Author Archives: Nichole S.

Get Your Bounce On!

So here’s some good news for parents of children with some energy to spare.  In case you read that wrong….the children should have the energy to spare.  Not the parents.  On that note, are there parents out there with energy to spare, because I’m wiped.

Regardless…

Sky Zone is coming to Danvers SOON….at the Liberty Tree Mall.

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What’s all the fuss about?  Find out here.

And…if I were to manage this place, I’d play this song over and over all day long.

Forced Family Fun Fall Farm Tour

The last official day of summer marks the date for what we consider to be one of our favorite fall events. And when I say “we” I really just mean myself and the boys, because my husband isn’t necessarily fond of being on tour for the entire fall season. But, he does it….so, brownie points there.  This year’s Family Farm Day at Appleton Farm in Ipswich is happening on Sunday, September 21st from 10-3…oddly enough it may reach into the 80s.  Sadly, the Schraffts will most likely be no-shows this year due to an 11:30 hockey game…go figure.  But, you should all go!

Check out the Event

Our fall days at an assortment of farms continue to be some of my favorite memories with the boys. We are, and always will be, “summer people” but, that having been said, there is something about the crisp weather, the pick-your-own abundance of super yummy fruit, the music, the changing leaves….the cider donuts, etc. that gives me super warm fuzzies.  I am a stickler for tradition and there is something sentimental about the annual trip to each place that makes me happy.  I love seeing how much the boys have grown from autumn to autumn and see what parts of each farm draw them in each season.  My boys have also always been a bit obsessed with farm animals.  There are no fewer than 50 goats, cows, and pigs that could tell you tales about a Schrafft boy’s finger being shoved into places they don’t belong.  Primarily noses….but, there was that one time….   Bygones.

This year our Farm Tour will take a significant hit due to conflicting hockey schedules, but, we still have a few “must do” romps that I’m not willing to skip. Our favorite farm of all is Applecrest Farm in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. First of all, I kind of like that it is a bit of a drive.  A little known secret is that I’m a wicked Sunday driver. Again, my husband may disagree that the ride is a bonus, and…if I’m being honest here…it did lead to quite a marital tiff one year. The words “remind me again what exactly is wrong with the apples that are 20 minutes away from home?” were uttered in traffic on the way home….and we may or may not have missed the first quarter of the Patriots game.  I digress. Applecrest is a fantastic destination and if you take the back roads, the drive is stunningly gorgeous.  If you check out their event calendar you may get lucky enough to catch their super cute “Story Book Hayrides” that are put on by the drama students of a local high school to help pay for their annual school trip. They also host car shows, a field plowing day, and other events in addition to the already excellent activities that can easily fill a whole day.  I’m a giant fan of the petting farm (small barnyard animals, peeps….seriously) and the excellent blue grass music.  The good eats don’t hurt either!  There’s also some good shopping to be done in their barn.  We always come home with some classroom snacks for the boys and some sinful treats for the house.

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We have lots of close runner-ups when it comes to local farms, but I’d rather hear yours!  So, with fall approaching, where do you and yours always head?  I’d really like to know!

 

 

Improv or Stand Up…You Choose

You know what I don’t do nearly enough?  Go to comedy shows.

Every few years a few of us get together and make plans to take in a show….and then, inevitably I find myself wondering, “Why don’t I do this more often?”

Who doesn’t need a good, honest, unbridled laugh every so often?

Last week I did just that.  I laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

Somehow, a year has gone by since my friends opened Laugh Boston and, on the club’s 1st anniversary, it was finally time to cross it off this year’s bucket list. I am so glad that I did! The comedians were, well, hysterical and the club itself is, dare I say, the perfect combination of industrial yet cozy.  Its fantastic location within the Westin Waterfront in Boston’s Seaport district doesn’t hurt either.  Nor does its full bar and “light fare” menu.

Laugh Boston is, as they say, “the stand-up brother to the Improv Asylum, Boston’s improv & sketch comedy theater located in the North End.”

If you haven’t been there either….you are totally missing out. In contrast to Stand Up comedy, the Improv Asylum features incredibly quick-witted improvisation and sketch comedy.  Which, in my humble opinion, takes a true artist to pull off.  They can boast to over 10,000 shows since its opening in 1998.

So, dinner and drinks in the North End and then a riot of an evening at the club. Or, a trip to the Seaport District, tons of laughs at the stand up club, and maybe even a quick overnight stay at the Westin? With summer coming to an end, that’s two good excuses to get over not only the A. Piatt Andrew, but also, the Tobin Bridges!

Laugh Boston

Improv Asylum 

Something You’d Never Have Heard One of My Grandmothers Say…

Please allow me to paint a picture for you……

A somewhat crisp, early afternoon on a late summer day….

Children gather all over Evan’s Field in Rockport, families in tow, with a rainbow of colors representing the various teams that make up our little Rockport Youth Soccer League.  Couldn’t be sweater, really.

The boys and I took Marlin, our German Shorthaired Pointer, to Finn’s early morning Kick Start Soccer Program and let him sniff the other dogs and then have a good romp around the field once the youngest players had scattered. We took a stroll down the dirt road and waved to the horses grazing in the field.

With just enough time to get home, regroup, and grab our bikes….we were off for Game #2.  The boys are new to riding their bikes across town.  I’m not going to lie, I slightly panic that Finn is going to swerve, fall off the curb accidentally, and get struck by a car.  I’m trying to be less nervous…and they LOVE riding down South Street, through town, up Broadway, past the train tracks, and to the ball field.  So, we do it.

Thatcher is a hockey player first and foremost, but he’s been loving soccer so far this season too.  He has a fantastic coach and is a totally different player than he was just one year ago.  I was just settling in after getting Finn a snack and watching him wander up the hill to pat a super cute puppy.  I was enjoying a bit of a “my boys are pretty awesome….and things are getting easier as they’re growing up a bit” moment.

And then, Thatcher and another kid collided. Thatcher tripped, totally fine, but was on the ground fumbling with his cleat that had fallen off. The other child was also fine…and kindly took a second to turn around to check on Thatcher.  As I was thinking, “That’s sweet….good job….way to check out the other player” my thoughts were quickly interrupted.

The grandmother of the other player shouted, “Don’t look back to see if he’s ok. Who cares.”  I was flabbergasted.  My first though was, “He’s fine, your kid isn’t that tough.”  My second was, “Shame on you, lady.”

Seriously….shame on her.

I don’t really straddle the fence of Helicopter Parentville.  I’m, as many people can attest, a pretty tough parent.  I expect my boys to be polite, I don’t tolerate too much crappy behavior, and I offer up plenty of constructive criticism.  I love them more than I ever knew humanly possible, but I don’t sugarcoat, and I expect them to be accountable and good kids.

While I wan’t compelled for even a second to run down and check on Thatcher….because A) he was fine and B) it is more my nature to let the coach assess the situation and summon me if necessary… I was still horrified by her “Who Cares” assertion.  I mean, really. Who cares?  Is that really what any of us want to teach our children.  That is exactly the type of response I hope that my boys NEVER have as they continue to grow and live their lives.  I hope that they always care.

As a parent, as a teacher, and as someone who hopes my kids are, above anything else kind, sympathetic, and compassionate to their friends, their classmates, their teammates, and even strangers, I was sad.

What did I do, you may ask.  Not much.  I’ve been regretting my lack of reaction all weekend.  I simply looked over my shoulder, made eye contact with the mother of the child, and said, “Wow.”

 

Look Up! Keep Your Eyes Towards the Sky Tonight

Will we or won’t we?   The word around campus is that we may have a chance of seeing Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, TONIGHT!

Be on the look out.  It is a sight not to be missed.  Fingers crossed.

And…by the way….what was up with tonight’s sunset.

Unreal….sadly, this photo doesn’t even come close to doing it justice!IMG_7264

Wicked Learning From Wicked Tuna

My boys have been super excited about spotting Wicked Tuna boats all summer long. I have to admit it is pretty darn cute listening to the two of them talking about the boats, crew, fish, green sticks, the price per pound, fat quality, this pound test or that pound test, etc.  While they’ve watched the show here and there during past seasons, they’re just a bit older this year…and hence, much more into it.  Likewise, for whatever the reasons, the North vs. South episodes that are currently airing get them giddy.

They clocked some serious hours at the Blue Fin Blowout back earlier this summer and I was so proud of how long they sat patiently waiting for boats to arrive.  They were completely riveted by the weigh-ins and the size of the fish. They couldn’t get down there fast enough for Day #2 of the action. A couple of weekends ago they got their “Wicked Tuna” on down at the wharf and thought they were the coolest cats in town when they got to haul their own little fish down the dock.  And, worth mentioning, they both gobbled up the sushi like it was candy after helping my husband clean the fish.  Finn hasn’t quite mastered the “Tails Up” yet though.

Despite witnessing their enthusiasm all summer, I was still surprised to see the journal entry that Thatcher wrote at school yesterday.  Love that kid!  I get that many probably find the fact that we let our 5 and 7 year-olds watch Wicked Tuna in the first place may not be the best of parenting decisions….but, I’ll take the learning opportunity and run with it.  (insert shameless shout out to his amazing teachers at the Harborlight-Stoneridge Montessori School).

Just more proof that growing up salty is excellent and that this little slice of heaven that we call home is bursting at the seams with opportunities for the kiddos to find something unique that speaks to them and to be passionate about.

 

High and Dry

You can keep on pulling on that anchor line, but I’m quite certain the boat isn’t going to budge.

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There are worse places in the world to be stuck than the back side of Wingaersheek….and I’m fairly certain this guy knew that too. He got that sucker WAAAY up there.  Assuming it was on purpose, he gets a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 How to Make Summer Weekends Last into September.  If it wasn’t on purpose, well, he still gets a 10….but, on a scale of 1 to 10 How Much Do You Agree That Boaters Should Need Licenses to Operate a Vessel.  

It ins’t over yet, Peeps!

Good-bye Storm, Hello Sunset!

Check out this gorgeous photo taken by the one and only Rebecca Borden!

“The sunset snuck in over the horizon just as the storm/squall passed.

Weather + Sunset + Gloucester Harbor = Never Gets Old”

Now that’s an end of the day view that I could get used to!

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Storm is a Brewin’

Well, this is one heck of a storm! Where are the Schraffts during the massive lightening and torrential rainstorms, you may ask? Setting a minnow trap of course.

Destination Gloucester….celebrity run in.

As if some steamers and a good drink at Halibut Point with a great friend isn’t excellent enough….last night I happened across a wonderful party of about 20 diners out to celebrate a wedding of dear friends.  While we didn’t chat long, the happiness exuding from their large table was palpable and I was so happy to have had the chance to meet them.

The fact that I met them at all stemmed from the fact that some of the younger-than-me wait staff recognized one of the guests as a very handsome actor. Doing my due diligence as a GMG contributor (who happened to be wearing my GMG baseball hat…go figure) I introduced myself and got a bit of the scoop.

Yanic Triesdale, a Canadian actor, also adored in the United States as Michael on The Gilmore Girls in addition to other series and mini-series, is in town to celebrate the destination wedding of dear friends Isabelle Lafleche and very soon-to-be-husband, Patrice.  While, maybe not as recognizable in person to those dining at Halibut, Isabelle is the fantastic, and incredibly beautiful, author of the novels J’Adore New York and J’Adore Paris.  I can’t get to Barnes and Nobles fast enough.  She also happens, as it turns out, to be good friends with GMG’s own, Kim Smith.

They were completely charming and talking with them made me smile.  I was, for the record, incredibly happy to learn that my own dear friend, while recognizing that I was mildly intruding on a rehearsal dinner of sorts, bought the table a couple of bottles of wine in thanks for humoring me.

Excellent examples of friendship on both sides of my iPhone last night.

Cheers to friendship….mine, Kim’s, everyone’s.  Cheers to Isabelle and Patrice on a glorious wedding and a lifetime of happiness. How special that they chose Rockport, of all places, to seal the deal.

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Yecchy!

HOLY CRAP!  Mid-shower, shampoo in hair, and caught a glimpse of this sucker running up the shower curtain!

Now look, I’m no fool…I’m not going to pretend that this hairy little arachnid wasn’t equally as horrified about running into me in the shower as I was about running into him, but the chances of him biting me are still much greater than me biting him.

Not many things make my skin crawl…but, this guy did.  Call me a wuss, but I’ve eaten termites in the rainforest, stepped on the tail of a monitor lizard that was running out of my bathroom in Africa, and have shoveled bait and dressed big blue fins at the tuna wharf for several summers.  That having been said, I’ll be checking under my sheets and sleeping with one eye open for a while thanks to this gruesome little monster.  Yikes.

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Bruins Street Brigade hits Cape Ann Youth Hockey!

Well, we’re back to school and that can only mean one thing…we’ll soon be back to the hockey rink too!  Soon, meaning next week.

I’ve been known to complain about the cold, crazy hours at the rink, but…between you and me…I wouldn’t have it any other way!  My boys love the game and being a part of Cape Ann Youth Hockey has been a fantastic experience for us all.

For any of you fellow hockey families, don’t forget about this great event!  A win-win for sure.  A win for the kids and a win for the Open Door Food Pantry who will receive donations from all registered players!  Check out the link below for much more information!  See you there!

Boston Bruins Brigade 2014.

Space is Limited — Register Today!

Another Schooner Festival is in the Books

So much beauty in one harbor.  It almost doesn’t seem fair….almost.

The day began a bit dreary, but grey skies couldn’t detract from the gorgeousness of the schooners as they paraded throughout our harbor.

Lucky, lucky us.  Thanks to everyone who played a part in another successful Schooner Festival.

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“Beautiful” May Not Do The Eagle Justice

Thatcher, Finn, and I spent a glorious morning touring the United States Coast Barque Eagle.  Gloucester is obviously fortunate to be home to such amazing vessels as The Adventure, The Lannon, and the Ardelle, but…as I explained to my boys…this weekend is like a Red Sox home game in that those ships get to play host to some other fabulous “away team” vessels.

The Eagle being one of them.

I’m not quite sure that “Beautiful” does her justice.

What do you think?

The Eagle is conducting an Open House until 7:00 in the evening. I highly recommend a trip down behind Americold to see her!

Goodnight Schooners

Twinge Worthy

As a continued tribute to Back-to-School Week, I have found some inspiring examples of why we all need school in the first place.

While some of these messages are funny, and some are mildly inappropriate (I apologize), some just flat out make me twitch!

Yikes.

Colton High School takes the cake though with its expensive and permanent misspelled signage.  Congratulations to you all (not, for the record, congradulations).

Does anyone double check their spelling (or, even more embarrassing, their phrasing) anymore? Sign all of the responsible parties up for a lesson on homophones immediately!  It isn’t hard, people!  To, too, two.   There, their, they’re.  It is truly more than I can handle.

 

 

Isn’t it Ironic?

An ironic place for some seagulls to snack on lobster legs, isn’t it?

Brazen little buggers sat right on top of our live lobsters to dine on some of their cousins.  Well, I can’t really prove that they’re actual cousins…but, you know what I mean.

I can almost hear the lobsters in the crate….”Enough already.  I can’t take it. STOP!  Why are you doing this?  What more do you want from me?”

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