Monday, November 29, 2010

89. Have my brother's family visit at least 2 times a year

Gretchen beat me to the punch on this one.  She has a great collection of pictures showing just how many clicks it takes to get a decent picture.  What did people do before digital cameras?

It is so fun when we get together with Matt's family!  I just love seeing the kids play together and show their personalities.  One of my favorite parts of the weekend was watching the kids play in the Chick-fil-a playground.  Lilly showed Hannah and Maddie what to do.  Watching Lilly and Hannah run up and down the stairs to race down the slide together was great!  They even went down together holding hands a few times.  Maddie was a little slow to warm up to going down the slide but eventually began to love it.
What a great visit!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

70. Blood Bank Harry Potter Style

Almost exactly a year ago I went to donate blood only to find it was a Twilight party.  I had a very similar experience yesterday as I went to donate.  Sitting next to two nervous high school girls I found that this week they are promoting the release of the Harry Potter movie.  The most rediculous comment of the day was when the girl very nervously prepared for the needle injection by saying that it was all worth it because of the t-shirt.

You be the judge.  Was it worth it?

One more trip and I will be done with this goal!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

49. Read 1,000 books to Madeline

I don't know which girl I like to read to more.  They are both so different!

Hannah loves to have a story read to her.  I think her favorite thing is to curl up in your lap and just listen and enjoy.

Madeline listens to learn and remembers stories so well.  Just tonight when I was reading to her I stopped and Maddie told me to keep reading and told me what part was coming next. She is so attentive and follows along so well.

The thing I like most about reading to the girls now is that they are starting to follow along and have been able to memorize many of the books that we read to the girls.  We have even spotted the girls taking books off the shelf to "read" to Charlie.  Hopefully their love for reading will continue for years to come!

Another goal down!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

95. Vote in every election

I have been excited for voting day to come for awhile.  Not because I enjoy voting so much, but because this election had more commercials and phone calls than I remember us ever having before.

When I sat down with my ballot I had a pretty clear view of who I wanted to vote for in each race.  That is a lot different from years ago when I would vote but have no idea about anyone I was voting for.  That is why it made the list.  I have had to make a conscious effort to investigate the people running for office and have had to decide who I want to vote for and why.  It works out a lot better that way!

One more election to go and this goal will be done!  This goal will definitely not be on my next list.  Voting is a good practice to have, but it isn't really the most fun to keep track of.

Friday, October 22, 2010

48. Read 1,000 books to Hannah

Yep, I'm still here, just not a lot going on.

Hannah has turned into a girl who loves to be read to!  She constantly comes up to me and asks me to read a book to her.  I love that she has learned to love books.

Her latest favorite is a book that Uncle Josh and Aunt Nean sent to the kids for their birthday.  It is an awesome ABC book about them.  It is filled with pictures of our family and theirs to make up the alphabet.  Hannah and Maddie both want to read it multiple times each and every day. 

I think the thing I am most excited about having this goal done is that I don't find myself thinking about updating the book total on the blog after I read a book. It gets tedious.

Another goal down!

Friday, September 10, 2010

97. Create a will

It's done!
This one definitely fits into the category of goals I wrote down for things that should be done but have never been motivated to actually do.  Nothing flashy with this one.
I have a good friend from growing up that is a lawyer who said he could write it up.  It turned out to really not to be a big deal at all.  A couple visits and a couple emails and it is done.

Here's a picture of us sealing the deal.  Actually it is a picture of us in the parking lot after playing a round of golf, but it's all I've got.  Matt came down to enjoy the festivities as well.  It was nice to get together again as we were pretty close grade school through high school. 

I can now officially die with legal paperwork in order to help make legal things easier when I am gone!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

66. Visit a New Ballpark

In an effort to completely lose all of my readers I am deflecting all traffic from this post to my brother Matt's blog.  He did a great job on his post and I couldn't do any better than he did. Plus, all of the pictures I have would be a duplicate from him as both of us forgot our cameras and we had to rely on the phone from his camera.
We had a great time together driving from Milwaukee to Minneapolis for the game, then back to Milwaukee all in the same day.
Here's his post to get a better picture of our trip.

Friday, August 13, 2010

9. Learn the lyrics and chords for 8 praise and worship songs

Not much to say about this one.  I've been around praise songs all of my life.  Many of the songs that I looked at while I was searching for songs to learn have been part of my life as long as the ABC song.  Thanks Mom and Dad!

I enjoyed sitting in front of the computer with the guitar reliving many of the songs from camp, including The Building Block, which was I remember being played from when I was 5 all the way through high school.

Here are a few beauties of the girls when they were younger from the archives.

I used to play a lot to the girls when they were really young.  I still play to them each night when Melissa and I sing their songs to them.

Charlie was hilarious taking this picture.  He kept looking at me then back at Melissa with this big smile.

This morning Charlie really liked hearing me practice.  When the girls were young I played to them a lot.  Charlie hasn't gotten the same treatment.  It was nice to see his reaction to the music.
I kept track of the songs on the list here to be able to go back to when I needed to practice.  I don't have them all completely memorized, but I have them down good enough that just a quick look at the song and I have it all down.  I'd say it is good enough to be able to count this goal done!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

27. Write a letter to an editor that makes it into the publication

This goal ranks up there with memorizing a poem.  This is another goal that I saw on someone else's list and thought it would be a good one.  It turned out to be a ton of work, and most of it never really mattered.

I gave up trying to write TIME magazine. Every week from August 2009 through May 2010 I read the magazine and submitted a letter to them about something that struck a chord with me.  Each week I would check the editorials to see if my submission was accepted.  It never was.  I would read the submissions that were used and use them as my guide for types of things to look for.  That didn't help.  The one thing that I can say is that I read a lot of great stories that I wouldn't have read if it wasn't for this goal.  I learned to critically write a response to someone else's writing. This skill came in handy when I was teaching critical thinking to my kids and how to read critically. I was also asked to submit writing related to articles that I had read during my classes I am taking.  Since I was in the habit of doing this weekly already it made it a pretty easy task. 

I decided if I didn't make it into TIME by the end of the school year I would give up on TIME (something suggested by many to do early in my attempts) and would look for something less lofty.  It surely would have been cool to make it into such a large publication, but I just had to adjust my sights. 

It only took one time to make it into The Beacon News (or The Be Confused as Mr. Eckburg used to refer to it as).  There were a few ideas I thought about writing about, but I just never got around to it.  After reading a few submissions in the editorials page I found that you don't have to write about an article in the paper at all.  It just needs to relate to something in the reading area. I decided to write a short letter about the roads in Aurora.  It was definitely not my best writing or the most important letter written to them, but it was something to appease the goal.

The letter can be found here. Don't expect much when you read it. My motivation was that Aurora is trying very hard to make the downtown area prettier. The street lights are being re-done into an older architecture style.  They are giving huge tax breaks to anyone willing to open up shop down there.  It just seemed that if they did a total restyling of the area including the streets it would possibly help to revitalize the area. It also seemed to me that if the roads are already surfaced with bricks, why not just work with what is already in place.

This goal is done.  I can say that I am probably done writing in to publications about their content.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

83. Make something using the wood from Melissa's grandpa

I finished one of my woodworking projects.  This one isn't a big one, but it is one that I am proud of doing.  As I wrote about not too long ago, I was given quite a bit of wood from Melissa's Grandpa. A lot of that hoard of wood is oddly shaped wood that I am not creative enough to come up with a lasting purpose for.  I decided to tackle something smaller as a beginning on something that I hope will be special for the kids in years to come.  Here's the finished product (1 of 3):

It's a piggy bank!  And it is perfectly timed.  Tonight we had my mom and grandma over and my grandma gave the kids their first pennies.  We will have to wait awhile until they can put them to good use though.  They will be gifts for the kids' birthdays coming in October (don't tell them).

This was a fun project to make because it wasn't too difficult to make.  I posted pictures before of what the pieces looked like apart.  Here's another one that I took after glueing one of the sides on:

It's hollow on the inside and a cork stopper is in the bottom to be able to remove their coins they so diligently saved.

Around the pig you can see some of the scraps of leather that I used for the tail and the ears.  Melissa found a bag of scrap leather at Michael's for a couple of dollars and it worked out perfect.  The hardest part about working with it was that I couldn't find anything strong enough to cut the leather.  I finally decided to put the band saw to use and was able to make the cuts that I needed.

I am really proud of these three piggies.  I'm hoping to be able to put more time out in the garage before school starts back up again to work on some more projects.  Hopefully I will be able to finish my goal of making toys for the kids.  I've got plenty of ideas.  Now I just need to put the ideas into reality.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm loving summer

Nothing really about the goals, but I had to share these pictures.

Putting it simply, I am loving summer.  I have taken the girls out on the bike two or three times a week to run errands and to give Melissa a chance to have some quiet time when Charlie takes his morning naps.  Another bonus to me going out on the bike is that I have only used my car once in the month of July.  The total amount of miles put on the car this summer is just over 200. The van has many more miles than that, but it is nice to not rely on both cars all the time.  Plus, there's no air conditioning in the car.  It's cooler riding a bike in 90 degree temps than it is sitting in a heat soaked car.
With all of my time on the bike this summer I think I'm going to try to do a lot more riding to work when school starts back up again. We shall see how long that really lasts.

This morning I went out to try out a different trail, but I stopped by a local popcorn shop before heading out.  The girls loved it!  They each got their own bag and they were given their own hats. They even shared some of their popcorn with some ducks we found along the path. We had a good time!

I made it over to the blood bank yesterday. When I showed up to donate, I found out that they needed to email out to the hospital to let them know that my blood would be heading their way.  Having rare blood (O+ with some added enzymes) makes me feel even more motivated to donate blood.  Out of curiosity I asked how much I have donated to Heartland Blood Center over the years.  The girl looked it up and said I was a little over 2 gallons.  I'm proud of that.  Hopefully there will be many more to come. It went well.  Three times left to go.  Next time I can go is September 21st.  That means that I should be able to finish that goal early in February.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

42. Take Melissa to see a Broadway show

Last night Melissa and I had the opportunity to go see the musical Wicked.  This is a show that both of us had heard a lot about and we were both very excited to see.  I know that Wicked was in Chicago for well over a year, but I lost track of time and when I finally began looking for tickets, the show was headed out of town.
Here's the only picture we took of our night.

We were lucky enough to have my mom come to watch the kids for the night while we headed up to Milwaukee for the night.  We began the night with dinner at Water Street Brewery which was about two blocks from the theater. The food was really good. We finished our dinner with just enough time to stroll up the block to see the show.
As far as my enjoyment of the show....I hummed the tunes the whole way home and have continued to do so all day today.  I'm looking forward to picking up the soundtrack at the library to be able to hear it all again.  I think I'll even check out The Wizard of Oz while I am there to help me connect all of the dots.
This was my fourth broadway style show I have seen and by far it was my favorite.  I told Melissa that I'm looking forward to seeing another show again some time soon.
I'm glad I put this one onto the list. It will definitely be on my next list to make sure that we do this again.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

64. Go to a Cubs game with Matt and Casey

Putting this goal on the list was due to the fact that Casey has been a close friend of Matt and me for our entire lives.  Our history of going to games together goes back awhile:

We didn't have tickets lined up until the day of the game and I was pleased with what Matt came up with.  I haven't been to the upper deck in a long time.   We even had a view all the way to the lake.

It was a great game.  The Cubs played well enough to win.  That hasn't happened enough this year.  The best part of going to the game was the way that it ended:

What a great night.  Hopefully there will be many more games to be visited over the coming years. Thanks Casey for helping Matt and me achieve this goal.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

17. Rubik's 4X4 is solved!

It's been awhile since I have blogged. I really haven't been doing much.  I have done little things, but those fit into the area of, "no one would care about this post" territory.  This one might also be in that category.  All I know is I was super excited when it happened and figured that it was something notable, and thus blog worthy.

Disclaimer: I do a lot of nerdy things.  This definitely fits into that category.

After learning how to do the 3X3 cube last year I have really enjoyed playing around with it. I even brought it into school and showed my students that I could do it. The next day, 4 kids brought in their own cubes to try to solve, and ultimately to have me solve.  Those students made me laugh.  They would carry their cubes around before and after school as trophies, because most people that own rubik's cubes only have them solved for the first two minutes.  After that, they remain unsolved forever.  They really were a hit in my class.  At one point I counted 22 out of 24 of my students that bought rubik's cubes for themselves to learn to solve.  Two of them learned how to do it by the end of the year with a few others just a step or two away.  Hopefully they have figured it all out by now.

For Father's Day Melissa bought me this.
This was the view of it about 10 minutes after I took it out of the package.

I spent a lot more time that I would like to admit on this thing trying to figure it out.  I even had a night where I didn't go to bed until 1:30 because I was stuck on one part.

One month later (today), this is what it looks like:

When I was about fifteen moves away from solving it I got really excited.  I knew I would be able to get it finished.  I know really nerdy. I took the luxury of saving you 10 minutes of watching a video of me getting it done.  I don't quite have it down as fast as I did with the 3X3. I'm sure with time it will get faster.  Solving the 4X4 is similar to doing the 3X3 which made it take a lot less time to learn.

Next up:

Should be fun!

UPDATE: After playing with it for no more than 5 minutes I solved the 2X2. Here's the finished product:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

1. Read through the Bible

During the kids' nap today I finished up the book of Malachi.  I have been very aggressively reading through the Bible this year and have gotten to the finish.  I really enjoyed reading it.  I have never read the book the whole way through in one consecutive period of time.  Surprisingly, I read very little in an actual paper Bible.  Most of my reading was read on  I found it very easy to read this way because I could read anywhere that I had an internet connection.  Most of my reading was done before school in my classroom.  I found it to be a nice quiet way to begin each day.  My favorite part of reading was connecting all of the stories in the Bible.  I first read the New Testament then began the Old Testament.  You might notice that I made it through pretty fast.  That is true.  I did the whole Bible in about 10 months.  I flew through a lot of the books because they were such fun to read.
I look forward to reading it cover to cover again some time soon.
Another goal down!

86. EDU 8160 Clinical Supervision and Teacher Development

I finished up two grueling weeks of course work today. In this course I read three entire books and countless articles.  In the last two weeks I stayed up past 1:00 am 5 times.  Last night I finally went to bed at 2:30 after finishing up a powerpoint presentation that I had to complete for my final presentation today.  It went well and I am very happy to be done with it.  5th class of 14 down for the program!
I'm using this class as a wildcard for getting a piano.  We just don't have space in the house for one.  It's not for lack of desire or options, we just are packed into out house with no really good options for where we could put one.
Another goal down!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

53 and 83 Woodworking projects

For awhile now I have wanted to get out to the garage and begin working on making some toys for the kids.  Melissa's mom got me a book for Christmas that had some good ideas for toys.  This week I got started on a couple of projects.  I am not done with anything yet, but I just wanted to share my progress.

Here are a few pictures of my progress so far:

I have had this wood for 5 or 6 years now.  It was passed down from Melissa's grandfather.  It was wood that he had collected over many decades.  Some of it dating back to the farm that he grew up at.  They are all different sizes but most are at least 7 feet long. I'm excited about finally putting some of it to use.  
 Here's my first project. It's for Charlie. I have only cut out the wood so far.  I have a couple more cuts to do before it is finished.   It is a fish.  I plan on attaching the tail with a wire connection and adding wheels to the bottom.  I will then put a rope through the front lip and Charlie will be able to pull it around.

This next project is for all three kids. I made three of these.  It will be a piggy bank. This is not really a toy, but something I would love to see sitting on their shelves for years to come. Here are the pieces apart. 

Here is the side view of what it will be like.

Here is the front view.

I still need to add a tail and ears (both using some leather scraps).

I just thought it would be fun to share some of my progress. I still have plenty of work to do. I have a few more ideas for future projects. Probably two or three more and I will consider the goal done.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mid-American Canoe Race

     I remember when I was young hearing stories of how my Dad did this race years ago and while being announced as being in the lead tipped the boat and took himself out of the race.  That isn't the only part that I remember, but I remember thinking it was something I wanted to do when I grew up.  Not the tipping part, just the canoeing part.  I had initially intended to do the race last year, but I had other canoeing plans that got in the way. This race was one that I had listed to put on my next list after this one is done, but I guess I will have to find something else to put in it's place.
     I didn't know what to expect from this race.  It was the 49th time that it had been run.  The only problem I saw with the race was the shuttle service.  We started off our morning driving the boat up to the start line in St. Charles and drove home to the finish line.  After waiting 20 minutes for the shuttle we made it back up to get ready for the start.  We made it with about 15 minutes to spare. I was a little nervous while we were waiting, but luckily there wasn't a problem.
     The race started in heats of 10 boats at a time every 4 minutes.  We were the 7th heat to leave. This meant that there were plenty of boats to catch up to, but also that many would be coming to pass us.  All in all, I think only 3 or 4 canoes passed us.  I don't know what I expected, but I just thought we would see more passing us.  That was a good sign.
     Another positive was that we didn't run into anyone.  I figured with hundreds of boats out there and our minimal experience we have working together that we might have some navigational problems.  That didn't happen. We did cause someone to run into another boat.  Not our fault!  He was trying to squeeze between us but couldn't quite make it.  I got a laugh out of it.  There's no easier way to tip a boat than to have someone run into you.   That didn't happen.  Too bad.  Not that it would have mattered.  The Fox River is so shallow.  We saw a deer run across the river and never get deeper than it's knees.  I also had to get out three times to push the boat along through low points when we were dragging on the rocks. These were all points where we lost valuable time in the race.
     Casey and I did what we set out to do. We finished 31st out of 115 boats! Our goal was to finish in the middle of the pack and not embarass ourselves.  I was really happy with how we did in our race after only practicing once together.  We are already hinting at doing it next year.  I expect that after going through it once, we should have a much better idea of what to anticipate and should do much better next year.
     Katie also posted about the race.  I'm counting on her for the photographic evidence.  She got some good shots of us as well as a few from our cheering section.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

65. Take the family to Shedd Aquarium

Melissa has already written and shared about our time at Shedd earlier this week.  I figured I would add a few more pictures.

The girls loved that there were ducks in the fountain at first.  After they got really close they weren't as pleased to see them.

The girls had grins the whole time we were there.

I carried the girls around like this a lot so they could be high enough to see everything.

They looked really intently into each tank.  I had expected them to get really tired of seeing fish over and over, but they kept having fun.

Hannah and Maddie wanted to do some typing as I was blogging so here it is:

hiunn gyhy66gvfrftvgunj ujngfrh,,gfgtgttttt,tt,tgttt≤ty8ghkgggggggghhkol;;;'

Maddie liked the fountain, Charlie was indifferent. We had snacks on a nearby bench.  Hannah wasn't a big fan of the spraying water hitting us.  She asked multiple times for us to turn the fountain off.  I got a kick out of that.

This proves that Charlie did indeed come on our trip.  He was able to get out of the stroller a few times.  He did awesome.  He is such a laid back little guy.

We had a good time.  I'm glad we were finally able to get there.  I am hoping for many more times to come in the future.

Another goal down!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mid-American Canoe Race - The practice edition

    The Mid-American canoe race is one that I have wanted to do for a long time.  My Dad has told a few stories of when he did it when he was younger and I always thought it sounded like fun.  A few years ago, Casey mentioned that he thought it would be fun to do.  Fast-forward a few years and here we are registered and ready to go.
    Yesterday right after church, Casey and I decided to take our first practice run.  The water is running relatively fast so we did pretty well.  We didn't exactly go in a straight line the whole way but we never had much of a problem correcting our flaws. The difference will come when there are hundreds of canoes out there to navigate along with.  I'm just hoping that we don't turn the race into a demolition derby. If that happened though it would be memorable.  I'm sure Charlie would like to hear about that story growing up.  It might even push him to want to do the race or one similar to it when he gets older. We did have a couple of instances where things got interesting.  The first one was when we boated right into someone's fishing line.  It's funny at first, then panic sets in when you realize that there is a hook on the end of the string that is quickly moving up to the surface.  Luckily I had a life jacket on when the hook hit me.  No damage done!  The second issue was in the last 30 feet of our trip.  I'm not going to give details (no we didn't tip), but Casey did say, "This is embarassing, I'm glad this is happening under a bridge."  He was right on both parts.  Luckily we figured it out and finished our trip with few flaws.
    I am really looking forward to the race.  We're not expecting to win or place, we just don't want to be the last guys coming in at the end winning the perseverance award.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

10. Nancy Young Run for Fun

What a day!  5K to start the day.  Neighborhood garbage day which meant filling up the van and bringing a load of trash, the big stuff that doesn't fit into the normal can to a garbage truck waiting down the street.  After that, I mowed the lawn.  When the girls were napping Melissa went out to run errands and I played with Charlie for about an hour.  What a great hour! I don't get too many times with just Charlie.  Next I pulled Hannah and Madeline to the grocery store on my bike to pick up buns for dinner.  I grilled Hot dogs.  After that I gave the girls a bath.  From there I suited up for my softball game (we won), and stayed around to ump the next game. On the way home I started one of my allergic reactions where I get hives and my eyes swell up. What a day!
Over the past few months I have been terrible at getting out to run.  With the kids being sick and other commitments I am responsible for this spring I have gotten out very little.  That is my disclaimer for the quality of my run. My race today was my school's third annual Run for Fun.  I have really started to enjoy this race as it is a chance interact with them differently than I do the other 5 days of the week. I've run the race every year now, but this year there wasn't a trophy to add to my collection.  Matt, you will love to know that one block shoe came untied!  I definitely heard about it from all of the people that passed me. It's never fun to be the person stopped at the side of the road one block into the race. It didn't hurt me too bad, it just meant that I had to weave my way through a lot of people to catch back up to where I was. I had 6 students beat me this year.  I came in 25th place.  The 6 kids that finished in front of me did great.  I was really proud of them.  At the end of the race I had two of them not too far ahead, but when I started to make my sprint to pass them before the finish line, they also began sprinting to try to beat each other.  There was no way I would be able to catch them.  They had a great photo finish.  It was fun to watch.  I kept it under 23 minutes which is always good, but I was no where near my goal of 20:30. Hopefully I'll get another run in this summer where I can beat it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

78. Ride my bike to work

I rode my bike to work today.  I cheated a little bit by driving to the mechanic then riding from there, but I still took the strides to ride rather than have someone pick me up and drive me from there.
Riding my bike to work has been a great change of pace for me.  Each time I ride I try to challenge myself to ride as hard as I can to beat my best times.  I still haven't cracked the 15 minute mark on my way home, but it is definitely possible.  It all comes down to getting one traffic light and the amount of traffic on Route 31.  If I can time those right I really think I can do it. 
I am going to try to ride a few times next week.  Its going to be really hot, but I will be ok. I have gotten into a good routine and I don't want to break it.  I'm saving gas too!  Not that I put too many miles on the car anyway.
One more down!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

One year remaining

I have one year left.  May 19, 2011 is my finish date.  Looking at my list, I've done a lot!  Many things I am sure I would never have done without having this list.  I think my favorite thing that I have done is writing the girls' songs.  Melissa and I sing them those songs each night as they are going to bed.  They both sing along.  I love that moment each night.  I will probably wait a year to write one for Charlie.  That way I can know his personality a little better.
Hopefully in the last year I will be able to get everything completed.  I am pretty sure I will be able to get it all done.  It will be great to get it done and begin working on another list.  Can't wait!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

18. Make meals for the family

Tonight we had our last supper.  At least the last dinner that I will be counting for my list.  Originally I had this goal as just making dinner once a month, then I decided to change it up and just put down to make 25 meals.  It was my way of getting it done before may of 2011.
I've enjoyed this one.  It has given me an opportunity to learn my way around the kitchen and be proud to be able to produce something edible.  Before beginning this list I wasn't too adventurous with making dinners. Mac and Cheese out of the box was about as far as I was comfortable as I was to make food.  Now, I feel pretty comfortable coming up with dinner quickly if I need to.
Last night I made dinner #24.  Trisha was over and I made burgers, fries (from scratch) and some grilled asparagus.  It was a good dinner.  I will definitely be making this one again a few times this summer.
Tonight Maddie and I made a new family favorite.  I've made it a few times over the past two years.  It turned out pretty good.  I had to improvise a couple of times on the recipe, and it turned out pretty good.

 Maddie wasn't feeling so good today so she only got to enjoy mashed potatoes and some crackers.  She sure does look happy in this picture.

I only took one picture of Hannah.  After looking at this one I'm thinking I probably should have taken another.  Nice hair Hannah!

Now that this goal is done, I am not done cooking meals for the family.  The purpose of the goal was to become more comfortable in the kitchen and to give Melissa a break now and then.  I think I accomplished both things.  I'm happy with what I have learned and look forward to future meals to come.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

90. 3,000 miles was so close

My car isn't exactly a high-end car.  It runs alright and has been extremely dependable. It's main use is for when either Melissa and I go out on our own.  Otherwise, we use the van.
On my first day to school this year (August, 19th 2009) I passed 109,000 miles in the car.  As the year went along I was noticing how few miles I was putting on from month to month. From home to my school is 4 miles.  The trip to Jewel (grocery store) is 1 mile.  To get to Aurora University is 3 miles.  Needless to say, that car doesn't travel too far. It wasn't until February or March that I started to wonder if I could go the whole school year keeping under 3,000 miles.  I started to bike more to stores or even take the girls in the stroller when I wanted to jog over to Jewel.  I felt like I was on track but the miles slowly added up and this week, as Melissa was headed out to run some errands, it crossed the 112,000 mark. 22 more days and the goal would have been met.
I'm proud for how few miles I went over those 8 1/2 months.  I'm proud of using my bike and the stroller more to get around. It feels good to get some exercise in when running routine errands.  I've even found that when riding my bike it takes just a few minutes longer than when in the car.  I see that as being worth it.
It should get even better as far as using alternate modes of transportation.  Melissa found a trailer for me to pull the girls along in when I go out on bike rides. This will mean that I can take them out even farther than just the grocery store.  I'm excited to start using it and to take the girls around town.

Friday, May 7, 2010

5. EDU 8010 Research Methods

This class was a ton of work. The class topic dealt with research and it was pretty intense from January all the way to May. It was so much work that Melissa took the kids all the way to Ohio for almost 5 days to give me time to write.  Without that time, I would have been in trouble to get everything accomplished.  The funny thing is, I didn't really procrastinate.  I used 24 sources for that paper. That's a lot of reading! I think that beats my previous best of 12.  There was a lot of reading that needed to be done for this class.  Nothing that couldn't be accomplished, but just a lot.  Some was fun, some was just boring and dry.  I am so glad this class is over. 
Our final paper that was due was actually the beginnings of one chapter of our dissertation (that's the big paper I need to write in order to graduate).  It feels funny starting on it already, but at the same time it is exciting.  It's great to have the feeling of knowing that what I am doing now is actually going to be used in part as my final paper.  We'll see how much it changes or gets revision over the coming years.  Hopefully not much.
I decided to wildcard the accountability group with the guys because I don't have the time.  Honestly, our small group is struggling to find time to meet, I don't need another commitment that I might not be able to keep up with.  For my next list this might make it, but for now I just don't have the time.
On a side note related to time.  Our lawn is 10 inches high maybe higher.  That's an estimate, but Melissa will tell you that I'm pretty good at estimating.  I haven't mowed in 3 weeks and it is really showing. It could be a positive to say that I am helping it by allowing all the grass to produce it's own seed. I was hoping to mow when I got home today, but rain is forcasted all day.
Another goal down!  I've got 6 weeks until my next class starts.  I'm hoping to check off some goals during that time. I'm thinking that getting 11 or 12 goals done in that time is possible.  We shall see.

Monday, April 26, 2010

29. EDU 8135 - Dynamics of Organizational Theory and Change

1 of 2 classes are finished for this semester. Two more weeks and one very big paper to go for the other class. They both have been incredibly challenging.  One met regularly every Wednesday night for 4 hours and the other met every-other Saturday for 7 hours each session.  This class I finished was the Saturday class.  We were required to read 5 books for the class and write a paper on almost every one.  This meant that almost every class we went to required a paper to be turned in.  It was definitely not a class that could be coasted through. I did enjoy most of the books as they gave were a change from the typical educational textbooks that we used last semester.
The content of the class was good for a class that met for 7 hour stretches.  We basically talked throughout the course of how to keep an organization moving in the right direction and discussed ways to make a bad organization better.  I know this doesn't sound super thrilling, but the discussion parts of it definitely made the time go by.
I decided to use this class as a wildcard for my Spanish goal. I said "Hola" to my neighbor the other day from across the street, but knew discussion could not continue much farther than that. When I wrote this goal down I knew it was ambitious to think I could learn a language, but I have been so desparate to learn Spanish that I thought this would be the thing that did it for me.  Turns out becoming a doctor, having 3 little ones, and learning another language are a lot of work.  So...I'm cutting the language out and will work on doing it another time.  I might just put it on my next list of goals.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What to write about

I get onto this blog every day thinking what can I write about. It is so boring looking at the same thing over and over again. I look over my goals and think about what things I can do to get each one done so I can have something to write.  The months of December through March were crazy.  I was writing every third or fourth day.  April has been much less impressive.  This is my third post and it really isn't anything special.  I have completed no goals. 
I have gotten closer to finishing my biking goal. Three times left. My best time making it from school to home is 15 minutes and 20 seconds.  I have really enjoyed this one.  I will definitely continue doing riding after I complete this goal.  I'm liking it so much, I'm hoping to find a bike trailer to take the girls around to different places.  Melissa has been really diligent looking for a good deal on one and I am very appreciative for that!
I'm reading a few chapters out of the Bible every day.  I'm in the middle of Proverbs and Isaiah right now.  After I finish Jeremiah and Ezekiel, I am really going to be close to getting through the whole Bible. I've never gone cover to cover and have really enjoyed making my way through it.
I have learned that the girls really like the library. They love to pick books off the shelf and are really excited when we get home and get to read the books they pick out.  We're working on teaching them to not grab every book off the shelf.  They did great last time we were there. I have also learned that if you check 7 books out and are 8 days over due it will cost you $7.35.  Ouch!
I am much closer to finishing my goal on making dinners for the family. I haven't been super aggressive with that one because I enjoy Melissa's cooking so much!  She makes the most incredible grilled cheese sanwiches and macaroni and cheese. She makes great adult dinners too!
I've got two more weeks of class and a ton to do between now and then.  I probably won't have any completed goals between now and then, but maybe something special will come up.  After my class is done, I have a lot of ideas for things to do and goals to finish.  It should be fun!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

15. It gets easier...I guess.

I didn't write about it then, but Tuesday I went into the gym to shoot some free throws and I started out 18 for 18.  I missed the next one and left the gym. I figured I with 5 minutes of shooting time left before I had to pick my kids up that I couldn't do any better than that. 18 for 19 shooting for the day. 94.7%  I'll take that.  Especially in dress shoes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

78. Duathlon

No, I didn't sign up for another race.  Yesterday I rode my bike to and from school and really enjoyed it!  It was a great way to start the morning and a great way to finish the day.  The four mile ride took me 22 minutes to get there and 16:53 to get home.  There are definitely different factors going in the morning and coming home.  It takes more time going there because there is a lot more traffic and it is slightly up hill most of the way.  On the way home there are way fewer cars and you can put it into high gear most of the way.  I told my students about it this morning and they though I should try to get under 15 minutes.  Lofty, but I will give it a try.

When I got home I needed to head over to the hardware store to pick something up so I put the girls into the stroller and jogged my way over there.  I have never gone from heavy riding to jogging before and now have an idea of what it feels like from how Matt has described it before.  I felt like C3PO going along.  My legs didn't bend right and it just felt weird.  After a couple of blocks I worked it out, but the transfer from riding to running was definitely not graceful!

This was the 4th trip to school on my bike.  I am definitely enjoying this goal and plan to continue on far beyond the 10 times that I put down as a goal.

Thanks everyone for reading this post and the many others that I have written.  You are all the ones that keep me motivated to get this list done.  Life is really crazy now, but doing these goals and adventures are what keep me having fun.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

46. How to make a kite that doesn't fly

When making my list of goals Melissa told me that she hadn't flied a kite in years and that she would like to give it a try.  I took it one step further and thought it would be fun to make some kites with the girls and try to fly them. 

Here are a couple pictures of the process I took:

 They had a lot of fun "designing" their kites.

Our family made it to the local park and gave the kite a try.  It didn't work at all.  I actually feared for the girls' safety as the kite was all over the place.  I'm guessing that the balance was off.  I might try to make some modifications to make them fly. 

I am happy I had the foresight to bring along a "professional" kite.  This kite was one that I bought Melissa about 5 years ago.  I had a lot of fun out there.  Hannah and Maddie both had fun trying to catch the kite. I really enjoyed myself out there and want to give it a try again some time this summer.

Here are a few pictures from our time out there:

After out time out in the field we went out to dinner at Culver's.  Overall it was a great night!

Another goal down!  I'm up to 60 and on a roll.  I'm guessing it will slow down in the next month or so as I have a ton of school work coming up.  After that it should get pretty fun checking stuff off.