Saturday, September 29, 2012

Scout Popcorn

William is now old enough to be a scout and has joined a pack in Altoona.  He is officially going to be a tiger cub and you know it is official, because he is already selling scout popcorn!

If you would be interested in ordering popcorn for yourself or a gift please let me know.  In addition, if you don't want to buy popcorn, but would want to make a tax deductible donation for popcorn for our military members you can do that too.

Below is the order form.  Contact me in the comments or by email at if you are interested in ordering. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Life can get away from you...

I am sorry for not posting in a while, life has been out of balance and pretty busy.  We were in Cedar Rapids last weekend for a wedding and then I had a few meetings for work while trying to fit in family time and my training for the 1/2 marathon.  My physical fitness training and my blogging took the largest hit the last 12 days since my last post.

This post it to help me recommit to both my physical and emotional goals.  I will post again this weekend and get back on a regular schedule! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Fall of Running

This morning I ran my longest race today by completing my first ever 10K.  I finished just over 48 minutes and unofficially 12th place.  It felt great getting out on a country country style course and just running.  I started a little too quick and then struggled on mile 5, but over all feel good about completing my first 10K race.  Here are a few pictures from the event.
This was my first race in a series of many this fall in preparation for the Des Moines 1/2 marathon I signed up for.  I am starting to question that decision, but the registration has been paid so I will show up and try my best.

My racing schedule for the fall (so far):
Saturday, October 6th -- The Color Run in Des Moines
Sunday, October 7th -- The Stinkfoot 5K in Altoona
Saturday, October 13th -- The Zombie Run in Pleasant Hill in Sleepy Hallow (I will be one of the Zombies chasing runners)
Sunday, October 21st -- The Des Moines 1/2 marathon
Saturday, October 27th -- Race for the Cure 5K in Des Moines (William also will be running the kids run)
Saturday, November 3rd -- Salvation Army Red Kettle Run in West Des Moines

I am looking forward to running this fall since it has been so hot this summer to get any runs in.  I am considering taking swimming lessons this winter to be able to prepare for trying to compete in a sprint triathlon this spring.

Monday, September 10, 2012

College Savings Month

Did you know that children who have money set aside for college are almost four times more likely to attend a four-year college than those with no account?* This makes saving ahead of time one of the most significant things families can do to help make college a reality for their children.

September is College Savings Month. College Savings Month is a nationally recognized campaign that helps bring attention to the fact that saving for college is one of the most significant things families can do for the children in their lives. By starting early, saving a little at a time and making smart investment choices, parents can make their savings work for them.

Celebrate College Savings Month with College Savings Iowa throughout the month of September by registering for a chance to win a $5,290 College Savings Iowa account. Visit before November 30, 2012 for more information and to enter the giveaway.

PS:  If you don't have someone to save for you can also enter for our son, William Brown whose birthday is 05/17/2006! :-)  Good luck!

12 Ways To Balance Work and Family

As a working dad, it can be difficult to find time for family. Your duty to work and family can create stress and conflict in your life. If you feel this way, you aren't alone.
  • 71 perfect of men today say they would take a pay cut if it meant they could have more time with their family
  • Both men and women rank family time as more important than money, power, or status
The truth is that the clash between family and work is a challenge for working dads.  But there are many things you can do to help you succeed at work and at home. Here are 12 ways to help you balance your work and family time.
  1. Tell Co-workers About Your Family Commitment
    Talk with your friends and boss at work about your desire to balance work and family. This will help show them that you won't sacrifice family for your job.

  2. Make Your Boss Your Ally
    Working with your boss requires honesty, trust, and hard work. Work with your boss to create ways that help you meet your duty to both your job and family. One great way is to record your progress on the job in a weekly report to your boss. This way, you are judged on what you do and not just when you're present.
  3. Stay Busy and Focused
    Get your job done during the day so you can get home to your family. Close your office door, hang a "Do Not Disturb" sign on your cubicle or simply avoid office gossip. Let people know that you mean business when it comes to getting the job done. At the end of the day, you can relax knowing that you put in a full day of work.

  4. Be A Team Player
    Offer to help your co-workers and manager on special projects. It's a great way to prove that you can be flexible when needed. Treat people the way you want to be treated, and they'll help you balance your work and family.

  5. Be Choosy With Special Jobs
    Think before you agree to overtime work or special jobs. It may be tempting to have the extra money or respect, but it may mean you'll have less time with your family.

  6. Show Your Family Commitment
    Display things like your children's artwork and family photos at the office so that everyone can see how committed you are to family. Also keep a scheduled family commitment just like you keep a work commitment. People will quickly learn to respect bother your time at work and with family.

  7. Use Work Benefits That Help You Balance Work and Family
    Your employer might offer benefits like flextime, shift swapping, telecommuting, paternity leave, or leave banks. Use them to help you with work and family time. If your employer doesn't have these benefits, talk with your human resources office about offering them.

  8. Make Career Decision As a Family
    Try to find a job that limits stress when trying to balance work and family. As you consider new work or a promotion, compare the benefits of the job to how it will affect your family time.

  9. Limit Work on Weekends, Vacations and Holidays
    Don't make a habit of working on your days off. You need time away from work to focus on family time. Have a co-worker cover your work during a vacation. This will keep you from worrying about it while you're gone.

  10. Be With Your Family Every Day
    Spend time every day with your children and, if married, with your wife. Don't limit family time to the weekends. Find times and events that are just for family. Tuck your kids into bed, take an evening walk, or simply have dinner or breakfast together. This will help you stay connected to your family. If you don't live with your children, try to spend as much time with them as you can. Find ways to talk with them every day over the phone or by e-mail.

  11. Create "Family Prime Time"
    Create a daily block of time for family called "family prime time." Turn off your cell phone, laptop, and pager, and keep your work off-limits during this time.

  12. Place Your Commitment in Writing
    Create and sign a "family contract." Have your children and, if married, your wife sign it, too. Put in writing that you will balance success at work with success at home so that you can be an involved, responsible, and committed father. Read this contract at the start of every week to remind you of this commitment.

These tips are product and publication of National Father Initiative can found and purchased in brochure style at

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Setting a Foundation

I believe one of the most important jobs I have as a parent is to help lay a strong foundation for my son.  One important part of that foundation to our family is a bringing William up in a Christian home and helping him have a strong value system.  We are very blessed to have great family support and be part of a great Christian community at our church with an amazing children's ministry.  This week Altoona UMC is kicking off the 2012-2013 school year programing and William is excited to reconnect with friends and continue to grow in his faith.

For those in the Altoona/Des Moines area looking for a great children's ministry I invite you to check out our church.  We will be having a carnival and Christian science show at our church Sunday.  The event is free and all are welcome to attend.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend was a great time to spend time with my family and show support for my current and former students.  On Friday night we attended a football game at my wife's school in which both teams had former Goodrell students.  William and I went back and forth between to the two sidelines talking to former and current students and cheering on the teams.  On Saturday we went and cheered on one of my current students as she competed in the National Ironman Kids Triathlon.  She did a great job and has inspired me to seriously prepare myself to complete my own triathlon in the future.

After the Ironkids event, our family had the opportunity to see President Obama speak. Throughout the pass four years I have been excited and at time disappointed in Obama's presidency, but after hearing what the Romney/Paul plan entails I have decided to fully support President Obama in his reelection.  While I don't agree with everything he says/does, I do think that our schools and country will be better off with Obama as President the next four years.

There are many reasons why I feel that the Obama presidency has directly or indirectly improved my life the past 4 years.  First and most important is the American Jobs Act that helped keep teachers in the classroom.  This helped keep thousands of teachers in the classroom improving the quality of education our children receive by not allowing class-size to get out of control (something that Mitt Romney doesn't think matters).   Secondly the cash for clunkers program allowed me to trade in my truck that was falling apart and needed thousands of dollars in repairs for a new vehicle with much better gas mileage at a price I could afford.  I now do not have a car payment and am in a position to never have one again. 

Two other reasons I will be supporting President Obama that do not impact me directly but shows that he attempted to do what he could (even with 100% opposition from the republicans in Congress) include ending the war in Iraq an actually passing health care changes.  As republicans attack President Obama for "Obamacare" they seem to forget that every democrat and republican running for President as long as I have been alive has said that changes needed to be made, at least Obama did something. You may not agree with everything in the law but there are a lot of good things about "Obamacare". Some highlights include ending the of discrimination of women and those with preexisting conditions, allowing children to stay on their parent's plans longer, and help making sure that the students that enter my classroom have access to health insurance which will help them do better in school.