Here are a few highlights:
Our hotel (as I mentioned before, NOT the best, but definitely good enough) was just a 15 minute walk to Union Square where you could find beautiful Christmas decorations, ice skating, and some serious shopping! I don't often shop on vacation because honestly, I'm the only one that enjoys it, but it is fun to see the fancy decor in all the windows. Jack was amazed at the whole idea of ice skating. If you can't tell... we were FREEZING!
We planned to get over our jet-lag in San Francisco so we wouldn't be so tired when we finally reached our families. We did a LOT of sleeping (and a few 3am movies)! I loved this picture of Jeff and Jane. I have a similar one of Jack and Jeff when he was around this age. Jeff is such a loving dad; there's no question why my kids both adore him.
We were a little bummed one day when we showed up at our destination, the California Academy of Sciences, only to discover they were all out of tickets for the day. Jeff suggested we just find the toys in the park instead (this museum is located IN the Golden Gate Park). It's always hard to not do the thing you had planned on, but this turned out to be our best day of the entire trip! We just spent time playing... so nice.
Jack will climb anything, and Jane will swing as long as we'll let her. They were both ready for some good, clean, outdoor playtime, so this came at a good time for all of us!
We then went to Fisherman's Wharf, where we had previously spent an afternoon, but we loved it so much we made our way back there to see it again! I love street performers; even terrible ones can be fun. These guys look the part, but they really weren't anything fantastic. (For me, it's ruined when they completely break out of character in the middle of it all.) Jack thought they were awesome, so that's really what matters, right? We also loved watching the street artists with the spray paint pictures. Very cool.
We were freezing and starving and decided we needed to try some famous San Francisco sourdough bread, so it all came at a good time. We stopped at the Boudin Cafe for some Clam Chowder soup bowls, and they did not disappoint. Even Jeff, who can't stand the thought of soggy bread, dug right into his and loved every bite! I was even more impressed by our picky eater, Jane, who ate her entire grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough. I'm already planning on trying out some homemade sourdough recipes. Any suggestions?
Inside the Boudin Bakery, Santa was just sitting around waiting for company. When they told me the kids could talk to him for free, I didn't honestly know if they'd want to. Jane said, "I want to see Santa!" and walked right up to him. They had a good chat, and Jane was MORE than happy to sit on his lap for a picture. Even though Jack was doubtful this was the real Santa, he decided to still get in the picture. I think this is the very first good picture with Santa we've ever had. Jack's never been a fan, and who would have guessed Jane would be SO comfortable with him? She even stopped by to say goodbye after we ate. Thank you, Santa!
A member at the ward on Sunday had recommended we try the Musee Machanique on the Wharf. It's a room full of some old, and some really old arcade games. For about $2 we entertained ourselves watching a player piano, making a clown dance, watching flip picture shows, and playing all sorts of old-school games. It was really fun for all of us.
The kids played and touched everything in this Exploratorium. Jane was particularly attached to anything with water or sand, and Jack loved to read all the information plaques and ran from one thing to the next. It was fun family day out with more than enough to do. I love going to museums in new places.
This picture looks really weird, but I had to put it up to see if my sisters remembered this same kind of room in the old Children's museum in Salt Lake. Anyone else? This is where you go in this room with semi-green walls and every 30 seconds a flash goes off and takes a picture of your sillhouette against the walls. We stayed here for quite a while. Jeff was the master at getting the "jumping" shot, and for some reason Jack thought making a silly face would enhance his shape. Hmmm... it didn't really, but I thought it was funny anyway.
I wished that we could have had a chance to walk along part of the Golden Gate Bridge, but we had so many days of bad weather, PLUS with getting over the jet-lag, our time was limited! We got this good shot and a little closer look and felt quite satisfied. Isn't this city just full of gorgeous things?
Remember our hotel I talked about? Yes, "ancient" is the word for it. When we were checking in and got into the "elevator", I was sure we were never coming out. You actually have to open a door to get into it. It was wooden. Scary, but adventurous.
I just think San Francisco bursts with character. This is the city that, at the age of 13, inspired my dream of living in a big city. ANY big city! I was not disappointed as I made memories in this city with my own family, just like my mom made memories in it with me during her free flying days as a flight attendant! We loved this city, but I have to admit, by the end of it, we were ready to finally take that last flight HOME! That short plane ride into Salt Lake City seemed to take forever! It was all worth it, even with our delayed flight, to see our sweet parents waiting for us with open arms and plenty of things to keep us warm! It's been so nice to be home for the holidays.