Sunday, February 22, 2015

Advice for JK Rowling

I've been reading the Harry Potter books to Owen, and just before our trip to Whistler we reached the third task in the Tri-Wizard Cup from book four.  Harry and Cedric Diggory had competed with each other, but also helped each other and showed wonderful sportsmanship throughout the competition. When they decided to grab the Goblet of Fire together in order to share the victory, Owen felt a deep sense of satisfaction with the story.

That's where we left off before our ski trip, and I was a bit nervous about what was coming, so I warned Owen that the story was about to get much darker, but he insisted we continue reading when we got back from Canada.  Well, we read the next chapter tonight, and despite Owen making up an alternate version where Cedric wasn't killed, but instead awoke from the avada kadarva curse, crawled back to the Goblet of Fire -- which was still a portkey -- and grabbed it to transport himself to safety while Voldomort and Wormtail were distracted by Harry, Owen couldn't sleep and decided we needed to chat.
Dad, why would the author kill Cedric, didn't she want to make more money?  If she wants to write more Harry Potter books after this one, and she wants people to buy them and read them, she shouldn't have killed Cedric, because no one will want to read more of her books if she kills good people like Cedric.
Owen is a very gentle soul, and I think we might want to wait a bit before reading the rest of the series... 

Thursday, February 05, 2015


Allen's bday
The passage of Allen's youth was not the rager I initially thought it would be. At 30 we took over a bar. At 35 we took over a very nice private dining room. For 40, I figured a video arcade was the way to go.

But then Allen found out he had to fly to Boston the morning after his birthday. And Owen got really sick culminating in two ambulance rides and one admittance to Children's Hospital for severe croup. Given we were going skiing in Canada just 10 days after the milestone, we decided to scale down the celebration with just a quiet dinner for two at Rasika (plus I let him and Owen play lots of Zelda at home).

It was really nice and I think we both needed a mellow night out. 50, however, is going to be epic...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015



Our plan was to go skiing on MLK day, but apparently so was everyone else's which meant there were no openings in any of the ski schools in the tri-state area.

Skiing with Owen on a crowded ski slope makes me nervous; skiing with Nora on a crowded slope terrifies me. We decided to instead go with Plan B: checking out Daddy's new digs, visiting the American History Museum and dinner at Mom Mom's.

Surprisingly, the kids' favorite part of our agenda was visiting the Clinton Building where Allen's office moved over the summer and which Nora likened to a mansion! There was a lot of fun re-enacting the murals, checking out all the marble and chandeliers and then timing how long it took to climb the spiral staircase (until a devoted EPA employee asked us to keep it down lest she be stuck at work for even longer).

So we headed over to the American History Museum.

It was actually a pretty appropriate way to commemorate Dr. King as we were able to show the kids the Woolworth's lunch counter, Hale Woodruff's murals portraying significant events in the journey of African Americans from slavery to freedom, and civil war artifacts from "The Price of Freedom: American's at War," though if we're being totally honest, Nora preferred the Ruby Slippers and Owen was pretty focused on some gun.

Afterwards, we headed up to Mom Mom's for dinner and a second re-enactment of Nora's favorite mural at Allen's office -- this time in costume (or at least authentic hair-styling)!

(To see all the pics from MLK day, click here.)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Pinewood Derby 2015

The Pinewood Derby is probably the highlight of the year for the Cub Scouts.  Last year, in his first Pinewood Derby, Owen made it to the semifinals.  This year we started construction over Thanksgiving with some help from cousin Kent and his bandsaw, and with a few new tricks up his sleeve, Owen built a car that was faster than his old one.  He finished second in each of his first three heats (his friend Lucas finished first each time with his fast & cool looking 'Toothless' car).  Owen advanced to the quarterfinals, but the competition was stiffer than last year, and he just missed out on making the semifinals.  Not too bad considering there were over 70 cars entered this year.

We had some extra fun this year building a dad car out of our extra Pinewood Derby kit, and a sister car out of the leftover wood from Owen's car.  Nora painted hers a teal color to match Elsa's dress from Frozen, and I built my car with a GoPro mount.  The GoPro car was a big hit at the Dad's race, they entered it into every heat for 'historical documentation reasons' ;-)  It was designed to be slow, so it would have cars in front of it to film, but it actually beat the super cool 3D printed flame car, and legitimately made it to the finals, where it had a great view filming the other cars from the back of the pack.


Saturday, January 03, 2015

Liberty GoPro

So on the last day of school before the winter holiday, Nora announced to her class that she was going to Ski Camp over break.  This wasn't entirely true, at least not yet.  We have a big trip to Whistler planned for February, and we we're thinking that we needed to hit one of the local slopes before then for a warm up day, but until Nora's announcement, we thought that would be later in January.  Well, we wouldn't want to make a liar out of Nora, so I decided drive up to Liberty Mountain the day after New Year's with the kids and Aunt Katherine & Uncle L (Mommy sadly had to work.)  True to her word, Nora spent the afternoon in Ski Camp, while Owen skied with the grown-ups, and I played around with my new GoPro (Thanks Mom!)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014

Allen really, really loves Christmas. Which is why it's a downright shame that due to an ineffective flu shot, a bike ride in the rain, an excessive mise-en-place and probably too late of a Christmas mass, he pretty much missed it. Sure, he made it down to see the kids unwrap their Santa gifts, but after that he disappeared for several hours before I told him he had to wake up and shower if he wanted to go to Mom Mom's. He barely rallied, was shivering while getting dressed, had to rest on the couch eating dry toast before he could make it to the car, and went straight to Mom Mom's guestroom once we arrived where he spent most of the day (we would occasionally bring him out to the couch to watch us open presents or force more toast and ginger-ale down him). He was home and down for the count by 10 pm.

The kids had a great time and Mom Mom made a lovely meal, but I have to say it probably wasn't our favorite celebration. Also, with Allen largely out of commission, it was pretty much our least documented one, but thanks to Grandpa Don, you (and Allen!) can get the gist of our celebration here.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Here We Come a Caroling

One of our Christmas traditions is to go caroling on F Street with our old neighbors.  Several of us have moved away from the old block, but we still gather to raise our voices in song, catch up with old friends, and share some cookies and hot chocolate.  Happy Holidays F Street!


Bust a Move

Nora had a very enthusiastic final dance class on Saturday, and was in no way harmed in the making of this video. At least permanently.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Happy Solstice

They do things a little differently at SWS: instead of a holiday concert, Owen (aka Sun #2) and his classmate proudly present a Winter Solstice play.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

But Wait, There's More!

A scant three days after the final performance of Annie, the kindergartners had a holiday concert. Kate was scheduled to introduce the first song, but the weekend proved too much for her, so Nora had to step in as understudy. She sort of stole the show (or at least the parts I managed to record), and even provided some choreography for the "Jingle Bell Rock" mash-up with the first graders.