Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Boston: Part 1

Jimmy and I took a quick weekend trip to Boston recently.  Our main purpose was to see the Twins play the Red Sox at Fenway Park, but we took advantage of a lot of other sites.  We flew out Thursday afternoon.
We stayed at Yotel Boston.  It was a nichey little hotel with small, compact rooms and a lot of cool technology.  There was a robot in the lobby to assist you, an adjustable bed and lighting that changed to any color you wish.  It was cozy, but did the trick for a place to sleep.
We grabbed breakfast at Mike's CafĂ© and breakfast dessert at Kane's Donuts.  They came up at the best donuts in town and they did not disappoint!
We ate the creme brulee donut first and it was incredible!  We've had one from the Doughnut Plant in NY, but this was better (and bigger!)
After filling our bellies, we walked the freedom trail.  It is a 2.5 mile walk with 16 historical stops important to the history of the US.  It starts in Boston Common, the oldest public park in the country.  It was a place of gathering, celebration, and puritanical punishment.

1 - Massachusetts State House.  Completed in 1798, it was built on land that was once John Hancock's pasture.  It is the current capital and seat of government in Massachusetts.
2 - Park Street Church.  Founded in 1809 with a 217 ft steeple.  It was often the first landmark travelers saw.

3 - Granary Burying Ground. Established in 1660, some of the most famous Bostonians are buried here.  There are only 2300 headstones, but likely more than 5000 people resting here.
4 - King's Chapel and 5 - King's Chapel Burying Ground. The chapel was originally commissioned in 1688, the current structure was built in the mid 1700s.  This is the first cemetery in Boston proper.  The first mayor of Boston and the first woman to step off the Mayflower are buried here.
6 - Boston Latin School and Ben Franklin Statue.  The Boston Latin School once stood to the right of the picture below.  It was founded in 1635 and is the oldest public school in America.  Five signers of the Declaration of Independence attended this school, including Ben Franklin.
7 - Old Corner Bookstore (presently Chipotle.)  The oldest commercial building in Boston, it opened in 1718 as an apothecary.  It became a center of publishing in the 1800's when the works of the most famous poets and writers rolled out of their doors.
8 - Old South Meeting House. Built in 1729, it was the largest building in colonial Boston and the stage some pivotal events of the American Revolution.

9 - Old State House.  Built in 1713 for the colonial government.  It stands today as a museum.
10 - Boston Massacre Site.  The redcoats were sent to Boston in 1768 to protect customs officials, but friction remained strong.  Tensions burst on March 5, 1770 when 5 men were killed.
11 - Faneuil Hall.  "The Home of Free Speech" was a town meeting hall built in 1741.  It was donated to the city of Boston with the stipulation that it must remain a public forum and marketplace forever.
12 - Paul Revere House. Built in 1680, it is one of the oldest buildings in downtown Boston.  Paul Revere moved loved here when he made his famous ride to proclaim "the British are coming" (which he didn't actually proclaim.)
13 - Old North Church.  First opened in 1723, it's 191' steeple is the tallest in Boston.  This house of worship was immortalized in Longfellow's poem The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.
14 - Copp's Hill Burying Ground.  Boston's merchants, artisans, and craft people are buried here.  Becuase of it's height and panoramic views, the British trained their cannons here.
15 - USS Constitution.  Launched in 1797, this is the oldest commissioned warship aflaot in the world.
16 - Bunker Hill Monument.  The battle of Bunker Hill took place on June 17th ,1775 and was the firs major battle of the Revolutionary War.  The British technically won, but it proved the colonial forces could hold their own.
Up Next: Apple, lobster, ghosts, and more!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Duk Duk Daze 2018

With our move we have a new festival.  We are actually in the same city we used to be, but are closer to the Duk Duk Daze festivities.  We walked over on Friday night to check things out.  We looked at a few vendors and grabbed some food.  Jimmy and I shared a pork chop and some roasted corn and kids split a bag of mini donuts.  They were a sticky sugary mess, but it was bath night.
 We played a few carnival games then headed to the park.
 Parker enjoyed the spinning wheel that you can hang on (not sure it's official name.)  He flung all the way around it once, but I didn't catch it on video.  Esme enjoyed the swings and the slides.
The carnival was a lot smaller than the frolics one we are used to and there wasn't as many food booths.  Perhaps we will try to check it out on Saturday or Sunday next year and experience more activities.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Mini-Golfing with our Life Group

For our second summer outing with our life group from church, we went mini-golfing at Lilli Putt in Coon Rapids on Monday.  Jimmy and I came here once or twice years ago and there may have been a thrown club or two.  I vowed to stay calmer this time around and managed to do so.  It probably helped that I won, but I didn't know that until the end.
Fun night with some great friends!

Monday, July 9, 2018


We've been swimming so much this summer and I love having the pool on the deck.  It stays a lot cleaner and is easy to drain and refill.  It's helped that there has been a lot of hot weather too.
 Esme started out the year pretty timid, but has quickly gained confidence and even started climbing up and jumping down.
 Pool season is freezie season too!  Esme is still figuring them out, but at least we don't have to worry about the mess she's making outside.  It's fun watching her try and I know she'll be a pro by next year.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Park Hopping and a Backyard Gate

We hit up a couple new parks this week (and one old one.)  We found this cute bucket swing near the Anoka pool.  It was just the right size for the kids to share.
 Saturday we checked out Hyland Recreation Area in Bloomington.  It has a huge climbing structure and giant slides.  Parker really liked being pushed high on the tire swing.
 Back at our home park Esme asked to go on the big swing.  She looks so big in this picture, not my baby anymore.
Another project we've been working on the last few weeks is gating in our backyard.  My parents came over to help concrete in the posts a few weeks ago.
I took it upon myself to finish the fence and gate.  This is probably the largest construction project I have taken on myself and I am pretty proud.  I used a no-sag gate kit (which always sags a little).  It was the same one we used on the gates at our old house.
I attached a board for the latch directly to the garage and added another to serve as a gate stop.  I know the kids will be pushing on it and this will reduce the stress on the latch and hinges.
We've added a temporary barrier on the side of the garage, so we are fully secure.  It's nice to let the kids out the back door and not worry about them running in to the street.