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The Rambling Family

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Massachusetts

Science and Marriage

Woke well rested this morning and ready for a fun day! Our second day in Boston found us getting a leisurely breakfast and then heading out to walk to the Boston Science center. Bethany was a trouper as always and joined me and the kids for the day. Tonight my cousin Eric is getting married, and his reception is at the center. So we have free passes for the day that we were antsy to use.

Our first stop was the dinosaurs, of course. Avi ran around pointing at each one and squealing “Dino sore” or “tops”. Zoe was much more involved in the displays. She watches the videos, learns about the Dino’s and even gave me a lesson in telling a real fossils from a fake. “because I’m a paleontologist I can just know, but you can tell because a pretend fossil feels wrong. Like wood”. She is so smart! The next set of displays across the hall were about nanotechnology and Zoe was enthralled! I was shocked that she patiently went to each display and listened attentively to the audio guide and then did the learning activity. She even told me what a few of the lessons were all about! I have no clue about nanotechnology and now have a slight understanding of what it simply means, but Zoe seemed to actually get it. I was a bit preoccupied with Avi at the time so that is my excuse. He and I were pushing the buttons on the train displays to watch them go!

After a bit Bethany and Avi wandered to the classification display where Avi loved opening all the drawers of stuff. Zoe and I learned about solar panels before listening to a show about nature in urban areas. It was a fun recording set in a little studio that looked like a city block. Once that was done we met up with some more family and went to watch the live animal show. A jaunt through taxidermy birdland and we arrived at the little theater. The animal of the day was a gorgeous brazilian rainbow boa. Zoe was absorbed and involved in the show. Avi, however, wanted to run up and squeeze the thing, so he and I left for the kids Discovery center. Zoe spent the rest of her time at the museum learning about the moon and bugs. As long as she was hanging out with cool uncle Tyler she was happy. She loves uncle Tyler! He never needs to tell her to listen or follow directions like me and Aunt Beppy.

Up in the discovery center Avi and I spent about 20 minutes playing with a giant light bright. Then we wandered over to see a huge frog in a display we could pop our heads up into. We saw the frog and Bethany! She came to hang out with us. We looked at birds with binoculars out the window and played with the contents of the dinosaur box before it was time to go. Met up with the rest of the gang walking back to the hotel. Time to get ready for a wedding!!!!

We tried to get the kids to nap as we got ready but that didn’t happen. Bummer. Zoe was a trouper as I curled and sprayed her hair and poked her with bobby pins getting in her little crown. She was a beautiful little flower girl. Avi wore his little man suit and went with Bethany and the rest of the fam back to the science center for the wedding shuttle bus. Zoe and I took granddad in my car. She got special flower girl privileges, the biggest being the right to drive in Harvard! No joke the campus is completely gated, but 5 cars were allowed access for the wedding and Eric let mine be one of them. It is pretty crazy pulling into the Harvard gate and driving on the sidewalks up to the church. Granddad “had his doubts”, but I knew we were cool. Parked right at the Memorial church! It was great. Zoe needed to be early so the shuttle wasn’t an option. She spent every moment up to the wedding practicing dropping petals with a smooth slow walk. She has taken this privilege so seriously! When wedding time came I went to my seat and left her in the back with the rest. Her turn to walk came and he was amazing!! So cute and slow and perfect petal dropping. She was then so exited to watch Maria come down the aisle and was obsessed with her veil. The wedding was beautiful. Zoe had a rough time sitting still for the ceremony. Hopefully it wasn’t too distracting. Avi was a dream. Literally. He fell asleep in his stroller on the way there and slept the whole time; even when the organ was playing its loudest!

Once pictures were done it was on to the reception. Unfortunately the rain kept the party under cover but the location was awesome. Right on the water downtown Boston. The food was great and we had a lot of fun. Zoe even gave a speech when Uncle Bill opened it up to anyone. She raised her hand and said “i just have a few words” then talked about how she had a lot of fun being flower girl and “people told me I was a good flower girl and they were right” and that she would like to do it again sometime. It was hysterical! The evening wound down with too many goodbyes and not enough time. Congratulations to Eric and Maria!!

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Boston

Today we took an easy tour of Boston.  We drove downtown and parked in the lot under Boston Commons.  Then we spent some time on the Common.  The kids ran around on the playground, and played in the splash park.  We had dressed them with swim stuff under their clothes on purpose.  After that we topped off with dry clothes and dry undies before taking a ride on the carousel. 

Both kids plopped into strollers – yes, I did stroller around Zoe.  She is 5 and too old for that, but we were going to keep a quick pace so it was just easier (lazier, yes).  It worked great, however, as we followed the red line of the Freedom Trail.  This is a free tour around Boston to do on your own.  They offer tours, but that is just not our style (and costs money).  I downloaded the free Freedom Trail app from the National Park Service and we were off.  At each stop I would read a bit of history and we would press on.  The most interesting are, of course, the graveyards.  Well, they call they burying grounds.  Anyway, we found Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Sam Adams.  Zoe had fun looking and walking around the graveyard.  Avi mostly rode along.  We popped into a church or two and then found ourselves at Fanueil Hall.  This was our spot to get a stamp and our turn around.  We just didn’t have time to finisht the walk and saw some highlights. Grabbed a treat in the Quincy Market.  Zoe picked a Baklava – one of her favorites, and Avi got a chocolate covered pretzel.  Then it was back in the stroller for a walk back to Boston Commons.  We plopped down to finish some treats and feed the squirrels before getting the car from the parking lot.

After that we took the T to Harvard so Zoe could practice being a flower girl for Eric and Maria’s wedding tomorrow!  She was amazing. The wedding is going to be so great.  Took the T back to the car and drove through some crazy roads and crazy traffic to the hotel. This evening we spent time with the fam watching the Olympics.  We met up with Nan, Grandpa Joe, Uncle Tyler, Granddad, and Uncle Tom.  All here for tomorrows wedding!!

Plimoth Plantation

Well, we are back on the road!  We had a wonderful time visiting family, but I’m ready to be moving on.  I’m ready to start a new adventure. I’m also ready to get to Korea and see Bryan.  But first, there is Boston and our train trek across the country.  Day one done.

Yesterday Bethany, the kids, and I loaded into the car and left Nan and Grandpa Joe’s house to head up to Boston.  We’ll see them soon at my cousins wedding, so no tears shed yet.  The drive was long – took us 11 hours as we stopped 3 times.  The first was for lunch at a place with a playland, and then I HAD to stop at Delaware Water Gap and get my NPS passport stamped.  This is a bit of my obsession; to eventually visit all the National Parks and get my book stamped.  Unfortunately, Avi fell asleep after lunch and woke after the short hour it took to get here.  But, on the bright side I was able to get my free military parks pass!  It also gave us the chance to get out in some fresh air.  I don’t like to just stamp and go.  We waded in the water, watched the boats, and Avi had fun screaming with joy about the backo repairing the train tracks across the river.  Then, back in the car for a winding scenic drive up through the park and back on the freeway.  The rest of the trip was easy.  The kids do great in the car.  We only had to break up about 3 minor battles.  Mostly Zoe plays with her ponies, colors, or otherwise occupies herself.  Sometimes she will help Avi get his coloring pages out.  Mostly he plays with his airplane or helicopter, scribbles a bit, or sings and sleeps.  They both have a good stare out the window, too.  It’s so important for them to understand how to be bored.  No TV in our car!

Our hotel was not memorable.  The other occupants were.  There was a huge busload of Chinese teens staying with us.  All the boys were playing wildly in the pool and Zoe jumped right in the play, too!  She loved all the waves they were creating.  Avi also thought they were cool, and kept getting out to jump in just like the big guys.  Thank goodness sleep came easy.

Today we ventured to Plimoth Plantation.  It’s a living history re-created village of the original Plymouth colony.  It was excellent!  There was a great intro video dispelling myths that the pilgrims were solely seeking religious persecution; they were also here for the cash.  The video also delved into the original people’s history: how the Wampanoag lived, and how they suffered from European diseases and slavery even before the pilgrims arrived.  It was good to get a well-rounded perspective from both people groups before entereing the Wampanoag village.  Here are people with native american heritage dressed as they would’ve in the 17th century (well, a little more covered), living (for the day) as the wampanoag would have.  There was a guy burning out a mishook canoe, there was an older lady weaving a basket, there were lots of men in the bark-covered buildings talking about daily life, interacting with Europeans, and building the huts.  Avi mostly loved the run in the circle around the garden and jet in and out of the huts. Zoe listened to the people and explored.  One lady had kids’ toys which was cool.  Both our kids sat down to play with the simple items; a ring toss game designed to teach patience and skill, dolls handmade by the little girls to teach sewing, and a tiny canoe the kid burned out himself to learn that skill.  Zoe also found it super cool that the little girls would get to sit up in a treestand most of the day to be loud and keep the crows away from the garden.

From there we ventured to the crafts barn where modern people are making pottery, clothes, and other items in the traditional ways for the people in the 1627 village to actually use.  Back in that time they would have still been importing these things from London.  As we walked into the village it’s like we stepped back in time; but to a time nonexsistant where people let you walk around in their houses unannounced.  The village goes down the side of hill – starting at the top is the town hall/church.  The whole thing is fortified within a wall, and above this building is the watchtower…to watch out to sea, but also to watch the Wampanoag or any other native americans that may wish to interfere.  As we walked down the hill into town we were impressed to see men in pilgrim outfits – sock bloused trousers and wastecoasts – on top of one house repairing the thatch.  For real repairing, not just pretending.  Twas cool. 

Inside the first home I spoke with the one lady for a while about kids and childrearing.  The takeaway was that children are like branches. When they are young and green they are pliable and moldable, but when they are older they become firm and will break.  Keep them in line young.  As for Avi and his running amok.  He needs leading strings.  I’m to sew some long strips of fabric on the shoulders of his clothes and then use those to tie him to something – like a bedpost or fence – so he can’t run.  Then when I’m ready to walk him he will be forced to stay cloes. He will learn his place.  So funny, and true.  Wish I could do that.  Not sure it’s legal anymore.  He really did have fun running around, playing in the dirt with a little Mennonite girl, and feeding the goats.  The goats and chicken chasing were the big attraction for Avi.  And for Zoe, for that matter. She loved figuring out which grass the baby black one liked the best.  She also found the homes very interesting.  We could explore inside each one, and while they were all tiny and similar they seemed lived and layed out differently.  Built with waddle and daub, then wooden siding, and a thatched roof.  I think they would be snug except for the straight-up fireplace.  There were lots of folks dressed in period costume that assumed a character and answered questions as if they had just arrived on the mayflower.

The Mayflower – that was next.  We drove down into the town of Plymouth and parked up the hill at the free parking lot near the old old old graveyard.  Then we walked downhill and found a pizza place for lunch, wandered a bit by the water, and then went on the Mayflower 2.  It’s a true to life re-creation of the Mayflower that was built in England in the traditional way and actually sailed across the ocean to Plymouth.  It was tiny – impossible to imagine so many people crammed on this little boat.  Zoe got to pretend she worked on the boat by tosssing a water bag over the edge to lift water and keep the deck wet.  Avi crawled around on the little bunks and ran all around in the lower level.  He wanted to go up and down the stairs mostly.  Zoe thought the little food-storage room was the best spot.  That would be her room.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her 20 other people would cram in with her.

To round out the day with messed around on the beach just south of town.  It was kind of rocky, kind of sandy, and the water was cold.  The kids didn’t care.  They ran around finding rocks and getting cold and wet.  Both of them chased and fed the hugemongous seagulls. Eventually we just had them strip down and ride back to the hotel naked and toweled.  Another big day!

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