Blog

My Blogs

Day 8 – The Day That Broke the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World

Now you have to understand. The Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World is the most easy-going, fun-loving, goofy, giggly, accepting, loving, tolerant, patient, understanding, funny, and positive person I know. But not by the end of this day, the Day That Broke the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World. In hindsight, we fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which …

Day 7 – Universal’s Wizard World Part 2 and the Hulk

With my tummy full of Butter Beer, my skin warmed by Dragon’s breath, and my nerdy gauge filled up with magic, we left Diagon Alley to take the Hogwarts Express Train to Hogsmead, AKA, the 2nd part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Theme Park. The Hogwarts Express is a ride itself, …

Day 7 Universal Theme Park – The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter

Would The Wizarding World of Harry Potter live up to its hype? As we approached the secret entrance to Diagon Alley, I became even more childlike than usual. I won’t lie, I was super excited about wandering around Diagon Alley, going on the Gringott’s ride, and maybe even buying a wand. Both The-Youngest and I …

Day 7 Universal Studios Begins

At 10:40, the crowds at Universal Studios were beginning to grow, so we had to choose wisely. So, we decided to do the important adventures, first. Not the Hulk ride. Not the Rip Ride Rocket. Not one of the water rides. No. We were going to do something for me. The Wizarding World of Harry …

Day 6 Universal’s Volcano Bay Waterpark in the Rain

I won’t lie. We were desperate to salvage the day. Maybe a movie? Maybe find an indoor race track? Maybe a gun range. Wait, what, no guns for The-Youngest? Ok. But something. Something… After successfully bra shopping for The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, (The Boyz remaining in the car to avoid awkwardly looking at women trying on bras), we …

Day 6 Universal’s Volcano Bay – The End of the World

The-Youngest’s most anticipated theme park was Universal’s Volcano Bay. He had watched hours and hours of videos. POV videos. Review videos. Park exploration videos. He knew how to use the Fastpasses, how to use the Taputapu wrist bands, where we should get our lockers, where the best food was, and, of course, what the best …

Day 6 A Rental Car for Universal (Theme Park)

To do the next part of our epic vacation, we needed a rental car for Universal (Theme Park). An easy task for most people, but for me, well, read on. It all began well enough. I managed to get a good sleep at our Disney World Resort. Drugs for my sore feet, fam quiet, room …

Disney World Top 10 Lists – From The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World made 2 Disney World Top 10 lists –  Her best moments and Mom advice. As well, at the bottom is a bonus list drawn from our brilliant Disney World travel agent, Alyssa. Getting The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World to share her insights wasn’t easy. When I first asked her, here’s what she said. “I don’t know, stop bugging …

Our Disney World Specialist – Alyssa’s Top 10 List of Things to Think About.

Alyssa was an amazing resource, and (being our first family visit), I bugged the hell out of her. Here is Alyssa’s Top 10 List of Things to Think About. Reserve the Magical Express Bus ahead of time so you (and your luggage) can go directly to Disney World. They will even pick up your luggage …

Top 10 List of Disney World Moments – By The-Youngest

The-Youngest: “Wait, wait, what, I have to do a top ten list on rides? Really, Joe? Really?” “Yes. No one knows more about rollercoasters.” “So do you want the best rollercoasters?” “No, my bad, not just rollercoasters. Rides. Tell me about your top 10 rides.” “It may not be totally in order, but I do …

Top 10 List of Disney World Moments – By The-Oldest

Top 10 moments? The rainstorm when we arrived! Oh yeah, yeah, the big rainstorm was amazing. 2) The architecture is amazing. The world-building, like how things looked, the time, you know, to get it right, that was incredible. 3) Favourite ride? Rocking rollercoaster had a lot of umph, but it wasn’t my favourite. In Epcot, …

My Top 10 Disney World Moments

There are way more top 10 Disney World moments than listed below, but I wanted to share a few of my experiences (and they may not be what you think.) Staff come and get you at the front desk. They walk up to you in line, with a smile, ask about your day, then about …

Getting It Right For The-Oldest – Epcot – Vacation Day 5

Getting it right for The-Oldest is NOT easy. See, Disney World for The-Youngest is a no-brainer. Candy. Rides. Loud sounds. Bright lights. More candy. But for The-Oldest, it wasn’t the way he wanted to spend eight days. For him, being away from his music was like me being away from my girlfriend at that age. …

Unexpected Fun – Epcot – Disney World

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times – the best thing about traveling is that you can never completely predict what will happen. This time, at Epcot, we had some unexpected fun. So, our plan, with rain already spitting down on us, was to get to our Fastpass ride, the popular …

This is a Kid’s Ride? Hollywood Studios – Vacation Day 4

Well, every day the forecast for Disney World said, chance of showers, lightning, and thunder. We’d experienced it when we first arrived and on day 4, but as we returned to Hollywood Studios, we experienced it, again. Sure, the rain wasn’t as heavy, nor was the lightning as fierce as the first night, but that …

Blizzard Beach – Disney World – Vacation Day 5

What do you do when you’ve set a time to meet and no one has watches? And worse, when you’ve solved that problem by telling everyone to keep an eye on a fake clock at Disney World’s Blizzard Beach? Now, if it was “Do homework until 4, then you can play the piano,” or “school …

50’s Prime Time Diner Disaster – Hollywood Studios – Vacation Day 4

We still had a lot to see and do at Hollywood Studios (Slinky dog ride, watch the Star Wars show and maybe sneak into the 50’s Prime Time Diner, then see the Fantasorgasmic Show.) None of us napped back at our Disney World resort, but we did get off our feet for a few hours, …

Embrace Your Inner Child – Hollywood Studios – Vacation Day 4

No question about it, the best way to do Disney World is to embrace your inner child. A lot easier if you’re, you know, a child, but we all did it. It took us until after the Rocking Rollercoaster to realize what kind of day we were going to have at Disney World. It was …

Disney World – Hollywood Studios – Day 4

Probably more than most places, Disney World can have some unpredictable moments. Day 4 would turn out to be filled with moments that we couldn’t have planned… I mean, first of all, who could have planned a bus would go to the wrong theme park? We missed the rope drop which meant that our plan …

Hollywood Studios – Disney World – Vacation Day 4 Start

Yesterday at Disney World had been a huge success, so the plan was to repeat the strategy – Get out to Hollywood Studios for rope drop, race back to the resort when it got all hot and icky, then return to the park for more awesomeness. I won’t lie. I was super excited to see …

Staying Together in Disney World

Holding The-Youngest in place at Legoland, 2014 as he pulls a face for the camera. Gosh, they were young. As was I. Staying together in Disney World is hard, and to be frank, it’s not always the kid’s fault. This is something I found in Legoland. With 3 other people, it is not three times …

River of Lights – Animal Kingdom – Disney World Vacation Day 3

Tonight, the River of Lights. I have to say, Disney World does so many things right. First, they kept the weather amazing. I don’t know what Mickey Magic they cast, or what Avatar weather machine they activated, but the evening at Animal Kingdom was perfect. Pink skies. Long, fading clouds. A little hot, but manageable. …

Korean BBQ Ribs at Yak and Yeti – Animal Kingdom – Vacation Day 3

We’d only eaten at quick-serve places in Disney World due to our epic Disney Deal, but we decided to risk a few $$$ and try Korean BBQ ribs at the Yak and Yeti restaurant. (Asian food). It was one of the best-recommended restaurants in Animal Kingdom (if not the whole of Disney World), but based …

Disney World Crew Member Fail – Animal Kingdom – Vacation Day 3

So far, every interaction with a Disney World Cast Member had been awesome. That was about to change. Now, when in Disney world, every guide book, every YouTube video and every blog says make a reservation for popular restaurants. However, we simply couldn’t pin down our dining times, so we were unable to make one. …

Avatar: Flight of Passage – Animal Kingdom – Vacation Day 3

Like I mentioned in the previous blog, I’m not easily surprised these days, but the Avatar: Flight of Passage ride sure surprised me. I don’t think I’ve had so much fun on a ride in a long time. Perhaps ever. See, not only did Disney World do everything right getting me to the ride, but …

Disney World’s Pandora in Animal Kingdom – Vacation Day 3

At my old age, it’s hard to actually surprise me. People doing stupid things? (I have a whole top 10 from Disney World coming up), but those things hardly raise an eyebrow. Something amazing invented? Well, of course, it’s the age we live in. A twist in a movie? Ack, I saw that coming in …

Disney World’s Animal Kingdom -Vacation Day 3 – Troubles

I had thought that our first day at the Magic Kingdom would be our toughest. We’d be jet-lagged, we hadn’t figured out how things worked, and we had no idea how the weather would affect us. But I was wrong. It would be the day we spent at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. A day that …

Disney World’s Animal Kingdom – Vacation Day 3

Forecast for Disney World’s Animal Kingdom? Lightning and Thunder possibilities around 2. Chance of sore feet? 100%. Chance of barely bearable humidity? 1000% Chance our new plan would work? I gave it 100%. We hoped that the whole ‘chance of thunderstorms and lightning’ would not happen. Like yesterday. While that kind of storm was fun …

Magic Kingdom – 10 Fails on the First day

In the Magic Kingdom, we made 10 mistakes. I hope you can learn from us. We underestimated the effect heat AND humidity would have on us in the Magic Kingdom . After 8 hours, we were done. Like completely done. I didn’t get any writing done. I brought my laptop to the Magic Kingdom, but …

Disney World Vacation – Day 2 – Magic Kingdom Lessons

I won’t lie. Despite all the planning and research, there are times when you’re going to do something you’re going to regret. In Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, at around 2:30, we made our worst decision. Much to our surprise, the weather remained spectacularly nice, if hot and humid. The forecast for thundershowers and lightning had …

Disney World Vacation – Day 2 – Magic Kingdom Fun

The first part of the day at Magic Kingdom had gone so well, but by 11am the crowds at Disney World had begun to grow. In a big way. Wait-times shown on our Disney World App went from 20 min to a minimum of 30min, and 2 hours for the super popular rides. On the …

Disney World Vacation – Day 2 – Magic Kingdom Start

By the time we had arrived at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, everyone had forgotten that it was 6am our time and that we had slept maybe 8 hours in two days. We were here! It took a bit of time to walk from the buses to the security check. It took a bit of time …

Disney World Vacation – Day 2 – Magic Kingdom

No rain in the morning, but the forecast for Disney World was more thundershowers by 2. Would we be able to have a great day or would the bad weather kill our riding time??? And was the weather really the thing we should have worried about? Our plan for the first day at Disney World, …

Disney World Vacation Day 1 – Arrival

Unexpected things always happen in Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Disney World Vacation Day 1 – Flight

The Beginning of the Start We had to get up very early to catch our flight to Disney World and Universal Theme Parks. Like 3 am early. We wanted to have plenty of time in case things went wrong. Things always go wrong on every vacation. Not always big things, like forgetting a passport or …

Disney World Planning 2019

Together, Disney World and Universal Studios, have more rides, more cool restaurants and more exciting things to do than any place on the planet. Want a donut the size of your head? Yup, they’ve got that. Want to ride up a mountain and come down with a splash? Yup, they’ve got that. Want to get …

Disney World Planning

So, why go to Disneyworld? Why Walt’s Wonderland? Why the Magic Kingdom? Why not the equally exciting city of Calgary? Or camping in the mosquito-infested forests of BC? Why even go anywhere? Simple. But maybe not what you think. See? Time is running out. The-Oldest graduates next year, and The-Youngest will (all too soon) be …

Graduation Time

How many of my friends have kids graduating this week? Everyone knows kids grow up to fast, but there are events that hammer those moments home like a Monty Python fish-slap to the face. Graduation from Elementary school is such an event. It was a big moment for The-Youngest, for sure, and the-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and I …

Father’s Day Done Right

What is the greatest gift you can get on Father’s Day? I think every dad has a different idea of what makes the BEST Father’s Day: fishing, bowling, golfing, camping, whiskey, strippers… but for me, it’s playing a game with my family. So, this year, I chose for forgo presents, dinner, and whiskey to play …

Advice from a Stepdad on Father’s Day

So, I’ve been a stepdad for about 5 years now, and I have some observations I’d like to share… the top 5 things that no one will tell you about being a stepdad. As a stepdad, you start to worry a lot more. For me, this has led to more grey hair, a weird twitch …

Top 10 Dungeons and Dragons Lessons Learned

One of the best things about running a Dungeons and Dragons adventure is never, ever being able to predict how a group of characters will react to any given situation. However, some things should have been predictable. Here are my top 10 Dungeons and Dragons lessons learned about running adventures for 12-year-olds. They need a …

Session 3 Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Pt 2

The Dungeons and Dragons Adventure was about to come to a head. Even having seen how well the boys, (Leroy-the-Ranger, Sherlock-the-Wizard, Brad-the-Rogue, and Honor-the-Paladin) had defeated the Blackskulls in the forest or cleared the ancient, dwarven dungeon below his home, Devon the halfling feared they would not be able to defeat the men inside his …

3rd Dungeons and Dragons Session pt 1

This session would define the game for a long while. In video game terms, it was the boss fight. In movie terms, the climax. In Dungeons and Dragons adventures, it’s a moment where failure could mean death. Led by their halfling guide, Devon, the boys (Leroy-the-Ranger, Sherlock-the-Wizard, Brad-the-Rogue, and Honor-the-Paladin) had entered a secret entrance …

2nd D&D Session

Phandalin Adventure Day 2 Once, again, I couldn’t wait to start my D&D adventure with the boys. I’d done my prep, printed out my handout, (even a very cool ‘weathered’ map), and bought enough munchies to feed an army of starving goblins. But therein lay my first mistake, and it may very well be why …

D&D The Mines of Phandelver pt2

D&D Adventure  – The Bandits The D&D adventure took on a darker tone. The 4 boys, Honor-the-Paladin, Brad-the-Rogue, Leroy-the-Ranger, and Sherlock-the-Wizard were on their way to pick up their inheritance. Not far into the journey, though, they realized their guide, the Irish-accented, Devon Havenford was hiding something. They pressed Devon mercilessly and he confessed that …

D&D The Mines of Phandelver Begins

Sadly, it took a while to get that first D&D adventure going, especially since the boys were new players, and, you know, 12-years-old. To their credit, the boys didn’t treat all the information thrown at them like a math test, they listened, fidgeted, and looked excited to start. After introducing them to my D&D world, …

1st Day of D&D

The D&D 5e Adventure Begins! I hide behind this D&D screen.Their quest – the chest. The D&D day had finally arrived. I picked up the four boys after school and brought them to our place. The-Youngest and I had transformed the rec room into the new D&D room. We had chips for them. We had …

Playing D&D Part 1

The First Great D&D Adventure I don’t think anyone in the universe prepared for a first adventure as much as I did. I won’t lie, I was nervous about running a pack of 12-year-olds through a 5E D&D adventure.  I hadn’t played this new-fangled version of the game, and being a DM (the guy who …

A Return to D&D

It’s been 30 years since I played D&D, but when my best friend’s daughter asked me to join her game, I thought, should I embrace my nerdiness, again, put on my wizard’s cloak, take out my wand of magic missiles and join her group? I won’t lie. I was hesitant. A part of my reluctance …

Driving Mr. Daisy

One of the great events in our early lives is learning to drive. Driving equals independence. It’s a milestone in life. And it’s something that can drive parents crazy. It’s all because we think, gosh, we can teach our child to drive. We’re good drivers, right? We’ve been doing it for years, right? We love …

The Great Sacrifice

Parents will do anything for their children: Lift a car off their child. Fight off a bear. Run into a burning building to save their little ones. But the greatest sacrifice by far, I would argue, is letting one of them have a drum set. The-Youngest, (perhaps inspired by his musically talented brother or some …

The Composer

There may come a time when The-Oldest playing on stage doesn’t wow me, but on one Saturday in Dec., not only was I wow’d, but I have to confess, tears leaked out of this old guy’s eyes as I listened to him play at the Langley Community Music School – a piece he’d written. As …

Why ‘Firsts’ Matter

A week for 1sts The best part of being a parent is experiencing the firsts with your kids. First steps. First words. First poo in the toilet. Sadly, I missed those so the firsts that come my way I eat up like a starving puppy thrown into a pit of pupperoni. But this week had …

Tips For a Better Vacation

Or Photography for Fun I have a theory. Taking pictures makes vacationing more fun. Ok, stay with me here for a moment. I’m not saying ‘live behind a camera’ and go around filming every little event (errr, wait, urm, I do that, but that’s not what I’m saying.) What I am saying is that by …

Mayne Island Getaway

I think one of the things guys/boyfriends/husbands/stepdads/gigolos don’t realize is how much work and stress goes into being a mom. Now that’s not to say that we don’t have our own challenges, stresses or times when we need a break, but moms take on a lot more than they let on. So, every so often, …

What To Do In Alberta – Summary of the West Ed Mall

Because school has started and I really need to finish off this trip from July, let me be brief, (which, if you know me, is like asking the Pope to be Muslim for a bit.) So here it goes. West Edmonton Waterpark – Both boys had fun, and because pretty much everyone in Edmonton had …

What To Do In Alberta – West Edmonton Mall

There was only one thing to do back in July – Visit the West Edmonton Mall. The-Youngest had planned for it, dreamed about it, and now the day had finally come. He had one goal. Have fun!  Maybe do a few rides. But most likely he’d spend hours and hours in the waterpark doing waterparkie …

What To Do In Alberta – If You’re From There

Despite our best-laid plans,  we ran out of time to see the places in Calgary where I grew up, or as the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World said, “the places that made Joe, Joe.” It’s too bad. Much of my early, happy life was here. Here I had two parents. Here I had a neighbourhood full of friends. Here …

What To Do In Alberta – The Dinosaur Museum

Who could not love a dinosaur museum? Well, not everyone as it turns out. The Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller may be the most impressive dinosaur museum on the planet, certainly there are signs saying so, so it must be true, but for The-Youngest, it was a big building filled with stuff that looked like …

What To Do In Calgary – The Military Museum

Or Tanks for the Memories! Of all the things we planned to do, the thing I looked forward to the most was seeing the Calgary Military Museum and their collection of tanks. If you look at my website, you’ll see there’s a whole section for tanks. I love tanks. I don’t know why. My therapist …

What To Do In Calgary

When in Calgary, why not do the Tower of Terror? Our zoo experience couldn’t have been better, unless, you know, the pandas danced or sang Oh Canada or re-enacted the battle of Waterloo. The weather had turned nice. The crowds were light. And the animals were mostly out and about doing animal things. We had …

Why Does the Calgary Zoo Matter?

The Alberta Zoo There is a move these days to get rid of zoos. It comes from good-hearted people who have not thought through the idea. Oh, they FEEL the idea, for sure, but they miss a fundamental concept. Zoos connect people with animals, many of which are in danger of disappearing. Now, we’re not …

Will the Pandas Be Awesome at the Calgary Zoo?

The Truth About Pandas. We had a choice to make early in the planning stage. The Calgary Zoo or the Calaway Amusement Park. The-Youngest argued for the park, since it had, you know, rides and cotton candy and rides and pop and rollercoasters and popcorn and more rides. All good points. But since we were …

BC to Alberta

Or How to Get There From Here. We thought it would be an uneventful day, but as with any travel adventures, we ended up having two adventures we hadn’t planned on. We’d planned to get to Calgary by 3 so we could see the zoo and the pandas. (If you recall, we had to book …

Small Town BC

Just a Small Town Boy…. I didn’t grow up in a small town, unless you count Victoria as a small town, but it’s really a small collection of municipalities constantly at war with each other over which one gets to dump sewage onto the other one’s ocean-front properties. But I have a romantic view of …

Family First in BC.

Family First… As I write out my notes, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World’s Baba has just gotten out of the hospital after having major emergency surgery. At 94, she may be one of the most incredible people I’ve met with her Old World wisdom, quick wit, and constitution of Rasputin. But as we pulled into her parent’s driveway high atop …

Alberta Trip – Day 1 in BC

Every penny counts when saving up for a vacation Our plan began well enough (like most plans). Let’s see how it unfolded once reality got its grubby hands on it. We were all packed and ready to go by the time The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World came home from work. By the time she had changed into comfy clothes, …

Alberta Trip 2018 – As Planned By An Eleven-Year-Old

  The-Youngest Made Plans for Our Trip Unlike his brother, The-Youngest looked at the google map we printed out, and then planned out what to do. First stop, Oliver. See Grandpa and Grandma. 5-hour drive to get there, so, download movies. Lots of movies. And bring something to play in the car with his brother. …

Why An Alberta Adventure? 2018

This is my first blog in a while, but it’s also the first on my new website. The site is still a work in progress, but I hope you check out everything there, sign up for the super exciting newsletters, and share the post if you like it. Any comments and feedback would be greatly …

July 1st Canada Day

Getting up early, are you mad? You wouldn’t think there’s much joy in getting up early, especially with kids. They’re like little alarm clocks… Oh, who are we kidding? They’re like garbage trucks right outside your window emptying a bin full of glass, chunks of construction metal and concrete. Now, it’s not something the kids …

Canada Day – What if Everything Goes Right?

I’ve said it before, but the best stories don’t come from happiness or things going right. They come from falling asleep while waiting in the ferry line and being woken up by honking and a ferry worker banging on your window and telling you to get the car in f…ing gear, in dealing with the …

Life is Better With Plans, Right?

It’s been a while since I blogged and to my six fans out there, I apologize. However. I have a plan. I’ve spent the last six months working on my novel, Yager’s War, a historical mystery set in 1940s Holland (about a Chicago detective who must find his missing sister before the Germans invade) and …

Adventures in Parenting – Home Alone

Being By Yourself Hey, this is not an easy skill to learn. There are many adults who haven’t mastered it. But The-Oldest is taking this one on. He’s been booted out of daycare for the crime of being too old. Not that he’s upset by the eviction – in fact, it’s the exact opposite. He’s …

Adventures in Parenting – Swimming Lessons

Pool Party A week has passed. It’s time to see if the boys can swim, if they’ve passed their tests. The youngest, as always, is pretty sure he passed, but he’s also pretty sure he should be teaching swimming to the other kids. The oldest is confident, but not cocky. He knows that he wants …

Adventures in Parenting – Swimming Lessons

Sink or Swim Literally. After the pool experience in San Diego, where the youngest claimed he could swim and basically dog paddled his way to the bottom of the pool, it was clear that proper training would be required. So we booked lessons for both boys at the local pool. The WGRC. The Walnut Grove …

And the Band Played Ball of Confusion

And the Band Played Ball of Confusion Ok, so just because school is out doesn’t mean that there aren’t stories still to be told. This one was from early June.  Going to a school band concert is like drowning in bunnies or being beaten with butterfly wings. It’s super cute and super painful. At least at …

Adventures In Parenting – Let’s Get Ready To Rrrrrrrumble!

Let’s Get Ready to Rrrrrrumble!! The boys’ first lesson in Jujitsu was about to begin. Would it be a complete disaster, the type that gets a billion hits on youtube? Or would they find it fun, would they learn something, would they become elite MMA bad-asses? They looked nervous in their t-shirts and shorts as …

Adventures in Parenting – Them’s Fighting Words

Them’s Fighting Words With no vacations or hockey schools or lumber work- camps available to us, we had to choose something different for the boys to do. Maybe even chose something where they learned a thing or two. After all, playing Terraria every waking hour of their existence might be fun, but did it allow …

Another Parent’s View – 10 Tips for Trips

Ten Tips for Travelling with Kids. From my friend, Sheila. Here is what she has to say….it’s awesome… I learned from a master.  My mom drove my two sisters and I all the way across the country most summers when I was a kid.  Take a minute to process that.  Twelve hours a day, in …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego 2014 – Tips

10 Things to Make a Vacation With Kids Successful 1)      Have a place to call home. I can’t imagine how much harder it would be if we had to pack up every morning and move to a new hotel, a new location. How many things would get left behind, valuable things, like stretchy frogs or …

10 steps to surviving being a writer

The other side of writing… 10 steps to surviving being a writer.

Traveling With Kids – San Diego 2014 – Top 10 list #1

10 things I thought I would never say on this trip This may not come as a shock to anyone who has kids, but you end up saying some of the oddest things. Things you probably wouldn’t say at work, at church or over a cup of tea with your grandma. That’s part of the …

Traveling With Kids – Leaving San Diego – Plane Truths

The Plane Truth You’d think riding in a small, confined space with a whole bunch of strangers would be a great place for lots and lots of good stories. Death matches. Cannibalism. Screaming babies. But the ride down to San Diego was pretty uneventful. The ride back, however, offered some great writing material. I had …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Balboa Museum of Nature

The Last Museum The youngest said, as we drove to the airport, that museums were not that interesting because, you know, he kinda knew about everything that was in it. I dunno if that was really true, but for the two boys, the museum of Nature was a completely different experience. Both loved that when …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Balboa Park and The Best Two Museums Ever

Model Behavior It was morning. Balboa Park. Our last great adventure in San Diego. We were off to see two of the best museums ever! One was a model train museum. One was a museum, I kid you not, that had sharks, dinosaurs and freaking pirates. How could this fail? When we arrived, the sun …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – The Last Morning Adventures

Packing Problems or Leaving It All Behind We still had 2 great challenges to overcome in the morning. 3 if you include getting the boys up, getting their faces washed, their teeth brushed and into some form of clothes. Then it was off to one last big adventure. The first challenge was the ongoing battle with …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Last Morning

Sunday – Am It’s the last day and I’m up and out a 7:30 to get the writing caught up. I couldn’t escape without the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world knowing. Mommy hearing strikes again. We have a plan for the last day. Our flight does not leave until 7, so we have a few last opportunities for adventure. …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Catching Fire

Hunger Games Before Bed Catching Fire’s a pretty good movie, but is it a good movie for a 7 and 11 year old? Will it be too scary, or too mature? Is there more than can be learned from that movie, or will the boys just want to shoot other children with arrows? But hey, they’d …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Pools

Pool Time For 2 My best moment was still to come. And it came, as these moments do, out of nowhere. The rest of the tour bus tour was uneventful, except for the fact that the buses were so full that we had to wait for the next one to come and even then, the …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Seaport Village

The Best Place To Eat? That was the question. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world txted Schemennis and he recommended Seaport Village, a totally redone (by the Disney people) collection of shops, parks, and restaurants. So we waited for the next tour bus to arrive, barely squeezed on and headed off to Seaport Village. The sun was still out, …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – USS Midway

Inside the Belly Of the Beast Would the USS Midway be fun for anyone but me? In a text message, Schmennis joked – “Tell the oldest this is a ‘no fun’ area and all personnel caught having fun will be keelhauled. No smiles. None. There’s a morale suppression squad on board and they’re very good at …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Doubletree Hotel Free Time

Only 2 Days Left How do you find time to write? It’s been a huge challenge for me on this trip. HUGE. I want to be present for the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world and the boys so that means quality time with them comes first. I have to. It’s the whole point of the trip. Plus, there’s demand …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Unexpected Moments

Seizing the Moments No pictures. This is not about pictures. The more I’m around children, the more I realize you have to jump on the moments when they occur. Teachable moments. Connecting moments. Emotional moments. Last night, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world spent a good half hour talking to her boys about a very serious subject. I don’t …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Supper Surprises

  Breaking Bread Ok, so the boys love Denny’s. It’s safe comfort food. Plus, they get to choose stuff. They love to choose stuff. The funny thing is, though, they always choose the same thing with some very minor variations. Hamburger and fries. Chicken strips and fries. For the youngest, pizza, please. With fries. God …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Undisclosed Location

Meeting the Mysterious Man There is a lot that I cannot talk about. National security could be compromised. Names have been changed. Locations disguised. I have signed secrecy agreements. But we finally were able to connect with agent Schmennis. Not his real name. Ex-ninja, ex-navy-seal, ex-delta, ex-Canadian, (his real career cannot be identified), he was …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Zoo – A Bus With A View

We’d found the place where they loaded the human cattle on to the tour bus. We chose to wait for another bus to arrive (to get a better seat), but it was so worth it. The boys got to be at the front of the bus AND on the top level (of course). However, as …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Zoo – Animal Magnetism

Animal Magnetism When in the zoo, see the animals. Here they are. The elephants I like. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world is worried that one is just swaying side to side. She says that’s a bad sign. I think the elephants are ok. I say they have each other. They are super social. She says, yeah, but what …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – The Zoo Rules

The Zoo Rules Another adventure. More animals to see. The oldest declines to navigate us there. He’s had enough of navigating. Maybe for life. So the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world gets us there even though I take a wrong exit. I swear I took the Washington Street exit, but I didn’t. But, by doing so, we found a neat little …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Navigation

The Ride of Death Ok, it’s time. Time for the oldest to take a crack at navigation. He’s terrified. He fears we’ll get lost, run out of gas, that I’ll get mad, that he’ll not be able to understand the map, that he’ll have to think fast and act fast. See, the boys have been …

Traveling With Kids – Doubletree Hotel San Diego – 3 Days Left

3 Days Left Early AM Damn mommy-hearing. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world can hear her youngest gurgle in his sleep from three floors down. I suspect, if put to the test, she could hear one of them cough from the lobby four floors down. With fire alarm going off. And a jet overhead. It’s really remarkable. I have …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Seaworld – Fast and Wet

The Manta, Wet Times and Atlantis Rides. Who goes to Seaworld for rides? Well, let me tell you, everyone should. The Manta is a full-on rollercoaster. The oldest HAD to go on it. He’s completely unafraid of those things. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world HAD to go on it. If there’s one thing she likes to do, it’s …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Seaworld – Cirque Du Dolphin

Cirque Du Dolphin Is it possible to bugger up a dolphin show?  I would have thought, no, no it’s not. I mean, hey, dolphins are graceful, gentle, sublime, highly social, and seem to have a great sense of humour. Exactly all the things I am not. So  it should have been enough just to watch …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Seaworld – Showtime

Splish-Splash “The Whales Fly” Seeing Seaworld is as much about balancing off what you do between the shows as anything. Like a hyper intermission filled with madly running around and screaming and water and sharks. But there are set times that the dolphins or killer whales come out to play. Crowds gather. Good seats are …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Seaworld – Flash Adventures

 How Many Adventures Can We Have in A Few Hours? When there is so much to do and so many adventures, how do talk about all of them without boring everyone to death? Answer, you can’t. But let me summarize as best I can. Like a quick montage in a movie. Or remembering a drunken …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Seaworld – The Great Fish Throw

Fishie Adventures Seaworld looked like it would be fun the moment we went inside, but would it live up to the hype? We stood in the entranceway a bit like a pack of deer in the headlights. So many things to do, and so many little feet wanting to run in every direction at once. …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Seaworld – An Odd Entrance

They Even Made Getting In Interesting With good weather so rare, we decided we had to go to SeaWorld, right? There would be water there, I’m pretty sure. Some splashing. Maybe some wet rides. All good things on a warm, sunny day. The only question was, how long would it last? The sun, that is. We …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – IHOP Super Powers

Breakfast of Champions and Super Heroes. There was something odd in the sky today. Kinda round. Yellow-orange. Surrounded by blue sky. I think primitive cultures called it the sun. It was not something I have seen for a while in San Diego. That made it a perfect day for Seaworld. But first, remember the #1 …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Hilton Doubletree Hotel

How I wake up in My New Life In my old life, I used to wake up like this… I’d roll over, look at the clock. It could be 7 or 8. I’d think to myself, self, should I just shut my eyes and go back to sleep or is the day full of so …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Coronado Island

The Mystic Pizza After seeing the Air and Space Museum, it was getting late in the afternoon, but rather than eat at the hotel, we had other ideas. Why not see Coronado Island? Eat there. It has its own flag. But as we drove there, the boys started going nuts in the car. shouting, fighting, …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Air and Space Museum – It's No Ripley's –

Are You Not Entertained? The oldest is like the best version of me in a museum. Respectful, reads all the information on a display that interests him, doesn’t touch sh*t he’s not supposed to touch. Like the Prettiest-girl-in-the world. The youngest is like the worst version of me. Giddy at some exhibits, wanting to climb …

Traveling With Kids- San Diego Balboa Park – Ripley's

Believe It Or Not What would he boys want to see more? Elephants or the elephant man? A popular zoo or someone who can pop his eyes out of his head? Duh! When they heard that there was a Ripley’s believe it or not display, they were so excited that he HAD to add it …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Balboa Park

Our Secret Spy Truth time. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world had a spy down in San Diego. To protect his identity, let’s call him Schmennis. He‘d gave us advice on where to look for a good Mexican restaurant. He’d given us advice on driving times and things to see, things to do, and things to avoid. He given advice …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Zoo Safari – Tour Guides

The Expected Tour Guide We’d made the safari tour. I would have bet against it. I sat beside the tour guide, while the boys and the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world sat at the back. Like tailgunners. I can’t report how the boys thought about what they saw, at least until I talked to them afterwards and, by then, …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Zoo Safari – Need For Speed

Will We Get There In Time? San Diego Safari The tour left at 11:00 We had to be there by 10:50. It was like the Amazing Race. 10:10, we tore out of our hotel, not far enough behind to make this a complete disaster, but far enough that we had to really haul ass. By 10:30, …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Zoo Safari – Morning Stress

Wed – Good Morning Stress or Math is My Friend So far on this vacation, we haven’t had a lot of deadlines. The flight we had to make was one. We left early to counter any border problems or traffic problems or problem problems. Of course nothing went wrong and so we sat in the …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Safari Park – Mini Adventures

10 Mini adventures at the Safari Zoo 1) After we saw the gorillas, we measured ourselves up against the gorilla. The oldest, “You’re nearly as big as the gorilla, Joe.” Ah, thanks. A lot. Then we did the gorilla pose outside of their area. (I used the picture yesterday). It’s fun to do interactive stuff, even …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Zoo Safari – Fate

Is There Such a Thing as Fate? Here’s the thing. When we arrived at the Safari park, I managed to leave first my phone and the jackets in the car. Don’t ask me how, I’d had my cups of coffee. But as I stood in line, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world had to go back for them. The …

Traveling With Kids – San Diego Safari – The Best Yet To Come?

The Safari Day Would this day be as epic as yesterday? 9:30am and the boys were still sleeping. That’s one of the signs of the apocalypse, I think. They’d walked for hours and hours yesterday, ate what would feed a small village in Mexico, so perhaps it wasn’t surprising that they didn’t leap out of …

Traveling With Kids – Dinner – Casa Guadalajara

The First Meal How do you find a great restaurant in a new town? It was the question we faced after Legoland. We could go back to the hotel, look online, maybe find something good. But, instead, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world had an idea. As we drove towards the Old Town not far from our hotel in search …

Traveling With Kids – Legoland – Highlights

Legoland Highlights So what were the highlights for people? The Prettiest Girl in the world– the lego movie stage. All the lego sets were there, her youngest wandered around like he had fallen into heaven, and the oldest decided on what would love to do for the rest of his life   .The Writer – …

Traveling With Kids – Legoland – Water Wars

Water Wars Ok, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. How many times have I said that? We said we would go on a water ride at Legoland. But it was cold and windy. It was about 4pm. Still the youngest had so wanted to do something watery. But walking around with …

Categories

Archives

Recent Posts

Sign Up For Email Updates!

NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to our email and get updates right in your inbox!

facebook
Twitter
Linkedin
Pinterest
Google Plus
Instagram
Youtube

NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to our email and get updates right in your inbox!

facebook
Twitter
Linkedin
Pinterest
Google Plus
Instagram
Youtube