Summer 2014, Part 2

August already? We're having a lovely summer, filled with all sorts of fun activities around Boston, and I can't believe there are only a few more weeks left!

On Tuesdays we usually go to Titus Sparrow Park for their kids' performance (jugglers or great kids' bands) in the morning, and some playground time, and then we playground hop, sometimes going to Green Street for playgrounds and sprinklers, sometimes to the Christian Science Plaza fountain for water fun with food trucks nearby (wood-fired pizza with buffalo sauce, blue cheese, and crispy kale, and then a s'mores crepe--yum!), and then to the Tot Lot in JP, and to the farmers' market there to pick up our CSA, and sometimes on to the JP Library for the live storytellers and free books with ReadBoston. It's a great day--we often see Marissa and Alex and Charlotte, and we usually meet up with my parents at the CSA pickup as well.


On Thursdays we typically go downtown to the Common, where we play in the playground, then listen to the live storytellers with ReadBoston, then get the kids' free books, then see whatever live show is on that day (one day the Museum of Science with "Magic or Science" demonstrations, and one day a singer with a guitar, etc.), then get the kids' free snacks, then play with the Playworks coaches ("Lava" with the hula hoops, for the younger set, or endless games of foursquare for Marcus--some of the coaches are the same ones who taught him the game three summers ago, and they remember him, and he always closes down the activities, the last one playing with three coaches until the moment they have to pack up and leave), then back in the playground for the sprinklers and slides and then into the Frog Pond to wade. I've brought Charlotte with me in the mornings, when Marissa and Alex were busy elsewhere, and then they meet up later, and Robert meets us for lunch, and we generally have glorious days.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays we take various excursions around town. One day we went to Castle Island, stopping for Korean sandwiches at Robert's friendly guy at Downtown Crossing. The kids ate hot dogs and chocolate milk (a very special treat) at Sully's, and we had some beach time, some playground time, some walking-around time, some feeding-the-seagulls time, and then lucked into finding a cab on the seemingly interminable walk back to the bus stop (which would have been a bus ride plus the train then), who whizzed us home at the end of the day in air-conditioned style.

On my birthday we went to Georges and Spectacle Islands in the harbor, with two-for-one ferry tickets from the library. We took a tour of the fort and learned lots about the various cannons and guns that used to defend it, we spent time on the various beaches looking for shells and rocks and sea glass, and the kids completed some activities (including, for Marcus, an interview with a park ranger, Tristan) to earn their Junior Park Ranger badges. Marcus was extremely serious when he held up his hand and recited the pledge. The ranger slipped me an extra badge for Samantha, and they both wore them on their bathing suits for the ferry ride back home and some splashing in the Greenway sprinklers near Long Wharf.

One Friday we did a breastfeeding photo shoot for promos for World Breastfeeding Week in the South End, then stopped at Flour Bakery for treats (Samantha devoured their chocolate croissant), then went to the Kemp playground on the Cambridge Common for hours of sand and water fun. We met a babywearing friend and two of her kids there, and randomly we also met a woman from church and her two kids there, and we stayed at the playground until late in the day, heading then to Central Square for a shaved ice with mochi and yogurt at the H-Mart and buying prepared Korean foods. Carrying our goodies, we sailed over the MGH bridge and walked down the Esplanade to the Hatch Shell, where we met Robert and some friends from BU/preschool/daycamp for a picnic, facepainting, trivia, giveaways, more playground time, and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2." It was Samantha's first facepainting experience, and she was solemn about her owl, but extremely proud of it.

Toward the end of July we had a visit from our California cousins Maria, Dave, and Davy. On Sunday night we gathered at my parents' place and just ordered in pizza and let the kids play together. Davy is four and a half, so close to right in between Marcus and Samantha age-wise, but the three have spent fewer than ten hours together total, I think, so despite being close cousins, they were virtual strangers to each other. Toys and food helped break the ice, though, and the next day we all met at the zoo, where we got to look at animals (including those strange two little boy-animals up in that green cage--er, play structure) and enjoy the playground. In the budgie enclosure, all the kids got spooked by the birds landing right on their hands as they tried to feed them. Marcus then knelt down to try to scoop up the birdseed he'd spilled in his panic, and several budgies landed on his back. Samantha, from a safe distance away, thought that was hilarious, and discussed it for the rest of the day. Tuesday night we all gathered for dinner at my parents' place again, for ziti and meatballs and take-out chicken and plantain from Alex's Chimis, and then we sadly said our goodbyes until the next cross-country visit on either of our ends.

The day after Maria left, Cori arrived from New York to stay with us for three nights and to celebrate our joint birthdays (hers on Saturday the 2nd and mine on Monday the 4th). On Friday we went to the Copley farmers' market, two different playgrounds, and lunch at b.good for burgers and shakes/smoothies and lemonade (beet-orange lemonade, anyone?) and a quinoa kale avocado bowl (that was for me. Samantha ate the grilled chicken on top of mine, but otherwise everyone at the table disavowed all claim to my meal, though I adored it). Friday night we went to the Shakespeare on the Common. First we saw a sword-fighting demo and some selected fight scenes, done by the apprentices in the company, and then they let kids come up and touch the stage daggers and swords and take pictures with them. Then Robert took Marcus and Samantha to a playground for an interlude, and we got dinner from some food trucks around (hello, double awesome!), and then Valentina met up with us to watch Twelfth Night. We had blankets right up by the stage in a great spot, and Cori's younger brother Jesse was in the play, as the dance captain, a sailor, a guard, etc. Both kids watched the opening dance sequence, of the shipwreck, absolutely rapt, and then I briefly whispered the plot to Marcus. He loved spotting Cori's brother in the different scenes, and then after the intermission, when Viola (in disguise) tells Olivia "I am Cesario, my lady," Marcus leaned over to me and whispered "She's lying! She's tricking her!" so apparently he was following the plot as well. Samantha got a bit antsy so Robert took her for a walk on the paths in the Common during the second half, but Marcus made it through the whole play. I was so happy--his first Shakespeare! On Saturday we went to a softball game, in drizzly weather (Cori shivered the whole time on the bench), and then we had a birthday party for ourselves, with Kristijan and Lukas, Valentina, Israel, and Andrei, Sarah and Sean, and Cori's friend Tyrin. We ate grilled beef ribs and chocolate ice cream sandwiches, and we had a great night.

On Wednesdays we go to the free tennis lesson for 5-6 year olds in the Titus Sparrow tennis court. Marcus and DJ have a great time playing tennis while Samantha and DJ's little sister run around and collect balls. Then, one Wednesday we went to a Splash Dance party in Mozart Playground near Jackson Square, with Disney music, free ice cream, bubbles and crafts and a bean-bag toss game, and free books. From there we walked to a science program at a local library, where Marcus sat literally on the edge of his seat watching the experiments. We took the 39 bus home and then had supper and went out after dinner to the lawn in front of the Stonybrook T, where there was organized soccer and volleyball for families, with equipment and coaches and water provided. Marcus had a fabulous time, and Samantha loved the pinneys and played on the sidelines with Charlotte's friend Raya.

One Sunday after church and a stint in the Tadpole Playground we went to dim sum with Jef and Jin Yoon. Jayden's favorite thing is tripe, so Marcus would moan "oooh, triiiiiiipe!" and open his mouth for more bites, to try to eat more tripe than Jayden (in between bites of har gao, of course). We went to Tea Do, a more upscale boba place than Boston has ever seen, where the kids watched a couple playing Jenga at a nearby table. Somehow Marcus ended up actually playing with them. . . not quite sure how that happened. We escaped and, in a drizzle, headed over to my parents' house for a quiet afternoon of playtime with my old castle blocks (now only found on eBay), but before that, good SamaritanRobert, with a sleepy Samantha on her back (lollipop courtesy of China Pearl, "Jayden's favorite restaurant"), helped someone fix the brake cable on their bike.

We've also gone to Saturday night movies at the Prudential Garden, hopscotch in the South End library courtyard, and we've spent many afternoons up on our roofdeck, watering the plants, playing with the sand, and eating the tomtatoes (Marcus) as fast as he can pick them from the plants. Good summer? Yes indeed!



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Created: 8/05/14. Last Modified: 8/05/14.