My friend Noelle, her husband Paul and kids Aidan and Keira came to visit and I took the week off to vacation with them. We had a great week and packed in a walloping amount of Bay Area sights and fun along the way. Noelle and I met when we were both in graduate school at UCSF so it was a homecoming for her and the kids were excited to see “where Mommy used to live.” We spent some of the time taking day trips from my house in Berkeley and then mid-week, went up to Stinson Beach in Marin for a few days.
Highlights of the week were many and included: walks to the park with Bodhi (who loved the kids!)**Stephen Curry and a Warriors game with Aidan for his pre-birthday **playing basketball in the park**Golden Gate Park via surrey (not as easy as it looks!) **first time to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park **Ghiardelli Square are ice cream sundaes with hot fudge! ** Chrissy Field and views of the Golden Gate Bridge ** visiting Alcatraz and a boat ride on the bay ** introducing kids to Mad Libs ** a perfect beach day at Stinson Beach—sun, sand, collecting sea shells and playing in the waves with Bodhi tagging along ** magnificent redwoods at Muir Woods ** curvy roads and beautiful views over the Pacific from Highway 1 ** wildflowers everywhere ** a silly song called “Daddy finger” that echoed everywhere ** more Mad Libs silliness ** ping-pong, hot tubs and bunk beds at the beach house ** donuts and chocolate croissants for breakfast ** foggy view (?) of the bridge and city from Marin Headlands ** hiking to Tennessee Valley Beach ** the Pinball Museum in Alameda (Paul was in his element!).
I had a great time with the kids and it was a great to get a chance to get to know them over a longer stretch of time and also for me to see my favorite city through their eyes. I missed them a lot this week after they left and I could tell Bodhi was also sad for losing out on the non-stop belly rubs and cuddling! Being with kids just brings out the kid in me. They are both such sweet kids, both with their own personalities. Aidan turns ten this year and it’s been amazing to see him grow from this little peanut baby into such a big-little boy. He spouts out sports statistics like a sportscaster and seems so grown up in some ways, but then he brought his stuffed animals in his carry on and cuddles with his Mom. I know in just a few short years he’s likely to be a surly teen, but for now he was still willing to play b-ball with his Aunt Katja! Keira is a sweetie–she’s this little princess in pink with pigtails and big brown eyes but at the same time can be a total goofball. Despite claiming a fear of dogs, she took to Bodhi right away and is so enthralled with her big brother, it’s sweet to see. She was in her element on the beach, a little surf princess flitting in and out of the waves. And ice cream puts her in a sugar trance! Yumm!
The house was so quiet and lonely after they left. I’m thankful to Noelle and Paul especially for making the cross-country trek for their vacation. That’s not an easy trip with two kids. Spending time with them and the kids just reinforced to me what family is all about and made me all the more eager to have a family of my own. I’m looking forward to when we’ll vacation together with my little one in tow!