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Last weekend, one of the CIS Moms organized a backpacking trip – originally intended as a Mommy getaway for a night (reading books in your tent, yoga on the beach, etc…).  However, at the last minute several Moms dropped out for a variety of reasons and the night before we decided to turn it into a Mommy-Daughter event, and three of the four Mommies brought their 6/7 year old daughters.  It worked out brilliantly!

All seven of us piled into the Rav4 and headed up to Point Reyes, an hour north of San Francisco.  Heidi had reserved a spot at Coast Camp in Point Reyes.  We hiked a loop so the first hike was 2.8 miles out to the beach and then hugging the coast until we arrived at a protected cliff of camp sites right next to the ocean.  Half way there we ran into a flooded area and had to hike through some rugged thorny hillside to arrive on the other side.  Kailani perked up immediately, intrigued by the turn of events that required some more challenging hiking than just a stroll down the path.  Kailani dubbed the area “stickville” and at one point, I was touched by how thoughtful she was — holding the branches for me, and reaching out her hand so I could balance myself.

Arriving at camp, I was proud at how efficient we all were at getting the tents set up and the food put away, so we could enjoy the afternoon on the beach — the girls got to see their strong mommies at work. After a lazy afternoon on the magical vacant stretch of beach, we arrived back at camp to prepare vegetarian curry over rice and top ramen for the kids — I have to say the fresh stuff blew doors off of freeze dried REI packets.  One of the moms with us was Kristy, and it was her first time ever sleeping in a tent, let alone backpacking into the great outdoors — she was so intrigued by our little camping tools and accessories.

With hot ports in hand, we donned our headlamps and wandered out to the beach to see about a bonfire.  We joined in with another group and listened to the waves crashing against the shore.  A group of twenty-somethings arrived 20 minutes later with s’mores in hand — perking up our sleepy children.  The fire was warm and the strangers were friendly — all was good in the world.  We strolled back to our tents at 10pm and the children were ready to crash.  Kailani and I cuddled in the tent and giggled for another 15 minutes at the hysterical photos and videos she had taken of her adventure that day.

The next morning, following an outmeal bar, we packed up and hiked the short 1.8 miles over the ridge and back to the car, just in time for the rain to start.  Kailani, the little hill charger, led the pack.  Apparently the girl likes a challenge!  A great group of gals, young and old, smiled warmly at each other as we rode the hour home to San Francisco.  We can’t wait to plan the next adventure in the fall.

Here are some photos kailani and her friends took on the adventure.  I am especially fond of the nose close-up.

 

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a weekend in Carmel with the wangs thanksgiving 2009

KK and Bob decided to take the whole family on a vacation to Carmel for Thanksgiving weekend.  Someone got wind that we were staying at “Mission Ranch Inn” which is Clint Eastwood’s fancy dive, but when all 15 of us showed up there and asked for reservations for “Wang” they had no record of our reservation!  Well, come to find out that we had reservations at the “Mission Inn” which was a funky 1970’s motel across the freeway!  Ha Ha.  It turned out that KK and Bob had stayed there 30 years earlier, and had explicitly gotten a room with a view in to the bar, so they could dance all night while still keeping an eye on the boys.  It turned out to be a great place for the family to have long dinners at a reserved table in the back of the bar, and late nights together playing board games — a perfect getaway for the Wang family!  Thanks Bob and KK!


soleil had a great time at the concert where we met up with the crew from kais school.

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check out those massive waves that mike is surfing.

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the girls and i took a ride to the zoo and then back along the great highway. i love my neighborhood. thank god for fall in san francisco.

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Kailani went to the dentist Saturday morning and had to get her two loose front teeth pulled out — eek.  She started off very brave, but after the shot, she sort of lost it.  She had what is called “shark teeth” where her new teeth were growing in behind her old teeth, so her teeth were not getting “pushed” out.  She was a little sad about her lost teeth, but when the tooth fairy brought her twenty dollars the next morning, she was not so sad anymore. [the tooth fairy did not consult with me on the price of kai’s teeth ahead of time!]

We went to the store so Kailani could buy something with her new piggy bank.  She bought some stickers, gave the woman her 20 dollar bill and got back $18.75 in change, and she walked out of the store saying – “Mommy, now I have even MORE money!”

I’ll download the fotos from my iphone of Kailani’s new smile, along with Soleil drinking beers at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass this weekend.


This past weekend the “Wang Gang” got together for a ride through Napa Valley to raise money for ALS.  Check us out, all 16 of us!

All 16 members of the Wang Gang Velo Club for the Napa ALS Ride.

All 16 members of the Wang Gang Velo Club for the Napa ALS Ride.

We woke up Soleil and Kailani at 7am (my girls are late to bed, late to rise!) and we made the drive out to Napa.  Kailani was thrilled to see her cousins, and Soleil was curious at all the matching jerseys and friendly family members.  We did the 10-mile this year, instead of the 25-mile, to satisfy the needs of the young folks AND the old folks.  Soleil fell asleep for the last mile and I had to hold my arms close together so she had a place to rest her head.  We had a delicious BBQ at the end – where they allowed you to select your veggies and pasta and they custom sauteed your pasta selection – i guess they are trying to be healthier, but this kind of fare would only be found in NAPA!!!  The kids all got their faces painted at the finish line (pictures for the face painting are in Mike’s queue to edit and post….).

soleilandmeinNAPA


The Sunday Streets of San Francisco came to the Great Highway, and it was a big success.  They closed down half of the park and the entire Great Highway, and there must have been about 10,000 bikes out to celebrate.  Of course, with our fleet of two-wheeled vehicles, we showed up in style:

enjoying sunday streets in san francisco

enjoying sunday streets in san francisco

Afterwards, Kailani played with her friend out in the backyard, and enjoyed the 75 degree sun.  We set up the tent in the backyard to prepare for camping the following weekend.  Soleil took one of her epic two hour naps and we enjoyed some beers with our new friend Oliver.  A great day to live in San Francisco…

playing in the backyard

playing in the backyard


we wanted to take a small summer vacation before Kailani started school on 8/24, so after deciding between hawaii, mexico and portland, we settled on two nights of camping at memorial state park in San Mateo, followed by two nights in Inverness up in Point Reyes.

our first night of camping ended up across from a VERY well lit bathroom and next to a LOUD group of first time campers from the inner-city.  neither of those aspects were conducive to trying to get a baby to sleep in a tent for the first time.  because it was so bright and the partiers were still reveling inot the wee hours, Soleil woke up in the middle of the night, and we spent an hour rocking her back to sleep – ugh.

the next night we moved to a completely un-populated part of the park (why they didn’t place us there the first night is beyond me).  the spot was MUCH nicer – but Soleil still woke up in the middle of the night, but didn’t stay awake as long.  sleeping still sucked, though, because the sleeping bags are so noisy when you move, so you lie there, uncomfortable, trying to not move lest you wake up the baby.

the actual camping aspect was pretty fun.  the kids went swimming in Pescadero creek, pet Banana slugs and captured crawfish.  we went on short hikes, and soleil had relaxing naps when you had a brief rest and got to enjoy the outdoors.  of course campfires and marshmellows are always a huge hit.  but we were pretty happy after the second night when we got to go to our digs up in Inverness.

we decided to stay at a small “eco-farm”, called Inverness Valley Inn, where we rented a family suite (which had two bedrooms, so the kids slept more soundly).  It also had animals like alpaca, llama, chickens, goats and sheep.  Kailani and I woke up every morning to help the proprieter with her morning task of “letting out the animals” and feeding the chickens.  It was really exciting.  we also took a lovely hike on indian trail in point reyes — trying to hike mor with the kids so they can get used to it.  it was a 2-mile hike rount trip and we got to visit some re-constructed miwok Indian tee-pees on the beach.  point reyes is simply a magnificent place – there were about 25 other hikes we would have loved to do, but the kids were more interested in playing on the beach than taking any more “nature” hikes…

we spent a beautiful day at a friend’s house visiting with her new baby and making pizzas in her real live pizza oven – kailani like making them, but wsn’t crazy about eating them.  all in all, it was a fun sojourn before the start of school.  Kailani spent a week at kids outdoor camp (a day camp in golden gate park) where she went on hikes, picked blackberries, and (her favorite activity) was making the word “HI” out of leaves and branches…  when people walkd by the trail, the saw the word and said “HI”…. she thought that was hysterical.


Last weekend, we did some gardening with the kids.  The last set of seedlings we set out all got eaten by racoons or some other animal, so we built little cages over each wine barrel to protect the young plants.  So far this week it has worked.  We put out several different kind of beans, a barrel full of lettuce and another full of cauliflower and brussel sprouts.

That night, our friend Ramesh came over and brought Indian takeout.  Mike and I had a mini-debate about how successful that would be with the kids.  The plan was to put soleil to bed, get Kailani ready for bed, and then have Kailani hang out with us until she got tired and then one of us would take her up to bed while the other one hung out with Ramesh.  Well, we all know how how the words “plans” and “kids” don’t go well together…  But in this case, like magic, every plan worked perfectly.  Soleil fell asleep at 7:30p and stayed asleep til morning.  Kailani got all ready for bed, then came and played by the fire, and when the adult talk started, she quietly took her coloring books and colored to herself in the cabana.  When she was tired, she asked me to take her to bed…  We were both stunned at how smoothly the evening went.

Sunday found us back with HAMBB, after their long trips abroad in Spain and throughout Europe.  It was so great to see my sister-in-law again, happy as a clam to be back at home with the family all together again.  Kailani is thrilled to have Michael back, and she still follows him around like a lost puppy who has found her mother….  so sweet.