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24 HOURS IN SAN FRANSISCO

we spent right about 24 hours in SF. while i think a good 3 day trip is the perfect amount of time for adults, you can get a lot covered in 24hrs with kids. the kids did great walking, better than i expected. i put elle and jack in the double stroller. initially i was hesitant about pushing it around the city but it wasn’t bad. i even took it through chinatown. we alternated between the double stroller and the ergo + backpack carrier. i was surprised at the restaurants and how accommodating they were with our big stroller. we had such a great time and i’m so happy the kids got to see the city.

 

24 hrs in the city

3pm late lunch at house of nanking- its a MUST! we stumbled upon this place over 10 years ago and its still just as good.

walk through chinatown

ghiradelli and walk down to the water to get a glimpse of the bridge

walk down to pier 39 to see the sea lions + alcatraz

trish’s donuts for a late night snack, head back to the hotel

breakfast at dotties or mama’s. la boulange if you don’t want to wait in line

walk over to mr. holmes bakehouse if you’re at dotties. they open at 7 and sell out quick. i got to the door to see a sold out sign. tears

if you’re at mama’s watch the ladies do tai chi in washington square park. also a great place to let the kids play while your significant other stands in line.

walk over to union square and ride a trolley

lunch at boudin, because its an SF staple (although i have to say pike’s place chowder wins hands down for me)

walk down chestnut street in cow hollow and window shop.

lay on the grass at great meadow while the kids run around. you’ll have a great view of the city + golden gate bridge

drive over the bridge on the way out

 

if you have extra time

seward slides

giants stadium tour- i’ve never done this but a friend who lived in SF said its awesome and kids love it

walk the golden gate bridge

blondies pizza

shopping in union square

coit tower

painted ladies

crissy field

tour alcatraz

 

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SAN FRAN

we decided to keep heading north this am. we made our way to monterey and then santa cruz. we didn’t stay long in either place before deciding we were ready for sf. we drove through farm land for what seemed like hours. i had never seen mass farms like that. we saw a fruit stand and decided to stop. everything looked delicious! i grabbed a few apricots for the drive. i washed them off in some water from my water bottle and handed ivan one. immediately he spit it out and said ughhh. i asked if they weren’t ripe. he said no taste it. i took a bite and i’m not kidding it tastes like bug spray. i spit mine out and tossed the rest in the trash. i’m so glad my kids didn’t eat any.

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my first time in san fransisco was when i was somewhere between henri and ava’s age. i remember just falling in love with it. my dad was telling ivan and i the other day that i wanted to give every homeless person we saw money. he said he thought it was the first time i really realized some people didnt have a place to call home. i’ve been back more times than i can count and i fall in love a little more each time. i love the big city. i love the culture. i love the energy. San Fransisco

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i wasn’t sure how the kids would do or what they would think of this city. they’ve been to seattle + portland + vancouver, so they know what a city looks like but we always have our car with us. they’ve never come on any of our walking only trips. we were not about to drive around this city anymore than we have to, so we left it at the hotel and walked. they did great! aside from not liking a few smells they didn’t complain. they loved walking and i love getting them outside moving. it also gave us an idea of what seattle will be like if we get rid of my car.

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first stop after checking in was lunch at house of nanking. i highly recommend you go! its another one of those restaurants i dream about. i tell everyone to go and i have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love it. just tell your server if you have dietary restrictions and have her order for you. make sure you get the sesame chicken! we loved the beef dish too. we finished up dinner and headed towards fisherman’s wharf.

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we grabbed an ice-cream sundae at ghiradelli and sampled chocolate too. did you know they hand out chocolate at the top entrance? you can order there too. the bottom entrance had a crazy line, while we didn’t wait at all. we walked the wharf and grabbed warm donuts. sugar overload! the sea lions had gone south for the summer. there was one lonely guy left sitting on the dock. the kids were coming up with all sorts of stories of why he was there. we watched a performer for a minute. the kids really got a kick out of all the street performers.

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SANTA BARBARA

we headed up to santa barbara this morning. but first we grabbed breakfast at bagel shack. my favorite is the old mans on swiss. it’s become the kids favorite too. then started on our drive. we are learning a lot about each other this trip. like jacks bladder is the size of a peanut. he likes russian nursery rhymes even more than kinder egg videos. the ones he watches are so weird and use marvel characters in their videos, making them almost frightening. like a very robotic captain american in wheels on the bus. jack is relentless he will say the same thing over and over and over. if he doesn’t like my response he just keeps going. elle doesn’t stop talking. not even when i ask her to stop so jack can fall asleep. she insists on finishing her story. like a compulsion. its comical. she’s also always happy + singing. ava can read a book at warp speed. i don’t think there are enough quality books in this world. she’s read every single one at least 12 times. henri is content sitting in the back alone. i think he likes hanging back from the chaos. all that aside i’ve been told several times i have great kids, making all this insanity a little easier. i laugh cause we are only 3 days into this journey but we’ve done the bulk of our driving 2 of those days. anyone whose been cooped up in a car full of kids knows what i’m talking about.

 

we got to santa barbara in time for a late lunch hoping to beat the crowd only to find out our favorite mexican food joint, and was julia child’s too, la super rica taqueria is closed on tuesday + wednesday. the owner was there cleaning and he recommended another taco shop. it wasn’t nearly as good. so disappointing. so we headed over to the beach to let the kids play and burn off some energy. a group of guys were playing frisbee and doing all sorts of tricks, keeping ivan and i entertained.

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we kept on our drive stopping at el capitan and pismo beach which was covered in fog. reminding me of oregon. we decided to find a hotel near san luis obispo to crash for the night. we are thinking big sur tomorrow then sf. we still aren’t sure where we want to be for the 4th. san fran with their amazing fireworks show or a smaller town? maybe even bend oregon?

p.s. totally unrelated to this post but ivan made fun of me for buying these shoes aaaand i’ve gotten more compliments on them than any other shoe i’ve ever worn. so booyah ivan! they’re so comfy. get yourself a pair.

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HEISLER PARK + ORANGE COUNTY

jack woke up bright and early, probably due to his late nap and early bed time. i was dead tired so ivan took him down for breakfast. from what i hear he did a lot of yelling and spilled his o.j. all over the table. jack’s day didn’t get much better after that. he’s having the hardest time with this move. luckily we can all make light of it and try to cheer him up. there was a lot of “no jack” and “come here jack” today. we went to heisler park, our favorite beach in the o.c. we like to think of it as our secret beach. it’s never crowded. theres great parking + an easy walk to the water. plus bathrooms! we met an older couple at the beach, the husbands name was jack and the wife jokingly said i say “no jack” a lot too. i half laughed half buried my head in the sand. you know that embarrassed feeling when you realize everyone is watching you chase around your wild 2 year old. he’s a crazy one. he loves hard +plays hard + sometime is just plain hard. back when he was in the hospital i begged for him to be healthy. to be able to change his diapers + give him a bath. he was on life support so we weren’t able to touch him, if we so much as moved a tube it was life or death. i prayed for him to be here. i said i’d take screaming all night. id take the hardest baby in the whole world. so these tough times are still sweet. we laugh them off. we look at each other like, it could be worse. i’ll take the terrible two’s over what could have been.

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we had lunch at our favorite corner in costa mesa. it has a pizza place + chinese food + taco shop all in the same area, with outdoor seating right out front. we all order from a different place and sit outside in the warm sun. the kids love it and so do we. we hopped back in the car and elle + jack fell asleep. we headed over to south coast plaza to do some shopping. ivan surprised me with a new purse and we took the kids down to the carousel. which they loved! for dinner we had din tai fung. they finally opened their o.c. location. if you haven’t been, GO! ivan took the kids back to the hotel and my sister met up with me so we could do some more shopping. we were supposed to meet up today with the kids but her little girl was sick so we decided it was best we didn’t.

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initially we were going to stay for a few days so we could hang out with my sister and her family. now we are trying to decide what to do. stay here another day? spend a day at disneyland? head up the coast to a new beach town? i’ll let you know where we end up.

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AZ TO CA

we headed out on our adventure today. we hung out on the porch at my parents house this morning. talking + laughing. the kids ran around the yard + road their bikes. we ate lunch and packed up. the suburban is packed to the brim. i actually had to repack is at my parents and toss a few things. california is typically a 5 1/2 hour drive for us but since we were in the mountains staying with my parents it added on another 1 1/2. there was a terrible accident on the one road coming into town, they blocked the whole road off and made us detour. so that added even more time.

 

we left around noon. my mom made us lunch. we filled our bellies and headed out. jack was pretty good initially. then nap time hit. i always nap him at the same time everyday. in his bed with his blanket tucked underneath him. he’s a creature of habit so sleeping in the car is not something he is happy doing. we stopped after about 4 hours of driving for a snack and to stretch out. we thought surely he’d go to sleep but nope. he didn’t fall asleep until around 5. i knew he would never go to bed at a decent hour but i’ll take any peace + quiet in the car i can take. the other kids did great. they always do.

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we made it into town around 8. yep 8 hours in the car!!! we rolled down the windows and let the cool air blow in our faces. our first stop was Ajisen Ramen. one of our favorite places and certainly our favorite ramen spot. we’ve tried other places in seattle + canada but nothing compares. we love the spicy pork ramen. they kids like the regular pork ramen. i like that they are adventurous with food. especially jack lately. we walked over to 85c for our dessert but they were out of our favorite pastry. i wish i knew what it was called. i’ll check next time we go. its a soft circle bread looking pastry filled with cream. its so so good!

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we are in southern california for the next few days. we aren’t sure how long. the first thing out of avas mouth was “lets live here!” i said well we could. because really we have no plans. we are just winging it day by day. i know this is the only time in our life we will be able to just drive until we love a place enough to stay. we are also trying to decide where to spend the 4th of july. i hear san fran has a pretty fantastic fireworks show. portland and seattle have great shows too.

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NEXT STOP O.C.

wow these last few weeks have been tough. exhausting to say the least. ivan has been so busy finishing up work projects. he would leave before the kids woke and get home after they were in bed. it was really hard on all of us. on top of that i was left to pack the house. my fuse has been short. making my anxiety + stress levels sky rocketing! we finally got packed up and the house is sold. we left all the furniture + rugs + art + towels + beds + sheets. pretty much everything we own. we took our personal belonging and the items in the kitchen. you would think that would make moving a breeze but nope. i still did all the packing you normally do, just didn’t move the big stuff. my life is in a 14 foot trailer in storage right now.

 

we are making our rounds, saying goodbye to family. my sisters little boy was sick friday so we had to skip saying goodbye to them. luckily i saw her earlier in the week. we spent the night at ivans parents friday night. lots of swimming + laughing. we ate our favorite mexican food for dinner. seattle just doesn’t do mexican food like az does. we got to say good bye to a few of our greatest friends and then headed up to pine to stay the night with my parents. its all very bitter sweet. its so hard saying goodbye. az has always been home and always will be. at the same time we are ready for a new adventure and even more ready to see if our baby can grow out of his asthma. its hotter than heck in phoenix right now making it all the easier to go. the weather in pine is pretty great. i’m sitting in bed listen to an amazing thunder storm.

 

next stop is my sister’s in orange county. we can’t wait to see them. spend a few days on the beach with cousins. eat some of our favorite foods and RELAX. heaven knows we are beat! i’m so lucky to have such an awesome husband who works so hard for our family. who is up for an adventure and helps me stay positive when i ask him if we are totally nuts.

 

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we purged a lot of toys. i don’t even know where these all were! i swear toys were multiplying.

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this pretty much sums up my life. all those boxes. everything i own, right there!

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i had a hard time driving away. i was so rushed trying to get everything moved  + cleaned. i didn’t have time to be sad. i was even rushing to an appointment as i drove off with a trailer hooked up to my car. i hopped out and got one last picture. i love that farm. i love the cement we put our hand prints in. i love the tree ivan carved our initials in. in my heart that will always be my farm. i hope the new owners love it as much as we did.

 

 

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LOCAL PIZZA -AZ.

we love pizza at our house.  we eat it all too often.  i love making pizza at home and recently shared our very favorite recipe here.  although some nights its just easier to order in.  here are a few of our favorite pizza joints.

 

grimaldi’s- is our favorite.  we love the pepperoni.  the pesto is really good too.  we get either the house salad or caprese. they don’t deliver, so pick up or dine in.

 

brooklyn v’s- this is the pizza we order in most.  closest to a ny slice that i’ve found in az.

 

sal’s gilbert pizza- garlic knots with cheese + antipasto salad + pepperoni pizza + chocolate dipped cannoli.  the italian sub is good too. it can get pretty busy. the kids like to go here for their date night and sit at the bar.

 

barros- who doesn’t like barros?!  we get a pepperoni pizza and a salad + olives. the kids and i like the cheese sticks (like a sauce-less pizza).

 

casanova brothers- we ate here a lot more before we found brooklyn v’s. the nicest owners from NYC. a great laid back place to take the kids and enjoy and easy night out.

 

lgo- all of their pizzas are great. the wings are even better.

 

slices- on mill or tempe market place. my favorite is the chicken pesto. ivan gets the bbq chicken or pepperoni.

 

anywhere you recommend? we don’t love spinato’s, the sauce is too sweet although i know a lot of people do. i grew up on red devil in phoenix. we don’t eat it often anymore. i know a lot of people in mesa like vito’s.

 

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LIFE LATELY + THOUGHTS ON THINGS

we’ve been swimming a lot lately. its the only way to stay sane when its 115. yep thats right 115 degree’s. we had the best spring/summer until last week and them bam just like that hotter than heck! so we spend our days hopping from pool to pool trying to stay alive. we don’t have a pool so anytime we get invited to swim we go!

 

i started this week off packing. my mom came over and helped me. at one point i looked up at her, standing there in my kids room and it hit me like a ton of bricks. i’m moving. i’m leaving home. this is it. moving away from my family, the only place i’ve ever known. its all very bittersweet. i have a love hate relationship with arizona. i love that its home. i know these streets like the back of my hand. its comfortable in a good way. all of our family is here except my sister in california and i always dream she’d move back. you hear me andrea!! come back to me! we have the best mexican food this side of the border and i know where to find it. we have great food in general. on the other hand the summers are brutal. like so brutal. 115 is the norm. sometimes hotter and it goes on and on. the nights are so hot. the asthma, oh the asthma. i sometimes feel like i can’t take another minute of the coughing. seeing my baby suffer. it breaks my heart. standing there with my mom it all became very real.

 

then i stopped packing. our close date is all over the place and its not going to be as soon as we had thought. so i decided to enjoy our last few days/weeks here at home. tuesday was ivan’s birthday. he worked, he’s so so busy. we met friends at a play place in the morning. the kids got some energy out and i got to laugh with great girlfriends. i grabbed ivan for lunch. mexican food per usual. we took the kids to our favorite sushi joint for dinner. we sat at the bar so the kids could watch them make our rolls and chatted with the owner about our moving plans. we had ice cream cake at home. i’m documenting that june 16 2015 i made ivan an ice cream cake for his birthday. his mom made him one every year growing up and i’ve slacked on keep up with the tradition. every birthday he jokingly says to me maybe i’ll get an ice cream cake next year. we laugh and i say but i don’t like ice cream. this year i did it! ice cream cake for everyone. wednesday we went swimming at my sister-inlaws parents house. the kids love her i love her. her family is great. her other nephews and nieces were there too. the kids had tons of fun playing games in the pool + eating popsicles + jumping on the trampoline. thursday we had lunch with my mom then went to my best friends house to swim. theres something so nice about a friend that is like a sister. comfortable + effortless, we can sit and laugh, chatting about nothing. gosh we will miss so many great families here!

 

i’ve been house hunting on the computer. i love having a small space and am contemplating a 2 bedroom. when i say that out loud it sounds crazy!! it probably is. i want a change of pace, city life sounds like a fun adventure. we are leaving all of our belongings with this house. including tv’s. i don’t think i want to buy another. i hope we spend our days outside. seattle has some great walkable neighborhoods. i’ve also been tossing around the idea of selling my car and getting a bucket bike. maybe one of those madsen cycles. you know, pile the kids in and pedal. depending on our proximity to school’s and store’s. oh and those hills, those can be killer. but i think it could work.

 

another thought i’ve had is homeschooling. anyone doing it? any tips for me? i love the idea of being so involved in their learning. getting out in nature + experiencing those teachable moments as a family. i worry if i am capable. i know it isn’t easy. the idea of taking the best of montessori + traditional + public school curriculum and rolling it all into one seems perfect for our family. just something i’m tossing around.

 

i guess we’ll figure it all out once we get there. for now i have to pack. we should close early next week. we have to stay a little while so ivan can finish up work. we will stay with friends + family. whoever will have us. preferably someone with a pool. only kidding. but really, say our goodbye’s. if he has to work too long the kids and i might venture over to california, spend our days on the beach until ivan finishes up here in az. we are going to be homeless. i say that with a smile and a laugh and i keep getting the “are you serious? oh i could never do that.” then i say  “whats the worst that can happen?” if we hate it we come home, right? if henri is still sick then we tried our best. we did everything we could. how can you regret that? here’s to an adventure. follow along. i think its gonna be good.

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PACKING + BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

i started packing yesterday. my mom came over and we went through toys + clothes. getting rid of stuff. deciding what to pack and bring up once we are settled and what to take in the car with us on our journey. we sold our house furnished so in my mind i thought this will be easy. but you know how you start packing and after hours you realize you haven’t made a dent. thats where i’m at. four kids equals a lot of toys + books + clothes + jackets + shoes. along with dishes and all the little things. needless to say i probably should have started last week. last night we decided to take a break from packing and went to the grand opening of fat cats. we bowled, played arcade games, ate yummy pizza and celebrated ivan’s birthday with cupcakes! it was elle + jack’s first time bowling. elle loved it and jack was scared to death of the strobe lights. elle kept saying how much fun she was having and that she wanted to have her birthday party there. we bowled in the dark and now i’m wishing i had brought a camera instead of my phone to capture all the fun. we’ve been so busy with packing and work lately, it was so nice to forget about everything and just have fun. ivan and i both said how we had the best time we’ve had in a while. it was great for all ages which can sometimes be hard having a 10 down to 2 year old. usually activities don’t cater to everyone but this one did. they have a pizza place inside that was so good. like really good, i’d go back just for the margherita pizza. they also have a movie theater and golfing. we didn’t make our way to either but the golfing was glow in the dark and we promised the kids next time we’ll give it a try.

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ava got the first strike. that’s my girl!

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henri ended up beating all of us. i had the lowest score. i think i can count on one hand how many times i’ve been bowling.

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henri’s always my biggest cheerleader. i’ve never met a sweeter boy in my life. he gave me the biggest hug when i got a strike.

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look at that form. ivan was taking bowling very serious.

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porter’s + huntington’s.  big thanks to the porters for such a fun night and doing such a great job with fat cats. i lucked out with the best sister in-law and her fun family.

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so proud of you elle! i really love seeing her try new things. her love for life is the best. always happy always laughing. i hope she always stays that way.

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jack gave it a go and then the lights starting moving and shinning all over the ground and he freaked out. yep thats a man bun on jack. i think he looks dang cute with it too.

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HUMMUS

we love hummus around here. the kids love anything dip. sour cream, ranch, salsa, frosting its all dip to them. i love that it gets the kids to eat their vegetables. hummus is one of those dips that is actually healthy while being delicious. this is our absolute favorite recipe. i don’t buy hummus from the store anymore, this one is so easy and tastes way better. jack was my big helper. ignore that he’s in his undies. keeping clothes on him is difficult these days. i’m really going to miss cooking in this kitchen when we move. the kitchens in seattle are tiny!

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hummus

1 can garbanzo beans, drained

3 Tbsp. tahini

juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp. cayenne (we likes ours to have a kick. use less if you don’t like it spicy)

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 c. olive oil

combine all ingredients except olive oil in food processor for 20 seconds. while the processor is running drizzle in olive oil. serve with warm pita bread + veggies.

 

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