Sunday, November 30, 2014

Made It To DC

I just got to my hotel in DC.  The trip was pretty uneventful beyond the standard crappy traffic in DC, even at night.  Tomorrow I don't have my first meeting until 1:00pm so I'm planning to head out on a run in the morning up to the mall to take some pictures of the monuments.

Halfway There

Here I am in Detroit, a place I spend way too much time these days, waiting for the last leg of my trip to DC.  Before this year I had never been to DC but as of this trip I think I'm headed for my 5th trip to the city.  Besides the major traffic headaches in the city I have grown to like the DC area.  It seems like the place that you need to be if you ever want to really be a decision maker.  Who knows, that is probably because of all the movies I've seen that show DC, monuments and important people doing important things in front of them.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Headed Off Once Again

It wasn't that long ago that I spent a week in France and now once again I'm boarding a plane to head off to DC.  Just like with my trip to France, I leave on Sunday and don't get back until Friday afternoon so once again it's going to be a long week.  Right now though this is looking like it will be my last business trip of the year.  There was a chance I was going to have to go to Kentucky the week before Christmas but that's looking less likely at this point.  Looking back over the year this has been my busiest travel year ever.  In fact this is the first year I've ever earned a status on an airline.  I guess I have plenty of frequent flyer miles to get some free trips next year.  Maybe I can use it for another trip to Orlando with the family.

Riding Aladin's Magic Carpet 2014

Picking Out the VanOort Family Tree 2014

Christmas Tree Time!

We made it to Kelly Tree Farm to get our Christmas Tree for the year and it was freaking packed.  The first time every we had to park on the gravel road outside of the farm because there wasn't any parking in actual lot.  It's alright I guess, I did manage to get this good picture of the sign on the way in.

Normally Kevin Kelly is there to greet you and show you where all the tree are that you can pick from but this year being so busy he was running from customer to customer to get them checked out. Being old pro's it wasn't that big of deal so grabbed our saw and headed down the hill, but not before we had the boys pose for a picture at the top of the hill.  They were somewhat disappointed that it was warm today and all the snow had melted, that meant no sledding down the hill this year.  

Like always the family picked the tree that was the farthest from the car and while the picture gives the impression that the boys carried the tree up, that lasted all of 2 seconds before I ended up carrying the tree up the hill.  Good thing I'm and Ironman and in great shape because the hill is steep and it's a long way up it.

Posing for a Picture.

Finally I got that heavy tree up the hill and the farm hands got it all shaken out and ready to load.  We once again posed for our picture with our tree that we will receive from Kevin next Christmas, I suppose as a reminder to come back.  I took a short video of the cutting of the tree that should be uploaded shortly for everyone to enjoy.

Tipton Bakery

I guess technically in honor of "Shop Small Saturday" we stopped at the bakery in Tipton on the way to Kelly Christmas Tree farm to get our family tree.  The bakery is always a family favorite and went well with all the other stuff that we ate this week that is bad for us.


This morning was once again basketball morning for Clancey.  It was a bit hard to everyone to get up and around this morning after a couple days full of gorging ourselves with food and treats, so it was a good thing that we had to get up and around.  Clancey played another good game and scored a few baskets which was good.  We're thinking after this we are headed to the Tipton Bakery and then to get our Christmas Tree!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Video Game Day

In preparation for Christmas the boys and I thought it would be a good idea to have a bit of a video game day today.  I brought the TV up from the pain cave, hooked the second Xbox up and we played video games all day long.  It had been a long time since the we had a video game day.  During the rest of the year it's hard to make time but during the holiday season, with the weather not as nice, it makes for the perfect time to have a video game day.  Mostly Clancey and I played Firefight on Halo Reach while Marshall worked through Call of Duty Black Ops.  We had snacks and pop, it was a prefect boy day.  Monday our TV's get here for our new video game room so for Christmas we will be able to have our video game day in comfort of our awesome new Video Game Room/Man Cave.

Magic The Gathering All Afternoon

Once we finished dinner the boys and I decided to do something we hadn't done in quite awhile, we got the Magic cards out to play some.  Now that Clancey can read it is a whole lot easier to play the game with him.  He did alright before but you had to select cards that didn't have special abilities on them so he didn't have to read them.  Now that he can read he can play any deck in the box.  We ended up playing the game for about 5 hours, while we suck down soda and ate snacks.  Made for a pretty fun day.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Enjoying Our Dinner

Here we all are enjoying our Thanksgiving dinner.  Just like I did when I was a kid, Marshall went right for the turkey leg.  As you can see it turned into quite the ordeal to eat.  He looked a lot like a cave man as he worked to get it all eaten.  The dinner was spectacular and it will make for some good left overs later today for supper.

Thanksgiving Dinner Preparations Under Way

Jen is in the midst of preparing our wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner.  This year it's going to be a small affair with just our little family.  The nice part about that is that we can wear pajama's all day and not have to worry about setting up a fancy table setting for everyone.  As you can see the turkey turned out really good.  Now we are just waiting on the gravy and we can get our dinner underway.

Morning Workouts For Everyone

This morning since Jen, Marshall and myself are all in the process of training for various events we all got up to workout.  Jen was up at 5am to get the turkey in, get her run in and get some laundry done.  Marshall and I on the other hand waiting until mid morning to attack our workout.  I think Jen and Marshall had a 2 mile run each and I had a 2 hour bike/run brick.  Now we can all enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner later today guilt free, knowing we all burnt our fair share of calories.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Movie Day

After we got back home from basketball we all just settled in the living room and watched a Harry Potter Marathon all afternoon.  We watched the last one "The Deathly Hallows" which is a two part movie that pretty much took up the entire afternoon.  After how busy we had been the past few weeks it felt good just to veg out in front of the TV and watch movies.

Basketball Double Header

This morning Clancey had a Basketball double header over in Lowden.  Apparently he had been practicing every day at recess so he could be a better player.  Well clearly it paid off because today was a far cry from how he did last weekend.  He was all over the court, great defense, scored a lot of points and just an all around good game.  I was pretty proud of how he played today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Training For a Half Marathon

For the past couple weeks Jen and Marshall have been training for a half marathon sometime next spring.  What that means is some of the days they have to get up early and head down the pain cave for a training session.  Here is a pictures I took of Marshall this morning has he was doing a 2 mile run on the treadmill.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

First Measurable Snow

Today we woke up to the first measurable snow of the year, which is kind of bummer since it's only November 16th.  Normally by this point we've had some flurries but never a full blown snow.  I guess the forecasters were right when they predicted a worse than morning winter this year.  Ugghhh, feels like we didn't have fall or spring this year.  Just kind of went from winter to summer and back again.  Maybe it's time to move south!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Clancey's First Basketball Game

This morning Clancey had his first basketball game of the year and he played pretty good.  It is a little disorganized being it's the first basketball game most of these kids have ever played but it was pretty fun to watch.  The way they do it is have a 20 minute practice before the start of the game and then they play.  It works out pretty good because the kids get to use what they learned right away instead of having to wait a few days and forgetting it all.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Daddy In Charge Almost Complete

Mema's procedure went well yesterday and Jen told me about an hour ago that she is on her way home, so my time taking care of the boys is almost complete.  I am proud to report that the kids were well fed, didn't get in trouble at school because I forgot to do something, and no major catastrophe's occurred.  My last remaining action is to pick Marshall up from drama in about 20 minutes and I will have successfully done my duty for the week.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Morning Routine

This morning I successfully managed to navigate the morning routine and get the kids to school on time.  It wasn't as crazy as I thought it would be.  It does help that I woke up at 5am to get a shower and get ready before I got the boys up.  Believe it or not we were done with the routine by 7:00am and sat around for a half hour before we had to leave.  Granted the novelty of it hasn't worn off so it was pretty easy to get things done this morning.  If I had to do this every morning I'm sure I would fail miserably.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Jen Gone for A Couple Days

Jen's mom is having a procedure done at the hospital in the Des Moines Thursday morning which leaves me in charge of the boys for the rest of the week.  While I've been in charge of the boys over night in the past, this will be my first time ever having to take care of the boys during the school week.  That means I'm going to be in charge of both the night time and morning routine for at least 3 days.  So far it's going all right, I made the boys spaghetti and meatballs with cheese bread tonight, which was a big hit.  Not sure what the plan for tomorrow is yet but I'm thinking we will stop by the store in Tipton after piano lessons to get something for supper.  

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Boys Singing In Church

This morning, after spending most of the yesterday trying to get over my major jet lag, we headed over to church so we could see the boys singing.  My phone has been acting stupid lately so I wasn't able to get a video but I did get this picture of the boys during the big performance.  Marshall claimed that he was going to lip sync, which seems weird to me considering he signed up for drama this week.  Who knows, the mind of a junior high kid is hard to figure out.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Headed Home

After spending the last week in Toulouse, France I'm headed home and I have to say I'm ready.  Makes for a very long week when you leave Saturday and noon and don't come back until Friday.  I did have a pretty productive week of meetings so the travel was work the trip.  Based on this trip it seems like I'll be making more frequent trips to France which will be all right.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

View From My Hotel

So far the week has been pretty productive and I would label it as a worthwhile trip.  To be honest it's a trip I should have made years ago because it's very likely I would have made some different decisions about the software we developed for the French engineers.  Today is my presentation to the customer which I feel pretty good about after spending some time last night "tightening" up my slide presentation and getting a more clear message.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Jet Lag Officially Gone

Yesterday after I got done with my run and had a very late lunch/early supper I headed up to my room.  It was close to 5pm by the time I got done with everything.  Well I fired up Netflix and pretty much fell right asleep. I kind of was in and out of sleep until about 9pm when I finally gave up and "napping" and officially went to bed.  By the time I got up this morning I would say I slept a good 12-14 hours.  I feel refreshed today and ready for a day of meetings with the French engineers.  Hopefully this week is productive.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

In Toulouse

I made it to Toulouse after a day of traveling.  Weather is spectacular today and given I have major jet lag I figured it was a good idea to get out and run so I don't fall asleep too early.  I found a nice trail down by a small creek and got to tour the French country side.  Now the plan is to go find something to eat and then relax and watch some Netflix until I fall asleep.

In Paris

I just landed and can now officially say I've been to Paris, France.  Granted I never got chance to leave the airport but I am here.  I have to say though that this airport kind of sucks.  It's hot, really freaking busy, and very tight.  Board the next flight to Toulouse in a few minutes and am looking forward to getting to my hotel and have a place to relax and settle in.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Headed to France for the Week

Here I am on my way to a week in France for customer meetings and to work with the RC-F engineers for a couple days.  It's been awhile since I've traveled internationally and it will be my first trip to the Rockwell Collins France facility so I'm looking forward to the trip.  Also Delta has upgraded business class seating so I am riding in high style over the ocean to Paris.  The only bummer about the trip is the fact I'm on the road again and will be away from the family for another week.