Thursday, July 31, 2008

Go Cubbies!

Last night, the crew at America's Family Coaches were treated to an evening in the outfield sky box at the Iowa Cubs game. It turned out to be a beautiful night for friends, family, funnel cake, cotton candy, sodas and all while watching America's favorite pastime.

Heather and Miya enjoying the game!
Derek and myself keepin' it real.
Aaron is still counting his money from the famous and profitable "garage sale". Dawn is still sad about not getting that white wicker furniture.
Derek and Joni showing some love. The Pines get the "Team Spirit" award for showing up dressed in all Cubs attire!

Jon and Kim and baby Camille. The Vocelkas get the "Youngest Child Watching the Game" award, but that was debated as I think Camille was more interested in Jon's plate of food rather than watching the game.

Aaron, Dawn and Evan enjoying the game. The Siskows get the "Confuse Our Kid By Making Him Wear a Detroit Tigers Jersey to a Cubs Game" award.

By far the most exciting point in the game, notice there aren't any players on the field. No, the most exciting moment of the game came when the golf cart with the t-shirt cannon mounted on the back drove by and Aaron caught a free t-shirt.

Miya enjoying a sweet treat at the ball game, and what is better on a hot and humid night than cotton candy!
Derek, not wanting any of the $4 cotton candy to go to waste, was determined to enjoy every last bit of fluffy cotton goodness.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

National Balloon Classic

It is that time of year again, the State Fair is almost here, the weather is hot and humid and if you are from Indianola then you know it is time for hot air ballooning! One of my favorite time growing up was helping out with the hot air balloons. If you have never been down to check out the balloons, they are in Indianola through this weekend, with flights at 6:30 am and 6:30 pm. Ballooning has been apart of our family for a while now, I remember in middle school tagging along with my aunt Susan, my cousin Ben and my dad out to the balloon field to help crew.

Last night, Heather and I made the trip down to Indianola to go watch the balloons fly! We got into town around 5:30 and picked up my mom and headed out to the field. The flight isn't until 6:30, so we had some time to kill. We walked around the field to see what some of the vendors were selling and as we were walking Heather grabbed my arm and almost yelled "They have Big Boppers!" If you don't know about Big Boppers, they are Heather's new favorite treat. Two big chocolate chip cookies around ice cream, but the thing about Big Boppers is the cookies are still soft and taste fresh baked. I don't know how they do it, but they are amazing. Oh and another thing about Big Boppers, they aren't sold in the grocery store, you can only find them at gas stations that have the Wells Blue Bunny freezer.
So we got Heather her Big Bopper and I needed to find a bathroom, and did I ever. Jim's John's pulls out all the stops with this "VIP Crowd Pleaser" It is the ultimate port-o-potty. The Crowd Pleaser comes with air conditioning, running water, soap dispensers, paper towel, basically it is the works. It truly is a Crowd Pleaser!

After we got all our treats, we headed back to our seats to watch the balloons. We were sitting and waiting for the balloons and we saw the "Heartland Express". This was one of the rides for the kids to enjoy. It was a "Train" pulling several "cars" in a circle around the field. It seemed like this train had done several thousand rides, because there was a path of dead grass going in a circle that the "engineer" would follow as the ride progressed. The kids seemed to be having a good time and Heather and I wondered what it took to become the "engineer" of the Heartland Express, I would guess that there is a rigorous training process, included several "drive" hours behind the wheel of that powerful train!

Anyway, the field was given the "green flag" meaning they are good to go! Most of the balloons headed out of town to fly into the field. The field has a large "X" on the ground and the pilots try to fly their balloons over the "X" and then throw a baggie (bean bag with a fabric tail) onto the "X", and with most games, the closest one wins. There were two balloons that took off from the field, those were two big ride balloons, were you can buy a ride and they take you on a flight. Those two balloons were up and away before the other balloons started coming in.

The morning flights are the competitive flights, where the officials will put "X's" out in the country somewhere and the pilots will have to try and fly to them, sometimes there are multiple x's, so they have to fly from one to the next, to the next, trying to score as many points as possible. Then they total up the points for the week and declare a winner. The evening flights are generally fun flights, not counting towards the overall score, but there will be smaller prizes at stake.

The crowd always goes wild once that first balloon is in the air!

Here they come, into the field!

Let's watch and see how close they get to the "X"!
My sister, Christa, with her daughter, Morgan and my mom are all smiles to see the balloons in the air!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Engagement Party

Heather and I hosted an engagement party Friday evening for our good friends Laura and Jared. We had several people over to the house to help celebrate their recent engagement. We had a great time eating food, laughing, sharing stories and blessing the happy couple.

Jared's brother Josh and his wife Kristy.

Some of the girls of Firth reunite to celebrate!

All the ladies

Jared, Laura, Heather and myself

Heather, Sarah, and Jill

One of the best gifts ever given was given at the engagement party. Jill gave Jared and Laura a Monster Badminton set. The birdie was the size of my face! It was both big and wild!

Star Gazer

So last May, my good friend Ryan McGowan got married. The wedding was in St. Louis and we had a blast. It was so fun to see Ryan and Ashley and be apart of their big day! As we were leaving the reception, everyone received a flower bulb. I thought this was a great idea, it is a great way to remember their wedding and both Heather and I like to garden, so it was fun planting them. The bulbs were star gazer lilies and as soon as we got home from that trip, Heather and I planted the bulbs in our flower bed. They started to grow last summer but due to some unseasonal frost one night, combined with a poky little puppy, the flowers never popped up. Fast forward to this spring, we were back in the flower bed digging up the soil to plant some more flowers and we came across some bulbs. We thought that they didn't have a chance of coming back, but we left the bulbs in the ground to see what would happen. Sure enough, they started as little shoots of green and then some leaves appeared. We made sure to keep Riley out of the flower beds this year and now the flowers have arrived and we have star gazer lilies to enjoy! Every time I look at them I think about Ryan and Ashley and their great wedding and all the fun that we had on that trip. Then that makes me also think of Ryan's mom jumping into the pool, which always makes me smile.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Random Thought

A random thought came to my mind today as I was getting a soda from the vending machine. There is a poster for a school supply drive hanging next to the soda machine, I think that is great. As I was reading the poster I noticed some of the items needed are pens and pencils, loose leaf paper, crayons, etc. There it was, my random thought. Why do we call paper, loose leaf paper? Where did the leaf come from? We don't call one sheet of paper a "leaf" of paper, so why then is a stack or package of sheets of paper called "loose leaf" paper? I guess I can see "loose" because it is not bound into a notebook, but that leaf is still a mystery to me. It might be fun if we did call one sheet of paper a leaf. "Hey, can I borrow a leaf of paper?"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Garage Sale!

This past Saturday morning, the Siskow's and the Comfort's had a garage sale! With minimal advertising, Craigslist and cardboard signs, we still had a good crowd and sold most of our stuff. Allow me to walk you through part of the morning. The garage sale is planned from 8 to 12. I agreed to pick up Aaron at his house at 7:15, allowing Dawn a little more time to get ready. I am an early riser, so i got up around 6, made some coffee and was out the door at 6:45 to strategically place some signs and get the ever so important Krispy Kreme donuts. All is going according to plan, 3 signs are place, donuts are acquired, and Aaron is in the car. It is now 7:30 and we are about to hang another sign when my cell phone rings. "Home" says my caller-id. Heather is on the other line and she says "There is this white mini-van that has circled the house 3 times and they have just parked in front of the house. What should I do?" "Nothing" I reply, "Stick to your guns, we don't open till 8, no early birds!" I hang up the phone, we tag another pole with our garage sale info and head home to get the final preparations. When I get home, Heather informs me that the early bird in the white mini not only parked but got out and came to the front door, rang the door bell and asked if she could take a look. Heather was brave and told the gal we don't open till 8, come back then!

So aside from the early bird, everything went smoothly. Here is a picture of the white wicker bedroom furniture set, one of our "hot" items. I think Dawn had her eye on taking that home with her.

Of course, Riley was outside helping with all the sales. She got to tell everyone good morning as they walked up our driveway.

Can't have a garage sale without having a fashion show!

Another "hot" item for the day was the hockey gear. Aaron parted with the shin guards, gloves and face mask. The guy who bought them was a good guy, he worked for the Bucs and his sons were taking an interest in hockey. Hockey Man walked away with the deal of the day, two shin guards, two gloves, helmet with face cage, hockey socks and an assortment of other hockey goods all for $15 bucks! WOW! Not more then 2 minutes after the sale, there was some definite sellers remorse as a tear came into Aaron's eye. Being a Central grad, I am quick on my toes, so I found an old hockey stick in the garage and gave it to Aaron, which quickly healed up his bleeding wounds.

Here we have Money Bags counting his earnings from a hard days work!
All in all, it was a success!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Nitefall on the River

Last night, Heather and I went and saw Matt Nathanson at Thursday's Nitefall on the River. If you have never been to Nitefall on the River, it is a great event. Concerts are held Thursday's from June 5th till July 31st at the Simon Estes Riverfront Amphitheater. You can bring your own chair or a blanket and enjoy a great show on the river. We met our friends Luke & Sally and Ryan & Nora. It is a great way to enjoy good music and hang out with friends!

Back to last night, The Damon Dotson Band opened up for Matt. We first heard about The Damon Dotson Band from Heather's brother, Rob. Rob and Damon both went to Dordt College and played a year of basketball together. I am so glad that Rob filled us in on this guy, he is fantastic. He has a great sound with energetic performances, original lyrics and does some unique covers. We have seen him twice now and both times he does a great job of interacting with the audience and he keeps the evening entertaining. He already has two albums out and it doesn't seem like he is slowing down. Keep an eye out for him and if you get the chance, check him out live!

After Damon got the crowd warmed up, Matt Nathanson and his band came on and played and did not disappoint us. He was fun to listen to, fun to watch and he really got the crowd involved. He played his big radio hits along with some other, not as famous songs. There were several occasions, when his guitar player would be tuning or something and he would fill the space by starting to play a cover of a classic rock song and before he knew it, the crowd would join him in singing and his band would start playing with him. If I remember correctly, he played a little of "Jesse's Girl" by Rick Springfield, "Tequila" by The Champs, and "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. They were big crowd pleaser! He also played a few songs by himself with his acoustic guitar, giving his "rock band" a break so they could, as he put it "powder their noses." Either way, whether with his band or by himself, he did a great job of performing and entertaining. He had a great variety of songs and there was never a dull moment. He played a lot of songs from his most recent cd, which we had just picked up a few weeks ago. Chance are we will be picking up some of his older stuff as well.
All in all, we had a fun evening the company of friends was great , both bands were great, and if you get a chance to see either of the bands for yourself, I would highly recommend them.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Texas Trip

Heather and I headed down to the great state of Texas for the 4th of July. We had a great time hanging out with the Tolanders! Some highlights include:
  • Shopping at the 3rd best outlet mall in the country, according to the women of The View
  • Spending a day in San Antonio and seeing all the sights
  • Getting a tan and swimming in the pool in the backyard
  • Getting awesome tips and some new drills to work on from my new swimming coach John
  • Watching Matt rock out on the guitar at church on Sunday, that was awesome!
  • Marco Polo
  • Eating all the Texas brisket that we could!

All in all, we had a great time. It went by way too fast and we were sad to say good bye.

Heather and I on the Riverwalk

the Alamo

Backyard fun!

Thanks again Tolanders for a great vacation!

Let's go blogging!

Alright, the Comforts are in for this blogging as well. It seems like fun and a good way to share what is happening in our lives.