No Seat Belts!

We woke up craving Giant Eagle donuts. Their bakery is getting better and better and it’s become harder to resist the variety of sugary love in the cases. I figure the stroller rode or bike ride to get to Giant Eagle makes up for the calories consumed (maybe if we biked back and forth twenty times over…).

We decided to take the COTA bus downtown after breakfast. Jon drove us a few blocks up the street to the bus stop (yeah, kinda defeats the sustainability argument for taking the bus, but hey, we saved five miles of gas going downtown!), and we waited patiently for the No. 5 to arrive. After a mere seven repetitive questions of “when will the bus get here?”, it arrived! The kids jumped onto the bus steps and dashed to the back. I paid $2 and joined them. Mario’s first response:

“There are no seat belts!”

He was charged. Maria enjoyed the thrill on Mario’s face with me since she had already experienced COTA with me a couple of years ago. I explained to them that a lot of people rode COTA during the week to get to their jobs, and that people read while on the bus or think about their day ahead. M&M soaked it in and asked questions galore. It was heartwarming.


Our trip lasted a mere 27 minutes and we exited at Bicentennial Park. I have been taking M&M down to this park for years. It doesn’t have any swings or a playground. It just has bronze statutes of mythological creatures and cement blocks to hop on and off of as you go from one statute to the next. But the kids have always loved to read about the creatures and climb on them.


They also have loved to jump from one block to the next. Mario had such trouble the last two years trying to jump from one particular block to another that was situated just a bit farther away than the others. This year he flew right onto it. II told him the story about how it used to be hard for him and he said “Mom, look” while he acted like he was scared to jump. I smiled at him and he responded “I’m getting bigger, mom.” Yep, you are bud.

We headed to the Santa Maria next. They had tours going on so we got three tickets and joined the rest of the group. It’s always interesting to see who the guide is for the tour. Last time it was a very boisterous young girl who had wavy brown hair and thick glasses and loved getting the kids roused up with stories from Columbus’ time. This time we had a scholarly-looking lad with white tube socks and loafers. He was maybe 17. He loved espousing his knowledge and hearing questions from the audience. He answered all of Mario’s questions with a slight chuckle before each response. A 17 year old in a 50 year old body. He was good though and we learned about what they ate on the ship (hard bread they softened with water and animals they housed on the ship), what games they played (ring toss and checkers), and how they killed rats on the ship (not too humanitarian). We skipped out of the tour a bit early to head to Dirty Franks with dad. Maggie and Laura were supposed to meet us but showed up late and there was no seating for them. They decided to meet us back at the house. When they walked out, Maria started crying. “I want them to stay, mom. I want to be with them.” I ran out with her to try to stop them. We were successful – Maria jumped into Maggie’s arms and fled away with them. Meanwhile, Mario ate two hot dogs with Jon and me. Two! He has to be going through a growing spurt.

We met the girls back at the house and sat around and talked to them about Australia and life in general for two hours. I miss that girl cousin time so very much. Ri hung with us for an hour and then crashed on the floor. Mario knew it was his opportunity to play computer and he took full advantage of it.

A low-key Sunday with a splattering of COTA bus trips, ship trivia, hot dogs and girl talk. What should we have in store for tonight? I see Graeter’s as a perfect end to the day….


Moments from this past weekend:

Mario running and jumping into the pool, arms crossed in a rapper style pose, rising up with those green goggles sucked onto his face and smile as wide as the ocean;

Maria climbing up the ladder to the high dive, walking confidently to the edge, looking down at me and the water, smiling and jumping in with feet planted firmly down to hit the water first (avoiding that belly flop she initially landed)

Maria on the playground swing, hair shooting everywhere and face filled with exhilaration as the chains untwist while she flies high in the sky

Mario scaling the outside of the plastic slide like a mountain climber

Maria showing her cousin around our potential new house like it was ours already, pointing out all of her favorite spots including her attic bedroom.

Mario and Maria dancing around in the fountains at the Scioto Mile

Mario raising his hand to the tour guide at the Santa Maria after she explained how they trapped rats in a wood box, emptied them in the ocean, and then used the wood box again to trap more rats.  The tour guide called on him and Mario explained “I have a book at home that Mommy reads called Michael Recycle.  We recycle, too.”

The pride in seeing my teachings come alive in Mario as he yells at a driver that beeped at us “We are not killing animals and polluting – we are walking not driving!” 

Maria performing her rap with arms cocked up and head moving side-to-side rapper-style “This isn’t the doghouse, this is the kitty litter house” and Jon and I cracking up at personality on that girl.  We see Baby Maria Slick coming to record stores soon.

Watching Maria race up the street on her bicycle begging to go all the way to Giant Eagle without me and Mario (“I am almost 7 now mom; I don’t need you anymore = I can do it by myself.”)

Mario taking down his shorts and undies on the side of the porch and peeing in the bushes (“Mom, boys are allowed to go pee outside in the woods.”)

Maria crawling into bed with me at 5 am and cuddling up against me with her cold feet and wrapped around my legs and her sweet breath against my neck

Feeling Mario rub my arm as we lay together at bedtime and waking up to see his little mouth barely open in such a deep glorious sleep.