Today was another first for us...we went to Quincy Market. We've never done that before because there's nowhere to park and what with never taking the T it was never feasible. However, today we had the good combination of beautiful weather and the no stroller thing, so I decided to go for it. We took the T to Government Center, and to my delight, it wasn't crowded at all. In fact, we were accosted by a Boston Globe truck to tell us that Santa would be arriving in around ten minutes' time if we wanted to hang around. We browsed in the Croc store, where I nearly bought Emma an adorable pair of winter Mary Jane Crocs--but then came to my senses and decided not to spend $35 for a pair of shoes she could decide to never wear (something she is famous for)...
We went back to Santa, who had a very detailed conversation with Ben about what he wanted for the holidays and where he lived...he was amused when Ben told him that what he wants most for Christmas is an alarm clock--which I have to say is pretty much going to be a big disappointment for him, as the last thing I need is for him to get up any earlier! He talked to Emma and Julia as well, but not to Rachel since she was pretending not to know us so she wouldn't have to speak with Santa--till I ratted her out and he beckoned her over! That was good for a laugh, I can tell you. The photographer from the Globe took some photos of the kids with Santa, so who knows whether or not they might be in the paper.
We meandered through the shops in the North and South markets, as well as the kiosks inside. We came upon a hat seller and watched the embroidery machine do its work, when it hit me--the perfect way to get Ben to give up his ratty old hat for a nice new one. It took a bit of convincing, but then he was swayed by the fact that he could choose the color and watch them machine embroider his name on the front. He chose dark green with white writing, and it looks very fine. I promised him no harm would come to the old hat in my purse, and he handed it over and put on the new one.
We ate lunch inside and then listened to a fireman's band wail on the bagpipes for a while--I'm not really sure what they were doing. There were fire trucks parked in front with a huge American flag strung up between them, and they played "Amazing Grace," but it didn't seem very solemn or sad. Then we walked on and watched a South American combo play for a while--they were very good but then it began to get too cold to stand still. We talked and decided that we were done at Quincy Market and wanted to walk back to the hotel through the Common and the Public Garden.
We began to walk and soon came up Beacon Street by the State House, where we crossed into the Common. We had a brief struggle when we passed the Frog Pond and saw the ice skating--the kids of course were clamoring to skate but I said no because I knew that I didn't want to ice skate for two or three hours and then try to walk back to the hotel! Also, it was a more crowded rink than we are used to, and a broken arm or even a bump on the head isn't fun when on vacation....however, once we passed the skaters everyone got over it. We bought some honey roasted peanuts and cashews and soon noticed the squirrels.
Now remember, Matt and I spent five years living in Boston, and we have been coming here this same week of the year since Matt started working at APS, so that's been eight years. I know all about the super-tame squirrels. And we have fed the squirrels before too. But this was the first year that Julia was almost 9 years old seeing these squirrels...Julia the animal handler. In a trice, she had these squirrels sending their little squirrelly signals all over the park, and she had them eating out of her hands. Literally. (This was helped by the fact that we were feeding them the honey roasted nuts as opposed to whatever toddler snack I was digging out of the bottom of the diaper bag in former years, I'm sure!) These squirrels were precious--they certainly knew their audience. They came to kissy noises, sat on their haunches and when we held out our hands they came right up, put their paws on our hands and took the nut, lickety split. Julia even had them climbing onto her knees to get the nuts!
We made our way through Boston Common and through the Public Garden, squirrels on our heels, till we ran out of nuts. At the end we even had pigeons and sparrows following us, and they loved all the candy bits at the bottom of the bag! We played on the duckling statues and climbed trees and watched the ducks (lamenting the fact that we had nothing to feed them...) Finally we made it to the other side of the Garden--right by the statue of Paul Revere by Arlington Street. I pointed him out and said something about his horse and how he warned the people that the British were coming, when Emma piped up, "I don't see a horse, and he looks like a BABY!" I realized she was looking at a Cupid in a fountain, not at the correct statue at all!
The rest of the walk was uneventful, just up Newbery Street to Dartmouth and over to Copley Square to the hotel. We spent the remainder of the afternoon in the room relaxing--I checked email, read a while and even napped just a bit while the kids played and then watched some PBS shows. We went to Charley's with a group of friends, which is one of the restaurants Matt and I loved when we lived here and always make a point to go to when we're here. We had a delicious dinner and fun talking with our friends, and then made our way back to the Westin, where Matt took pool duty.
Only one more full day and we are all so sad! I love Boston!