Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Pack your bags, honey!" Part 1 of S Family Vacation

We have returned from a very last minute but wonderful family vacation. This trip was planned for October but Jason's work will be too busy by then, so his boss gave him the go-ahead to take off, like, the very next day for a week. So I got the call while I was at the park, got home to do about 5 loads of laundry, pack the bags, clean the house, and inform our neighbors and family. We left the next day (which was really the middle of the night) at 3am and carried our little darlings to their car seats and drove North. Shortly after noon, by aide of swift driving, some Wind in the Willows on cd, soundtracks to our kids favorite musicals, singing with ridiculous hand motions, and a few stops for a certain two year old to poop in his little potty on the side of the I-5, WE WERE HERE:

Where can you smell the sea lion's a mile away and laugh at there dog-like antics?
That's San Francisco, in case you're like me and don't get out much. We were excited, to say the least. A whole week to be with daddy, to make memories, to annoy each other in small hotel rooms, and then to swoon over each other while sipping Ghirardelli hot cocoa. We hurt our necks gazing at redwoods, and relished being corny tourists giddy while driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. The city was absolutely beautiful.

Our favorite things there:

Ghirardelli treats.

Golden Gate Park

Chinese food in China Town
Shopping in China Town
Huge bridges
Muir Woods
Fisherman's Wharf - especially getting bread bowls with fresh clam chowder

Easy public transit

How everything looks cool there. Even the gum spots on the streets look like they are just adding character.

It was rather adventurous, traveling up and down the city with little ones. We found the town to be friendly and clean. I made a nice friend at the park one day - a local grandma who takes care of her grandson. She gave us a tour of an Aids memorial area of the park, where we went on a rugged walk amongst a redwood grove, pushing our double stroller to the limit. It was such a gorgeous day with perfect weather.
Everywhere we went we had friendly and helpful locals happy to give us some tips and directions. I wasn't sure how family-friendly the town was going to be, but it was great! The most personally upsetting thing I saw were the ads on every other bus by an atheist group with "Imagine No Religion" in large churchy writing. It made me a little sad, but whatever, it's a free country. Although, I do remember vaguely hearing about this guy Lenin, who had a similar vision. I'm sure if you ask people who lived through the Soviet Union, they'll tell you it was loads of fun and was so perfect and ideal. Anyway. There was a huge pro-life banner near our hotel on Lombard St., and that made me smile. I'm always ready to rejoice over some light.
On Friday, we went to Vespers at the Cathedral. It was so special to be there to pray to God (even in Russian, we could get a sense of the service, and of what was being prayed) and to venerate a much loved saint who is so special to our family. It's his lamp oil I smooth over my children's foreheads when they are ill, and his icon that accompanies a sick child to bed. I sense his intercessions for us on a regular basis. The prayers of this righteous man are very effective. Holy Saint John, pray to God for us!
After three nights, we were ready to leave our ho-hum motel and say goodbye to SF. We decided to follow my friend Jamie's advice, and got a suite. We set off next for San Luis Obispo for less hustle bustle and more time to relax.
And btw, dear Erin, we thought of you way too late in our stay...and shame on us for not somehow trying to get a hold of you and buying you a beer. I make a metanoia before you and blame my scatter-brainedness on traveling with three small children. Sorry.


Blogger Therese said...

Looks like a great trip!!

8:03 AM  
Blogger Maria Nichole Ham said...

You guys deserved a wonderful vacation! Love you pictures. It made me smile to read that you sometimes send your kids to bed with icons. I slept with my special Theotokos icon until I was 15 it seems. :) You make it really easy to be a God-mommy to sweet Hannah. You are such a beautiful mother Lauren!

6:10 AM  
Blogger jenny baker said...

i love san francisco! michael & i can't wait to bring our own kids there someday & let them enjoy fresh clam chowder. sooo good! i love that picture of hannah drinking her hot chocolate, that's definitely a framer. :)

what a beautiful vespers service! everytime we've been there it was when services weren't going on. hopefully we can plan better next time we're there.

love you guys!

7:03 AM  
Blogger Erin Bernard said...

I would have been so happy to see you but it's okay...there will be next time. :) It looks like you guys had an awesome time and got to see some pretty sweet stuff. There is so much to do! I'm glad y'all had fun.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Michelle M. said...

That looks wonderful! How'd it go with three kids? I am still getting used to just doing quick errands with them :)

4:02 PM  
Blogger Yara said...

How fun! I read both & looks like overall you had a great week with the family : )
and, I thought the butterfly was pretty

4:12 PM  

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