It had been a long time since Michael or I had been into the city (especially long for me, considering I hadn't done any city outings since well before Peter was born), so when our social calendars were clear the last two weekends in August we decided to change that.
In keeping with the ocean theme after our trip to Rhode Island, we decided to check out the New England Aquarium the following Saturday. Now, I'm just going to be up front and say that Michael and I have been to a lot of aquariums. Previously, our most recent aquarium visit was about a year ago when we went to Atlanta for a friend's wedding - and if you've ever been to the Georgia Aquarium then you know it's kind of a tough act to follow (after all...whale sharks!). So, you can imagine our surprise when we anticipated spending all day at the New England Aquarium and it took us less than a whopping 3 hours to get through it in its entirety.
However, the brevity of the trip worked out well for our two-year-old and we didn't even need to worry about ruining nap time! A larger aquarium would have been fun for my husband and me, but it was a great size for small children so I didn't mind. Witnessing Gabriel stare in fascination at the tanks was enough for me. :)
|Excited to watch the seal training show!|
Peter was a very accommodating infant and slept through the entire aquarium trip right up until the seal show was about to begin. Seemingly everyone in the building was crowded around the tank trying to catch a glimpse, so I left Michael in charge of Gabriel to watch the seals and went back inside to the dark exhibits; I easily found a bench on which to nurse Peter and when he was done we were ready to go grab lunch down the street at Quincy Market.
The weekend after that we returned to the city so we could finally do something I've wanted to do all summer long: introduce Gabriel to the historic swan boats in the Public Garden!
When we arrived at the Public Garden we first did something anyone that is a tourist and/or has children would do - we visited the Make Way for Ducklings statues. It is said that the statues supposedly never need any professional polishing because children sit on them so frequently...and I'm inclined to believe it.
|Sitting on the duckling named Quack|
|Clearly sitting on Mrs. Mallard is not as enjoyable as sitting on a duckling|
After our visit with the duckling statues we made our way to the swan boats. Because my plan of nursing Peter right before we left home and hoping the 25-minute drive would lull him into his morning nap worked so well, I opted to stay with the stroller and let him keep sleeping. The plus side to this is that I was able to take plenty of (paparazzi?) photos of Michael and Gabriel on their swan boat ride.
After Michael pointed me out to Gabriel everyone on that boat quickly knew who I was...because Gabriel excitedly (and repeatedly) yelled across the pond (quite a distance - because I was utilizing a whole lot of zoom to take this photo), "Mommy! Mommy - over THERE, Mommy! Look, Mommy over THERE!"
To wrap up our time in the garden we took a little stroll over the bridge and showed Gabriel some flowers.
|Not pictured: stroller containing a sleeping baby|
At that point we desperately needed food, but the combination of the heat and nursing a baby (aka feeling miserable if I don't have enough calories) squashed any hopes we had of walking to Chinatown for lunch. Instead, we hopped back in the car and quickly made our way to a great dumpling place in Cambridge.
We didn't need to spend much money and nothing about that particular visit to the city was very fancy, but Gabriel had tons of fun. To top it off, I borrowed Make Way for Ducklings from the library this week and I reminded him about all the things we had done in the Public Garden; his eyes lit up with happy remembrance, so I would say that our simple trip was every bit as exciting to him as the previous week's "fancy" visit to the aquarium.
"Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory."