Sunday, April 27, 2014

Clarence Firefighters Pancake Breakfast

Today after church we went up to the firefighter pancake breakfast for lunch.  We were the first of the church crowd to make it down the breakfast after church let out.  We look forward to it every year because they have this awesome sausage that they serve down there.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Mississippi Palisades State Park

We found this awesome Park just on the Illinois side of the river to go for a hike.  There was a trail the lead to the top of bluff that overlooked the river which,  as you can see,  made for a spectacular back drop for a family picture. It was a pretty tiring hike,  especially after my ride this morning,  but as you can see it was well worth it.  

Subula Iowa

After our lunch in Clinton we continued our quest towards the river and found Subula,  Iowa.  Subula has the unique feature of being the only town in Iowa that is on an island.  One would wonder how you could have an island town in Iowa but it words out that the Mississippi River is really wide and it fits on a plot of land between Iowa mainland and Illinois. We had to stop for a picture at a park just outside of town for the blog of course.

Family Day

After I got done with my ride and Jen fed us all an awesome breakfast we decided it was time to head out and do something as a family.   We weren't sure what the plan was but we just jumped in the car and headed East towards the river. The first stop turned out to be an Italian restaurant in Clinton. It was a pretty good place but as you can see poor Marshall is at the weird age where they still give him a kids menu and a kids drink.  We thought it was only appropriate to have him pose with is cartoon cup with the animals on it.  

Morning Ride

This morning I met one of my friends for my first early morning outdoor ride of the year.  In fact it also turned out to be his first outdoor ride ever on his new tri-bike,  as well his first ever ride on the road,  so it was a big day for him as well.  Last summer I convinced him to sign up for Ironman Boulder with me having never done a triathlon before and not coming from an endurance back ground.  For the past 9 months he has been going from a guy who thought a 3 mile run was a lot to a guy who can now workout for 3 hours.  In June he will do his first triathlon,  Ironman Kansas 70.3, which in and of itself is no joke.  I'm ready to see how it goes and excited for him to get his first triathlon experience.

Friday, April 25, 2014

100 Days To Ironman

Hard to believe but once again here I am 100 days away from my first Ironman of the season.  Training is going good so far even if I'm not getting in as much as I really should.  I have finally spent the amount of time in the pool to hopefully not come out of the water way at the end of the pack.  I've been getting in 2-3 swims a week since February and it seems to really be helping my swim out a lot.  Right now I have more miles in the pool then I had all of last year.  In terms of all my other training it's about where it has been every other year.  I've been working to get the long stuff in but haven't gotten as many long workouts in as I would like.  Now with the warmer weather finally here it should be way easier to get out to get the long rides and runs in.  Tomorrow I'm planning to meet a buddy for 40 miles on the bike followed by a 6-7 mile transition run.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Soccer Night

It's soccer night once again for the boys and I have to say it's a lot nicer then it was last time we had soccer games.  Both the boys played a good game and had fun even though they both ended up losing their games.  I guess you can't win then all.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Dinner

Being a holiday today Jen spent the morning making us an awesome Easter dinner. Hard to beat Jen's ham and mashed potatoes and gravy especially when you eat with your family.

First Outdoor Bike Ride of the Year

Today it was finally warm enough for me to get out for my first outdoor ride of the year. It was a bit windy out but it felt good to actually be able to get outside for the first time in months. It is always amazing to me when I start riding outside how quick the time passes versus indoors in the pain cave. I'm ready to get the outdoor riding season started so I can start getting some long rides in and build that endurance for my two races coming up this year.

Opening Of The Eggs

After any good Easter egg hunt the best part about it is opening your eggs to see what you got.  So far it looks like each of the boys got a whole bunch of chocolate bars and jelly beans so I expect a couple kids in high gear today.   I guess that is just part of what the day is about. 

Easter Egg Hunt Is On

In the final Easter Egg hunt of the weekend the Easter bunny hid some eggs around the back yard for the boys.   It is an awesome day out so the boys had great weather to do their hunting.   Once the hunt over the we will head inside for breakfast and then get ready for our lunch.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Headed Home

After the boys and I went to the driving range to hit some balls and Jen went to Aldi to get our Easter Dinner we all piled in the car and headed home.  Since I had taken a whole bunch of video footage at the driver range I asked Jen to drive so I could check it out.  While we were driving back I thought it would be cool to take a picture of us all in the car.  As you can see the boys can't ever just take a normal picture.

Lunch At Olive Garden

After the Easter Egg hunt this morning the family all piled in the car and headed to Cedar Rapids for lunch and to run errands. After this Jen is going to drop the boys off at the driving range while she runs to Aldi and then we all meet back up to head over to Target and then back home. With it being a nice day I'm hoping to get a bike ride in today at some point.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt

Tonight was the first annual flashlight Easter Egg hunt here in Clarence and both of the kids had a blast.  I had never been to a flash light Easter Egg hunt before but I suppose that makes sense since Jen just kind of came up with the idea one night.  As you can see from the picture above Marshall managed to get a big prize which turned out to be a free large Casey's pizza and they both got a ton of candy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Soccer Tonight

Tonight it's soccer night once again for both of the boys.  This time at least the boys don't play at the same time so Jen and I can see both of their games.  Of course it has to be the coldest day of the week for the games tonight but with a winter coat on it isn't too bad.  Both the boys ended up winning their games and Mema and Papa were able to make the trip over to see them.  Hopefully we can keep it up and have a winning season!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Watching The Master's

Before we had to get in the car to head back across the state Marshall and I found some time to sit on the couch and watch The Master's for about an hour.  Just like anything these guys make golf look about 1000 times easier than it really is.  I think I may have said this before on the blog but golf has to be the best professional sport one can play.  You play in great weather, in spectacular locations and can play until you are old.  I'm telling you what I'm thinking it's time to get the boys a golf coach ;)

Papa's Birthday Lunch

Well after a nearly perfect day yesterday, in fact kind of hot, today it rainy crappy and cold but today we get to celebrate papa's birthday lunch.  Everyone made the trek over to Mema and Papa's house for the big lunch and presents.  It's just too bad that we have to cut out early this afternoon since we all have to get back at it tomorrow.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dead Outlet Mall

On the way up to Mema and Papa's we stopped at the outlet mall in Story City because Clancey needed some new shoes.  It has probably been 15 years since Jen and I had been here so we didn't realize that the mall was pretty much dead at this point.  When were living in Ames this wasn't necessarily the bastion of paradise when it comes to malls but there were more the 2 stores that were open inside it then.  When we walked in it was dark, most of the stores were closed and the tiles were coming up off the floors.  We did succeed in getting Clancey some new shoes but I'm not sure we will be coming back here any time soon.

Spring Game

It is hard to describe how absolutely great it is to be able to sit outside in 85 degree weather and enjoy the spring game.  Granted the spring game is generally pretty boring but it's hard to beat being hot in the sun after the winter we've had.  It's really too bad we couldn't have gone to the parade and had a cherry pie today but I guess that's what happens with people are idiots.

Hickory Park

Today we all piled in the car to head to Ames to celebrate Papa's birthday at Hickory Park.  I suppose technically we were actually there to go to the spring game, which was going to be the Veisha parade up until it got cancelled earlier this week because of riots.  It is a spectacular day out today so it should be nice to go over to the spring game and enjoy the sun.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Tonight both boys had their first soccer games of the year at the exact same time.  That meant Jen and I had to split which games that we attended.  It ended up that Jen went to Marshall's game and I went to Clancey's game.  This year Clancey moved onto the big fields and a bit larger teams so it's a big step up.  Since the kids don't really play soccer and more just chase the ball around the poor kid was tired as heck when the game was over because of all the running on the big field.  The game ended up in a tie 2-2 with the other team which is pretty good because the other team was clearly better then ours.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Marshall Riding His Bike

Clancey Riding Bike

April 6th 2014

Here is the highlight video of the the day that Google mixed for me.  We had a pretty awesome day.

Enjoying A Spring Day 2014

Bike Ride

Today the boys and I went on our first bike ride of the year up to the park.  It was clear from the ride that we really need to get Clancey a new bike.  He looks like a circus bear riding a little bike when he rides down the road.  While we were up at the park Clancey did a little Parkor on the statue of liberty that I took a video of.  I'll post it all later today.

Late Night Workout

Finally after a long day of hanging with the kids it was time to get an actual workout in.  Being it was so warm out today with very little wind I really wanted to get outside for my ride but with the golf this afternoon with Marshall I just wasn't able to make that happen.  Finally tonight around 10pm I got on my bike for a 2 hour ride.  With my first Ironman only 120 days away I really can't be missing workouts.  In the past I've taken a bit more of a casual approach to Ironman training but this year with two only five weeks apart I really need to make sure I'm getting the time in.  Probably not going to be as many hours in the week as I would have liked but I was on travel most of the week and my bike was in the shop so there was only so much I could accomplish.  Hopefully tomorrow afternoon I'm able to get outside for a 50 miler to get my hours up this week.

Saturday, April 05, 2014


No I don't mean Taylor Swift's award winning song, I mean a game of Trouble with Clancey.  Since Marshall was down for the count and Clancey felt a little left out of all the fun the two of us settled in for a couple games of trouble before shower time.  The first game Clancey tore me up beat me by about 3 men but the second game I managed to come back and show him that I am a winner.  We decided after that it was best to leave it at 1-1 and have him head to the shower, but we sure did have fun!

Tired Kid

On the way home I was surprised to look in the rear view mirror and see Marshall asleep.  I didn't realize until I got home that it wasn't so much because the golfing got him wore out but the fact that he may be coming down with something.  When we walked in the door he went right to the couch, didn't eat any supper and just slept.  Sure hope he gets over this by tomorrow.

Driving Range

Here are some pictures of Marshall and I hitting our first balls of the year.  The first few swings for the both of us weren't the best but by the time we got to bottom of our jumbo basket of balls we were both swinging pretty good.  In fact we were both actually quite tired and ready to be done.  Figure a jumbo basket of balls is somewhere on the order of 150-180 balls which is a whole lot of swings in a short time, even when you split them between the two of us.  I'm hoping to make some time for lessons this year in hopes of actually improving my game a bit.

Boy Trip Minus One

Since Clancey is spending the afternoon at Delanie's birthday party that left Marshall and I up to our own devices.  When we got back from Tipton we decided that it was really nice out and we needed to head to the driving range to hit some balls but first we needed lunch.  So on the way we stopped at the blue DQ and Clancey calls it.  Next stop the driving range for the first real swings of the year.

Marshall's Soccer Pictures

This afternoon while Clancey went Delanie's birthday party Marshall and I had to head down to Tipton for his soccer pictures.  Nearly every year we've had the pictures outside in the absolute worst weather and finally the year it was nice they had them inside, go figure.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Big Sleep Over

Tonight is the big sleep over that Marshall has been planning for a couple weeks now.  He had worked hard to keep it a secret from Clancey so that it would be a surprise for him.  It's really nice that the older boys let Clancey hang out and be part of the group all night.  I'm gathering the plan is to spend the night playing Minecraft, Halo and Terraria.  What that means though is Jen and I are banished from the living room and have to find somewhere else to hang out while the kids play video games all night.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

New Bag

After somewhere around 15 years I'm finally retiring my old Targus backpack, the one on the left, for a new Ogio backpack, on the right.  That backpack saw me through most of college, all of work and been on every business and personal trip I've ever been on.  At work my backpack is my own mobile office.  I attend a ton of meetings in various buildings every day so I need to be able to setup a "office" and work from anywhere.  That means my backpack is a key part of who I am and how I work.  It's kind of a sad day to see my old backpack go but it was getting pretty ratty and it was time to retire it.  Hopefully my new one can give me as man years of good use as my old one.

Headed Home

After a successful week of meetings I'm headed home a day early as planned.  It's nice to be able to get home a day early so I can get into work tomorrow to get a bit caught up before the long week next week.  At least the next time I have to do these meetings they are going to be in Cedar Rapids so I won't have to get on a plane and go anywhere.  Only bad part, though, is normally every other one of these meetings is in a nice resort location so looks like the next two won't be as nice the previous ones.  Oh well, even when they are at resorts you still have to attend meetings all day while looking at the ocean or a nice golf course.