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10 Mar 2013
A friend of our's has a house in Tahoe, and Jayryn needed some convincing that we don't need to go to NY or the Artic for snow, so we spent this weekend in the mountains. We got lucky, and ended up arriving just after the winter's last decent snow, and right before things started to melt away. My first thought on the backyard, was "This isn't steep enough for decent sledding," but I'd obviously forgotten the way Sierra cement works. After a couple of runs we were into luge territory and needed to do some serious construction to avoid the trees.

"I think I was too close!"

I was kind of hoping to teach Jayryn the, "Winter is not all it's cracked up to be" lesson, but 60 degree afternoons and a foot of new snow is hard to knock. With the snow up to his waist though, Jolon was less impressed. It's hard to posthole when you are only making one hole.

As long as you start by yelling "Yee! Haw!" nothing can go wrong...

17 Dec 2012 - 08 Feb 2013

Hey, as long as we are flying east to NY for Christmas, why not keep going and do New Year's in Thailand? These things always seem like such a good idea until your boarding a 13 hour flight at 2am with an (almost) 2-year-old.

I was a little groggy for New Year's with Siri's family in Khao Yai, but had woken up by the time my mother and brother joined us for three weeks on the tourist circuit of Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai, and Krabi(Railay beach). It was great to share my old haunts with family. It's old been reconstructed so much that it's a little hard to say, but I don't think the bungalow we stayed in was more than 100 feet from where I used to live with Noo.

Assorted photos from the trip...


09 Jun 2012

This year we decided to do the family vacation in Curaçao mostly because of the resort's proximity to the Curaçao Sea Aquarium. I was a little skeptical about the obviously photoshopped picture of dolphins jumping in front of the resort, but this place ended up being perfect for us. The resort was on a small man made island and our balcony was just across a narrow channel from the dolphin pens. Jayryn went to the aquarium every day and developed a fixation on petting the large rays in the touch tank.


After deciding on the Caribbean I realized you can't really get there from California, so we ended up flying through Newark, two 5 hour flights with a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old.

Jolon learned how screech for attention about a week before we left and I was really worried about being "those people" on the flights, but they were both remarkably well behaved on the trip out. Definitely not the worst kids on the flight and that's really all we were shooting for. On the way back on the other hand...

No need for the blow-for-blow on the flight to Newark, I'm just glad the people in front of us were such jerks, otherwise I would have felt bad for them. I'm not sure what I (or Expedia) was thinking, but somehow I booked the tickets with a hour and a half transfer through Newark. The flight ended up being late so we had an hour to get through immigration, collect our bags, clear customs, recheck the bags, redo security (my fastest assembly/disassembly times ever on the stroller), and sprint to the gate about 5 minutes before they closed the doors. No time for snacks and we ditched most of the kids food at customs.

As soon as we buckled in the pilot came on and announced we'd be taxiing for 2 hours, and Jolon promptly melted down. He was at the end of his rope and totally hysterical. When he threw his sippy-cup across the aisle and hit someone I really started worrying that we would get thrown off the plane. I have no idea what the bar for that is, but we must have been close.

Just as I almost started wishing we would get thrown off the plane, the pilot came on and announced he'd found a shortcut?!? and we were third for take off. As soon we got into the air Jolon ran out of steam and it was almost uneventful back to California. The shuttle I booked showed up, and I was snug in bed by 4am. The kids woke at 6.

09 May 2012
Jayryn tagalong
After weeks of reconnaissance, I finally figured out a safe route to take Jayryn to work on the tag along.

The Apocalypse Trail has everything a bike ride needs, abandoned military base, waste water treatment plant, landfill, and of course, the best warning sign in the world:

invisible danger

I can tell you, that in general I am not a fan of the warning sign as a form of communication. In fact, I think you could as far as to say I am anti-warning. But, even I whizzing along on my mountain bike, stop to take a second look at a sign that starts out "Invisible Dangers!"

invisible danger sign

Woe the disappointment when the Invisible Dangers! turns out to be the fact that there is poo in the sewage treatment plant. So, I might not be able to see it, but I sure could smell it, and touching the foul water was definitely not on my list of things to do, warning or no. It's a sad day for the Apocalypse when undertow in a sewage treatment pond is the best it can muster.

I lesson is, if you want someone like to me to stop and read a sign, this is how you start it off.

So one last thing, if you've gone ahead and invested in your "Invisible Dangers" sign, for the sole purpose of getting an otherwise unlikely to stop persona (me) to in fact stop (also me), the place to put it is definitely next to an obviously radiation emitting device.

Can I make up my own Invisible Dangers! ?

invisible danger sign2

Luckily in addition to signs to keep me entertained the ride also has lots of bridges, tunnels and birds, to keep Jayryn totally entertained.

We made it into the office with only one break, and I was amazed when at the end of the day, given the choice between the train or the bike, he wanted to ride the bike back home.

23 Apr 2012

April camping in Yosemite with a 3-year-old didn't necessarily seem like a great idea 6 months ago when I booked the site, but we ended up with mostly perfect weather.

Daddy is this tent big enough?
Daddy is this tent big enough?

The advantage to spring is that the falls are going big. We did the lower falls hike, and the bridge almost felt like waves were breaking over it.

Tunnel View.
Tunnel View.

This was Jayryn's third trip to Yosemite, and he loves the Valley floor tour. This time we also did the mirror lake hike, and tried to cast some animal tracks. There were no bear tracks to be found, but that ended up being ok, as the next morning a bear jumped up on the meadow boardwalk about 20 feet in front of us.

Green Dragon
Green Dragon

Spring caught up with us and our last day/night was pretty rainy, so took advantage of the bad weather and did the drive out to Glacier Point which was pretty snowy. Jayryn was thoroughly unimpressed with the coyote we saw, "Daddy, that's a small dirty dog."

Ready to Go?
Ready to go?

I was really psyched that on this trip, he took a real interest in the falls and rock formations. He memorized the names of most of the principle landmarks and can even tell you which ones daddy has climbed (although he was adamant he didn't want to do half dome).

05 Oct 2011

Hawaii has always seemed awfully far and awfully expensive to end up still in America, but this year we decided to give Maui a try. I really wanted to do the Haleakalā bike ride. But in June I got hit by a car:

I was lucky it wasn't much, much worse, but something got torn deep inside my hip, and there was no way I could prepare for the 10,000ft climb. Instead, we decided to do the full-on tourist vacation, helicopter ride, submarine ride, zip-line, shopping, luau, etc..

Jolon is not impressed by the helicopter.
Jolon is not impressed by the helicopter.

Jayryn is slightly more impressed by the submarine.
Jayryn is slightly more impressed by the submarine.

I was nervous about the flight, so I spent weeks explaining what to expect to Jayryn. The flight turned out to be fine, but in focusing on that it turned out I'd missed a detail. After a long, long day, Jayryn took one look at his room and exclaimed, "Daddy, where's my race car bed? I'm ready to go home now." Sigh.

Getting ready for bed Maui (post race car bed adjustment)
Getting ready for bed Maui (post race car bed adjustment)

Good morning Maui (only one cup of coffee in)
Good morning Maui (only one cup of coffee in)

Overall the trip was fun. I'll stand by my opinion though, that it's a long ways to go and quite expensive to still be in America. I'm not sure I would do Maui again unless I was fit enough to do Haleakalā, but I will probably come back some day with the kids are a little older to the volcanoes on the big island.


16 Aug 2011

Every morning I walk with the boys to Peets for coffee and treats. This morning I happened to bump into a Thai woman I know who used to work there. Jayryn got a little impatient as we chatted in Thai, and interrupted,

"How come you're not working?"
Losing sight on the propriety of resume questions from a 3-year-old she started to answer,
"Well, I'm in nursing school, and today I don't have my first class until..."
At which part she decided to try and turn things around and asked him,
"What about you, what's your job?"
To which Jayryn responded without pause, and with just the right note of skepticism about the nursing school story,
"I'm working underpants."
And thats why you don't get into a battle of wits with a 3-year-old.
03 Apr 2011
24 Dec 2010

My mom begged me, "Please don't ruin Christmas!" What? This had all seemed like such an excellent idea back in October when I hatched this plan.

Siri has always wanted to see some of Europe, but it's just not high on my list of places to vacation. What could be better present than a trip to a place she wants to go that I'm not really interested in? And what better way to do it than as a complete surprise? And how better to ensure the surprise than waiting until she happens to be 5 1/2 months pregnant on Christmas day? Now who is going to see that coming?

Somehow back in October that had seemed like an inspired idea. Now on Christmas Eve, Siri has ballooned up quite a bit more than I was expecting (in a good way of course), Jayryn is just recovering from a few days of nasty fever, and NY is getting ready for the Christmas Blizzard. I'm glad these tickets are non-refundable or I might lose my nerve.

25 Dec 2010
Against my mom's advice (can we have a count on that?) I tucked the itinerary in a copy of Lonely Planet Rome wrapped that, and put it under the tree with everything else. Everyone except my sister's boyfriend had an idea of what was going on, and you could see them wince every time Siri picked up a present. So it was only Austin and I that shared Siri's reaction.

She opened the book, and gave me exactly the reaction I'd expected. "What kind of a bad joke is this? You know I want to go to Italy, when do you think I'm going to get a chance to use this?"

"Keep opening honey, because I think it might be Tuesday."

When she found the itinerary, and processed what it was, I got just the reaction, I'd hoped for, she cried, from happiness. Got to love those pregnancy hormones.

Of course, then I had to start explaining about the blizzard.

28 Dec 2010

Spanish Steps
Spanish Steps

Our flight turned out to be one of the first ones that wasn't canceled (although it was delayed 12 hours or so.) If our flight had been scheduled even a couple of hours earlier we would have been in a days long queue of people being rescheduled. Only after we arrived in Rome, did we discover that while this was the policy for people, bags were going "first come first served".

So, Rome, middle of the night, pregnant wife, no bags, trying to figure out how the trains work, and really hoping I turn the right way exiting the Metro.

There were definitely some sharp edges but we mostly ended up having a good time. I don't think Rome or Italy were quite what Siri expected. She had a pretty idealized view in her head, but things do get run down a bit over the course of 3,000 years, and I think that really surprised her. She also had very little connection to the history, religion, and art, and that far out of context there was a lot of "Yes, this is another dusty old painting of something out of the bible, on the walls of a slightly scruffy looking church."

She enjoyed the food though, and the shopping, and even her decaf lattes. Our luggage showed up on around the fifth day, I think it was the same day Siri got pick-pocketed at the Coliseum Metro station. It was pretty classic thing, a bunch of kids pushing and shoving while one of them slipped Siri's wallet out of her zipped bag, then jumping back through the doors as they started to close. I knew immediately what had happened but was half a beat to late to do anything about it. All they got was €20, and then of course the receipts for all the clothes we'd bought so that we couldn't claim them with the airline.

That really chilled Siri's mood, but even so I think we can chalk one up in the win column.

Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain

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