Friday, September 26, 2008

When I'm gone

Evidently Sarah & Jill take Cooper to Gymboree and put funny hats on him. I can't really tell from these pics if he likes it or not, but get used to it kid...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Road

Life on the road is different, and unusual. Sure your weekend trips to some exotic location may make it seem somewhat glamorous, but every week the shine fades in a hurry. Business travelers do get some perks, but you've got to earn them. I've finally this week hit my first major traveling milestone, Gold at Marriot hotels. In a couple weeks, I'll hit Premier on United Airlines.

These small perks make the travel bearable, but as weeks go by I have some observations about traveling:

Walking out to the hotel parking lot and trying to remember what color Camry you're driving this week...

Trying to be adventurous and try different restaurants, all while typically dining solo...

Getting greeted by name by the hotel staff, not a good thing...

Being super excited to get back to your home airport, then not remembering where you parked...

Tallying up expenses...Blah.

Working out in the hotel's pathetic excuse for a weight room, seriously who can ride those super crappy LifeCyles?

Yeah all those things suck, but every Thursday when I step through the door to two very happy pups, a gorgeous wife and a grinning little boy I forget all about it for a couple days until I pack the small suitcase and head for the airport all over again.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Packed and Ready

Now the only question is should I carry on or check? Better carry on.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cooper's First Hike

Nice weather, leaves changing and Jill needing to get out. Three ingredients that led us to pack up the MDX and head to Rocky Mountain National Park this morning. We grabbed the Baby Bjorn, and set off to take our cub to Cub Lake. About a 5.5 mile roundtrip hike, nothing too strenuous but it was a destination we'd never been before somehow.

First thing we noticed is that with the addition of Cooper, we're much slower to get going. Embarrassingly we didn't hit Estes Park till after 11 a.m., when we'd usually be at our destination and often on our way back down. Hitting Estes at 11 instead of 8, means the tourons were out in full force. Oh well, we're just trying to get out.

Once into the park, didn't take us long to figure out that Kathy Sabine, much like John Denver, is full of poop. Peak yellows in the northern mountains? I beg to differ. Most foliage hadn't started turning yellow, some was a mix of yellow and green but most was still very green and several weeks from peak.

From Cooper's First Hike

The trail was full of people out on a nice day, 1/2 of which offered words of encouragement about us getting the kid broken in early and the other 1/2 looking at us like we were abusing the kid. Jill and I quickly decided the 1/2 that was encouraging was likely the Colorado residents, the other half was probably out of towners. We break them in young in these parts.

Didn't take us long to stumble across some wildlife on the trail. Its elk bugling season, so you need to give them some space. Several years back we saw a massive buck destroy a tourons PT cruiser in Yellowstone while we were very close. When the elk feel you are infringing on their women, they get angry. Well the elk were angry this day my friends!

From Cooper's First Hike

A couple up in front of us warned that a bull elk was grunting at them, so they gave it some space. We cautiously passed, keeping a close eye on him but he seemed to be fine with us passing.

From Cooper's First Hike

We made it past the bull, then came across a smaller group of females a couple feet off the trail. The other couple and Jill passed through without much incident, but the momma elk in the pic below was definitely keeping tabs on everyone.

From Cooper's First Hike

I had Cooper in the Bjorn on my chest, and ushered by slowly. I got about two steps past the momma and her baby, all while watching her closely, and she took two or three steps towards me in a charging manner. Uh oh....

I stopped, turned back and prepared myself to dodge, duck or dive out of the way of the angry momma. She was trying to protect her young, but I was about to do the same thing. As I turned back, her bluff charge ended and we both continued on. We've never had any incident like this in the past, so it was pretty much expected that the first hike we'd take our 7 week old son on that we'd get threatened by an elk right?

The hike went on, turning up in elevation pretty quickly as we approached the lake. The skies were threatening a bit, but we pressed on. We had some ponchos and coats, so if the skies opened up we could keep Cooper warm and dry.

We got to the lake, found a nice rock to sit on and take in the views and then got Cooper out of the Bjorn and woke him up. He pretty much sleeps the second you put him in the Bjorn, so it was time for a diaper change and to give him a bottle. Jill did feeding duty while I ran around and snapped pics.

From Cooper's First Hike

From Cooper's First Hike

From Cooper's First Hike

After getting some pics and getting some milk down Cooper, we packed up and headed back down. Per the usual, we made quick work of the descent and hit the car just about the time the rain started up. We made our way back into Estes, grabbed some food at the Wapiti Tavern and headed back down the hill to home.

Round trip was about 5.5 miles, elevation gain showing up around 1200 feet and trail number one in the books for Cooper. It will be several years before he's ready to do backcountry camping with us, but in the meantime we'll be dragging him to all the day hikes we can find. If you're gonna be born into this family, you're gonna have to learn to love the trail.

Friday, September 19, 2008

West Mag pics from last weekend

Jill's first ride on her "new to her" Turner 5 Spot, and first ride post Cooper. Great day out on the bikes, and always helps to get out on a Sunday in the Fall in Colorado. Leaves had not started changing much in Nederland, but it should start happening soon. We'll have to get back up there for some more blazing yellow aspen goodness later this month.

And the pics...
From West Mag Ride

From West Mag Ride

And the Niner sporting some shiny new bits (but still waiting on a Boone Ti cog)
From West Mag Ride

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Back to reality

Both Jill and I are back to reality tonight. Jill had Blake, Charla, Cayton and Vivian to hang out with and see the sights all last week, and I was back in CO to do the same late Tuesday last week. Now this week I go back to M-Th and Jill and Cooper are back to their own devices.

On top of having the Doerrs in town, Blake and I also hooked up with Doug Wick's bachelor party weekend in Denver Friday night. Doug, Denton, Weber, Blake and I got to catch up, in a strangely transcendent conversation where it was like it was 2002 all over again. Despite being scattered across three states, two continents and a whole bunch of frequent flier miles between all of us, it was like old times. The entire group seems to be doing incredibly well, and each happy in their own path they've chosen.

I just about made Blake & I late for dinner Friday night as Cooper and Vivian were playing together on the floor. Vivian is mobile and would flip and crawl towards Cooper, and they would both just fixate on each other. Very cute stuff, that was way more cute in person than what I captured in my hasty photos but oh well....

From Cooper and Vivian

From Cooper and Vivian

From Cooper and Vivian

And the last pic is Cooper with his new bear. Cassandra Dickson sent us a really neat book and this bear that Cooper has become incredibly attached to already. Anytime Cooper is laying on the couch or in his car seat, he is much happier with the bear.

From Cooper and Vivian

So a great weekend that we got to see friends, eat some great food, and I squeezed in two bike rides! More on the bike rides later, gotta sleep and then close my eyes and wake up in San Antonio. Thursdays never come soon enough.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Congrats Doug

Doug's bachelor party starts with an incredible meal at Elways. The above was their special dessert for Doug, which started to make up for the $9 "Classic Ding Dong" we ordered that was seemingly nothing more than a classic ding dong with some chocolate sauce.

Monday, September 08, 2008

New Pics

On the road for a couple quick nights (Sun-Tues woohoo!), but had a couple new pics to share until I get back to CO.

From Cooper at 5 weeks

From Cooper at 5 weeks

From Cooper at 5 weeks

From Cooper at 5 weeks

Can't wait to get back to CO, the weather has been outstanding lately. Fall is here, which means time is running out to get in high country bike rides, hikes, etc before the trails get snowed in. Gotta get back on the bike soon, but its so easy just to sit around and hold Cooper instead of heading out on the bike.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Bath Time

Yep, this is what our Friday nights have turned into. Take out food at 6pm, and our big excitement for the evening was giving Cooper a bath. Sure its not a night out on the town, but seeing Cooper sporting his Cookie Monster bath towel with the hood was just about all I needed for tonight. He is starting to enjoy his baths, even tolerating us spraying him to rinse him off tonight.

So a couple of pics from tonight's bath and then one of me and Cooper last night when I got back home. Its amazing to me how I can see visible change in him when I've only been gone for two or three days.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Sleep Deprived Top Ten List

One would think that being on the road with a huge King bed and no baby crying in the middle of the night that I'd be knocking out some quality sleep, but that just isn't the case. Maybe its the time difference, maybe its the screwed up schedule from a combination of late night Olympics watching and dirty diaper changing but I am turning into an insomniac. Last night I shut the TV off about 11pm central time (which is 10pm for me), and found myself turning it back on after about an hour and a half of tossing and turning.

Somewhere in the course of the night, I resorted to trying to shut my mind down by focusing on something unrelated to all the things racing through my mind. So last night at 12:30, I was laying on the bed trying to listen to some music on my beloved iPhone to clear my mind. Viva la Vida by Coldplay came on and I thought to myself "this is one of their top 10 songs", which then led me down the path of "What are Coldplay's best 10 songs to date"....

Here is what I came up with:

1. Clocks - Instant classic, still gives me the same feeling many, many years since its release
2. God Put a Smile On Your Face - A surprise to me here, but despite listening to numerous other songs I couldn't justify moving it down
3. Till Kingdom Come
- Superb song, that seemed almost an afterthought on X&Y
4. Yellow - Can't argue the fact this was Coldplay's springboard to fame, and a great song
5. Politik - Probably another surprise, but the first time I saw them live in concert they opened with this and it blew me away and altered my perceptions of what their concerts would be like
6. Shiver - An often overlooked song, but another song that transcends when played live
7. Viva la Vida - Catchy song that surely will sell a lot of albums, but has very engaging lyrics as well.
8. The Scientist - Slower ballad, but despite not being "hooky" its solid from start to finish.
9. In My Place - At times I find the album version of this song to be a bit whiny, but another song that must be heard live to be fully appreciated
10. Everything's Not Lost - Tough pick, but kept coming back to this song that helps me remember that regardless of what my day has been like I've always got things to look forward to and that life really is a tremendous ride.

Honorable Mention:
Fix You
A Rush of Blood to the Head
Swallowed in the Sea
Death & All His Friends
Speed of Sound
Violet Hill
Green Eyes
See You Soon

In this process it also made me realize what an amazing album A Rush of Blood to the Head really is. So good that I think it has to start being considered as one of the best albums of all time. The current album, Viva la Vida, is actually refreshingly good as well. It took me several plays of the entire album to really buy into it, I was almost immediately bored with it the first time I listened. Many of the songs change mood, speed and character mid-song which alienated me at first with my 10 second attention span, but I've come to realize that songs like 42 and Death & All His Friends are impressive when given a full listening.

And last but not least, yes I know I'm gay because I like Coldplay.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Cooper hits 1 month

Cooper officially hit the 1 month mark Monday. It really seems like a blur, but Jill and I are so happy with him despite getting somewhere in the vicinity of about 5 hours a sleep a night. He really has been an incredibly good kid, but sleep is still a prized commodity. The dogs are adjusting well, and it looks like our newly formed 5 member family is going to be just fine.

3 pics from the weekend, couple from around the house and 1 from Boulder Friday night at the Rio for Sarah's birthday.