July 31, 2010

Ferry Rides, Nearly Denied, Porch Guides, Fun Outside (ECA Day 4)...

We decided to make Tuesday our "island" day. We knew we would only be able to travel to either Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket. Knowing not a whole lot about either place, and knowing that Sassy was dying to see the gingerbread cottages she saw in the Frommer's book, we went with Martha's Vineyard.

In the days leading up to our trip, Ashley and I kept referring to the fact that we would need to ride the ferry to get to Martha's Vineyard. So, Sassy and I were lying in bed Monday evening talking about what the next day would bring. At the end of our conversation, she asked if each of us would be riding the ferry. When I told her yes, her eyes widened like saucers and she said, "Wow, Mama. That fairy must have really big wings!" It made my night, to say the least...

Getting to the ferry was a bit of a logistical nightmare. We planned to leave on the ferry at 9:15 AM, and we barely made it! We knew the main parking at the ferry dock was full, so we went to the secondary lot, and that was full. So they sent us to the tertiary lot, where we found a spot, and saw the shuttle pull away as we unloaded. We waited for the next shuttle and arrived in time, but were forced to board with all the bike-riders. Ah, well... We were on board!

It was HOT! Seems to be a trend, huh? Cape Cod was experiencing very hot weather compared to the average high of around 78 in July. For whatever reason, sitting on the ferry wasn't nearly as refreshing as it might sound. There was very little breeze, and the floor of the boat was black and sandpaper-like. H-O-T. It was still a beautiful ride! Once we were able to get a nice big ice water for Sassy, she was very pleased!

Despite the heat, I felt compelled to take a few pictures of our view...

So, we got off at Martha's Vineyard, and this is about what happened...

Have you ever built something up in your mind a whole lot, and by the time you are in the middle of it, you are just too exhausted to even enjoy yourself. Yep, that was us. We had all these grand plans to hop from bus to bus and see all that the Vineyard had to offer: The Aquinnah Cliffs, the lighthouses, Edgartown, etc...

Not so much.

We barely made it beyond The Steamship Authority and into Oak Bluffs before we were regretting this trip. I hate to sound so negative, but that's what we were feeling. We immediately found a place to stop for lunch, hoping that after a meal and some air conditioning, we would feel refreshed and ready to explore! We decided on Sharky's Cantina. When we arrived, it was about 5 minutes until they opened for the day. However, they decided to remain locked until well past 10 past the hour. Grr...

Luckily, there was a cool blue door on the side of the building that made for a great photo background!

The food was excellent. I had a vegetarian burrito, and it was the single best meal I had on our trip. Sassy got a little toy shark with her kids meal, so she was happy!

After lunch, we headed directly behind the shopping area to the MV Campmeeting Association, wherein you could take a walking tour and view the gingerbread cottages. It's actually a large religious meeting place with a gorgeous open-air church in the center. Originally Methodist in affiliation, the church is now largely interdenominational, and one of the locals told us that while the church seats 300 or so, there are usually thousands that meet for Sunday services.

The cottages were so neat! It must be a very strange place to live, however, as there were a TON of tourists walking about. The locals went about their business... we saw many folks sipping coffee and reading the newspaper on their porch swings! Many people offered neat histories of their particular cottage, and were more than happy to answer questions. A neat place, but I can't imagine that wouldn't get old, you know?

After we were finished with our cottage walk, we returned to the main strip, did a little shopping (I had to get some Black Dog gear, right??) and may our way back to the ferry.

The ride back was exceedingly more enjoyable. We armed ourselves with snacks and ice cold beverages, and it was much less crowded and mush less scorching hot. Some of our views were just gorgeous!

Once we drove all the way from Woods Hole back to Dennisport, we barely had a moment to relax before we were off to Keith's family cottage in Eastham for dinner and socializing.

Talk about a beautiful property- their cottage was tucked at the end of a gravel road in a fabulous woodsy area. Sassy LOVED it!

We did lots of catching up- talked school and jobs and family and fun... grilled some hot dogs, shared some laughs...

When dusk began to settle in, Keith took Sassy out to hunt for logs so that they could build a fire. Dawn's Mom and sister came over, with Dawn's niece "A" and the girls had a blast roasting marshmallows and making s'mores for everyone.


Later, we sat around the fire and Sassy had Keith's Mom, Marcia, wrapped around her little finger in no time flat. Marcia became her official "hammock" attendant. She actually moved her chair away from the fire to sit closer to Sassy and push her in the hammock. At one point, Sassy must have been chilly, so as Marcia was walking away to retrieve her a blanket, Sassy calls out to her (no joke), "And a PILLOW!" I was basically mortified, but everyone was roaring with laughter, so I'm glad she was able to provide the entertainment for the evening...

We took a few "friends" pics and said or good-byes, making plans to meet up with Dawn and Keith once more Thursday.

There's really nothing better than realizing that time and distance have no bearing on true friendship.

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”
~Elisabeth Foley

July 30, 2010

Trip to the Beach, Toy Store Meltdowns, Agreeing on Peach (ECA Day 3)...

It was early Monday morning, and we knew what we had to do...

After all the build-up, all the talk over the past several months, Sassy was dying to get to the beach. After all, we had been in Cape Cod for over 36 hours without visiting the ocean or collecting sheshells. What were we thinking?

Sassy was so excited! Here is a little video I took from our bedroom before we left for the beach:

We decided to stay local for the day, and walked from our cottage down Depot St. to the first beach we hit. After being there for a while, Ashley and I came to the joint conclusion that we were likely on a private stretch of beach, but no one said anything to us, so we stayed. Chalk it up to {in}experience.

Sassy was so stinkin' excited to search for sheshells that she didn't even bother to take her swimsuit cover-up off for quite some time. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that she had her green pail 3/4 full with shells and other ocean treasures within 20 minutes. No joke.

Ash and I were finally able to convince her to take her cover-up off and, you know, stay a while... She continued to entertain herself by digging in the sand, collecting seashells, and showing us each and every one before placing it in her bucket.

I finally convinced her to take a break from her shell excavation and join me in dipping our feet in the ocean. She was pretty impressed with the vastness of her surroundings. It was fun explaining to her that the ocean went on for miles and miles and miles, further than we could ever see with our own eyes. It was such a special day for me as a Mom- to be with my girl making these memories that would last forever. I am so grateful that we are in a place to be able to afford opportunities such as this to our kids. Priceless.

Ashley, Sassy, and I had some fun frolicking in the ocean. The water was fairly chilly, but it was refreshing, also. We definitely enjoyed our time at the beach!

Sassy was slightly perturbed when I told her that she had to choose 15 of her favorite shells to take with her. At this point, I had no idea how many times we would be going to the beach throughout the week, but I envisioned needed an additional suitcase for Sassy's haul, so I had to draw the line somewhere. I think she snuck in a few extra for the day, but who's counting, really?

It was still fairly early, but our tummies were getting grumbly, so we decided to walk back to the cottage. Thank goodness we did, because not long after we returned home, it started to torrentially downpour. We had planned to grab hot dogs, but it was an outdoor hot dog stand, so no bones. We stopped at Joey's Pizzeria instead, and it was delish! (Thanks Frommer's) Even better than the food was conversing with Joey, the owner. Between his thick Boston accent and his charm and wit, all made for a very enjoyable lunch experience. Oh, and best Buffalo Chicken Pizza EVER!

We escaped the rain and chilled in the cottage for the afternoon. It was very relaxing to be inside and listen to the rain fall. Not going to lie, I kinda wish I was back there right now.

We ate leftover pizza and Chili's for dinner, and headed over to Orleans to take Sassy to The Red Balloon Toy Shop. I was looking for a place to buy Little A a Corolle Calin doll as a souvenir, and this was the place! For whatever reason, Sassy decided it a fine time to be a grump-a-lump, and she just couldn't choose a thing she wanted. I was about ready to leave her there, but she finally agreed to some coloring and sticker books, and we were on our way...

Just before heading home, we stopped at Sundae School. I honestly don't remember waiting in such lines ever for food before (Mike's Pastry, ice cream, hot dogs, etc)... so were excited for what was in store...

Sassy was a bit upset because the majority of the choices contained either chocolate or red dye, but with the help of a really friendly girl behind the counter, we settled on peach. I chose a blackberry ice cream with white chocolate chips. It was really yummy!

Finally, we returned to the cottage and got some rest. We were ready for what lied ahead the next day...

Out of the Mouths of Moms...

Thought I'd take a little break from ECA posts and participate in MckMama's newest blog carnival- Out of the Mouths of Moms...


So, here are a few of the ridiculous things I have caught myself saying recently...

Motherhood, how I love thee...

"Sweetie, we do not stick our hands in our panties at the dinner table. Ever."

"Yes, Mommy has a scar from where the ripped you out of my tummy. Thanks for asking. Oh, how did the baby get in there? Magic, sweetie."

(Touring Provincetown, MA and being asked incessantly about what we were seeing) "Many times Mommies love Daddies. But sometimes, Mommies love Mommies. And sometimes, Daddies love Daddies. And, it's all OK. OK?"

"Stop using the My Little Pony brush to brush your teeth. You are going to give yourself a bleed!"

"I can assure you there is no dog meat in that hot dog. Well, wait... what brand is it?"

So, there you have it. This is going to be fun! What crazy things have you found yourself saying lately, fellow mamas?

July 29, 2010

In a Twist, Almost Missed, First Kiss, Wedded Bliss (ECA Day 2)...

Sassy and I enjoyed our first night of rest at the cottage. It was a bid warmer and a bit stickier than the sleeping conditions I am used to, but the giant box fan we found stowed away in the master closet worked wonders!

Early in the day, we ventured over to Hyannis, after desperate searches to find some mega store we were familiar with. What?? No Target? No Walmart? We found ourselves barely able to function. We did, however, find a Kmart in Hyannis. So, to Hyannis we went.

We needed some staples. Somehow, we forgot that when you rent a cottage, you need things like extra toilet paper and paper towels. The bathroom was sans hand towel. The kitchen was sans sponge or dish towel. We needed some things.

Cape Cod was much more woodsy than I expected. I envisioned it to be one big beachy land mass. How ignorant am I?

After Kmart, we went next door for a quick bite at Panera. I could feel Tyler cringe from 1695 miles away. Dinner at Chile's the previous night. Now lunch at Panera... I firmly realize we were wasting our chances at "local" fare. But, sometimes you go with what you know, you know?

After lunch, we quickly came to the realization that our time was very limited until we had to leave for Dawn and Keith's wedding, so the next hour or so was a frantic mess of 3 ladies trying to get ready in one small cottage. I had promised Sassy I would curl her hair for the first time, and I just knew that the heat and humidity combined with the texture of her hair would not lead to positive results. But, a promise is a promise, right?

We were finally ready to go:

We hopped in Ashley's car and headed to Eastham for the ceremony. We headed directly to the windmill where the ceremony was held. We were running very close on time, and when we arrived at the windmill, there were no people...


Have I ever told you that I have really bad luck with getting to weddings?

It took a conversation with a local Jamaican fellow with super cool dreads to realize that we needed to back-track to Orleans and get to this windmill.

By the time we arrived at the right location, we had missed Dawn and Keith's entrance and Ashley and Sassy sat while I stood. Sad face. However, we were able to make it for all the actual ceremony stuff. Happy face! It was a beautiful ceremony, a gorgeous set-up, and the personalized vows were so sweet! I ♥ weddings!

Dawn looked absolutely stunning, and even though it felt like 136 degrees... in the shade... she was glowing! Although I had never met Keith, just hearing what he had to say during vows solidified the fact that I knew I was going to like the kid. Oh, and he's an ATC comrade... what's not to like?

It was just a hop, skip, & jump over to the Orleans Inn, where the indoor/outdoor reception was held. Dawn and Keith did a stellar job with table decorations and everything... the wedding was every bit of beachy elegance I had hoped for in attending a wedding on The Cape.

Sassy was enamored of the fans that were handed out at the ceremony, along with tiny little bottles of water. They really considered every detail!

We enjoyed a beautiful dinner, each of the three of us trying a different menu option. Ash had the chicken picatta, Sassy had the wild mushroom ravioli (which she ATE!!) and I had the stuffed sole. We watched Dawn & Keith dance and cut cake, and mingled and danced ourselves for a while. It was a great time, and the setting was just phenomenal!

Sassy became super-obsessed with hydrangeas on our trip, and the wedding was no break from this trend!

Once the wedding was over, we traveled back to the cottage to get some rest and prepare for our exciting day at the beach the following day...

Airport Drama, Angry Mama, Sleepy Llama, HOT-o-Rama... (ECA Day 1)

{I am driving myself a bit crazy knowing I have another entire week of vacation pictures and stories to share, as well a list of important to-do topics to post on. So, I will attempt to share our vacation pics as quickly as possible- here's fair warning that, depending on time, there may be several posts in one day covering our trip. For those small few of you who actually want to see all about our trip, make sure you scroll back to ensure you haven't missed any of the fabulous details!}

It was finally time for our highly anticipated East Coast Adventure (ECA). Dawn, a dear friend from college, was set to marry Keith, whom she met in grad school, out on Cape Cod.

The trip out there came to fruition in small steps. It was determined early on that Ashley and I would attend, and that Tyler would not be making the trip. We soon decided that we might as well make a week of it and rent a cottage, after paying for flights and all. Lastly, I decided to see how everyone felt about me bringing Miss Sassy, as I felt too guilty making a trip like that by myself, and I just knew she would be out of her mind excited about seeing the ocean for the first time and all that good stuff. Seeing as I have awesome friends (who I consider to be family, really), the idea was very well-received, and it was decided that Sassy and I would embark on our ECA together.

Fast forward several months, with all of our ducks in a row, we were ready to head east! Our flight was slated for 6:00 AM Saturday morning, and I was {of course} up packing until well past midnight. I am one of those people who just have to take a shower in the morning on travel days, regardless the time, to start off fresh. So, I was in the shower at about 3:45 AM when Tyler rushed in and tells me that our house phone just rang and there was an automated message about our flight getting cancelled and something about 5:30 AM departure...

Have I mentioned that I live 45 minutes from the airport, and not around the corner, like the airlines must vainly assume?

I truly didn't even have time to make a phone call- I just assumed that our new flight left 30 minutes earlier, and in order to make it, we had to leave the house in about 6 minutes. Did I also mention the fact that Sassy was still sound asleep?

One may question why I did not allow any extra time for airport dealings. Two phrases: 6 AM flight. Wichita airport. Enough said.

Long story short, we arrived to the airport "in time", but had about 3 minutes to check our luggage in order for it to make it on. There were about 60 people waiting in line (that never happens, seriously...) but they ushered everyone from our flight to the front (after all, they did make it 30 minutes earlier...) and got us our boarding passes. We were told to run to security (HA!) and it wasn't until I got there that I realized 2 things. The check-in chick had a) failed to print Sassy's boarding pass and b) failed to return my ID. HELLO?!? I know everyone was frazzled, but geez...

So, I had to run back, get those things, and book it to security. All the while, dragging Sassy and all my carry-on crap in tow. Two amazing things happened, though. 1) With all the confusion, the check-in lady forgot to charge me for my checked luggage and 2) they actually allowed us on the plane after the had closed the Jetway doors! I have never in my 28 years seen that happen, and I've seen people much more deserving than I beg and plead with the airline folks. It was nothing short of a small miracle.

Bad news again... once we landed in Atlanta, the Delta lady printed our next boarding pass, and it was then I learned that we did not have one connection to Boston, but TWO connections, first to JFK, then to Boston. I quickly saw my day-o-fun in Boston slipping away from me. And, I kid you not, I ran my ass off to make it to each connection. It was ridiculously stressful.

Sassy didn't seem to mind all that much:

Alas, we made it into Boston. Ashley was waiting for us, and we left the airport. We had originally planned to Ride the Ducks, but we headed straight to Feneuil Hall.

We did a quick self-tour and then headed to a place that came highly recommended- Mike's Pastry in the North End. Sassy was out like a light the entire time in Boston. Thank God Ashley had bought a little cheap umbrella stroller! Once we got the the bakery, there was a line through the shop that extended outside. CRAZY! But, we waited.

It was EXTREMELY hot and sticky, and we were all just so tired. We still had to grab dinner and stop at the grocery store before we got onto The Cape, so we called it a day, and saved our special treats for when we arrived at our cottage!

We stopped in Braintree, MA (loved the name), had dinner, and did our grocery shopping for the week. We continued on to The cape before we hit our final destination- our adorably quaint little cottage in Dennisport, MA.

We settled in a bit, enjoyed our awesome treats (cannolis for us, a cupcake with sprinkles for Sassy), and got to bed.

We had a very busy week ahead of us... ♥

To give credit where credit is due: For anyone with whom the title of my blog post did not ring a bell, run straight to your nearest bookstore and check out this children's book author. We adore her at the SPH!

Boston Ready, Sassy's 1st Pedi...

July 21, 2010

The View From Here...

July 20, 2010

The View From Here...

July 19, 2010

The View From Here...

July 18, 2010

The View From Here...

July 17, 2010


So, it will be...

Sweet Peas & Sassafras will be on vacation hiatus for the following week, save a "The View From Here" post or two, depending...

The goal was to share the rest of our Chicago trip while we were away again, but it was not to be.

Enjoy your week, and we'll be back soon!

July 16, 2010

Our Super Summer Vacay, Part VII

...AKA "The One Where it becomes clear why it is NEVER a good idea to take your children on a 2+ week Super Summer Vacay"...

Tuesday evening, Sassy began to complain of an earache. This came as no surprise, seeing as she spent an insane amount of time swimming over the past week.

Wednesday morning, we headed out with the troops to the Aurora outlets and did lunch and some shopping. Nana bought Sassy a new backpack and lunchbox for preschool, so she was over the moon.

Wednesday evening, Tyler headed up to Waukegan to sail with some old buddies in their Wednesday night race series. Kelli, Randy, and I met up with Mike and Lana at Molly Malone's for dinner and a few adult beverages while Nana and Uncle Rick held down the fort.

Sassy woke several times in the middle of the night crying about ear pain, and I knew this wasn't headed anywhere good, but I deferred until morning to see what developed.

Thursday, Kelli and I most certainly did not go back and forth about what to do, which did not lead into a rather large argument that was bound to happen when you have 2 families, 2 little kids, and a dog staying under one roof for an extended period of time. Ick.

{Trip falling apart...}

Aunt Kathy took Sassy to see Toy Story 3 and then to her house to spend the night. Ty and I thought we'd spend some one-on-one time with Little A...

...Any guesses where we went?...


That's right... IKEA!

And, there is only one bad thing about a trip to Ikea...

...It's when your trip to Ikea gets cut short by a phone call from Aunt Kathy telling us that we need to come get a sick Sassy and take her in. Fever, ear pain, and the beginnings of UTI symptoms... nothing to mess around with in a kiddo with VUR. Double ick.

So, after a chat with a nurse at Children's Mercy, Tyler headed to the ER with Sassy while I stayed home with Little A. Turns out she had a nasty internal ear infection (I was expecting external) and her urine was clear, thankfully!

Poor Morty didn't have it much better, unfortunately. Thursday marked the day that he finally had his, er, manhood lopped off. Poor Morty...

We had plans to take the girls to Brookfield Zoo Friday, and we really hemmed and hawed about what to do. Sassy was just devastated at the thought of staying home, so we agreed to go save that it would be a short visit and that she'd have to spend the majority of the time in the double stroller and not hiking about in the sweltering heat.

Aunt Kathy, Kelli, and Tucker joined us. We headed straight for lunch and then the new bear exhibit. The polar bears are my absolute favorite animal to see at the zoo, and Hudson did not disappoint, despite the fact that he was out of the water the entire time. Sassy found it positively splendid that Hudson was born the same year as she was.

We also really enjoyed The Living Coast exhibit. Our zoo has no aquarium-like exhibit to speak of, so this was really neat. The girls got a kick out of the way stingrays look to be smiling as they swim by. We also got to see a starfish feed on a fish, which was pretty fascinating. Neat stuff!

Sassy was a trooper, despite the fact she was feeling under the weather. She still enjoyed herself. We even had a good laugh at Auntie Kelli's "wingspan"... HA!

Uncle Mikey gave us money to take the girls out during the week, so he "sponsored" our zoo trip, and each of the girls were allowed to choose a souvenir. Sassy chose a stuffed polar bear and Little A chose a black bear. They both love them and sleep with them every night. Sassy even chose her polar bear, who she quickly named Hudson but changed it to Ariel after meeting my friend R's new baby Ariel, as her travel companion to Cape Cod!

As we were getting ready to leave the zoo, I noticed a the tiny rash that I had seen on Little A's chest earlier and attributed to heat rash had grown exponentially larger. I took one look at it and told Ty that we needed to get her in ASAP because I was convinced she had strep throat. Tyler thought I was crazy, but I just knew.

We took her over to Walgreens to have her seen at their Take Care Clinic before they closed. A quick exam and strep swab later, my fears were confirmed. Little A had strep. Now armed with two sick kids, Saturday morning couldn't come fast enough. Kelli made a frantic call to the pediatrician, rightfully concerned about all these germies Tucker had been exposed to, but they assured her that all should be well. We made a nice dinner for the boys, and they hung out with the kids while she and I met Aunt Kathy and Kait to see Twilight: Eclipse before bed.

We spent one last night sitting out back and having a beer together, and went to sleep. Tyler and I left early- around 4:00 AM and drove all the way home safely and soundly. Until next time, Chicago...

Our Super Summer Vacay, Part VI

We decided to spend the day downtown Tuesday. Sassy remembered our trip last fall quite clearly, and she was anxious to get back. We scrapped the whole driving thing and hopped on the train, which turned out to be a wonderful idea. We ended up a block from where we wanted to be, and the girls LOVED rising the train. In fact, they have been asking to ride a train again ever since we did this. A stark difference from public transportation, but fun to them just the same.

We headed straight to Millennium Park after we got off the train. It was a very hot day, but we enjoyed walking around the gardens and seeing the statues and sculptures.

Sassy was excited to head to the bean, so we did. It was fun to see Little A so into it this year. She wasn't quite as mesmerized during our last visit, so it was a nice reminder as to how big she is getting! We got our fill of the classic reflection poses and silly shots!

All summer long, Millennium Park is teaming with Target to offer a Family Fun Festival, with different theme weeks throughout the season. We happened to visit during China Week, where the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago had various interactive games, crafts, and displays to do for free. The girls even got their names translated into Chinese to hang in their bedrooms.

After all that fun, it was time for a lunch break. We jetted down Michigan Ave. and had lunch at one of our favs... Noodles & Co.

After lunch, we headed back to The Crown Fountain, and this time we were prepared with bathing suits and everything! The girls had a blast playing in the water, and it was really fun to watch them splish and splash away! It was crowded, but manageable, and memorable for sure.

We boarded the train towards home, and this was the sight to see in about 5 minutes, tops:

Another successful trip downtown for the books, and we could feel our summer trip to Chicago nearing an end...