So, we are back from San Francisco and adjusting slowly to the time change, but I wanted to be sure to do a follow up post with all the stuff we did in the second half of our week. Mostly because I will forget the trip ever happened by next month and I will need to go back and read my posts so I can tell Emma all about it when she gets older.

Wednesday: Al Gore was the guest speaker at the AFSCME convention on Wednesday morning and I just knew that Emma would be completely captivated by the man-who- would-have-been-President, so we went. Hm. Yeah. She didn’t even make it to Gerry McEntee’s introduction of Mr. Gore before we needed to leave so others could enjoy themselves. We stood outside the auditorium and listed for a few minutes, then gave up and headed to our old standby, Yerba Buena Gardens.

We rode the carousel and walked around the gardens and the waterfall at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and then I decided to walk some of the streets to the east of the gardens. Within about five minutes Emma was asleep in the stroller so we headed back to the hotel and she took a marathon three hour nap.

When she woke up I decided to take some advice from Cry It Out Mike’s post about what to do in San Francisco. We walked up to Market Street and over to the Tenderloin in search of the playground Mike mentioned in his post. It was a long walk, but it was nice to be walking and to see a part of the city we hadn’t seen. The playground didn’t disappoint and Emma even found a friend in a two year old boy who she raced down the slides with for a good 15 minutes. While we were there I dropped my phone and the screen shattered, making it impossible to get texts or call out because I couldn’t see the address book. This was a situation that would clearly have to be dealt with, probably before leaving San Francisco. If only there was someplace in San Francisco where I could get another phone that would do all the things my current phone could do… Oooh Ooohh Apple store – iPhone!!! Mike still swears I dropped it on purpose.

For dinner that night we decided to do room service. It was a little decadent but kind of fun for the three of us to hang out together in the room.

Thursday: Mama needed a brand new phone so at 7:30 am Emma and I got in line with the other geeks at the San Francisco Apple store and waited. By 9:00 I was walking out of the store with my little piece of sunshine new phone. Emma was remarkably good during the wait and really only started to cranky about the whole thing as we were finishing up.

With phone/GPS/camera etc in hand Emma and I headed for the 30 bus. We were going to the Exploratorium which was across town but according to Doodaddy and Emma’s Grammy, was worth the trip. We got on the gloriously uncrowded bus and started our trip, but something didn’t feel quite right so I asked a fellow passenger if we were headed the right way and she told me we wanted the bus behind the one we were on. Now, here’s the thing: when you are traveling in a city you don’t know, with a toddler, and a backpack, and a stroller, you definitely don’t want to be on the wrong bus.

Crud. I hauled us off the bus and waited for the next one. At which point Emma decided that she was tired of being pushed around by me. She spent the rest of the ride pointing at all the things outside the bus that she wanted to do. That big playground up on Columbus (just as we got to North Beach I think?) made her so angry that her head started to spin around. Luckily this bus was almost as empty as the first 30 bus we were on so we only really annoyed a handful of people.

We spent the morning at the Exploratorium and I think it more than made up for the torture of the bus ride. We ate lunch there and then I decided to walk around a little before heading back to our own neighborhood. The Marina District, where the museum is, is absolutely gorgeous and I suspected if I just walked around that corner there, I might just be able to see the Golden Gate Bridge. BINGO. We found Crissy Field and a lovely beach that overlooked the Bridge. The weather was clear and beautiful so we were actually able to see the bridge and Emma loved running on the beach and looking at the water.

We headed back to the hotel on the 30 bus and Emma fell asleep on my lap somewhere in Chinatown. For dinner that night we joined Mike and our friend and Mike’s co-worker Crystal at Sanraku – a sushi place in the Metreon. Emma ate a bowl of edamame and at least a pound of tofu and noodles.

Friday: Emma and I headed out for breakfast (at Mel’s Diner again – I know! I’m a glutton for punishment. But the pancakes are really good) when Mike left for work, then came back to the hotel and went to the swimming pool. By the time we got back to the room and took a shower, Emma was completely exhausted, I think the trip was starting to catch up with her, so she went down for a nap at about 10.

Mike’s convention was over and he was finished with work by noon on Friday, so he joined us back in the room and once Emma woke up the three of us went to lunch at the Organic Coffee Company at 4th and Mission (great sandwiches). For Mike’s one day of site seeing in the city we couldn’t decide between going back to Fisherman’s Wharf or heading to the Haight and maybe even the Mission. Since Emma had woken up almost every day of the trip barking like a sea lion, it seemed like maybe she was voting for the Wharf, and although our top pick would have been the Haight, we were completely powerless when she started barking like a sea lion, so the Wharf it was.

We rode the cable car to the water and took a decidedly touristy boat ride of the San Francisco bay. It was an hour long and drove right under the Golden Gate Bridge and then around Alcatraz. It was actually really fun – the weather was the most perfect it had been since we arrived and we got a great view of the bridge, San Francisco, and Sausalito. After the boat ride we walked to Pier 39 and saw the sea lions again. Even while she was barking like one, Emma was too terrified of them to let me put her down. We had just enough time for a ride on the merry-go-round and dinner at one of the cheesy seafood places on the pier before heading back home on the cable car. This time we got a seat on the outside and right up front which was really fun.

Saturday: Time to pack up and head home. Luckily we had a little bit of time to kill in the morning so we dumped our bags at the hotel front desk and headed for the Ferry Building. The farmer’s market that is there every Saturday morning was so much fun to see and the food all looked out of this world. I even saw a booth for Rancho Gordo beans – who I order from all the time and love love love. We headed back towards the hotel just in time for Emma to ride the carousel at Yerba Buena Gardens one last time.

The flight home was unremarkable and pretty pleasant actually. I managed to score a seat for Emma which was key, and has convinced me that toddlers should never ride on the laps of their parents, except maybe for short flights (like the one we are taking to Burlington VT at the end of the month).

What a great trip. I will be honest and admit that I was a little overwhelmed at the beginning and was having trouble enjoying myself, but I got the hang of it eventually and had so much fun. I think it was a lot for Emma for take in and she seems like she might still be catching up on her sleep, but she seemed to have a really good time too.