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January 06, 2010

A weekend of fun and firsts (fitting for the first weekend of the year)

After a long holiday at home surrounded by lots of family, we decided to spend a nice quiet weekend in San Francisco with just our kids.  So up we went!  

We started our day at the Embarcadero Center Holiday Ice Rink near the Ferry Building.  They have 90 minute skating sessions starting every even numbered hour. 

90 minutes is plenty of time!  It was Michael's first time on the ice EVER.  I'm not sure how it happened that my two 5 year old girls have done this at least a dozen times but my 21 year old son never did it.  He was always incredibly good on roller blades so I had no doubt that he'd be just fine on ice skates but it was nice to see him in action.  But even more sweet to see him with his girl, Kelsey.

20100102kelsey and michael first ice skating together0973

The ice was super slick and slippery and pools of water were everywhere.  It was harder than usual to keep my feet under me!  I'm usually afraid of falling but this time I was even more nervous because it would mean that I'd be embarrassed and I'd be sopping wet.  Luckily, I maintained my perfect record of remaining upright.  Phew!  Can't say the same about Gwen though.  She's fearless and seems to enjoy falling so she was soaked and freezing when we got back to the car.  Anticipating this, I brought an extra change of clothes for both kids.  Maddy didn't need it but I had to strip Gwen down and change her in the back seat.   The rest of us were dry though!

After lunch, we headed to Fort Point near the Golden Gate bridge and the Presidio.  Even though I lived on the Presidio back in the early 80's, I'd never been to Fort Point so I didn't know it existed.   I finally figured out how everyone got those great pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge!  The walk and the view was magnificent!  Seagulls were everywhere and they weren't nervous if I approached them so I exploited this advantage and got some great pictures.  I'm pretty happy with this photo in particular because it was taken with my point and shoot (Canon S90) and not my SLR. With my SLR, this would have been easy!

20100102seagull and golden gate bridge0990

Here's Michael and Kelsey and the girls.  When I look at this, I can't help but see them as parents.  For every reason (from exhilaration to trepidation), it makes my heart pound!

20100102kelsey and michael and the girls at gg bridge0980

We visited the old fortress at the base of the Golden Gate then headed back to our hotel.  On the way back, Gwen found a bunch of mud to dive into and covered the right half of her body in muck.  Then she decided she was too tired to walk so we had to strip to her underwear and wrap her up in other people's coats and piggy-back ride her back to the van.   Not fun but better than listening to a mud covered 5 year old cry for 25 minutes.

When we got back to the hotel, we changed clothes and ordered room service and called housekeeping (to wash Gwen's clothes because she had nothing to wear the next day).   Then we headed out to a fancy dinner -- just Mommy and Daddy!  It was really nice having a special date night with my husband knowing that the girls were in good hands with Michael and Kelsey back at the hotel. 

The next day, we picked up Michael (Kelsey had to work) and went to breakfast at the Marriott.  They still had their Christmas decorations up and they were really spectacular.  Andrew estimated about a half million lights hanging from the ceiling!  Here's Maddy posing with some of them:

20100102Maddy at Hyatt San Francisco1038

After that, we took the cable car to the cable car museum.  We did this on our honeymoon and remembered that is was pretty fun and interesting  How weird that we returned 9 years later with two extra kids!  It was Michael's first time on a cable car.  Yes, he LIVES in San Francisco but he's never been on a cable car until today!  Here's the photographic evidence:

20100103 michael andrew gwen maddy cable car1052

Earlier in the day, we visited the Ferry Building and took a few photos.  Then I saw a picture of the same place after the 1906 earthquake so I took a picture of that photo and Michael blended them together. 

Pretty amazing, huh!

Ferry Building San Francisco 1906 and 2010

After that, we visited the Sutro Bath ruins west of the Golden Gate Bridge and burned off all the breakfast buffet calories going up and down those stairs!

Gwen and Maddy San Francisco

Gwen at the Sutro Bath ruins

20100103Gwen San Francisco1061

I spotted a large hole in one of the rock formations that looked just like a heart and snapped this picture.  No photo trickery here.... just an lucky angle.

heart in rock (Sutro Bath Ruins San Francisco)

The kids were absolutely wiped out by the end of the day.  They slept all the way back to the house (about an hour drive from San Francisco).

20100103Gwen and Maddy sleeping in van1073

A fun and memorable weekend!

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