|We started our weekend with a trip to Daddy's work. Yes, he has a ball pit at work. No, he doesn't work at Chuck E Cheese.
Next, we went to Santana Row where Gwen and Maddy befriended some kids and they all played a nice big game of chess.
The next day, we drove up to San Francisco, picked up Michael, and headed to the zoo. The peacocks are really tame and this one was happy to pose for a close up. Exactly two years ago we were here and we were treated to a very special view of this beautiful creature! (See that cool photo, <here>)
The squirrels were a big hit too. I know these things are rodents and considered pests by many people but I think they're cute. The girls can't really tell the difference between a zoo animal and a party crasher that just chooses to live there because the food is free. Penguins and pigeons are all equal in their eyes.
In the photo below, Gwen and Maddy are enjoying a little snack break in the stroller. We bought
this stroller for our upcoming summer vacation because we needed something
portable that can hold two jet-lagged children. It's not
designed to have a child sit on the back like this but it works great
and we've learned from experience that this particular brand of stroller can easily carry twice the recommended
payload. When you have a tired child, you have only a couple of options and this stroller gives us one more. Thankfully.
Michael will turn 22 this week. Loving him all these years has made me appreciate my little girls more because I know first hand just how quickly they'll grow up. We're so honored that he wants to spend time with us even though he's a grown man and not obligated to hang out with us at all. On top of that, he puts up with this Momma constantly sticking a camera in his face!
After a very long and busy day, we settled into our hotel room at the Hyatt (Embarcadero). We found this hotel last Christmas and made a mental note to call them for a reservation next time we were looking to spend the night in The City. We thought the beautiful lights hanging from the ceiling were part of their Christmas decor so we were kinda excited to see that they're still up and, presumably, permanent.
Up in our room on the 6th floor, we got the kids situated into their' Aerobeds and we all settled in to watch "The Spy Next Door" with Jackie Chan. Probably the most stupid movie ever made but the girls didn't seem to care.
After the movie, Mommy and Daddy went to bed while the girls giggled and whispered and played in the dark. Since they don't share a room at home (their choice), sleeping together at the hotel was a real treat so we let them stay up late and dared to look forward to possibly sleeping in as a result. Nope. That didn't happen. But it's okay and we got a nice early start on the last day of our 3 day weekend!
Monday morning, Michael and Kelsey met us at the hotel for breakfast and then we took Kelsey to work and the rest of us headed to Lands End Trail (west of the GG bridge). The trail is long and winding and steep in some places but the views are spectacular! It was a bit overcast so the sky was white and not really conducive to good photography so we left the big camera in the car and I just tucked our little point and shoot (S90) into my pocket.
Michael herded Gwen and Maddy along the first part of the narrow path while Andrew and I dragged along behind them. As the terrain got more steep, Michael casually turned around to inform us that there would be "lots of stairs" to which Andrew immediately (jokingly) replied "That's okay, we usually just tell people that they're adopted". Get it? "Lots of stares"?? Funny! See why I married him? He always makes us laugh.
Daddy amused the girls by pretending to be their prisoner -- a game our daughters never grow tired of. Gwen handcuffed him with her hot pink hoodie sleeves and made him march along while Maddy stood guard with a rifle (aka a stick). At one point, Gwen was fed up with her irreverent and unrepentant captive and ordered Maddy to just shoot him! You really had to hear her say it in that super sweet tiny voice of hers. It was really funny.
Several times Daddy got away and was pursued relentlessly by his pint size captors and the funniest moment of the day happened when he was instructing them (in a wizard/professor fashion) on the more intricate details of escape and evasion and matter-of-factually insisted that he could magically disappear from view at any time.
Then he demonstrated by swiftly leaping off the path and throwing his jacket over his own head. And thus, he was "invisible"! I was too busy laughing to take a picture of it. Our smart girls didn't buy it at all and attempted to explain to their silly Daddy/prisoner why he wasn't really invisible and that amused the heck out of me too. Obviously they're old enough to understand that they're not invisible when they cover their head but I wonder when they'll be old enough to figure out that we know that too? They believe EVERYTHING we tell them. Oh, if only that could last forever.
We've been having fun with geocaching ever since hearing about it from our friend, Scott. We correctly assumed that this spot would be rife with caches and discovered one less than 200 feet from where we stood. Below is our two greatest adventurers returning from their quest. They didn't find the cache (we lost our cell phone signal so we couldn't track it) but had fun searching for it anyway!
While they were searching up behind that huge tree -- off the main trail -- Gwen found a rock with letters on it (R. I. P.). She thought it was incredibly cool and wanted to keep it but Michael made her leave it alone. Later, I explained to her what those letters meant and a few hours later (at bedtime) she had more questions about it.
It was a really nice weekend! Beautiful weather, fun places to see, surrounded by people we love!