Category Archives: family

Christmas Photo 2015

Watts Christmas Card

Picking the family Christmas photo! This is a project that I all too often I wait until the holidays are in full swing to get my order in. There are so many companies out there that create fabulous Christmas photos, but my go-to shop is Costco. Costco’s Photo Center is reliable and convenient, most importantly the cost is quite competitive.

Our 2015 Christmas photo was taken at the backside of the Disneyland Sleeping Beauty castle. We had the right setting, our entire family, and we were up for snapping a few photos with our princesses – Samantha and Emily.

Now in a few months, I get to start the process all over again. What photo will make it as the standout annual holiday photo?!? Stay tuned…

Share

Watts Family Online Newsletter August 2011

Wow! I have really fallen off the wagon now. I have not posted a Watts Family Newsletter since February. My apologies. So much has happened since February. It is a terrible excuse, but I guess I’ve just been too busy to post anything. Looking back to March was fun. The picture below was taken at a fiesta at the Balderrama’s home in Redlands. Michelle was actually looking at it last night and said that it always makes her laugh. Samantha was less enthusiastic and just looked at me like she was embarrassed and disappointed in me. Brother! My aunt Angela put it another way, “Good Grief, Pedro!”

I’m still reading a ton of books. Mostly listening, but I do get some real books in there whenever I can. I’m at 78 for the year. My original goal was 100 and it looks like I won’t have a problem hitting that number by the end of the year. Some of my favorites since February are: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson (3rd in the trilogy), Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Bossypants by Tina Fey, and Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.

We put our condo up for sale and it took a while, but it is now in escrow and Michelle and I are shopping for new homes in northern Orange County. I got an iPad 2, best purchase of the year so far.

Late in March, we all go sick. Wasn’t too bad, but turned out Samantha had an ear infection, so we had to get her some meds, but of course she is 110% now. Speaking of Samantha she is doing very well. She has been going to “Mommy and Me” classes all summer long with Gigi and is signed up for Pre-school in the Fall. She is learning so much. Last week she was commanding us around, “Daddy, play dollies with me! Mommy, get me my milk!” and I asked her, “Just who do you think the boss is around here?” And without so much as a moment of hesitation she said “Me!”.

Samantha is addicted to the Disney fairies and Barbie. She watches all the Barbie movies (yes, there are many of them) and Fairy movies (again, lots of movies) over and over again. And being the boss she demands that daddy sits next to her on the couch, while she watches the movies with a dolly in each hand. I am very thankful for the iPad!

Samantha and Gigi still go to the library a few times a week. Samantha enjoys story-time and there is a nice park near the library they like to go to as well.

We got to go to Disneyland in April. It is always a pleasure and we always have fun. Samantha’s favorites are King Arthur’s Carousel and Dumbo! This time we waited in line for about 2 hours to see Tangled! Samantha wanted to leave towards the end but we stuck it out and got to see her.

I enjoyed watching the Ducks in the playoffs in April…until they lost. Easter at my parent’s home was a great time, despite the rain during the Easter egg hunt.

In May we went to my new favorite fancy-dancy restaurant in Laguna Beach. It’s called Watermarc, and they have one killer martini! Speaking of great drinks, I’m still addicted to Starbucks but now I have a new partner in crime. Samantha loves the birthday cake pop they have at Starbucks and is continually asking for them. I don’t mind any excuse to go to Starbucks.

June was a great month and not just because that’s when my birthday is, although that was a great day too. I got to watch the Stanley cup games (Thanks Michelle) and my dad and grandmother from New Mexico came to visit. It was pretty cool to see my grandmother, it had been a very long time!

June was also the month that my brother-in-law William graduated from high school! We were so busy, we also had a great mini vacation in Santa Barbara in June. We stayed at our favorite place and got to hang out with my sister-in-law, Lisa. It was really a great vacation! Our vacation didn’t end in Santa Barbara though, we also too Samantha to Pretend City, it’s like a theme park for toddlers. It was pretty cool. We also hit the beach and the Aquarium of the Pacific. And last but certainly not least we went to Legoland down by my mom’s house.

In July, Michelle and I had our 8th wedding anniversary. Also in July was Comic-Con. It was hot and crowded. We (Duane and I)waited in line for 4 hours and finally got in to see the panels for Eureka (cancelled a month later), Warehouse 13 (great show) and True Blood (adults only!). It was a funny, but exhausting day! Before the month was out Samantha graduated to a toddler bed. She had no problem moving from the crib to the bed. She loves it, sleeps in it all night without problems and thinks to the Disney princess sheets that we got her are awesome! On July 30, we went to my father-in-laws company picnic. Free food and lots of fun. He and Lauren, my sister-in-law joined me for a quick game of disc golf at the really nice course they have at El Dorado Disc Golf Course in Long Beach.

August was Michelle’s birthday. We went to Yardhouse with Samantha. Samantha was so tired she fell asleep at the restaurant. If you have ever been to a Yardhouse, then you know it is so loud, you can hardly hear yourself think. It’s virtually impossible to carry on a conversation without the use of sign language and Samantha feel asleep and stayed asleep. She woke up after we left the Yardhouse and entered a Sees candy shop for a snack. Just like her mother! A real Sees lover.

I think that catches us up pretty well. It’s been a fun few months, and we are excited about what is to come in the next few.

Share

February 2010

Events

February started out with my discovery of ReinaDelCid on youtube. She’s great. Check out this video below:

I started posting every week day to historyonair.com, my podcast website, that is quickly becoming a history blog and not a podcast, because I simply cannot find the time to podcast anymore. I’ll keep trying though. On February 3rd we had a Chinese New Year celebration at the office, I took some video of that.

On Feb. 6 we watched some of the Super Bowl just like the rest of the nation. I’ve had lots of fun in my Social Media classes in February I posted some of the work I did for the class on this blog. History on Air also got a Fan page on Facebook this month. This month I started to use Gowalla instead of Foursquare. Why? I like the icons and badges better on Gowalla.

On February 22nd, my office bought In and Out for all the employees. That was really cool.

Movies

The Social Network 3 out of 5 stars, better than I thought it would be. Worth watching.

The A-Team – 4 out of 5 stars, again, unexpectedly good. Tried to stay true to the old tv show, but not such a great job at that.

Books

Storytelling: Branding in Practice – 4 out of 5 stars. I read this for my social media classes. Lots of case studies. All pretty interesting. Good read.

Creative Composition: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques – 3 out of 5 stars. Pretty good, nice photos not a real beginner book, but still good.

The Story of Classical Music – 5 out of 5 stars. This was an excellent audio book. Lots of examples and lots of information. Even some great history of the composers.

Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment (New Rules Social Media Series) – 3 out of 5 stars. Not as impressive as the other social media books I have read. This book culls together everything else that has already been said and summarizes it. Nothing mind blowing here. Let down.

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think – 3 out of 5 stars. This was close to 4 stars. Lots of case studies, good information. Very interesting. Worth reading.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – 2 out of 5 stars. Another one of the spin off books from the Harry Potter series. This just was not all that interesting. Let down.

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2) – 4 out of 5 stars. Another in the Percy Jackson series. Still interesting. I’m still caught up in this series. Well written and keeps you reading!

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income – 5 out of 5 stars. Great book. Tons of good information. Perfect for anyone who wants to take their blog to the next level.

Blogging For Dummies – 2 out of 5 stars. Boring. Nothing new and nothing worth saying.

Share

January 2011

Events

To being the month, I watched parts of the NHL Winter Classic. The next day we left Scottsdale and began the 5 hour drive home. Right after we got home it was back to work and the normal grind. That also meant that we had to do something about our bathtub.

In December, we noticed that there was a hairline fracture beginning. Now that our vacation was over it was time to start looking at our options. We hit all the usual places and began to look at tile and tubs. Late in the month, Samantha, Michelle and I all stayed at my parent’s house in Carlsbad for a week and one day as we waited for the work on our new bathroom to be completed. Each day I or Michelle would drive up to Irvine and watch the workers progress through the project. We had the old tub and shower enclosure removed. When they had that out they put in the new tub and then put tile up the walls. We are really enjoying our new shower and bath.

Quick note on that image of the bathroom, before and after.  I created it using a free online tool called Aviary Phoenix.  Next time you need Photoshop tools, but don’t have access to Photoshop try Aviary, it is free. [update:  is now an app and not a free tool it seems.  Thanks for the heads up Carole.]

I challenged myself to read 60 books this year. Last year my goal was 50, I read 54 books. It’s time to improve on that number and hopefully, I can exceed my goal again.

My Starbucks addiction continues. The Barista at our local Starbucks knows my order before I open my mouth and my Gold card came this month as well.

At work, things are getting exciting. On the 11th our executive team announced that we will begin selling the iPhone in February. Very cool and about time!

I started two social media classes this month. These are my last two classes in the certificate program in Social Media at UCI. I’m taking Social Media Measurement and Evaluation and Transmedia Marketing Through Storytelling. I am enjoying both very much.

Lastly, here is my favorite picture of Samantha from this month.

Celebrations

1 – New Years Day
11 – Eric Lesile’s Birthday
13 – Keith Parrish’s Birthday
16 – Philip Higson’s Birthday
17 – Martin Luther King Day
22 – Anniversary of Michelle and my first kiss

Books

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss – 2 stars, I wanted to like this book. I really did, but it was just to stale.

Unsolved Mysteries of History: An Eye-Opening Investigation Into the Most Baffling Events of All Time by Paul Aron – 2 stars, this book could not deliver on its promises. It was not eye-opening. It is a rehash of a bunch of histories mysteries that aren’t even very fascinating. Much better mysteries out there to explore. It wasn’t a total waste of time though. I had not heard of all the events it covered, but can’t say I’m better off for reading it.

My Antonia by Willa Cather – 3 stars, an interesting story of foreign families that come to live on the plains of Nebraska. This was a book from my classics list that I’m trying to work through. This book is not for everyone, but if you enjoy you might like this.

Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire by David DeKok – 3 stars, this book was actually really good for what it was. It was just so much information that it was a little overwhelming. This is the author’s second book on the subject. I thought it was a very good story of the town that has a mine burning under it, for almost 50 years now! The fire still burns too! I have a more detailed post on this on the historyonair website.

Spook Country by William Gibson – 2 stars, a good story, but somehow the presentation just wasn’t there for me. The story didn’t seem to flow. There was a lot of movement between the character’s stories and they didn’t flow.

The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stepenie Meyer – 4 stars, Excellent. Very quick, but that didn’t lessen the book. Great to get some more Twilight in.

Star Wars, Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back by George Lucas – 5 stars, this was an audio presentation. Excellent! Had some of the original cast’s voices! Will listen to this again!

Empowered by Josh Bernoff – 4 stars, Read this for a class I’m taking on social media at UCI. Great book. Answered most of the questions that Groundswell, Bernoff’s first book created for me. This book was much better than Groundswell in my opinion. More time spent addressing the hard questions and less telling us what our problems were.

Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity by Avinash Kaushik – 4 stars, A great reference book, filled with insightful tips. Great way to look at the data. Lots of common metrics explained. Author gives lots of direction on what different kinds of websites should be looking at. Even covers how to track social media campaigns.

Movies

Dorian Gray – 0.5 Star, Lowest possible rating for this. It was horrible! Read the book, its better, but not much.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor – 0.5 star, perfect example of taking a franchise one step too many. This was really horrible!

The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising – 2.5 stars, looking back on this one, the movie was pretty boring. Not sure it deserves this rating. I would not recommend it.

How to Train Your Dragon – 4 stars. Funny movie. Great for the family. Although, I think Samantha was a bit too young for it, because it lost her interest fairly early on.

Eat, Pray, Love – 4 stars. I liked this movie a lot. I think I even liked it better than the book.

Share

December 2010

Events

This month we went to Disneyland again. Thanks to Samantha’s cool aunt Lauren, I think we have gone the last 6 months in a row. We had a great time again this time. The weather was looking pretty bad, but it didn’t rain. I think the fact that it didn’t look that good and that it was a Thursday helped keep people out of the park. This meant we had more time to have fun, because we didn’t have to fight the crowds. This visit also marked the first time Samantha had been to Ariel’s Grotto. At this restaurant the cast members are dressed as 5 princesses (Ariel, Snow White, Bell, Cinderella, and Jasmine). Samantha was very shy and didn’t like being close to the princesses, but when they walked away from the table, she acted excited to see them.

Christmas was really special for us this year. Because we had three of them! Our first Christmas was early at my parent’s house in Carlsbad. They of course spoiled us all with presents, good food, and great company. We all had a blast. Our next Christmas was on Christmas Eve at Michelle’s parents house. Again, we were regaled with presents, great food and great company. Lastly we had our own little family Christmas on Christmas day. Samantha had a great time and must think that Christmas last a month now.

Immediately after our Christmas we started packing for our vacation to Arizona. We had a good drive there and back. It is about 5 and a half hours with stops for eating. We made much better time going home, because we stopped less. Samantha was a little angel for the drives. Once there were greeted by my extended family. Some of them stayed at my aunt Lee’s house and the overflow, which included Samantha, Michelle, myself, Rick, Barbie, Autumn and Trevor, stayed at a timeshare Lee and Ron have that is also in Scottsdale. It was a beautiful place, but didn’t really compare to Lee and Ron’s beautiful Scottsdale home. We had a wonderful vacation there and attended my aunt Barbie’s wedding to Rick, while in Scottsdale.

Celebrations

Bill Kita’s birthday 12/16

Bill Watts’ birthday 12/21

Tim Thompson 12/22

Barbie and Rick’s Wedding 12/27

Robyn Plouse 12/18

James Higson 12/31

Cole Lesile 12/25

Movies

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – 3.5/5 stars.  Not bad.  Not great.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – 4.5/5 stars.  Great movie, only disappointment is having to wait for the second part.

Robin Hood – 4/5 stars.  Good action flick.

Grown Ups – 3/5 stars.  Funny.

Twilight: Eclipse – 3/5 stars.  Okay.  Just like the others, read the books, they are much, much better.

Despicable Me – 3/5 stars.  Excellent to see in 3D.  Kids movie that doesn’t appeal to adults as much as it possible could.

The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of the Ga’Hoole – 1/5 stars.  Terrible.  Boring.

Inception – 4.5/5 stars.  Excellent concept.  Would like to see more like this.

Books

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan – 4/5 stars.  Great book.  Looking forward to reading more.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – 3/5 stars.  Being generous with this one.  Great idea, but the book totally misses taking advantage of it.

The Tristan Betrayal by Robert Ludlum – 3/5 stars.  Good spy novel.

Deception Point by Dan Brown – 4/5 stars. Dan Brown does it again  and again.  He is just a great author.

The Essential Lewis and Clark by Meriwether Lewis, William Clark – 3/5 stars.  Dry, reads like a diary, because it is.  Wish it would have read like a novel.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow – 4/5 stars.  Excellent Sci-Fi.  More I think about it, this actually deserves 5 stars.  This book is also public domain.

Share

November 2010

Events
On November 1st, I tried to buy tickets for Comic Con, since then, I’ve tried once more.  Both times their registration system online failed and let no one order tickets.  I hope they fix this soon and I can buy tickets, I’m looking forward to going.  On the 2nd Michelle and I both voted.  On November, 5th I finally got my barista badge on foursquare.

You get this badge by checking in at 5 different locations.  For those of you who don’t know, I’m completely addicted to Starbucks coffee.  On November 7th our church had a book fair.  Michelle got a lot of great books for Samantha and I got about 5 books for myself.  Almost all of them only 25 cents!  To top off the morning they were also having a pancake breakfast!

On November 12th, I went to a Ducks game at the Honda Center.  I had a great time with my friends Tim and Jean.  The Ducks won too!  It was a great game and a fantastic night.  I can’t wait until Samantha is old enough to join Dad at the games!

On November 14th, Lauren took Samantha, Michelle and I to Disneyland again.  We had a great time as we always do!  Samantha had a slight cold this month.  It didn’t amount to much more than a runny nose for a few days, so we are very thankful that she is feeling better.

Just before Thanksgiving we celebrated my father’s birthday in Carlsbad.  They already had their tree up so the kids, Samantha and Cousin Ryan, helped their grandparents decorate the tree.

I took the week of Thanksgiving off and spent my free days with Samantha.  Playing Mr. Mom was great, exhausting, but great.  We spent Thanksgiving at the Higson’s home.  They were very gracious to invite us to their home and treat us to a wonderful meal and great company.  We had a great day!

A few days after Thanksgiving we traveled north to our friends home in Los Angeles.  The Sullivan’s had a wonderful “Friendsgiving” party.  We ate another wonderful thanksgiving meal and had more wonderful company.  We are very lucky to have such good friends.  That about wraps up November.  Sorry this update was so late, but if you think November was busy for us, just wait until you read about December!

Books
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli 3/5 stars

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium #2) by Stieg Larsson 5/5 stars –  Great book. Sudden ending. Looking forward to reading the last in the series.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving 5/5 stars –   Excellent book!!!

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Visual Companion 4/5 stars –   Michelle gave me this a long time ago.  Just found it recently and it made a good quick read.

Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims’ First Year in America by Glenn Alan Cheney 2/5 stars – Thanksgiving I would not recommend this book.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey 4/5 stars –   Wish there was a 4.5 category. Great book! Slow to start but really picks up and gets interesting. Amazing descriptions and fantastic characters.

Movies
Oceans – 3 stars.  Okay.  Not as good as I hoped.  Nowhere near the caliber of Planet Earth.

Toy Story 3 – 3.5 stars.  Finally got a chance to watch this.  I thought it was a great ending to the trilogy.

The American – 2 stars.  This could have been a cool spy flick, but it didn’t amount to much in my humble opinion.

The Reader – 4 stars.  This movie grew on me, after I had time to think about it more.  Good story, very interesting.

Share