The Last Hurrah – Part II

Where were we? Oh yes, Lake Winnepesauke.

This was the view outside our little cabin.
This was the view outside our little cabin. Not too shabby, right?
And this was the view inside.
And this was the view inside. Not too shabby, right?

One cool thing about the Naswa resort is that kids eat free in the main restaurant, the Blue Bistro. And it’s not like a Denny’s Kids Eat Free, it’s a legit restaurant.

Another cool thing about the Naswa is this lounge singer. He invited dinner guests to come dance while he sang, and one person took him up on it FOR EVERY SINGLE SONG.
Another cool thing about the Naswa is this lounge singer. He invited dinner guests to come dance while he sang, and one person took him up on it FOR EVERY SINGLE SONG.
With an occasional guest appearance by Georgie Burgles.
With an occasional guest appearance by Georgie Burgles.

The first night, we were pretty tired from all those rides and then all that dancing at dinner, so after some jumping on the bed, we were probably all asleep by 9:00. In the morning, the kids experienced something they never had before…

IMG_8332
Saturday morning cartoons! They literally L’ed O L. Can you remember when Saturday morning was the best time of the week?

Naswa is kind of like the Dirty Dancing resort, as Matty put it, “just the right amount of cheese.” They have lots of quaint, cute things like free boat rides, paddle boat rentals, and corn hole. I never carried a watermelon, but I did carry a pina colada, if that counts.

Take a picture, trick, I'm on a boat
Take a picture, trick, I’m on a boat
The sea was angry that day, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli, but the lake was surprisingly calm, like me the moment I realized the kids had destroyed my mix tapes.
The sea was angry that day, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli, but the lake was surprisingly calm, like me the moment I realized the kids had destroyed my mix tapes.
Throwback to the day before, when George was thrilled to be on this boat.
Throwback to the day before, when George was thrilled to be on this boat.
Paddleboat = the worst kind of boat, in my opinion. It's like being on a stationary bike. In the water.
Paddleboat = the worst kind of boat, in my opinion. It’s like being on a stationary bike. In the water. (Luckily, this is our buddy Paul pedaling, more on him later.) [Side note: Shouldn’t it be called a pedal boat? Discuss amongst yourselves.]
DSC_0765
Check the technique (and Hazy’s look of competitive concern).
DSC_0768
Hazy won, but it’s pretty easy to win when your opponent doesn’t know how to count.

Then it was beach time.

DSC_0751
Fun fact: it’s beer o’clock around 11 am when you’re on lake time.

Then, we had some very special guests: Auntie Dita, Uncle Matt, Grammy, RyRy, and Sean-O! The kids couldnt’ have been any more excited if all of One Direction reunited and showed up at the lake. (Seriously, I don’t think they even know who One Direction is.)

Shenanigans is not just the name of a cheap wine I used to enjoy with my friend Elyse
Shenanigans is not just the name of a cheap wine I used to enjoy with my friend Elyse
George told anyone who would listen (thank you for being one of them, Uncle Matt) his revelation that,
George told anyone who would listen (thank you for being one of them, Uncle Matt) his revelation that, “if you take wet sand and spread it really thin and wait a long, long time, it will turn into dry sand!”. Suck it, Bill Nye. Who’s the science guy now?
DSC_0794
Lake Shark!
Meet Sean, aka, Blender Guy. He will pour his mystery pina colada drink in your mouth, even if you say,
Meet Sean, aka, Blender Guy. He will pour his mystery pina colada drink (that he whipped up in his cabin) in your mouth, even if you say, “Nah, I’m good” several times and attempt to get up off your lounge chair. He is saving you $8! Ask Matty!

Running away from lake sharks, building sand cities, and trying to avoid getting roofied took a lot out of all of us.

George + sun + water = me + day + drinking
George + sun + water = me + day + drinking
To be fair, he wasn't the only one ready for a nap.
To be fair, he wasn’t the only one ready for a nap.

Then, we rallied for dinner on the beach.

DSC_0807
Dinner on the water with these two? Hazy & George’s idea of heaven.
DSC_0811
You know when you’re so tired that you get kind of manic, and then your mom asks you if you’re tired and you’re all, “I’M NOT TIRED!” and start crying? That’s totally not what’s happening here.

Even though Matty “accidentally” tackled her in the water earlier, Grammy was nice enough to treat us to dinner. We repaid her by making her take goofy family photos on the ground.

DSC_0820
Pretending to be normal (My self-timer game is a little off.)
Embracing our real selves
Embracing our real selves

I’d like to say we rallied to stay up drinking wine on our porch, but once again, we went to bed right after the kids.

I know I said I can't handle day drinking, but mimosas are different, especially complimentary mimosas.
I know I said I can’t handle day drinking, but mimosas are different, especially complimentary mimosas.
Hazy asked me if I would buy her this hat. I stumbled on my reasons why not.
Hazy asked me if I would buy her this hat. I stumbled on my reasons why not.

You don’t just hang out on the beach on vacation when you could hang out on the beach on vacation with the Steinhausers! You might remember them from when we went peach picking blueberry picking tortoise feeding with them. But we didn’t settle for just hanging out on the beach. Oh no.

We got nachos.
We got nachos, otherwise known as the most perfect food known to man.
We did...whatever this is.
We did…whatever this is.
We told our girls repeatedly to stop talking to these random old men at the bar. (Are we supposed to be having to do this already?)
We told our girls repeatedly to stop talking to these random old men at the bar. (Are we supposed to be having to do this already?)

And then, we went to the arcade (or, the “arcave” if you’re Hazy), where George rode this hog, I blew through $3 trying to win him a minion (one was because George pressed the button before my shot was lined up!), Hazy went old skool, we attempted to score a 1970’s shish kabob but didn’t win the necessary 8,000 tickets, Matty played “wuacamole”, and Leslie gave a master course in skee.

Of course, we’ve already established that George doesn’t go anywhere with the Steinhausers without one of them pulling him around in a wagon.

Thanks, Paul!
Thanks, Paul!
We did get him out of the wagon for one team picture though.
We did get him out of the wagon for one team picture though. HRH was not pleased.

After the very tired Steinhausers hit the road, we headed back to our “local”, the good old Blue Bistro.

Friends of Coy get not one, not two, but three beverages.
On the first night, we had befriended our waiter, Coy. He won over the kids with his ability to carry dishes on his head and his gifts of multiple coloring pages (which is, frankly, all it takes to win them over). Well, friends of Coy get not one, not two, but three beverages.
Besides balancing dishes on his head, Coy also has some dance skills.
Besides balancing dishes on his head, Coy also has some dance skills.
We miss you already, man.
We miss you already, man.
I wasn't gonna let Coy be the only one who got to dance with the prettiest girl in the place.
I wasn’t gonna let Coy be the only one who got to dance with the prettiest girl in the place.
And neither was Georgie.
And neither was Georgie.

I’m proud to say we stayed up a teensy bit later than the kids, and enjoyed some beers on our porch.

Maybe too many beers. This was my attempt at a picture of the Channel Marine sign across the lake.
Maybe too many beers. This was my attempt at a picture of the Channel Marine sign across the lake. #nailedit
I woke up to this the next morning. Knew I should've gone to bed at 9.
I woke up to this the next morning. Knew I should’ve gone to bed at 9.

For our last morning, we soaked up a few more bennies (beneficial rays of the sun – phrase credit goes to our family friend, Chuck).

George attempted to dump the entire contents of the Naswa beach into the lake.
George attempted to dump the entire contents of the Naswa beach into the lake.
And we took this tasteful nude family photo.
And we took this tasteful nude family photo.

At this point, we were desperately clutching to the cliff that is the last day of vacation. so we went for broke and had ice cream sundaes for lunch at a little time warp called Kellerhaus.

You know those dogs who will just eat and eat until they barf if you don't take their food away? That would be George's spirit animal.
You know those dogs who will just eat and eat until they barf if you don’t take their food away? That would be George’s spirit animal.
Professionals.
Professionals.
I ate this for America.
I ate this for America.
George ate this for George.
George ate this for George.

Quick break for glasses photo shoot:

After this, we reluctantly headed home to reality. On Tuesday, Hazy started first grade, George started pre-K, and I had my first day back at work after 10 weeks. We were all psyched to see our friends and a little (okay, a lot) sad to say goodbye to our fantastic summer together. Thank you to everyone who hosted us, went on adventures with us, read this blog, and commented on it.

p.s. Matty made me promise to dedicate at least two paragraphs or 500 words to him in my last post, so stay tuned for an epilogue.

The Last Hurrah – Part I

We’ve had the summer of our lives. We went to beaches, ponds, pools, and sprinklers. We did a backpack adventure in the Arboretum and gave backpacks to homeless people. We bonded with Grammy, Oma and Opa. We went to the zoo. A lot. We visited friends. We invented a game. Hazy learned to swim! We went bowling, went to the library, went to Legoland, went to one and a half museums, and went to the circus. Sometimes we did nothing, but we did it together.

It’s hard to top that, but I think we did it with our Labor Day weekend family vacation.

Somehow, in three and a half days, we packed in all the things that make summer great. On the drive up to our vacation place, on a whim, we went to Canobie Lake Park, the old school amusement park that Matty and I went to when we were kids.

I bet this weirdo pumpkin house was there when we were kids too.
I bet this weirdo pumpkin house was there when we were kids too.

They still have the same old Caterpillar ride, the antique cars that kids can drive, and my all-time favorite, the log flume. I am totally psyched that it’s now Hazy’s favorite too.

Yes, this is a picture of a picture, because I was too cheap to buy a digital version. The printed photo is hanging proudly in my office.
Yes, this is a picture of a picture, because I was too cheap to buy a digital version. The printed photo is hanging proudly in my office.

I’d been talking about going to Canobie for a while, so Matty had gotten a big stack of $4 off coupons from McDonald’s weeks ago, which I happened to have in my backpack. It was a total A-Team I-love-it-when-a-plan-comes-together moment. Since we had so many extra coupons, I gave them out outside the ticket booths to random people, like some sort of ghetto Oprah. You get a coupon! You get a coupon!

There are like a kajillion rides for kids and we must have rode them all: trucks, horses, rocket ships, boats, swings, horse carts, helicopters, antique cars, bumper cars, dune buggies, and a fighter jet (not pictured). Fun fact: you can click on any photo to view it larger.

But it wasn’t just rides. We got another souvenir 51¢ penny!

DSC_0707
I’m telling you, if you ever want to pay 51¢ for a penny, I can tell you all the places to do it.

There were prizes!

DSC_0646
Hazy was so proud of this, let’s say confused, Smurf with sideburns and a skirt that she won.
IMG_8301
She proudly announced what game she won it on: wok-a-MOW-lay! (rhymes with guacamole)

There were fortunes!

IMG_8298
I think Pappy said something about happy times to come. He was right.

There was Super Premium Italian Ice!

DSC_0639
Super Premium is marketing talk for overpriced!

There were photo ops!

DSC_0451
My photo acting protegé has really come into her own.
DSC_0467
In fact, I think the student has become the master, because this is pretty phone-it-inny.
I loved this long line of colorful chairs, and I wanted to get a photo of each of us sitting in one, but then the kids hopped in our laps, and it seemed stage-mommish to be like,
I loved this long line of colorful chairs, and I wanted to get a photo of each of us sitting in one, but then the kids hopped in our laps, and it seemed stage-mommish to be like, “Get out and go sit in another colorful chair!”, so I had to settle for this.
IMG_8288
And this. (We are so pleased with ourselves here. The park was empty, it was a beautiful day, and our kids were already having the time of their lives.)

There were also…

BUBBLES! BUBBBBBBBLLLLLLESSSSS!
BUBBLES! BUBBBBBBBLLLLLLESSSSS!

Also, I happened to snap this selfie of Hazy and I on the Caterpillar, and I will cherish it forever.

I will look at this when she's an angry teenager and remember when she adored me.
I will look at this when she’s an angry teenager and remember the sweet, sweet time when she adored me.

Then there was a ferris wheel ride at magic hour, which was indeed kind of magical.

After this jam-packed day at Canobie, we headed up to the Naswa Resort on Lake Winnepesauke.

IMG_8308
How cute is this?

I have a soft spot in my heart for Lake Winnepesauke, as does Matty, since we both went there a lot growing up. It was such a treat to stay in a little pistachio-colored cabin on the lake, which was unexpected, since we don’t have the best track record with the whole family sleeping in one room (I’m having flashbacks to the time we left the Cape at 6 am because the kids basically didn’t sleep all night), but this time it went great. Thank God.

To be continued…

Last Pool Day at Oma & Opa’s

You know near the end of senior year in high school, when you get all sappy, and you’re all, “Last time we’ll drive in White Lightning together!”, and “Last time we’ll drink beers at the town’s Conservation Land” (which we in no way ever did, Oma & Opa)? Well, the end of the summer was a lot like that for me. We had to say goodbye to a lot of things, including Oma’s pool.

Fortunately, we had a special guest appearance by our very favorite guest star at Oma & Opa’s, Dada. He must have heard “watch this!” a thousand times.

DSC_0892
He watched this.
DSC_0895
And watched this.
And watched this (which eventually ended in a dramatic,
And watched this (which eventually ended in a dramatic, “Give me the gun!” wrestling match in the big pool with Hazy and I attacking Matty).
I (secretly) watched this. What is this, you might ask? It's George, spinning around in the middle of the baby pool, singing the Water Country jingle.
I (secretly) watched this. What is this, you might ask? It’s George, spinning around in the middle of the baby pool, singing the Water Country jingle.

Also, this happened, which has confirmed my fears that George isn’t the only one with OCD in this family.

Keep 'em separated
You know the song about Veggie Stix? The one that goes, “You gotta keep ’em separated.”

That evening, Opa made us his secret-recipe ribs and Nana’s secret-recipe potato salad, and Oma made us not-so-secret-recipe blackberry napoleons (Last Thursday night summer dinner at Oma & Opa’s – no!!!).

Thursdays at Oma & Opa’s have been so wonderful, we’re planning on doing Sunday dinners now that the summer is over.

We Are Rich

in friends. For example, Tuesday night, my friend Dee texted me to invite us for a beach day the next day at her house in Little Compton. It’s like she knew that we had just gone to awesome beaches in the Vineyard and Ogunquit, and needed to complete the New England trifecta.

A big thank you to the universe for giving us so many gorgeous beach days, including this one. We had the whole beach to ourselves, just us and the lifeguards.

Including seagull lifeguard, who was kind of a jerk and saved 0 lives.
Including seagull lifeguard, who was kind of a jerk and saved 0 lives.
DSC_0872
Later, these people came, but it’s cool because I’m using them to illustrate the diving board the girls jumped off of and the cliff Dee and I jumped off of.
Hey, look over here, guys! Smile! George, smile! Hazy, over here! Everyone smile! Thanks, Nina.
Hey, look over here, guys!
Smile!
George, smile!
Hazy, over here!
Everyone smile!
Jack! Hey, Jack!
Thanks, Nina.
Four people who don't know how good they've got it. (I'm pretty close to giving the walking uphill in the snow both ways speech.)
Four people who don’t know how good they’ve got it. (I’m pretty close to giving the walking uphill in the snow both ways speech.)

I actually left the beach for a few hours to do a conference call. It was a little bit like being yanked out of an all-you-can-eat-nacho buffet to go fold a dozen fitted sheets (perhaps that analogy’s too specific to me?), but sometimes duty calls. Luckily, I didn’t miss much, besides the Great Sea Glass Battle of 2015 between Hazy and her friend Nina. They were still back to being friends afterwards, thankfully.

What Sea Glass Incident?
What Sea Glass Incident?

Then, Dee made us a total Martha Stewart meal of pasta with farm stand cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil. And just to continue cementing her A+ friend status, she then took us out for ice cream. Thank you, Dee!

DSC_0886
Chocolate ice cream in my Bieber shirt, that’s what we call a win.

Tomorrow, I go back to work-work. I’m excited to see my work peeps and use my brain again, but I am crushed to say goodbye to this magical summer. I’m still catching up on my post backlog, so stay tuned for posts about our last pool day at Oma & Opa’s and our Winnepesauke family vacation.

The Cure For A Case Of The Mondays

On Monday, after we got Beach Fever in the Vineyard, we jetted (Ford Flexed?) up to Ogunquit, where our friends’ parents had a rental house. Sure, you might say a friends’ parents is a bit of a loose connection to descend on them with four people on a Monday, but you’re clearly not an O’Rourke. Plus, it’s the Chans, and they’re like our JP family.

The waves at Moody Beach were the biggest and the water the coldest out of all the beaches we’ve been to this summer, but that didn’t stop us from some serious beach action.

DSC_0590
In fairness though, this is where you’ll find George on any beach.
DSC_0655
George & Eliot played “Ready, Set, Go!” about a hundred times.
DSC_0634
And I took about 98 photos of it.
“The pool” and the pool architects
Have I mentioned Orla yet? It's like all my friends are conspiring to make me want a third baby. (Cough, cough, Cindy & Jean)
Have I mentioned Orla yet? It’s like all my friends are conspiring to make me want a third baby. (Cough, cough, Cindy & Jean)

We had record-breaking temps that day, so we went home after lunch time to cool off and nap the little guys. For those of you keeping score at home, this marks the third time George has taken a nap with another little kid in the same room (score!).

IMG_8191
I’ll be honest; at this point, I’m phoning it in on the nap time activities.

After naps, we headed back to the beach, where we basically just had a big magic hour photo shoot.

DSC_0768
These two have been friends since they were 3-weeks old, and frenemies since they were about 3-years old.

This pretty much captures their personalities: Hazy is fun, silly, and calm enough to pose for a photo; George is go-go-go and always having fun.

I love this pic. The reason they look so badass is that Hazy is on a mission to tattle on George and George is preparing his defense.
I love this pic. The reason they look so badass is that Hazy is on a mission to tattle on George and George is preparing his defense.

Then we had a delicious dinner off the grill, and while everyone was helping make dinner, I was the a-hole making my fantasy football picks for my draft. However, I did help cut some buns in half and I did draft Tom Brady, so it’s all good. (First game’s Thursday – wish Team Heavy Flow luck!)

DSC_0850
Remember: the key to a successful family dinner date is the kids’ table.
DSC_0853
Post-dinner entertainment with Granddad (which my kids started calling him, btw)

I think it’s pretty obvious right now that we have the best friends in the world. And I haven’t even gotten to Wednesday yet! Thank you, Marie, Annabella and Granddad/Tony, for a wonderful day.

Kicking It Into Overdrive

Our One Summer At Home trio became a foursome starting last Saturday, as Matty took the week off of work. And if you know Matty, you know he doesn’t half-ass these things. So, summer vacation just got turned up to 11.

Time to put this vacation on fleek. Or turn it down for what. Or whatever the kids are saying these days.
Time to put this vacation on fleek. Or turn it down for what. Or whatever the kids are saying these days.

First stop, Martha’s Vineyard, to visit Auntie Gigi and Uncle Heavy. Before we had kids, my bestie Jean and I decided we would have cool old lady aunt names, so we went with Gigi and Lala. I’m not sure how Devin got lucky enough to be Uncle Heavy, but you have to admit, it’s cool sounding. Here’s our whole crew:

DSC_0585
With a 4-year old, 1-year old, 3-year old, and 6-year old, I think one foot in the face, one frowny face and one weirdly exposed bikini top in a group photo is not too shabby.

The last time we went to visit Jean & Devin in the Vineyard, Hazy was an infant, and all I remember is a particularly gross poop blow out on the drive to the beach and a 1-hour crying jag on a boat, so this time, I was relieved that no one pooped themselves and crying was kept to a minimum. They actually played pretty well with Tucker and Sunny.

They were all taking turns making crazy faces in the bike mirror, but by the time I got my phone out to take a photo, Hazy and George were playing Nice Siblings and letting Tucker take the fall.
They were all taking turns making crazy faces in the bike mirror, but by the time I got my phone out to take a photo, Hazy and George were playing Nice Siblings and letting Tucker take the fall.
Cutest movie watching possible
Cutest movie watching possible
It's all fun and games until someone takes a sand full of shovel to the face (sorry, George), or a baby face-plants into your giant sand hole (sorry, Sunny).
It’s all fun and games until someone takes a shovel full of sand to the face (sorry, George), or a baby face-plants into your giant sand hole (sorry, Sunny).

To break up the “monotony” of being at their gorgeous beach club every day (what can I say? Life is hard.), Jean took us to a lighthouse one morning. After we realized 16-month old Sunny probably couldn’t climb the ladder (thanks, Lighthouse Monitor Lady) to the top, Jean took her back down, so I went up with the three big kids. The three big kids spent .03 seconds at the top and refused to pose for a photo, but after, Hazy put on a photo acting master class and George wouldn’t stop talking about how much he loved the lighthouse and when can we go back there again. Typical kids.

Time at top of lighthouse = exactly enough time to take this one photo
Time at top of lighthouse = exactly enough time to take this one photo
Thank you, single poser
Thank you, single poser
Oh heyyyy, just casually hanging out at the bottom of this lighthouse
Oh heyyyy, just casually hanging out at the bottom of this lighthouse
Lighthouse Ennui, circa 2015
Lighthouse Ennui, circa 2015

Then it was back to the beach club, poor us.

Popsicles, ugh
Popsicles, ugh
Sand goatees, blech
Sand goatees, blech
Zen rock gardens, yawn
Zen rock gardens, yawn

Saturday night, we decided to do as the Romans do and get a sitter and have a night out. After a few day drinks, we had quite a few night drinks and one thing led to another which means I ended up slapping Matty in the face for what was apparently no reason and the babysitter let me know Matty was passed out in the driveway after I paid her. As Jean’s friend said, “We’ve been training all summer. You can’t just come in and run a marathon on your first night.” Truer words.

If you start the night out like this, it inevitably ends with spousal cheek contact and driveway naps.
If you start the night out like this, it inevitably ends with spousal cheek contact and driveway naps. p.s. This wasn’t my drink.

We had an awesome time, and pretty much all passed out on the ferry ride home.

Good night, sweet prince
Good night, sweet prince

Also, not sure where this fits in, but it’s my favorite picture from the weekend:

Sunny on White
Sunny on White with Queso

Thank you, Gigi & Heavy. We are still recovering from your hospitality.

 

The New England Beach Tour

It’s been a whirlwind few days since I last posted. In that time, we’ve gone to beaches in all New England states except Connecticut and Vermont, because, well, duh. I will (eventually) post about all our adventures, but here’s a quick teaser:

After we went to Rockwell Painting, NH on Friday, we got up super early on Saturday morning to visit Auntie Gigi & Uncle Heavy (what? he chose the name!) on Martha’s Vineyard for two days.

Look at these two (jackholes pretending to be) angels!
Look at these two (jackholes pretending to be) angels!

Highlights included two beautiful beach days, a visit inside a real lighthouse which George is still talking about, and a grown ups’ night out which involved me slapping Matty “for no reason whatsoever” (the reason was booze). Sorry, Matty.

On Monday, we continued our Beaches of New England Tour with a visit to Ogunquit, ME to hang with our friends, The Chans.

I'm sorry I've disappointed you, children, with this boring summer.
I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you, children, with this boring summer.

We went to yet another gorgeous beach, splashed in some enormous waves, and had a lovely dinner with our friends, which I partially ruined by doing my Fantasy Football draft in the middle of it. However, I did get Tom Brady, and as of today, a judge has nullified his four-game suspension, so all’s well that ends well, right? Sorry again to your parents, Marie.

Hazy collects sand and shells from all the beaches we've gone to. We still have one more jar to fill.
Hazy collects sand and shells from all the beaches we’ve gone to. We still have one more jar to fill.

On Tuesday, I had to do some work (gasp!) and it was like a cold bucket of water tossed into your hot shower. Going back full time next Tuesday is going to be worse than that Maroon 5 song where he sings about the summer hurting like a mother. And ironically, it will also hurt like a mother. Matty and the kids went back to their favorite place – Boston Bowl – and did some shopping while I did work stuff (okay, and got a pedi).

On Wednesday, we were back on The Tour, this time to Little Compton, RI, for a beach day with our friends, The Days.

Putting the
Putting the “fren” in frenemies.

We collected sea glass, had a fight about sea glass, jumped off a cliff-side diving board (go, Hazy & Nina!), had an amazing farm stand dinner, and ice cream for dessert. Thank you, Dee!

Today, we’re back in good old Plymouth at Oma and Opa’s.

Here’s a totally accurate map of where we’ve been in the last week:

You figure out what the letters are for!
You figure out what the letters are for! (Hint: the E is a town in Martha’s Vineyard, and supposed to be pointing to Martha’s Vineyard.)

I have four more days of my summer at home and I intend to make them count!

In the comments section (not on Facebook, jerks!), guess how many swimsuits I’ve washed this summer. Closest guess gets a prize.