You Won’t Believe What We Did At Oma & Opa’s!

Well, mostly you will. But get this – we didn’t go to the pond. We went to…the beach! Here were the highlights of our beach trip:

  1. We showed up right before Shark Week.
...like you give a little speed to a great white shark on SHARK WEEK! (Spoiler alert: we did not see any sharks.)
…like you give a little speed to a great white shark on SHARK WEEK! (Spoiler alert: we did not see any sharks.)

2) The water was deceptively beautiful. I say deceptively, because literally seconds after I emerged from my underwater dip in this lovely water, the lifeguard blew her whistle and announced, “The beach is closed for swimming due to unsafe water conditions.” Upon further discussion with the lifeguard, my mom reported back that, “they tested the water and it failed; most likely a dog pooped in it.” Sweet.

Isn't this water beautiful?
Oma and G breathing in some beautiful, beautiful poop water.

3) Turns out I’m not the only one my kids sucker into doing all their labor for them.

Here they are building a fancy sandcastle!
Here they are building a fancy sandcastle!
Heart-shaped rock I found in the coal mine/poop water after sifting through 16 tons of small rocks.
Heart-shaped rock I found in the coal mine/poop water after sifting through 16 tons of small rocks for the boss lady.
We did get paid in very animated stories though.
We did get paid in very animated stories though.

4) George set me up for a great line, but nobody was around to appreciate it.

George:
George: “There’s soooo much trash on this beach.”
Me: “There is indeed.”

5) Also, I finally got George to smile in a photo with Hazy and me.

Smiling + not eating towels in the same shot = too much to ask for.
Smiling + not eating towels in the same shot = too much to ask

After the beach, George napped, Hazy hung with Oma & Opa, and I went shopping by myself. It was luxurious. I bought the kids a bunch of cute back to school clothes, so keep an eye out for a future fashion show.

After naps, we headed for our penultimate trip to the Pinehills pool, where George swam a bunch with Oma’s help, and Hazy swam the full width of the pool for the first time. Also, my kids assumed new, weird animal identities and did the most inaccurate animal impressions since the Bluth family’s chickens.

I'm not George, I'm the worm!
I’m not George, I’m the worm!
I'm codfish!
I’m codfish!

For those of you keeping track at home, Opa made us some Chinese pork with broccoli, which we housed.  Then, Oma proved that she’s in better shape than I am by carrying not one, but both kids to the car.

Points off for dropping the front child, Oma.
Points off for dropping the front child, Oma.

Last week, five minutes after we left my parents’ house, George announced that he had to go potty really badly, so I had to turn off on an exit, and have all three of us get into a gas station bathroom. So this time, I smartened up and made him try the bathroom before we left. At least I thought I did. Fifteen minutes into the drive, George announces he has to “try the potty.”

“Do you actually have to go pee, George, or just want to try? Didn’t you try the potty at Oma’s?”

“I didn’t. I have to try the potty really badly.”

“Can you hold it until we get home? In 27 minutes?”

“No, I really, really have to go.”

So, we pull off on an exit, wake up Hazy, trudge into a shady gas station bathroom, and sit George down on the toilet, where he announces, “I tried, but I don’t have to go.”

I’m not sure what the lesson learned here is, besides that George is a jackass.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Bowling, Dancing, Winning, Roaring

At the beginning of the summer, I signed up for this program called Kids Bowl Free, which, as the name suggests, sends you free bowling passes every week. So, we finally got to use our coupons yesterday. While adults, unfortunately, do not bowl free, I had already promised to kick my kids’ little butts, so we were on for two games.

We got three pairs of these socks for only $20.45!
We got three pairs of these socks for only $20.45!

First, we took our bowling portraits. As you can see, the photo acting lessons are finally paying off.

I tried to teach them some technique, specifically, the classic through-the-legs roll. Instead they mostly adopted a shot put type move, which involved throwing the ball overhead, resulting in a giant thud satisfying/annoying sound every time.

Despite this, this was the final score of game 1:

My position on the shame spiral is dangerously low.
My position on the shame spiral is dangerously low.

Game 2 highlights included George “helping” an employee fix the bowling ball machine, Hazy getting bored of regular bowling and trying “crazy bowling”, and George melting my heart by adopting my late grandfather’s stance while waiting for his ball to go down the bowling-assist ramp. Seriously, every time. Oh, and I won.

George's favorite part of bowling by far.
George’s favorite part of bowling by far.
Face of a Crazy Bowler
Face of a Crazy Bowler
You could've helped me win Game 1, Dada.
You could’ve helped me win Game 1, Dada.

Wouldn’t you know it, there’s an arcade at the bowling alley! We dance-danced, we skee balled, we beat the system.

Number of Dance-related Revolutions started: 0
Number of Dance-related Revolutions started: 0
Not bad for his first time.
Not bad for his first time.
Hazy won that ball without putting any money in the claw machine! I won that cool turtle with my mad claw machine skills and some good advice.
Hazy won that ball without putting any money in the claw machine! I won that cool turtle with my mad claw machine skills and some good advice.

Everything you ever need to know about beating the claw machine. Thanks, Nate!

It's not important who won the second game by over 20 points. We're all winners here. (It was me though.)
It’s not important who won the second game by over 20 points. We’re all winners here. (It was me though.)

But that was just the first half of the day! We’re dog sitting our friend’s dog, Damon, so we took the dogs to the dog park.

i.e. Hazy and George skipped down the street carefree
i.e. Hazy and George skipped down the street carefree
And I tried to get Damon and Beatz to walk on the same side, stopping my tireless devotion only to try to take a selfie with them for like 10 minutes.
And I tried to get Damon and Beatz to walk on the same side, stopping my tireless devotion only to try to take a selfie with them for like 10 minutes.

Then we ALL napped, and it was glorious. After our naps, we put our zoo membership to good use, and it was a banner day at the zoo. First, the feed-the-budgies guy told us the budgies weren’t eating, so he wouldn’t sell us food sticks, but we could go in anyway. Everyone was leaving because it was starting to drizzle, so some lady gave us her food sticks, and guess what? The budgies WERE eating! So, not only did we not blow $6 on two toothpicks with a 1/4 teaspoon of nuts on them, but we got some serious budgie action (which is not as dirty as it sounds, but does require a lot of Purell).

We were slightly less terrified this time.
We were slightly less terrified this time.
Much less terrified than last time!
Much less terrified than last time!

Then, we escaped the rain just in time to make it into the gorilla exhibit, and once inside, the new baby gorilla was in plain sight! Usually, her mom hides her.

And I go to yell,
And I go to yell, “Quick! To the tropical forest!”
Notice nobody is shaming her, even though she just nursed in public.
Notice nobody is shaming her, even though she just nursed in public.

By the time we got out of the tropical rainforest, it wasn’t non-tropical raining anymore, but there were some puddles to play in.

Come on, Hazy!
Come on, Hazy!
There we go
There we go

Usually, the lions are either not on exhibit or sleeping/drugged. This time though, we could hear one of them roaring from a mile away. And when we got there, he did not disappoint. He roared like the king of the jungle he is for like 10 minutes.

You have angered him greatly, tree.
You have angered him greatly, tree.

And then the other lion started roaring!

DSC_0490
“Roar! Angry roaring! I don’t know what we’re roaring about!!!” – Brick the Lion

And finally, of course, we got another set of our 51¢ collectors’/suckers’ pennies and played at the super zoo playground. It was a good day.

___________________________________________

Note: This post was originally posted on Tuesday, August 25th, and then disappeared from WordPress existence. My search on the WordPress help forum has yielded answers like, “Change the permalink” and “Tap into the time-space continuum!” and other things I don’t understand, so I have instead retyped the whole thing, thanks to the email version my friend Nina sent me. Thank you, Nina! And thank you to my junior high typing teacher, who taught me how to speed-type.

Is anyone else exhausted?

I’m trying really hard to crush it in my last two weeks. So, today we went to a Stacy Peasley (what? you haven’t heard of Stacy Peasley?!) concert at Assembly Row, followed by the Minions movie.

I was worried Hazy was too old to dance at a kids' concert. I was pleasantly surprised.
I was worried Hazy was too old to dance at a kids’ concert. I was pleasantly surprised.
I love when George dances like my old stoner frat boy friend, Merritt (although he better never be like Merritt).
I love when George dances like my old stoner frat boy friend, Merritt (although he better never be like Merritt).
Stacy Peasley did a lot of chatting about all
Stacy Peasley did a lot of chatting about all “her friends” in the crowd. I think Hazy and George desperately wanted to be name dropped. I didn’t have the heart to tell them they weren’t Stacy Peasley’s friends.

If you go into the movie with super low expectations, then it’s poor-average.

I bet this is 10x better than the Minions.
I bet this is 10x better than the Minions.
George gave Minions three
George gave Minions three “Is this the end?”s. That’s actually not that bad.

Oh, did you think we were just going to a concert and a movie? What is this, a lame first date?

While George napped, Hazy and I cleaned a little and then built this thing, which is rated, “ages 6+” but should be rated, “Architecture degree and above.”

Just use these Ikea-like visual only directions and make these 2000 foam pieces into a diorama!
Just use these Ikea-like visual only directions and make these 2000 foam pieces into a diorama!
90% of the credit goes to Hazel, who I have determined is smarter than me.
90% of the credit goes to Hazel, who I have determined is smarter than me.

After nap time, we went to the Sprinkler Park.

I love how my kids just run nilly-willy into the sprinklers.
I love how my kids just run nilly-willy into the sprinklers.
I tried to do the same. Kudos to George, 3-year old ace photographer.
I tried to do the same. Kudos to George, 3-year old ace photographer.
George, after performing
George, after performing “Scatter”, which is Hazy’s name for her hair spraying move.

Then, we drove to Matty’s work, where we have a long-running thing with the parking attendant, O, where we give our best gangsta “yeah-yay!” and he laughs his ass off at us. I handed off the kids like a couple of batons, and went for a girls’ dinner with my old CP girls.

Even though I haven’t mentioned it in a while, we’re still doing our 10-minutes of one-on-one time program, and both kids ended the day with 10 minutes today. Hooray!

I wrote this whole long post about our bowling outing on Monday and it has since disappeared. Boo! If anyone knows anything about wordpress, please let me know any tips to recover a lost (previously published) post.

Destroying Heirlooms, Investing In The Future

So are the days of our lives.

You know what little people don’t understand? Having nice things! Like mixed tapes you’ve had for 10 years before you even met their father. I clearly need to work on my angry face, because the turds barely flinched when I turned into the Hulk after this happened. I was like, “Why would you do this?!” and Hazy was all, “We tried to play them and it got stuck. And then George undid that one.” Well, of course Generation Z doesn’t know how to play a cassette tape. I’m surprised they even put it in on the right side. Also, I love the explanation that George just felt like he had to F up a second mix tape because he missed out on f’ing up the first one.

Look at that straw. This camel's back hurts so bad.
Look at that straw. This camel’s back hurts so bad.

After I put them in time out, practiced my angry face in the mirror for a while, and painstakingly rewound the one tape I could salvage, I decided we’d still do our fun day as planned, because 1) I’m apparently bad at discipline, and 2) I didn’t feel like I deserved to be further punished by spending a day doing nothing fun at home.

So, we headed to the Roslindale library (first time!) for some arts & crafts.

Special guest star: Rainbow Dash, which Hazy bought for George with her own money!
Special guest star: Rainbow Dash, which Hazy bought for George with her own money!
Finished alien and spacecraft
Finished alien and spacecraft (Could not get away from this lady in the background)
See her still lurking?
See her still lurking? Are you happy now that you’ve made it on the blog twice, lady?

We decided it was a Treat Yo Self kind of day, so we went to Jimmie’s for a lobster roll (my 3rd of the summer) and some PB&Js (their 295th and 296th of the summer), and of course, ice cream.

Selfie attempt 1
Selfie attempt 1
Selfie attempt 2
Selfie attempt 2
Best I could get with the baby
Best I could get with the baby

I could not convince Hazy to take a nap today (she is 6, after all), so during George’s nap, we watched bad TV after a failed attempt to get her to watch Lilo & Stitch. Learn from my mistakes, Lego Friends has neither the coolness of Lego or the humor of Friends. It’s more like My Little Pony in human form.

After George’s nap, we did something very exciting – got stickers and mints at the bank, and while we were there, opened the kids’ first bank accounts. I’m thankful to JP Moms for the recommendation to go to the Bank of Canton (what? exactly) in Brookline, where they still give kids a passbook and a free piggy bank.

Acting like professionals with their personal banker, Julie Ton (after they stole like 8 of her business cards and two mints).
Acting like professionals with their personal banker, Julie Ton (after they stole like 8 of her business cards and two mints).

I’m the proud parent of a decinnaire and a vigintinnaire (look it up!) now. Don’t even try to rob them – all their funds are tied up in passbooks.

If you can think of any must-dos before the end of the summer, now’s the time to share them. We have a week and a half to cram in everything we can. Might even have special guest star, Dada, for a few days next week.

The Day We Did Nothing

Yesterday, I threw myself an epic pity party because I had (and have) the worst summer cold. The party attendees were Hazy and George, who indulged me by watching TV and movies all day.

So I guess we didn’t do nothing; we did that TV thing, we exercised our OCD, we read some books, we walked Beatz, and we went on one outing.

IMG_7931
I’m sure if George saw this picture, he’d be very upset about the missing blackberry from the second row. #OCD
We each picked something to watch. George picked Thomas, Hazy picked My Little Pony, and I picked Annie (the original).
We each picked something to watch. George picked Thomas, Hazy picked My Little Pony, and I picked Annie (the original).
Like all great movies I've introduced her to, Hazy didn't like Annie at first but later loved it. (See The Princess Bride, Ella Enchanted, and Enchanted.)
Like all great movies I’ve introduced her to, Hazy didn’t like Annie at first but later loved it. (See The Princess Bride, Ella Enchanted, and Enchanted.)

Like I said, we did make one outing. We went to “downtown” JP to CVS to get some cold medicine, and stopped by Beatz’s daycare, Fancy Schmancy, while we were there.

George fed Nunu a treat.
George fed Nunu a treat.
And then Hazy fed everyone a treat.
And then Hazy fed everyone a treat.
While I asked the pharmacist for advice, each kid brought me a selection of randomly selected cold medicine. It was pretty sweet, until George almost walked out with one of his.
While I asked the pharmacist for advice, each kid brought me a selection of randomly selected cold medicine. It was pretty sweet, until George almost walked out with one of his.
Also, this happened. I call this getting Georged.
Also, this happened. I call this getting Georged.

So even though I felt like I got Georged yesterday, it was nice to cuddle with the guys for a while. Cold or no cold, we’ll be back to being ballers come Monday, because we only have two more weeks of our summer together.

Soaking Up the Last of Summer

IMG_7915
George gave a piggyback to his new bear, Frederick, courtesy of cousin Sean.

Yesterday was Thursday, so we went to Oma & Opa’s. We did our usual stuff, with these notable differences: instead of worrying about the fish biting my ankles should I stand too still in the pond shallows, I worried about them biting my belly while I swam to the island across the pond.

Approximate distance: enough to make my wrists hurt.
Approximate distance: enough to make my wrists hurt.

And then later at the pool, George swam unassisted for about 2 feet. And by swam, I mean he moved his arms and legs as he rapidly sunk to the bottom of the pool, and then Oma and I made a big deal about how great he swam.

Assisted version.
Assisted version.

Then he got hugs and got treated like a king.

Bonus - the hug did not result in him being tackled to the ground.
Bonus – the hug did not result in him being tackled to the ground.

Usually, my dad treats us to a gourmet dinner, but this time I decided it was my turn. But when your dad has Voltaggio-like cooking skills, it’s a lot of pressure to cook something great, so I went with Plan B – lobster. And of course, I followed the most important rule my dad has taught me, which is, “Always buy an extra lobster.”

The best tasting lobster tail is the bonus one.
The best tasting lobster tail is the bonus one.

By the way, I know some of you out there actually prefer the claws to the tails. If you are one of them, let me know when you want to go out for lobsters together. We can work out a deal.

p.s. Last summer, I believe I had 12 lobster rolls. This summer, I’ve had two.

Grammy Pulls Out The Big Guns (and Sprinkles)

It’s true, on Thursdays we go to Oma’s and Opa’s. But on Wednesdays, we go to Grammy’s. We are so super lucky to not only have my parents nearby, but also Matty’s mom, sister, brother-in-law, and two nephews less than an hour away as well. This summer has been an awesome opportunity to spend more quality time with our family.

Every time we go to Grammy’s, it’s pretty awesome. I mean, there’s the pool:

Where Hazy can show off her newfound back float skills
Where Hazy can show off her newfound back float skills
When Sean-O makes important Ron Burgundy-esque announcements like,
When Sean-O makes important Ron Burgundy-esque announcements like, “Cannonball!”
And where George gets to play his favorite game,
And where George gets to play his favorite game, “Can I Push You In And You Pretend To Be Surprised?”

But this time, Grammy pulled out all the stops. First, she brought us lunch at the pool. Pizza for the kids and a salad with like 10,000 ingredients for me. I don’t even think Mr. Belvedere did that for the Owens children.

Then, after naps, we had a SUNDAE BAR. Ice cream, whipped cream, hot fudge, and the cherry on top? Cherries on top! I didn’t take any pictures, because, duh, ice cream.

Then, the kids watched Toy Story and Princess Songs respectively (guess who watched what), and I snuck down to the basement to watch Friends with my nephew, who is seeing the whole series for the first time.

Dr. Richard Burke? I came at the right time.
Dr. Richard Burke? I came at the right time.

Grammy made us a wonderful dinner, and then – here’s the kicker – we had MORE ICE CREAM with MORE SPRINKLES. Grammy, don’t tell the kids I said this, but we would have come back even without the sprinkles.