October 2011

Monthly Archive

fall visit to new england

Posted by lynn on 21 Oct 2011 | Tagged as: family, friends, melina, nalani, travel



For years I’d been thinking how fun it would be to head to New England in the fall. A visit with Todd at his Vermont country home, a quick tour of the city I fell in love with at age 14 yet never managed to re-visit, and famous fall colors awaited. About six months ago I realized this was the year. Melina starts kindergarten next, and Nalani still flies free before age 2. The first week of October off we went, just Joey, the girls, and me.

For a fuller view of our adventure, see our New England photo album.



Our trip proved to be one of the best vacations I’ve had in several years. And I mean vacation. We didn’t expect it, what with the hustle and bustle of Boston (not to mention the shoe-box-sized hotel room, with just two full beds, a porta-crib, a small TV, and the miniest fridge I’ve ever seen), the two very small children (we decided to skip Melina’s naps on non-driving days), the time difference, and the oodles of things I personally wanted to see. But somehow it all worked, and better yet managed to rejuvenate and at moments even relax us. Being “just us,” and just four of us, helped. Nalani being too young to engage in bickering bouts with her big sis also helped. And being a new place for all of us, with plenty of fun things to check out, pushed it over the edge for me. On to the highlights…



Melina realized a love of statues. It started with the bronze representation of the Make Way for Ducklings set in the Public Garden. (She sat on each of the nine statues, posing for a photo on each. Then sat on Mrs. Mallard for a good 20 minutes while Nalani climbed on and off the baby ducks. ) From there it just took off. In Boston and the other New England towns we visited there’s sometimes a statue at every turn. Not so in California. She wanted to know who each one was (George Washington and his horse in the Public Garden, and no it doesn’t say the horse’s name; a metallic man sitting on a bench on Blackstone Street; Molly Stark with a babe-in-arms in Wilmington) and kept asking me, “What’s inside them?”



For our super touristy activity, we took an 80-minute Duck tour of the town in an amphibious vehicle with a guide wearing a jester’s suit. I’d thought Melina would get a huge kick out of a car that also goes on the water. She liked it ok, but the real benefit was to Joey and me, who were able to get an overview of the city with our small children seated next to us in a vehicle instead of dragging slowly behind as we walked. Joey wanted to visit both Cheers bars. The original inspiration on Beacon Hill was much more authentic, both to the show and as a good ole’ pub in which to hang out. Melina got a root beer in a bottle at each, and got to hang out at the bar on a stool at Beacon Hill. We also rode the T to visit the Children’s Museum.



We did a quick, er, “tour” of the Freedom Trail. Not really a tour so much as following the red line (Mina in the stroller and Nali the Ergo so we could actually get some speed) and quickly looking at graveyards, building exteriors, and monuments along the way. We made it from the Boston Commons to Paul Revere’s House in the North End, conveniently located down the block from the Italian restaurant where we had early, white-tablecloth dinner reservations. (Limoncello – delicious and authentic in a SF North Beach sorta way. And both girls were angels.)



I got Melina to go into the Paul Revere house with me just before it closed. Our first in-depth look at a historic site! I was excited to take in all four or so rooms of the 17th century home. Melina took about three looks at the enormous hearth with its blackened floor and large pots, and the tiny furniture (that’s what she remembered after we left “Mama, why was the furniture so small?”), and decided this was the house of a witch. There was no getting her upstairs, no matter how much I tried to reassure her.



After two full days in Boston, we picked up a rental car and headed out of town. We stopped in Concord for lunch and a quick stroll amongst the small-town pumpkin displays and early fall colors. A perfect, crisp-but-sunny New England fall day. We pulled up to Todd’s just in time for dinner (and complete with a recent projectile vomit from Melina, who, we now know for sure, does get car sick when she tries to read on windy roads). The highlight of our Vermont visit was chillin’ with Todd (and super dog Maggie), in his cozy house on his gorgeous 10 acres of hilly land, just outside a small town that unfortunately was badly hit by Hurricane Irene in August. It was great to see how much the residents of Wilmington (Todd included) have pulled together to rebuild their town and their roads. As Todd put it, nobody waited for the government, people just got to work and are still working.



The girls loved playing with Maggie and exploring the house and land, including it’s swing that’s been hanging from a tree for who-knows-how-long. Melina had a blast playing the Cyclone! pinball machine Todd hooked up in his basement, and staying up late to eat dinner with the grown-ups on Todd-time (i.e., 10pm). Nalani, as usual, stuck with her own routine. We also got to see some early colors, one of our reasons for traveling in the fall. Todd said the season seemed to be later than usual this year, and also seemed to be less intense, maybe because of Irene. We still got a muted quilt of red, gold, and yellow woven into late summer green, most majestically from a scenic chair lift ride up to the top of Mount Snow. Nalani didn’t appreciate THIS attraction in the least. So little so that she threw a full-fledged tantrum, complete with head-banging screams, the entire 25 minute ride back down. (Fortunately, she was attached to me in the Ergo.)

Our plane ride home was much less eventful. And once we walked through our own front door Melina got to stop saying, “Daddy you keep forgetting we’re not going home, we’re going to the hotel!” whenever Joey used our resting spot for the night as a metaphor for home.

happy 18 months, nalani!

Posted by lynn on 14 Oct 2011 | Tagged as: nalani

baby girl

At a year and a half our spunky little girl is full of love, hugs, and squeals (including what we call her her frustrated pterodactyl screech). She still loves routines, and asks for night night time by 8pm each night. She was the only one of us to adapt to east coast time in the week we were away. (Melina, Joey, and I just stayed up late and slept in. Nalani’s clock must be tied to the sun.)


She waves and calls bye bye to Kai and me when we leave the house each morning, and knows that shoes come off when we get into the house each evening. The other day I had to circle the block several times before finding parking in front of Melina’s preschool, and each time we passed the school Nalani let out a half-panicked, half-confused yelp.


Nalani has Joey’s temperament to a T. She is totally chill, goofy, and music- and fun-loving the majority of the time… until she’s not. There’s no slow warm-up with this girl; it’s all or nothing. She’s been throwing full-fledged tantrums for over a month (Joey says she’s more stubborn than him), and also has frequent moments where she she needs to do what we call a “reset” (basically pout and take a breather without interruption) when little things don’t quite go her way.

She’s also testing limits, including pounding a toy on the glass doors to Melina’s room even harder when I told her to stop. (I took away the toy. She got another. I took her into another room. Problem solved.) She loves to play, and loves being outside. She says a toothy “cheese” for the camera, tries to snap her fingers, attempts to repeat a good half of our words, and follows Melina’s every move – when she’s in the right mood.

Happy year and a half, baby girl!