auto adventures

Leah and Zion coming down the giant slide at Robbins Farm Park

whee!

We don't just adventure out of state—we do plenty of fun things around here too. Yesterday we met the Stevens family at Arlington's Robbins Farm Park, and we all had a great time at the playground. True, the giant slide wasn't for everybody: Harvey didn't mind climbing the steps, but he wasn't so sure about the sliding down part. Luckily he found another way.

Harvey walking down a clover-covered hill

in clover

After that we got some ice cream.

I was all set to, in this post, write about how happy I was to have rediscovered automobile transportation. When we were in Maine we all really enjoyed being able to range widely and stop whenever something caught our attention—or when someone needed a break from the car. Now that we once again have two working motor vehicles and two legally licensed drivers, I figured we could have some of that same freedom in the metro-Boston area: why not drive all over the place and, say, find a new playground every day?! But then I read this article, and never mind—we have to get back to human transportation. That's alright, I need to be getting more exercise anyways.

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Rehoboth

We had some business in Rehoboth last week, which is about an hour south of us and closer to the coast. While Dan took a meeting the boys and I hung out on the playground of the local elementary school. The playground equipment was a bit advanced for toddlers, but luckily there was an outdoor classroom made up of six large flat stones. Who knew children could be so enthralled with knee-height rocks.

Harvey was "hunting trains" for some reason.

When Dan came back to meet us we went on to the real exciting part of the outing: THE OCEAN!!!

the waves! the waves!

Harvey was so into the ocean he was practically bursting with delight. It was like swimming with a teenage girl at a Justin Beeber concert.

happy salty boy

Zion wasn't so sure of the ocean at first. He liked being held tightly out of the water, and he liked playing in the sand sort of, but he didn't get photographed because mostly I was holding him or trying to make him happy. But Harvey's delight made the overall outing a success And everyone was happy with seaside hot dogs and french fries.

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camping 2012, day 3

We've been remiss is posting the camping pictures, or anything at all; too many adventures every day to even keep current, let alone catch up with past events. But now we're home and most of us are asleep, so here's something.

low clouds and fog over the Porcupine Islands

weather

Weather our third full day continued cloudy and coldish and we continued very tired; besides the exertion of the last few days, hard rain on the tent overnight kept us up and gave Leah a bit of a morning cold. So we didn't plan anything to extensive, which let us hang out in Bar Harbor for a while in the morning.

Zion lounging in an adult-size camping chair

he knows how to relax

Then we hung out in camp; luckily, Zion is clearly an expert at relaxing. The rain was intermittent so we looked for indoor events to do. We stopped by the Oceanarium, but despite advance billing it wasn't sufficiently child-friendly—in fact they didn't even let us buy tickets. A brewery tour had the advantage of being free entertainment, but it didn't quite hold the attention of the kids (to say nothing of poor Rascal, left behind in the car). Happily, the sky started to clear in the evening so Harvey and Mama were able to spend some time at the pool and playground. And unsettled weather sure makes for a pretty sunset!

Mama and Zion and a spectacular cloudy sunset

day is done

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island visit

an old lawn chair overlooking a cobble beach

I visited an island today. Leah and the boys were busy playing with Nathan and they had to stay home—so I took some pictures for them.

a dirt track through the scrub

does it go anywhere?

Parts of the island were very remote (but I still met some joggers out there). Everything flowering was purple.

close-up of heather flowers

just like back in Scotland

Other parts were entirely civilized, and crowded with pedestrians and golf carts. Or at least paved.

a paved road bordered by lawns

could be right around the corner here

Before too long I had to go home, but hopefully we'll be going back again soon!

the view of the island from the stern of the departing ferry

somewhere in the rain

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camping 2012, day 4: homeward bound

the Margaret Todd off Agamont Park

sparkling day

After one more breakfast at the Cafe we said goodbye to our friends, then hung out in town for a little while before getting in the car for the trip home. Harvey was enjoying himself so much that he threw the biggest tantrum of his life, which lasted about 20 miles down the road.

the car parked at a dead-end facing the ocean

rest stop parking

He should know by know that the journey is as much fun as the destination—well, if not the journey itself then the intermediate destinations along the way. We made our first stop in Searsport intending to look in at Left Bank Books (which we've enjoyed before), but were distracted by the sight of the ocean down a side street. When we explored and found a playground we made a quick change of plans.

Mama, Harvey, and Zion on a playground alligator

alligator? or dinosaur?

I wasn't in the best of moods, thanks to an enormous cut on my foot, but everybody else had a great time playing on the variety of great playground equipment (even Rascal: he got away when we opened the car and ran all over the place before we could collect him). Then of course we had to check out the water, especially since Harvey found a "swimming girl"—or "swimmin guller" in his idiolect—that clearly needed a place to swim.

Harvey playing in the ocean with a mermaid figurine

splash

Coming from Massachusetts, where shoreline access is strictly controlled and rationed, it's always exciting to find places like this. Yeah, that's the ocean; it's always there; go down and visit if you feel like it... We sure did!

Mama, Zion, and Harvey wading in the ocean

no one else there!

After another tantrum we were back in the car and on to Camden, where Zion nursed and Harvey and I learned about local literary figures.

Harvey posing with a statue of Edna St. Vincent Millay

posing with Edna

We also enjoyed watching the seabirds: ducks (and ducklings!), seagulls, and cormorants. The former were very disappointed that Harvey didn't have anything better than rocks to offer them.

Harvey throwing rocks into Camden Harbor

sorry ducks, it's not bread

There was one more stop, but it didn't produce any pictures: a highway rest area on I-95 (I don't even remember which state!). One of our few failings as hippies is how much we enjoy McDonalds, so we were very disappointed when the timing of our dinner stop produced only a Burger King—all the more so when I saw the prices. They may have been inflated for the captive highway audience, but all I could bring myself to afford was ten small chicken nuggets, and Harvey ate most of those. Luckily we still had some leftover peanut noodles and homemade bread—not to mention the last of the cookies.

This time the tantrum came before we left, when a game of "hit people with sticks" turned bad (who could have imagined?!). But that just meant that we were all ready to pile back into the car and roll through the last of the homeward miles.

Now what's the next adventure going to be?

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the car, the suburbs, the feminine mystique

We've done a lot of driving this summer. Sometimes I feel like my radical parenting impulses are torn in two directions. On one hand I want to be homesteading, showing the kids how to sew and make jam, raise animals, be content playing in the woods and, I don't know, some idealized version of childhood that doesn't actually work with my children. Because the home is where they hit each other with blocks, so my other impulse is to present my children with exciting new adventures. Sans blocks. To that end we find ourselves hopping in the car every day to scoot off to God knows where, some museum or farm or beautiful river where I pretend like I didn't know they were going to swim.

the boys swimming in the concord river

golly gee, passers by, if I'd have only know I would have brought their swimsuits

I love adventures. I love the way I can't be distracted by chores and I'm forced to pay attention to my children. Sometimes I play with them in the river or at the museum and it's just fantastic. THIS is parenting! i announce to myself. Sometimes I merely facilitate the transportation of kids, diapers, clothing changes, and one thousand pounds of snacks to and from various exciting locations. On this trip to the river I carried a bag of beach toys, a bag of snacks, the bag with the diapers and towels, the stroller and the dog, and I SHOULD have brought the Ergo with me because Harvey broke down at the end and refused to use his legs to make any forward progress towards the car. And there's everyone, all the thousand tourists and park rangers at the Concord bridge, looking concerned in my direction and asking, "Is he hot? There's a water fountain over there!" As if I wasn't keenly aware that I'm carrying not one but THREE water bottles — indeed that's the reason I can't PICK UP MY SCREAMING CHILD all the stupid bags in my hand. And I just felt like, well, my mother used to say she felt like a "beast of burden" and I wouldn't go that far but I did feel like an ass.

harvey swimming in the concord river

Harvey swimming happily before mama ruined his day

The problem at the river was that the dog was barking because HE wanted to go home. Or sometimes it's the baby crying because HE wants to go to sleep. Or sometimes it's me who's bored because I don't have a smart phone. Because paying attention to my children is lovely but oh my word I do it for many many minutes a day.

The problem is, Harvey has a longer attention span for staying somewhere than anybody else in the family. And Harvey gets to make A LOT of decisions about what we do, but duration isn't one of them. So there are tantrums. Which, I don't know, when my kid is having a tantrum I enter this horrible place of mental redundancy where I think: haven't we done this before? Haven't a million parents done this before? And I have to sit through this AGAIN? Like, why isn't the tantrum problem solved for all humanity?

Which sounds remarkably calloused to the emotional needs of my children. Sometimes I think I'm a working mother in an attachment parent's body.

Once I had my kids at the mall food court (crappy hippy that I am) and there was a kid at the table next to us throwing a tantrum about his meal and his caretaker said, "This is the food we have. You can eat it or not but you need to sit in your seat until everyone else is finished." Which is a perfectly reasonable thing to say, I would say the same thing, but in my head came the phrase, "A thousand little prisoners and a thousand little jailers."

But I got off track. I had wanted to write a post about driving.

We have done a lot of driving this summer, and the thing I notice in between beautiful playgrounds and swimming holes (that we feel very blessed to visit, don't get me wrong) is miles and miles of sprawling suburbs. Another house with another lawn over and over and over again. All made out of ticky-tacky, all watered with underground sprinkler systems. And I've just felt like, Oh God. I've got to get out of here.

I'm reaching a point with the suburbs and the cars and it's fight or flight.

My friend Jo said something so poignant to me the other day. "I feel like my kids are going to ask me, 'Why did you keep driving when you knew it was unsustainable?' And I don't have an answer to that question." It kind of hit me like a ton of bricks, because it's true. Why did you keep ruining the environment, mom and dad? Because we lived in the suburbs. Because you and your brother kept hitting each other when I tried to do stuff in the house. Because you loved new playgrounds and ponds and museums.

Our generation's equivalent of "Why didn't you stand up to the Nazis?"

harvey standing up at the river

Harvey in a disposable diaper because he outgrew the cloth ones and potty training dash the environment is less important than getting them to stop hitting each other

This isn't really a coherent argument about anything other than my general malaise with living in the suburbs. Which really might just be general malaise about parenting. Betty Friedan wrote in The Feminine Mystique: I ask women about their lives and they give me a list of tasks. Get up, load the laundry, feed the baby, on and on. There is no substance to these women's lives other than their chores. (I'm paraphrasing here because I can't find the actual quote. I don't own the book and google isn't smart enough to deliver it to me based on my vague searches.) Obviously Friedan wasn't a Marxist. Of course our labor defines us. To put it in more obvious terms, our life is pretty much made up of what we do all day. But that's an argument for another day. What I'm trying to say is, I'm starting to feel like Friedan's housewives, with a problem that has no name, and I'm trying to name it "driving" or "capitalism" or "living in the suburbs," when Friedan might have been wrong it might just be that life with young children is sometimes tedious.

Maybe it's just tantrums. Dear Lord, I see where Harvey gets it from.

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tomatoes

a variety of tomatoes

some variety

We've had cherry tomatoes for a couple weeks and Early Girls for a week or so, but now the whole lot of big heirlooms are starting to get ripe. And despite weeds, hornworms, and blossom-end rot it looks like we're going to get a fair number this year.

Tomatoes are probably my favorite thing to grow, thanks to a combination of high yields and tastiness; not to mention that I love the smell of the plants themselves. Every year I figure out the tomato-production process a little better. This year the innovation was staking (rather than cages) for the big tomatoes, and also proper pruning—which I finally figured out with help from a youtube video. Even us back-to-the-land types need help from modern technology from time to time.

I anticipate soon having more tomatoes than I can even give away, but for now we're enjoying every one. That big orange one went into a tabouleh salad for dinner this evening.

tablouleh, made with orange tomatoes, on a plate

from farm to table

Come by next week and take some home for your own salads or sandwiches!

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river swimming take two

We tried another swimming-with-the-dog outing this afternoon, and this one went better than the tantrum-filled debacle from my previous post. Again we visited the Concord river, only this time we went to the boat launch in Carlisle instead of the North Bridge in Concord. The Carlisle crowd seemed to fit our socioeconomic class a bit better, and this time I felt less fear of judgement about letting my children prance naked in the waterway.

boys at the boat launch in the water

can't keep clothes on them when there's water around

Everything about today's trip was less stressful. The dog barked less because there were fewer people coming and going. Because it was just between snack and dinner time I didn't bring anything to eat, and that lightened my load. Also, I didn't bring the beach toys. I think the absence of toys and snacks made it seem like there was less of an "agenda" for the outing, and Harvey played more creatively as a result. Here he is is playing with a stick that looked a lot like a gun. He called it his 'pachoo-er'

harvey's stick gun

pachoo! pachoo!

No, I don't have any problem with my kids making up guns. I freak out about TV, not firearms.

With the thought of school starting again in September, I realize my coping mechanism for Zion's first winter was taking them out somewhere every frickin day. I don't want to do that every day this year. It's exhausting packing up the house to take in the car every morning and unpacking it every afternoon. I still want them to visit exciting places, but twice a week is probably sufficient and I also want to teach them things at home. Things other than "Leave me along while I clean up."

Until we settle into a good home-life routine I'd like to figure out shorter outings we can do in a pinch. This was a good test-case, and indeed we stayed longer than I expected because they were having so much fun playing with sticks (instead of fighting over the one yellow shovel, I WANT THE YELLOW ONE NOT THE GREEN ONE!!!)

the boys playing on the dock

getting sleepy

When the boys finally got tired we returned home to a delicious pizza dinner that Dan had been cooking. Hey, I guess I'll have to start cooking again sometimes when Dan goes back to work. Bummer. Enough thinking of September; let's hold on to summer for a few weeks more.

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prophetic acts (or, what a suburban mama can do when she can't do much)

I read this book recently by Beni Johnson called The Happy Intercessor. For those of you unfamiliar to the term, and intercessor is someone who prays for other people. Quietly, usually. Usually on her own time, without those people knowing about it. It's not real flashy and kind of, dare I say, obvious.

I often think of myself as an intercessor because, um, I'm not anything else? I'm kind of constrained by these kiddos and right now I don't have any other power for God other than sitting quietly a few times a week and praying for other people. Sometimes those prayers have real exciting results. Sometimes they don't. At any rate, it's better than TV.

But that's not what I'm thinking about today. In this book Beni writes about prophetic acts as mater or course for the intercessor. Things like pouring oil on things, sticking swords in things, whatever. Weird shit that sounds like a waste of time. Somehow, writes Beni (who doesn't herself use the term "weird shit") these acts shift something in the spiritual realm so that months after she went somewhere and threw a sword in the ground there is profound reconciliation in the politics of the city.

She's not making this up out of whole cloth. The prophets did this kind of thing all the time. With God leading, they walked around naked or married prostitutes or ate poop cakes to demonstrate to Israel something God was trying to say. (Ugh, should I site sources here? I'm so lazy and my bible is all the way over there. Let's just say if you're curious leave a comment and I'll find the real verses.)

I have been thinking about prophetic acts in regards to my big dreams. Living in a way that's sustainable for the environment. Leaning lightly on money. Teaching my children to have power in God. You know, stuff that's pretty much impossible.

I had just finished Beni's book when I was walking the dog and kids on the bike path connector in Bedford. And, like, there's trash everywhere. Seriously, I don't understand why littering is still a problem. Are people like, "Oh, I just can't make it to that trash-can 20 yards away. I know, I'll just throw plastic bag filled with food wrappers on the ground."? WTF? Anyway, it's impossible for me to pick up all the trash on that path; it'd take like two hours and a big trash bag. But I had a little bag for the dog's poop, so I said to myself, "I'm just going to pick up these few pieces of trash around me right here. It won't make a dent in the problem, but I'm going to do it as a prophetic act to say MY WORLD IS NOT MADE OF TRASH!"

And you know what? When I picked up those ten wrappers I felt like something WAS moved in the spiritual realm. Someone cares. Someone says this path, this town, this world isn't trash.

Now. There are bigger problems that I think about vis a vis the environment. Bigger than litter. And I can think of big solutions for my family and for the world. But as much as I might like to right now, I can't move to an island. I live here in the suburbs and since I can't do big moves I feel like now is the time to act small-ly and prophetically. And watch the rest of the world follow. (Or, you know, be burned in hellfire... I don't want to paint an unfairly rosy or picture... that wouldn't be very biblical.)

I wrote to Jo in an email recently that I want to be somehow "prophetically anti-capitalist." She immediately started using the phrase to make fun of me, which is pretty fair. Still, Dan just started an awesome farm stand that's the most prophetically anti-capitalist thing I've ever seen, so I'm hoping he'll share tat with you soon. Also, Jo stole this whole idea from me for her blog post today, which you're welcome to read. Especially if you're sick of my incredibly vague references to the bible.

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act now

We spent a wonderful summer day today hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa and finished it off with a delightful concert on the town green. The weather was bright and cool, just how late summer should be (more days like this and we can forgive the climate for the dampness that seems to be overtaking our house). We're really good, as a family, at vacations lately; maybe that makes the fact that I don't yet have a job for next year a little easier to take. Hey, I just had an idea: in light of our expertise, I'm prepared to entertain sponsorship offers! For a reasonably sum of money—say, $20,000 per anum—the squibix family have a great time, and fully enjoy ourselves in a demonstration of the simple pleasures that can delight the human spirit. We'll even write blog posts about what we're up to, from time to time, at no extra charge. Any takers?

farm stand

our

lookin real professional

So Leah tells me that folks are interested in our little farm stand. As you can see, it's not much yet—but we're already thinking about how to expand!

As I may have mentioned before, I like to grow "crops" in my garden. That is, I want to plant enough beans that we can, on any given day, pick enough to serve for dinner. We've got the space; might as well take full advantage of it! The only problem, as you have no doubt already perceived, is that enough beans on any given day means that many beans, at a minimum, three times a week. We can't quite handle that much. In this particular case we don't have to because the beans aren't doing as well as they might—but suffice it to say that we have vegetables to spare. Here's a way to get rid of them!

At the same time, I don't want to discount the—what is it?—radical anti-capitalism inherent in this effort. It's early days of course, and we're not going to bring down the Whole Foods produce department or anything like that, but there's something very nice about sharing. I've always felt like I should be giving away food, but I tend to not be forward enough to visit with people and bring them things. This way I can share with more than just the friends who come to visit us.

In theory, anyways. One of the problems we're having with the stand so far is that sitting out in the sun all day isn't really good for tomatoes and peppers, so I don't want to pick tremendous quantities to display. On the other hand, if there's not a lot out there then people won't feel comfortable taking anything. A conundrum, but one that can probably be solved by a few weeks of steady operation—to get folks used to the idea—and a roof over the stand to keep out the sun. That's in process; we had an umbrella for a while but it blew into the street and got run over.

So there it is. I hesitate even to mention it here, so limited and insignificant is the effort thus far. But it's something we're doing, and I suppose advertizing won't hurt either. So if you're in the neighborhood, come on down!

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another Sandwich

a view down the beach

our kind of beach weather

Today we took a day trip down to Sandwich, on Cape Cod, to visit some relatives of Leah's. It was great weather for a trip to a beachy destination: the chilly rainy conditions meant that the traffic wasn't nearly the problem we feared it would be.

some of the trout swimming

they're trout

Last time we made this trip Harvey very much enjoyed the fish hatchery, so we asked our hosts for a repeat performance. It was just as much fun a year and a half later—more so, even, because I managed to photograph some of the fishes and because we had one more person to thrill to the fishes' hungry splashings.

Zion looking down into the fish hatchery tanks

checking out the fishies

It was also a bit warmer—but not as much as you might have expected, given that our last visit was in April. Still, below-average temperatures never keep us from the beach, even if they do cause us to choose wading over actual swimming. Even Zion declined to immerse himself—but that might have been due to tiredness. Still, we love a beach!

Harvey, and Leah holding Zion, wading in the gray water

not quite warm enough to swim

And of course, the Barrettes gave us a great lunch—and enough after-beach snacks to make dinner unnecessary. Thanks guys... Sandwich is great!

a salt marsh landscape

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keeping busy

It never stops around here. Today we went to church, then headed to the pond for a few hours before hosting 12 people for dinner—so 16 including us. Of course, one of the guests was just a couple months old so he didn't eat much, but on the other hand Rascal polished off at least two hot dog buns and a bowl of soup, so maybe I should count him as well. He enjoys picnics, we find.

Our guests were the Stevenses and their friends (and ours!) Brent and LeAnna and family, who blog at The Wonders Of. It was a great time, and in preparation our house was clean for approximately four hours—of course, we were out for three and a half of those, but it's still got to be worth something.

Our activity level over recent days has been pretty taxing—especially on Leah, who's the one who makes sure everything happens the way it should—but I'm glad we were able to host everyone this evening. The kids, all 10 of them under 8, had a great time running around the yard and tipping each other off of the hammock, and the grown-ups got to sit and talk at least a little bit. And I really enjoy being able to offer hospitality, making a comfortable space for folks to come and hang out—even when everything isn't perfectly clean and prepared (though we did do a pretty awesome job in the hour and a half between church and the pond!).

There's more excitement planned for tomorrow, too: a trip to the big city. Will we survive? Who knows; right now Leah and I are sitting quietly in separate rooms engaging in mental recovery and preparation. It sure is hard being adventurous and popular when you're an introvert!

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make way for us

Harvey and Zion riding duck statues

ride em, duck boys!

We've been meaning to take the boys to visit the Make Way for Ducklings statues in Boston all summer—all last summer too, when I think about it. But somehow it's easier for us to get to the Cape than into the city. As you can tell from the photo above, we finally made it. What did the trick? Realizing that we could bicycle there!

Leah and the trailer under a bridge, Boston in the background

that's where we're going!

As plotted by Google Maps the route from our house to the Public Garden is just a bit over 17 miles, one way. Naturally, by the time we got there we had worked up a pretty good appetite for our packed lunch.

Leah, Harvey, and Zion picnicing by the pond in the Public Garden

not a bad spot

After dining we met up with our friends (including Harvey and Zion's friend Timothy) and, once everyone had gathered around to hear me read the famous story—of course we brought it along, we had to compare the pictures with the real thing!—we headed over to the duckling statues.

Harvey, Zion, and Timothy playing with the duckling statues

Zion wanted to pet and feed them

There was quite a crowd trying to get their turn on the ducks, mostly for photo-op purposes, so the kids didn't get to play as long as they might have liked (not that I can cast stones, of course: I had my camera out the whole time). But the ducklings were definitely experienced, to everyone's great pleasure.

Zion riding a duckling

could he have one to bring home?

Next up was the Swan Boats, which turned out to be pleasantly affordable. We decided that the ride around the pond was the first time on a boat for both Zion and Harvey, which still seems shocking to me. But in any case it was a very pleasant excursion: wonderfully quiet and relaxing thanks to the pedal-powered nature of the boats (Leah noted that all our transportation for the day was pedal-powered!). And there really are ducks living on the island, like in the book.

Harvey, Zion, and Mama on the swan boat

swanning

Then it was on to more active pursuits. Somehow I never knew that you could swim in the Frog Pond in the summer—for free, even!—but needless to say as soon as the kids saw it they were in the water.

Zion in the Frog Pond

that's Harvey's hand

After they dried off—and note that this was all without swimsuits or towels, since we had no expectation of bathing—it was onto the nearby Tadpole playground. It was fun but included some water features, so when our injunctions to stay out of the fountains! started to wear off, we had to find another place to play. The next playground, out on the Esplanade along the Charles River, was pretty fancy.

Harvey at the bottom of a big metal-and-rope climbing structure

thinking about it

It was really designed for bigger kids, but there was still enough to keep our little ones occupied for quite a while—longer than Timothy wanted to stay awake. We bid him and his parents goodbye and then Mama and Zion played some more while Harvey and I walked around and looked at the river. Harvey was very interested in seeing the spot where Mr. and Mrs. Mallard made their nest, and we also worked out the route they took to get to the Public Garden. Of course, back then Storrow Drive wasn't a divided highway—good thing!

On the way home we stopped to pick up some dinner, and ate it at a picnic table on the shores of Spy Pond in Arlington. With the proximity to water I was prepared to tell the kids that they couldn't swim because of the poison algae, but they were so tired that it never came up. They did enjoy the food, though.

Spy Pond, late afternoon

we like water

We finally made it home at around 7:00, after nine and half hours away from home. We felt kind of bad for abandoning Rascal all that time, so we'll probably stay home tomorrow and give him some attention. We might need a bit of rest ourselves, too!

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swimming

Last Friday our friend Katie convinced us to go to Springs Brook Park, a man-made pond and playground which serves as the Bedford town pool. Even though it's less than five minutes from our house we'd never been before; I'd need to sell an organ to pay for the membership! Just the evening alone was $12 for our family, and that's lower than a full-day fare! But it was worth it to try once, because the boys were introduced to something they'd never seen before... a sprinkler park!!!

everyone at the sprinkler park

Our family at the sprinkler park: kids having fun, dan looking on lovingly, and me the dreaded black shadow looming in the background

Harvey ran around giggling like a maniac while Zion tested each water-spraying element, trying to figure out how each worked. It's amazing to watch my children - both so different and each so awesome.

zion at the hydrant

the budding scientist

dan and harvey dancing in the water

water dancers

The same weekend we went back to our normal pond (Walden) where the yearly pass costs only $35. Harvey and Zi both had fun playing with Eliot who is between them in age.

harvey and eliot at walden pond

Harvey and Eliot were fishing the ball with these sticks

zion playing with Eliot

Zion liked sitting in a hole that Eliot and the other boys made

Hanging onto the end of summer means swimming as many times as we can before the cold weather blows in. It means a lot of sand in the laundry though, so the end of the swimming season will be both bitter and sweet.

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well worth the cost

Harvey adorned with headband and black marker

it comes together, as a look

I paid Harvey a dollar to pose for this photo. The headband alone was a good look and probably photo-worthy—and he was wearing that all day—but the matching magic marker really put the total effect into must-document territory. Just look at him: he's obviously beautiful enough to be a model, except that he doesn't like sitting still for photographs. When I first asked him today he hid under the table. Luckily he appreciates the value of money and was a very willing participant over our two-minute photo-shoot.

We were chatting about the deal with the cashier at Chip-In Farm—after I asked Harvey if he had five cents I could borrow—and she told us how she had some pictures of her younger brother that he wished had never been taken, including one with a headband. He's in high school, the age when embarrassment is one of the three main emotions for guys (along with lust and hunger I guess), but I hope that Harvey is never embarrassed by this or any of the other photos we post of him.

We put up pictures of our kids, and write about them, because we think the aspects of their personalities that those pictures and stories reveal are so amazing and wonderful that they should be shared. Yes, I can imagine a situation where Harvey grows up wishing no one had ever seen him wearing a million Mardi Gras bead necklaces, or kissing his baby brother while wearing a diaper, or even looking like an angel on the Christmas Card, but I think the world would be a better place if it let him keep thinking that all those things are totally awesome, just like he thought they were at the time. We saw a little boy in tutu the other day, over his shorts and Red Sox t-shirt, and it was a great look; I say let's have more of that kind of free-spiritedness in people of all ages instead of permitting in the young but then squashing it out in the name of conformity.

All that is to say, grown-up Harvey: I apologize in advance if you ever regret these outfits or these images, but I think you're about the coolest guy there is.

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a quick note on comments

We love getting comments on this blog, so I want to apologize to everyone whose comment might have been held up while I checked to see if it was actually written by a human. That should only happen once; if you use the same email address in the future you'll get the satisfaction of seeing your wise and/or clever remarks pop up immediately under our own. I wish that the world were a more innocent place and that I didn't have to set up any sorts of roadblocks to the free and instant exchange of information, but I also enjoy this blog more when it is free of any mention of erectile dysfunction cures, designer handbags, and teenage lolitas. Except, I suppose, when I bring up those subjects to try and get a cheap laugh. So comments must be moderated. Sorry!

all the world is on a vacation

Harvey loves making up songs. So much so that he'll happily sing in a language all his own if remembering words proves too inconvenient. I caught a video of him doing it yesterday, since I've been feeling rather sheepish that there aren't more videos of my adorable children on this blog.

The only understandable words in Harvey's song are "All the world is on a vacation." This is still true around here, at least for another week. Harvey is luckier than most kids to have two parents around so often, loving him and listening to his songs. Zion is lucky too, to have such an entertaining big brother.

Ready for Preschool

Dan says that since we're not sending Harvey to preschool I have to start teaching him things. Pfft. That sounds like work.

Then I looked at some preschool cariculum online and was AGHAST to find that all they do is sing, read, point out letters, make art. Why, that's all the things we do anyway!

I was delighted to see, however, that some of the curricula use flannel-boards to teach lessons. I was like, Oh yeah. Didn't I make that flannel-board over a year ago? Before I had a baby? I had planned to do some teaching on that or whatever.

So while Zion napped and Harvey played at the library with Dan (presumably READING) I cut out an introductory set of figures.

ready for preschool

There, now I'm ready to teach the first two chapters of Genesis. That'll kill like two weeks of preschool homeschooling, right?

UPDATE: Harvey loves the flannel-board, but he says he doesn't need to hear the creation story again. He wants to know where are the figures for Jesus and the disciples and the boat for Jonah.

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something I made... a long time ago

I made this shirt for Harvey back in my t-shirt making craze of twenty-ten. It never fit Harvey quite right, but Zion's turning out to be a bit slimmer in his toddlerhood so the shirt is getting a second life.

pom pom shirt on zion

late summer ice cream

I upcycled this from Dan's old PomPom shirt, purchased from homestarrunner.com way back when it was the height of internet entertainment. Harvey says that the character looks like a "batman turtle."

Oh yeah, and we ate some ice-cream. Harvey ate some too in his non-handmade shirt from the gap.

harvey eating ice cream

messy too

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