Christmas in San Jose

This past Christmas we spent 9 days in San Jose, California with my family. It was a great trip that offered a lot of experiences with family. Ethan and Autumn had a lot of cousin time while I was able to see visit with my mom and brothers.

Day 1 (Sunday, Dec. 19): We were up at the crack of dawn, well actually before dawn, at 4am to catch our 6:40am flight to San Jose from Seattle. I’ll make recommendation to all families who fly, if you don’t know about the family line going through security then ask if one exists. It saved us a lot of time and hassle and made it a more flying enjoyable experience with the kids.

img_5684My mom picked us up at San Jose International Airport’s new Terminal B. This was our first time in it and we’re quite impressed. I only recommend adding an actual skywalk from the terminal to the parking light like every other airport in the country.

The rest of morning and afternoon were spent relaxing and hanging out. My brother Mike and his family joined us around 4pm. The Holt Brothers  then headed north to San Francisco where Mark treated Mike and I to a great evening at Smuggler’s Cove, a rum and tiki bar that offers an awesome atmosphere. It was well over a decade since the three of us had hung out together. We stayed until Mike and I said we had to head home so we could wake up early with the kids. Party poopers, I know.

img_9855Day 2 (Monday, Dec. 20): After a morning of playing around Grandma Lynda’s house, Santa Clause made a surprise visit to see Ethan and Autumn. Ethan was very excited to see him as he jumped all over the front room upon seeing Santa walk up to the house. Santa was very patient with the kids and brought Ethan a Heffalump doll (from Winnie the Pooh’s Heffalump Movie) and Autumn a new ball. After Santa headed back to the North Pole, the Holts gathered at Red Robin in Morgan Hill for a family dinner and then socialized at Mike and Olivia’s house. It was a good evening for all.

Day 3 (Tuesday, Dec. 21): Family photos were the topic of the morning. We all gathered at a nearby Country Club in Morgan Hill where we had professional photographs taken of the family. It has been years since we got these done so it was good to have them done. Autumn was a trooper and Ethan did his best.

img_5552In the late afternoon, we headed to Santa Cruz where we enjoyed dinner at Pizza My Heart in downtown Santa Cruz and a ride on the Santa Cruz Holiday Train. A couple Christmas’ ago Laura and I missed the train by a couple minutes while the rest of the family enjoyed it. Ethan didn’t mind then since he was only 1 years old. This time we made sure to make it on time. Ethan and Caitlynn, as well Laura and I, enjoyed the festivities. After the ride we spent time at Santa Cruz Boardwalk’s Neptune Kingdom where we had a free round of miniature golf and played arcade games. Ethan used his mad skills to dominate The Claw game and won a prize.

Day 4 (Wednesday, Dec. 22): The day was relaxing and spent at home.

Day 5 (Thursday, Dec. 23): Up early and headed north to Sausalito to enjoy the Bay Area Discovery Museum for children. After a fun morning at the museum, we headed back over the Golden Gate where we played tourist around Pier 39. We finished it off with dinner at the Rainforest Cafe.

img_0390Day 6 (Friday, Dec. 24): After a full day up in SF and north bay, we enjoyed a day around the house. Ethan and I headed over to Grandma’s Park (Edenvale Park) where he enjoyed swinging and playing on the playground. This area is full of my childhood memories. Growing up this park use to be Frontier Village, then cherry orchards. I mostly remember sneaking into the orchard with friends, climbing the trees and eating cherries. We always scared each other about the mystical farmer who would find us in the trees and shoot us. What silly kids we were.

We spent the evening at Mike and Olivia’s house where everyone contributed to a tasty dinner. The kids got to open one gift (a tradition I had growing up) and play, play, play. Mike and I did are annual Christmas Eve run. This is a tradition we have done for over 10 years.

img_0568Day 7 (Saturday, Dec. 25): Christmas Day. We opened gifts in the morning, ate, napped, and then  headed to Mark’s house in the evening. Ethan had a blast exploring the millions of things to see, do, and touch in his house.

Day 8 (Sunday, Dec. 26): We spent the day preparing to leave. We came with one bag to check in and a few carry ons and we were going home with one bag to check in and a few carry ons. With careful organizing and distribution of weight we succeeded. In the evening my Mom ordered delicious pizza from High Five Pizza for everyone. We then headed down to San Jose’s Christmas in the Park.

Day 9 (Monday, Dec. 27): We were once again awake at 4am to catch our 6:45am flight back to Seattle. We were fortunate that Autumn slept most of the way. I was stoked because she fell asleep on me the entire time. This was one of many times this past week that I had the joy of rocking her to sleep. Ethan did excellent on the plane as we enjoyed the views and played with his Chuggington trains. We arrived back at our house around 10am where we quickly turned on the heater and started the fire. 40 degrees was just a bit too cold for us.

32 and counting

I am officially 32 years old, as of August 17. We spent the day driving from Eugene, Oregon to San Jose, California. We are in town visiting family and attending my brother’s annual Tiki Party.

Here is a picture of Laura and Hranush at the beach last Saturday. This was Harnush’s first time to the ocean.

Bon Jovi at the San Jose Arena

album-slippery-when-wet

Last night, Mark, Kim, Laura and I went to see Bon Jovi at the San Jose Arena. My first concert in 1987 was Bon Jovi and Cinderella at the Shoreline Amphitheater. Mark took me. We saw them again in 1989 on the New Jersey tour. I hadn’t seen them since so I thought it would be good to take them last night. This would be Laura’s first arena concert.

The show went well. It was a polished, slick show last night, though no pyrotechnics. Jon Bon Jovi did great crowd interaction going into the crowd on numerous occasions which is difficult to do in an arena. But, what I don’t understand is why they had to play most of their material from the last two albums (the last five years or so)? It is horrible. Maybe 45 minutes of the 2 hour 15 minute show was pre-1990 and the rest was the new stuff. Even some of the old stuff was toned down. Very disappointed in that. Yes, many people knew the newer songs but everyone got into it when they would play the songs off the Slippery When Wet and New Jersey albums. These albums are what made them popular.

bj concertA lot of bands who didn’t have a career in the 90’s are making a come back. But, some bands think it’s cool to play new songs. That’s crap. I saw Motley Crue last year and they played all old stuff except for a few songs, which were horrible. Of course they are going to fall in the same trap as Bon Jovi and record a new album. It’s not worth it. These bands need to look at people like James Taylor and Neil Diamond who stick to the past hits and the crowds keep coming back.