Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Hour's Drive

We recently went to two places about an hour's drive from Newton for some family fun.

We did our annual summer trip to the Mendon Drive-In on a recent Saturday night to see Toy Story 3. Marc and I have been going there for many years now, and it's a great evening. For $20/car, you can see two movies, usually a more kid-friendly one first, followed by one for the adults. They start letting in cars at 6:30 on the weekends, but the movie doesn't start until it gets dark. Fortunately, if you arrive early, you can hit their great snack bar for a dinner of junk food (we recommend the jalapeno poppers) and ice cream. Families spill out from their cars and kids run around playing catch and soccer until it's time to use your car's radio to tune in to the movie. We were excited to take our new car there for the first time, and both Max and Hannah surprised us and stayed up until the movie ended at nearly 11.

This past Sunday we traveled to Edaville USA in Carver for the "Day Out with Thomas" event. Max was really excited, and knew that it was the day to ride Thomas as soon as he woke up that morning. We arrived right as the park opened at 9, but I was a bit sad to see that it was a pretty run-down place. The rides were just okay, and while Hannah had a reasonably good time, Max was upset that we didn't get a turn to ride Thomas until our ticketed time at 10:50. We rode the train for about twenty minutes with a Thomas soundtrack accompanying the plywood animals that decorated the path. Then we had lunch and left, getting home by 1 pm. I was a bit surprised by what was a pretty lackluster experience, but it did inspire Max to play with a wooden train set that he'd largely ignored. I'm glad we went, but it definitely didn't live up to my expectations.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A 20 Minute Drive Makes Me 10 Years Older

This past weekend was my 10 year Brandeis University reunion. While I debated whether or not I should go, since many of my closest friends wouldn't be able to attend, I felt compelled to be there. I live less than 20 minutes from campus, and had no other major plans for the day, so I couldn't justify sitting at home instead.

I signed up for the Saturday daytime events, and drove to campus by myself early that morning. And I missed the turn off of Route 30. I can't tell you how many times I've been through that intersection, and it made me laugh. But, in my defense, it was my first time actually being the driver on that route, since I didn't have a car back then. Pulling up to the half-circle driveway was surreal. The campus volunteers pointing out the parking lot were SO YOUNG, and how could I possibly be older than them? It was a similar set up to our first day on campus, when you spent time waiting in the parking lot until there was room for your car near the dorm, and while I didn't feel quite as excited as I did in 1996, I did feel like I was home.

The day went by quickly. I picked up my registration materials in the room where we used to hold weekly Shabbat dinners, big enough to accommodate a crowd of 400, but now feeling so small. I attended a lecture on health care featuring two of my old professors in one of the new buildings on campus, realizing I can't remember what the building was that used to be there (though I think it might have been where BEMCo, the Brandeis Emergency Medial Corps, of which I was a member, albeit a very fractional one, was). Marc and the kids arrived after going to services, and it was raining, so the BBQ that should have been outdoors was held under a big tent. We all got fairly wet, but the kids enjoyed the bouncy house, Build-a-Bear craft and balloon animals. We waited around until the class photo, and it was amazing to see how many of us were actually there. I took some photos of the kids by the Justice Brandeis statue (hello, admissions applications of 2021 and 2025!), and then Hannah and I took a quick tour of the library and the old student center before arriving at the Castle. I was lucky enough to live there sophomore year, but was a bit sad to see that living conditions hadn't improved at all for all of the students since then. We had our ice cream sundaes and I had a few conversations, but the highlights were getting to see old friends Carl and Arye. Hannah and I walked back across campus and spent a little time in the troubled Rose Art Museum before heading home.

It was a great day, and I'm glad I went. Looking back now, my time at Brandeis went by in the blink of an eye, and it was fun to revisit the person I used to be then.

An Event A Day

The past few weeks have been quite eventful, but a lot of fun. Here's the run down since my last post:

June 4: both kids stayed home from school with mild illnesses
June 5: we took the kids to apply for passports, and I attend Julie's bachelorette party at King's that evening
June 6: Marc attended Sarah and Josh's wedding in New Jersey, Hannah and I went to Julie's bridal shower and Max did his first solo baby-sitting stint
June 7: JCC daycare end-of-the-year picnic
June 8: I had a cavity filling that filled me with dread
June 9: parent-teacher conference for Max (and Grandma Susan's birthday!)
June 10: end-of-the-year class party for Max and I had dinner with Stephanie and Ana at The Local (and I had a fantastic time!)
June 11: Marc attended Hannah's end-of-the-year class party
June 12: my Brandeis reunion (see the next post for more details), Max had a birthday party
June 13: both kids had birthday parties

Which brings me up to yesterday, June 14, a strikingly normal day! The next few weeks are busy, but not in quite the same way.

Thanks for all of your suggestions on places where Marc and I should try to get away - we're keeping them in mind, but it looks like we'll be spending our next kid-free weekend getting some things done around the house. Staycation it is!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Back To Life - And Maybe an Escape From It?

It's been a while since I've updated things here, and that's honestly a good thing, since it means I've been back to my normal, busy life. My back is doing very well. There are little twinges here and there, and technically I'm still healing from the surgery, but I'm doing really great. I went back to work on April 26, and it's been incredibly busy there (which is definitely a good thing). While I still don't love my commute, I am happy to be back in the office.

May was a really busy month for us. It began with a bit of a crisis here in greater Boston, with what became known as the Aquapocalypse, as we were under a boil water order for a few days. We escaped to Connecticut for part of that time to celebrate my niece and nephew's first birthday, and we all enjoyed their party very much. Max attended two of his classmates' second birthday parties, and Hannah had two religious school assemblies, a Spanish class party, a school fair and a class picnic as well as a field trip to the zoo (which I chaperoned and thoroughly enjoyed). Marc chanted Torah for the first time on the holiday of Shavuot and also was elected to our synagogue's Board of Trustees. We had friends over for Shabbat dinner one week and another family over for a BBQ the following week. I saw "Babies" and "Sex and the City 2" with friends and enjoyed the time out on my own. We bought a few new things for the house, and most importantly, after about two years of discussing it, we finally bought a new car. It seems like every day has had a big event, but it will be nothing compared to the month of June with all of its end-of-the-school-year celebrations and transitions to camp and new daycare classrooms, events for Julie's wedding and my 10-year college reunion.

And all of this has gotten Marc and I thinking that we really need to take a break, just for the two of us. We tried to do this last December, but our one night away wasn't enough, especially because my back bothered me for most of that time. But where should we go? Should we use part of that precious time to fly somewhere new, or have a staycation on our own? What would you do if you could get some time away? Any thoughts and suggestions are welcome!