Sunday, July 10, 2011

Everyone But the Lobster Had Fun

As has become an every-other-year tradition, we spent the past 4th of July weekend with M's parents, who made the long drive out from Wisconsin to spend some time with us. Though we didn't make it to any fireworks (9:15 p.m. on a school/work night is just never going to happen), we had fun, relaxed, and did our best to celebrate the nation's birthday. A rundown in photos follows.

Granny and Grandpa arrived the Thursday afternoon before the 4th. They battled traffic around Indianapolis and pounded the highway for two days straight, and still managed to arrive with smiles. Probably because they drive a Prius. Effin' gas mileage. We celebrated with Italian take-out, wine, and dessert. They brought presents for the kids, which we held over their heads to get them to eat said dinner. Dinner was eaten, gifts were gifted, and everyone went to bed happy. No non-blurry photos exist of this time period, so you will have to use your imagination to picture the reunion and the (faster than I expected) warming of the kids to their grandparents. It had been a year and a half since Finn and Lucy last saw their grandparents (Lucy was only 9 months old!), so I was expecting the shyness to last for some time, but it went by the wayside by bedtime or so.

Friday morning we bundled the kids off to daycare. Yes, some might think that cruel. But M. and I both had the day off (with some work to attend to all the same, those damn Blackberries never go away), and we knew that the next 3 days of constant kid-contact was going to be both draining AND ample time to enjoy their company. So, to daycare they went. We enjoyed a leisurely morning breakfast on the deck, did some grocery and bush shopping (Not at the same store. And don't get me started on the bushes, which were a replacement for hydrangea bushes we bought 4 years ago that NEVER BLOOMED. And always managed to get eaten by the effin' deer. Trying to keep this PG here. But I do NOT like those deer. When is hunting season? This vegetarian may be on board with some rifle action this year...).

Anywho, once the various shopping errands were taken care of, we took off for a lovely lunch in the Maryland country/mountainside. It looked like this.

Then we drove to a nearby winery to sample the wares.

Here is M. in his "I am a serious wine drinker, excuse my hat" pose.

A group photo. Notice that no one is trying to keep an eye on wayward children out of the corner of their eyes. This was a good choice.

After the tasting we each ordered a glass of wine to suit our own preferences (mine was the Pinot Grigio, Granny and Grandpa each had a different sweet/dessert wine, and M. had a hearty red, to give you insight into our wine preferences. This place, thankfully, had something for everyone), and we sat out on the lovely patio. Sans kids, if I haven't mentioned that already.

I decided to have an East Coast meal for my in laws, who are pretty land-locked out in Wisconsin. Because I am New England raised and not all that comfortable with whole crabs (and dieting, thus not all that comfortable with crab cakes), I decided to try my hand at lobster salad. I have never, ever cooked my own lobster before. I have eaten plenty, and not just lazy man's lobster at a restaurant. I've cracked 'em open and eaten them whole (after rinsing out the gross stuff, of course). But until last week, I'd never actually cooked one myself. Here he is once he was cooked. Yes, it was a he. No roe. I'm going to pretend he didn't suffer much. But I did. We don't have proper lobster removal utensils, so I had to use a hammer and kitchen shears. I managed to scrape a flap of skin off of one of my fingers in the process. But I do believe I got all of the edible stuff out, and the recipe I followed made a very nice lobster salad. I even managed to find top-split/New England style hot dog buns to do it up right!

We also ate corn on the cob. And this was the first time the kids were enslaved to husk the corn. But it won't be the last...

The next morning (Saturday), I waddled off to my weightwatcher's weigh in and then came back to wake up a sleepy head Lucy. Girlfriend was still sleeping at 8:50 am when I returned. I was only a little afraid she was dead.

There was some kind of Folk Life festival happening on the D.C. mall that weekend, so we opted not to go in to D.C. for our touristy activities with the in-laws (next time, next time). Instead, we went to the next best thing - the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum annex located just next to Dulles airport.

Parking may not be free, but the place is worth the trip.

For example, they have a SPACESHIP. A whole freakin' space ship. How often do you see one of those? Here is the big SPACESHIP'S HINY, making Grandpa look quite tiny in comparison.

Here is a patriotic Finn and Granny in front of some other kind of fighter plane-type aircraft. Shut up, I spent most of my time chasing Lucy. I didn't get to read any plaques.

I'll spare you more of the same, but we have lots of "little people, big planes" pictures. They also have an IMAX theater, where we saw a film called Fighter Pilots. Finn loved it, and Lucy spent her time walking from person to person in our party, removing her shoes and trying to lose them in the row in front of us. Needless to say, she was less enthralled than the rest of us, but for a 2-year-old, she did pretty OK.

Here we have Lucy being led out to the car by Granny and Grandpa, proof that she really, actually liked them by then.

In fact, she still (over a week later) asks for them every day, multiple times a day. It is both cute and annoying.

We grabbed a late lunch in nearby Reston, Virginia and let the kids explore the outdoor fountain. Making for good photo ops.

And fear of drowing.

The next morning we went to the local airpark for breakfast. I think I've blogged about going there before, but I'm too lazy to find the pictures. Anyway, picture a restaurant inside a building right next to a local airstrip, with hundreds of little airplanes parked within a several hundred yard radius.

Here we are after ordering our food. I don't know why I look weird. About to speak? Lucy looks like she's smelling something unpleasant, so maybe it's related.

Here is an action shot - you can get an idea of how close we are to the planes taking off and landing.

Cutie Lucy.

After breakfast the men went golfing and Granny and I took the kids to the pool. Um, no photos, for some reason.

The last day of the visit, the 4th of July. Here, 3 generations of M. men carry on the aircraft theme of the weekend by looking up videos of Blue Angels on YouTube.

M. made Bloody Mary's. They were yummy.

The kids "hid" behind their play kitchen.

We strolled around an outdoor lake/restaurant/shopping area. Hmm, though I don't see a UW shirt in sight, it's clear that Badger habits die hard in this family, given the amount of red, eh?

King Finn

Before grilling out in true 4th of July fashion (the only part of tradition, outside of televised fireworks, we were able to keep up), we finished off the afternoon with a neighborhood walk/scoot. Both kids had scooters and helmets. Only Finn actually scooted.

Lucy alternated between getting dragged along on her scooter in true Queen Bee fashion,

And getting carried...

One way or another.

Finn was ahead of the gang the whole time, having clearly mastered his new scooter (two-wheeled, the three-wheeled one was given to Lucy, with thus far weak results...)

And nature was manhandled.

Finally, Lucy would like you to know that she would now like to wear Pull Ups. Or, as she calls them, Cool Ups.

She doesn't always want to use the potty, of course.

(Though she is using it a few times a day.)

But, diapers? They're for babies, man. No more diapers for this chica.

(Or so she'd prefer, if Mom and Dad didn't balk at the cost of pull-ups and refuse to let her wear them at night).

It seems we may be doing this potty training thing again. Goodness.


  1. is the space ship one of the retired space shuttles?

  2. I went to a space museum in Huntsville, AL that was pretty neat. I was also running after/keeping-up-with kids, so I didn't get to read many plaques either. But still pretty amazing! What a busy visit you had!