Tag Archives: kids

North Shore > South Shore

I’m sorry, South Shorers, but it’s true. Granted, North Shore beaches might be slightly colder, but they don’t have sharks or red seaweed sand that feels and smells like rotten pudding.  Also, the North Shore has Michelle, and her gorgeous new house in Essex with a yard full of mini frogs, just waiting for Hazy and George to torture capture them. Last Friday, we met up with Michelle, whom you might remember from last year’s fine art photo acting/art adventure, and Ariel and Dax, whom you might recognize from several of our past outings, including one that inspired my parenting book. We met at Michelle’s house, which she and her husband designed themselves (!), and then headed to Crane Beach. Hazy’s favorite part of Michelle’s house was this cool speech-giving balcony (not what Michelle calls it)  and speech-receiving sitting room (totally what Michelle calls it) below. I can’t remember Hazy’s exact speech, but it was a hybrid of quotes from the Princess Diaries and Harry Potter. (Side note: Mia would totally be in Ravenclaw.)

George’s favorite part was a tie between all the gloriously uncluttered space and the mini frog commune in the backyard. Michelle helped us catch a bunch and then probably instantly regretted it, as George would not-so-gently squeeze the little frogs with his pudgy fingers when picking them up. He named his victims frogs Carlos, Freddy and Porridge; Hazy named hers George and Fred (after the Weasleys). I feel a little macabre that I took this selfie with Carlos and then when I put him on the ground, he didn’t move. Ever again. That’s George (the frog) on my head, I believe. He survived, as far as I know.

Last time the kids saw Dax, he was still an infant, but now he’s old enough to be dressed, hugged, read to, and apparently, give cries for help with his eyes. Sorry, Dax.

Crane Beach is beautiful, and unlike last time we were there, I didn’t have to super soak a single seagull. Ariel has a Mac wagon too, so the kids transported themselves and all of our stuff.

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At long last, having children has paid off.

Michelle, Ariel and I thought we were pretty cute, but then Dax had to go sit in his mini lifeguard chair under his little rainbow umbrella. Hmph.

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You win, guys.

Hazy & George made two sand holes and then connected them together and held hands in the middle. Aw.

sandcastle tunnel
Cute

Dax sat on a beach blanket. Aww…

baby on a beach blanket
Cuter

And then plunked himself back in his mini lifeguard chair and said “oyoyoyoy.” Awwwwwww!

baby lifeguard
Cutest

After we’d had enough cuteness and sun, we did a quick pitstop at Russell Orchards because Michelle remembered they had cute farm animals to pet and I remembered they had cute cider donuts to eat.

It was even better than either of us expected, because there was Darryl the (500 lb) pig, plus a Little Sebastian not named Little Sebastian, an ice cream shop, and a cider donut ice cream sandwich. Don’t mind if I do.

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One of these ladies made healthy choices and looks killer in a bikini; the other is eating a cider donut ice cream sandwich, losing chin/neck distinction. #mistakesweremade #deliciousmistakes

It was, as Ariel put it, “the perfect beach day.”

We Visit A Rockwell Painting

On Friday, we went to visit Matty’s childhood bestie, Lesley, and her family up in the NH boonies (no offense, Les), but we’re talking the most picturesque, just-stepped-out-of-a-Rockwell painting boonies of all time. I kept expecting a little black and white dog to run up with the Saturday Evening Post in his mouth. I’m serious, she even lives across the street from the town hall, which has those old timey red white & blue half circle banners (you know the ones), and next door to a general store in a red barn that sells homemade whoopie pies.

I don't know what's in the water here, but this one's only 2.
I don’t know what’s in the water here, but this kid’s only 2, and that handwriting!

When I let Lesley know our ETA, she texted me back saying she’d “alert Slowpoke.” I assumed she meant one of her kids, because, well, kids are slow (at least mine are), but oh noooo, she meant her neighbor, Slowpoke the tortoise. That’s right, a tortoise lives next door. He’s 15 years old, eats fruit and veggies, and has a little dog-turned-tortoise house painted like a tortoise shell and we are in love with him.

I will spare you the other 8000 photos I have of Slowpoke.
Besides plums and tomatoes, we also fed Slowpoke Eliza’s pants. That’s her in pink, not caring about her knee being about to get eaten.
We have spent the last three days discussing ways we could tortoise-nap Slowpoke.
We have spent the last three days discussing ways we could tortoise-nap Slowpoke.

It was hard to match the excitement of feeding Slowpoke, but we did get pretty psyched about going peach picking. The O’Rourke kids (and adults) have a healthy obsession with peaches, so I had this vision of bushels of big, juicy, orchard-fresh peaches. But that didn’t happen.

"There's only one tree left, it's over by the dumpster."
“There’s only one tree left, it’s over by the dumpster.”

Instead, we went blueberry picking. We are also big fans of “bluebs”, so that worked out well.

George somehow got both the Steinhauser girls to pull/push him around in their wagon.
George somehow got both the Steinhauser girls to pull/push him around in their wagon.
But then he returned the favor during this precarious ride.
But then he returned the favor during this precarious ride.
George had about a cup of blueberries, some blue, but mostly all green and red ones, in his bag. Twenty minutes later, I asked where his blueberries were. "I ate them!" Doh.
George had about a cup of blueberries, some blue, but mostly all green and red ones, in his bag. Twenty minutes later, I asked where his blueberries were. “I ate them!”
Doh.
We may have only gone home with a 1/4 pint of blueberries, but we did get this shot with self-proclaimed celebrity, Farmer Ron. Thanks, Farmer Ron!
We may have only gone home with a 1/4 pint of blueberries, but we did get this shot with self-proclaimed celebrity, Farmer Ron. Thanks, Farmer Ron!
And continuing our Rockwell theme, this happened.
And continuing our Rockwell theme, this happened.

Then we had lunch, and one of us helped herself to a whole lot of Trader Joe peas.

"I'll have the plateful of peas, thank you."
“I’ll have the plateful of peas, thank you.”

While George and Eliza napped (in the same room!), Hazy and Nora performed a fashion show/play/art piece.

Sort of like a really confusing art film.
Sort of like a really confusing art film.
See?
See? It felt like it was black & white in real life, too.

Then we went for a walk and some bench jumping, as you do.

We tried to set a good example.
We were all, “this is how it’s done, kids.”
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And they were all, “duh, and we’re cuter.”
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Touché, kids.
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Bonus bench jump, O’Rourke & shadows version
Bonus non-jumping bench shot, girls only
Bonus non-jumping bench shot, girls only

Before we went home, the Steinhausers treated us to a really awesome sushi dinner (definitely the way to my heart), and in return, George put the moves on their youngest. Sorry, Steinhausers.

It's hard to resist a man in
It’s hard to resist a man in pajama pants and flip flops.

Then the little O’Rourkes passed out while I took the long road home to non-Rockwellian JP. But don’t worry, the fun’s not over yet. In my continuing quest to give these kids the Best Summah Evahhh, we then headed to Martha’s Vineyard for two days with Auntie Gigi & Uncle Heavy. Update to come.

 

 

 

Beach Day!

photo (11)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.

Sure, this tent seems really great now. #foreshadowing
Sure, this tent seems really great now. #foreshadowing
She's smiling because I told her she looked like Ariel on the rock.
She’s smiling because I told her she looked like Ariel on the rock.
They're smiling because I yell,
They’re smiling because I yell, “Smile!” at them until they do. Just kidding. Kind of.
How many calories does digging a one foot moat around a three foot sand castle burn and is it enough to cancel out eating ice cream every other day?
How many calories does digging a one foot moat around a three foot sand castle burn and is it enough to cancel out eating ice cream every other day?
Favorite part of sand castle making: sand castle destroying
Favorite part of sand castle making: sand castle destroying
The Not-Napping Phase lasted about an hour.
The Not-Napping Phase lasted about an hour.
It might've helped if I hadn't kept taking pictures of the Not Napping Phase, but he looked so cute.
It might’ve helped if I hadn’t kept taking pictures of the Not Napping Phase, but he looked so cute.
“Mama, make me into a mermaid.” Nailed it.

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.

F&*king tent
F&*king tent, temporarily shoved in bag
F&*king tent, currently misshapen on our lawn
F&*king tent, currently misshapen on our lawn
Did I mention that I also couldn't flatten the roll-y cart? There's that jerk, taking up the whole trunk.
Did I mention that I also couldn’t flatten the roll-y cart? There’s that jerk, taking up the whole trunk.

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.

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.

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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

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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.

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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!