December 26, 2008

December 23, 2008

Fantasy Football Champion

Not to rub it in to my brother-in-law, but just thought I should point out I won our fantasy league this year with a bunch of rejects and rookies. That's right. I won, he lost.

Not that we were competing though.

December 20, 2008

A good waste of 2 minutes

I like the Muppets. Something about them is wildly hilarious to me. For some reason, one of my favorite characters is Beaker (the scientist who only says "Me me")

Here's a link to him performing Ode to Joy.

December 17, 2008

Whatchu talkin bout Willis Wednesday

If you aren't from Iowa, you probably haven't heard.

If you are from Iowa, it's about all you have heard these last 4 days. Iowa State football lost its head coach to Auburn University. That's right, after only weeks before having boasted his love for all things ISU, he caught the first ride out of town. Classy.

I liked Chizik. He came into a place not accustomed to much success and gave it his best shot. I liked a lot of the things he did both on and off the field, and the way he kept his players motivated. I think in a few years under his leadership we might have gotten back to a bowl game or two.

Now we start over again.

It's been a crazy few days around ISU athletics. My favorite part of Pollard's press conference was when he kinda smirked and quipped, "Gotta give Auburn credit for hiring a 5-19 coach."

The scene wasn't much better much better at Auburn where fans seemed to despise the hiring. I half expected a pair of shoes to be thrown at their AD when he made the announcement.

The sad part was not only the manner he left, but all the negativity since then. Fans who joined in the fanfare of his hiring two years ago are now holding torches and forming a lynch mob. His name is being drug through the mud, cursed and all the while being called out on what a "horrible" coach he was.

Gimme a break. Yes, what he did was wrong, but lets face it, ISU isn't a destination place. It's nobody's dream job. It's a place where bad coaches can retain their positions without too much fear of fired, and the occasional good coach will be called up by a bigger, better and more prestigious university.

I believe he is a good coach. I think if he gets half a chance, he will put together some good wins and lead Auburn back to national prominence.

It's just another Merry Christmas for ISU fans.

December 15, 2008

Makenna and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

What do you do with a little girl who doesn't sleep?

Our little Makenna decided Sunday shouldn't actually be a day of rest. After a restless night before, she woke up at 7 am, then pretty much stayed awake all day. She slept a few minutes in the morning and a few in the afternoon, but pretty much was awake all day.

Believe it or not, she behaved quite well. She was too interested in looking at exciting things such as the ceiling, walls, floor, furniture, and other way cool things. Eventually, she fell asleep about 4 and was konked out all evening until feeding time, and then went back to sleep.

She slept a little better today, but not much. How frustrating, especially for Allison who has to deal with her all day.

Have any of you parents had similar experiences with a 9 week old and if so, did you do anything to help or did it go away on its own? Maybe we are just bad parents. Or maybe we are simply too fascinating of parents and Makenna feels like she will be missing out on something if she falls asleep.

Any advice or encouragement would be wonderful!

Grandma's 85th Birthday

My Grandma turned 85 last week. Allison and I hosted a surprise party for her on Saturday with a lot of relatives at our place. It was fun having everyone here to visit and watch the kids play.

Here are some pictures from the day....

December 10, 2008

Whatchu talkin bout Willis Wednesday

As you know, our house has been on the market for quite awhile and have been living in it since summer. Since that time, my appreciation for the realtors in this town has gone way down. What I thought was a service showing agents were providing isn't really a service to anyone.

My listing agent is great. This is about the idiots who show the place. Here is what has happened in just the last couple weeks.. (just a note, the listing sheet clearly shows the house is occupied and we request 24 notice for any showing. also, we have to be gone during the showing)

-"Can we show the place, we'll be there in 20 minutes." Great, glad we had left and didn't get a chance to clean up at all.
-"Expect and offer this week." That was 3 weeks ago.
-Knock knock. "Oh, I didn't know anyone was living here." Stop feeding Makenna and wait for them to leave.
-"We'll be there at 1:15." Allison leaves at one, runs a bunch of errands and comes back about 1:50 and begins feeding Makenna. Here comes the realtor, 45 minutes late. Allison leaves and finishes feeding her in the car at a nearby park.
-"We want to show the house tonight." I say ok, just wait until 5:15 so I can come home, get Allison and take off. Guess who shows up at 4:55?
-"We'll be there at 2:15." We leave, drive around, come back. Half an hour late, still haven't been here yet. Drive around more, still haven't come. We decide to just sit in the car a block away. Finally they show up 50 minutes late.
-We just get home from the previous showing, do a few things and a different realtor calls up (she is sitting in the driveway, and wants to show it) We say give us about 15 minutes so we can get Makenna in her seat, get organized and leave again. The wonderful realtor apparently decides she wants coffee or something because they leave and don't come back for a long long time...while we are again waiting in the car in the street with a crying kid.

My favorite part is, I think a lot of them are just out looking for ideas on the house they want to build. They know they really aren't going to buy our house.

Enough of the negatives, at least the house is still getting showed a lot. Sooner or later someone will be smart enough to realize what a great house it is. Hopefully that is soon!

The two month shots

Makenna had a very nice visit to the doctor today...for the first half hour. She got weighed (10 pounds, 11 ounces), measured (22.6 inches) and checked all over by a doctor. She played, smiled and kicked like a happy little girl.

Then came the shots. Mom hid in the background while the nurse and I stood next to Makenna. The happy face quickly turned to confusion which quickly turned to bright red and screaming. Poor girl. After three shots, we were done, but little Makenna wasn't feeling so hot.

Surprisingly, she calmed down soon and we took off for home. She even fell asleep on the way back.

Other than the band-aids and little welts on her leg you wouldn't even know it now.

It's hard to believe she is two months old already isn't it?

December 7, 2008

A few college football thoughts...

The regular season of college football is now over. Great year for the big 12 and SEC. Other than that, not so much. Here are a few thoughts I had over the course of the year...

-Florida is off to the Championship. I don't care other than I am happy for Dan McCarney who is now an assistant for them. I'm glad he is again part of a winning program.
-Texas losing out to Oklahoma for the Big 12 title game was ridiculous. Texas beat them fair and square on a neutral field and had the same record. End of argument.
-The Big Ten does not deserve two teams in the BCS this year. A very weak conference overall with no title game. While the other conferences are playing that extra game, Ohio State and Penn State got to sit home and not risk another loss on their record. Being rewarded for taking the easy route while watching real teams slug it out is crazy.
-Iowa State was terrible! They put the "12" in Big 12.
-Notre Dame continues to be the most over-rated, over-hyped and under-achieving team in football.
-In 1980, there were 15 bowl games. This year there are 34. My favorite name this year is the Gaylords Hotel Music City bowl. Thats right up there with the Poinsettia Bowl.
-Texas Tech was my favorite team to watch. If they could have survived that brutal schedule, it would have been a fun title game.

I'm sad its almost over. Only 34 games to go.

Makenna's first trip to the farm

A couple days after Thanksgiving, we made our first family trip to my mom and dads to see the family and enjoy the farm.

Makenna, as usual, seemed quite unimpressed with everything. Everyone else thought it was a good time.

Here are a few pics from the day.

A two for one

Yesterday while we were waiting (and waiting) for a realtor to show up to show the house, we decided to go to Dairy Queen and get a blizzard. While we were driving there, Allison decided we should order a chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard with chocolate ice cream. We went through the drive through and pulled out when after several bites, Allison declared there was no cookie dough to be found. After allegedly stirring and stirring, her displeasure grew more and more with each passing bite with just ice cream and absolutely no cookie dough.

I made the decision to go back and ask if they could add in some cookie dough but was informed they would just make a new one, no big deal, and we could have both. I triumphantly returned to the car clutching both blizzards, giving the new one to Allison. "Much better," in her words. I then took my first bite of the old one and was surprised to find not just one, but two chunks of cookie dough. Each bite continued to produce more and more cookie dough. Only one bite of a medium blizzard had none.

A couple of months ago, I would have blamed it on the pregnancy. Now I think she may just be losing her mind. :-)

December 5, 2008

Atticus is here

Makenna now has a new friend.

Atticus Jacob Rhyne Van Voorst was born this morning to Todd and Paige. Congrats you guys!

In other news, Makenna has now spit up on three of mommy's shirts this evening.

November 29, 2008

It's Christmas time, time for a REAL Christmas tree

Allison and I enjoyed a few hours to ourselves on Friday to venture out into the wilderness to find the perfect Christmas tree. Not quite like the Griswolds, but close.

The selection was great, all the trees were really well groomed. We ended up with a tree a little shorter than I hoped, but perfectly shaped, so it worked out great. We cut it, paid and threw it in the truck.

With the hunting over, we went home to decorate it. Within a short time, we had it decorated. Makenna basically seem unimpressed with the whole thing, other than she was glad she got to spend some more time with Grandma and Grandpa Sigmund.

To see how it compares to last years tree, click here.

(just a little sidenote, on Friday when I googled "real christmas tree" our tree from last year was the number 11 image out of 1.6 million. crazy!)

The many faces of Makenna

Even though she can't talk or really respond to you yet, she still provides much entertainment....

Think you are sometimes a little over-cautious?

MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP, N.J. – A standoff at a New Jersey bank is over after police learned a "person" seen inside was actually a full-size cardboard figure.

Officers went to the PNC Bank in Montgomery Township on Thursday night after an alarm went off. They saw what they thought was at least one person through the windows of the bank, which had its blinds drawn.

The area was sealed off and three nearby apartment buildings were evacuated as a precaution. Meanwhile, authorities used bullhorns and made telephone calls in a bid to make contact with whoever might be in the bank.

After repeatedly failing to get a response, a SWAT team entered the building and discovered the cardboard figure.

It was not immediately clear what set off the bank alarm.

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Many things to be thankful for this year.

A greeting this morning from our deck as the sun came up.............

November 24, 2008

Are you smarter than a senator?

I found this quiz online a couple days ago involving U.S. History and government. Because I like a lot of history trivia and such, I felt I needed to take it. Come to find out, the average person scores a 49% on the quiz. At first I was confident I would score a 100%, but soon realized there are some things that I flat out don't know. I ended up with a 77%.

There are 33 questions and it will probably take 10-15 minutes or so. Take it and be sure to post your score in the comments section if you beat me!

To take the quiz, click here.

(I'm not actually proud of my score. I should have done better. Take your time and you could easily do better than me.)

November 22, 2008

Thinking of buying a house??

If you have recently bought or are thinking of buying your first house, you are in luck. In case you didn't know, you are eligible for a $7,500 tax credit. As long as you earn less than $75,000 if you are single and less than $150,000 if married, you will automatically qualify for this program. The $7,500 gets deducted from the amount you owe the feds on your 2008 taxes. (or 2009, depending)
You just need to have closed on your home between April 9, 2008 and June 30, 2009.

For more information, visit

(There are some stipulations and repayments, but overall a good deal. Talk to your accountant.)

November 18, 2008

Makenna's First Thanksgiving

This past Sunday our little family enjoyed heading to Spring and Stacey's home along with 20 of our closest friends for the annual Stafford House Thanksgiving Extravaganza. This yearly tradition has quickly become a favorite for several reasons:
1. Lots of food. Everyone brings at least one dish plus dessert, there is a multitude of fine food for everyone to partake.
2. Good friends everywhere.
3. A big tv to watch both football and the classic National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.
4. Spring has a large stuffed giraffe.
5. Lots of people more than willing to hold Makenna.
6. Catching up with friends.

I think this may have been my favorite year so far. Thanks so much Spring and Stacey for hosting and cooking that wonderful turkey!

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

November 12, 2008

Our Baby Girl is One Month Old

Last night Jared, Makenna, and I celebrated Makenna's one month birthday. We did it up right....We had Makenna wear a party hat and gave her a bottle with a candle on it. Jared even got to use the noise maker Ally gave him last winter. (I'm glad we saved them. And thanks Ally for sharing)

After the battle of taking a picture with all props and people situated, Makenna and her daddy spent some time reminiscing. He accomplished this by showing her pictures of way back when she was a "baby" (aka newborn pictures).

It was a fun night. And congrats Makenna on the huge milestone of turning one month!

RVCU Shower

Yesterday brought Makenna's second party. At this party Makenna got to meet the people her momma used to work with. Once again Makenna did great meeting new people and was very well behaved the entire time. She also got to wear her second party dress as well, but her momma was slacking so we don't have any pictures from the party.

Thanks to all the RVCU employees for such a fun party. It was good to see ya'll again and introduce you to Makenna!

Party Dress

This past Saturday the three of us took a trip to Carlisle for a baby shower for Makenna. The day included a few more firsts for Makenna. Her first party, her first time to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Carlisle, and her first time in a pink party dress. This picture captures Makenna's mood for most of the day!

I also wanted to just throw out a quick thank you to all my mom's friends who came to meet Makenna on Saturday. Here is a picture of the wonderful women who hosted the shower for Makenna.

Captain Jack is back

Pirates hijack chemical tanker off Yemeni coast

Associated Press - November 12, 2008 11:53 AM ET

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkish maritime officials say pirates have commandeered a Turkish chemical tanker off the coast of Yemen.

It is the second ship to be commandeered in the area in the past two weeks. On Oct. 29, Somali pirates hijacked a ship carrying iron ore and demanded a ransom for its return.

A statement from the Turkish Maritime Affairs Directorate says the Karagol, a ship bound for India, was hijacked Wednesday, 16 miles (26 kilometers) off the coast of Yemen. It was carrying 4,500 tons of unspecified chemicals.

The statement says 14 Turkish personnel were aboard the tanker.

November 9, 2008

Another weekend, another loss

It's not easy being an ISU fan.

From the time I was old enough to realize the differences between football, basketball and winning and losing, it's been rough - cause Iowa State does a lot more losing than winning. The majority of my classmates growing up were Hawkeye fans, even though usually their affiliation with the school was exactly zero. However, their ridicule was relentless. At least I had a reason to be a Cyclone - I've had relatives going there off and on since the 1800's and would eventually go there myself.

That doesn't make it any easier though. I'm always so hopeful, so full of excitement that this may be the year. Unfortunately each year proves to be pretty much the same, with only a few more glimmers of hope from year to year.

This season once again afforded us the opportunity to see rest of the Big 12 from the very bottom looking up. We've had our chances, only to beat ourselves when it mattered. No conference wins, lots of heartache.

Yesterday's loss at the goal line of Colorado was just another straw in the haystack of despair. So close, yet so far away. The win just wasn't within reach, we had ahold of it, only to let it slip through our fingers as the fat lady belted out that oh-so familiar tune.

The bright spot is at least we know we are bad. We have no significant years of success to compare to, to still revel in, to still bring up in conversations as if it really mattered.

I still love being a Cyclone and always will. The losing builds character. At least that's what I tell myself.


Believe it or not, I actually secretly predicted a Penn State loss in Iowa City. I only ventured to tell a few people as I didn't want to get laughed at. Not to take anything away from Iowa, because they played great and did everything they needed to do, but I believe the Big 10 is average at best and Penn State's cupcake schedule made them look way better than they are.

Plus this loss hopefully keeps the Big 10 from being humiliated again for the 4th time in 3 years on the national stage.

November 8, 2008

Thank You Grandma Janelle

Friday after work Grandma Janelle came to Ames to visit and babysit. It turned out to be a great night for all. Grandma Janelle got to play and cuddle with Makenna. Jared and I got to go out on a date and catch up on sleep. And Makenna got to spend quality time with her Grandma.

The three of us would like to shout out a big "THANK YOU" to grandma Janelle! You and Grandpa Jim are welcome to visit anytime.

Pants on Fire

Liar Liar....Pants on Fire!

During Erin's recent visit to Iowa, she was repeatedly accused about being pregnant by Jared. She denied it every time. Liar! Click on the picture to see an up close view of how Makenna feels about such behavior.

All jokes aside, we are really happy for the two of you! Congrats on the soon to come new addition to your family. Makenna is hoping for a baby girl cousin.

(Oh for those who read this blog and are somewhat confused my sister and brother-in-law are expecting their first baby sometime in May.)

November 5, 2008

Whatchu talkin bout Willis Wednesday

The election is finally over. I gotta tell you, I'm going to miss all the campaigning. Frequent phone calls just to hear recordings, negative ads, that one positive ad that ran briefly, signs in yards and all the "he said, she said" comments.

My questions are these: Has anyone ever actually decided who to vote for based on a yard sign? How about a phone recording? Is anyone dumb enough to really believe all the tv ads about how your life will essentially be destroyed unless you vote for this candidate.

It wasn't a surprise to me that Obama won. From the first time I heard him speak, I knew he could sway people and get them excited by the rhetoric he used. Young people and new voters apparently chose him over 2-1. Partially because I think people of my generation are always looking for the next best thing. People want the newest phone, Ipod, gaming system, car, rush, you name it, people want it if its popular. Obama was popular. He created an image of a person people would want to follow.

I don't really buy into the idea that either candidate will change my life significantly. A few hundred on my taxes either way isn't that big of deal. My health care is fine. The state of the economy falls mostly into the eyes of the beholder. I don't (and you probably shouldn't either) have the audacity to claim to know what is best in Iraq.

What this election came down to for me more than anything else was knowing at least two judges may need replaced during this presidency. I know McCain and Obama would nominate very different people and that, more than anything else I believe, could change the future of our nation.

That's my opinion. Everyone is entitled to their own. That's part of what makes this country so great.

Important information

I just thought everyone should know that Dr. Todd and Melissa arrived at church an hour early last Sunday. Daylight savings time. Who knew?

November 3, 2008

Weekend Fun

This weekend proved to be quite a challenge. It started with Makenna's constant crying each time I fed her on Friday night. This continued into Saturday afternoon. Luckily that is all the longer it lasted. I am pretty sure it was something I ate or my vitamin I recently started taking again. Or even the combination of both. Whatever caused her bout of indigestion it is over now!!!

Sunday came and we had our happy Makenna back. We enjoyed spending the day with my parents as it was my mom's birthday. Makenna was able to experience her first trip to a restaurant. She showed her excitement for the outing by sleeping the entire time.

Makenna also gave my mom a few presents for her birthday. They included:
  • letting Grandma bottle feed her
  • giving Grandma the opportunity to give her a bath
  • taking Grandma and Grandpa on a guided tour of her Daddy's Ag Leader project
  • pooping all over herself and Grandma
All in all I think that my mom had a good birthday. Here are a couple pictures of the birthday girl enjoying her first granddaughter. (before getting pooped on)

October 31, 2008

October 28, 2008

Excessive Celebration

I love watching SEC football. Think Florida will return the favor this year?

October 27, 2008

First Family Outing

On Sunday Jared took Makenna and I on our first trip (other than a doctor's appointment) outside the house. Where do you take a two week old? Yep, that is right....Ag Leader. It was fun to get out and to see how much progress is being made at Ag Leader. I think Jared enjoyed showing us what he has been up to the past few weeks. I had a good time and I think Makenna did too. Thanks Jared/Daddy for working so hard to provide for the three of us. You do GREAT work!!

Here are a few pictures of Jared and Makenna enjoying Ag Leader together.

October 25, 2008

Apparently I'm a parent

Not that I believe I've been living in some fantasy land these last two weeks. However, I don't think it has truly completely set in that I am now a dad - and always will be a dad.

A couple things that have made me realize it more in the last two days..

1. Picking up a prescription for Makenna, I had to fill out her information sheet. Doesn't sound like much, but I don't think I have ever once filled out any sort of registration for anyone else. I actually had to stop and think for every blank.

2. I went to Super Wal-mart today to get three things: An oil filter, anti-freeze, and diapers. Yes, my first diaper run. I stood there like a fool trying to figure out which one was the best deal and if they would correspond with the coupon I had.

Maybe its this way for every new parent. Or maybe I'm just weird.

My wonderful wife

We've had so many posts recently focused on little Makenna. This one is for my wife.

She is wonderful. I can't say enough how great of a woman she is. For all the reasons I loved her while it was just the two of us, I can now add in so many more watching her with our little girl.

I'm not sure if I could actually get out of bed in the middle of the night in the cold 3 times to sit and nurse a little baby who is sometimes more interested in playing with her own hand than burping. But Allison does it without complaining. She changes diapers, then often times gets to change them right away again after the tell-tale tooting sound.

And somehow she always makes me feel welcomed as soon as I walk in the door.

What a great gal I married. Yes, I know I "married up." And I've been happy about it ever since.

(pic from our honeymoon)