This Week’s Mission: Missions

We visited thirteen historic California Missions over four days (among other attractions along El Camino Real (The King’s Highway) and California’s Highway 101.

Twitter updates and the official Storify archive are available after the break, or you can read the #mkMission Twitter hashtag or the Storify page itself.

Follow along up-to-the-minute on Twitter, or via periodic updates to Storify and this blog entry. Enjoy!

Continue reading This Week’s Mission: Missions

Promoted! … High School is Next!

IMG_1810There she is! Fresh out of 8th Grade!

Congratulations to Jocelyn and her great group of friends, many of whom have known each other since Kindergarten.


Thanks to everyone who’s been a part of helping our fantastic daughter grown into a strong young woman!

Our experience at Willow Glen Middle School has been great, and we appreciate the administration and teaching team that has worked hard to make their first three years successful, too. We hope they’re all still there when our family returns in 2015.

For her part, Jocelyn starts her Freshman year at Willow Glen High School in August!

Luckiest 9-Year-Old in the World!

Wow! What an outpouring of love and support!

Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes and healthy vibes during — and since — Felicia’s recent procedure. We are so lucky to have a supportive family and an incredible collection of friends.



It’s almost too overwhelming for us to handle: Letters, cards, artwork, books, blankets, meals, balloons, stuffed animals, activities … and then there were the Birthday wishes! Incredible! We are so thankful for every single one of our friends and family:

If you don’t see your note here, don’t despair. Things keep arriving and we’re running out of room to display everything. Please know that every single expression of love has been appreciated!

Another Memorable Visit to Canada

We are wrapping up #MK20 today, bidding fond adieu to Canada’s Rocky Mountains and to Banff.


We had a great trip, but we really could have used a bit more snow. Apparently, it’s either feast or famine when we travel to Canada. Incredibly noteworthy weather … or none at all. Sigh

But we still had a lot of fun snowboarding and tubing down the Canadian Rockies, dining along Banff Avenue, and finding something other than hockey to do in Calgary. And of course, it all added up to a very memorable 20th Anniversary Celebration.

To see all of our pictures, check-out the Official #MK20Flickr Set page. And my Twitter feed is Storify after the break.

And, now back to reality …

Continue reading Another Memorable Visit to Canada

Hidden Gem: Tubing at Norquay

Sure, #MK20 was primarily supposed to be about snowboarding. And we broke in the New Year with a lot of that.

But over the last two days, as the snow quality subsided without any fresh snow to cover the icy patches, we decided to try tubing at Norquay. And it may have spoiled us for any tubing hills anywhere near our Cabin in Tahoe. Serious distance, impressive vertical … and a lift staff not afraid of putting a little spin into the fun. Check out some video:

Felicia & Jocelyn on a Double, with spinning!:

Video taken with the whole family on a run:

From Friday, with Twitter enhancement:

And there’s a ton more on Flickr …

Today’s the Day! #MK20 is Officially Here


Twitter Hashtag: #MK20
Follow #MK20 20th Anniversary Coverage
15th Anniversary in 2008

Happy New Year from Banff!

#MK20 Continues through 2012 and beyond! … It’s midnight in Toronto, right?




We’re not sure of a better way to spend the last day of any given year than snowboarding. While our usual gig would be a day at Sugar Bowl followed by fireworks at Northstar-at-Tahoe, we found another fun way to ring in the New Year.

Today was the first day ever for Jocelyn & Felicia to snowboard outside of California, this time at Sunshine Village in the Rockies, straddling the Continental Divide between “beautiful British Columbia” and “sunny Alberta” in Canada. And we had a great time! We rode the “Great Divide” and “Angel chairs along with the Gondola and the “Wawa” Chair to finish the afternoon.

At left, the family rides the gondola back to the mountain entrance. And it is quite a gondola ride, 20 minutes long, including am optional mid-mountain stop, itself after the cable takes a 90-degree turn to travel even further up the hill.

Also be sure to appreciate Felicia’s snowboarding skill as she rides along the Continental Divide with BC in the background, followed by a picture of Jocelyn, Karen, and Felicia at the same spot a few runs later. And here’s Jocelyn finishing the day on Wawa.]

And we’re headed back for more at Sunshine for January 1, too!

Also, since we’re in Mountain Time (MST), it’ll be the New Year sooner here than in California. But we’ll likely be asleep either way.

The Calgary Before The Banff

Twitter Hashtag: #MK20
Follow #MK20 20th Anniversary Coverage
15th Anniversary in 2008

What do you do when your family plans a trip to see a hockey game in Calgary, and then the NHL goes on a 100+day owner-imposed lockout? Tour Calgary instead! So we did …

With our newly found extra time in Calgary today, we had to figure out what Calgarians do with their own extra time on a Saturday in December.


We decided to visit the Telus SPARK Science Centre during the afternoon, and bask in the glow of “Zoo Lights” at the Calgary Zoo in the evening. In between, we hopped the C-Train into Downtown Calgary for a brief walking tour and dinner.

IMG_0141The Girls enjoyed the Spark Centre, including some stop-motion animation Felicia made. Jocelyn enjoyed computer-assisted drawing and a few other exhibits, and both girls finished the day making their own K’nex creations with the largest supply of K’nex they’d ever seen.

After dinner, we visited the Calgary Zoo. Despite it being the week after Christmas, the Zoo was packed with people enjoying the holiday lights — if not the animals. The zoo was decorated with lights throughout, including bulbs in the shape of many popular zoo animals. We also saw real live camels and tigers.

Sunday is the day we will finally travel all the way to Banff!

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

A Christmas Carol … with an Apostrophe?

Most of our traditional Christmas Carol gifts recall events of the past year, most obviously “I Saw Three Ships,” which celebrated Felicia’s arrival in the family. The 2012 Carol borrows from two big trips that the Girls & David took without Mommy, who had to work. We missed her in the Eastern Sierra (where we visited the “Mammoth ROCK“) and the Redwood Coast, where we saw thousands of incredible old-growth Coast Redwood TREES along the Avenue of the Giants.

2012-12-23 11.50.16 2012-12-23 12.06.23 The ornament for this year features a “Tree” on one side and a “Rock” on the other, each framing a picture from that particular trip.

It’s also been a while since David was featured on the ornament, unless you count the backside of his head, which was intentionally obscured by another famous tree holiday carol, O Tanenbaum in 2010. This year, he’s right there among the big trees.

To get the full effect, enjoy the song in the background as the ornament rotates in this video:

2012-12-23 04.01.38 from David Keller on Vimeo.

Rockin Around The Christmas TreeRockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” was originally recorded by Brenda Lee in 1958, and has been covered by many others artists over the years.

Past Christmas Carol gifts:

2011: Most Wonderful Day of the Year
2010: O Tanenbaum
2009: Frosty the Snowman
2008: The Race That Long in Darkness Pined
2007: Away in a Manger
2006: Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!
2005: What Child is This?
2004: I Saw three Ships
2003: One-Horse Open Sleigh (Jingle Bells)
2002: A Sweetie Goose in a Pear Tree (12 Days of Christmas)