Saturday morning we got up and piled into the car to make the drive to our old stomping grounds in Somerville, where an old friend of D's was visiting with her sister. This sister lives, literally, a block away from our old apartment on Landers Street, though our time in the neighborhood did not overlap. We hadn't seen her since our honeymoon in San Francisco, so there was quite a bit of catching up to do while we walked in to Harvard Square. It was a perfect day, clear and not too hot, and a lot of fun to see things we haven't visited in a while. We stopped for a bit at one of Harvard's fountains, where the kids climbed on the rocks and stomped in the puddles, and then went on to the Harvard Book Store to say hello to an old co-worker and update him on our latest literary defeats.
On a whim of D's, lunch was at a place I'm pretty sure was called Shisa, a Japanese-Korean type restaurant in the square. We thought we had been there before, but either we were wrong or it had moved to a different part of the building, since the space we ended up in was nowhere we had seen. The decor struck me as extremely hip, which always makes me self-conscious, and even more so since people with small children in tow are often looked down on by the hip.
Some things we have learned about going out to decent restaurants with little ones:
- Eat early. At 11:30, there were only a couple of other people there, so at least we didn't feel like we were wrecking lunch for half the patrons.
- Do not assume that they have milk.
- Stock up on distractions. I still tend to fail at this, but Grandma is the master. Pens and paper, calculators, iPods, sticky notes... something for them to do that is not repeatedly dropping utensils on the floor.
- If they can't sit still for a moment longer, playing under the table is fine. As long as it's your table.
- If all else fails, take them outside. There will be other meals.
Despite the speed with which we ended up eating, I quite enjoyed my pork bulgogi, and left a hefty tip to make up for all of our requests for more chopsticks, more napkins, and more straws. As a reward for behaving herself better than she might have, I took L to Curious George, and bought her a book called Bedtime in the Jungle, which has been in high demand since.
On the walk back, JJ fell asleep in the stroller, much to everyone's relief. We walked back to Somerville and hung out for a while in the park/community garden area, right next to where we used to live. L climbed around the playground (she's gotten so much more confident in the past year) and sat in the fountain (what the hell, we figured... clothes dry) and eventually, sadly, it was time to leave. We all promised not to let nine years go by before our next meeting.
Sunday morning was a blur of kitchen work and cleaning--pesto, potato salad, blueberry bars, and chocolate chip cookies. Nothing complicated. In the afternoon we piled back into the car and drove down to CT to see our friends the Rs, who are planning to move soon to a more southerly part of the state. We haven't talked about it much out loud, but this almost certainly means the end of our gaming group, which has stuck together so long, and of course we're sad regardless at the prospect of seeing them less often.
The day was unseasonably cold and gloomy, but we sat in the back yard and talked politics while the kids played, and then the front yard and talked about the hassles of moving while the kids played, until we were all cold enough to want to go inside, and talked about books. The grill was fired up, and we enjoyed a thoroughly traditional summer menu of hamburgers, corn on the cob, baked beans, and my potato salad, finished off later on with cupcakes.
Due to heavy traffic from returning weekenders, it was 7:30 by the time we got home, and I hustled L through her bedtime routine, anxious to retire myself. Alas, going to bed did not mean getting to sleep, as JJ had another screeching fit. This is the third time recently that he has done this, and we have no idea what is causing it--teething, gas, crankiness?
Frazzled ending or no, it was a really good, and much-needed, weekend. An unremarkable week at work followed, and tomorrow we'll be on vacation.