Tag Archives: museums

The Calderon’s take San Francisco

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The Calderon’s take San Francisco

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.

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We saw taxidermy animals in their natural habitat

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Candid photo/accidently took a picture but Nina Val was sneeking back there

Candid photo/accidently took a picture but Nina Val was sneeking back there

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.

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Capturing fun

Capturing fun

A whole new world

A whole new world

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

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Their personalities shinning through

Their personalities shinning through

some of me and the husby

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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.

Cookie cheers with my little man

Cookie cheers with my little man

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.

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The California State Railroad Museum

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The California State Railroad Museum

CHUGGA CHUGGA CHOO CHOO

The Calderon’s take over The California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento (again). While visiting family and Nina Valerie in Sacramento we had to stop by the California State Railroad Museum in “Old” Sacramento. Emery went when she was two and Carlos is the same age and hasn’t gone yet. Carlos loves trains. He has a growing collection of Thomas the Train movies, toy trains and train apparel.

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I had to get a picture of him doing this just like sister did when she was his age.

I had to get a picture of him doing this just like sister did when she was his age.

I dressed him up in his little train conductor overalls, red bandana and conductor hat. He fit right in with all the huge trains and the train stewards. We didn’t bother reading many of the facts this time around, we were strictly there to get on some trains and interact with all we could.

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When you first walk into the beginning of the tour its set-up to explain who worked on the trains and what the time line of the construction. There’s a mock train station booth and cars you can peer inside.

One ticket please!

One ticket please!

Theres a Canadian National Sleeper train in the back of the museum that gives the feeling of movement with sounds as if the train is passing by railroad crossings when you’re in it. Carlos went on it 5 times each with a new chaperon.

Daddy's little guy

Daddy’s little guy

Carlos' first walk through in a train

Carlos’ first walk through in a train

& Nina took him on the sleeper car a few times

& Nina took him on the sleeper car a few times

While they were in there they sat down and talked to a few people about trains.

While they were in there they sat down and talked to a few people about trains.

& Mommy took him a few times.

& Mommy took him a few times.

The building has so many trains inside of it, it’s amazing to walk around all of them. Some trains you can look inside, some you can walk in and there’s a big black train that you can sit in the engineer’s seat.

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What a dream come true for a little boy who loves trains

What a dream come true for a little boy who loves trains

More coal!!

More coal!!

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Up stairs has toy trains to play with and a professional set up behind glass. It was probably my fourth time going and I still enjoyed walking around and exploring.

I love when we kind find kid areas to let them lose and for the parents to re-group

I love when we kind find kid areas to let them loose and for the parents to re-group

In April the Museum begins to offer train rides along the river. We weren’t able to ride it because it wasn’t open yet, but we’ll be back! If you make the trip to The Railroad Museum hang around “old Sac” where the museum is located and check out all the other buildings and the history of the area. It’s very cool to see older buildings and horses right in the middle of the states capitol.

2014 a year in review

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2014 a year in review

My youngest baby turned one!

Monster boy!

Monster boy!

My oldest turned four!

Rainbow curtain and a huge Pinky Pie balloon

My Little Emery

We visited the beach

Cambria, Ca.

Cambria, Ca.

We drove to the mountains

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Sequoia National Park, Ca. [[Carlos’ first time]]

The kids were asked to be part of a possible ad campaign

We had a family photo shoot for a possible ad with JetKat Photography

JetKat Photography

 

We surprised Great Grandparents in San Jose

Great Grandma & Great Grandpa Zack & Cousin Daniel

Great Grandma & Great Grandpa Zack & Cousin Daniel

Mommy got to introduce us to some of her San Jose friends from high school finally

Jessica, Stephen & Marcus

Jessica, Stephen & Marcus

We visited The La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles

Us inside a tar bubble

Us inside a tar bubble

Our first time at the Los Angeles Zoo!

We love zoo's

We love zoo’s

 

We visited Great Grandma Mami Chela in Los Angeles for her birthday

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We visited the Natural History Museum for the first time and we loved it!

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We went to Apple Hill to get one or two pumpkins

A few of the pumpkins we picked out.

Here’s just a few …

 

Took our yearly Family photo

Our 2014 Family photo

Our 2014 Family photo

 

Took the kids to the state capitol

California State Capitol

California State Capitol

 

Visited Great Grandma Mary . . .

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Grandpa Max …

 

Grandpa Max and the kids

Grandpa Max and the kids

And Grandma Andrea while we were in Sacramento!

Grandma Andrea

Grandma Andrea

 

Celebrated Halloween and mommy slaved over making Carlos’ Mad Hatter outfit and his hat

Mini costume Alice In Wonderland photo shoot at a local pumpkin patch

Alice In Wonderland photo shoot at a local pumpkin patch

 

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year

What were you thankful for this year?

What were you thankful for this year?

And celebrated Christmas at Great Grandma & Papa Joe’s house

Waiting for Santa

Waiting for Santa

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

Mommylaughs

Our L.A. Weekend

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A few weekends ago our family made a trip to Los Angeles California to visit our family. It was Victor’s Grandmother’s  77th birthday, and everyone came together to make it extra special for her.
Whenever we take a long trip down south or up north to visit our family I always dread the drive. Not for myself but for the little kids, 3 + hours is always a delicate battle between a good nap and just wanting to get out of the carseat .
We got into town Thursday night around midnight. I was hoping  since we left late the kids would all fall asleep in the car and we would have a smooth quite ride. It didn’t exactly work out to plan (as these things never do) but it was still quite and pleasant. Carlos fell asleep right after he ate, all of the kids did which is weird because Emery likes to stay up real late. Right before we headed through the  Grapevine Carlos did the unthinkable and woke up! He slept for about an hour and then decided to give his Mother and Father a mini panic attack and wake up. I think Victor and I made things worse by being stressed out immediately. We decided this was our last stop before heading through the pass and we needed coffee to ease our nerves. When Emery went on her first trip to L.A. she was only 6 months and cried THE WHOLE TIME. Yes folks, that’s 3 hours of a screaming baby in the back seat. She fell asleep 5 minutes or less before we arrived at his Grandmothers house. That scared me and I will forever be scared to death to go on road trips with any of my kids let alone a baby.
Our first full day we took the children to the Los Angeles Zoo. I have never been before either, so I was just as excited to go. They had a carousel, a whole Cambodian Elephant exhibit, a really big Aviary that was a few sections high, I didn’t see a ramp for strollers so I carried Carlos up and down the steps. The Zoo also had a little park and misters. I really like that there was a playground for parents that wanted a break or for the kids to run around and have fun. Anytime we are somewhere new we get a magnet for the fridge and a pressed penny from the novelty machine. Its a little tradition we started with Emery, and somewhere she has a whole bunch.

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At the Zoo! Victor, Emery, Carlos, Victor & Uncle David. Featuring that one kid that always needs to make a face…

 

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Did I mention the kids got to dress up as Doctor’s and help heal a stuffed California Condor? Very cool stuff!

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Saturday was Mami Chela’s Birthday party. We got to visit with all of the Cousins, Aunts and Uncles. Emery has girl Cousins her age, she was very happy to play with them. It was Carlos’ first time meeting his L.A family and while he was still very attached to me he did really well around everyone else. I was scared to put him down because I didn’t want him falling or hurting himself like he does just about every day. The party was fun, lots of good memories and it’s always nice when family can all get together and celebrate with each other. Mami Chela looked beautiful and happy and she’s such a sweet, loving person Emery and Carlos had no problem warming up to her.

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Mami Chela & the kids

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Emery & Uncle David

The Grandkids & Great Grandkids. The one time the kids are suppose to be making a crazy face and only a few of them do it. I don't understand it!

The Grandkids & Great Grandkids. The one time the kids are suppose to be making a crazy face and only a few of them do it. I don’t understand it!



Sunday we went back to the house to say our good bye’s but we had one more trip up our sleeve. We took the children to The Page Museum at The La Brea Tar Pits. Before you go into the Museum the tar pit is outside and I think that was one of the coolest things ever. It’s still bubbling from the natural gas surfacing. Through out the area and at the Museum parking are little closed off spots of tar. Inside was filled with things Scientist have found inside the tar pits such as seeds, bones of prehistoric and extinct animals, bones and maybe some new finds! Inside they have a glass room with Archaeologist sifting through fragments and putting together pieces of bones. New things are being discovered daily.
And of course we couldn’t leave without our pressed penny!

 

 

La Brea Tar pits - Us inside a tar bubble

La Brea Tar pits –
Us inside a tar bubble

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Finally it was time for our drive home, all the kids fell asleep and it was a pretty peaceful 3 hours back over the Mountains.

Our weekend vacation

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The pumpkin patch 
Last year Emery & I traveled almost 4 hours to see my Dad. Vic was still gone on deployment and we decided to take a ride to Roseville Ca, just a few minutes past Sacramento. From there we went to an area in  Placerville called Apple hill which is about another hour outside of Sacramento. I fell in love with it. It’s a  small community of homes and apple orchards  and they have a festival with apple cider, apple pies, apple cotton candy, apple everything pretty much. there are also tons of handmade crafts , a petting zoo, a fishing pond, and little wineries and a brewery.
All year I’ve been talking about going back. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The beautiful scenery and how there was so much to do just captured my heart. When the time came around this year to find a pumpkin I knew where I wanted to go. I had to take my husband to Apple Hill. I would  be able to visit my family and he could finally see for himself why I loved this place so much.
As soon as we got there my husband flipped out, we hadn’t even gotten out of the car yet and he was saying ” I love this place!”. I was happy I didn’t disappoint. He loved the fact that we parked in apple orchards and it was so organized.
Emery seemed to remember it from last year, she was saying, “Apple Hill!”. This year she rode a pony, I was worried she wouldn’t want to once it was her turn but I was wrong, she loved every second of it.
We had apple cider and looked around, she was content in her jogging stroller just looking at all the things around us. Eventually we left one location and headed to the field of pumpkins so find ours to take home. By this time Emery and I were hungry and had a snack. After being re-energized we walked the field and found 6 pumpkins worthy of coming home with us. Every year Emery gets a small pumpkin special just for her, this year we decided to do the same for baby Carlos. His has a small little white pumpkin that Emery loves to take care of every time we go outside.
It’s easy to spend a whole day there and probably not be able to see all there is to offer.
Every year we also take family photos, we planned on taking our there this year but we were pooped by the end of the day. Maybe next year!
We decided to make it our family tradition to travel up north every year to this amazing place to get our pumpkins and spend time with family we dont get to see very often.
Apple Hill

The California State Railroad Museum
Being so close to Sacramento and having lived there for a few years I knew there was so much to do! Right now Emery is into trains. Where we live we are surrounded by trains and the sound of them blowing their horns. My whole life I’ve never really lived far from a railroad track, even when I lived in the big city of San Jose. At night you could hear the trains horn in the distance. Its a soothing sound to me and Emery loves it.
One night we were laying in bed relaxing before turning the lights out and we watched a new cartoon we hadn’t seen before. Chuggington on the Disney Junior channel. One train had said, “Hi Emery”. Me and Emery looked at each other in disbelief. Emery confirmed what I had heard, “he said, ‘hi Emery'”. I rewound it and that’s what he had said! I called Victor into the room and we all flipped out. A train named Emery, how perfect for her.
I knew there was a train museum in Sacramento, I had been there once or twice before with my dad and i knew I had to take Emery there. Sunday before heading home we stopped by with the family and got to learn a little of the history and Emery was able to walk through a few trains herself. She loved it and got a few souvenirs, including a Chuggington flip book, two trains and an Emery wooden train with the name Emery & Emery’s Car underneath it.
I also found a penny presser, the kind of machine where you put 50 cents plus a penny and get a design to remember where you were. We have a little collection going for her.