Monday, February 27, 2017

Claire's 10 year old trip with Aunt Kat- Boston, MA

Guessing time is over! We just got back yesterday afternoon from BOSTON! Remember Elaina's trip last year? Well, it was time for Claire to take her trip. I came across some ridiculously cheap flight tickets from Nashville to Boston ($68 round-trip!), compared calendar dates with Kathryn, and started planning. Contour airlines in Tupelo has a thing going on where they do several flights a day between Tupelo and Nashville for about $30. Jason's parents, aka my babysitters for this trip, live near Tupelo (as does Kathryn) so it was a perfect set up for all the traveling details.

We drove to Tupelo on Friday and got there about four in the afternoon. We dropped off the girls and then headed to get Kathryn. We had plans to get our nails painted (you know, since we did that on Elaina's trip and it must be the same, lol) but the one and only place in Ripley was busy and we wouldn't be able to get finished in time to go watch my cousin's basketball game. (Kathryn's youngest brother, Shafer, was the ballplayer.)

We woke up bright and early Saturday morning and Shafer was a sweetheart and drove us to the airport. This was the MOST FUN FLIGHT EVER! It was a really small propeller plane that only had nine seats. We got to walk out on the runway and actually go up the stairs into the plane.

The plane was super loud, though, so Claire used her headphones as earplugs.  

We landed in Boston at 1:30 their time and immediately searched out a nail place near our "house" so that we could cross that item off our check list. We only did our fingernail since we still had all our luggage and were wearing our winter boots. We had rented an airbnb apartment in the Beacon Hill area which ended up being the perfect location for walking to the main attractions. Our address was 103 Myrtle Street and we would always laugh at this door as we were walking home. You don't often see ninety-nine and a half as an address. 

There was a lot of this streaky green on buildings around the city and we are guessing it was some kind of metal that had turned. Anyone know?

That first day we went to Boston Commons park and saw a "Bert-from-the-70's" in modern day time. 

We also saw the duck statues from Make Way for Ducklings. Claire and Kathryn each own Polaroid cameras, Kat's is standard size and Claire's is a mini sized camera, so I didn't take pictures with my phone that often. 

After walking around a bit, it was time to go back to the apartment and get ready for dinner. This was our only "nice" dinner and according to The Internets, it was a "hidden gem" and not to be missed. We had Uber take us over to the Italian district of the city and made our reservation. Then we walked up and down the street, going in to various pastry and meat stores. We bought a couple of pastries at the coolest Italian shop from an Italian/Northern lady with the best accent. 

There were a lot of meat shops on this street and there several things like this on the sidewalk. 

We ate at Euno's Restaurant and had the most snooty and snobbish waiter. But despite that, we gobbled our food. It was delicious!

Creme Brûlée. Always get the Creme Brûlée.

On our walk to meet the Uber to get home, we passed a tattoo place that was raising money for Lyme's awareness. So random and funny.

The next morning the weather was gorgeous and after a delicious breakfast/lunch at Tatte Bakery (best food EVER!) we got to the start of The Freedom Trail and then stared walking and walking and walking. The entire trail is 2.5 miles and we walked the whole thing and then back home again. 

So the Freedom Trail is basically a brick path that takes you past the historical places in Boston that played a roll in America's freedom.  I actually think it's a brilliant idea because it allows tourists to easily find all the places without using GPS or a tour guide. 

Sadness. Paul Revere died.

There was a spot to stand if you were a republican that was opposite of the donkey so that you could resist the democrats. 

Fun info on the walls of the Faneuil Hall bathroom. 

Paul Revere's house was a fun stop along the Freedom Trail. They let you walk through some of the rooms and walk around outside in his courtyard area.  We found out later that we could have gone to services at the Old North Church where the lanterns were hung to alert Paul Revere. That would have been a very neat experience and we were bummed that we missed it. We did get to go inside the church and take pictures in the spot where Teddy Roosevelt sat. 

That night we went to see Disney on Ice- Follow your Heart. Claire seemed to really enjoy it and got a plastic sword as a souvenir. That ended up being a blast to carry through the airport. NOT. And then it was left on the last plane and I had to go all the way back to the airport the next day to get it. It has proven to be a popular toy, much more than I thought it would, and I have to say it was worth the drive to retrieve it. The Nemo hat mysteriously disappeared before we left Boston.

Monday we took the Metro to Cambridge to visit Harvard University. It was really cold that day so we were a little hesitant to just walk around outside. Three students came up to us and asked if they could interview us for a class project. One of the students had been a tour guide the previous school year so he kindly offered to take us in the library and show us something cool. Fun fact: You can't go into the Harvard library unless you are with a student. 

There was a family, a billionaire family, who had a son named...something. And this son liked to search for valuable books when he was traveling. One day, in some country (Don't you like how I pay close attention to details?), he stumbled upon a Gutenberg bible. Quite a find, don't you think? Then, he and his parents were on the Titanic and even though they all had seats on a boat as first-class passengers, the father and the son gave up their spots for other women and children. The mother made sure take the Bible with her so it didn't perish on the boat. Eventually, the son's library and the Bible were loaned to the Harvard library. The only stipulation is that NO ONE is allowed past the ropes and into the room except the head librarian. She is to keep the room dusted and every morning must place a vase of fresh flowers on the desk. If this rule is not followed, they can lose the book collection and the library. 

 After visiting the library and saying goodbye to our new Harvard friend, we sat on some steps to some amazing-looking building and tried to warm up in the sunshine. We weren't sure what to do next and finally decided that even though it was freezing, we had to eat some of Toscanili's Ice Cream- the best in Boston! OK, well, I don't know if that was true but they did have some crazy delicious flavors. I had the mint and 3B. 3B was just so good I can't really describe it. It was brownie, browned butter, and brown sugar. YUUUMMMMMM!

After that, we sat and tried to decide what to do next. After a bit of web surfing, we discovered that Boston had a children's museum and right next to it was the Boston Tea Party museum.  We Uber-ed our way over to that part of the city and originally thought we would just glance at the Tea Party place and spend the rest of our time at the children's museum, but after giving it a second glance, we decided to forget that plan and just spend all our time with the BTP people.  That was the most unexpected fun part of the trip. The have a fantastic hour-long tour that is worth the price of the ticket. We had such a great time learning how to say Huzzah!, hiss and boo our objections, and how to pound the bench with great enthusiasm. Then we went onto a replica of The Eleanor and tossed "tea crates" overboard. Then we went below deck and learned some more interesting facts about that night. Afterward, we went to a tea room where you could taste all the flavors of the tea that were on board that night.

At some point (I'm past being able to remember everything) we went to the USS Constitution museum. They had a lot of fun little activities that let you experience life on the boat. 

Scrubbing the deck

Attempting to stand on a rope while tying up the sails. This was risky when you were high up in the air!

Their hammock beds were actually really comfortable.

Tuesday was our last day in Boston and we only had a few hours before we had to head to the airport.  We had two things on our agenda:
1) Eat at Tatte one last time and I was determine to get there before they ran out of their avocado tartine. It proved to be as delicious as it sounded. 
pastries done right

My Beloved Tartine

Every day Claire had been asking to ice skate on Frog Pond and every day we kept postponing it. I PROMISED that we would make it happen before left, so immediately headed there after eating. I think for her it was the best possible ending to our trip. By the time we left, she had gotten pretty comfortable and confident on the ice. The weather was perfect and we left Boston smiling. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February 15th

Did you do anything Valentine-y yesterday? We went to CC and the kids exchanged valentines with their classmates. I gave my tutors some delicious chocolate covered strawberries and I think only two of them were eaten. That was a nice waste of money.

It rained the entire day. I was planning on wearing a cute red and white shirt with some nice jeans, but once I saw the rain, I opted for jogging pants and a t-shirt. It was a good thing, too, because the lid to my coffee wasn't all the way on and when I took a drink, it poured all over me. I mean, I was soaked. So that was great fun.

The weather is warm, then it's hot, then it's cold, then it's rainy, then it's cool, then it's windy and warm, etc.... You get the point. As a result, there is some major snotty noses over here. Well, it's mostly Nora but I've heard a few sniffles from a couple of the other girls.

Want some clues as to what the fun event is this weekend?
1- Mallards
2- History
3- Ice
4- Lanterns
5- Disney

That's all the help you're going to get. 

Monday, February 13, 2017


Did you know that Mondays are my very favorite? Maybe it's because I was always in trouble and getting grounded, etc..., but I love the idea of a fresh start. Every Monday is a fresh new week, an unchecked, but ready to be checked, to-do list. I'm also in the process of slowing down our lives and every Monday, I look at our schedule and think, "At the end of this week, all these things will be finished and don't ever have to be repeated." And I like the way that feels. This week we will be finished with all the Valentine stuff (boxes, cards, food) that we needed for our CC group, Elaina will have a dentist appointment so we won't have to do that for another 6 weeks or so, I will direct my last tutor meeting (EVER), and at there's a fun event taking place at the end of our week but I'll wait until it's finished before I tell you about it. So there. That's why I love Mondays.

Also, I start to get caught up on laundry on Mondays so there's that, too.

Friday, February 10, 2017


Do you know what the word Flotsam means? I do. I mean, I only learned its meaning recently so I can't act too proud, but I do feel like I could take down a level or two on Trivia Crack with that knowledge. Unfortunately, Trivia Crack allllwwwaaayysss lands on the sports category so I look like a complete dunce to the person playing against me. But if it ever lands on geography (maybe?), I will rock that Flotsam question.

Our house is so dirty. There is thick dust everywhere. Feel free to come write, "I wuz here" on my dresser.

The girls have all been sick this week with a fever-cough-congestion-type sickness.  Somehow Jason and I have avoided getting sick but I don't feel convinced that we will continue to avoid it. It seems to last for about 2.5 days. I don't have that much time to be lazy and unproductive.

Nora has peed on every bed in the house except Eily's bed, but Eily's bed has broken-fever sweat all over it so guess what I am going to be doing all day. Please send powerful back pain medicine my way. I LOATHE changing bunk bed bedding. (Alliteration Alert!)

Wouldn't this post be more interesting if it was full of beautiful pictures?

You know what? I almost never have pictures of Elaina and I am taking less and less pictures of Claire. They are just busy, I guess. And they aren't cutie little babies so the natural instinct to "capture the moment" doesn't happen as often.

We are finally in our groove with school. I guess it's about time SINCE IT'S FEBRUARY. It looks like we will be doing school on and off all summer just to get caught up in math.

Jason and I have plans to go to Italy this summer. He's teaching a workshop and I'm eating a lot of pasta. I also plan on spending a good bit of time in Switzerland. It's an hour by train from where we are staying and it's been on my bucket list for a long time. Want to come with me? I need a travel buddy since Jason will be busy.  Rome is also an hour away so I will be taking the time to make all the Roman Holiday stops. Maybe I should get a pixie cut before I go.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Write, they say

"When are you going to post?"

"Why haven't you blogged in forever years?"

"Hey! Post something!"

These are the words I hear (or some form of them) all the time. And I'm pretty sure it's the same five people that say them to me, but those five people matter and so I will try to write more often. I actually do sit down to my computer and click on the NEW POST button, but then I just stare at the blinking cursor and nothing happens. And I decide that a blank post is very boring so I delete the draft and go eat some chocolate chips.

Speaking of fat...
I think my body is beginning to fail me. Or I'm lazy; that could be it, too. I am really packing it on the old waistline and it's not really coming off at all. I did stay very focused for two weeks. I tracked my food intake and exercised in some form every. No skips. No breaks. And while the scale went down a couple of pounds (see? that's not a very motivating number) the inches around my waist didn't change at all. So I did think, "Oh good. I'm making a difference somewhere on this old body.", but apparently I also thought, "Well, that's done. I can eat a lot of cheese now." Because that's what I've been doing and I have quickly reversed everything that I had accomplished. So I'm kind of back at it again today and I'm using this photo for inspiration. I know I look extra rough in this photo, but I get so much enjoyment from it. The best part about it is that I'm holding food. I mean, obviously I was starving myself. :)  I've logged my food into MyFitnessPal app all day, and I put on yoga pants with the hope that it will inspire me to jump up and down a few times. Actually, scratch that. Jumping and my bladder strength are not a good combo. 

My goal for this year is for most of our days to be spent at home. And we have actually had many weeks where we only left the house on Tuesday for CC and Sunday for church. So while I can say that most of our days have been spent here, we have also done a lot of things. It's kind of weird how that's working out that way. My cousin, Logan, married the beautiful Caroline in Waco, TX, at the end of last month. We went a day early so we could stay one night with my good friend, Laura, and do a little sightseeing at The Magnolia Market and Silos the morning before the rehearsal. 

I want this greenhouse/shed thingy

When I look at this I get all inspired to garden. Then I look at my actual garden and laugh. 

 After the rehearsal, we dove to Georgetown to stay with one of our most favorite families ever. Barbara is related to Logan on his mother's side of the family we were all on the same time schedule for the weekend.

Back row: Claire(10), Cord(11), Denman(8), Eily(8), Elaina(11)
Front Row: Teague(6), Lola Kathleen(4), Nora(5)

If these two ever marry, they will make the most firecracker of a couple there ever was. 

 After we come home from Texas, there was one snowy day. And that was our whole winter. And I'm ok with that.
Claire has no idea she's about to be hammered with a snowball.

Also, we were in the nutcracker again in December. Nora was a sheep, Eily was a Buffoon, Claire was a party boy and an Arabian gem, and Elaina was a party boy. Lillie, the girls' cousin was also able to be a Party Boy and Uncle Josh and I were Party Parents.