Baby in the Bay

I kind of feel like this is turning into a travel blog, and I…have no real problem with that! I am, however, super behind, but this will hopefully be remedied by the blog accountability club I just set up with my BFF. There is only one tenet we hold to in our club: blog post by Friday! My BFF just made a cross-country move and is working remotely for a law firm while planning two weddings (one in Greece and one in the States!), and I am chasing a tiny angel around all day, so once a week seemed like a good place to start. Here we go!

A few weeks ago we hit a major milestone: baby’s first trip to the Bay! Berkeley will always be such a special place for us: it’s where Eric and I met and fell in love, and where, after only a few weeks of dating, I was already certain that he was the man I wanted to marry and grow a family with. What can I say, he is just the brightest and most brilliant gem of a human being I’ve ever met (tiny angel excluded). It’s where we got engaged and planned our wedding and wrote our dissertations and cooked millions of dinners together in the rain. It’s where we went to football games and museums and parks, where we took day trips and scenic routes and little hikes and exploratory missions, where we put on funny robes and hats and walked across a stage to become PhDs. It’s where we rode trains and buses and bikes and climbed steep stairs to fall into each other’s waiting arms. It’s the locus of love. And also, independently of all those marvelous memories, it’s one of my favorite places on earth.

I haven’t been back to the Bay since before I was pregnant with Micah (on this majestic trip!), and I was thrilled to go back and start showing our baby the wonders of this beautiful place. The only sad part was that our Daddy couldn’t come–he was at a meeting in Berlin. However, as with our trip to Memphis, the timing was in our favor–being with family in the Bay kept me from shouldering all of the childcare while Eric was away. We missed him so much, but would probably have missed him even more if we’d been at home. I am happy to say, though, that all three of us will be back in the Bay together twice in October! What wonderful life is this?

The reason for the trip was a happy one: for years and years and years my dad has taught a course in San Francisco, always during the week of my birthday. When I lived in Berkeley, my parents would both come every year, and we’d party it up. This was even more fun when my brother also moved to San Francisco. As soon as I found out the dates that the course would be held, I invited myself on the trip. As I have mentioned before, I am very good at inviting myself on my parents’ vacations. We found out about the Berlin trip shortly after that, so I booked a flight just for myself and my tiny companion.

This was my second solo trip with Micah, and I wasn’t too worried about it for two reasons: 1) flying out of Burbank is a dream, and 2) it’s a really short flight. While I am sure I looked like something of a clown car (wearing baby, pulling suitcase, pushing stroller topped with carseat topped with diaper bag), it all went very smoothly. Thank goodness! However, be warned, airlines now charge $100 if your bag is over 50 pounds. Even if it’s just by a little bit! Thankfully, they will let you put stuff in your carry-on to avoid the charge, and that is how I came to fly home with a diaper bag crammed so full I was afraid to open it and a stroller zipper pouch full of Peet’s coffee. Whatever works!

On to our adventures: on Friday we met up with my parents at the airport, much to Micah’s glee, got checked in, and headed over to my brother’s place. I sadly took no pictures of our dinner at Pizzeria Delfina, for it was deeply delicious, if punctuated by a lot of walks up and down the street with periodic little exclamations of “Bear!” because someone very adorable thinks that dogs are bears.

IMG_3454On Saturday we drove over to Half Moon Bay, a lovely little town on the coast that I hadn’t been to in years and years. My dad and my brother had driven over earlier that morning to buy a huge salmon straight off a fishing boat, and my dad had scoped out this pumpkin patch that he thought I might like. Sweet sweet. Half Moon Bay has a huge pumpkin festival in October, and it looked like they were gearing up for it. The traffic is so treacherous that weekend that I’ve never been…but perhaps someday we can sneak into town a few days early and stay locally to avoid the standstill on 92.

Spring 2011 224Just for fun, here’s a picture of us at the Half Moon Bay tidepools in 2011, a few months before we were married. Babies!

IMG_3455About an hour before lunch, I was ravenous, so I ate BOTH of these cookies with a huge Cappuccino. YOLO.

IMG_3466This did not stop me from eating fish tacos a few hours later at a little brewery by the water. Magnifique. We met my brother and sister-in-law and her parents there, and they brought me flowers and Russian chocolates for my birthday. So sweet!

IMG_3467That night my brother cooked the salmon in herbs de provence, and it was unreal. I don’t even particularly like salmon, but it was incredible. And, of course, there was cake.

IMG_3469And what would a trip to the Bay be without some time in Berkeley? Here we are at the original Peet’s on Vine in North Berkeley. There were a bunch of old gentlemen playing guitar outside, a fall breeze was blowing, and the scent of coffee was in the air. Heaven. It was like coming home.

IMG_3474We took Micah to campus to see some of my friends and professors and meet a fellow Slavic baby boy: ten months, and as cute as the day is long.

IMG_3482My sweet and awesome parents pushed the babies around campus so I could catch up with my friends.

IMG_3485We wore ourselves out with a trip to Berkeley Bowl (o land of glorious wonders!), and then we headed back down to the peninsula. We had hoped to make it over to Rockridge, my old stomping grounds, for a cup of coffee at Cole, but…next time! Thankfully, next time is coming very soon.

IMG_3502On Tuesday we had lunch in Burlingame and headed up to Golden Gate Park, where someone very cute did not want to wear his hat.

IMG_3508The weather was prefect, breezy and crisp and enough to make anyone fall in love. I am always amazed that every time I go I end up finding something I’ve never seen before. This time it was the dahlia garden, gorgeously blooming, tucked along beside the conservatory of flowers. And the carousel! Which was heartily enjoyed by our little tiger.

IMG_3530On Wednesday while my dad was working, my mom and I had lunch with Micah at Plant. Delicious, as evidenced by these meager morsels of food left on our plates.

IMG_3531We had a mission that day: baby shoes! Micah’s feet are wide and, as Eric says, look like little dinner rolls. Getting them properly fitted with walking shoes was one of the more adorable errands I’ve ever run.

IMG_3535Big boy wearing big boy shoes! This child, he brings us immeasurable joy.

IMG_3545The next day we took the train into the city (holding a BART card in my hand! Oceans of memories!) to go to the Mission. The neighborhood and the actual Mission, which, unbelievably, after all those years in the Bay, I had never actually visited.

IMG_3549Inside the chapel. I travel so differently with Micah. I definitely don’t take as many pictures as I used to. I don’t even bother bringing my real camera (an awesome Canon Powershot that Eric gave me for our first (dating!) anniversary six years ago). I don’t collect as much ephemera, and heavens knows I’m years behind on my scrapbook. But seeing beautiful things like this with my precious boy in my arms, the sweet smell of his baby hair perfuming every experience? I would not trade it for anything in the world.

IMG_3582After the mission we walked over to Tartine, where I had the croissant of my dreams, tried my mom’s chocolate rye tart, and only had a little bit of my cappuccino spilled by my curious baby. A great success! With a side of Cheerios for our little explorer.

IMG_3565We let him stretch his legs in the sunshine at Dolores Park, where he befriended everyone while pushing his stroller through the grass. Adorable.

IMG_3567And we saw way too much beauty to photograph.

IMG_3580Then we boarded the train again to head up to Britex Fabrics in Union Square, a place I have always wanted to visit. Four stories of fabric and notions! Paradise! Our tiny angel slept in the Ergo while my mom and I ogled cottons and wools and buttons and zippers.

IMG_3573Not pictured in this photo are the wooden ladders they use to reach the fabrics at the top. Ladders!

IMG_3578Buttons and crystals!

IMG_3579Zippers and binding! All those pretty colors made me anxious to sew pillows and quilts and dresses.

IMG_3581After a lovely dinner with my brother and sister-in-law, we headed for bed and a low-key last day in town. I somehow have no pictures of that day, but here is what I remember: a stroll through Anthropologie in Burlingame, my mom asking me if I wanted a cup of coffee, to which I replied, “I would MARRY a cup of coffee,” a wonderful chat with my parents in the sunshine, a marathon of stair-climbing in the hotel, a quiet dinner, an early bedtime, a morning dash to the airport. My parents got off the airport shuttle first to go to a different terminal, and we got off to kiss them goodbye. As soon as we got back on the shuttle and Micah realized that they weren’t with us anymore, he burst into tears. Poor sweet baby!

IMG_3570After the aforementioned suitcase drama, we spent a long time hanging out at the meteorology-themed playground at gate 87 (What?! I love you, SFO!) and flew on home to wait for our Daddy’s arrival from Berlin. It was a wonderful week, just too short! San Francisco, we will be back soon!

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