Saturday, August 31, 2013
Last around 10pm Mike, Michelle and Olivia got to our house for a short weekend visit. I was surprised this morning when I woke up to see how much Olivia had grown, sure is a far cry from when she was born and in the hospital. Now if you know me very well at all you know I'm not a huge fan of babies, not babies so much but the constant crying associated with their presence. Turns out Olivia is a spectacularly good baby, last night I was sure we would be up half the night while she cried and I would be reminded why I'm happy we are done with babies, well she wasn't at all and slept all night. It appears that they got one of the good ones, that the rest of us parents are jealous of.
With this being the first week of school I'm not sure what the deal was but for Marshall and I it was math hell week. Every night the math teacher sent home a worksheet to do with continually harder problems on it. For a kid going from 3rd grade all the way to 5th and then having to work on 2 hours of homework every night it was a big adjustment. For me it was hard to try and explain all the concepts in a way that Marshall could grasp it. It's very easy to forget how hard it is to learn new math concepts and they aren't just intrinsically known. By the end of the week we started to figure out how to work together and we didn't get any homework for the long weekend.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Here we are at Monday and starting the first full week of school. This is really the first week that Jen and I will be able to see how Marshall's multi-school schedule is working out. So far Marshall seems to be doing alright, he has had a few things go wrong but nothing really that big of deal that he hasn't been able to handle. For Clancey there really is too much question he really enjoys kindergarten and is doing great, although given his intelligence I'm sure we will be in the same position with him pretty soon too.
When I got home about 11:30 Jen was already working in the yard and the kids were playing video games inside. That is pretty much how the rest of the afternoon went for everyone. Jen worked in the yard, kids played video games and I napped in my chair. That night we all headed up to Victory Lane to celebrate one of Jen's friends birthday and have dinner.
Sunday Marshall and I got up early around 7am with the plan to head over to Lowden to play a round of golf before we headed into the Cedar Rapids for the afternoon to get the kids some clothes and groceries. Of course, after I got up, showered and had breakfast I decided to check the schedule for the golf course only to find out that they were having a tournament that day. With that plan down the tubes we all got up and headed into CR. Jen had a lot of luck find some clothes for the kids, which was good, and pretty much the whole point of the trip. I successfully found man chairs everywhere we went so I succeeded too.
We got home mid afternoon and I packed my swim bag and headed down to Tipton for what is likely one of my last swims before Ironman. Once I got home the kids and I played some Halo and called it a weekend.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Today was the first day of the school for the boys and as I said in my last post was a big day for them both. Clancey was starting Kindergarten and Marshall was starting for 4th and 5th grade which meant we was a half time middle schooler. Sending Clancey off to Kindergarten wasn't as hard on Jen and I since he had been going to Pre-K all day last year on the bus so this really wasn't his first time leaving on the bus. It was a big thing but not like it was when we sent Marshall off to Kindergarten. For Marshall though it was a bit of a different story. He was not only going to 5th grade classes but he was also going to the Middle School for part of the day which is a huge change from elementary. For him he goes from standing in lines to from class to class to navigating from class to class on his own, in a school he is unfamiliar with, with kids he doesn't know very well. I was worried for him all day but his first day went great. There was a bit of confusion when he first got to the middle school but it all got sorted out and he made it to each class fine. For Clancey the day went great. He likes school, he likes his teacher and he is excited to go. Hopefully it continues to go well for them both!
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
It's hard to believe but Jen and I are going to have an official Middle School Student in 2 days when school starts. Technically Marshall is going to be in 4th grade but with his academic performance we have decided to send Marshall to Middle School part time this upcoming school year. In the morning he will jump on the bus and head to the elementary in Lowden for a couple classes but mid-morning he will leave his 4th grade classes to head over to the Middle school to take Reading, Science and Math for the rest of the day. So what that means is we all had to go over to the Middle School tonight for orientation. It is going to be a big change for Marshall, Middle School has a higher set of expectations and a lot more freedom then elementary school. Marshall is nervous and I don't blame the kid, to be honest I'm nervous for him. From an academic perspective I have no worries about Marshall's ability to succeed, the real question is going to be whether he can fit in and make his place. Marshall doesn't like to draw attention to himself and being a 4th grader attending 5th grade more then half time it's going to be hard for him to not draw some amount of attention to himself. Thursday is the first day of school so we will see how it all goes, wish him luck.
With the obsessive nature of this sport and the amount of time it takes to be prepared for it I really struggle to strike the right balance between Ironman and all my other responsibilities. I remember when first started the sport and someone who had done 15 Ironman races told me to keep it in perspective he said quote "Always remember that this is a hobby and if you want to keep doing it you need to make sure it doesn't take over your life. It should be a part of your life not the focus of your life." That is probably the best advice I've ever gotten when it comes to this sport. All people make choices about the role Ironman takes in their life, for me I've realized that just finishing the race is enough for me. Making that choice may not lead to the best finish times but it does give me enough time to hang with the kids and wife, have a social life outside of triathlete friends, and be pursue other interests such as golf. For anyone getting ready to pursue Ironman dreams for the first time you need to make the choice about how it fits into your life.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Today as kind of the unofficial end of summer and our vacation we headed to the State Fair. The state fair has been family favorite since the boys were really little and now that they are both getting older it is getting so much more fun. This year we bought our tickets in advance and got what were known as family fun passes which had tickets to do a whole bunch of stuff that we normally do plus some fair dollars to spend on food and drinks. First thing we did when we got to the fair was do the zip line which was right inside the gate. I was shocked that Marshall saw it and wanted to do it right away. Here is picture I took of the boys doing it but I also managed to get a couple videos too that I will post later.
Since we had to pick our dog up from the pet resort by 6pm today we didn't have as much time as we normally have to walk around so we kind of had to rush from thing to thing. We did end up hitting up most of the normal favorites, Sky glider, trains, butter cow, Bauder's Ice Cream, etc.
The hit light of Jen's day, though, was to get to meet the "Iowa Nice" guy and take a picture with him. He is kind of a hero of Iowa and I Jen is a pretty big fan of his work. I've posted the video below.
We had a great time at the fair and had a great week and a half of vacation, it's going to be hard to head back to work. Now it's time to turn our focus to Ironman, fall activities, and Christmas!
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Today was our annual trip to Adventureland and the boys had a great time. I'm thinking this could have been one of funnest trips to Adventureland we've ever had. We got there around 10:30 am and while it wasn't crazy busy it we busier that I expected it would be for a weekday. Later I found out that the this was the last full week that the park was going to be open and with the State Fair in town it's not surprising it was going to be busy.
We tried to do as many rides as we could and for the first time ever we did ever show in the park. We was pretty impressed by the circus and magic shows.
This year the bumper cars were a family favorite and I"m pretty sure we did them no less then a dozen times but the line was short and we we're having fun so there was not reason not to do them.
This year also both of the boys even did the Outlaw.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Saturday, August 10, 2013
I know I just posted my blog that talked about heading home but I had to make sure I got the obligatory leaving the harbor picture posted. I guess in my last entry I didn't say that the plan is to try and make it home tonight so we can have a full day tomorrow before we pile in the the cat for Adventureland and the state fair on Monday and Tuesday. After that the boys head to mema and papa's for one more visit before it's back to school the following week. Man, where did the summer go.
Here is one of the last pictures I took of the boys before we jumped on the ferry to leave the island for another year. Once again we had an absolutely wonderful time and just like always considered what it would he like to buy a place and move to the island. It is always surprising how quick the week seems like it goes but also how long it seems like it's been since we've been home. Next year with Ironman Boulder in August 3rd we are considering going over the 4th of July instead but with Disney next year we aren't sure. I guess we will play it by ear the next few months and see what shakes out.
Friday, August 09, 2013
Today I figured even though the water was really rough, like St. George rough, I had better get in one last open water swim for the year. Let me tell you it was a hard 1.2 miles in the water. I swam into the waves the start with and it was like I was a rag doll getting tossed around while I swam. I made very little distance parallel to shore but the water was quite effective at pulling me out to the deeper water. I swam and swam and before I knew it I was a half mile out into the deep water and could barely see our cabin. Good thing it wasn't too hard to get back to the shore or I may have been a bit worried ;)
Right down the road from big rock is Big Birch, which is a huge old birch tree that has a branch that everyone sits on for a picture. I can't believe this is the first year that we made it too both of these island staples.
Thursday, August 08, 2013
But it didn't take too long before Jen grabbed one of the boys tubes and went out to brave the water herself. Now me, being an Ironman and all, couldn't be the only wussy sitting on the beach by himself so I headed out to float with my sexy wife.
We had a pretty good time while we waited for our friends to come play with us on the beach.
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
One of the hazards you have when your dad is an Ironman you kind of lose perspective about what is a long ways for "normal" people especially kids. Marshall has wanted to climb to the top of sand mountain since we left Beaver Island last year, I looked it up on the map and saw it was about a 10 mile bike ride from our house to it on the north west side of the island. I immediately thought well that's not that far at all, if we make a couple stops along the way it should be that big of deal at all, just a fun casual ride for the day.
Right around 10:30 we took off from our house and headed towards the Dalwhinnie, which is about 7.5 miles away. We were about 1.5 miles down the road when we had to stop for a first break. At that point I should have thought about whether riding this far was a good idea and about the fact that Clancey is only 5 riding a mini-sized bike. Nah, not I lets power on, Dig Deep is what I say.
We had a nice relaxing lunch out on the porch at the Dalwhinnie. It was just about the right temperature where your're not too hot that it is uncomfortable to be outside but it wasn't too chilly that you couldn't be outside. The boys are HUGE fans of the chicken strips and Jen loves the portabella mushroom sandwich. I think we ended up taking about an hour long break before we headed out on the final few miles to the sand hill.
It was about 2:00 when we final made it to the top of sand hill for this picture of the boys. The sand hill is the highest point on Beaver Island and as you can see it really isn't all that tall, maybe 100 feet. It doesn't matter though the size of those smiles says it all, the kids were having a really good time.
Finally at 4:30 in the afternoon, after 6 hours of being out and about on our bikes we made it home! I can't believe we did it and as you can see everyone still had a smile on their face. Although, to be fair, the smile is more about being done rather then from the fun of the ride. There is a point in every long activity where it switches from the activity itself being fun but the thought of actually getting done being the fun part. For this ride I think the switch happened about 1 mile outside of town after Daddy Frank's. Everyone made it and very few tears were shed so I think the ride was a success, plus I'm thinking Marshall will not be telling us that he wishes we could have rode our bikes more when we are on the way home.
The kids have kind of gotten into a morning routine every day here at Beaver Island. While Jen and I sleep in a bit the kids get up shut their door and play video games on their beds. Works out for Jen and I, we get an opportunity to sleep in a bit and the kids stay quietly occupied in their room.
Last night about 4am we had a pretty good storm roll through Beaver Island. There Jen and I were running around the house closing windows, brining things from out on the deck inside and checking weather to make sure it wasn't too bad of storm. This morning after the storm it was a pretty picturesque morning as the last the drips of rain fall off the tree and the sun comes up on the horizon.
As a treat for everyone I got up early and headed into town to get some cinnamon rolls and coffee from the Dalwhinnie. The kids aren't out of bed yet so they don't know but I bet they will be excited when they come down.
Tuesday, August 06, 2013
Marshall reminded Jen and I that it was national root beer float day and we had better celebrate it. I was thinking after we had all had our floats that this was the second time we had ice cream just today. Good thing I've been getting a lot of exercise in or I would come back from vacation out of shape and over weight. Not entirely the best plan with a half Ironman a week and half away and a full Ironman 4.5 weeks away.
After supper I decided that I do have an Ironman coming up in a few short weeks and this is supposed to be a big training so I had better get another training session in today. Given we are right on the beach and I'm way behind on my swimming for the year I figured I should take every opportunity I can to get out and get some open water swim practice in. As you can see you really have to bundle up before you venture out into the water. It's not that you can't do it without a wetsuit on but being in sub 60 degree water swimming for upwards of an hour it seems like it's the smart thing to do. This is also the first open water swim that I used my action camera on. I plan on using it Ironman day this year so I figured I had better try it out to make sure I don't hit it when I stroke but also to make sure it doesn't slow me down too much. Turns out that it worked OK for my swim and I captured 40 minutes of exciting swim footage. ;)
After we got back from golf and had some lunch we loaded the bikes on the car and headed into town for a bike ride. We ended up riding out to the lighthouse on Whiskey Point and then over by house we had rented for the last two years. Pretty much any trip in to town means you better stop at Daddy Frank's for some ice cream. They had just gotten a shipment of new ice cream in so they had a whole lot of new flavors available that they didn't have yesterday. Of course I was so busy trying to capture video memories that I didn't get any pictures. Sorry about that. Once we were done eating ice cream we all headed over to the school so the kids could play on the equipment for a bit. They really wanted to play teatherball again this year but the ball was missing but at least we found another ball to play with for a bit. Just an FYI, when I get back I plan to edit all the video footage I've taken this week into a 15-20 video I'll post to YouTube for everyone to see. Given my success with completing projects though I wouldn't expect it until Christmas time.
This morning after breakfast and a 7 mile run the boys and I piled into the car and headed up to golf course to play our first round of vacation. I had forgotten how challenging the course was since last year when I played it but did find it really fun to play. I didn't end up golfing too bad a 52 and that included a triple and quadruple bogie on two holes. For the most part I was making it to the green with one stroke left for par and if I could have sunk a few more easy putts I could have broken 50. Either way it was fun to get out with the boys for a couple hours and give Jen some down time for a bit.
Monday, August 05, 2013
After the museum, a trip to Daddy Frank's, and the toy store it was time to drop mema and papa off at the ferry so they could head back to the mainland and home. Turns out that the ferry travels by our house everyday way off in the distance so we can see it come and go. We told meme and papa we would stand on the beach with our brightly colored beach towels to see if they could see us. Not sure they actually could but we did take this picture of the boys on the beach with the ferry off on the horizon above them. Well miss mema and papa but are happy we have until Saturday to enjoy the island and our vacation!
This morning after a spectacular breakfast Jen made for everyone we all headed down to the beach for some more fun. Jen and Marshall decided that is just isn't a beach vacation without building a sand castle. It started out simple enough but by the time they got done they had a fully landscaped mutli-castle town, to be honest it was a pretty awesome castle. I didn't actually get a picture of the completed castle so you will have to take my word for it.
This morning I got up made some coffee and headed down to the beach just to take it in. I'm not sure if in all our years coming here I've ever seen the lake this calm. Also being out here it is just so peaceful, the places directly to the north and south of us are empty so it is like we have a little piece of the island all to ourselves. I'm telling you we are never going back home just going to live on the island forever.