Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fantastic Fourth

By K.J. Cardinal
I don't think I could script a better Fourth of July weekend for us if I tried. We packed as much stuff as we could into the long weekend and ran the kids (and ourselves) ragged, but it was such a blast.

[WARNING: You are about to embark on an epically long blog post now.]

Friday night we kicked off the festivities by hitting up a Worcester Tornadoes game. Leo was actually into the game for a few innings, which was kind of surprising. His fascination for balls and people watching skills were on display and everyone in our section clearly loved the little guy.

Anna's infatuation with Twister, the Tornadoes mascot, continued. She brought her Twister doll that we got her last year and couldn't wait to see him in real life when we got there. Once again, she spent nearly the entire game worrying/wondering about Twister's whereabouts.

Unlike last year though, she wasn't afraid to go up to him and say hello. She actually wanted to give him some of her popcorn, then milk, then cotton candy... we eventually convinced Anna he wasn't hungry, so she settled for a high-five and a hug from the furry "dog".

I got it all on video and her (and Angie) are so cute after... as Anna says, Twister was so "comfully".

While Leo didn't go in for any action with Twister, he was perfectly content just hanging out in the stands and playing with Mommy...

On Saturday, we headed down to Jamie and Maura's house in Stoughton for a Fourth of July cookout, but first we decided to brave the Atlantic Ocean on the kayaks with the kids down at Plymouth Harbor. Don't worry, I had done a significant amount of research to find a good spot that would be safe for us and Plymouth Harbor was exactly that.

We headed down to Stephens Field, right on the water in Plymouth, to put the kayaks in there. Plymouth Harbor was absolutely mobbed with boats, but it was great to navigate through them all to get to the Mayflower (replica) that is docked in the harbor, along with the Plymouth Rock.

The Mayflower replica was pretty cool, but other than the historical significance of the Plymouth Rock, I could not have been less impressed. I mean, there are larger boulders in my parents front yard... seriously.

After kayaking, we had a picnic lunch back at Stephens Field, let Anna explore the playground for a little bit, and then we were off to Jamie's for the cookout.

It was an absolutely perfect day for some burgers and beers with good friends. We ended up pitching our tent outback of Jamie's house and stayed the night.

We headed home on Sunday morning to unpack and repack and then we were off to Boston. Scott and his roommate were out of town for the weekend, so they graciously offered up their apartment to us for the weekend so we could enjoy the Fourth in the city with the kids... and we did just that.

Sunday afternoon we got settled at Scott's and ventured into the city. The weather didn't cooperate that much, so we had dinner, checked out a few things and then headed back for a relatively quiet night at the apartment.

Monday, however, wasn't so quiet.

We started off the day just walking around the city and checking out all the huge boats in the Boston Harbor. It was hot early, so we let the kids cool off at the Rings Fountain that's part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Leo was slightly intimidated by the big jets of water at first, but a little help from Ang and he was in full attack mode.

Shockingly, we pretty much had the fountains to ourselves, which was great because Anna was a maniac in the thing. Running, jumping, sliding, sitting. You name it, she was doing it.

After the fountains, we headed over to the Old State House to watch the reading of the Declaration of Independence from the site where it was originally read in 1776...

This wasn't high on the priority list for Angie and the kids, but it's something I always wanted to do and it was cool... if you're somewhat of an American history fan, like myself. I know I'm biased, but Boston is the best city and the history around every corner is what helps make the place so special, without a doubt.

After the reading, we headed to meet up with Tiffany, Pete and the kids where we caught the parade rolling by in front of Faneuil Hall...

Next up, the New England Aquarium. Tiff and Pete recently purchased a big family pass and were happy to treat us to a day with the fish.

On our way over to the aquarium though, we got sidetracked again by the Rings Fountain as we let the kids cool off. Anna and Andrew have become rather inseparable lately, so to no one's surprise, they were even attached at the hip in the fountain. Leo didn't get to venture in this time as it was super crowded, but he was perfectly content hanging out with the adults... most notably Uncle Pete.

Finally on our way to the aquarium and the three big cousins couldn't be any happier as they walked hand-in-hand with Aunt Tiff...

The aquarium was a blast and probably my favorite part of the day. With Andrew as the tour guide, he basically took Anna through the aquarium, showing and telling her everything he had learned the day before when he was there too. Andrew is freakishly smart with an unreal memory... he's one apple that fell way off the tree.

Anyway, when we stopped in a little nook of the Giant Ocean Tank, the kids were priceless... screaming at the top of their lungs when they'd see sharks, Natalie joking with Pete to "throw her in", me getting Andrew to believe that a fish was whistling. I could go on and on. We were only at that spot for about 15 minutes, but it really summed up the day with Tiff and Pete and the kids... tons of fun!

After the Aquarium, we hit up Tia's on the Waterfront for lunch and then ice cream in Faneuil Hall before saying goodbye to the George's as they headed home.

We once again regrouped back at the apartment before making a late-night run out to catch the fireworks. Both kids were fast asleep, but we just had to get them out to see some of the fireworks.

Leo was an absolute trooper. He woke up the second we put him in the stroller at 9:15 p.m. and stayed awake until about 11:30 when we got back. And, we were so glad that we took them out for the fireworks because Leo was in sheer awe at the spectacle.

It was so dark on the Longfellow Bridge, that the videos I tried to take didn't come out, but he was oohing, ahhing and pointing the entire time.

Anna, however, was not interested in being woken up to catch the fireworks... at least we tried.

Well, I hope you're exhausted from reading this uber-long blog post... imagine how we feel after just living it. Excuse me while I try to sneak a nap in this afternoon.

PS: Special thanks again to Scott and "The Grizz" for letting us stay at their awesome Beacon Hill apartment. We had a blast!


  1. Sounds like one AWESOME weekend. Like I've said before I want to be one of your kids... Such a fun loving life. Love, Mom

  2. Awesome time for everyone. Thanks for posting all the activities. Love to all, Auntie Carol