2009

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1.1 - New Years
Since the dreaded year 2000, we have spent New Years with Kelly and Jeff. We were not about to make this year any different. Sonora and Maggie have such a great time playing that it always makes it fun to watch!
1.3 - Partying with the Niemeyers
New years wasn't enough for us, we had Kelly and Jeff over to our house. We had just bought an Atari 2600 off of Ebay for a cheap price. After about 10 minutes of playing, I was reminded why I the 1980's sucked! Of course the kids didn't know better, and the games are just about the right speed for the kids. Sonora got worn out pretty quick. You can see Danelle getting to hold her precious baby while she sleeps.
1.7 - Corvin's First Ride on BigFoot
My brother Hayden got a Big Foot Power Wheels when he was little. I remember him riding the heck out of it around the house. My parents saved it all these years and now Corvin is getting to give it a spin. With a new set of batteries and a fresh charge, he was off. Well, maybe he had some issues figuring it out at first. It was such a new phenomenon to him, that he had trouble not hitting things. After lots of coaching, he got the hang of it. The only thing he has yet to loose is the big smile when he drives it!
1.9 - Refreshing Winter Walk
The weather was cold, but we had to get out of the house. We used the old standby, Powder Valley Nature Center. Its a nice park with all paved trails. I figured it would be an easy trail for the kids to walk on and it is short. I didn't wear a winter coat, cause I like to get cold before the kids do, so we don't stay out too long. But if I didn't have the mittens and hat, I'm not sure we would have stayed very long at all!
1.17 - Josh and Jen Baby Shower
We hosted a baby shower for Josh and Jen at our house. They have family here, but live out of town. So our house was the location for the random friends to gather and celebrate the new baby. Rather than the traditional girls only event, it ended up being more of a couples event with a few random small children. We had wonderful conversation with everybody. The big talk of the party was a very interesting gift, g-diapers. From their website: "gDiapers earth friendly diapers are flushable, a great alternative to disposable and cloth diapers. Good for babies, parents and the planet." We'll have to see how they work out...
1.18 - Eagle Days
Eagle days happens every year in January. Its a time when people can come out and see Eagles in large quantities fishing from the Chain of Rocks rapids. They are easy to see from the bridge. Since the Chain of Rocks bridge is for people and bikes only, it makes sense to set up stations to look at the magnificent birds. This was another crazy cold day. The kids enjoyed the excitement and got to be out of the house. I just like looking into the water and thinking about canoeing the river. Seeing the live eagle in the demonstration was pretty awesome too!
February Family
Yep, its February.
2.8 - Family in KC
We went to KC for the weekend. This was our annual father daughter dance weekend. There was some minor drama and not everybody got to go to the dinner "dance", but those that got to participate had a great time. Daddy (my grandpa on mom's side) is starting to show his age at 85. He is just too fragile to go, so Mom didn't end up getting to go to the dinner. His mind is always still amazing to me. You can also see me rough housing with Hayden's kiddos. Corvin and Sonora always like playing with them.
2.21 - Jeff City
Mike Dulle is a great buddy of mine from college. Sean was also a close friend of his. Mike happened to be coming in town (Jeff City) for the weekend and we couldn't pass up an opportunity to go and see him and catch up. To be honest, we had seen some photos of Mike on Facebook and they didn't look good. It looked like he had picked up a few hundred pounds since college. It was a relief to see that he was bigger than college, but not a few hundred pounds bigger. If anything, he is my size now (the poor guy). Anyway, we made fat jokes, eating, drinking and playing some random dominos game well into the next morning. I set a personal record of 9 beers at one time and didn't have a hangover in the morning!
2.27 - Work Ceiling
The IT staff at my work is known for being weird... Of course that staff consists of 4 people. I am probably the worst offender of being wierd at that. So in order to keep up the perception of that, I started placing magnets on the ceiling at work. I think it looks much nicer than the silly metal strips that are up there. So anytime I find a magnet or something I can attach a magnet to (see the Diet Mountain Dew can), then we'll put it up there. If you want the real story of how the magnets got started, you'll have to ask me in person.
2.6 - Father Daughter KC
This is taken from our annual father daughter "dance" in KC. It ends up just being a great dinner with family. Its a great time to share memories and eat great food.
March Family
Steve was kind enough to get a bunch of cardboard blocks for the kids. Three boxes in fact. The kids have seriously enjoyed building stuff with the blocks. Their favorite thing to do is just build a huge wall and play Kool-Aid man as they go through it!
4.4 - Unleash the camper
I have talked many times growing up of getting a pop up camper. I'm a big fan of camping and it seemed like it would make it simpler to get out quickly. I mentioned this in passing to Mike (my boss) once at work. He happened to find one for sale. While that sale fell through, another came along in its place. Before I knew it, I'm now the proud owner of a pop up camper. This is our first opening it up in the driveway. The kids could hardly hold their excitement!
4.11 - Easter KC
We spent Easter in KC with my parents. The kids had a huge Easter egg hunt in the back yard. It is amazing watching the decision making process of kids. When there are eggs everywhere, they run around randomly picking them up while the adults tell them that they missed some. We also had some fun rolling out sugar cookies and decorating them.
4.11 - KC Zoo
I hadn't been to the KC zoo in quite a long time. We decided to head up and check it out. I had heard from random people how that zoo isn't that nice. This zoo is better or that zoo is better. I walked in with a bit of a jaded view of what I was going to expect. I was pleasantly surprised at the KC zoo. Many of the structures were older, but the kept the animals in place. Several displays did a great job of allowing viewing of the animals. There is a large open area where the kangaroos are free to jump around and could come right up to you. It puts you in the middle of the display. I would recommend checking it out if you have a free afternoon.
4.15 - Parachute Man
Corvin got one of the parachute men to play with. Its a plastic figure with strings attached to a plastic parachute. He tried several times to throw it up and watch it float back down. This was entertaining, but it was never enough. I decided to take it to the next level. I ran to the second story and opened up the window. After throwing out the guy and watching him float down, Corvin was hooked. He came up with me and threw it the second time. The slowest part of this process was running downstairs to pick it up and go again. So we used the cord from the vaccum cleaner lowered down from the window to bring it up faster!
4.17 - Iowa Swimming
We met Joe, Dawn, and kids in the Amana Colonies for a weekend getaway. We found an indoor water park/hotel to hang out at. With adjoining rooms, we had plenty of space for the kids to run around. The water park with a huge hit with the kids. Joe and I got out on Saturday morning to play Jones Park disc golf course. Nothing like a little disc golf to make a weekend outing better! More amazing was that I was beating Joe through the first 10 holes. On the way back home on Sunday, we stopped in Hannibal MO. I had an appointment with the public library for work. The library is right on the Mississippi river, so we got to hang out at the river before heading home.
4.25 - Katy Trail Rocheport
Steve and I headed out to celebrate Herman's birthday on Friday night. Danelle kept the kids in St. Louis, so we were free. To celebrate, we headed out to Rocheport so we could hike on the Katy Trail. We arrived after dark and proceeded to hike out about 100 feet from the trail. We found a nice spot and pitched the tent. By 4:30 in the morning, neither of us could sleep due to the branches that we didn't see in the dark under the tent. We packed up quickly and started our hike. by 5:00am. Some of the highlights of our hike include the view from Les Bourgeois Vineyard, nearly stepping on a cottonmouth snake, and a rattlesnake.
4.25 - Herman's Birthday
Steve and I headed into KC for the weekend to help Herman celebrate his 21st birthday. He didn't turn 21 till Sunday, so we celebrated by going straight to the riverboats at midnight. We filled him with gambling and booze, but not too much.
April Family
Nothing to see here, keep moving...
5.4 - Stump Burning
There's a stump in my backyard that I have been trying to get rid of. I tried burning it, but it just wouldn't catch. So I got out my air compresser to "fan" the flame. Needless to say, it was AWESOME!
5.11 - Cuivre River Camping
Our first trip out in our new pop up camper. We picked this location for several reasons. Not only have we hiked here before and liked it, but we also had a birthday party to go to. This was only 20 minutes from the party. At the campsite next to us, we found Preston (a classmate of Sonora), G.P. and Laura (his parents). They have been camping several times before with their popup and had several suggestions and ideas for us. Like all great times, this weekend happened too fast. On a side note, I didn't like camping here because they would not let you gather any firewood.
5.15 - Sonora Birthday
We were lucky to have my dad in town for Sonora's 3rd birthday. He went to town and made a multi colored cake with a peanut butter middle layer. Danelle's family didn't care too much for the cake, but the kids, dad and I really enjoyed it. Tinkerbell seemed to be the theme for presents. And Sonora loved every second of it.
5.24 - Gabe And Alex Baptism
Jake and Robin's twins Alex and Gabe were baptized today. Those kids are awesome!
5.26 - Ted Drews
Steve wanted to go to Ted Drew's for custard and I couldn't let him down. So we headed out there for a treat. This trip wasn't anything too special other than Sonora's face while she tried to eat the cone...
MayFamily
Maybe its her birtyday month, or just cause she is so cute, but it seems to be Sonora's month. She sure likes to be photographed!
6.5 - Table Rock Lake
We took a relaxing camping weekend down at Table Rock Lake. My parents were staying at a cabin next to our campground. We spent most of the time hanging out together and just having fun. This also gave mom and dad a chance to celebrate my birthday a few days earlier and check out our camper. We averaged 16 mpg on the way down doing 75 - 80 mph and 18 mpg on the way home doing the speed limit.
We spent time at the hatchery, outlet malls, and even had time to rent a fishing boat.
June Family
We spent some quality time with Maggie and Mason. Plus I busted my head open (it wasn't that bad) on the stairs. All in a month!
7.3 - Moving Jason
Jason bought an awesome house in Dogtown. This is moving day. I brought my whole crew (even kids) to Jason's house at 8:30am. I think it is the earliest Jason has ever been up on a non-work day. We met with his brothers and Tom and took two loads to get his stuff over to the new house. My van looked funny with the matresses on top, but it sure worked out well!
7.4 - Fourth Festivities
We went to the annual Webster Groves 4th of July festival. There is always tons to do and lots of people, followed by fireworks. We spent all of our ticket money on rides in about 20 minutes. Then the kids found the playground and did the free thing for a while. After hanging out in the van for about 2 hours, we were ready for fireworks. Danelle kept the kids and Steve and I ventured out to within about 100 feet of where they were launching the fireworks.
7.5 - Jason BBQ
No weekend would be complete without a BBQ at Jason's new house. We went to the store and bought supplies and then headed over to the house. Jason made the mistake of telling us that we could write whatever we wanted on his patio in chalk... So I'm sure he had to get the hose out after we left and clean it up a bit. It was a great way to spend a Sunday!
7.25 - Tate Family Reunion
This will probably be the most amazing and stresfull weekend of the whole year. The canoe I was building for the Missouri River 340 race was not finished and it started the following weekend. My mom went into the hospital for A-Fib, and my grandpa was supposed to get out of the hospital any day before the picnic from several month stay. All of these items lined up, but not for a winning jackpot...
When we got to KC on Saturday morning, we went straight to the hospital to visit mom. I had not seen her since she was admitted, and she wasn't getting out that day to make it to the picnic. Of course mom planned the whole event, but she stayed cool and calm. She leaned on dad and the rest of the family to bring it off without a hitch. After a quick visit, we went to my parents house to prepare for the picnic. Dad was about to loose his mind! I got all the instructions from him and sent him to the hospital to be with mom and relax. Holly, Hannah, Danelle, and Steve worked extra hard taking directions from me to make sure we had all the food and supplies packed while Herman and Henry played video games... Anyway, the event went off without a hitch! Daddy (mom's dad) was released from the hospital in time to come to the party for over an hour. I don't think that mom could have planned a better party.
Sunday afternoon, I took a final trip up to visit mom before I left to go back to St. Louis. While I was up there, mom was told that she was going to be released in about 45 minutes. I left the room while she got dressed and called dad up. When I told him the good news, he was like a kid in a candy shop. He asked my permission and told me at the same time that he was coming up to take mom home. I could almost feel the love that they have for each other after 36 years of marriage in that one statement. I know that they love each other, but I have never seen it expressed with deeper meaning than this moment!
7.26 - Tammy Time
Tammy was Jason's girlfriend over the summer. She is a fiesty girl with a penchant for being hours late to any commitment. We have to respect and thank for for being a Marine.
JulyFamily
This month marks the purchase of my 1999 Yamaha V-Star Classic motorcycle. I have wanted a motorcycle for a long time and the moment presented itself. Corvin got a ride in Jason's jeep with the doors off. He couldn't stop talking about it and even made a "book" about in pre-school the next day for Jason. We went camping and I have photos of Steve's HOT co-worker
8.1 - Pre Missouri River 340
The Saturday before the MR340 canoe race, Henry and I met Terry and a friend at Hillsdale lake for a "warm up" float. I figured it would be a nice way to get out and stay fresh while seeing some different scenary. Of course all good plans can get messed up. The wind across the lake made for some large waves that were not easy to deal with. Several of them we needed to turn into to prevent capsize. I should also mention, that this is the first time "First Draft" has been in the water since we gave her a nose job to straighten out the nose. So it was a bit of a testing float also. Our boat was much faster than Terry's Wenonah canoe, but his green partner didn't help the matter any. After an hour long float, that is when things got interesting.
Henry and I got our canoe out of the water and up on land and I figured I would drive my van to where the boat was so we would not have to carry it any farther. In my van, I started backing up, looking over my shoulder. Once I cleared the car next to me, I hit the gas to get there quicker. That is when I heard a huge crash!!! I backed my van into the trailer attached to the vehicle parked next to me. There was a fair amount of damage to the trailer and my van. The wheel of the trailer had a huge gouge in it and some metal was bent. My van took some serious scratches and needed me to pop a panel back into it. Talk about a downer, my first car accident that was my fault. So I did what any person should do, I loaded up my canoe and left a note on the windshield of the other car with my contact info to make it right.
8.1 - Missouri River 340
This set represents the start of the Missouri River 340 canoe race for me this year. The photos start in my driveway packing up "First Draft" for the trip to Kansas City. The boat is 19 feet 3 inches long, so it hangs over the front and back of my van. It was a slow 50 mph drive to ensure the boat didn't fly off the top and included an unplanned stop to add additional tie downs in the front. For a full report of the race, go to the page that has it all. 2009 MR340 by Snorkie
8.4 - Terry MR340 Pics
These are Terry's photos of before and during the MR340. He didn't focus on photos so much as finishing well, and they did a great job of that!
8.15 - Botanical Garden
My parents kept Corvin and Sonora for an extra week in KC after the canoe race (mr340). Danelle and I tried to go out and do couples things every night that we were "free". It is a strange feeling having an empty house all to ourselves. I can't say that we both didn't like it. We didn't have to get kids ready for school in the morning. But when Friday came around and the kids were coming back to St. Louis I was a wreck. Strange pangs of doubt racked me. Would the kids still like us, had they changed very much. Its amazing what being away from them will do to you. According to my parents, the kids were getting a little wierd about us not being around and anxious to see us also. When the kids did get home, we all got lots of hugs and kisses! Everyone was happy all around. We went to the Botanical Gardens on Saturday to get outside. These are our travels through the garden.
8.23 - Merimec State Park
There is nothing like a camping weekend to put everything in persepective. Merimec State Park is a little over an hour away from our house, but far enough away that cell phone coverage is sporatic! The goal was to get in the water and float back down to the campsite, but I thought the water was a bit too cold for that. We ended up just hanging out and going for a few small hikes. Part of our packing for this trip included forgetting to pack any pots or pans for the camper. So we had to use the metal plates for cooking. They were sure fun to clean up later!!! Fisher cave is located in the campsite and is an inexpensive must see.
8.29 - ECEC School Picnic
The pre-school has a picnic every summer for the kids. They brought out several animals and had many activities for the kids. Firetrucks, police cars and even a police helicopter were all there for the kids to see and experience. Of course petting the animals is always high on the kids list!
8.30 - Big Pizza
I found a recipe on the Internet for a large baccon cheeseburger pizza. I of course had to try this for myself... Jason came over to help out. The photos are a chronological order of the creation and consumption of said pizza. This is not for the faint of heart. The only ingredient not shown is the bottle of Tumms for after we ate it.
August Family
I wondered how long it would be before Danelle got the digital camera focused on the cats. I guess you can dress up Petra.
8.30 - ICF 2
Jo Jo had an ICF 2 at her house. Henry and I went over to take photos. We were still in the process of finishing up "First Draft" (my canoe) and needed to get some ideas for finishing up the interior.
9.5 - Labor Day Painting
I commited myself and my family over Labor Day weekend to paint Daddy's (mom's father) house. He didn't ask for us to help, it just needed to be done. So over the course of 2 days, we re-painted 90% of the house. Since it was my idea, I ended up on the highest peaks of the house. Towards the end of the weekend, I was bounding up the ladder towards the top with no fear.
9.10 - Sunset Race
On the second Thursday of each month a group of us meet for a Sunset Race on the Meramec river for a race. Because I'm not very competitive, I consider it more of an active paddle. This month, I opted to be a shuttle driver as my tennis elbow was still healing.
9.12 - Park Palooza
This was the second annual recreational and outdoor activities festival held at the Gateway Arch grounds. It seems geared to get people to get outside and off the couch. There were lots of activities for kids and most of it was free. Corvin even climed up the rock wall all the way to the top.
9.26 - Ribbons
A plesant evening out with Brian and Kelly. We started at the Basilica and moved to the boat house in Forrest park. Brian and Kelly took a row boat out while the the kids and I hung out on shore. After dinner at Ci-Ci's pizza, we came back to my house for the real fun. We got a large roll of ribbon and proceded to wrap from the tree at my driveway to the utility poll on Steve's driveway. The result appears to be a fence. Several of the neighbors were concerned, but they got over it. Overall a fun safe prank to play on Steve and Jackie!
9.30 - Klondike Park
I found this park while doing the MR340 canoe race. I paddled past it the first year during the day and noticed people on top and a railing. I told myself that I would eventually find this park. It took over a year, but I was out on my motorcycle and did a U-Turn at this park, instantly realizing what it was. It took about 3 weeks of planning to get the family out for the drive to the park, but it turned out to be worth it. The view of the river from on top is amazing. It is also special to me because the Klondike ramp was a checkpoint in the 2009 MR340.
September Family
Goofin around.
10.3 - Rock Hill Parade
This is a small upcoming parade. Our friend, G.P. drove his pride and joy Dorris automobile (build by his grandfather) with the Grand Marshal through the parade. Parades are always a great place for the kids to get free candy!
10.4 - Fort Bellefontain
I found this park earlier in the year floating on the Missouri River to the confluence. The great stairway that is in the photographs is visible from the water. We made an afternoon trip of it. My first impression was of concern. There is a guard shack that you have to stop at on the way into the park. There are some other government facilities there and they like to keep track who is at the park. The recommended staying close to the walking trail and we mostly did just that.
October Family
Check out photos of Jake, Robin, Alex, and Gabe on their first Halloween. Steve's Jackie even makes an appearance in costume.
11.6 - Dessert At Brian's
We met Brian and Kelly over at Brian's house for dessert. It was late when we started, so the kids fell alseep on the sofa quickly. Then the real fun began! It started with eating leftover candy and ended up with chocolate on all our faces. Notice Kelly's ear rings also!
11.22 - Arkansas Vacation
We decided to do something different this year for Thanksgiving. Instead of staying in town or travling out of town to see family, we took our last few vacation days and went camping in Arkansas!
Day 1: We spent the morning packing up the van. Once we had all our junk together, we started the long drive south. Since we were not in a hurry, we even stopped to eat lunch and give the kids a chance to burn up some energy. We got to our campsite right after it got dark. It took a bit more to setup, but we got it all figured out!
Day 2: Pinnacle Mountain. The kids convinced us to take the paddle boats out on a lake. It was plenty warm and they both had a blast. Half way through our time, the kids switched boats out in the middle, so they both got to be with each of us. We did a GPS hunt sponsored by the parks department and finished first of several teams including several detours.
Day 3: We drove 2 hours away to Mount Magazine. This is the highest point in the state. So high in fact that on the drive up, we ended up driving in the clouds. Our view was not as good as we wanted, but the experience was still good. We had lunch in a restaurant near the top with a great view.
Day 4: It was misting in the morning, so we decided to go into downtown Little Rock and check out the USS Rasorback submarine. Unfortunately it is closed during the week in the wintertime. We still walked across the river on a cool bridge. We also saw the President Clinton Library. Danelle and I wanted to spend more time there, but the kids didn't really want any part of it.
Day 5: Our day trip took us to Petit Jean state park. I would like to go back here for multiple days next time. There were many trails I was interested in walking. We hiked the Seven Hollows trail. Corvin walked the while 4.5 miles while Sonora did less than half. Carrying here sure made it seem longer than it was!
Day 6: Thanksgiving day and we left early in the morning to hike to the top of Pinnacle Mountain. The trail wasn't too long, but dealing with kids sure makes it seem longer. Sonora had to walk up all by herself, but I carried her back down for our sanity! We spent the rest of the day at the campsite hanging out and cooking.
Day 7: One of the things that I was most interested in for this trip was the USS Rasorback. So we headed back to downtown Little Rock to visit when it was open. Our tour was guided by a former submarine sailor. Our guide was on a different sub, but in the same class, so he knew how the whole boat worked and what it was like. On the way back to the campsite, we stopped at Chik Fil' A for lunch. Sonora was asleep, but we did get a photo of Corvin with Santa Cow!
Day 8: We took a nice leasurly drive back home after a great week of camping! As much as you may or may not think that having a pop-up is not camping I don't care. We definitely felt like a much closer family after this trip!
November Family
Sonora is so proud of her new bike!
12.6 - Maggie's 4th Birthday
Maggie turned 4 and we celebrated by going to Chuck E. Cheese. Kelly was sick and missed out, but the rest of us could not resist that amazing pizza...
12.11 - Early KC Christmas
Our schedules worked out that we had to come in a bit early for Christmas this year.
12.30 - John And Laura's Holiday Party
John and Laura had several college friends over for the holidays to hang out. This is a sampling of the good people we got to hang out with.
December Family
December was cold. I did my monthly canoe thing and finished with ice all over the boat. Jason Walz went with me and we had a great time and stayed fairly warm and dry! The theme for Christmas this year seemed to be coveralls. The kids and Danelle all got a pair. I will have to just be cold I guess. There are also some photos of us with Great Grandma Cecil on Christmas day. We tried to teach her to play Farkle.