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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

lately: enjoying the fall

I've been doing my best to enjoy all the fall weather we're having right now. This means especially on Saturdays, when I make Sam and Oliver go out and find fun fall things to do around town like I mentioned before. During the week, we do some fun things on our own (we took a little hike in the woods today!) and if I didn't hate the idea of a "fall bucket list", that would be what I'd call it. I love fall. I love the leaves, the cold weather, the sweaters and scarves and boots, getting blankets back out, drinking hot chocolate, looking forward to all the holidays to come. I want to let Oliver enjoy it all, too, so I'm trying hard to look for the fun in every season (but especially fall). 

We've been enjoying watching the leaves turn and walking in the crunchy leaves that have already fallen. It's a new neighborhood for us, and we're still learning our favorite walks, and the best places to visit for beautiful views. I miss our old town, sometimes, and the ease of walking around with lots of sidewalks, playgrounds, and old streets. 

The leaves are just beginning to turn. It's not quite peak leaf season, I think, but it will probably be here in a week or two. Some days it still gets too warm for sweaters and scarves, although the mornings are almost always delicious chilly. Even I can mostly enjoy that midday sun, though, and how easy is is to play outside right now. No heavy coats or snow getting in our way. 

So our rainy Saturday excursion. My mom had driven up for a few errands and asked if Oliver and I wanted to come along. It was a good excuse to get out the house on a rainy day, when we were a little bored and looking for something to do. Oliver go to wear his raincoat for the first time, and put those boots from last spring to good use again. It was pretty empty, probably due to the drizzly rain, so it was fun for Oliver to run and splash, and fun for me not to care. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

finally fall

We decided to kick-off our celebrations that it's finally fall this weekend with some perfect fall activities.

Look at those leaves. In the morning, we went for a little hike in the conservation land in the next town over. They had a small fall festival there, with a petting zoo, artwork, an apple cider press, and other things. I thought Oliver would love the petting zoo but he was a bit unsure around all the animals. The best part was the hike we went on down one of the trails. It was the first day where we needed sweaters and jeans and the air felt chilly. Oliver loved picking up leaves and rocks to carry around.

Then we went to an apple festival in our own town, where there was apple picking, hay rides, fire trucks, games, food, and all kinds of fun things. Oliver loved the hay ride, enjoyed the apple picking (mostly snacking on apples and looking out for the tractor that would drive by pulling the hay ride wagon behind it), and was thrilled to see a fire truck up close and get a fire hat of his very own. He's been obsessed with it ever since.

He loved carrying the apple bag around, although he definitely also liked picking apples up from the ground to put into the bag, so we had to keep an eye on him. It was really fun, though, especially because our apple-picking excursion last year happened before he turned one, and he wasn't quite old enough to enjoy it. I keep thinking about how next year he'll 'get' these kinds of things even more than he does not, but really, being two has been pretty great so far. (All four days of it.) I can't wait to see what changes this year for him. I'm thinking we still have lots of train and truck loving ahead of us.

Friday, September 2, 2016

every single year

I swear, every single year August is just the worst. It's way too hot and humid, and I hate going outside, and even being inside is miserable. I think Oliver hates sleeping in the heat, too, or at least, I'm really hoping that's what it is, because he went from great sleep while we were house sitting for friends with AC to just having terrible nights. And naps.

And every single year I find myself looking at weather reports, trying to remember when it will finally, finally get cold. I know not everyone cares about this as much as I do. It's so stupid, because it's not like hoping for it will speed it along. I'm really trying my bet to enjoy summer, anyway, even if hot, humid days are basically my nemesis.

But the good bits of summer. They're worth it.

I couldn't get close to getting anything that wasn't blurry. He loved running into the water, probably because my brother made it so fun for him. He also loved the sand. A lot. Too much, even.

He got absolutely filthy at the beach, rolling around in the sand. It was a nightmare to clean him off, but he loved it, so oh well.

This is summer. The sand, heat, sun, waves, staying out, family. I can use a little bit of summer every year. And Oliver has really, really loved it.

 And look at that face. We recently moved, so we're now doing our best to find every new playground and play group and story time in our new city, and Oliver has been enjoying this hunt.

So that was summer. Now can it be fall?

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Right now, I'm spending a week in Maine with my family, while Sam is working. It's sneaky of me, getting an extra holiday in after we already had one. We took our first family holiday back in late June, the three of us, for the first time, spurred on by my friend's wedding in Scotland. So now Sam is working, Oliver and I are spending time with my parents and siblings, and hoping that Maine is a bit cooler than Boston.

It has been so hot this last week that everything just feels like too much effort. You get hot and sweaty just stepping outside. The only escape is swimming, something that luckily Oliver has decided to love, as long as it isn't in an indoor pool. We've had so much fun visiting our local lake and playing in the water and sand. If tomorrow is hot, we're off to the beach, and I'm excited to show Oliver the Atlantic ocean again. I think he might be a bit more interested in it now.

We're renting this strange little house in the middle of the woods. It is pretty cool; tiny, but full of interesting arts-and-crafts details. My room leads on to the back porch that looks out into the woods and then off to the ocean. It's gorgeous. There's a fire pit outside and lots of sticks and room to run. Perfect for Oliver.

This afternoon we visited a local fair, and Oliver was in heaven. There were horses and sheep and cows and trucks and tractors. All his favorite things in one spot. We watched several hitching competitions, where people drive their horses hitched up in various ways (unicorn and four horses and other things) and he loved it. I grew up riding horses and I miss it. It made me want to start again. We even watched what they called the Redneck Truck Pull, which is when people have their trucks pull heavy things, or something. It got a bit boring, especially when the first competitor we saw was unable to hitch their truck up to the weights, and then kept failing to put the truck into four-wheel drive.

Back at the house, we've had delicious food, and lots of time for reading. I just started the Sea Lady by Margaret Drabble. I always find time to read, but it's even easier here, with Oliver surrounded by people who love nothing more than getting a chance to take him to look at the water, or play with his trains. The porch wraps around the house, and it's long and perfect for a toddler to run down, especially after three hours in the car. There's an outdoor fireplace on it, perfect for fires when it gets just slightly chilly at night (like it did last night; so far, tonight doesn't seem so cold, sadly). We're surrounded by trees and quiet and nature.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


We've never had a real family vacation, just the three of us. In fact, Sam and I have never had a vacation just the two of us (except right after we got married, I guess). But next week we're actually doing our first real, proper, actual vacation and going back to the UK for two weeks. My friend from uni is getting married in Scotland, so we'll be visiting Scotland (for the very first time for Sam and Oliver).

Lately we've enjoying the summery weather, especially the days that aren't too hot, making lists of things to do and see while we're away, and what we need to bring, and wondering how we're going to survive a 7 hour flight with a not-quite-two-year-old. What are the chances that he sleeps through the whole thing? (Slim to none, I'd say.)

Summer in Massachusetts means lots of bug spray and sunscreen, fans on all day and shorts and t-shirts and trying to make Oliver keep his hat on. We love going to our local pond and playing in the sand, though we haven't gone into the water that many times, so far.

 We love our peonies and teaching Oliver to smell the flowers, and visiting Grandma and Grandpa so that Oliver can ride his tricycle. His legs don't quite reach, so dad has to push him if he's ever going to go anyway. See below, also entitled, the benefits to a house on a dead-end street.

We love our sandbox and swings and Oliver would be happiest if we could spend all day, every day outside, regardless of the weather. It turns out that weather in Massachusetts can be a bit crap. I kept saying it would be hard winter, spending so much time inside, but it turns out that it's only early June, and I keep saying, "it's too hot to play outside". But we do it anyway, and then complain. (At least, I do.) The most important part is keeping out of the sun in the middle of the day, but that lines up nicely with Oliver's nap.

Most evenings, when Sam gets home from work, we walk to the park and play. Oliver has learned to love it all, even the slide, which he used to be a little unsure of. If one of us goes down with him, though, he's overjoyed. Sometimes he'll even do it alone.

He loves to have us walk to the park in his wagon. It's the wagon my siblings and I had growing up, and my dad fixed it up so that now we can use it with Oliver. It's so much fun, except sometimes he gets too excited to stay sitting down. He's in a major toddler vehicle craze right now, so he loves waving to trucks and cars and buses that go past. He runs to the window to look whenever we're inside and he hears a particularly loud one. I'm so excited to take him on a plane (for a little bit, at least), and see how he likes it. Plus the long train rides we have planned. Yeah, I'm sure it's all going to go so smoothly.

He's just so happy and sweet, still. He's still stubborn and bossy, and knows what he wants, but lately he's been so much fun. He's eating all kinds of new things, sleeping better, and having so much fun playing with his trains, stuffed fox, books, trucks, and all the things outside. I love the age he's at right now.