Maker Faire San Diego

The boys had fun learning to cross-stitch and stamp leather this year. They also got to drive the competition robots made by a couple of high school teams.


A Fun Day At Universal

We got in one last trip to Universal before our annual passes expired. The boys got to try “butterbeer” (a drink from the Harry Potter books), which tasted like extremely sweet butterscotch soda.


Connor Wins A Trustworthiness Award

Connor won the special “character pillar” award for Trustworthiness for his class, and was awarded it during the Flag Friday ceremony.

It happened to also be “Dress Like A Pirate” spirit day for 4th and 5th grade, which explains Gavin’s fashion choice.


Fall Ball

Gavin did great behind “the dish” catching for two innings. The runners can steal at his level, so you really have to know what you’re doing behind the plate.


Hiking In Del Dios Highlands Preserve

A beautiful day for a hike, which turned out much more steep than I expected.


First Day Of 5th And 2nd Grade

Gavin has Mrs Leslie this year and Connor has Mrs Brokaw. I’m sure we’ll have another great school year!


Family In Bakersfield

All the Ladds gathered in Bakersfield for my Grandma’s funeral. It was nice seeing my parents, brothers, little sister, and all the extended Ladd family. Unfortunately, my sister and her family couldn’t make it down.


Casting Spells In Hogsmeade

A little over a week ago, my Grandma passed away, at the age of 96. It was hard on all of us, but especially the boys, who had grown very close to her and are too young to really understand death. So, Aliciana and I decided to give the boys a happy memory to help offset the sadness.

We traveled up to Universal Studios, and made sure to see Ollivander’s wand matching ceremony, where a wand is picked out for an audience member. Afterwards, they let you out in the wand shop, where they have about 50 different types of (very expensive) wands, which allow you to perform spells at interactive spots in Hogsmeade.

While walking around the shop, I told the boys to each pick out their favorite wand, and I would buy it for them. The looked at me with blank stares… they didn’t believe me. Only after several moments did they realize I was serious and they got excited. The boys spent the rest of the afternoon practicing our magic spells.

Connor’s favorite ride is Transformers, so we had to go save the Allspark, before heading back to Hogsmeade for dinner at the Three Broomsticks. Then we did some more spell casting, rode on the Harry Potter rides a bunch, and saw the light show they project on Hogwarts castle. It was a very magical day.


Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is one of my favorite places on the Earth. We dealt with some monsoon rains while we were there, but it was still beautiful.

We hiked about a mile down into the canyon on Bright Angel trail, much easier going down than coming up. Gavin made friends with a squirrel, who was ready to come home with him.


Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque has a nice old town that we walked around during the morning, before having a picnic lunch next to the Rio Grande River. We spend the afternoon at the International Balloon Museum, where we learned more that we ever knew there was to know about ballooning.