Monday, August 31, 2015

San Fran Day 2

Saturday morning, after sleeping almost through breakfast at the hotel, we had planned to hit up Golden Gate Park (I had talked Justin into renting bikes to tour through there, haha). We went down and ate breakfast. You know, I had an apple, a piece of sausage and a little bowl of cheerios. Justin went straight for the sausage, sugar cereal, and bear claws and started a waffle for himself. I was finished and wanted to curl my hair so I went up and he said he’d be right up after he ate his waffle. Well, a while later he came up to the room and said he felt sick because he not only ate his big belgian waffle, he drank 4 glasses of orange juice and he said he ate like 10 more sausages!! LOL… That man and his metabolism. I kinda love to hate him for it. Haha

Anywho, while I was getting ready, we received a text from Danny inviting us to lunch with thDSC04237DSC04240DSC04257e fam and Sheridan at 11:30. It was an hour and a half drive so we raced to pack up and go get the rental car. Oh my, I felt relief getting into that car and feeling like we were in total control of our fate as opposed to winging it on the subway the day before.  Driving over the bridges and viewing the cute, colorful houses was fun. Still, I don’t see how people enjoy living in such cramped quarters, no yard to enjoy and no driveway or garage to park in. I even looked up a high rise apartment complex. The cheapest rent for a studio apartment was $3000/month!! And the house prices are insane! I am in awe that people can afford all of that with paying to park and drive everywhere too. Wow! Being perfectly happy in our country way of life, that lifestyle is not for me, but it’s fun to visit and see something different Smile

Getting closer to where we were meeting the family for lunch, I started to feel at home, but with prettier views! Rolling hills, large trees, cows and horses out to pasture, and endless grape orchards. Every time we got to a really picturesque spot where I wasn’t being blocked by trees, I was too slow to draw the camera and I missed almost every opportunity! But you can just trust me on the prettiness factor.


On the way there, I had a phone call that had me in stitches! I love my sister, Nicole. She always understands me and we have good laughs together. We were both still feeling very lost and turned around from the day before and it was fun to have a good hee-haw about it with my seester. (Yes, I meant to spell it that way, it’s our term on endearment).

Upon arrival at the restaurant, we spotted Nicole and Hayden waiting for us. Walking in, I had to do a double take to make sure we had found “our people.” I hadn’t seen some of them since my childhood and it was so fantastic to see everyone there together. The food was great and the company was even better. We were able to take some good pictures together in the park across the street. Then everyone kinda separated to get dressed for the wedding.

Driving to the Armstrong State Park (redwood forest) was very exciting for Justin (and me too, but this was his moment, people). He has been talking about going to see the redwoods since we’ve been together (nearly 13 years). So he was like an eager little boy ready to jump out the window the moment we arrived! It is quite breathtaking how large those trees are! It is so beautiful and Sheridan with her lace & chiffon dress made me feel like a true fairytale was taking place! Did I mention the cupcakes were ridiculously good? I have been on the search for a recipe to rival my beloved Retro Bakery cupcakes and I felt like they did for sure. Sheridan said her sister made them so I immediately went and asked her for her top secret recipe! Haha… She said it was the Trader Joe’s cake mix and she didn’t do anything different. Ummm, I can do that for sure! (And I’ve already made a trip there upon returning to retrieve such cake mix for Carter’s birthday next week).


Uppon arrival, must take a selfie! And of course climb inside the first tree you find…


A ladies picture! From left to right: Jourdie, Jamie, Mallory, Paulina, Nicole, me, Rachel holding Echo, and Bekah.


Danny before the ceremony began taking pictures with us Smile


Delicious cupcakes and that sign was made by Danny and Sheridan (I think) sitting on an easel made by him and Dad (that I am for sure of)


The above picture is Sheridan with her mom and sisters. They are all gorgeous with brown hair and blue eyes!  Loved that! What a great family Smile


So happy to have a new member of the family. Gorgeous and sweet Smile


Atfer the wedding was over and we’d done more than our share of chatting people’s ears off, we ventured off on our own to see the oldest redwood tree in the forest, named Mr Armstrong. My dad told us about it and we had to sneak a peek before leaving! It was so huge and there was a cute group of older lady friends there having a good ‘ol time! We swapped taking pictures of each other and went on a little walk. Then it was back to the car! DSC04339DSC04345DSC04348DSC04351DSC04354

We stopped at a little fruit stand on the drive back and got delicious smelling organic strawberries for $.99/lb and some yummy local grapes along with some other goodies. We decided to try and race the sun to possible drive through Golden Gate Park on the way back. We did drive over the Golden Gate bridge, but I could only take extremely crappy pictures in the dark. And then we both really started to laugh when it was literally pitch black out our window driving through the park. Haha!! Our sightseeing was over for the day. So we went back to the hotel and watched TV until we…err, I…fell aseep. I felt like such an old lady the whole trip! I was so tired at the end of every day!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

San Fran Day 1

DSC04216This last weekend, my younger brother, Danny, was getting married in Northern California near San Francisco. Since we couldn't afford to fly all the kids up for the wedding, we just kinda turned it into a little weekend getaway for Justin and I. We had so much fun! HUGE kudos to Andrea for taking on the extra 4 kiddos. We know Shane helped too, but he worked a lot and had church meetings. So we know who took the brunt end of the "Can you please?" and lap climbing all weekend! Really, we are just so thankful that our kids have always got along so well, and there really are never any squabbles to resolve between all of those cuties! And everyone has someone to play with! Awesome :)

So, Friday, was the day we flew out and we were kinda lucky that Justin had been working nights that week so he could drive home, have a shower, and drive into town with us. (That means no worrying about his work truck). The kiddos seemed to make themselves right at home at their Aunt & Uncle's so we weren't stressed leaving (although I knew it would be seamless, they love their cousins!) Our flight left around 3:15 and we have not flown anywhere for a LONG time. I'm talking since Carter was a baby and we flew to see family in Washington. The plane kept dropping once it was in flight and it scared the crap out of me! I kept grabbing Justin's arm asking him why it's doing that? I'm a baby, I know. DSC04212

Once we landed and checked into our hotel, we decided to try to catch the train/subway/bus, whatever we could find to check out Fisherman's Wharf and eat dinner. Let me just say that we are definitely NOT connoisseurs of public transportation! We looked at a map for the closest BART station and decided since it was just shy of 2 miles, we would walk there. We are cheap and didn't want to pay for a taxi. And although I had fun walking and talking with Justin, that couple miles seemed to take FOREVER and we were walking through an industrial, kinda ghetto-ish part of town. The streets were so tiny too! We kept commenting on the squishiness of the houses, the jam-packed driveways. Oh my heavens, we are definitely more comfortable living in the country. Well, we arrive at what we think might be the BART station, but are feeling very confused and don't know how long we might be waiting for the bus to arrive (we didn't really know that BART was a subway). Well, the bus does come and I just ask him to point us in the right direction to get to Fisherman's Wharf. Luckily, he took pity on us and gave us a free ride to the BART station down the street and told us where to get off to take the Muni bus. What a guy! DSC04213

Yay! We made it on the subway. However, not before staring at the ticket machine and looking like complete idiots for several minutes, and putting in dollars only to get quarters back out. How do you work this thing?! LOL Some other man took pity on us (you will find this as a common theme throughout our trip) and just bought the ticket for us with our money. Haha! We felt pretty silly. Add to the confusion of which train to get on once you're down there and oh my...I have a whole new respect for people that do this on a daily basis and also for people in movies who are trying to outrun subways in the tunnels. Those things are crazy fast and create quite the gust of wind when they are coming!

After many more questionable, confusing moments, we did at last make it to Fisherman's Wharf. Hooray! The wind was a little chilly, but it was SO nice outside, the architecture is so charming, and the people watching is A+!! 60-year-old lady with light-up rollerblades interpretative dancing by herself in the middle of the sidewalk, older man dressed like a dog wondering out loud why people might think he's crazy, and another man dressed in captain suit screaming "It's Friidaay, I love you!!!" and high-fiving people in the street. We were entertained to say the least! We ate dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp. YUMMY! It was so good. I got the bucket o' trash and Justin got a Cajun chicken sandwich (sad for him he's allergic to shellfish). DSC04217DSC04221DSC04222

We did a lot of walking to Ghirardelli Square and other sights around the area. It was fun to just not have anywhere to go really. And we were just enjoying each other's company (and the free samples at Ghirardelli). But near the end, Justin's back hurt, my knee hurt from all our walking and we realized we had a long, confusing trek back to our hotel. So we set off to get back on the Muni bus to get back on BART. Yeah, once we got to the BART station, there was a homeless man in a wheelchair at the top of the stairs telling us it was broken and we had to go to a different station. We said "Oh, okay" and started walking towards a different BART station. But standing at the crosswalk, we realized everyone else was still going down there and hardly anyone was coming up. So we decided to go check out the "broken" station for ourselves. And alas, it was in working order. Haha! Don't trust those homeless guys in wheelchairs ;)