Category Archives: Family

Maybe Next Time

No Nashville for Me

Back on Jan I wrote about recapping my 2010 goals and set forth some new items for 2011. Well the first quarter of the year has come and gone and time to reflect a bit on where I’m at.

First off I had signed up to run the Nashville 1/2 marathon for the 3rd straight year. I’m sad to say that is not going to happen. I did train for it and am ready to run it but a few things have led up to me NOT heading down to run this year. I do plan on a long run this weekend in honor of this and plan on finding a 1/2 more local to get involved with over the summer. I am getting a new master bathroom unexpectedly however and that works starts this week so all is not lost.

I did win my weight loss goal/contest and actually have dropped 15 lbs this year. Feels great and just need to stay focused and keep the weight off at this time.

My involvement in the football program is going well. I’m currently on the board and contributing via helping with maintaining the website, setting up FaceBook, and twitter accounts. I’m also helping out in various other fun projects including merchandising and planning for a great game day experience. Here is a picture of one of my projects that I ran. I’m so excited to get the tunnel out there on opening day and watch the players run out onto the field.

Lake Zurich Flames Tunnel

Can't wait for opening day!

Spending time with the family is always a something that I want to continue to work on. I feel my focus on this and writing it down has allowed me to do so. I find that I’m able to pull myself away from the computer more often than I did last year.  The bills can wait, so there are weeds in the yard, and work is not down that can wait also.. As my kids get older they seem to need me less but I’m still finding things to do with each of them.

  • My youngest Emma (5)  just learned how to ride a bike with no training wells and loves when I watch her. She is really into soccer and baseball this year so that has become our bond.
  • Caleigh (7) still loves her crafts and reading is her big thing. I find myself letting her read to me for 15-20 minutes and not cutting it off at 5 like I used to because Quicken was not update with this months checks.
  • Finally the eldest Matt (10) is quite the gamer on his new PS3. We have had some good battles in Madden but most of all it’s the ability to play catch in the yard that I think we cherish the most.

Can’t forget the wife either. She is the glue keeping us all together and her ability to be in 4 places at once and still remember to pack snacks is amazing. She deserves an entire blog series as her ability to do what she does is mind blowing.

Continuing On

At this point i’m in maintenance mode. Need to keep things moving and identify what’s next but most of all it’s about enjoying the time as it passes and focus less on the end result.

Be a Hero

Giving Again

Last year around this time I wrote a post about my daughter who cut off her hair to donate it make wigs for cancer patients. The disease has hit my family and friends pretty hard as it has to many people. It’s very interesting to see my kids grasp the concept of service as it relates to helping those that are suffering. My wife and I keep open conversation about tough subjects with our children in hopes that that they grow up to help the community and others as we like to do.

This guy is going to helpsomeone.

Matt's going to jump for Heart!

Well this year my 10 year old son is taking his service to the next level. He will be raising money and jumping rope in the American Heart Associations Jump for Heart program.

Below are the Details

I’m joining millions of other kids to help save lives with the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope For Heart Program!  Will you help me?

I’m doing Jump Rope For Heart at my school and learning about kids with special hearts. I’m also learning about my own heart, and how to take care of it. And I’m getting active and jumping rope!

Some kids have special hearts – and need our help!  I’m raising money to help kids like them. The money I raise will help pay for education and for new medicines and treatments to be discovered.  It could help cure heart disease – for everybody!

You can help too!  Will you make a donation?  It’s fast and easy to do on my personal Web page! Just use the link below.
My Personal Page

Thank you for helping me save lives and be a Heart Hero!

Matt

2010 Recap

It’s the start of a new year. Time to reflect on what I did accomplish last year and think about what this year will hold. Last January I documented my goals for 2010. I felt that by writing them out and posting them my likelihood of success would be greater. For the most part this worked so I’m doing it again.

Looking Back

  • Blog once a month – I was able to do this, started off the year strong and struggled in Q4 to keep going. Topics are still a bit all over the board but I feel good about writing 24 posts in 2010.
  • Beat my 1/2 Marathon time by 5 minutes – I actually beat it by 9 minutes for a time of 2:21:51 as I wrote about in April.
  • SQL Community involvement – Started off the year great and tapered in the fall and winter. Still keeping involved loosely but other priorities took over such as my football coaching.
  • Looking back I feel good about all these things. As expected things changed mid year and I had to re-focus some of my attention to other things. This is natural when looking out a year ahead. I have read a lot of posts lately around people in the SQL community changing jobs and deciding to focus on different technologies. Things change and in my mind the only way to fail is to not plan for it or expect it.

    Looking Forward

    So with it being a new year I need some new goals. Not feeling as inspired as I was this time last year it’s been a bit more difficult. Here is what I’m going with.

  • I signed up for the 1/2 Marathon in Nashville for April again and I’m currently in a friendly weigh loss contest. So my first goal is to shave off another 5 minutes from my 1/2 time. To that end I have set a goal to run/workout 3 times a week.
  • Another thing I’m planning on doing is getting more involved in the youth football program I coached last year. I’m looking to get myself more integrated into the organization and help out more from a volunteer standpoint above just the coaching I have been doing.
  • This last one is hard to measure but its something I really want to focus on. I am looking for ways to play more with my kids and enjoy more family time. It’s scary how fast they are growing up and as they do they seem to need me less and less. I want to make sure that I stay involved with each of my 3 kids and can relate to what’s happening in their lives.
  • Nothing earth shattering here but documenting and posting this out there will hopefully keep me focused.

    Turning 9

    Time Flies
    Wow it will be September in 2 days. It is simply amazing how fast time can go by when you are busy and how at one point you can be so focused on one thing and life can quickly take a left turn. I started out the year with some goals in mind that I posted on this blog back in January. I’m a checklist, goal kind of guy. I like to set goals or have a list for everything in my life. My wife asks me to do something I have to write it down or I will forget. Too much going on in my melon to remember anything these days.

    Check Point
    I have been able to do a good job completing most of the goals. I have blogged at least once a month and often more that than. The topics have varied a bit and not as technical as I planned at the start of the year. There are reason for this as my role is one of leading and managing and less on the technical side of things so it was hard to bridge that gap.  I was able to re-dedicate my self to health and fitness and beat my 1/2 marathon goal. I have run a few more races than I planned actually and hope to keep doing some this fall. I have not trained since early August but have some reasons behind that below. As for my SQL Community involvement I started off the year really good but have slowed down  lately. I need to see how this is going to fit in my future but am keeping my finger loosely on pulse at this point. I was a daily twitter user for much of the first half of the year but now rarely open it as my focus is elsewhere. I do continually encourage my team to take advantage of what there is to offer and drive them to these great resources so consider me an advocate.

    So with all that success I need to understand what the rest of the year holds. It’s just past 1/2 way point we have 4 months to go in 2010 and I need to have a list or some goals to keep me focused.

    The Left Turn
    Not sure if I promote it much but I am pretty avid sports fan. By biggest passion being football. Fall is football time and in August football began for me. This year I am head coaching a 9-10 year old tackle football team which was much more of a commitment than I could ever imagine. To be honest I am probably putting more into it than I need to but my passion for this has driven me to go that extra mile. This has been my undocumented goal for the 2nd half of 2010. To really put forth the time and effort to make a great football experience for the players, coaches, and parents that I work with on pretty much a daily basis. This has involved everything from organizing the league draft info, to setting up my teams practice plans and playbook. Countless meetings with other coaches, emails to parents, learning about new drills and player safety. I even was able to go to a mentoring night sponsored by our league the TCYFL where Tony Dungy was the guest speaker. Now that we playing games it’s reviewing film, working on coaching fundamentals, and working with team parents to ensure the boys are having fun.

    It’s amazing the tangents that I’m able to draw from the football field to the boardroom so to speak. I was recently involved in a management training class from my employer around communicating with impact. As I sat in this day long session learning how to speak on my feat, resolve conflict, and motive people through words I could not have imagined how useful these skills could be outside of the office as well.
    New Goal
    So my goal for the rest of the year is to really focus my efforts on good communication and team development both on and off the field. I hope to leverage the learnings on the football field to helping coach my team at the office and really drive a fun and productive team of SQL DBA’s. In additional I’ll continue to use my mentoring and management skills learned at work on the football field to hopefully help my team drive to some victories. If nothing else I hope that my efforts in both of these areas of my live will result in a fun and positive experience for all of those around me.

    One Month Away For Joggin For The Noggin!

    Folks we are exactly 1 month away from the big day. JogginForTheNoggin is here. Please think about signing up. Great post race party and plenty of other fun to be had as well.

    One funny thing about my earlier post about this is I actually spelled JoggnForTheNoggin wrong and my wrong spelling became a #1 search hit on Google. I spelled an early post as Jogging For The Noggin and that is getting lots of hits. So glad to spread the word and not so ashamed of my bad spelling. Hopefully people are getting to the page and signing up. Why not stop over there and sign up yourself, just click the picture below!

    Joggin for the Noggin

    Using My Geek on the Field

    Rules, Rules, Rules
    In coaching a youth sport team there are many rules that need to be followed. Mostly to keep things fair, and ensure that each kid on the team has the ability to learn and appreciate the sport you are coaching and teaching them. I have done my fair share of coaching and one thing I always like to do is ensure that playing time is fair an equitable. In recent years I have noticed a trend where the rules at various levels actually dictate this, which is a great thing.

    On our baseball team each player has to play at least 1 inning of infield and 1 inning of outfield to ensure everyone is getting fair playing time. In addition we want to make sure that the time on the bench is evenly distributed. Yes we want to win but we also want everyone to have fun and learn as well. You don’t learn much spending the entire season in right field in 9 year old baseball. To help with the games and to ensure that everyone knows where they need to be we needed a system. One of the coaches put a very simple Excel spreadsheet together with players down the rows and innings along the columns. This was a big step in the right direction, but took an exceptional amount of time to update each week. We wanted to move the batting order around, get playing time at different positions, etc.

    The problem is that the amount of time and effort required to help coaching continues go up as more care and detail are required. As always with a more quality experience comes more effort. It’s simply not my nature to just spent more time, I want to find better way. So in doing so I now have a new favorite Excel function, countif(). I figured this out by asking my favorite Excel guru who sits just 2 rows away. This guy can do anything in Excel and I knew he would have the answer.

    Solution

    In the end what I did was very simple, essentially we have some tally columns to the right that count the number of times each kids has an Infield, Outfield, or is sitting. The function are a bit lenghtly but really quite simple. This could be expanded on but for us this was all we needed.

    Infield =COUNTIF(C2:H2,”1B”)+COUNTIF(C2:H2,”2B”) +COUNTIF(C2:H2,”SS”) +COUNTIF(C2:H2,”3B”) +  +COUNTIF(C2:H2,”P”) + +COUNTIF(C2:H2,”C”)

    Outfield =COUNTIF(C2:H2,”CF”)+COUNTIF(C2:H2,”LF”) +COUNTIF(C2:H2,”RF”)

    Sit =COUNTIF(C2:H2,””)

    In Summary

    That’s pretty much it. Picture of what the sheet looks like below will give you an idea of how this works. I never new of the countif() function in Excel but new there had to be a way. So using my people skills I started asking the people I thought might have the answer and within a few seconds I have saved my self countless hours trying to get the lineup to tie out before each game. We actually use the Print Area function in excel to hid the right 4 columns so only the inning and players print. We print 5 copies before the game, post one on the dugout wall pegged in a clipboard and the coached get the rest. Simple method that works really well for our needs.

    In addition we simply copy the last tab to a new tab before each game and we have a simple history of who played what positions in each game. This servers as good backup to when you are questioned on playing time. Simply refer to the history and make sure things are fair.

    Brews for Brains

    Quick Post
    So Quick update…. Life currently has me in a strangle hold. I find myself writing this and wondering why I’m not sleeping right now. Constantly on the go.

    A few of the finishers celebrate before the rain.

    We survived the Country Music Marathon. I won’t go into to many details but please check out our coach Kevin Leather’s blog for some details on the race and some great stories. He does a great job of capturing the moments. Congrats to all the runners and hope to see everyone again next year.

    Personally I smashed by goal of cutting 5 minutes off my time. I blogged about my goals for 2010 and you can read that here. However I beat this by almost 9 minutes finishing in 2:21:51. I actually had a much tougher time this year. I felt much worse but do feel that starting my training a bit earlier, training harder, and being a 2nd timer helped.

    Of course the after race party at the hotel with all the other Noggin families was fun as always, plenty of pool, beer, pizza, and action. It is so fun to get away and just take over a hotel every once in a while. Cowboy Glen was the kids entrainment this year with many renditions of Simon Says.

    Cowboy Glen

    Hey there you yellow bellied sap sucker!

    On To the Next Thing…
    This Sunday May 2nd at 2PM we will be having a fund raiser and race signup party for the Joggin for the Noggin 5K in August. Please stop out and have a brew, sign up for the race, or just enjoy our great company.

    Details on the event can be found here.

    JogginForTheNoggin
    FaceBook