Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Adventure Day: Boston Style

OK-- so it isn't Thursday yet, but I decided today would be my 'Adventure Day' in Boston. Our flight left at 2pm, so I had the morning (until 12:30) to explore with the kiddos. I decided to take advantage of the lovely weather and make a true 'outing' of it. We walked to Longwharf again and bought tickets for a ferry to George's Island. I knew virtually nothing about this destination, other than it was a National Park. I was hoping to get out of the city and find some beachcombing spots for Alex, and maybe some hiking trails. We lucked out-- there were a few little shell beaches, but the main attraction is Fort Warren- a Civil War era fort. It's pretty much just open for climbing/exploring. And we did! We caught the 11:30 ferry back to Boston, ran back to the hotel and made it just in time to hop in the taxi for the airport. The best part about the morning was that Justin was bushed-- he slept for the first half of the flight home!

Monday, August 29, 2011

To OZ! (Finally)

And now....what we've all been waiting for.... Oz (and the rest of the Children's Museum). The best part of the whole day for me wasn't Oz, however, but watching my two kids interact beautifully. Alex is such a caring, protective and attentive big sister. Justin is fearless and friendly, and absolutely adores his big sister. He just aches to keep up with her, every step of the way.

A wonderful picnic lunch outside the museum-- on the waterfront!

Justin decided that after lunch he was going to blow through another milestone....stairs. Within 15 minutes of being presented with the padded stairs in the baby playspace, he mastered them. This is the actual video of his first time up!

Walking to Boston Public Gardens

Well, since the storm was over, it was time for Dorothy to finally go to OZ (oh-- I'm sorry, I would be instantly corrected by Alex if she could read - "I'm NOT Dorothy...I'm Alex dressed up as Dorothy". It was 8 am when we were ready to go, but since the Children's Museum didn't open until 10am, we took a 'quick' visit to see Mrs. Mallard and her children at the Boston Public Gardens.Because we had so much time, I decided to walk it. It probably would have taken about 30-35 minutes....had I not taken a wrong turn at the State House. (See that green patch where I veer up instead of walking along side it....yeah...)

Even with our 'detour' around Beacon Hill (bringing our walking time to 50 minutes), we still had plenty of time to do some duck visiting (and feeding), hop in a cab and still make it to the Children's Museum two minutes before the doors opened.

(photo by Alex)

(I would like to point out that, by this time, Justin had been in the stroller for about an hour and a half. No whining. No crying. No fussing!! What a lovely little guy).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Come on Irene....

We were ready. Dave and I packed all of our rain gear, emergency weather radio, flashlights, candles, waterproof matches, etc. in case of emergency. The kids and I were to stay in the hotel for the day, amusing ourselves, while the storm blew in. New York City had evacuated low-lying bouroughs, and Boston itself had shut down all public transportation. Many restaurants and all tourist attractions were also closed. We received a letter from the hotel staff, informing us of emergency evacuation plans and procedures. I had 'grab and go' evac bags packed for all of us-- Dave and I had a 'plan' if we were to be separated (he still had to go to his conference). And then we waited. It rained a little. Got a bit windy. Rained a little more (maybe hail) and then died down. I don't want to say I was disappointed to remain safe and sound, but the idea of weathering out a big, big storm was a bit romantic.

What we did instead:

1. Walk outside to Dunkin Donuts-- just to say we walked in a Hurricane...it was pretty windy, and Alex "almost blew away like Piglet", but she managed to hold onto her pink sprinkled donut just fine.

2. Go swimming-- Justin and I walked back and forth while Alex showed off her pool kickboard prowess.

3. Take a bath to warm up-- because it was really COLD in the pool!

4. Explore the hotel and find a snack at the cafe-- we found an open ballroom to run and run and run around.

5. Go back to the room for some imaginative zookeeper play-- the bolster cushion you see was a "dangerous poison flower in a zoo".

6. Try to convince Justin to take a nap. Hah!

7. Watch a ....Barney movie on Netflix via the iPad!!! I know, I know....but it was a HURRICANE, for goodness sake!

8. Order room service for dinner-- chocolate malt and grilled cheese.

9. Go to bed..... after setting out some leaves, twigs and petals that she found yesterday "so the fairies can make something with it". After Daddy Hurricane fairy came home, they constructed a little broom and dustpan.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Barking Crab

We were a bit tired from our busy, windblown morning, but both kids took a nap so we headed out to dinner at the Barking Crab. Alex had the best fish n' chips I've ever sneaked a bite (or two) of, and Dave and I enjoyed a large cold seafood platter....well, Alex pilfered a crab leg or two of that. Justin enjoyed his baby food, puffs, and an entire basket of dill pickles that the indulgent waitress brought at our request. His arms were entirely soaked with vinegary pickle brine, but he was in heaven.

Thar she blows!

Daddy was able to sneak away for our first morning in Boston. We spent about twenty minutes mapping out the 'perfect' route to Longwharf Harbor via public transportation, only to be told by our concierge that it was MUCH easier to just walk it. Who knew? We arrived on the Whale Watching boat to find that it was not very crowded (apparently not too many people want to go out to sea the day before a hurricane is scheduled to come in). Apparently not too many whales want to be out at sea the day before a hurricane either...we saw 4, and all were juveniles-- so either really dumb or really brave....or a combination of both. Enjoy the photos!

Excited to be on a boat! (And excited that Daddy made it back from his drugstore run in time to get on the darn thing!! Dave went for some motion-sickness meds because the 'seas were rough', and almost didn't make it back in time!)

Windy and overcast.... and super FUN!

This guy is the calmest, mellowest baby EVER. That pretty much sums up our entire vacation in that sentence.

Break out the rain gear....we're starting to see Irene sprinkles!

Our oh-so-nutritious 'lunch' aboard the good ship....well, whatever it was named. We needed some yummy calories to recup from all the wind! But...it was a good thing we decided to duck inside, because...

Best 'tail shot' we got was from our window as we were enjoying our snack.

Friday, August 26, 2011

To Boston...or not?

Well, we wavered about whether or not to make the trip. Hurricane Irene is projected to blow into Boston over our vacation, and last night they were predicting 100 mph+ winds and a class 3 hurricane. Last night I was ready to pull the plug (we even called airlines and hotels). Good thing we decided to wait another day, because this morning they downgraded her to a class 1 by the time she reaches Boston. 65 mph winds I can deal with! So....we went-- into the 'eye of the hurricane' for a vacation with Daddy. After a good flight (compliments all around for both kids), we jumped in a taxi and headed to the Seaport Hotel-- where the kids got to pick out toys from a gigantic treasure chest upon checking in. We went for a little walk in search of some dinner, and ended up at Legal Test Kitchen, where we got some good Boston chow to go. Lobster roll, crab cakes....mmmmm

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Alex had her last dance class of the summer today. :-) She had a fantastic time, and was right when she said that she'd "love it!" when she was trying to convince me to sign her up. I'm glad we had a little bit of a 'scheduled' summer after all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kitchen Craziness

Our entire day pretty much took place in the kitchen today. It's a good thing I have such a fantastic sous chef (and an Auntie Rorie to entertain The Boy).

We began by peeling the fresh peaches our CSA delivered...mmmm....we snuck a few juicy bites here and there. The majority we sliced and froze, to enjoy on some dreary winter's day. Yep- that's Alex with a knife-- she had her first lessons in proper knife ettiqute today, and did very well. I probably could have handed her one months ago!) We reserved some for a fresh cobbler after dinner tonight, though! Then we pitted, sliced and froze cherries, cut the kernels off of about 10 ears of corn to freeze, and sliced the rest of our cucumbers so they can soak before we make batch #2 of bread & butter pickles.

But was that all? Nope! Then we tackled our first batch of sauerkraut! I ordered a special sauerkraut/kimchee fermenting crock a few weeks ago, and today was the day. Alex loved helping to shred the cabbage...then it was as simple as stuff, salt, press, repeat! We are supposed to let it ferment about 4 days and then I can freeze it in small servings. Here's to hoping it's good! After that it was about time to prepare dinner....Alex wanted to make her pattypan squash tonight, so I found a healthy stuffed squash recipe that she was able to do herself (minus the browning ground chicken part). And to top it all off, we put together a yummy whole wheat peach & blueberry (& cherry) cobbler.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Alex's Shawano Cottage Series

My budding photographer did a series of work from the cottage for you to enjoy:

"The lake where I caught three fish where two swallowed the WHOLE hook"

"The tree that Daddy helped me climb""Leaves in the driveway."

"A chair" "Cattails. I got to bring TWO home with me! They're in the garage." Yes, they are...until Mama can get around to shellac-ing.

Sunday- goodbye Shawano!

One of our many attempts at a group photo. I think everyone looks pretty good here, but the real reason I chose it is because of Justin's adoring gaze at Great-Grandpa Bob. That pretty much sums up his entire weekend! ;-) We had a lovely time, thank you so much Sarah, Alice and Bob for being such wonderful and gracious hosts! See you next summer!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"The Shawano Zoo" by Alex

Here is Alex's photojournal of the petting zoo right next to our hotel in Shawano. She really enjoys taking pictures, and it's so fun to see the world from her perspective!