Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Last Day Of School Party

With today being the last day of school we had to have a small party to celebrate the end of a long school year.  As you remember Clancey was done last Friday but Marshall had to go one more day.  Which really didn't make any sense at all considering all they did all day was play games and have a party.  Had he not had school today mema and papa had talked about taking them for the weekend and coming back sometime this week.  I guess having school today did give us a chance to have a party on my day off and it just isn't a party without a cake.
Marshall was the one that thought up the image for Jen to put on the cake.  While he is a genius that doesn't mean he doesn't like have a summer break.  Although the kid does have two weeks of college to go to this summer.
My contribution to the party was a bunch of burnt up brats, one even having a bite out of it from the dog.  I'm thinking it may be time to clean my grill out because I do seem to be having a bit of a problem with flames ups lately.
Once we got done with the cake and brats we finished the night off with a game of Life.  I tried to convince them to play on my Xoom so we wouldn't have to get out a bunch of pieces but no dice.  Marshall and my Ludite wife requested the real board game.  Although I will admit when you play it on the Xoom it really doesn't amount to more the spinning the spinner and making about 2 decisions the the whole game, which is rather boring.  At least when you play the real game you have to count money, keep track of rules and handle to 50 billion pieces the game has.

Last Day Of School

Today was Marshall's last day of school. After Jen, Clancey, and I all went to Davenport to run some errands we stopped by the school to pick Marshall up on the way home. In kid world today is a big day as it is the official start of summer break. As an adult you yearn to have summer break back and be able lay around all day, play video games and just have fun. Its too bad when you are young you don't understand how good you have it those few years you have a summer break and don't have to have a job.

Memorial Afternoon On The Porch

Here is a video I took when we were sitting on the porch and enjoying some relaxation while it rained.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Afternoon On The Porch

After a hard day working in the lawn and mowing that huge yard we are enjoying some time relaxing on the porch. Even makes it better when you relax in the porch and there is a nice light rain to make the air fresh and pleasant sounds, when you can hear it over the loud crazy kids. Need to get a TV out here and it would be awesome ;)

Great 5k

Marshall and I just finished the 5k and Marshall did awesome. He managed to run a 34:11 which is a personal record. This is the first race that Marshall ran the whole race and didn't walk once. There were a couple times that he wanted to but he dug deep and kept running with some encouragement from me. I'm really proud of the kid, he even managed to beat a couple grown men. Had to have been tough on the ego to see a 8 year go running by.

Clarence 5k

This morning we are all running the 5k race they are having here in Clarence. I guess Marshall and I are running the 5k and Jen and Clancey are doing the 1 mile run/walk. Its been a year since Marshall's last 5k so we will see how much he has improved. Its really impressive he can run 5k because for a little guy it is a long ways. I'll be sure to report how he does.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fun Day At Renaissance Fair

I meant to put the blog up about this last night when we got home but we were tired so it had to wait until today. Friday afternoon Jen was searching around and happened upon the ad for it so we thought it would be a good Saturday thing to do.  I planned on getting up early to get my 3 hour ride in and then we would head down around noon.  Well I got done with my bike ride just a little before 10am and when I came upstairs Jen said that Marshall didn't want to go now so we were just going to stay home.  I was a bit bummed but figured no big deal maybe I could get the lawn mowed or something.  Well it wasn't an hour later and Marshall said he wanted to kinda go then, at this point we should have realized that Marshall was in a funk but we didn't.  Anyways it would about 11 now so then we all piled in the car to head to Amana, with a quick stop in Mt. Vernon for lunch at the DQ.  Once again I failed to use my GPS on my phone because I figured that Jen knew the way.  Turns out she didn't and we drove about 10 miles past Middle Amana before we realized we were going the wrong way.  Finally a little before 2pm we found the place parked the car and headed in.

We weren't 100 meters from the car when Marshall started to complain that his legs were tired, uh oh, Marshall was in a funk.  When Marshall is in a funk nothing on the face of the earth is fun.  Literally Santa Claus could swoop out of the sky and offer Marshall his magic bag of presents and he could car less.  Well it was too late at this point we were at the fair and Clancey was excited to funkmaster was just going to have to deal.  First up was the magic show.
It has been awhile since I've seen a magic show, probably the last time was at Adventureland when Marshall and I went a few years back, and I'm not certain that Clancey had ever seen a magic show.  The guy was quite entertaining and Clancey was laughing his head off at all the jokes, even the ones he didn't understand.  Marshall wasn't totally funked yet so he even had a good time.  With it being quite hot yesterday getting some relief from the sun wasn't bad either.  Once we were done there we kind of just strolled about for a bit.
Oh the things you see at Renaissance fairs! Although Jen and I decided that the next time we go we are going to dress up and partake in the fun.  What other time can you dress up in crazy clothes and not have people thing you are total weirdo.  After wondering around for a bit we happened upon another show that caught our interest, a sword fighting show, so we sat down to take it in.
It wasn't long before they asked for a couple volunteers to go be in the show.  Clancey always has his hand up to be in the show but he never gets picked well today it was finally that day, he got picked.  He was about as excited as a kid could be to actually get to be in the show.  As you can see they put a viking hat on him and he got to march around with all the other people.  About this time Marshall was pretty much in 100% complaining mode so he just sat there and pouted about the heat, being tired, and wanting to go home.  I think if he wouldn't have been in such a crab ass mood he probably would have had a good time.  Anyways, after Clancey got out of the show he spotted the archery range and wanted to got shoot some arrows.  
As you can see from the picture above the line for archer was long and it moved slooooow!  Clancey was a trooper though he stood there in line, in the hot sun gleefully waiting his turn to shoot some arrows.  In fact he did better then the older woman and her grandson behind us in line.  My god, this woman complained to no end about how long and slow the line was going, how she other things she wanted to see and how can a business be run this way, blah, blah, blah.  I was about ready to send her to go hang out with Marshall and they could complain together about how the world is plotting against them. ;)  It only ended up being 20-30 minutes before we finally got to the front of the line and Clancey got fitted for his bow.  

He is looking mighty good with his bow, a regular Katniss Everdeen ready to take on the Hunger Games.  They ended up giving Clancey a pretty good sized bow, it was nearly as tall as him.  The thing was that he was just so strong they had to keep giving him bigger and bigger bows.  When I told the people running the archery range he was 4 they could hardly believe it.
As it turns out shooting a bow is way harder then you would think it is, especially when you are 4.  The first shot went astray and Clancey ended up with a minor injury.  Ok to be perfectly honest I don't think that it was the arrow that caused the scratch on his leg but they were pretty concerned about it and patched him up right away.  I suppose in our lawsuit happy society you can't be too careful.
It wasn't long and they had Clancey all patched up and he was ready to shoot again.  He ended up hitting the target one time but the guy helping him was doing most of the shooting.  As long as Clancey had a good time that's all that matters.
Once we were done with the archery was headed over to the jousting, where Jen and Marshall were hanging out waiting for Clancey and I to get done.  Just as we got to the jousting area it had just ended so we didn't get to see any of it.  Funkmaster and Jen did but nothing could drag Marshall out of the funk so he was not impressed at all.  He was just hoping we could go home at that point.  While we didn't get to see the jousting we Clancey did get to pet a horse.
When Clancey finished petting the horse we figured we should start making our way towards to door.  On the way though we wandered through the tent area so check out all the stuff that the medieval vendors had.  Clancey really wanted a sword but we told him that he was probably a bit to young for a sword.  I was surprised when he agreed and it didn't turn into a fit.  I guess yesterday the boys just up and switched personalities for the day.  We were just about ready to walk out the door when a guy came running by with a flaming torch and said there was going to be a juggling show and much to Marshall's disappointment we headed back in for the show.
 I'm glad we decided to go back for the show because it turned out to be the best show of the day.  The guys were really funny and entertaining.  Clancey was laughing his head off and even Marshall snapped out of his funk for a little bit to enjoy the show a little bit.
The day turned out to be quite enjoyable and I'm glad we made the trip down.  Besides Marshall being a bit crabby I think we discovered that we like Renaissance festivals and will probably make it to more of them.  I do have to report that on the way home Marshall snapped out of his funk and by the time we got home was all better.  I guess he just wanted to spending the day relaxing at home as opposed to traveling around the state.  Hopefully next time he can enjoy it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Clancey In The Show

Clancey always volunteers and today he finally got in the show. You can see him as the short Viking in the center. He was pretty happy to be in the show.

Renaissance Faire

We just got to the Renaissance fair and it looks to be quite the show. Everyone is all dressed up and it seems pretty neat so far. Right now we are at the magic show and then going to go check out the tents next. Should be fun.

Lunch At The DQ

This afternoon we all decided to pile in the car to head to Amana for the Renaissance festival. On the way Clancey was pretty hungry so we had to stop for some lunch and what better place then the DQ. After this we will be on our way to the Renaissance festival which should be a good time. Never been to one before so I'm betting it is going to be quite the show. Can't wait to see.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Clancey Spring Program and Preschool Graduation

Tonight, on the eve of Clancey's last day of school, was his spring concert and graduation. I didn't realize that this was his first school concert ever. I had seen him sing in church so many times I didn't remember that this was his first official school concert. Since Clancey went to both the 3 and 4 year old class he got to sign with both groups which means the whole concert featured Clancey. I videoed the whole thing for those who want to see the concert, its twenty minutes but it would be worth it. When we asked Clancey before we went if he was excited he said that he was really excited to eat a cookie when it was over. As a 4 year old you have to have your priorities right. ;)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Clancey Is Gifted Too!

Well it looks like we have two genius kids on our hands now.  I guess just like with Marshall we have kind of know all along that Clancey is a pretty smart kid but without any basis for comparison it was hard to know just how smart he was.  Today Clancey's preschool teacher called up to talk to Jen and tell her that he should go to Pre-K next year but to also tell her that in her twenty years of teaching she has never met another kid as gifted as Clancey.  She said that he is so far ahead of the other kids it's likely the school will just jump over kindergarten and put him right into 1st grade.  The thing is the kid already skipped 3 year old preschool so now they are looking to skip him ahead again and the kid isn't even officially in the school system yet.  Who would have thought, as one of my family members so eloquantly put one time, two ugly trolls like us could create such good looking and smart kids. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lazy Sunday

After a really busy Saturday for Clancey and myself Sunday was spent largely in recovery mode.  I had been fighting some really bad allergies the day before at Adventureland and decided to take some Zyrtec to see if they would go away.  Well I'm thinking the medicine must have done a number on me because Sunday I spent most of the day sleeping and when I was awake I felt tired and lethargic.  I think it was a combination of the 7 mile run, spending all day at Adventrueland and then taking two doses of Zyrtec a bit two close together and I was down for the count.  It's really kind of a bummer because I really needed to get a 2 hour ride in and get the lawn mowed on Sunday and none of that got done.  I guess it wasn't all lost, I did get to take a full day to rest and get rejuvenated for the rest of the week which, with transitioning into my new role, is probably going to be busy as hell. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Done At Adventureland

After a long and fun day we are getting ready to leave Adventureland and go get some supper at Hickory Park before we make the trek back across the state. Clancey was a great kid and told me that he had a really fun day. I'll be curious to get home and find out what Jen and Marshall did on their day at home. They talked about going to movie and getting pizza so we will what they ended up doing.


I think we have ridden every spinning ride here and I am starting to feel it. While I don't have a "soft" tummy as Clancey would say doing 5 hours of spinning rides as a 36 year old does a number on you. We did have one lucky break today. We waited in line for like 30 minutes for the Raging River and right after we got on they shut the ride down for some reason. I sure would have been pissed had I waited all that time and then told I wasn't going to get to ride. Although we did get soaking wet on the ride. We went right under the water fall and I think I got the wettest I have ever gotten on the ride.

Enjoying A Coke

After Clancey and I attended the rainforest animal show he was begging for a drink, a pop drink. Being we are on a fun day I figured there wasn't any reason we couldn't share a Coke. I'm sure when he is a complete psycho later I will regret this but he sure is enjoying it.

Tattoo For Clancey

Clancey saw the tattoo place and had to go get one. He really had a hard time picking the tattoo he wanted because he said they all looked too cool. Be prepared Jen for him to have a real one the first semester of college. ;)

Riding Away

Clancey and I have been getting dizzy as heck riding all the rides here. Even Clancey said he needed a bit of a break so we moved onto the kiddie rides for a bit. If I recall this was the first ride Clancey ever did, I'm not sure it has the same excitement it once did for him. ;)

At Adventureland

Clancey and I just made it too Adventureland and we are excited to get the day started. Clancey decided that he wanted to ride the train first and then I think we may head to Lady Luck. Should have a great time today.

Off To Adventureland

This morning after my 7 mile run Clancey and I jumped in the car and headed off to adventureland for the day. Marshall and mommy decided to stay behind because they kind of have soft tummies that can't handle all the spinning rides. I'm looking forward to it because clancy and I don't get to spend that much time together just me and him. This is something that we both enjoy and we can do together and have some fun. I'll be sure to keep blog up to date with all the fun that we have.

Friday, May 18, 2012

New Job

Well after being in engineering management for almost 6 years I'm headed back to engineering next Saturday.  As of May 26th I'm going to become a software architect working on the next generation display software for the precision strike market. What that means in lameman terms is I'm going to develop cockpit display software for fighter jets. While I've been in management for a long time for a majority of that time I've really acted as a software architect I just didn't have the title or the amount of time to do the job as good as I would like. Now without a team to manage I'll be able to fully focus on the role and be able to contribute far more value to the engineering organization. Wish me luck in my new role.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Training Again

After my bitter defeat last week at Ironman I was torn whether I should start training again right away.  While I only made 7.5 hours into the race, I had been training since mid October and thought it may be time for a break.  I ended up choosing to workout this week but didn't do the full weeks worth of workouts just kind of what I felt like.  With it being so nice this weekend I could hardly let the wonderful weather get away without getting out a little on my bike.  Yesterday I decided to go 1:40 on my bike and had a spectacular ride.  After being mentally broken on my bike last Saturday it was great to get out on my bike and just enjoy my ride.  In fact when I got home I felt great and didn't want to quite.  Today I decided to step it up a bit and went out for 3:20 on the bike.  The ride was too bad but spending 3 hours on your bike is hard and I was pretty tired and beat up when I got home.  Still though I'm pretty happy to get nearly 100 miles in this weekend and I think it sets the stage for a good start to my Wisconsin training.  

Mother's Day Picnic

Today while we where out on our Mother's Day picnic I figured I should take a video.  Taking video is one of those things you don't do enough of but when the kids are older and gone away they are the things you will long for.  Normally these video's are kind of boring 6 minutes of kids playing but this video is a bit different.  If you can wait fast forward to about 3:55 in the video and start there.  Marshall begs Jen to give him an underdog I won't spoil the surprise but lets just say it gets pretty funny.  No worries Marshall was alright.

Picnic Hike

After an adventure filled lunch, don't ask but let's just say that boxes of 12 burgers are not necessary the best choice for mothers day, we headed in a hike. Just east of where we were picnicking at there was a neat little pond that Marshall want to go check out. Wasn't a very big pond and kind of stagnant but it did make for a picturesque hike. So far this weekend had been spectacular, nice weather, nothing that we had to do and just relaxing. After last week of Ironman and driving hell it was nice just to hang around the house.

Mothers Day Picnic

To celebrate mothers day for Jen she requested that we all head out for a picnic instead of go somewhere for lunch. I think the reason she wanted to go to a park is so Harley could come along. I guess it is her new baby so she wanted to celebrate with him too. We ended up going to Bennett park and found a nice shelter in a shaded area a couple grills and equipment what more to you need for a picnic.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Clancey And Marshall Being Daredevils

When we got back from Cedar Rapids Jen was putting groceries away and I was getting ready for a bike ride that meant no one was paying attention to the kids. They were being loud playing with the roller coaster but they had been doing that for the past couple days so that was nothing new. What we didn't realize is the kids decided that using the roller coaster on the ground wasn't as fun as putting it in things. Normally how it goes is Marshall thinks it up and then makes his brother test it out. As you can see it got pretty dangerous but I'll assure you that no one got hurt.


After lunch we headed over to Target to pick a few things up and let the boys pick out a mothers day gift. While we were wondering around the boys happened upon some Avengers masks so I couldn't resist having the boys put them on so I could take a picture.

Day In Cedar Rapids

After we got up this morning we all piled in the car and headed into Cedar Rapids to run some errands. First we had to head over to the UPS store so jen could ship a sign and then we headed over to US Cellular to get Jen a new phone. We really should have gotten her a new phone before our Utah trip but we never got the chance too so finally I forced her to go get one today. While I love the smartphone era I'm not a huge fan of smartphone prices. Gone are the days of the free cellphone with a 2 year contract. Nowadays its pretty much $200 for a decent smartphone with a 2 year contract but phones do so much more now its well worth it. Once we were done at the phone place we all headed over to Casa Las Gloria's for some lunch. Clancey managed to go tumbling out of his seat at one point but didn't get hurt. It did make for quite a show though.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Art Show

Yesterday was the big Lowden Elementary Art Show where art from all the students at school was displayed throughout the school.  Marshall was pretty excited to show us all the various projects he had been working on this school year so we made an appearance at the show.

I didn't get a picture of all of his pieces, sorry mema and papa, but I figured it will all show up at home in the next couple weeks before the end of school.  Some of you may recognize the piece displayed above because it is prominently featured on a clock we proudly display in the kitchen.  The stuff he showed us was pretty neat and when he brings it home we will make sure he keeps it around so you can see it when you come visit.  I especially liked the Dragon he made with the eye patch.
It wasn't long until Clancey discovered they were painting faces in the gym and Clancey being adventurous of course he wanted his face done.  Of course Clancey being who he is doesn't want just a small painting he wants his whole face done and what does he choose, well he chose spider man.
As you can see Clancey made a pretty cool looking spider man!

Monday, May 07, 2012


After 2 days of non-stop driving Jen and I finally made it home!  Let me tell you I was really freaking excited to see the boys and even the dog.  After a tough defeat at Ironman it was great to get home and give both my boys a big hug and have them tell me they still love me even though I didn't finish.  Heck Marshall even told me that I'll get another shot and I'll finish that one.  Both the boys we're also pretty excited to see the Ironman T-shirts I got them and the rocks we got for them too.  The only bad part is the whole pile of work I have waiting for me when I get into the office tomorrow.  

On The Road Again

After a night in Sterling Colorado we are back on the road again for our final leg home. Yesterday wasn't too bad of drive but with this being the last day on the road I'm gathering its going to be hard because we just want to be home. Since Jen is going to be doing a little driving today I'll probably have a few more entries if anything exciting happens.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Driving Home

Today there was very little action on the blog because Jen and I spent the whole day in the car driving home. We weren't able to get on the road until nearly 9 because I had to drop my race wheels off before we left, otherwise we could have been out the door at 6am. Unlike the trip out we didn't stop for anything today except gas and a couple pee breaks. All the scenery that was cool just a week ago got drove on by so we could get home. On an interesting not this is the first day that I have ever driving through a snow storm on my birthday. Up in the mountains about 20 miles west of Denver it started to snow and ended up snowing quite a bit. Jen doesn't like driving through the mountains in general so the fact it was snowing was just about too much for her to handle. We stopped to get gas and for a pee break and people had to think we were complete idiots being we were in shorts and t-shirts, but it was 80 at one point during our drive today so it made sense at one point. Another thing worth mentioning about today was the fact Jen took us down the wrong road outside of Denver. OK, to be honest, I thought we were supposed to stay on 70 but apparently we should have gotten on 76. Well since Jen refuses to use electronic devices as maps she didn't point out to me we appeared to be heading the wrong way when she was looking for a restaurant. We only realized it when we stopped for supper and I realized we were on the wrong road. Luckily we hadn't gotten too far down the road and we managed to make our way up to 76 in short order. Oh well we got to see a part of Colorado we will likely never get to see again. Let's just hope that we can stay on the right track tomorrow.

Day After

Well after having a night to stew on my failure to finish I take solace in the fact that most people are calling this Ironman the toughest in Ironman history. As weak of swimmer as I am I really had no business swimming through 5 foot waves for 2:30, the fact I finished that swim without being pulled into a boat is really a victory in itself. I had my watch on but I knew I had missed the cutoff so I had already mentally prepared myself to be cut from the race so when I got to the shore and I was still in the race I was shocked. They told me they would let me finish as an unofficial finisher but forgot to pull my timing chip which meant I was still in the race. While I was excited to still be in the race mentally I had already quit. I was hoping I would recover mentally over the next 20 miles before the start of the hills but I never really did. Once I hit the hills I had a 20 MPH head wind and some of the toughest uphill riding of my life. It was about 10 miles into the hills that I mentally broke. It has never happened to me before but after going only 10 miles in an hour and knowing I still had 15 to go was just too much. I told myself I would finish the first loop and ride in. Once I got to special needs I told Jen I planned to drop but convinced myself to at least ride to the start of the next loop. I rode down the hills made the corner for the start of the loop and ran into a group of stopped bikers we were all getting cut. In the state I was in I was happy to see them cutting us, the thought of headed up that hill again was just too much.

For the 7.5 hours I was out there it was the hardest 7.5 hours of my life. I am not a quitter and to break like that mentally was an eye opener for me. I have always known not to take Ironman lightly, the day can be unforgiving and if you aren't prepared for the conditions you will not finish. In preparation for Wisconsin I am going to spend more time outdoors in harsh conditions so I am mentally prepared if it is cold or windy or hot or whatever else mother nature can through at me. Not finishing is the worst feeling in the world and I WILL FINISH WISCONSIN!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

I Missed The Cut

After swimming through 6 foot waves,nearly drowning and and missing the swim cut by 6 minutes along with nearly 500 other competitors I was allowed to do the bike. The bike was just as brutal as the swim 25 miles uphill into a 20 MPH wind. At mile 64 I missed the cut along with about 30% of the field. I feel no shame in missing the cut the race was brutal. 300 people were pulled out of the water tons of people were simply fighting to not drown. I did make the whole swim which I am proud of and I made one loop of the bike. I will never do this race again it is just to brutal hence why they cancelled it. Time to head back to the hotel lick my wounds and start training again. Wisconsin is hard but not like this. Thanks for tuning in and wishing me luck. I'm sorry to disappoint everyone.

In Transition

Here I am in transition on race morning and pumped and ready to go. There is so much nervous energy here it is just electric. I got this!

Ironman Morning

After 8 months of training it is finally here, Ironman day. As you can see Ironman morning always starts very early and it's always after a poor night of sleep. To be honest I slept quite well for it being an Ironman night but I did have weird dreams. Today I'm focused on one thing, getting to that finish line and putting one foot in front of the other. I am feeling good and I will finish this race.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Ironman Tomorrow

I'm less then 12 hours I will be taking off on my forth Ironman race and the toughest one to date. At this point there is nothing more I can do but get good rest and be prepared for the morning. Just like always this week was about avoiding injury and fighting phantom injuries. I'm feeling ready for the race but nervous for the bike. This bike course is no joke and it to honest scares me. There are a lot of uphill rides and they are forecasting heavy winds so I expect to suffer. The run is fairly flat but no matter what is will be a sufferfest as well. I expect to get blisters and cramps around mile 13 and will suffer most of the rest of the way. While I may sound like I'm not very confident no worries I am confident that I can finish. I have out the work in and I will finish this race. I know how to suffer and I know how to put one foot in front of the other. Time for bed I'll see you in the morning.

T2 Drop Off

My bike to run transition stuff is dropped off and now I'm officially is hurry up and wait mode for tomorrows 7am start.  The T2 transition area wasn't as busy as the bike area was but I guess there wasn't as much to do there so people came in dropped off and left.  Out at the bike area people were swimming and biking which meant people really weren't leaving that fast.  It always surprises me when I see people out biking the day before the race.  I'm all for checking to make sure things work but putting an hour long bike in on a busy highway the day before the race just seems idiotic and waaaaay to risky.  Well I'm in the hotel now hydrating and relaxing for the big day to come.  Be sure to follow my progress on line as work my way through the race.