Katie came and picked me up with Mia and Hayden sitting in the back of the Dodge Caravan in their car seats. So good to see their little faces! So excited and happy. It was way past their bedtime, so after the initial flurry of getting me in the car, Hayden was out like a light. Katie and I tried to visit and catch up, but apparently I was also supposed to be the navigator, and we kept making wrong turns or getting in the wrong toll road line so I had to pay attention to the GPS and guide us safely back to Worcester. Of course, once we got there the little girls went to bed and I tried to unpack the essentials and settle in. I couldn't get to sleep for the life of me. The Massachusetts clock was 3 hours ahead of me, and the more I thought about how I needed to sleep, the more I couldn't. I think I ended up getting about 4 hours. Not a good start, but surprisingly (luckily), it didn't seem to affect me very much.
Wednesday dawned early - Mia and Hayden are up with the birds! - but they were very good to tiptoe out of the room and let me sleep. But of course I couldn't, knowing the girls were downstairs and the week was ahead of me. We had to grocery shop, getting some essentials and also some ingredients we needed for our tea party that afternoon. Katie had made some white cake cupcakes (my favorite!) and while Katie was resting, the girls and I made our Sand Dollar Cookies. We had planned to have an "Under the Sea" tea party.
When all was prepared, Katie put the final touches on our strawberry lemonade, and we all got ready for "tea." Hayden was totally into it, donning her jewels, sundress, and a big floppy hat. And her baby. Mia didn't want to dress up. She is not into frilly or ruffly these days, and insisted on wearing her parka and jeans. Whatever. Katie was brave, carrying out stemmed glassware and plates into the front yard area for our crazy little tea. Now, I could tell the sweet image she had in her head of how all of this was going to look. But I also have the years to know that kids - especially your own - hardly ever follow the plan. They rarely even read the book in the first place. So Mia was in jeans with holes in the knees, Hayden had crazy hair going on under the hat, and one of the glasses got knocked over and broken. It just wasn't the beautiful picture we'd envisioned - you know, beautifully dressed up girls with curled hair, flowers woven through it, perfect manners, the usual nonsense. Mia rode her scooter around, wouldn't sit down, and would instead swoop in for a treat before riding off. Poor Katie was so frustrated! But these are real little girls, not images from a styled photo shoot, and we had ourselves a good time anyway. Until the glass broke. Ah... that also happens in real life. So instead of something out of a fairy tale, here is our motley crew:
Oh, and did I mention the pink eye? Yes, Hayden came down with it the first day I was there. Such fun trying to get a 3 year old to hold still when you put stinging drops in her eyes. She cleared up pretty fast, though. We thought we were home free. Silly us...
On Thursday morning we headed out for Cape Cod for a couple of days with the girls. We had no idea where we were going, trusting our fate to the GPS. Sadly, though, the hotel was located on what we thought said Lyanough Rd. It wouldn't come up on the GPS, but we bravely set out, hoping there would be bread crumbs or something to show us the way. As we neared the area, we turned off and asked a couple of locals in a parking lot if they knew where Lynough Rd was. They didn't. I called the hotel and told them basically where we were and they gave me some simple directions. That was when Katie got into the car after conferring with the locals. She was shaking with laughter. Turns out we should have been looking for Iyanough Rd all along. We read the upper case"I" as a lower case "l" - no idea why, but we did. We are map impaired, and as it turns out, we are GPS impaired as well, if we can't read a simple address. Oh well - we got there, didn't we? After we stopped laughing, anyway.
The hotel had (drum roll please...) an indoor SWIMMING POOL! And that's all the girls wanted to do. So we donned our suits and trekked down to the pool where they swam for what seemed like hours. It all started coming back to me how hard it is to get kids out of a pool. Mia is a little fish, and Hayden is right behind her. And Katie is the original water baby.
While we were at the pool we got a recommendation for dinner: Captain Parker's Pub. At first people were recommending places like Olive Garden. Really?!? I can eat there any time. We wanted Cape Cod food. A man who was another guest told us about Captain Parker's - said they'd won prizes so many years for their clam chowder that they weren't allowed to compete anymore. So off we went.
We weren't disappointed. Not in the chowder anyway. The service was another matter - terrible waitress. By the time we got our food (other than the chowder) the girls were starting to fall apart. I had them box up everything and we took everything back to the hotel. It was a little bit disappointing but all in all we had a great time. While we'd been waiting for our table, there was a group of four men eating in the bar next to where we were waiting. Hayden spilled Katie's purse over and a bunch of Skittles spilled on the floor. One of the men looked at Hayden and said "There's a red one - if you don't eat it, I will!" Hayden didn't know what to think about that, so the man grabbed the red Skittle off the floor and popped it into his mouth. He looked at Katie and said "You need to teach her about the 5 second rule. I never pass up a red Skittle!" We laughed and got to talking to them, and they gave us some suggestions for things to do the next day. I love being on vacation when you meet friendly locals. It really was fun talking to them as it was obvious they'd been friends for a long time, and all had grandchildren of their own.
Back to the hotel after dinner for a good night's sleep and the rest of our dinner! The next morning we got up and, taking our new friends' suggestion, took the girls to the Zooquarium, located right behind Captain Parker's Pub. They had a petting zoo, a bird show, a small aquarium with local fish and sea life, and PONY RIDES! It was a hit. The girls bought handfuls of corn to feed the deer, sheep, and llamas. When that was gone, Mia got industrious and ran around picking up all of the corn that had been spilled on the ground.
They both wanted to ride the pony, so each one took a turn, and had big smiles the whole time.
It started to rain, and so we grabbed the girls and got them in the car. Time for lunch! Katie's friend had told her about a place called Brax Landing that had good food, so off we went in search. As it turns out, it was an excellent tip: Katie and I shared a lobster roll and lobster mac 'n cheese. It was AMAZING, and I want more. Immediately. Our waitress was the best. Totally catered to the girls, brought us all food we loved, and had the thickest New England accent you can imagine.
She was so perfect, it just made my whole day. The restaurant had a whole wall of windows that looked out over a little harbor where everyone kept their boats, and it was such a pretty scene. I would go back there in a second. After lunch, we just drove around and did a little exploring. We found a wonderful place with benches above a little beach with the water just a few feet away. Had it not been raining I could have sat there and watched the girls play for quite awhile. Such a quiet spot, with a quaint little neighborhood of cottages just behind. Did I mention I love Cape Cod?
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a little shop that sold sea glass jewelry. Katie bought a ring (she loves rings) and I got a bracelet with a pretty piece of blue sea glass set on it. A nice memento of our little New England jaunt. I suggested we stop and get some salt water taffy at a place we'd seen on the way in, so we did that also. Sadly, as we backed out of the parking space, Katie hit a post that was painted white with red stripes that was protecting a small brick retaining wall. We just didn't realize it was there, but the bumper got a 3-4 inch scratch where the paint came off. Ouch... Nothing like putting a damper on a great day.... We pulled into a body shop we passed and Katie jumped out to have them look at it to assess the damage. She likes her ducks in a row before calling the Mister. A very nice man came out with a rubbing compound and got the red paint off the bumper. He guessed about $380 in cost to fix, OR - we could buy a can of spray paint to match and just patch it. I don't know which one they'll end up doing, but it was nice to have the option. And luckily, Zach wasn't too upset about it. The sun came out after that.
The rest of the time spent there was nothing really notable. We all went out to eat at a local Thai place (that advertised that they had "lobstah!"), we went to church on Sunday, I made them one of my special recipes for dinner one night. I played at least a hundred games of Disney Princess Memory, we built things with Legos, we spent lots of time playing unicorns and My Little Pony. I had one heart to heart talk with Mia, in which she confided that she wanted to take her OWN shower, instead of a nightly bath with Hayden. She's growing up... Very everyday things, and yet they are the memories that are etched in my heart. Hearing Hayden whisper "YESSSSS!" whenever she got a match, and Mia saying "It's weird, but I usually win at Memory..." (Except when Hayden wins!) I tended to zone out. One Princess began to look like another. I was having too much fun having 2 girls enjoy spending time with me.
Mia got the eye crud on Sunday night. Awful stuff. More hand washing. Katie came down with it Monday night and it was really bad when she had to take me to the airport on Tuesday. We picked Mia up early from school and set off for Boston. Several tolls later, we were finally there. It was hard to leave my girl when I knew she didn't feel good.
I sadly trudged into the airport terminal. Where I sat for the next 4 hours because my plane broke. Jet Blue finally found us another plane and we took off at last. But our arrival time was pushed back from 7:30 to after 11pm. Brutal...
And so now I'm home. And I almost dodged the eye crud. Until yesterday when my left eye started to crud up and swell. UGH... One call to my brother in law (thank you Dr. Rick!) and a day later, it's finally starting to look normal. I'm hoping to be able to wear my contact lenses tomorrow. It was a crazy week that was full of activity. Some of it was nothing special, some of it was constant on the go running around. But all of it was memory making at it's finest. Lots of cuddles, silliness, and I love yous. And everyone knows those are some of the best things in life.