Posts Tagged ‘massachusetts’

4th of July 2015

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Happy (late) Fourth of July! We went to Cape Cod, like we try to do every year. I missed 2014 because I was so pregnant I couldn’t imagine being more than 10 minutes away from the hospital. And then I didn’t have a baby for another 3 weeks. Good times.

Our Massachusetts relatives really know how to throw a party, especially if you are a kid. They rent a big inflatable water slide so I barely saw Evan or Caroline the whole day. I eventually bribed Caroline with salt water taffy to come down to the beach and take some pictures with me, but no one else fell for it.

We stayed super late this year to see the fireworks, which was a mistake. They’re fireworks. Boom, flash, oooooo, aaaaaah. And then an extra 90 minutes of traffic to get off the Cape with three incredibly exhausted children and two very tired adults. We made it home but it took me two days to recover from my completely non-drinking related hangover. I think that makes me a real grown up, which is way less fun than being not a grown up.

Please enjoy a ton of photos of our day:

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The parade every year includes a ton of the floats/marchers throwing candy. Like, tons of candy. So much candy. The lady sitting next to us was really worried about her grandkid (kid? great grandkid?) getting enough candy – and by “enough” I mean she felt like he deserved ALL the candy. She kept shoving him in front of my kids (and their cousins) and saying “You have to be faster! Don’t be afraid to get in front of kids! Grab it!”. For the record, her kid was significantly bigger than both of mine and just ONE KID who definitely did not need a zillion Tootsie rolls, Dum Dums and pieces of Double Bubble.

Since my kids aren’t allowed gum (I’m not a meanie, they just don’t understand how to now swallow it) I had them walk over to her kid and give him every piece of gum they picked up.

And then she STILL shouted at her kid to be sure to grab as much candy as possible. Some people are just not good people. I’m really glad I only had to sit next to her at a parade and not live or raise my children next to her in real life.

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This is Caroline pretending to swim. She asked me to take a picture.

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Fun with glowsticks!

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Tired, tired Caroline. Honestly I think the kids have been tired ever since. I put them to bed before dark tonight, so hopefully they sleep in and maybe we’ll have a less melt-down filled day tomorrow.

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Sunday, November 17th, 2013

I set a goal for myself to take more interesting, photographically complex, technically strong iPhone photos, since those are all things I’m working on in my real photography. I failed. Maybe next week.

Sunday:

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Waiting in line is boring. Thank goodness there are benches for lounging.

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The Carle <3

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Practicing their cheers

Monday:

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The ticket cashier printed extra “tickets” for the kids and the ticket puncher punched their “tickets” for them. We love Metro-North.

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You’ve seen this one, but my phone died in NY so I didn’t get many more.

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Donut the size of his head.

Tuesday:

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She’s obsessed with my glasses

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Winter is coming. So is the bus.

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Modeling her awesome hat and sweater.

Wednesday:

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I have no idea what we did on Wednesday. Teeth brushing might have been the only thing.

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Their new favorite bedtime book

Thursday:

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Not very excited to be outside in the cold

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Ignoring me.

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Matching Christmas jams (just a little early)

Friday:

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We are totally going back to do this again

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My new favorite spot for evening pictures

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Playground time before it gets too cold

Saturday:

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DO I LOOK CUTE MOMMY?

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First pony tail requires two pictures.

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Bounce house birthday = kids who slept really great

I cannot even believe how fast November is going. I have less than a month until Caroline’s 3rd birthday party (princess themed this year!) and I’ve done almost nothing. THAT IS SO UNLIKE ME. I don’t even have invitations yet. If anyone has this work-life balance thing figured out let me know, because so far I suck at it – and I can do 75% of my work from my couch.

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A Western Massachusetts Fairy Tale (With An Appearance by Mo Willems)

Monday, July 15th, 2013

I love people. I don’t often feel that way – and the news from the last few weeks has made it more of an act of willpower than an easy truth – but after our experience on Saturday my faith is restored. There are plenty of people who are good and kind and willing to go above and beyond to help others, and it was sheer luck those are the people who I ran into at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

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Giant hallway art

We are huge, huge Mo Willems fans in our house. It wasn’t love at first sight (I was a little baffled by Knuffle Bunny the first time I read it and also super annoyed no one could tell me if the “K” was silent*) but once Evan and then Caroline were old enough to help choose our bedtime reading selections Mo quickly became a favorite. We have all three Knuffle Bunnies and several Pigeon books at home, and almost always include at least one Mo Willems in our library picks. When I heard he was going to be at the Eric Carle Museum on one of our rare weekends home (we missed the last one) I knew we had to make the drive.

E was working, as usual, so I packed up and we made the 90 minute drive early Saturday, getting to the museum seconds before they opened the doors at 10 am. Right as we hit the ticket counter I realized my wallet wasn’t in my bag. It was one of those moments where you can literally feel the universe split into two separate paths – one where I was smart and double-checked my bag before I left home or stopped for gas in town or went through the drive thru for a coffee 10 minutes from home and realized my mistake, and one where I was and idiot there in Massachusetts, without my money or credit cards or debit card or driver’s license or military ID or anything. I didn’t have anything. Idiot.

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Can you believe this idiot?!

The woman greeting people at the door saw me rummaging frantically through my bag and asked if I was OK. I told her my wallet wasn’t in my camera bag but I might have it in the car. I grabbed the kids and we ran back out, even though I knew it was pointless. I knew exactly where my wallet was: on the end table next to my laptop where I left it after I used my credit card online the night before. Standing next to the car with two kids staring at me I made another universe-splitting decision. Instead of calling the day a wash and heading for home, I headed back into the museum.

I didn’t have much of a plan at that point. I vaguely thought maybe they would accept a business card and an IOU for the admission fee (which wasn’t very much but was more than the nothing I had) and we could just forgo buying the big pile of books I had promised the kids from the gift shop. We had one book from home, so at least we could still get SOMETHING signed. Or maybe they could just give me one of the line passes they were handing out – I could make it home and back in 3 hours, which was still in time for the 2 pm signing but I was worried they would run out of tickets. But before I could even offer one of those as an option, the lady who had asked if I was OK was standing next to me, giving my kids pigeon tattoos and reassuring me we could figure something out.

I used to be the kid who cried in class any time a teacher even LOOKED at me harshly, so it’s not surprising I cried while I explained we were far from our house and I didn’t know anyone in Massachusetts and my husband was working and I just didn’t want to let the kids down so…. The lady, Rebecca, said they would be happy to take a credit card over the phone if there was someone I could call. Thank God my mother picked up on the 5th ring and said of COURSE she’d cover my admission. Rebecca suggested they write down the number and she would put it in a safe place so I could use it later in the gift shop to buy our books and my mom agreed. Mom asked if I was going to be able to get home without money – did I have enough gas? – and I assured her I could make it home (and I did, with 1/8th of a tank left). So lucky.

After handling everything for me smoothly and calmly and in the very kindest way possible, Rebecca handed me two free lunch coupons, good for one item from the food truck outside and said if I needed drinks she would buy us some. She explained now that I was inside all the events and crafts were free and she would be there all day and I should feel free to come find her if I needed anything, so I was just supposed to go and have a good time. And we did. We had an amazing time.

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Pigeon tattoo! I have one too.

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When I went to the book store to buy our books, I was nervous about explaining my credit-card-on-a-piece-of-paper-somewhere-behind-the-counter to the cashier, but as soon as I opened my mouth and said “I, uh…” she knew who I was and rang it up no problem (Mom, I’m paying you back ASAP). While the kids and I were playing, another staffer came up and asked if I had gotten everything worked out, then offered me cash for the drive home, since if she was traveling with kids she’d be nervous in my situation (I declined, but it was an amazing offer). When I went to get our 2 free lunch items, the girl in the truck gave us hot dogs and chips and drinks. Everyone else we talked to the entire day was kind and helpful and friendly and just…amazing. I don’t know if Rebecca got the entire staff together at some point and said “See that woman with the two ginger kids? She’s kind of an idiot, so be extra nice to her” or if everyone in Amherst, Massachusetts is just inherently a good person, but it felt like we were getting extra special treatment. I mean, we WERE getting special treatment. Everyone else had to bring their monies to get in.

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After we spent 4 hours enjoying the yard and crafts and movies and pigeon wall and chalk and library and story time and the museum galleries, we stood in the very first general admission line to get our book(sssss) signed. ┬áIt went quickly and was beautifully organized but the kids were kind of at the end of their ropes (Evan: I want to go HOOOOME. Caroline: I don’ wanna go HOOOOOOOME.) and I had used up all my threats and bribes and promises and was just hoping to get out without embarrassing myself even more than I already had. But we got up to where we could see Mo and the kids first perked up and then totally flipped out that he was RIGHT THERE! He looks like the dad from Knuffle Bunny! Mo! It’s MO! My friend MO! When it was our turn, someone took my camera to snap pictures, Rebecca opened all our books to the best signing page, and Mo drew a little picture in every one of our books. The kids watched him draw and shouted “Dinosaur!” or “Piggie!” and finally “PIGEON! IT’S THE PIGEON!!” I just stood there grinning like an idiot. It was great.

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All these are a little out of focus (the camera was on auto because I handed it to someone else and it focused on the sculpture in the background) but the kids look so happy I don’t even care.

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As we were leaving, I stopped by to thank Rebecca (who I think might be the Director of Development based on some website stalking, but I can’t be sure – I never got her last name) for being so helpful and saving our day. You know what she said to me? “You’re such a good mom.” The person who forgot her wallet, cried at the ticket booth, couldn’t stop her children from running and being loud, hissed at and threatened them in line, and was now a big, sweaty, exhausted mess. A good mom. Then she hugged me.

I cried in the car on the way home, but not because I was an idiot but because my faith in humanity had been renewed. It was a really awesome day.

I’m going to write a more concise, less rambling version of this and send it to the email addresses listed on The Carle’s website, since I’m not sure who to thank. And when I get my pennies from last month’s blog advertising I’m going to be buying a membership to show my support (the museum is a non-profit who relies on memberships and donations). Plus I’ll be buying the next year’s worth of birthday and Christmas gifts for everyone I know from their gift shop. It’s one of those instances when Pay It Forward doesn’t seem like enough, but I’m sure going to try.

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#HappyBirthdayPigeon!

*In the cute little animated film version, it was pronounced “Nuffle”, which made me very happy.

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Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Another summer week, another seven days I can hardly believe were only seven days.

Sunday:

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Yeah, basically this, for the whole weekend.

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They ate all the peas & berries before we even got back in the car.

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Oh no! Stormy seas! The boat is rocking! (It was not stormy.)

Monday:

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Friendship IS magic!

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Dr. Evan to x-ray, STAT!

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It’s adorable, but they still stole my umbrella.

Tuesday:

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Burning off some energy. SO MUCH ENERGY.

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Every morning Caroline wakes up and cries until she can say hello to her kitty.

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Reading selections

Wednesday:

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She’s skeptical about putting a bird on it.

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High fives, Blue Iguana!

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Pineapple cream cheese cupcake = heaven

Thursday:

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Dancing at the Plymouth 4th of July Parade

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Cousins in the ocean

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Chug chug chug chug

Friday:

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Explaining why we should go home and watch some shows (he was very convincing)

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Town fireworks

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He liked them for the first 2 minutes…and then fell asleep.

Saturday:

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Monkey see, monkey do

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NO WE DO NOT DRINK OUT OF THE FOUNTAIN.

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Performing a tail-ectory on Ariel

It is still hot hot hot in New England, so our choices are 1) sit really, really still in the house with all the fans blowing on us or 2) go find a body of water. There are lots of those around, but since Evan and I both got sunburns on the 4th we’ve been hiding inside mostly. They start the preschool summer program this week (I…think? I need to call…) so we’ll eventually have to go back to the real world, but for now I am enjoying doing nothing. Mostly nothing. I don’t think potty training counts as REALLY doing nothing.

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Old Sturbridge Village

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

I really like taking the kids to do Fun But Educational Things, which is why we spend most of our extra time and money on memberships to places like the aquarium and Mystic Seaport. Up until recently it’s usually been much more about me than about them, since they couldn’t care less where we go as long as they can run around in circles while I say “Look! Nature! Science! Historic Crap!” All they’re really interested in is pushing buttons.

Unfortunately, I put a lot of pressure on myself to make all of our visits the kind of amazing memories I have from my own childhood. Nevermind the fact that I’m sure for every beautiful spring day at Old Sturbridge Village churning butter in a bonnet there were probably 14 visits to some dumb museum where I whined the whole time about how booooooring it was can we go hooooome now? I need to pin a note to the inside of my purse that says “They are TWO and THREE, don’t WORRY” so when I’m digging for some granola bars to stop the ear-splitting whining from the double stroller I remember, oh yes, they are TWO and THREE I don’t really need to WORRY if they aren’t interested in the finer points of blacksmith…ery.

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All in all, it wasn’t too bad for an outside adventure in January. We’ll definitely be back in the spring to see the sawmill in action and in the summer for the gardens (There’s an antique carriage rally in June! That is EXACTLY the sort of event I will greatly enjoy forcing my family to attend!) I’m tempted to buy a membership but SIX memberships (well, five memberships and a season pass to Sesame Place) seems a little…excessive. Maybe I’ll hold off until the kids are old enough to appreciate all the history a little more.

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