Sunday, November 15, 2015

Happy 10th Birthday Blog!

Hard to believe it, but the blog is now 10 years old!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Me and You

She's working on a whole album now...
I want to be friends with you
I hope we'll make it the whole way through
Everything is going to be alright
We're going to have a great night 
I hope you respond to this request
Because that would be the best
So I talk to you, and you talk to me
What great friends we'll be! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What does find your heart mean?

The best part is her explanation of what the song means :-)
What does find your heart mean?
What does find your heart stand for?
Does find your heart mean you found me?
Does find your heart mean you found your heart?
Because you found your heart pumping
What does find your heart mean?
I'm not so sure about this
This poetry is getting weird
I'm not so sure what this is
Oh Oh
I'm not sure about this
Oh Oh
I'm not so sure what this is
Oh Oh
I'm not sure about this
You found your heart
What does it mean?
Found your heart means you found your love

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sense & No Sense

The latest hit single from our songwriting sensation!
One way some things don't make sense
But another way they make so much sense
Check out these goggles when I have the lens down
It doesn't make much sense
But when I have the lens up it makes much more sense
Flaps down, doesn't make sense
Flaps up, makes sense 
One way some things don't make sense
But another way they do
Check out this block with these blocks down
It doesn't make much sense as nature
But when you put the blocks to the side
It makes much more sense as nature
Blocks down, doesn't make sense
Blocks to the side, makes sense

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Color Song

Nora has been busy writing songs this year.  One of her favorite compositions is her 'Color Song':
Blue and purple might go together
But pink and turquoise look quite better
Green and yellow look like weather
White and grey you might need a sweater
Here she is sharing it with her class :-)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Go West!

Colorado Springs
Uncle Dave and Aunt Kara moved to Colorado Springs last August, so we gave them a full year to acclimate before we descended upon them. The kids were initially confused that we were going to Colorado but not going skiing, but Dave and Kara proved that there are lots of other fun things to do in the Centennial State besides plummet down the a snowy hill.

We arrived Thursday night, immediately crashed and then awoke Friday morning to a huge breakfast courtesy of Kara. We then headed out to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, where feeding of the animals is actively encouraged (provided you purchase said food from their convenient placed kiosks). Everyone got into feeding the giraffes -- a few of the giraffes almost got too into it -- but Nora was the only one that really embraced sharing a meal with the peacocks. Fortunately, none of the animals reciprocated.

In addition to all the exhibits (and I'm pretty sure we hit them all except for the elephants), the zoo also has a ski lift with a climbing wall and playground at the top. The kids got to ride with Uncle Dave and Aunt Kara while Allen and I got a few moments of alone time.

Saturday, we headed out to "The Castle" and Kara's favorite hot dog joint, Johnny B's Taste of Chicago, before meeting up with one of Allen's high school friend, Paul, and his kids at Garden of the Gods. Once we made it past the initial entrance, we were a little sad we hadn't brought any of our climbing gear (though as Allen pointed out, he wouldn't really trust any of us to belay him), as the formations and the views are pretty amazing. Still the kids had a great time bouldering and while we discovered how terrifying playing "hide and go seek" can be in a 1,364 acre canyon, everyone made it out alive and in time for dinner with Caitlin (Nora's Godmother) and Paxton.

Caitlin was offered a job at the Aurora History Museum about a year before Dave and Kara moved to the Springs (and about 20 months before our cousin Brandon and his wife moved to Aurora as well -- apparently, all the cool kids are doing it), so they were kind enough to drive up for the night. Kara had skipped our convening with the Gods in order to whip up a huge spread (homemade baguettes, soup, hamburgers, salad, hand pies, cookies...), so we were able to just relax, catch up and hear all about their life at 5000 feet above sea level.

Sunday morning, Uncle Dave got up early for a donut run (including a cotton candy one for Nora -- her Godfather hooked her up nicely), before we headed to the airport to drop Kara off (she was flying to Chicago for her dad's 75th birthday), drop off the rental car and the had lunch with Dave before he headed back to Colorado Springs and we retired to our hotel room in order to wake up for our 7 am flight the next day.

It was too short of a visit, but I have a feeling we'll be back before too long...

(To see all the pics, please click here.) Colorado Springs

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Help Us Save the Planet People!

Help Us Save the Planet People
The original plan when we had kids was for us to attend mass once a month as a family, meeting once a month as a family, and that the kids and I would pray for Allen in the off weeks. Contrary to the lessons you learned from "The A-Team," sometimes a plan doesn't come together, and so for the first nine years of our parenting, the meeting part never happened.

I've been struggling with the mass part of late, however. DC is a pretty conservative diocese and has been flexing its political muscles on a series of issues that don't really reflect the values Allen and I want to impart on our kids. I thought after Pope Francis was inaugurated, maybe things would improve, and while I think on some level they have, his message of acceptance hasn't really been embraced by the kids' Sunday School coordinator.

So after a particularly frustrating Sunday morning in which the coordinator stated that, "science comes and goes, but God is forever" and informed us that I was expected to take a seminar on "Parenting for Purity" (I attended, but declined the helpful brochures and free CDs), I contacted Owen's friend Gabriel's mom, Megan, who attends the Friends Meeting of Washington and arranged to meet up with them on Sunday.

I don't believe that God takes sides in religions, but if I did, I would have to say that God was clearly favoring the Quakers this past Sunday. While Allen grew up with "First Day School" taking place after a lengthy period of silent worship in the meeting house, The Washington Friends start with it. The kids were handed snacks, allowed to draw and Nora even got to blow out a candle before being informed that the day's topic would be global warming: how does it impact the earth, and what we wanted the United Nations' 21st Session of the Conference of Parties to do about it when they meet in Paris this December. And also that the kids would be making a video describing their concerns that would be then sent to Paris.

Allen, who is rarely moved by the spirit, volunteered to lead the discussion and film one of the videos. Owen and Nora embraced Gabriel's suggestion that they focus on the impact on animals. Owen started drawing animals that are endangered (such as the Tasmanian tiger) while Nora focused on those long since departed (a t-rex complete with volcano). Owen and Gabriel then took turns narrating the video, culminating with an exasperated Nora shouting, "Help us save the planet, please! I'm begging you!" Then after 45 minutes of this, we joined silent worship for 5-10 minutes after which the kids stood up and explained to the meeting what they had done and what they were trying to convey in their videos.

Then they ate cookies and played outside.

Nora is ready to convert. Owen thinks we should split our time. Allen is being characteristically silent on the subject. We're clearly going back to meeting, but we'll still split our time going to mass and Sunday school as well. At least for now.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Marsden Tract

Marsden Tract

This weekend was the first Cub Scouts camping trip of the Fall.  The whole pack camped out at Marsden Tract, along the Billy Goat Trail between the C&O Canal and the Potomac River.  Owen and the other new Webelos got to go with the older Webelos down to the river in the morning to see the secret Webelos spot, a secret den along the Potomac, that looked like it would be the perfect place to hide from the passing Ring Wraith.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Rock On

Nora got her own personal rock-climbing harness for Christmas this year, but we hadn't had a chance to use it. We'd planned to inaugurate it over Memorial Day weekend, but then she broke her arm. Nora bailed on a second trip due to the heat and requisite hiking. We were finally set to go over Labor Day, but things started looking grim when she slammed her thumb in the door at the doctors office. However, after some cauterizing and an x-ray, she eventually got the all clear.

We'd asked Andrew & Luke, Owen & Allen's regular climbing buddies to join us, as well as Owen's friend Leo, who'd been out of town for Owen's party, and his family, to join us at Carderock. Leo, was pretty nervous, but finally tried it after Owen lured him with a promise a Captain Rex helmet. Jonah did a little better and Micah managed to out-climb both his sons, though they were a bit too distracted to bear witness to his accomplishment.

Owen kissed the 'biener on his first climb and made it almost to the top of the second, but the real story of the day was Nora, who stopped a bit early in her climbing (she totally could have made it farther up), but bouldered like a champion and proclaimed that she would totally be up for another outing. Assuming she's in one piece.
(To see all the pics, click here.)

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Party a Go-Go

Nora's sixth birthday was not without incident. After having cupcakes with her new classmates, we headed off to the traditional birthday physical where after waiting a half hour to see her doctor, Nora opened the exam room door to peak out and then promptly slammed the door on her thumb. There were a lot of tears. There was a surprising absence of immediate medical care (there is also likely a physician change in our future). And there was one very ugly looking thumb nail.

The next morning Allen took Nora back to Kaiser for a trephination to relieve the pressure (or as Nora explained to her classmates, "They set my fingernail on fire and then blood squirted everywhere!") and took an x-ray to determine if her thumb was broken. The film was inconclusive, so they put her in a splint and scheduled an appointment with an orthopedist, warning us that she may need to be in a cast to immobilize said thumb.

To be honest, this is how our luck has been going lately, so I fully expected Nora to celebrate her sixth without opposable thumbs and possibly requiring me to spoon feed her cake. Imagine my delight when the call came at 5 pm Friday night that she was in the clear.

And so, on Saturday afternoon, eight little girls (and most of their parents) came to our house to play games with Mr. Justin from Labrynith (though the majority mostly played dress-up in Nora's room and tried to terrorize Owen), eat cupcakes that were way too rich, and then run around on the playground. It was kind of a perfect way to end our birthday season and most importantly, no one got hurt.

(To see all the birthday pictures, click here.)