1.6 Taum Sauk Hike The first great weather day of the year turned out to be quite the adventure. Around 9:00am, Kerry came over and we all left in the van for Taum Sauk. For those that don't know, Taum Sauk is part of the Ozark Trail Kerry and Steve sat in the back of the van talking, kids in the middle, and Danelle and I were in the front. We arrived at the park just before lunch time and headed straight for the viewing tower. After a quick view up and down the tower, we headed over to the trail head. We had a nice hike on the Ozark Trail taking our time and taking in the sights. It could have been a little warmer, but I still wore shorts. We saw the largest waterfall in Missouri and it still had ice in/on it. We climbed up stream of the waterfall, and that is where the fun began. I was the first to fall in with Sonora in the backpack carrier. I got a large portion of my right leg in the water, but managed to stay dry and keep Sonora safe. Kerry fell next getting part of her jeans wet. We mostly dried out during the remainder of the walk. Overall it was incredible and I'm ready to do it again!
1.14 - Magic House We had a year long pass to the Magic House. This was the last week it was good and Danelle was good enough to take the kids for a treat.
1.25 - St. Louis Auto Show I am a huge fan of cars. This is the third straight auto show I have gone to since I moved to St. Louis. I find the car magazines exciting to read. In fact, Danelle hates it when I get to the magazine section of the grocery store. Every visit contains an "Are you done yet???". Its one reason I like to grocery shop by myself. Anyway, seeing several of these cars in person has changed my tune significantly. The Corvette made me feel claustrophobic. I could hardly get in and peal myself out of the Saturn Sky and Honda S2000. My head (I'm only 6 feet tall) touched the roof in the Miata, RX8 and Eclipse. My knee hit the door jam getting in and out of the new Jeep Wrangler. I would go on from here, but you might think I'm a clumsy fat person that doesn't like cars. I really do like cars, I'm just getting old and picky.
1.27 - Emmenegger Park Kelly, Jeff, and Maggie joined us for a hike at the park. It was a nice day to hike and play in the river. We finished off at the kids favorite place. McDonalds.
Feburary Family Random photos from the month.
3.1 - Route 66 State Park We headed out on a nice day to try out this park for the first time. It is right off highway 44. It used to be the old Times Beach super fund site, but has since been cleaned up. I wasn't a fan of this park cause the paths are more like roads. I never got that secluded feeling out there. The whole place is very flat. It would be a great place for a bike ride, but just not what I was looking for.
3.2 - STL Zoo I was feeling a bit sick, so Danelle and Steve took the kids to the zoo. They met Kelly and Maggie out there.
3.9 - Howell Island Conservation Area This was our first new hiking trip that was a bust... Jake and Robin joined us along with Steve to go out. Howell Island is just off the Missouri River. The area is just over 2500 acres and hosts tons of wildlife. However, there is the issue of access to the island. As we walked over the levy I heard a serious rushing of water like a waterfall. What we found was just that. Water going over the road that is access to this island. We hung out by the water, but sadly retreated. We'll be back because the island does look interesting. We just need the rain to stop first!
3.14 - Staining Stairs The stairs that go out of the house and into the garage are okay. I find that the lumber is a bit rough in places. Not wanting the kids to get splinters, and out of a bit of boredom, I decided to stain and poly the steps. Danelle helped me tape off a "H" on the landing. Of course Corvin seems to think that it is an "I". It was a fun little project. I have most of it polyed, but I need to get out there and finish that portion of the project.
3.15 - Watson Trail Disc Golf Most days over lunch when the weather is good, a group of us from work go out and play disc golf. I have been playing since 1998. While this isn't my favorite course, it is available!
3.21 - KC For Easter This year we went to Kansas City for Easter. We left about 6:00am on Friday morning. I bribed the kids with dounuts. We started Friday hanging out with Hiatt and Michaela. I have not hung out with Hiatt in quite a while. He stayed for about 2 hours just hanging out, talking, and playing pool in the basement. Hiatt and I were very close groing up. After he left, I realized how much I miss his company. Its too bad that we don't live in the same city!
Later in the weekend, Corvin got a hold of Henry's lacross gear and put it on. He looks so funny with all of that on. Almost like a power ranger. It was an overall relazing weekend with a massive Easter Egg hunt. My kids spent time digging with the dogg in the back yard.
3.21 - Zach's Birthday Party While in KC for Easter, Hayden and Jennifer had Zach's birthday party at my parents house. Make sure to check out photo "p3220573.jpg" of this set. Its a remake of the one in Hayden's Graduation Party in 2002. It might not seem that special to most people, but if you look through the graduation album, you'll only notice 1 photo of Hayden washing his hands. So please note the quantity of photos of Hayden and Zach. I've learned to focus on my subject more!
3.27 - Merimac Flood The Merimac river went over her banks in Fenton by quite a bit. We were in KC during Easter for the worst of the flood, but just a few days later, we went out to Fenton City park and took photos of the havoc this flood played on the park. Of special interest here is the tennis court. The whole floor structure came right up and folded with the water. You can use the leaves in the fence as a marker for how high the water was. It is totally amazing to stand there by the river still high and imagine how all that water came to be there.
March Family This month sticks in my head as the month of the Honey Oatmeal Bread. We (Danelle) made the dough for the bread in the bread machine and then place it in a stoneware loaf pan and cook it in the oven. Danelle made a honey butter topping that she put on top of the bread before cooking it. It was so amazing that I think we made 5 loaves that month!
4.5 - Rockwood Reservation This place is very cool.We took the rock quarry trail which is about 3 miles and were fairly secluded. The path went up and back down on a chat style path. The scenery was great. It may have helped that Grandma and Grandpa had Corvin for the day, so it was just Danelle, Sonora, Steve and I for the hike. We got to focus on Sonora and had an amazing time.
4.6 - Castlewood State Park This seemed to be a weekend for new hikes. The weather was great and we were on a roll. Castlewood has an amazing overlook down a valley with the Meramec river. It is still over its banks in may places. It doesn't show up in the photos as much as it did in person. We were full force for the family (Corvin was back from the grandparents). We played scared parents as he often wanted to go right up to the edge of the cliffs.
4.10 - KC Rain Garden Tour While Danelle was in KC for a week-long EPA workshop, she took a tour of a rain garden that was in the process of being built. Then they had a look at a mall development and some of the water features that they put in there.
4.26 - Shaw Nature Reserve This is one of the first hikes we have ever had to pay for before. It was $3 a person to get in. Adding to gas prices and the fact that we paid to get in, I wasn't too impressed right off the bat. One of the reasons that I enjoy hiking is to experience nature. I like to get away from people, cars, and roads. The paths we took at the nature reserve consisted mostly of gravel or dirt roads. Most of the walk to me felt like a walk through a fancy neighborhood with manicured lawns. There was one saving grace for the place. The last place we hiked before heading back took us to a gravel bar on the Meramec river. We probably spent an hour there trying to dam up the river. I wouldn't recommend this place for seeing nature unless you are old or disabled.
April Family My favorite shot of this group is Corvin in the dryer at my parents house. I'm not sure the sequence on that, but I'm sure it was amusing!
5.11 - Mother's day in KC We spent mother's day in Kansas City with my parents. We went to the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead. The kids had a great time hanging out with the animals. Corvin and sonora had a great time riding the pedal powered tractors.
5.15 - Creation Station Danelle took the kids to Creation Station in the Museum of Transportation for Sonora's birthday. They always have a great time here.
5.15 and 5.16 - Sonora's Second Birthday Some random pictures from Sonora's birthday party. She had a small one on her birthday and another the day after when the family and friends could make it out.
5.17 - Forest 44 Park Forrest 44 was a nice hike just off I-44 and highway 141 in St. Louis. We took the short hike, but it was a nice time to get out.
5.21 - Louisville Slugger and Riverfront Danelle went with her mom for a weekend trip to Louisville, KY - just because. On thier first day, they visited the Louisville Slugger factory and then took a short hike along the downtown riverfront.
5.22 - Churchill Downs Louisville On the second day of their Louisville trip, Danelle and her mom caught the gambling bug at Churchill Downs. They enjoyed several races, placing small bets each time. They did alright, both ending up winning about as much as they bet.
5.25 - Painting the kitchen We decided that we no longer liked the color of our kitchen at the house. So for Memorial Day weekend, we went to work painting. The first floor of our house is the same color throughout. The builder only knew how to paint one color. So this just seemed to make sense. We went to Lowes and picked out the sample colors that we were curious about and brought them home. A quick decision at home sealed a 3 color blue scheme. So back to Lowes I went to get paint. I neded up with some Olympia paint. We tried the first coat with the Olympia paint and found that no backrolling would work at all The paint was like lumpy oatmeal on the wall. I promptly took all the paint back to Lowes and got a full refund for the nasty paint. I had to sand all of the walls to get the lunps out of it from the bad paint. I didn't get all the lumps out, but its much better. Then we headed over to Home Depot and got Behr paint. That went on perfectly and is what we ended up using for the walls.
May Family The highlight for this month had to be buying a canoe and siging up for the Missouri River 340 race. Its a 340 mile canoe race from downtown Kansas City to St. Charles Missouri. I'll have photos when the event happens in mid July.
6.7 - Hogan's Birthday Surprise I turned 30 years old this year. Like most birthdays, I expected this one to come and go with minor fanfare. I guess Danelle had other ideas planned for me. She started planning a surprise birthday party since Feburary this year. The contacted all sorts of people and started the planning process. On the day of the event, it started out simple. Jake, Robin, Danelle, and I went out to the farmers market in the morning to do some shopping. After that, we decided that we wanted to go bowling. When I'm around Jake, I tend to take things easy. Jake alway seems to know exactly where he is going and what he is doing. I was driving, but Jake said where to drive to. So I'm taking things nice and easy when Jake said to go to a particular bowling alley that seemed a bit out of the way from the house. But I just figured Jake knew exactly what he was doing... When we got to the alley (I had never been there before) I followed Jake. We were strangely walking away from the check in desk, but I just figured that the lanes were large enough to have two check in desks. As I got closer to the end of the alley, I noticed two people with cameras gettign ready to take a picture as I walked by. I felt goofy, so I started to flex my muscles to give them a silly show. Just after the flash of the camera went off, the light in my head came on. I knew ALL of these people. It was a surprise birthday party at the bowling alley. All af my siblings except for Hayden were present. Many friends and Danelle's family too. Sean and Jennifer (plus family) came in from Jeff City. It was a crazy mix of everyone. I'm sure I missed people, but the surprise was just totally amazing. Check out the photos from when we went back to the house to party!
6.8 - Strawberry Patch Before my parents headed back to KC after the surprise party, we went out and picked strawberries near the highway. It was a nice way to hang out before they had to go. This strawberry patch is out in Chesterfield, MO. Holly enjoyed eating the strawberries right after she picked them. I'm guessing she ate at least 50 of them.
6.9 - Canoe Cake I like to take in a cake to work for my birthday. I decided to decorate this one for the Missouri River 340 race coming up in less than a month. I decided to try and make my first animated gif of cake decorating. Here it goes... Cake Decorating
6.15 - Slip and Slide Holly gave me a slip and slide for my birthday. This is how we used it. My kids didn't enjoy it as much as the neighbors and Danelle, but we sure tried!
6.16 - US Flag Cake This is another cake decoration. It is in honor of Kimber Kessler. She is a co-worker getting ready to be shipped off to Afghanistan with the Army. I wish her the best of luck. Mike (my boss) and I went out and acquired the special color M&Ms to make this cake possible. We can't wait to have Kim back in the office in 18 months! Cake Decorating
6.29 - Head Shaving Henry, Corvin, Steve and I got our heads shaved in the back yard. I ended up with a mohawk.
June Family Random photos of the kids. There are three photos of Sonora at the computer at the end of this collection. When Dad and Henry were in town, they babysat for us while we went out. when we came home just past midnight, we found Dad, Henry, and Corvin asleep on the 2 couches. I thought it was great that they put Sonora to bed. Then I looked over and saw Sonora asleep on the computer. I"m glad that she didn't fall off.
3rd Annual Missouri River 340 Canoe Race Check out the written details of the race on this page. Get into what we were feeling during the race. Our times for the race and the map to help us find our way. Home of the MR340 race
7.15 to 7.18 MR 340 photos canoe This is what the Missouri River 340 race looks like from the river.
7.15 to 7.18 MR 340 photos Dad Missouri River 340 race from a support crew perspective.
7.15 to 7.18 MR 340 photos Danelle Missouri River 340 race from my wife's perspective. Boats at the finish line.
7.27 - Castlewood This was a bittersweet weekend for me. Mom came in town to visit. Henry and Hannah had spent a good part of the summer with us. Mom was coming to take them back to Kansas City. Henry and I were still on our high from the canoe trip. So we decided to take a hike at Castlewood park. The hike is fairly easy and has a great view of the Merimac River. Henry and I trained on this river, but Henry had not ever seen it from up high on the trail. The lower portion of the trail was open this time cause the river had receeded. So we got to hike that as well. Like all trail hikes, I romped through the mud in the trail having a good time. We ran out of water well before we finished, and we had a grand old time.
8.5 - Clean Water Challenge
8.9 - Sikeston with College Group No summer would be complete without meeting with the group of friends I hang out in college, The College Super Friends. This year, we met up in Sikeston, Missouri. Heather's parents had some extra space for us to stay. We started off Friday night at the Rodeo. The kids really enjoyed seeing all the animals getting ropped and ridden. We left the Rodeo just after it ended and before the concert started. We were worried it woudl be too loud for the kids. Plus they were quite tired and cranky at this point. We found our way to Heather's house with some extra help from a call asking where the heck it was. The next day had us hanging out till about lunch time when we all met up. Most of the people were going tubing on the river. We decided not to go for a few personal reasons. While the main group was tubing, Sean, Jennifer, Danelle, I, and family went to tour the fine town of Sikeston. That of course included a trip to Lamberts cafe. We went to a park for the kids to play around. Those are the first photos in the set. The kids got very filthy but had a great time. We had dinner at Heather's parents house. They are amazing hosts. They turned their house into a party machine. I'm guessing there were well over 50 people there. Fed and entertained everybody without a fuss. Thanks to all for a great time.
8.16 - Deer Creek Cleanup Its amazing what you can find in a creek. Deer Creek Park cleanup involved a small section of the park that streteched East about 1000 feet from Laclede Station Road. There is a cleanup on that same stretch at least once a year. We are always amazed on the quantity of trash that is pulled out. A huge thanks goes to Webster University for their help in the cleanup. There was a random watermellon plant growing on the side of the creek.
8.20 - Playing at Grandma's A wonderful day playing at the grandparents. This is Corvin and Sonora's favorite.
8.23 - Race For The Rivers The annual Race For The Rivers took place and we couldn't help but be involved. Canoe racing seems to be our thing this year. Danelle and Kelly White decided to team up in our canoe and do the Weldon Springs to St. Charles portion of the race. It was a short 20 mile race all down river. More than just a race, this event focused on the quality of the water in the river. Before the start of the race, the Missouri DNR had a talk about the water and its effect on the environment around it. They caught several different species of fish in the morning and showed them to the gathered croud. Then released them when they were finished. There were quite a few different types of paddlers there.
8.23 - Weldo Spring Ordanance Works While Danelle was competing in the Race for the Rivers, Steve, the kids, and I went to visit the Weldon Springs Ordanance Works. The plant had the production capacity of 1,080,000 pounds of TNT and 40,000 pounds of DNT per day. It producted over 710 million pounds of TNT and 33 million pounds of DNT before it was shut down. There was also processing of All of that production isn't exactly friendly to the land it sits on. Around 1956, the US government started processing Uranium at the property. On February 2, 1990, it was listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Priorities List (NPL). Now its looks like a HUGE mound of rocks from the road. Check us out climbing on the designated path.
8.30 - Carlyle Lake Sailing I took the day off of work and took Danelle out sailing. We had never been to Carlyle lake before and decided to give it a shot. I could have stood for 5 mph more wind, but I took the gusty 2 - 10 mph that we got. I didn't realize how large of a lake it is. I don't imagine that it would have worked out on a weekend as other boat traffic would have swamped us! Other than the 90 mile drive and quarter tank of expensive tank of gas, it was worth it!
8.31 - Weekend In Des Moines We took advantage of the long weekend to get up to Des Moines. This gave us a chance to see our friends and play some of our favorite disc golf courses. I got off work early on Friday and started the long drive. We pulled in at Joe and Dawn's house just before Joe had to go to work for a night time push of software. Since I used to work at GeoLearning I was excited to go up to the old office and see how many people were still there. To my surprise, many of the people I used to work with were still there. It was amazing to see so many familiar faces. The office has changed a ton from what I remember. I won't get into a rant about GeoLearning here, because that isn't fair to the people that work hard. I will say that I'm glad to be working somewhere else!
Joe and Dawn's kids are growing up so fast. They were just about perfectly matched to play with Corvin and Sonora. In fact, my kids didn't want to leave cause they had so much fun. We managed a nearly fully round of disc golf at Grandview. The Hilton's new babie, Jamie, was very sweet. I enjoyed every minute of holding her that I could.
We spent time in Ames with Nick, Carrie, and Brandon. Finally rounding out the trip with the Hughes family. Mike was my mentor right out of college. He shaped my professional carreer. Needless to say, I have a deep respect for him!
August Family August saw the baptism of Chris and Mary Beth's child, Michael.
9.19.08 - Forest Park Balloon Glow We attended the annual Great Forrest Park Balloon Race. We all took the Metro Link down which the kids always enjoy. Corvin was afraid of the balloons when we got right next to the basket and they fired up the burners. We decorated the kids in glow sticks to help find them.
9.20 - Deer Creek Cleanup Deer Creek is Danelle's favorite creek in the area. She organizes at least one clean up per year to help improve the water. Check out all the junk they pulled out this year. I did my part and kept the kids busy on the equipment nearby.
9.21 - Chain Of Rocks Bridge The Chain Of Rocks Bridge is now only for pedestrian traffic. We took a walk on it. Its over a mile long. Steve and I ended up carrying the kids for more of it than we wanted to.
9.22 - Canoeing River des Peres I had the day off of work and decided to go canoeing with Danelle. The water had been higher than usually in the Mississippi and Missouri, so the River Des Peres was backed up from the Mississippi. We decided to take advantage of this and canoe the river. Most people will find this particularly disgusting cause the River Des Peres is not known to be a clean waterway. It is used for sewer overflow, and it did have a bit of a smell to it. Danelle and I set off with two very different goals in mind. I wanted to get to the confluence of the Mississippi river and paddle on it a bit. Danelle wanted to relax and survey the river for environmental reasons. We both got what we wanted in the end. I enjoyed the small Mississippi river part, and Danelle the rest.
September Family
10.4 - World Water Monitoring Day An annual event that Danelle helps promote.
10.9 - Corvins Birthday Corvin turned 5 this year. He keeps getting bigger and its amazing. His big gift was a scooter. He rides that all over. He is starting to ride a bike without training wheels, but he still prefers the scooter. He was happy to have an ice cream and regular cake. What more could a boy want? Also note that Robin and Kelly are both pregnant in the photos. I can't wait to see the new babies when they get here!
10.11 - Corvins KC Birthday What 5 year old wouldn't want 2 birthday parties. We were going to KC anyway, but it was a great chance to celebrate again. Corvin sure felt special. Grandma and Grandpa sure know how to treat their grandkids.
10.12 - Kansas City Worlds of Fun The family took their first trip to Worlds Of Fun in KC. It was a huge party. Steve and Christy Kempler were there. Hiatt, Colleen, and Michaela. Ohh, and my parents. The kids had a blast in the kid area. I learned/remembered how much of a sissy I am. Almost all of the rides there made me sick.
10.31 - Halloween This is one holiday that needs help. There were so few houses in the neighborhood that were giving out candy. I don't understand why people don't do it anymore. We still had a good time. Steve and I walked the kids around the neighborhood and got them more candy than they knew what to do with.
October Family Sonora is starting to understand what it is to be pretty. So she took up most of the pictures showing off :)
11.22 - Jason Haircut I work with Jason Walz. He came over to my house to get a hair cut. Here is what transpired. When he finished, we played hide and seek with the kids.
11.25 - Stop Motion My younger brother Henry started making stop motion videos. He started sending me his videos and it got me thinking. I figured Corvin might like to make a video with his dad. The album is all of the photos used to make the video. Destroy The Master (4mb) is the video that we came up with. I figure its a decent first project. Maybe we'll make more some day. Start to finish, I spent less than 90 minutes working on this.
11.28 - Turkey Weekend KC The holidays are always eventful for our family. We found out on Wednesday morning that Sonora had Scarlet Fever. She was contagious until at least 3:00pm on Thanksgiving. We were supposed to go to Kansas City for the holiday. I called my parents and they didn't really want us around till Friday to be safe. My grandfather had gotten out of the ICU earlier in the week and they didn't want to chance him getting sick. It stinks, but it made sense to me.
So there we are on Thanksgiving in lockdown. We tried to find a pizza place that was open for lunch, but we were out of luck. Being prepared for emergencies, I had 2 pizzas in the freezer. While they are not the same, I still fufilled a Thanksgiving wish, no turkey and to get Pizza.
We did end up in KC on Friday and stayed till Wednesday. The kids just love going to KC. New toys and lots of attention from the family. We made a trip to Crown Center to see the decorations and a trip to Union Station to see all of the trains. We also spent time at the Wonderscope Children's Museum with the kids.
November Family Sonora steals the stage again...
12.1 - Henrys Canoe Henry was my partner in the 2008 3rd annual Missouri River 340 canoe race. We both left the race changed people. Henry and I both talked about making our own canoes. Henry has started much sooner. His is a cedar strip canoe. These are the photos of his progress. He wants to race it in the next MR340 race. I think it'll be a race for him to finish it in time. I can't wait to paddle it.
12.2 - Fritzs KC Fritz's restraunt in KC is a landmark. They serve all their food via a train monted to the ceiling. Corvin really loves trains, so we decided to go and check it out. This is what it looks like to dine there.
December Family Kids chalking the sidewalk.
12.14 - KC We made our Christmas trip to KC this year a little early. Mom took us to the Wonderscope children's museum. The kids loved it. We probably could have stayed for days the why the kids enjoyed it. My favorite room was the one with the lego. Never before had I seen a Lego toilet. Look through the photos and you'll find it. I also made a bacon weave while I was there. I probably needed to flip it over in the middle of cooking to make it cook just right. Nothing like an experiment with bacon!
12.24 - Xmas Christmas in St. Louis was great. Kids had fun at the grandparents. And as if Grandma's wasn't fun enough, they got a Wii. Now its more fun than ever to visit. Good luck getting Grandpa to give up his controller though!
12.27 - DecemberRain It rained like crazy today. We drove around after church with the camera and took photos of our favorite creeks. Some of them were pretty darn close to coming over their banks.