I apologize for the delay in writing these last two posts, but as you will soon see, it's been a busy few days for us!
After we settled into our small apartment, we decided to go for a walk to explore the city around us. We found ourselves at an Asian supermarket and behaved like utter tourists, gawking over the aloe drinks and the large, open tanks of king crabs and lobsters. We settled on some snacks, which were met with varying degrees of acceptance. The "hawthorne" fruit is pretty darn gross, but the milk and honeydew lollipops were decent. And we had to get our favorite soda drinks that involve popping the plastic piece into place to release the carbonation (we've had these at a local restaurant before, but this place had a lot of flavor options).
We finally headed to bed around 10, and the kids woke up at 6 (pretty much their normal routine) with great excitement... for today was LEGOLAND DAY!!!! You know, the ENTIRE REASON WE CAME TO BOSTON. They were just a LITTLE EXCITED!!!!
We decided to leave for Somerville (the part of Boston where Legoland is located) early to beat the traffic and to find a place for breakfast before Legoland opened at 10 AM. We found the place easily, and since it was so early, I snagged a metered spot right in front of Legoland. We were practically the only ones walking around the outlet mall where Legoland is. We are pretty good at keeping ourselves busy, though. We found a place for breakfast with really good coffee (high priority when one is taking three children on vacation . . . and Legoland is on the agenda for the day!).
After we ate, we took a walk along a nearby path and discovered a kick-butt playground, complete with this crazy spinning contraption that not only moved as a large unit, but also had separate spinning jungle gym pieces. (I played on it for a while, but I really don't like being dizzy anymore. Must be an age thing? I used to love spinning rides when I was kid.)
As it drew closer to 10, we walked back toward Legoland, pausing to take a picture in front of a place called "Sugar Heaven." Gabrielle says this could be my Christmas card photo. :)
Time will tell!
When we reached Legoland, a small crowd of children had formed, their little noses pressing up against the glass. The employees opened 5 minutes early, and a cheer rose up from the kids. Liam turned to me and said, "This is my dream come true!"
Outside, there is an enormous giraffe constructed of Legos:
Inside, there were Lego figures everywhere, and the experience started with a guided tour.
We went through a virtual tour of the Lego factory and then on a ride where we had to shoot bad guys and save the Lego princess. We won, of course. ;) Then, we were deposited into the main part of Legoland. There were stations for building all over the place, a large jungle gym with oversized Lego pieces, a Ninjago center, a princess castle, and Liam's favorite, a place for building and testing race cars.
I am not joking even a little when I say he spent an hour building and testing cars. Ellie and Aidan soon found friends their own age to play with (though Aidan did spend a lot of time building cars, too!), and I built some too, but as the place got busier, I gave up my seat to you know . . . kids. As the kids played contently for over 4 hours, I quickly realized that the seasoned moms brought books to read. And this is not because they were neglectful in any way. It was because their kids were completely immersed in the world of Lego and creativity.
I found myself talking to a mother from Rhode Island whose (very tall!) 7-year-old son was playing with my kids. She brings her son to Legoland once a month as a reward (the train system makes that very easy!) and he absolutely loves it. We talked about our trip to Boston, and she gave me some tips about using the subway system. As women usually do, we ended up talking about our lives -- she's 7 years ahead of me in the single-mom game, and she shared some of her experiences with me. I told her a little about the transitions in our lives this past year, and before we parted ways, she assured me that I am doing a great job and that my kids are great. Again -- thank you for the affirmation, Universe! I told her the same: her son was well-mannered and creative and friendly.
While I was making a new friend, I kept a watchful eye on the kids and migrated to the various places they were playing. Ellie had assembled a team of girls to build a wall in the jungle gym . . . and Aidan had assembled a team of boys to attack it.
Before leaving, we watched a 4-D movie about the Lego characters from the movie being tricked by Lord Business's brother, Risky (complete with a joke about cheaper voice talent). We hit up the gift shop and emerged from Legoland happy, tired, and hungry. We went to lunch nearby, where Liam had -- you guessed it! -- grilled cheese; Ellie had pasta; Aidan had fish and chips; and I had a chicken bruschetta sandwich (I don't even want to know how much weight I've gained this week!!! And I don't care!!!). I threw in an order of fresh chips and another Boston IPA for good measure.
As we ate, Liam spontaneously hugged me and said, "You maded all my dreams come true today, Mom." Uh, WIN! I know he's little, but I think he really will remember this trip . . . or at the very least, LEGOLAND!!
We had decided to spent the afternoon in nearby Concord, so I could visit Authors' Ridge of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where Thoreau, Emerson, Alcott, and Hawthorne are buried.
This is Henry David Thoreau's grave. The kids were confused by all the "litter" there, but I explained that many people bring tokens of what his writing means to them, or how he inspired them as writers or thinkers. The graveyard was a little over Liam's head, but Aidan and Ellie thought it was very interesting. We even had a conversation about Transcendentalism and how believing that each human is a new expression of the Divine would shape our interactions with each other and the planet.
We ventured down to Walden Pond, to see Thoreau's cabin site (perhaps you can tell I love Thoreau by now?) and happened to see that the beach was open. And, we happened to have our swim stuff in the back of the van. And so it happened that we spent the rest of the day swimming in Walden Pond. If Legoland was a dream come true to Liam, this was a dream come true for this English major.
There is a replica of Thoreau's cabin (his actual site has concrete posts which mark where it stood), and a statue of my boy. While I am not so sure Thoreau would approve of my carrying an electronic device around with me, I think he would like my "Carpe Diem" approach to this entire vacation. Is the beach open? Let's go. Are you hungry? Let's eat. After all, we went on this trip to "live deeply" and to "suck the marrow out of life." We don't want to get to the ends of our lives and realize we haven't lived, either.
The water was too cold for my old-lady circulation system, but I happily sunned myself on the beach as the kids played. As I watched them, I noticed how each of the big kids are such natural leaders. Ellie decided to build an Aquarium on the beach, and her steady, quiet work soon drew other kids to her. They asked if they could help, and she politely put them to work. Aidan, on the other hand, is more of an extrovert and I heard him say to some older kids near him, "Follow me! We'll go to the deep area and mine for oysters." And they did.
And perhaps it goes without saying that Liam enjoyed himself too! Such a great day.