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)