Exploring The Freedom Trial

JDubbs and I grew up (mostly) in suburbs just outside of Boston (JDubbs was born and raised in Sacramento until he was 10), and it is my inestimable pleasure to expose my kids to the history, art, excitement and glory that is the city of Boston, especially in the summer.  When Jax began to show an interest in the American Revolution last winter, specifically Paul Revere, JDubbs and I knew a trip to Boston and the Freedom Trail (that links the many important historical sites throughout the city) would be on our list of things to do this year.  A warm summer day, our family of five, a stroller, some bottles of water, and we were off for a historical adventure!

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The Old North Church and its surrounding plaques, memorials, and statues to Paul Revere and the other significant Patriots of his day was just the right combination of history and fun.  Jax was interested to see things he had only read about in books come to life, and the girls, JDubbs and I learned a thing or two as well.

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Then we followed the Freedom Trail out of the North End, and crossed over to the Rose Kennedy Greenway, which was built after JDubbs and I had moved away from Boston.  It was something new for everyone and what’s not to love about green spaces, a carousel, splash pads and fountains amidst the buildings and bustle of the city?  It was the perfect kind of fun for my country mice!

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This fountain was everyone’s favorite, right outside Faneuil Hall, with the water coming up sporadically in various patterns, reaching enormous heights!  Jax had absolutely no fear and charged straight in.  Little H stayed on the outskirts and loved every second, although she didn’t actually get wet.  Em decided to be brave and went in after a bit of hesitation, only to get a jet of water in the eye and run out screaming!  She spent the next ten minutes shivering and crying until JDubbs bought her a tapestry from the farmer’s market to dry her off.  So, mixed reviews from the kids, but I loved it!

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From there we picked up the Freedom Trail again and walked through the Boston Common to the Public Garden, with a stop in Granary Burial Ground to see the graves of Paul Revere and John Hancock.  We stopped to say hello to the ducks from Make Way For Ducklings and some of their ancestors, but the line was too long for a tour on the Swan Boats.  Instead we got ice cream and watched the people and cars go by from a quiet spot on the lawn.

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After that, we took the T back to our car (the kids’ favorite part!) and headed to Auntie Amanda’s and Uncle Chris’s house for a sleepover before Legoland the next day.  This was one of my favorite memories from the summer, and we have had many extraordinary adventures!  I love exposing my little country mice to all this magnificent city has to offer!

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Paradise

Becky, where have you been?  The blog has seemed a bit…empty.  Well, there’s a good reason I haven’t been around, and it especially has to do with the fact that I left my computer and big camera at home as I traveled a couple thousand miles away with JDubbs and a group of core girlfriends that I’ve had the pleasure to know for the last three decades.  Basically, we stole a few days in paradise, also known as the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.

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We spent an evening in Old San Juan and had lots of yummy food, made some great memories and a bit of mischievous fun.

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The days were spent soaking up the sunshine, swaying in hammocks or floating in a pool with music playing, drinks flowing, and such great company.

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And then, the main event.  The amazing, wondrous, remarkably memorable wedding of our dear friends Jess and Ryan.  To say the bride was beautiful, the groom so happy, the guests thrilled, and the setting spectacular would be understatements.

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We were so happy for our friends, and so happy we were able to celebrate with them on that special day, in such an incredible setting!

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And with a surprise visit from a live band, some Moscow Mules and a little bit of Dirty Dancing, it was a night, a weekend, and a trip we will all never forget!

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Here’s to paradise!

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A World Of Mysteries

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One day I will live close enough to Boston to take advantage of all of its glorious opportunities to learn about our world more frequently.  For now, I will settle for taking our kids into town as often as possible, such as sneaking in a trip to the Boston Museum of Science the day after Thanksgiving with JDubbs, my sister Amanda, and her boyfriend Chris.

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If you can believe it, I had never been to the Museum of Science, and I thought it was a fantastic day.  We probably only saw half of all the wonders the museum had to offer; there was just so much to do and see!  There are awesome volunteers who had little experiments on hand that helped extend the learning or make it more accessible to my preschoolers.  Then there were exhibits that were so amazing they needed no explanation, just a moment to stop and consider all the amazing elements at work.

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After a trip to the dinosaurs and monkeys, we had dinner overlooking the Charles River and then went back for more.

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We had a fantastic time in the butterfly garden, where it was a little too chilly for the butterflies to be super active (their heater wasn’t working properly).  It was actually nice because we were able to get close and really investigate them.  The kids tried to coax them into flying by making butterfly motions with their hands, but no luck.

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The only picture of us five–not our best!  But one of my resolutions of 2014 is to be in more photos this year, so my kids can look back on these awesome times together with both me and JDubbs.  Obviously I was there, but I’d like some evidence!

We headed home just as the sun was setting.  One of my favorite times of day in the city.

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I love learning alongside my kids and appreciating all the wonders our world has in store for us, from the tiniest butterfly to a monstrous dinosaur.  I think it’s important to show kids how much you can still love learning, even as an adult, and it keeps us young! The best life has to offer.

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Playing In The Public Garden

 The second day of our family trip to Boston was a blazing hot day spent exploring in the beautiful Public Garden.

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It was so hot that we nixed our plan to walk over to the Boston Common and hit up the Frog Pond and carousel.  We took the kids on the shaded swan boats and pointed out the ducks that live in the pond.  We had read Make Way For Ducklings the night before so Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were fresh in their minds, and the kids were super excited.  It is such a special way to spend a day with family, one that is ingrained in my own early childhood memories.

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I think I enjoy it even more than they do!

Afterward we went over to see the statues of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and all their baby ducklings, from Jack all the way to Quack.  Poor Em–metal statues on a hot summer day don’t really mix well with dresses!  She learned how to sit side-saddle pretty quickly, or to move into the shade!

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The kids ate a snack under the shade of a tree and H took a little power nap before we walked up Newbury Street to have lunch with friends.

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There’s nothing better than sharing the city I love with the kids I love!  I’m so glad that we made Boston our destination for our family vacation this year.  It’s perfect, even on the hottest of days!

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Family Trip To Boston

 Since we would have Baby H in tow, JDubbs and I made the executive decision not to take our kids on a big family vacation this year, as it may have been more trouble than it was meaningful.  We spent a lot of evenings together and enjoyed extended family time in Massachusetts.  However, we did decide that an overnight in Boston would be worth the effort, so one warm day in July we packed up the kids and headed to a great hotel just outside the city.

The first day we took the kids to The Children’s Museum, and aside from the headache of parking a mini-van with a Yakema on top (too tall for parking garages, too long to parallel park), the kids had an absolutely great time.  I love watching their minds at work and their genuine excitement in exploring the world.

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Em got stuck on top of the giant scaffolding/climbing apparatus when you first walk in to the museum, which was more amusing than distressing to me since I was nursing the baby and could only watch JDubbs coax her down like a cat in a tree.  Jax climbed up and came right back down, without giving his sister a second glance.  Luckily she finally emerged and seemed completely unfazed; she was ready to rock some virtual dodgeball.

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Jax is still talking about this.  I either have to take him back or turn my house into a poor man’s Billie Jean video.  He LOVED it.

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Baby H, not so much. But at least she doesn’t fuss.  Such an amazing baby.

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 The rest of the day was awesome and the kids had a blast exploring, learning, playing, laughing, and having so much fun.  It was a great way to spend a summer afternoon!

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After we checked into the hotel and JDubbs took the big kids for a quick dip in the pool, we took the subway system (known as the “T”) into the city.  Even now my kids talk about the T about once a week, and I think I will save money on parking from now until eternity and just park outside the city and take the T in.  Less hassle and instant family entertainment!

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We did lose JDubbs for a quick second when we got off at a non-handicap accessible stop and he had the stroller and all the baby gear.  I took the kids up and out and just assumed he was following me; I was not only wrong, but JDubbs had both my ticket and my cell phone! Luckily, he’s a Boston boy as well so he can take care of himself.

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We fed the kids at Dick’s Last Resort in Fanueil Hall, which could have been a disaster, but since the place was empty as it was only five o’clock and my kids (luckily) were on their best behavior, the waitstaff did not harass us but merely mocked us good-naturedly.  I’ll take it.

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Princess In Training and My Boogers Taste Great.

After dinner we explored Quincy Market, took in some street performers and bought a few touristy souvenirs.  Jax could not contain the urge to dance when he heard one particular drummer and danced his heart out on the steps of Fanueil Hall.  There was actually a bit of a crowd and someone told me that they enjoyed watching him more than the street performer! I wonder if he is a YouTube sensation somewhere and I just don’t know it…

3 I absolutely love introducing my kids to Boston, which will always be my home.  It is such an unbelievable city, and there is without question nowhere I’d rather be on a summer day.  Love making memories with my family!  Could not be happier.

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Family Day At Fenway

 Due to JDubbs’s alumni status at Northeastern University, he and I and the kids were able to explore the expanses of Fenway Park in all its phenomenal glory.

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Since we are bringing up the kids properly as Red Sox fans, we know it’s never too early to introduce them to the massive tradition and lore that comes with the territory.  There is so much to learn that there’s no time like the present!

Ted Williams’s Red Seat

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 Wally the Green Monster

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Fenway Franks and Fun

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The Field Itself, Sacred Territory

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Monster Seats

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World Series Trophies From 2004, 2007

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What an amazing introduction to the gift that is Red Sox fandom (and fanaticism)!  Learning the love of the game at such a young age–

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–now that is a priceless gift–and an amazing memory for me!

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Drakes Island

Earlier this summer, Em and I discovered the beauty of a tiny beach in Maine called Drakes Island, thanks to my dear friend Amy.  I knew that the four of us had to get back there sometime this summer, so when JDubbs and I planned a trip away with the kids for a few days, I knew where we were headed.  It did not disappoint.

This was Jax’s only trip to the ocean this year, and I would feel more guilty about that if it wasn’t such a fabulous time.  They had their absolute fill of surf–and would even more of the next few days–but watching them dip their toes in for the first time as a dynamic duo was so unbelievably fun to watch.

It was evening and too cold to actually swim, although I don’t know why I even tried to discourage them from getting soaked–by the end they were both down to their skivvies and shivering, happy as two Vermont clams.

I think we will be making this an annual visit, now that I am so in love with this beach and the feeling of being with my family there.

Maybe we need to move a tad more east.  Don’t you think?

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