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.

Kamp Kanakuk – An Experience Like No Other

As kids  both Jen and I attended church camps.  For both of us they made a significant impact.  As Max and Mara got older they had attended Boy Scout and Girl Scout camps but had never been to church camp.  We had heard really great things about Kamp Kanakuk down by Table Rock and they went down for a week together in August.  They attended the K-Seven camp which is a sports and activities camp that is unlike any camp I have ever seen in my life.  You name an event from massive water slide to tree top walking to wakeboarding and they had it.  I would encourage anyone to check it out. 

Above is a picture of Max with his camp mates.  He came back a changed kid.

Above is one of the camp directors.  It is pretty cool to see someone with the combination of fun loving, spirited, soulful, and passion to share her faith lead a group of young people. 

Director Chancey closed out the session.  A guy with a lot of passion that inspires all of us to the live of our dreams, to lift others, and to walk with God.

Ten years from now I think all four of us will look back at Kanakuk as a life changing moment in our lives. 

Annual Tradition – Golf in St. James, floating the Huzzah!

Each year for the last… hmmm… I don’t how many years a group of us makes a trek down to Southern Missouri for the annual float trip.  The trip starts out with a friendly golf game at the infamous St. James golf club in… you guessed it St. James, Missouri.  In a recent change of events, the golf course now actually sells adult beverages which is a strong contrast to year past where they would simply provide you with a cooler and ice.  9 holes: $ 15.  Seriously.  How do you beat that?  Pictured here is Brian (pink hat), Mike, Jory, and myself.  No last names to protect the innocent.
This is post golf game in downtown Steelville, Missouri.  Who would have known that Steelville had such a large number of people who fought in the Korean war and unfortunately did not return alive.  Was pretty cool to see the town pay tribute to these brave women and men.

This is the last picture from this trip.  We have a rule that says that no cameras are actually allowed on the river.  For anyone who has floated the Huzzah in Southern Missouri you understand.  I took this primarily in reference to what is likely one of the last working pay phones in N. America.  In the background you can see the workhorse – the Bounder which as always served us well throughout the trip. 


Wow.  I started this blog in June of 2009.  My last blog post was in June of 2010.  This raises a lot of thoughts.  The first is an incredible amount of thanks to Jen for keeping our family adventures chronicled (is that a word?).  Second is a significant kick in the rear for me.  This all started as a way to share the adventures of our family’s life and a long the way occasionally I think I have gotten distracted by things that are not nearly as important as these daily experiences.  Inspired by a friend I have never personally met but who chose to make his own path ( Jim Jaillet – ), I am challenging myself to update this blog at least once a week if not daily.

Table Rock 2011 Day 6: The Last Dance…

We hit the lake earlier than we have been because it’s our last day.  It turns out for the best because of two things.

First, it’s Friday, and the weekend visitors are starting to roll in.  That makes for a busy lake and crappy boarding water.

Second, the clouds have moved in and threaten to bring in some rain.  At the very least, the wind is picking up.  Great for heat relief.  Crappy boarding water.

Seeing a trend?

I get back to the music basics and pull out the CD that was last year’s soundtrack almost exclusively:  Cross Canadian Ragweed’s Back to Tulsa.  Great music to watch Max tear it up on the board by going out of the wake both directions (hard to believe this is the same kid who was literally shaking when we put him in the water with skis last year…and we didn’t even move the boat then).

Max’s boarding close up

Outside the wake…on the “hard” side

Not to be outdone on a number of fronts, Mara kicks it into gear and loses a tooth plus also goes outside the wake.

Tooth in hand…but hard to see a gap when her mouth is shut

Surfer girl!

We manage to hold on to our new anchor, have one last round of shaved ice and a final campfire complete with burnt marshmallow s’mores. Plus, we are packed and ready to hit the road bright and early back to KC.

Love that green apple with extra sour…Yum!
The flash sorta dims the light of the fire…

Table Rock 2011 Day 5: Everyone Boards Then the Sun Sets

You knew it was coming.  I had to get out from behind the wheel and take a ride on the board.  The pics make me look cool…and in control.  I wasn’t either one of those and I took a nice, hard head slap on the third run.  Gotta learn to bend those knees!

Not driving…and not falling!

While jammin’ to Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits, the rest of the crew took turns and got in some of the best runs of the trip.  Mara skied, boarded and surfed.  Max and Mike boarded…with a Max boarding and Mike surfing combo not to be missed.  (They are out at the same time but the surfing happens really close to the boat while the boarding doesn’t…pretty cool really.)

Mara on skis (so she doesn’t forget…her words)

Mara and her tube throne

Surfing + boarding…at one time

We wrap up the day with one of our favorite things:  sunset watching.  It just doesn’t get any better than seeing the colors fade over water.  We had plenty of these in Hawaii…check them out here and here.  They don’t quite have the same flash as they do at the ocean’s horizon but there is still something a little magical…and peaceful.

Hard to get better than this…