Favorite Hikes in San Francisco with Kids

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We love to hike.  Sadly, our kids do not…yet.  I totally sympathize with them, up until college, I did not really like hiking, I would do it with friends on school field trips or something like that, but it wasn’t one of my passions.  Going to college in Vermont, I learned to LOVE hiking.  Luckily Mr. H also loves spending time outdoors.

Pre-kids and post kids we try and get out and hike as often as we can (which isn’t as often as we would like).  Post kids, those trips are a little less frequent, and the hikes are a little different (shorter, more mellow), but still great to get outside.  Someone once told us that a child can hike the same number of miles as their age (ie. a 3 year old can hike 3 miles).  We have been using this as our guide over the last couple of years and it seems to be a pretty accurate benchmark.

One of my favorite parts of living in San Francisco is the access to amazing outdoor activities within minutes, including hiking.  My current fave hikes with kids are Lands End and Stowe Lake:

Worst Passenger on the Plane

As I prepare  for our next trip (18 hours of flying, eek!), I am reminded of how far we have come from being the “best behaved kid on the plane” to the self declared worst passenger on the plane and then back to somewhere in between.  When traveling with big D when he was little, people would come up to us in the airport after plane rides and tell us they had never seen such a well behaved kid.  (I kid you not.)  Even after an overseas flight to Paris with a 16 month old, we were receiving congratulations from other passengers on what a great traveler he was.  So it was quite a fall from grace, when after a five hour flight to Hawaii with big D and Tater Tot in September, we were asked “is he always like this?” (referring to Tater Tot’s plane antics).

Panama Travel Budget for a Family of Four

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Gone are my budget travel days when I would walk from hostel to hostel looking for the cheapest price.  We aren’t super budget travelers anymore, but at the same time, we want to get the best value for our money.  We don’t care about super high end restaurants or hotels, but do want mid-priced, well located hotels/airBNBs and restaurants that serve yummy food.  Here is a break down of our budget for a family of four for one week in Panama.

Top 5 Activities with Kids in Panama

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We spent the week after Christmas in Panama.  A lot of friends asked us why we picked Panama?   We picked Panama because 1.) it is a relatively short flight from the US and good for a one week vacation 2.) it has beautiful beaches 3.)  it is warm in December 4.) it has interesting sights and culture and 5.) it is not super expensive (although prices are higher the week after Christmas, than other times of the year).

Panama is a great destination with kids, not only for the above reasons, but also because there are so many kid friendly activities once you are there.  During our week, we spent two and a half days in Panama City and four days on the beaches near Bocas Del Toro.  There is also amazing hiking in the rain forests inland (near Boquete), but we decided we didn’t have enough time to go there as well (reason to return!).  Here are our top 5 activities with kids we loved in Panama:

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Love Letter to SF #1

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Having grown up in San Francisco, I have had a lot of time to think about what I like and don’t like about the city.  When I was in high school I couldn’t wait to move somewhere else.  The East Coast, with its beautiful fall leaves, snow white winters (skiing!) and warm summers, sounded perfect.  However, every time I move away (and I have tried three times) I find myself moving back within only a year or two.  Sure, San Francisco has its pitfalls; traffic, high cost of living, too many hipsters, but there are so many things that I love, that it is hard to stay away.  There are so many reasons to love SF that I thought I would share, in a series of love letters to sf, some of my favorite parts of the city.

Do A Happy Dance: Finding Balance

After big D arrived and I went back to work, I had the typical mommy guilt.  The feeling of not having enough balance in my life, not enough time with my kid (then it was only 1).  Big D was always one of the first kids at daycare and one the last kids to get picked up.  Ten to eleven hours at day care, a long day; I felt so bad.  I started the conversation with my manager then.  “I want more time with my kid”, “I want a more flexible schedule”  “I want to work part time”.  Although there was no one in our company doing it, my manager was totally open to the conversation (surprising) and totally supportive (even though she didn’t have kids herself).  AMAZING!  I told her I could be patient, but I wanted to start the conversation now.

Play with Your Family

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Last Sunday night we did something out of our normal routine.  We had an early dinner, the kids put on their jammies, and we headed out to take some pictures of the golden gate bridge at sunset.   It doesn’t sounds like anything amazing, but we had so much FUN!  It was one of those rare moments, where everyone is having a good time.  The kids were running and skipping all over the place, and us parents were too.

Big Island of Hawaii: Beaches Near Waikoloa

IMG_0738The third week of March we spent on the big island of Hawaii in Waikoloa. It has probably been over 15 years since I last visited, the big island, so we wanted to explore the area around where we were staying. When you are in Hawaii, it is hard to get too much beach time, so we checked out some other beaches nearby:

Selfie Stick

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Starting to get the hang of this thing.

I had never thought about purchasing my very own selfie stick, but were thoughtfully gifted one recently.  Most of the time I forget to bring it with us anywhere, but when we do, it makes for some fun moments.  Of course the kids always want to be the one to use it.  Here are some of our recent attempts from our trip to the big island of Hawaii the second week of March.