Friday, May 13, 2016

Birthday Girl


When you share your birthday with your mother-in-law (and Mother's day in years when your extra lucky), sometimes it can be a little challenging to have your own special day. This year wasn't one of those birthday on Mother's Day years for Elaine, but it was one of those birthday years when your mother-in-law is turning 70 and everyone is throwing a gigantic surprise party for her years. Fortunately the surprise party was on Saturday, so Elaine and I could sneak out for a nice dinner with just the two of us on Friday night for her actual birthday.  We had reservations at Garrison on Barracks Row months in advance, and guess who also had reservations there...Mom, Don, Nancy & Danny!  It was the only evening with pleasant temperatures in no rain in weeks, so we chatted with them while we waited for a table outside, careful to maintain the ruse that there wasn't anything special going on the next day.  Eventually, we got our own quiet little table on the patio, and had a lovely dinner celebrating the most beautiful, amazing, special birthday girl in the world :-)

Monday, May 09, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Mother's Day has always been a risky enterprise for the Fawcett-Zimmerman household. Given Allen was hospitalized on my first official one as a mom, we tend to get anxious as the date approaches. But this year everyone was prepared: I made sure to bid on a "Mother's Day Art Studio Session" for both kids at the SWS auction; Owen and Nora planned an extensive scavenger hunt to find my presents with upwards of 17 clues; and Allen got tickets for the whole gang for the Capitol City Orchestra to see Mr. James in action followed by dinner.

Mother's Day 2016

It was a really great day, complete with pastries, Meeting, a playdate, a playground, music, dinner and lots of family and love.

(click here for all the pictures)

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Camp Girl


Nora has a knack for showing up in Camp Shenanigans twitter feed ;-)

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Dueling Playdates


Nothing better than playdates with your oldest friends :-)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Kennedy Center

SWS at the Kennedy Center

Mr. James has been doing amazing things with the SWS 4th grade Orchestra.  Most of them started as complete beginners this year, and they actually sounded pretty good at the Winter Concert.  Now their latest accomplishment is playing a song they wrote in class at the Kennedy Center!  Parents weren't allowed to go, as there were many school groups performing and watching each other, but I was able tag along as a roadie, hauling basses and cellos to the concert.  Owen was especially excited as he was picked to play the cello solo.  Their song was a variation on twelve bar blues, and Owen's solo was meant to be an improvisation, which of course he loved.  I could write all sorts of things about the concert, but really it's best to leave it in Owen's words.
"I felt like during the rest of the song I had to keep my skills contained, but during my solo my skills were unleashed like the Hecatonchires breaking out of Tartaros to wage war against the Titans."

(click here for all the pictures)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Hell on Wheels

A year ago, Nora was on the precipice of having her training wheels taken off when disaster struck -- she took a turn too fast, crashed and broke her arm. Understandably, Nora's been a little reticent about riding again, and so the transition to two wheels has been a fairly long, tortuous affair, involving a non-trivial number of tears.

But after weeks of crying every time Allen attempted to let go (and refusal to allow me anywhere near her), something clicked and today Nora managed to ride several laps unaided and even stopped herself. She's pretty proud of herself (though not as much as Allen and I are). Now we just need to build up her stamina to ride up-hill so she can visit all her friends.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Day at the Museum

Nora at the NGA
One of our purchases from the SWS was a day at the National Gallery with the first grade teachers. So Nora brought her art supplies and joined Ms. Celestino and Ms. Quattrone and several of her friends to tour the West Gallery in order to, "See, think and wonder and produce the occasional forgery.

Nora at the NGA

(To see all the pics, click here.)

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Little League and Snow Storms

Hill's Kitchen Nats with Ryan Zimmerman

For Owen's little league opening day all the kids went down to the dedication of the new Ryan Zimmerman field.  Ryan Zimmerman, Dusty Baker and Screech were all there taking team photos with the kids, so we were of course thrilled to be there.  The weather wasn't thrilled to have us though, right after we finished taking pictures a wintery mix started to fall on us.  The big leaguers were all under a tent with the Mayor for the speeches and the dedication ceremony, but all the little guys had to stand out in the outfield, so we bailed right after the team picture.  Pretty sure that was the only part Owen was really excited for, so no harm done.  Now time to start the new season, go Hill's Kitchen Nats!

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Opening Day

Opening Day 2016

The weather forecast was a bit sketchy for Opening Day, and I had a conference conflicting with the 4pm start, but Mom Mom and Grandpa Don were able to pick up Owen and meet me at the ballpark, and the weather at the start of the game was beautiful.  Rain started falling though in the second inning, and we waited out a 90 minute rain delay, and the Nats ended up losing the game, but other than that game, they started the season on a hot streak, and we're all just happy that baseball is back!

Opening Day 2016

Sunday, April 03, 2016


NYC 2016

We've been talking about doing a Spring Break trip up to New York on the train with the kids for a few years now, and this year we finally made it happen.  The dinosaur exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is closed for the next few years for major renovations (it hasn't been updated since I was a kid, and Owen had gotten very good at pointing out everything that was wrong with the 70's era depiction of dinosaurs, so it was probably time), and the American Museum of Natural History in New York just opened up two cool new dinosaur exhibits: The Titanosaur, a reconstruction of the largest sauropod ever discovered; and Dinosaurs Among Us, a new exhibit about how dinosaurs evolved into birds, so now seemed like the perfect time for a trip.  We put the kids in Camp Mom Mom for the first three days of Spring Break, and on Thursday morning we were off to New York.

NYC 2016

We woke up early and took the streetcar to Union Station and the Amtrak train up to Penn Station. The kids read the whole time on the train, and we arrived in New York City just in time for a quick lunch and a trip to the top of the Empire State Building.  Owen searched for Mount Olympus (he's been reading a lot of Percy Jackson), and Nora shouted into the air for all to hear, "Hello people of New York City, please stop what you're doing and listen to me, I'm going to tell you how to drive a car!"

NYC 2016

Our plan for this trip was to keep things laid back and not try to cram too much in, so after the Empire State Building we just headed up to our hotel on the upper west side, and went for a hike through Central Park.  That turned out to be a great plan, as we caught some Mozart at Belvedere Castle, the kids loved climbing all the rocks in The Ramble, and we walked all the way to the zoo (which was closed by the time we got there), and had a lovely dinner at a spot Nabeel and Megan recommended.

NYC 2016

Friday was our big day for the American Museum of Natural History.  Owen loved the dinosaurs of course, but Nora preferred the butterflies and the Hayden Planetarium.  What both the kids agreed on was that the first thing they wanted to see was the Dodo in the Hall of Biodiversity.  "Really?" you might ask, well if you've watched enough Wild Kratts, you'd know the Hall of Biodiversity is featured prominently in the show by the Kratt Brothers.  So after our New York bagels for breakfast, we made a bee line for the Dodo, but lo and behold the Dodo had gone missing.  We couldn't find it anywhere, but then we found where it was supposed to be, and it was hidden behind a six foot screen.  Fortunately, Daddy was able to lift the kids on his shoulders to peer over the screen and see the Dodo skeleton.  The mystery of the missing Dodo was finally solved when we went though the Dinosaurs Among Us exhibit.  The model of the Dodo was moved up to the new exhibit, it really was a cool dinosaur all along.

NYC 2016

Our plan for Saturday was to explore the High Line park before catching the train home, but it was raining and the park didn't really seem like a good idea.  Nora saved the day though by noticing a sign for a Mo Willems exhibit at the New York Historical Society just around the corner from our hotel. The kids had a blast at the Mo Willems exhibit, and there was even a cool Children's History Museum in the basement.  A perfect way to spend a rainy morning on our last day in New York.  We'll have to do it again soon!

NYC 2016

(click here for all the pictures)