Date. 

After two days of recovery (from our late night football excursion) at home, we took ourselves out on a family date tonight. It was damn near perfect. 

Dinner.


Mini golf


The Who refereed both m* and my putts


Batting cages:


not just for kids and butches!

Sox. 

I get so much joy out of sharing things that I love with The Who — especially when it’s things I have loved since I was a kid. And especially when he loves them right back. 

Today was The Who’s first visit to Fenway to see a Sox game. I went to lots of games with my dad as a kid and have so many memories –the smell, the colors, all the hawkers selling “ice cream heayah.”

The Who wore an entire uniform, despite the feels-like 104° heat, but even in polyester head-to-toe, he was delighted and delightful. It helped, of course, that the Sox hit crashers every other at-bat and came away with a 16-2 win. 

We won’t be back until next season, but we will be back. File this one under “best days.”

Update.

We’re looking at thunderstorms and “oppressive humidity” for the next several days. I don’t have much more to say about that. Every day can’t be as beautiful as the last few, right?

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Lake Champlain at sunset

We went to Vermont for an overnight with my mom last week. It was a long, pretty drive through two states The Who had never been to.

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We started at the Ben & Jerry’s factory. I mean, is there a better place to start a visit to Vermont with a 7-year-old?

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We learned about maple tapping at Bragg’s Sugar House, a little mom-and-pop operation.

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Tree spiles (taps)

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The Who did a syrup taste test (or two) and decided that the darkest amber was his favorite.

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Our hotel had a great pool and a game room, where The Who and I played many games of ping pong and air hockey.

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Day Two of what turned out to be an eating tour of Vermont brought us to the Cabot Creamery to learn about cheese-making. Also, we got to wear these fancy booties on our factory tour.

The weather continued to cooperate for our plans early this week, beginning with a trip to a local state park’s lake. I would never choose to swim in a lake, being the pool-girl that I am. But we were meeting family, so I bit the bullet and was pleasantly surprised. The lake was clean and warm and not at all gross. The beach was easy to navigate and populated with friendly families. Also, since it was unguarded, The Who got to use inflatable balls and sit on the guard chair.

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The next day, we drove down the cape to our now-annual visit with college friends. I swam right next to a (dead?) crab. The tide pools gave The Who a lot to discover.

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barns

Lunch

After an overnight with a different college friend whom I hadn’t seen in 20 years, we headed off the cape and landed in the city for game night at a friend’s apartment.

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We learned this new game: King of Tokyo, which The Who loved and can’t wait to play again.

The Who fell asleep mere moments into our drive home and gladly crawled into bed as soon as we arrived back at the house. It’s been a busy several days, so let it rain. We’re laying low tomorrow.

 

 

Day 2.

Positive Relationship Challenge, Day 2.

I missed a couple of posting days because Grandma, The Who, and I took a road trip up to Vermont for an “eating and learning” mini-vacation, which included tours (and samples!) at the Ben & Jerry’s factory, Cabot Creamery, and Bragg’s Sugar House. Ice cream, cheese, and maple syrup. It was a terrible, intolerable trip. How did we ever manage to make something good out of it?😉 We somehow found time to also go swimming, play ping pong, and play air hockey. But, alas, no time was carved out for blogging. So, here’s Day 2, albeit on Day 4. You still with me?

Today, I’m bringing the parenting part of our relationship into sharp focus because is it one of the places where we really shine as partners. It is also, not surprisingly, one of the things that really challenged(s?) our relationship. I feel so lucky that m* and I not only both really value and take seriously the responsibility of raising a child, but also that we share almost all of the same core values and beliefs about how to do that. We very rarely argue about parenting choices and we have found it both easy and rewarding to discuss our parenting differences when they arise. The Who has a good and whole relationship with each of us individually and with both of us together. We do a lot of things wrong as a couple, but mostly, we do co-parenting right.

Of course, it hasn’t been a cakewalk. And the fact is that having a child, as it does for so many (most?) relationships, put a strain on our relationship that was nearly insurmountable. We really struggled as a couple when we were new parents and there were definitely times when neither of us was sure we would make it through together. Parenting is hard. work. (This is not news to any parent.) It challenges every single thing about a person. It makes us look at our own childhoods, our present selves, and our future. It exhausts us. It tries our patience. We spent a bunch of sleepless nights over many years and as a result, were snappish, resentful, and impatient with each other. There wasn’t much there in the relationship department for a long time; we were just hanging on.

But that is not the case now. Now we have a kid who sleeps and gives us time alone together. Now we have battled through and come out on the other side of difficult times. Now we have seen one another parent and been awed by one another’s commitment to it. Now, it’s good.

So, that’s Day 2. We work hard at being good partners and good parents at the same time and although some days we fail hard, most days we can call it a success. I have said before that there’s no one I’d rather be on this parenthood journey with and I really, truly mean it.

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Day 2

 

 

Positive.

Positive Marriage Challenge, Day 1. I was challenged by a friend to post for 7 days about marriage and as I am not usually one to turn down a challenge, I accept. However, as I am also not usually one to go with the flow when I think the flow contains a elemental flaw, I am also changing the name of this challenge to “Positive Relationship Challenge.” Because marriage isn’t the end all be all of relationships. For so many, it’s not even in the cards (by choice.) Facebook (where this challenge seems to have originated) is so full of complaint and celebration hand-in-hand that it’s hard to get a grasp on anyone’s actual reality. Of course marriage (or any relationship) is not all sunshine and roses. And, hopefully, it’s also not all name-calling and hostility. But this particular challenge asks us to look at the bright side — exclusively. And so, with the caveat that this won’t be a complete picture of my marriage, I’m embarking on it.

So, Positive Marriage Relationship Challenge, Day 1. Hugs. One of the first things I loved about my wife was the way she hugs. On the day we met — at a conference, where I had just read aloud some of the most personal writing I’ve ever done — she hugged me. And it was – no joke – the best hug I’ve ever received. I later learned that she was actually taught how to hug. As part of a training for her line of work, she learned about how to give a good hug. And she is, obviously, a very quick study. I remember on that day feeling seen and heard and protected and appreciated and respected — all because of a hug. And to this day, she remains the best hugger I know — and I know some good huggers. She taught me to be a better hugger. To hug in a way that gives energy instead of steals it. To this day, 13 years and one month later, I still seek out her hugs above anyone else’s. After a long day, returning home after a trip, after a particularly trying bedtime routine with The Who, or just because — it’s good to have her arms around me.

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Week One.

I had a post started about the convention and how excited we were to watch and listen, but I never could get the story to grow wings, so I let it go. Suffice it to say that we watched together and when it got too late, we went to bed and listened to the speeches in the morning. We were both moved by Michelle Obama’s speech and The Who has asked to listen to it twice since the first time. There is always much “whoo”-ing and spontaneous applause. Over the course of the week, I have taught him about the glass ceiling, the crucial differences in the party platforms, and what it means to hold the nuclear codes. We both learned a lot.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve only been here a week, given all that we have done. Here are the photo highlights:

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We spent a beautiful day on the Common and in the Public Garden, looking at weeping willows and riding the swan boats.

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There was swimming in Frog Pond and completing “missions” in the Tadpole Playground.

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And the obligatory sit upon Mrs. Mallard. (One day, I will print all the years we have of this same shot and frame them together.)

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The Who used 4 of his 5 allowance dollars to tip the balloon guy. It was a big decision; he really wanted it.

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He ended up with this alien flying an airplane, which delighted him for — oh, about fifteen minutes until it blew out of his hand and the alien promptly popped. Within a half hour in the hot car, another piece had popped and by morning, it was nothing. (I refunded his allowance dollars partly because I felt bad, but also because I think he didn’t really understand the value element of the such a (relatively) spendy purchase.)

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It was pretty fun watching him make it, though.

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And for his last trick, The Who rode the carousel on his own. For as daring and self-possessed as he is in many ways (he goes in to order and pay for his own sandwich at Dunkies!) he has been very tenuous about carousels (in fact, rides in general) and has mostly only ridden the bench. The one time he did ride an animal, he insisted I ride one too, right next to him. This time, he didn’t even ask me to accompany him.

There are three more things of note from this first week, but it’s past midnight and we’ve had a few late ones in a row. This will have to do for tonight.

#bostonsummer16.

I’d like to credit myself with our super-soft landing this trip, but if I’m being honest, credit is really due to both of us. The Who is 6 months older than the last time we drove up here and we know that, historically, the spring and summer six months of any age for him are the better six. So, there’s that. He’s also gotten more adept at entertaining himself for longer stretches, so the car ride doesn’t feel as long or torturous. For my part, I’ve gotten better at knowing how and when to arrive (close to bedtime, but not after — and to an empty house or a house with just my aunt and uncle in it.) A quick hello, a bedtime routine, and a long sleep. We’re all better for it.

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We colored this on our lunchtime road trip break. She was probably supposed to be a princess, but now she’s not. Is it bad that I am more accepting of his characterization of “pretty women” as sultry wizarding vixens than Disney princesses?

Tonight, he is well-fed (thanks to a hearty breakfast and dinner at Grandma’s), bathed (thank you again to Grandma simply for owning a bathtub) and already asleep, snuggled up with the absurdly large stuffed dog he helped to pay for out of his allowance yesterday at Ikea.

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Kid loves himself some shrimp cocktail (with “virgin” cocktail sauce — aka ketchup.)

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Let’s not pretend that he ate this grilled peach, ok? But it’s still too pretty not to share.

(I’m sunburnt and hungry, but that doesn’t mean anything special except that it’s summer, 9pm, and I’m predictable.)

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I fell asleep drying off from the pool. Womp, womp.

I have high (but reasonable) hopes for this month ahead. A week of theatre camp starting tomorrow, a handful of social plans, a 10-day visit from m*, a Sox game, a wedding, an anniversary celebration…and then? Then we have a second grader on our hands. I’ve got a Steve Miller Band lyric at the ready, but maybe I will spare you…

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Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’…into the future….

Or, maybe not.😉