We spent much of yesterday at the Cape, measuring walls and windows and cabinets in the new house while my parents helped us tremendously by taking the babes for a mystery ride. After dinner at Brax Landing, we headed back to the city with a plan (and a healthy to do list) and some sand in my favorite peace moccasins.
The sun is shining in South Boston and baby Nick slept for nearly 6 hours in a row (it’s been a struggle to get more than a couple hours of sleep lately; please reference the dark circles under my eyes and/or my lack of patience for more information). The morning is aglow with possibility. And piles of laundry.
You know how I preach getting your Sunday things done on Saturday? I have a feeling, this week, they’re getting done on Tuesday or next Thursday. Or two weeks from tomorrow. There’s something to be said for taking it easy when you can.
It’s an especially grey day in Boston, and I’ve got plans to get all kinds of housework and errands done… or, um… maybe I’ll just snack on summer tomatoes and watch the Olympics.
Days like today are perfect for taking a break and recharging a bit.
I’ve got a new book to dive into, a hundred episodes of On Being to listen to, salads to eat, and a blanket fort to build.
I hope you have a very happy (+ very relaxing) weekend.
Also On Tap for Today:
Looking for something to do? Check out the 4moms Road Trip tour (Sat + Sun from 11 AM – 4 PM) at the Boston Children’s Museum. 4moms will be exhibiting their new self-installing car seat (like… why didn’t someone invent this sooner?) and giving you the chance to win the ultimate road trip prize pack: a 2016 Honda Pilot AND the full suite of 4moms gear. You can enter here, but if you show up at their tent this weekend, you can get 5 additional entries, along with other great prizes they’ll be giving away on-site.
What better way to wrap up a week down the Cape than a weekend in Vacationland? Or technically, 20 hours in Portland, Maine. We were only there long enough to catch a ferry, enjoy a wedding on an island, eat a pizza, take a nap, drink a cup of coffee, buy a lighthouse postcard for a lady in Poland, and retrieve our car… but hey.
I’m always game for a change of scenery, however short, especially if water and boats and beaches are involved.
20 HOURS IN PORTLAND, MAINE
Saturday, 1 PM: Check-in at The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront
After 3-ish hours on the road from Boston (we hit a little traffic, which seems appropriate for a summer Saturday) we arrived at our hotel, The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront. My not-so-extensive research involved Googling the ferry line we’d be taking to the wedding, locating the closest hotel, comparing prices a bit (there are a few hotels within walking distance of the Casco Bay Ferry Lines), and checking availability.
We were really happy with the Hilton. So, um… thanks, Google. The night before we arrived, I was able to check-in using the Hilton Honors app and choose our room (something I’ve never seen before, making joining HH and downloading the app totally worth the 2 seconds each required). I snagged the last room available with a water view, which felt like a triumph of sorts.
We arrived well before check-in… but shortly before we needed to arrive at a wedding in all our “beach formal” glory, so we left our bags with the front desk staff and freshened up in the pool/fitness center area before making our way across the street to buy our ferry tickets.
Even the drain markers are cute. Or whatever.
1:30 PM: Purchase ferry tickets
Super easy. Round-trip tickets to the Casco Bay islands are $11. They need to be purchased in person, however… so don’t do what I did. (Which is spend an hour trying to figure out how to buy them online. And another six minutes calling the terminal to ask how to buy them online.)
And by lunch, I mean… I ate onion rings and drank a Diet Coke at the bar. That’s how I wile out on vacation. Nick, on the other hand, had a lobster roll and an Angry Orchard. He’s my better half, and also, my more normal half. It was relatively quiet at the bar, but there’s a bigger seating area out back, including a deck with views of the bay. I think that’s where everyone else was. Eating onion rings. Or maybe an entire meal of food.
2:00 PM: Board the ferry to Long Island
There’s a Long Island in Maine. And that’s where we went. I didn’t take many (any?) pictures on the ferry, but the 30 minute ride was comfortable and the views were extraordinary. We passed several lighthouses, gorgeous sailboats and schooners, and a few smaller islands before reaching the dock and heading to the wedding.
8:50 PM: Return ferry to Portland
The ride back to Portland took closer to an hour (the route is a loop, and so we hit more stops on the way back), but we got to enjoy the most spectacular sunset while waiting on the pier. Once we got back to Portland, I grabbed our bags and headed up to our hotel room… while Nick picked up a veggie pizza from Bill’s Pizza on Commercial Street.
Sunday, 8:00 AM: Breakfast at the Standard Baking Company
The next morning, we ventured out for a walk, but the skies opened up (and who packs an umbrella?) after a few blocks, so we headed back toward the hotel and grabbed coffee, tea and 9,000 calories worth of baked goods from the Standard Baking Company. I highly recommend the gingerbread with lemon glaze. And I want to go back and eat everything else they have to offer. In the meantime, I’ve got my eye on their cookbook.
We stopped into a nearby shop for the aforementioned postcard (a postcrossing special request) and matching lobster pajamas for the babes before checking out and heading back to Boston.
It was a short, but sweet (extra sweet if you consider that gingerbread) visit to the Portland area. I’m looking forward to heading back when we have a bit more time to explore and enjoy the area.
It’s Friday. Which means it’s almost the weekend. Except that I am working all day tomorrow, but… let’s pretend I’m not.
My Weekend Essentials
What I love to do on the weekend
The minute Grace reached six months, we became those bad 21st century parents who over-schedule their children signed her up for a baby/parent swim class at the YMCA. While the class is more singing The Wheels On The Bus and splashing than actual swimming, I knew it would be important for us to get Grace comfortable in the water (and even in some small way, start working on water safety) as early as possible. We live across the street from the ocean, my parents have a pool, and I am, like, at least 16% mermaid. So… It’s important. Also: It’s really fun!
Along the lines of over-scheduling, Grace and I take a child development class every Sunday (the session runs 12 weeks, I think) at the same place where we did our First Connections/moms’ group. The first few weeks were a little slow, but I’m learning so much and Grace seems to enjoy each session. There are five or six other families in attendance, and our facilitator leads us in all kinds of songs (there is a lot of singing going down on the weekends) and activities designed specifically for 6-9 month old babies and their cognitive and language development, as well as fine and gross motor skills. Each week, I leave with something new to research or practice (baby signing, new foods to try with Grace, edible finger paint). It feels good to be able to keep adding to my parenting tool kit. And I fully acknowledge I am a tool box for having just said “parenting tool kit.” (But seriously, if you’re in the Boston area and want to learn more about the program, let me know.)
Go to Mass. Confession (how very Catholic): I don’t go as often as I would like, but when I do… it’s just the best. We have such a warm, welcoming community at our parish.
Be even a tiny bit social. I feel that it’s important to strike a balance between being a lazy blob on the sofa (that would be a fun business card) and being on the go all weekend. But with our weekdays spent either in the office or soaking up as much family time as possible, it’s nice to pop out and see friends on the weekend.
Think about our meals and snacks for the week (sometimes I even make a plan and go food shopping). I often bring Grace with me to the market on Sunday mornings while Nick is at CrossFit. A few weeks ago, we were cruising down an aisle when I heard a crash behind us. And then I noticed that my daughter had somehow clotheslined a Wheat Thins display. Can’t blame her. Salty snacking is in her genes.
A new fitness tracker. I don’t even want to think about how many fitbits I ruined by accidentally sending them through the washer and dryer. I wore a fitbit flex and then a Polar Loop for a while, but I felt like I was forever charging both devices. And neither were exactly fashion forward. I’d often stash them in my bag (mind you, I never wore both at the same time… I hope that’s obvious) during work events or meetings. When I read Caroline’s review of the Misfit Shine, I was like, Finally! The Misfit Shine runs on a watch battery and looks like… a watch. Bonus: The related app is great.
What I love to watch on the weekend
I am obsessed with The Amazing Race and have this deluded idea that I would win the show (obviously) if I were ever a contestant. Nick refuses to be my partner, which is probably saying something (I don’t know exactly what… but it’s something). It’s one of only three shows I’ve watched in real time (the others being Jeopardy! and 60 Minutes) in recent memory (Hulu+ for life). I find myself assessing the likelihood I’d succeed at each task or challenge, and weighing the pros and cons of my abilities (and lack thereof).
Potential Amazing Race Contestant Strengths and Weaknesses
Weaknesses: My own husband does not want to be my partner; Claustrophobic; Tendency towards motion sickness; Picky eater; Wears contacts; Allergic to wool (I feel like this could be especially problematic in Nordic countries)
Strengths: Knows lots of words in lots of languages; Pretty great sense of direction; I remember everything; Strong fight and flight responses
One of our trainers at + dog is fostering a pitbull named Dexter. I had the chance to take class with him (while our old man Frenchie snored in a nearby crate) on Friday night, working on basic obedience. I used to be terrified of big dogs (some little ones, too), but have made a lot of progress in the past year or so. I’ve learned so much about the importance of training, and how our behavior and energy affects our dogs. I love that our trainers offer these opportunities; the foster dogs get additional socialization and we get to hone our skills. It’s also a great exercise for Clark, the spoiled only furchild, to see us handle other dogs. I have a feeling Dexter will be heading home with a new family very soon. He may be bigger than my car, but he’s sweet, stable and really affectionate.
Nick and I headed to CrossFit Southie on Saturday morning for a partner WOD. Between the two of us, we cranked out 100 kettle bell swings, 100 overhead squats, 100 box jumps, 100 power cleans, and 100 burpees. I laughed, I cried, I said swear words.
And I burned a solid 819 calories between the warm-up, wod and cool down. I love my Polar FT4.
I take l-glutamine daily, per my RD’s recommendation, and decided to give fitmixer aminos (which contain l-glutamine and several other amino acids) a try this weekend to mix things up a bit. It’s definitely on the sweet side, but a nice change from plain old powder and water.
Clark was also in the mood to mix things up a bit this weekend, and took on a new roommate for his already overcrowded bed. The dude loves to drag his toys over for a nap.
I’ve been on such a lentil kick lately (see: last week’s red lentil and lemon soup). This weekend’s creation looks, welp… sort of repulsive… but tastes incredible. I sauteed half a yellow onion and four cloves of garlic with a little olive oil, salt and pepper while cooking one cup of black lentils. Once the onions and garlic had softened and started to brown, I added two cups of diced roma tomatoes, and the cooked lentils. And now you know what I am eating for lunch all week.
If you’re nerdy and you know it and you really want to show it, Instagram your new collapsible recycling bin.
When it comes to garlic and all things spicy, more is more in our condohold.
Speaking of condos, we’re on the hunt for a new one. While I love our home (especially after all the changes we’ve made), I am excited for what the future holds. Especially if it holds additional storage for my nail polish collection.
After Saturday’s workout, I promptly showered and put on pajama pants and an ugly, free tee shirt. That’s our uniform for family pig piles on the sofa.
We’re in the process of ditching cable TV, thanks to Nick’s ingenuity and ability to connect wires to things. If you’ve got a Roku, I’d love any tips or recommendations you might be willing to share.
I spent some time meal planning and perusing my new gluten free cookbook, a Christmas gift from my brother-in-law.
A cold Sunday night called for an easy rice noodle, lemon grass and chili oil soup.
Welp, here’s me and my (life) partner in crime after a tough workout, but before an iced coffee.