Monday, June 22, 2015

Start of Summer

Although the weather is still rather moderate for this time of year, summer has arrived.  And with it gorgeous sunshine, long days and lots of time outdoors.  

This last weekend I finally had Henry for a couple of days, after what seemed like forever.  Our plans to meet up with his 2nd cousins didn't pan out and neither did the free swim at the nearby pool.  It was closed when we showed-up, as they are probably already on summer schedule.  

But we did get to have pillow fights, go for a bike ride, buy a new bouncy-ball, happen upon the BBQ & Beer festival & rides and generally soaked up some sunshine and relaxed.  

Best told IN PICTURES:

Saturday Morning

Discovery of the yo-yo

Throwing maple keys in the park.

Climb every mountain.

Testing out the batch of cookies.

Father's Day presents.

Meeting Pippi the puppy!

Maze & twisty slide

Beer & BBQ festival

"Mommy, Luther is touching my head!"

This is Henry's last week of JK!  Summer fun to follow.  

à bientôt

Monday, June 15, 2015

Boston: The Cradle of Independence

A few months ago my friend Kara & I decided to take a 48 hour trip together to Boston  We both needed a getaway and Boston fit the bill.

Our only directive was to spend time on activities that can't be done with young children.  This meant doing a little clothes shopping, lingering over coffees, eating good food in restaurants that do not accommodate strollers and of course, drinking a bit of wine.  Or a lot.  Depending.

In Boston, to revere takes on a whole new meaning.


The day of departure finally arrived.  We met and had brunch in the Annex, before hopping on our Porter flight, where we enjoyed perhaps a little too much of the complimentary beverages.  Giggling and tipsy upon arrival in Boston, we were well on our way.

After checking into our room at the Boston Park Plaza in Back Bay (not as classy as it should have been I'm afraid - full of Toronto Blue Jays fans, teenagers kicking soccer balls, no free wi-fi in the room, which was small, musty-smelling, and was fitted with a loud industrial-style toilet, but otherwise in a very convenient location,) and then headed to JJ Salon on Newbury St via the Public Garden for both of us to have at least 2-3 inches cut off the length of our hair.

Blue alliums in Boston Common. 

Statue of George Washington

The salon had a patio out back and tons of magazines and complimentary coffee and tea.

With our hair done right and the weather warm and fair, we walked around Back Bay and South End, finally settling on a fusion restaurant for dinner called Myers + Chang.  We then walked back to the Plaza, stopping in at a cafe-bistro not far from the hotel.  The service was laughably rude and I almost made a scene.  But they made a pretty darn good lemon tart.


The next morning we woke up early, at our child-conditioned times.  But unlike a normal day, nothing was required of us.  The day stretched in front with only ourselves to think of.  So we purposely did not make any concrete plans and instead, we proved easy travel companions and were able to just let the day unfold.

The first priority of the day was unquestionably coffee.

Shall we Instagram all of our meals?
No, but lets take pictures.  OK!

With some fortification in our systems, we decided to check out the Freedom Trail.

The Freedom Trail is literally a trail of red bricks in the sidewalk that links together historical points of interest between Boston Common and Bunker Hill.   The total length is 2.5 miles.  There is the option of taking a professionally guided tour with a person in period costume, or else a pamphlet can be purchased for a self-guided exploration.

Not wanting to be restricted in any way, we decided to buy a trail guide and just see how things go.

Before we hit the trail, we visited the nearby Brattle Bookshop, one of America's oldest and largest used bookshops.

The store has an incredible collection of books that are spread across three floors of the building and  then spill into the courtyard outside.  Prices are very affordable.  We managed to both select just a few books, although it was difficult to leave without 50 books each.  My best find was a 1943 copy of John Milton's Paradise Lost and Other Poems, in good condition for $3.

So with our used books inside our new Brattle Bookshop satchels, we hit the Freedom Trail.

Start of Freedom Trail & the Old State House

Admiring some ironwork.

We made it only a few blocks on the trail before stopping for lunch in an Irish pub.  

After lunch, we meandered down the trail to Faneuil Hall and then over to North End.

King's Chapel
Inside the chapel.
George Washington had an even fancier box seat. 
Old South Meeting House
(if memory serves)

Old State House

Keeping following the trail to Faneuil Hall
Once in the North End (i.e. Little Italy,) we had two main interests:  to see Paul Revere's house and to get cannoli.  If we could find some water and coffee = bonus.

Built when Boston was only 50 years old,
it is the oldest house in downtown Boston.
Mike's Famous Cannoli
One of probably hundreds of trays.

Thirsty, under-caffeinated and getting tired from walking with book bags, we hurried up and walked to the end of the trail.  Which still meant crossing the Charlestown Bridge and walking up to Bunker Hill. 

Ride on Paul Revere!
Thoughtful memorial to fallen soldiers.
A dog tag for each fallen solider in Iraq and Afghanistan wars. 
Finally made it to Bunker Hill!

From here we caught a taxi and headed to Warby Parker Spectacle Shop in Back Bay.  Kara quickly purchased the perfect pair of sunglasses and we refueled at the nearby cafe. 

We then got all crazy and went to Nordstrom Rack to buy new dresses and shoes for our big dinner.  It was fun to choose dresses for each other to try on and we both ended up coming away successful.

Back at the hotel, we talked to our respective children, primped and then jumped in a taxi heading back to North End. 

We found a resto on a side-street where we didn't have to wait and that had freshly made pasta.  We shared an outstanding bottle of wine and each tried a different type of ravioli.  After lingering too long over chocolate lava cake and limoncello, we were the only ones left as they closed the place down for the night. 

View from Boston Harbour

We ended up at the oldest restaurant in the US:
Ye Olde Union Oyster House
Last customers of the night.

After walking some more and finally getting in a taxi back to the hotel, we had a little fun in the lobby...

And finally called it quits.


We slept-in until 8:45am!!!!!!!!!!

Mission accomplished.  

After brunch and much refreshed, we headed to the airport to return to reality.

Rocking chairs at Logan Airport.
Home sweet home.

Thanks Boston for a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Picture This...

Henry is currently in Baton Rouge with his dad, visiting his cousins.  I'll be in Boston this weekend.  To bridge the gap, here's what's happened in the week that was:  

Henry cycled all the way to Monarch Park
for a playdate with his girlfriends.
They are all planning to marry him.

Tunnel to Monarch Park.

After a longer than usual morning at church, we cycled to the beach,  threw rocks...

...and each got an ice cream.

Henry's photographic skills.

The cygnets have arrived!

Walk down to the beach, while Henry is away.

Must try this sometime.

Ashbridge's Bay 
Bike ride to the distillery.  Old rail bridge in Don Valley.

Love lock art.

Another Love.