Saturday, January 31, 2015

July Trip Out West: Playing in San Francisco

Our fun week in the Bar Area during our summer trip out west continued with an amazing play date in the city.  Lisa and I met back in the Fall of 2002 as we were prepping for our study abroad in New Zealand.  We soon found out that we would be staying with the same host family while teaching in the Auckland area during the Winter of 2003.  With our friendship cemented we took a trip back to New Zealand during the summer of 2005 for a month, spent a couple years navigating the torrential social and dating scenes of the south Provo singles wards, and then both ended up in the Bay area with our awesome husbands and kids.  I'm continually humbled by her positivity, genuine love and concern, and strength.  She's one of those friends that make you want to be a better version of yourself.  I'm truly blessed to have her in my life.
When we lived in the Bay Area, Lisa and I would try to get together at least 3 or 4 times a month for play dates since Daxton and Maddie are only about 9 months apart.  We had so many fun adventures together and loved watching our little ones play.  It was a definite must to make sure we had another play date in the city while we were in town visiting.  When we moved to Florida, Lisa was basically 9 months pregnant with her second daughter, so I was super excited to meet her new little addition Claire.  We met up at Pier 39 (our favorite) and it was like no time had passed for Daxton and Maddie!  They immediately were smiling and excited to play together.  Obviously Daxton couldn't take his eyes off her! 

I was SOO happy to be back to the Aquarium of the Bay!  We were annual pass holders when we lived in the bay area and went pretty frequently.  We had definitely been missing good aquariums.

I love the perfect blend of personalities between Daxton and Maddie.  They are both so loving and affectionate so they'd be playing, running around, and then stop to give each other a hug.  Then they'd laugh and keep running around!  It was seriously the cutest thing ever.
Love all the colorful tanks and fish!

Our picture together actually turned out pretty well!
All the kids were looking at the camera, which is pretty much a miracle.

Always in love with the different jellies on display.

We seriously lucked out with almost no crowds.  The kids had so much fun running up and down the tunnels, hanging on the sides, and screaming about all the different fish.  They were in heaven!

Even the octopus, whom usually is hiding, was out on full display.

The kids also loved the tide pools and I was happy to see Maddie's love for salt water had not diminished.  She loved to stick her fingers in the water quickly and then lick them off before Lisa catches her.  It was pretty funny to see her try it again!

The kids also had a lot of fun with all the different hands on activities, including several puzzles.

When Lisa too Maddie to the bathroom, I parked both strollers right next to each other so I could watch Claire and Daxton at the same time.  When I looked down I saw them holding hands!  At some point Daxton had reached for Claire's hand and she was more than willing to grab on.  I love little Claire's smile as well.  So sweet!
Love this girl so much!!

After the aquarium we ate lunch at the yummy Crepe place on the pier.  It's our tradition when all the New Zealand girls would come to visit, so it felt perfect.  Plus the food is awesome!

After lunch we explored more of Pier 39.  It's such a fun environment and obviously a tourist trap at times, but it's still one of my favorite places in the city.  We even found a new spot!  Tucked to the side, hidden out of view, was the coolest staircase.  I thought at first that it was simply painted as a piano, but it was also set up with motion activated sound.  So when you stepped on a key, that music note would also play in the air!  It felt like we were in the scene from "Big" running up and down the stairs while playing music.  We had so much fun!

Love this shot below that I got of Daxton jumping on the stair to make music.  Took his whole body to wind up and jump those two inches off the ground.

Alcatraz will always hold a special place in my heart.  So many fun memories touring that place with dear friends and some of the best views of San Francisco from that island.

The kids had so much fun watching all the boats go by and looking for sea lions off the pier.  They also had fun climbing the railing, which we had to watch closely...

So much love with these two!

I loved how they would see something fun or exciting and then look at each other and laugh hysterically.  They were seriously two peas in a pod.

Favorite picture of them
Love them so much!

Many a fun catamaran tour was taken on that adventure cat!
It was fun it sailed by while we were standing there.

They thought it was so funny to try out each other's strollers.

And of course, you can't go to Pier 39 and not see the sea lions.  I love Maddie's excited scream as she looked over the side and saw them.

A little bit before 3pm, Lisa headed home with her girls to miss the insane rush hour traffic.  It was such a good morning and afternoon with them.  I love how months can go between seeing each other and when we get back together we fall right back into step.  I love her and her little family so dearly.  I truly miss living so close to them and being able to go on so many fun adventures together.
Thanks Lisa, for driving into the city to meet up with us.  it was such a fun day!  We love you guys!

After Lisa and the girls headed home, Daxton and I continued to explore Pier 39.  It's amazing how in-depth things can be explored with a toddler.  We spent 15 minutes alone just jumping off a set of stairs next to the marina.  Since Dallas was working in the city, we figured it would be fun for him to meet up with us and then go out for a family dinner.

While waiting for Daddy, we found a great Peruvian street musician outside of the Hard Rock Cafe at Pier 39.  Daxton immediately jumped in front of a group of tourists and started dancing in circles and shaking his bum.  It was seriously hilarious and I quickly turned my camera to video record!  Everyone was clapping for him and he had the biggest smile on his face.  It was so funny.

It was close to 5pm by the time Daddy was able to sneak away from work and catch a cab to Pier 39.  Daxton and I had had a blast playing around, but without a nap, he was in rare form once we put him back in his stroller to head to our car.  Dallas and I snapped a few quick happy selfies before leaving.  Look how happy he is to be in his beloved city!

Daxton was out cold in his car seat before we could even finished buckling him in, so Dallas and I spent a couple hours driving around to some of our favorite spots in San Francisco.  It was a bit of a foggy day, but neither of us minded.  It was a beautiful drive in which we reminisced about our dating, engagement, and then married life in this unique city.

Once Daxton woke, we parked at the Palace of Fine Arts, another one of my absolute favorites.  We had so much fun exploring the grounds, but Daxton did NOT want his picture taken with either mom or dad.  Not too surprising considering he was an exhausted and jet lagged toddler at the time.

We loved walking through the columns and under the dome.  Daxton had fun throwing rocks into the lake and picking tiny leaves off the trees.  It was a perfect afternoon/evening.

After exploring the Palace of Fine Arts, we went out to eat at a yummy asian fusion restaurant.  Daxton was surprising well behaved and then fell asleep again in the car on our way home.
It really was a wonderful day in the city.
Brings the saying, "I left my heart in San Francisco" a little too true.

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