stuck under the door. I heard him crying and ran over to help him but the door was jammed and wouldn't budge. Well the only thing I could do was grab the door and pull as hard as could to get him unstuck. Once he was free he was bleeding pretty bad but wasn't crying that hard. He is such a tough kid. When we got home Jen put Hydrogen Peroxide on it and he didn't even flinch. We got it all cleaned up and put him in bed after a fun and crazy night.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Camaro Cleaned Up And Running

With it being so warm and nice today it seemed like the perfect day to get the Camaro out. Being stored over the winter it needed a good bath and just like any car it needed a little tinkering to get it to run again. Really though all it required was the battery charged and the some magic flutter foot to get it going. It ran great and idled fine and in itching to drive it to work next week to show it off.

Porch Furniture Out

This afternoon we decided it was time to get the porch furniture out for the year. It is great especially in the early spring before the bugs are out to sit on the porch and enjoy the warm evenings. The hardest part when you get the furniture out is to actually accomplish more stuff in the day and not just lounge around on the porch.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Picnic At Red Oak Park


Here is a video I took of our picnic at Red Oak park today.  This happens to also be the first video that Harley is in.  Besides the wind and all the horse poop all over the park the picnic was pretty fun.  Last year right before the end of the summer season I threw away my old portable grill so I was stuck grilling using charcoal.  It had been awhile since I used a charcoal grill and I had forgotten just how good meat tastes after it is cooked over charcoal versus propane.  At the very end of the trip I had spun Clancey on the merry-go-round for about 10 minutes.  He just kept begging and begging to go longer and faster then he ran over to the swings so Jen could push him.  It wasn't too long before Clancey's supper made a reappearance, but that didn't stop him he wanted to just keep going.  I guess that is what it is like when you are four.

Picnic

After Marshall's soccer practice we all piled in the car and headed to Red Oak park for a picnic. Red Oak had enough trees that the wind isn't to bad here and it is a great day for a picnic.

Marshall Soccer

Today was the start of Marshall's soccer for the year. Normally the start of soccer is accompanied by temps in the 50s but today it is over 80. It is a bit windy but I'm not going to complain about this kind of weather in March. Monday is Clancey's first day of soccer and I know he is really looking forward to it. While Marshall is down practicing Clancey and I are up playing on the equipment with his girlfriend Elyse. ;)

Busy Morning

It has been a pretty busy morning here at the VanOort house.  First thing this morning I headed out on my bike for a 60 mile bike.  It ended up taking me around 3:20 to finish because I had to fight a strong 25 mph wind for 20 miles as I headed south on my route.  Although I do have to say it sure was nice to have that wind at my back for the last 8 miles.  In fact at one point I did a mile in 1:57 which is over 30mph.

Jen got up and went and got a bunch of barn boards that one her friends had offered her.  On her way back she drove by me to say hi and check up on me.  The real action started when she got home though.  The boys were outside riding their scooters on the porch when Marshall decided that he needed his flip-flops.  Jen opened the door to give them to Marshall and that is when Harley bolted through the door and the chase was on.  Jen was in her bare feet and had no time to put shoes on so she ran out the door after him.  Of course Harley is running through everyone's yard peeing and pooping the whole way.  Anytime Jen got close Harley would start running again.  At one point Harley decided that he was going to take on a Boxer that was tied up in someones backyard.  Why not, I mean the dog was only 5 times bigger then Harley.  The fight was short lived as Harley decided better of it and ran off again.  Finally Harley stopped to pee and Jen nabbed him.  When she got him safely home she continued making the buns she had started before the big chase.  That is when Clancey decided that he wanted to help and manged to bust an egg on the floor in the kitchen.  Needless to say when I came trucking in the door at 11:00 Jen was not in the greatest of moods.  ;)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Water Fights In March

Who would have thought that it could be warm enough in March for a legitimate water fight. Well for the past week it has been in the 70s and 80s and been just downright awesome. In fact tomorrow I plan on getting out for a proper long bike ride and I won't have to worry about freezing. Were also thinking of going out for a picnic tomorrow too enjoy the weather.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jen and Her Baby

No need to say anything the title is enough.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Taking Over The House

I thought this would never happen but Harley has taken over the house. First we said Harley would never get on the furniture and then we said he wouldn't go upstairs and finally we said he would never sleep in our bed, well all of which is happening now. It may be time to reassert my authority and put Harley back in his place. Although maybe after tonight because I would like to actually get some sleep and not listen to a dog bark and cry all night when he is stuck in his crate. ;)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Marshall Playing Indian Song

Harley's First Bath

After bringing Harley home from the shelter and letting him roam around the house for the night we found out he kind of stunk. After brushing him we tossed him in the tub and washed him with some good smelling dog shampoo. After the bath Harley was a little crazy and ran around the house at the speed of light, jumping on things and just acting like a nut but he did smell better.

Family Walk

With it being a really nice day out we all decided to head out on a family walk. Harley hasn't quite figured out the whole walking think yet. He pulls as hard as he can against his leash and nearly chokes himself to death. Going to need to hit up the internet to figure out how to get this dog to just walk casually. I suppose as a one year old there is a lot of world to explore.

Working All Night

Tonight I had to head in to work to oversee a project that was running all night long which meant I had to be at work all night. After waking up at 5:30, getting a new dog and biking for an hour and a half this is going to be one of my longest days in long time. So far everything is going well here at work but I still have a couple hours before I will know for sure that everything got done. Nothing like spending the whole night at work waiting on results from other people. I suspect that tomorrow I'm going to spend a lot of the day sleeping to make up for today. Thank god for Red Bull and Diet Mt Dew.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Jen And Her Puppy

Well as you can see the dog not being on the furniture last all of about 4 hours. Jen will claim that he wasn't on the furniture just on her but I can see where this is headed. While I'm not a world renown dog lover Harley is awful cute and when he jumped on the couch and snuggled up it was hard to tell him he had to get off. Maybe tomorrow we can enforce the rule.

First Outdoor Ride Of The Year

This afternoon after we got home with Harley I headed out on the road for my first outdoor bike ride of the year. Well let me tell you while I only went 25 miles it was tough as hell. The wind was blowing out of the south at 25 miles an hour with gusts of up to 45. So on the way out I was going 30 plus MPH but on the way back I was riding 15 or less. While it was tough it felt damn good to get outside and ride. Tomorrow I'll probably be inside again but at least I got out today.

Lunch At Panchero's

On the way home from picking up Harley we decided to stop at Panchero's to grab some lunch. We were a little worried about leaving Harley in the car but we figured he would be alright for a little bit in his new kennel. Once we are done here we are going to go somewhere to pick up some food for him and a dog toy. Then it is on to home to show him his new house.

Welcome Harley

Harley is a little excitable dog and he is now part of our family. We haven't quite made it home yet so we don't know how Harley is going to do but so far he is a neat little dog and great with the kids.

Meeting Harley

We are here at the shelter in Washington meeting Harley for the first time. He is pretty hyper and really likes to lick faces. Poor Marshall and Clancey and have gotten tons of dog kisses. He is really good so far.

Off To Get The New Dog

We just left the house on our trek to get the new dog. First stop is here at Theisen's to get a dog kennel. Jen said she saw an ad that they were on sale here. If they don't have any I guess we will go to Petco to get one. While we we're here we noticed it was chic days so of course I had to take the boys to go check them out. I'll make sure I keep them focused on getting a dog so we don't end up going home with a chick too.

Friday, March 09, 2012

New Dog

Well after working on me for over a year they finally convinced me to let them get a dog. Tomorrow we are all going to pile in the car and head to the pound to pick out a dog. The plan is to get a small dog that won't shed too much or stink. I told the boys last night about the dog but they didn't get too excited. I think they don't believe that we are going to actually get the dog. Maybe tomorrow after we actually get the dog they will finally get excited. Hopefully they have the dog that the boys and Jen picked out or they could be some disappointed people. I'll be sure to keep the blog up to date with the progress tomorrow.

Concert Report

I forgot to follow up my blog about being at the concert the other night. Well Jen really enjoyed the concert and, in fact, said it could be the greatest concert ever. Now me on the other hand didn't enjoy it so much. To be fair I didn't really know any of the music and they didn't really sing the kind of music I like. It may have been better also if you didn't have to stand the whole time crunched in about two square feet of space. To top it all of I couldn't even surf my phone because there was absolutely no cell phone coverage in the place the concert was being held. To be honest though they weren't bad singers and if I knew some of the songs it would have been too bad. Next time I go to a concert I'm going to make sure I have listened to to the music a little first. All that said Jen had a good time and that is what matters since it was a concert that she wanted to go to.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Avett Brothers

Tonight Jen and I went down to Iowa City so she could see the Avett Brothers. She is pretty excited to see the band, me not so much but being a good husband I'm here with her. Maybe the band won't be too bad and I will enjoy it. If nothing else it can't be as bad as riding 5 hours indoors on my bike.

Crazy Clothes Day

Today is crazy clothes day and Marshall is taking it to the next level with his crazy clothes. As you can see he is dressed pretty crazy and even has wild hair to go with it.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

First Outdoor Run Of The Year

Clarence Park Trail Run by lvanoort at Garmin Connect - Details

Today I managed to sneak out of work around 1:00 and get home so I could enjoy the great weather. I originally planned to go home and get my first outdoor bike of the year in but when I got home I realized it was way too windy to really enjoy the ride and second my butt still kind of hurt from the 100 miler I did Sunday. Instead I decided to strap on my running shoes and get outside for a run. Well it was crazy windy to really even enjoy a run but as long as I stayed on the walking trail and in the park it was alright. It was also a great opportunity to get outside and try out my Garmin 910xt for the first time. I have done plenty of indoor workouts with it but today was my first outdoor workout with it and I have to say it was awesome. There is nothing like being able to check my pace and heart rate at anytime and know how hard I'm working. Getting outside did remind how much I really enjoyed being outdoors for workouts and really is making me long for spring to get here so I can start enjoying my training and not have it be work.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Kids Want A Dog

So both the boys, especially Clancey, have wanted a dog for awhile now. Pretty much once a week for the past year Clancey brings it up and begs me for a dog. Well I am not really an animal lover. While I did have a dog when I was a kid, I just am not all that hip on getting a dog to stink up the house and cover it in dog hair. Well the other day I told the boys that we can start talking about getting a dog when I come home and the house is clean everyday. Today while I was down in Ankeny and braving the horrible roads on the way home the boys were frantically cleaning the house. Jen told me they cleaned all day long. At point Jen overheard Clancey telling Marshall that they were probably going to get two dogs because the house was so clean. Of course they were disappointed when I got home and did not have a dog with me. Now they want to know when we are going to go get our new dog. I told them that the house needs to be picked up everyday not just one day before we can talk about a dog. It seems though that eventually I'm probably going to have to give in and get one pretty soon.

Enjoying An After Workout Lunch

After spending nearly five hours riding my bike I thought I deserved a treat and certainly could afford the calories. A couple years ago after a triathlon down here near Ames I started the trend of having a big barbeque dinner at Hickory Park after a hard workout. Today seemed like the perfect opportunity to keep the streak alive. Although had I know how bad the roads were when I left I'm not sure I would have attempted it. Anyways I better get back in the road if I'm going to make it back tonight. Wish me luck.

100 Miles Complete

I just finished my 100 mile ride in my fastest time ever 4:57 and was the first one done. My legs are absolutely destroyed and to make it under 5 hours I had to push my heart rate over 170 for about a half hour. Doing 100 miles with a bunch of other people sure made it a lot nicer then being stuck in my basement alone. After this I'm feeling really confident about my race in Utah. I would say I'm in the best shape for Ironman ever and feel like I'm going to have a great race.

100 Mile Ride Started

Well here I am on my bike for the next 6 hours riding 100 miles. Should be fun.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

In Altoona

This afternoon, after my long swim, I jumped in the car and headed to the Des Moines area for my bike ride tomorrow. One of my friends, who is doing the ride, offered to let me stay at their house so I didn't have to get a hotel room for the night. Before I could head over to his house I had to run over to West Des Moines to drop off some signs and pick up some wood for Jen. Once I got done their it was over to Carl's house. Carl is a friend from high school who I got back in touch with just a couple years ago through triathlon. In fact him and I are doing Ironman St George and Wisconsin together this year. Those will be his first two and my 4th and 5th Iron distance races. Tomorrow we will be doing the ride together and it should be a good time.

Preparing For My 100 Miles

Tomorrow I have a 100 mile indoor ride in Ankeny so this morning I had to prepare. I hadn't oiled my chain or did any real maintenance on my bike for a while so I was due to do some. I cleaned the chain up, cleaned the frame and mounted my new speed/cadence sensor. Riding a 100 miles on a bike, especially indoors sucks, but with a whole bunch of people it should be pretty fun. Or at least as fun as suffering on a bike can be.

Boys Playing

This morning I took this picture of the boys playing together and having fun. Normally on Saturday morning the boys get up before us but it isn't very long before they start to fight and Jen or I have to go referee but this morning they played together good. They were pushing each other around in the car and just having a good old time.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Computer Is Fixed


Today my new keyboard came in the mail and I was able to fix my broken laptop finally.  I was quite happy that I was able to get a new keyboard for $30 and not the $150 that I thought it was going to cost.  My plan is to not spill Gatorade all over this new keyboard.  I'm thinking I may not use my laptop downstairs when I ride with full bottles of Gatorade ;)

Celebration For Marshall


Tonight we all headed down to Happy Joe's to celebrate another spectacular report card and parent/teacher conference for Marshall.  As always the teacher only had good things to say about Marshall and told us that he is well ahead of his classmates in all areas.  In fact when he does standardized tests he maxes them all out so it is hard to know just what level he is really at.  This summer when he goes to the Belin and Blank classes for gifted children maybe we will find out just what level he is really at.  Jen and I couldn't be prouder of the kid and thank our lucky stars he is so good and so smart.  :)