Uncle Tom’s Mansion

This past weekend JW and I took an all-expenses paid vaca to the Bay Area, courtesy of our wonderful Uncle Tom and Aunt Mary. It was the perfect lil’ babymoon before Biscuit makes his appearance (30 weeks today, y’all!) and would not have been possible if it weren’t for the compassion and generosity of John’s uniquely giving kin. They paid for our plane tickets, let us stay at their pristine palace, and paid for all of our food and entertainment. We can’t even tell you how deeply humbled we were to be the recipients of such blessings. It made us want to be financially stable enough one day to be able to do that for others. It really can change lives to receive in that capacity. We did give them a free calendar we got as a ‘thank you,’ though, so I’d say we’re even.


Thursday 5-5-11
(First of all, shout out to John’s awesome Home Teaching companion, Grant, for taking us to the airport at 6:30 in the a.m.!!)

Uncle Tom picked us up from the airport around 10:00 a.m. and took us back to his casa for a little r&r until lunch, where we went to a Cinco de Mayo party with him and his office. John and Uncle Tom played a little tennis and swam in the on-site pool that afternoon as well, but I definitely took a 3 and ½ hour siesta instead. Later that evening our cousin Tom and his pregnant wifey Maeve made us a gourmet foodie feast. We watched “The Princess Bride” that night and enjoyed bowls of heath bar ice cream. A day from heaven, I’d say.

Friday 5-6-11
John William awoke in the wee hours of the morn to accompany Uncle Tom and some of his buddies on a very vigorous mountain biking ride, one that JW might have been a little under-prepared for. But he had a great time, none-the-less, even though he may or may not still be paying for not having padded biker shorts. We drove into San Francisco later that afternoon for some fine dining and the ballet, compliments of Aunt Mary. We all decided on The Cliff House, which was the nicest restaurant I have ever been to—hands DOWN. I got the bacon-crusted salmon and am now convinced to try to bacon-crust everything. It literally melted in my mouth. John got the roasted chicken and “tator tots,” even though those potato delights deserved a way posher name than that. Napolean Dynamite would have been blown away. JW was quite thrilled with his tots, to say the least. We basically concluded that The Cliff House is a magical place.

We then attended The San Francisco Ballet’s rendition of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid.” Aunt Mary gave John and me SECOND ROW TICKETS. We definitely had some droplets of sweat splatter on our faces. I have never been seated so close at a professional production. Unfortunately I was so sick and in so much pain that night that I don’t think I had the experience I could have had. At one point in the second act I literally started sobbing because the pain and discomfort were so unbearable. But we made it through, and only had to pull over a few times on the way home. It really was a great night, though.

Saturday 5-7-11
More resting in the morning. We lounged by the pool, napped, ate, etc. Then we headed back into the city and saw some sites. First stop: Golden Gate Park. We went to the Art Museum and saw a really cool exibit of a fashion designer from the 50’s who designed gowns for the Spanish Court. It was really neat. Then we went to the observatory on the top of the building and saw a panoramic view of the entire city. It was wonderful! The landscape reminded me of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower. There really were some similarities.

After that we headed to the Japanese Tea Garden–my favorite part of the day trip. It was so tranquil and special, I absolutely loved this. It was a bit breezier than Los Altos (which is where Uncle Tom’s place is) but I think it added to the sacred experience of the Tea Gardens. Then we headed to the Golden Gate Bridge–something I had never been to in all the times I’ve been to San Francisco! I really felt great about everything we saw and experienced on our little trip. Ah, but the night wasn’t over yet…

We were trying to figure out where to meet up with cousin Jen and Uncle Tom for dinner. Would you believe that everyone wanted to go to The Cliff House again??? So we did! And yes, I got the bacon-crusted salmon–AGAIN. John said, “We got a once in a life time dining experience–two nights in a row!!” So The Cliff House is definitely our special place now, even though we will probably never be able to afford going there on our own. It was just so great being with everyone, too, and enjoying an incredible view, incredible food, and incredible conversation.

Sunday 5-8-11
Mothers Day! I awoke to a bouquet of flowers and a beautiful breakfast made by my JW and Uncle Tom for Aunt Mary and me: crepes, blueberry scones with lemon curd, eggs, sausage–so delicious, so beautiful, so meaningful. My first Mothers Day! It’s still kind of weird to think I’m a part of that club now… Anyhoo, since we were away from home for Mothers Day John and I didn’t really get to chat with our missionaries. I was on speaker phone for a few minutes in attempts to connect with Matt, but it didn’t last long. He is doing so great, though, and I can’t begin to describe the joy he brings me through his letters. We also tried to skype in with Tanner but it didn’t work that great, either. It’s really crazy to think that this was his last phone call home!! His mission has gone fast and slow, all at once. He is doing amazingly, too, which brings us so much peace. We just adore our Elders.

After a beautiful morning, John and I were able to attend church with one of my long lost, but best friends Crystal and her darling husband John. We love Johns. I hadn’t seen Crystal since high school, but we have reconnected through blogging and have a very special friendship. It was a huge highlight of the trip to see her and experience her beauty again. She has one of the most tender hearts I’ve ever known, and I can’t explain how much I love her. It was the perfect way to end the trip–aside from having to take a wheelchair from the airplane to the baggage claim after the flight home because of megga-nausea.  That knocked the trip out of the park!

Thank you so much to Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom for allowing us to have this great experience. No doubt vacations will never be the same once our lil’ guy comes along, so this was exactly what we would have hoped for but never would have expected. We feel so blessed to have the family we do!

SO close!! That guy’s head was the only thing between us and the orchestra.
Big safety pin outside the museum.  I didn’t get it, but cool.
The Tea Garden
Golden Gate Bridge:  soooooo wiiiiiiindy!!!!
My beautiful Crystal

{more pictures to come}

One comment

  1. CKE says:

    Jessi darling! I tried to comment on here the other day, but blogger said it was down for maintenence(??) and wouldn’t let me!

    Anyway, it looks like you had so much fun! You guys really packed a lot into your trip! John and I want to do a “Park” Saturday in SF to try and hit up all the beautiful parks in the city, and the Japanese one is now on the list! 🙂 Sounds so pretty!

    It was SO awesome to see you and meet your hubby when you guys came. Thank you so much for making time and coming to our ward! Looooove you mucho! 🙂

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