February Part III

The rest of our vacation, and the rest of February.

After Sea World, we went to dinner at Ballast Point (KrisDi spilled 7 out of 8 ounces of bourbon barrel aged stout on her mother) and then we checked into the Lego Land Hotel (after GPS + road closure routing excitement). The hotel was fine. It’s geared toward children (surprise!). We stayed in a castle themed room. There were big heavy sliding doors on the spaces in our room — except the kids’ room. And they didn’t close well, so there was a good one inch gap to peer into/out of the bathroom. Location was kind of out in the middle of nowhere. The breakfast was definitely better than your average hotel breakfast. There were lots of nice touches (for kids) — free (read “included”) small Lego set after a small scavenger hunt every day, gigantic tub-o-Legos to play with in the lobby, sensors in the bathrooms that trigger recordings that talk to you and tell you jokes, wacky elevators, a corner that acts as a whoopee cushion if you walk in it, etc.

Lego Land was Lego Land. Lots of Lego sculptures, some rides (mostly pretty tame). I was surprised how interested the kids were in the mini cities. I was surprised how much Lego Land expanded their Star Wars themed stuff. We went to a brewery/bar/restaurant name Urge that night for dinner. Their beer was decent. They had a good taplist. The had a White Russians menu — a whole page just of variations on the White Russian.

The next morning we ate at the hotel again, then went to the San Diego Zoo. It’s a super nice zoo. Several elephants, a really big aviary, pandas. It’s also a really big zoo. I think we walked over 7 miles inside the zoo. This is where I really exercised the MegaLens (it was still too powerful in many cases). But I had fun with it. Lunch at the zoo, then dinner at Stone in Escondido afterwards. We swam in the hotel pool. After the kids went to bed, KrisDi and I went beer shopping. We drank a Rodenbach Alexander in the room when we got back.

One of the two nights, I don’t remember which, our key cards to get into the room stopped working and the replacements they gave us at the front desk also didn’t work. So, they concluded the battery in the reader in the door was dead; they needed the “master key” — a facilities guy with a crowbar and a wire on a stick. Lift up the door with the crowbar, slide the wire under the door and along the jamb, and voila! Door open, guests’ sense of security obliterated.

The next day of course we checked out, returned the rental car, flew home, etc. On the flight home, Chilkat’s tray table latch thing was missing — the airline’s “fix” was to tape it shut and stick an authorization sticker of some sort to it. Chilkat was upset, Chilkoot was gloating.

Nearly 3,700 pictures taken (not all kept), over 20gb of pictures/videos.

The rest of the month was pretty tame. But KrisDi wore mismatched shoes to work one day, which was pretty amusing.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 0 comments


Chilkat: Did you know they made Harry Potter books before the movies? And the books are better because you can get more detail and see what the people are thinking.

Chilkoot: Well, I like movies better because they’re more real.

Chilkat: Well Chilkoot, that’s a very good counterargument.

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February Part II

February Part II: Knott’s Berry Farm and Sea World

You shouldn’t be surprised that we took a lot of pictures in a small number of days. So, this is just for two days.

After Universal Studios, we moved to a hotel that was walking distance to Knott’s Berry Farm. Knott’s Berry Farm was the best place we visited for rides, and the crowds were non-existent. Chilkoot and I rode the same ride six times in a row. One time the operator let us stay on the ride, because there was no one waiting.

Chilkat discovered that she really likes the faster and more exciting rides, now that she’s over 48″ tall and she can ride more of them. She developed a disdain for the kid rides (which was something of an act because she still likes them, especially when she rides with Chilkoot). But, it did cause some strife, because Chilkoot couldn’t ride all the rides that she could, and we ended up splitting up rather than making Chilkoot wait outside a ride for Chilkat to finish.

We continued to struggle with practical application for the MegaLens.

After the park, we walked back to the hotel, and then drove to a small local Mexican restaurant, which was quite good. I bought a beer at the liquor store near the hotel to drink in the evening. In the morning we got up early and drove down to Sea World. The dolphin and orca shows were good opportunities for the MegaLens.

There were rides, and more animal displays, and whatnot. I don’t think anything particularly notable happened here. It rained a bit. It was very sunny during the aforementioned dolphin and orca shows. Crowds were small. The beer selection was surprisingly good (but I didn’t have any, because there definitely wasn’t anything worth theme park beer prices). “We saw a bunch of stuff” is probably the best summary of Sea World — so go look at the pictures.

We went and had dinner at Ballast Point (KrisDi spilled an entire barrel aged stout of some sort on Big D). We bought a few bottles to take home. Then we went home for the night.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment

February Part I

February, Part I

February…feels like a long time ago, but it’s really just barely less than a month ago, I guess (I’m writing this on the evening of March 31st).

The month started off pretty slow. We hosted a Super Bowl party. Chilkoot had his kindergarten tour (he decided he needed to wear a tie). We had a Daddy Daughter Day + Valentine’s Dance and a Mommy Son Day. Chilkat seems to have decided she likes root beer floats. For the 100th day of school, Chilkat’s school dressed up as 100 year old people (we went so far as to buy a real wooden cane and cut it down to Chilkat’s size). We had Valentine’s day and the associated lasagna (home made noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, sausage, and sauce). Chilkoot gave me stroopwafels.

Things of course started getting truly busy in preparation for Chilkat’s birthday party. She wanted a Magic School Bus themed party, so she got it to the nines, naturally. Lots of people, lots of food (I think 73 individual dishes), lots of drinks, lots of presents. Incidentally, we are now hitting the age of drop-off parties — at least one kid was dropped off by parents who left. One of them thought to leave a cell phone number. Frightening times. It’s enough to make you think that some parents think these kids should be allowed outside of the house without constant supervision at some point in their lives.

I can’t believe Chilkat is 7 now.

The day after the party, we flew to California for our string of high-end kid activities for Chilkat’s “mid-winter break” (for those of us my age and older, interpret this as “we invented an excuse to dismiss school for an extra week in February and we call it mid-winter break”). We hopped through San Francisco (picking up Nana and Papa on the way). Rented a mini van (with some drama, since our rental company didn’t actually have the van we reserved). Went to an AirBnB place that was big and empty (it’s strange to see full sized domiciles that are fully furnished and so clearly not lived in). We went to a nearby In-n-Out for take-out dinner. While KrisDi and Big D waited in the surprisingly long line, I walked until I found a random liquor store and (1) Was too stupid to read the year in the date on bottles of beer and consequently bought 1+ year old IPAs, and (2) stumbled across Founders CBS, a beer I have been half-assed looking for/whole-assed hoping for since roughly six years ago (in a random liquor store walking distance from a random In-n-Out…life is weird).

The next day, we started our “mid-winter break” activities in earnest by going to Universal Studios. The crowds were medium sized (compared to Disney Land last year). Chilkat and Chilkoot both got magic wands in Harry Potter World. We spent a little time in The Simpsons world (and I got a beer at a Duff-themed bar). The studio tour was cheesy but neat.

KrisDi and I had previously decided that the MegaLens is useless if I don’t actually take it with us when we leave the house, despite the ass pain caused by taking it out of the house. So we brought it along. And I was amused in my fruitless attempts to take pictures of my family on roller coasters — even from afar, it’s too zoomful (I just made that word up and I like it). I’m very sure the lens is more capable than the photographer in this case. My highlight of the day I think was when we were waiting for the Waterworld show, and music was playing, and Chilkat noticed his shadow, and started to dance with it.

Edit: I forgot to mention that it was relatively cold. It rained on us a little, and it was chilly and quite breezy. Les, despite his Chicago conditioning, found himself shivering. Also, KrisDi got stung by a bee in Simpsons land.

In other news — I updated the tool that I use to create the photo albums (jAlbum) and the “skin” that I use (previous Turtle, now Tiger) in the hopes of being able to make albums that look better on mobile devices. After enough fiddling around, I’m somewhat satisfied with the results. Plus now I can upload videos without external hosting. I’m not sure that I couldn’t do that before, but I’m sure I didn’t know how to do that before.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment


A couple days ago, Chilkat and Chilkoot were talking during breakfast. Chilkat told Chilkoot that someone at school told her Santa wasn’t real.

“But, I proved him wrong. Every Christmas, we get presents from Santa that are wrapped in Mickey Mouse wrapping paper, and Mommy and Daddy don’t have Mickey Mouse wrapping paper — so there!” Followed by an indignant ‘harrumph’.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, 1 comment