Friday, September 19, 2014

12 year old in San Francisco

We spent last weekend in San Francisco celebrating Ruslana's 12th birthday. Yep, you read that  right--our girl is 12 years old!!!  To honor this special occasion, I'll give you a run down of our trip.  But be forewarned, there's so many adorable photos you just might die of cuteness overload ;-).

Alright, here we go!  Get your seat belts on, our journey is beginning.  Here's me and the kids ready for take-off:
Our first stop in the city was La Taqueria, a restaurant that was recently hailed as home to the best burrito in the United States.  As a burrito loving family, we of course had to see if this place was worth all the hype.  Our take?  Yeah, they were really good.  Here's Mark and Ruslana enjoying their delicious burritos:

Since we were already in the Mission district for lunch, we decided to swing by Mission San Francisco de Asîs.  Ruslana enjoyed seeing a mission in person since she studied them in school last year.

Later that night we went out for pizza and walked around the city.  We impulsively climbed up to Coit Tower.  Phewwee that was a climb!  But the view made it worthwhile.  Or at least that's what we tried to tell ourselves.

Oh, and how could I forget.  A true highlight of my life, witnessing a nighttime segway tour.  The flashing helmet lights were a great touch.  If only we could've gotten in on this earlier: 

On Saturday morning we took a cable car down to Fisherman's Warf.  As expected, Ruslana loved standing up and hanging outside of the car.

After we grabbed some fish and chips for lunch (can you tell we like to eat on vacation? #sorrynotsorry), we took the ferry over to Alcatraz island.  
Ruslana on her very first boat ride

Levi had a BLAST walking around the island.  He looked like quite the jail bird trying to escape! 

After our time at Alcatraz, we headed back to the city for the trips main event (yes, even better then witnessing the segway tour!).   Remember "Marjorie," Ruslana's best friend that we raised money for (read previous post here)?  Well, that sweet little girl, whose real name is Tyna, made her way home to America in March and for Ruslana's birthday we planned a reunion.  And to make things even funner, Tyna had no idea that we were coming.  Check out Ruslana surprising Tyna at dinner: 

After that moment, these two were inseparable.  And it was precious.  They picked up right where they had left off, only now they were both speaking English!
Here are the girls with their siblings.  Their FAMILY!  Something just a year and a half ago these two couldn't have even fathomed.  God is so awesome.

Next up our families headed to Ghiradelli for an early birthday celebration.  They made Ruslana a special birthday sundae and even came out and sang to her.  It was a lot of fun! 
After we finished our dessert, Tyna came with us to our apartment and the girls had a slumber party.  Since they grew up sleeping in the same room at the orphanage, they were very excited to share a room once again.  I let Ruslana open one of her birthday gifts early--a "sleepover kit" containing a pair of BFF PJ's, a bag of chips, and a Snickers bar for each girl, as well as a travel Trouble board game for them to play. 

Ready for bed in their matching BFF PJ's
After a fun filled night, Ruslana was able to wake up on her birthday with her best friend right by her side! It doesn't get much better than that.  We went to breakfast, then took the BART back to meet Tyna's family. 
After the girls said their goodbyes (and promised to Face Time soon!), our family headed to the Raider game. 
There's not too much I'm going to say about the game.  Maybe taking a one year old, well heck, any age person to a Raider game in Oakland isn't the world's greatest idea.  But, we created a memory and Ruslana loved seeing the game up close.  After the game we hopped on a plane and flew home.  

We had so much fun on our mini-vacation spending time together as a family, celebrating our daughters last birthday as a preteen (yikes) and seeing Ruslana be reunited with her very best friend on American soil.  It will surely be a weekend that we will never forget!


  1. You guys are somewhere in SoCal, right? You should take her to mission San Juan Capistrano sometime, followed by tea at the Tea House on Los Rios. Best part, if train travel is convenient for you, the train drops off in SJC right next to Los Rios Street, and like 2 blocks from the mission.

    1. That sounds like a lot of fun, thanks for the suggestion!

  2. It brings tears to my eyes to see the girls together! We have a similar experience... with my son and his best friend with whom he lived 8 years were adopted 6 months apart and found each other here (randomly). It was amazing so see them together the first time. They are young men now but still have an incredible bond!

    1. That's awesome! Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. We have been trying to decide if we should take our son (who we adopted a year ago) on a trip for his birthday. You sold me, it sounds like you guys had so much fun! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Just found your blog. You have a beautiful family! Bookmarking so I can keep on reading your story. Thanks

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