How is your summer going so far? We missed you over the past 10 days and are excited to catch up! This week we’re launching our redesign (we can’t wait to share with you), and I’m grateful we got to travel to California to visit relatives. Here are a few trip photos, if you’d like to see…

Sonoma vineyards

Family trips can always have ups and downs (remember this hilarious article?), but traveling is so much easier now that the boys are older. First, we drove to Sonoma. I couldn’t believe the beauty of driving past vineyards, and I kept telling everyone to pinch themselves. “I feel like we’re in Parent Trap,” Toby said reverently.

Sonoma airbnb

My dad and twin sister joined us at an Airbnb, and it was such a party to all be together after almost two years apart.

traintown Sonoma

We ended up falling into a routine: Every morning, while the other adults slept or worked, the boys and I would wake up, eat breakfast, and immediately head to TrainTown, which is an adorable amusement park with six rides surrounded by trees. You can also take a 20-minute train ride, which stops halfway through so you can feed goats and alpacas. The boys loved it so much, we went all four days in a row. (I would watch them from a shady bench and listen to podcasts:)

Sonoma airbnb

In the afternoons, we’d swim and relax at the house. One day, my dad, my sister and Alex went wine tasting, but the boys watched a movie and I dozed on the sofa because sometimes doing absolutely nothing is the best, don’t you think?

In the evenings, we’d eat dinner together on the deck. (It’s funny, I think my sister and I look so much more like twins now that we’ve gotten older. We were so different as kids!)

pasta vegetable

My sister also made this delicious pasta, which is based on a recipe by my friend Gisela. Here it is: “Cook frozen peas separately. Cook pasta separately. Shave a bunch of Parmesan in big pan, sauté garlic, add cut asparagus, salt asparagus, cook until asparagus is halfway cooked (bright green but not al dente yet). Add enough heavy cream to cover asparagus, bring to simmer, cook until asparagus done, throw in peas. Take off heat, then add Parmesan. Stir until Parmesan is melted. Pour pasta into sauce.” YUM.


Mendocino kids hike

After three nights in Sonoma, we said goodbye to my dad and sister and drove up the coast to Mendocino. I’d recommend staying in a hotel right in the village because it is so charming and foggy and quaint.

catch a canoe Mendocino

Anton canoeing

One morning, we rented a canoe and paddled down the river. We saw seals and lasted an hour and a half!

redwoods Hendy woods state park

On our drive back to the city, we stopped at Hendy Woods State Park to see the redwoods. Toby was grumpy (hikes, guys), but Anton loved walking on fallen tree trunks and keeping his eye out for bears.

golden gate bridge

We ended our trip in San Francisco.

giants game

One evening, Alex took the boys to a Giants game…

Tartine manufactory salad

…while I walked around, ate lunch with a friend at Tartine Manufactory, peeked into cute shops, and devoured tart Greek frozen yogurt. It’s such a treat to have some alone time on trips, if you can manage to sneak away!

Anton goddard Williams

Finally, here’s Anton walking home from Dolores Park: “Look, I’m a mom!” (Nailed it.)

Ahh, California, thank you for having us! We love you! What have you been up to lately? How has your summer been so far? I want to catch up… xo

P.S. Past California trips, family vacation ideas, and 13 readers share their joyful reunions.

(Golden Gate Bridge photo by Lilly Bloom/Stocksy.)