In mid-July one of my closest childhood friends and her three kids drove out to stay with us for several days. Lori Jo's kids are 10, 12 and 14 and had never been to San Francisco. We were super excited they wanted to come stay with us and we made sure to give them the full tour!
Lee's first trolley ride The Leonards arrived on a Wednesday evening and as luck would have it, we didn't have scouts that night so we were able to have dinner together and enjoy our backyard. Lee even made three kinds of ice cream in preparation for their arrival. We had to work on Thursday but helped get them situated for their big day in the city: Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf and the Wax Museum. We then met them for dinner on the Wharf (the kids just couldn't get enough)! The kids stepped out of their comfort zones and tried all sorts of new seafood before we hopped on the cable car. The weather was typical that evening for San Francisco in July (cold, foggy, damp) and despite my warnings of just how cold SF can be in the summer they were not prepared! Nor were all the other tourists and the line to catch the cable car from Ghiradelli Square to Powell street was short! We hopped on and the kids loved waving at the pedestrians as we headed downtown. This was also Lee's first cable car ride. We spent a few minutes at Union Square and then head back to Ghiradelli for not ice cream but hot chocolate before calling it a night and heading home.
Drew got special treatment at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company We took Friday off and really packed it in. Andrew (age 12) has been in Chinese school for the last 6 years so a visit to Chinatown was a must. The kids loved wandering in and out of the shops and the owners were all very surprised when the young white kid could speak to them in Chinese. The highlight of the morning was when we went to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company and Andrew started speaking in Chinese. The man then invited Andrew back to write a couple of his own fortunes, asked the woman making the fortune cookies to stand up and showed Andrew how it's done. Then Andrew got to make a few of his own. It was very cool! We ended our time in Chinatown with lunch at the R&G Lounge.
Golden Gate Bridge After Chinatown we made our way to the Golden Gate Bridge, but first stopped for the kids to walk up and down Lombard street. After a chilly walk on the bridge we decided to go to Muir Woods. Lee and I hadn't actually ever been to the main entrance so it was fun to do that with them. We did the short 2 - 3 mile loop that takes you through three gorgeous groves of redwoods. Loved it! We then headed back home via the city so we could introduce them to Smitten, our favorite ice cream in the city!
Muir Woods Saturday was a little lower key. We slept in, exercised and then packed lunches and headed to Half Moon Bay. As expected, it wasn't a warm or pretty day at the beach. BUT we were still so very lucky! As we pulled into the park (Venice Beach State Park) the ranger told us that there were Humpback whales out in the bay. And boy were they! They put on quite a show. They flapped and slapped their fins and their tails AND a couple even breached multiple times. It was AMAZING. In all our years living here we have never seen such whale activity, especially from the shore. It was awesome. Perfect afternoon!
FUn in the Stanford Fountains Sunday was our last day with the Leonards. After attending sacrament meeting we drove up to the Oakland temple grounds and walked around and spent time in the visitor center. It was a beautiful and inspiring morning. After lunch and a little downtime at our house we took them over to Stanford campus. Lee gave them the full tour which ended up also being a tour of the Stanford fountains. It was a hot day and when Hadley and Drew jumped into the fountain outside of the bookstore to cool off Lee decided we would take them to the one outside the library. Nearly all of us joined in but some of us got wetter than others. ;) Lori Jo's 12 year-old self attempted to push me in and failed; she instead went for a swim. Good times.
We had SO much fun with the Leonards. We enjoyed being tourists and having a full house for a few days. We hope they come back soon. The pictures from their visit are here.