Sunday, March 27, 2016


It's Easter, I'm home and not getting on a plane today so I consider this an awesome day.  Granted I did have to go to church today but at least I'm going to be home all day and can enjoy the holiday with the family.  The boys had an Easter egg hunt this morning and had a great time.  Jen made us an awesome ham dinner so I have to say it's been a great day.  Next week at this time I'll be in San Antonio, Texas for the week but today I'm home and I'm enjoying it.  Guessing the rest of the day holds a whole bunch of video games in it's future.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Hanging Out Playing Wizards Chess

This morning has been a very lazy day.  After a week on vacation, staying up late and enjoying every last minute of the park we are all tired as heck.  This morning the boys decided to fire up some wizards chess as a relaxing morning activity.  Turns out that Clancey pulled out the big victory but Marshall might have let him win.  Either way it feels good to be home for a bit before I'm back on the road in another week.

Friday, March 25, 2016


We just rolled in the door and boy is it going to feel good to sleep in my own bed tonight.  Plan to sleep in a bit tomorrow and have a lazy day.  Glad we got home on a Friday rather than rolling in late on Sunday night and being tired as heck the next day at work.

On The Way Home

After a fun week in Orlando we are at the airport getting ready to head home.  Some severe weather rolled through which caused our flight to be delayed by 40 minutes but we had a two hour lay over in Atlanta so there shouldn't be an issue making our next flight.  Funny to think we will go from being able to swim in a pool to being in freezing weather in the same day.  We will finally get home around 11pm tonight which will make for a long day of travel but we've kind of been on that schedule for the last few days.

Last Picture From Resort

Here are the last pictures of the resort we took after we got done with our morning swim and got ready to head out.  We did end up cutting out swim a bit short because rain came in and they shut to pool down but we did get a swim in on our last day here.  It was nice that we were able to check out of the hotel but still use the pool and shower in the locker room before we left.  If not we wouldn't have been able to get a swim in before the 11am check out time.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Ending The Day

Plan was to end the day around 8pm and it turns out that Mother Nature had the exact same plan.  We didn't really notice the severe weather rolling in until it was nearly too late.  We had to make a mad dash sprint to store near the exit of the park.  Worked out well though, Marshall really wanted to get a game of Wizards Chess and it just so happened that the store had a copy.  Glad too, because it was going to be a long trek back of the park in the rain.

We had a fun trip and "Smiles" did end up being the theme of the day.  Good to end vacation on a high note.  Tomorrow we are planning to hit up the pool for a couple hours in the morning and then getting a nice lunch and heading to the airport to go home.

Seuss Landing

Suess Landing is a family favorite, which meant we had to do "One, Fish, Two Fish" and "Cat and the Hat" one more time before we left.  When we got off the rides we found a quiet spot behind one of the stores and sat and relaxed and let me rest me back.  Clancey found an egg he we supposed to keep warm, which is where he sat.

Last Day

Today is our last day at the park and "Smiles" is the theme of the day.  Yesterday Marshall wasn't entirely "all in" on being at the park so it was a bit of a struggle to get him to do anything.  Today, since it is the last day, the focus is on having a good time.  We started over in Island of Adventure and plan to work our way over to Diagon Alley to end the trip.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Universal Studio

We're at Universal for another evening of fun. This time the plan is to do all the Universal Studio side stuff and then head to Hogsmead for the evening activities. Once again it's crazy packed but not as bad as it was Monday morning.

Morning By The Pool

This morning before we head to the park we decided to head down the pool for a swim. There is a pool you can see from our balcony that looked pretty quiet so we decided to head out there. Nothing like enjoying your morning coffee, some news on your phone and great weather weather. Going to be hard to get up and head to the park later.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Medieval Times

This evening for supper, after our pool day where we each got a little burnt, we headed over to Medieval Times for supper.  It had been a whole lot of years since Jen and I had been here so it was new for us as well.  Our team was the Green Team and I have to say our section was probably the loudest.  At first I'm not sure the boys knew what to expect but they really enjoyed it.  Our knight ended up winning the tournament which made it that much better for the kids, we had a whole lot to cheer about!

Pool Day

After a long day at Universal Studios Florida yesterday today we're taking it easy at the pool. They have a huge awesome pool here and the boys are really having a good time. Planning to play here until around 4 and then we will start getting ready for Medieval Times tonight. Tomorrow the plan is to do the pool in the morning and then do Universal tomorrow late afternoon. Hopefully that way we avoid all the crazy crowds and can really enjoy the park.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Crowds Have Thinned

Finally about 6:00pm this evening the crowds started to thin out a bit and Harry Potter Area went from completely nuts to sparsely and nice.  Once the got less crazy we were able to enjoy things go see all the things we didn't see this morning and had a really good time.  We may be rethinking our plan to enjoy the pool in the morning and go to the park in the late afternoon.  Tomorrow is our pool day so we can think about our strategy for the next 2 days we have at the park.

Place Is Nuts

I had heard stories about the size of the spring break crowds in Orlando but I'm not sure I grasped the sheer magnitude of them.  So far everywhere we have went has been just completely nuts and packed with people.  Even rides that traditionally don't have large lines have large lines today.  Were kind of hoping that late afternoon and early evening that it thins out a bit and we can start to enjoy things without people everywhere.  

Harry Potter World

Here's a picture of the boys in front of the house elf store in Harry Potter land. Headed over to take Hogwarts Express to the other side of the park and do some dr. Seuss Landing next.

Universal Studio Florida Day #1

We made it to Universal to start our day of fun and as you can see it is crazy busy. Hopefully after 5 or 6 p.m. it'll slow down a little bit so we can get on some more rides. Plan to head over to Harry Potter World first and then maybe over to dr. Seuss land.


Last night around 9pm we landed in Orlando for our week of fun. We got to the hotel around 10pm which meant most of the hotel restaurants were closed at the hotel so we had to eat at a sports bar. It was good because they had the games on, bad because it was so loud and we had tired kids. Probably going to sleep in a bit this and not bust the doors of the park down right at 9am. It's open until 10pm and we have 3 days so we can take it easy.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hanging In The Airport

Well here we are for the next couple hours hanging out and waiting on our next flight. Really wish we didn't have a 4 hour lay over but there just wasn't any other flights to get us there that didn't cost a ton of frequent flyer miles. Oh well it gives the kids an opportunity to check the airport out before we land in Orlando.

Fight Flight Down

We are off our first flight and the kids loved it. Marshall and Clancey were a little worried at first but once we got in the air and it's really smooth they really enjoyed it. As you can see Clancey took full advantage headphones, soda pretzels, live in it up. On the next flight we are in Comfort+ so we have bigger seats and unlimited drinks and snacks sure they will get a kick out of that.

Hanging Out And Waiting For The Plane

Here is a picture of the boy sitting in the waiting on the plane. We did get here quite early so we have a little bit of a wait but it's fine we have plenty to entertain us. Hopefully the boys enjoy the flight and not get airsick.

Surprise Orlando Trip

About a month ago Jen and I decided to use some of my reward points from Delta, Marriott and National to book a 5 day trip to Orlando. We also decided to keep it a secret and surprise the boys at airport with the trip. We weaved a story that I was headed to Germany for a couple weeks and they needed to come see me off. We set them up to pose for a picture and then Jen gave them their itinerary for the week. Took them a second to figure it out, that they were actually going today. Once they did they were excited but I think it is still sinking in.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Packing Up For Florida

The boys don't know it yet but today Jen and I are packing up and getting ready for our secret family trip to Orlando Florida tomorrow.  It's is kind of hard to pack up for a week in Florida without the kids catching on to what going on.  We did have to have a fake phone call earlier today where "my boss" called to tell me I needed to head to Germany tomorrow.  I staged the call in the video game room where the boys were hanging out.  I did feel a bit bad after the call because Clancey was pretty bummed when he found out I was headed to Germany for two weeks.  We will make up for it tomorrow once the kids figure out where we are really going!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Fall Out Boy Concert

Tonight Jen and I headed down to Des Moines to go see Fall Out Boy play at the Wells Fargo Center. It had been quite a while since I had been to a concert so it was a nice treat. The concert was really good, I had forgotten how many great songs the band had. One of those concerts where you wish it wouldn't end. Certainly a good way to get another busy week started.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

"Hanging" Out With The Boys

Today with it being damp and rainy all day the boys and I decided it was a good to play Destiny all day. I'm not sure if I've ever put up a post about it but we officially have 3 Xbox One's and 3 copies of Destiny which means we can link up and play games all day. So while the boys and I hung out all day it was in the virtual world of Destiny on Xbox live I'm kind of torn if it counts or not. I figured it was kind of fitting to post a picture of all of us hanging out together in the game, whether it counts or not we sure did have fun today and I think that is what matters most.

Pajama Day

With the start of Daylight Savings time last night and it being a rainy day it seemed like a perfect day for a pajama day.  Think the master plan today is play video games and hang out in comfy clothes.  Pretty good start to another busy week ahead.  I suppose I should find some time to get on my bike this afternoon but that can wait until I relax for a bit.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

New Pickup

This morning Jen asked me if I would go out and help her bag up all the leaves she had raked out of curb in front of the house.  Turns out that she had raked up nearly a dump truck full of leaves.  It was clear from the huge pile that we would fill no less than about 2 dozen lawn and leaf bags.  At this point though there wasn't a whole lot we could do, the leaves were in the road and needed dealt with.  So, yes I agree this is a lengthy story but it does all lead to the reason I bought a truck.  

Anyways not wanting to bag 24 bags of leaves I decided to ask my neighbor if I could borrow his truck, which is a big ask.  Well being the great neighbor he is he let me borrow his truck and also lined up a place to take my pile of leaves.  I had been talking about getting a truck for a while but after having to ask my neighbor to use his I knew it was time.  

After I got cleaned up we all piled in the car and headed over to Pat Mcgrath Chevyland to see what they had.  I wasn't sure how much luck I would have, I didn't want to spend a whole lot, didn't want anything with a whole lot more then 100,000 miles, I wanted 4 wheel drive and an extended cab with cupholders in the back (at the boys request).  When I got to the lot it was clear that the choice in this range was going to be very limited.  A lot of decent trucks but most were way out of the price range I was looking at.   As a total side note, I don't how people afford trucks they are freaking nutty expensive, new ones are $40,000 start out!  

As I was walking through the lot I happened upon this 2004 Ford F250 that had 113,000 miles on it, amazingly clean, and fully loaded.  The people who had it before clearly took very good care of the truck.  We took it for a test drive and were happy with how it drove so we decided to buy it.  Turns out that the truck was just traded in and the title was being transfer from Oregon so I wasn't able to take it home yet.  Hopefully next week sometime, looking forward to it.  

Video Game Kid

This morning I had to take a picture of Marshall all decked out in his full video game wear.  The State of Decay has become a favorite these days.  He also likes to tell his friends that he got it from one of the developers of the game which makes it that much cooler.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Last Day Of Soccer

Today was the last day of Clancey's winter soccer league over in Cedar Rapids.  When we arrived there was a volleyball tournament going on and one of Clancey's classmates was there watching her sister play.  Well when Clancey started playing soccer she came over the watch.  Of course Clancey saw and started to show off a bit.  He played better then I had ever see him play.  Might have to have his girlfriends come watch him some more.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Band Concert

Tonight was Marshall winter band concert up at the Junior High.  It was a full North Cedar Band concert so we got to see all the bands play tonight.  I was really impressed by how good the bands were.  The Junior High band took on a very tough song and it sounded great.  I would say Marshall played well but in a big band it's difficult to be able to hear him.  He did do a good job on the song he shook the "shaker thing"