Tag Archives: ice cream

“It wasn’t over, it still isn’t over!”

I wish I was talking about Ryan Gosling’s feelings for me, but I mean summer. Even though the rest of the country is back in school, we’re still. on. vacation. Last week, we headed to beautiful Lake Winnepesauke for a good old-fashioned family vacation. We stayed at the Naswa resort, which Matty and I refer to as having “just the right amount of cheese.”

Naswa resort, Lake Winnepesauke
It’s pretty much the Dirty Dancing resort except cuter cottages, no dancing (dirty or otherwise) and I didn’t have to carry any watermelons.

We did all the usual vacation stuff: ice cream, lake fun, mini golf, foofy drinks, and of course, settling all of our differences via inflatable log boppers.

ice cream at Liliuokalanis
Sorry, Rosie.


Wait, what was that last thing? Ah yes, the inflatable log boppers. If possible, we’d settle all disagreements year-round with the inflatable log boppers. You know how sometimes you wish you could just hit your partner upside the head? Well, now you can! With inflatable log boppers! Here’s Matty totally cheating and “winning” our battle. Don’t worry, I got a few good bops in.

Photos by Hazy

Score settling via inflatable log boppers is not limited to grown ups:

It’s pretty much appropriate for all age combinations. For example, here’s Hazy destroying Matty:

When we weren’t celebrating bizzarro Festivus (airing of grievances via log boppers), we also hit the local arcades. Hazy and I are obsessed with this game called Harpoon Lagoon, where we figured out how to team up to shoot the shark and get a ton of tickets. I may have just lost two minutes of my life watching a video on how to catch the jellyfish in Harpoon Lagoon, and I didn’t even know the jellyfish existed. Clearly, we need to go to arcades more often. We also whacked some moles and Matty schooled some small children at bumper cars.

Oh, and we had our family portrait painted by Rembrandt. Yes, the Rembrandt.

Rembrandt family portrait
Classic Rembrandt shading

But wait, there’s more. We also jam-packed this vacation with dueling puzzles (Rosie, that traitor, joined the kids’ team), the kids’ first viewing of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (the old, good one), one “king-size” lobster roll, and bumper boats, where we ran into friends from JP. Sorry/not sorry that I annihilated you, Lucas. I wasn’t about to go easy on you just because you’re only 8 years old.

At mini golf, both Matty and George got holes-in-one, but only one of them insisted on doffing his hat and waving to the “crowd.”

It wouldn’t be a Lake Winnepesauke vacation without a boat ride, and the Naswa offers a free lake tour with Captain Dennis.

boating on Lake Winnepesauke
All smiles pre-pirate takeover

Captain Dennis was nice enough to let both kids drive the boat. It was all smooth sailing until a pirate took the wheel.

America in 2015
America in 2017

Despite things looking pretty dark for a few minutes, we made it safely back to the resort. And not to worry, there were positive pirate encounters (it’s a thing!) as well.

Pirate's Cove mini golf
Tank tops tucked into jeans with marauder accessories are the big trend for Fall 2017, marrrrrrk my words.

You know how sometimes your kids will make a new friend and then you’re pleasantly surprised when the kid’s parent is also cool? Well, that happened, except in this case, Matty was the kid. No one was playing football with him, so he randomly threw the football to another guy in the water. Turns out that guy, Chris, had a sweet daughter, Lola, who was a little older than Hazy. Both kids ended up loving Lola, George even asking her if she’d be his best friend. She magnanimously told him he could be “one of them.”

new friends at Blue Bistro
Dinner date with new bestie, Lola

Hey, aren’t ducks such a fun and cute part of a lake vacation? Imagine fire shooting out of my laser eyes when I say NO, THEY’RE NOT.

chasing ducks
Such a ducking a-hole.

We learned the hard way about something called Swimmer’s Itch or “Duck Mites.” It’s a short-term immune reaction to parasites carried by ducks. We thought they were some sort of horrible bug bite, but when Matty, Hazy and George had literally dozens of them on their legs, but had never noticed being bit by anything, we eventually figured it out. Also, I’m usually a mosquito magnet and I didn’t have any “bites,” so we knew something was fishy. George ended up literally screaming in pain in the middle of a CVS because the bumps were so itchy and painful. Sorry, people of CVS and poor Matty who had to endure a bunch of dirty looks. For future reference, if you’re swimming in a lake with ducks, wear lots of sunscreen, towel off immediately after swimming, shower after swimming, and wash your swimsuits well. It turns out that my anal-retentive sunscreen applying and wimpiness about going in the water for very long saved me in the end.

Despite the duck mites (ew) and George’s flatulence problem (he gets it from his father), a great time was had by all, even Rosie, and this black bear we adopted.

IMG_6940DSC_0330At the end of our vacation, keeping with the “just the right amount of cheese” theme, we went to Canobie Lake Park, the amusement park Matty and I both went to growing up. A lot of the rides are the same ones we went on as kids too, like the Caterpillar, the Yankee Cannonball roller coaster, and our favorite, the Log Flume. Last time we went, George was too scared to go on the Log Flume, but this time we all went on together, and it was pure happiness. We didn’t pony up the $16 for our photograph, but it was pretty classic, with Matty and George hiding behind me and Hazy respectively like a couple of wussies. The O’Rourke girls are pioneerswoman and we’re not afraid to get a little water splashed on us.

The kids are both big enough to drive the antique cars, which either makes you feel alarmed or like you’re in a Grey Poupon commercial, depending on the type of person you are.

The kids got ice cream and guess what I got? Hint: that’s not cocaine.

Other exciting things that happened include: George not running away from this giant wave, Matty winning me this Care Bear, and Hazy getting her fortune from Pappy. (Let’s hope she didn’t wish to be big.)

As you may know, I’ve been training Hazy and George in Photo Acting 101 and Photo Jumping For Beginners for years now, but it looks like they need a little more schooling. I mean, is George even trying?

jumping family photo

jumping family photo shoot
Better, Haze.

Aside from the Swimmer’s Itch, it was a fantastic vacation and the best way to spend the week before Hazy goes back to school (tomorrow, gulp) and George starts K2 (i.e. real kindergarten) next Monday.

family at Lake Winnepesauke
The family that gets duck mites together stays together, right?

The third One Summer At Home is about to wrap up. Single tear.

How To Get Kicked Out of the Stonebridge Pool

The Stonebridge Pool is at the Pinehills, where my parents live. As you may have noticed, we go there almost every Wednesday. Last Wednesday was special for two reasons: 1) it was free ice cream sundae day! and 2) George got kicked out!

ice cream for everyone!
Happier times before the Incident

You’d think the pool at a mostly-retirees place would be pretty laid back about the rules, but they’re actually super intense. These are the things that we’ve found out the hard way that you’re not allowed to do at the Stonebridge Pool:

  • Jump in
  • Dive for coins
  • Splash
  • Play catch
  • Run
  • Walk briskly
  • Play Marco Polo at above a conversational volume (“Marco.” “Polo.”)
  • Put one end of a pool noodle on the water jet
  • “Surf” on each other (I lie on the bottom of the pool, they stand on my back and then I wiggle around.)

But we’ve done all these things and lived to see another day at the pool. So what horrendous crime did George commit? He got mad at Hazy, had a temper tantrum, and then threw his goggles in (the area of) her face. The lifeguards were actually surprisingly okay with this, but we disagree on a lot of things (surfing is awesome!) and this is one of them. Whining, tantrums, and throwing stuff are my pool no-no’s, so I told George to please pack his knives and go. Just kidding, of course knives aren’t allowed at the Stonebridge Pool.

I’ll admit, I’m as guilty as the next mom of empty threats (“If you do that again, we’re going home. Okay, seriously, one more time and we’re going home.”) but this time I delivered. And it felt glorious. George started whining and I said, “If you’re going to act this way, I’ll take you home and Hazy and Oma can hang at the pool by themselves.” Things escalated, eyewear was flung, and I went into badass mode. He couldn’t believe it.

Hazy with Oma poolside
The Non-Whiners Club (They had a blast together.)

People who didn’t throw Speedo paraphernalia at others got to chill poolside and play Marco Polo (at a moderate volume) to their heart’s content. Goggle launchers and their innocent mothers headed home for time out/a conference call (that timing worked out nicely). At least we had good company, as Opa always stays home when we go to the pool, ostensibly to hang with the dogs, but I bet he also prefers his Marco Polo loud and proud.

Two dogs and a grandpa
Opa and his doggies

That evening, after everyone talked it out and we agreed whining/swim accessory assaults were uncool, we enjoyed another fantastic meal at Chez Opa’s.

Tofu and chicken
This is my dad’s Tofu & Chicken and it’s ludicrously (and Ludacris-ly) awesome.

Not to be outdone, Oma’s stepped up her dessert game considerably. Now she customizes desserts. For example, ice cream with “sapphire glitter crystals” (Hazy’s words) for the kids, and a blackberry Napoleon for me. And yes, it has a mint leaf and everything.

On the drive home, Hazy asked me, “Know what I want to be when I grow up?” Previously, she’d planned to be a part-time dentist and part-time restauranteur, so I was prepared for something along those lines. The surprising answer? “The biggest Emma Watson fan in the world!” Dream big, baby, dream big.

Big Trouble In Little Compton

Just kidding, the worst thing we did was whine a little too much (George) and eat too much chicken parm (another one of us, name’s aren’t important). Yesterday, we kept it rocking in the city, city of (Little) Compton with our good friends Nina, Jack and Dee. Nina’s around Hazy’s age, Jack’s around George’s age, and Dee’s around my age, so it was like a triple play date.

One of these kids is doing his own thing, and that thing is making himself as dirty as humanly possible.

We had a perfect beach day jumping in waves, boogie boarding, Air Jordanning off cliffs, fighting over sand toys, and totally not drinking shandies out of Swell bottles in an attempt to ignore the incessant fighting over sand toys.

Hazy & Georgie, hopefully contemplating how lucky they are
Look closely and you can see George holding up his shorts.

I’m so proud of Nina & Hazy for jumping off the diving board, and slightly less proud of the ice cream weight I’ve put on this summer. I’m totally gonna quit tomorrow.

Hazy stubbed and cut her toe and went to the lifeguard stand to get it cleaned out/bandaged. We did not realize she’d have an entire lifeguard medical team, including one in short shorts.

Note to self: quit ice cream, then come back here and stub toe
Dee calls this “cinnamon rolling yourself”; I call it “Wicked Gaming yourself.” Either way, it’s fun for the car ride home.

After I whipped George with a towel under the guise of “cleaning off the sand”, we headed back to Dee’s for outdoor showers and then went to the lovely Commons Lunch for dinner, because we’re rule-benders like that.

Not pictured: Jack, posing ten feet to the left (“I’m in the shot!”)

And then, because we’re ice creamaholics, we went for ice cream.

From a trolley. Because we’re also in a Wes Anderson film.
This is pretty much our family crest.
George’s summer project, Project Maximum Messiness, is going great. Thanks for asking.
Five minutes after we left

About our shirts: I bought the kids and Matty these for Father’s Day. Incidentally, we just saw the Sandlot (for the first time for me and the kids) on Friday night, so now they’re really into it and the shirts. Yesterday morning, they wore them to surprise Matty, so he put his on too.


After I took their photo, Hazy said I must feel left out, so I said, “maybe I’ll borrow Dada’s shirt.” To which she replied, “Yeah, because we’re killin’ ya.”

I’m thinking of making myself a shirt that says “SERENITY NOW!”

School’s Out For Summer

School’s out for…70 days, but who’s counting? Yesterday was the kids’ last (half) day of school. I glued on Mac’ the Mac wagon’s new eyes, packed him up with towels, sunblock, assorted swim masks, bathing suits, and a cute little mini wallet with just the essentials (license, $20 snack bar money, Charlie card, JP Licks card), and lugged him out the door. His eyes fell off before I made it out the front gate, so I did what any good surgeon would and left them on the kitchen counter, glue side up. Then I hauled Mac 1.6 miles to the kids’ school and arrived right at 12:30 on the dot.

I found a new trick to make them smile in photos. “The person with the biggest smile gets extra ice cream!” Check out the results:

Between my promptness and my new photo trick, I was feeling pretty proud of myself, especially as we headed towards JP Licks for our Summer Kick Off Sundaes and everyone we passed admired Mac, even without his sparkly eyes.

Then I realized I left the pool passes at home. Let us take this moment to whatever-the-modern-equivalent-of-raising-the-roof is for my nephew, Ryan. He picked up my Bat signal and dropped everything to hand deliver the pool passes and save me from about two miles of whilking (whine-walking) back home and then to the train station. It takes a village, guys.

These smiles sponsored by Ry-Ry (and gummy bears)

Bellies full of ice cream and mini wallet full of pool passes, we headed to the train station, stopping only at our awesome local bookstore with a less than awesome name, Papercuts, per Hazy’s request. George immediately accosted the woman who works there, “WHERE ARE YOUR STAR WARS BOOKS?” like we were robbing a bank.

May the force be with you, lady, because if you can’t find a Star Wars book, I’m pretty sure George will shoot force lightning at you. That’s a thing.

Fortunately, she stayed calm and opened the safe/found the one Star Wars book. I did not buy it, because I’m a Mick Jagger parent. You can’t always get what you want. 

It was a beautiful day for the pool. I love the walk through the North End; it’s pretty and it’s short enough that there’s minimal whining. There are a few narrow sidewalks, where groups of people insist on taking up the whole thing, but luckily I had George acting as my Fezzik, only instead of “EVERYBODY MOVE!”, he’d go, “Excuse me! Wagon coming through!”

Our pool is right on the ocean, because we’re fancy like that. 

We swam, had snacks, played frisbee (read: narrowly avoided whacking various people in the head with the frisbee), and took a brief break at the playground to warm up.

Yes, we just had sundaes and now they’re having Cheetos/Doritos/pizza. They’re so skinny at this point, I’d feed them butter popsicles if they asked for them. 
Our warm up mainly consists of me pushing them on the swing and then playing Zombie. I’m the zombie and I need to chase them but “zombies can’t run.” Also, almost everything is base and I need to make groaning sounds. It’s super fun!

It was a really good day, and it became a great day when we were talking back to the T and passed this golden retriever with a party hat on, BECAUSE IT WAS HIS BIRTHDAY. Happy birthday, buddy!

FullSizeRender (2)
Sorry I didn’t get a better pic, but it took me about 30 seconds to collect myself due to the cuteness. 

I don’t know about you, but I plan on treating the rest of summer like it’s that doggy in the birthday hat and celebrating the crap out of it.


Castle Island isn’t really a castle nor an island. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Castle Island is one of those places that’s on every “Things To Do In Boston With Kids” and “Family Fun in Boston” lists and was also just mentioned by my friend Maryann yesterday (post your list in the comments for me, Maryann!), so it was a good last minute choice today when I realized I had no plan. I was also worried it was gonna be kind of lame, as most of those cliché list items are. But, it turned out to be pretty sweet.


First of all, dogs are allowed and welcome, so Beatz got to come. [Side note: If anyone knows what to do about car anxiety in dogs, please let me know. Beatz has started panting excessively in the car, only on longer trips. She never used to mind the car before. The air conditioning is on, and she had plenty of water before we left.] She had a blast walking around the fort (I refuse to call it a castle), sniffing, and saying hi to other dogs. DSC_0191

Secondly, there’s a nice little walk around the non-castle, although we couldn’t figure out how/if you can get inside. I convinced the kids that one concrete slab was a magic door that you had to stand in front of and yell, “Castle Island!” to activate the magic portal, which they did (the yelling, not the activating the magic portal). The fact that they’ll still do this stuff is exactly why I thought this was the right time to take the summer off with them.

Come on, Magic Portal!
Come on, Magic Portal!
Perpetually cool
El Haz, perpetually cool


Mama's not the only O'Rourke getting in on the jumping action
Mama’s not the only O’Rourke getting in on the jumping action

After our hike (and I use that term very generously), we went to the really nice Castle Island playground, where Hazy showed off her guns by going across the monkey bars about five or six times, and George watched in admiration. Then, I showed off my guns by doing some dual swing pushing, which, according to my internet research, burns 200 calories an hour. I have a short attention span for swing pushing though, so I probably only burned 20 calories.

Playing #likeagirl
Playing #likeagirl

Then we had a picnic on the beach (which Beatz had to watch forlornly from beneath a nearby bench), and played in the ice cold water.

photo 1 (1)
How many consecutive days of PB&Js are too many? Asking for a friend.

I did my best to ignore my crippling fear of jellyfish and the cries of,  “jellyfish!” all around us.  We continued making progress in Project Water Comfort and made less progress on Project Abandon Swimmies, despite what it might look like in the photo.

Water comfort! No swimmies*! (*for 5 seconds)
Water comfort! No swimmies*! (*for 5 seconds)

Then, I went for the Best Mom Ever award by getting us ice cream. If you’re wondering how much ice cream it’s possible to drip onto your camo shorts, it’s 9/10th of a Sullivan’s Oreo Cookie Razzle, and George can demonstrate his technique.

This is my hideous #momstaysinthepicture smile.
This is my hideous #momstaysinthepicture smile.

After our outing, George napped and Hazy and I made zucchini brownies (not quite Fruity Penguins, JoAnne!).

Hazy's a by-the-rules baker; I am not
Hazy’s a by-the-rules baker; I am not

Then we played in our inflatable pool, and by “we”, I mean Hazy and George did in between time outs, while I drank a shandy.

Tomorrow, we’re winging it. Quick – give me some ideas in the comment section! Wednesday, we’re hanging with Oma & Opa, and Thursday, we’re having lunch with my friend Christine and her adorable baby, Jack. Maybe George can teach Jack how to coat himself in ice cream!