January 22nd, 2010

Thank God for kids

As I was heading off to bed tonight I kicked a toy while walking down the pitch black hallway. When I turned on the lights I saw it was one of my son’s little toy farm tractor and trailer. There we a couple of cars in the back along with a bear finger puppet. There was a penguin finger puppet on the floor next to it. I suspect he was the driver.

How fun is it that I get to see a tractor being driven by a penguin in my hallway? 🙂

Sometimes as a parent you wonder what life would be like if you didn’t have kids. I know I’d miss the tractor driving penguin no matter how many times I might trip over him in the middle of the night.

At the end of the day those are the moments I want to remember.

November 19th, 2008

Noah and Christian build racecars at Chick-Fil-A

Every Tuesday night at a Chick-Fil-A near us kids eat free and they have a craft.  This was the first time we went.  The service and food were great.  We highly recommend the restaurant.

Lowes was the sponsor last night and brought several little wooden kits that the kids could build.  Noah and Christian both wanted to build the racecar.  So the staff handed out the kits along with a little hammer, a tool apron, a patch for the event that they can sew on the apron, little safety goggles and a certificate.  Noah and Christian got to keep everything but the hammer.

It was great!  We all had a blast.  Both boys did a great job hammering in their nails and Eva and I had a blast helping them.

Take care!

Eva and Christian

Matt and Noah

Noah and Christian Finished

June 18th, 2008

Robert Holts Orchestra gig last Thursday

Some of you may remember that I’m the 2nd trumpet player in the Robert Holts Orchestra, a professional big band. We had our first concert last thursday. We’ve had a lot of private gigs but this was the first chance for friends, family and the general public to hear us.

It was an absolute blast (no pun intended). Here are some great clips. If you couldn’t make it we’ll be doing it again on November 16th.


(Shameless promotion)
I solo on the following:

Other favorites:

I guess that’s like over half the tunes! It was a lot of fun though!


June 7th, 2008

Matt’s tech blog

Hey all!  I’ve got a new tech blog.

Since I’ve started giving a few presentations and getting more involved in the tech community I thought it was high time I had a launch pad of my own for people to check out.  Head on over to http://MattPenner.info to take a look.

Here you can find all about what I’m working on, what my interests are, where I might be speaking, and lots of other stuff.


May 15th, 2008

Coming to Alderan

A colleague just sent this to me.  Pretty hilarious!

I haven’t seen Coming to America but it’s still great.  Check it out!  Aha!

March 27th, 2008

Happy birthday sis!

Well, it’s my sister’s birthday today!

So a big happy birthday to Kiese! She’s due with our new nephew in 8 days so hopefully she’s spending it relaxing on the couch.

Kiese, Noah wanted to sing Happy Birthday so here you go:

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If anyone thinks our house is quiet, well, watch this:

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[tags]Kiese, Noah, Happy Birthday[/tags]

February 14th, 2008

The Penner Family 2008 New Year’s Letter!

Hey everyone! Well, you probably were wondering where our family newsletter was this year. We were wondering the same thing! Well, unfortunately the sickness bug really went through our family this season. During the end of December and all the way through January, we were all fighting one thing or another. Just as one of us thought we were getting over it we’d come down with something else. It started just before Christmas and by the time February hit, we had been through coughs, colds, fevers, pink eye, ear infections, and Noah just finished up with a slight case of pneumonia. Ugh!

Well enough of that news! 🙂

A lot has happened this past year that we can’t wait to share with you all. We really look forward to sending this out to our closest friends and family every year. We always thank God for you all and pray that you are blessed beyond measure. 2008 is no different and we know it will be your best year yet! We are starting to sound like the “smiling preacher”, Joel Osteen. He’s been a huge inspiration in our lives. We had a chance to see him with our friends when he came to town. It was an amazing night!

While the end of 2007 was pretty difficult with everyone getting sick we had a really great Christmas season. Eva has been getting more involved in church and ended up going to several women’s Christmas teas and desserts. She had a wonderful time. I played my trumpet again in our church Christmas musical again and Eva and the boys were able to make it down to watch! DSC05723_edited-1

We also went with our friends to a “Winter Festival” held by our church. This was the first time they had done this and it was pretty amazing. They had trucked in snow and had little sled runs for the kids. Both Eva and I, being the big kids that we are, also went down on the sled. I actually flipped over! It was a lot of fun! We all drank hot chocolate while kids had snowball fights, they pet a few animals, we had some great chili and apple pie and the wives even looked at a few crafts while Rachel and Sarah got their faces painted.


See More Photos of the Winter Festival

Christmas Eve and Day were wonderful as we got to spend them with Eva’s parents and then my family.


See More Christmas Photos

This is always a great time of year where we finally get to relax and enjoy the day with everyone. The cousins just love running around and playing together. Next Christmas we’ll be adding one more as Kiese and John are expecting a little boy in April! We’ve already seen his 3D Ultrasound pictures and he already looks like a beautiful full grown baby boy! 😀

This is the first year our Christmas letter has been on our blog. We really hope that you enjoy it. Make sure you check out the photo album for pictures of a lot of the events we talk about here. Check back often so you can keep up to date on the latest and greatest with our family. You can even subscribe to our blog at the top so that you can get an email whenever we add something new!

Noah has definitely been growing up into a young little boy this year. We can’t call him a toddler anymore! While sometimes it’s a challenge as he tries out his independence it’s also great to see him do so many things. This year he started preschool and he absolutely loves it. He goes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning to a Christian preschool that is literally 5 minutes from the house. He totally loves his teacher and his class. He has already received Kind-Hearted and Model Student awards. Every day he does something new and loves to tell us about it.

His school is great and Eva and I feel so blessed that he is there. During Christmas they learned about the birth of Jesus and had lots of great special events. It’s really nice to have him go to a school that loves to teach the little ones about God.

Noah fits in great. Every morning when he wakes up the first thing he says is, “Want to go to preschool?” 🙂 When Noah was sick the teacher even had all the other kids make special get well cards and mailed them to us. Eva almost cried. 😉 It was really special.

Another first for Noah is that for his 3rd birthday we all went to Disneyland.


See More Photos of Noah’s 3rd Birthday at Disneyland

It was Noah and Christian’s first trip. They had a wonderful time and even got a picture with Mickey Mouse! Noah still spontaneously sings “It’s a Small World” around the house. Mommy and I were completely exhausted afterwards but we all definitely had a great time.

Noah is also doing so many new things. He still loves playing his drums of course and we don’t think that will ever change. He is also a really sweet big brother. Whenever Christian is crying he always asks, “Are you OK Christian?”. Noah also loves to pray. He has been praying each night when he goes to bed for a while now. We have a little prayer for him that he has memorized and loves to say. Before he eats at a meal he always asks “Wanna pray?” at which point he will take our hands and then thank God for all the food. And I mean all the food. His prayers often go like “Thank you Jesus for this yummy chicken nuggets, yummy ketchup, yummy corn and yummy water. Jesus’s name, Amen.”

Noah is also talking more than ever. He slips into gibberish sometimes when he’s really excited but it’s cute. He also helps out by putting things away, letting Kona in and out from the backyard, getting himself dressed and even going to the bathroom by himself. He still needs a little help in a few areas but he is definitely our growing little boy!

Christian had a lot of firsts this year also. Oh my! It has all gone by so fast! In April all the family came out to see him dedicated at our church. He wore the same little tuxedo that baby Noah wore when he was dedicated. Eva’s mom made it. He looked so cute! In August we had his first birthday at Huntington Beach.


Check out our earlier blog post about it!

Friends and family all had a great time playing in the sand and the water as well as eating tons of food. It was really funny because Noah and Christian tried as hard as they could to stay on the blankets and off the sand, where as their 20 month old cousin Eden couldn’t get enough of it or the water! It was just two weeks later that we got the great news about Eden’s little brother on the way. We’re so excited and know all the cousins will love playing together in the future.

Christian is growing so fast it just blows Eva and I away every day. He is learning so much from his big brother. He learned to walk at 12 ½ months. Since the minute he learned to talk he’s been non-stop in both languages! He even says small sentences and expressions now. It’s amazing. He also loves to color, play the drums and piano and even can count to 4. He already knows the shapes triangle and square too. His favorite thing to watch is Baby Einstein’s Old McDonald. Every time he sees the TV he asks for it by saying “Cow? Cow?”. But at the end of the day, when he’s tired and is ready for bed, he still loves to suck on his thumb. It’s the cutest thing ever. 😀

He loves to make us all laugh and gets the biggest kick out of it. He loves his brother so much and follows him around wherever he goes.

Eva has had quite a busy year as well. Obviously she’s non-stop being a full-time mom. We’d all be lost without her. I’ve always said she’s the glue that holds this family together. 🙂

Besides taking Noah to preschool three times a week and taking the kids to various Moms’ Club events, she has now started working in the church nursery. She absolutely loves it there and they love her too. Being a Gymboree teacher in the past, she’s a natural. One time when the kids started getting a little rowdy she started blowing bubbles while singing a Gymboree song. The kids loved it and all crowded around to hear her sing and play with the bubbles.

Unfortunately between preschool and the nursery I think we’ve all gotten a lot more sick than normal. But, we’re pretty much done with it now and probably have stronger immune systems than ever.

Well, not much has changed for me. I still love my job as a software developer for the Val Verde Unified School District. It’s just 20 minutes from my house, the work is great and the people are awesome. We’re really developing a lot of neat and useful tools. We all really love working there because we’re really a big part of keeping Val Verde on the cutting edge compared to other districts.

I started playing in two different jazz big bands this year. Check out my last blog post on it. One is a great community band that has gigs about every month or so. During the Christmas season we were really busy playing about once every couple of weeks. It’s been a real blast. I also joined the Robert Holts Orchestra, which is a professional level jazz band here in Temecula. It’s a brand new band that has started up this year. We recorded our first demo CD in June. We’ve played a few gigs but continue to have great rehearsals and our manager is really working hard at booking us some gigs. For being a new band it is really sounding great. Robert Holts, the conductor, is from the jazz big band days in the 30’s and has always had a dream of starting another band. So, we’re playing from his incredible collection of original charts as well as some great new arrangements he’s written himself. Definitely one of the most fun and exciting things I’ve had the chance to be a part of.

Also this year God really blessed me with a great car. You can read the full story about it in my original blog post here

[tags]Eva, Matt, Noah, Christian, New Year, Christmas, Preschool, Disneyland, Beach[/tags]

but the short story is that our Ford Escort had lived a full life and was ready to be retired. It needed about $2000 of transmission work but the car wasn’t worth that much. So, while it was a great car, we had to start looking elsewhere. Without a lot of money I was scanning the papers and Internet for cheap Honda Accords or Toyota Camrys. I knew these lasted forever. In fact, I finally sold my Honda CRX with 247,000 miles on it and the only reason why I sold it is because Eva was pregnant and we needed a larger car. It was still running great.

Anyway, my friend John is a mechanic at Toyota and was also looking for me. Then one day I just said, “God, you know I need a car. I know you’ll work it out so I’m not going to worry about it anymore.” That very next day John called me up and said he found the car for me. Someone had just traded in a 1997 Lexus ES300 with 100,000 miles on it. Because it was a Lexus it was still running great with many years to go. The original owner had really kept it in pristine condition so there was really very little work to do other than a general 100k tune-up. All in all, $7,500 later I was driving out in my new Lexus, well, new to me. It’s been the best car I’ve ever had.

Well, this letter was much longer than those in the past. Every year they seem to grow, but with little kids around every year, it is that much more exciting. We hope that you loved reading it as much as we loved writing it. This is the first year we’ve had it on our web site which is really fun. It’s given us the opportunity to share a lot more events and pictures with you than we normally could have.

Please come by the blog every so often or, better yet, subscribe! It’s a great way to keep tabs on what we’re doing throughout the year.

Take care everyone and may 2008 be your best year ever!


Matt, Eva, Noah, Christian & Kona 8)

January 4th, 2008

Why I became a software developer

All I can say is Wow!!!!!  This is just one of the fun reasons why I wanted to become a developer.

Check out these incredible videos.  Now I just have to somehow get Eva to let me by a Nintendo Wii.  :)  Hmm, my birthday is coming up, but they’re a little expensive.  🙂

Head tracking and 3D with a Wii Remote:

Creating a low cost interactive white board with a Wii Remote:

December 20th, 2007

A Little Christmas Music to Enjoy

OK, here are some “classics” that I always listen to every year. It’s a fun way to laugh during the holiday season. 🙂

Didn’t I Get This Last Year” – sung to the tune of “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Chipmunks Roasting On an Open Fire” – sung to what else but “Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire”. If nothing else fast forward to 2 minutes into the song to hear a fun little conversation between Dave, the Chipmunks and Nat King Cole over “dinner”.

Take care all!

December 14th, 2007

So you want to download a YouTube video?

I often get asked at work to download YouTube videos for us to keep. 

Usually these videos are humorous ones we might show as an ice breaker during a meeting, something fun that we just want to keep for ourselves, or sometimes even as evidence.  In once instance I was asked to download a video of a fight that happened on one of our school campuses.  A few by-standing teenagers recorded it with their cell phones and then posted on YouTube.  It’s funny to think that technology like this is so easy it’s among every teenager’s set of skills.

Anyway, before I get off topic I’ll show you how I do it.  With today’s web sites this only has two steps: Download & Convert.  I’ve spelled out the details so it looks a little longer than that, but trust me, it’s a piece of cake.

  1. Download
    1. Copy the URL (the web site address) of the YouTube video.
    2. Go to http://www.techcrunch.com/get-youtube-movie/ and paste the URL into the text box.
    3. Click the Get Video button and save it to your computer.  When you save it make sure to add a “.flv” as the extension since this is a Flash Video file.
  2. Convert
    1. Go to http://media-convert.com/
    2. Click the Browse button and locate the video you just downloaded.  If you remembered to add the .flv extension to the name when you saved it “Flash Video” should be selected automatically in the Input Format drop down menu.
    3. In the Output format select Quicktime.  I tried others a while back but for some reason Quicktime is the only one that worked.
    4. Check the box to accept the terms and click OK.
    5. After the file is automatically uploaded and converted you will be able download it for keeps.

    That’s all there is to it!  There are several other web sites or tools that offer the same downloading and converting features.  These are the two I just happen to use.