Monday, January 30, 2017

January 23, 2017 - Logo Woes

We need a logo.  But to get a good logo you need one of two things money or time.  I don’t have either right now, but we really need a logo. So I did want any rational broke entrepreneur would do…I went to canva.com.

https://www.canva.com/
If you need to make graphics for your young business, I highly recommend Canva.com
                                                              
We absolutely love Canva, we have made numerous posts, banners and logos using their website.  It is super easy and usually ends up looking great.  

A banner I made for a post series I'm launching in a couple weeks, about our crazy conversations we have around here.
This just looks too...childish or something...I don't know...just not what I was looking for.
I’m not exceptionally great at design (Heather’s got a better eye), so it sometimes takes me a couple of tries to create what I had in mind.

In fact, Heather is using it practically on a daily basis to put out a quote daily from this blog onto our instagram:

                                           

Here’s my final makeshift logo, it isn’t glorious but it will do for now.  I look at this almost more like our “Family Band Shield”, communicating what the Dunlevy Family is all about.

                                            

DFB of course stands for Dunlevy Family Band.  The two arrows on both sides are pointing upwards reminding us to look to God throughout our family and professional lives.  The wedding rings and the picture of the parents holding the baby are on the top to remind us that our family should be placed above our music.  And of course the ukuleles because that’s what we play. 

We are definitely going to put in the money for a professionally done logo in the very near future, but this was fun…and we really like it.  Thanks Canva!!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 22, 2017 - The Ames Monument

Cabin fever is easy to get with a family of seven with 5 kids 6 & under, especially after dealing with the flu all week.  Getting out of the house is a monstrous undertaking.  Today we had to get out before we all went nuts.  So I had this “great” idea to surprise the kids by taking them to Vedauwoo.
It's so beautiful out there, but we couldn't get too much closer than this this time of year.
                                     
Of course, if I had really thought long and hard about it, I would have remembered that its always about 20-25 degrees colder and 3-4 times windier there than it is in Cheyenne.  And since I wanted it to be a surprise, I didn’t tell anyone where we were going and Heather forgot her coat.  When we arrived, the road was tough to navigate because of snow, and the entrance to the best part of the park was completely covered by a massive snow drift.  Not such a good idea.

We all wish we could have gotten closer...maybe a little climbing...
                                       
Thankfully for us, there is another interesting landmark less than 5 miles away…the Ames Monument.  This monument is a strange pyramid like structure that commemorates the Ames brothers, who are credited with the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. 
It’s a pretty cool site, but kind of boring for little kids.  And I do not recommend going there in January.  These pictures were tough to get because of the frigid wind…holy smokes.

The Pyramid of the Old West, ladies and gentlemen.
                                      
We left there to drive around Laramie for a little bit, turn around and go back home to Cheyenne.  So we pretty much kept our fevers, just piled into a smaller cabin for the day.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

January 20, 2017 - Not Neccessarily Arranging Marriages...

Again today, sorry about the lack of pics, I am still giving Heather a little break to make sure we stay caught up.

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We had some visitors today, my friend of 22 years Colt, his wife Tandy, and their two boys and little girl.  These are our favorite people in the world.  Now, none of us believe in arranged marriages, but we don’t really see anything wrong with tilting the odds a little bit if you know what I mean.  We’d have the most exciting holiday family get togethers, I mean we’re practically brothers already, might as well tack on in-law to the end.

                                         

Their 3 year old girl was absolutely obsessed with the baby.  Once she was done holding him, she played with dolls practically the rest of the time.  Colt and I didn’t have much time to hang out (or else we would have had pics of us playing Cribbage or something), I had two lessons this afternoon. 

I went live on Facebook with one of my students for the first time.  That was pretty cool.  She wrote a pretty great little song and she wanted to show her friends.  I’d post it on here, but I’m still trying to get used to being on Facebook live, it’s a little nerve racking.  Got to get used to it though, because next on our to-do list is putting together our Facebook live agendas….

Thursday, January 26, 2017

January 19, 2017 - Family Adventures in Marketing

Recovering from a night of 3 kids puking.  Whew.  We stayed up late into the night working on our social media planning and dumping buckets of vomit into the toilet.  Parenting is a glamorous job for sure. 

Woke up a little late because of that, but it was still a very productive day.  We went around town as a family putting up guitar lesson flyers.  Which is a barrel of laughs for the whole crew, as you can tell by this picture:

This is why we went at nap time.

I have been teaching for a long time now, and I have always used pull-tabs to get students here in Cheyenne.  Over the years, my pull-tab designs have evolved…and I’m very happy with them nowadays.
My original pull-tab design.  Don't call the number, this was in '07
Other than that, we decided to go to the mall.  Not too exciting…but I did come up with a video idea for the first video in a series that I am wanting to do.  I had a rubber band in my pocket, and I pulled it out showing the kids the difference in pitch it makes when vibrating it stretched out long versus when it’s stretched out short.  I will be filming this shortly, eventually attempting to get the videos into the style of ArtHub for Kids.  If you haven’t checked them out, you absolutely have to if you have kids who like to draw.

These guys are great.  He used to be an art teacher and left to stay home with his kids and teach them!!

All-in-all, any day that I get to spend with my wife and kids is a great day.  Even if we are just driving around stuffed in a van doing business-y things. 

We're a great team!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January 18, 2017 - Kid's Pukin' on our Progress

 - - - First off, I apologize for not having more pictures or video in this post.  I’m trying to give us a full day off of photo and video editing to make sure we are completely caught up.  - - -

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Just another normal day at the Dunlevy’s today…at least the morning and afternoon.  Wednesdays I typically have 3 lessons, but I had two cancellations.  Which ended up being alright because I had plenty of other work to do. 

We’ve finally figured out our system for blog posts and the social media posts that go along with them.  It’s a pretty complicated system.  And before coming up with this system, we’ve tricked ourselves into thinking that we were all caught up…only to realize that we had a bunch of little things that we had forgotten.  The goal is to be able to put the blog and social media on auto pilot so that we can focus on the more important aspects of this job, namely actually playing music.  To do that with while having 5 kids, we have to be organized down to the smallest detail.   Because God bless ‘em they won’t give you any margin of error…

Today we were working on reaching homeostasis within our content organizing system.  Kids were in bed.  I’m sitting here trying to finally finish a project I’ve been working on for nearly a week...when we hear a huge splat coming from the kids room.  One kid pukes.  We spend twenty minutes cleaning that up…get the kids back in bed…sit down to start working again…then two kids puke.  What a nightmare!!  Five times we had to clean up puke. 

But despite this, I am happy to report that we have both caught up our parts of the blog enough that we can finish catching it up tonight (with a little bit of coffee of course).  Here’s the proof:

That's 7 posts scheduled out from tomorrow!!! We're getting somewhere!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

January 17, 2017 - The Belated Birthday Band

In the Dunlevy family, we don’t just celebrate birthdays…we celebrate birthweeks.  So when uncle Mark couldn’t come over on Sunday to eat cake and ice cream with our 6 year old, it was a simple solution, reschedule for today.  

Crazy pic of "Old McMarky" taken by the 6 year old.
We had to do a second little party for her, after all she wanted a marching band at her birthday party.  And Mark did use to be Drum Major for Cheyenne’s top high school marching band.  In fact, his pic is up at Applebee’s…right next to the bathroom.  I’ll have to get a picture of that and post it up here soon, it’s super awkward, at least for me. 

The Belated Birthday Band

They ended up doing a marching band, and it was awesome.  I don’t think that the kids are quite ready for the parade yet.  But hang around “Mr. Marky Man” long enough and they’ll be pros before we know it. 

The Belated Birthday Marching Band

After the marching band and the cake and everything else, we put the kids to bed and just kept doing what we've been doing everyday…work all night.  I went live for the first time on facebook just jamming out.  I should have kept it but I deleted it.  I’ll do it again and link it on the blog tomorrow.  It was an interesting albeit strange experience for me…but we have to get used to it as it is a vital part of our business plan.  

Monday, January 23, 2017

January 16, 2017 - Is This Cheating at Blogging? I dunno, I’m a Rookie

Well, we’re behind again.  You may have read here (link to celebration) that we celebrated being caught up the other day.  Maybe that was a little premature.  What we are finding is that because we have only one laptop that we share, mixed with the amount of photo editing Heather is having to do…we are swamped.  Couple that with a weekend birthday, and…well here we are.

So, I’m giving Heather a break tomorrow to catch up…as well as maybe the next 3 or so days.  These next few posts will only be text, and if I do add visuals they will either be old pictures, unedited pictures or slightly edited video. 

Without further ado…I give you our first foray into Vlogging, enjoy.


This is how we made this photo:



 

We are planning on redoing it at a later date with a little prettier handwriting (which means not mine).

Sunday, January 22, 2017

January 15, 2016 - Shortcomings, Strengths and a Birthday

We all have failures in life, no matter how hard we try.  But I’m starting to realize that sometimes our parental failures have a way of highlighting the things we’ve done right (probably to keep us from feeling too bad about ourselves).  For instance: last night Heather and I stayed up too late working on planning our posts for Instagram next week.  Well we didn’t get up before the kids and two of the younger ones found the cake and knocked it on the floor…practically ruining the look of it.  A huge failure on our part.

The black roses fell of the corner, and a a just got generally smushed.

One would expect a six year old to get upset with their sisters and/or throw a fit about having their cake be messed up like that, especially when that was the first thing that happened upon waking up on their birthday.  But we are happy to report that our six year old was not even upset in the slightest, even forgiving them immediately.  She didn’t even frown about it.  It makes me feel like we must be doing something right.

Immediately after the cake incident...she's still happy (phew!)
Opened it again later and still no complaints.  I think I would have been whining more that she did.

We got her a her own digital camera and an 8 gb memory card.  She has shown interest in taking pictures and can’t wait to see what she captures.

 

Here are some of the first pics she took 
(can't show you the first cuz it was of the 4 year old's buttcrack).


We also went to Jumpin’ Jacks, we love Jumpin’ Jacks.

 

And of course Texas Roadhouse (for the birthday saddle).

The nice staff even let her sit on the saddle for awhile after they sang to her.
My personal favorite part was taking her on a trip to pick up her uncle (who ended up not coming).  We talked about life, about our relationship, about each of our shortcomings and strengths in life.  We discussed what we wanted to work on with each other to become a better father and daughter.  Then we stopped and gawked at some horses…dreaming about buying one (or 200,000 in her head)…bummed out that we both forgot our cameras.  Then we came back home and she gave me a big hug and kiss.  
Don't know what we'd do without her.
Well, we have a six year old.  What a great day it was too.  I am very proud of my little girl.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

January 14, 2017 - I Gotta Figure Out How to Make Chores Fun

Tomorrow is my daughter’s 6th birthday.  I’m starting to feel like I’m getting old.  That’s okay, I don’t really mind the idea of getting old, but the realization that I’ve spent about 1/3 of my full time duties with my oldest daughter is starting to make me think. 

Seems like yesterday.
I absolutely HATE cleaning, and I’ve mentioned before that we do a lot of it around here with four mobile children.  I feel like it takes up way too much of our time.  And the kids are no good at it you know…I mean what kid wants to clean.  Our strategy for getting them to clean hasn’t been working.  They spend all of my shift with them cleaning up their room while I clean the upstairs.  I feel like something has to change…

They dumped out all their toys...then fled the scene.
So I came up with an idea.  Instead of our current approach…leaving two kids five years old (6 in 20 minutes) and four years old to themselves to clean…then wondering why it’s taking them so long…I think I can make it quicker and more fun.  Starting Monday, We are going to work together first upstairs…then on to their room.  And to make it fun, we are going to time ourselves, log the times, and try to beat the record everyday.  Then we are going outside.

 Our backyard desperately needs us to go outside

Sure the cleaning needs to be done, and we are trying to teach our kids to finish their work before they play…but for crying out loud we can’t spend every waking moment cleaning…there is life to live.  In fact…I’m going to go now and ring in my daughter’s birthday with her…
My 6 year old (!!) making me laugh.  😄

Friday, January 20, 2017

January 13, 2017 - Time to Celebrate

A lot of lovers ring in the New Year with a bottle of champagne.  We brought it in somewhere between looking for umbilical cord clamps and disposing of the placenta.  We looked up and it was 12:11.  Oh well, giving birth to our first boy was way better anyway.

Now you see 'em...
...now you don't!! You wouldn't believe the story behind these pictures.
That being said, tonight is a reason to celebrate.  We had a new baby the last day of the year and have somehow managed to team up to write a blog a day and edit pictures for it every single day for thirteen days.  Looking back at how exhausted we both have been…Heather for recovering from delivery…and me for having to attempt to be Mr. Mom…this is no small feat we’ve accomplished.

Blogging everyday is a lot of work.


Tonight, we move on to the next step…filling up our social media content schedule.  We’ve got a lot of content to post and a lot of blog posts to direct people too…it feels good.  All this planning we’ve done is beginning to sprout.  Just wait to see what we have in store for you.  It’s going to be awesome!!
Bout to blow up everybody's instagram feed!!

So tonight we are celebrating!!  We are celebrating the New Year, a new baby, the sprouting of our musical endeavor (after two years of sowing and watering), and celebrating our marriage…one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.  And tomorrow…the kids are going to run circles around us.

Hoping the kids will stay asleep!!
Forgot to take a pic of us that night...disregard my unibrow.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

January 12, 2017 - Photographic OCD

Blogging about our life everyday is beginning to give me challenges and expose disorganization within our lives.  And when I find disorganization…it typically breeds a 2 day organizing project.  This time around, our physical family photograph collection is the victim of my OCD.



I’ve been needing an old pic or two here and there for my posts.  I know exactly which pictures I am wanting to use, but every time I go to find them I spend 20 minutes digging through a jumbled mess.  My baby pictures mixed in with our wedding pics, the house from Top Gun and random pictures of somebody's animals and so on and so on…I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!

Paul's Baby Pic (Aunt Kate holding him)
   
Random animal (Bentley)
A Wedding Photo
The Top Gun House
So tonight, we are going through ORGANIZED old pictures, thanks to this blog.  Very much worth it, we love going through family photos every once in awhile, who doesn’t?  And how much better to actually pick a time period and be able to go straight to it.  So…here are some of our favorites that we found:






Probably looks a little like your old photographs...maybe you should go through yours. 😜











Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 11, 2017 - Zeke’s First Family Outing

Well, we stuffed our family of seven into the van for the first time today.  Poor Heather spent nearly an hour playing tetris with the car seats.  I believe we have pretty much graduated into 12 seater territory.  It was a lot of work getting them out of the house…but we all really needed it today.

Is it just us, or are little boys more chill than little girls?  Let us know, cuz all we know are girls.
We went to this really awesome little museum, The Messenger’s Old West Museum.  This is pretty much this gentleman’s private old west artifact collection.  It is very impressive.  

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show





It’s really only two giant rooms, but filled wall to wall with early automobiles, old west stagecoaches, horse tack (including a bunch used from the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show), fully set up old west kitchens and bedrooms and a ton more.
All six of these horse harnesses were used in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.




Of course we found the musical instrument...a player organ...rock on!!


This would be the 12-Seater Carriage our family would need.