February 13, 2013

Let's Pretend it's November

 The rhythm of my life is reflected in the frequency of my writing. When my most important priorities--my family, my health, my faith--need more of my time and energy, I give it. And the work-in-progress novel manuscript goes back in the box under the bed, the article ideas get jotted on a sticky note for future reference, and the blog posts in my head go unwritten for a season. Then, when we grow accustomed to whatever changes have come our way and life's rhythm becomes steady once again, the words come back to me, and they won't be put off anymore. Such is my chronological, list-making, check mark- checking nature, however, that I find it impossible to pick up in my writing from where I am. I have to go back. I have to catch up on all the things I want to share, all the memories I don't want to forget. So, before we get to baby (yes, he's here!) and natural childbirth, creative craftiness, and the new rhythm of our little family of five, let's pretend it's November. Because I want to tell you just a little about our amazing week in the city where Tony Bennett left his heart and Train begs to be saved: San Francisco.

Waiting for our turn on the street car.

Lunch at Boudin

Boat tour under the Golden Gate.

Lombard Street

I have two sisters. One lives in L.A., the other in Oakland. I get to see them maybe once every two years. This time around (in November, remember? haha i made a rhyme!), we--and by 'we' I mean: a very pregnant me, my hubs, our two kiddos, my parents, my older sister and her hubs--converged spectacularly on the Oakland home of my little sister Andrea and her boyfriend Connolly. The latter had not met most of us before and, it must be said, exercised heretofore unheard of levels of patience with our family's standard dysfunctional mode of cray-cray. Thank you, Connolly.

We spent a week crashing at their home by night, and back-and-forth bay-hopping by day, diving head-first into San Francisco (and a little Oakland) tourist culture. Street cars, Fisherman's Wharf, and Lombard Street, SFMOMA, Aquarium of the Bay, and the Academy of Science. We walked and bussed and rode trains and boats, we ate sourdough bread with almost every meal. We carried extra jackets and sweaters for San Francisco's famously unpredictable weather, and basically spent seven days building family memories, teaching our children, and reminding ourselves, how to let go and immerse ourselves in a travel experience that helps shape our view of the world.

You see, we have these philosophies, Brian and I, by which we try to live, and, more to the point try to parent. One is a commitment to value experiences over possessions--we don't own a house, or even much furniture; our income is modest, but we manage it in a way that allows us to partake in every good learning experience that comes our way (ie: rock climbing lessons or a video game system? the choice, for us, is obvious). Another is that knowledge and relationships are the only things we take with us when we leave this world, so shouldn't our knowledge be wide and our family bonds deep? We think so. And that only comes with time spent together, discovering life.

The Palace of Fine Arts, which houses the Exploratorium.

Science at Exploratorium.


The Museum of Modern Art.

Creating at MOMA.

Laurelei deemed this piece her favorite at MOMA.

Quidditch goggles for SF exploring- gift from Uncle and Auntie.

In Oakland, at Children's Fairyland.

Alice's rabbit hole at Fairyland.

Air garden at Academy of Science.

So we left the City by the Bay with hundreds of new memories, at least as many photographs, if not more (I am married to this guy, after all) and very few souvenirs. Most of what we bought we either did (tickets, admissions, etc.), or ate (food = gooood). And we talked about those seven days and all they brought us again and again, letting the memories warm the rest of our chilly November back home.

What are your goals when you travel as a family? What places have you loved visiting? I hope many, and many more to come.



  1. Yay! I'm so glad to read a post from you. And it was written so beautifully.

    Love, love, love your philosophies. You two are bloody brilliant.

    So, favorite vacations with the family? Definitely camping on the beach at South Carlsbad State Park in California for a week. We've already decided this will be a tradition (although maybe not this year...camping either hugely pregnant or with a newborn doesn't seem like too good of an idea)

    We also really loved a camping trip we took to Great Basin National Park. Love the cave there and the picturesque streams and wildflowers.

    And, of course, I'm a sucker for Disneyland. We took the kids last year. And, yeah, I know it's very commercial and all that jazz. But, still so much fun. There's something pretty magical about riding Space Mountain with your crazy boys for about the 100th time. And you definitely can't beat your wee girls who LOVE Tangled with a deep and abiding passion getting to not only meet Rapunzel, but *also* Flynn Rider who said, "Come here blondie!" to Zoe. She was in heaven. :)

  2. yay! I never did get to hear much about your trip to SF. So yes, I will pretend it is November! Life really does get put on hold for a bit with a newborn (and the last bit of pregnancy). And I LOVED the pictures, though I'm not at all surprised at the gorgeous quality of them. You and Brian always take the best pictures.

    And I love your philosophies, I'm going to adopt them. Austin has never had much time off in the past, so that has been the biggest factor in lack of super spectacular family vacations. We do love Zion's National Park though, but we haven't been since we lived in Utah, and Lucy was a toddler. Sailing works as our go-to mini vacations throughout the summers.. But I can't beat our first trip as a couple since our honeymoon, to New Orleans. We also love camping.. man, this is making me long for summer something fierce! Great post though! I really did miss out on hearing about your trip.. so thanks for the re-cap!

  3. Can't recall enjoying a family gathering more.