Archive | travel

Our Kid-Friendly, Playground-Filled Trip to San Francisco! [Part 2]

IMG_0480 By now I know you have completely forgotten that we ever went to San Francisco… but there is more to share! But first of all — isn’t this such a sweet picture of Elliott and Lena?! I love those two blue-eyed people so much.

IMG_1677 To pick up where we left off, we were on Day 3 of our five-day trip to San Francisco, and our agenda for Saturday morning was to meet up with my college friends Emily and Anthony (who fell in love and got married after we graduated) and their two beautiful girls.

IMG_1691 We got kind of lost on our drive to meet them, though, and decided to check out Lombard Street as long as we were nearby. The crookedest street in the world! I’ve been on some crooked streets in my time, but I have to agree — this one wins.

becca-garber-san-francisco-5 Across the Golden Gate Bridge, a historic moment! We met up with our friends at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, which is a completely amazing place, all structured to delight and engage little minds and bodies.

IMG_1709 This thing they’re all bouncing on was a water-filled “lily pad,” like those water beds from the ’80s. More kids’ museums need to bring this idea back!

IMG_1704 View from the top of the hill outside the museum. We were surrounded by amazing, natural play structures and gardens outdoors, too. becca-garber-san-francisco-3 Streams to play in, giant building blocks that the dads wanted to play with too… you get the idea. It was awesome. Thanks for inviting us, Emily and Anthony, and I hope it isn’t too long before we can all play together again!

The rest of Saturday was a wash because the kids were still recovering from being sick and we all needed some time to curl up with books and take it easy. That afternoon we met up with my college friend Alison at another playground, and she and I got to chat and sip chai while Elliott followed the kids around the playground.

Afterwards we went home and I made pasta and Elliott said, “That really hit the spot,” and meant it, and you know it’s been a good day when you are so tired and full of delicious carbs and just happy.

becca-garber-san-francisco-2 The next morning we were up early to eat breakfast at the Ferry Building before starting a full day of adventuring. I took pictures of the building, shops, and my kids while Elliott waited in line at Blue Bottle Coffee.

IMG_0608

IMG_0475 I bought cheese pastries and apple turnovers for breakfast at Acme Bread, which is famous for a reason.

IMG_0497 Latte, pastries, and a playground on a beautiful San Francisco morning… I could get used to this…

Right after it opened at 10am, we arrived at the doors of the Exploratorium, a science museum along the waterfront in San Francisco. We had been warned that it would be a little too advanced for our young kids, and our friends were right, but Lena and Gil still managed to have a lot more fun than I expected.

It helps to have a science-loving, super playful dad. ;)

becca-garber-san-francisco-1 IMG_0505 IMG_0532 IMG_1730 (1) This face-distorting photo machine had us all in stitches. Also, how fun is it to laugh with your whole family at a mutual, inside joke? Look at Lena’s face!

IMG_0572 After that we met up with our dear friends David and Heather and their boys to go on a boat tour of the San Francisco Bay. We see each other about once a week in San Diego and decided to do almost the exact same trip at the same time — what are the chances?!

IMG_0541 Goodbye for a little bit, San Francisco.

IMG_0543 The island of Alcatraz! After this Elliott and I went home and finally watched Escape from Alcatraz for the first time in either of our lives.

IMG_0558 IMG_0561 Afterward our bay cruise, we decided to get lunch with our friends, so we all hopped on a tram to ride down the waterfront back to the Ferry Building. These crazy kids loved it!

IMG_0592 IMG_1733 Lunch at Hog Island Oyster Co. was out-of-this-world amazing! The chipotle-roasted oysters were my favorite part of the meal… and the bread, of course.

IMG_0610 We had heard so much about a hotel in downtown that has a special discount for members of the military, so we decided to spend our last night there. The Marines Memorial Hotel was great — and so was this free happy hour in the upstairs lounge and the free buffet breakfast the next morning — but overall we loved our cozy neighborhood experience in our AirBnB better.

IMG_1735 On our last evening in San Francisco, we walked down to Union Square and then up to Chinatown at sunset.

IMG_1736 And then we caught the trolley up to Nob Hill! I unfortunately was man-handling the stroller for our entire trolley ride (it would not fit where the engineer insisted I had to fold and store it), but Elliott got to sit on the outside bench with the kids and I think they all had a great time.

We returned after sunset, tired and content, and all managed to share a hotel room that night with no problems whatsoever. A new era in our lives where the kids actually go to sleep pretty much when they’re told and sleep all night!

The next morning we went…

IMG_1758 … to Monterey! The last stop on our list was the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and we met up with our friends again to explore the waterfront and then the aquarium. Both were smaller than I expected (especially after the grandeur and scale of everything in San Francisco), but the wonders of the ocean world were magnificently displayed.

IMG_1772 IMG_1778 “That’s a clown fish!” “Nemo!” “Yes, a clown fish!”

IMG_1783 IMG_1784 This Open Ocean display was my favorite thing in the entire aquarium. It’s so huge, and the fish swim by so fast, disappearing into the depths and darkness for minutes at a time before reappearing, flashing by, and disappearing again. It gave me a greater sense of being in the real ocean than any other display that day.

And that was our trip! Oh, and we picked up a new family member on the way home:

IMG_1992 But more about her later. ;)

3 :: in family, life lately, travel

Our Kid-Friendly, Playground-Filled Trip to San Francisco! [Part 1]

IMG_1563 Last week my family and I did something I have been wanting to do since we moved to California — we went to San Francisco! For a week! It was a dream come true for me to spend so much time in that city and really soak it up, so thank you, dear Elliott, for taking the time off and making it happen.

We haven’t been to San Francisco since our honeymoon (almost six years ago) — and we were only there for half a day on our way between Tahoe and the Pacific Coast Highway. I was thrilled to spend more time eating, walking, and playing our way through the beautiful city.

When we lived in Sicily, we traveled a lot, but it could be stressful, tearful, and limited thanks to having two babies. By contrast, this trip was… amazing. The kids were talkative, curious, full of questions, still happy to ride in the stroller, just old enough to cheerfully skip their naps, and went to bed without complaint around 7:30/8 every night. We had so much fun with them, even on the eight-hour car ride up there and back. Little troopers.

IMG_1570 We arrived in San Francisco on Thursday afternoon (October 1), and we were able to find our way easily to our AirBnB rental apartment in the Mission district. We weren’t sure what we would find, but we loved it! It was huge, and the Japanese artist who owned it charged us less than we would have paid for a hotel room. The kids loved this “tiger pillow” and “polar bear blanket.”

Elliott is very sad that in both these pictures he is on his computer — but in his defense he was researching where we should explore first in our neighborhood… and he came up with this:

IMG_1578 He lead us around the corner and up a street into the beautiful Bernal Heights neighborhood, which felt like D.C.’s Capitol Hill in some ways (beautiful, eclectic rowhouses and lots and lots of young parents and kids) except it was built on a steeeeeep slant, just like the rest of San Francisco. We played at a beautiful neighborhood park for a while and then started walking up and up and up and up…

IMG_1590 … high above the city streets and into Bernal Heights Park, which has a breathtaking view of the city at sunset.

IMG_1586 We had to adjust to the constant breeze and chilly air in San Francisco. I can’t believe that locals call September and October “San Francisco summer” and that it’s usually colder and foggier than this. Brrr!

IMG_1594 On the top of the world! Right at the highest point of the park, overlooking the whole city, we found the most amazing swing we’d ever seen:

IMG_1612 Later, famished, we walked back into Bernal Heights and found a little noodle shop on the main road. Doesn’t this bowl of ramen look like the perfect dinner on a blustery, chilly night? It was!

IMG_1616 We walked the final mile back home, tired and satiated, and then walked into our apartment building to find that Gil had fallen asleep in the stroller! He was sick at the time (and unfortunately had croup for the first three nights of our trip, which was miserable for all of us), which is the only reason he fell asleep in the stroller — he never does that! We all crept around him and whispered, treating him like the baby of the family once again.

FullSizeRender-1 The next morning, I had one goal in my mind: Tartine. I’ve been hearing about this bakery for years, and I was thrilled to find that it was only a mile from our apartment. We packed up and left the loft for an entire day of exploring.

becca-garber-san-francisco-6 Tartine did not disappoint! I waited in line while Elliott and the kids waited outside, and then — miraculously — I snagged a table that was big enough for all of us inside. Lena was so excited to dig into this famous morning bun and delicious Gruyère roll!

IMG_1629 Not pictured: a delicious turkey and cheese melt on top a long, thin slice of real Tartine bread. We savored every bite of that amazing breakfast, and I think I’ll dream about it until I can go back again. I am such a sucker for good bread and deep lattes, so San Francisco and I got along swimmingly.

Also, Gil’s face here is priceless:

IMG_1633 We walked a few more blocks to beautiful Mission Dolores Park, which was calm and peaceful on a weekday. Apparently it is the gathering place for smokers, musicians, and alternative lifestyle-livers on the weekend… which is hard to imagine from these photos!

IMG_1637 We found the second awesome playground of the day there in the park:

IMG_0453 Below: “One for the money… two for the show… three to get ready, and four to goooooo!”

IMG_1638 (1) Also, this is the second of the only two photos that were taken of me the entire week in San Francisco. I guess I was too busy eating my way through the city to pose! (And I am not kidding… “where shall we eat next?” was a constant, happy refrain in my mind.)

IMG_0456 I think this was our fourth playground of the day? We were walking from the Mission district west across San Francisco, and along the way we literally came upon a new playground every half-mile! San Francisco has some of the best playgrounds in an urban space that I have ever seen (except maybe here).

That said, at home in San Diego I walk by playgrounds all the time and say, “No, kids, not right now, we’ll be here tomorrow to meet our friends anyway…” or some other excuse, but in San Francisco Elliott stopped at EVERY. SINGLE. PLAYGROUND. that we passed. Which was 10 playgrounds that first day alone! Dad of the year? Probably.

But he wanted to play on them too! And it made the kids so happy!

And he is — more than occasionally and in all the right places — a total softy.

IMG_0462 IMG_0463 We walked through the famous district of Haight-Ashbury because I wanted to see where the hippie movement started in the ’60s, although everyone said it was pretty grungy. We liked it, though, and some of the architecture and shops were beautiful. We also came across an amazing bookstore where we all wanted to spend about twice as much time as we did!

IMG_0470 But our goal was the California Academy of Sciences, and hopefully before closing time. We kept walking, came to Golden Gate Park, ate a picnic in the grass of one of the meadows, found another playground…

IMG_1651 … with another awesome slide…

IMG_1654 … and then finally dragged ourselves away to the museum. Which was, just as everyone had promised us, completely beautiful!

becca-garber-san-francisco-4 Our favorite part might have been the indoor, climate-controlled rainforest (top left) which also had a deep pool filled with Amazonian fish and animals, and a glass tunnel underneath so you could walk through and let the fish swim over you. We lingered as long as we could, enjoying the beautiful displays of hundreds of animals, plants, and birds.

IMG_1666 We had to get to the Ferry Building, though, because we were meeting my college friend Dan. We hadn’t seen him since our wedding! I failed to get a picture, but we had a great time catching up, enjoying a drink together at Gotts, and exploring the foodie shops of the Ferry Building. Next time we’ll all go flying, Dan!

FullSizeRender-2 That night, my friend Emily’s babysitter came to watch our kids while we went out for a date. We had made a reservation at The Slanted Door, a famous Vietnamese-fusion restaurant in the Ferry Building, but because Gil was still sick, we decided to stay close to our apartment. I found this list of the 30 Hottest Restaurants in San Francisco and discovered the top three were within a few blocks of our apartment. The Mission district is the place to be!

Ultimately we decided on the Old Bus Tavern restaurant, which looked promising and brews its own beer, but in the end we were pretty disappointed with the avant-garde menu. Pictured above: quail eggs. That was the only description, but when they arrived we discovered that they were poached, pickled quail eggs on a bed of salty, spicy fried leeks. Exciting! But ultimately the dishes went too far even for our adventurous palates. Oh well, maybe we’ll get another chance to eat out on a date in San Francisco in another five years!

To be continued in San Francisco – Part 2…

8 :: in family, travel

Into the High Sierras! Our Kid-Free Adventure in Yosemite (Part 2)

IMG_0239 This story picks up midway through our five-day hiking trip in Yosemite. Part 1 is here!

When I left off, we were at Merced Lake High Sierra Camp (HSC) for the night. We slept well, sharing a tent with some roommates we’d had before: an older couple who were traveling by mule train between camps instead of hiking between camps. We really liked them, and we deeply respected their mule wrangler, a tall and dignified woman in her 60s named Sheridan. She’s been leading mule trains in Yosemite for over 30 years!

IMG_0243 At 7am, the bell rang for hot drinks, and everyone gathered outside the meal tent to drink hot coffee and talk. Afterwards we feasted on cream of wheat, eggs, sausage, pancakes, hash browns, and fresh fruit.

IMG_0253 We had the steepest hike ahead of us that day to Vogelsang HSC: 3,000 feet of elevation gain over about 7.5 miles. That morning Sheridan came up to us and said, “My pack mule is carrying a light load. Would you like to give me some extra things in your packs and I’ll carry them for you? I can give them back to you at Vogelsang tonight.”

What a gift! We unpacked everything but the essentials and enjoyed a lighter load up into the mountains that day.

becca-garber-yosemite-high-sierra-camps-5 After a couple of miles, we came to a fork in the road. One trail was shorter but wound through a dry valley, and the other trail was a couple miles longer and steeper over Vogelsang Pass. Which to choose? Sheridan and other veterans of these trails had strongly recommended the latter trail. We finally decided to take the road less taken… or at least more beautiful.

IMG_0261 becca-garber-yosemite-high-sierra-camps-6 We purchased our lunches each day at each camp: two PB&J sandwiches and two pieces of fruit. Today for the first time we got three-layer sandwiches; they knew we had a hard hike ahead of us!

Also pictured here are my moleskin- and duct-tape-wrapped toes. I learned that duct tape works a lot better and actually stays on, so by the end of our trip four of my toes were wrapped in thick silver tape! Trust me, it’s works like a charm. (You just might have to take a long bath before you can get it off.)

IMG_0308 (1) becca-garber-yosemite-high-sierra-camps-7 Just before our final steep climb over Vogelsang Pass, we passed through the most beautiful valley. We lingered there, taking pictures and savoring the flowers and quiet creek.  becca-garber-yosemite-high-sierra-camps-8 IMG_0327 And then we climbed! Well done, Elliott, on the selfie with the big camera.

IMG_0329 That’s the beautiful little valley down below, and Merced Lake is back over those near mountains.

IMG_0335 At the top of Vogelsang Pass, where it was a lot winder and colder than it looks!

IMG_0340 (1) Poor little frogs, so cold they could hardly move!

IMG_0352 Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, where it was unfortunately so cold that we I put on about 4 extra layers and a hat before I could sit outside and read comfortably. 10,300 feet!

IMG_0354 Steak and baked potatoes with all the fixings that night, and some kind of amazing chocolate cake with whipped cream and mint for dessert. Also, for the very first time, Sheridan invited us into her pre-dinner social group with her box of wine (carried by her pack mule) and asked us to sit with her group and another mule wrangler’s group at dinner… so basically we felt like the cool crowd that night.

IMG_0359 Beautiful but very cold sunset! We lit the wood stove in our tent for the first time that night.

IMG_0371 The next morning Elliott fired up the stove again while we got ready for our last hike.

IMG_0372 Beautiful Vogelsang HSC, which by 9am was already warm enough for short sleeves in the sunshine.

IMG_0378 This was perhaps my least-favorite trail of all, unfortunately. The 8 miles wound steadily downward (no uphill relief for your knees and feet) over a powdery, chewed-up trail, and it marched down the center of a valley without much change in terrain. Made me realize how much I enjoyed that challenging, beautiful, varied hike the day before.

However, I also think we were anxious because we knew we were just a couple of hours away from talking to our kids, finding out if they were ok, and putting our minds at ease.

Some of you, I know, might wonder how a young mother can leave her kids for 5 days, be totally out of touch with them, and bear the separation — especially those of you who have young babies and can’t imagine doing such a thing! I will tell you that it wasn’t easy, and I wouldn’t have chosen it myself (although I loved being unplugged otherwise). Sure, I like taking short breaks from my kids, but generally I’m with them most of their waking hours, and they are the dearest people in the world to me. As attached parents go, Elliott and I are pretty attached.

So I chose at the start of the hike to pray every time I thought of Lena and Gil and commit them to the Lord’s care (knowing that we do not know our day or hour to die — or be hurt, or whatever else — and I could not do much about that wherever I was). And after that, I just did not allow myself to think about them any more. Praise God, it wasn’t that hard, and I never descended into panic, although I could feel intense anxiety creeping at the edges of my consciousness before I pushed it away.

I also know that part of our peace came from knowing they had such excellent babysitters. Our parents adore their grandchildren but also know how to say “no,” share our values down to the minutiae, and spend a lot of time with their grandchildren and in our home and so know the kids’ routine and personalities very well. We couldn’t have left them in better hands. Thank you again, parents!!!

IMG_0383 And there I am, done with the hike! We called Lena and Gil shortly after that, and they were headed back from church with my parents and were happily chattering and glad to hear from us. My mom told us that they had been very calm and peaceful while we were gone, didn’t ask about us that much, and knew we were coming back in a few days. Gil even called “Grammie!” instead of “Mama!” when he woke up from his nap, and was proud of that fact.

IMG_0386 And now… on to a much less rustic side of our trip! We spent a night in The Ahwahnee Hotel, a famous old lodge in Yosemite that has housed presidents and queens, and had a deep bathtub, a bottle of body lotion, and a soft robe that I couldn’t wait to enjoy.

IMG_0402 The magnificent Great Lounge on the main floor, where we sat for a long time reading and savoring tea and cookies during the afternoon tea hour. IMG_0404 The facade is famous and blends in so beautifully with the surrounding park.

IMG_0406 My scruffy hiking buddy in the famous Ahwahnee dining room! becca-garber-yosemite-high-sierra-camps-9 The next day we rented bikes and pedaled around Yosemite Valley, exploring trails, reading books, and even seeing our first bear. Poor guy was a teenager and looked pretty scrawny, almost like a dog wandering through the woods.

IMG_0423 (1) We also hiked up to Vernal Falls, which is usually about 20xs larger than this stream coming down the rocks. The California drought is really affecting Yosemite! We sat for a long time on this rock, reading and watching swimmers down below playing in the cold spray.

IMG_0425 At the top of Vernal Falls… more like Vernal Drips. We also saw Nevada Falls above it, equally anemic. Oh well, the hike was beautiful, and we loved those steep, rugged granite rock faces.

IMG_0430 Speaking of which… this was the last photo I took of them before we headed home…

becca-garber-home-from-yosemite … to these precious people. Happy day! Elliott and I feel rich indeed after such a trip and such healthy, happy, cute little people to come home to! Thanks for adventuring with me, Elliott; I hope this is just the first long hiking trip of many we take together.

13 :: in hiking, husband, marriage, travel

Into the High Sierras! Our Kid-Free Adventure in Yosemite (Part I)

Version 2 We’re back from a week in Yosemite… a week with no kids and no cell phone reception! For those who are curious about what we did and how we did it, here is a bit of our itinerary, and also all my best photos.

Our children are now 4.5 and 2.5, and so Elliott and I had been talking about taking a longer trip away, just the two of us. We’ve slipped away before, but never for more than two nights. This time we were dreaming of going for a week or so, maybe out of cell phone reception, and perhaps as far-flung as South America.

The grandparents eagerly lined up to care for the kids; Elliott’s parents came to our house the first three days and my parents took over for the final four days of our trip. Thank you again, wonderful parents, for making this possible!

Eventually we decided to do something rugged, something we couldn’t do with our children anytime soon. We chose the Yosemite High Sierra Camps loop, which is a network of five camps each located about 10 miles apart, and all at about 9,000-10,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of northern California. We chose the option that allowed us to eat a full breakfast and dinner at each camp and sleep in their tent cabins (more about those below), which meant that we only had to bring a daypack with us that held our clothes, toiletries, and books.

And then at 4am on Wednesday, August 26, we took off for Yosemite!

IMG_1128 After eight hours of driving, we arrived and found a place to leave our rental car for a few days. Then we caught the shuttle to the trailhead and started walking. By now it was about 4pm and dinner would be served at the camp at 6:30, so we were glad we only had 2.5 miles to go that evening to get to our first camp.

IMG_1131 IMG_1134 May Lake High Sierra Camp is beautiful, especially because of the quiet, calm mirror of the lake itself right next to the camp.

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IMG_1142 That night we got our introduction to the meals at the camps. Each one was better than the last!

At 6pm the bell rang for hot drinks, and everyone gathered to talk and sip tea, coffee, or hot cocoa. At 6:30 the bell rang again, and everyone filed into the meal tent to share long tables and eat a family-style meal. Dinner always started off with a bowl of homemade soup, freshly baked bread (at 10,000 feet!), and a green salad. Afterwards came the main course (salmon, pulled pork, chicken, steak, spaghetti and meatballs… it changed every night) accompanied by sides like roasted vegetables or rice. And they always served dessert!

That night we slept for the first time in a tent cabin. We always hoped to get our own tent cabin, but they were four- to six-person tents and we never got so lucky! Thankfully we always had great roommates, and with earplugs we didn’t hear any snoring. The cots were comfortable, and we slept in our own sheet sacks between the blankets and pillows that the camp provided.

IMG_1140 Beautiful spot for morning worship by the lake!

becca-garber-yosemite-high-sierra-camps-1 After hot drinks at 7am and then breakfast at 7:30 (hot oatmeal or cold cereal, fresh fruit, pancakes, bacon or sausage, and a large omelet to share… it was ridiculously good food), we set off on our 9-mile hike to Sunrise Lakes High Sierra Camp.

IMG_1147 (1) Along the way we stopped for our last bit of cell phone reception to call our kids for the next four days. A mule supply train walked by, carrying food to May Lake for that evening’s dinner.

IMG_1152 IMG_1155 I waited by this lake for 1.5 hours while Elliott decided to catch the shuttle back to the car, dump a bunch of extra stuff he had overpacked, and get my camera — because my phone battery was dying quickly and I wanted to take lots of photos. A good decision all around, although it set us back on our hike that day.

IMG_0121 This is one of the Sunrise Lakes, which were all so calm and beautiful. This was the hardest day of hiking for me, because the last six miles of the hike were all uphill, and I was really feeling the altitude. That night I woke up to a splitting headache that lasted most of the night, even after I took some Ibuprofen. Thankfully, though, that was the turning point! Afterwards the hiking was smooth sailing.

IMG_0132 Setting off across Sunrise Meadows for our third day on the trails. My naturalist husband loved watching and identifying birds and animals along the way, so this was a familiar pose.

IMG_0134 Gray morning because of a forest fire nearby. Thankfully this is the closest we got to one. becca-garber-yosemite-high-sierra-camps-3 becca-garber-yosemite-high-sierra-camps-4 My husband catching trout with his bare hands on our lunch break! And me by a mountain juniper tree, one of my favorites that I learned to recognize on this trip.

IMG_0187 IMG_0209 IMG_0235 Merced Lake High Sierra Camp was the largest of the five camps, with about two dozen tent cabins arranged in a circle in a meadow. We made friends that night with some hikers our own age from the South, two things which were pretty unusual — everyone else was middle-aged and from Minnesota.

OK, just kidding about Minnesota.

IMG_0231 We spent the afternoon on the beach by the creek at Merced Lake, reading and dozing. Actually, Elliott said, “This photo should be titled, ‘Where Becca took a nap.'” There are few things more satisfying than sleeping, though, after you have finished your hard work for the day and have nothing else to do — no dinner to make, no kids to care for, no work to accomplish — nothing else to do all day… except rest!

And so we did.

More tomorrow from the rest of our hike!

14 :: in hiking, husband, marriage, travel

Sweet Summertime in Virginia

IMG_0009 So we took this trip to Virginia in early July, meaning I am only about a month behind! We flew home to surprise my mom on July 7, then spent an extra week there visiting family and savoring that awfully muggy green gorgeousness of a Virginia summer.

With my mom, we visited a local farm with a carousel, jumped through sprinklers, bravely pulled off band-aids, and rode the neighbor kid’s bicycles:

becca-garber-virginia-summer-1.jpg IMG_0119 becca-garber-virginia-summer-2 We also met Lena and Gil’s first and only cousin for the very first time! Eden, Elliott’s older sister, got married two years ago to Charlie, and their son was born in April. We were thrilled to meet him and spend as much time with him as possible!

IMG_0078 On Saturday morning I took the kids into D.C. to have breakfast at Jimmy T’s Diner with my sister, Emily. She lives a few blocks from where Elliott and I lived when we first got married!

IMG_0396 Later we all met up with our mom and her friend Berta to visit the Kenilworth Gardens in D.C. for the Lotus & Water Lily Festival. I had never seen a lotus in person, and they are so intricate and beautiful. I had also never seen an aunt who got her face painted right along with her niece and nephew… what a sport!

IMG_0211 becca-garber-virginia-summer-6 becca-garber-virginia-summer-3 IMG_0407 Another night, all the Garber siblings (and my sister) met at Jon and Erika‘s new apartment on Capitol Hill for a sibling picnic. Such a magical evening!

IMG_0100 IMG_0408 becca-garber-virginia-summer-4 In between visits to D.C., life at my parents’ house looked like this: wagon rides around the neighborhood and playing with toys on the living room rug. The stuff of childhood that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

becca-garber-virginia-summer-5 And then home again to San Diego and to Elliott, who we missed very much! Lena and Gil waited so patiently until they were buckled in their seats before they could open their backpacks and find the treat (gummy bears, I think) that I had stashed there for them.

IMG_0285 And finally, two great little travelers. I love them so!

IMG_0289 Some of you know that we’ve already made another trip back to the East Coast in the past month, so there is more updating to be done! Plus I’m excited to share my July book reviews, which hopefully will be coming soon with some good end-of-summer reads for you.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

xoxo

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24 :: in DC, family, home sweet home, life lately, travel, Virginia

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