We welcomed 2013 in Salem, Massachusetts with a fabulous group of friends! As time goes on, and as it always does, we keep adding kids to this clan. We are up to 3 with one on the way - which is fabulous for us, our boys are not the only kids at the party! But what that also means is the party has calmed down a bit, the board games are more important than drinking games, craft beer tasting replaces chugging Miller Light, or, God help us, Natty Light (I think IPA-hole just cringed, remembering that he willingly drank large quantities with these folks in college). Yeah, starting to sound familiar, isn't it?
It seriously took us 18 hours to drive from Pittsburgh to Salem in a exciting snow storm - the WHOLE way. That was tons of fun for everyone in our car. Once we did finally get there, the ladies barely left the house. We rented a typical New England small town house, built in 1846 named the John Edwards House. We ventured out to the shops and found some great boutiques like Pamplemousse and right up my alley, The Roost - where I discovered my new nursery theme if we ever decide to have another child. It was cold, as New England is expected to be, and quaint, and charming, and an easy place to feel comfortable. We did notice remnants of the Halloween-time rush that Salem is known for, but it didn't seem like its only shtick.
We've gotten our group down to a system, each of us choosing meals and doing a lot of cooking at the house instead of going out - easier with baby schedules and allows us more time to spend talking to each other. We never shut up. So the menfolk did take an afternoon and hit the town for a pub crawl. No idea where IPA-hole and his buddies went, but they were happy with the beer selections they found and returned home in GREAT spirits - they were straight up giddy & rowdy.
- The Picard - Mozzarella and asiago cheese with thinly sliced potatoes, Canadian bacon, rosemary, chopped garlic, Parmesan, and olive oil on the crust, no sauce
- The Gosek - Red sauce, clam, arugula, feta, topped with a sprinkle of lemon juice
- The Serenity - Olive oil, crushed garlic, spinach, sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, no sauce
The other restaurant we ventured out to was The Tavern. Unfortunately, for me, it was forgettable. Don't get me wrong, the food was good, but nothing jumped up and down screaming "EAT ME!" so I settled for Philly Steak Mac & Cheese, and IPA-hole grabbed the Buffalo Chicken version. Cheesy goodness, but heavy and again, forgettable. Although, my assessment might be slightly skewed...
See, down at our end of the table we decided that the 3 kiddos should sit together. Yup, chaos ensues. BigBrother is in the worst mood, argues with basically everybody and everything, only to pass out at the table. Great. In the meantime, BabyGray and his new little girlfriend decide that sitting at the table, eating and giggling, hanging with moms & dads is not quite enough. They need to toddle around the restaurant, visit the tables that have TVs on them, run as fast as they can away from the table, you know, all those crazy things that newly independently mobile kids do - they wanna move around and grab stuff. Like other people's stuff. And he's gonna do everything in his power to get there, which involves cuteness and trickery. If you don't have kids, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. To those who are familiar, yeah, you know the drill - one of those kidless friends thinks they'll be helpful and give mum-dad a break, which we totally appreciate, believe me! Well, with the best of intentions, they come grab that tricky little devil and unhook his high-chair seatbelt - toddler success! And he'll sit with them, for about 3 minutes, then he has squirmed and thrashed and kidless friend loses their grip - and now there's a toddler on the loose. He's cute as hell, but just try catching him and getting him back in that seat WITHOUT creating a scene. Check, please...
Yup, its a far cry from New Years Eve years ago when we were chasing a highly intoxicated IPA-hole and his buddies, squirming and thrashing down a snowy New England street at 3am as they reenacted their version of Call of Duty, trying to get them back in the house without creating a scene. We didn't grab our stuff and run though, the ladies giggled uncontrollably and encouraged the mischief, probably because we were just as intoxicated and didn't know how one should reenact Call of Duty.
Ah, the memories... I'm sure we'll keep creating more everyday!