Sunday, 28 September 2014

Visitors from afar!

We got some visitors in September!  Grandpa Bruce and Grandma Sharon came out from Toronto to visit Finley for a week.  We had great weather for exploring.

We had lots of great adventures while they were here: We went to the train museum, up the gondola for lunch, to the swimming pool at their hotel, and out of lunch and for walks.

The West Coast Railway museum was having a "Mini Day": free admission to the museum & free rides on the mini-train.  Sweet!  Finley loves trains!  We ran into Finley's friends Bradley & Lucas there.

We've redecorated the house and now have two kitchens, just like the Duchess of Cambrige (a.k.a Two Kitchen Kate)  Finley likes to prepare meals for his stuffies.

Could I offer you a spot of tea, Mrs Hans?
We had another visitor in September - Derek's good friend Jonas from the Yukon.  We met him in North Vancouver for coffee.  We arrived a little early so we stopped at this park which also had a water park- it was awesome!  We need one of these in Squamish!

I can't believe it will be October in a few days.  We've got a pretty amazing Halloween costume for Finley already - but you will have to wait to see it!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

California here I come!

Last week I went to San Francisco for the Labour Day weekend with my Mom and my sister Bronwyn.  Aside from a few overnight work shifts, it was the first time I've been away from my little boy since he was born.  As the trip came closer I was nervous - not about leaving him, I knew he'd be in the best hands (his daddy's!) - I was nervous that I would miss him so much it would prevent me from having a fun time.

It was tough to be away - I missed both my boys a lot.  We had FaceTime dates every day, sometimes twice, which helped me feel connected to home.  But I also had a really great time - it was nice to sleep in a little, eat at some fancy restaurants, and have unscheduled days where we could just do whatever caught our fancy (no naps required!)

Throckmorton never misses a chance to travel!

Friday Mom & I arrived from Vancouver.  We checked in to our hotel in Union Square and rested before dinner.  I reminded mom of a trip we took to San Francisco over 20 years ago at which time we were passing through Union Square in a taxi and saw Cindy Crawford & Richard Gere all dressed up outside one of the fancy stores.    She didn't remember, but I was star-struck!

That night we had dinner at "Bouche", a delicious little French restaurant a few blocks from the hotel.

The next day we went to the Ferry Building for coffee and breakfast.  There was a Farmer's Market with the most amazing selection of heirloom tomatoes and plum-family members that I've ever seen.  I stocked up on Pluots for later.

Here we are attempting to go up to Coit Tower.  We had to take a somewhat round-about route as one of our party felt the Filbert Steps were dangerous.  Not naming names, but she might be in the picture below....

But we made it to the top anyway, and were met by yogis and panoramic view of San Francisco. 

Bronwyn arrived that afternoon.  After lunch, we parted ways for a few hours and I got some serious shopping done.  I haven't bought new clothes in ages & San Fran was a good place to make up for lost time!  Dinner at the Slanted Door was yum, but the service was pretty shocking.  Maybe you need to be Ricard Gere or Cindy Crawford to get noticed in this town!

The next day we didn't have much of a plan other than a brunch reservation in Hayes Valley, which is apparently one of the hip neighbourhoods these days.

On the way we passed City Hall and another Urban Farmer's Market.

Hayes Valley was a pretty hip area.  There were lots of cute stores, restaurants and a little park. There was also a area where shops were made out of shipping containers, including Ritual Coffee (yum!), a bike rental place and a beer garden.   We had breakfast at Absinthe, where I had one of the most decadent brunches I've ever had:  ricotta stuffed french toast with caramelized bananas and pecans topped with citrus whip cream AND a side of sausage.   AND a belini.  Oh my.  Don't try this at home: this is vacation eating.  

After over-indulging at brunch, it seemed that we ought to do something active... especially since we had dinner reservations at the highly recommended Zuni Cafe.  We rented bikes from one of the shipping containers and made our way to Golden Gate Park.

We passed Alamo Square and the "Painted Ladies" on the way:

The painted ladies, one lady getting a fresh coat

Golden Gate Park was cool, with lots of things to see.  It was a Sunday so the roads through the park were closed for pedestrian traffic.  There were tons of people - locals & tourists alike - out enjoying the sunny day.

The arborium, pretty flowers & picnickers 

Some Groovy Roller-skaters

Free Swing Lessons (which this couple did not need - they were awesome! Just look at how his leg is bending - how is that even possible!?)

Just riding along

Ocean Beach, a HUGE beach at the end of Golden Gate Park

Nice!  Mom makes it up the hill on the 50lb bike!

Nice cold brewskis on a hot day.  Mom loved her IPA in particular!

We ate at Zuni Cafe, which was recommended by two friends of mine.   Despite showing up in our biking clothes and looking like ragamuffins, we got great service.  We were recommended to have the roasted chicken with warm bread salad, which was their speciality.  The prep time was an hour, so we had fancy cocktails and appies while we waited.

The next day we biked again - that's how we roll, literally.  We took the bikes across the bay to Sausalito where we hung out for a bit then rode our bikes to another small town, Tiburon.

On the Ferry to Sausalito

In Sausalito we ate at Fish, where our the chef is the nephew of one of our family friends & neighbours from growing up.  The food was delicious, and worthy of the long line outside the restaurant!

Our ferry leaving Tiburon

Golden Gate Bridge

Pier 39, Coit Tower, the TransAmerica building and the SF skyline

For dinner on our last night, we ate at Gary Danko, which I think is only Michelin Star rated restaurant I've eaten at (one star).  Bronwyn made the reservation months ago, otherwise we never would have got in.  The food was top notch and the service was the best I've ever seen.   The wait staff manages to make you feel like you are their favourite table and they can't wait to take care of you - without feeling forced or phoney.  It was a real treat!

After four days away, I couldn't wait to get home to see my lovely boys!  Little did I know I was to be greeted by a grumpy monkey with 3 molars & one cuspid tooth coming in.  He flashed me one weak smile before erupting into tears and snuggling with his daddy.  We'll have lots of cuddles this weekend to make up for my time away!