I just wanted to drop a quick note and let you know that my band, Amy and the Peace Pipes, has released some new music over all the streams today! We recorded our cover version of Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do”
This song has been a staple at one of our shows, and we’re really happy with how it turned out. We think it gives a different take on the original song, and have a ton of fun playing it. I’d love to hear what you think!
I also had a lot of fun doing the artwork for this cover. I got to play with some of my lighting equipment and snapped the portrait of Amy, then added the text as an homage to Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” cover.
… and just like that a decade went by. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, the passing of the decade seemed much more momentous, but it seems like the 2000’s and 2010’s just blew by.
The 2010’s have been a pretty transformative decade, marked by a lot of joy, but not without its share of sorrow.
We were celebrating our first year of marriage, living in Fort Collins. Bethany was in the midst of finishing her Master’s Degree in School Counseling and had to do a year of unpaid internship, making it a financial challenge. However our little family grew by 1 – adopting our kitty, Logan.
Traveling to Las Vegas (multiple times), Boston, Minneapolis for Joel & Katie’s Wedding.
Bethany started her counseling career at Northridge High School and celebrated my 30th birthday, receiving my first new drum set since I started playing the instrument back in 1996.
The Balderrama’s meeting up in Keystone, Colorado for a reunion
The birth of our nephew, Liam
If 2011 was a “calm before the storm year”, 2012 represented the storm that set in. It represented many changes, as well as enduring tragedy. In 2012 we decided to sell out town home in Fort Collins and move to Windsor, during the process we learned that Bethany’s brother, Rocky, had unexpectedly passed away. We learned the horrible news just hours before we were about to set on our Baby-moon Cruise to Alaska, setting a long and heavy shadow over the trip. When we returned from the trip we were in between moving out of our old house and had not yet moved into our new home. The house we moved into was not in the state we had expected and we ended up having to deal with a lot of unexpected hardships.
Despite the darkness during the year, we ended it on a positive note, with Bethany coming pregnant with Clara.
Selling our townhome in Fort Collins
Buying our single-family home in Windsor
Welcoming our niece, Sonia, into the world
Taking our 2 week Baby-Moon to Seattle and on an Alaskan Cruise
Mourning the loss of Bethany’s brother, Rocky
The year that changed it all, when God brought Clara into our lives. They weren’t kidding when they talked about how children change lives. We experienced all of it, but were very blessed to have a beautiful, healthy and happy little girl in our lives.
Work-wise, my company went through a split, which really increased my workload leading up to Clara’s birth. Clara’s birth also gave us incentive to invest in a DSLR camera, unlocking new talents. Aside from a quick trip to Kansas for a wedding, we did not travel anywhere for 2013.
The birth of Clara!
Experiencing a tornado in Windsor, causing damage to our house
The Broncos having a great season, making it to Super Bowl 48 (then losing to the Seahawks).
As transformational as 2013 was, 2014 continued to be a year of “firsts” for us – Clara would have her first real food, first crawl, first steps and continuing to experience the first holidays.
We started to venture out, making Clara’s first plane trip to Daytona for an SoB (Summer of Balderrama’s) trip, seeing Disneyland. We also road-tripped to Kansas to visit family, Taos to commemorate Rocky’s birthday, as well as a new year’s trip to Durango.
Clara being a flower girl at Shannon and Andrew’s wedding
Clara growing from an infant to a spunky toddler
Summer of Balderrama’s trip to Florida
Road trips to Taos, Durango and Kansas.
2015 was all about Mariana. We spent the entire year anticipating her arrival, which finally came on October 29. We then got all of the reminders of parenting a newborn, along with the challenges of a full-fledged toddler.
Clara continued to blossom and develop her own personality as a happy-go-lucky little girl. Looking back at this time, the 27-month span was perfect for the girls, as Clara was intrigued about having a little sister, but didn’t really develop the jealousy a new infant would bring.
Music-wise, I also joined Amy and the Peace Pipes and had an awesome year with them. We got selected to play at FoCoMX, released our first EP and played over a dozen shows throughout the year.
Traveling to Nashville for a long weekend trip
Road-tripping to Kansas to visit family
Introducing my mom to Durango
Welcoming Mariana into the world!
Broncos win the Super Bowl (it technically happened 2016, but it was the 2015 season)
In 2016 we watched the girls grow into being sisters, being witnesses to many of Mariana’s firsts, as well as learning how to be our family of four. We also had a very busy summer filled with weddings (and Clara being a flower girl), as well as a trip to New York to go meet our new niece, Elisia.
Our friends Brett and Joanna getting married
My sister Amanda and David getting married
Cousins Laura and Herrick getting married
Our niece, Elisia, being born
Our trip to New York to go see the city and visit our new cousin
Clara starting dance class
Now it’s Mariana’s turn to grow into the full-fledged toddler, while Clara grows into a little girl. Clara started preschool in the fall, while also going full-fledged into dance class and soccer. It was such a rewarding experience watching Clara being exposed to these activities, learning more each day.
Mariana also became pretty active as well and incurred our first major injury as a family, falling off the couch and fracturing her leg. It happened a few weeks before we were scheduled to go to Disneyland as well. Fortunately she was able to get her cast removed two days before we were set to head out, and got the full Disney experience.
Family trip to Disneyland, with Mema, Papa and nephew Liam
Clara starting pre-school in the fall, 3 hours each afternoon
Clara starting soccer in the fall
Clara continuing dance class
Mariana’s first cast
One of the coolest things to happen in 2018 was Bethany being recognized as the High School Counselor of the year by the Colorado School Counselors Association, which was so well-deserved and we were very proud of her!
Clara started all-day Kindergarten in the fall of 2018 and we were blown away by just how much she was learning each day. She was transforming into a little reader and writer, excited to read to her sister.
Mariana joined Clara at Just for Kix Dance Classes and was a natural to the stage. We also worked through the adjustment period after Ms. Amanda closed her daycare to finish her school counseling internships.
Oh , and through the generosity of Bethany’s mom and step-dad, we were able to see Hamilton at the Denver Center for Performing Arts!
Clara finishing pre-school and starting kindergarten
Mariana starting dance class
Clara continuing dance and soccer
Going on a beach vacation in North Carolina
Bethany winning School Counselor of the Year
Saying goodbye to Bethany’s grandmother
Being an active campaigner fo the new library in our town and ultimately losing that ballot initiative
Bethany completing her first sprint triathlon
Clara finished kindergarten and is now in first grade, continuing to amaze us with her growth. We’ve been really lucky to have great teachers working with her at her school, and outs been neat to see her come home excited to tell us about her day.
Mariana is in an incredible daycare and making her own educational strides as well, already working on writing. After going from an in-home to a center, then back to in-home, we’ve found that in-home works much better for Mari.
Work is going well for both Bethany and I. I am blessed to have my school drop off schedule accommodated and have some flexibility to be able to help out from time to time. Bethany is rocking it at her school and headed to Washington DC in early 2020 to be recognized for her counseling award.
We took some awesome road trips over the summer, first to South Dakota with the Miles-Hastings, then to Yellowstone with the Balderrama’s, experiencing a lot of the beauty of our country.
Amy and the Peace Pipes had a great year, capping it off with an opportunity to play Old Town Square in Fort Collins.
Road trip to Yellowstone
Road trip to South Dakota
Road trip to Durango
Clara starting 1st grade
Both girls performing in dance (Clara doing hip-hop)
Clara playing soccer (with Bethany coaching both the spring and fall teams)
Bethany running her first half-marathon!
Thus closes my forth decade on this earth. It’s definitely been the most transformational of my life, going doubling our family, moving to a new home and planting some roots within our lives. I’m anxious to see where our family will be ten years from now.
With Apple Plus launching yesterday, and Disney Plus arriving a little more than a week from now, it’s time to mark and lament the end an era: The Golden Age of streaming.
Years from now we’re going to look back on the simple age, when virtually all the content was available on Netflix. When we cut the cord back in 2017, Netflix was the only subscription we were paying, then had Amazon Prime Video as an added bonus. Now it seems that every media conglomerates is going to stand up their own streaming service, walling off their content in hopes to shake a few more dollars out of us in yet another monthly subscription.
I’m taking this as an opportunity to re-inventory our TV costs and prioritize the streaming services as we watch the landscape change.
Pre-Cord Cutting Costs
DirecTV We were subscribed to whatever package gave us all the major sports channels, including NBCSN and NFL Network. Costs would fluctuate as they always ratcheted up the costs until you complained. ($115-145/mo)
Netflix The goldmine of back catalog content. We do a 5-stream family plan ($13/mo)
Amazon Prime Video We were Prime customers long before we consumed prime video and would remain Prime customers if the Video wasn’t there.
Total Pre-Cord Cutting Costs: $128-$158 per month
Pre-Streaming Wars Costs (Current Situation)
HULU + LiveTV: We’ve jumped back and forth between Sling, PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV, but are now currently using HULU to provide our live TV content. The primary reason we subscribe to a live TV package is to get sports. If there were (or is) a more cost-efficient service that offered ESPN, TNT + TBS (for NBA and MLB), NBCSN (for NHL) AND NFL Network – and no other channels – I’d go for it. Right now the Hulu streaming service gives the added benefit of Hulu content as well ($45/mo)
Netflix – we’re finding fewer and fewer reasons to keep watching Netflix. Truthfully my daughters watch it the most, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. ($16/mo)
Amazon Prime Video
CBS All Access: When new Star Trek is airing ($6/mo), otherwise I’ll cancel it right after the season finale ends.
Total Pre-Streaming Wars Costs: $61-67 per month
The Streaming Wars Costs and Priorities
Now with all of these segmenting services coming into play, we’re starting to look at prioritizing these streaming services and coming up with a few cut lines where we’d consider dropping a service or not subscribing all together.
The “Gotta Have It” Tier
1. LiveTV Streaming Service. Barring a significant price increase, or that all-encompassing sports deal unicorn, we’re probably going to stick with Hulu.
2. Disney Plus. This is where we’ll be redirecting my kids for their content, and the upcoming Star Wars and Marvel shows seem really appealing.
3. CBS All-Access. While it doesn’t seem like All-Access has panned out to be what CBS intended, they at least realize that there’s a demand for Star Trek, and if they keep producing relevant and quality Star Trek shows, I’ll keep forking over the amount for the minimum tier.
The “As long as you’re giving it to me…” Tier
4. Amazon Prime Video. We don’t really watching much on Prime Video, but as long as Amazon’s Prime 2-Day Shipping includes this service we’ll keep subscribing.
5. Apple Plus. We’re not sure their original content is going to be any good, and in the one day we’ve used the service, I’m appalled that they show you *a lot* of content that you may not have access to (like HBO and other premium channels), but if you’re going to give me a year for free by purchasing an iPhone, then we’ll keep your app installed on our Roku.
The “Having Second Thoughts” Tier
6. Netflix. I’ll be honest. I’m going to have a serious conversation with my family about whether we’re going to keep subscribing to Netflix, at least on a continual basis. Maybe we’ll check in twice a year to see if there’s anything worth checking out.
The “Not Even Considering It” Tier
7. HBO Max. It’s not coming until March, and at $15 is set to be one of the more expensive streaming services, but I’m not seeing much appeal to subscribe to these services, and ultimately I think this is going to scuff up the polish on the HBO prestige brand.
8. The NBC Peacock Streaming Service. I’m going to call my shot. This service won’t exist in the same form within two years. Despite being owned by Comcast, I think NBC is going to ultimately struggle with the logistics of running a good streaming service, and will find that it’s easier to just license their content elsewhere.
9. DC Universe. While I’m an avid comics fan, I don’t have the time to keep up with their exclusive (or non-exclusive for that matter) content.
10+ Any other services not mentioned above. I know there’s a lot of niche stuff out there, from ESPN+ to DAZN, but unless it’s free, we’re not interested.
It’s still worth being a cord-cutter right now, with the best part being that you’re not tied down to any commitments. As I mentioned with Netflix, if you have the ability to go month-to-month, I’ll be tempted to check in on a service for a month or two and see whether anything is compelling. My fear however is that some of these services may be tempted to pull people back into agreements, with the whole industry repeating the mistakes that drove their customers away.
Buckle up, the next several months should be interesting.
After a five year hiatus, I finally got back around to recording a drum cover! The song that brought me back out of retirement – Zedd’s 365 (feat. Katy Perry).
Hopefully, this will be the first of many more drum covers to come. Previously my barriers were YouTube’s content takedown policies, especially in contrast to the amount of time it took to produce a video. In the years since my last drum cover I’ve gotten more efficient at video editing, and for the most part drum covers are accepted by most artists. Now my only barrier is trying to find the time to practice and record the drum covers.
I’d love to hear what you think and if you have any song suggestions for future covers.
It’s that time of year again when the weather starts to cool, the leaves start to turn, the air grows brisk, and pumpkin spice becomes a thing. It’s that time of year that we take our annual family trip to the pumpkin patch. This year we made the trip to Tigges Farm and absolutely loved it!
Tigges farm got on my radar in my search for roasted green chiles, I was fearful that I was already too late to get them for my chili making this winter, but I was delighted to find that not did they have a wide variety for you to choose some, but they would roast them on the spot, or sell you ones they’ve already frozen.
The best part about the farm is all of the old equipment they have throughout the farm. By each piece of equipment, they had signs that described how it was used, providing history and context. Whether you’re aggie or fascinated by historical tools, it was deeply fascinating.
On weekends throughout the fall they’ve had different events and activities to entertain families. The day we attended included a covered wagon ride, as well as a visit from Princesses.
We however left with two regrets. 1) They don’t take cards, and we didn’t bring enough cash to get all the chiles I wanted. 2) The girls weren’t dressed up and Clara was coming off of a fall that banged up her face. We’re hoping to make another trip this fall to rectify those two regrets. You should definitely take the 5-minute drive east of Windsor.