Browsing Category: etc.

Scenes from Saturday + Truck Stops & Handpies

If you are reading this it means we’ve survived our 12 hour car trip across the border into Canada without an international incident and are back in PEI for a week of mussels….and not much else beyond a relaxing end to the summer.

Family road trips can be many things but mostly they are a test for parents on how long they can keep kids occupied before the children reach their breaking point. I try to see this as a way to help them develop patience and slowly prepare them for a life of sitting in a cube working on TPS reports.

The girls actually did great. We’ve built up their stamina with road trips to Jersey, Philly, and DC and they handled the extra hours pretty well. We did Harry Potter on audio, they did a few movies, there were silly road games, some French pop on the radio, and a breakfast truck stop.

We have three cardinal rules for our road trips: First, keep everyone fed. Second, embrace the chaos with as much humor and patience as you can muster. Third, always bring baby wipes no matter how old your kids (or their father) get. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Low Tide & Finish Lines

The girls were at Camp Grammie again last week so I was free to channel surf without thoughts of pre-teen appropriateness. I ended up catching a big chunk of The Breakfast Club for the first time in years. I, uh, noticed I had a different reaction than when I originally saw it.

Back then I mostly identified with Emilio Esteves’ disaffected and misunderstood jock. Or, at least I wanted to. I was probably (ok, definitely) most like Anthony Michael Hall’s uptight, rule abiding nerd. Watching it now? I am definitely the principal. God help me, I just want to get through the day, enjoy the weekend, and drink my coffee while it’s hot but these pesky kids won’t leave me alone. They don’t listen, they’re noisy, they get into things they’re not supposed to, they don’t sit still, and they are terribly dramatic. So dramatic.

Also, the custodian. I’m down with him, too. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Grasshoppers & Hand Pies

It’s still only the beginning of August but we started blocking out the kid’s fall schedule. It’s going to be busy. My little car is going to be shuffling around Metrowest every afternoon.

I’m happy the girls have lots of interests but we also had to talk about making choices. I had to explain the dangers of FOMO and the myth of keeping up. I got that ‘Dad’ look from both of them. Drama camp has really paid off. They’ve got some some world-class eye-rolling now!

But it’s important, I think. These girls are about to be inundated with options, data, possibilities, and information. If I struggle to deal with it on a daily basis and stay sane, how are pre-teen girls going to handle it? Like a drop of water against a stubborn rock, I’m just going to keep dripping this into their ears and hope it makes a mark.

Be purposeful in your choices, know who you are, know what you care about, and don’t lose sight of the difference you’re trying to make in the world. Continue Reading

Metrowest Places: Country Kitchen Coffee & Donuts

Country Kitchen Coffee and Donuts Millis

You really only need to know two things about Country Kitchen. They’ve been around for almost 50 years and they continue to thrive as a coffee and donut joint right next to a Dunkin’ Donuts. Their secret really isn’t hard to suss out, either: a small selection of products made by hand with quality ingredients. The friendly and efficient service doesn’t hurt either.

While the original location in Walpole has been around for half a century, there is now a new location in Millis right off 109 near Ryan Family Amusements and I’m happy to report that they’ve brought all the same qualities that made the original location a success to this new venture. This more convenient location might be bad news for my waistline but good news for breakfast fans. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Ukuleles & Bikinis

In the summer, things slow down and that slower pace can allow some time to reflect. Unless you do track workouts with your running group on summer nights, then the pace picks up, but maybe there’s still time to reflect. When you are finished. And gasping for breath. And hunched over your shoes.

That was me last Thursday at the side of the track wondering, Why do I do this? Thirty years into this why am I still running? There’s the obvious and rationale answer that as long as I am running and I’m getting faster than I’m not getting older. But if I push past he greeting card philosophy, I’d say I’m still doing it because I rarely feel more alive than when I’m running. I feel the most comfortable with who I am when I run. 

Running, like writing, is about putting in the work day after. It doesn’t come quickly or easily. There’s something elemental about the process that I really enjoy. It forces you to be patient with yourself and willing to go to uncomfortable places. There are just no shortcuts. 

Not a bad example to set for the girls. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Pie, Crafts & Side Eye

The girls recently leveled up on a new life skill: dealing with rejection.

For the past two weeks, the girls have been in drama camp. Nope, not a euphemism for anything, an actual drama camp that culminated in a staging of the Frozen Jr. musical on Friday. This was not an everyone-gets-a-trophy, everyone’s-a-star camp. It was up a few notches on the competitive and selective spectrum.

It was interesting to watch both girls prep and audition for parts and come face-to-face with the reality of just because you want a part doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. That was when the drama ensued, euphemism intended this time. We did our best not to shy away from it and give the girls some tools to understand and interpret the outcome. No easy task. I learned this playing sports. I was poorly equipped to handle the intensity of musical theatre.

We focused on not taking it too personally and that a lot of decisions are based on a wide range of factors. And to try to take something from the experience and remember that all but one person was also rejected for the same role. And really, the music said it best, just let it go. 

They got over it and probably didn’t even need my pep talk. The show was great. I’m still sort of in shock at how good it was. It’s a strange and wonderful feeling when you see your kids doing something that you know you could never, ever do.  Continue Reading

12 Survival Tips for a Summer Visit to Canobie Lake Park

12 Survival Tips for a Summer Visit to Canobie Lake Park

We had vacations at the beginning and the end of summer but that middle part yawned hot and humid with little for the kids to look forward to other than going to the pool or not doing more math homework. Last week we decided on a midsummer surprise trip and headed up to New Hampshire and check out Canobie Lake Park, a regional amusement and water park about an hour north of Boston.

Despite being very sunny and very hot, the whole family had a great time. The park was small enough to be easily covered in a day. It was also clean, very family friendly, and the staff were polite and accommodating. This is a great choice for a family that doesn’t want the expense and big thrill rides of someplace like Six Flags but might have outgrown toddler-centric places like Storyland or Edaville. Continue Reading