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

Rafting the Yampa through Dinosaur National Monument

In January, my friend Brice sent out an email to a bunch of folks asking us to apply for a river permit lottery. He sent us links to lotteries for Dinosaur National Monument - Yampa River and Desolation Gray - Green River. There were 10 of us on the email and we all applied for both permits. In mid-February, I found out I won the Yampa permit and the trip planning began. This was a huge deal for some since they'd been trying to get this permit for 10 years.

When we got all the details worked out, we were scheduled to launch on Saturday, May 31 and take out on Wednesday, June 4. Our put-in was Deerlodge Park and take-out, Split Mountain. If you're interested, you can see a map.

Over the next four months, many emails flew between us (33 pages if printed out) and much planning ensued. We had a planning BBQ, endured a permit-award-never-sent-fiasco and I tried to back out for Abbie's 5th grade continuation ceremony. Since I was the permit holder (and had to go), the crew convinced me it was a trip of a lifetime. We left Abbie in Denver for her ceremony and took Jack with us. When we launched on May 31, we had 21 people, 8 rafts and one inflatable kayak. Of the crew, 6 were children (aged 6 - 11).

Eddy... Set... Go!

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Posted in General at Jun 11 2014, 10:30:23 PM MDT 1 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 Jack!

My son Jack, or "J Jackson" as he liked to be called, turns 9 years old today. In the last year, he's grown up quite a bit. He learned how to play basketball last fall, snowboard last winter and became a Webelos Scout in the spring. This summer, he learned how to ride a motorcycle and had a blast whitewater rafting with us. He did a fabulous job being my Best Son in our wedding.

This past weekend, we had a birthday party for Jack -- complete with a huge inflatable water slide. Trish and I flew in from our honeymoon 10 hours before the party started, but still managed to oversleep from jet lag. Nevertheless, we made it in time for some good fun and had a great time celebrating with the whole family and new friends from his new school. Below are a few choice pictures. The rest are on Flickr.

The Waterslide Boing! Proud Papa

Double Rainbow

Jack's favorite thing to do is play Minecraft or watch YouTube videos about it. His sister still knows how to push his buttons, but he's learning to ignore her. This is a big year for Jack as he's starting a new school and making a bunch of new friends. I know he'll do great and I look forward to helping him adapt and enjoy it. Happy Birthday Jack!

Jack on his birthday

Related: Jack's 8th, 5th, 4th, 3rd and 1st birthdays.

Posted in General at Aug 28 2013, 02:41:19 PM MDT 1 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 Jack!

Eight years ago today, Jack was born. Today, it's hard to even imagine him as a baby or a toddler. But then again, we all looked quite a bit different back then.

Hiking at Red Rocks Abbie and Jack on the Train

These days, Jack has his own website and prefers to spend his free moments playing with Beyblades or his new Nintendo 3DS. He started 3rd grade this year and has excellent math and reading skills, even though he's the youngest in his class. As he grows older, he's starting to like the same things I do, particularly fishing, skiing and golfing.

Last weekend, we threw a birthday party for Jack at Julie's house. He invited some of his close friends from school and had a Beyblade tournament. Fun was had by all and you couldn't wipe the smile off his face when he went home.

Let it rip!

This fall, Jack will be playing lacrosse again and might even pass up his sister in height. He sure is a handsome kid. Happy Birthday Jack!

Jack and his buddies on his 8th birthday

Related: Jack's 5th, 4th, 3rd and 1st birthdays.

Posted in General at Aug 28 2012, 12:12:46 PM MDT 2 Comments

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