Sunday, December 27, 2009

December 27, 2009 - Looking back on 2009

Hey there, hi there and hello there for the last time in 2009. Wow, what a year it has been ... I'd have to say, besides 2006, this would have to have been the best one in the history books for me:) Between visits from family and friends to unforgettable trips with Jenny, 2009 is wrapping up to be one that will be difficult to top ... but I'm going to give it a shot anyways!!
I decided instead of lots of words to recap the year, a video collage will bring back so many of the memories that will never be forgotten with a Top 10 in no particular order, hope you enjoy (
10. Getting accepted to Emory University and beginning my MBA this past fall
9. Buying my first home in Columbus, GA
8. Jenny moving down to Georgia ... big happy face;)
7. Getting a promotion to Supervisor at Aflac
6. Winning Aflac's Got Talent in front of the entire company!
5. Adopting a dog ... Caden
4. Celebrating the lives of Grandma Naber and Grandpa Klein
3. Traveling to South America: Peru, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil
2. Volunteering in New Orleans and the Live United Youth Camp
1. Visits from family and friends here and back home
Those others under consideration were trips to Chicago with Jenny, Philly with the MMC SIFE team, a triathlon at Callaway Gardens, speaking gigs in Orlando/Atlanta and the many good times with friends down here in Columbus.
I hope you all enjoyed 2009 as much as I have and I wish you all a very happy New Year! Jenny, Caden and I are going to get 2010 kick-started in Miami for a New Year's celebration with 40K Iowans as we cheer on the Hawks in the Orange bowl ... should be a blast, thanks Todd for the tickets:)
Have a great rest of the year all and thanks for the good times!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 25, 2009 - Merry Christmas to all!

Hey there, hi there and ho-ho there:) I know it has been a few days since the normal posting, but I wanted to make it a special holiday treat for all. I know many are out there celebrating with friends and family and I just want to say hi to all of them back home in Iowa!! Jenny, Caden and I miss you but wish you a very Merry Christmas indeed. A special holiday birthday wish goes out to sister Nicole, cousin Jared and grandma Seda since I last wrote ... I hope you all have great times!
I will have to say that the last week and a half or so has been pretty quiet at work. Between everyone leaving for the holidays and no one being there ... ok, it's the same thing I suppose ... not a lot is going on! I did have a few members of the team there this past week to help gather the 583 pounds of canned goods for a local shelter that was inspired by Dad and Barb's Christmas request for a gift for the greater good vs. themselves, hope you enjoyed guys:) Also, I packed up the folks at work for a team building activity at Peachtree Mall. Instead of doing a big gift exchange, I thought it'd be nice if we all gave back over the holiday season. So, seven of us ... minus John ... went to help Habitat for Humanity with their annual gift wrapping at the mall. We all have very good skillz, it's just we don't all have wrapping skills to show off, so it was a pretty funny time watching them all:)
Last week also marked our farewell to Grandpa Klein up in Manchester. Time with family close to the holidays is always good, but sometimes it can be a bit tough. I flew back on Tuesday morning and had Dad pick me up for the wake on Tuesday afternoon. You could truly tell how well respected a man Grandpa was by the steady stream of friends and family that strolled through for 6 hours straight paying their respects to quite the family man. All of the cousins, aunts and uncles were there for each other to remember all of the good times that we have had over the years. I was honored to be asked to be a lector for the services on Wednesday, "Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."~Thessalonians 4:13-18. The memories continued at Grandpa's house where all of the kids went through pictures to relive the memories of the last 20 some years in Manchester. Old birthday letters and pictures of Christmas parties filled the house once again with laughter and memories of times we will never forget. Today I'm missed Christmas up in Manchester, but know that Grandpa, Jenny and I were there in spirit and hope the days festivities were filled with memories to be cherished for years to come:) Thank you for all of the lessons and the Klein legacy Grandpa, we'll never let you down!
This past weekend also marked another Christmas celebration as the Shueyville clan flew down for an amazing weekend of relaxation, presents, ping-pong and plenty of food. They arrived late Friday evening to a warm greeting from Caden and the Columbus crew:) Saturday we took in some upside down french toast and some unwrapping of presents throughout the day. I finally got my ping pong table which we later hosted a family-size tournament along with a sleuth of other great gifts from family. We also visited our favorite restaurant, Fuji, for some hibachi action before a night at Callaway Gardens. Apparently when people come down to visit us, they're expecting decent weather, but we decided to give them a taste of home with mid-30's and some misty rain as we waited 90 minutes for the jolly trolly ... o was it worth it though! An hour of caroling on the trolley through the Christmas Fantasy in Lights display may have not warmed the toes, but it did the holiday spirit.
Sunday it was off to St. Anne's after some eggs and a good bit of playing with Christmas gifts. Between the Big Buck hunter, video-taping random activities and more ping pong ... we easily justified the 9,000 calories of Christmas candy that was consumed throughout the weekend. Now although Jenny and I couldn't be home for Christmas, the holiday greetings we received from family and friends back home truly made for a holiday to remember. Thank you all so much for all that you have done for us and we hope your holiday was full of good cheer!!
This weekend I hope to be putting together the 2009 Top 10 as a new blogging tradition before Jenny and I pack up for a New Year's celebration in Miami with 40,000 of our closest Iowa friends down there for the Orange Bowl ... thanks Todd for the tickets, it's going to be a blast!
Until next time all, have a wonderful Christmas day:)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 13, 2009 - Thanks for the memories Grandpa

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all. The hardest thing isn't always saying goodbye, but realizing that the sorrow we have shouldn't be so, rather it should be joy in knowing that the ones we love are in a better place where they aren't in pain and their worries are taken away. Grandpa, you gave us all the most amazing memories from words of advice to those of encouragement. You instilled in us discipline and a work ethic that anyone looking at the Klein family can see. You gave us all these things without expecting a thing in return except hard work and our best effort, whether your kids or grand kids. I can't thank you enough for everything, but most importantly, our Dad and an amazing group of people we call family ... without you, none of us would be here today!
Aflac went pretty darn well this week, mostly because of the great team I've got around me. It's not as crazy around the holidays with so many people out, but it's good to catch up on some projects and get prepared for the new year. I gave some updates on retention initiatives we have going on in addition to helping validate our new redesign, you should check it out ... pretty sweet I must say! Our team also started a canned food drive this week with the Policy Service department, I can't wait to see what we can bring in:)
Emory wrapped up this week with my final first semester final on Wednesday, what an exhilarating feeling indeed. I felt pretty good about my first semester. I've learned so much and have been able to apply it to the Duck. Additionally, I have met some pretty amazing classmates along the way and felt good about being able to contribute to class discussions. Since Emory thinks they have to be different, we don't get letter grades, rather distinctions. It starts at the top with DS (Distinction), HP (High Performer), PS (Performance Standard) and LP (Low Performer). Knowing what I'd have to give up to sustain top marks in every class, I made it a goal of mine to go for PS and HPs from time to time, but it looks like Econ must've been my subject as I pulled out a DS and an HP in Decision Analysis. Next semester I'll start up in a Finance course as well as Marketing, should be pretty exciting indeed.
Well, I suppose I should go finalize my flight plans back home to say farewell, make some meatloaf and play with the dog. I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends this week back home to celebrate Grandpa's life and how he helped shape us all. Thanks again and have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

December 6, 2009 - Happy Holidays!

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all and welcome to December, crazy to think it's almost the end of the year. I know it's been a week or so, but travel and getting back in the swing of life in Columbus has kept my blog at bay:)
Aflac has been a whirlwind over the last couple of weeks, but has culminated recently in my realization that I have the most amazing team around. We've been quite busy with projects and we recently moved to a new location at the Paul S Amos campus. Our team finally got a US Steering Committee Project approved which has to be presented to the President and COO in the next couple of weeks. I've continued to help blog for the Duck Pond and help drive improvements for our accounts, which is very exciting. I had somewhat of an intervention with the team this past week, a 1.5 hour session which was some of the best team time we have had in the year+ I have been leading the team. We really laid everything out as to where we think we are as a team and it was amazing to hear how proud they are of the work that we do and the camaraderie we have together, something I am very thankful for! I can't wait to see what the New Year will bring for us.
My first semester at Emory is winding down this week with a recap session tomorrow night and a final on Wednesday. Over the last couple of weeks we've had some group case work and a great presentation the Monday after Thanksgiving. Our class was given the opportunity to look at Atlanta Falcons season ticket holder data, analyze the findings and present our recommendations to our professors and classmates. It was pretty interesting to take what we've learned all semester long and apply it to a real world example, I guess this would be the reason I chose to go to Emory ... the opportunities to truly dive into the learning! Next semester we tackle Marketing and Finance, bring it on!
I will have to admit that the Thanksgiving break back home was just absolutely fantastic. The big 3 F's: family, friends and food:) Have you ever seen that movie "4 Christmases"? Well Jenny and I made the sequel, "6 Thanksgivings and a Christgiving" (yes, a mixture of Thanksgiving and Christmas:). We had meals in Shueyville, Blairstown, Cedar Rapids and Manchester with great family bonding laced in with all of it. We spent a good bit of time with Jenny's family, and of course had a wonderful "Ugly Sweater" party to celebrate birthdays and Christmas. I was really glad we were able to spend quality time with all the family members and even visit with some of our friends where Gump got to see my broken leg and good-lookin' toes for the first time;)
This past week has just flown by and culminated with a great party at the pad. We had our annual Dirty Chinese Elephant SIFE get-together, but this year I thought it'd be a good idea to implement a couple new traditions. First we instituted the ugly sweater contest (of which only 3.5 people participated, boo fun-haters) and then we took our group's philanthropic attitude and contributed to Open Door Community House. Everybody brought two gifts, one for a random gift exchange that was a blast and then another to help brighten the Christmas of those that might not get too much over the holidays. We all picked an age group and gender to purchase gifts for and tomorrow Jenny will take two Santa size garbage bags full of gifts for the children of Open Door, what a great feeling indeed.
Saturday we all got together again for the Easter Seals pancake breakfast. We helped them clear I believe more than $4,500 in sales with our flap-jack flipping skills, but I as the cripple was dubbed as the drink-passer-outer-guy ... which I tried to complete with flair:) Then, last night we all got dolled up for the annual Aflac Christmas party at the Civic Center. Jenny and I cut a rug with all our friends (including my mentor and a fellow cripple Bob Ottman) and did a lot of the one-legged shuffle.
This week looks to be a great one as I wrap up the semester at Emory and start helping the team get to the next level at work. O yes, I just heard from my old pal Todd Dunford that since our dear Iowa Hawkeyes just got a BCS invite, he had extra tickets ... so Jenny and I are going to start the New Year off right with a trip to Miami, Florida with 40,000 of our nearest and dearest Iowa friends. It will be a fantacular time indeed.
Hope you all continue to have a great December in preparation of the holiday season.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November 22, 2009 - Thanksgiving Week Begins

Hey there, hi there and hello there to everyone during this Thanksgiving week. First off, I have to give a shout out for a couple Bridgewater birthdays ... Becca Boo Bear and Deb, can't wait to celebrate! I have many things to be thankful for, like family, friends, a great job, my dog, a wonderful girlfriend and at least one healthy leg ... the other one, not so much ... more to come:)
Work was fun this week with all sorts of time spent on the future state of the department as well as plenty of blogging on the Duck Pond! We found out that our team will be physically moving in a couple weeks up to the 2nd floor of our big ol' campus. Our team outing on Friday was a great time as we ventured to the Farmhouse for some good down south country cookin'.

School is just about wrapping up for the semester as well as this last week brought my last Decision Analysis class leaving me with a 2 question final as well as a presentation, group case and in class final for the other ... ok, maybe it's not winding down! Luckily, I think I have most of the work done, just need to hammer it all out.

Thursday night we had a pretty intense quarter-final matchup for our kickball league. After a big win, we qualified for the Thursday night final to be played on Saturday (confusing I know). Saturday is the day that brought the most excitement though as we geared up for an epic battle. It was about the 3rd inning when Jenny made a great snag in the outfield for the second out of the inning and she threw it in. As I jumped up to grab the ball to put the tag on the base runner, I got undercut and unfortunately the ground broke my leg's fall ... apparently it looked pretty nasty as I heard the "pop pop pop" of my leg telling me that wasn't good! As I lay there thinking about how we're going to move people around in the field, everyone came over where we luckily learned, that even though my knee was facing backwards, it was not my knee that took the brunt of it.

My second visit to Jenny's work was indeed not even when she was working, but rather to the ER for a fast track x-ray. Turns out I did twist my leg a bit and that bones don't tend to twist with you, leaving me with a spiral fracture and displacement of my fibula, pretty sweet I know. I made friends with the doctor, so he gave me a copy of the x-ray, which was pretty sweet as you can see. I have to go see a specialist on Monday to determine if I need to have surgery or not, but it looks like it'll most likely be a six week cast/boot. I feel pretty lucky it wasn't my knee or my right leg, but after a day and a half of crutches, I will say that it is just really inconvenient to have a broken leg. Especially with lots of travel coming up. Good thing I have a great girlfriend that has been helping me out quite a bit ... and no, I will not be getting a bell for service:)

Welp, I can't wait to see everyone back home in a couple days and am looking forward to getting lots of food to fill up my boot;) I hope you all have a fantacular Thanksgiving with boundless things to be thankful for!!

Thanks again for the good wishes and have a great eve.



Sunday, November 15, 2009

November 1, 2009 - Love the drive!

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all. What a wonderfully relaxing weekend it has been in the 70 degree weather down here:) This week there is a happy anniversary wish going out to Byron and MarJoan, congrats!
Aflac is still going strong week in and week out. Our PIC team is still very much the go-to for the whole department and at times, I think we do such a good job that we get many-a-thing that is not in our scope ... good thing that we operate under the "One Team One Dream" motto:) I am pretty excited about tomorrow as we're having the first ever "Dumb Letter Fair." At Aflac, we mail our customers a lot of letters, some of which we believe are completely unnecessary. This year along our team has identified 3 letters that we've cut off saving the company >$560K ... just imagine how many we're going to be able to get tomorrow when the entire production floor gets to help us identify the dumb ones;) I love coming up with new ways to save some money, this will be fun!
Now this week was just madness for my Emory endeavor. Last Sunday I was up on campus for a group project, which was followed by classes on Monday/Wednesday nights. Friday evening Jenny and I got all dressed up for the Evening MBA holiday gathering at a bar house in Atlanta, which was a great time to just chill and not worry about work or school. O yes, and then we drove back Friday night so Jenny could go to work the next day and I could drive back up for some more group study time. Five trips up and back to Atlanta in seven, good thing the Honda is getting about 35 mpg:) I can't complain though because I am learning a great deal and my team is pretty much awesome, so it's going to be sad to say farewell in the next couple of weeks as we switch groups.
This week was pretty fun on the volunteer front as well. Thursday the United Way Executive Director invited me to his bi-monthly board of directors meeting to recognize the efforts for the Live United Youth camp, and they gave me a sweet Live United sweatshirt;) Even more special this week though was at the exec council meeting for the Literacy Alliance. After less than two years on the board, they have asked me to be the Chairman of the Literacy Alliance for 2010 ... what an honor! Although I will need a great deal of help and have a lot to learn, I am very excited about the opportunity to reshape the board and truly get all the members engaged. We should have a great year to look forward to with new board members and new ideas to showcase the great impact we're having on the community.
The weekend was just icing on the cake to a wonderful week. Last night we ventured out on the town with some pals from work and today was a time to chillax. I think after today I am about 87% done with my Christmas shopping, which is ridiculously awesome. Jenny and I also took Caden for a walk around Flat Rock park and played a lot of fetch; hope you enjoy the pics:) I also figured out that Netflix is awesome because we can now download movies straight from the internet onto the PS3, which we did and watched STOMP live ... fantacular!
Welp, I think that's about all I have for now ... the countdown is on for our Thanksgiving visit back home, 10 days!!
Until then, you have a wonderful week.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 8, 2009 - Great Visitor Weekend!

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all. What a wondermous week of work and wiley-good times (couldn't think of another W word, so a hyphen works). Steph celebrated her 23rd birthday and this week marks Lindsey's birthday too ... hope it's full of good times o niece of mine;)
It was another one of "those" weeks at Aflac with countless meetings, a few fires but all good times. We had a new member join our team this week, Ivy Hines - a SIFE Analyst from Georgia. Also, Alicia came back after being out for 6 weeks, so it was welcome week on the team. I'm starting to get my head around all the responsibilities a bit more, but when I start putting it down on paper they keep adding up! I guess that is a good thing though since my badge still works, so I will just keep on keeping on;)
I put my first midterm up on the fridge from Emory with a 95%, yahoo. There are many-a-project going on right now, but only three weeks left in my first semester. I actually spent the majority of today up at Emory working on a regression analysis for my Decision Analysis class ... yes, much analysis was involved!! Lastly we worked on the Atlanta Falcons data we received; I'm really looking forward to diving into it to see what recommendations we're able to make to their organization to improve renewal rates for season ticket holders ... a real world example of what we're learning in the classroom.
Kickball was fantastic this week with a big 15-3 win over an undefeated team, doesn't get any better than that. I think every single one of the girls on our team has scored this season now with much excitement. This week also marked the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens, an absolutely amazing event.
It was all set up for greatness when two of Jenny's sisters, Becca/Kim, and her old roomy Ali came down for an awesome weekend! They arrived Friday morning for a hang out day before Fuji and mini golf. Let's just say that the Fuji mixed with a Scrambledog (chili dog and Japanese Hibachi) made the mini golf quite the experience for my belly and I:). Friday night we turned in early so we could get up to enjoy horsegating (tailgating at a horse race - brilliant). Our group was about 20 strong and after many Capri Sun chugging contest, pigs in a blanket, football tosses and games of bagg-o, we could officially call the party a success at Callaway. Needless to say though, I did not win the fancy hat contest ... probably b/c the Hawks pulled off the first big L of the year.
That evening I headed off to witness the wedding of Rio and Josey down at the Garrett Bullock House. It was a small ceremony, but tons of fun nonetheless. I had some cake, ran around holding other guys' hands (don't ask) and learned a new dance (pictured above). A huge Rock Band party followed at our place where the Bridgewater sisters and Ali dominated the country version of Rock Band. Although their visit was short, it was a blast ... thanks ladies for a great weekend!
Welp, one more weekend closer to the trip back for Thanksgiving and Jenny/I can't wait. Hope everyone has a great week and we're wishing you the best Grandpa, our thoughts/prayers are with you:)
Nate Klein

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November 1, 2009 - Happy Birthday Sis!

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all. A special happy anniversary to Dad/Barb tomorrow as well as birthday wishes to Sarah "Sunshine" Jencks and of course, my little sister Steph ... wow, you're getting old!
Aflac was again very busy this week with the elevation of our big project this past weekend. We've had over 400 people sign up for the Duck Pond (yahoo) and of course we've received some positive, and negative feedback ... but constructive feedback nonetheless. Our team is being tasked with more and more items, so hopefully we either get some more resources, or we start to grow a third hand:) I wouldn't have it any other way though, because sitting around twiddling my thumbs is just no fun at all! This week we do get a SIFE Analyst to rotate on the team for the next five months, so I hope Ivy has a good experience and is able to contribute a great deal to the team.
Of course, this was theme week for kickball since it was close to Halloween, so our team chose to be Adam/Eve. Not only did we win the game, we dominated the contest with some great git-ups;) Friday I also dressed up for Halloween as the ShamWOW! guy (pictured above), with the towel and all. Although many asked that I provide a demo, I was not able to fit it in to the day:( Friday night Jenny and I joined some friends for a new thing in Columbus called No Shame Theatre. We packed out the Springer and there were 15 slots for 5 minute skits, anything goes. We saw rhythmic poetry, dance routines, improv, broadway singing and my favorite, hilarious short poems that had me rolling on the ground. It was a great time followed by more fun on Saturday painting with Easter Seals and handing out candy at the house.
Emory is pretty crazy right now with 3 different team projects, so I spent all day today up in Atlanta while Jenny was busy making money to put food on the table. Lots of study time was had, but it was fun to come back and run around with Caden and play fetch:)
I think Jenny and I are both looking forward to the weekend when Kim and Ali will join us for some No Shame Theatre and the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens ... it's going to be a blast. O ya, and Rio/Josey are getting hitched this weekend, wow!
Hope you all have a fantacular week and please keep Grandpa in the prayers ... he's still got his great humor;) Thanks again for everything everyone.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

October 25, 2009 - Live United!

Hey there, hi there and hello there. What does it really mean to Live United? That's what this weekend has been all about, a life-changing experience for the students and volunteers:) O yes, one more week until Halloween as well and I still need to figure out what I'm wearing to work!
Aflac was still pretty busy this week even though I was there only Monday through Thursday. We had our big Online Service roll-out this week with a re-skin and the elevation of the Duck Pond, an online community for our accounts to share, connect and learn. I was asked to be the community manager, so it shold be a pretty interesting next few months to see how we can incorporate all the feedback into what we do to improve the customer experience. This week was also the final week for my appraisals, which I administered to most of my team on Thursday. The best feeling is walking out of an appraisal and having every single employee thank you for a fair and just eval, great feeling indeed:) O yes, and I received mine that went quite well too.
I handed in my 19 page Econ final on Wednesday, the first one to hand it in of the 100 classmates ... now, I don't think that guarantees the A, but I tel you what ... lifts a huge weight off my shoulders for the weekend. I am very excited about my new Processing Systems class too that talks about process innovation, improvements and manufacturing systems. The professor is pretty engaging and the topics are truly relevant to what I've done in the past and what I'm doing today.
The best part of the week started Friday morning as we began day one of the 1st Annual Live United Youth Camp. This was an idea that was sparked from my mom's Pacesetter Youth Camp back at the United Way of East Central Iowa, so I brought it to Columbus about 10 months ago. All of the planning was worth it to see the impact the camp had on these 12 seventh grade students' lives. Friday we focused on what others do without money, so many lessons on homelessness were learned at Open Door Community House and the Homeless Resource Network. They volunteered with a showering program, listened to a homeless man tell his story, participated in a homeless simulation and helped Open Door by stuffing 372 bags of candy for kids less fortunate. The end of the day reflection gave me goosebumps for a half an hour when the kids shared their aha moment of the day and how it had changed their lives. Saturday the students helped sort clothes for the Columbus Dream Center, played some soccer tennis and bought clothes for those less fortunate after a tour of Goodwill. Today was our last day, so we all met up at the local Wal-Mart where we split the kids into 6 groups of 2 as they brainstormed ideas for items to give back to Open Door and the Homeless Resource network. Each team had $50 to buy tubs, backpacks, toiletries, rec equipment, blankets and so much more for these well deserving agencies. The graduation ceremony brought all of the student's parents together to learn about the weekend, and instea of going on for another 4 pages, I'll let you check out the video we showed the parents ( & (
I've always volunteered, but helping others learn the importance of giving back is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. Thanks to all the volunteers, agencies and most importantly, the students for an experience of a lifetime!
Hope you all have a week in which you can learn what Living United is all about:)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

October 18, 2009 - Thank you all!!!

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all. I can't thank everyone enough for everything over this last week. Turning 25 seemed like it would be just another day in the neighborhood. It was anything but, thanks to Jenny's birthday week, all the family/friends good wishes/gifts from here and back home and my team's 250 balloons in my cubicle:)
Working in a cubicle that has a lid and 250 balloons in it is quite exciting, I don't think many other folks at Aflac have had that experience ... although it's a great one! Work was pretty darn busy last week with 2010 planning and preparing for the Duck Pond next week. It only took 20 meetings to get all of that done;) My team is absolutely awesome though with my birthday and boss's day celebrations to boot. We were called upon quite a bit this week by our VP to prepare reports for executive management since we've gained a reputation as a team the can put together some visually sweetacular documents:) And yes, we finally got all of the performance appraisal material finalized; yahoo!!!
I had a pretty interesting Literacy Alliance meeting this week as treasurer ... I really need to get my head around all of those financial reports. We have our quarterly board meeting this week, which I am thoroughly looking forward to. Also, we had a Young Professionals gathering on Friday where I was recognized for my work on the FUNdraising committee. It looks like the YP has really turned themselves around with new leadership, so I may try to get involved at a small level with the Servant Leadership group. But, the most exciting part of the volunteer work is coming this weekend, starting Friday with the 3 day Live United Youth Camp. Twelve seventh grade students from around the community will come together with volunteers to put on the first annual volunteer camp in Columbus, which was inspired by the United Way camp back home. Instilling a sense of altruism into today's youth will make a huge difference in the future ... I can't wait to post the video for you all next week:)
Emory has been crazy busy this past week as well since Wednesday was my last Econ class and I just got finished up with a ridiculous 19 page final. O, and then my other class of course had a midterm take-home exam in addition to preparation for my new operating systems course which includes a 300 page book (luckily one of my partners had The Goal on CD ... gotta love the 8 hours of driving each week for class:). Lastly, we did have a pretty fun activity on Saturday morning up in Atlanta where the consulting firm Deloitte came and worked with us on hypotheses consulting techniques. Then, the Atlanta Falcons folks came to give us some fan data that we get to analyze and present solutions for the real-world application of the program.
This weekend was fun too with Caden and numerous games of fetch. Friday night Jenny and I went to the new movie Law Abiding Citizen (1.5 thumbs up) and then Saturday we all got together for a haunted walk-about in downtown Columbus, GA. Sunday has been very relaxing knowing that the Iowa Hawkeyes are in the top ten and Packers are back on the winning track.
Pretty busy week ahead I suppose, so I better get back to Transformers to help rejuvenate me before the week begins!
Have a great week all and thanks again for all of the birthday wishes.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October 11, 2009 - A glorious start to birthday week

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all! Wow, this is the week I get to realize a nice reduction in my car insurance ... 25 came quite fast I must say! I owe some birthday wishes out to my godfather Uncle Dave, sister Sarah, cousin Haleigh and Grandpa Seda ... hope you all had wonderful celebrations indeed:)
After a weekend back home, it was a tough week to catch up back at work with all of the backlog to catch up on. It was customer service week at Aflac, so our team came up with some ideas to get in better touch with our customer base both internally and externally. This week I also had to put on my old analytical hat for some Online Services projections; with everyone looking to tighten up budget, everyone's figures are being put into question to figure out how we can get more with less, should be an interesting 2010! Tuesday my boss lady let me stay up in Atlanta to finish up my team's performance appraisals, which is an interesting task in itself.
I stayed up north on Monday night through Tuesday because we had class up at Emory Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night because of a make-up class. I'm actually taking a break right now from analysis-overload with my Managerial Econ final ... yeah, I typed final. This course is only a six week course, so this Wednesday is my final class. It's been a pretty productive day getting the homework for both Monday and Wednesday done and with about two weeks left for the take home final, I think I'm about 50% done ... hopefully I can get motivated to just get it done today:) Next Saturday our whole class gets to meet with Atlanta Falcons officials to take a gander at some of their fan data to provide them with some recommendations at the end of the semester, should be a blast!
I feel bad for the folks back home with mid-November weather and snow whilst I sit here in the gorgeous 75 degree wonderfulness;) Jenny and I went for a long walk with one of Caden's new buddies, Mya, over on the RiverWalk. The pooch is even learning how to fetch, it's pretty fun! Sit, walking well, shake, come and now fetch ... all in a matter of 2 months, we're pretty excited!! O yes, and Thursday night's kickball game ended with our team on top 20-1. I didn't think that would be possible, but every time I stepped up, I tried to hit it over the fence, only to settle for an inside-the-park homer ... I even tried to pop the ball up as far as I could, they just couldn't catch it out in the grass:) Our team is good and we always have a blast.
Well, this week should be somewhat normal, if there is such a thing:) I hope you all have a fantacular week and until next time, have fun!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October 6, 2009 - What a great weekend back home!

Hey there, hi there and hello there everyone. Sorry it took so long to get on the ol' blogging action, but a late Sunday night flight and Monday night class until 10:45 just pushed it back until today:) It's been a wonderfully exciting last week and a half though, I can barely contain myself typing!

I think I found the culprit of the crazy work load ... Aflac Work Load = (Starting Class X Each additional layer of management to report to X the number of people to report to X the number of reports) / working with great people. I think I will submit that to my boss, maybe professor, to see if that's the right equation. There are a lot of big projects going on and I just found out the big online service and blogging initiative I have been working on is being postponed because of another project. I'm kind of bummed because I was really looking forward to becoming a community manager for this new technology, o well, December will come soon enough. This week also marks the start (and hopefully the finish) of performance appraisal season. I took today to stay up in Atlanta to be secluded from meetings and emails to git ir done and I think all I have to do is deliver it now, yahoo! This week our team also took part in a volunteer team-building activity for the Literacy Alliance by stuffing dictionaries for the local 3rd graders, great way to end the work week I must say.
School is going very well up at Emory, I do have to say I have an awesome group that I'm working with that makes it better. I received an A on my first returned assignment, so I'll probably end up posting that one on the fridge;) It's crazy to think, but next week is already midterm time for one of my classes and final time for another ... hopefully the take home Econ exam isn't too much of a dooozy. I did have to have make up class tonight though since a class was cancelled due to flooding, so class Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night is going to be a bit ... well, interesting.

Best part of the last week though was the trip back home to Iowa. I wish Jenny could've joined, but as she says, "someone has to put food on the table!" I flew back Thursday afternoon to watch my studdette of a sister coach her volleyball team to victory at the brand-spankin' new Prairie Point Academy ... very impressive I must say. That night I was able to catch up with my ol' roomies Flugum and Horman and of course Jenna and Jess. Horman's house looks amazing and Gump's hair is glorius if I do say so myself. Friday, one of my old SIFE advisors Anne King asked me to come speak to her Principles of Marketing class. It was great to chat with the students about the Duck and their college years. One of them even sent a note to Anne, "I have to say that Nate was one of the best people I have seen to keep an audience intrested throughout the whole time of his presentation." ~Maria. Ok, so I guess Maria wasn't the guy in the back that was nodding off during class, but that was pretty cool to hear back. I even ran into one of my old babysitter friends from over 15 years prior, what a small world. For lunch I met up with some of the former MMC SIFE ladies Ashley, Miranda, Lindsay, MJ and her squeeze at Victor's Place. It's always great to see those girls and congrats to you Ashley on the wedding coming up this weekend. Friday night we had a big block party in Shueyville with some of the neighbors. It was fun to catch up with the family and have some good eats. Saturday morning I ran out to the Farmer's Market for a breakfast burrito before heading up to visit Grandpa Klein. Life is rough getting old and I never want to do it, but he is holding in their strong with good spirits ... It was great to see him to say hello. We also had my niece Addison's birthday party on Saturday which was a blast to see the other family for a bit.

It was also Mount Mercy homecoming weekend, so that afternoon I headed up to the Mount for an honors program reunion to meet up with some of my favorite professors. That night was Jenny's sister Becca's homecoming out in Benton too (yes, she is putting her arm around an imaginery you Jenny), so I ventured out to Atkins to take some photos with her in the beautiful dress and to strike fear into her date's eyes ... ok, maybe just make him laugh a bit. Saturday night was the ol' MMC SIFE reunion at CSPS where I got to chat with lots of old friends and remember back to the good days in SIFE. I am so thankful that I was a part of such a great organization with wonderful people. Sunday I wrapped up the trip with lots of family time, a sleepover at Steph's and ice cream with Jenny's fam (and a pic with Karley of course). A quick weekend indeed, yet full of fun times before it was back to Columbus.
I'm looking forward to spending some more time with Caden and Jenny in the next few weeks as fall settles in ... no big trips planned right now, but it could all change this weekend:)

Hope you all have a great day and a wonderful week ahead.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 27, 2009 - Happy Birthday Barb!

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all. We're about two hours away from a big birthday celebration for Barb, I hope you have a wonderful day and I can't wait to see you and the rest of the family later this week:)
I have to admit, it was another crazy work week at Aflac with performance appraisals under way and our team still trying to figure out what this whole PIC team transition is all about. Looks like we're going to be physically moving in the next few weeks, so it's a good thing I kept all of my boxes for an excursion to the 2nd floor of our campus. It's always nice to change up the scenery every now and again. This week isn't shaping up too badly either, so it should be a smooth transition into MMC Homecoming weekend and my trip back to Iowa on Thursday afternoon.
So if you haven't heard, apparently Mother Nature is trying to make up for the last two years worth of draught with a ridiculous amount of rain down here in the south. So much that my Monday evening class up at Emory got cancelled because of the intense flooding of the area. Don't worry, they're so kind up there that they rescheduled class just for us:) I'm enjoying it thus far though learning about economics, demand functions of elasticity for baseball teams and being able to apply decision analysis ... very cool!
The week included a great weekend as well with a big Iowa and Green Bay win! We also had a nice SIFE shindig with a Saturday night Murder Mystery Dinner theatre. It was all capped off by a nice dog date with a couple German Sheppards and a Great Dane named Rocco ... Caden had a blast!
This week I was very fortunate to have been asked to head up to the Aflac Cancer Center for Kids up at Emory Hospital for a ribbon cutting event. About twenty of Aflac's executives, including our CEO, went up to tour this amazing facility of which our employees and field members have donated more than $50 million dollars for in the last ten years. Seeing the rooms and hearing the stories of these kids again made me realize why I choose to make the most of every day. If a kid with neuroblastoma or another that has experienced 10 chemo treatments can have a contagious smile on his face for the world to see, who am I to say that I'm having a bad day ... it really puts things into perspective.
Another tragic event helped me understand how precious life is too this week. A member of my team was close to celebrating the birth of her first baby boy at 37 weeks. Unfortunately, after a check-up visit, the doctor could not find the pulse of the baby and after an ultrasound, we learned that baby Anthony would be leaving us before he joined us. I can never imagine going through this, but Alicia is such a strong woman that she knows that while she may not understand why her, she knows that the big guy has a plan for us all. May the love of those friends and family around you help you through the days ahead.
To my friends and family back home, I can't wait to see you and I wish you all a wonderful week. Happy birthday again Barb and best wishes to you Alicia.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

September 20, 2009 - Another day in the neighborhood

Hey there, hi there and hello there. Just another week in the neighborhood and a happy birthday wish to my older cousin Kacie ... lookin' forward to seeing you and grandpa in a couple weeks! Also, a congratulations goes out to our neighbors Andy and Beth on their first newborn son Aiden ... yup, Aiden and Caden are going to be good pals!
Work at the duck was pretty fun this week as we start to figure out our new team structure. We're gearing up for performance appraisal season, so it's going to get a little crazy over the next few weeks I do believe. Wednesday I attended my first state of the company meeting where all the leadership at Aflac gathers to discuss the financial stability of the company and paints a picture for the year to come. Thursday I also had a chance for an all day training course in Precision Leadership. It was great to learn from my peers about their experiences and even tell some personal stories of what was/was not working on the team.
The beginning of the week started off well as I was asked to speak at a local alternate high school by one of my fellow Miss Georgia board members. I used parts of my Prairie High commencement speech to reach out to the students and it went great! I thoroughly enjoy chatting with that age group, even if I only got through to one of them I'll consider it a successful morning:) The Live United Youth Camp is only a month away as well and we're almost done with all of the preparations, I am pretty pumped ... it's going to be a great experience.
O yes, then Jenny and I went on a date ... yeah, a real live date. Mom, you would've been proud, I only used two coupons for the whole date;) We went out to eat and then to a great show at the Springer Opera House, a little Footloose action. It was a great show at the Springer, as always great seats and wonderful acting.
Welp, should be a pretty quick week again this week with lots of work action and school too. A long day up at Emory today helped me realize why I was not a mathematician, who likes regression decision analysis anyways ... yes, I got to draw it out on the big black board:)? Class is going well though, so I guess I'll keep on truckin'.
Don't forget to have a wonderful week ... the countdown is on until I come back home in a couple weeks for the MMC alumni weekend, yahoo!