Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014 - It's been a while!

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all.  It has been a long time indeed, but I promise I have a good excuse ... yes, I am finally done with my dissertation after a successful defense of the 139 pages of goodness.  So, I guess that means I have more time to type now, but for this time, I think I might just do a 4 month review in pictures ... hope you enjoy!
   Graduation week with a successful dissertation defense, hooding ceremony and about 20 family members plus friends joined for a great weekend.  O yea, and I hung out with my buddy at graduation, Dougy McBuckets McDermott, Mr. All America:)        Thanks to all the family and friends that came over the Omaha and hung out, even the trip to the zoo:)    O yes, and to add to the awesome of the weekend, I also received word that in addition to successfully defending my dissertation, I was selected as one of five International Greenleaf Scholars for my research on Servant Leadership ( which includes a chance to present at the international conference next year and $2,500 to further my research.  Then, just a week before my dissertation defense, I got word that my proposal to present at the International Leadership Association Conference this fall in San Diego was accepted ... pretty exciting times:)
O yea, the Duck has been pretty awesome as well.  We just finished up with our Employee Appreciation Week, a full five days of just having a blast with my teams from luau parties and limbo to tacky Tuesday dress up contests and dance-offs, it was the best week of EAW ever.  Pretty special to work for a great company like this I must say!!

This is also the year of the concert for Jenny and I.  We started off the year with a comedy show, but then got into the music in a big way with the Lady Antebellum concert with Kip Moore.  It was an awesome performance and just a great appetizer for the Dave Matthews Band, Linkin Park and yes, Justin Timberlake performances coming up over the next couple of months ... pretty stoked, and yes, we always manage some good seats ... yes, that's Jenny hangin' with her friends:)
We also had a pretty fun trip back home during the winter where I got to see my brother Blake do an absolutely amazing job during show choir.  My sister Steph and I even got to say hey to our old show choir director Westy!  On the trip back home we also had some fun in the snow with our nieces and nephews, walking on frozen water is always fun, unless you fall in right Jeff!?:)  Speaking of falling in, this year marked a new workout endeavor with some buddies when we competed in the Spartan race in Marchish.  It was about 5 miles and 15 obstacles full of awesome, minus the rain and chilly weather.  I think I am hooked now and am looking for other events in the area!!

We have had a blast with our friends this year too celebrating birthdays in Columbia and visiting our ol' Iowa pals in Charleston.  It was great to see the Funke family down South I must say.  Then Jenny and I were honored by our good friends the Demkos when they asked us to be the godparents for their first-born Sadie.  Ok, well maybe they didn't ask, Sadie actually sent us a text ... so talented at such a young age.  It was a truly humbling opportunity and an amazing baptism for our friends indeed!

The volunteer front has amazing as well when Jenny and I were able to join some pals for the Camp Kemopalooza event for some dancing and FUNdraising.  Even more fun though was the planning and execution of the 1st Annual Time for Art event in Columbia, SC.  I felt honored to bring this event to the young professionals of Columbia where we raised over 2,600 hours of volunteerism in one night ... you'll have to check out the video to see the amazing eve:) 
Just last week when we went back to the Midwest for graduation, Jenny and I had fun visiting with our family and friends to make some great memories at the trampoline park and playing rock-em sock-em robots.  It is always great to see all of the great things our family is doing from Steph's new master's educational endeavor, to Blake finishing up his Junior year of high school (holy schnikes) to Ethan's birthday and Addison's dance recital.  So many great things happening I must say.
Welp, that is about all I could handle in a matter of four months, but it feels good to be back on the blog scene.  Thank you again to my family for all of their encouragement over the last couple years as I finished up this educational endeavor, to my friends for always being there to give me a break from studies and have fun and to the most supportive person I know, Lincoln the Labradoodle ... o yea, and my wife Jenny ... really appreciate all the support you have given me:)
Alwayz, Nate

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ahh, a Southern Snow Day - January 29, 2014

Hey there, hi there and hello there from snowy South Carolina - a couple inches of the powdery stuff has shut down the city, so we all get a bonus snow day to just hang out!  It was a great closeout to 2013 and has been a fun start to 2014.  Naturally, 2013 wouldn't be complete with our Top 10 of 2013 video recap, so hope you enjoy the good times had in the Klein household this past year:
We had a fun trip home for the holidays with a flurry of six Christmas celebrations in the matter of just a few friends which made for great times with family and friends.  Santa made an appearance at the Bridgewaters in Blairstown, tasty food in Shueyville, fun games in Manchester and sledding in Cedar Rapids, all the makings of a small-town Iowa holiday.  When we were packed and about ready to leave, I heard someone running down the stairs only to notice that Becca had packed a bag ... for what, at the time I did not know until I was informed of a plan that had just been made 5 minutes prior to have a visitor join us for the ride home:)  It was fun to have another traveler to round out the holiday visit.
O yea, then literally two days later I get a call from Jenny on my way home from work asking if I could get the next day off.  Unfortunately could not, but her plan that she and Becca devised in the last hour to go to NYC for New Year's Eve seemed like a good one.  So, January 30th about 4 hours after the idea was hatched, Jenny, Becca and Meg all hopped in the Rav4 to make their way to NYC for the big Time Square ball drop, and yes, they got to hang with Seacrest, crazy girls!
Aflac has been quite busy indeed as the 4Q into January with our quality and other teams.  Over the last couple of weeks I also took on a new role managing the day to day activities of our new business area, so it has been a fun whirlwind of learning and presentations on how we are going to close out our year, yahoo!  I enjoy a crazy day every now and again to get the juices flowin', but it makes it so much easier when you have great people on the team, which I am thankful for indeed:)
We also had our quarterly volunteer activity at the Duck where we pulled in over 125 stockings for less fortunate children in the midlands and stacked boxes for Salvation Army's gift give-a-way, it helped put a new perspective on all we have indeed.  Then, I found out my reading buddy Mykel not only was the top reader in October for his grade for books, but in November and December he was the top in the grade for words read again, pretty rewarding feeling indeed.  The Time for Art event is heating up too as it's just right around the corner on Thursday, April 3.  I have secured a few pieces of art and hope to get some more in the coming weeks.
We have had a lot of fun already in 2014 with New Year celebrations with friends and even a comedy show in town.  Jeff Dunham is one of my favorite comedians, so being able to laugh through his show was a blast, and a good ab workout:)  Then, just a couple weeks ago Jenny and I joined another 8 of our friends up in the NC mountains for a weekend of relaxation and good times.  Let's just say for the couple Olympics, team 'Merica pulled out the victory and we had a blast with our friends just hanging out without a care in the world.  This epic weekend was followed by our very own DIY plumbing experiment where we successfully saved about $400 takin' care of business, hilarious fun indeed:)
Almost forgot, about two weeks ago I was able to successfully propose my dissertation to my committee which was a great step to have done in the process.  I received some great feedback to help me as I go forward with my research and the final 40ish pages.  It's looking like maybe an August dissertation defense now as I add a few things to my topic to make it a bit more relevant, good times indeed.
Welp, Lincoln and I are going to take a nap or maybe watch a movie because there is literally nothing on the 3 stations we get during a work week:)  Hope all continues well for everyone and that 2014 has started off wondermously!