“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, NASB95)

Hiking Roller Coaster Goofiness

Lameness and Coolness Collide

The hills of the South Santa Teresa neighborhoods are the stomping grounds of my childhood. As a child I enjoyed being so close to the hills. I could hop on my bike and ride a few blocks to explore the winding trails.

We asked the kids if they wanted to go hiking and they objected. But I insisted, knowing that they will likely enjoy it. Within moments of arriving, the kids were running around as kids should. It was a beautiful thing and we desire to go out hiking more often. We really have little excuse with the hills so close to our house!

The video below shows a short stretch of trail that feels like a roller coaster. The trail descends, falttens out, descends again, and then steeply ascends, with slight twists and turns. The video shows us going in the reverse diretion of what I just described. It's a special thing to show my children the very same stretches of trail that I enjoyed as a child. However, I don't remember ever doing what you'll see in this video. 

This is our version of self-proclaimed lameness and coolness. 

The video below if of the entire trip.

Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco

A Place the Kids Actually Love

Jenn has been exposing the kids to art during their home-school days. But I still wasn’t sure if the kids would enjoy extended time at a classical art museum. But they really enjoyed looking at the various sculptures, painting, and items.

The Legion of Honor has the Royal Treasures from the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette on exhibit. The entrance is marked by a large hanging tapestry artfully woven, displaying two angels holding a crown above the family crest (my interpretation). I was in awe by the way it looks like a very solid and lively image from a distance, yet upon close examination we can see threads of various colors weaving their way through the fabric (all of this and more is shown on the video below).

In other rooms, there are various useful objects, such as trays, vases, and serving vessels. The function is quite ordinary, but the appearance is far from ordinary. Something that would normally be plastic or steel, is made of gold or silver. A container and it’s lid are adorned with a garden of intricate leaves and flowers made with gold and jewels. It’s simply stunning to see.

I was also impressed by the tiny snuff boxes with portraits painted on the lids. Normally, we might see this and think it’s quite easy to replicate. We use inkjet printers, or other methods of image reproduction. However, these images have been carefully painted with what I can only imagine to be very tiny brushes. The art is so precise that even close inspection barely reveals any brushstrokes or evidence of having been drawn by hand.

The treasures will be there through March, 2013. I highly recommend visiting.

The detail can be seen better at full-screen. Click on the expand icon (four arrows pointing outward) to go full-screen.

Scripture Recital and Opening Presents from Nana

Christmas Day 2012

The kids had memorized a section of scripture over the past month. Perhaps Jenn had told me early on, but this was as much of a surprise to me as it was to Nana Lynn in Alabama. Matthew was able to memorize much more than Claire, but it’s nonetheless cute and warming to the heart.

San Francisco 2012

Labor Day Weekend Day Trip

I sometimes wonder if yet another day trip to San Francisco will become a boring repeat of a previous trip. But there is so much to see and do in San Francisco that it’s like watching an old favorite movie after years gone by. You’ve seen the movie, you’ve experienced the plot-line, but the exact details have been forgotten. The movie is familiar, and yet at the same time the movie is fresh and new. Well, San Francisco can certainly be the same way. There are places and streets, like an old movie, that we haven’t visited for a year or more. And now as the kids are growing, they experience places as a 5 and 7 year old very differently than when they were infants or toddlers.

We’ve already been to Fort Point National Park. But prior to this day, we’ve somehow had a string of bad luck, as every time we wandered to this Fort, it has been closed. But now the Fort is open 7 days a week to share it’s history and it’s current life. It’s a really unique landmark at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. Inside the massive fortified brick walls with treturous drops into the ocean, hides canons, tight living-quarters, stone spiral-staircases, a courtyard, art exhibits and historical photographs, a gift-shop, and knowledgeable guides who can take you on a journey into the past.

Fort Point

Matthew, now 7 years-old, experienced this place in a whole new way, which invited us, as parents, to also experience it in a whole new way. How do canons work? How does the canon ball fly out of the front? How do they use gun powder? What do the soldier’s sleep on? When Matthew was 3 or 4 years old, the world is more like a playground and all the historical objects are just another thing to climb-on. And if he wasn’t allowed to climb on it, it would quickly become boring. But now everything has a new level of curiosity as his mind wonders about the inner working and purpose of things. What an exciting and fun time!

Our agenda included Chick-Fil-A for lunch in San Jose, and then head to San Francisco for Fort Point, a stop at the Alden shoe store for daddy, and a trip to the Maritime museum. After we took our sweet time at Fort Point, we realized we had little time for stopping at the Alden shoe store and the Maritime museum. So I said, if we can find a parking spot close to the shoe store, and close to the Maritime museum, then we can meet this schedule. If we cannot, then we will simply find something else to do. The most common experience of parking in San Francisco involves driving around for 30 minutes looking for parking, or driving to a parking garage and then walking for 30 minutes to get from the garage to your destination. So it seemed that my plans were hinging on the incredible to happen and, well, by the grace of God it happened! The Alden shoe store happened to be on a street with abundant parking directly in front of the store. And although the Maritime museum is in the heart of the hustling and busting Pier 49 area, we found a parking spot 1 block away (we didn’t have enough coins for the parking meter, but the parking meter took credit card)! And then again later, we loosely planned a trip to Delores park if we can find parking! And yet again, we found a parking spot at the park. Everything fell into place today. This is certainly not normal. There have been numerous times that our attempts at parking have frustrated the entire experience and soured our desire to ever come again, but not today!

Maritime Museum Ferry

The Maritime museum is a fun place for kids. You can explore Hercules, a 1907 steam-powered tug boat, or Balcutha an 1886 eco-friendly cargo ship powered by wind (a.k.a sail-boat), or Eureka, an 1890 steam-powered paddle-wheel Ferry and more. It would be easy to spend hours climbing around the ships, taking in the views, and learning the history of the various vessels. We didn’t have ample time to do this on this trip, but one day we will come back and it will be like a fresh old-movie.

Claire’s Ear Piercings at Paisley Haus

For Her Fifth Birthday!

Claire wanted to get her ear’s pierced for her fifth birthday. So Jenn started looking around for special places to have it done. We preferred to have it done somewhere more profession. The random mall kioske or store seemed too casual and uncertain. Paisley Haus was recommended by one of Jenn’s friends. It’s a place that specializes in body piercings.

When we arrived, Claire picked out the studs that would go into her ears. She chose 18K gold studs that look like little princess crowns. To our suprise our piercer used her hands to manually push each stud through the ear. Perhaps her experienced hands, and a quality stud made it possible. Whatever the case, Claire hardly made a sound, but she had the look in her eyes as if the tears were building up. We had told Claire that it would hurt, so Claire was not surprised when it hurt. In the video you can see that Claire was ready to be held by Mommy.

I’ll post photos of the studs later. For now, there’s a video.


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