Thursday, August 14, 2014

Coll's Birthday

For Collin's fourth birthday this year, all he wanted to do was go visit sharks. Afraid that this might come back to bite (haha, bite...) me after the fact, I asked him from May on if he was sure that's what he wanted to do, since a trip to the aquarium would be in lieu of a birthday party. His answer never changed through all my asking, he wanted to see sharks. Since we've already been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium a few times now, I looked up where we could see sharks at other aquariums. We settled on the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco since it gave us quite a few other fun options aside from just visiting the aquarium since it was in the city.

We left for San Francisco after work on Friday night and snagged Grandma to come along with us. The boys were, of course, excited so I knew that even leaving late they wouldn't be sleeping in the car on the way over and sure enough,  their eyes were wide open the entire trip!

Up until this trip we had Tanner still facing backwards in his carseat. Our pediatrician recommend keeping them rear facing until age two and I figured until he fussed about not wanting to sit that way, I would at least try it out. He has never made so much as a peep about it, and still hadn't on this trip. What he was doing though, was craning his neck around to try and watch the movie that was on above and behind him. We ended up feeling sorry for him since he never moved from that craned neck position and made a stop halfway through the trip to turn him around. It's weird now looking behind me and seeing a row of kiddos all facing forward!

Anyway, we got in late, but that didn't stop the party hat wearing...

...or the jumping on the bed!

The next morning we woke up early, put the party hat back on and made our way out the door! We intended to catch the cable car (since after seeing them, they went straight to the top of Collin's "must-do" list) and head down to the aquarium . We waited a good hour for a chance to ride one of the cars, but because they only have room for a few people at a time, the line was slow moving at best. We ended up giving up trying to get on one near our hotel and walking a few blocks down to a cable car stop at the bottom of the hill where we thought we may have a better chance at getting on. Another half an hour in that line and we were over that idea, vowing to get an earlier start on them the next morning, and walking back up the hill to the hotel to get our car to head out to the aquarium!

The perk to taking our own car to the aquarium? 
Lombard Street!

What San Francisco trip would be complete without a drive down the windiest road?

Anyway, after a quick detour, we were finally out on the Pier and headed towards the Aquarium!

Collin loves Ninja Turtles, like almost any other boy right now, and for his birthday got the Ninja shell he's wearing. It stayed on for all but bedtime most of the trip.

The aquarium has three levels with an elevator that takes you in one huge group from level to level. The first level was just a bunch of neat coral tanks.

The second, had all of the jellyfish and the shark tunnels!

The aquarium was fairly small overall, but I loved it because of these tunnels!

 We had to go through them a few times and the last time we did, they were empty of people...score!

They also had the domes you could stand under inside the tanks like the Aquarium at Legoland. Fun!

The third floor we visited was all hands on. Touch pools...

... and pools where you got to listen to someone explain how the tide pools get their food and then feed the Sea Anemones.

They also had three really friendly river otters that Tanner loved because they would come and play right up against the glass.

After we finished up at the Aquarium we went out to explore the rest of the Pier and ride the Merry-go-Round.

We also saw quite a few street performers. The boys were fascinated by some and terrified of others (usually the people that would stand like statues and then suddenly move). Gotta love San Francisco....

The next day, true to our word, we woke up bright and early for attempt number two at the street cars. This time around, the fog had rolled in and was thick enough that it felt like it was raining for much of the morning. So we stood, in the "rain", at the cable car stop by our hotel. We waited a half an hour or so with no luck and then moved one block down to a cable car line that seemed to have much better luck at getting people on the cars since it was earlier in the line of stops and filled with less people (which left more room for people like us to get on).

We waited a half an hour or so in this line too and had finally (finally!) made our way to the front of the line, when what to our wondering eyes should appear...

...but a broken down cable car that filled us with fear! Ok, fear is a little drastic, but it rhymed. Dread maybe? You see, the problem with a broken down cable car is that it blocks the track for the rest of the cable cars that are still working. The repair truck came in and we continued to wait....and wait....and wait. Until finally, a bus showed up. A bus. Are you kidding me?? This cable car adventure was beginning to feel never ending and we still had a very eager four year old waiting to ride. Anyway, the bus driver was kind enough to inform us that our section of the cable cars was officially closed and that he would give us a free bus ride up the hill to the start of the next open section of cable track. Sooooo, off we went....on a bus.

Fortunately, the boys thought riding a city bus was a pretty fun adventure too!

When we got to the top of the hill, we all unloaded and found that now, instead of being first in line like we were at the stop we were picked up at, we were now twenty-something in line at the new stop. We could see the Pier we were headed to from the top of the hill where we were dropped off though, so we decided rather than waste another hour or so waiting, we would just walk down the hill.

Half way down the hill we found this awesome hook and ladder truck parked outside one of the fire stations (FYI: Hook and Ladder trucks are the best of the best in terms of fire engines here in Boyworld). Major Score!

But even better than getting to look at it?? Getting to sit in it! By chance, the fire fighters came out (they were actually heading out to load into the truck and leave...obviously non-emergency), and opened up the entire truck for the boys to explore!

They even offered to let Collin put on all of the fire gear he's standing next to, but he was happy just being in the fire engine and didn't want to put it on.

The Hook and Ladder truck made our whole cable car fiasco so worth it!

Eventually we made it to our destination for the day: a boat ride around the Bay. We had bought City Passes and this was one of the things included on it. Back when we were visiting San Diego, we had taken a ferry ride that the boys loved, so I figured they would like this one as well. Unfortunately, this boat ride wasn't as short as the Coronado ferry ride they had previously been on and it quickly lost its appeal. Probably not something we'd do again. 

They did enjoy the beginning of the ride though before the novelty had worn off!

After our boat ride we wandered the Pier area and passed by this enormous Sourdough alligator at the Sourdough Bakery. Alligators are Collin's favorite animal so of course we needed to take it home with us.

Fortunately the boys were an easy sell on taking home the much smaller version of the Alligator we had seen in the window!

As our afternoon came to an end, we were still bound and determined to ride one of the cable cars before we left San Francisco.  We finally found a traffic cop who pointed us in the direction of the very start of the cable cars, where they load the empty cars to begin with. After we hoofed our hineys a few blocks...uphill, no less, (this is starting to sound like those horror stories your parents tell about how they used to get to know? Uphill, both ways and in the snow?) we arrived at the very beginning of the cable cars....and another unfortunately long, line! But, this time we were at the start of the cable lines and guaranteed to get on (at least after another very long wait!).

Who's excited to ride the cable cars? This kid! ...And his awesomely coy older brother! ;)

An hour and a half later and we were finally (finally!) on a cable car, yipee!

Long waits in long lines make for some very silly antsy boys.

In this big four year old's mind, I'm pretty sure the wait was all worth it (ask me, Dad, or Grandma and we may tell you a different story), but for Collin, he was smitten with the cable cars!

Our long wait(s) in line for the cable cars got us back to the hotel far past nap time and closing in on dinnertime. We quickly loaded up the boys for the trip back home and in typical fashion of our boys that have had a good time, they fell asleep about two minutes into the drive!

Happy Fourth Birthday Coll-monkey! We love you!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Drew's Tooth

Drew has been waiting for months now for one of his baby teeth to fall out. A few of his close friends have already lost a tooth or two and because of this, we regularly catch Drew wiggling away at his own teeth just wishing they would loosen up and do the same. Well, up until recently, his stubborn little teeth seemed to have had no intention of abiding by Drew's wishes. Each time I would feel them, they remained the same just barely loose teeth that they had been for three or four months. The other day however, when Drew woke up, I noticed that his bottom tooth had turned purple. Surprised, I asked him if he had bumped it. He told me he hadn't (or at least not that he could remember) and I figured that would be his answer, because if he had really bumped it hard enough for the tooth to turn purple, I would have been shocked that I hadn't heard about it in tears when it happened. Aside from the tooth itself being purple, everything in his mouth seemed to be fine, so I decided to give the tooth a few days to see what would happen before I called the dentist. Well, three or four days went by and the tooth hadn't changed from its purple color and it hadn't gotten any looser. At all. So, on Friday I called the dentist and made an appointment for them to look at it the following Monday morning.

Meanwhile, there was weekend fun to be had! So, on Saturday we headed out to Emmie's first birthday party and lo and behold, while swimming and playing in the pool, that darn purple tooth came out!

Drew had finally lost his first tooth! Literally. He lost it somewhere in the pool while swimming around. 

There was a search party, but no luck finding it! He wasn't even sure when or how it fell out, it was just gone!

So, the tooth fairy got a note!
"Dear Tooth Fairy, I lost my lost tooth at the pool. Love, Drew"

The funny part is, because that tooth was just barely loose, we weren't expecting him to lose it. I had planned on having the tooth fairy bring him a two dollar bill when he eventually lost  his teeth, but since his baby teeth seemed (at least to me) rather intent on staying put for the time being, I hadn't run by the bank to pick any up. So the entire time he was jumping around, excited about loosing his tooth, all I was thinking was "Ah! It's Saturday evening and banks are on earth is the tooth fairy going to pull this off?!". Ha! So, the tooth fairy brought Drew a plain old dollar bill this time....and promptly got her hiney to the bank for some two dollar bills in preparation for the next time. ;)