Larissa knew how much I loooooooooove San Francisco, and how long it had been (7 years!) since I'd been there to visit. She got a settlement in a legal case and generously decided on her own to surprise me with a trip out to see her and my favorite Bay. She called me and wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. ;) She said anytime after her graduation-date (with her Masters degree!!!) up until Bean's 2nd bday (when she would need her own plane ticket) was open for her. After speaking with her and Jeff we finally decided on dates to fly out there and fly back. (Jeff and I are still relatively new to this whole parenting gig and NEITHER of us realized that I would be in SF over Father's Day! Oops!! Though, I really tried to make it up to him by getting him some super awesome gifts and hiding them throughout the house so that on Father's Day we could call him and he'd have a scavenger hunt to do in order to find his gifts! I hope it made up for our oversight! xoxo!)
The week before the trip I was STRESSED about packing. I always stress about packing, but in the past I've gone to visit people who have kids of their own, so if I forgot something odds were that my friend would have it for us to borrow/use. None of my SF have kids so I didn't want to forget anything. My packing list was a bit OCD, but it got the job done. On Southwest you're allowed 2 checked bags, 1 carry on and 1 personal item - plus car seats/strollers can be checked for free. I had two large suitcases, the diaper bag, camera bag and her huge convertible car seat. Totally do-able if Jeff would have been coming with us, but alone? Sheesh-Louise! That was a feat at the airport! Thank the Lord for those $5 luggage carts!
Larissa lives in the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco, the houses are gorgeous, the hills are steep, and the local culture is colorful. I love the electric energy in big cities, and being that this was the first time I've gotten to stay in the city (as opposed to at a hotel in the tourist-areas), I can say for certain that the energy in SF is definitely electric - and eclectic! I loved it, so much!!
The first morning we got up and went down to the 'Pier 39/Fisherman's Wharf/Embarcadero' part of town. In the past, this is where my mom and I have stayed and spent most of our time. It's the touristy stuff, but it's still fun so I wanted to go again this trip.
On the way back to Larissa's house we stopped at a tea cafe and had an amazing tea-for-two with cucumber finger sandwiches, scones, biscotti and some amazingly delicious herbal tea. Their mission-statement is pretty awesome too, they take people who've spent time in the prison system and they teach them a new skill-set, giving them an opportunity to get work experience to help get them back on their feet. The food was awesome and the service was great! I highly recommend Crossroads Cafe.
That night we went on a short hike to the top of a mountain in a neighborhood park by Larissa's house. The view was amazing. We could see almost the entire city from up there!!
Day 2 was spent with our long-time friends Sarah and Jaynie who were nice enough to come from Sacramento to visit us! First, we went to Baker Beach, which I have always wanted to go to! It was breathtakingly beautiful. If I could have, I would have spent all day there. Just looking around and listening to the waves. After the group of us had our fill of sun, sand and kite flying we got back in the cars and drove over the Golden Gate Bridge. Something else I'd never done, but had wanted to for many years. If it wasn't a toll road I would have asked to go back and forth over it 5 times. It's amazing to look at from afar, and even more awesome up close and personal. Earlier this year was the 75th anniversary of the GGB and from my understanding, the celebration was pretty epic - I'm just so grateful that I got to see it in person. I've got a serious love-affair with that bridge and it's something I'll never forget. On the other side of the bridge, we drove over and parked by the Presidio Yacht Club to take pictures of the GGB from a different angle. Again - stunning. The name of the Yacht Club is pretty insignificant, but thanks to some unfortunate car trouble, I have committed to memory the name of where we were parked - since we had to call a tow truck. (Don't leave a Prius' accessory-feature on for more than.... 5ish minutes as it will kill the battery QUICKLY!) But, now I know of a great place to go, in the future, if I want to take amazing pictures from the less-popular, but equally stunning side of the GGB.
Me, wanting to get in on the kite flying action. Bean, refusing to play with me. Ha!
I hung my head and expensive camera out of the car window to take these pictures!
Day 3 was spent at Adventure Playground and flying a big, trick, kite at Cesar Chavez Park across The Bay Bridge in Berkeley.
Sarah and Jaynie went back home to Sacramento after our day in Berkeley. I was so happy to spend a couple days with them, I've missed them so much since we all moved away from Las Vegas.
Day 4 was spent hitting up Ghirardelli Square as well as stopping at the Mrs. Doubtfire house and the famous Painted Ladies houses - which anyone born in the 80s knows are the Full House houses to take pictures.
The rest of our visit was spent stopping at Trader Joes and In-N-Out, both of which I've been missing in Colorado, and then coloring with side-walk chalk on the staircase outside of Larissa's house. Just relaxing while repacking, watching movies after Bean went to sleep, fancy fingernail painting - one of Larissa's many talents, just hanging out. It was a busy, fun filled, exhausting, exciting, wonderful trip and I was sad to say goodbye to my favorite bay and to some of my favorite people.
However, 6 days is a long time to be away from the best Daddy, and both Bean and I were SO happy to see him again at the Denver Airport. I can't say 'thank you' enough to Larissa for flying us out. We love and miss her so much!
Phew! Now that I got all that out, I'll get back to my regularly scheduled blog posting!