Our kids are lucky enough to be the kids that have so much stuff that I cringe at the thought of the gifts they will receive for their birthdays. And with their birthdays breathing down the neck of Christmas, I feel like there is a 2 month period where I am involuntarily involved in the maddening game of and where can THAT go?
This year we decided to do something different. Instead of gifts we planned a birthday trip to Boston, a destination the girls have been pining to visit for a while. Oh for the history, you ask? The Red Sox?
No, don't be silly. Boston has the AMERICAN GIRL store.
But more on that later. First off, we learned to take the T!
This was the conversation we had with the kids (Maya) about the T: "You need to stay with us all the time. You need to be holding our hands when we get on and off the train. If you do not, you could get left on the train or the platform without us and it would be very difficult to find each other. It would be very scary for everyone. So hold a hand and don't test the limit. Got it?"
Maya held fast to us like glue. It might be the most obedient she has ever been in a public place.
We went to Faneuil Hall and met my Aunt Rita and Uncle Jeffrey and my cousin Clare and her family. It was indescribably lovely to see this part of my family. And our girls played so well with Clare's girls, ages 4 and 6. I guess these girls were second cousins? Or first cousins once removed? Regardless, they adored each other.
Can we talk about how nice it is to take your kids somewhere with their own spending money? They had birthday money burning holes in their pockets and found some gems in Quincy Market. An orchid necklace for Maya (don't worry- it wasn't delicate and it certainly did not break on the second day and require a second trip to the Quincy Market vendor to replace it) and a dream catcher for Ella.
All that city fun wore our girls out. Waiting for the T when you are tired is hard.
Naturally, the zen of Sandi was an easy landing place for this little beauty.
There was a Mayan exhibit at the museum and Maya was thrilled to see her name everywhere, including in giant letters on the outside of the building. She took to calling it the "Museum of Maya". (Second favorite picture.)
|Ella, Molly, Madison and Maya|
Inside an Apollo spacecraft!
Next stop: the unforgettable, totally-worth-the-money Duck Tour.
I even got a turn. Yes, I am sporting a beak. It is a duck tour after all. When your tour guide gives you the signal (ours was for her to yell, "Knock it off!") we were all to reply with a hearty "QUACK! QUACK!" I admit, I was into it.
I kinda fell in love with Boston.
|So cool to feel these guys in the touch tank and hear the educational information provided by the staff.|
Perhaps most importantly, we met this beauty: Myrtle the sea turtle. Ella was over the moon since we have been doing an in-depth study of sea turtle in homeschool.
And last, but certainly not least, it was time to travel just outside the city to the Natick Mall for the pilgrimage to the American Girl store.
We had a little birthday party just the four of us complete with birthday tiaras for girls and dolls (and thankfully NOT mothers) and an entire mini-cake.
Also, this happened.
As well as the inevitable: an armload of bags. Which is hard to do at that store considering the asking price of the merchandise.
|Red light, green light and trying to catch Maya.|
Here is quote about the memorial from the website:
The Memorial is designed around six luminous glass towers, each reaching 54 feet high, and each lit internally from top to bottom. The number six has many meanings here: the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust; the names of the six main death camps; a row of memorial candles; and the six years, 1939-1945, during which the infamous “Final Solution,” the most deadly phase of the Holocaust, took place. In addition, six million numbers are etched in the glass, representing the infamous tattoos inflected on many of the victims’ arms.
|on the walkway as you approach|
It was hard to explain to a very concerned Maya why I was crying. It was hard to feel like it was enough to whisper, "I'm so sorry. Please forgive us." It was painful to know that Sandi was trying to explain what all of this meant to Ella who would now never be without the knowledge that such an atrocity could happen in a world we have taught her is full of goodness.
I have forever been held by the story of the Holocaust: the evils, the profound and immeasurable devastation and loss, the social and political mechanisms that allowed such an event to take place over so many years, the profound will of so many to survive.
As we left the memorial, Maya said: "Let's not go back to the place that made Momma cry." Ella said: "How could a man that hurt so many people be a VEGETARIAN?" The Holocaust is hard to fathom on any level I suppose.
Back to happy things: none of us wanted to leave the city. There was still so much to do and see! But alas, it was necessary to return home and replenish our checking account. As much as they loved the city, our country girls were happy to return to our great state of Maine.
The trip was a success by many accounts. It was the first family trip we took where our kids were old enough to stay up late and not break down. They could walk without too much complaint. They could drink cocoa on the T and only slosh half of it down their coats. We got to spend some wonderful time with my family. I got to eat the most amazing sushi I've ever had. Ella got to visit the Cheesecake Factory, a place she hadn't even known she was missing (she LOVES cheesecake). Sandi got some awesome new boots.
And Maya? Well, aside from the orchid necklace and the semi-butterfly landing, we didn't lose Maya in Boston and we are all proud of that.
|The American Girl explosion all over the living room the moment we returned.|