Lordy lordy, this year has flown by. It seems like just a week or two ago I posted the first part of my childhood horror story, but today is November 24th…so that means I hit the publish button on that blog post over a month ago! So much has happened since then that I am not even sure where to begin.On October 24th, my daughter Emily turned three! I can’t believe it has been over three years since she was born. I love her so much; she is an awesome kid. I already miss when she was crawling around and babbling. Geez, before I know it, she will be going to school and all kinds of things. I would be okay if this process slowed down, but alas, the world does not stop turning for any man. For her birthday, we had a joint-birthday party for her and her cousin, Maliah, who is one year older. My wife’s mom, dad, brother, grandma, grandpa, and sister all traveled up from Tucson with gifts and children in tow (Emily’s newest cousin, Char, came too. She is turning one!). They had a ton of fun and got more gifts in a three-hour period than I think I’ve ever gotten! Okay, maybe not quite that many…but they were happy, lucky little girls. We ordered a ‘My Little Pony’ cake, set up banners and plates from the show, and grilled some burgers in a very chilly 85 degrees. Man, I was so afraid that it’d snow!
Then, almost immediately after Emily and Maliah’s birthday party, Halloween was here! Emily helped us gut the pumpkins and then Kayla and I carved them while she slept. This year I carved Bowser and my wife carved both Darth Vader and Doc McStuffins (Emily’s favorite show). I think they turned out pretty awesome! Emily picked out her own costume this year also, claiming that it was a ‘Kitty-Princess’. She said that anything in a dress is a princess, and since the costume had a dress…well…there ya go. We took her around town for a block or two as well as went to some ‘Trunk or Treat’ events at the local churches. She had a great time–in fact, she wanted to do it again the next day!
As Halloween came to a close my vacation time was upon us, and we got ready to set out on our first road trip. Much earlier in the year, Kayla and I had been invited to attend Blizzcon in southern California. The event is massive and the thousands of tickets that are sold sell out within minutes of being released online, but I’ll get to that more later. For this long trip we decided it may be best for Emily to spend some time with her great grandparents. They agreed to this and loved having Emily stay with them. She did very well and understood where we were and that we would be coming back soon. They spoiled her a ton while she was there, and she hasn’t stopped talking about the visit since!
The road trip itself was about seven to eight hours long. Kayla does not drive so I did all the piloting. This may not seem like a super long road trip for a lot of people, but for us, it was. The longest I had driven before that day was two hours and thirty minutes. Everything went very well, though, and before we knew it, we had driven into the sunset and arrived at Anaheim, California.
Waiting on us outside our hotel was this guy, Mike. It was the first time I had ever met him in person, but we had been talking and playing games together since 2007. He took Kayla and I out for some awesome Chinese food (Seriously, if you haven’t been to a P.F. Chang’s before just go ahead and stop reading this blog and head there now. It doesn’t matter if it is seven hours away or not. Good stuff.) After this, we took a walk over to the convention center and scoped it out. Then, Kayla and I went back to our hotel and tried to get a good night’s sleep. We failed miserably. Maybe because of how tired we were…our maybe from our excitement to be going to Disneyland the next day!
We got up early the next day and went to iHOP with Mike, then walked about a half-mile down the road to Disneyland tomeet up with one of Kayla’s friends (another person we had only ever known online!), Zacci. She is a native of southern California and has been to Disneyland hundreds of times, so we basically had our own personal tour guide. With her help, we were able to experience pretty much everything in the park by six. It was a ton of fun and I look forward to taking Emily someday when she is older.
After a long awesome day at Disney, we needed to head over and get in line for our Blizzcon passes. We thought if we waited until late we would miss the hardcore crowd and get through quickly. Well, we were wrong. A line which had been forming and moving since 6:00 AM that morning was still windingaround the convention center and doubling back on itself three times. After an extremely long wait, though, we all three had our passes in hand as well as our free Blizzcon 2013 gifts.
We got back to the motel late, showered, and tried to fall asleep quickly. After failing miserably at that, our phone rang at 6:00 AM to head over to the convention center. When we got there, there was already a hundred or so people lined up. The line to get in was so wide, though, that we were still very close to the front. We stood for hours, and the line behind us grew from a few hundred to over ten thousand. When they opened the doors at 10:00 AM we rushed to the bag check lines. After standing there another 45 minutes they let us through and there was a mad rush to the main convention hall. Despite us being so far at the front and sprinting there, we were still a good 30-40 rows back. The main stage for the opening ceremonies was enormous, but only a fraction of the whole convention.
The opening ceremony was epic. The roaring sound of seventeen thousand nerds is pretty astounding, and they announced some pretty awesome stuff. If you are a Blizzard fan (or even if you aren’t), you should watch the trailer for their new game–Heroes of the Storm. Blizzard can do no wrong when it comes to cinematic.
After the opening ceremonies, we spent the whole day exploring the convention, listening to panels, and getting to try out all the new stuff. I even met Swifty! With ten hours already spent inside, we went back to the hotel to hibernate before day two!
Kayla did not attend day two, as she wanted to hang out with her friend I previously mentioned, Zacci, and there was much less she cared about seeing on the second event day. I, however, attended again. I tried out some of the new games/expansions, took some pictures, and watched the world championship of SC2. After yet another long day, I came back to the motel and got ready to go out on a double date with my wife, Zacci, and her boyfriend.
We went to an awesome burger place called Slater’s 50/50. For now these places are only in southern California, I believe, but they will spread–they must! After our thirty-minute wait for a table, we were asked for drink orders then each given a piece of paper with what appeared to be an exam on it. Okay, maybe not that detailed…but there were a lot of choices. You make your way through the list and checkbox the type of meat, size, bun, toppings, and sauce you want. Then, you give your creation a name and send it off to the magical kitchen where they turn it into edible awesome.
I ordered a 50/50 burger patty (That’s a burger patty made of 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon…yes) on a baconpretzel bun, stacked with pepper-jack cheese, lettuce, grilled onion, tomatoes, pineapple, and sweet barbecue sauce. I don’t remember what everyone else got, but my randomly named ‘Monkey-Butt’ burger came to the table so thick that it towered over my glass of soda. Or at least that’s how I remember it.
After a messy fight through mounds of beefy ecstasy, we had a deep conversation about how the heart symbol (<3) looks more like a butt than a heart. This led to a quick Wikipedia search where it was confirmed. Thanks internet! Twenty years ago, I would have never been able to confirm such a crazy thing, and then the heart symbol would have never been soiled for me!
We said good-bye to our friends and promised to meet again, then headed back to the hotel for one more night of sleep before we headed back home to Arizona.
Our last morning in California we ate once again at iHOP with ourfriend, Mike. We snapped some pictures and made promises to do this again, then headed off on our separate ways. The drive back home seemed longer than the one out, though much easier due to less traffic. We got back to our place that evening and were met by my wife’s grandparents, our daughter Emily on board.
It was amazing to have a nice, long, epic vacation filled with great friends and awesome food, but we were happy to be home with our daughter once again.
PS: There is even MORE that has happened since I last posted, but I felt this post was already incredibly long…so I will break it here and post the remainder soon.
As always–thanks for reading!