Tuesday, November 25, 2014


well, my favorite kid is going to be 10 years old in just a few days. I can't believe it. when she was born, I was 30 years old and in full-youth-pastor-mode. I wasn't really sure what kind of dad I'd be, or how my life would be different. but when she came, everything changed- for the best. its been 10 years of giggles, and dancing, and mary poppins, and pooh bear, and trains, and projects, and hugs, adventures, slow-days, and daddy-daughter-days. I don't appear in lots of photos, but here are 10 photos from the last 10 years:

from December 2004-
jane was born on 12/2 at oconnor hospital here in san jose-

from 2005- this is one of maybe a thousand rides on the billy jones wildcat railroad at oak meadow park in los gatos. back then it was a thrill for her, now, its me that wants to ride the tain and jane saying, "ok, just ONE ride!"

from 2006- giants fans for life.

from 2007- jane was a slow-talker. she began communicating through sign language. I love this photo, because we are riding the train at roaring camp, and she is signing the word "train." talking is longer a problem for jane. at all.

from 2008- a hot day at "the train park." apparently this is the best time to snap a photo of jane and dad.

from 2009- swimming at the AVAC swim school- she loved that place. now she is way too advanced of a swimmer to go there!

from 2010- we never miss a chance to watch mary poppins outdoors.

from 2011- in line to ride toy story mania at California adventure. we went through a serious toy story phase during this year.

from 2012- at the warriors game in Oakland. we've got a thing for matchy-t-shirts- as you can see in the next 2 pictures. I could make a whole blog of photos of jane and I wearing matching shirts and hats. she likes to match Deanna too-

from 2013- wearing custom "daddy-daughter-day" shirts (designed by jane herself) on one of our last visits to one of our favorite spots, Gilroy gardens. on a side note, the daddy daughter day shirts are cute, but let me tell you, it takes a lot of guts for a grown man to wear a shirt like this! and when people ask about it, they assume that its some sort of weekend-custody-thing, and kind of look at me with sad eyes. I'm happily married people!

and from 2014- two proud giants fans taking a rare selfie in the family bathroom at the mall.

if I knew that being a dad would be this awesome, I would have done it a long time ago. i know a lot of kids; but this one will always be my number one favorite. thanks for 10 amazing years Janie! I love you!
being a dad is fun.
God is love.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

otter obsession

recently, we got an annual pass to the Monterey bay aquarium- which is a super cool spot in cannery row. in all of our previous visits to the aquarium, we enjoyed the jelly fish the most, but over the last few months, we have become obsessed with sea otters. the aquarium has an excellent otter exhibit with some very sill and playful otters.

you can also go outside and watch the otters outside of the aquarium in the monterey bay

and when we get obsessed on something, we go all in. otter toys,


otter books, homemade-otter-playsets, and otter movies. the aquarium has an awesome movie about otters. and along the way, we've learned a lot about otters. here are some fun otter facts:

// otters have the world's thickest fur.
its over a million hairs per square inch. this is why the otter population is so low- their pets made for excellent winter coats. since their fur is so thick, its very buoyant- which allows otters to easily float on their backs:

otters seem to prefer to be in the water, on their backs. they even sleep in the water, on their backs. sometimes they hold hands so they don't float away from each other.

other times they wrap themselves up in kelp to stay in place during a nap:

since their fur is so thick, they spend most of their time cleaning the sea-gunk out of it. but when you watch them it looks like they are constantly washing their face.

// otters use tools.
otters don't eat fish. which is surprising to me, because I thought that everything eats fish, but otters don't. but they love clams and sea urchins. so to get the clams open, otters will bang the clam against a hard surface like a boat or a rock to get to the meat. you should look this up on youtube. its hilarious.

a lot of otters will just rest a rock on their belly and wack a clam against it to get the clam open. they rest their food on their bellies to make a built in tv tray for their food.

otters even have a secret pocket under their arms where they can keep their favorite clam-cracking-rock or a sea urchin for later.

// otters protect the kelp forest.
sea urchins eat the kelp forest, and otters eat sea urchins. if the otters disappear, so will the kelp forest. that makes them a keystone species.

// otters take parenting very seriously.

otter moms teach their babies how to do everything: how to dive, how to crack shells, and how to survive on the shores of California. if an otter baby is separated from its mother, it needs to get help quick. the aquarium has some foster otter moms who will teach lost babies how to survive in the wild.

// otters are pretty much the cutest thing in the world.
they are super-playful, mischievous, super-social, super-curious, and they do a lot of hugging. they're funny and fun to watch.


when we go to the aquarium, we pretty much just find a good spot in front of the otters and we are entertained for quite a while. I would really like to have one for a pet, but they can get to be over 50lbs, and they play really rough with each other. and I don't have a giant water tank.

but if you get the chance to see them in Monterey, or out in the wild in morrow bay, take the opportunity. they're super-cool animals.

God is love.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

los gatos creek trail mile markers

my favorite way to start the day is to go to vasona park in los gatos and walk for an hour. I like to review my memory verses, have a prayer time, look at nature, and think about the day ahead. there are some cool little mile markers along the los gatos creek trail (which runs through the park); and I've often wondered where they lead. so recently, I made a goal to find all of them- and along the way, I learned a lot about the los gatos creek trail:

the trail is almost 10 miles long. it goes next to highway 17, under it (which was pretty spooky in earthquake country) and over 17!

the trail starts at the Lexington dam in los gatos.

here is the ZERO marker-
pretty much every part of the trail is full of walkers, runners and bikers- but this area is the least populated.
here is the half mile marker- its the only one that is damaged. ths stretch is the only part that isn't paved, and the only part of the trail that features a steep hill:

there is a big pipe that runs along this area, I have no idea what its for- probably water since its so close to the dam. its covered in moss and dirt and people write their names in it. there is some pretty spectacular scenery out in this area too- giant hillsides, a shaded creek, old trees-

here is the one mile marker:


the 1.5 marker is right along 17, just after downtown los gatos:

the 2 mile marker is behind old town los gatos just after a wooden bridge that goes over the creek-

the stretch between the 2 mile marker and the 3 mile marker is my favorite- and the park I walk on most days. the 3 mile marker is right before vasona park:

the 3.5 is at the end of vasona, just before the dam:
the area between mile 4 and 5.5 goes through a los gatos neighborhood from the park to lark avenue-

the area between mile 6 and 7 goes through los gatos creek park and all the way to Campbell park. a LOT of people jog in this area:

the 7.5 marker is at Campbell park and hides under this rock. Campbell park is a great park for the kids and is close to downtown campbell:
the trail goes behind the pruneyard and through downtown los gatos at mile 8. this is the most urban part of the trail- with the trail actually going through a parking lot at one point:
the trail goes past Blackford Elementary school in Willow Glen and then ends at Meridian Avenue in Willow Glen:

this photo is the only one that I googled. I searched for an hour trying to find this marker. it certainly isn't a half mile from the previous one. it may have been removed, or it might have been covered in ivy or something, but it made me super frustrated because I couldn't find it! if anyone knows where it is, please let me know!
here is where the trail ends at meridian in willow glen:

the los gatos creek is an awesome way to get a walk in and enjoy nature right here in los gatos/ Campbell/ willow glen/ san jose. there is good parking, and almost all of it is paved. there's also lots of dog doo-doo stations; and Campbell park and vasona park are 2 of the best parks in the area for kids.
check it out!