Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I Think We'll Go To Boston, Part 3

I love being an auntie. I get to do all of the fun stuff, like mail presents just because I feel like it, and smother them in kisses and tickles, and I get to be the one to hold them during special religious ceremonies, at which I am deemed their Godmother. Yeah. Boom.

Two years ago, I held my Olly-bear through his baptism. This June, I held my Westie-bug through his.
It's probably completely improper to photograph in church...?
My brother and sister-in-law have a lovely church in beautiful Arlington, MA and we have attended so many special moments there with them: their wedding and the baptisms of both of our nephews. The red door and the large historic bricks are swoon-worthy. It's a beautiful place for Sundays and families.

If you're ever in Boston, you must make a short trek to Arlington for Blue Ribbon BBQ. We have it every time we visit my brother because it is amazing! We get really nervous that there won't be enough so we order the meal for 6 to feed the 4 of us and it's always too much -- even though we stuff ourselves to near burst! Just imagine how much my brother ordered for the whole family post-baptsism lunch!? Oh, how it was so good.

Great news, DC friends!!! We recently discovered when my brother came to DC and we went to order Williards BBQ in Dulles that the menus were eerily identical. Turns out that Williard's here in VA, which is two minutes from my house, is owned by the BROTHER of Blue Ribbon BBQ which is two minutes from my brother's house in MA. Does anyone else think thats a super weird thing?? It's like God wants my brother and I to share in the BBQ goodness.

BBQ, y'all. It brings a family together. I had to take a picture.
Remember my mother's day post about my mom's vanity license plate?? Blah x 4! 
After lunch, it's a sort of tradition (meaning, we did it the one other time after Oliver's baptism) to walk to Spy Lake Park. Charlie loves this park and I totally see why! A beautiful park overlooking a beautiful lake with a small, sandy beach for dipping toes and a playground with a zip line! :)

The boys had so much fun!
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My boys are really into baseball and Henry loves a good game of whiffle-ball. Mike couldn't resist bringing a bat and a ball to the park and getting all the boys going on a game.

Henry is AMAZING at whiffle ball. Well, at hitting the ball. He almost never misses. But no matter where he hits the ball, he thinks he gets a home run and runs all the bases. And it's so cute, no one dares tell him any different.
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And... then the battery on my camera kicked out before Charlie or Olly stepped up to bat. Yay for iphone to the rescue!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Think We'll Go To Boston, Part 2

My ONE plan for Boston was to go to the Public Garden to visit the ducklings and ride on the swan boats.

On Saturday, all my Bean-town dreams came true! Well, 50% of my dreams, at least. We didn't make it to see the actual brass duckling statues, but I rode on the swan boats, so I'm counting it as a partially successful trip that gives me a reason to go back. The weather was perfect! And aside from it being such a beautiful Saturday in June which brought about 5 billion other tourists all wanting to do the same thing... it was wonderful! The gardens are amazing and tucked right in the middle of the city off CHARLES ST.

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My parents flew into Boston as we were down in the city so they cabbed it over and found us just as we were swan-boating under the bridge! Hi, Mom!!!
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After the boats, we took the crew over to Quincy Market to have Lobster Rolls for lunch. It was crowded and chaotic -- but uber-delish! And very Boston-y!
The last time we visited the Quincy Market, Charlie had an ice cream cone covered in blue sprinkles. This time, we HAD to have the same thing. We took our cones outside and I, of course, started taking pictures. And then my brother and my hubby made fun of me by taking pictures of me taking pictures.
And being the Saturday before Father's Day, the kids were all over their Papa. Well, they'd be all over their Papa anyway, because they all adore him.
Aside from seeing the sights... we also spend a lot of time on our Boston visits just snuggling and playing with our nephews/cousins. This is definitely our most favorite part of every trip.
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Monday, July 29, 2013

I Think We'll Go To Boston, Part 1

Last month, we went to Boston. Yes, I said last month. I'm wayyyyy behind.

My nephew was being baptized {I'm the godmother, boo-yah!} so we decided to fly up a few days before the ceremony to spend time in the city and visit with my brother's family.

The morning of our flight, we were battling with two huge weather systems -- and luckily, our flight was scheduled in between the storms so we avoided delays and cancellations. Unluckily, that meant we had to fly THROUGH both of them which made for a horribly bumpy flight. Like, CRAZY bumpy. I cried. And at one point, I may have screamed that I needed to get off "NOW!" at some sort of 30,000-ish altitude. Mike made fun of me. It wasn't my best moment. I hate flying.

The huge, awful storms also ruined our fab plans to drive down to Rhode Island and see a photographer friend of mine...

But the airport and the airplane were super fun for two little boys.
Jet Blue has personal TVs... perfect. I was terrified. They were watching tv.
The next day we decided to head into the city and see an IMAX at the Science Museum. But when those plans were squashed due to a sold out viewing {darn school groups who ruin EVERYTHING!}... we changed it up and hopped on the T to find our way to Fenway Park.
The subway in Boston is called the "Charlie Train", which we love! The boys thought it was lots of fun -- even when we got lost, just a bit -- and realized we were on the wrong train.

We decided to get off the train at the next stop and walk through the city towards Fenway (it was a GORGEOUS day). We didn't know exactly where we were but just a few steps from the subway, we saw the Boston Marathon Finish Line painted across the street.

It was a very strange realization to find ourselves where we found ourselves. We knew we were walking down the same street where only a few weeks prior, such horrible, cruel, senseless violence had occurred. As we continued our walk, we passed by the restaurants and the mailboxes that were still surrounded in piles of flowers for the souls who were lost there... and my heart melted. The little boy who died there looked so much like Charlie. And I just felt so much pain for his family as I held my boy's hand, ever so more tightly. 


We found Fenway and Charlie was thrilled. He's quite obsessed with baseball and loves Babe Ruth -- so Fenway was quite the place of awe. We walked around and stopped in a shop to buy Charlie a Boston cap {and Henry, too, since he flat insisted that he do whatever Charlie does.}2013-07-27_0005
I had wanted to take a tour of the park but we found The Bleacher Bar instead, which is a bar that overlooks the Fenway field. Beer AND a view?? DEAL! We bought the boys some custard and found a perfect little booth in the perfect little pocket of light and enjoyed some amazing chill time together.
I was pretty obsessed with the pocket of light coming right into the corner of our booth. I shot all of these on my "baby DSLR" instead of Princess Consuela. Since I hadn't dusted her off since upgrading to the Full Frame, I was actually thrilled that Baby McNikon and my off-brand lens could rock the low light so hard.

Also, I love that Henry always has to shove himself in a tight spot so that he's as close to his big brother as possible. I know it's annoying to my big guy, but gah! I just eat it up.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Little League Natitude

It's mid-July now but my blog is still living on June-time. Ooops.

Every June, Charlie's little league offers discounted tickets to a Nats game - in the highest, furthest seats in the house - and it's always been one of our favorite traditions. We buy up 8 tickets and go with our besties, the Allens. We fill up on beer, Jenny and I share soft pretzels and the guys down Ben's Chili Bowl dogs and the kids insist that we wait in the huge line for Dippin' Dots. And as is custom with home-played Sunday games, after the game, the kids run the bases high-fiving all the President mascots. It is always such a fun day!

Sadly, this year was a bit different than our usual routine. The Allens moved to Louisiana just two days before this game, so we went solo. Boo. :( And due to all the rain this season, the Nats had to make up a game with a double header so the kids running the bases was cancelled. But, on the brighter side, this was the first year that Henry did not freak out and monkey-cling to me the entire game.
Doesn't get any higher than the 400 level! BALLERS!!! :)
I have to be honest. My very first taste of a Ben's Chili Bowl dog was a bite off Mike's at a game a few weeks before this one. It was amazing -- even though I'm told it doesn't count as my first because it wasn't from the original place on U street. Feigning over that one bite, I got my very own at this game and it was totally delicious. Although, I forgot to get napkins. Fail. And a knife and fork. Fail. And I ordered it without mustard which is not "all the way". Fail. And I couldn't eat it all. Fail.
Thanks to my girl, Siri, I got in some reverse camera shots! Hey, look! It's me with my favorites!!
Why is Charlie cheering??? The Nats had just scored their sixth run which hooked us up with 6 free wings per ticket at Hard Times Cafe! YAY! Charlie's favorite!!
What do you do when you're three at a major league game?? Climb all over the seats, of course! And be adorable.
The Dippin' Dots. Always the Dippin' Dots.
Since it was the little league's game, most of Charlie's team was there which meant Charlie had lots of friends to hang with. He even spent some time sitting next to his awesome Coach.

I think it's virtually impossible for 9 year old boys to make sweet, smiling faces at the camera.
NATS WIN!!!! Go Nats!!!
And more of Henry being adorable!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Scrappers: Our 2013 Spring Baseball Season

My hubby usually signs up as assistant coach for Charlie's sports teams. I love this. Since my hubby puts in lots of work hours, it gives Mike and Chuck specific, set aside, and special time together -- and it means I don't have to go to all of the practices and games. :) Which are long. And often.

This spring was cold. And I hate the cold. So, I ended up pawning an unusually large sum of the sports-related parenting to Mike, and didn't catch as many of the games as I normally do. Towards the end of the season, I realized if I didn't get my butt in gear, I'd have no pictures!!

One of the first games I made it to (aside from Charlie's pitching game) was a make-up game against the only undeafeated team in the league. AND WE BEAT THEM! Which gave us a chance to make it into the playoffs! All of a sudden I was kicking myself for slacking in my attendance. The games were fun! And Charlie was playing so well! And Henry wasn't nearly as hard to watch as he was last year! SCORE!!!
Trucks, dirt and watching big bro at bat! The life of a toddler at big brother's baseball games!

He also picked up ticks at this year. Which, of course, made me insane. I hate ticks. And they love the flippin' baseball fields. And chomping on Henry's itty bitty toddler parts. So gross.
Last year's spring season, we had to tempt Charlie with promises of a Dairy Queen ice cream cone if he'd get just one hit during a game. This year, that kid was getting himself a hit practically every time he got up to bat. Friggin' Dairy Queen, man. That's some seriously powerful motivation.

I was so proud, and quite surprised, by how much he had improved since this same time last year. As much as I jokingly say that DQ is the reason, I think it really has so much to do with his Dad's presence as a coach. They have such a bond over baseball. This is something a mom, at least ME as a mom, cannot give to Charlie. Mostly because they still make fun of me for not having a clue what is going on during the games. I have to ask a lot of questions. But I'm so glad it's something they share. And something Mike excels at as a Dad. Sports is so his thing. And now it's their thing. Adorable.
And then, all too quickly, we had finished out the regular season and were playing our first playoff game.

By this point, I was SO into it! I was so pumped up! So excited! I wanted them to win!! I wanted it for Mike. I wanted it for Charlie. I wanted it for all those kids who were playing their best. I wanted them to win just one playoff game. Just one.

That first playoff game was intense. For most of the game, we were winning. EVERY parent was standing up, pacing. Cheering. Clenching teeth. Leaning against the fence. We ALL wanted it for our kids.

And somewhere in the 4th, the other team caught up to our lead. Then in the 5th, we didn't score any runs. And they took it in the 6th. {Charlie read this over my shoulder and wanted me to make sure that I wrote that he got a double during this game, hee hee}

It. Was. Heartbreaking.

But I couldn't stop myself from photographing that last team talk from the coaches. Those Dads were truly upset. They wanted it too. They had worked hard along side those kids all season. I just think it's unbelievably amazing that these men take so much time out of their own lives - leaving work early several nights a week, dedicating Saturdays and sometimes Sundays, too - to support, teach and coach other people's kids. It's guys like these that make a difference in children's lives. It is so generous. And for that, it was hard to watch them have to close out the season on a loss.
And one last "hands in" cheer for the Scrappers. Who played their hearts out.

And that's the true measure of winners.

Also, guys. The light. Swoon.