Cheating on Wingaersheek

Guys, no one tell Wingaersheek, but we went to Crane Beach yesterday with our awesome friends, Lesley, Nora and Eliza. I love Lesley because we have very similar parenting styles. For example, we were a little late meeting up and I texted her to say so, and she wrote back, “Me too! Shit show.” It’s like she took the words out of my mouth.

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Imma let you finish, Wingaersheek, but Crane is one of the best beaches of all time.

For a beach day, where we normally just alternate between playing in the water and building sand castles, today was quite active. Activities included pulling two wagons (one with kids riding on it) across the parking lot and then the beach, riding some waves which George qualified as “huge,” arming ourselves to the gills against some seagulls that went all Rambo on us, and just barely eking out a victory against the Shade Shack (more on that later).

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You ask the kids to hold the 2 lb bag of sand toys and they bitch non-stop. But they’ll fight to the death over who gets to pull 100 lbs of wagon weight. (Don’t worry, George is still alive.)
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“Did you see how big that wave was, Mama?!” (Eliza on right for scale)
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The best sand castles have a strong George foundation.
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You might think these are shade tents, but they’re in fact bunkers in the great Seagull War.
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Eliza acting as bait while I defend the barracks against the seagulls. Moments earlier, a seagull had flown down and snatched the PB&J right out of this little munchkin’s fingers.
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Matty tells George he’s the Man Of The House when he’s not there, which George takes very seriously. Here he is manning his post while I checked on the barracks/got string cheese.
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Nora also did this activity: sand rolling? Self burial? Whatever you call it, she found it very amusing.

When it was time to go, I had to face down my old nemesis, the Shade Shack. After about 20 attempts to fold it up and several supportive comments from onlookers, Lesley had the great idea to look up a how-to video on YouTube. I watched it several times and then had Lesley hold my phone to advise me while I went through the steps.

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I assume the Shade Shack earned its name by throwing so much shade to wannabe Shade Shack folder uppers.
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Me: Lesley, what does the youtube video say to do now? Lesley: I’m sorry, I was just taking a picture of you.

I finally managed to jam it into the ripped circle bag it came in and got a round of applause from my audience. Thank you, Lesley, for your only slightly wavering support, and thank you, fellow beachgoers, for your appreciation.

To celebrate, we went for some awesome ice cream. Ignore the fact that Nora’s wearing Eliza’s flip flops and Eliza’s wearing slippers.

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Check out my retouching skills on Nora’s wardrobe malfunction/commando-ness!

Always a pleasure, Steinhausers. Give our love to Slowpoke!

Country Club Living

We hit two pools and the tennis courts today, because that’s how we roll. Today was Hazy’s first day of Tenacity, which, you may remember from last year, is tennis and literacy camp. Yes, that’s a thing. So, first we scootered to the tennis courts, which are about 3/10 of a mile away. We beat our previous scooter record by having 0 bouts of crying/sitting on our scooters. Go us!

While Hazy was working on her tennis (and literacy), George and I hit the mini pool. That means he promised not to spray me with the hose and then promptly sprayed me with the hose.

We also did this photo shoot, which went a little something like this. “Don’t put that strawberry in front of the camera. I don’t want a picture of a giant strawberry.” “Okay, but first can you take a picture of the giant strawberry?”

While George napped, Hazy excitedly showed me her and George’s favorite new show, PJ Masks. Aside from it sounding annoyingly like TJ Maxx, it’s not horrible. On the horribleness scale, it ranks lower than My Little Pony, Lego Friends, and the worst, Thomas the Tank Engine.

After naps, we did a second pool session, this time with both kids. This consisted mostly of racing and belly flops, with a brief pause for floating.

Then, we joined our friends Melissa, Zoe and Alexis at their lovely pool, the Park Pool, which is slightly bigger than our mini pool. One cool thing about the Park Pool is they have this old-fashioned tree fort, where only super heroes are allowed, and bad-guy twin sisters like Melissa and me are not admitted. I did manage to break in and snap this photo before I was defeated.

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Thank you, Melissa, for hosting us! We’re happy to have you over our pool anytime, although it’s not as good for diving.

 

Freaky Friday

Usually, we go to Oma & Opa’s on Wednesdays, and we always go to the pond in the morning and the pool in the afternoon. But not this time, guys, NOT THIS TIME. First, we went on a Friday (!), and then we went to the pool in the morning (!!), and split into rival factions in the afternoon (!!). Hazy and Oma went to the pond, and Georgie and I went to the sprinkler park/playground by the ocean. Yes, that exists.

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Pretty amped to have his mom all to himself.
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If George was on Game of Thrones, his sword would be called Playshaper.
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“Yes, you’re very good on the pole, sweetie”. Things you never thought you’d say to your child.

Last year, my mom made this amazing mac & cheese from scratch and my kids said they liked the boxed stuff better. Idiots. Thankfully, they’ve come to their senses and now they request Oma’s mac & cheese. George was so excited about it on the way home, he just kept squealing, “My mac & cheese is all cooked. She just needs to put the bread crumbs on!”

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sjfljalsjflsdajflsdajfljsda (that’s drool on the keyboard)

Also, Oma decided to test-drive a new dessert she was trying out: a nectarine-blueberry pandowdy. We will be happy to test any desserts you want to try out anytime, Mom.

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Opa taught them the old, “What’s That Behind You?”/Steal Their Dessert trick, much to their amusement.

Later, Opa also removed his thumb, much to their amusement.

 

 

I Better Get Bonus Points For This.

Yesterday, I bit the bullet and took the kids to the h̶e̶l̶l̶s̶c̶a̶p̶e̶ Boston Children’s Museum. The Children’s Museum is more manageable than the Science Museum, but still a little too hectic for my tastes. My main problem is other kids, well mainly other parents. For example, we first went into the Raceways room, where there are usually hundreds of golf balls lying around to put on the various ramps and chutes. This time, however, kids were hoarding the golf balls by the dozens, putting them in their pockets and using their t-shirts as buckets. I asked a little girl if I could have some of her balls for my kids, and her mother looked at me like I had asked the girl to come into my van for some candy. I just want two balls from your Veruca Salt of the Raceways Room, lady! It was basically Lord of the Flies in there, and I was worried my kids were both Piggy.

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Get the conch shell, guys!

The bubble room was a little calmer, thankfully. We have a lot of experience with bubbles, as both kids are pretty much bubblaholics. We successfully made medium bubbles, giant bubbles, and a sheet bubble.

Next, we filmed a TV show!

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Hazy and George starring in Misunderstanding Green Screens with Arthur!

Then George lived his dream of being a pilot (but sans microphone), Hazy showed promise as an architect, and we ignored my parking meter alarm to build a ramp.

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Captain George will get you high tonight.
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This building is about a Hazel and a quarter high.
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If you go in the art studio at the museum, you’ll find Hazy and I’s rainbow chute. It’s the one that’s poorly attached in the middle.

The walk to/from the museum was really cool. Remember, rule #2 from my parenting canon: make them carry their own stuff.

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These bags have paid for themselves 10 times over.
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After museum, we had lunch at Picco and tried cinnamon ice cream – three thumbs up!

During George’s nap, Hazy and I played Scrabble, where she is following in her mother’s mad skillz footsteps.

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Speaking of skillz, I just looked up “deams.” Oops. I taught Hazy that non-word. I meant “deems.” When are the Mother Of The Year nominations due again?

We also all played Monopoly this morning.

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Proud Mother Moment: both of your kids in jail at the same time.

I’m not sure how long I can keep up this high bar . Every day, George asks me, “what’s our next adventure?” I’m dreading the day when I have to say, “grocery shopping and cleaning the house.” Fortunately, I still have a couple of big guns in my holster, namely Canobie Lake Park and Legoland.

 

 

Houghton’s Band-Aid Gum Pond

Or as it’s commonly known, Houghton’s Pond. IMG_5125.JPG

I love Houghton’s Pond, but the first time I was there, I saw a dirty Band-Aid floating in it and stepped in gum in the water in my bare feet. In case you wondered, it’s extremely difficult to remove gum from skin, even when it’s wet. We’ve been back since (this is our third time, in fact), and today I carefully scooped out a piece of chewing gum and drew the line at picking up a dirty Band-Aid. Way not to disappoint, Houghton’s Pond!

Irregahdless, it’s still a great place with picturesque views, shallow wading water, showers, a playground and free parking. We spent the day playing in the water (tag, Simon Says, and Red Light/Green Light) and building a sand recreation of the opening credits of Game Of Thrones.

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“But where’s the moon door going to go?”

As promised, here is my secret for sandcastle building: use wet sand from about 2 inches below the surface of the sand and periodically apply pressure to the sand to remove any air pockets and ensure a tightly packed pail.

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Don’t worry, we haven’t abandoned our American Ninja Warrior training. Both kids did two full rotations around the monkey bar gauntlet.

While George napped, Hazy and I played Store. I thought Store would be really boring, but turns out it’s super fun to play with the Barbie Cash Register. I take back calling it the Mouthpiece of Satan. There’s something really thrilling about making announcements on the microphone and scanning imaginary UPC codes on toys in the top pit.

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The Barbie scanner randomly assigns prices to things, so lip gloss was $41, but Hazy’s Toys takes credit cards, so it was all good.

After naps, our beloved friends, Dee, Nina & Jack came over for dinner. (Ariane, you will be glad to know that I washed our seat cushions since yesterday, so no one would have to cry about sitting on the dirty bench cushion.) George is going through a very sensitive “no one will play with me” phase, so I let him have some solo bubble machine time, which he appreciated, to say the least.

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If this was on the orange line train, it would be all of George’s dreams coming true.
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It takes a village and I’m so glad mine has Dee and a lot of rosé.
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Come back soon for the baby pool, guys! (Sorry about the one hot dog bun situation, Jack)

It’s A Zoo at Home, At Home At The Zoo

Today we had the pleasure of having my good friend Ariane and her three wonderful sons, Ellis, Ian & Owen over. We had planned on going to our home-away-from-home, the zoo, in the morning but we got rained out, so we were relegated to the Toy Pit. Ian brilliantly came up with a new game of putting the Trash Pack guys on a remote control car and seeing if they could hang on (they can’t), Hazy visited Dr. Ariane with a bad case of “everything,” and Hazy put on a puppet show which mainly involved shooting the audience with green balls out of a pig’s mouth and yelling, “poop!” to the audience’s great amusement.

George and Owen took naps after this, and Owen napped in Hazy’s bed. Proving she’s my daughter, Hazy expressed concern about Owen drooling on her pillow. Thankfully, Owen sleeps without a pillow. Phew. Finally, the rain had stopped, the boys work from their naps, and we hit the zoo.

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I’m sorry I lied to you guys about the second hyena. There is no second hyena; I just took too long to get my camera out.

Can you spot the difference between these two pictures? (Hint: in one, Ariane told Owen the peacock was behind him.)

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George showing me how this camel winked at him.
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Hazy: Am I going to be the only little girl?  Well, at least I’m kind of a tomboy. Me: Says the girl in the pink dress.
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Me: Where should we ship you guys, Kalamazoo? George: You always want to ship us to Kalamazoo!
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Hazy, trying to look into two black circles while there are two majestic creatures 10 yards away from her.

We did not get to feed the budgies (suck it, zoo, just saved $9!), but we did get to get another set of 51¢ pennies for our overpriced oblong penny collection. After the zoo, we had dinner and then turned on the bubble machine. Bubble machine: kids as DNC balloon drop: Bill Clinton. They went nuts.

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You and your salted caramel brownies are welcome at our house anytime, Purdys.

 

 

Shame in a Dark Alley

Today, we went to one of our favorite places, Boston Bowl. They give you a free pair of socks every time you go, and I’m not exaggerating when I say we have at least 12 pairs of Boston Bowl socks. I didn’t try to destroy the kids, but I did legitimately try my best to beat them. Here’s how it went down.

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Georgie did his signature move: high toss to far right corner.
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Hazy used a variety of techniques, including one I’m pretty sure she stole from me, “steering” the ball psychically.

I tried bowling like grown ups do. I tried bowling through the middle of my legs. I tried bowling-billiards, playing off the bumpers. Whatever I did, I failed. And so this happened:

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I barely beat a 4-year old and a 7-year old kicked my ass.
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Scoreboard aside, damn we looked good. My PJA bowling teammates will be glad (horrified?) to know that I continued to sully the STFU Donny name by wearing my PJA bowling shirt.

After the bowling debacle (or triumph, depending on whom you ask), we hit the “arcave.” Hazy and George’s favorite game was Ghostbusters, followed closely by a Spongebob-themed version of one of those suckah games where you try to push the quarters over the edge and it always seems like the next quarter will be the one that does it but it never is.

 

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I think the important thing to focus on is not who won or lost (who even remembers?), but  that we all had a good time. 

 

 

Kroc Attack!

On Friday, we tried a little something different. I dropped the kids off at Matty’s work for an hour and went and got a foot massage at Happy Feet in Chinatown. It. Was. Amazing. A guy named Lan (he said that was his last name, so I called him Mr. Lan) soaked my feet in Chinese herbs, gave my back a savage beatdown, and then gave me a foot massage. While I was gone, the kids worked for candy, their preferred method of payment.

After the foot massage/candy job, we met up with my college friend Karin, and her super sweet kids at the Kroc Center, a mini water park and swimming pool.

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Karin to her kids: Make sure you make a wild face so we make it on the blog. (Nailed it, guys.) Natasha to self: Try to see how many chins you can have! (Also nailed it!)

I made sure we got this pic, because there are no cameras allowed in the swimming pool area, which, let’s be honest, makes sense. Anyway, we were too busy floating down the lazy river, going down the waterslide, playing volleyball, and having buckets of water dumped 0n our heads to do any photo shoots.

After the Kroc Center, we swung by the South End library, where we met a super sweet, overzealous children’s librarian, who insisted we take out several books (they seemed cool) and then make Jackson Pollack paintings with marbles. Even though my parking meter alarm had already gone off, she wouldn’t take no for an answer.

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I wonder if Pollack embarrassed his mom by dropping his paint-coated marble and getting paint all over the library floor.

Thanks to my friend Darcey’s recommendation, we then headed over to Blackbird Donuts for their legendary (legendairy? eh?) donut ice cream sandwiches, because, hey, it’s bathing suit season.

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Half for the kids, a whole for me, because I’m wholly committed to my weight gain.
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There are not enough napkins in the South End for this situation.

BTW, you’ll notice George finally got his summer cut. (He actually got two summer cuts, but the first looked a little too Three Stooge-y, so one lollipop and many gummy worms later, here we are.)

Quote of the Day:

“You look like you’re pregnant when the wind blows.” – Hazy to me, and this was before the donut ice cream sandwich.