Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I am feeling so grateful right now so I figured I should write this down. I have been having a small case of  baby hunger after our huge trip away from our little girl. While on our trip it seemed every baby that passed us was adorable, and I would get that "I want a puppy" mentality. I missed My baby. She was in such good hands with my mom that I didn't have to worry about her. She enjoyed a fun filled time with Grandma. BUT I missed her so much. Since our trip that feeling has calmed a little (thank goodness since we aren't planning the next baby just yet) I have this feeling of complete joy when I am with her. I would trade a lifetime of vacations for my home life and our family. It is All that matters to me now.

I tend to get all sentimental and soft this time of year anyway, but a little more this year. This is Chloë's second Christmas. Last year she was only 6 months old and of course didn't participate much in the festivities. This year we all get to enjoy her soaking it all in. I can't wait to see her opening her gifts and enjoying all of her wonderful family and delicious treats.

Chloë enjoyed our outing to hunt for the perfect tree. As usual Chloë is in her own little world and enjoying her freedom to run up and down the isles and would only stop to let people give her attention. I wonder where she gets that from (Daddy)

The girl caught the attention of a lady who was kind enough to ask us if we want a family picture taken.

Daddy showing the girl all about how to pick the perfect tree

The girl loves to run away from us and wait for us to come find her. This is a problem.. she wants to walk all by herself and not hold mommy's hand.. She will dart the opposite direction you are walking and make you run after her.

These two were always meant to be together. I really believe that Chloë chose her daddy before she came down to earth. She knew she wanted this daddy. Her little spirit just knew. They are so close.
I really feel like it was divine intervention for Adam and I to get together. Adam and I are very compatible, but I still look back and wonder how in the world we got together. God's plan is all knowing.

This was terrifying to the kid. She just flipped! The cute Elfs were trying to calm her,(thanks Liz!) but to no avail. Poor baby! Here is a link to last Christmas's video of Little Miss Chloe

I hope you are all enjoying the season! Mery Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sydney (Part Deux)

This is my last vacation post, I promise! These posts are mostly a way for Leah and I to document our trip so 20 years from now we can show Chloe and our other future younglings how much they missed out on because they were so young and/or unborn. Ha Ha.

After New Zealand we were planning to layover in Sydney for a couple hours and then to fly back to San Francisco, but Sydney was not through with us. Our flight was cancelled giving us a couple of more days to see Sydney (there are worse places to be stranded!). At the time we were missing Chloe (especially Leah) and were ready to get home. I'm glad we stayed the extra couple days though because we had some really fun experiences. The following documents those preceedings.

We decided to head over to the Kings Cross neighborhood and found the El Alamein Fountain at the entrance to the Fitzroy Gardens. Kings Cross reminded me of Greenwich Village, but less pretentious. Here is a picture of Leah just before she cooled off her feet.

Leah standing at the front door of the Elizabeth Bay House, once known as the "finest house in the colony." Leah just loved the doors down under. In fact, I have so many pictures of Leah and doors I could make a long blog post entitled "Leah and the Doors of the Southern Hemisphere" for your viewing pleasure.

Some cool limestone rocks near Finger Warf. (above and below)

Climbing some rocks at Woolloomooloo Bay. Yeah, you read that right. Across the bay is the Austrailian Navy shipyard. Do you know why the New Austrailian Navy has glass bottomed boats?
So they can see the Old Australian Navy!

Leah checking out the boats in the bay one last time. G'Night.

So Sydney has a couple of huge flocks of wild Cockatoos flying around. Leah and I walked up on a large group of them on the grass and I told Leah to walk around to the other side for a picture. While she was walking around I creeped up slowly to the closest one and offered it my hand (like John and Darby had shown me in a pet store in Los Angeles two weeks prior). It worked! To my surprise the huge wild cockatoo jumped on my hand (and just like in the pet store, it bit me!) It was worth it though.

For two minutes I was the coolest tourist in Sydney. The Asian tourists' Nikons started smoking they took so many pictures and videos of me and my bird friend! I swear they are probably selling illegal bootlegs of this all over China. They probably call me the "cockatoo whisperer" or "man who tame wrild bird" when they tell their friends and families about me. Yeah, I was a pretty big deal....

....until 20 minutes later when we saw some locals doing the same thing, only with birdseed. At least I didn't need birdseed (stupid birdseed losers) to catch one. They were nice enough to give us some birdseed and Leah got her chance to wrestle the dangerous razor-taloned cockatoos of Sydney.

Crossing a walking bridge after touring the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

 We ran into the missionaries and they recommended this quaint Thai food restaurant. Elders always know the best places to eat. Leah's muse, Wendy of Wendy's, was not happy.

I promised bats. And here they are with their leathery wings and loud squeeks. I can almost hear them just looking at the picture. They were probably about six inches bigger than the cockatoos.

It was strange seeing Christmas stuff in a summer climate. The weirdest was a target commercial on TV with a woman in a bikini high diving into an outdoor swimming pool full of kids with thousands of those glass red and green Christmas ornament orbs floating on top. Now whenever I think of Christmas I think of diving women.

Did I mention we flew 1st Class! Winning. The seats laid back completely flat into a bed (that Dracula would love), but I loved it too. I had the filet mignon for diner cooked medium in case you were wondering.


Monday, December 5, 2011

New Zealand (Auckland)

We finished off our New Zealand trip in its capital city, Auckland (Edit, I was recently imformed Wellington is actually the capital of New Zealand...ignorant Americans!). Downtown Auckland was like a a smaller version of Sydney (smaller city, smaller bridge, smaller tower). Don't get me wrong, Auckland was amazing in its own way and the two probably shouldn't be compared.

We were trying to find our way out to the western beaches of Auckland by using our incredibly UNdetailed map of New Zealand. When the highway that we thought might go there was closed due to construction we just headed west on some surface streets hoping to see some signs. After three miles of no signs I pulled over at a gas station for some directions. I asked a heavily tatooed gentleman who just finished filling up his car how to get there. He told me that it was way too complicated to describe the route, but if I followed his car he would lead us to the turn off.

Leah and I decided that he was either really nice or going to kill us. Either way, we followed him through several turns and for several miles to an unpopulated area. Then he pulled over and got out of his car. I got out to meet him and...

He turned out to be just really nice. He said "I had you follow me because that was the most dangerous neighborhood in Auckland. Gang members like to beat up people in groups (groups of gang members not groups of people) for fun." He pointed us on our way and off he went. As you can see we made it. Thank you random stranger! Don't judge a book by its cover.

Piha Beach at sunset. It is a beautiful black sand beach on New Zealands's west coast. The waves rolling in were enormous and they rolled (I would guess) 200 yards up the huge flat beach making for really cool reflective pictures. Leah put the ones I like on her facebook page.

Like most places/beaches in New Zealand...we were the only ones there.

Lovely lady likes long walks on the beach. 

As the sun was setting. Have I already mentioned this beach was beautiful?

Leah trying to time a picture me jumping off of this pole. Strangely, one of my better photographs. Very natural looking. In case you were wondering that is Lion Rock in the background (the same rock used at the beginning of Lion King).

Sippin on a 40
Sippin on a 40
Aye Yo lets roll to the store
Eazy E so we can buy us some L&P
40 oz. gettin' a buzz with the thuggz
In New Zealand the soda of choice is called Lemon & Paeroa or L&P. It's like nothing I've ever had and it's actually quite tasty! We poured a little out for the homies back in the know...keepin' it real.

The north side of Piha. That black sand was the softest I've ever felt (maybe tied with Aruba's, it's hard remember sand softness)

Leah on Karekare Beach. If you look closely there a couple of people on the background. That's why this photo is so special.

Leah about to hop on the trolley in Auckland next to the fish market.  We've never ridden on the trollies in San Francisco though. Go figure.

Inside of the fish market. The fresh fish sampler is particularly is the free wifi! That was one high-tech fish market.

"My name's Leah. I wear motorcycle jackets even though I don't own a motorcycle."

Oh this place was so cool! The Devonport neighborhood in Auckland is where they grow all those mushrooms that Nintendo uses for all of its Super Mario Bros games. Leah ate one and she immediately grew to 4 times my height. Finally! I can fulfill my amazon woman fantasy! Alas, it had to remain just that. Unfortunately, Leah tripped over a turtle after a couple of steps and shrunk down to her normal size before I could take a picture and get her back in the campervan.

Devonport Hill.

This was just some wall we walked passed with some lady standing in front of it.