Saturday, 5 January 2013

Little Adventures: 2012 Recap

It's the start of a new year and that means it's time to look back on what the last year held.

2012 was quite a busy year for us with so many new things and lots of adventures. Most of those adventures were small ones around the Bay Area and a few saw us heading further afield.

Let's have a look back at the Little Adventures that kept us busy at Little Hiccups over the last 12 months...


January

We started off 2012 with a day trip to nearby Limantour Beach on New Year's Day. A trip to the beach in January for us would usually mean a day of swimming, body boarding and hiding from the sweltering heat under some form of shade. Of course, here in America it's Winter in January so this trip to the beach was very different from what we're accustomed to. No swimming, no body boarding, no sweltering heat. I must say I'm happy about that last bit! I'm not a fan of hot weather.

Cheesy family shot at Limantour Beach


Ava and Kim on Limantour beach

Lola on Limantour Beach


More Little Adventures after the jump...




February

In February we celebrated Ava's 5th birthday. As a special treat we took the girls to the San Francisco Zoo. They enjoyed seeing all of the animals and had fun posing with the fun pictures dotted around the zoo. You can see the full story here.

Lola and Ava with the flamingos


In February we visited Habitot Children's Museum here in Berkeley for the first time. The girls had so much fun that we signed up for annual membership on the spot and it has become one of our favourite places to visit - especially on rainy days. You can find the full story here.

Little astronauts - the space ship has since been replaced with a fire truck


One day in February we happened to have a Zipcar (I can't remember what for) and we decided to take an impromptu trip down south to Santa Cruz. We arrived late in the afternoon and headed straight to the Beach Boardwalk, a beachside amusement park - and (more importantly) the setting for much of the 1980's classic The Lost Boys. We went on a few rides, ate horribly oily amusement park food and took in the sunset over the beach. You can find the full story here.

Spinning at the Beach Boardwalk

Lola at the Beach Boardwalk

Ava protecting the beach at Santa Cruz


March

In March we had friends visit from New York. We did all the touristy things in San Francisco during the week - rode a cable car, saw the sea lions at Pier 39, ate clam chowder in bread bowls at Fisherman's Wharf, got our chocolate fill at Ghirardelli, took in the sights (and tastes) of Chinatown, hugged hearts in Union Square... On the weekend we travelled a little further afield to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. We didn't do any wine tasting - our group consisted of one pregnant person, one breastfeeding person, two designated drivers and three children - but it was nice to be in the beautiful countryside. The wine regions of California really do feel just like the wine regions back home in South Australia. We also visited Old Faithful Geyser of California and the Petrified Forest at Calistoga.

Cable car ride with our friends from New York

Ava at Old Faithful Geyser of California 

Lola in the Petrified Forest, Calistoga


In March we also visited the Little Farm in Tilden Park here in Berkeley. The girls enjoyed feeding celery to the cows, sheep and goats. You can see the full story (as well as a few other places to visit in Tilden Park) here.

Ava feeds a goat at the Little Farm


April

In April we took our first weekend trip away since arriving in America. We headed down south to Monterey where we spent a day visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Dennis the Menace Park. On the way to Monterey we stopped by Roaring Camp Railroad for a ride on a steam train through the towering redwoods. You can see our visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium here and Dennis the Menace Park here.

Cheeky fun at Roaring Camp Railroad

Ava at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Lola at Dennis the Menace Park


May

In May we went to Dolores Park in the Mission District to celebrate the Mexican festival Cinco de Mayo. The highlight of our visit was the newly opened playground in the park. It has to be one of the most amazing playgrounds we've ever visited. You can read about it here.

Ava at the playground in Dolores Park


In May we visited Lawrence Hall of Science here in Berkeley. The girls had fun making and flying rockets in the Ingenuity Lab, played in the Kids Lab and met all sorts of reptilian and creepy crawly friends in the Animal Discovery Room. You can see our visit here.

Little NASA engineers at Lawrence Hall of Science


The most exciting part of May was a visit from my parents. They stayed with us for a week and we took the opportunity to do lots of sightseeing in San Francisco while they were here with us. The highlight of our sightseeing was our visit to Alcatraz. Ava was terrified to begin with (she knew it had been a jail) but ended up loving it - as we all did. I can't believe that I never wrote a post about our trip to Alcatraz. I must rectify that soon!

Lola checks out the view heading to Alcatraz

Let us out!

Playing tourist with Mamma and Papa


In late May I shared my birthday with the Golden Gate Bridge. Once of us turned 75. It wasn't me! We celebrated together at Crissy Field and had a lovely day. 

Playing in Crissy Field

Celebrating my birthday with the bridge


June

In June Ava finished pre-school and started her loooong Summer vacation. We spent a lot of our time working on craft activities at home and hanging out in Berkeley's many playgrounds. We also fit in trips to the California Academy of Sciences, the Exploratorium and its (now former) home the Palace of Fine Arts. Oh, and a quick visit to Sacramento.

Kim and Ava at the Exploratorium

Ava and Lola at the Exploratorium

Lola at the Palace of Fine Arts

Ava at the Palace of Fine Arts


July

One of the highlights of July was taking part in the Color Run. We had so much fun we can't wait to do it again this year. You can see our colourful day here.

After the Color Run


This month also saw us celebrating our first 4th of July. We spent the day at the Berkeley Marina taking part in the festivities. In the evening we watched the fireworks displays in San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland from our (completely packed) roof top garden. You can see our first 4th of July here.

Happy 4th of July


In July we visited the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park to see the Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition. It was certainly an interesting exhibition and the girls were quite excited about the talking mannequins with moving faces. You can see them here

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier 


August 

The last month of Summer was a busy one. Adventures in the worlds of art, sport, science and animals kept things interesting. First up the girls and I visited San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). I made up a simple activity pack for Ava to keep her interested in the artworks. This featured colouring sheets of paintings on display and a checklist of paintings, sculptures and photos for Ava to find. This paired with her very own audio tour kept Ava more than interested in the museum.  You can see our visit here.

Ava checks out the modern art in San Francisco


Later in the month we rode our bikes to Oakland's Jack London Square for the annual Pedalfest bike festival. We had a great time trying out crazy bikes, watching the riders in the Whiskeydrome, listening to the bands on the pedal powered stage and eating bike churned ice cream. You can see it all here.

Ava and Lola on a crazy home made bike


The very next day we went to our first baseball game as a family. We watched the Oakland A's beat the Cleveland Indians at the Oakland Coliseum. We all had a fun day and Lola has been chanting "Let's go Oakland" ever since! You can see our day at the ballgame here

Let's go Oakland!



To round out August we visited Curiodyssey at Coyote Point south of San Francisco for our fill of science and animals. Part hands on science museum, part zoo, all fun!  You can see our visit here.

The girls get to know an American possum - not quite as cute as the possums back home!


September

September was our busiest month yet with our two biggest adventures: a road trip to Disneyland and a short but sweet visit to Italy - all within the space of two weeks! As you can imagine the girls loved Disneyland and are already planning their next trip! Lola has been obsessed with Mickey Mouse ever since. You can see our Disneyland adventure here and here.

Ava and Lola meet Pluto

Meeting Minnie Mouse with my sister Kylie


One week later and Lola and I were on our way to Italy for a whirlwind four day trip for a friend's wedding in Tuscany. It was absolutely bellissimo! If only it had been longer. You can read about our Tuscan adventure here

Lola and I outside the walled medieval village of San Gimignano

Lola at Fattoria di Rignana


October

In preparation for Halloween we headed north to Petaluma and visited a pumpkin farm. As well as choosing the perfect pumpkins for our jack-o'lanterns we had fun climbing hay bales, playing in a sandpit of corn kernels and getting lost in a corn maze. Ok, so we didn't actually get lost. 
While in the area we also visited an apple orchard and picked our own sweet, juicy apples. You can see our pumpkin picking here and our apple picking here.

Pumpkin picking in Petaluma

Apple picking in Sebastopol


November

November was a pretty quiet month for us adventure-wise. We were mostly kept busy with Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations. Kim spent a weekend in Las Vegas with friends from home but as they say "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" so I don't have anything to share! 
While Kim was away the girls and I did a little sight seeing along San Francisco's waterfront. Can you believe that we'd been here just over a year and never walked along the Embarcadero south of Market Street? We also visited AT&T Park (home of the World Series champions SF Giants) for the first time when it was opened up for a science festival. A few weeks later we were back again for Red Bull Flugtag, watching the crazy home made "planes" plunge into the cold waters of the bay.

Ava and Lola in San Francisco

Ava and Lola in San Francisco
   

December

December was mostly filled with Christmas themed adventures with a trip to a Christmas tree farm, fun in the "snow" here in Berkeley and a visit to a giant gingerbread house.

Ava has been eager to go to the snow since we took her to the Victorian ski fields back in 2010. We haven't had a chance to make it to the snow again since then but we were able to give the girls a little taste of a Winter wonderland when snow came to Berkeley in early December. Ok, so it was manmade snow, but it was snow all the same. You can see our snow fun here.

Lola prepared to throw a snow ball at me


Just like the year before, we visited the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco to see the giant gingerbread house. The girls were enchanted by all that candy, gingerbread and - in Lola's case - the model train the chuffed around one side of the house. You can see the giant gingerbread creation here.
  
The gingerbread house at the Fairmont Hotel


My favourite Christmas related outing was our trip to a Christmas tree farm to cut down our own Christmas tree. It was a really cold, grey and rainy day but that didn't dampen our spirits as we hunted for the perfect tree. The girls had a great time as did Kim and I. I love that something so simple can make for such a memorable day out. You can see our search for the perfect Christmas tree here


Searching for the perfect tree

We found it!


Once Christmas was over and done with we headed to Alameda to explore the USS Hornet Museum. I'd been a little unsure how the girls would like a day spent on a decommissioned aircraft carrier but it turns out they loved it. You can see how much fun they had here.

Sister hugs


And I guess that's it. A whole year of adventure. Let's hope that 2013 holds just as much fun!

4 comments:

  1. Wow! What an amazing year you have had! So many beautiful photos - and the girls are growing up so fast! I love the picture of Ava holding the apples! It is a gorgeous shot. Love reading about your days 'over there' - and 'seeing' you and reading your stories makes us miss you even more!

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    1. Thanks - although I think that you guys managed to fit a lot more into 2012 than we did! I love seeing what you've been up to on your blog too but it makes me miss you all more :( Hope to see you a little later this year!

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  2. your beautiful pictures and blog are making me want to plan a vacation on the west coast. even though I promised my husband i would stop vacation planning for awhile. you guys seem to have a lot of fun!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Darcy! We're trying to get out and about and see as much of our local area while we're living here.

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