Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Boston Part 2 - Extended Stay

Since we had never been to Boston before we wanted to stay a bit extra to get into downtown. We stayed with Maria and Dave from Saturday until the next Friday when we flew home. This is what we did: Sunday - church, games around the house Monday - Freedom Trail - First we took a ferry out to see the old ships. We got to see the ocean and lots of small jellyfish. The USS Constitution was closed for the day, but we did get to go on the USS Cassin Young - a battleship from WWII. We took the ferry back and walked to Quincy Market. We ate lunch and watched some of the street performers. Then we walked again to see some of the other historic sites (cemetery, churches etc) ending in Boston Commons. We played a little and then walked back. So lots of walking but it was a beautiful day. So beautiful that we didn't realize half our family got sunburned. A very interesting tour of the city.

Tuesday - My mom and dad and Michael returned from Palmyra. We had the morning to spend together and then they were off to the airport and their missions. We went to a nearby park and the kids played in the water, hunting for frogs. Then they played like crazy with aunts and uncles with the little bikes and cars. Then more play time on the playground. My dad took us out to lunch and then we went back to Maria's. My dad said a prayer for all of us that I felt was very touching and then we had to say good-bye. Part of what was hard for me was that Rhianna was sad too. Now I am feeling fine (and my parents are actually in India now) but it was hard to say good-bye.

That night Calvin and Valerie watched all the kids and Steve and I went to dinner with Maria and Dave. We went to the North End of Boston this time. We got to see Old North Church of Paul Revere fame. This is the area filled with many Italian places. We went to Giacomo's which was recommended by a friend here in Tucson that has lived in Italy. And it was FANTASTIC! Butternut Squash Ravioli with diced asparagus in a prosciutto, mascarpone cheese cream sauce, Pumpkin Tortellini in a fresh sage mascarpone cheese sauce, Fettuccini with chicken, peppers, and onions in a tomato cream sauce, and a Bolognese dish that was a special. It was so good. Then we went to Modern and got several pastries to bring home for dessert, including cannolis for us and the kids.

Wednesday - Children's Museum!! The Boston Children's Museum is amazing. There is a huge tower, 3 stories tall, that all the kids climbed. Then there are several different rooms with different activities. We stayed for several hours playing and exploring. But Seth had thrown up the night before and had a slight fever and Emmy started feeling hot and sick. So it was a good time to head back home.

Thursday - Steve and I went to the Boston Temple while the kids played with Andrew and Emmy and Maria. We parked in a slightly wrong spot so it was fun walking a path through the forest up to the temple. It was so quiet and calm and peaceful since it was during a weekday with not very many people there. We then found a pretty good BBQ place and drove through Cambridge and Harvard on our way back. That afternoon we just spent a long time playing outside the house, going on a walk, drinking lemonade. Maria and the kids were very sneaky and made Steve a birthday cake. Another nice day.

Friday - Happy Birthday Steve! and we flew back home. Calvin drove us to the airport in Providence, RI. We left for the airport at about 9:45 that morning. Our flight left at 11:30 (Eastern) which got us to Chicago Midway at 12:30 (Central). We were already scheduled for a longer layover of about 4 hours. We ate lunch and relaxed and watched a huge storm come in. We could see the huge black clouds and the rain and some wind. The airport went to what I think they called a ground stop - no planes coming in or out. I heard the winds got up to 75 mph and blew out windows in the Sears Tower and there was also hail...so it was big. It blew through pretty quickly but everything had started to be delayed or cancelled. Our plane that was supposed to land and then take us got sent to St. Louis. So once the storm was over, that plane had to wait, then fly up to Chicago, and then finally take us. Our plane left at about 8 pm (Central) which got us home at 10:30 pm (Pacific) or 1:30 (Eastern) - long day in airports and planes. The kids did great. They played and watched TV and slept and ate at the Chicago airport. After so much sitting and then a 4 hour flight with little Seth asleep and laying on me I thought I was going a little crazy. But we made it and our friends the Neumillers were all there at the airport to help us and bring us our van to get back home.

It was such wonderful vacation. Seth's favorite shirt is now his Funk Sox shirt that Maria and Calvin made. I love looking back at the pictures. I love my family and I am so glad we got to see everyone!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Boston Part 1 - Family Reunion

Our first week in Boston was spent in a family reunion. My parents rented a house on a lake in Douglas, MA. Because of having to switch planes in Chicago because of some malfunction they couldn't fix, we actually arrived just past midnight early Sunday morning. But we got the whole week to enjoy time together. Much of the time was spent playing around the house (toys, games, baseball, kayaking, rockets, treasure hunts, etc) with a few trips out to do things. Some of the highlights (and some of these you will see in pictures): 

Purgatory Chasm State Park - rain stopped, we found a trail, and had fun climbing rocks

Kid Treasure Hunt - follow the string

Adult Treasure Hunt - fast paced, full contact, we are still not as good as mom on the puzzles, and Maria totally fooled Valerie that she had won hundreds of dollars 

Rockets - Kids assisted Brian and Lukas and shot off a few rockets 

Swimming, Kayaking, and Fires at the lake - pretty chilly water for us but still fun, good s'mores

Candlepin bowling - bowling with skinny pins and little balls 

Family Pictures - Including a final shot of all the adult kids (me down to my 19 year old brother) jumping off the dock into the lake in our clothes, shocking but a really great photo.

Hearing my mom and dad's testimony of their mission as they leave for India 

Good food - Becky made German bienenstich and wiener schnitzel, Valerie made Indian lentil curry, we made some good guacamole, Michael and Calvin grilled burgers, Maria did a pasta salad and corn on the cob, the grandkids made pigs in a blanket, fruit trees and cookies with Grandma and Grandpa

Sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa - they took all the grandkids and told stories and had a sleepover in the big master bedroom 

It was a fun week. On Saturday we left the house but still spent much of the day together at Maria's watching World Cup Soccer and playing games before people started heading out. I am glad we had the fun week together.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rhianna's Birthday

We were happy to celebrate Rhianna's birthday on Tuesday. Her big present this year is a piano. Ever since last summer she has been practicing on the keyboard on her own. So we bought a nicer digital piano with the real feel and sound of a piano mainly for her at this point. (Eventually others will use it too.) And today I set up lessons - she will begin next Tuesday and was super excited to buy all the piano books today.

On her birthday she opened just a few other small presents, we went swimming with friends, and then she chose to go to Outback for dinner. We are glad she has good friends like Ali, Amelia, and Grace and that they could join our family.

This year is also an exciting year because Rhianna is 8 and that means she can get baptized and become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her baptism will be at the end of July. She has been reading the Book of Mormon with Steve this year and they finished it the morning of her birthday. Rhianna is a wonderful daughter and I am always happy to say that she was my best birthday present!