Tuesday, April 30, 2013

*boston, day 3*

Off to the reenactment.

The weather was a welcome improvement from the day before. The sun was shining, no rain, and just a smidge on the cool side. Absolutely lovely.

After we parked we strolled up a little path my heart started racing. I was so excited because as we became closer sounds of drums and flutes filled the air. I was elated as I turned the corner for my eyes feasted on this:

I could not take it in fast enough. Cannons were going off, officers riding horses, soldiers standing in their ranks. A captain came up to talk to us about the upcoming battle (completely in character) and was complaining about the way the government was run here. I got lost, you know, because I didn't listen in American History class, so I politely excused myself and left him to chat with my dad and walked around to take more pictures.

We walked further down the road and came across the Patriot's camp.

I loved all the little details. Pipes with tobacco, the socks, shoes, and buttons, and I could have listened to the music that was being played all day long. Everyone was so excited to be participating and immersed in their characters. The air was literally buzzing with excitement. I was so happy that I was able to be here on this particular weekend to enjoy these festivities. Nick even said that it was cool.

Nick and I were totally photobombed by this soldier. It definitely is one of my most favorite pictures of the trip.

Here is Battle Road. This road runs through Lincoln, Lexington, and Concord and marks the path that British soldiers marched on their way from Boston to Concord in order to seize weapons the Colonists had stored. They were ambushed on their way back to Boston by Colonist troops. It is also the road that Paul Revere and Samuel Dawes made their famous ride to warn others that the British were coming. It is awe inspiring to see this amazing piece of American history.

Then the fighting started. It was a "no death" battle so there were many guns fired but no one fell to the ground pretending to be dead. We watched how the battle begun and the ambush of the British soldiers and cut out early to be able to make it to Boston for the ball game.

And how cute are these kids dressed up in their Colonial attire? I was feeling a little guilty that there were young boys, probably a bit younger than Liam, all excited about the Minutemen and how they were going to "crush the British". What? I don't even think Liam knows what a Minuteman is, let alone any of the other boys. I better get on that.

Fenway Park. Another reason I wanted Nick to come on this trip is because he loves baseball. I couldn't wait for him to see this iconic stadium full of history and tradition. I asked him "Isn't this amazing?" and do you know what he did? He shrugged and said "It's cool, but I think the Angels' stadium is better." I almost washed his mouth out with soap. I guess to be fair, he is from the generation of bigger is better but come. on. now. This, my dear boy, is Fenway. He did gain more respect as the game went on and he even stopped me when I was in the gift shop on the phone with Justin trying to decide what to get Andrew. Not thinking, I said, out loud, that Andrew was a Yankees fan and Nick shushed me. And he even bought a momento for himself. I am glad he could say he has been here.

I loved it here. I loved the field, I loved our seats, I loved that you could buy two hotdogs for $5 and get free refills on your drinks. I loved that even the electronic scoreboard looked old-fashioned and I loved singing Sweet Caroline with the crowd. I loved that they sold clam chowder in the stands. And despite Nick's earlier comments, I think he loved it too.

It was a great game. Valentino had a walk off single that drove in the winning run in extra innings. Here is a picture of his team mauling him and he had a huge smile on his face that would light up any room. I wish I would have had my other lens on my camera at that moment because it. was. awesome.

We walked to the convention center to pick up my sister's race info and then headed over to Zaftig's for dinner. If you are in Boston, go there. Everything was amazing. Especially my banana stuffed french toast.

Then after dinner we took a major detour because of me. While I was checking my bank account waiting for Erika to pick up her stuff, I noticed a charge at 7-11 for over $50. We had just been to 7-11 the day before but all I bought was water and Diet Coke. I had a receipt for the correct amount that was debited but this extra charge was strange. Did they use my number to buy something but increased the amount to take cash out?

It didn't even cross my mind that Justin would go there for gas since we NEVER have filled up at a 7-11 before. Ever. I called the bank and they told me that it would be easier to go to the 7-11 and try to have the charge stopped before it cleared my account. I was freaking out because I needed my card for the rest of the trip and didn't want to have to cancel it. But what if the person tried to use my card again?

We started back to the 7-11 but did not realize how far away it was...almost back to Salem in a town called Peabody. I checked my account again and realized that the store numbers on the receipt and the bank statement didn't match. Uh-oh. I had a sinking feeling that I was a complete idiot. I texted Justin almost as we arrived at the store and asked him if he had gone to 7-11. By this time we were at the place so I walked in and talked to the guy at the counter. I also really, really had to use the bathroom. I explained why I was there and asked to use the bathroom. He said that he didn't have a public restroom and that his manager was not there so he couldn't do anything about the charge. I asked to get his manager's number but let someone else check out before he could give it to me. Right at that moment, Justin texted back and said he had, in fact, filled up his car. At a 7-11.

I felt so dumb.

I also had to admit this to my poor dad who had driven so far out of his way. Unneccessarily.

I sheepishly gave up the information that I now knew and offered to buy him a ginormous Dr. Pepper. I also withheld the information that I now knew from the attendant so I could use his bathroom facilities since he still was under the impression that my finances were violated.

We had a good laugh about it when I got back in the car and apologized to everyone else for the long drive way out of our way.

Ah, memories.

Monday, April 29, 2013

*boston, day 1-2*

My amazing sister, Erika, qualified to run the Boston marathon. When she found out that she had qualified, I was excited for her, but I was a little bummed because I thought it would be fun to go back to Boston when the weather was a bit nicer than the last time I went. At the time, I was pregnant and would have been VERY pregnant by the time April 15 rolled around so I would just have to be content cheering her from a far. But things changed and Justin and I talked about going back to support her. Justin couldn't get the time off due to another vacation coming up so I talked Nick into accompanying me. I didn't have to twist his arm too hard...the first question he asked was if we were driving. When I said "No,we are flying" that was enough for him.

I am still stuck on this "15 things to see before you are 15" and two of these are in Boston--Fenway Park and the Freedom Trail. I was excited to check them off our list. The other boys will get their turn to go on a fun trip too, don't worry, they are not being left out.

The flight there was super full and none of us were able to sit next to each other except for our parents. I was worried about Nick but that proved to be unnecessary because he did just fine on his first flight.

I do have to mention one thing about when we were going through security. Nick was in the scanner and the guard looked at him, then at me, and then back at Nick. He asked me: "Are you the mother?" I responded: "Yes." He commented: "Young mother!" "I am older than I look." "Oh, I thought you could be his sister." Then he let my sister and I around the scanner, I guess we looked so young and innocent that we couldn't be packing heat.

It was a lovely way to start our trip.

We arrived at our hotel around 8:00 Boston time so we drove around to find a place to eat. There was a little sandwich shop just down the street from the hotel but more importantly, just across the street from the shop was the creepiest cemetery entrance I had ever seen. It seriously was right out of a scary movie. Not a horror movie with all the blood and guts but a suspenseful, old-time scary movie with someone chasing you but you can't see them and you are trying to keep your breathing quiet as you are hiding behind a headstone and think you are safe and then...well, you get the idea.

So, the first thing on our agenda when we woke up was to visit the creepy cemetery.

It was still a little eerie--definitely not as bad as if we were to have visited the night before, but still had that creepy vibe. Quiet except for the occasional crow sounding off, it was rainy and a little dreary outside, some headstones leaning off to one side or the other as if someone was trying to push out from the grave, moss covered benches. I am sure glad that I had others there with me or else my mind really would have begun racing.

This headstone is Ms Stearns' and she was born two days before the Declaration of Independence was signed. Not the oldest one in the place but pretty cool none the less. We also found a woman who lived to be 99 years old and she died in the 1800s. Who lived that long back then? She must have been one tough cookie.

To keep with our morbid theme, we headed up to Salem to spend the day.

Salem was fun but I was a little disappointed. It seemed like a huge tourist trap and I think I really wanted it to be the way it was in the 1600s. At least I can say that I have been there and I don't feel a desire to visit again. We saw a presentation on the witch trials and then braved the weather to walk a short distance to the New England chowder company.

Yum. I was pleased that it was actually soup weather so I didn't feel dumb ordering this.

We saw the House of the Seven Gables. To be honest, I don't know the significance of this place but it was pretty. We opted not to pay to take a tour since the weather was so bad but maybe one day.

Then off to the Minute Man museum. (Try saying that 5 times fast). I really liked this place. Although I took American History in high school I either didn't listen very well or I did not retain much of the information. I wish I would have done both. It is fascinating. And to be where these things actually happened that shaped our country was amazing.

We watched a little multimedia presentation about the battle at Lexington and Concord and found out there was a reenactment the next morning. You better believe I became a little giddy.

Then to the Old North Bridge. This site marks the first battle of the American Revolution.

It was beautiful.

My dad in his element.

I loved these rock walls.

I loved this quaint little town of Concord. Because of Patriot's Day (which I thought was the day we remember 9/11 but in fact, it is Massachusetts' equivalent of our Pioneer Day here in Utah) houses, businesses, yards, public parks, all had American flags and buntings everywhere. It was adorable. I am proud to be an American but these people are PROUD to be Americans. I love the enthusiasm and pride that is so evident here for our dear country.

Then off to the beautiful Boston Temple for baptisms. I love that Nick is able, and excited, to do this work.

After the temple, we ate at the Concord Inn. It is a place close to my dad's heart since he ate here many years ago with his parents. The food was good and we even scored a free dessert since my mom took one for the team and had water spilled all over her lap by our waitress.

Thanks mom, the bread pudding was delicious.