Tag Archives: summer fun

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.