Friday, August 27, 2010

"I'm freaking out a little bit..."

Tuesday, August 24th was Owen's first official day of school. It was an odd culmination to the months of preparation for Owen enrolling in DC Public Schools, since we'd spent most of the summer convincing Owen (and ourselves) that it was ok he wasn't going to Peabody only to find out at the 11th hour that he was.

After finally meeting his teacher, Mrs. Murdock, for 15 minutes the day before and re-doing all the paperwork we'd done for Ludlow-Taylor back in July, Owen started at Peabody Early Childhood Campus the next morning. We got there a bit early in order for Owen to enjoy the playground and for us to get the lay of the land. Once the bell rang, Owen dutifully lined up with the rest of the first half of the alphabet of (the second half would attend Wednesday before they were all united on Thursday) and we escorted him up to classroom 5, where he dropped off his backpack in the closet and grabbed his yellow folder before heading into the room to find his name on the circle-time rug. We stuck around for a few more minutes before we were politely asked to leave. And while Owen looked a little taken aback, he didn't cry at all (nor amazingly enough, did his parents, at least not until much later).

We're not completely sure what transpired during the day. When I met Owen at 3:15 for dismissal, Mrs. Murdock commented that he'd slept under his mat rather than on it and all we could get out of Owen was that he'd had chicken and a peach for lunch and played bear on the playground, which apparently involved him chasing various children (wittingly or not) who'd happened upon his lair.

We're all still adjusting. When Allen took Owen early on Friday so he could have breakfast in the cafeteria, Owen informed him of his current mental state -- the title of this blog entry. Allen told him it was ok as he was freaking out a bit too. We still haven't completely worked the kinks out of drop-off and we're still trying to resolve aftercare, but overall we're feeling pretty good about this school year. Provided Owen willingly goes back.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Owen's Birthday Party...

It's been an overwhelming whirlwind of a birthday weekend for our family. Friday was Owen's fourth birthday, and his last day at the DOL daycare. Owen of course seemed fine with it all, but for us parents it was quite emotional, since he's been at the DOL daycare with the same core group of friends since they were all infants. Elaine is particularly sad that her little boy won't be right downstairs from her office anymore, and when she's down nursing or visiting Nora, she'll miss the excited voices of Owen's friends in the hallway yelling for Owen to come quick and see his Mommy and baby sister.

To make the day extra special (insert sarcasm) for Owen, he had to go to the doctor's office the morning of his birthday for a checkup and three shots. The unfortunate timing was dictated by having to be four years old to get his next round of vaccinations, and DCPS requiring he have his vaccinations before school started on Monday. After plenty of screaming at the doctor's office, he seemed to be fine for the rest of the day at DOL, enjoyed his party, and cheerfully said his goodbyes to all of his teachers and friends. That night though, he had a bit of a fever and was even too tired for ice cream cake.

By Saturday morning our little boy had rallied, and he was ready for his real birthday party. We drove up to Mom Mom and Grandpa Don's house after lunch, and Owen showed off his favorite birthday presents from Mommy and Daddy, a Washington Nationals batting helmet and a Josh Willingham t-shirt, perfect for playing backyard baseball in.

As if a weekend filled with Owen's birthday, his last day at DOL, and getting ready for his first day of school wasn't packed enough, while we were at Mom Mom's we got a call from Peabody Elementary School telling us they had a spot for Owen. Peabody was one of our top choices (it's part of the Capitol Hill Cluster School, we have many friends and neighbors who have sent their kids there and given the school glowing reviews, and it's right by Stanton Park on Elaine's walk to work), but we were so far down on the waiting list that we had written off our chances of getting in and enrolled Owen in Ludlow Taylor instead. Owen was really excited about Ludlow Taylor (they have a baseball field on campus), we'd been doing a regular Sunday evening playdate with other Ludlow Taylor families, and Elaine had already been to a few PTA meetings, so we weren't ready to say yes to Peabody immediately and instead asked to be able to sleep on it and get back to them in the morning. The upshot of course was that we'd spend Owen's birthday party agonizing over the decision.

With our minds racing about what school to send Owen to on Monday, we drove over to the Little Gym for his birthday party. Owen was a bit overwhelmed by everything and was feeling a bit shy at first (hard to blame him really with everything going on), but he eventually warmed up to everything and had a great time at his party. As much fun as he had running around in the gym, his favorite part of the party was showing off his Washington Nationals cake. Baseball really is the best in the eyes of our four year old.

After the party we went back to Mom Mom's for bison burgers and more cake (this time Mom Mom's delicious banana cake). He also opened his present from Mom Mom and Grandpa Don, a new pair of bright yellow boots, and a yellow raincoat to go with them.

We agonized over the school decision all night, but after sleeping on it we were leaning heavily toward Peabody, even if that meant breaking up with Ludlow Taylor. The last thing to do was to convince Owen that this was a good thing. Sunday morning was gray and rainy, so Owen donned his new yellow boots and raincoat and we went over to Peabody to check out the playground. By the time we got there the rain had let up and Owen started to get excited about the beautiful playground. Some other parents were there working in the gardens, and Owen helped out raking some mulch, then he joined the other kids playing "Haiti Firefighter Earthquake Rescue Squad." With Owen seeming more at ease with the idea of Peabody, we called and officially accepted the spot for Owen. Then the assistant principal came out to the playground to welcome us to the school and give us all the forms we needed.

Exhausted from everything about the weekend, we went home so Nora could have a nice long nap, then took Brad and Marlo up on the offer to join them for a lovely evening at the pool. Just what we needed to relax on our last real day of summer.


(click here to see all the birthday pictures)
(click here to see all the Peabody pictures)

Friday, August 20, 2010



Wow. I'm not sure which is more amazing to us: the fact that Owen has now been in our lives for four years, or that four years and one day ago, we didn't know the kid.

It's kind of a big birthday for us, because Owen's birthday is also his last day at the daycare he's attended since he was 3 1/2 months old. Come Monday morning, Owen will be at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School, which means we'll no longer be commuting together and I won't be able to check in on him at a moment's notice. I'm coping as best I can.

In preparation for his first day, DC Public Schools interviewed me to assess whether Owen had any developmental delays. The last question they asked was "What is your favorite thing about Owen?" I rambled on for a while, but in essence said that it was his capacity for joy. When I asked Allen the same question, he replied that it was his adventurous nature. We both agree, though, that it's hard to narrow it down to one thing, because we have a sweet, silly, smart, loving, dramatic, curious, happy, adventurous little boy and our favorite thing about Owen is that he's Owen.

Happy fourth birthday, little man.
  1. Playdates involve more tears than their name would suggest.
  2. Banjo-Sneaker-Rockstar-Pajamas are the coolest.
  3. Hide-and-Go-Seek is a much more efficient game if you tell the seeker where you're hiding.
  4. You don't need to pace yourself when it comes to stickers.
  5. The high-dive isn't at all scary. Cookie Monster, however, is a whole other story.
  6. Winter is the best season...except for maybe summer.
  7. Peeing while standing is overrated.
  8. Baseball isn't everything. There's also softball, the Nationals, playing catch, batting practice...
  9. It's nice to be worshiped.
  10. Three is a magic number.

Monday, August 16, 2010

MoCo Fair


On Saturday we joined the Brown's for our third annual trip to the Montogmery County Fair. As always, we had a great time seeing all the animals, visited the fire fighters and their moon bounce, rode the ponies, checked out the tractors and the combine slide, and had dinner and ice cream. The new addition this year for Owen and Mia (and the daddies) was a ride on the Ferris Wheel. The hour was late and the line was long, but the view was amazing, and Owen and Mia had a great time checking out the fair from on high.

(click here for all the pictures)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Iowa- Part VI - Hooverfest and Homeward Bound

Our Iowa trip culminated with a celebration of our 31st President. We thought there would be more Pre-K appropriate activities at Hooverfest -- Allen promise us a Big Wheels race -- but the weather and the planning committee didn't cooperate. Instead we avoided the rain and watched Hooverball from the safety of Aunt Martha's balcony, had more sweetcorn back at the Pond with the Hoover Family and Trustees (and got a few last jumps in as well), and stayed up until 10 pm to eat ice cream and watch the fireworks (which Owen found scary but Nora loved).

The next morning we headed to Aunt Katherine's and Uncle L's a couple hours after Grandpa Fawcett. Makayla was also visiting and so she and Owen got to play baseball with the neighborhood kids and camp out in their own fort (though Owen didn't last the night) while Nora celebrated Mardi Gras a bit too early and enthusiastically.

We finally headed home on Monday, much to the disappointment of Owen who couldn't bear to leave Makayla ("She's the best... I love her."). Construction was crazy and so we took an alternate, scenic route through Pennsylvania before finally making it home in time for dinner.

And so ends our Iowa journey...until Thanksgiving.


(click here for all the Iowa pictures)

Friday, August 06, 2010

Iowa - Part V - Camping in the Tipi


Last night Owen and I camped out in the tipi with Thomas and Ethan. We started out with everyone at the Pond for some swimming and a dinner of grilled pizzas. As the sun started to set we lit a campfire and roasted marshmallows for some delicious s'mores. Grandpa Fawcett and Uncle Ken told some campfire stories for Owen and Ethan, and when the hour was late we grabbed our sleeping bags and hiked back through the woods west of the Pond to the tipi. For Owen and Ethan, excitement and exhaustion dueled in the night, and exhaustion quickly won as the boys drifted off to sleep.

Despite predictions from Mommy and Grandma Z that Owen would be scared and want to come home in the middle of the night, he slept soundly and woke up at 6:30 excitedly proclaiming, "Hey guys, it's morning time!" After waking up the whole tent, Owen decided to, "sleep a little more longer," and Thomas and I went about cooking pancakes in the tipi.

Owen had such a wonderful time camping, that he didn't want to change clothes when he got home, because if he took of his dirty camping clothes, then the camping trip would really be over. To help him out we set up his sleeping bag for nap time, and talked all about one day going on a camping trip to the Boundary Waters with Thomas and Ethan.


(click here to see the tipi pictures)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Iowa - Part IV - High Dive

High Dive

Owen has always been a big fan of jumping into the pool, so when we were driving out to Iowa, I tried to convince him that it would be fun to jump off of the dock. It's a bigger jump than he's tried before, but I thought that with his life jacket on he might be up for it. Well the first day out at the Pond we tried to jump off the dock to get in, but he decided it was a bit too scary, so we waded in at the beach instead. Once he was used to the water though, Owen decided it was time to jump off of the dock. He did it without hesitation, and after a few jumps I had him watch me jump off of the high dive. Well, he certainly thought that was exciting and immediately asked to go off himself. I wasn't sure about that plan, but he was halfway up the ladder before I could try to talk him out of it. I climbed up with him, and he wanted me to pick him up so we could jump off together. After one more chance to back out, we jumped, and Owen came up with the biggest grin on his face.

We jumped a few more times with me holding Owen, and eventually we graduated to jumping off together while holding hands. Then finally after a few days of jumping, we would climb up to the top of the high dive together and do a "one-two jump" where Owen would jump in all by himself, and then I would follow afterward.

With Owen setting the record for the youngest person to go off of the high dive, his grandparents became inspired to express their youthful vigor. Mom mom was first to claim she would jump off of the high dive. Bets were placed, and sure enough on the day of the Sweet Corn Festival, Mom mom made the leap setting the record for the oldest person to do the jump. That record wouldn't last for long though. Once Grandpa Z got wind of it, he decided the record was his for the taking, and the next day he jumped of not once, not twice but three times (to ensure adequate video coverage). Grandpa Fawcett couldn't break the record, but he didn't want to be showed up by Owen's other grandparents, so later in the week he decided it was high time he jumped off of the high dive as well. Owen thought Grandpa Fawcett might be scared, so he insisted on jumping with him, and directed the jump to a successful conclusion. With three grandparents having jumped off the high dive, one might think that Grandma Z would be next, but she claims to have not yet lost her sanity.

We're all quite impressed with Owen's bravery jumping off of the high dive, but Mommy at least is a little afraid of where this will lead. If he's jumping off the high dive at three, what will be doing in a few years? Owen was very impressed with his cousin Andy's backflips off the the high dive, but thankfully he realized he was too young to try one, for now...

Monday, August 02, 2010

Iowa - Part III - Sweet Corn Festival & Open Pond


The weekend brought plenty more activity with the Fawcett family Sweet Corn Festival on Saturday, and the Open Pond party celebrating 25 years since we started construction on the dam for Cold Spring Pond. After my grandparents Floyd and Mary Helen, and my great uncle Alfred and great aunt Helen all passed away, the Fawcett family decided we needed an annual event to bring the family together, and thus the Sweet Corn Festival was born. Because when the sweet corn is plentiful, there's no better time for a party at the Pond.

Saturday morning was spent picking, husking, cooking, cutting, packing, and freezing sweet corn (though truth be told, with our kids and Steve & Becky's kids to wrangle in the morning, plus various Grady departures after the Baptism, we only made it for the tail end of the actual work, and then Owen mainly spent his time eating sweet corn). The morning work was followed by a lunch (with lots of corn on the cob of course), and an afternoon of playing and relaxing at the Pond.

Owen had an absolute blast playing with his cousins Olivia, Maura and Sam. There was plenty of playing on the beach, paddle boating, paddle boarding, baseball playing, frolicking on "Hollywood", and jumping off the dock (more on this in a later post). Owen really was thrilled to show off the Pond to his cousins, and has clearly adopted the Pond as his favorite place in the world.

That afternoon we had a special treat when Joe, Cate and Gigi arrived from St. Louis. We hadn't seen them since we dug out from the blizzard of '10, so it was great to see them in a more temperate environment. Owen and Gigi had a wonderful time playing together, and we all had a lovely dinner at the Pond (with more sweet corn of course).

After two days of big events at the Pond, we weren't quite done. August of 1985 (back when I was living in Iowa), was when the bulldozers first started work on the damn for Cold Spring Pond, and on Sunday we celebrated the Pond's 25th birthday party with an Open Pond event. The whole community was invited, and over 200 people came to tour the Pond and enjoy ice cream and cookies. The whole weekend was an exhausting whirlwind of fun, and it was nice to end it with a little ice cream.


(click here to see all the pictures)