San Francisco!

I’m back from San Francisco! It was an awesome trip and I’m excited to show you my pictures! Can you believe I’m posting this not even 24 hours after getting home?! I’m on top of this. For once!

Despite how crazy they make me, I was really sad about leaving the boys for six whole days. The longest we’ve ever been away from them before is two nights, so this was a pretty big deal.

Nice goodbye kiss from Shepard.

We had lunch at the airport. A very plain burger.

And a very plain chicken sandwich.

A view from somewhere over Colorado, I think. I like when you’re in a plane and can sort of see the curvature of the earth.

This cloud was gorgeous!

We made it! After a plane, tram, and train we met up with my sister-in-law, Sarah, and her boyfriend, Alex in downtown San Francisco. While we were walking to try and find a taxi I saw the Britex Fabrics store. I kind of wanted to go there ahead of time (despite how expensive it is), but it wasn’t open. Oh well. Later in the week Sarah took me to her favorite fabric store and I found some unique things for my sewing projects.

This is the view from Sarah and Alex’s roof. Amazing!

I’ve always wanted to go to San Francisco, though I knew very little about it ahead of time. For some reason I really wasn’t expecting it to look like this. But it was pretty. 🙂

On Wednesday night they took us to their local pizza place, Za. The pizza was so delicious!

Gigantic slices. So yummy.

On Thursday morning, Greg and I caught the cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf. I couldn’t get any pictures on the car, but this is the one we rode.

It was early enough that the crowds weren’t yet out on the wharf. We had a really nice walk checking everything out for the first time.

Alcatraz in the background.

We had to make some souvenir pennies for the boys.

The inside of the gigantic Boudin sourdough store. I was pretty hungry at this point and wanted everything!

We settled on a loaf of jalapeno cheddar bread. It was good! Very chilly by the water, though, so we needed some hot chocolate to go with it.

I think watching the sea lions on Pier 39 was my favorite part. It’s just so bizarre to see something like that in the wild. There aren’t many sea lions swimming the waters of Wisconsin!

I liked this fat one hogging the best spot.

Lots of sleeping going on!

I was really excited when I kept seeing all these pick your own oyster/pearl booths. We did something similar in Florida ten years ago and I always wanted to do it again. This seemed like the perfect opportunity!

My pretty little pearl!

The final pendant. The oyster/pearl was $15, but then the lady kept trying to convince me to buy a $300 white gold setting for it. Um….no. I ended up with the cheapest $11 silver top. She wasn’t very happy with me!

We walked around a little more and stopped in a few shops. I also bought a really pretty print of the bridge and cable car. I was happy to get two good souvenirs for myself. 🙂 After that we went to this old arcade filled with unique games to play.

Sibling rivalry.

I did the love-o-meter. I was rated “Blah.”

For lunch we ate at a place called Alioto’s, right on the water. One of Greg’s friends and his girlfriend were actually on vacation in San Francisco too, so we met up with them for lunch. Then we took them back to the arcade so they could get this picture.

There was a store with a ton of gigantic candy. It would have been a cool souvenir for the boys, but would have taken up half our suitcase!

We stopped in Ghiradelli Square to get a chocolate sample.

After resting for awhile we walked through Chinatown. Pretty unique to see something like this right in the middle of an American city.

That night we were able to get some really cheap tickets to the Giant’s baseball game. It was the one thing Greg really wanted to do, but when we tried to find tickets earlier they were way too expensive. We definitely lucked out looking the night before. On the walk to the ballpark this bird photo bombed my Bay Bridge picture.

So beautiful!

We had dinner before the game at The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen.

I had the jalapeno popper grilled cheese. I think this was my favorite meal of the trip – it was so good!

Greg was so excited to see the IGN building.

We made it to the game!

It was sooooo cold at the game. I was really hoping these famous garlic fries would warm me up. No such luck!

On Friday morning we started at The Presidio. I’m still not really sure what it was, exactly… But it was a pretty area!

We stopped at LucasArts for Greg.

Next we went to The Palace of Fine Arts – another really unique sight that I knew nothing about ahead of time.

Lots of houses had these pretty flowers growing on them.

Next we started taking the bus to Golden Gate Park, but ended up getting out early to get a better look at the bridge.

Next we made our way to the park and walked through the rose garden. I love flowers this color!

We spent awhile in the Japanese Tea Garden part of Golden Gate Park. We love koi.

We had lunch at one of Sarah’s favorite Mexican restaurants in the Mission area of San Francisco.

They had a huge selection of meats and salsa. It was so good!

After another afternoon rest, we went to Fort Mason where the Off the Grid food trucks were gathering. I was really excited about this ahead of time, but I was still so full from lunch that most of the food didn’t sound very appealing while I was there.

Greg had a burger from Bacon Bacon, but was disappointed in how little bacon was on it.

I was craving some chocolate and finally settled on The Godfather from The Creme Brulee Cart. It was double chocolate creme brulee topped with chocolate cookie crumbles and sea salt caramel. It was AMAZING.

After dinner we went for a walk along the water. The views are so beautiful from any part of the city.

On Saturday morning, Greg and I left early to the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building. This is the one thing I really wanted to do and it was pretty cool. I didn’t really take any pictures of the booths because I was too distracted trying all the samples! I’ve never seen so many types of peaches and plums before and they were all so delicious. I also tried figs for the first time and loved them!

For breakfast Greg got a sticky bun.

I had a strawberry “fruit pocket” – PIE. This was also delicious. If I didn’t have to carry it around all day I probably would have bought a ton of things here.

The inside of the ferry building was also really cool – they had tons of unique stores and restaurants. After meeting back up with Sarah and Alex, we got on the ferry to Sausalito, across the bay.

Being on the ferry was a great way to see all of San Francisco. It was crazy windy, though.

In Sausalito, we walked around for about an hour and then had lunch. We weren’t very adventurous on this trip, as you can probably tell. I really don’t like seafood and the only time we went to a seafood place was Thursday when I didn’t feel very well, so didn’t feel like trying something new.

Club sandwich.

The Sausalito marina area was beautiful.

Back on the ferry!

There was a lot of sailboat racing going on that day.

We walked to the America’s Cup Pavilion after we got back to San Francisco. We spent quite awhile here looking at yachts and relaxing for awhile.
I literally know nothing about the America’s Cup. But Greg was pretty enthused about it. After this we just went back to the apartment, got some takeout, and hung out. We also watched Pitch Perfect. I love that movie. 🙂
Greg and I really wanted to get out of the city for a day to see what else is in the area, so on Sunday, our last day, we got Alex’s car and drove to Sonoma. Greg had to hold my camera out of the sun roof to get this picture on the bridge. It was very foggy!
Our first stop was The Jacuzzi Winery. I love these flowers!
I don’t drink wine, but this place also makes olive oil, so I had a good time sampling those. Too bad going back on an airplane stopped me from buying so many things!!
After the winery, we walked around the Sonoma Square. I was really surprised at how few people were there. We loved this little duck.
We had our last big meal at another Mexican place.
Back in the city Greg and I went for a few final walks. This is Lombard Street, the really curvy one. I wasn’t actually that impressed by the street itself (I thought it was going to be a lot bigger), but the view was incredible!
We were SO tired and sore by this point. Well, probably by Friday morning we were that tired! So much walking. Next trip I need to prepare a lot better!
We saw a few of these “mini parks.” 
Finally, our last picture of the city from the top of Lafayette Park. It was definitely an awesome vacation and I’m SO glad we were able to go. We had so much fun!

Chicago Anniversary Vacation

Well, this really feels like old news now, but two weeks ago Greg and I went on a weekend getaway to Chicago to celebrate our seventh anniversary. I just now finished going through the photos from our trip. I’m so behind!!! The last week has been absolutely crazy getting ready for a garage sale, madly making 4th of July Annies, and getting ready for Father’s Day. So much to do! But I thought I’d take a quick break from all that to share the highlights from our trip!

In the van bright and early to bring the boys to Grandma’s house for the weekend. They were very excited about having two sleepovers in a row!

The weather forecast was pretty sure we were going to get rain the whole weekend. Of course, when so many of the things I planned on doing were outside! Instead of going straight to the city like we planned we made our first stop in Volo, Illinois at the Volo Auto Museum. It’s this really cool museum type of place where they store a bunch of vehicles that were used in movies. They also have tons of classic cars for sale and four huge antique malls. It was a nice place for both of us and our varied interests.

One of many Batman cars.

A replication of the first automobile (which no longer exists).

This was odd, but of course we had to get our picture taken with him.

Took this picture for my dad. I remember watching Blues Brothers with him many, many times.

Took this picture for my brother. Johnny Cash’s Git-Tar Car.

Ghostbusters car.

The truck Heath Ledger drove in Dark Knight. I took about a hundred other pictures of cars, but it’s kind of boring… So enough of this.
With storms still looming in the forecast, we went to the Garfield Park Conservatory next. This was my favorite part of the trip. We were both pleasantly surprised at how big and beautiful it was. When we were in college we spent a lot of time at Olbrich Park in Madison and this is very similar. But way better. At least on the inside.

If you’re ever near Chicago and looking for something free to do, I definitely recommend this. We were pretty much the only people in the whole place too. It was very nice.

That night we ate at a place near our hotel called Al’s Beef. Greg got the beef.

I had a chicken sandwich (surprise, surprise) and we shared fries smothered in a chipotle sauce. Normally I can take or leave fries; they’re really not my favorite thing. But I discovered they taste pretty amazing when covered in something this trip! All the food here was very good!

On Saturday we headed in to the city. All of our plans were a little more complicated because the outdoor concert we planned our trip around that night changed venues at the last minute and the rules for the new pavilion were a lot more strict. So instead of taking the train in as planned we drove to a lot where we could stay all day for only $5. It worked out really well.

Our first stop was Navy Pier, because that’s where people go in Chicago. Though I’m not really sure why. That was my second time there and thought it was kind of boring both times. This time was slightly more interesting because we saw a naked man get arrested by about ten police officers a few benches down from where we decided to rest…

I was kind of cranky because my feet hurt so early in the day. With another forecast of storms we were also carrying our coats and umbrellas all day. I wasn’t planning on that extra weight and it was annoying! At least it wasn’t too hot out. Lots of walking, though. I ended up getting 22,000 steps in that day!

We were really stumped on where to eat for lunch. So many choices, but we didn’t want to waste a meal on a bad restaurant. I researched a ton of great places ahead of time and then we got there and realized everything was just too far away. So we made a spontaneous decision to eat at a place called Bub City. I’m glad we did because everything was amazing! We had some stuffed jalapenos for an appetizer – yum. Greg got this super pork sandwich and waffle fries.

I had a turkey club sandwich and delicious tater tots. Everything was sooo good and we were completely stuffed. That was our only meal of the day.
Afterward we walked to the French Market. It was the one neat looking thing I really wanted to do, but it turned out to be kind of a let down. They had a lot of food for sale, but most of it would have needed to be cooked first! So I satisfied myself with a cannoli instead. 

Then back to Millennium Park to see The Bean.

There was a cute little park behind it where we relaxed for awhile. And then it finally started to rain. I was kind of a little relieved that we didn’t carry our gear around all day for nothing!

There was nothing else we were really wanting to do, so we found our way back to the van and rested for about an hour. It was pouring that entire time, so I’m glad we got to a good place for it. Finally we headed out to the Guster/Dispatch concert. The reason we were in Chicago in the first place. I don’t really have much to say about the concert. We were in a crazy long line forever. Umbrellas were prohibited items, so even though it was pouring, all those people had to toss their umbrellas if they wanted to get in. Once inside everyone was immediately drunk. We left after Guster played since that’s all we cared about. And that was Saturday!

On Sunday we (Greg) slept in and then headed home. We stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch and then waited for the boys to come home. They were both very happy to have some afternoon relaxation time with daddy! Anyway, it was a nice little getaway. Overall, Chicago doesn’t really appeal to me and I probably won’t want to go back for awhile, but it was still nice to spend some time with Greg and no distractions. It was a very good anniversary!