Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Snow Day

For a second time this year mother nature has opened up the sky's and dumped a whole lot of bad weather on Clarence, which meant the kids were't going to school but I wasn't going to work either.  Unlike when you are a kid and a snow day means you get to play video games all day and goof off, as an adult it means logging in remotely and spending most of the day on the phone.  The only nice thing about being home is I don't have to worry about people stopping by my office preventing me finishing all the stuff I really need to get done.  I guess it is also nice to be able to work all day in comfy clothes!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Trivia Night

To finish off what has been a fairly busy day both Jen and I had to be at the Clarence Library Trivia Night event.  Jen had once again volunteered me to be the MC of the event, without asking me of course, which meant I was responsible for running the whole show.  As you can see from the picture above we had the largest turn out we've had for one of these events yet.  The event turned out to be a great time and a whole lot of people said they were excited for the next one we are going to hold in March.  

Celebration Lunch

As a treat for having to wake up at 6am on a Saturday and then take 3 hours of tests we let Marshall pick a place to have a celebration lunch. Clancey was really pushing for Panchero's but Marshall wanted barbecue at Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon which I was totally on board with. At first Clancey was mad but once we got there he said "oh this place, I love this place". Now while the picture above makes Marshall look less then impressed it was just because he was mid bite and didn't have time to smile. The kid managed to put away a 1/2 cheeseburger and fries all by himself, I guess testing makes a kid really freaking hungry.

He's Done

Marshall finished his test and told us that he felt like he did a good job except possibly on the math test. He told us the English, science and reading were pretty easy and in fact got done with his reading test 10 minutes early. He told us that the math test had algebra, geometry and even trigonometry on it so that is pretty tough for a kid who is just learning his multiplication tables at school right now. We are proud that he was able to focus for three hours to test and to even be selected as one of the few students in the whole state to even get to take it. It just be a few short years and Clancey will be taking the test next. We have some pretty awesome kids!

Hanging In The Student Union

Here we are hanging in the student union waiting for Marshall to complete his tests. Poor kid has 3 hours of testing ahead of him today but when we left him he looked pretty confident. The rest of us on the other hand are starving and can find absolutely nothing to eat on this damn campus. Apparently here at party school USA people don't get up before noon so those of us up and around at a reasonable time are left to wait on everything to actually open.

Test Day

This morning we got up early and headed to Iowa City for Marshall to take his ACT test. This year he is taking the test for practice but next year he will be taking it for real to get into the Belin - Blank program. First thing this morning we were worried because he was nervous and didn't want to go but after he got up and around he was ready to go. When he got to his seat he was relaxed and ready to rock. He is a spectacular reader and is really smart so I'm sure he will do great.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Family Game Night

When I got done with my ride this afternoon I came upstairs and they were setting up a game of Scotland Yard. The kids are both really big fans of board games and Jen isn't so much but being a good mom she played games with them even though she was sick. As you can see even Harley got involved in the game playing. It had been a whole since in had played Scotland Yard which showed in the fact I got beat.


Yesterday afternoon as we were coming back from Ames Jen told me that she felt sickness was coming. She told me her throat started to hurt and she started to get a runny nose. Well last night after we got home it finally hit her and she has been feeling like poop ever since. That meant today has been spent relaxing and trying to get better. I guess she isn't totally relaxing, she is working on some designs but Walters woman aren't know for their ability to sit and just relax so this is about as much as you can ask for. The kids and I have been playing some Magic the Gathering this afternoon and now I'm going to get in my bike for a bit and then come and nap in one if the recliners. Sounds like a good day.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Emergency Poop

On the way back from Ames we were just west of Cedar Rapids when Clancey had a poop emergency. One minute he was sitting fine and the next he way yelling that he had to take a poop immediately. Well I'm quite familiar with on road poop emergencies for those who remember my bowl game poop emergency of 2001. We immediately started to look for a suitable place on the side of the road for Clancey to poop. Given the urgency if the matter we didn't have time to really do much looking and just pulled into the first gravel road. Jen jumped out pulled his pants down and told him to go. Well it turns out that it was windy as heck out today and his peep was going everywhere, all over his pants on Jen's boots it was a scene. Then when the kid pooped Jen wasn't quick enough and he successfully managed to poop on Jen's boots next. Now imagine all of this happening while he is yelling at Marshall and I not to watch. Jen managed to wrangle the situation and get to done but when he was done he had to ride the rest of the way home in his underwear with angry eyebrows. ;-)

Hickory Park

Marshall requested that we go to Hickory Park to celebrate his birthday so he could get sang too for the first time ever. This morning after his basketball game we jumped in the car and headed off to Ames. It seemed like a long drive today but we did finally make it and he had to wait another 45 minutes to get out seat. Even though it took a long time to get there and we had to wait Hickory Park is worth it because the place it awesome. Mema, papa, Mike and Michelle all made it down to celebrate with us and Marshall finally got sung to for his birthday :-)


This morning we had Basketball down in Tipton for the first time this year.  So far what I've learned about North Cedar Kid League, or North Cedar Sports in general, they take their sport seriously.  The coach on the other team has been yelling out at the kids to make adjustments, yelling at the refs for missing calls and acting like it's the state playoffs.  I guess there is a reason that they play in the State Tournament year after year around here.  Anyways, Marshall had a pretty good game today.  He got his first foul of the year, which at first I'm not sure he even knew what that meant, he took a few shots at the basket and also played some good defense.  At first Marshall seemed a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing and really wanted to just quit. We, or more accurately I, made him stick it out to the end of the year and turns out that he is really starting to the enjoy the game.  Once he hit his stride and got used to people yelling and the physical nature of the game he started to do pretty well.  It's also been pretty fun to watch him play and develop over the course of the last few games too.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Council Budget Meeting

In what seems like a constant stream of back to back council meetings we had our annual budget meeting tonight.  For those who aren't familiar the budget meeting is where we walk through the entire city budget line by line and decide how to spend out money for the next fiscal year.  We also have to decide on raises for the city employee's at this meeting.  Tonight we got started at 6:00, we are about 2/3rds the way done and it's 9:30 now.  I'm guessing we will probably be done right around 11pm so it's going to be a long day for me.  Up at 5:30 for my workout, work all day, and then right to the council meeting until 11:00pm.  I can't wait for the weekend to get here.  Been an extremely long week for me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Birthday Supper

Tonight after school and before we went up to our Dave Ramsey class we had Marshall's birthday celebration.  Marshall had requested spaghetti, garlic bread and, of course, a rum cake.  While we didn't have a whole lot of time for his birthday party tonight we did have a good time.  We got Marshall a new DS game, some posters and some Magic The Gathering cards.  Like always at birthday's Jen and I were talking about the fact he we was 9 years old and we are only another 9 years away from him heading off to college. Time certainly does fly.

Birthday Breakfast

This morning it is Marshall's birthday and as a treat for him Jen got up to make him a special breakfast of scrambled eggs and cinnamon rolls.  Normally in the morning we have a couple of barely awake kids who trudge through the morning routine begrudgingly, not necessarily because they don't want to go to school but because they are just tired.  Well as you can see from the picture above this morning was a completely different story.  I suppose when you are eating warm homemade cinnamon rolls on your birthday morning it is pretty exciting.   

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jen Looking Good

I couldn't help but steal this picture from Jen's instagram feed and post it to the blog. Earlier today Jen went to Davenport for a photo shoot and took this picture with her phone when she was done. Makes me excited to see how awesome the pictures she got taken today are going to turn out.

Marshall Basketball Pic

After the game today they handed out the basketball pictures that they took last game.  Hard to believe how quickly Marshall is growing up.

Lunch At Ditto's

Here we are enjoying some cheeseburgers at Ditto's as an after game treat. It's pretty busy in here again today but we did manage to find a seat. We're all hungry so I hope they bring our food quick.

Basketball Again

Today at noon we had basketball for Marshall again. Jen had a meeting in Davenport so I was left to take the boys to basketball myself. Marshall played really good again today, probably one of the best defensive players on the team. Heck at one point he was matched up against the biggest kid on the team. We're thinking after this we will get lunch at Ditto's again.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Not only did they spell out last name wrong but they think we live in a town called Crapence, Iowa.  I know Clarence may not be the gem of Iowa but I'm not sure it deserves the name Crapence, Iowa.  Although this did make for a couple really good laughs over the past couple days.  

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Middle Of A Busy Week

So far this week has been one of the busiest weeks that we've had in a while.  On Monday Jen had a library fundraising meeting after having to go to Cedar Rapids and run some errands.  On Tuesday we had our weekly crazy busy day with piano lessons in Tipton followed by basketball practice in Lowden.  Tonight I had a City Council Special Session meeting to finally hire a full time police chief and then I had to meet Jen at the church for the first of our Dave Ramsey financial classes we are taking.  Tomorrow I"m going to have to work late and then Friday Marshall is going to a friend over for his first sleep over.  Saturday I'm going to take to boys to baseketball while Jen goes to Davenport for an appointment.  Sunday I'm going to work in the morning and then in the afternoon we are going to head to the pool.  Just seems we are busier then heck these days.  Heck next week it doesn't let up.  Monday is council meeting, Tuesday is crazy day, Wednesday is our financial class, Thursday is another council special session meeting and I'm sure we will come up with something on Friday.  It will be nice the first night we can just sit on the couch and watch a little TV for once.  Guess that is what it's like having kids that are starting to do activities.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Singing In Church

Today the boys sang in church and as you can see Clancey was the star of the show. Some how he managed to be front and center, and almost as if he took his spot and everyone took a step back. Didn't matter to Clancey though he stood there proud and sang away. When he did know the words he just kind of bobbed his head to the beat and lip synced. I wish I would have taken a video.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

The Austin's Visit

Today Chad, Laura, Cecelia, and Grant made the annual trek out to visit and have dinner with us. Since they live out in California they don't make it back this way very often but they do come back every year for Christmas for a month or so and we get an opportunity to see them. This year they had a new little one with them, Grant, and let me tell you he is cute as a button just like his sister. Once again it was great to see them and get to catch up on what has gone on for the past year. One of these days we are going to have to make a trip out to California to visit them. It would be a great opportunity to see their house but to also take the boys to see the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Silicon Valley. They could see where all the cool technology they use everyday is engineered. Of course they left and I realized that I didn't get any pictures except for this one of the boys playing piano with Cecelia. Next year I will make sure I take some more.

Marshall Basketball

This morning was Marshall's first basketball game of the year and Marshall did great. He was a bit concerned at first because they have only had a couple practices and he didn't remember the plays but we assured him that nobody on his team probably did. Once we got to the game and he hooked up with some of his teammates he was alright and was less worried and more confident about the game. When Marshall got out onto the court he did great. He was all over the court playing solid defense getting right in there for rebounds all in all it was a great performance. The team ended up losing the game but not from lack of effort. The other team just looked like they had practiced way more then our team and we're on average taller then our team. Either I was happy with how Marshall played and we went to Ditto's afterwards to celebrate with a cheese burger :-)

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Checking Out The New Fish

When we got home with the new friends I had to run right up and get the heater plugged in and heating the water so we didn't kill the fish by dumping them into cold water. What that meant was the boys had to wait for a while as the water warmed up for the fish. That did give the boys some time to get their showers done before we released them into their new home. The only issue was once the fish got released into the aquarium they didn't want to go to bed they just wanted to watch the fish. It appears the uncle mike hit a home run with the gift.

Picking Out Fish

This afternoon after the kids got out of school we decided to head to Cedar Rapids so the boys could pick out there new fish for the aquarium that they got for Christmas. They didn't think we were going until this weekend so they were really excited when we told them where we were going when we got to the bus stop. Before we headed over to the Petco we did have to run a few errands first. We had bagged up all the cans that had gathered in our basement over the past couple of years and had put them in the back of the car last weekend. Well it turns out that there wasn't any can places open so they were in the car since then. Finally today we actually got to the can place to take them back. After that we headed over the Casa Las Gloria's for some supper and then over to the Target to get some groceries. Once all of that was done it was time to head over to Petco to get the boys new friends. It took the boys a while to figure out which ones that they wanted but they finally figured it out and worked out names on the way home.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Christmas Letter

I have finally been approved to put the Christmas letter up since everyone should have there's by now. Hopefully everyone had a great holiday this year.

Tree Coming Down

Well here it is the yearly picture of the Christmas tree being torn down after yet another great Christmas break.  This year it seems that Christmas break went way too fast and to be honest I could use a few more days.  I guess technically I get tomorrow off too, even though the boys have to head back to school.  I could take the two days off at the end of the week and get a full two weeks off but I have too much stuff that needs to get done at work, I just can't afford to take the days off.  If I did I would probably just end up sitting in the office the whole time, working and fielding phone calls anyways, so it just doesn't make sense.  

On another note, this morning one of Marshall's friends invited him and Clancey to come over to their farm and go sledding for the day.  Unlike Colfax, where I grew up, there just isn't that many hills around here so neither of the boys have really done a whole lot of sledding.  In fact I think this is the first time that Clancey has ever gone over to anybody's house to play by himself.  With the boys gone again today it gave my time to get my first long training session of the year in, a 60 minute FTP bike followed up by a 30 minute brick run.  Jen used the time to take down the Christmas tree and rock out to music on her new Sonos system.  I'm thinking for the rest of the afternoon the boys and I will play a couple games and try to enjoy what break we all have left.