Sunday, July 19, 2015

Catoctin Camping

Catoctin Camping

For our summer Cub Scout camping trip, Owen and his fellow rising first year Webelo's, along with the Bears, went to Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland for a camping and rock climbing adventure. We were a little worried about the weather, as it was forecast to be blisteringly hot along with severe thunderstorms, but while we drove up to the park in a torrential downpour, the weather cleared by the time we got to the camp site, and the heat and humidity weren't nearly as bad as we had feared.  For my part, I was responsible for the climbing portion of the trip, so after we set up camp, we hiked a mile and a half up the mountain to Wolf Rock with all my climbing gear, where I found a nice spot to set up a challenging but doable climb for the kids.  Owen of course wanted to go first, and he did a great job utilizing all the holds he could find in the cracks and on the face to find his way to the top. The rest of the kids eagerly followed, but found the climb was harder than Owen made it look.  In all 13 kids tried the climb, but only 3, including Owen and one of the older Boy Scouts with us, were able to make it to the top.  Great job Owen!

We cooked out over the camp fire (hot dogs and hamburgers for the kids, and steaks for the grown-ups ;-), and made peach cobbler in the dutch ovens for desert.  After a decent night's sleep in the tents, Owen and his fellow Webelos woke up bright and early to make breakfast for everyone: eggs and all sorts of fixings in the dutch ovens, with bacon and sausages cooked over the camp fire.  All and all it was great camping trip for all the Scouts!

Catoctin Camping

(click here for all the photos)

Saturday, July 04, 2015

July 4th, 2015

July4th, 2015

On Friday we went to the Nats game with Dad, Mom & Don, and Katherine, but we had an extra ticket, so Owen invited Hayden to join us.  This was quite fortunate, since we didn't have plans for the Fourth, and Hayden's parents were hosting a party for some friends and neighbors, so we were happy get together with them for our Independence Day celebration.  We had a great time at the party, and presumably the kids did too, but they were off in their own world for the most part, which might be why we had so much fun with the adults ;-)  When evening rolled around, no one really had plans for going to see the fireworks on the Mall, so we walked down to Lincoln Park instead to see all the 'neighborhood' fireworks.  We heard more than we saw, but I think everyone had a good time.

(click here for all the pictures)

Friday, July 03, 2015

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

When we were buying our house, the realtor warned us that soon a DC landmark known for its chili and half smokes would be opening a few houses down and that we might be subject to the occasional breeze filled with the aroma of said half smokes and chili. We were undeterred, in part because we hadn't found any other houses that met our needs that we'd successfully bid on, and it wasn't really clear that Ben's Chili Bowl would ever open. After all, it collapsed just a few weeks into the renovation meant to maintain its historical fa├žade, resulting in a whole mess of issues. Construction finally started...and then stopped, due to a budget dispute with the contractor. Months past. Projected opening dates past. Other Ben's restaurants opened across the city.

Eventually, though, new contractors were brought in and we received a notice that Ben's would like to invite their neighbors in for a sneak peak. Grandpa Fawcett was pretty excited -- he'd been privy to all the building problems due to his regular site visits (during his morning constitutional of H street development) and wanted to inspect the final product. Uncle L was equally excited, having become a fan of Ben's shortly after he moved to the DC area, and feeling a little toyed with having to see the "Coming Soon" sign every time he visited. The kids were mainly psyched about free hot dogs.

We had to wait in a line that snaked around the corner to get in (though Ben's son brought out ice cream for the kids), and we were a little bummed that they decided by the time we placed our order, that milkshakes should be off the menu on a giveaway night, but all in all it was a fun and delicious (if you like that sort of thing) evening with n'ere a Cosby mention around (though weirdly there was a shout-out to Pauly Shore in the History of Ben's pamphlet). Welcome to the neighborhood, Ben's.

To see all the pics, click here.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sotano Over Exposed

Sotano at the Print Shop

Brad's band Sotano played an awesome kid-friendly show at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center on Saturday.  The space was a funky art-gallery/print-shop that really leant itself to some cool washed out over-exposed photos of the band that made it look like they were straight out of an 80's video shoot.  The kids had a great time dancing, and even got to do some cool silk screening projects.  Keep Calm and Rock On!

Sotano at the Print Shop

Sotano at the Print Shop

(click here for all the pictures)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Circus of Witches

Nora's been a frequent attendee of "Play in a Day Camp" the past couple of years, but while they have a lot of fun in those day camps, its hard to really stage a major production that captures the authors' vision in a mere seven hours (minus lunch and recess breaks). Summer camp, however, provides you a full week to settle artistic disagreements, shop scripts, re-writes, staging, dress rehearsals and what-not. This year was no different, with lights, music, costumes, audience participation and even refreshments with only a few technical glitches and missed cues.

And one very good witch.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Twelve :-)

A&E 12th Anniversary

Much like Mother's Day often does double duty with Elaine's birthday, Father's Day this year was double booked with our Anniversary.  After a lovely Father's Day brunch up at Mom Mom's, the kids went over to Aunt Katherine's house, so Elaine and I could celebrate our anniversary.  We had a lovely dinner at Marcel's, and went to the Kennedy Center to see Book of Mormon.  A wonderful evening to mark twelve wonderful years of marriage.

(click here for all the pictures)

Saturday, June 20, 2015


The Yards - Sophie's Farewell Party

It's a universal truth that as your children get older, you know less and less about their everyday goings on and who they get on with. I thought though at age five, I at least had a pretty good grasp of who was in Nora's inner circle. So imagine my surprise when Sophie's mom introduced herself two weeks before school ended stating that Nora and Sophie were really close and that it was so sad that they were moving back to England at the end of the school year and that they hoped Nora could join Sophie for a going away party at Yards Park. It's hard to say no to that, so we packed up the whole family and had a pretty amazing time meeting Sophie and wishing her a bon voyage.

(click here for all the pictures)

Monday, June 15, 2015


Sailing - June 2015

Our first sailing outing of the season. Not much wind, but we all had fun :-)

Sailing - June 2015

(click here for all the pictures)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Graduation Day

Friday we gathered with Grandpa Fawcett, Mom Mom, Grandpa Don, Katherine and Lee to celebrate Nora's kindergarten graduation. It was bittersweet for us, because while we're happy that Nora's moving up to first grade at SWS next year and so proud of all she's accomplished during her time at Peabody, Nora's graduation means that the we'll be leaving a community that we've loved and been a part of since 2010, one that has nurtured both of our children in a way we can never really thank them for. One that we will truly, truly miss.

So, I was fully prepared to cry during the ceremony, and did tear up during the opening remarks by Ms. Houghton -- a kindergarten teacher at Peabody who's youngest child was also in Nora's graduating class who waxed poetically about all the emotions I was feeling.

But then came the performances.

In the three years that passed since our last Peabody graduation when Owen graced the stage, production value has apparently increased. We thought Ms. Rountree was being extremely optimistic when we heard her plan for the Brainiacs, but they pulled it off in stellar style and made it impossible to wallow in sentimentality (because of all the laughing -- and the cupcakes)

Congratulations to the Brainiacs and the Peabody Class of 2015. Go forth and conquer the world (and don't forget to wear sunscreen).

(To see all the pictures click here.)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Into the Woods

Cub Scouts Camping - 2015

I am not a camper. While in my lifetime I have deigned to sleep in tents, truck beds, an outfield, and the occasional tipi, it was never for more than one night and it was not without complaint. It's not so much that I hate the outdoors, so much as I celebrate in all that its alternative has to offer: running water; refrigerators; wifi; and the absence of bugs. But we'd missed last year's Cub Scouts camping trip (the boys did a den overnight instead) and Owen really wanted the whole family to go to the Scouts' Weekend extravaganza at Shenandoah Springs, so I caved.

And then Nora broke her arm.

This seemed like a perfectly reasonable excuse for Nora and I to forfeit the camping experience -- as I mentioned to Nora's doctor multiple times -- particularly given the forecast was for rain and unseasonably warm temperatures. But Nora's doctor said that as long as she kept her arm dry she'd be fine and both Nora and Owen really wanted this to be a family affair.

So we went. The rain held off, the temps were mostly mild and the fish were biting more than the bugs. Owen had a blast on the zip-line, canoeing, making and launching a rocket, fishing, and hanging out with his friends. Nora loved lying in the hammock, fishing, having Daddy paddle her around, and oddly enough, the mess-hall dining experience. Both particularly loved the Webelo II's "If I Were Not a Cub Scout, I Wonder What I'd Be?" medley with the clear favorites being: a Girl scout ("Buy my cookies! Buy my cookies! Give me all your cash!"); a Den leader ("Do this! Do that! I think I'll take a nap!"); and a Statue (" " -- you kind of had to be there).

Allen and I were a little less enthusiastic, mostly owing to my going through caffeine withdrawal and the sheer verbosity of Pack 230 leaders ("a terrible death to be talked to death, a terrible way to die!"), but we have to admit that we had some really nice family time and some cool memories. And honestly, if Nora could do it with a broken arm, the rest of us can surely suck it up.

But next year we're bringing a cooler of Diet Coke and some other adult beverages.

(click here for all the pictures)