5th Grade Ski Trip – 1/28/2015

Corvin’s grade school takes all 5th graders on a field trip to Hidden Valley Ski Resort each year. Corvin was looking forward to this trip. I took the day off work to go with him figuring we would have some valuable father-son bonding time. I was not disappointed.

They started off the day at school, taking a bus to the ski resort. I decided to get some stuff done around the house and meet them out there. When the appointed time came, I drove out and found the kids gathered getting lessons. I decided to join the party and purchased a lift ticket and ski rental for myself. Fully dressed for skiing, I went out and found Corvin getting a lesson.

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One of the Hidden Valley employees saw me with the stupid look on my face holding ski equipment and gave me some pointers. Nervously, I tried out the super bunny slope with the kids.

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At the top, I listened to the instructions and watched before trying it myself. I quickly gained confidence enough to not worry about falling just standing in place. I was then asked to shuffle kids inside for lunch. I found Corvin and he was ready to stay all day, so we went and got extended lift tickets. Several  other dads were doing this at the same time, but they had the confidence of being skiers.

Corvin and I headed back out where he took a few more lessons before we decided to go ahead and ski on to the bunny hill of our own accord. He fell a few more times, but it never seemed to stop him! He got the hang of it and went back and forth on the simple hills.

I like to think I’m not afraid of heights, but once I was on the short lift with Corvin, my heart started racing as we got farther from the ground. I was worried about Corvin falling, catching a ski on the large support poles and falling to the ground myself. Worried that when I got to the top, I would not be able to get off the lift, or fall and cause a mess. I started wondering why anybody liked skiing!

I decided to get brave and told Corvin I  would scout out the large lift and see what I thought. When I got to the top, my fear started setting in. I went down the hill a bit before I fell pretty good. One of the other dads came over and gave me some pointers. He was kind enough to follow me down the hill coaching me the whole way. I needed to do a turning pattern down the hill to slow me down. I fell once more, but his encouragement was just what I needed.

When I met up with Corvin, I said it was too much for him  and that we should just focus on the small hills. He was okay with my assessment as his friends were also sticking with the smaller hills. Then it hit, his friends and their dad all wanted to go up the monster lift and down the big hill. I tried to talk Corvin out of it, reminding him that there is only 1 way down from the big hill!

With great reluctance, I went up the lift with the group. At the top, Corvin could hardly keep his balance with his excitement!


I asked him to wait so I could go down with him, and turned to take a photo of the dad and his twin boys. Before I realized it, Corvin was half way down the hill and had crashed. I worriedly watched him get up and go straight down the hill again. Next the twins took off. Their dad followed and I watched a spectacular crash by him and I laughed to myself. I knew the secret to going down the hill. I could finally wait no longer as there was nobody else up the hill with me.


My laughter at the dad crashing quickly disappeared as I had to now go down the hill myself. I just had to remember what I was taught. I went down and turned left slowing down greatly. Then as I got to the left side, I tried to turn right and nothing worked, so I fell. Once I gathered myself, I started out again right and then made the turn to go left, slowing down under control. But when I got to the left side, I couldn’t turn right.So I started going out of control downhill. At some point, I lost my favorite hat on the hill.I’m now cursing to myself dragging my ski poles and attempting to plow my skis, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing me down. Shortly before my fall, I emitted a loud expletive or two alerting the people on the lift to my impending doom and then fell.

I hit my head very hard on the snow and was surprised that I didn’t get knocked silly. When I got up, I had to walk quite a ways to get my skis and poles up the hill. I was willing to walk almost back to the top of the hill for my hat, but somebody found it and expertly skied it down to me. At this point, I’m basically done skiing and walk the rest of the way down the hill so I don’t fall again.

Eventually I found Corvin. He had a blast and continued going down the large hill by himself. I played around the bunny hills as it was all I could handle. Corvin would check on me between his full speed downhill runs. The other dad that I laughed at from the top made it down safe, but later dislocated his shoulder and broke his collar bone on a different fall!

It does look nice at night!


To end this day right with Corvin, I told him we could go anywhere for dinner. He jokingly said Steak ‘N Shake. I hate that place for their generally poor service and shoestring fries that get cold and gross about 2 seconds after they are served. But anything for Corvin, so we got dinner there with above average service this time!


Hogan Haake


Matchbook Rocket – 1/24/2015

I saw an instructional video online about making matchbook rockets and thought it would be a fun thing to do with the kids. I found the video from Grant Thompson “The King of Random”. We did this when mom was out doing something else. We started by watching the video he made for Matchbook Rockets.

After watching the video with the kids, we went to the link provided to download the template. The saying that there is nothing free in life is true. I was forced to register for a website in order to download the “free” template, and had to artfully navigate around all of the pay links to find it.

With the template downloaded, the kids and I were finally ready to follow the simple instructions and build our matchbook rockets! We started by cutting the heads off most of the matches in the box. This was not easy and I ended up doing most of the work.



We created the other pieces of the template and assembled a rocket, quite excited for the “shoot up to 40 feet” result!


We excitedly took the rocket outside and had 5 unsuccessful launches before we gave up on the whole project. I wonder how many takes it took for him to get it just right on the video. I’ve unsubscribed from his YouTube channel. We had fun trying to build it, but it would have been better if there was a chance for success!

Hogan Haake

New Year’s Eve – 12/31/2014

We spent New Year’s Eve at Kelly and Jeff’s house this year. Danelle doesn’t have too many opportunities to dress up, so she used this occasion and looked great!


All our normal crew was there, but they had invites several of their other friends to join. There were more kids than we knew what to do with, but luckily they were all generally in the basement. We congregated in the kitchen near the food and drinks.

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With the kids in the basement, we got in several rounds of Cards Against Humanity. I was entertained by the embarrassment and lack of knowledge related to the terms on the cards from the other parents. Corvin wanted to play, but we had to remind him many times that he is not old enough to understand.

Hogan Haake

Garden Glow – 11/21/2014

The Missouri Botanical Garden put out their annual Christmas Light and we decided to grace them with our presence. It was extremely cold outside, but it was still crowded. Corvin and I were not completely in the mood to visit that night, so we were not quite up to the Christmas spirit. I wasn’t thinking straight when we left and didn’t dress warm enough, so I was cold most of the time.

That didn’t stop Danelle from capturing some great photos of the light exhibits.



This year, the had the tunnel of light, but learned from last year, that some of us can’t handle the lights and would prefer to walk around. So Danelle and Sonora went through while Corvin and I walked around.


My favorite thing was a shadow projected onto a building by a nearby statue.


Its always fun to watch the kids play with the magnets and make their own snowmen.

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Generally, I find this to be expensive and cold, but as long as Danelle can get us in free, we’ll keep going!

Hogan Haake

Victory Motorcycle Demo Ride – 10/11/2014

I met Eric Ent early on a Saturday to do a demo of Victory motorcycles. We met at the dealership and walked around looking at all of the motorcycles. Lined up next to a semi truck were about 20 examples of Victory’s finest bikes ready for us to try out. Eric is a newer rider, so he is always curious. He sat on a few and found one he liked. But as we got closer to the demo, he declined to do the demo. He was worried his skills would not be enough. Even so, he looked good thinking about riding!

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Me leaving the parking lot for the demo ride. The bike looks good.


I’m not much of a cruiser when it comes to motorcycles. I have a sport touring bike that I enjoy very much. I was looking forward to this demo. Many of the cycle magazines extol the virtues of the v-twin motor and how much torque they have all the way through the power range.

Sitting on the bike, I got everything adjusted and moved my leg very far forward to shift into first. Then took off in the group. I immediately noticed that the foot controls were a far reach. I was not comfortable using the rear brake or shifting as it unsettled my riding position and had me feeling slightly off balance. I didn’t look forward to stopping as reaching for the shifter and rear brake required lots of shifting.

The handle bars were very long to get to the front of the bike, so it had poor response at low speed. Even with all these faults, I was looking forward to the massive power that was reported. Again I was disappointed. This bike is a heavy pig, robbing it of any excitement a large motor should have provided. When I laid on the throttle, I waited for the power to come. Unlike my Concours, there was no fear from from the acceleration. I never felt like it was every close to out of control as the power came on slowly.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Victory bikes are not for me and the reviews  for new bikes are to be taken with a truck of salt!

Thanks to Victory for the demo ride, but your products are not for me.

Getting back on my Concours, I was quite happy to ride my own bike home. I even reached a mileage milestone on the way back.


Hogan Haake