Bay Area Discovery Museum

It has taken me a while since I got to post this very fun outing we had with our beloved friends. Mei and Emma graciously picked us up in the morning( after having to drive everywhere for many years we are excited to live in a place that doesn't require a car to get around, and if we need them, there is Uber and Zipcar available!). It felt like a roadtrip or something because the atmosphere was one of adventure, fun and discovery; I was super giddy myself. 

There is something really exciting about going to a new place, a place you have never been before. We were going to the Bay Area Discovery Museum. I had heard many good things about this place from friends before, but never made the trip there until that gorgeous day. 

We buckled up and I said: "Are you ready?" and the photo below explains their response..." yeaaaahhhh" haha.

Yeaaahhhhh!

Crossing the bridge to get to the museum.

Talking about flowers and their smell^.^

Builders.

Sorry, Dominika. I think this photo is hilarious. I do correct you though, stop it girl!

I was seriously impressed with this place, part of it because it's pretty cool but also because it has the gorgeous view of the bridge right in front of your very eyes and you see the city of San Francisco from the other side. Sidenote: things really do take an interesting view from another angle. 

There were several buildings in total for arts & crafts, special exhibits, a bunch of little connected playgrounds; pretty cool if you ask me. The only things is, if you visit this place and is crowded, keeping an eye when your child is on the playground boat is not enough. You cannot see what is going on inside, I almost got purple holding my breath because, for a moment, couldn't find Mark Jacinto. Yeah, a mother's worst nightmare. EVER.

Once we learn our lesson with the boat, we explored a bit of the greenery and scenery surrounding the place. Such a beautiful day! The breeze we got from the Bay was very refreshing. Sun shining but not burning...HEAVEN!

So serious Dominika!

Emma! Waaait!

Love this picture of Mei and the girls<3

We all agreed it was time to have lunch so we found a little corner spot. Mark Jacinto wanted to make sure we packed a yogurt for his friend Emma, he's such a good friend! Well, Emma is also Mark Jacinto's first crush as well, I mean the kid loooves her and she's sister in law approved because Dominika loves her too!

No, I'm not one of those moms arranging marriages but sometimes is fun to imagine, precisely because the years seem so far away but in reality, they fly. It's just fun...for now.

I absolutely love the pictures above of Mark Jacinto exploring and just being. We visited the Curious George exhibit going on that day, Dominika loved it! 

Thanks for the pic Mei!

Below are a few shots from different buildings/areas. Dominika is very much into playdough right now and cannot resist but move her toosh when she hears the sounds of music.

I think one of my favorite things about blogging and photographing is recording those special memories. I love and treasure these memories. 

 Thanks to our friends Mei and Emma, we had such a lovely time together! 

Family Outing: At the Farm with the Fam

Hello!

While in Ohio, we went to a farm that was favorited by the kids when we lived there. This place brought back many memories of pumpkin patches and birthday parties. It was lovely to visit it again and enjoy a little outing with the family. 

On that day, there were barely any visitors which is quite rare, this place Nickajack Farms, is usually packed. The kids kept asking for cows but were a little disappointed to not find one there. I heard from my father in law(love) Gary that cows take a huge deal of work and supervision quite literally 365 days. we realized that not every farm has a cow after all. "There was a farm who had a dog and Bingo was his name" didn't apply here;-)

So happy with his cousins<3

There were a lot of firsts on this visit to the farm. The kids had their first horse ride. Dominika was delighted and was so confident that she didn't need grandpa to hold her the whole time. It was just her and a beautiful horse named Oliver. Mark Jacinto was very calm about it. These kids always surprise me.

The other first was me singing to the llamas. I don't know what instigated this occurrence, but all of a sudden, I had the instinct to sing to them. They seemed to like it. Llamas are beautiful animals with an almost aloof expression. 

Dominika and I were a little over dressed for the farm;-) I told myself to not overpack so brought just a few outfits, but let's be real; I have a lot to learn regarding packing our family effectively.

My girl and I

aunt Michelle=)

Papi and his girl.

Ok, someone had a lot of fun, aka everybody! 

Work it girl, work it. 

Dominika was carrying that teddy bear everywhere! 

His first time riding a horse ^.^

Her first time riding a horse<3

Look at that face^.^

For some reason, the kids got super entertained with the hay machine. They spent a long time there, in fact, they would have spent the entire day there if we had let them! So glad cousin Lily was able to join us. It was a lovely time at the farm.

Thanks for reading!

Santa Monica Beach at the Pier

We are home now and after a crazy hot San Francisco summer day, I'm done with the heat...for a couple of days;-) I wanted to share some photos from our day at Santa Monica Beach. 

We started our day with a power breakfast of course. I took a picture of my goat cheese, roasted tomatoes and avocado omelette since it made me so happy, so good you guys. I don't want to sound all about external things, but when it comes to food, a nice healthy nutrient rich breakfast makes me feel like a champion. Mothering is my race. Wink.

The kids were allowed to have blueberry pancakes pretty much everyday, they were in heaven! Chris, Taty's husband, had just joined us the night before, so it was pretty special to have him over. The kids love him and it's always heart warming for me to see family members pouring on them. 

It was such a beautiful day, sunny and bright but not overwhelmingly hot. The smell of the ocean always relaxes the heart and makes your lungs expand a little extra inch. The people at the pier with their easy going demeanor added to that relaxation. Dominika stayed in the stroller nice and quite for a bit, allowing me to take it all in. 

Mark Jacinto and papi went inside a place full of games, I couldn't tell who was happier father or son. After a while, I got a little exasperated thinking there's this great beach in front of us, let's get to it! But then Chris pointed out how much of a blast they were having and that they were running out of tokens anyhow, haha. This just reminded me about the concept of love, of family and friendship. I mean, we want everyone in our tribe to have a good time, right? A big part of that is yielding to what others like, what makes them happy. I see it as a happy dance in which all the parties know they can trust they will eventually get their turn.  

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Since my sister was there, we went crazy taking pictures( we latinos like taking lots of  pictures!). I can't tell you how life giving was to see my sister and get to spend almost a week with her. Papi worked most days and spent his evenings with us. A certain little girl was getting a bit cranky and wanted to brake free and run to wherever she wanted to go. This two year old face is a time were discipline and clear rules are a must around here. It's specially hard when she looks at me with those darling brown eyes, but you gotta do what you gotta do. 

 

I love this picture of our family<3 Mark Jacinto and the boys were all about doing the rides so we headed there. A love for rides comes from Mark Jacinto's genes, his dad and his dad's dad love them too. 

After we were done there, we headed to the beach. Ah the beach!! 

I loved seeing my boy so happy making up stories and playing with the waves. Sometime, I would like to share his stories with you; they are pretty great.

My sweety Dominika was hesitant to get in the water but eventually warmed up to it. Her favorite thing was building "castles" on top of my legs. 

My sister took the picture above, I think it pretty much captures how I felt that day. We thought it was a good time to take a shot wearing my Bodee Dekor jewelry.

After the beach, we went to the Santa Monica promenade for a bite, light shopping, frozen yogurt and coffee. It was a pretty great day and I'm thankful for it.

Thanks for reading!

LA Zoo with auntie

Hola!  

We are in LA right now, visiting aunt Taty and having a great time. Sometimes you don't realize how much you miss someone until you see them again. It's been weeks since I last saw my sister and even though we talk often, nothing like spending time with her. 

At the entrance of the LA Zoo

At the entrance of the LA Zoo

We went to the LA Zoo, the kids were so excited! Mark Jacinto has a guide complex were he likes to "show people" the places we visit. It's very very cute.

"Welcome to the Zoo, mom" and "what would you like to see? We have hippos and tigers and jelly fish!" This kid always makes the atmosphere so much fun!

We went to the Zoo right after lunch and it was crazy hot there!

Tuna steak salad with caper berries. Yum!  

Tuna steak salad with caper berries. Yum!  

With my sweety&lt;3

With my sweety<3

My cutie putting her Barbie to nap

My cutie putting her Barbie to nap

Mark Jacinto and his map. "Hold on, I gotta check the map". That map became his anchor and suddenly he was another character; a guy that wanted to lead and be in charge. I let him lead in dosis, he's a kid still.  

My soul sister and I^.^ 

My soul sister and I^.^ 

The elephants mom! 

The elephants mom! 

Auntie love  

Auntie love  

Wearing Bodee Dekor jewelry  

Wearing Bodee Dekor jewelry  

Dominika loved the giraffes  

Dominika loved the giraffes  

Aunt Taty, Mark Jacinto and Dominika.  

Aunt Taty, Mark Jacinto and Dominika.  

They love their Taty and felt ignored for a bit, which is actually a good thing because it's healthy for the kids to have other people in their lives they feel comfortable with and trust. So grateful for our Tatiana and a lovely afternoon outing. 

 

Thanks for reading! 

Source: http://

A Sunday afternoon.

Hello there!

Hope you are having a great week. I'm sneaking in after kids were put to bed and hubby helped me out fixing a computer problem. Now, I have a little time before my eyes close for the night but before that, I wanted to share a little outing we had last Sunday afternoon.

It always feels good after travel and a bit of time out of your routine to get back to your swing of things. After church, we spontaneously decided to grab lunch at the Ferry Building and go to the Exploratorium as a family, which we haven't done in a little while. 

I have heard from my friend Maria, that the grilled cheese at the Ferry Building is awesome so we went straight to the Cowgirl's Creamery little restaurant. It was amazing,  that and a cup of blue bottle coffee and I was set to an awesome afternoon start. I usually limit my coffee intake to 2-3 cups a week( this is a happy compromise I have found).

Feeling under the weather and being sick last week made this particular Sunday pretty special since I was in good health. The kids love going to the Exploratorium, I find that place very hands on for the kids and ignites curiosity. We have been there so many times yet still find something new and exciting; a new station or an artist in residence sharing knowledge. 

Dominika holding her "pasas" raisins( her latest fix)

Dominika holding her "pasas" raisins( her latest fix)

Cowgirl Creamery. A must.

Cowgirl Creamery. A must.

Papi got the mac and cheese.&nbsp;

Papi got the mac and cheese. 

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I must mentioned that the grilled cheese had caramelized apples inside. It was truly delicious!

Next, we headed to the Exploratorium. 

Wally and I&lt;3

Wally and I<3

There was an artist that was explaining the toothpick sculpture/art that he made during 40 years! Imagine all those years making it; definitely a labor of love. Scott Weaver, the artist, was so nice and talked to the kids and answer all their questions. I find it cool to find the motivation behind this sorts of things. 

By the Tinkering Studio.

By the Tinkering Studio.

Fascinating toothpick art.

Fascinating toothpick art.

Love you.

Love you.

The Tinkering Studio is seriously awesome. I have been inspired by all of their ideas regarding blending crafts and technology. 

Their current favorite at the Exploratorium.

Their current favorite at the Exploratorium.

On our way back.

On our way back.

It was a beautiful and leisured day with the family and it made my heart full.

Thanks for reading

San Francisco Opera at AT&T Park

Last night we went to an exciting event, the San Francisco Opera performance of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro that was simulcasted live from the War Memorial Opera House. I loved the performance for many many reasons. First, because I love Opera as an art form, I studied classical singing since I was a teenager, at college and have had performance experiences both in Opera and concert. Second, because it was our first time at the AT&T stadium and you guys know how much I like new things plus is an awesome place anyway! Third, because anytime that I get to do fun things with my beloved family is always a blast. 

The actual performances were great, top notch singers and amazing orchestra. Lisette Oropesa as Susanna and Nadine Sierra as the Countess Almaviva were spectacular, their voices are very well trained and with spark, individual quality and freshness. I can't wait to see them in concert sometime! The Cherubino character was very charming and with delightful nuance in her singing.  

The kids cracked me up with their silly things. Mark Jacinto and Dominika were trying to imitate the singers voices at various times. Mark Jacinto was trying to figure out the plot and asking many questions. The Marriage of Figaro or Le Nozze di Figaro( the original name) is in italian so that's the language the singers sang in. They did provide subtitles, so that was a help for the audience. 

Lisette Oropesa did a fantastic job as Susanna.

He was entranced and puzzled trying to figure the plot out.

We picked up some Chipotle before heading to the stadium, so they can have their rice and beans while watching the Opera. Pretty eclectic right? ;-)

This kids sure love their beans and Dominika is crazy about guacamole. 

So much focus^.^

The Stars Spangled Banner sang by the choir and us audience joined in.

I liked the information and trivia they were giving before the performance started.

Bugs Bunny Cartoon in between intermission.

The kids loved the Bugs Bunny Opera inspired cartoons, they were hilarious! In the one above, the Figaro is trying so hard to have a nice rehearsal but the Bunny keeps getting in his way.

Such a lovely experience for my family and I. Grateful with this city and the great cultural and artistic experiences it provides. 

Ci vediamo!

Family Outing: Kite day at Presidio

Hello amigos!

I wanted to share a little family outing we had over the weekend at the Presidio. The event was called the Presidio Kite expo. My eyes were well entertained with the very creative and beautiful kites. There was an area were they gave out kite-making kits that one could decorated ad libitum and make it your own. I thought that was clever and very in the San Francisco  spirit of freedom of expression and creativity. At least, that's the vibe I've gotten all along while living in this gorgeous city. 

One of my favorite parts was seeing families outdoors having fun with their kids in the gorgeous weather. We love kites and go to the park to fly them all the time, so this was a very fitting adventure for us. We haven't been in this side of the city a lot, so doing something out of the usual, always sparks wonder in me.  On our way there, we got a breathtaking sight of the Golden Gate Bridge all wrapped and hugged by Karl the fog, as people call it here.

Weather was amazing in my opinion. It's so funny because I grew up in the coastal part of Ecuador, but I have grown to  like cooler weather quite a lot. Summer weather in San Francisco is like that, more of a highland type of weather than beach weather, usually around 62.5 degrees. I love it! 

Cold, mami! 

Dominika surprises me all the time. She's probably the only person I know besides her brother that while shivering say they are cold with excitement and a smile. I certainly aspire to be more like that. There are so many things that inspire me about them and being their mother, that I feel I can write a book about them. Seriously. 

Look at this amazing kites!

Kite-making kits.

I just loved that we were given kites that we could decorate ourselves. Mark Jacinto  asked dad to draw a Mickey Mouse. Dominika did her own art. Oh, how grown up are you miss Dominika!

By serendipity and true calling of heavens we encountered our little friend Emma and her parents. Mark Jacinto has been talking non stop about her! I think I've mentioned this to you guys before that this kid loves hard. Above, the looong line to get delicious mexican food. Let's put it this way, I'm motivated to pack our own lunches at outdoor events. It took over an hour to get our food! I much rather spend that time as a family^.^

Lately she's been eating like a machine. Seems like she has food in her hands 24/7.

MJ so  happy dad is helping him out.

kites!

I really appreciated that papi came with us, even though he was coughing all night. He said he wanted to be with his family, specially since he has travel this week. 

colorful and bright. 

So this time mother forgot the blanket. Mark Jacinto pointed it out many times, ha! Mother guilt is real and it can completely zap away your joy if you let it. Cheers to more outdoor family fun and embracing the summer time.

You have a lovely week

Japanese Tea Garden

About 2.5 weeks ago, we went to the Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park. Dominika wanted to wear her Anna dress. Yes, I know it's not Anna's dress is Elsa's dress but who can convince Dominika that they are in fact two different characters!. It's a tomato- tomatoh sort of thing at this point. In little girl's head, she was dressed like Anna and she loved it. She's been very much into dressing up, this little girl of mine. Accessories, dresses, shoes and all those sort of feminine things have been fun for her lately.

Mark Walter and I love going to the Japanese tea garden and it felt wonderful to share it with my mother and sister in love(law). Asian anything has always been a darling part of our interests and we even decorate our home with asian touches. This place is calm and gives us much peace to be there.

My little girl. Everyday is an adventure with you.

"Look grandma, look"

Elsa Dominika

This was such an experience.

Something I'm really into lately is a wonderful tea experience. This was one of them! This Japanese pancakes with red bean paste inside are wonderful! The tea was exquisite and it was hands down the highlight of our morning. Everyone was so quite, I could almost hear the sound of the air. I also spotted some really cool hats that I have never seen before. The hats had an asian flair to them but very modern, such a fashion statement. I still remember them in my head!

I feel like I can stay in the garden the whole day, just admiring the beauty of nature. Afterwards, we decided to go to the De young museum for a bite to eat. 

iphone Mark, or so it looks like.

Where are you going princess?

There is this fun dome like place by the museum's cafe that the kids love. Mark Jacinto always ends up singing inside which gives back the coolest echo ever. 

At the park for the grand finale to a lovely family outing.

Besos!

Visiting the Exploratorium & thoughts on dating

I wanted to share a quick post on a visit to the Exploratorium while my mother and sister in love where here. This place is supposed to be for older children, but I love seeing Dominika so curious and exploring already. 

Dominika is already telling papi what to do;-) There, there! This little girl of mine is "cosa seria" (serious thing/business)

While running around, she fell and I caught her "in the moment". Such a goofy girl she is ^.^ Her favorite word nowadays is saying "no" with a sweet voice.

A selfie just because.

A selfie just because.

This is her face when she is doing something she shouldn't be doing!!

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Above, a picture of a special date we had. We felt good leaving the kids in good hands with their auntie and grandma, so it made it easy for us to enjoy our evening together.

The past week I was quite sick and then Dominika got the bug too. It feels good to be back at my regular routine. I've got lots of things to share with you, but I must go to bed now if not I'll hate myself tomorrow. While having family in town for the past two weeks has been amazing it left me exhausted. Ready to start  brand new week.

Ciao!

Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Marin Headlands, Muir woods and more

So last week was packed with activities, little trips and exploration with our beloved visiting family members and friend Bonnie. As in my previous blog post, we went all over and covered a vast amount of territory, but this time we rented a van. Mother weather wasn't collaborating with us in that it wasn't sunny, which is the ideal, right? Being the optimist I am though, I found myself delighted. There is something special about Carl the Fog, as some people call it here in San Francisco. It wasn't particularly cold, just misty and very refreshing. The fog, wrapped us up with its mystery, and it kind of had an air of romance at times. 

As my hubby described it, it felt like a nice glass of cold water in the morning. I loved sharing this with my family. As the title described it we went to Golden Gate Bridge, and walked half way and back to get the experience since we had a dense schedule that day. I felt joy in my heart for being able to share this with these special people God had given me as family. 

My family Kropf West.

Mark Jacinto with two very special women in his life. 

Mark "Wally" and Mr. B

Us again<3

Ok, I just adore her smile in this picture. My cheeky girl.

View from the bridge.

Mark jacinto skipping.

Bikers!

Playing silly games with grandma.

Crucero.

We took some pictures, went into the shop and headed to Hawk Hill for the view of views of the Golden Gate bridge, in my opinion. I'm usually accustomed to seeing it while bright and sunny but I liked experiencing something different this time. The weather and general ambiance of the day reminded me of the magnificent weather of the highlands in my country of origin, Ecuador. 

She's so loved!

Double decker bus. 

This view on the top of Hawk Hill.

You've got my heart, little girl.

History of this bridge. I didn't know the amount of worked involved and how long it took to finish it. Amazing!

So deep in thought

Went to Taste of Rome, an Italian restaurant in Sausalito, which serves really great pizza. Sorry guys, no pics this time around. I learned from Mr. B that spaghetti and clams pair well together, that there are very interesting ways of cooking fish and that he loved raw gluten free desserts. Gotta try them! I loved gluten free baked goods but as for the raw ones, it will be a first.

Sugar or splenda.... Real sugar!!!!

At Marin Headlands beach, I stayed with Dominika in the van to help her fall asleep. She was so excited that she didn't want to nap. Thanks Mark Walter for the pictures! Afterwards, we headed to Muir woods and walked for a while. We were just taking it all in, absorbing all the beauty of mother nature. What amazing trees! We've been here a couple of times before, but it never ceases to amaze! And the history of course, it's pretty neat. Check it out here.

This place is astounding. Nature gives me such peace. 

One of the houses at Lombard street. Pretty flowers!

At Muir Woods with auntie.

View from the top of Lombard street.

On the way back home we listened to Juanes. This artist is one of my favorites, always takes me back to my roots, the feeling of what it means to have been born a south american, the warmth, the culture, the people. Such is the power of music, to transport you to a different place, a time and space. We couldn't pass the opportunity to go down the famous Lombard Street.

View of the Bay Bridge. 

My family had a kick out of this. Once we got home, we ordered Umami Burgers, meanwhile I heated up some food for the kids since they were hungry. After that, it was all a blur, probably because we were spent. 

Cable cars, Ghiraldelli, Pier 39 and everything else adventures

To continue to celebrate our visiting family and friend adventures in San Francisco, we took the opportunity by exploring some of the signatures places and dishes around this gorgeous city. We walked for miles upon miles. A big hurray to everyone specially Mark Jacinto for truly enduring the long journey. The kid has amazing stamina I'll tell you!

We loved sharing one of our favorite things to do in SF, ride the cable cars! It was the weekend and so we waited a while to ride them. It didn't matter though, with this gang you always have fun. My sister and mother-in-love were chatting about getting massages, going to a blowout bar together and bike riding. We sang broadway songs and catch on New Girl latest episodes. I think that would give you an idea of how long we waited for our ride! ;-)

It was all worth it, though. I mean the scenic views you get from taking the Mason Beach cable car leaves me speechless. It's childlike, it's special, its amazing!! Sure, a little cold and noisy too( that's for you, realists!)

My niña wants to be on the move always!

Our friend loves pirates!

Bonnie and Mark W.

I shall eat crab very soon.

On our way to Pier 39 we resisted all kinds of temptations. From freshly baked pizza, to ice cream to seafood. We were strong for a little while until... on our way back we all agreed that regret would have been far too painful, and that we needed to have an "early dinner" at 3pm, haha.

Ah! this view. I don't get tired of it!

Amazing and colorful flowers at Pier 39.

Sarita

Our early dinner choice or big snack, as we told ourselves, was Boudin. Oh my, oh my, not a single regret. That's all I got to say. They bake their own breads and everything there is amazingly tasty. The shrimp sandwich and clam chowder in a bread bowl are among my very favorites.

Boudin, soo good!

This hit the spot. Warm soup for a very windy day!

Breastfeeding goddess<3

The gentleman above playing the violin was out of this world. Street artists are the best, this guy was in a new realm; a place of his own. The inspiration and passion flowing out of his performance left us breathing deep. We also got some Ghirardelli ice cream while enjoying the performance. 

Girl and her glasses. 

Fort Mason!

By the time we got to Fort Mason, it got dark and chilly. I wished our family got to see the shiny Marina, not the gloomy Marina but regardless, they liked it. Being on top of that hill is a real treat. We got to enjoy this amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Love this place<3

We ended up at the Palace of Fine Arts, such a beautiful historic place! It has endured all kinds of tests, earthquakes and whatnot. I want to be resilient like this place<3. Click, here to learn about it.

The kids started to hit their limit, so we got an Uber to get back to our place. By the time we got home we were spent. It was an amazing experience to get to share this with our loved ones.

Thank you, Lord!

 

Venezuelan Concert at Yerba Buena Gardens

Hello!

On Saturday afternoon, we went to see a live concert featuring Venezuelan music at Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. The event was well-organized, we had a blast! Music was amazing, people awesome to hang out with and weather was pretty good. One of my favorite things was seeing so many people enjoy themselves and dance free to their own beat. I don't think it matters if you are good dancer or not, if you are enjoying what you are doing, you are great in my book. I absolutely loved this time with my american family( my mother and sister-in-love are visiting town) and my beloved friends K & A. 

There is so much flavor, joy and enthusiasm in South American music that when you hear it, you cannot help your derrière from swinging side to side. Venezuelan music is soulful, highly spirited  and this band did an amazing job. 

Music has such a power to move people's hearts and moods I'll tell you. After this concert, I felt invigorated and full of energy. Recently, my husband Mark Walter, has been playing Spotify themed playlists from different countries at dinner time; we all get a kick out of that. Pictures below, if you'll like to see.

We headed to the Ferry Building to get some Blue Bottle Coffee and Humphrey Slocombe Ice cream, and finalized our adventures by playing at the Sue Bierman playground for a while. It was so great to see grandma, auntie and the kids play. What a treat!

Family Art Class at De Young Museum

This past Saturday we went to the De Young Museum to take a family art class. The class was called Doing and Viewing Art. I loved how they had a specific topic for each class that is offered most Saturday mornings. It started with an introduction around the gallery, explaining the artists process and what we will be doing. Basic Shapes were the main subject so the instructor was asking the kids to look for shapes in the artwork we were shown. It was so cute watching the kids looking for the shapes, discussing about it and finding their own point of view. Of course, Dominika wanted to touch the paintings and sing the frozen song in the gallery, but she was just in need of her cheese and apple fix, which is her current favorite snack. So I took her to the lobby for a couple of minutes until she was calm and her tummy satisfied. I really enjoyed seeing my husband and son doing this sort of thing together for it made my heart full.

I've been thinking a lot about joy lately. Looking back, early that morning, I was paralyzed with deep sadness. I had just received the news from my BBC app about the earthquake in Nepal. I didn't seem to shake that sinking feeling in my chest. Bad news are everywhere! and is so important to always look for the good, to appreciate what we do have and enjoy the present moment. I grieved and prayed and came to realized that we were given that moment, that morning and perhaps that entire day to live and to enjoy each other.  Moments like this, make me  the more grateful for the family I do have, and reminds me of how fleeting life can be. 

Doing art with my family was therapeutic for me. I came to realize that one of the things that gives me the most joy in life is spending quality time with these special beings. 

 

The art teacher send the kids to sketch their vision before painting.

Explaining about shapes and how to incorporate them.

Cutting shapes.

Glueing shapes.

Painting careeeeefully. Mark Jacinto is so meticulous at work^.^

Dominika's scribbles. J'adore! 

She helped me glue the shapes.

Painting some more.

Ok, she kind of glued the whole time pretty much. 

Masterpiece done! I personally like it very very much<3

Wally being goofy.

"Caught up in the air".

Dominika, you are growing up way too fast girl!

These two.

What if apples grew on the ground?  How else would have Einstein figured out the theory of relativity? 

Happy, happy boy! At the playground.

I loved doing this project with Dominika. I love her scribbles!! She's an intense and full of life little girl. She helped me glue almost all of the shapes. After the class, everyone was ready to have lunch and enjoyed time at their cafe's patio. 

Afterwards, we headed to Koret Children's Playground to let the kids run and play some before heading home. 

What are your favorite Saturday activities with your family? 

Have a lovely rest of the week.

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

On Saturday morning we woke up excited to go to Monterey Bay Aquarium. We have heard from some of the locals here that the Aquarium is worth visiting, and I gotta say they were spot on. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a beautiful place for anyone to attend. It was very family friendly, parking was pretty decent and the scenery breath taking. Monterey Bay itself it's pretty wonderful and one day is definitely not enough to explore it all. We went straight to the Aquarium which was huge by the way, even though it may not seem like it from the pictures.

No true adventure is real without some sort of setback, like when we realized that Dominika outgrew her car seat and had to go buy a new one and we were meeting our friends at an appointed time. We had to go out of the planned route to do this and it can be a little trying when everyone is so excited to get there. We all learned something from that. 

I was so happy to see our Brazilian friends, who along with their lovely children( who are around our children's age!), met us for the adventure. Mark Jacinto and his best friend were so very excited to see each other and be there. Oh man, there is something about your children happy and excited! No other earthly thing can match it. All the sudden, everything is right in the world. 

The parents experienced the afternoon slump, getting espressos and highly caffeinated drinks. Mark Walter just arrived from a long  business trip from London the night before, so I certainly appreciated the extra effort to spend time with his family despite jet lag. He is just that kind of guy, the guy that goes the extra mile for his family. 

I throughly enjoyed the Aquarium, learning about Octopuses and how smart they are( recently I've been thinking a lot about them for some reason), taking in the scenery, being with friends and seeing our children learn new things along with friends. 

Afterwards, on the way home we stopped by a small farmers market to get some fresh fruits & veggies. Mark Jacinto joined me, while papi and Dominika stayed in the car. Once we arrived home we were out, ready to pass out, and so we did. It was a lovely family adventure.

 

Family Outing: The uphill shortcut to Fisherman's Warf

We went up Powell Street, through Nob Hill on the way to Fisherman's Warf. It was an exceptionally beautiful day with my family, the kids walked a lot! I knew Mark Jacinto had good endurance but we hiked up some killer hills and all he said once was: " Mom, I'm hot" (while taking his jacket off). These kids never cease to amaze me! 

We have never taken this route when going to the Fisherman's Warf before. It was a refreshing path for us as we saw many things we discovered we wanted to do. We saw new parks, museums and restaurants we would like to try. Once we got there, we went straight to see the sea lions and take on the amazing view and weather. We enjoyed a meal at Boudin, which by the way it was my first time trying clam chowder served on a bread bowl, and it was delicious! 

Uphill, uphill!

Mark2

Love this cute little food stands.

Mother & Child.

She loves apples, eats one pretty much everyday!

Pier 39 resident.

These two have such a beautiful relationship<3

Sea Lions, the story of how they became pier 39 residents it's pretty neat.

Alcatraz.

My love and I.

On the way back we walked all the way to Embarcadero station and stopped by to interact with some street/technology art they had open to the public as an experiment on the street. We love San Francisco and are very thankful to live here! 

Family Outing: Nopalito & De Young Museum

Bluecorn tortilla quedadilla. So good^.^

A few days ago, papi took an entire day off just to be with us. It felt pretty special since it was during the week. We went to visit the De Young Museum for the first time and had lunch at Nopalito. I loved the atmosphere in that place, I don't know why, I just felt at home. Spicy food is a plus in my book. Nopalito welcomed us with a small bowl of spicy roasted chickpeas that they served as an appetizer. They were so delicious, that I didn't even have time to take a picture of them because they were gone before I came to my senses. Gotta try the recipe! I was in cloud 9, seriously. Good food does affect me in that sort of way. My daughter inherited the same gene were food can have such a profound effect on you, as to make you dance or close your eyes because you achieved food nirvana, haha. 

Anyways, they had great mexican food, specially if you are into spicy food. The ceviche was very spicy. The traditional ceviche I grew up with(ecuadorean ceviche), it's not spicy at all so this was a nice take. They make their own chips and tasted so so good. We'll be back, Nopalito. You go to restautants to have great food and to have a good experience. We left having both and I love when that happens!

Afterwards, we walked to Golden Gate Park and headed to the museum. I can't even tell you how much I loved this museum. It was our first time there( I've been wanting to go there for a while!) and so was very impressed. Mark Walter and I enjoyed the architecture of the building, so Dwell! Many clean lines, natural colors, lots of wood and wide spaces. I literally felt that my head got into a calm state of mind just by being there. 

We enjoyed seeing the artwork together, talking about it and saying which ones were our favorites. As always with children there are potty brakes, snack brakes, and whatnot brakes so taking it sloooowly and giving plenty of time was essential for everyone's happiness. 

I also like that this kind of places, remind us to exercise our "inside voices" intentionally and that the museum is family friendly.

My family. A kind gentleman took this picture.

Mi niña. My girl at 19 months young.

On their way to the museum.

This place gives me peace.

Rad lights at their cafe.

Papi and son.

One of my favorite moments. Seeing my son stop to admire the flowers, what a gift!

The museum's cafe outside.

From the top floor.

This view.

Hello, San Fran!

We loved the South of Market exhibition by Janet Delancey, since it artfully portrayed the transformation that the area we currently live on, has gone through since the 70's. 

We ended up buying a print with the beautiful lady above on the right, since we liked it so much. It was such a beautiful family time I will forever cherish in my heart. Thankful.

Family Outing in The Mission Neighborhood

We went on a family adventure in the Mission Neighborhood. We headed to Tacolicious, which offers incredible Mexican food. They even released their first book as a restaurant! Our friends introduced this place to us on a casual Thursday hangout, and ever since it has become one of our favorite restaurants. I specially like their food presentation, and their taco of the week feature avoids client boredom.

I couldn't walk by Valencia street without grabbing an Horchata from Boba Guys. It has become one of my favorite drinks ever. Dominika is my partner in crime, every single time. Afterwards, we explored Dolores Park for the first time. It's such a beautiful park. Yes, we have lived here in San Francisco for over a year now and indeed, this was our first there. We have been up and down and around Valencia street, but for some reason never went to Dolores park before. Ha!

I was impressed. I loved the park, the feel of it, the structure and surroundings, the great views and how the sun rays somehow mightily poured their light on that park. The kids absolutely loved it, too. Mark Jacinto has requested that we go there more often. That's quite fine by me. I met a lovely woman named Amanda and her daughter Chloe. They were super nice and gave us some insider tips about the neighborhood, and family life there. It's quite refreshing when you meet a total stranger and suddenly you become good friends and even schedule a hangout. 

In papi's arms<3

Waiting for our Horchata drinks.

El edificio de la Mujer. pretty cool!

His grip and concentration have been coming along=)

Oh, Tacolicious!

Awesome view.(on top of the slide)

She loves anything that spins.

Both kids loved these "scooters"

Dominika: Yei!

Playing make-believe with mami.

Kids playing in the sand.

One of his favorite parts.

Mi esposo guapo y yo<3

 

Afterwards, we met Zach and Joy for a little meet up. By the time we were done, it was getting dark and kids needed to go to bed. On our way back home we reminisced about our life together and how fast our children are growing up. How thankful we are to have each other. 

Thank you Lord.

 

 

Cartoon Art Museum & Banana Smoothie Recipe

We recently visited the Cartoon Art Museum. I figured since Mark Jacinto has been displaying an interest in drawings and comics that he would find this place interesting. We had a good time there but in hindsight, it's probably works better for older kids. Mark Jacinto loved the short animation films. One that stuck to my memory was the one with a green alien singing Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive". It was pretty hilarious. Dominika was running around going from one side of the museum to the other. She wanted to see it all and kept saying "mami, mami" while pointing at the different drawing/artwork.

Our favorite part of the visit was going to their bookstore/gift shop. They have a pretty eclectic selection for adults interested in anime and other cartoons as well as interesting children's books. There was one book in particular that struck a chord, Jane Goodall's life story translated into a children's book called: Me...Jane. So cute!. It's pretty cool when children have an interest, keep feeding it and have the courage to pursue it as an adult. She was always into monkeys and nature. We ended up getting a Cinderella Story book, though. Most recently, our family saw the Cinderella movie that was just released in theaters, and we absolutely loved it!

I love this art/sculpture at the museum's entrance.

short films.

She didn't want to leave;-)

Cutest giftshop.

Museum's bookstore.

Love their kid's book selection.

This book captivated me. Her story is amazing.

Once we got home the kids wanted a snack. When I was little we had a banana smoothie a least three times a week. Its was one of my favorite drinks and it is so simple to make! Just 4 ingredients e voilá. What makes this smoothie special is adding pure vanilla essence to it. This one ingredient makes the whole difference in the world. The better the quality of the ingredients, the better it will taste.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 3 cups of cow's milk or rice/coconut milk are best
  • 1 or 2 tsp pure vanilla essence (depending of how much vanilla you like)
  • 1 tbs of brown sugar or a drizzle of honey

Mise en place.

Peeling.

Ready to drink.

Enjoy!

It's a nice little treat at any time. My husband and kids love it.

California Historical Society

We went on a family adventure this past weekend. It was our first time at the California Historical Society; it was pretty cool. We were early birds, so by the time we got there all the craft supplies and toys were neatly in place. The ladies working there were super nice and what a coincidence that one of them was named Tatiana, just like my beloved sister! When Mark Jacinto heard that he said: "No, there is only one Tatiana!" In his heart, there is only one girl that occupies that title^.^ 

The kids celebrated the 1915 World's Fair event by making Pan-Pacific International Expo Admission badges. They loved picking the colors and designing their own badge. Dominika and I played with a hello kitty ukelele for a while. Mark Jacinto joined the fun and we played dress up with the cute props they had available. I think they had the most fun with the wood blocks though, and my heart melted watching the three of them so involved!

I had the chance to read a little bit of the history of the place and Expo. It's incredible what people have gone through throughout the years! Collective effort is the best effort. What people can do when they join forces; powerful. 

We headed to the ferry Building to have lunch and had a nice family walk along the Embarcadero. The streets were quite busy with all the St. Patty's celebrations. On the way home, we walked by an Irish pub( man, they know how to party!) and as they were singing, Dominika felt like singing with them too. I love my family. Thank you, God.

Team effort=)

Papi and son making badges.

I like the mustache look for him. Too early though!

They had a cute little shop with interesting books.

"Kitty, kitty mom" she was so excited.

She's improving her block skills.

Hello, Mister J!

He was telling me a story, I didn't undertand it.

Ferry Building!=)

That was Mark Jacinto's comment ;-)

Busy streets for St. Patricks on Market st.

Everyone was so hyper, they wouldn't be still!

A Sunset Spin with Red Tricyle at Children's Creativity Museum

Entrance of the Museum.

 The Sunset Spin with Red Tricycle event at the Children's Creativity Museum was excellent. It was our first time at the museum and it was amazing. I'm definitely taking the kids back there again. Check it out if you are curious(they even have their own animation studio). Red tricycle is a great website and app for parents to find the best things to do with their kiddos in their city of residency. We have had really good experiences using the suggestions and events on their website and app.

They kindly provided a delicious ensemble of assorted sandwiches, fruit, cheeses, spanakopitas, deli meats and drinks sponsored by Whole Foods. It was Dominika's first time trying spanakopitas and she loved them! 

A really nice detail about the event was that they had Sensible Sitters on board. This meant that us parents had a little bit more room for conversation while watching the kids have fun with their new friends. I enjoyed meeting new parents there and seeing how other families have fun. There was the sweetest grandpa with his 9 month old grandson. He was so involved! I felt so inspired by him<3

The cherry on top of the cake was the free Carousel rides. Oh, how we love carousels!! Dominika was hesitant at the beginning but after the first ride, she got into it.

Yummy food provided by Whole Foods.

Keep going Dominika.

Building things with new amigos (friends).

Put those puppets back, darling.

Hello, there!

She loves legos ^.^

Where did the ball go?

Met some wonderful parents there.

Ah! My boy at the Carousel. He loves the 'caballos'(horses)

Thanks for having us Red tricycle! We had a blast.