The best thing about military life is the sweet friendships made. The worst thing about military life is then having to say “see ya later” to those friendships, as we inevitably move on to new places. Every few years we pick up our lives and start over, but some treasured friends remain in our hearts forever. In early June we reconnected with some of those friends, and it was like no time had passed at all.
Just killing time before our flight.
Delta Airlines, (our usual airline of choice), handed out full sized candy packages on the flight. The girls thought this was better than Halloween!
And more time in another lounge. Even getting to California from Alaska is an all-day affair!
Ahhh, reunited at last.
We said goodbye to these girls in Japan, 2016. Then…
and now. Time sure flies.
There was also a new addition to the gang, baby Ezekiel. You know my girls were thrilled!
We had no agenda for this trip, only plans to hang out and talk until we couldn’t talk any longer. We spent time at the park,
played at open gym,
marveled at the miles upon miles of beautiful orchards,
and got our fill of Mexican food, of course.
After three years in Japan and two years in Anchorage, getting some authentic Mexican food was a top priority. This salsa was served WARM, a first for me, and oh so good.
Hannah is also a military spouse, but is from Northern California originally, so she has family in the area. We were so fortunate to meet a few sisters and her parents, who hosted us for a lovely day and cookout, poolside.
Complete with an unexpected mermaid sighting!
The kids were in heaven! We don’t have very many opportunities for outdoor pool time in Alaska. Correction: we have NO opportunities for outdoor pool time in Alaska, so this was a special treat for sure!
Hannah’s family was just as warm and welcoming and wonderful as she is.
And a spectacular California sunset to end a perfect day.
No trip to California would be complete without a trip to the beach. We spent a very windy but fun day at the coast.
Initially, my girls had a hard time understanding that this wasn’t a beach where we would be swimming.
When we got out of the car, I think they got it. Northern California beaches are COLD!
But we were all smiles anyway.
The girls had a blast running from the waves,
and baby Zeke loved walking barefoot in the sand.
We drove a little farther down the coast to Shell Beach, which was a little more protected from the wind,
and also had some amazing tide pools to explore. Score!
We found huge sea stars,
lots of tiny ocean life,
and Zeke discovered what fun throwing a rock into water can be.
Not to mention the cutest selfie ever taken!
I just couldn’t get over the majesty of the scenery, either.
The power of the ocean always makes me think of how great our God is, and how small I am in comparison. Humbling.
But alas, our day had come to an end. So it was back in the car for the hour-long ride home, but not until we made a stop for salt water taffy, to-go!
The last stop on our not-long-enough visit was the famous City by the Bay, San Francisco. Also known as Fog City, we lucked out with an absolutely GORGEOUS day.
A quick stop at the city’s most famous landmark was first on our to-do list.
A beautiful icon which needs no introduction.
You could even clearly see the city, which Hannah said was definitely a rarity. Lucky indeed!
We happened upon Lombard Street,
which is the world’s most crooked.
We took in views of The Rock– Alcatraz Island,
and watched the sea lions at Pier 39, play and lounge in the California sun.
This was my favorite activity, hands down.
I could’ve watched this noisy bunch for hours!
And baby Zeke can now mimic what a sea lion says.
However, lunch was calling.
No trip to San Fran would be complete without chowder and sourdough bread.
The bread….I’m still dreaming about the bread….
with adorable shapes to boot!
And in the small bakery museum, free samples. Yes, please!
(***Side note- The fortune cookie originated in San Francisco. Hmmmm….no wonder I’ve never I’ve never received any in China….)
And for one last treat before heading to the airport, a Pier 39 classic, mini donuts baked fresh as we waited.
Warm and sugary goodness. Yumm!
The girls chose ice cream cones, but were all too eager to try a donut as well!
Sadly, our time had come to an end and it was time to say our goodbyes, or as we say in the military, our “see ya later’s”. We had a pretty spectacular city view from the airplane window, as well.
It was an amazing visit, but my favorite part was talking, laughing and crying with this girl until the wee hours of the morning, and then waking up and doing it all over again the next day. A two year separation was as if no time had passed at all.
I think King Solomon said it best in the book of Proverbs.
To that I’ll say, Amen!