Monday, May 20, 2013

And then it was Spring (Summer?)

It's May now, and in Alabama, May means Summer. Here, I think that maybe it's still Spring. Either way, the weather here has been beautiful, and the city has come alive. Although I still miss my family and friends back South, most of my homesickness melted with the nasty snow. Hooray for Springtime! Doug and I decided weeks ago that we should probably sell our car. We've been dragging our feet a bit, because we both have moments of panic about not having one. But, we don't need to have it, and losing it will lift a huge weight from our shoulders financially. However, with a toddler in tow, we needed to make some other upgrades in preparation for the car-free life. First, we bought a humongous stroller, with bigger and better tires, a more comfy seat, and lots of cargo space. The first week we had it, Lucy and I walked/strolled about 8 miles, when we walked from our house to downtown Boston (and back). It's certainly nice to be able to do that, but it's quite a trek, and is definitely the whole day's activity. The stroller also allows for me to walk to get groceries, which can fit in the bottom. Pretty awesome. But, if I wanted to take the T (subway) or the bus, doing so with a stroller (even a small one) can be tricky. 

Cue baby backpack.

This backpack thing (which can carry baby on front, too) has changed my life. I feel like I have so much more freedom now, since I can go stroller free. It's easy on my back and shoulders, and I can go anywhere with it...tiny shops, shops with crazy stairs, giant escalators... The ladies who sold me the backpack said that it's fantastic to have during the winter, because the snow-covered sidewalks can be really difficult to navigate with a stroller. Today, I took the bus to Whole Foods with Lucy on my back, since I didn't feel like walking, and made it home with two big bags of groceries. The Whole Foods is small and doesn't even have regular sized carts. Plus, getting our giant stroller up and down the (few) stairs at our house can be a real pain. So, shopping with Lucy on my back was nice. Soon (hopefully late summer), we'll have a new Whole Foods that's only about a 10-min. walk from home, and that will be awesome. 

Cambridge came to life once the weather started getting nice. People out everywhere, lounging in the grass, playing frisbee, and acting much more friendly in general. I think winter makes everybody grouchy. This is a photo of a free, outdoor performance of Three Billy Goats Gruff for families. Stroller  city.


This was taken during the early evening, while I was walking toward Harvard to see a documentary film screening about education. So pretty. The movie was screened in a Harvard dorm, so there were lots of Harvard undergrads there. This is definitely the heart of America's achievement culture, and sometimes it makes me feel weird. 

This restaurant, called Clover, is in Harvard Square (though there are other locations, and a food truck). It's one of my favorite places to go because it's super delicious and local, kid-friendly, and cheap. I always get the chickpea fritter sandwich, rosemary fries, and hibiscus iced tea. Yum! If you visit us, we will go here.

In more personal news, Lucy's in a toddler bed now! She has been officially 100% weaned from breastfeeding, and is sleeping all night long, consistently. Finally! But, she's been having trouble settling down for bed time, which is apparently pretty common for this age. So, we got her a big girl bed so that we can lie down with her at bed time and read stories and snuggle to help get her to sleep. So far, it's working well.

I definitely have found my groove now that I know where things are and how to get around...and the snow is gone. I love being able to walk everywhere. I love that there are so many young people here and that the city has so much to see and do, even lots of free stuff. The library is magical, and is probably my favorite place to take Lucy. We have such easy access to the kind of food we like to buy, and that has taken away lots of weird stress from my brain. We're also learning to live more simply by being in a smaller space, and soon without a car, and it's nice to be in a place where lots of people have less and it isn't weird. BUT. I miss my family. And it's expensive here. And OMG, it's going to get so cold again. For now, though, this has been a grand adventure, and I feel like making this move across the country, from rural Alabama to metro Boston, has made us feel like we can do anything. Even with a baby.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Snow Day & the Children's Museum

It snowed pretty much all day Thursday and Friday. The freshly fallen snow is really pretty, and it looks like somebody sprinkled confectioners sugar all over everything. But, we're kind of stuck inside while it's snowing, and all the pretty white stuff quickly turns into icky brown stuff. There are little (and big) Snow Dirt Mountains everywhere, and you have walk through cold brown slush until it melts enough to wash away. Ew. Lucy had a good snow day, though. We made a huge mess "cooking" in her kitchen with flour and oatmeal, and we went out in the snow for a little while. She's not very impressed by the snow, I think mostly because she struggles to walk in it. Here's a view of our snow-covered house. We live on the first floor.

Sunday, we took Lucy to the Boston Children's Museum. It was wonderful! We took the subway train (the T) into the city, which Lucy thought was pretty exciting. We stayed at the museum for about 2 hours. They had pretend play stations, water and sand stations, and lots of science stuff, like simple machines and giant bubble makers. There is also a lunch area, so we were able to take a break and eat and then go play some more. We bought an annual membership, so we can go back any time we want and not pay admission. Also, when our nieces and nephews come to visit, we can get a discount on their admission. Hint, hint.

Lucy and I have also been going to the Cambridge Library. They have story times and other kids' programming, and the entire second floor of the library is dedicated to Children's books, games, and computers. It is so wonderful. Also, we can walk there in 10-15 minutes, which is even more wonderful. We can also walk to a really great local toy store that hosts some children's programs like sing-along time. It's near The Biscuit, where I like to get lunch and pastries. So, who wants to come visit?

Monday, March 4, 2013

We're Here!

We've been here in our new place for a little over a week now. When we first arrived, I was super overwhelmed by a strange mixture of sadness and excitement. It was very hard to leave our families behind. But, Doug likes his new job and our new (and old) Boston friends have helped us feel like we've always been here. Already, daily life is much different for us. Doug can walk to work. Lucy and I can walk to the playground, the grocery store, and a zillion other places. It's still very cold, so I don't walk with Lucy that much unless the sun is out, and the wind here can be kind of intense. But, getting out and walking places and seeing so many other young people and people with children is such a good feeling. Here are some photos from our first week"

We have only a teensy-tiny shower, and no bath tub. So, Lucy bathes in this teensy-tiny tub that (barely) fits inside the shower. She actually seems to have more fun in there than in the big tub.
The first weekend we were here, it snowed a good bit. It's so pretty! But, then it rained and everything turned to nasty brown slush. It was pretty gross. It seems like the leftover snow from the blizzard is really starting to melt now, so maybe spring is coming soon?
There's a neat little cafe with sandwiches, coffee, and pastries that's about a ten minute walk from our house. It's SO yummy, and I've already been a few times. It's called The Biscuit, but they do not serve biscuits. And, Lou is home during the day, so having her around to help me and Lucy explore is pretty much the best thing I could've asked for, living in a new city.
We had to get our car registered in Massachusetts and get our new drivers' licenses. Massachusetts requires that your car pass inspection, to make sure nobody's driving around spewing nasty emissions into the air. Also, everybody has recycling, and there are recycling bins all over the city. When we were in Spanish Fort, we had to take all our recycling ourselves. Now, we don't even have to sort it! It's just like a second trash bin. I think some areas actually have mandatory recycling! So many things are different here. So far, we're really enjoying it. Visitors welcome. =)