Sunday, September 28, 2008

The end of Summer.

Yesterday, we loaded up the car and headed West into the mountains to connect with Mother Nature one last time before the snow flies. Our first stop was a fishing pond ironically named, Trout Haven. If it really were a haven for trout, we wouldn't have been able to pull them out, one after another, in a matter of minutes.

Berlin was a natural. Jamison, not so much.

It wasn't until after we were done that I realized the haven in Trout Haven actually meant it was a haven for their bank account. At a buck an inch, our easy-to-catch, surprisingly huge trout took a chunk out of the ol' pocket book.

We then headed off to our favorite family hiking spot, Lily Lake.

We took a family photo on an old, dead tree. James didn't approve of the composition.

Although wearing pants, James took to the lake anyway.

But we couldn't get mad at him with his defensive toothy grin. It successfully combats all parental aggression.

Berlin wanted her photo taken with this duck. Immediately afterward, James pelted it with rocks.

And that was our connection with Mother Nature. We came, we saw, we threw rocks, we injured, we gutted, we took a bunch of pictures, we left. See you next year.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh behold the Fall Festival at Eagle Crest Elementary.

Tonight, Berlin's school held its annual Fall Festival - a carnival complete with bounce houses, food, games, dancing, various booths and of course, a cake walk. After we made the rounds, we decided to conclude our Fall Festival festivities with this time-honored festival affair. Now, for those of you who aren't familiar with the cake walk, it's very simple. Numbers are placed on the floor in a large circular pattern. Each child begins by standing on a number. When the music starts, they all begin walking from number to number in clockwise fashion. When the music stops, they stop. Then, a number is drawn from a hat and whoever is left standing on that number wins their choice of a cake.

Pretty simple, right? Seems like a great game for really small children, right? Makes sense that said game would be at the Fall Festival in an elementary school, right?

Then you can imagine my confusion as I watched my four-year-old daughter and about 15 other preschoolers walk from number to number alongside a much older, much huskier, much tank toppier, much raspier, much stretch pantier, much louder, much hungrier woman.

At first I thought, "Oh, she's just helping out with the children. But after six rounds with no wins, it was very apparent that she was, in fact, a full fledged contestant and steadfast on getting her a darn cake! As she yelled back and forth to her husband (who, incidentally had a billowy gray beard, coveralls and really bad breath), a very palpable sense of discomfort loomed over the other parents in the room. It would be safe to say there was an elephant in the room (seriously, I swear the pun is not intended).

Unfortunately, after several attempts, Berlin wasn't able to win a cake. But she was a great sport. More importantly, a great life lesson was learned by all.

If you're a rotund woman in your 40's, you might want to sit out the cake walk.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Road Trip to Durango, CO.

Earlier this week, Hailey, Jamison, Berlin and I took to the road for what would be a weekend full of adventure. Of course, eight hours straight in the car with the kids is always an adventure. I drove. Hailey slept. James wigged out. And Berlin made up songs.

Once we turned off of I-25 and headed into the Colorado mountains, I was quickly reminded of why Colorado is so beautiful during this time of year.

After what seemed like a gazillion hours, we finally pulled into a small town called Pagosa Springs where a resort filled with natural hot springs beckoned us to spend the night.

After we had sufficiently soaked, it was back on the road to our final destination, Durango, CO. For those of you who don't know, Hailey's father, Keith, runs an outdoor outfitter there. They do raft trips, jeep tours, atv tours, and whatever else they can get people to pay for. Now, Keith is an interesting guy. For example, if you go visit Keith, you can expect to be put to work. I've shuttled paying passengers over summits, driven jeeps, handed out brochures and more. So, it was with little surprise we pulled up to see Keith's 85 year old mother from Idaho perched out front of the kiosk handing out brochures to people walking by. Somehow, we managed to avoid any major work-related duties this trip.

Perhaps one of the greatest parts of the trip was taking the ATVs way up into the mountains. I had Berlin with me and Hailey had James.

Hailey claimed she saw a bear. She got a little freaked out. Meanwhile Jamison kept saying, "I want the teddy bear!"

Now, a little more about this infamous Keith. He lives in what is called the "A-frame." Obviously, it is an A-frame structure. However, over the years, said structure has housed many a random employee, river guide, stray hitchhiker, etc. This weekend, it happened to house us. It goes without saying that I'm a bit of a neat freak and a little bit of a germaphobe. Incidentally I would be the first neat freak or germaphobe to stay in the A-frame. Now, I'm going to spare you the details as to why these accommodations weren't the most suitable for a person like me. Instead, I'll just show you a picture of a very old and very blue toilet. Last cleaned (accidentally) sometime in the mid 90s.

Finally, the time came for us to make the long drive back home. On the way, we discovered a hot air balloon festival.

Some balloon handlers found themselves struggling to maintain control of their collapsing balloon so Berlin quickly stepped in to lend a hand and tame the hot aired beast.

All in all, it was a super great weekend.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hudson River School | Rise & Fall

This record took way too long to finish, but we're proud to report that it's finally done. We're pretty proud of this little number and we hope you enjoy it. There are only a limited number of hard copies, but the digital downloads will keep on going 'til the break of dawn.

You can buy digitally HERE. I can hook you up with a hard copy for ten bones if you so desire.

All this sales talk reminds me of when the band released its first record about seven years ago. We played a CD release show in what used to be a movie theater in Trolly Square (Salt Lake City). Some opening band brought a fog machine and they wore leather pants. But nevermind that. Hailey and her friend, Jill, were in charge of selling the CDs out in the hall. As the show ended I remember walking back to the end of the theater and noticing that almost everyone was carrying multiple copies of our record. Obviously this was odd. Why would you need more than one? They're the exact same thing. Weird.

As I walked out into the hall, I noticed a large crowd gathered around waiting to purchase the record. And there was Hailey, in true salesman form. "Hey, these make great gifts. You better buy two." What the? Was she crazy? But even crazier, it was working. People were buying multiple copies from her.

It was in that very moment, right there in the hallway of an abandoned movie theater, that I knew I had picked the right one.

So if Hailey were making this post right now, she'd surely suggest you buy two copies of this new record. They make great gifts and, well, Christmas is just around the corner.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

There goes my hero.

Anybody who knows me knows I am a pretty darn huge fan of Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters. Last night I was very fortunate to be able to see them perform for over two hours at the infamous Red Rocks Amphitheater courtesy of my older brother hooking me up with VIP tix for my birthday.

Poor Hailey was supposed to attend the show with me but at the last minute we had babysitter issues and weren't able to find a sitter. Fortunately, I was able to find some people I knew at the show.

After the rock had subsided, I got to go backstage and hang out with the band.

Yes, that was supposed to be Hailey on the other side.

Dave is a pretty funny guy.

This is where he told me that he thought the "bald look" was pretty cool and that he was considering. Dude, what? That's like riding a wheelchair for the fun of it!

As an added bonus I was also able to meet a true legend - Mr. Jake Burton.

It was an epic night indeed.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Many of you know I spent the last eight years of my life in a rock band.

But what you may not have known is that in 2000, when we formed said band, I had hair and was skinny.

And wasn't afraid to strike a pose.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Laborless Labor Day.

Well what can I say? This weekend absolutely ruled. It was the most free time I've had in a long time. And I enjoyed every minute of it. We finally got our good friends, the Jacobs, out to visit for the weekend. Berlin was so excited to see her best friend, Lauren. They went full throttle up until the very moment the Jacobs got into their car to drive home. Experience highlights include, Boulder Falls, Sunset Farms, neighborhood kids constantly in my house, clogged toilet, naps, Scooby Doo on repeat, Danimals overload, skinned knees, more kids who don't belong to me in my house and, of course, my world famous grilled chicken.

It was a great weekend indeed.