Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No Bates in K-Town

So close. My best friend from high school was offered the offensive coordinator position at the University of Tennessee by head coach Lane Kiffin. He turned it down to remain with the Denver Broncos, but Broncos head coach was fired last night. I was desperately hoping Jeremy would return to Knoxville, but nervous about the situation in Denver. Now it appears he will be retained in Denver. I haven't talked to him in a long time, but I am very happy for him and eager to follow his career.

Stupid Michael Newdow is at it again.  Honestly, can we put this clown on a ship with Oprah and Al Sharpton and sail it to Antarctica? 

The tonsillectomy

Suni and I arrived at the hospital at 10:45 a.m. yesterady, where we were seated in a waiting room and assigned a pager. (Yes, a pager… like you get at busy restaurants). We waited forever.  When I was finally called back, a nurse named Connie prepped me by having me disrobe, put on the hilarious hospital gown. Then she started an IV and gave me Keflex, an antibiotic, as well as a liquid dose of a steroid for inflammation, both via IV. I do not think I was given anything to clam me down, although I did talk her ear off out of sheer nervousness. She gave me phenergan (promethazine) for nausea. The anesthesiologist and the nurse anesthetist then came and took my history, explained everything to me.  I talked their ears off, as well.  (Maybe they did give me something for anxiety?)

Next, the surgeon, Dr. Garman, appeared.  His first words were, "Do you really want to go through with this?  I can't believe you showed up."  Again, what the hell?  Just when I was ready to make a "run" for it, he ensured me that he was kidding and told me I needed to have it done.  (The condition of my tonsils as observed in surgery would indeed confirm that opinion).  

He then informed me about my drug regimen. Dilaudid!! I am so relieved that I don’t have one of those masochistic doctors who would have prescribed me Tylenol 3. He also have me some tetracaine lollipops that should help me get food and drink down.

They wheeled me down to the surgery area. The anesthesiologist explained that it was time, and she wheeled me down to the surgical suite.  The next thing I knew I woke up in the triage area. A new nurse was taking care of me. Surprisingly, I talked that poor lady’s ear off. I don’t remember this, but they reported that my first words as I was coming out from under anesthesia were “Can I please have a pen and paper?” The nurse brought me a pen, and I proceeded to write on the back of my medical chart. Only I would insist that I be provided these things immediately upon returning to consciousness. I also don’t remember writing what I wrote, but the nurse made a copy of my scribbling for me, and this is what it undeniably says.

I know Garman Garman,” it begins. What the hell? Dr. Garman is my doctor, and I think I meant to write "I love Dr. Garman... but… what the hell? Beats me. It continues: “This is not neurosurgery.” Um... no, nor was it a labotomy, but, why did I feel the need to state the obvious? Seriously, what is wrong with me?  Finally, something that makes sense: “Nurse told me to shut up, and she was well justified in doing so,” I next mused.  OK, so I was getting somewhat coherent and self-aware by that point. But I still wasn’t finished. “Persistently asked for pen and paper – embarrassing.” Definitely. Finally, “Don’t understand my compulsion to talk to this poor nurse.” Wow, I am weird.  The nurse came to the recovery room when I got down there just to meet Suni.  She said "I had to meet the woman that actually married this guy."  I wonder how many people have made that bewildered inquiry over the last nearly four years.   

I am 20 hours post-surgery and my pain is actually non-existent, except when I swallow!  Although I was warned that things will get progressively worse, I assumed my baseline would be more pain than 0/10 on the pain scale.  I did not think I would be able to blog or get any work done, but, alas, here I am.  I am so glad I had the surgery done.  I can breathe through my nose for the first time in years!  As crazy as it sounds, I feel much healthier already!

Happy New Year's Eve, people!!

We neglected to post that we loved Cibo's in Cedar Rapids, a eclectic place recommended to us by Monica Hahn.  Other than the overcooked calamari, the place was amazingly good.  Even the calamari was a positive, as the very knowledgeable waitress addressed it head-on with us, apologized, and made it right.  We sampled several things and were impressed with everything else, including the Rum drinks and Italian ices.  Thanks, Monica. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An Iowan is Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff.  Not a bad gig for someone who has known the soon-to-be First Lady less than two years.

Monday, December 29, 2008

If this Russian professor is right, TeamStinson will no longer share a nationality with all you Iowans. The breakup of the United States seems unlikely, but this guy actually has points on a few things… which is very scary.

For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument -- that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. -- very seriously. Now he's found an eager audience: Russian state media.

The article is worth a read.

Update: While in the surgery waiting room today, I read this article in Foreign Affairs. Although this article is not dircetly related to Prof. Panarin's breakup prediction, it addresses the concerns I have about America's perilous position in the global geopolitical system. To me, the internal and external threats of destruction of our democracy are inseparable. I think Kagan makes some really good points that I hadn't considered. In short, it gives me some realistic hope.

A Word: I realize I blog about some things that don't interest all (or many) of you. I apologize for this, and if it is too much of an annoyance, I will just start another blog. In a sense, foreign affairs and politics doesn't mesh with our family blog. I recognize that, but I don't have the energy to start another blog right now, and Suni simply does not have the time to blog, not to mention it has to be uncomfortable for her to sit at a computer. So, if you visit our little blog simply to see what we are up to and see pictures of Waylon, please don't be put off by my ramblings. And, if you are, please let me know.

Here is an interesting little story about an amateur Iowa photographer in today’s New York Times

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fingers Crossed

I don’t know whether to be encouraged or discouraged, to laugh or cry.  But Charles Krauthammer, one of the most astute political commentators out there, in my opinion, makes some interesting observations (and predictions)about Obama’s apparently centrist administration.

Environmental Disaster Nextdoor

In Harriman, Tennessee, in neighboring Roane County, there has been an environmental disaster that will likely be the worst in southeastern U.S. History.  One writer says it is fifty times worse than the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  If you haven’t even heard about this you are not alone.  I didn’t know until a friend of mine who is a TVA employee told me yesterday.  The national media has done a terrible job of covering this.  (Suni points out that the local media has been all over it, and that I have been under a rock.  Although I haven’t done exhaustive research, both of her observations appear pretty accurate). 

The NY Times finally did a piece, and a second one confirms that the amount of waste spilled was nearly three times what TVA originally said the pond could hold.  Scary.

Meanwhile, the bastards at TVA are collecting their fat bonuses and financing them with rate hikes.  I bet we’ll see another rate hike to pay for the cleanup of this mess. 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Photo shoot at Nonna’s

Waylon stayed at my mom’s yesterday so I could get some work done and some things done around the house. Suni had to work. Mom got a new SLR camera – a Canon Rebel – for Christmas, and she took some pictures of Waylon yesterday. I thought they were really good (he needs a haircut), so I decided to post them here.

We hope everyone has a merry Christmas!

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Monday, December 22, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Team Stinson visited the Kings in Nashville this weekend.  Brad and I went to the Titans game, which was great.  The whole way to Nashville, Waylon was clearly under the impression that we were going to visit his cousin Brayden in Iowa.  The names are just so similar to a 21-month old.  No matter how many times we explained it, he didn't get it until he laid eyes on Aidan.  Here, clockwise from top left, are Waylon and Aidan cruising in Aidan's car; Waylon looking through the View Finder his Aunt Pam sent him (he sees "Grandma, Briggs, and Mama" in every slide); another pic of the boys (Waylon taking the wheel); and our boy last Christmas.  

Picture 105Picture 133  Picture 114Picture 089


I am finishing Carol Felsenthal's book, Clinton in Exile: A President Out of the White House.  I have enjoyed the book, which relies heavily on the author's interviews with certain of the Clinton presidential and post-presidency "team," some of whose identities are revealed, others who remain unnamed.  It fills in some of the gaps left by Clinton's revisionism evident in his memoirs, My Life, which starts out interesting and devolves into hundreds of pages of defensive chronology.   

clinton_in_exile   x8325

Suni's reading Brothers and Keepers by John Wideman.  I read this book in Colorado back in my freshman year but had forgotten about it.  We found it when we cleaned out our attic to blow insulation last weekend.  It bore an interesting stamp: "Coe College, Stewart Memorial Library."  Oops!  Wonder how much I paid for that damn book? 

Update (12/24/08): We went for Suni's 35-week checkup and learned that the baby is breech.  Next week, we'll discuss the options, but I think Suni is really hoping a C-section is not the reality.  I'm not yet educated enough to know what we're hoping for, other than hoping that the baby turns on his own.  I guess there is still time for that.  We still have no name for this kid.   

I have to have my tonsils removed on Tuesday, and I am not looking forward to that.  It's hard to believe it will be my first surgery ever.  Nobody has spared me the horror stories about adult tonsillectomies.  My Granny warned, "The first three days you'll wish you were dead."  Considering my Granny is the toughest person I know, I'm nervous about being a pansy-ass.  I think I am most nervous about the anesthesia. 

Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hello Again

We have been absent for a while. We would like to post pictures from Iowa, from where we spent the last six days… but we forgot our camera, which will not be a surprise to anyone. We had a great time, though, and it was good to see everyone. I have trials coming up, which mainly explains my lack of writing. Suni is busy with the usual things, which explains her chronic lack of writing. Plus, I think we are both bummed out by the election results and the impending socialism. Anyway, I digress. We do need to post some pictures soon. The kid is growing up fast. He’s starting to speak in sentences, which is both exciting and scary. We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Waylon saw his first snow when we were back in Iowa. We were all excited to see his reaction. He couldn’t have cared less. The kid just wanted to know where the grass was. He loved playing with all his little cousins in Iowa. He did miss his Tennessee cousins, though. Waylon goes to “school” with my niece, Charley, who’s just a few months younger than him. He bosses her around at every step (which actually gives him a little more executive experience than Barack Obama). I don’t know whether it was Charley or his executive power that he actually missed, but he mentioned her name several times. The plane rides were interesting, but his ears gave him no trouble, which was a big relief.

Update:  After I posted the above paragraph, I decided to cruise the blogs. (Wow, I really uttered the phrase “cruise the blogs”). That was a big mistake. I actually hadn’t read Tim Whitehead’s last three posts. Little did I know my failure to read them has saved me some angst in the last month or so. How I can know Tim and have had so many conversations with him and not know he supported Comrade Obama is mysterious. Has the topic of politics never come up? Or have we had conversations I don’t recall so well due to time, poor memory, or… um, Sailor Jerry or some similar indulgence? I’m not really sure, but I’m grateful for my now-shattered ignorance. Timmy, here’s to continued avoidance of the subject. We’ll agree to disagree, no matter how stupid your political views, be it your irrational hatred of Sarah Palin or your apparent love for socialism. :)

The truth is I am tired of politics. Politics has become a game of personal gain for these clowns, regardless of party. I never thought I would say it, but I miss Bill. Speaking of Bill, I did have the chance to stop by the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum when I was in Arkansas a couple of weeks ago. I could have spent all year there. It is very well done, even compared to the other two presidential libraries I have seen – Truman’s in Independence, Missouri, and Hoover’s in West Branch, Iowa, which are both great. I strolled in to the place wearing an Iowa sweat shirt, which prompted a sweet little old lady working there to ask me “Are you really from Iowa or are you false advertising?” Needless to say, that prompted a discourse from me regarding the somewhat convoluted answer to that question. Forty-five minutes later, I began my tour.

I won’t bore you with those details, but I will relate the truly great experience of my brief time in Little Rock – dinner at Doe’s Eat Place. Now, I admit I went there simply because I knew the Clinton campaign team hung out there back in 1992 when they were in the heat of the presidential race. But I got much more than I bargained for. What I got was – with my apologies to the old Lark in Tiffin –the best steak of my life. I get a lot of razzing about the fact that many things I eat are “the best I’ve ever had.” But, people, this 2-pound T-bone was the best I’ve ever had, bar none. Shocking that the best steak of my life would be in Arkansas, but, hey, it is what it is. Even my later discovery that Doe’s is a small chain (I hate chains) could not diminish the divinity of that two-pound beauty.

OK, enough.  I'm going back to bed.  Have a good weekend, everyone!

One Last Word:

OK, I can’t resist a couple more things. I’m late responding to comments from my October 16 post, but let me say:

Jenni: I was referring to your making fun of my notorious garrulity, not your inability to understand politics. I’m sure you do better than I do with that subject and many others.

Tim: I voted for George Bush, and I’m still fairly certain the war in Iraq was necessary. So did the 98 senators who voted for the war before it became a political liability. Still, I see your point, but it isn’t like I was going to vote for Sen. Waffle. In 2000, I voted for Al Gore, even though I am a little ashamed of that. I was in the heyday of my “college liberal swing” when I cast that vote. In my first presidential election, I voted for Bill Clinton. I voted for all these men based on that principle you referred to, but I may have been wrong every time.

Cate (at least I think the anonymous commenter is you, unless… Margaret Sanger?): You are even left of Obama. I love you, but I think that puts you in pretty exclusive company. Women’s rights? What is this, 1919? As much as I love our discussions, I’m really glad we weren’t with you when these election results came in! :)

Jody: I’m afraid we are about to find out the meaning of “change”!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Great Fall Saturday

Today, we took Waylon up to Rogersville, Tennessee, about an hour and a half northeast of Knoxville, to the Davidson Farm.  It was an absolute blast.  Waylon got to slide, pet goats, go on a hayride (or "hayrack," to you Iowans), and pick out a pumpkin. 

Picture 142 Picture 133

On Wagon Pumpkin Patch

Picture 130 Sitting on STraw

We even found a great place to eat lunch at a little country cafe.  After a fun-filled day on the farm (and a good two hours past nap time) W  caught some Z's on the way back home.  It was a great day!  Despite the fact that he has had a very crazy week (I hope Suni will write about his new daycare experience), and in spite us blowing his nap time and lunch time, our boy was well-behaved all day and really made us proud! 

Cafe Conked Out

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Rare Political Post

Warning: This is a post about politics, so please ignore it if you don't care about, or are annoyed by, this subject or just my writing, in general (Jaime and Jenni).

Suni and I watched the debates last night and came away thinking that John McCain had performed better but still did not take Obama to task on several of his most glaring weaknesses. Obama's eloquence is obvious, and he is quite charismatic. McCain had the right idea by pointing out that eloquence, but he needed to follow that up with concrete reasons Obama's rhetoric was empty. He did not do that.

I'm voting for John McCain. So is Suni. I won's say a whole lot about this, lest I alienate the few of you who actually read our blog. When all is said and done, what concerns me most (and is, thus, the issue on which I vote, all else being equal) is foreign policy. I tend to vote for the candidate who will fight wars that need fought, avoid wars that don't, and who has enough sense to know the difference. In an ever-complicated atmosphere of global politics, the latter is quite a challenge.

It may seem oversimplistic (and is in a way) but the economy, abortion, etc. is hardly important if we lose our way of life due to terrorism or outright war with Russia or Iran. I simply don't trust Barack Obama to handle these matters. He just doesn't have enough experience in foreign policy. That certainly isn't his only weakness, but it is his decisive weakness, at least in my mind. I like what "Joe the Plumber" had to say in this short video after the debate and this one before it. I love this guy.

It may be a futile vote, but I am voting for Democrat Bob Tuke for the U.S. Senate seat from Tennessee. Well, really, I am voting against Lamar Alexander, who apparently didn't care that an overwhelming majority of his constituents did not want the latest mind-boggling federal government joke masquerading as a "rescue plan." I have always admired Alexander, who grew up right here in Maryville and who was an excellent governor of this state. But when a politician willfully ignores the will of his constituents, it is time to bid him farewell. It won't happen this election, but I will do my part. And If I were Bob Tuke, I would run a campaign ad with this very message.

I look forward to imparting in our kids the importance of exercising their civil privilege and responsibility of voting. I also hope we can foster an environment where our kids think for themselves and can express their views rather than parrot what Suni and I think and say. I think this will be one of the great challenges of parenting.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall Festivals, 18-month Checkups, and Anatomy Lessons

We are walking down to the Foothills Fall Festival today, and we're all quite excited about it. Ordinarily, I would spend today listening to sports radio and "preparing" myself mentally for the Tennessee-Georgia game. This year, it hardly seems worth it. So UT's loss(es) is the family's gain. It's going to be a good day!

Waylon is all fired up. Here is our boy giving an anatomy lesson this morning.

Waylon had his 18-month checkup yesterday. Dr. Weiss was "quite impressed" with Waylon's verbal skills. When he put the stethoscope up to Waylon's chest and asked if it was hot, Waylon said "Not hot. It's cold." The kid is still small, but all is well with him health-wise.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fall Wagon Rides

The weather here is perfect!  Here are some shots from our wagon ride tonight.  As you can see, Waylon is beginning to understand the importance of Teddy and him wearing their hats.  W pulls the wagon now.  Our little boy is growing up so fast. 

pulling wagon

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Homecoming 2008

My trip back to the alma mater was great, as expected.  Coe lost the football game, but I didn't know that until some folks walked into the Homeport and told me.  The Homeport is a bar within 100 yards of the Coe football field.  Alas, the weekend was less about football and more about brotherhood.  And, I got to spend all weekend with three of the best guys around - Andy Hayes, Joel Vroegh, and Devin Powers.  We kicked it old-style at various locations around Cedar Rapids and crashed at my mother-in-law's house.  Thanks, Jonnie!

Below is the four of us at Jonnie's and Devin starting Saturday morning out with a bang - vodka in a measuring cup. 


The TKE celebration was truly first class.  A social at the President's house, a very nice dinner at the Cedar Rapids Country Club, and good times with old friends. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Recycling Tips

I can be a bit of a recycling Nazi and came across an article the other day with some creative recycling tips for things that many of us have around the house. For those of you with school-aged children, some of these would be great to get the school involved in to help donate to charity and raise awareness about recycling.
  • Backpacks: Donate them to The American Birding Association uses them while tracking neo-tropical birds.
  • Cell Phones: or The Wireless Foundation refurbishes phones for domestic violence survivors
  • CFL's: check Home Depot
  • Computers:,,,
  • Crayons: Crayons are melted down and used to make new ones.
  • Crocs: The company that makes crocs recycles and donates to underprivileged families. Send to: Crocs Recycling West
3375 Enterprise Ave.
Bloomington, CA 92316
  • DVD's, CD's, Jewel cases: Swap them at or recycle at
  • Eyeglasses: or drop them off at Target Optical or LensCrafters and they send them to
  • Formalwear:,
  • Gadgets: mp3, PDA's, They send you a pre-paid label, then recycle what you send them and donate proceeds to breast cancer charities.
  • Glue:
  • Hangers: call your local dry cleaner or laundromat about wire hangers, donate plastic hangers to local thrift stores.
  • Hearing Aids: Go to for a collection center near you.
  • Holiday Cards: Abused and neglected youth cut off the front, re-attach them to new backing and sell. Much better than just recycling!!
  • Juice Bags: TerraCycle turns them into purses, totes and pencil cases (sold at Target and Walgreens) and donates 2 cents for each Honest Kids, Capri Sun, or Kool-Aid drink pouch, 1 cent for any other brand. Shipping is free and they send the money to a charity of your choice.
  • iPods: take old iPod into Apple store and you get 10% off that day.
  • Footwear:

It Ain't Easy Being Green

One book I've read deserved a post in itself. I finished Gorgeously Green months ago, which I would recommend to anyone looking to go "green". However, after months of trying to do this we've discovered that it's not particularly easy and more importantly isn't cheap! So, we've experimented here and there and do what we can to help the environment and ourselves.
Here are a couple of things I've discovered over the last few months:
Things that suck:
  • Diswasher detergent by Seventh Generation. Really sucks. I will give one more brand a try, but if it's not any better I'm giving up on it.
  • "Green" toothpaste. We've tried two brands...Tom's of Maine, and one that was even worse and whose name escapes me right now. If you're going to do it, paste works better than gel. Our dentist said people who use them require more scraping at each visit too!!
  • "Green" deodorant. I've only tried Tom's of Maine, and it was during the hot and humid TN summer, but come on. I may as well have just put lotion on my armpits.
  • All of the organic shampoos and conditioners we've tried sucked. Of course, we didn't buy any of the super expensive stuff. I'm afraid of spending the money and hating it.
Things we love:
  • G diapers are wonderful. They are a cloth diapers with inserts that are flushable (but really expensive)!! Or, you can toss them and the are 100% biodegradable. We haven't been vigilant about using these, however. Poopy diapers can get messy with these and now that Waylon isn't as predictable in his pooping we've stopped using them. Lazy, yes, but it makes mommy happier this way and that's always a good thing.
  • Nature babycare diapers are wonderful and biodegradable!! I love, love, love them. They are difficult to find, however (at least in our neck of the woods). I found them at Target in Florida, but they aren't available here yet. has them too. The greatest thing about them is that they are reasonably priced....about as much as Huggies. I'm not willing to shell out the money for Huggies, but it's worth it for biodegradable diapers!
  • Seventh Generation Chlorine-free baby wipes More pricey, yes, but not too much more.
  • Dr. Hauschka skincare products are amazing. Very pricey, but for someone with extremely sensitive skin like mine it's worth every penny.
  • Making your own kitchen cleaner is easy, really cheap, and works great. It's nice to know we're using a product that safe for Waylon to be around.
There are a lot more things both good and bad that we've tried, but it's late and I don't feel like racking my brain to think of any more. I'll update in the future when I think of any. I would love to hear about any "green" products or tips from you guys too!!

Book Update

When we were back in Iowa Jaime asked me to write about any books I've been reading. In my last update I was tackling some very thought provoking books (The Road Less Traveled and A New Earth). They are both incredible books, but require just that...deep thought. After a long day of work and taking care of Waylon I don't always have it in me. So, I have tossed them aside for the time being and enjoyed some fun page-turners.
Chelsea Handler's (Chelsea Lately and Girls Behaving Badly) humor is not for everyone, but I for one find her hilarious. I highly recommend Are You There Vodka, It's Me, Chelsea and My Horizontal Life. You can infer from the title what the second book is about. She definitely holds nothing back! They made me chuckle out loud.

Another favorite author of mine is David Sedaris and I would recommend anything he's written. Again, his humor is not for everyone. I just finished When You Are Engulfed In Flames, which did not disappoint. Just like Chelsea Handler's books, it is full of short personal stories that made me laugh out loud.

I'm now reading The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson. Here's the synopsis written on the back of the book "Bringing Chicago circa 1893 to vivid life, Erik Larson's spell-binding bestseller intertwines the true tale of two men--the brilliant architect behind the legendary 1893 World's Fair, striving to secure America's place in the world; and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death." The book can be a little slow at times, but it is fascinating. I knew nothing about the 1893 World's Fair, and most certainly had never heard about this serial killer.

Somewhere along the way I read the autobiography of George Jones that Cole picked up on one of his many trips to Nashville for work. Definitely some surprising things in the book, but it's probably not anything anyone reading this blog would care to check out. Just weirdos like Cole and me.
Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Another Ass-kicking Bedamned... It Was a Football Saturday


Tennessee football might be in the crapper, but it didn't keep Waylon from listening to his first Vol Network broadcast.  Well, actually, most of his "listening" involved donning of headphones that were not plugged into the radio... or anything else.  But hey, he's getting the basic idea.

We're gonna give it another try with the Titans today, since they are the only team of ours that looks halfway respectable.  By the way, Waylon slept through the Iowa game.  If the Ohio State game is any indication, Iowa might be able to compete for the Big Ten title this year.  At least that is Waylon's take on things.  

Monday, September 15, 2008

Summer Time Fun!

It's been a hot and humid summer, but full of exciting new experiences. Here are some snapshots of the season:
Waylon's "Naked Phase"....still think he's in this, though..

Fun on the boat (Waylon and Daddy, Waylon and Nonna, Waylon and Uncle Tim)

The Zoo! (Waylon, Waylon and his cousin Charlie checking out the Gorilla)

Waylon gets an attitude, and it looks like it's here to stay. If you'll notice, Cole's fly is open in this pic, which isn't surprising since that's the case about 75% of the time! You'd think that by the time a man hits 30 he'd remember to zip up his pants, but not my man!! He's all mine, ladies!

An artist is born!

Waylon learns to "goff"

And, finally, now that the weather is cooling off at night it's time for walks with Daddy.

Hope you all had a great summer too!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

This Ain't the Iowa Conference

Not that I have a real interest or anything, but I do think this is cool.  Today in the Buffalo Bills' 20-16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, running back Fred Jackson rushed for 17 yards and had 7 catches for 83 yards.  This wouldn't be noteworthy, except that he went to Coe College, my alma mater, a D-III school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  I haven't checked, but that has to be one if the more successful days on a record for a D-III player in the NFL.


I can't believe I am writing about this, but... at the Stinsons', we are big fans of the Backyardigans.  The latest episode we have on demand through our crappy cable provider, Charter, is called "Newsflash!."  To our surprise, it has a decidedly Iowa flavor.  One "reviewer" describes it pretty well:

Tasha, Uniqua and Austin work for W-I-O-WA News (The "Corniest Station in the Nation"), which is a news station that usually ends up reporting on corn. Tyrone and Pablo are corn farmers who are so happy with their crop, that they keep sending in reports just to get on the air, but unfortunately it isn't considered newsworthy. They decide to make up some stories about aliens visiting their cornfields so that the news team will come out to investigate further and put their corn crops on their air.

Is it just me, or can you just not help singing these songs over and over again?!?!

Speaking of Iowa, glad the Hawks beat Iowa State!

Update: OK, this is scary.  I am not the only one who thinks this episode of the Backyardigans is blogworthy.  Iowa Geek has a whole post on it with links to, where you can purchase the music.  Actually, while you're over there, take a look around their blog.  It's pretty interesting, and they are fellow Dave Ramseyans.  (Is it possible I just coined that word?)

Last thing: Speaking of blogs and Iowa and what not, Suni and I love Flying Kites, the blog of Jenni Benesh's sister, Kim.  I have added it to our blog roll.  Suni and I are not the most creative people in the world, and we have really gotten some good parenting/family ideas from blogs like Flying Kites and similar blogs.

I have never even met Kim or her family, but I haven't missed a post in a long time.  The fact that I can be entertained by reading about the lives of people I don't know is a testament to those folks' creativity and writing ability.  I regularly read a blog to which Kim links and which has garnered a lot of attention,  The Pioneer Woman.  It is very nice to be able to keep up with those we do know and learn from those we don't.  Speaking of which, another blogger I don't know, Iowa Geek's wife, has a great blog about traveling with kids.  As we come across blogs we like, we will add them to the roll. 

Iowa Trip 2008

DSCF1029 This is pretty much snapshot of Nirvana! After vacationing in the tourism hotspot that is the state of Iowa, Team Stinson is settled back in to work-a-day life in East Tennessee.

Our trip to Iowa this year was one of the better ones we have had! We got to do a bunch of stuff without ever really feeling like we were trying to squeeze in too much. After a long day of trial in Lewisburg, Tennessee, on Friday, August 1, we got on the road very late, only to be met with Nashville rush hour traffic.

Because I was playing in a golf tournament in Center Point on Saturday at noon, I was trying to push through and get to Iowa without having to stay somewhere overnight along the way. That hope was dashed as I watch the clock in the courtroom turn around and around. This realization was made worse knowing that Suni was having to entertain Waylon all day. We ended up having to stay in a disgusting hotel north of St. Louis due to the fact that Waylon began screaming at some point after we turned off the interstate and headed through Missouri. (We decided that we would never drive to Iowa again, but we’ll forget by next year just how hellish the car travel can be).

We made it to Center Point with half an hour to spare the next morning, arriving at Rolling Acres with the 53rd rendition of the Backyardigans’ Fly Girl episode blaring on the DVD player. Suni and Waylon were off to see Grandma, and I hit the course with Tim, Seth Rosendahl, and Tim’s neighbor. Seth also appeared now and again, his fleeting presence always foreshadowing some strange occurrence [see next sentence]. After a lousy, but always fun, round of golf, replete with the thuds of entire golf bags hitting the ground and beer cans with mysterious holes in them, it was party time at the Whiteheads. Great stuff, as everyone had their kids there, and it was good to see everyone.

We stayed with Suni’s mom while we were back. Waylon loved the puppies and his first taste of Iowa corn [below, right]. We went to the Iowa State Fair, which is pretty much heaven on earth. Check out the picture below on the right – “Pork Chop on a Stick.” Need I say more? Waylon was a big fan of the turkey leg; I liked the deep fried candy bar. I hope that we make going to the fair a family tradition. It’s just a great atmosphere.

pork chop on stick DSCF1005

After the fair, we went to visit Nichole, one of Suni’s college friends just north of Des Moines. Her husband, Jay, cooked a great dinner. As you can see, Waylon loved playing with their two little girls. Grace took Waylon down the slide over and over and was just really good with him. I think Waylon got quite an education! All in all, it was a great day! Jonnie’s boyfriend, Dan, and I played golf the following morning at The Legacy, a very nice course in Des Moines.

We got back to Cedar Rapids in time the next day for me to hang out with the Whiteheads and, later, Brandon and Monica Hahn. (Mama crashed early). Our evening started off at the Hacienda, that great bastion of Mexican cuisine and a Cedar Rapids landmark. (Thanks for dinner and drinks, Tim and Jaime!) Then it was back to Center Point (or just “the Point,” in certain circles). We had fun hanging out, and I thought called a taxi to take me back to CR, but oddly enough, the driver that showed up to get me looked a lot like Jaime Whitehead. It was a very kind thing to do.

Another great day was spent up at Tim and Sandy Ford’s place up in Delhi, Iowa, on the Maquoketa River. It is always so much fun up there, and this year was no different. Waylon is doing much better with his life jacket now that it fits him a bit better. Here is Waylon with his Grandma on the boat.

boat w grandma driving with tom

The only sad part of the trip was seeing the utter devastation in the wake of the flooding from back in June. Words are simply inadequate to describe how bad the damage truly is. I could not bring myself to snap any photos at all, but there is ample supply on the web.

I will probably post some more pictures in the next few days, or hopefully Suni will. Thank you so much, everyone who made our trip back to Iowa the highlight of our year again!