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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?

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! 

Peek Family Fun Night – Patron, Singing and Yoga?

As a kid one of my memories from growing up was going out to dinner with my parents every Friday night at a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant in Southern California called Socorros.  My parents were both fully bilingual and when we walked in everyone said hello and knew who we were.  We felt like the people there were our family.  Ironically, it was the last place we stopped as loaded up the Uhauls and moved the Midwest

About two years ago we started a family tradition of going out to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant – El Patron .  It is surreal the parallels.  We have developed friendships at Patron that run deep and it is the absolute highlight of our week each week.  The food is outstanding and the folks that work there are our friends.  The trips home are generally filled with Jen and I singing our favorite songs from a couple of our favorite bands ( Cross Canadian Ragweed who are now touring as The Departed and Ha Ha Tonka )  Of course Max and Mara are not always fond of our singing talents or choice of songs but that does not slow us down.  This particular Friday night Mara challenged Jen that she knew the words to a couple of songs better than Jen which led to a sing off.  Unfortunately I did not get any pics of that but end result was a memory that will last a lifetime. 

Upon returning home, the fun continued.  Below Jen is singing some song (likely from the 80’s.).  By the way, she is going to love this post.  I almost wish that she did not have login or edit rights as I fear some of these pics may disappear.

Below Mara is on the floor from laughing so hard at something.  I cannot recall if it was the singing or the ensuing yoga.
Whatever was amusing Mara was also cracking Max up below.
Below Mara is attempting a yoga move. 

Below Jennifer is demonstrating her mastery of yoga emulating the same move.  With all the laughter, I cannot honestly remember if Jen when first or Mara but in either case the laughs were non stop.

Below Jen starts to lose it and in my mastery of the camera I get a pic as she starts to fall.

And yoga is wrapped up for the evening with Mara helping Max doing a hand stand.  The only problem was Max’s feet smelled so bad that Mara had to pull her head back due to the smell.

Our family motto is Full Family.  Full Life.  Full Throttle. Everyday.  Our family outings down to Patron have created tremendous memories.  I have every confidence that when my kids look back many years from now they (and us) will point to these nights with a huge smile.


When we were back in Hawaii we came up with our family motto “Full Family.  Full Life.  Full Throttle.  Every Day.”  Over the last year or so we have definitely lived the Full Life and Full Throttle but for me personally I am not so sure I did the Full Family up to its full potential.  Over the last week or so I have had the opportunity to walk Mara down to catch the bus in the morning with our new puppy Bullet.  Sounds pretty simple and maybe even a chore for most but it’s hard to put into words how much I enjoy the chats and hanging out visiting w/ my daughter while we wait for the bus.  This comes closer to my view of Full Family and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to do so.  Have a great day.

Living the life of my dreams

I think this post officially catches me up on Adventures that I had some pics of that Jen had not posted.  Huge thanks again to her for keeping our Family Adventure blog up to speed.  As I referenced earlier, inspired by friend I have never met ( Jim Jaillet  – ) , my goal is to post at least once a week if not daily. 

Above is Mara getting the hang of surfing.  I LOVE seeing my kids learn new skills and try things they did not know they could do.  I am hoping by the end of the summer I can get her to throw the rope and go freestyle.  She is such a cool chick.

Max and I were messing with each other.  He kept trying to get me to crash (not an uncommon occurrence) so he could get a pic and I was focused on splashing him!

Above Max and Mara were goofing with the camera.  This is a picture of Max up close and personal.  He is such as awesome kid whose mind never stops.  I love his kindness.  He is the kid who is always the first one to give you a hug and tell you he loves you.  Nothing better in life.

Above is simply a cool picture that one of the kids caught.  Probably not some of my best air but I was on the water with my awesome family.

It is appropriate for me to wrap up with a sunset.  This blog was started to capture and share our family adventures and sunsets inevitably have a roll in so many of these.  From the bike ride up from Florida, to the countless breathtaking sunsets in Hawaii, to the nights wrapping it up on Table Rock, to this night which was simply a night on our local lake (Smithville).  I live an incredibly blessed life.  Sometimes I forget that.  Thanks for letting me share these occasions with you.  I hope if you are reading this you will make sure to prioritize living life as an Adventure in whatever way that means for you. 

Willie, Neil, Mellencamp, Dave Mathews – Good times!

Earlier this summer Jen noticed in one of the papers that Farm Aid was coming to Kansas City.  She probably caught it as the big push for Farm Aid now is family farms growing food locally which is a passion for her and one that also comes naturally for me.  I was interested to see the music line up which included Jamie Johnson who I had seen a while back in Kearney (see earlier post), Dave Mathews, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and the infamous Neil Young.  The event took place at the new Livestrong Sporting Park ( ) which did an incredible job on logistics.  In terms of getting 20K people in and out of facility quickly and painlessly, they could not have done a better job.  They got bonus points for being a great Cisco customer as well! 


Jen got us awesome seats up front.  This is a shot towards the back of the stadium.  The variety of people at the show was probably broader than any other we had ever been to.  From farm parents with young kids to hard core bikers to those that obviously were MAJOR followers of Willie and his natural herb.  The cool part was EVERYONE got along great. 

We saw Mellencamp at The Blue Note ( ) years ago and he put on a heck of a show.  Fifteen years later and he still puts on a great show.  John was joined by Miriam Sturm, violinist and band member who stole the show.  I am not sure I have seen a performer play with more passion.  She was almost worth the price of admission by herself.

Ok, this is a fun one.  I like Neil.  Jen, not so much.  By the end of the show I did get her to agree that he was a heck of a songwriter.  Neil by far and away was the most vocal about the cause of Farm Aid.  His message was really simple.  Buy local.  You don’t have to make some sweeping change in your life.  Simply start to buy local.  He also sung a very powerful song that I had not heard previously called Love and War – .  Take a listen.  Does make you stop and think.  I had hoped to hear him sing Rockin in the Free World which is one of my favorites but no luck.  Still a memorable performance.

Ok, when you are 78 years old, what will you be doing?  Hanging out on the front porch?  Complaining about this or the other?  Not Willie Nelson.  At 78 he is still on the road and touring.  I had never seen Willie and figured this may be one of my last changes.  I am not a huge Willie fan but he has had a significant influence on music over the past five or six decades.  Songs like Angel Flying too close to the Ground stick with you well after the last strum of the guitar. 

I also tremendously respect his independent nature.  You may not agree with his politics or lifestyle but you have to give the guy credit for blazing his own path. 

Church Youth Day at the Lake

In late August we hosted the Youth group from our church for a day on the water at Smithville Lake.  Below is Chris Nall, our Music Director and Youth Leader taking his first tube ride.  I think he may have had more fun than the kids!

This is Sloan riding the tube and loving every minute of it!

Mara and hanging out on the tube after a ride.
This is Isaac.  A really nice kid who was a pleasure to have on the boat.
In the water working with Grace to learn how to ski.

I have said for years that if money were no object I would spend my life teaching kids (and adults who want to act like kids) to wakeboard, ski, and surf.  This ‘adventure’ reaffirmed that view and hopefully provided the kids with one last break before heading back to school.