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“Just ride around in buses and trains and cable cars”

Aaron and I recently went to San Francisco to see an aunt who was in town visiting, and he was really disappointed about not being able to go on a cable car. Adam was at school at the time, but hew knew that we went and that planted a seed that made him beg to go to San Francisco over the weekend.

“What do you want to do in San Francisco?”
“Just ride around in buses and trains and cable cars.”

That’s my boy. He also wanted to go back to the Cable Car Museum and to the new Transbay Terminal park where they have a fountain that activates along a path whenever a bus passes beneath it. With all these things in mind we mapped out a plan.

First up, we decided not to take the stroller. It was the first time taking both boys into San Francisco without it, so we were a little nervous, but we managed to keep walking to a minimum and relied on public transit. We took BART into the city and got off at Embarcadero Station where we picked up the California Street cable car. Aaron and I rode on the outside of the car while MJ and Adam rode inside for the first half of our ride. Once some people got off, MJ and Adam joined us on the outside and then we hopped off at the stop just down the street from the Cable Car Museum.

From there, we walked over to the new Rose Pak MUNI Metro station in Chinatown, during which we got to wave to several cable cars coming by!

We took the Metro from Chinatown back downtown where we then walked over to Jeffery’s Toys, which was sadly going out of business. We picked up a couple trinkets and then got lunch at a nearby California Pizza Kitchen that we sometimes went to when MJ and I lived nearby.

Right after lunch we stopped at the Ghirardelli ice cream shop at the corner of Market and New Montgomery for a couple sundaes.

After lunch we hopped on a PCC street car for a couple stops down Market and then made our way to the Transbay Terminal where we spent some time playing and watching the bus fountain until it was time to take our last exciting type of transit: a bus! It would take longer, but the boys really wanted to take a bus, and MJ found an AC Transit Transbay bus that we could take across the bay, through Alameda, and concluding at an Oakland BART station, which we’d then take back home. The plan was a hit for all of us. It was a nice and comfortable bus which was enjoyable to take, and Aaron fell asleep on me during the journey, so clearly he was comfortable!

That Sunday was quite rainy, and our only journey was to a thrift store to pick up a small filing cabinet to try and contain some of Adam’s school papers which had been increasingly taking over our house. During Aaron’s nap, Adam and I made a trio of custom shirts for Valentine’s Day!

Later in the afternoon, we made some banana bread and then some popcorn to enjoy with our stuck-indoors, movie-driven afternoon.

Speaking of movie-driven, I went to see a movie! I realized recently that something that would help a lot with life balance and mental health would be taking some time for myself. It may seem obvious, but our life is just so busy and we’ve been very reserved about hiring babysitters, only really doing it when absolutely necessary. Part of this is just a holdover from the pandemic, we haven’t adjusted our habits or repopulated our babysitter pool. But taking some time for me to go out, meet with friends, or just go to the record store on my own is so important. So last week I walked over to The Chabot theater, our local, historical, single screen theater and saw Argylle. It was so much fun! I also made some time to stop by my local record shop, and then over to the library where I picked up a couple books.

Last weekend celebrations began for the Lunar New Year. Adam had some celebrations at school to observe it and he was pretty excited, so I searched for some local events and found a lion dance event and crafts right nearby at our local library! So the boys and I first made our regular stop at the local farmers market, and then continued on our journey to the library where we met up with our au pair and her friend, and made it just in time for the dance to begin.

When that concluded, we made our way over to the children’s section of the library where they had celebratory crafts. Predictably, Aaron loved the crafts and Adam wanted to explore the rest of the library and check out a couple books. Around 11:30 MJ picked us up so we could go to lunch.

Before the sun rose on Sunday MJ was off to the airport for a business trip. That morning the boys and I went to the local Japanese Gardens. The boys love the gardens, they’re beautiful, have rocks to climb, and they can see fish and turtles in the water features. From there, we were off to lunch at our favorite local restaurant. Unfortunately, Aaron turned out to be terribly annoyed that we did the gardens instead of a playground, so we rectified that later in the afternoon by going to another park, this time with a playground.

Once all park needs were satisfied for the day, it was time to go home for the Super Bowl! We don’t really watch football and I can barely follow along, but Super Bowl Sunday is basically a holiday in the United States, and it turns out I really enjoy celebrating things with the boys. So we turned on the game, had snacks, chicken tenders, and little bagel bites. And we made and decorated sugar cookies. I guess making cookies isn’t a traditional Super Bowl thing, but the boys weren’t really going to watch the game and we needed something fun and different that we could do with the TV on aside from the regular playroom activities.

Then the game went into overtime right when I was supposed to start getting the boys ready for bed – oops! As a result, I was actively putting Aaron to bed as 5 minutes were left on the clock, and returned just in time to see Kansas City triumph over San Francisco. Adam was adorably disappointed because he knew San Francisco is “his” team, but he got over it within about 30 seconds and the subsequent bedtime routine went smoothly.

The week ahead promised to be very sugar-filled with a little birthday celebration for a friend and Valentine’s Day! We also have a week off from school coming up.