Bock Family News / Happenings
From Jon, 12/10/06
So I guess it's pretty obvious that we haven't used this web page for family matters that
much over the last year, but I still like the fact that we have it. I was kinda hoping that we'd
post regular changes in photos on here for our family to download, and I think we're getting
closer to that as I start to learn more and more about how to do it. I made our entire
Christmas Webpage for 2006 in just under 6 hours today, and it looks pretty good.
Life is great for us here in Iowa. We're starting to count down our time left here, which is
somewhat scary. When we came here in 2001, 2008 seemed like a very very long time
away. Now 2 kids an 5 years later, it's not that distant in the future. I'm still hoping that we
can wind up back in the Wisconsin area when I'm finished with my residency and fellowship.
We just found out that I've been accepted for a last year of training at Vanderbilt University
in a program for Laryngology and Care of the Professional Voice. This will basically give me
the clinical training to be a voice specialist. I plan on continuing my career after fellowship
as a professor at a major medical center, hopefully in Madison or Milwaukee. Milwaukee is
looking more and more promising, as they have already contacted me for a job interview,
even as soon as this coming summer.
In the last year, I also completed another 11 weeks away from home in Des Moines, IA for
training. That was a really long time to be away from home and my family, and it has made
me really appreciate how much they all mean to me. I'm very glad that I never have to live
apart from them for that long again.
I'll try to post news on here more often than once a year!
From Jon, 12/14/05
Well, this is my last week in Mason City. I've been working a lot on our christmas letter this
week, and I've nearly got it done. We're doing it all on the website this year, as there's a lot
more fun stuff that I can do with it. I really enjoy putting something out there that makes
people laugh a little bit - I always try to send out what I think is the coolest holiday letter I
can make. It sometimes gets a little difficult to find the time to do it, but I like doing this
website thing, cuz you don't have to print it out. Plus all of our relatives and friends can
download photos if they want to.
I've enjoyed my time in Mason City very much, and I've learned a lot about operating here.
I've also learned two other very important things: I don't think I'm cut out for private
practice otolaryngology - I miss being in a big academic center and around a large group of
colleagues. I respect what these guys do here, and it's really a great hospital, but it's just
not for me. Maybe I'll change my mind when I actually start my career in academics, but I
don't think so.
The other thing I've learned is that I am now a hopeless family man. I've been here for a
total of 9 weeks, and I've only been around my kids and wife for about 2.5 weeks of that
time. I miss them terribly, and I can't wait to get back to Iowa City and re-start my normal
Hope you all enjoy the christmas letter - check out the photos, read the old christmas letters
on there, and contact me if there is anything that you think is missing on there. I'd be glad
to add it.
Have a great Christmas. I'll post a summary of what we did over the holidays after we get
back from our Wisconsin travels with the kids.
From Jon, 11/29/05:
Still in Mason City. Cristin and the boys are here with me now, and it's much less lonely with
the family here. This is a wonderful educational opportunity for me (working with a group of
4 private practice otolaryngologists at the Mercy Hospital - North Iowa), but it is pretty
difficult taking your whole family and moving 160 miles away for 8 weeks. Cristin and
Charlie have been pretty good about accepting my absence or moving to Mason City a week
at a time to join me. This is one of those parts of medical training that you just have to get
through. Internship in general surgery was like that for me, except that was for 12 months.
2 months away from home is nothing compared to the 131 calls I took in 2001-2. Cristin
and I have spent a little time and money to try to improve the apartment as much as
possible, and even tried to make it more kid-friendly for other residents that will stay here
with their families. (All of the Iowa ENT residents rotate through here eventually.) Mason
City is a nice town, but small, and there aren't a lot of fun things to do with the kids indoors.
With 3 inches of snow and ice on the roads outside, Cristin also isn't too interested in taking
the children out on the town...
Thanksgiving was excellent. I was able to get back to see some family members in the
Madison area for the first time in 5 years (residency is pretty tough on getting away for
holidays), and we were treated to what was probably the best Thanksgiving meal I've ever
had. Cristin's sister Kerra is a caterer and prepared the whole meal, along with her boyfriend
While we were at Thanksgiving, Charlie and his cousin Audrey (age 5) had the chance to play
with the new Dora Talking Dollhouse that Audrey got for her birthday. Charlie loved it, as did
Audrey. Thus the fighting. Both kids spend most of their time alone, as neither has any
siblings that are old enough to play with (Theo basically just rolls around on the floor right
now). So when they found out that there was just one Dora figure for the whole dollhouse,
the turf wars began. After several screaming episodes from each child, we eventually had to
play defense and move the kids to separate rooms for a while. After burning off some
steam, we could bring the kids back together again. Pretty touchy situation. Both kids are
great and actually well-behaved, but for some reason that dollhouse brought out the worst in
both of them. Little did Charlie know that he had his own version of the same toy waiting for
him at home for Christmas... Cristin got it for him off of Ebay for cheap, and was waiting to
give it to him until the holiday. But after seeing how much he loved it, and thinking how
much time she'd be spending in this tiny 2 bedroom apartment in Mason City, she wisely
decided to bring it up here and unveil it on our return. He has literally been playing with the
darned thing for 2 days straight now. It's also interesting to see how he takes the Dora toys
and integrates them into his other play activities, like his Fisher Price farm, or his cars and
My brother Jeff happened to be near here on a business trip, and stayed with me here in
"The Mason" two weekends ago. Very strange having my twin brother hanging out with me
in Mason City, like our old bachelor days living together in Madison, Wisconsin. I used his
presence as an excuse to get tickets to see a show at the Surf Ballroom, a really cool 1950's
style performance venue in nearby Clear Lake, IA. We saw Shooter Jennings, son of country
star Waylon Jennings, and had a "coupla pops", as my brother likes to say. Shooter put ona
pretty good show, and it was great getting a chance to hang out with my brother for a night.
The Surf is famous becuase it was the last place that Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper played
before their fatal plane crash on the night of February 3, 1959. They still have live music
there many times a month, and many musicians use it as a tour stop between Minneapolis
and Des Moines or Omaha. The venue is very cool - huge stage that looks vaguely like a
high-school gymnasium stage, an open dance floor in front, and booth seating around the
outside of the place. On the walls in the bar are photos of all of the artists that have played
there, and it's a literal "who's who" of rock and roll and country music. Last friday night,
Jackyl played there. Sadly, we were out of town for Thanksgiving. Otherwise, you know I
woulda been in the front row and screaming for them to pull out their chainsaws.
We're here in Mason City until December 21st, when I go back to Iowa City for the rest of
the year. We're all looking forward to getting back home and returning to normalcy, but I'm
sure I'll never forget this time we've spent as a young family together in our apartment in
From Jon, 11/5/05:
I'm currently spending all of my time living in Mason City, IA, a town of about 30,000 people
near the Iowa/Minnesota border. All of the residents in the Iowa Otolaryngology program
have to spend 10 weeks there doing a private practice rotation. Mason city is actually a very
nice little town, and all of the residents really like working up there. It's one of the first
chances we get to operate a lot, and it's a wonderful educational experience. I'm lucky to
have some good friends that live in the area (former Iowa residents), and the staff are
really talented and friendly. Cristin will be joining me up for a large part of the next couple
months, along with the boys. So if you wanna get in touch, call us on our cell phones!
Charlie and Theo continue to be awesome kids. Charlie's latest new exciting trend is his
interest in being a "true princess". Dora the Explorer has an episode where Dora has to
become a true princess in order to wake up Sleeping Boots, and Charlie thinks this is the
best thing ever. This always begins by removing his pants, so he's running around in only
his diaper. He usually will then take some sort of blanket or towel and hold it up to his chin
so that it hangs down to his knees or toes. Then, in rabid flourishes he runs around the
house, randomly reciting pieces of Dora the Explorer episodes ("First... icky sand...
through... spooky forest... that's...tallest mountain!"). In order to facilitate this fantasy,
Cristin purchased a small tutu from a ballerina costume, and now Charlie proudly wears this
around the house. After 2 short weeks, it was caked with orange juice and pizza remnants,
but he doesn't care. It is the ultimate completion of his True Princess transformation. God
bless our fabulous son.
Theo is striving to win the "Best Baby Ever" award. He breastfeeds like a champ, sleeps all
the time, and smiles and giggle at just about everything. He is even the proud owner of a
single new tooth, his lower right incisor. Cristin and I can't believe that it's almost time to
start feeding him cereal and other foods - he's already 6 months old! He's also quite a
chunk, and is already growing out of most of his 6-9 month clothes before he even gets to 6
months. We both love seeing his little baby rolls of fat blossom over the months.
Cristin and I have been away from each other for most of the last 2 weeks due to my work
(Mason City, and then a trip to Washington DC for an academic meeting), and we're looking
forward to spending some quiet days together with the family in Mason City over the coming
weeks. I'm hoping to use this time to continue to write academic papers, do some
songwriting and recording (I've got a portable digital recording studio on my laptop), and
continue to work on this website.
Check into this page in the future for more news and stories about our daily lives in Iowa.
...A Bock Tradition Since 2005