... is over and yes, I'm still in NY. And yes, we're still having fun (although M woke up me at 5:15am today to ask "почему у дедушки и бабушки в доме мало места" [why there's so little room in the grandparents' house]. It sure is a small house, only about 900 sq feet or so and full of stuff too. Plus with all our toys, books, and drums we bring our fair share of havoc and clutter to the place.Nevertheless, things have been fun so far. There are just a ton of things to do here. There's Rockland Bakery, of course, the place that M adores. We already went there a couple of times to buy fresh bread and, more importantly, to see all that delicious doughy goodness moving up and down the conveyor belts.
Then there is the Seven Lakes park - a place where M doesn't want to go unless you promise him that he can "drive" a car there. There's also more berry picking, of course. I'm telling you, those wineberries are delicious, plentiful and keep so well in the fridge. They seem to be way better than raspberries! I wonder if I can plant a few in our backyard this fall (yeah, I know they are invasive non-natives). Hmm, something to look into right now...
...back from looking for wineberry bushes. Seems like nobody sells them, but they can be dug out from the wild and replanted. Ok, next time I see one NOT in a state park, I'll do just that.
Where was I... Aha, things we're doing while in NY. Of course, we already went to IKEA. Personally, I think it's the best indoor playground for the little ones. And I don't mean the Kids Only area on the first floor (M is still not fully potty-trained, so we can't leave him there). The whole entire store is like a giant playground, only with foodcourt. Can't beat that, especially with the temperatures in the 90ies. It's just one of those "good for moms, good for kids, no dads allowed" places.
We also went to the Museum Village in the nearby Monroe. It's one of those interpretive history sites that we've been crazy about lately. It's really best to go on a (free) tour there since many of the houses are locked the rest of the time. Those also happen to be the most interesting ones - the log cabin, the drug store, the pottery, etc. Plus most demonstrations are scheduled around the tours. We caught a bit of the tour and it was very interesting. Next time I'm staying for the entire tour!
It's been crazy hot here and practically no rain. Fortunately, Masha's friend Rostik rents a house with a salt-water pool and, being a very nice and generous guy that he is, extends open invitation not only to Masha and her kids, but also to whomever she wants to bring along. How awesome is that, I ask you?!
So we went to the pool not once, but twice last week with Masha (in case you don't know, she's my cousin's wife), her two girls and M (it's a good thing Masha drives an SUV and M is finally big enough for a booster). At first M didn't want to go (the usual thing about getting his clothes wet). But then he ended up not only swimming (with my help), but actually jumping off the side of the pool (again, I had to catch him). Obviously and predictably, he didn't want to leave.
But wait, there's more fun inside the house (even though it is a small house) and in the yard. Grandma's garden is doing better this year and she and M visit it every day to harvest blueberries, currants, and early tomatoes.
Outside there's Grandpa's car to sit in and "drive", blacktop to draw on with chalk, and a pressure washer to clean the deck.
Inside the house, there's a drum set! Yeah, Grandpa picked up this Junior 5-piece set for only $20 just so M could drum any time of the day and night. That's definitely not something M would ever be allowed to do back home. So he's been performing quite a lot lately, including his hit single "Чёрные скелеты" [Black skeletons] which goes something like this "Чёрные скелеты, чёрные скелеты, чёрные скелеты!"