Growing up OUTDOORS!!!!

I was reminiscing this weekend, as my kids were playing outside in 60 degree weather with no jackets and the sun shining bright, about how my ENTIRE childhood seemed to center around being OUTSIDE.  Most of my childhood memories involve playing little league baseball, waiting for my friends to come home from school EVERY DAY so we could play football or ride go karts or play basketball, boating and fishing, riding waverunners, and always asking “can we go outside”.

I don’t feel like we are headed in that direction with our kids as much as I would like.  They aren’t outdoors enough and they don’t ask to go outside as much as I remember asking…but there are some factors that are different about their childhood than mine and maybe some things I am not remembering correctly.  Here are some thoughts:

  • I grew up mostly in Florida.  They are growing up in the Pacific NW.  That is most certainly DIFFERENT.  Should it be a good reason for them to not be outside as much as I was growing up?  Not sure.
  • Maybe I just don’t remember being 5.  Maybe all those memories are from older years when I was more capable of self-supervision.  Not sure.  I’ll ask my parents.
  • Some of the things that were just normal life when I grew up WAAAAAY back in the 80’s and 90’s (sort of a joke there) are just not done anymore.  Not sure if that is for good reason or unwarranted paranoia.  I think probably mostly for good reason.  For instance, we had no cell phones or instant communication but we would get on our bikes when we were 10 and be gone for HOURS.  We just knew when we had to be back.  I cannot imagine doing that with my kids at 10 now.
  • I was homeschooled for most of my childhood (4th grade on).  Although most of my memories of being outdoors involve friends in the neighborhood, being homeschooled may have just allowed for more time outdoors.

What do you think?  Do your kids spend tons of time outdoors?  Do you live in the PNW and just bundle them up or put rain gear on them?  Do you make them go outside?

IronHead Dad is BACK!!!! 3 Year Anniversary!!!

Yes, it has been exactly 3 YEARS since the first blog post here.  That was my first day as “IronHead Dad”.  I had just quit my good-paying engineering job to stay at home with the kids and work my fitness business.  The intent was to stay at home with the kids and the fitness business was just a little extra money.  I always had plans to grow it as much as I could but I never expected any of what has happened in the last 3 years.

If I had it to do over again, this blog would be FULL of every detail I could write down about the last 3 years.  I am truly bummed that I let this project slip after just a month or two.  I think about all the memories that could be documented here on this blog that I could go back to.  Instead, it is all lost in Facebook land (well, not completely…the pics are still available…but it’s just not the same).  So lame that I didn’t keep it up!!!!!  OK, enough wallowing in self-pity over something I can’t change.  Let me try to catch you up on the last 3 years in a bullet point format.

The Girls

  • The girls were 2-1/2 when I started out as IronHead Dad.  They are now 5-1/2.  I know…math is hard.
  • They went through two years of preschool at Sylvan Way Baptist (P3 and P4) in 2012/13 and 2013/14
  • They are now in Kindergarten at Brownsville Elementary (full day…5 days a week…all day…gone)

[notice]I am starting to cry.  I will attempt to regain composure[/notice]

  • They are in their second year of Tap and Ballet at The Northwest School of Dance
  • They are in their first year of gymnastics at Cascade Elite Gymnastics West
  • They have grown to be as difficult as their Father…er…I mean…as difficult as their Mother?
  • They have been to Disneyland and Disney World way too many times in their Father’s opinion and not enough in their Mother’s opinion.
  • They ran their first running race (following in our footsteps) at Disneyland in 2014
  • I know I am missing tons of stuff….so many things….

Training and Racing

  • In 2012, I ran my marathon PR at Eugene Marathon (race report) shortly after this blog was deserted (3:35 PR)
  • In 2012, I completed Ironman Arizona (race report) in 11:48 (that is hours…not minutes just for clarification)
  • In 2013, I completed Portland Marathon and I was injured.  Worst race of my life!
  • In 2014, I got food poisoning the night before Ironman 70.3 Miami and puked for 5 hours straight.  I raced anyway and then pulled out after the bike.
  • This year, my wife and I are training for Paris Marathon in France!!!!  April.
  • My wife has become an awesome runner!  She completed her first marathon in 2011 and now has 3 under her belt.  She has run a PR in each one with her best one around 4:18!!!!

The Business

  • Uh, it’s kind of crazy…but my at home business now makes me MORE money than my engineering job did and it keeps growing!!!!
  • In 2013, I made “ELITE” coach with Team Beachbody and finished #31 in the whole company out of 250K coaches
  • In 2014, I made “ELITE” again!
  • I have had athletes complete everything from Ironman to sprint distance races with quite a bit of success over the last 3 years.  Too many to name!
  • My 90/10 Nutrition program (which started about the same time as this blog) has become a huge success and now has over 700 people participating PER MONTH!!!!  And the groups are now FREE.

In an Nutshell

The last 3 years have been CRAZY!  Things are better in a lot of ways than I even thought they would be.  There is so much more I could mention but I can’t even think how to start.  So, let’s just take it from here and see where the next 3 take us.  I hope you will join me on the journey!

Maybe some pics to enjoy now?

Uh-Oh….we have little shoppers…

You had to know it was going to happen, but it is official…the shopping gene has been passed on to both of the girls (but especially Maddie).  I am not going to say who it was passed on from but let’s just say that the person’s name rhymes with “holla” and the person in question lives in this house and it is not me.  Hope that narrows it down for you a little.

Anyway, below is some picture evidence of the shopping gene being displayed in our local Trader Joe’s but I will give you the full scoop.

Pretend Shopping

I have mentioned the indoor playground “Play Kitsap” here in town in some other posts.  It is now affectionately known as “The Big Slide” because of it’s 21 foot tall inflatable slide.  However, while that is sort of the center piece of the facility, it has a lot of other things to play with.  One of Maddie’s favorites is the pretend grocery store.  It has two cash register booths, small shopping carts, hand-carry shopping baskets, and a ton of play food and money.  Maddie often spends a good portion of her time in the grocery store filling up a cart and then paying for it at the register.  One of the best times I have had since becoming IronHead Dad was when I volunteered to run the cash register in the pretend grocery store.  I ended up having a line of 3 or 4 kids waiting to “check out” at my register.  They all really enjoyed how I carefully scanned each and every item and made a distinct “beep” sound when I scanned each one with the scanner gun.  Then I made sure that they paid me the correct amount of money.  One time I even got a $910.00 tip…not bad for a cashier.  It was so much fun to see how both Maddie and Lucie really seemed to have a grasp on how it all worked and what they needed to do including paying and bagging and all of that.


Real Shopping

The pretend grocery store and that whole experience as the cashier gave me the idea (or I should say the courage) to go ahead and let the girls have thier own carts at Trader Joe’s.  If you don’t know, taking twins to any place by yourself is a little bit of a logistical issue.  Most shopping carts only have one place for a toddler to sit (with the exception of Costco and some places that have special carts that look like race cars or something and have two seats).  So, you are left to pulling one cart and pushing the other or trying to keep them corraled on foot.  Neither of those options are exactly pleasant but both are doable and I make it work.  I had stayed away from letting them have the little shopping carts that Trader Joe’s has for kids just because trying to keep two of them from running into people or knocking stuff over at this age just seemed like it was a bit too much of a challenge, but I finally broke down a couple of weeks ago and gave it a try.  Of course, they loved it!  They did pretty well with it and it was not as difficult as I pictured…I got much more joy out of it than frustration and they had a grand time.  We have now done it at least 3 times in Trader Joe’s and I doubt we will be going in there without them running the carts any time soon…it is a must.


So, as I said, the shopping gene has definitely been passed on so be warned any of your future suitors (as if they would get past me alive anyway).


I am on offense or defense?

When I went into this IronHead Dad gig, I went in with full intentions of putting a full court press on a whole bunch of stuff.  Here is a short list (not a complete list) of things I had in my head to work on:

1)  Having daily devotions with my kids

2)  Keeping my kids VERY active throughout the day (this one covers a lot of things that I could list separately)

3)  Organizing our ridiculously cluttery house (I know some of you would say that I have no idea but still…it is messy)

4)  Training for an Ironman

5)  Spending more time working on my Fitness and Triathlon Coaching business

6)  Helping at the church and volunteering

7)  Spending more time with my wife (although I don’t know how I thought that would happen with her still working the same schedule)

8)  Potty Training My Kids


Like I said, I am sure I missed something or several things that I had in my head that I was going to do….oh yeah…more time in my shop to organize that and work on woodworking or car projects (HA!).

So, let me break down how I think I have done with these things so far.  I will give myself a school grade on each of them.

1)  (F)  That’s right…an F.  I have not done near enough with sitting down and teaching my kids about the Bible.  I put it number 1 on the list because that is where it should be but it has hardly been on the list.  I know how to fix that.

2)  (A) or (A-).  Really, I have been doing pretty well here in my opinion.  I have something on the schedule for almost every day that gets them out of the house and keeps them active.  We go to Play Kitsap, we go the YMCA and swim or do kid’s classes, we go to the playground at the park, etc.  The only reason I don’t give myself an A+ is that the TV is still on a lot when we are home.  I need to figure out how to get them to play actively on their own without a movie on.

3)  (C).  I really thought I would get more done here.  It just doesn’t happen.  This is an area where the title of this post really comes into play.  Instead of feeling like I am making progress and I am taking the offensive and working through the clutter and the mess, I end up feeling like I am just barely able to keep it from getting worse…if that.  I start on cleaning something up and the kids mess something else up or it’s time for another meal and more dishes or whatever.  I know you Moms and experienced domestic engineers are just laughing right now but I am just telling you like it is…I didn’t necessarily think it would be easy…I wasn’t totally dillusional…just thought I would get more than this done.  I mean, I am IronHead Dad and all.

4)  (B).  Not too bad here.  Getting some solid training in.  In fact, the (B) might be a little harsh.  I might just be whining because I had a rough long run on Saturday.  Overall, the training is going well.  My swimming is almost as fast as it was at the end of last year and it is only the beginning of the season and my running is going well overall.  4 more weeks to Eugene Marathon with my Dad!

5)  (C).  I would say I spend a little more time working on it now than I did when I had a full time job but not as much as I thought I would.  I feel like I could be doing so much more, but then again I don’t know when or how…there is always some fire to put out.  I stay up late and do it just like I used to…

6)  (C).  I went to the church nursery the first week or second week I was home and did a few handyman projects and got some measurements for some others and haven’t been back since.  I finally made it to Lowe’s and picked up some materials for the jobs this week and should get back to it soon.  Maybe a C is too harsh but it is not what I envisioned.

7)  (D).  Not happening that much more.  We did get to go on a date to see Hunger Games the other night…that was fun.  Other than that…it is tough.

8)  (A-).  This is pretty close to done…they are very good about going potty now.  Hopefully all of my feelings of not getting enough done are partially just due to the potty training that has been going on for several weeks.  I know it has been much easier recently when not having to worry about them having accidents all the time.  They still do but it is maybe once per day if that so that is much easier.


Anyway, I just thought I would put some of my thoughts down about how this first month or so has been and give myself some grades.  Not bad overall, but I do sometimes feel like I am just barely holding it together and not making the house and everything look worse instead of actually making improvements like I wanted to.  I guess it is just a matter of where you decide to put your time because you can’t do it all….even if you are IronHead Dad.

Gramma Chap-an is Leaving

Today is Chappy Gramma’s last day here in Bremerton before she goes back to Colorado.  The girls are going to be really sad because they had a ton of fun with her.  Maddie still pulls out the “Chappy Gramma” once in a while to amuse us but she mostly calls her Gramma Chap-an now… and in very funny ways as well.  If you could hear her yell up the stairs “Gramma Chaaaaap-aaan” you would, as they say in the texting world, ROFL.  They have just had a blast with her in town and I think she is probably going to have to sleep for a week when she gets home because they have worn her out too!

Some other notable things from the last week:


We took the kids on a trip down to Portland on Saturday to visit some of Paula’s relatives to celebrate her Grandpa’s 95th birthday.  We all met up at a restaurant and ate and opened presents.  There were some kids about their age (a little older mostly) there as well and they had some good fun running around the small reserved section of the restaurant that we had.  This was a real test of their potty training though and they did quite well although they still have trouble just going #2 whenever they need to…I think Lucie made Paula go into the bathroom with her for false #2 alarms like 6 or 7 times over the course of about 20 minutes.  That gets old.  The driving went pretty well though.  They wore pull-ups but stayed dry and went potty when we stopped for the most part.  The day before the trip, I went to the store and bought a DVD player system for the car.  It is a pretty cool system that has two screens you can strap to the back of the head rests.  One of them is actually the player and the other is just a screen that take an A/V cable feed.  The girls liked it pretty well but still got bored at times…it was much better than without.  The DVD player system leaves the car except on long trips though.


Potty Training Update

I already gave you a little update there on the Portland trip but overall things are still going quite well.  It is about time to make the leave to regular underpants at night.  The girls have now gone two naps with regular underpants and have woken up dry in pull-ups or diapers for at least one night in a row…maybe two.  Better keep pushing while the ball is rolling.  Otherwise, Mommy and Daddy will get lazy and they will be confused as to what they are supposed to do.  We are almost there!


Play Kitsap

A new indoor play area just opened here in Bremerton.  The couple that opened it because they attend our church, so we were extra excited to go support and try it out.  They opened on Saturday for the first time.  Today we finally made it down there to try it out and HAD A BLAST!  There is a bunch of stuff for the kids to do including some big inflatable bouncy houses, a HUGE inflatable slide (I think 20 feet tall or so) and some discovery areas like a grocery store, a kitchen, etc.  I don’t know how many times we went up and down that slide (yes, I went too) but it was, as Maddie would say, “lotta times”.  This is going to be somewhere we are going to visit regularly.  They even have Wi-Fi so I can get some work done there if other come with me to supervise on occassion.  Here are some pics and even a video from today.

Lotta Days

My parents have been here from Colorado for the last week or so…you may remember from the last post…they are the “Chappy-a-Gramma and Chappy-a-grampa”.  We have had some good times around the house as the girls have fun playing with them.

One of the funniest things has been Maddie arguing with Grandpa about how long he is staying.  He told her he was staying a “few days” and she immediately corrected him and said “no, lotta days”.  That turned into a constant battle between the two of them for the rest of the week about that as well as about anything else my Dad could think to use it with as well.  “You can only have a few chips, Maddie”, he would say….”No, lotta chips”, would be the response.  It was quite hilarious.

Now Chappy Grampa is gone but Chappy Gramma is still here for about another week.  The girls have been wearing her out everyday.  It is fun to watch as they learn new things.  They have started to play pretend in the last week or so.  Today and yesterday, they were pretending that the couch was a boat and there were sharks in the water (the carpet).  Oh, that brings back memories.

Potty Training Update

We had an accident free day today and both girls went to the potty without even telling me several times.  Very encouraging.  I think they just about have it down!  No more timers, no more stickers necessary (though we still did it for #2 today), and no more accidents.  This is great!

Swimming at the YMCA

One more noteworthy activity since my last post is that I took the girls swimming at the YMCA.  They love the pool but this was their first time to the pool at the Y.  They Y has a great pool for kids with a walk-in beach, a kid slide, and some fountains.  They absolutely loved it and want to go back…of course.  I imagine we will be back there next week.

Stay tuned.

Let’s get this “potty” started?

Potty Training Update

Well, as you may remember, as of my last blog post over a week ago, we were potty training the girls.  I managed to make it through all of last week potty training them during the day by myself and it got better every day!  They really did quite well and just did better and better every day.  Below is a picture of their sticker reward board from last week and their new one that they have started filling this week.  All of the treats and special things I bought at the store last Sunday night after day 2 of potty training have worked quite well.  Here are some of the tips and tricks that I learned for those that might be in this situation soon:

1)  Set a timer for every 20 minutes or so during the first few days.  One of those white baking timers that are not digital that just have a dial on them works really well.  The loud bell when it goes off is perfect.  When it goes off, you make a huge happy celebration and say “it’s time to go potty”…then they relate going potty with fun instead of relating it with punishment.

2)  Give them a sticker just for trying to go to the potty even if they don’t go, then give them an even cooler sticker for going pee-pee, and save the coolest ones for going poo.  Yes, I know I am writing about pee and poo…and it doesn’t bother me…

3)  Make sure never to scold them for having accidents and always praise them even more if they tell you they have to go.

There are others but those are the big ones.

The Other Stuff Going On

Lot’s of other stuff went on this week as well that I will quickly mention.

Monday we just stayed home and focused on potty training.

Tuesday we went to the YMCA again for the music class just like the week before. Again, the girls had fun but didn’t really participate in the music stuff a whole lot…they just ran around and played with other stuff in the room (like the balance beam).

Wednesday I don’t really remember to be honest.

Thursday we went back to the YMCA but this time it was a Toddler Sports Mix class where they have soccer nets, basketball hoops, tee ball stands, and other sports stuff out for the kids to play with. They really had a blast with that…a big hit.

Also, on Thursday, Grandma and Grandpa Chapman flew in from Colorado. So, they came over on Friday to see the girls. Maddie took to calling them Chappy-a-Gramma and Chappy-a-Grampa which is just absolutely hilarious. She has been doing it for the last several days now and it just cracks everyone up…she is a character.

The weekend kind of flew by. I got a little time in on the bike trainer, in the pool, and I got my long run in on Sunday morning. We had everyone over for our normal Sunday lunch at our house including the Chappy-a-granparents and the girls did much better this time with going potty. They are practically pros now.

Anyway, that is about all the detail I can think to put down for right now…it was a crazy week and a lot of fun stuff happened but I am too tired to go into more detail. I will try to get more posts out during the week so it is not so much to put down in one post.


I’m Busy Here

I took that straight from Maddie’s vocabulary. If she is in the other room and you ask he what she is doing in there, she will likely say, “I’m busy here” or “I’m busy now”. Which basically means that she is doing something she isn’t supposed to or at least that she doesn’t want to do what you want her to do.

Anyway, I thought it was a good title for this post because it has been a busy few days! I haven’t posted since what…Wednesday? Well, I told you the daily posting wouldn’t last. The girls made sure of that. Just too much to do with running my business, training for an Ironman, keeping the girls active, trying to keep the house from getting any more out of order, and planning meals, etc.

Here is a rundown of the last few days:


Zoo time! Aunt Nancy came over at 9 am and we all went down to the Pt. Defiance Zoo in Tacoma. Tom and Nancy are members and they get 3 free passes every time they go (crazy) so we get to go whenever we want. The girls absolutely love the Zoo (of course) and were really excited to go. I packed up lunch for all of us in backpack and we were off. We stayed from about 10am to 12 or 12:30 (don’t really remember) and did all kinds of stuff. The girls love to go to the playground there and go down the slides and even Daddy went down the slide. They also enjoyed the Tiger and the Aquarium. All the walkin wore them out quite a bit. See the pictures at the bottom of the post for some highlights. They especially loved the sharks where there were two divers in with the sharks.  Days like this are exactly what makes this decision seem like the right one…time with them like this is what it is all about.


We started the day early by going to the Church (Coram Deo Church) to help do some repair work in the nursery.  This kind of service at the church is something I have been wanting to do for a while but either didn’t have the time or didn’t make the time or didn’t make the sacrifices to make the time….or what have you.  Now, I can do it!  The nursery director met us there and helped me watch the girls while I did the repairs and modifications.  We made plans to go back next week to do some more.  I love helping out like that.

Then, we went to the girl’s speech therapy appointment.  They have been going for speech therapy for several months because the girls seemed a little slow to start talking.  They are now the stars of the class and know every answer to every question.  Lucie still has some trouble with multiple syllable words and often shortens them to the first syllable but she has made serious progress.  Now, if I could get them to stop talking….

Then, after speech therapy class it was off to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to see Suzie the dog (their basset hound).  The girls love to go see Suzie so we stayed for just a little while and then went home for lunch and nap!  Busy day already and the girls slept quite well because of it.

After nap, Grandma came over and let me go for a run.  I got a wonderful 8.5 mile run in and felt great.


Potty Training Time! That’s right it is time for hardcore potty training. We dedicated the weekend to it. One of us was with them taking them to the potty every 25 minutes or so all day. Exhausting. I did let Paula get a run in during the morning and she let me go swim in the afternoon but one of us was there potty training all day. It went fairly well despite lots of accidents…but it was looking up for Sunday. They say you can do it in two or three days and have minimal accidents after that.


More potty training! I went for my Sunday morning long run at 6am while Paula started in on the potty training again and then we continued together the rest of the day in amongst our normal Sunday lunch festivities with all of the local relatives (including the newest member…my brand new nephew Lewis). This day was not as encouraging to me. It did not seem like we made much progress from Saturday. I think all of the people were a distraction to them and we also lost our sticker and reward plan a little.

So, I went down to Walmart and bought a bunch of stuff! New special underwear with movie characters that they know, special treats, and a special new sticker board to fill up with achievements. Tomorrow is a new day and potty training will be in full swing again….by myself this time.

So, as I said…”I’m busy here”.

What can I get away with?

No not them….me!  I did a couple of things with the girls to see what I could get done while still responsibly watching them.  Here is how it turned out.

Experiment 1)  I took the girls out to the garage and tried to do P90X2 X2core while they played.  Now, the garage is not the best place for them to play so that was sure to cause problems but in the end it really wasn’t that bad.  I did have to stop the video several times but that was mostly just to tell Maddie to stop asking if she could have a popsicle…and also to get Lucie to stop climbing on me and making all of the exercises harder than they already are.  All in all, it went well and I got a good workout and the girls played with exercise bands and sat on the lawnmower.

Experiment 2)  My chiropractor came over today to work on a running e-book that we are working on together.  He and I do running clinics as a team (he does the physiological explanations and I do the drills and practical application stuff).  We work quite well together so we are writing an e-book to give out as part of our clinics and also to sell online.  The challenge here was being able to work on the book while the girls were playing.  It went fairly well.  I tried to time it so the girls would be in their chairs eating lunch when he came over but that only lasted a little while during which time they figure out how to get juice all over themselves (out of the “spill-proof” cups…still haven’t figured that one out).  When they got out of their chairs, Lucie came and sat on my lap and blocked me from seeing the computer screen and then switched to his lap (she has never met him before) and started to touch his neck and stare at him.  Very entertaining to watch that interaction.  Anyway, we got a lot done in the end and it wasn’t too bad.

Experiment 3)  Paula’s parents came over (and Aunt Nancy too) and watched the girls while I mowed the lawn.  However, I decided to take the girls for a ride on the mower to see how they would like that.  So, it turned into one girl at a time riding on my lap while I mowed the lawn and the other girl and the relatives taking pictures from the deck.  The girls loved it and switched back and forth several times.  See pics below.

Shortly after the lawnmowing, we had the joy of visiting the girl’s new baby cousing, Lewis Bradley Chapman, in the hospital! We met Paula at the hospital and each of us got to hold the little bundle of joy. He is most certainly a Chapman! He was born to my younger brother, Aaron, and his wife Leanna. The girls were a little unsure at first (especially Maddie) but the warmed up to him. That was my favorite part of the day.

After dinner, it was off to the pool for me to teach swim lessons and get a swim in myself.

Exhausted now. Tomorrow….the zoo!































Music Fun at the YMCA

So, yesterday (Tuesday), we went back to the YMCA for some more activities.  I dropped the kids off at the child watch area at about 9:45am and went and jumped on a treadmill to get a quick workout in.  Then, Aunt Nancy picked them up at the child watch area about 10:25am and took them down the hall to the music class for toddlers.  I got there about 5 minutes or so after the class started and joined in.  They seemed to have a good time but didn’t participate in all of the songs or dancing…they kinda did their own thing a lot of the time.  I think they still had fun at both.  Here are some pics and a video:



After the YMCA we came home and had lunch and took a nap!  I am learning already.  Seems that they will take one if you wear them out enough in the morning.  Then the afternoon goes much better.  They weren’t cranky and always getting into trouble in the afternoon.  Then the trick is wearing them out again so they will go to sleep at night.  So, outside we went to play in the yard.  Not a bad day at all.  I love these girls.