We made it to the San Francisco Bay area, to wait until we could get the green light to finish our trip to American Samoa. We have been to San Francisco a few times and have been to lots of the bigger tourist places. We had just been through a few very busy and stressful weeks and I knew that we could use a break from feeling rushed and stressed. I wanted to make the most of our time there, while pacing ourselves, not knowing how long we would be there for.
We stayed with Nate’s mom, Annie, and step-dad, Dale, just outside of the city in Marin. They so kindly opened their house to us. Believe me, that is not an easy commitment for them to make. With our three active and sometimes mischievous (or downright naughty) kids, they welcomed us for as long as we needed to stay.
Each day I waited to hear from Nate. I waited to hear the good news that we had been cleared.
We spent the first few days around the house, relaxing, being silly and enjoying our time together.
We slept in.
Kip and I took naps in the afternoon.
We read books on the deck overlooking the lagoon.
I took the kids kayaking around the lagoon and exploring an island in the middle. Holden even got to take a refreshing swim, as I helped/tossed him off of the kayak.
We took the kids to a park.
The kids got to watch cartoons on cable TV. Kip couldn’t understand who kept stopping his show to play the annoying commercials 😄
Annie, Dale and I played cards.
We ended each day with a dip in the hot tub and snuggles before bed.
So far we had enjoyed such a relaxing and quiet weekend. It was about time for some excitement.
Sunday started with Annie taking Hadley on a hike, where Hadley took hundreds of pictures of the animals and beautiful sights along the way. She had a great time, even though she said her legs felt like “cotton-candy”.
Later, we went to the Marin County Fair. We spent most of the day there, mostly letting the kids choose where to go and what to do. Annie and Dale were real troopers, patiently letting the kids lead the way. It was so helpful having them along; taking kids on rides, keeping Kip busy while I took the older ones on rides and helping herd all three kids. It was a long but fun day.
We went out for pizza on the way home, where the kids spent the rest of their money on the arcade games. We went home and had the kids rotate through baths to clean off the dirt and grime of the day.
Monday I took the kids to the Jelly Belly Factory. We went for a beautiful drive through Napa and Sonoma Counties to get there. We spent three hours there. There was quite a bit of standing in lines but that might have been because we went on the 3rd of July and lots of people just took the whole weekend off for the 4th. By the end, the kids were so happy we had gone and talking about how much fun they’d had.
Monday night I heard from Nate. We were cleared to fly to American Samoa! We would be leaving on Wednesday! Our tickets were bought, yes, I verified them this time. It was time to do laundry and get things ready to go, again.
Tuesday was the 4th of July. Hadley and Holden got to walk in the Marin parade with Annie for her work. They were so excited to be walking in a parade! They woke up bright and early to be ready to go.
Dale, Kip and I went to watch the parade and Kip got to enjoy a Sno-cone. We stood at the end of the parade, so once Annie and the kids had walked by, they could come join us. Our usual 4th of July parade in Middleton, Idaho is really big and turns into a community-wide water fight. So this one really felt lacking, just congress people riding down the street in nice cars and a few people walking, representing companies. We didn’t stick around for the end.
I spent the rest of the day getting us ready to leave; shopping, doing laundry, organizing and packing.
Our time in the Bay area was over. We had enjoyed some fun and relaxation during our week there. Just what we needed. There were a couple things that I wanted to do, had we been there a little longer. I would have liked to take the kids to the Redwoods, visit an Aunt that I haven’t seen in years and eat clam chowder. I guess those will have to go to the top of the list for the next time we visit Grandma and Dale.