For Spring Break this year, we stayed put and Jennie brought her family out to stay with us. It was so fun and we loved having the Horne's here to visit and explore with us! They got here on Saturday and the girls were in heaven playing together and sleeping in the same room. All five of the big girls slept in Clara and Rose's bedroom and that first night it took a long, long time to get them to sleep. But really after that first difficult night they went down pretty easily the rest of the time.
Sunday was General Conference and we made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and enjoyed watching conference together as much as we could. We also took a bit of a break to go over to a local outdoor space with lots of trees and take pictures of the cousins together in the cute shirts and jean shorts that Grandma Cece had picked out for them. It's no easy feat getting a decent picture of the seven of them all at once, especially with the twins who are just barely 2, but I'm happy with what we ended up with. Mom - You will have to let me know which ones you like best and what size and I will print these for you.
We spent Monday at Alameda State Memorial Beach, which I love despite the fact that it doesn't have waves and isn't really a normal beach. It actually hardly had water this day because the tide was so far out! But that was a great thing for the girls because they could just splash in the puddles as much as they wanted and at least the weather was perfect for flying kites. Each of them took turns flying the two kites that we had brought with us. Clara, especially, loved that activity and spent a long time doing it. Eventually, we waded way far out until the adults were up to our mid-calves and the girls were about to lay down in the water and "swim" around and they loved that too.
On Tuesday we drove over to Sausalito to go visit Muir Woods. I love that place. It's so peaceful and gorgeous there. We've actually only ever done the main, mostly flat, trail and didn't vary our approach this time since we had all seven girls and knew someone would have to push the stroller back down the flat main trail with the twins in it. But the upper portion of the trail was fun with the five older girls and Clara spotted something like 8 or 9 banana slugs.
We picnicked again, like we had at the beach, and it was a good thing because the girls were all complaining about being starving when we finally stopped for food. Honestly, one of the things I really enjoyed about having Jennie out here was just the act of pulling everything together in the morning and packing lunch with her, talking over what the girls might like, while the girls played so well together in our house. Anyway, everybody enjoyed sandwiches and chips and berries and juice boxes.
When we weren't off exploring, the girls had a wonderful time just hanging out around the house. They did Cosmic Yoga together, played dress up, colored, jumped on the trampoline, played with the chickens, sang and danced their little hearts out, and just generally played well together. One night we even hired two girls from our ward to come babysit all 7 girls while us grown-ups went out to eat in Walnut Creek. The girls enjoyed watching Moana with the babysitters and the adults enjoyed a nice meal and conversation without having to coax any reluctant eaters!
Since Monday and Tuesday were bigger days with the beach and Muir Woods, we stayed closer to home on Wednesday and just went to Heather Farms Park in Walnut Creek which has these fun turf-covered Jack & Jill hills for the girls to play on. Then we hit up Chik-Fil-A for lunch and did ice cream at Lourdes for a treat in the evening.
We knew that Thursday and Friday were likely to be wet days so we saved the museums for those days of the vacation. First we went to the Bay Area Children's Museum in Sausalito. Jennie & Ryan have a pass to Thanksgiving Point in Utah that gets them into hundreds of other museums around the country, so we all got in without paying, which was awesome. I loved that the museum was set up in refurbished army buildings just below Golden Gate Bridge. The toddler outdoor area was a big hit with Rose, Adelaide, Kaitlyn and Brigette. I think they would have stayed there all day if we had let them.
But the girls also liked the jungle/rain forest room and the painting room. And there was another outdoor play space that they enjoyed playing on after eating lunch.
On Friday we decided to check out the Chabot Space & Science Center. It's not the greatest for the younger set like our group, but the girls still had fun looking at pictures (even if none of them could stand still long enough for me to read the fascinating information to them about black holes and stars and rockets). There was a dark room with purple dots of light that made you feel like you were floating through space (I mean, if you used your imagination) and the girls loved that. There was also a cheesy movie in the planetarium that the girls seemed to enjoy that was about two kids who build a rocket ship out of a cardboard box and fly past each of the planets in our solar system.
After the museum we hit up Fenton's for lunch and ice cream sundaes. Unfortunately, there was a meltdown that happened here that spoiled the fun a bit, but mostly the girls did really well the whole week.
Jennie & her family ended up staying Saturday too because of bad weather and we went to the farmer's market and head cake for the twins' birthday, but I don't have any pictures from that day.
It was a wonderful spring break and we are so glad that Jennie & Ryan decided to come out and visit us! Our girls are still talking about how much they miss their cousins!