We are two weeks into September already, but I'm just now having a chance to sit down and look back at August. We had a lot of down time to play and explore the city at our leisure and we enjoyed every second of it. For us, we try and spend our free time (mainly weekends) getting out and having new experiences. We managed to fit in a lot of new San Francisco experiences during the month.
We started off the month with a day trip into the city to mark off a few more bucket list items we just hadn't managed to accomplish yet. First, we headed to Japantown to check it out. Turns out, it was pretty authentic. Inside the mall, we not only found it to be decorated in Japanese style, but also were surprised just how many authentic restaurants and stores there were. We spent a few hours exploring and noting a few places to try in the future.
Adam's favorite part was finding Pocari Sweat in the Japanese grocery store. This ionized water was something we drank constantly when we were there visiting and he missed it terribly. This was the first time he was able to find it in the US and he was so happy. I'm surprised we haven't made a trip back for some more since this day.
After Japantown, we headed to Bi-Rite Creamery to try out what is supposed to be the best ice cream in San Francisco. Since it is right next to one of the most popular parks, there were no parking spots anywhere around and Adam doesn't like ice cream so he dropped off us while he stayed in the car. He ended up waiting almost an hour for us, as the line was wrapped around the block and took 30 minutes just to get into the store and get our ice cream.
Was it worth it? Yes and No. I'm not going to subject myself to another 30 minute wait for ice cream in a city with a million ice cream stores. If I was more of a food snob, I think I would find it worthwhile, but truth is I'm not a huge ice cream eater and I'd just as soon have Baskin Robbins. A more adventurous and refined pallet would probably love their exotic flavors like Basil Strawberry and Honey Lavender. That being said, the salted caramel that I got was delicious and Landon sure did love his vanilla with sprinkles.
After ice cream, we headed over to the Seward Street Slides to try out the famous concrete double slide. At over 30 years old, this isn't a hidden gem of San Francisco, but being outside of the main tourist areas means it isn't very crowded. Most of all, it's a blast! People leave cardboard for the more adventurous and I made the mistake of going down on cardboard the first time down. Suffice to say, I didn't go down again. It scared me how quickly I flew down these slides and right onto my butt in the sand below. Despite having broke a toe on his last slide experience, even Adam couldn't resist and took a slide down. Landon had a blast on them though and probably would have stayed there forever had we let him. Fortunately for us, we got there about 4:15 and the park hours said it closed at 5pm.
This part of the city, known as Noe Valley, is so pretty. The prices are outrageous in this city, but I have to give it credit, it has plenty of charm. If only I had 2-3 million dollars so I could purchase a house here.
Once the park closed, we realized we had worked up quite the appetite. We left the city and headed back towards home (the more affordable area). We ended up at the Millbrae Pancake House for some breakfast for dinner. Their food is excellent, but always has a huge line at breakfast on the weekends so when we want some of their delicious waffles, the best time to get them is dinner.
The next morning, we got up early and headed to the Monterey Aquarium with Landon's best buddy and his family. It was so much fun and you can read more that day HERE.
The following weekend wasn't planned, Landon was wanting to ride his bike so we headed to Pacifica to a trail called the Devil's Slide that we stumbled upon. It was a fun little trip that I'll try and blog about soon because the history of this short 1.5 mile road is pretty neat. With lots of hills, Landon had a big challenge working on his braking and endurance.
All of us enjoyed the views as we struggled up and down and up and down.
Afterwards, we headed to a new pizza place in Ocean Beach recommend by co-workers as having San Francisco's most authentic New York style pizza. We encountered the largest pizza of our lives, but that didn't stop Landon from digging in. I'm not really sure what truely authentic New York Style pizza is, but this sure was good!
The next day, we took it easy at home and ran a few errands. Landon received his monthly Little Passport mailing. The theme for August was oceans and he spent a good deal of the day playing and working in the booklet. A gift from his Uncle and Aunt at Christmas, Landon enjoys all the activities and gets super excited each month when his package comes in the mail. He's learned all about the world, languages, animals, music, food, places, etc. It does a great job of mixing games and learning activities and I'd recommend it for any kid.
We also finally got his base plates on his lego table which turned out to be the best investment we've made toward legos . We've moved past the cars stage and are completely infatuated with all things lego right now. This little table is his new favorite spot in the house.
By August 9th, we decided it was finally time to get him on board with our upcoming September trip to Kentucky. We are always hesitant to tell him about trips or people visiting too far out or else he will drive us crazy with questions. He's been doing great at swim class and when we stumbled upon some diving sticks at the store, we decided to get them for him as a reward and to start preparing for our trip to Summer (aka Kentucky)! He was so excited he asked if we could make a calendar, so we went home and put one together. At the end, was him on the diving board at Noni's house and his diving sticks below the water. The great thing about a 4 year old is that I can still impress him with my art skills and countdown calendars might be the best thing this Mom has ever thought of.
Speaking of art skills, we had a dinner night in the city the following weekend and during dinner Landon drew a picture of his family. He drew me first, wrote my name, then proceeded to draw him and Daddy. To differentiate us, he made sure to draw my "long hair" and the "color above my eyes".
I guess this is how my child perceives me and ever since I've been worried about my choice in makeup. Nothing like a kid to make you question yourself. Just to be prove I wasn't dressed up like a drag queen, here's our family picture from that night. And one of Landon having a blast as the train rolls through the station creating tons of wind. Doesn't he look more like the Mom from his picture?
Before our night out Landon and I spent the day soaking up the Sun. Right smack in the middle of the month, Summer finally came by visit so while Adam was busy working Landon and I took full advantage of the warm weather and headed to the nearby beach. We were so ready for some much needed beach time.
We should have known the rest of the city would be there too. This was by far the most crowded I had ever seen Pacifica State Beach.
After a hot day in the Sun, we cooled off with some frozen yogurt and then a much needed late afternoon nap before heading out that night.
The next day, we got up and went back into the city. We decided to visit the Maritime Museum down along the Piers. I knew Landon would enjoy getting a look at the ships and even more getting to explore them.
I was just surprised how much I enjoyed it. The Balclutha is the main attraction and amazingly full of information and history. I've been on many museum boats and maritime museums all over the world, but the Balclutha was one of the most well preserved and interesting ones I've ever seen.
The best part of the maritime museum is not that it's interesting, but that it doesn't require a whole day to see it all. Short and sweet and perfect for young kids as well as adults. I have a lot more pictures from this day and will try to share them soon as well.
Afterwards, we walked a few more block down Fisherman's wharf to brave the crowds for some of my favorite seafood, the Boudin Bakery's crab cake sandwich. The weekend crowds at the wharf are awful, but this sandwich is to die for and I'd brave any crowd anytime for this badboy. (So good in fact, that this picture is actually from this weekend. My original didn't turn out very well, but as a semi-frequent visitor, I had the chance to take another one a few days ago). Drool!
Then we drove around a bit of the city for a bit. I'm going to work on a post about San Francisco and what a unique city it is, I'm just struggling to get anywhere near enough pictures/video to talk about it all. After being here just at a year, it still amazes me everyday. Here's a little video I took out the sunroof while driving downtown. It is short and bumpy and I'm working on getting together something better. The hills in this city are madness and something you really have to experience first hand, but if you've never seen San Francisco first hand, here is a little glimpse.
As much as I love this city, it's not to say that August wasn't somewhat upstaged for some of us by our upcoming trip. Landon anxiously marked off days every night and was super excited to get one day closer each time. Turth be told, we were all excited to see our family and friends.
By the end of the month, our trip was only a few short days away, but that excitement didn't overshadow our last weekend too much. Landon was invited to his first real friend's birthday party and absolutely loved picking out a gift for him and getting to go to a party.
It was held in Marin at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. I was a little hesitant to let Landon go at first because I didn't want him to expect a party for his birthday, but I also knew he would have a blast and I didn't want him to miss out on time with friends just because we don't choose to do things the same way as others. Needless to say, he did have a blast and was super excited to share in his friends birthday with all their other friends from school.
Somehow they managed to wrangle the kids for a group picture. I'm not sure if it is a good or bad thing that my kid was the only one who posed the entire time. While the other kids fidgeted and even wrestled one another, Landon just sat in his chair, hugging his friends, waiting for all the pictures to be taken. I guess this what happens when you grow up with cameras in your face.
The Bay Area Discovery Museum is actually a really great place for kids. Just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge it is probably the most interactive museum for kids we've visited yet. Actually, it's more like an activity center and after the party everyone got to run and around and explore.
Since it was on a weekend, it was a little too crowded for our taste and I hope we get a chance to go back soon with a few less people. Since we were in Marin, we couldn't go back home without taking a drive through our favorite area, the Marin Headlands. I never pass up a chance to see these views.
Our last Sunday of the month was just three days before we visited Kentucky, so we took it easy and started to get everything ready for the trip. I went into work for a few hours while the boys hung out and took it easy. Other than legos, puzzles might be Landon's next favorite thing and once he puts together one, he has to put together all of them.
August might not have been a month of big things, but many small enjoyable things made for a wonderful weekends spent enjoying our home, our city, and one another.