Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Web Architecture Consultant specializing in open source frameworks.

10+ YEARS


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Father's Day Weekend on The Arkansas River

I really enjoy being a father. I consider it one of my greatest responsibilities, one that has many rewards. There's nothing like hearing your son say "Dad, I'm really glad you made me go on this trip" (on our Yampa trip) or your daughter making you a Happy Father's Day book that says "you invented FUN!" Like many years in the past, we celebrated Father's Day Weekend with a camping trip.

Trish and I both invited our Dad's to join us, and they delightfully agreed. Trish transported her Dad to Denver by flying to Pennsylvania last Wednesday and road-tripping back with him. I flew my Dad in and picked him up from the airport Friday afternoon. We had a bit of road-tripping ourselves, with a drive to Fort Collins (to pick up our enhanced Syncro), then to Winter Park (to pick up our raft), then back to Denver.

Saturday morning, we packed up our sleeping bags, life jackets and border collies and drove to the Cotopaxi KOA on the Arkansas River. We arrived late afternoon, and were quickly impressed with the KOA's glamping attributes. We had an excellent riverside spot, with RV hookups for the van and a sweet concrete patio. We enjoyed a wagon ride, frisbee, fishing, and marshmallows by the fire before retiring for the night.

Dad at Cotopaxi KOA New bumpers and RV hookups Frisbee! Banjo Happiness

Crazies on the wagon ride

Nice spot to wake up Let's Go!

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Posted in General at Jun 19 2014, 08:53:10 AM MDT Add a Comment

Farewell to the 2013-2014 Ski Season

We took things up a notch for this year's ski season: we bought a ski bus (a.k.a. The Syncro) and rented our ski shack out for the season. Our goal was to ski all over Colorado since Abbie had free days at every resort. Personally, I racked up 28 days of skiing, Trish had similar numbers and, Abbie and Jack got between 15 and 20.

Let the VW adventures begin! We picked up the ski bus with a road trip from Sun Valley, ID to Denver. We were hoping to ski at Jackson Hole on the way home. The sub-zero temperatures quickly changed our minds and we learned about its sub-par wind resistance driving through Wyoming.

The kids and I started the season with a trip to A-Basin, followed by a day at Keystone. Then Trish and I hit Mary Jane before heading to Montana for Christmas.

Keystone Kids at Keystone Ski Bus next to a Sportmobile

Around this same time, Trish sold her Xterra and we became a one-vehicle family. The Syncro had its first (and only!) breakdown on the way to my parent's on Christmas Eve. We raced Santa Claus to The Cabin, packed in a rented sedan with two kids, two dogs and two cats. We realized afterward the car had bald tires and a broken windshield-washing system. Thank goodness the roads were dry.

The Syncro remained in Bozeman for a week while getting repairs done at Straightaway Motors. We enjoyed the beauty of Montana without it, sledding, skiing at Big Mountain and celebrating New Years with good friends in West Glacier. Taking Trish and the kids skiing in Montana was a ski-life highlight for me. As a teenager, I learned how to downhill ski at Big Mountain and it was really cool to show my family its awesomeness.

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Posted in General at May 10 2014, 12:30:54 PM MDT 1 Comment

Spring Break in Florida: Golf, Beaches and Boats!

Florida is a beautiful state, with sandy beaches, excellent fishing, fun people and a great enthusiasm for golf. When I dreamed up Trish, I knew she'd have an awesome family, but I never expected her parents to have a house on a golf course. Trish's grandma, Claire Stanley, is a legend in her own right. I've never met her, but I knew I loved her when Trish's dad first told me about her "layered shots". When I saw Claire's name listed several times on the walls of the The Country Club of Naples, a deep respect came over me. Claire picked out her house on the 17th hole (Trish's favorite number) of the Country Club in 1966, when the establishment was founded. My bus was born in 1966.

Today, Trish's parents have turned it into a golf and relaxation oasis, complete with beautiful orchid gardens, a sweet pool and Japanese decorations from the country where they first met.

As a golf enthusiast, I'm embarrassed that we've only visited her parents in Naples once before. We bought Abbie and Jack golf clubs last year for Jack's birthday, and they both like to play the game. To make up for our lack of visiting family in Florida, we took our kids on a golf vacation for this year's Spring Break.

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Posted in General at Apr 14 2014, 08:34:59 PM MDT 1 Comment

Happy Birthday Abbie!

Abbie's 5th Grade School Picture. She can start dating when she's 25 Today marks 11 years since my little girl was born. She's not so little now, and growing up quite fast. Luckily, she's still shorter than most kids in her class, so she doesn't seem like an 11 year old. To celebrate, we started the morning with a birthday song, complete with our border collies (Sagan and Jake) barking loudly. It was a fun beginning and inspired a good mood all around.

Speaking of inspiration, I'd like to thank the state of Colorado and their 5th graders ski free program. It's motivated us to try and ski all the Colorado resorts this year. It all begins soon, with the Syncro Rescue in early December. Abbie is a pretty fast skier now, and I can't wait to ski the powder and ride the lifts with her. Our first road trip with the kids (and pets) will be for Christmas at The Cabin. We plan on skiing a bunch at Whitefish Mountain, where I learned how to downhill.

Happy Birthday Abbie! I hope you're ready for a winter of adventure! We had a blast celebrating your birthday with you tonight. :)

Abbie's 11th Birthday at Benihana

Posted in General at Nov 05 2013, 11:41:28 PM MST Add a Comment

The Trifecta 2013!

The last time I pulled off a Trifecta (3 ski resorts in 3 days), it was in 2010. I hadn't met Trish yet and DU Hockey had started their we're terrible in the playoffs streak. Last weekend, I decided to go for it again, this time with fiancé and kids in tow. We originally intended to ski Friday afternoon, but Abbie had an important "Mayor Election" at school and we were unable to leave early. By the time we arrived in Winter Park, the lifts were closed.

When we drove to Steamboat on Saturday, we only intended to ski 2 days. We dressed up in our outfits and got ready for the warm, mashed-potato conditions on Steamboat's closing weekend.

We love closing weekend at Steamboat!

The conditions weren't great, so we only skied for a couple hours. Then we hung out with Trish's friends (Jenn and Todd) for the rest of the afternoon, swimming and frolicking with our kids like good parents do. On Sunday, we woke up and checked the ski report. While Steamboat did get 8" of fresh powder, Copper had 13 inches! So we packed up the car, puppies, and kids and drove 2 hours to Copper. When we arrived, we weren't disappointed. The kids were loving it and the conditions were great.

13" Powder Day at Copper!

When we stopped for lunch, I was a bit disappointed that our ski weekend was about to end. Then I checked the Winter Park forecast, was pleasantly surprised, and asked "Hey, kids - should we complete the Trifecta and skip school tomorrow?" Of course, they said "YES" and our plans were set. We did a couple more runs, listened to some good live music at the base, then headed to our mountain views in Winter Park.

Sunday night is when the fun started. I didn't call the kids in sick for school, nor did I call in sick for my current client. I simply told them both we had a unique opportunity to complete a Trifecta and the snow was too good to leave.

Monday morning we woke up to 7" of fresh powder and by the time we got to Mary Jane, it was knee-deep. The runs were unbelievable. I skied several bump runs on Mary Jane without ever hitting bottom. It snowed hard all day long and by 2pm, they'd closed Berthoud Pass. This meant we had to stay another night. Some friends were stranded, so we offered them to stay with us and we enjoyed a nice evening reminiscing about all the fluffy snow and face shots. The first photo below is the snow accumulation on Monday morning; the second is from Monday at Happy Hour.

Happy Powder Monday! The whole family took the day off to ski and it's DUMPING in Winter Park. Yeeee hawww!! Best. Monday. Ever. Snowed in with Berthoud Pass closed. This snow is just from today!

Skiing a Trifecta with my family seems like a perfect way to end the ski season. However, it's been snowing all week and I've had several powder runs since Monday. It's snowed 37 inches in the past 7 days and there's more snow in the forecast this weekend. Winter Park's Springtopia starts tomorrow. Live music, fresh powder, the Nuggets in the playoffs and a place at the base with good friends.

The fun ain't over yet! :)

Posted in General at Apr 19 2013, 10:25:09 AM MDT 1 Comment

Happy Birthday Abbie!

This weekend, we celebrated Abbie's 10th birthday. And we did it in style, with a limo to dinner at the Melting Pot and a slumber party with all her friends.

Heading out to Abbie's Birthday dinner in style! Happy Girls! Abbie and her friends in the limo

Having fun at The Melting Pot

Today is her actual birthday and it's hard to believe we now have a 10 year old. I guess that means it's also my 10th Anniversary of becoming a father. And it's Trish's 2nd Anniversary of meeting the kids. Phew! That's a lot for one day.

Abbie is really into horses these days. Trish competed in Hunter Jumper riding when she grew up in Puerto Rico. She won all kinds of awards and fell in love with the horses and the sport. Since Abbie loved riding this summer at Trish's Boot Camp and in Hawaii, we enrolled her in horseback riding classes. So far, she's having a great time and has even won some ribbons at her first show.

She's also been playing quite a bit of basketball, a sport I love. She started last spring at the YMCA, continued this fall and is starting with another league through her school this week. I'm sure she'll tear it up on the slopes this year too, just like in years past. I can't wait to root for her basketball team and race her down the mountain this winter.

To see Abbie on her birthday through the years, checkout my past Happy Birthday posts: #0, #1, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8 and #9.

Posted in General at Nov 05 2012, 12:58:37 PM MST Add a Comment

We bought a boat!

I've always enjoyed whitewater rafting. I think the first time I did it was in college and I immediately fell in love. Through the years, I've been on many trips with family and friends. However, it wasn't until this summer that I realized it was something I should do more often. It was Trish's friends, Chris and Bryce, that started it all. They bought a raft last year and we floated down the Colorado River with them a couple times over Memorial Day Weekend. Then we went to Montana and enjoyed a couple days on the Middle Fork of the Flathead with Dr. Barton and a bunch of raft guides. That weekend in July, we realized we'd done more rafting than any other outdoor activities (mountain biking, camping and even golfing). That's when we decided to buy our own.

We had a lot of help in the process of buying a raft. First of all, I sat down with my friend Dr. Barton and made a list of all the things we'd need. The good doctor was a whitewater guide in Montana for 5 years, has rescued trips from the wilderness and has even rafted the Grand Canyon - so I considered him a good source of information. After composing the list of necessary gear, we headed to Down River Equipment on August 26th, the last day of their end-of-season sale. It took us an hour to pick out the raft we wanted (a Pro 140) and gather up all the gear (frame, cooler, oars, dry box/bags, lifejackets, koozies, etc.). We asked them to have it ready by Friday and headed home.

Last Friday, we picked up a raft trailer from Trailer Source an hour before they closed, then journeyed to Down River where Mike (the owner) and Matt (the guy who helped us the previous Sunday) helped us setup our oars and load up our new boat. There was much rejoicing.

We bought a boat! Thanks to Mike and Matt from Down River

Saturday, we took it on its Maiden Voyage on the Colorado River, floating from Radium to Rancho del Rio. According to this page, there were some Class III rapids, but they all felt like Class II. I guided and rowed the boat most of the time while our 7 passengers (and 2 dogs) enjoyed cold beverages, great scenery and relaxing in the sun. It took us a bit longer (4 hours) than expected (2 hours), but we all thought it was well worth it.

Abbie with our new boat

Abbie's First Golf Game
After a long day of floating on Saturday, we decided to chill on Sunday with a little golf. We split the kids up for the weekend (Jack went with his mom), so we figured the proper way to treat our only child was to take Abbie to play her first real game of golf at Pole Creek. We played 9 holes and both Abbie and I had a great time trying out our new clubs. We received a nice kids golfing tip from someone at the driving range: have them tee off from the 150 marker so they have a chance to par the hole.

The course had a 50% discount for kids and we never saw anyone behind us the entire game. We were especially impressed when the course photographer offered us a framed set of Abbie pics for $15.

Nice form kiddo! Great day of golf at Pole Creek. Got a sweet framed set of Abbie pics at the end too!

Abbie frolicking on the golf course

We don't know how many more days of rafting we'll get in this year, but next year should be epic. We're hoping to do multi-day trips on the Green River, the Smith River and fly into Schafer Meadows for a journey through the Bob Marshall Wilderness. I grew up only 10 miles from "The Bob" and I've never been in it. I can't wait! :-D

Posted in General at Sep 05 2012, 11:12:02 AM MDT Add a Comment

The First Day of School

The first day of school always marks a big change for my family. We have to start getting up early, start our scouting adventures and figure out some sports to play. This year, it seemed to come faster than ever. I'm sure that had nothing to do with the fact that we were gone most of the summer.

Abbie and Jack's first day of school was yesterday and they couldn't be happier. Abbie is now a 4th grader and Jack is in the 3rd grade. Heck, they even seem to have some fashion sense!

Abbie and Jack on the First Day of School 2012

For fall activities, Abbie is doing horseback riding and Jack will be playing lacrosse at DU. Both are pumped about their sports and Abbie had her first lesson last night. She looks pretty good on a horse if you ask me.

Abbie's first horseback riding lesson

In other life news, our house is a disaster (we're halfway through getting our kitchen remodeled), our deck project is almost done and The Bus will be finished in just a few more weeks.

OK, I made that last part up - one can dream, right? ;)

Related: First Day of School 2010 and First Day of School 2007

Posted in General at Aug 16 2012, 01:01:30 PM MDT Add a Comment

School's Out for Summer!

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to document my life. I like writing technical blog posts because it allows me to save knowledge in my brain and open up space for new stuff. It's been a couple months since I wrote any tech posts, but rest assured there will be a flurry in the near future. In the meantime, I'd like to reflect on my kids and how proud I am of them.

They both finished school two weeks ago today and I made sure and played Alice Cooper's School's Out several times that day.

Loudly.

I love how the song tries to capture the "greatest three minutes of your life".

Abbie and Jack had an athletic spring; both participating in their sport of choice. Jack chose lacrosse and learned how to play some mean defense. Abbie chose basketball and scored her first hoop in a game. I think I was in 5th grade before I scored in a game, so she's one up on me. Below are their team pictures. Lookin' good kids!

Jack's loves Lacrosse Abbie loves Basketball

Jack's Lacrosse Team Abbie's Basketball Team

In addition to sports, both kids were involved with Cub/Girl Scouts and performed in the school's talent show. I guess they like to be in front of an audience. I wonder where they get that from? ;)

Posted in General at Jun 05 2012, 10:25:54 AM MDT Add a Comment

Cruising around the Western Caribbean

I've heard great things about Disney Cruise Lines from friends, especially as a fun adventure for kids. That's why I was super pumped to talk my family into going on a Western Caribbean Cruise for Spring Break. As you might've read in my last post, we spent a week in Crested Butte before embarking on our cruise.

ShotSki Research at The Secret Stash While in Crested Butte, I enjoyed the Java Posse Roundup, but unfortunately had to do client work most of the week. However, that didn't stop James Ward, Trish and me from building a Shot-Ski and doing a 5-minute lightning talk on it. We had a great time doing research, getting locals to help us out and beta testing it with JPR attendees. I'll write a blog post on what we learned in the near future. In the meantime, you can check out Trish's Making a Shot-Ski photos.

We left Crested Butte on Thursday (March 29th) and drove back to Denver to meetup with my parents (who drove down from Montana). Friday morning we hopped on a plane and flew to Orlando, Florida and took a bus to Port Canaveral. Abbie and Jack were at their Grandma's in West Palm Beach, so Trish's parents picked them up on their drive up from Naples. We all met with near perfect timing and boarded the Disney Magic around 4 o'clock Friday afternoon.

Raible's and McGinity's welcome to our Disney Cruise!

The Joes Maureen and Abbie Leaving Port Canaveral First Dinner!

My Dad's Stateroom We were immediately impressed with our rooms (we had 3 staterooms next to each other on the 5th floor forward) and their nice portal windows. We saw dolphins jumping in Port Canaveral as we departed and witnessed a horn battle between our ship and the Disney Fantasy. The Disney Fantasy was embarking on its maiden voyage and we saw it many times throughout the trip. That evening, we ventured to the first dinner seating (at 17:45). We were pleased to find out we'd have the same servers all week, at different restaurants throughout the ship.

Key West
Saturday morning, we arrived in Key West and had from 12am-9pm to explore. We took a tour in Key West and learned a lot about the history and architecture of the town. Last time we visited Key West, I was super impressed with Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. It was fun to show it to everyone and we savored some tasty beverages at Margaritaville afterward.

Abbie on stage in Margaritaville Key West Florida Jimmy Buffet mural at Margaritaville Key West Florida

We returned to the ship for dinner that evening and enjoyed the service of Omar (our main server) and Marijah (his assistant) once again. A couple hours laster, the boys (minus Jack) returned to shore to do some bonding. We wandered about, set a match to some cigars and made it back on the ship before it departed. We spent the remainder of the evening in the ship's Sports Bar watching March Madness and talking about Trish and my upcoming wedding.

Bonding in Key West Key West Memories Bonding Night with the Queen

Sunday was a day at sea and we made the most of it. Lots of swimming, relaxing, playing with kids and enjoying each other's company. The ship had two different places that you could drop your kids off and Abbie (9) had a lot of fun attending their activities. Jack wasn't that into it and spent most of his day visiting the soft-serve ice cream machine. That evening, Trish and I journeyed to a romantic dinner at the ship's 18-and-older restaurant and celebrated our 1-year "moved in together" anniversary.

Grand Cayman
Monday, we arrived at Grand Cayman early in the morning and were ashore by 8am. We had a snorkeling expedition planned so promptly gathered and headed out to sea on a snorkeling boat. The weather was beautiful, the water was warm and snorkeling around a shipwreck was a very memorable experience.

Abbie and Jack arrive in Grand Cayman Islands Baba is excited to go snorkeling!

Barb and Joe going shipwreck snorkeling in Grand Cayman Abbie is a little nervous about the shipwreck

We visited the Hard Rock cafe to get my Dad a t-shirt, purchased some Tobago Rum Cakes and finished with a tour of the new Cayman Islands National Museum. We were back on the ship by 4 so our parents could have their own romantic dinner that evening.

Raible and McGinity dinner

Cozumel
Tuesday morning, we woke up in Cozumel. Trish and my parents headed to shore for some exploring while I slept in with the kids and ate at the "something for everyone" breakfast buffet. In the afternoon, we all headed to shore for a submarine ride. The submarine adventure was very cool, going down 120 ft. and even taking us to the edge of a cliff on the ocean floor. We got to see several schools of fish, loads of coral reef and even a sea turtle swimming along the bottom.

Cute Kids Submariners

Disney Double Date! Mimi and Baba Monkeys

The highlight of Cozumel was Manuel. After the submarine ride, we took a taxi to a restaurant with a great view and had a couple margaritas and some excellent steak tacos. While we were finishing up, a man walked up to us and asked if we wanted him to play us a song on his guitar. We said yes and gave him our small change ($1.75) for his serenade.

Shortly after, we got up to leave the restaurant and walk back to the ship. That's when Trish came up with a brilliant idea and asked Manuel if he'd be willing to walk with us around town and play music the whole time. She offered him $20 and he quickly agreed.

What followed was lots of laughs, smiling and dancing through the streets of Cozumel. Not only from us, but also from many of the locals. Manuel was an excellent mariachi musician and provided an exciting sense of celebration around us for the next 20 minutes.

Trish paid Manuel $20 to walk with us and play... Trish paid Manuel $20 to walk with us and play...

Our posse with our Guitarrón Amigo in the Plaza Cozumel Mexico

Wednesday was another day at sea as we traveled from Cozumel to Disney's private island in the Bahamas: Castaway Cay. We got a kick out of the ship's activities, from Beer Tasting to watching the John Carter movie in 3D. I snapped some sweet photos that night as we were watching the sun set over the horizon.

A thing of beauty

Long Lasting Love

Castaway Cay
At first, I thought Castaway Cay was going to be like Disney World, just on an island. I was expecting all kinds of rides and an amusement park. I was surprised to find it was nothing like that, but more of a private beach with all kinds of bars, games, water sports and even a water slide. The kids had a blast building sand castles, learning how to play checkers and exploring the island. I had a massage to the sound of ocean waves in the afternoon and we hopped back on the ship around 5 that afternoon.

That night, we had to pack up our luggage by 10 and put it out so it could be checked into our flight the next day. Disney did an awesome job of handling our luggage both to and from the cruise. All we had to do was attach bag tags in Denver and our bags arrived at our room shortly after boarding. On the way home, we gave them our bags on Thursday night and didn't see them until arriving in Denver.

Our crew on the Disney Magic!

The last morning on the Disney Magic was a bit early. We had to be at breakfast at 6:45, were off the ship by 8 and at the Orlando airport by 9. Our flight was at 7 that night, so we suddenly found ourselves with 9 hours of free time and nothing to do.

LEGOLAND
Last year around this time, Jack was struggling in school and getting in trouble almost every-other-day. In an attempt to promote good behavior, I told him I'd take him to LEGOLAND if he had 10 days in a row of good behavior. This didn't seem to help and we ended the school year with no trip planned. However, when this school year started, he had excellent behavior (which has continued all year) and quickly remembered my promise.

As we were sitting in Orlando's airport, I remembered this promise and 30 minutes later we had a car rented and were driving to see some legos. We spent a joyous day there, riding the few rides they had and marveling over all the things you could build with legos. It was a fun way to end our wonderful vacation.

This cruise was a first for myself, my kids and my parents. We were extremely impressed with Disney's Customer Service and have never felt more pampered in our lives. All the crew we interacted with knew our names by the second days and were some of the most kid-friendly people I've ever met. The food was excellent, the weather was beautiful and the activities were plentiful. It wasn't until the last night that we realized there were 15 bars on the ship, and by that time it was too late for a pub crawl. Oh well, there's always next time. ;-)

For more pictures from our Disney Magic voyage, see our photos on Flickr.

Posted in General at Apr 15 2012, 06:05:57 PM MDT Add a Comment