Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Post of the Year

Here we are once again at the end of the year.  The boys and I decided that the best way to ring in the New Year was to play video games in the Video Game Room.  Actually this is an improvement from the past few years, normally about 10:30 every is asleep on the couch and the New Year's Festivities are over.  This year was the busiest travel year I've every had, last count I think I was on the road 110 days this year, between business travel and vacations.  Not sure what next year has in store but it's possible the family and I could start a year long stint in France which would be a great experience.  Once again it's been a good year and looking forward to next year.

Trip To StringTown

This afternoon we all piled in the car to get out and about for a bit.  We've been living in our pajama's for the past week and a half, ever since break started so we figured we better get out.  We headed down to String Town Grocery in Kalona to pick some stuff up and then headed into to town to eat lunch at the Kalona Brewery.  First time I had been there, wasn't too bad although I could have done without the homemade ketchup.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Back At It

Needless to say the couple months since Ironman have not been good for my waistline.  I suppose it didn't help that I was on travel for a majority of the time since then but I really need to start working out again.  I decided that I need to get back after it today, not really so much for next year's Ironman but just to lose some darn weight.  I've noticed as I've aged it's getting a whole lot harder to keep the weight off.  I can work out but if I don't watch what I eat too I slowly creep up.  Trying to start a 50 day run challenge again and actually stick to it.  Should be a bit easier this time since I don't have any international travel in the near future.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Lazy Day's Around the House

Every since the start of break the boys and I have largely spent out time hanging out and playing video games.  Not that often that we can dedicate this much time to playing games so it's nice to be able to unplug from work and be able to do it.  Nice to think that I still have another week of break before I have to head back to work.  Plan to enjoy every minute of it.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Jen's 40th Birthday

Today is Jen's 40th birthday and just like last year we are took her out to eat at Great Plain's Pizza in Ames.  Kind of feel like we really should be doing more for her 40th birthday though.  Turning the big 4-0 is kind of a big deal.  Maybe once everyone gets over being sick Jen and I can use my frequent traveler points to go on a big trip to celebrate both of our birthday's together.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas At Mema and Papa's

This evening was our Christmas at Mema and Papa's house over in Thor. It had been awhile since we had been over to Mema and Papa's house so it was nice to go over.  As you can see the boys scored pretty well, they both got the dart guns that they had been really wanting for Christmas.  And Olivia had a great time too.  She is getting old enough now to really enjoy Christmas and was cute as a button as she handed out gifts.  Too bad we have to leave tomorrow but there is a storm headed this way and we have a dog that we need to pick up.  Kind of a short trip but a good one.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day Coming To a Close

While we still have one more Christmas celebration to go at Mema and Papa's house tomorrow Christmas Day is officially coming to a close.  Had to make sure I posted a picture of the boys in front of the tree in their new footie pajama's they got today.  Like I'm sure I've already said a couple other times in my posts we had a great day today. To be honest, with as much time as I've had to spend away from the family this year it is great to just be home and enjoy being together.

Relaxing Post After Opening

The presents are all unwrapped and now each of the boys are playing with their favorites.  Marshall got a whole bunch of plastic army men that he really wanted and blocks so he is busy building scenes.  Clancey on the other hands is wrapped up on a blanket, sporting his wolf robe and watching YouTube on his new tablet.  I'm busy setting up Jen's new computer and Jen is in the kitchen preparing breakfast.  I took a video of us opening the presents which I'll post at some point but the gist of the video is we had a great time and got a lot of great gifts.

Christmas Morning 2015 Video


It's Christmas morning and we are digging into the presents!  Not sure there is much else to say.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Bed Time

After Clancey put out the "Reindeer Dust" it was time to read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and head to bed.  The boys were a bit hyped up before we they headed up.  Probably didn't help that they each drank a half dozen pops today and it's Christmas tomorrow.  Could be a long night for the boys.  As you can see I did sneak down late, right after Santa came to take a picture of the tree with all the gifts he left for us.

Watching A "Christmas Story"

Ever since they started playing 24 hours of "A Christmas Story" we have made a point to sit down on Christmas Eve and watch the first showing of the movie.  Not sure what it is about the movie but it really has become a family favorite over the years.  I guess when you have seen it dozens of times over the past few years it kind of just grows on you.

Christmas Eve Service

Being Jen is on the council now we couldn't miss Christmas Eve Service up at St. Johns UCC.  It wasn't quite as busy as it's been in the past but there were still quite a few people there.  I guess since we have an interim pastor people don't feel as much pressure to be in the pew's.  The service was good but a bit longer than usual and Jen wasn't able to sit with us.  Worked out though, because I could surf my phone and take a quick nap while service was going on ;)

Tracking Santa

Over the years the device we use to track Santa has changed but the fact we do it hasn't.  This years we used a combination of an old tablet we setup as a picture frame and a Chromecast hooked up to the TV to keep an eye on Santa.  Right now he is still quite a ways away but soon enough he will be here to get our celebration started.

Christmas Eve/Video Game Day!

Hard to believe it's already here but today is video game day!  The boys and I look forward to this day the whole year.  It's the one day that we dedicate to playing video games all day in the man cave, eating as many snacks as we can shove in, and have as much pop as we want.  Once again this year the game of choice is Halo Reach and I'm pretty much getting owned right now.  Oh well, it's nice to disconnect from work for a bit and dedicate some time to hanging with the kids.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pajama Day

The boys officially started Christmas Break today so the next two days leading up to Christmas are all about enjoying the holiday.  With tomorrow being labeled "Video Game" Day at the VanOort house we thought we needed to come up with a name for day.  We've come to the conclusion that today is called "Pajama Day".  We don't do the pop and food we will do tomorrow but we will spend most of the day in Pajama's playing video games and watching movies.  Today is kind of a warm up for the festivities tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Boys Bonding

I walked into the living room and saw the boys like this so I had to capture the moment and how people spend time together in America now days.  In their defense there were actually connected together and playing the same game but still though it was a funny picture to capture.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Awesome Elfie

This morning Elfie brought is annual "big" present for the boys.  Not that Elfie has brought a big present every year but the last couple he has been pretty helpful in getting us prepared for "Video Game" Day.  This year he didn't let us down.  Over the course of the year we had one of our Xbox 360's die on us.  Which really wouldn't be that big of deal considering we have 3 so there were clearly 2 others to fall back too but when it comes to video game day it's pretty important to have one for each of us.  This morning he brought us a new Xbox One to replace the Xbox 360 that failed.  Now we have an Xbox 360 and Xbox One for each of the TV's in the Man Cave and have enough systems for an epic video game day.  Can't wait to get it started!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars Party

Bering today is the official release of the new Star Wars movie and I'm an engineer it seemed appropriate that we have a Star Wars party.  As you can see some people really took the whole Star Wars party thing pretty seriously, I guess I'm not that into Star Wars.  At least we got a bunch of free treats.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Piano Recital

The boys had their annual Christmas recital at the retirement home in Tipton this afternoon.  As always they did great and I think all the residents really enjoyed hearing the class play.  It had been awhile since I've seen the boys play so I was surprised how good they are getting.  Seems like we are going to have to have them play Christmas Eve and sing Christmas carols!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Church Christmas Program

Today was the boys Christmas Program at Church and I have to say that Clancey tore it up.  The kid had a huge reading part and did an awesome job.  Clancey had never read in church before and is only in second grade so I was shocked when he stood up at the large lectern and started reading away.  I'm pretty sure that he had the largest part in the whole program, heck he read better then some of the Junior High kids.  Kid is always up for a challenge and never ceases to amaze me.  

Tuesday, December 08, 2015


After a heck of a long day traveling I finally made it home and I'm relaxing in my chair.  It was great to be able to give the family a big hug and kiss when I got home.  I'm tired as heck and not sure I'll be able to stay awake very long but at least I'm here and will be able to sleep in my own bed tomorrow.  I have to head into work tomorrow but I'm planning to sleep in a little bit before I head in, it's going to be a dream sleeping in my bed!

On My Way Home

After being stuck in Germany for the past 2 weeks I'm finally on my way home, and if I'm lucky, I'm going to be home for the rest of the year.  It's been a long two and a half weeks and it will be good to get home and see the family again.  Just be nice to get back to my normal routine, sleep in my own bed, and pet my dog.  Only 15 more hours and I'll be in Iowa!

Sunday, December 06, 2015


It isn't a trip to downtown Munich without a stop for a beer at the Hofbrauhaus.  Feel free to look it up online but it is one of the most famous beer halls in all of Munich.  The place was busy as heck and for those who don't know, Germany is a place where you sit where there is a free spot.  That means you will not have a table to yourself.  In fact at one point there were two individuals, and 2 couples sitting at the table with me.  Too bad half the table was speaking German and the other half Spanish so I really couldn't join in the conversation.  Oh well, I got to visit the place which is good enough for me.


After a bit of searching online I found that place to visit was Marienplatz in downtown Munich.  It has a neat castle and a huge Christmas Market to check out.  It actually wasn't too bad to get down here today but I'm guessing that's largely due to the fact that most of the downtown shops are closed today.  Still seems to be a fair amount of action down here and plenty to kill some time this afternoon.

Nice Breakfast

As opposed to walking my lazy butt down to the restaurant this morning I decided to get myself some room service.  I've learned over my time traveling there is nothing better then a nice quiet breakfast in your room.  I put on some music, kick back with a cup of coffee and get my day started.  The plan today is to head down to Munich and see what it's all about.  Only one more meeting tomorrow and then I get to head home Tuesday!

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Computer Crashed

This is what happens when you are in a foreign country and you computer decides to crash on you, you have to walk down to the local electronics store buy a cheap computer so you can fix your real computer.  Let me tell you what a pain in the butt it was.  I speak zero German, they had no English keyboards and I had to figure out how to get the computer set up in English.  I managed to get it all figured out and get my computer fixed.  I am really lucky this didn't happen two days ago when I needed to finish my slide deck up and present to the customer.  All I can say is thanks that everything is on the cloud so I didn't lose anything except the programs I had locally installed.  Lost Microsoft Office suite but that's really about it.  Guess it gave me something to keep myself occupied for the night with.

Friday, December 04, 2015

My Rental Car

I wrote a blog post last week about getting a Mercedes for a rental car and getting to drive on the autobahn but I never posted a picture of it.  It's not too bad of car and I could certainly get used to driving one at home.  Too bad this car back in the states would run me nearly $45,000.  I guess I need to keep dreaming and enjoy it while I'm not paying for it ;)

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Donauworth, Germany

Here I am day number 3 working in Donauworth not much to report.  Get up, go to work, and have dinner at the hotel.  The hotel is up on a hill, which provides a great view, but very little in way of restaurants.  I guess it's not vacation, it's work, but it is nice to be able to break the routine up every once in awhile.  I did find out today that my trip got extended to next Tuesday now so I'm going to be here another week.  Plan to head down to Munich for the weekend to check the city out plus I have to pick my boss up and drive him to our customer meeting on Monday.