travel

The craziest adventure

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It’s our third day here in San Francisco and it’s already turning out to be an unforgettable trip. SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT, you guys! I’ll try to get as much of it as I can down and we’ll see how far we get.

We started the first day nice and easy, with a late brunch at the Ferry Terminal Farmer’s Market and a stroll along the pier. We were last here 8 years ago on our honeymoon and it felt a little surreal to be back with 3 kids. So much has changed while so much has stayed exactly the same.

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After enough strolling had been done, we hopped on over to Union Square for a little more strolling. Union Square is where it’s at during christmastime. There’s a massive tree, an ice skating rink, street performers, carollers, and a little something known as Winter Walk SF.

Also, there happened to be a Santacon on that very day so we saw hundreds of santas descending upon Union Square all dressed in red + white.

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Day 2 is when things got rapidly out of control. The original plan was to spend the day at Golden Gate Park riding pedal boats but the forecast was all rain and sadness for the entire day so we made new plans to hang out at Fisherman’s Wharf instead. Except that when we got there at about noon, the sky was blue and beautiful, without a single cloud to be seen.

I was all “Hey, the weather looks perfect now, how about let’s rent some bikes to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge? We’ll make our way to Sausalito and ride the ferry back.”

So we did. And I’ll say right now that we’ve done some pretty crazy things over the years but this was by far the craziest of them all.

We picked up 2 bikes – one with a ride-along (for Truett) and another with a baby seat (for Finn) + a trailer (for Kirsten). First of all, on retrospect, this set up is ridiculous. And it’s over 6 miles to haul 3 tiny humans, with 4 daunting slopes uphill. But at that moment, we were like “Yeahhh, this looks like fun and it’s totally doable with our thighs of steel.” I sometimes forget that I’m pregnant and this was clearly one of those times.

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The first five minutes, it was all good. We were cruising along with the wind in our hair and big smiles on our faces. The kids were like “wheee, this is the best day ever!”

Even at the first uphill incline where we all had to get off and push the bikes up (very unglam), everyone was still full of optimism, singing and being all encouraging. “Come on, we can do this!!” they yelled.

The next mile and a half started to get gruelling. The husband was doing all the hard work carrying the 2 small ones along but I was already feeling the exhaustion even with Truett pedalling furiously behind to give me a boost. The singing got gradually softer and nobody was whooping for joy. At some points, I started getting woozy from a lack of blood or oxygen in the brain; not unbearably so, but enough to remind me that I was still very much pregnant.

At the second uphill climb, I could no longer feel my thighs, but I had some adrenaline and sheer determination to keep going.

By the time we got to the third slope, we could see the Golden Gate Bridge just up ahead and it was a magnificent sight. What’s less magnificent is that without much warning, the sky got ominously dark and within minutes, it started pouring. We were stuck with nowhere to take shelter and no raincoats. I considered turning back but we were past the halfway mark and to return would be like that dumb blonde joke where they swam out halfway, got tired and swam back to the starting point.

Thankfully, both Finn and Kirsten could fit in the trailer where it was sheltered and warm. One problem solved. Truett, my rockstar, soldiered on bravely through the rain.

I’ll have you know that this is where I started to question all my choices in life.

Finally, we made it up to the bridge and things got categorically worse. Much, much worse. It was freezing and the wind was so strong that it was like pushing the bike against a very fat sumo wrestler who was just standing there laughing and blocking the way with his enormous ass. I yelled at Tru to hold on to the handlebars with all his might so he wouldn’t get blown off the bridge. He yelled back that he couldn’t because he had lost mobility in his fingers.

The wind was howling, the rain was pelting down hard and fast and I’ve never felt so cold and helpless and miserable and afraid. How about that determination from earlier? There was none left and I just wanted to give up on life.

I felt like Frodo on his trek to Mordor, except Frodo had it easy because he didn’t have 3 cold babies to worry about.

But then, there was the view.

I have no words to adequately describe the view from up there on the bridge. On the left, dark ominous clouds and a layer of thick, terrifying fog that covered the ocean. And on the right, like a light shining out of the foggy darkness was the bay area skyline that takes your breath away.

I don’t know how we got to the end of the bridge but right as we did, the rain stopped, the sky cleared up and it was back to blue everywhere. It was like a special sunshiney Sausalito welcome after a very harrowing ordeal.

We made the final 2 miles to Sausalito in silence, partly because that last stretch was incredibly beautiful and partly because no one could muster the energy for words.

Meanwhile, Finn had fallen asleep snuggled up next to Kirsten in the little trailer. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere for how God takes us through the storms in life, plus it was the most adorable sight to see Kirsten patting her baby’s sleepy head.

This is us having survived the craziest adventure yet.

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from around here

Hey December

December! It’s here!

I’m a December kind of girl, no question about it. My tree is up, lights everywhere, the school holidays are in full swing (I’m really enjoying these leisurely breakfast conversations with my grown up little man Truett) and I’ve got christmas carols on all day. I could do with a whole year filled with Decembers, I really could.

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To kick off the start of a very crazy December, we had a date with Elton John last week.

So you know the husband is full on rock & roll and in the spirit of acquiring shared interests, I was down for gigs to Imagine Dragons, Muse and U2, all in the past few months. Okay, U2 was amazing and Imagine Dragons was surprisingly fun, even though I only knew like 3 songs before the concert. But halfway through the Muse gig (3 hours of floor standing tickets some more), it occurred to me that I was wildly out of place. All these beautiful young people with their cool moves rocking out to Resistance and all I wanted to do was to…sit down right there on the beer-stained floor. And I wasn’t even pregnant then, so it’s not like I can blame the exhaustion on the baby.

Last week, for a change of pace, the husband thought it would be nice to bring his 87-year-old wife (at least on the inside) to something more her scene – Elton John.

I’m accustomed to thinking that I’m too young to be the Elton John type, but as I looked around, I realised that right now, I’m exactly the right sort to be seen at an Elton John concert. Middle aged moms (and also elderly people) doing the dorky mom dance to the crocodile rock.

It was so much fun and I’m embracing it.

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The rest of the month is pretty intense. Year end school concerts, Kirsten is graduating from preschool and in a couple of days, we’ll be heading up to California with the 3 big kids till after christmas. It’s an ambitious endeavour, what with being pregnant and all, but if there’s ever a time to activate my commando travel training, this is it.

I am going to miss this face and his ridiculous bedhead.

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Have a good December, you guys!

pregnancy

Pregnancy talk

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, we need to take some time to talk about this pregnancy.

We’ve known for a while now that we’re going for a fifth baby. Sort of. The conversation gradually shifted from an “OH NO NO NO, NOT GONNA HAPPEN” to a “mmm we can consider talking about this eventually” to a “yeah maybe we can go for it next year” and then suddenly it was “too late, no more talking, it’s baby time!”

Incidentally, when I went for my OBGYN appointment, my doctor was all, “Another baby??!! I should put a self-service ultrasound machine at the corner just for you, you can do this on your own.” Touche.

With every pregnancy, there’s that one moment when it hits you, and you know even before you know for sure. I was out for breakfast with the husband and I stood in line for my favourite fried beehoon. Usually when I’m hungry, I’ll peer at the food while queuing to imagine how nice it will taste, but on this particular morning, I peered at the container of beehoon expecting to taste imaginary rainbows and immediately threw up inside my mouth.

I immediately turned to the husband and said, “babe, we’re having #5.”

“Are you serious???” He clearly thought I was messing with him and he wasn’t falling for it that early in the morning.

“You know I don’t joke about these things. I’m starving but I can’t even look at this beehoon right now.”

The two lines on the pregnancy test later that day was something of a formality, because my vomit meter detection test has a 99.99% accuracy.

At this point, most food smells and tastes like feet. There’s no fun in being able to eat for two when everything my brain tells me I should enjoy actually tastes like stinky socks. I used to believe very strongly that one should make every calorie count, and the food that goes into my mouth needs to be delicious. These days, I have a much lower threshold.

Does this taste like my son’s after-school socks? No? EAT THAT FOOD.

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For more breakfast stories, we were out for breakfast yesterday and at the table next to us was a pair of sisters who were in their teens. I usually try not to eavesdrop…ok that’s not entirely true. It’s super fun to eavesdrop especially when the conversation is fascinating and in this case, it was.

The conversation topics were fairly mundane, but what was interesting was that they seemed to be really enjoying each other’s company. Like best friends just out having a great time.

I’d really like for the kids to have that when they grow up.

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When there’s a new baby in the picture, the transition from being the smallest baby to a big brother is usually the hardest. The bigger kids are like, “there are already so many babies, what’s one more?” but giving up resident baby status, that takes some getting used to.

Although this baby seems rather pleased about the whole situation. I wasn’t sure if he knew what the fuss over the new baby was all about but he’s been pressing his face on my stomach and saying “KISS BABY!!” so I suppose he must know there’s an invisible baby baking in there somewhere.

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He’s a lot like Kirsten, in that he’s got that streak of wanting to grow up sooner rather than later. He’s all “I’m so over being the baby around here, baby Hayley can have fun with that.”

We’ll see how that all works out.