Archive for the 'Family' Category

Remember Remember November…

Wow, that went by ridiculously fast.

Some of the fun things that happened in November:

  • Gabe started attending daycare.
  • We drove down and spent a rather uncomfortable night in Ames so that we might surprise Liz on her birthday (the 5th) at a surprise Tailgate party.  Success!
  • Gabe got a head cold during this weekend and proceeded to start sleeping incredibly horribly.  Screaming when he woke up at 3am, he also woke up angry every two to three hours.
  • Sean came and got to experience this first hand.  At least he was a great sport about it and it was great to hang out with him in person for the first time in too long.
  • Gabe attained his five month birthday, which we celebrated with some great pictures, including a series of him rolling over.  He now does this regularly.
  • We had a weekend with nothing to do and I hung a bunch of Christmas lights, even some way up high that I had sworn to Kristin that I would not do.  Hopefully she is happy :)
  • I discovered the fun (?) of participating in distributed computing contests.  Sound interesting?  Check out the forum at http://forums.anandtech.com/forumdisplay.php?f=15
  • We discovered that if your infant wakes up and is upset at night, it’s likely that they are not getting enough sleep during the day.  More naps for Gabe, and a 6:30 PM bedtime rather than 8PM made a noticeable improvement in his sleeping behavior.
  • Thanksgiving!  We traveled to Iowa and enjoyed seeing family and friends and helped my family decorate for Christmas and buy a Black Friday TV.  While it may be hard to believe that they had bought that huge Console HDTV eight years ago, what is harder to believe is that we wrangled that big guy into the basement without causing lasting damage to a)ourselves b) the TV or c) the house.  Good work!
  • Kristin and I did some cross shopping in electronics for each other for Christmas during the week leading up to Black Friday.  It’s safe to say we’ll both be happy with the result.
  • Liz is handy with the electronics and such and is gaining confidence there.  Nothing magic was happening behind the big TV and I think she is realizing that it might be daunting but ultimately very doable to hook up and configure all these things.  Impressive :)
  • I bought one thing on Black Friday.  The week leading up to it was much more engaging.
  • The Vikings sucked all month and it didn’t matter if I listened, watched the game with Derek and Meghan or at Dale and Diane’s.  Wow.
  • Diane continued to bless us with her assistance, it’s hard to believe what would we would do without her.
  • Gabe decided that he wanted to roll over and sleep that last night in November and has been doing it the couple nights since.  It is freaking crazy how much nicer this makes our nights – he only wakes up once!
November in a nutshell with likely many important things missing…
–Nat

A belated Father’s Day Post

I have a cool Dad.   This is beyond debate – he played Marathon, Quake 2 and Half-Life with me, let me watch PG-13 and R rated movies with him before I was old enough, introduced me to the glories of playing music way too loud, gave me a cache of classic comic books to read when I was pretty young, stuck me to the side of the car sweeping curves “about 10 to 15 mph above the recommended speed is the sweet spot”, came or took me to midnight movie premiers (I think the first seven midnight showings I saw in my life were with my dad in company, regardless of other friends I went with) and even now is a sure bet for seeing movie that is loud and fast but maybe isn’t the best thing ever.  There is more, but that was getting to be a pretty epic run-on sentence.

One episode that recently resurfaced in my mind was the stereo for my ’89 S-10, the trusty (and only slightly rusty) truck that I had for my first couple of years of high school.    I had recently discovered Metallica and wanted a CD player in the worst way, walking to the back of Wal-Mart and looking at the head units wistfully.  If you know me, you know that I was drawing up a mental shopping list and figuring out how to maximize my purchase based on the current contents of my checking account.  I didn’t have a ton of income at that point, and when I brought up my shopping plans, Dad said “No.”  You know, in that firm, brooks no debate way dads have.  I think I mentioned that I was freshman in high school, right?  Well, I got one of my buddies who was sixteen to drive me Wal-Mart where I bought an entry level Pioneer head unit, some truck boxes for 6″ * 9″ speakers, wire and an install kit.

Of course, Dad saw me sneaking these bags of goodies down to the lower (my) garage and in typical fashion it all went *boom*.  I am sure I was in tears of frustration and he told me to take it all back, and back it went.  I am not totally clear on the timeline now, but here is the punchline to the story.

He said, “This is the sort of thing a father buys for his son.”  True to his word, he took me to Wal-Mart and fixed me up right.  The truck boxes were re-purchased but this time the nicest Pioneer 3 way speakers were bought for them instead of the cheap Jensens I had brought back.  He bought 6.5″ speakers for the door and head unit that was a couple steps up – it even had a color display!  Then we went to Norby’s and bought a hole saw to make room for the speakers :)  That was the best sound system I had until my most recent car.   Thank you, Dad.

The pioneers are still in their truck boxes in that garage when I refused to leave them in the mini-me S-10 when I traded it in.  I hope that someday they will be pounding out the tunes in the Chevelle.

Oh yeah, my dad bought a muscle car for us to restore and didn’t say a word as I stripped it down to the frame as much out of curiosity and the desire to make it all new as it was mental therapy.

Yeah, my dad’s the coolest – and I don’t think he even tries that hard.  It’s just who he is.

–Nat

A Trip to Target Field

For Kristin’s birthday I gave her some tickets for the Twins game on the 11th versus the White Sox.  She was nice enough to take me along! :)

It was cold!

It was cold!

It felt a little like going to a football game in October, being that it was a little windy and in the low 50′s to high 40′s.  Outside of the temps, the outdoor stadium feel is great and it just seems like the field has a lot more character versus the old, tired dome.  We were on the bottom tier in the right outfield (section 134) and I would suggest anywhere in that tier to someone who is looking to play it safe in buying advance tickets as they are covered against rain and should be shady if the sun is in full force.

Big Screen - that lady is bummed beer costs $7+

Big Screen - that lady is bummed beer costs $7+

The view from the third row - it was closer than it looks in the pic...

The view from the third row - it was closer than it looks in the pic...

It was a pretty good place to sit, we had a few hits come right us.  It would be quite the hit to homer there though, the wall is really tall compared to the one in left field.

Ronald was there!

Ronald was there!

Left Field - The Olsons are over there...

Left Field - The Olsons are over there...

It was a good time. I’d recommend trying to get some tickets right from the Twins site, StubHub seems to have a pretty solid mark-up margin right now.

–Nat

Who’s got the beef?

So, the CRV squats a bit with 800+lbs of beef in the back…  The steering was quite a bit lighter which made driving in the heavy cross winds on 218 a little interesting.

A little bit lowe in the rear end...

A little bit lower in the rear end...

It should be pretty tasty :)    It definitely topped off our freezer.  Round or minute steak, anyone?  That stuff just keeps hanging around and embarrassingly a package of ribeyes snuck through last years consumption. I swear that won’t happen again!

Also, I was foolish enough to get the whole brisket in one piece.  Next time I’ll order it in smaller chunks.

Enourmous brisket...

Enormous brisket...

Thanks to Dad (Rick) for continuing to raise the beef that makes this journey worthhwhile.  Next year might be a beef less year from what I have heard as the cattle yard needs some maitenance.  I’ll be more than willing to come down and put some hours in helping to make sure the beef comes back, though!  I’ve spent plenty of hours out there in the crap, what’s a few more?  :P

–Nat

Sunday night musings… (mostly football)

Well folks, its been another weekend that has swept by too fast.  It was great to see so many friends, a huge thanks to everyone we were able to see this weekend.  The big bummer about why we visited with so many friends is that Kristin is going to be in another country and seperated by a huge time differential for seven weeks.  Booo.  Remember you have friends and family here who love and miss you, baby!

There will be upcoming posts about what I am going to be doing to keep myself busy that will sound pretty fun.  The fact of the manner is that most of those things would happen anyway, it would be so much better if Kristin were here through all of them.  Let’s all hope that she has an awesome time :)

The Vikings game was a snoozer as predicted, although I think they let the Rams score the most points in a single game that they have scored this season, ten.  Much more unfortunate were the twins being routed in the baseball playoffs.  That means they won’t get a game two here in the cities which has to mean millions of dollars in revenue lost not only to the Twins association but to the surrounding area.  Keeping all those folks here for another two days would be have been huge money.  The best case scenario would have been splitting the first two games with the Yankees.  At that point, Yankees fans would have felt obliged to come to make sure they didn’t miss the final game of the series.  Since New York won the first two games fans knew that no matter what happened, they wouldn’t miss the game where the Yankees had a chance of being eliminated.  Joe Nathan, you blew it.

The Cyclones managed to not win their game either.  It is heartening to see how close they have come the last two games to winning.  This means that wins against Baylor and Colorado should be possible.  Let’s face it, they won two games last year.  Four or five would be giant steps in the right direction.  As we can see in the NFL even more clearly, coaches make or break teams (See Broncos, Titans etc.)  It could be that Iowa State actually has a really decent one on their hands.  A couple bowl apperances with a win would be pretty awesome and make Iowa State known for something more than their tail gating.

Kristin should feel pretty good about beating me at Fantasy Football after giving me crap about not teaching her enough about how it works :)   As a matter of fact, she would have beat anyone in our league.  My Pick ‘em league also looks darn bleak, eight incorrect choices so far, although it looks like Peyton is giving me my fifth correct pick.  I was pulling for Denver but picked the Patriots.  Doh.  Baltimore!  You lost to Cincinatti!  How horrible!  By far my worst week in that league so far…

Work & Class tomorrow.  Yay.  ;)

–Nat

The ‘stang gets some wheels!

When it was time for me to move on to a more adult car it was fantastic that my dad happened to be looking for a car that was less practical.  Earlier this year, my dad bought my 1999 Yellow Mustang GT 5-Speed for what the dealer wanted to pay for it on trade in.   It was a good deal all the way around (I think), and my dad now has something to spend some money on :)

P275's upfront on 17*9 wheels, P315's on back on 17*10s

P275's upfront on 17*9 wheels, P315's on back on 17*10s

Monsters!

Monsters!

They look pretty darn cool.  I don’t know what he’ll improve on next, but that was a pretty awesome first move!  :D

–Nat

Ames Iowa, a fun place!

Kristin and I went down to Ames this weekend along with the Mooney’s. After leaving late on Friday night, Derek and Meghan did a great job of driving us down there and we got to spend a little time with Liz and her house mate before enjoying the air mattress in the living room.

Saturday Kristin and I enjoyed awesome Pizza Ranch Buffet after dropping off Liz for her rehearsal and pictures. While Liz was there, I downloaded and installed on PlayOn so that we could see how much functionality could be squeezed out of Liz’s new xbox 360.  It seemed to work pretty well, but kept dropping out when we tried to watch Dr. Horribles Sing Along blog.  It ended up working on Sunday, but caused no end of frustration during the twenty minutes I tried to get it working.  I’ll blog more about that some other time.

I picked up Liz and dropped her off again when my dad showed up with the tickets with Mike Cooley.   Jason and Derek showed up shortly later and we all headed off to tail gate just north east of the stadium.    While we were tailgating, a helicopter circled and dropped a paratrooper who we believe delivered the game ball.  It was only about 4:30, so it was hard to tell what point was because the game wasn’t until six.

About 5:15 we headed into the stadium and were treated to a great performance as expected from the band and a surprising victory from the football team.

The Iowa State Varsity Marching Band

Click on the pic for the real deal...

The Iowa State Varsity Marching Band #2

Click on the link for the real deal...

Sitting at the game, I got really thirsty.  Despite a raised eyebrow from Kristin, I decided to buy a cup of pop.  Kristin decided to get a picture of the cup to commemorate the occasion.

It was tasty. Yep.

It was tasty. Yep.

We finished up the game, said goodbye to my dad,  hung out with Liz & Brad at Old Chicago, and that was our Saturday.  Liz seems to be doing really well down there which is really awesome.  “The Rental” in Ames is so much nicer than than “The Rental” was in Waverly that there really is no comparison. It’s really exciting that Brad is cruising towards both graduation and getting married next year, too.

Sunday featured some tasty Chinese food, hanging out with Liz and an uneventful ride home with the Mooneys.  Conversation is always good in the vibe… :)

–Nat