Thursday, September 05, 2013

The Road to Kona Goes Through Reno and a Ship

It has been a whirlwind (for us, anyway) 6 weeks or so for us. Family activities have dictated our vacations for the past few years and it was never more true than this summer. Last I've posted we were in Reno for Hannah's softball tournament and it was a week of ball parks and buffets. Hannah's team faced some serious competitions from teams from Southern California and Washington but I think for the long haul, the week with the team will benefit them in future play. 

Plus it allowed me to recreate a pic we had taken the last time we were in Reno. (I'll update this post with the old pic when I get home)

Two weeks after that trip, Sara's dance studio was off for their summer trip. First, a day at California Adventures where they performed and we got to check out the new Cars Land. 

Then we boarded the Carnival Inspiration where we took a 4 day cruise to Ensenada, Mexico, where Sara also performed and we... ate a lot. 

It was fun and also nice to have my parents and sister's family along with us for one big family vacation. Two weeks after returning from that, however, we were off again. This time for Britt's family as her brother was getting married... In Hawaii! This was not only Britt and the girls first trip to the islands, but Audrey's first airplane ride (we are a ride trip kind of family). We spent four and a half days in Kona and the big island and it was spectacular in every aspect. 

Luau coconut treat!

The main event was fantastic as well, a wedding on the beach. Intimate, with close families, as the sun set in the distance. It was certainly an experience I won't soon forget. 

Now, I sit on the flight home somewhere over the pacific, trying to process all the places I've been the last few weeks. I'm incredibly thankful for the opportunities, and thankful to all the people who made all these trips possible. It's not easy to get a family of five somewhere for any extended period of time.. Especially with my kids having such a wide age range, I'm glad we were still able to go somewhere before the older ones start thinking they are too cool to go somewhere with their parents. We all remember family trips when we were young, some were better experiences than others. Seeing it from the other side as a parent now, I'm just thankful for experiences we can have together. 

But ok, back to real life. There's new schools and Halloween and birthdays and Christmas before you know it. Life really does go on... 

- from seat 21A

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

On the softball road...

I don't think I've composed a blog on my phone since emailing one in while on a trip to Vancouver five years ago. (If I wasnt on my phone I would link to it) I could've upgraded slightly and post from my iPad but the hotel only gives wifi to one device per room at a time and I let Hannah's phone have it for now. (Beats her using her minuscule amount of cell data) 

Anyways, this is life on the road with my travel softball daughter. We are spending the week in Reno for a regional tournament and it has already been an experience, and we haven't played a game yet. There are like 150 teams here and seeing these girls from all over the western United States (and Canada) is kinda overwhelming. The girls were lucky enough to have some bowling time at the national bowling stadium (not opened to the general public) and the wave of girls and their families was crazy. I hope it has been a good experience for Hannah so far, and that the size of this tournament won't intimidate her too much and she can still do well. Go Crossfires!

Friday, June 21, 2013

9 more days of Google Reader and I am starting to freak out...

I know the link takes you to a potential replacement (Digg Reader). I obviously am not endorsing said product as they have not released it for public use yet. But the panic is causing me to check out all possible alternatives...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Crispy Baked Potato Fans

I don't consider myself a good cook or anything, I just think it can be cool to make neat things that also happen to taste good. Stuffing cans up a chicken's personal space is fun, beating a egg whites until they are fluffy and cheesy is fun. So when I saw this recipe for crispy potato fans, I thought I would give it a whirl for dinner.

There really isn't much to it. It's a baked potato with a breadcrumb and butter topping. The fun is in the fanning, and the recipe had a great idea of using wooden chopsticks as a guide to not cut through the potato, and a quick rinse to get rid of some of the starch to help the fanning. Bake potato, add crumb topping and put it in the broiler for a few (mine might have been there for about 30 seconds too long) and the results turned out like this...

Not bad, right? Most importantly, two out of kids liked and ate it. And that is a win enough for me...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Catching up...

Nothing makes time go by more than thinking about needing to post on your blog, I always say... (by always, I mean just off the top of my head right now)

Let's catch up.

I really did start a March POTM post. I read this article about a guy who started a creative way of taking pictures of his girlfriend as they travel to different places around the world. I thought it was the coolest thing and wanted to try it out. Now I certainly am not trotting the globe like that guy is, but I've been able to start capturing a few places right in my own backyard. This is my first one in front of Britt's work. Of course, you can follow my Instagram feed and see if I follow through on this better than this blog...

A quick diversion!

I did not take this picture. I was not even there. But I would like to give a shout out to my friend John for capturing this on a school field trip of Hannah's. Of the many awesome things about this picture, I mostly want to share this with you because this really reminds me how old my baby is getting. 13! Oh my....

Ok, by to lauding my own art...

It's not always about fancy artistic pics sometimes. Sometimes, pictures capture life. Boring, everyday life, but life that you will think back on fondly one day when it's over. Like three very loud kids getting ready for bed in the bathroom. Pretty sure I will miss this one day.... pretty sure.

Mother's Day for May! I like this one because I realized after taking this that I don't have a lot of pictures with my mom. Will have to remedy that in the future. And it shows how much taller I am than my mom and sister! Ha!

Three shots, three months. Life goes on around here...

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Foggy Window Into My Mind, and where to find it...

Working on my March photo review (I didn't forget!) and it reminds me how many pictures I take that never really see the light of day. I take pictures to share with others. Photography is my way to sharing my life as seen through my eyes. Sometimes I wonder whether pictures are just me being too lazy to write (comparing the number of entries here to... say... my Instagram feed, may support that argument). But pictures are worth a thousand words, right? So it's got to even out somehow (though my English teachers probably never bought into that one).

But back to my original statement. Thanks to technology, I take a lot of pictures, and I would love for you to see more of them. Social media allows for many ways for me to share these pictures but none of them are perfect... or rather, I use them all a little differently so only certain pictures end up at certain places. I would break down the reasons, but they are pretty arbitrary and I probably make them up as I go along. The biggest reason I spread them out is that I don't want to overwhelm anyone with 40 pictures at once anywhere. You probably have that one friend who empties their memory card to an "album" on Facebook and you scroll through pictures after pictures of blurry figures and chopped off heads. Or how about that one Instagram feed that seem to update when the person you follow can get to a Starbucks and steal some wifi to put up 15 pictures at once with the Toaster filter? ... Nope. When I am lucky enough to capture a picture worth sharing, I want you to see it. So when I want most of my friends and family to see it, it will probably make it to Facebook. For a steadier stream of photographic inspiration open to anyone, it will end up on Instagram. When it's a random picture of the latest in kiddie pasta, there is probably a Twitter post about it. If we are REALLY good friends and I know you won't be bothered with me always putting up stuff, there is even the intimate Path. (There's even a rare Google+ post. But that's mostly just to be rebellious and silly. Like posting on MySpace!) Rarely do I cross-post, because most of you are friends with me on more than one social network and you don't need to see the same thing four times (See? I think of you with these things!)

Is this just one long post to get more "friends" or "followers"? Perhaps. But if we do end up connecting on the many social networks around (and trust me, I try a lot of them), I want you to know that I try to do it as thoughtfully as possible. And wouldn't just throw any ol' pictures of...say... a man dressed up as a pickle for nothing.

P.S. An obviously, there will be plenty of pictures here on the blog as well. These will come with words though. Hopefully many thoughtful well thought out ones. (Or at least second draft worthy, and certainly full of snark and sarcasm).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

RIP Google Reader

Official Google Reader Blog: Powering Down Google Reader

So sad. I've been such a faithful user of GReader, and I assume the 3 of the 4 of you reading this is in GReader right now. Not the most elegant, especially by today's standards, but it did its job of helping me keep up with my favorite sites. Now the search for a replacement begins.. and to figure out how to export my carefully curated Reader subscriptions....

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Photo of the Month - February

Hey it's time to do a quick look back! Short month = short post, right?

So you heard about the dog deal. Here's an action shot. Does it make you think twice about drinking from water fountains?

I'm a big fan of this one. Trying to get the teenager to keep the hair out of her face more often. Usually a losing battle.

But here is the winner of the month. Family day out in the City before we had to go separate ways. Helps to have a photogenic family, and live in a photogenic area, huh?

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Of literary devices, and the little things...

Sara is learning metaphors in class and I got to thinking of my current favorite song lyrics. It's one of those where the first time I heard it, I didn't get it. That's the beauty of it. It's subtle. I like my humor subtle. It's the little things, right? Like a wink to the audience, not feeling the need to beat it over their heads. You either get it or you don't.

Like the Dead Sea
You told me I was like the Dead Sea.
You'll never sink when you are with me
Oh Lord, like the Dead Sea

So of course, you have to know that at the Dead Sea, the salt density.... you know what, it's not as good when you have to explain it. Basic rule of wit (and I take those things very seriously - ironic, I know). Anyway, the song is pretty too.

Just perfect.

Monday, February 04, 2013

New Additions

This is Beckett. We have been looking for a possible dog and it's a somewhat stressful ordeal because you want the perfect pet who will fit in with the family. So of course, with that magical circumstance, Brittany walked into the shelter right when Beckett was being surrendered at the front desk. Bonds were made right away and the next day, we brought her home.

She has adapted nicely so far, and is quite a cuddler (unlike the kitten of the house). Happy to sit by someone's feet while also ready to run around and chase a ball. We think she will keep us all busy (in a good way) for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Photo of the month - January

Untitled by Alanmine
Untitled, a photo by Alanmine on Flickr.

I had so much fun rimmaging through old pictures in my previous posts that I decided that I want to do this every month!

Naturally I didn't have a big month in picture taking. Perhaps it was a little bit of recovery time from a lot of snapping over the holidays. There is such a thing a photography fatigue, right? Good thing I had my phone with me that I was still a steady contributor to Instagram.

This one is not from the phone though. This is a special one as I had been waiting just forever to see the shiny new World Series trophy since they won it back in October. The trophy tour was announced and not only was there a stop in Richmond, but BOTH trophies would be on display. The only problem was that it was to be on a Monday afternoon. However would I, with a clear conscience, skip out on work for this? Well it just so happen (and showing the amount of sacrifice that I was willing to make) that I needed to have a root canal done and the appointment was the same morning! As you can see, I survived it fine (or the drugs were awesome). Some split duties of waiting in line early and picking up kids from work and here we are, surrounded by shinies.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Year in Pictures Pt 2

Whew, I so did not expect to make this huge long post. How do you sum up a whole year with a few pictures, and even fewer words? The tough selection process continued and we press on with the 2nd half of the year...


I left you with a little teaser, as we went from Sara's recital performance in June to greeting July in Las Vegas for Sara's National competition. I just want to say I love Vegas. With or without kids, there are tons of things for all the senses. Vegas in July though? Well that I can do without. Shockingly, I actually blogged about this trip already, so you can read all about it here.

A few other things happened:

We had our first BBQ at the new house. A summer spectacular for mine and Britt's birthdays.

And softball tournaments took us all over. Watsonville, Livermore, Napa, a glamorous tour of the Bay Area...


I started the month in another state again. This time, it was a work training trip to Milwaukee (told you my life is glamorous). Any trip that I can visit a new baseball park is a winner in my book. 

More softball. 

Beach visits. Birthdays. Birthdays AT the beach.

And our first family camping trip. To Yosemite. It was a good first attempt at being back at nature as a family. I hadn't gone to Yosemite since as a kid with my family. I had forgotten how ridiculously beautiful it is there. I mean, look at that view! Must try and make it a regular family vacation... with maybe some of our own supplies this time.

My favorite picture of the month came from this trip, of course. We spent pretty much all afternoon at this little river beach. The kids love playing in the water and it's not a bad place to just hang out either.


Ah September 1st. When the air was full of hope of a new stadium... let's just move on.

Hannah started the fall season of softball and I think we were actually busier for it. Seemed like every weekend we were in Davis, Sacramento, Martinez...

Meanwhile this little one started dancing too. Busy busy...

And this one still had her thing. Busy busy...

Hey one of those panoramic picture thingies... I did find time to take in a game with Hannah. This is my FPOM (acronyms! super!) because it's the one of the most beautiful places around, and it was a good night (they did lose that night) where Hannah and I hung out early for batting practices, something I haven't been able to do in a long time.


Ah October baseball. I was lucky to go to two games during the playoff. One a 10-0 catastrophe, but kicked off an amazing run of staving off elimination. I still get goosebumps thinking about it all...

Fall time is the best. If for nothing else but the colors. (this is a photography post, after all. hehe)

And Halloween! Hannah had been dying to be Katniss Everdeen since she read the books and she was excited to have put an outfit together. And to have an arena Katniss to match her District 12 Katniss, well she had the Halloween she always wanted.

 A little more softball for the PFOM. As it gets closer to winter, it means shorter days, and EARLY wake up calls. The lights are on because this picture was taken before the sun came UP! Sigh....


Had a long day where I took Hannah to a softball tournament in Sacramento in the morning, then rushed back for a wedding in Oakland in the afternoon. It was worth it though as we had a blast. We love weddings. We'll make it more fun, promise. Oh, and please provide a photo booth. Those things are the best!

Then there was the week where I ran two 5K in a span of 5 days. Somehow my legs are still functional today to tell you about it.

Oh and this girl is officially a teenager now. Happy 13th...

 Egads she looks like an adult.

My FPOM was taken on the last day of November. I took the girls out to dinner before my third work trip of the year. A real glamorous trip to Boston! But that's next month...


Sara was in a Christmas parade! and it was on TV! Except the TV broadcast didn't include the part where Sara dance. Bummer.. but here's proof. She was there.

I was so angry at the TV thing I left the state the next day... wait that's not what happened. The (non) broadcast didn't happen until after I came back... After the delay due to Hurricane Sandy, I made the trip to corporate headquarters in Boston for a week. 

We walked all over that city and it was blast. 

I have a great story that I share at work of a girl who I went to high school with here in the Bay Area and as fate would have it, she is now working in Boston...for the same parent company that I do in California! It was super cool to see her. She even brought me to a food truck, which scores bonus in my book.

The week was great but when we came back, it felt like Christmas was suddenly thrusted upon us. First was the winter dance recital for these two...

Then we saw these lovely folks. As family as I have without sharing genetic matter.

Then this girl turned 4. Not sure how that happened so fast...

Then it was Christmas! Thinking back, I'm not sure how we pulled all of that together. It has been a whirlwind of a last few weeks. But here we are, 2013. Ready to do it all over again.

Oh, one more favorite picture. So one more plug for my Instagram account. I love this picture. Might be my favorite all year. But that will require another long review of pictures, and I barely made it through this one. Thanks for coming along on this journey down memory lane. I honestly can't wait to see what this year as in store.