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This Is 40: The Conclusion

January 12, 2018

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As I write this I am aware of the pain in my right shoulder.  It started 2 days ago while I was in the pickup line after school.  My shoulder hurts.  And I don’t know why.  Did I tweak it?  No.  Did I pull a muscle while I was vigorously exercising?  No.  Was I lifting something heavy?  No.  Just sitting.  In the car.  Waiting for school to get out.  Now I am in the over 40 category and my body is protesting.  I just thought it was funny and I had to share.  Now on to the good stuff.
If you read my previous blog, you know that I did something SUPER fun for my 40th birthday.  I wanted to go on a trip, but I wanted it to be a surprise.  And I was surprised.  It was really hard for me not to peek or try to guess where we were going (especially as I don’t really like to be surprised, but this was super fun!) but I was a good girl and didn’t ruin it even though it was tough to pack for an unknown destination.  
Prepare for a LONG post with lots of iPhone pictures.  I tried to be in the moment and use my phone more than my big camera so the quality isn’t as good. 
The night before we left my friend Vicki (who booked everything for us….thanks Vicki you are the BEST) brought over 4 envelopes.  She had checked us in and printed our boarding passes and flight information in one envelope (she even printed fancy, fun ones that had birthday wishes on them).  Then she printed the rental car info for another envelope and in the third one she put things to do and see in our location.  It made my little Type A personality go pitter-pat.  Then she pulled out the big guns and there was an envelope marked “photo-op”.  I just about died and went to photographer heaven.  She had taken gold balloons and written our destination on them so when we got to the airport we could blow up the balloons and find out where were going.  It was so much fun!!  Once we blew them up we had to look at each other to find out where we were going.  We were happily surprised to see San Fransisco!
So we checked our bags and headed off to San Fransisco!  Once we were there Vicki had lined up a rental car for us (only $17 a day-Yahoo! Which we upgraded to $25 a day so we could get an SUV to better fit all 5 of us and our luggage).  Our first stop in San Fran (other than the rental car) was In N Out.  SO happy it is coming to Colorado (eventually)!!  Double Double Animal Style Protein Style all the way.
After In N Out we spent an hour sitting in the car and trying to find a place to stay.  San Fran is tricky in that there aren’t a ton of big name hotels in the city.  Many of the hotels are cute and quaint and EXPENSIVE.  They also charge for all of the extras (including steep prices for daily parking).  So we decided to go a route none of us had ever done before and do an Air BnB.  It was great.  We were able to get the bottom floor of a house in Brisbane which is just in the hills above the city.  We each had our own entrance and separate living areas and they had a crib and tons of baby stuff which was perfect for our littlest traveler.
How cute is this???
Speaking of our littlest traveler…..she is complete perfection.  She was the BEST traveler!  I only heard her fuss one or twice the whole trip.  When she got tired, she would close her eyes and sleep.  She was a trooper being strapped to her mom (or dad) sometimes for hours on end.  The cold and rain didn’t bother her and she smiled at everyone!  She even pooped at the most convenient times so we didn’t have to carry around a stinky diaper.  I loved sitting in the back seat with her and making her smile and laugh.  It was good for my soul.
While we were waiting to finalize our sleeping arrangements, we decided to head a bit North and see the Muir Woods National Monument.  It was a little bit of a drive, but the baby needed a nap and we didn’t have anything else to do so it was perfect.  We got there with only an hour left before they closed and it was chilly and misting, but that didn’t bother us.  In fact, it was kind of nice because there weren’t very many people there.  It was stunningly beautiful and quiet and we all LOVED it! 
On our way back to San Fran we stopped in Sausilito at a beautiful restaurant that overlooked the harbor and had fish and chips.  They were amazing and a perfect meal for our first night!
On Friday, the 5th (my actual birthday) we got up and had breakfast at Sweet Maple.  Thank goodness for phones and online reviews.  I typed in “best french toast in San Fransisco” and it pointed us to Sweet Maple. And it did not disappoint.  The french toast was amazing but even better was their “Millionaire Bacon” which had been featured on the food network.  It was so yummy!  
Then we headed just up the street to the “painted lady” houses.  Or for children of the 80’s the Full House opening.  It was misty raining but not super cold and it was nice to walk around after a big breakfast. 
Then we headed down to Fisherman’s Wharf (via the famous Lombard street- the crookedest road in the US) and walked all over.  We went to Pier 39, shopped a bit, saw the sea lions, went to Ghiradelli Square and got in our 14,000 steps for the day.
Then we headed to Little Italy and had some yummy pasta!
From there we hit “Sift” where we split some cupcakes and a giant home-made oreo (which I thought was better than the yummy cupcakes).
Then we went back to our BnB and played games.  That was what we did most nights!  We had a blast playing hand and foot (card game) and the 5 minute dungeon which is a fast paced game where you work together to defeat the dungeon.  SO much fun!
The next day we headed to Cafe 382 which was a local cafe near our BnB which got great reviews.  And it turned out to be our favorite spot.  Their breakfast was DELICIOUS and I think the french toast was even better than the day before (in case you can’t tell, I am a french toast fanatic).
 From there we headed to the Golden Gate Bridge to walk off some of our breakfast.  We chose wisely and it ended up being a beautiful day!  We walked all over the pier and park below the bridge and then walked 1/2 across the bridge.  It was so pretty and had great views of the city.
Then we headed over to see the Palace of Fine Arts.  It was built in the early 1900’s and was a marvel of architecture. 
From there we headed back into San Fran so we could hit Chinatown.  We had a late lunch at Sam Wo’s (thanks for the recommendation Rachel) and then walked around and shopped in Chinatown.  What a beautiful part of the city!
Then we headed back for more games and got a case of late night hunger so the guys went and picked up some pizza.  They came back with “The Godzilla”.  All I have to say is that it is a good thing they don’t have it in Colorado…..because we would be a lot more poor and a lot FATTER.  It was so yummy and it was gigantic! 
The next morning we got up early and headed out for the early tour of Alcatraz.  What a great place to visit.  Very well done, organized and so much to see and do.  They had tours led by very charismatic and extremely informative rangers and we really enjoyed our time there.  We spent over 3 hours wandering around and by the time we were done we were chilly and hungry.  So we headed back to the wharf for some clam chowder in a bread bowl (or chili for me because—don’t hate me—–I don’t like clam chowder).  After our bellies were full, we were all SO tired so we headed back and all took naps (even Chris who doesn’t usually nap).  After the nap we went and got donuts so we could enjoy them after eating our leftover pizza and Chinese from the day before.  It paired perfectly with more card games.
Monday, it was pouring rain!!  Glad we didn’t have anything major planned.  We had breakfast at our favorite Cafe 382 again and then back to pack up and get ready to leave.  We hit In and Out again before returning our car and heading to the airport.  We ended the trip playing games in the airport (while Chris worked).  The perfect ending to a perfect trip.
Highlights: 
1.  Suprise trip! It was fun not knowing where we were going until the airport.  I probably would have packed a rain coat if I had known, but I was fine without it.
2.  Celebrating my birthday in a fun, new city doing whatever I wanted and eating whatever I wanted without any responsibilities.
3.  Favorite things we did…..#1 The Muir Woods.  It was so unexpected and serene and beautiful.  I highly recommend doing that if you are in San Fran.  It was only about a 45 minute drive but it was  beautiful.  #2 Alcatraz.  I am a history buff and I LOVE old museums and historical places so this was perfect for me.  Stacy is the same, so we were two peas in a pod and thankfully we have really understanding husbands who allowed us to take as much time as we wanted and to stop and read all of the signs.
4.  Favorite Meal: this is hard….we had so many great meals….3 way tie.  Between In and Out (I know, but it really is that good), the Fish and Chips the first night and then the French Toast and Bacon at Sweet Maple.
5.  Parking.  My husband is a TOTAL rockstar and he found FRONT row parking everywhere we went.  When we went to Alacatraz they said it could take 45-90 minutes to find parking and then it would cost a lot of money.  We found a FREE spot on the street just a block from the dock right next to the $45 parking lot.  And that was true every where we went.  It was so nice especially with the baby and quite often it was raining or misting so having a close parking spot was really nice.
6. Card Playing.  It was so nice at night to get away from the city and settle into our comfy clothes and play cards together at night.  Eliana would just quietly play with her toys in the pack and play while we would play games for hours. 
Yay!  You made it to the end of the post.   Thanks for reading all of that and following our journey.  I wanted to well-document it as we had so many people interested in where we went and what we did!  Thanks for supporting us, making plans for us, watching our kids while we were gone and celebrating with us!  It was fun to have all of your suggestions on where to go and what to eat while we were there!  We read all of the comments and they totally helped us make our decisions on where to go and what to do!

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