[WARNING: Picture-heavy post]
I was really looking forward to our big trip back east. Even though it involved keeping two toddlers (well, one toddler and one... kid?) occupied for two 5.5 hour flights and all of the shenanigans involved in getting through airports and lugging our two large car seats around, plus being pregnant and more irritable than usual, I was excited to have a change of scenery and a change in routine. Plus, it was the last hoorah for a 4th of July in Long Island at Aunt Rose's house, which has been a Durso tradition for decades (I think, I haven't been around that long).
And most of the trip didn't disappoint.
We started in Connecticut, where John's grandparents live. John's grandfather has been volunteering at the local Maritime Center for lots and lots of years, so he was excited to take us to see it and I was excited to see him in his element and for the boys to experience it. Now, "Maritime Center" is a bit of a misnomer. The word "maritime" would indicate that there are lots of ships and boats and such to walk around to look at. Not so much. See pictures below.
|Checking out harbor seals with Daddy|
|Looking at the harbor seals with Aunt Leslie|
|It was a little crazy with all of the summer camps, but that didn't deter Johnny from taking the steering wheel when it freed up.|
|Why, yes, I AM too young to drive this thing. But what are you going to do about it? I'm too cute to arrest!|
|Fishing. But the magnetic fishing part at the end was busted.|
|He still liked it, despite not getting any fish.|
|Looking at... jellyfish? I think? Maybe shark eggs? I can't remember now.|
|Dory! And Nemo!|
|Oh yeah, there were meerkats, too. That's Johnny hanging out in the meerkat exhibit, separated by that acrylic dome so they don't eat his face off.|
|TODDLER PLAY TIME!|
|Johnny is my name, head trauma is my game!|
|Touching sea creatures. I think this was a crab.|
After a full day at the Maritime Center, the boys passed out in the car, so John and I drove to Greenwich and spent time ogling the houses there and looking up their values on Zillow. I know. Nerds.
That night we went to the Battinellis' house for a delicious dinner. Carl Battinelli and my father-in-law are childhood friends and still keep in contact. The stories they tell about their pasts are... well, I kind of hope they tire of telling them before my boys are old enough to understand these stories about the dangerous stuff their grandpa used to do.
Anyway. Carl got out some balls and a couple of bats for the boys to play with and his son, Paul, taught Hank how to swing a bat left-handed. Have I mentioned before that Hank is a south paw? Perhaps not. Well, he does a lot left-handed and batting is one of those things. Luckily, Paul is also a lefty and quite the baseball player, so he gave Hank some lessons. :)
|Paul hitting the balls that Hank pitched to him. Hank wasn't too bad at pitching, actually. Or maybe Paul was just really good at batting.|
Then out came the construction vehicles. If you don't know Carl at all, let me tell you, it makes perfect sense that he would have a backhoe in his yard and would be perfectly okay with letting my kids dig a four foot hole on his property.
|Hank concentrating hard on Carl's instructions on which lever to push and pull.|
|Cousin Jack looking on. The poor guy wasn't feeling very well, so he passed on the backhoe.|
|And the Johnny even wanted to try!|
|Look at that face! He was stoked.|
The next day we woke up in our nice, dark, comfy, climate-controlled hotel room and made the drive out to Long Island.
The next three days were a blur of family, food, and beach time.
|Throwing rocks into the bay with Daddy and Grandpa|
|Pacific boys on the Atlantic coast. Kind of. It's actually a bay.|
|Jack watching the shenanigans in the water.|
|The rest of the fam chilling on the beach. Kind of. More like baking. It was HOT.|
|Johnny and cousin Alison|
|Celebrating America's birthday. No, Hank isn't wearing pants.|
|Aunt Patty teaching the boys to chant "USA! USA! USA!"|
|This is Evan. The boys LOVED him.|
|Trying a raw clam for the first time.|
|And gobbling it up!|
|Hank's turn for a clam...|
|Seems okay with it though.|
|This ramp/entrance to the basement saw a LOT of use. It was a slide, a ramp to race cars, a drum, a ramp to roll balls down, etc. It's the little things, right?|
|Cousin Joe. Another favorite of the boys.|
|Daddy all sunburned from a day of clamming and too much beach time.|
|Hank and cousin Emily. Ain't she purdy?|
|"Hand stacking" with Uncle Bobby and Grandpa.|
|They were hysterical over it.|
The boys really liked being so close to the beach (only a block away) and having so many people available to shower them with attention. The yard was huge, so they hit balls with bats, blew bubbles, drew with chalk and when all that failed, they jumped on the air mattresses in the tents. :) See, the basement (where people usually sleep) is now so heavily scented with mildew that a majority of folks opted to sleep outside in tents. John was lucky enough to get a tent and some mattresses brought for him by family so he and Johnny could have a place to sleep. As one of the pregnant ladies present, I was reserved a room inside, on one of the "newer" mattresses. Yes, it was hot and sticky, since there wasn't any A/C, but on the whole, I had no problems sleeping. Hank and I were so exhausted by the end of the day that we would both collapse in bed and sleep solid until morning. With the occasional tug on my hair from Hank. As you do.
Then on Saturday, this happened: