Monday, October 23, 2017

Traveling with Kids: San Francisco

One of the things that makes me anxious (there are many!) is thinking about how quickly my children are going to grow up. I'm friends with many of my former students and/or their families on Facebook, so I have watched children go from 3rd grade to high school in the blink of an eye. 

When Matt and I are falling asleep together and trying to talk about things that don't induce anxiety (no Trump talk!), I'll ask him questions like, "What can we do to make sure we truly savor this time with our children?" 

One of our answers is family vacations. During our most recent Fall Break, I had to participate on an education panel in San Francisco, so we turned it into a family trip. 

Oh, how we love California! 

Here's how we spent our days:

Day One (Sunday): 

We always try to give ourselves at least one normal weekend day before going on a trip so we can get everything done without feeling stressed. On Sunday we woke up at our normal time and headed to the airport. (As I've mentioned before, we are now traveling with these booster seats, which makes traveling a lot easier.)

One we arrived, we headed straight to Oakland to reconnect with friends. Our first stop was to visit some friends (who also happen to be awesome musical artists). We walked from their apartment to an Ethiopian restaurant. So fun to be in such a walkable city! (When my memory wants to cling to all the positive parts, I will start to forget that Tate was totally stressful in the restaurant. Gotta love 4 year-olds!)

Then we headed to Berkeley to reconnect with another set of friends at Adventure Playground. So much fun! 

Then it was on to Stinson Beach where we stayed in a small cottage near the beach through AirBnB. 

That was the night the wildfires started. There was such intense wind, and we would smell the burning of trees. We didn't learn what was happening until the morning. 

Day Two (Monday): 

We drove down the hill into town for breakfast and to hang out at the beach. The boys are such beach creatures, even when the water is downright frigid. 

We then drove into Mill Valley (which I think is one of the most beautiful towns in America--except that it isn't very diverse) for lunch and a quick stop at one of the most beautiful playgrounds in America (which is nestled in some redwoods). Henry was thinking about the song "This Land is Your Land" and kept asking, "Is this the Redwood Forest?")

Then it was back to Stinson Beach to meet up with some friends from the city. We hung out on the beach and then headed to an amazing little restaurant right on the beach.

Day Three (Tuesday): 

Matt went for a long run, so I took the boys down to breakfast alone. Even though we sat at a large booth, they both cozied right up next to me. It's an adorable memory I'm going to hold close to me (and let it overshadow those other memories of my children being pull-your-hair-out frustrating!).

We then headed to the beach again. The boys managed to find disregarded beach toys to play with and they occupied themselves for a long time while I read and talked on the phone with my mom. 

That afternoon we headed back into Mill Valley to grab a picnic lunch from Whole Foods, and we ate beneath the redwoods back at our favorite park. 

We then made our way to Palo Alto for my education conference, and we ate at Stanford University in the dining hall. 

Day Four (Wednesday): 

On this day the boys went out for an adventure on their own (visiting a friend who works at the Opera House and connecting with friends at an amazing park in the Bay Area!).

Day Five (Thursday):

Matt went for another long run while the boys and I went back to Stanford University for breakfast in the dining hall. Then we drove back to the city for a touristy trip to Alcatraz (luckily my tendency to plan things in advance was more helpful than annoying and I purchased tickets for us in advance since they sell out so quickly). 

After lunch, we grabbed arepas at Pica Pica and ate them at the Mission Dolores Park. When we travel, I always bring a sheet to use as a picnic blanket and a deck of cards so Matt and I can play gin rummy while the boys play. 

That evening we reconnected with old friends for some Indian food. 

Day Six (Friday): 

We walked with our friends to breakfast and then headed to Pacifica to see their new office/house. We played at the beach again (the boys cannot get enough!), ate at a tiny taqueria, and then Henry requested to see a tide pool. Luckily, we were literally in the middle of low tide according to the internet, so we headed to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve where we were able to see sea anemones and hermit crabs. 

After that, we headed back to the airport for a 5 o'clock flight. 

This was the first trip where Matt and I made a concerted effort to ask ourselves, "Who do we know in the city that we should try to spend time with?" It was so fun to see the city through our friends' eyes, and it was so fun to spend time with good people. With good friends, you can skip right over all the small talk and get straight to the meat of life. My conversations went from talking about how to dismantle white supremacy to how to start your own life coaching business. 

And as our children get older, these trips get more and more fun. We get to spend such concentrated amounts of time together. I love just soaking those boys in (and letting my mind erase all the hard parts)!

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