Right after our white and wonderful Christmas with my parents and several siblings and their families in Park City (post coming soon), we did a quick unpacking of snow-clothes, did laundry and re-packed so we could head off to our old stomping grounds in the San Francisco Bay Area for our niece Claire's wedding.
Driving into San Francisco is always a thrill. It's fun that the kids know so many landmarks - "There's the Transamerical building!" "There's the Golden Gate Bridge!" "There's Coit Tower!" All the kids were born while we lived in the Bay Area for almost 7 years and we've been back to visit favorite people and favorite places pretty much every year (if not more often).
After being in the car for so many hours, we felt like walking up and down the signature hills of San Francisco to stretch our legs and the hills and beautiful architecture of the Castro district made a great destination. We all had fun looking for, pointing out, and photographing favorite little details (Liza took about 300 photos).
Here are some favorite little details and shots:
We happened upon this crazy-fun house completely covered in lavish decorations. The kids were enamored with it. So many careful details and so all-out!
Ashton and Isaac took this shot - a telephone pole that has obviously been used for a LOT of posters.
Eliza pointed out how beautiful the sky was and the twins pointed out what cool shapes the wires for the buses make.
Eliza and Isaac simultaneously started singing "Little boxes" when they looked up the hill and saw this:
At the end of our stroll around the Castro, we happened upon a pretty epic playground and had to stop and play a while.
I'll never get enough of the Golden Gate Bridge...
We saw a beautiful sunset on the windy, windy road over to Stinson Beach were the wedding would take place as we headed over to hang out with family and set up for the big day.
Claire's Wedding, Jared's Birthday, and New Year's Eve (all on the same day)
Since the 31st was Jared's birthday, we splurged for a hotel with a swimming pool and big nice all-you-can-eat breakfast with every breakfast food imaginable so we could wake up and have some family fun on the morning of Jared's birthday before heading to the wedding later that day.
After the kids and Jared ate more than I thought was humanly possible for breakfast, I went for a run while they had a great time swimming off some of that breakfast. Then we explored the super-interesting Marin Civic Center nearby, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright who fascinates me and - more importantly to Jared and the kids - featured prominently in the movie Gattaca (lots of good family discussions stemmed from that movie).
Back at Stinson Beach, we had a nice birthday lunch with most of Jared's siblings (why didn't I take a photo?) and then jumped back into helping with wedding stuff for a while before it was time to get dressed for pictures and for the wedding.
After taking all the official family wedding photos (need to get them from someone...), we grabbed the opportunity to get some photos of of our own:
Here's the handsome birthday boy:
It was fun to watch Claire and Evan and the wedding party - such a gorgeous setting and everyone looked so perfect!
Here's the Pritchett family - Jared's sister Katherine, her husband MJ, her oldest daughter Claire, the bride, Evan, the groom, daughter and maid of honor, Sydney, Sydney's husband Dan (so sad we had to miss that wedding). Their son, Will (a big hero of my boys) is on a mission right now. When we lived in the Bay Area, we spent so many holidays and fun times with the Pritchett family who lived nearby and got to watch Claire and Sydney and Will grow up - and learned a lot by watching their family. So fun to be there for this special event.
As the sun went down, we headed up the beach to the little chapel where the wedding would be held. Jared ran around lighting candles and I got to chat with Jared's great sisters and meet more of Evan's family and Evan and Claire's great friends. SO many wonderful people were there.
It was a gorgeous wedding. Claire and Evan make a wonderful match.
Oliver had some serious moves including some breakdancing-style floor spins. He had a circle of clapping adults around him for most of the evening and got SO into dancing. He was one sweaty happy super-cute little guy.
Isaac was also a serious serious dancer. He was dripping wet and still going strong by the end of the evening. He and a second cousin really bonded on the dance floor and couldn't get enough of it.
Just before midnight, we all headed out to the beach, lit up sparklers and sang "Auld Lange Signe" (or however you spell it) as we watched a very impressive fireworks display. It was such a fun and perfect way to bring in the New Year.
SO glad we could be there with all the vast majority of Jared's great family to celebrate this wonderful new union between Claire and Evan along with Jared's birthday and New Years.