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San Francisco

I’ve Been In Love With Love

It has been forever since I have been able to write an update. Part of it has been intentional as we took some time for a few family get aways and then part of it has just been life taking over.

At the end of June we decided to take Grace on her biggest trip to date. Since it was in part a work trip for me, we decided to have Nolin spend a week with Grammy & Pap Pap in Pennsylvania while Grace & Jenn and (occasionally) me got to explore one of Jenn’s favorite cities…San Francisco. Continue reading “I’ve Been In Love With Love”

Nolin and The City

It has been a few days since we got back home from our San Francisco trip and while the trip was absolutely amazing I think we are still recovering from the time change. Luckily we did not have any major plans this weekend, so we have all been able to slowly readjust.

Its a funny thing that you can go to the other side of the country and have a chance to see so many people that you know from all over. It started when we arrived on Saturday. Jenn went to class, Nolin and I meandered the Union Square area walking through a Yemen protest group, a few homeless people screaming at the sidewalk and a park in the middle of the city. Apparently, I strongly believe in giving Nolin a fully cultured experience. I will say that I think that Nolin will be a city kid when he grows up. There was so much going on so Nolin’s curiosity was on overload. He loved just being outside and watching the city life pass us by.

Once Jenn got back we went down to the pier to meet up with her cousin Michael’s family from Boston who was ending a vacation the next day. In the veign of fully cultured experiences we ate at an organic vegetarian restaurant and while to a meat and potatoes guy that sounds terrible, it was actually very good.

The next day during Jenn’s break, we met up with her cousin Amanda who is currently studing at the Defense Language Institute in Monetery. We walked about 250 miles (maybe really only 4 or 5, but it was all uphill so it was close to 250 miles for me) to visit China Town, Lombard Street, Little Italy and the Sea Lions at Fisherman’s Wharf. Nolin was a fan of the Sea Lions, but the carousel ride I am not sure about.

As we made our way back to the hotel, Jenn headed back to class and we noticed via Facebook that Brandi, our friend who now lives in Atlanta, just happend to be in San Francisco visiting for a few days. She was actually staying just a few streets over from us. Thank you Facebook for making sure that no matter where in the world you are, you can still know exactly what all of your friends are doing. After catching up for a few hours, we headed back to the hotel for an early night and a well deserved sleep. Nolin crashed as soon as we got back.

The next day, Nolin and I made our way towards the pier and met up with my friend Sarah from college for lunch. It was great to have a chance to catch up with her and introduce her to Nolin. Even more exciting was to learn that Sarah and her husband are expecting. She had to get back to work, so Nolin and I took some different roads and explored some more, but finally ended up again at Union Square park so that Nolin could chase all of the birds and eat his own lunch.

That evening for dinner we met up with Jenn’s friend from high school Jason and his wife who are also expecting their first child in two months. It was a fantastic dinner at an organic brewery in which we just spent most of the night talking and Jenn and Jason catching up after not seeing eachother for about 15 years. Once again thanks to Facebook, they were pretty up to date with eachother’s lives.

Tuesday was our last full day in San Francisco and our one full day together as a family. We rented a car and made our way towards the Golden Gate Bridge. I have to say that there is something about being that close to the bridge that is incredibly impressive. After the obligatory photo shoot around the bridge, we made our way to Sausalito, Muir Woods and then around Marin County. We all agreed that it was kind of like heaven. With the incredible mountains, the water, the bridge and the city all in view we realized why people go to California and never leave.

Unfortunately, on Wednesday we had to head back home and leave our mini-vacation behind. As we were lugging way too much luggage through the train station I heard my name and looked up. Marta, another friend from college was also in the train station heading to Union Square. Completely random, but very cool to be able to quickly catch up with her. This time our layover was in Salt Lake City which is another city we will probably have to add to the list to visit. Although a little bumpy, the rest of the flight was good and Nolin was a trooper.

Getting home at 1:30 am and then having to work that day…well that was not as cool, but it was worth it. It is not very often that I get to spend an extended amount of time with just Nolin and myself and I am very grateful for that. We have a very cool kid and couldn’t be any luckier and I am looking forward to many more family vacations to come.

The San Francisco Treat

Nolin, one day I am pretty sure you can be the President if you want to be, but I will get into that a little bit more later.

It was Friday afternoon, when Jenn and I semi-frantically made our way to airport for our trip to San Francisco. I feel like my travel stories always start with the word frantic when talking about travel these days.  They shouldn’t because we never seem to have any problems, but I guess a child is that unknown which gets you a little more edgy when traveling.  This trip though had some new added elements from our previous trips which could make for an interesting journey: a layover, a flight time of over 5 hours (on one leg) and the fact that we were not arriving until midnight (3am east coast time)…fingers crossed.

We got Pancake dropped off at our friend Cassie’s house, and made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare.  Only thing missing was Nolin’ birth certificate (sent away for his passport) or his shot records (left at my office…sweet) so that we could have him added as a lap baby.  No worries because apparently no one questions the fact that Nolin is our child and just added him to the ticket.

We got to Atlanta ready to get something to eat with our 2-hour plus layover.  We went to Chili’s and didn’t get their world-famous baby back ribs and apparently shouldn’t have eaten anything else there either.

As we made our way to the gate we heard an announcement that they were overbooked and needed volunteers.  Jenn quickly asked me to run over there and check it out.  It turns out that rather than arriving in San Francisco at midnight we could get there at 10:30 am on Saturday, get $800 in credits with Delta, a hotel room for the night (saving a $200/night San Francisco hotel room which technically we really wouldn’t be there for anyway), and meal vouchers for breakfast and lunch.  SCORE!  Did I mention that we also wouldn’t have to have Nolin on a plane until 3am.  Somebody out there must really like us a lot.

We made our way to the airport the next morning and got on the plane.  It is a funny thing when you start boarding a plane with a small child…everyone looks at you with sheer terror hoping that you don’t sit by them.  They have a smile on their face that gets exponentially bigger once you pass by them.

We made our way to our seats and found we were sitting next to the ice queen.  Her smile didn’t get any bigger when we sat down beside her because she didn’t have one in the first place…this is going to be a long trip I thought to myself.  Nolin quickly started making fans of everyone sitting around us. He was laughing and smiling and putting everyone in a good mood except the ice queen.  Nolin accidentally bumped the ice queen and we got the death stare. With a quick cold shoulder, she turned around to sleep and took half of Jenn’s seat in the process causing Jenn to have to hold her arm up in the air.  Awesome.

Nolin slept for about an hour during our trip. Then about two and half hours into the flight something amazing happened…the clouds parted and the ice thawed.  It started with the ice queen saying, “He is a good kid.  I sat next to a kid on another flight and he screamed the whole time”.  Then she didn’t stop talking the rest of the flight.  She even let Nolin crawl all over her to look out the window (at one point he spit up on her a little bit, and she didn’t care).  She talked to us about adoption, about how to cut his hair and why she thought he was going to be a very smart kid.

So Nolin, I don’t want to give you a big head (at the 75% I think we are alright in that department), but you have a way of making everyone around you smile and instantly making them your fan.  This is why I can’t get enough of being around you and why I am convinced that one day you may be President of the United States (if you want to be).  It’s a true gift you have my son and one that I hope you never lose.

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