Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Summer in NH

What an amazing summer we had!  The kids and I spent a busy 5 weeks in NH visiting with family and friends.  We started our NH summer with a weekend trip to North Conway.  The trip got off to a rocky start with a quick trip to the ER when Charlie fell from a highchair and hit his head hard on a cement floor.  I've never been so scared in my life!  Luckily he has a hard head and was fine after a bit.  It was the last time I put him in a highchair.  By the next day it was as if nothing had happened, his only reminder of the fall was a small bump on the back of his head.  The next morning we spent the day with Thomas.  Charlie was beyond excited to see Thomas and Sir Topham Hat in person. It was a little boys nirvana.  We climbed aboard an engine, took a ride on a railcar, and even got a ride on Thomas!  Charlie came home with a new Percy toy, and a few other goodies including a balloon almost as big as him.  Lily enjoyed herself too, sinking four hole in ones on the mini golf course and getting a butterfly painted on her face.
That afternoon and the whole following day we spent at Story Land.  This year Charlie was tall enough to go on all of the rides and was not about to miss even one.  We got soaked on Dr. Geyser's Raft ride, spun ourselves sick on the Turtle Twirl and screamed on the Polar coaster.  By the end of the day we were all exhausted.  The kids went home with my folks, while Lucas and I headed a bit farther north to the Mount Washington Resort for an anniversary getaway.  We had an amazing meal in the main dinning room with a view that over looked the mountains.  After dinner we sat out on the back terrace and enjoyed the sunset before exploring the historic hotel.  We checked out the Cave, which used to be a hidden prohibition speakeasy, and walked through what would have been private dinning rooms originally, and took in some of the historic photos that are all around the hotel.  We headed back to our room to enjoy the chocolate covered strawberries and champagne from my folks and some other yummy treats, a gift from the hotel, for celebrating our anniversary with them.  
Of course we also hit many of the "local" favorites while in NH, including Parker's Maple Barn, which has been around since I was a little kid, and has possibly the best breakfast in NH.  We also made a couple of stops to Hayward's for gigantic ice cream cones, another icon from my childhood.  Of course, what summer could be complete without trips to Silver Lake.  We made two trips to the lake.  The kids had a blast playing in the water, tracking fish, digging holes, and having picnic lunches.  We also spent plenty of time playing in the yard with bubbles, bikes, chalk, and their arrest me red mustang.  They even had fun helping Grammy mow the lawn and water her flowers. Mom and I also spent a day with the kids in Boston shopping at Faneuil Hall and eating at Quincy Market (I got my chowda fix!) and then taking a ride on the Duck boats.  We even swung by the Boston Aquarium to watch the sea lions swim for a bit, and made a quick detour to the North End for some Italian pastries before we headed home.
While my folks spent a weekend in the Hamptons for a friends wedding I kept the kids busy by taking them to see the Clydesdales at Anheuser Busch.  It was a much bigger hit than I thought it would be.  The kids were absolutely fascinated by the huge horses and got to watch two of them get bathed.  We even got to see some of the horses practice around the complex hitched to one of the wagons they use in parades.  We weren't alone for long though, that Sunday my sister and brother-in-law flew in for a few days to surprise Dad for his 60th birthday.  Dad was totally surprised by the unexpected visit and enjoyed a fantastic birthday dinner at The Bedford Village Inn and then dessert with the kids and good friends.  But, I think the highlight of the day was the box of letters from family and friends that Holly spent months putting together.  As he so eloquently put it, the gifts he was given were nice, but eventually they will either break or be tossed, but the letters he got from everyone will be with him forever.
A big thank you to my wonderful brother-in-law Steven for suggesting a day at Canobie Lake Park.  I can remember visiting this park as a kid and on school trips and I had forgotten how much they have for young kids to do.  The kiddie land has been expanded and they still have all the old favorites I remember as a kid, including the duck and fishing well games.  The kids had so much fun on the kiddie rides and I loved that I didn't have to go on the rides with them, such a nice reprieve!  We did a few of the "big kid" rides too, including the Boston Tea Party, a huge log ride that soaks you to the bone.  Steve and I spent the rest of the day trying to dry off, Uncle Steve gets a gold star for going with us!  We also enjoyed a few rounds of skee ball, a ride on the train, and of course we had the requisite ice cream and powdered fried dough.  By the time we left the park we were all exhausted, had tired feet, and two kids covered in powder sugar!
When we'd walked around Boston Lily noticed the boats going on whale watches and really wanted to go.  Since we had already planned the Duck boat and Grammy and boats (on the open ocean) don't get along we had to pass.  So, Papa "volunteered" to take the kids with me on a whale watch out of Rye, NH. We headed up early and had a picnic lunch at Ordiorne State Park and then said goodbye to Grammy at the dock as two very excited kids headed out to see whales.  Before we even pulled away from the dock though Lily lost her second tooth.  Something she had been nursing for a month and a half!  The whale watch was a big hit, we saw a bunch of Minke whales and even saw two seals.  Just a tad bit disappointed we didn't see any Humpbacks though... maybe next summer?

We also got to squeeze in a visit with cousins Henry and Louisa, who came up from Queens to visit us.  Unfortunately we had a rainy day so after lunch we took the kids to see Despicable Me 2 and then to the hotel for some pool time!  The kids had such a good time together, it was as if they'd seen each other just the week before.  Thanks guys for making the trip!  Also squeezing in a visit to NH was my Dad's cousins Richie and Gail.  The kids loved seeing them again since we used to visit each other so much when we lived in NJ.  It was a great two days spent together.  Thanks for coming up Richie and Gail!

It was an awesome summer and we've taken many wonderful and amazing memories back to Shanghai with us.  Thank you to my folks for putting up with us for five weeks!  Thank you to all my family and friends for taking time to visit with us and helping to make the summer so special, as always it went by too fast.  We miss you all and can not wait for next summer!