Monday, November 18, 2019

Eve Hits Double Digits

My baby is ten.
 She was so happy for this big day. And a sequin-covered mini-backpack is just what she wanted!
 My Eve plays teacher all the time, talks about school and what she's going to teach "her kids," and even creates her own homework packets.

She was excited when she opened her very own lesson plan book!
 And no matter how I tried to trick her, she knew her last present was the watch she'd been begging for.
 My kids are allowed one "fancy" party, and Eve did hers this year at Jake's Unlimited.

 Since it was a Wednesday night, the kids mostly had the place to themselves. They ran from one thing to the next.
 Annie was so excited that she got included with the big kids.

 I went on one ride with her, but I was so sick after spinning that I didn't want to chance my old grandma body after that. But I did help her play a driving game that her legs were just too short for.
 Hyrum's impressive bowling strategy.

 They all played a game of laser tag as a team. This was the only thing they all did together, and they were looking forward to beating each other. At the last minute, a big group of drunk adults got in line, and the battle was so unfair.
 Look at the rankings (Annie was #21). The worker felt bad for the kids, and she helped Hyrum so that he could win. The adult who lost to him came out of the room mad that he hadn't won. Seriously, dude? They're LITTLE kids!

 After two hours of all-you-can-eat buffet pizza, soda, ice cream (and SALAD!), they weren't that hungry for birthday cake, but we still had to do candles.
 She's growing up, my baby.

 They went back to do a few games and a couple kids left.

As we were preparing to leave, I decided a free-for-all on the cake would be a great idea.
 They didn't disagree.
 Even after she got home and had homework, she still enjoyed her birthday--wearing her new pink headphones although they weren't plugged into anything.

Ten years since this girl was my last baby. She's so amazing, and I can't wait to see where life takes this girl!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Boston, Part 4

All of them had been looking forward to the Museum of Science, and I saved it for the last day. We were really slow getting out the door on Wednesday (and it was raining and cold), which meant we didn’t have time to see the USS Constitution or the Boston Tea Party Museum. I don’t think they even cared, and by this point, all I wanted was for them to have good experiences. I realized I’d expected too much from them and I was fine to spend the day at the museum.

We rushed into the IMAX theater for “Great Barrier Reef,” and that theater was unlike any IMAX I’d ever seen. It was HUGE with 180-degree views. It was too big, in my opinion, and I couldn’t ever see everything that was going on. The movie was good and got the kids excited to see more, but we first needed some lunch.

Sidenote: Ever since Micah broke his collar bone, his appetite has disappeared. Walking 14,000+ steps a day brought it back in spades. I can’t believe how much he ate on this trip. And let it be known, he likes ice cream just as much as his dad.

After lunch, we wandered through the exhibition halls, but the boys quickly realized that this museum is geared to 3-6 graders. Eve loved it. They barely tolerated it. By the time we realized it wasn’t what everyone wanted to do, it was too late to go see anything else, including travel time. Eve was a little disappointed, but I dropped them off at the apartment around 4 with some movies, promising to be back around 6 to make dinner. I rented another blue bike and squeezed in 90 bonus minutes of research on a volume that can’t leave Widener Library. I’m finding some great information, and I’m hopeful I will have everything together by the November 1 deadline to apply for the next class.
Fancy macaroni and cheese dinner (yeah, not fancy), more conference, then Survivor, and everyone was hammered and ready to sleep.
 Cambridge Common--I never tire of this park. I mean, WASHINGTON STOOD HERE, PEOPLE!

I wanted one last run through the fall weather, but the forecast predicted lots of rain Thursday morning. I didn’t care, and I set the alarm early (6:45—not early!) and headed out. It was cool and sprinkling but it was gorgeous. The colors. The temperature. The surroundings. I’ve fallen in love with Cambridge, and I’m so happy I got to spend almost an entire week enjoying it in the best season of the year. Before 7 am, I got a notification that our flight was already delayed an hour (not a good sign), and we had to be out by 10 am. What to do? The kids were split about going straight to the airport or finding something to do, but in the end we ran for the bus to get on the train for the airport. And Mom miscalculated again—missing the bus by less than a minute. By this time, Eve was a grumpy mess from pulling her suitcase along the bumpy sidewalk and ti was raining, so I called an Uber to take us to the train station. While we rode our (supposedly) last train ride, Eve realized, through a flood of tears, that she’d left her souvenir knitting set on the nightstand of the bedroom. (She found it buried in her backpack two days later, but these were some real, serious tears.)

Something needed to be done, fast. So I called an audible, and we got off the train at Boston Common for one final (our third) round of Dunkin’. There were only a dozen to choose from! Instead, the kids chose McDonald’s breakfast right next door, and everyone was happy once more. We walked across the street to the Common, down to the train station, used our train passes for (supposedly) the last time, and waited two minutes for the train. Just as we were ready to board, Micah panicked. “I left my backpack in McDonald’s!” Off he ran, and in less than three minutes he was back. That really was the last time we used our train passes. Two transfers later (and a flight update that moved our flight up half an hour!), we were at the airport and heading home.

What a great trip. I hope my kids have forever memories of the time we spent together in Boston. Nothing profound or extremely exciting or noteworthy, but it was a fun way to spend Fall Break. The little AirBnB where they slept and watched movies and played Nintendo Switch (thanks for sneaking that on the trip, Rum!). The changing leaves and “hardcore Parkour” in the park. Their first subway rides. Harvard—which may not mean much to them but was thrilling for me to share. History and science and aquatic life and rain and sunshine and fish and ice cream. I love these kids. I loved spending a week with them. I’m so glad they’re mine.

Goodbye, Boston. I’ll see you on Sunday, but this time I’ll be flying solo.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Boston, Part 3

We experienced real Fall this year. In the week we were in Boston, the colors visibly changed, and it was exciting for these desert rats! (and their mom)

Bunny who watched me loop the park a few times that morning

Tuesday morning I got up in the dark, laced on my running shoes, and spent a joyous 30 minutes looping the park, listening to my music, and LOVING fall. I snuck back into the apartment, grabbed my wallet, and walked a mile to Enterprise where I picked up our car for the one day we planned to leave the city. Even though there was traffic for some of the drive, we had a great discussion about the armor of God and Ephesians 6 before we turned DJ duties over to Micah. He provided us with some mellow fall music and some awesome car karaoke tunes. When we got out, Hyrum said, “I bet that will be my favorite part of the whole day.” I think he thought that even when the day was over!

I was so excited to show the kids Plimoth Plantation. I loved it last time I went, and I thought they would as well. They humored me.

We are direct descendants of the Billington family--first man tried for murder in the colony. I'm so proud.

They were nice about it and liked it, but they didn’t LOVE it.

And Micah got fed up with Eve’s obsession with gift shops. The weather was beautiful—no rain—and the fall colors were incredible.

They weren’t exaggerating when they claim New England has the most spectacular fall. We watched the leaves visibly change colors while we were there. We missed the peak changing, but it was glorious for us AZ desert dwellers.

Plymouth Rock is only a few miles from the plantation, so we had to see it. When we got out of the car, Hyrum ran up to it, looked down, and said, “That’s . . . underwhelming.” I don’t know what he expected, but he’s right. Oh well. History can only be so captivating, even for History Nerds like me.

Spending a week together gets annoying sometimes. Can you see Micah? He was up there for personal sanity reasons, I think.

It was an hour drive to Minute Man National Park in Lexington, but it was beautiful and really fun.

I think the kids loved being together in the car without being surrounded by hundreds of strangers on trains and busses and in public places. I forget that they’ve never experienced a city like that before.

The park was gorgeous, and after the 20-minute video, Hyrum begged to walk around and explore. I think he was convinced he’d find a Revolutionary War artifact, but he quickly gave up his search in favor of skipping rocks in the pond and breaking sticks over rocks.

There’s one thing AZ kids can never get enough of—and that’s really good sticks. They’re in short supply in the desert.
 Stopped at a farmer's market for New England apples and New England apple pie--Eve missed Cleo!

 And a quick selfie at the Boston temple

I wanted to squeeze in some more history, but they were DONE, even after I plied them with ice cream. So we headed back to the apartment after buying stuff for our last two dinners, watched a little of Saturday’s morning session of conference, and headed to bed.
As I walked back from turning in the rental car, Cambridge gifted me with an Arizona-worthy sunset.
It was a fantastic day with the people I love the most.