Before you enter California’s beautiful Sequoia National Park, there is a lost historic town that has little left of it. In the beautiful Kaweah Mountains, lays the remains to a lost utopia.
In mid February we took a day trip to San Francisco to visit the city and The California Academy of Science. Growing up in the bay area, I was able to visit this museum and many more on school field trips and day trips with my Dad. I want to take the children to all the amazing sites I was able to go to in my life. Any time Victor and I are in the city, whether its down south in Los Angeles or up north in San Francisco we try to set aside a day to take the kids some where they have never been and to a explore things that we don’t have where we live in the central valley.
The last time I went to the San Francisco Academy of Science was in the mid 90’s. Since then the museum had gone through a $488 million dollar renovation in the Golden Gate Park.
It was like an all new adventure for Victor and I. The museum was completely different from anything I remembered growing up. Immediately to the right is a 90′ spiral dome with a living rainforest. walking in it you feel the humidity while thousands of butterflies and free flying birds are fluttering around.
Below you can take an elevator down to the flooded Amazon and walk through a 25′ tunnel with the rainforest above. The kids loved watching the fish all around them and I loved watching their reaction.
We saw taxidermy animals in their natural habitat
The museum also had a huge coral reef aquarium that offered a show with a reef diver. While we didn’t watch the show, we weren’t disappointed at all of the other things there were to take part in.
One of my favorite things doing at the museum when I was a kid, was going on the
earthquake simulator. California is known for earthquakes, but (knock on wood) we really don’t get them as often as people may think. In 1906 San Francisco was hit with a 7.8 earthquake. Any time anyone brings up earthquakes this is the one that al earthquakes are based on. The quake resulted in 3,000 deaths and $524 million dollars in property loss and lasted 1 minute. The city burned for 3 days and destroyed 500 city blocks.
Another major earthquake to hit California was the 1989 Loma Prieta that lasted 15 seconds at a 6.9 on the seismic scale.. This resulted in 60 deaths and wide spread damage. I was nearly 5 years old and it was my first earthquake. It hit in Santa Cruz, 60 miles from San Francisco and was felt in San Jose where I lived. It felt like it lasted much longer than 15 seconds as my mom and I hid under the large dining room table.
Now that I caught you up on a mini earthquake lesson you can only imagine emotion of going through the simulator and having semi experience each earthquake all over again. Instead of having posters to read and standing on a platform that shakes, the new updated version takes you into a planetarium like room to explain how an earthquake works. After you moved into the self proclaimed infamous Shake House. Hold on to the rail because you will first experience a touch of the1906 quake. The simulator doesn’t last as long as the actual quake did nor can it move up and down like the real one, only side to side. Second up is the 1989 Loma Prieta and as I’m writing just realized how historic it was that 26 years later my daughter was nearly the same age I was experiencing that earthquake. While she’s never been awake to experience an earth (we’ve had ones while we both have slept) Emery thought it was a fun little ride. A much different reaction I experience living it.
(video in my Instagram GypsyWidow 13 weeks ago from this date)
There was so much to do at the museum but we ran out of time and I didn’t want to run our of daylight before visiting the iconic Golden Gate bridge.
With the mad driving skills of Valerie we made it to Crissy Field at sunset. A little fact that all mothers learn quickly is be prepared with extra everything. I know this unspoken rule, I’m pretty good with it and I know San Francisco is freezing at night. Did I pack warm clothes? DUH. Did I bring them? No I did not. What I failed to mention peed his shorts on the way to S.F. It has never has never happened before but now that we were out I couldn’t have him wet and in shorts. As luck would have it this conductor pants were in the trunk from the day before, and it all worked out.
We got some great shots of the kids enjoying themselves
some of me and the husby
I’ve always wanted to go to this part of San Fransisco and take pictures with the bridge in the background. I’m so happy that we made it just in time!
It was Emery and Carlos’ first time in the city so we went down to the peir to grab sone authentic San Fransisco food at Boudin.
The highlight of my night turned out to not to be those bridge picures i’ve wanted for years but forgetting Emery has no idea about street entertainers and watching what she thought was a statue come life after putting a dollar in the can. She turned around so fast as soon as he began speaking. The man was nice enough to offer a picture of them two together. The bridge pictures I love but the street performer made a lasting memorie for me.
My youngest baby turned one!
My oldest turned four!
We visited the beach
We drove to the mountains
The kids were asked to be part of a possible ad campaign
We surprised Great Grandparents in San Jose
Mommy got to introduce us to some of her San Jose friends from high school finally
We visited The La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles
Our first time at the Los Angeles Zoo!
We visited Great Grandma Mami Chela in Los Angeles for her birthday
We visited the Natural History Museum for the first time and we loved it!
We went to Apple Hill to get one or two pumpkins
Took our yearly Family photo
Took the kids to the state capitol
Visited Great Grandma Mary . . .
Grandpa Max …
And Grandma Andrea while we were in Sacramento!
Celebrated Halloween and mommy slaved over making Carlos’ Mad Hatter outfit and his hat
We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year
And celebrated Christmas at Great Grandma & Papa Joe’s house
It was a busy year with trips to our local zoo and park in between. This is Emery’s last year spending all day with us before school and we’re trying to make it extra fun for her.
2014 was a good year for us, we had our usual ups and downs that come with life but this mommy can’t complain! Everyone is healthy and our loved ones are with us. I’m happy to share my adventures of parenting these two little ones and document our travels around the Golden State of California. A big thank you to all of my readers out there! I wouldn’t be doing these if I didn’t have the support I do.
Hope everyone has a healthy, happy, joyful and blessed new year
We waited months for our family vacation, our yearly trip to Apple Hill Ca. This was Carlos’ first time and I was so excited to get all the pumpkins my little hands could grab. The months leading up to the trip, Emery would freak out in the car about her back itching. A 5 minute car ride to Target was a struggle. She would squirm around, freak out, complain, wail and the cherry on top – she would kick the seat behind me. I probably looked like I was having a demon fighting within me, going forward and back violently in the car with an angry face. So many warnings were given about her being good because Grandpa’s house is much farther than Target.
I packed all of the “best of’s” to avoid any problems. I had 3 hours to keep her occupied and one, one year old. Carlos fell asleep right on schedule but woke up pretty early and did good the rest of the way. Emery surprisingly did amazing (shout out time). She had her tablet, a few snacks and she was an angel. I don’t get to say that much often anymore so I’ll say it again, Emery was an angel.
DAY 1. Thursday –
We stayed at Carlos’ Nina’s parents house in Elk Grove. I hadn’t been to the area in two years, being able to relax for half a day was great and reconnect.
DAY 2. Friday –
Val (Carlos’ Nina) took us out to eat breakfast, on the way Emery got sick. It was a 10 minute drive (with out traffic) and from that little time she got a fever. How this happened I don’t know, but luckily Super Mom packed meds, a thermometer and a first aid kit just in case (toot toot, that’s me tooting my horn).
We hit up a local hipster coffee spot in midtown and then off to my Dad’s house.
Carlos met his great Grandma Mary for the first time and really embraced everyone instead of being shy and off standing.
At night Victor, Valerie and I went out to Capitol Tap Room to have some brews and celebrate our 7 years of being together. It was our first time being away from the kids, doing something more than a nice fast dinner. Luckily, my family was able and willing to watch the kids. I felt like, “ah, this is what adult time feels like”.
DAY 3. Saturday –
Apple Hill!! Valerie came with us, it was her first time and we enjoyed her company. She was our official photographer for our yearly family photo.
Emery found her own pumpkin this year and she was really proud of herself.
Carlos fell every opportunity he could in the patch. The red dirt was all over his chest and back. It was pretty funny because he would fall on the floor and dust himself off not caring at all.
I planned to grab a ton of pumpkins while we were there and I think we succeeded, we walked away with 13 awesome and different ones.
After a long day of walking around and trying different ciders we headed back to my dad’s, where my step mom made a pre-thanksgiving dinner. Perfect for a hunger crew!
DAY 4. Sunday –
We took the kids to The State Capitol to check it out because, when in Rome. Emery was learning her state capitals a few months ago so she knew Sacramento was the state’s capital, now she was able to see it up close. We went inside, something Victor and I hadn’t done before. Val was our tour guide leading the way to all the rooms available for visitors. We got to see the assembly room, where all the decisions are made. We found a gift shop and picked up two new California children’s books and a magnet for our trip!
At the end of this day I think Victor and I both looked at each other and decided we needed one more day in the city.
DAY 5. Monday –
BONUS DAY!!! Also uuber sad day because this was the day we had to leave. We sad goodbye to great grandma Mary and snuck in a few photos. We had lunch with Nina Val one last time. And let me say this, one of my favorite things about the trip was the last meal at The Sandwich Spot. OHMYGAWD so good. so good.
We said our goodbyes and I stressed all over about the 3 hour road trip home. Emery had to pee 40 minutes into it (how I don’t know because she went before we left), Carlos woke up right away and I was dreading the hours of crying. Luckily everything went smooth and we plan to be back again sooner than later.
Valerie, has a YouTube channel – Valsays and vlogged our trip. So forget everything you just read and watch mini clips of it below.
It’s been awhile since I wrote about things, not because I forgot to, but because I didn’t think there was much to expand on. Then I started thinking about all the little things that have been going on. This is that update.
On a whim we took a day trip to the beach. In the hot valley heat with two toddlers in the house, things can get crazy and very mundane everyday. On a saturday afternoon we decided to pack up what we could and leave the house! Carlos fell asleep in the car and Emery watched some cartoons on her tablet. By the time baby woke up we were at Moon Stone beach in Cambria! It’s our favorite spot that we found when we went on our baby moon a few years back. Now Carlos was here to join us and that was pretty cool to me. It was Carlos’ second time being at the beach, and at first the Pacific water freaked him out. It was a mixture of the rush to his feet and the draw back that had him sinking into the sand. After awhile he enjoyed it and didn’t mind the cold kissing his feet. We were lucky to find so many starfish washed up on the beach. Is that a lucky thing? Kind of for us, and not really I guess for the starfish. We picked them up and put them back into the water. During this time my phone was going hay-wire and would turn off all the time. Sadly, no pictures of the starfish were taken and trust me, I tried angrily a few times. I counted about 17 starfish that had washed up all along the beach. It was the most I have ever found in my life!!
The night was starting to creep up on us we headed home from the cool coast back to the hot heat of the night.
Just the opposite way of the beach, we are blessed with The Sequoia National Park. It was Carlos’ first time going to the Sequoias and I was pleasantly surprised on our spur of the moment road trip. I thought we were making a Costco trip until we kept on going straight on the freeway.
We drove about 2 hours to get to The Giant Forest. By this time Carlos had enough of sitting in the car; he had napped, woke up gotten out of the car for a photo-op and was in the car for 40 minutes more. I’m not sure about anyone else, but with my kids a long car ride and getting out for a second and getting back in doesn’t ever end up well. He cried the whole rest of the way and I sat in the front seat wishing I was at Costco trying some free samples and googling over the chocolate muffins I always talk myself out of.
We took a picture with a giant redwood known as Sentinel and checked out The Giant Forest Museum. We picked up our Sequoia National Park magnet with a bonus 50 years of celebration on it (score!). We partially walked up, Bear Trail … yes, partially because 2 little kids going 4 miles on a trail is pushing it. Since the moment we got out of our car we heard many people say they had seen bears, even on the trail we went on. I wanted to see something! I kept telling Emery to keep her eyes peeled for anything!
We crossed over to another trail that looped around a meadow. Of course a mother is telling her husband as we passed, how she and the kids saw bears right in the middle of the meadow. Really? We missed it again! We started the walk and we were nearly back at the beginning of the trail when all of a sudden, in a blaze of glory and sun glare there it was! Without even realizing the words I was saying I screamed, “BEAR!!!”. Victor and the kids stopped and we watched him walk off up the ridge. Other hikers didn’t even see the bear above them, which was pretty scary. We continued our walk and we headed to the parking lot to head back home, when lo and behold, bear was there eating some berries right under the path we had to cross. We all scooted back and bear (yeah, I named him Bear) crossed the street and took a path right behind the Museum where we started. Eventually other hikers saw him and we were pretty satisfied with out nature encounter and headed home.
Twilight was falling and we started home, the kids finally calmed down and I zoned out looking out the window dreaming of dinner. All of a sudden Vic yells out, “TARANTULA!!” (there was a lot of spontaneous yelling on this trip) and the car veered to the right into a parking lot and some pictures were taken. Apparently mating season was two weeks before. Back in the car, just out of the park, now in the dark we saw a deer crossing the road. This trip was a success!