Our Kick Ass Life

Christmas dinner at Monkey Pod
Christmas dinner at Monkey Pod
Still smiling 19 after 19 hours of travel
Still smiling after 19 hours of travel

New years resolutions have never been my thing but I do see each year as a new chapter.  Back in 2005 we began the shift of living a life that managed to us to a life we managed.  As we enter 2015 we take the next step of not just managing life but making each day kick ass.  The line between mediocrity and awesome is thin and in most cases is something we 100% control.  So with that said this marks the first post in the next chapter of our life blog.

The year started on an awesome foot waking up in Maui where we had been since December 20th.

Sunset at the top of Mt. Haleakala
Sunset at the top of Mt. Haleakala
Beach sunset Maui style
Beach sunset Maui style

The thing is though a kick ass life is not just about what it’s like when you are in a beautiful place like Maui.  It’s about making EACH day awesome.  My goal in 2015 is to make each day kick ass and with occasional (monthly?) trips our experiences that are the next level up… mind blowing.

Beauty everywhere...  Sunset off Hwy 152
Beauty everywhere… Sunset off Hwy 152
Fitness & Food are big in our lives...  Art from Patron and Bobby from Impact
Fitness & Food are big in our lives… Art from Patron and Bobby from Impact

Hope you enjoy the blog and until later… have a kick ass day!

Carrying on Traditions – Flashback to Thanksgiving

In 1925 a tradition started in Kansas City.  The lighting of the Plaza Lights in Kansas City.  For weeks leading up to Thanksgiving lights are hung up and down each shop and street in the Plaze with the ‘big night’ being Thanksgiving when a local celebrity flips the switch and turns them on.
A couple of years ago to her credit Jen started a tradition with the kids tied to the Plaza lights.  The Tuesday night before Thanksgiving there is a ‘practice’ lighting at 2A.  As the Thursday night lighting is a bit of a madhouse with ~ 70-100K people Jen thought it would be cool to take the kids down for the practice lighting and follow that up with a breakfast afterwards.  This year the timing worked that Jen was taking a pilgramage to Tucson so the duties fell to me.  And of course we had to mix things up again.  Below is a picture of me with Mara and Max shortly after the lights were lit.  The tradition continues…
The tradition continues but with a twist!  Jen and the kids normal stop after the lighting was iHop for breakfast.  While interesting, an iHop stop was not overly appealing to me and did not fit my requirement for increasing my kids exposure to the true culture of life.  So… we decided to do Town Topic instead.  For our Kansas City friends, they will know that this did not come with some minor reservations.  Town Topic is known as THE place to go after the bars close and you need some high impact after bar food.  Any trip into Town Topic is guaranteed to create a memory and our night was no different.
How many places do you know that were started in 1937 and are still almost the exact same.  Ten bar stools and open kitchen.  Somewhat hesitant about the new menu I was proud of Mara and Max for giving it a shot.  Mara inhaled her hash browns in about 25 seconds and Max declared that the ‘Sliders’ were now his favorite hamburgers in the world.  I think we might have a new tradition!
Below is my breakfast about halfway through.  I am not much of a sausage fan but had to admit that this was absolutely one of my Top Ten breakfasts of all time. 

Closing comments… Jen has become the resident blogger and for that I am grateful as I was falling behind.  She obviously does a much better job of this than me.  And…  this was a great reminder to me that life is about living, about creating memories, and sharing them with those that you love.  Are you living life to the fullest?

Australia 2011: The Sydney Kick-Off Lands In the Aquarium

Within 2 hours of clearing customs (during which the quarantine dog became enamored with Max’s backpack…due to Bullet using it as a bed), we had a Subway lunch (kids), a Starbucks hit (mostly Jen) and headed to the Sydney Aquarium.

Our hotel view overlooked Darling Harbour which has plenty to keep us hopping and walking our legs off until we head up the coast…but I’m getting ahead of myself!

The Sydney Aquarium is about a five minute walk from our hotel.  It includes “beautiful but bizarre” dugongs (2 of only 5 on display anywhere in the world), plus sharks, stingrays, platypus (Max’s favorites) and an exhibit on the Great Barrier Reef (good prep for our New Year’s Eve snorkeling cruise!).  The walk-through tunnels (like the ones at the Maui Ocean Center) continue to be our favorite type of display, exhibit, whatever you call it.

What we didn’t expect was the number of large Lego statues and even a full wall mural of Captain Ahab fighting Moby Dick.  Lots of legos…a cowboy, a mermaid, a camel…this aquarium can give the Legoland that is coming to KC a run for its money!

I know, I know.  Life-size Lego statues are gonna be a hard act to follow…but there’s always toilets!  Betcha can’t wait to hear about that…


Time for a Christmas Pilgrammage

If you’ve been following along, you know that we like to create annual family traditions – all kinds but a number of them that involve experiences, especially travel experiences.  (If you are just tuning in, check out the wide variety of past posts over the to right…not all of them are highly entertaining but some like Max’s fight with the man o’ war in Maui and Mike’s escapades with the guys at Lake Powell are a great place to start!)

OK…so what in the world do we have up our sleeve for Christmas 2011?

More like where in the world…


Mike has been to Sydney before and had to return for business for a couple of weeks.  Never being ones to rest on our laurels, the kids and I decided to join him.  Australia is on our family bucket list, and this was perfect timing.  Not just because Mike was going to be there but because it’s SUMMER in Australia in December…and you know how we love the sun and water!

The good thing about flying there is that you nearly lose a whole day…that means less jet lag!  Even though we are staying nearly 3 weeks, who wants to have a bunch of downtime trying to get that body clock straightened out?  Not us!  So we hit the ground running right from the plane (ok, right from customs)…

What did we do first?  Check it out here!

Thanksgiving in Tucson

Spoiler alert:  This is not quite the same post from last year’s family RV trip to Tucson

You know what happens around Thanksgiving at some destination resorts?  The prices go down!  Yep, in an effort to lure people away from the loving long weekend full of food, football and family, some awesome spots will give you a price break for making the sacrifice.

It was such a deal that took me to Canyon Ranch in Tucson over the Thanksgiving holiday.  This was my third trip in about 4 years.  The first trip was a solo one over Valentine’s Day in 2008 – and resulted in some amazing life and physical changes that impacted the entire Peek family.  The second trip was with a friend, her mom, her mother-in-law over Mother’s Day in 2010.  Apparently, I have a holiday attendance theme going!

It was five days filled with sun (yay!), amazing spa cuisine, new workouts and plenty of R&R.  Oh…and BINGO!  In keeping with my Mother’s Day trip (where I won a set of 3 Canyon Ranch cookbooks and a giant fluffy spa towel), this time out I won a travel coffee mug and a spa robe.  Mara now has the robe…am I an awesome mom or what?!  (She has a CR trip on her schedule as soon as she turns 14…and raises the
money to go :-))

What about that other holiday tradition where the kids and I would drive down to the Country Club Plaza and get the sneak peek at the Plaza Lights before the real ceremony?  Well…Mike not only kept it up but improved on it.  Check out all the details on that little adventure here…


Booze Cruisin’ and Cabo Wabo

Of course, we couldn’t go to Mexico without the kids and not enjoy the libations and the music!  Yes, the biggest reason for the trip (besides getting the hell away into some sun) was to see Sammy at his birthday bash, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t branch out into other venues.

On our first night, we got on the Cabo Escapes Booze Cruise.  (Mike had flown in a day early and heard this party on a boat dock the night before.)  They did not disappoint.  The on-board entertainment was fantastic – we spent most of our time on the upper party deck (vs. the lower food-centric one).  We met some new friends from Missouri (within 30 miles of home no less!) as well as some from California.  There were all ages, too from 5 year olds to 80 year olds (who could cut a rug!).

As a side note, we had an issue with our reservation not being shown so we paid again at the boat loading.  We received a response and a refund of our double payment within 4 hours of our notifying Cabo Escapes.  Just one more reason we highly recommend them!

The next night was THE night we had been waiting for!  Sammy’s birthday party!  Hard to believe this man is in his 60’s…we can only hope to be doing what we love, living life on our terms and to the fullest the way Sammy is.  This was the fourth and final concert of his birthday bash series – and it was an outside block party.  Cabo Wabo shots abounded and the music rocked (of course!).  Guy Fieri (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives) introduced Sammy.  Michael Anthony played bass.  A birthday cake to the face rounded out the evening.  Now…if we’d just been able to try Sammy’s new rum…that may call for a trip to Maui!

We plan to make it an annual tradition…along with Copper, Table Rock lake and the Powell guys trip.

One last view…


We Head to Mexico!

In fairness, before you read further, this was an adults only trip.  While there isn’t a ratings warning on these Cabo posts, they may not be nearly as entertaining due to the lack of kid escapades.  So…you’ve been warned.  If, on the other hand, you are totally ready to plan your own adult escape…read on!

On our adult bucket list, a spot has long been held for Sammy Hagar’s Birthday Bash in Cabo.  (You’ll notice that Sammy, his book and Chickenfoot all make the list of our favs here on the blog.)  And, gee, who doesn’t like the idea of a long weekend in sunny Mexico?

So…off we went!  We checked into the Rui Palace and immediately got started on the sun, the pool…and the all-inclusive everything.  And, when they say all-inclusive, they mean it.  There is no messing around here – with the food or drinks.  There is also nearly a full bar in the room.  They can make any drink you’ve heard of…or ones you haven’t.  Suffice it to say that we discovered a couple of new favorite frozen options that go down well in the sun.  And the views?  See for yourself…

Ahhh…bet you feel more relaxed already!  But what about the entertainment – the booze cruise, Sammy’s concert?  They deserve their own post…coming right up!


Powell 2011

Each year a group of us head out for a week at Lake Powell.  I am ultra fortunate in that I get to do a couple of cool trips each year but this one is by far and away my my favorite non family trip of the year.  It is an incredible group of guys and we spend the day doing what each of us loves… time on the water riding, relaxing, and enjoying great friendships.

In my personal opinion, Powell is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  As a wakeboarder this is the type of water you dream about…  and we had it every day!

Ok, so, how does it getter than this?  Great weather, great water, surfing, cold beverage…

Coming back from a day out with the boys.  This is Greg’s brand new Tige 24′.  Incredible boat.  Look at that water behind the boat.  Why aren’t we riding???

Bud Bullard and I doing a little dual surfing.  I have to admit that it was around this time that I becase a little overwhelmed at how fortunate I am.  I would never have dreamed when I was a kid that I would have the opportunity to do these types of things in a beautiful environment like this with a great group of guys.

As I said, one of the most beautiful places in the world.  Sunrise – Lake Powell 2011

Sunset Lake Powell – 2011

Hanging out on the front of the boat.  Friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

Picture of the cockpit of Win’s go fast boat.  I wish I could get the video to load of us passing the 115 MPH mark Thursday morning of the trip in this.  Was awesome!

Last day for most of the crew.  Unfortunately Troy had some issues w/ his boat and it had to be drug back to the loading ramp.

The morning before heading home.  Bobby took me up to this awesome restaurant in the foothills above Denver.  Incredibly beautiful place w/ great food. 

I am a lucky, lucky guy.

Creating a Legacy

In mid September I was able to bring together my global Cisco Cloud Collaboration team.  FY11 was one of the toughest years any of us has had professionally but also one of the most rewarding.  We contracted close to three quarters of a billion dollars in revenue and in the process began to create a legacy.  Each person from everywhere around the world (Dubai, Germany, UK, Australia, Mexico City, US, etc.) uniquely contributed and if you pull any single person out we would not have been able to accomplish what we did.  FY12 will take our game to the next level and truly define the legacy of this team and it’s members.  Below is our closing night dinner.

No, this is not a scene from Hangover 3.  This is the first night we all got together and we were heading back in a convertable that was obviously not built for 5!

Below is our infamous Dan the Man who decided for some reason that he needed to take his shirt off and flex for the team in the middle of the restaurant.
Below Dan is settle a small issue w/ one of the Androgynous pool boys who made a less than pleasant comment.  Have to say it was fun seeing the 53 year old put down the 24 year old!

Opening night w/ the team mamy of whom had never met face to face.  It was AWESOME to see this group come together and bond.  Great times!

M I Z – Z O U. First MU Tigers game as a family in years

We got up bright and early (on the road by 6:30A) to head down to the opening game of the Missouri Tigers game as a family.  This was the first game we had attended as foursome since Mara was around 5 or 6 years old.  The game was an 11A start and we were meeting our friends Jory, Mary, Les, and crew to tailgate before the game.  Max and Mara managed to make it down from their bedrooms, into the Pilot, and get some food in them on the road before they crashed in the backseat for the ride down to Columbia.

Below: Jory Hansen and Ann setting up the table.  I think Jory should have let Ann do it by herself…
Left to Right: Doug Bolerjack, Les, Larry Schepers, and Mary Hansen.  Notice the table is still not set up…

Our new friends Steve, Crystal and their daughter along with Jory and Mary. 

The Peek crew.  There was no way I was not taking advantage of one of the last sunny, hot days of summer to get some sun.

Mara and Max with some of their new friends.

Truman the Tiger getting the crowd fired up before the game.

Max borrowed my hat due to the extreme heat.  Of course he had to craft it Max style.

Before heading back to Kansas City we stopped by to see Rick, Teri, Beth and some of their friends at the pool.  It was a good thing Jen was keeping track of time otherwise I think me and he kids would have hung out at the pool until dark which would have made the trip back to Kansas City brutal.
All in all a great trip down to Columbia.  The Tigers beat Miami of Ohio 17 to 10 but confirmed our concerns that MU is not likely to be as dominant as years past.  We got to meet some new folks.  And we learned some things that we will incorporate into future games we go to as a family.  Special thanks to Jen for being the mom to all of us as I acted like I was back in college and for driving home!