12 May 2013

Boston Vacation

Last Sunday, Jesse and I woke the girls up early to take off on our Boston vacation.  The entire Team Pagano was able to spend 5 days together in the Boston area, seeing sights, eating a ton of food and visiting some family.  While it was slightly (at times, very) stressful with two little people to be responsible for, we all had a great time and feel blessed that a) we were all able to go and b) that our family still enjoys spending time together and wants to spend time together.  
excited to get the party started
Last Sunday was a really, really long day.  Saturday had been a long day, too, so I'm sure the girls would have slept in, but we got them up early and headed to the Wilkes-Barre airport in PA to pick up my parents before heading onto Boston.  Let me tell you.  I officially love roadtripping with family, especially grandparents!  Having extra loving hands in the car is so helpful on 12 hour drives and I probably am not going to want to drive long distances without them anytime soon.  We arrived late Sunday night after an uneventful drive, and the rest of the party joined us shortly after we (tried) putting the girls to bed.  Monday was a fairly relaxing day.  Jesse decided that he didn't want to fight his allergies and sinus infection the whole week and be miserable, so he and I headed off to find an urgent care and prescriptions while everyone else hung out at the house and did some grocery shopping for the week.  I think eventually half of the family went into the city before we headed out to Burlington to visit a great uncle and family for dinner.
at a park in Burlington
Jesse pretending he was riding the Sopwith Camel

proof I went on the vacation.  since this is the only picture of me on my camera...
Tuesday really started the vacationing excitement.  Well, Richard started off by visiting the dentist (because I guess that's what he counts as fun on vacation..) and met up with us halfway through a city tour at the aquarium.  It was kind of a bummer because the giant tank/main exhibit was closed for cleaning/maintenance, but Lily LOVED seeing all the exhibits anyway, and eventually worked up the nerve to pet a sting ray.  Emma loved seeing everything moving and swimming, but wasn't as into it as Lily.  After the aquarium, we took a boat tour of the harbor before heading back to finish the city tour and then onto our "home" for the week.  
Jess being a rebel ON the  yellow strip she's not supposed to be on

at the aquarium

I loved the jellyfish

found him!
on the harbor tour

USS Constitution

tired Lily cuddling Aunt Jess and Bri (the Build a Bear she built and named after her cousin)
Wednesday was another busy day.  We went back to the city to do some more site seeing and the weather decided it wasn't going to cooperate and rained on our party.  We still had fun and learned quite a bit about Boston history, a good chunk of course in regards to gaining American Independence. The family split up to visit different areas of the city after we had some lunch, and all met back at the house for dinner.
another playground!  in the Boston Commons
on the Freedom Trail Tour

Faneuil Hall
Boston Gardens: "Make Way For Ducklings" statues.  I took so many pictures of the girls, I couldn't decide which ones to share!  Prepare for a cuteness overload.
"Momma!  ducky is heavy!"

Boston Garden
Boston Marathon Bombing temporary memorial

people wrote encouraging notes on any writing surface they could
at the end of the day, ready to go home.  this was right before Jesse and I got verbally molested by a random lady.  long story short: she told me I was a terrible mother, gave Emma her pashmina to wrap up in, tried to give us $5 to go buy "real food from Wendy's" for the girls, and couldn't fathom why we weren't at home with our two girls and told us we needed a hotel close by to take our girls to.
 Thursday, we headed out to Lexington and Concord to do some site seeing, and tried to stop in to see the Louisa May Alcott House, but since it cost money for a tour and was almost an hour long and I didn't think the girls would cooperate that long, we ended up just looking around the gift shop and leaving.  Thursday evening, we ventured out into some torrential downpours while my parents watched Lily and Emma for Jesse and me so that we could go out to dinner with some friends from college (so glad we got to meet up, Ryan and Lindsay!), while Jess and Richard went to find some Italian food and Joel and Kimmy went to visit another friend at Harvard.  We had a great time seeing friends, Jesse ate a 2lb lobster (without offering me a bite, I might add) and it sounds like the girls had a good time playing with Mimi and Poppo.  I also just want to mention at this point that it rained so hard that even Jesse's waterproof shoes were as soaked as my TOMs...may as well have been barefoot and it took me several hours to warm up and thaw out.

 Friday was our last day, so we got up and packed up before driving to Torrington, CT (by way of RI so we could all add that one to our list of states visited) to visit some family on my dad's side.  Jesse and I tried to figure out how we were all related but ended up giving up on that.  I think that I have it figured out though: she was my great-grandaunt and her daughters we met were my third cousins.  Anyway, we come from a huge Italian family and "everybody is your cousin" according to Auntie May.  From Torrington, Jess, Richard, Joel and Kimmy all headed back to Boston for their flight Saturday morning and Dad, Mom, Jesse, the girls and I headed on to a hotel in PA for the night.  We got up yesterday and took my parents to the airport for their return before heading back to WV.  Whew.  Needless to say, with a completely rearranged and unfamiliar nap schedule, both girls slept like champs (well, Lily did, Emma did her normal thing) last night and Lily didn't get up until 10!  She makes me proud.

01 May 2013

farm chores

Who knew that establishing a once-per-month-travel rule would keep us so busy?  I certainly was not expecting that.

Maybe it's the wonderful weather we've been experiencing here, maybe it's the sunshine (even on the chillier days) and maybe it's good old fashioned Spring Cleaning and finally kicking the winter blues and cabin fever, but we've been on the go.  I guess "go" shouldn't be taken literally, since we haven't gone anywhere (and it's been so glorious) but have been keeping busy around the house.

Last week, we babysat a farm.  Wow.  That was an experience.  First, I learned a ton.  Second, I'm grateful that we stared just with chickens and didn't go all out with everything all at once, especially with two little girls.  Third, we were so glad when our friends came home to reclaim their farm.
Personally, I enjoyed the work, and I think Jesse did, too.  There is something incredibly satisfying (for me at least) to work hard with my own hands and muscles.  What made the whole week a bit stressful wasn't the animals...too much.  It wasn't taking care of over 100 chickens/turkeys/guineas, 5 pigs, 17 cows (two of which were new calves), rabbits (3 of which gave birth to bunnies) and a greenhouse to manage.  It wasn't the guinea I found dead one morning (oops) or the 3 times in one day that three of the cows decided to make a break for freedom and the newly green pastures, the rascals.  No.  The stressful part was doing it with a 10.5 month old and a 2.5 year old in tow.  Emma spent most of the chore hours either in the hiking backpack on my back while Lily and I fed, watered and collected eggs; in the stroller in the cow barn with Jesse as he took care of those guys; or confined to the pack and play when she just got too heavy and she got too wiggly.  Lily, on the other hand, started the week terrified of the cows and stayed like glue to me and became my little egg gatherer.  She loved it and would get so excited to help me gather the eggs.  She also loved helping me change the bedding of the baby chicks and turkeys that were inside out of the weather.  Some of you have seen the video, but before too long, she was the one making sure the babies didn't fly out of the box, and would carefully pick them up and return them home if they did manage to escape with an excited "come 'ere, guy!"
Only one morning did I have to do the whole show by myself, as Jesse's allergies were incapacitating (did I use that correctly?) and I sent him to the doctor instead of letting him go do chores.  The girls were troopers for the entire 2 hours it took us/me to feed, water, scoop poop, gather eggs, and check the bedding for everybody.

The cow story before pictures and moving on.  Those rascals had behaved all week until the morning our friends were coming home and we drove down together and I said "oh look, the cows got out...yay."  We had made it all week and they decided TODAY to get out?!  Our friends were headed home!  Anyway, with E on my back and L standing on the bed of a pick up truck from a safe distance away, Jesse and I tried to catch the 3 cows that had been enjoying the field.  I learned that a) those guys are heavy, and they weren't even fully grown cows!, b) rain boots do NOT protect against being stepped on and c) even though I am taller than said cows, they had no problem knocking me off balance when I tried to show it who was boss.  On the next two escapes of the day, Jesse had a stroke of brilliance and just went and got a bucket of food and they happily followed him back into their stalls, so that was pretty anti-climatic.

Lily and I had killer style that week.  She was kind of jealous of my "jump pants" that I got to wear to protect my regular clothes, and kept asking if we could look for some in her size at the store.
Oreo, one of the escape artists
you can just tell he's feisty

those pigs
Things around here have been pretty good.  Keeping busy with little projects here and there, getting ready for vacation and upcoming trips and visitors.  We are finally getting the basement reorganized and back together after the construction in November, so that is good.  I'm able to hang my laundry up on the clothesline so our clothes smell so good and there is just nothing better than climbing into bed with freshly washed sheets straight off the clothes line.

Now some pictures that the girls let me take this morning and I'm off to clean and get some more stuff done!
inspecting a dandelion

not so sure about this jacket thing
That's it for today, I guess!  More stories coming soon.