Sunday, June 28, 2015


 We went last week to visit my brother Garret's family in Sacramento. The silly thing is, I got ZERO pictures of us actually with my brother. We spent most of our time with his wife Girlie and his kids, since he had to work most of the time. Jeff did too. We left him at home, which was a big bummer. We spent most of Monday driving, and got to Garret's house at almost nine. Where we saw a cute welcome sign his girls had drawn. 
The next day it had changed --so adorable. We had a wonderful time with these sweet people. 

 My sister-in-law drove us everywhere the whole week. Super generous of her, but then, that's how their whole family is. You can't win the reciprocation game with them! The first day she took us all the way out to San Francisco. It was a beautiful drive past fields of sunflowers and other produce. 
 We even drove past the amusement park I had tried to take my kids to as part of our family trip to Monterey in 2011...when it was CLOSED THAT WEEK. Not a funny story (for me).

 Soon we saw the famous Golden Gate Bridge.

 We almost froze. Although it stayed around 105 degrees all week in Sacramento, in San Francisco it was typically chilly.

 It was the first time my kids had seen San Francisco --that they could remember (Tia was here as a baby).

 After Golden Gate park, Girlie took us to the Palace of Fine Arts. I didn't even remember this was here, although it did show up in a couple of novels I read. It was amazing. Built for the Panama-Pacific exposition in 1915, it is the only structure that remains on the original site. The scale of this thing was enormous. 

 We spent a long time cruising around the grounds, and watching the ducks and cormorants in the water.

 Fisherman's wharf was the next must see for the kids. 
 We actually spent most of our time on pier 39. 
 Girlie knew the best place for clam chowder in the touristy sourdough bowl.

 Then we hit up the shell shop for souvenirs. 
 Tia found the exact replacement for a lost shell I'd gotten her here as a toddler. We checked out a few more stores, and made our way down to the end of the pier to look out at Alcatraz. 

 When we got there, I told the girls to turn around for a picture, and realized there was no boy among them. This was the worst moment of my life. I had no idea when we lost Kai. I told everyone to stay there together with Girlie, and I ran to go find him. I remembered all the stories of men taking kids on to the restroom to color their hair and change their clothes to abduct them, and after searching and calling in all of the open areas of the pier, I started screaming into all of the public restrooms. I was praying like a crazy person. Finally, I thought of my temple covenants, and the promises I'd made with God so my family was sealed and bound to me forever. I started demanding my boy in my head. Within five minutes I walked into the store where he was waiting for us to come back. I started bawling and grabbed him in a huge bear hug. 

 We decided to walk to Ghirardelli square. We passed the huge Boudin bakery which had impressive dough animals!
 There was a pretty discouraging line to get into Ghirardelli, and once we got our ice cream/chocolate, no place to sit inside. 

 But I slowly, sneakily scavenged two tables and eight chairs, and we had a great time outside with our treats.
 By the time we finished, we were so full, I decided that could be our dinner! 


 The next day we hit up old town Sacramento.

 There were some beautiful old buildings,

 and lots of little shops. We HAD to hit up Candy Heaven.

Notice the creepy clown up on top? The owner was a little creepy too to tell you the truth.

 I got a little carried away!

 We crossed the old Sacramento Tower bridge  --it was beautiful.

 and spent some time in the riverside park on the other side.

 Back in old town, we tried to go to two different museums, but when the prices were more than a first run movie, and the kids were not enthusiastic, we just had fun in their gift shops instead (much to the annoyance of the docents). In this shot, Tia is getting the phone call to say she finally got a summer job! Notice her excited face?
Thursday we went to The Fountains -- a great outdoor mall with, you guessed it, fountains everywhere. It was beautiful with some great stores. 

 It had one restaurant with a huge arcade inside, which was Kai's favorite thing ever. Girlie bought my kids a big playing pass before I could stop her. I told myself  I would get their lunch, but they were too fast for me there too. 

 Lunch was at this amazing salad place Urban Eats. So dang yummy. They pulled a whole turkey out of the oven and the guy carved it in front of me to put the turkey in my salad. 
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the hotel pool. The heat was crazytown here, and the pool felt wonderful. (Of course the kids spent a lot of time in the hot tub. Wha?

 We did a cool farmer's market/flea market Friday, where I found all of this cool fruit: Jack fruit, prickly pear (cactus fruit), guavas, mangoes, lychees, and more. We got overheated pretty quickly, and escaped to the indoor mall, and eventually a movie.
Girlie's movie theater had this wonderful caption system that fit right in the cupholder of the seat. There were flaps so they didn't disturb the people around her, but Ari could follow the movie perfectly. I was so grateful. 

 One last thing we saw --Wake island. It had a huge inflatable park, and a tow rope like wakeboarding system. I want to start my own in Utah. Anyone have a million dollars to invest in my idea?
We were able to eat dinner and hang out with Garret most nights, and the kids had a lot of time with their cousins. It was a great trip.