I can’t believe it’s taken us this long to have a beach day. We LOVE the beach. The thing is, I was a little nervous to go to the beach without Matty, because here’s what you need to bring to the beach – bare minimum – with two kids:
• bag with 3 beach towels, sunblock, dry snacks, swimmies, sun hats, swim shirts
• bag of beach toys (buckets, shovels, strainer, etc)
• 3 beach chairs
• shade tent (or umbrella)
• cooler with sandwiches and cold snacks
• cooler with water bottles
We tend to carry this stuff in a large roll-y cart that gets significantly less roll-y on sand. Because it’s also virtually impossible to leave the house with two small children before 9:30 am, we didn’t get to the beach until a little after 10:30, which means we had to park in the auxiliary lot, an extra 500 yards away (still $20 though). The important part is that we made it, and it was awesome.
We went to Wingaersheek (thanks, local friends who weighed in). The water was absolutely perfect, the flies were minimal, and the low tide created an awesome little sand bar and shallows area that the kids loved playing in.
Remember that “great” tent? Here’s the advice Matty gave me for folding it up: “one thumb up, one thumb down.” Here’s my review of folding that goddamn tent: two thumbs wayyyyy down. After about 10 minutes of watching me wrestle that thing, the family camped next to us took a break from laughing at me to try to help. The mother and teen daughter jumped in, and the three of us managed to somehow jam it back into its tiny carrying case. The woman jerry-rigged it shut and I prayed it wouldn’t pop open in the trunk. Matty, I’m sorry, but this bad boy will be waiting for you on the lawn.
Aside from the Tent Incident and the Roll-y Cart Incident, I did it! We’ll be back, beach, hopefully next time with some reinforcements.
Yesterday, I watched my kids float on a raft on a beautiful pond while I had a beer with my childhood friend, Ali. They were sweet and funny and they didn’t crush either of Ali’s two adorable children with the giant rocks they were collecting and pushing off the dock. I’m not a religious person by far, but I felt, and I still feel, so blessed to have this summer with them.
In the morning, we did stuff around the house and played a little. The kids’ new game is playing movie theatre with Hazy’s puppet theatre. You pay for your ticket with a Crazy 8’s card, and then you get a (different) Crazy 8 card as your movie ticket. It’s as exciting as it sounds.
Then, we headed down to Spectacle Pond to visit Ali, and her sweet kids, Violet and Adam.
At one point, Hazy tried to help the two littler kids with the raft (Adam was napping), and they turned on her. I told her, I don’t think they understood you were trying to help. She replied, little people never understand me.
Even though it was late, we had promised the kids Kimball’s (our childhood ice cream joint), and a promise is a promise. Also, ice cream is ice cream.
It may be all the ice cream, but I’m starting to really dig this stay-at-home mom thing. Both kids ended the day with 7 minutes one-on-one time, and it was just right.
Guys, I know we’ve already been to the zoo and so this is like a One Summer At Home rerun, but keep in mind, this is my real life, I’m running out of ideas here, and also, we have a zoo membership.
But, rest assured, we did some previously un-seen things at the zoo today, including: buying a penny for 51¢ and feeding the budgies.
But first, we started the day with Hazy’s new hobby: practicing to be the new One Man Band:
Then we went back to the zoo, but we tried some new things, like whining about having to see “animals” and wanting to go to the playground. We also tested our long jumps.
Felt a peacock feather:
Found someone worse at hide & seek than George:
Got a penny for the bargain price of 51¢:
And, we fed the budgies. I don’t know what took us so long to do this, but it’s awesome.
I always try to get one shot of all of us on each outing for posterity, even when I’m sweaty and gross.
Then we hustled home for lunch and nap time. (George is this little bunny from Robin Hood.)
I’d love to say Hazy and I did some deeply enriching craft project while George napped, but we watched half of Thumbelina (one Thumbelina down from Hazy) and then she watched My Little Pony while I napped.
When Matty got home, he brought our first cucumber in from our garden! We all celebrated, as if we each helped grow it, while in reality, it was 90% Matty and 10% Hazy.
We’re going to the beach tomorrow. What’s your vote among Wingaersheek, Crane, and Good Harbour?
We went to our friends’ gorgeous house on the Hudson, got spoiled with delicious food, and let our kids entertain each other while we discussed important things like how we just screwed ourselves by staying up talking past midnight. Only, turns out it wasn’t a vacation; it was a trip, according to this brilliant and handy blog post my friend Cindy just shared with me.
So let’s see, vacation or trip:
1) We got there by car = TRIP.
2. We met up with friends = VACATION!
3. There was a kitchen and I may have sort of half-helped empty the dishwasher once = TRIP.
4. No forts, no aquariums, no jigsaw puzzles (unfortunately) = VACATION!
5. I’m currently a stay-at-home mom = TRIP
6. Kids were definitely there. Not just our kids, but twins Hazy’s age, a little spitfire who’s a little younger than George, and even a new baby, swoon, but still…TRIP.
There was a pool:
There was toddler tumbling:
There were races & fireflies and s’mores:
And there was seeing our friends as new parents, meeting their adorable little baby, and showering him with gifts like custom made onesies:
So, I guess it wasn’t a vacation, but it was a really, really good trip.
Anyway, I go on vacation every day, according to this quote from Louis CK:
“Parents live for the tiny vacation from their kids. When you put the kid in the car and you close the door. That little walk around to your own door, it’s like a Carnival Cruise.”
Confession: I taught swim lessons for five years, but I CANNOT TEACH MY KIDS HOW TO SWIM. Side note: I just looked up the awesome day camp I used to work at, Camp Nashoba, and caught this little blurb during the search, “Developed in 1957 on the site of the Nashoba Indian camping and burial grounds.” Um, WHAT? Did you know about this, Lindsay? We were teaching swim lessons in Poltergeist?
Anyway, it’s been maddening that I can’t teach Hazy and George to swim. Mostly, it’s that I don’t want to force them to try things they don’t want to do. But guess what? That’s what you do when you’re a swim instructor. You think anyone wants to do 100 bobs in a lake on a cold Monday morning? But that’s not what you do when you’re a mom. At least, not this mom.
BUT, we’ve been going to Grammy’s and Oma’s respective pools every week, and yesterday, this happened:
I am so, so, so happy. She still can’t swim with her head above water, but, details.
George has made some strides too.
That was the big highlight of the day yesterday. That, and we got to have my parents’ won tons. You know, the food Hazy chose to eat every day for the rest of her life in a game of Every Day, One Day, Never.
Today, we’re playing, cleaning, and heading off to Westchester to see some friends.
What’s Every Day, One Day, Never? It’s a kids’ game I made up in the car today. It’s basically the family friendly version of FMK (you know, F-intercourse, Marry, or Kill), where you’re given three options, and you have to choose which one you’d play with/eat every day, which one you’d play with/eat for one more day, and which one you’d never play with/eat again for the rest of your life.
Both chose to play with Scout every day, Pooh one day, and get rid of Baroccoli.
We also chose between:
Eating… won tons (Hazy’s every day), mac & cheese (George’s every day), pasta with butter (both kids’ never)
Playing with… Magna-Tiles (both kids’ every day), trains (George’s one day), and dolls (Hazy’s one day) [By the way, I’m in no way sponsored by Magna-Tiles, but I totally should be. Cough, cough, Magna-Tile people.]
Eating… ice cream (every day for everyone), Oreo cups (one day for everyone), popsicles
Eating… American cheese (both kids’ never – shock!), cream cheese (Hazy’s every day), or shredded cheddar cheese (George’s every day)
Listening to… Got a Mooch Got A Mooch, aka Bohemian Rhapsody (every day for George & never for Hazy); La La La, aka Can’t Get You Out of My Head (every day for Hazy & never for George); Roar (my never)
After this fun-filled ride, we got to Grammy’s house, where we had pool time, went to a local farm and fed some animals, had a great dinner, and got treated to ice cream (thanks, Grammy!).
Quick Every Day, One Day, Never choice: Facebook, Instagram, or Words With Friends?
I won’t even miss you, WWF, and it’ll be an epic last Instagram.
It’s not all about epic farts (well, it’s mostly about epic farts), it’s also about trains, Magna-Tiles, PB&Js, time outs, nap time, artwork, and importantly, shandy time by the pool. But we’ll get to the pool later.
Here’s something you won’t get from every other mom blog: a completely honest account of a day as a stay-at-home mom. Caveats:
I’m a temporary SAH mom. I’m sure full time pros do things a little differently/better.
We didn’t do any special outings today, so this doesn’t represent a “typical day” of our summer so far. But this is much more realistic, I’m realizing, as I’ve exhausted myself the last three weeks doing special activities every day.
I may have retouched some cellulite out of one photo, and if I knew how to use Photoshop, I would’ve done more.
On this awesome morning (Monday), both kids slept in until 8. If you want the secret to having your kids sleep in until 8, it’s this: sun + chlorine + cousins + Grammy + mom away on girls’ weekend. Strong work, Matty.
When they wake up, Hazy usually dresses herself and hangs out for a few before coming into our bedroom. George, on the other hand, yells, “I’m awake! Mama! Dada! I waked up!” until we come get him. I kind of like that he doesn’t think he can leave his room. Anyway, it was probably 8:30 by the time we went downstairs.
8:30 – 9:30: Breakfast, tooth brushing, toy pit time
Once in a blue moon, it’s quiet in the toy pit and no one is silent crying/drawing on the walls/unconscious from a train car to the head.
They played with trains and Magna-Tiles, and no one got any minutes off. Then, it was time to do some momming.
9:30 – 11:30: Toy Pit Family Time
I love playing with my kids, but I hate playing Teacher. Teacher means sitting on the rug and getting reprimanded non-stop for talking out of turn, i.e., at any time. Two hours of playing teacher is like being waterboarded with the grossest Gatorade, lemon-lime.
Then George and I applied the tattoos Ms. Hazel gave us.
This was a particularly good game of Teacher, but even a good game is not great, so I managed to convince them to spend some time reading.
If we’re at home, George delays getting out of his jammies for as long as humanly possible. In this case, a little before noon.
11:45 – 12:30 The outing! (It took us 15 minutes or so to round up, get George dressed, and put on shoes.)
After securing pants on this one, we went to Boomerang’s, a local thrift store that benefits the AIDS Action Committee, to shop for Uncle Marco’s birthday. This was literally the only time we left our house/yard all day.
George’s nap is really Hazy and my time to do big kid stuff together. She’s really into her acrylics and canvas these days, so after a pedi for Hazy, a few episodes of My Little Pony (read: nap time for me), she did some painting.
3:30 – 5:15 Yard Time
Post nap, we went to our second favorite pool, our own. Usually pool time is my Shandy time, and I just sit back and watch the kids splash around. This time, I decided to leave my phone and shandy inside and be a part of the action. I was encouraged by the fact that it was about 95º out.
After the ensuing mud pit we created on the lawn when we emptied the pool, it was bath time.
5:15-5:45 Bath Time
5:45 – 6:30 Cooking/Toy Pit
I treat the toy pit like the Coliseum when I’m cooking. The gladiators have to work it out on their own. Two kids enter, okay fine, two kids leave. But it’s either to go to their rooms for time out or to come set the table and wash their hands.
We’ve been occasionally doing Blue Apron, which I like, but it’s a constant blow to the ego, like when it says it takes 25-35 minutes to prepare and it takes me 50. So on this occasion, we had a late dinner. Matty got home around 6:00 and played with the kids, who greeted him like a king. I also had to go to a quick doctor’s appointment.
6:30 – 7:00: Dinner
Yep, we eat fast. Sorry if we don’t “have conversations” and “chew our food” like some of you fancy pants. Usually, we give the kids whatever we’re having, but I wimped out because the Blue Apron was North African Beef Tagine, and made them mac & cheese. I’m ashamed of myself. But I don’t feel that bad, because they totally would not have eaten North African Beef Tagine.
7:00 – seeming infinity: Bedtime ritual (Full confession, I snuck out from 7:05-7:25 to get my bangs trimmed.)
Flossing (ugggghhh), brushing (ugh), thank god they’re already in their pajamas from bath time, reading, and 10 minutes one-on-one time for each of them (good job, guys!). Since Matty and I were both home, we split it up so that Hazy had 10 minutes with Matty and I had 10 minutes with George (we alternate). As dinner was so late (curse you, Blue Apron! Just kidding, I can’t stay mad at you after the Ponzu Steak), bedtime went a little late too. But phew, we were done by 8:00, because…
8:00 – 10:00: Unwinding
Did I say unwinding? I meant speed-washing the dishes so I could watch The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All and force Matty to do the same. (Although I didn’t have to twist him arm that hard.)
8:20 – Me, grasping distended belly: “I ate too much tagine!”
9:30 – Matty, looking at me eating chocolate-covered yogurt pop: “Weren’t you just saying you had a stomach ache from eating too much?”
Me: Continues to eat popsicle.
Today was much the same, except instead of Boomerang’s, we went to the post office, where George ran so far off that he was already at the automatic doors, practically outside, before some woman in line said, “Ma’am, he’s all the way over there”, shaming me at the post office. Also, Hazy turned into a teenager in front of my very eyes.
And today, George went into the pool solo while Hazy and I made mustache straws. As you do.
Back to our back to back grandma days tomorrow and Thursday. Hooray for grandmothers and Opa! If you have any good, simple arts & crafts projects, please leave a comment. Thanks!
And you know what? It was pretty fun. I’m too tired to post about it now, but here’s a sneak peek:
The highlight of our day was this epic fart that George laid in the middle of lunch. Hazy described it as sounding like a motor, and it seriously lasted about 20 seconds. There’s nothing like laughing until you cry with both of your kids.
I’ll share the remaining, and less gaseous, parts of our day later.
After the Buddha Baby service and the long process of getting George to put on non-pajama clothes, the plan was to go see the Hokusai exhibit at the MFA, you know, something I wanted to do. But then the universe reminded me, it’s not about what I want to do. We drove 20 minutes, pulled into a very expensive parking lot, and then Hazy said, “I can’t find my sandals!” After Matty carried her to bed last night, we’d assumed he’d left her sandals in the car. We were wrong.
Plan B: drive to the nearest shoe store. Wasn’t sure if the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” rule would apply at a shoe store, but I carried my big girl four blocks while holding George’s hand, and then we hit the jackpot: flip flops for both kids; sport sandals for Hazy, and the piece de resistance, my new Christian Siriano for Payless “Kate” pumps. Those shoes are museum-worthy, plus the parking was free. Oh, and I got some headbands. You know, impulse buy.
On the walk, George terrorized several people with his lack of driving skills, and then drove the car partially onto the busy street.
I always wanted to go to this ice cream and hot dog place, Simco, mostly because of its cool retro sign.
As I strapped him into his car seat, George said, “You know what’s fun?” “What?” “You’re fun.” Oh George, you’re killing me, smalls.
During George’s nap, Hazy tried our some of our Michael’s purchases and did her first acrylic on canvas painting.
Then we picked up the man, the myth, the legend — Dada! Now that they spend every weekday with me, Matty has attained new status.
And then we hit the Children’s Museum, or as I like to call it, The Hall of Germs. Bubbles were made, TV stars were born, and Buster was intimidated by a sassy six-year old. The caterpillar lady was reluctant to let the kids hold the caterpillar, because she correctly assumed they’re klutzes. She kept saying, “Don’t drop him!” Then, she was showing me something about him, and dropped him! Oh, caterpillar lady.
Speaking of caterpillars, I’m a little obsessed with them now. There are so many beautiful varieties, they can camouflage (took me three times to spell that correctly) themselves so well, and they’re just so cool. I mean, hello? The very hungry caterpillar – SPOILER ALERT – ate a bunch of fruit, a cake, a sausage, and cheese, and then the dude became a butterfly!
All in all, a good day. Final one-on-one minutes: Hazy, 11; George, 0 (due to the Throwing-A-Train-at-Hazy’s-Head Incident); although Matty is a softie and still read him a book before bed.
Local friends: What is your favorite MA or NH beach?
It’s been a little over two weeks since my kids terrorized my parents while we were in Paris. I think Oma & Opa are finally twitching a little less.
Before we recap our Thursday, let’s do a quick check in on the Reward Chart Big Board (I have yet to fill in the Thursday stars completely, but needless to say, both kids are still rocking their no-no-whining-star streak.
Back to today’s recap:
On Wednesdays, we wear pink (who are we kidding, Hazy wears pink most days), and on Thursdays, we go to Oma & Opa’s house. The perks of going to Oma and Opa’s are numerous: they have a pool, a pond, and a beach/playground/sprinkler park, all within a short distance; they’re amazing cooks; Opa’s an Ipad master; Oma can french braid; and sometimes you come and Oma makes her CRACK COOKIES. Also, we love them (my parents, but also the cookies).
Last week, we did pond and pool. Today, we started with the playground/beach/sprinkler park, but — gasp — skipped the sprinklers because it was a cool 68º out.
The cool thing about this park is the beach is about 100 yards away.
While George napped like a champ (phew), Hazy helped Oma make crack cookies (don’t worry, DEA, that white powder is flour), I curled up on the couch, listened to golf on TV, and read Dinner: A Love Story, which makes cooking healthy, easy, kid-friendly meals seem like it’s a snap. Hmm. Next, I’ll read, Flossing & Brushing Teeth For a 3 & 6 year old: Pure Joy. Also, Oma & Opa demonstrated some of their many skills.
Post nap, we went to the pool, the site of last week’s epic accomplishment. We had some more breakthroughs this time as well, including George “Little Shark” O’Rourke getting in the Big Pool and (willingly) practicing swimming with Big Shark.
Plus, Hazy “Esther Williams” O’Rourke swimming underwater and swimming (for a few feet) sans floaties or vest.
Post pool, it was dinner time. Eating at Oma & Opa’s is like going to a top restaurant, except 75% less shushing and shame, and 0% as expensive. And you always get something off the dessert menu.
Health wise, I feel so much better. I’m not quite at full shandy-power, but I’m not a ball of rage either. It helps that Hazy ended the day having earned 11 minutes of one-on-one time and George a record 8.
Tomorrow’s adventure will involve Matty and me taking the kids to – wait for it – the passport expediting agency, because Dumb & Dumber have been putting off getting her passport renewed. It takes 2-4 weeks to get a new passport, and our trip is in 4 weeks minus a day. #nailedit