Tuesday, December 28, 2010



While Allen is on detail to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), he has made it his goal to take advantage of every possible perk associated with his proximity to the Executive office. However, because he is only on detail for six months, we've had to fit all of these activities into a very short span of time. They have ranged from the very cool (such as seeing Hair from the Presidential box at the Kennedy Center) to somewhat excessive (such as two tours of the White House in as many weeks).

My personal favorite, however, has to be bowling at the White House Bowling Alley (which is actually located in the basement of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building). Not only was it kid friendly (we had the place to ourselves and so I actually didn't worry about the kids wandering into forbidden territory and requiring a Secret Service intervention), but we were able to invite a large crew to join us, and it was enough of a novelty that even those friends that spend a lot of time at White House meetings (specifically Nancy), were pretty excited to go.

Of course, Allen won (though I did manage a second place finish in shoes two sizes too large), but I had a good enough time that we might try to squeeze in one more trip before his service officially ends in March.

(Thanks to Katherine, Lee & Makayla, Mom mom and Grandpa Don, Aunt Jen and her friend Joanna, and Nancy, Danny & Christopher for making the night so great.)

(Click here to see all the pictures.)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

2010 was our year to have Christmas here in DC, and kept up some of our cherished DC Christmas traditions, like visiting the Botanic Gardens to see the trains (though the lines were too long the first time we went, so we held off on the train part of the gardens until after Christmas); hosting Christmas Eve dinner at our house (we even made our mole chicken enchiladas again); and having Christmas dinner at Mom Mom's house with friends and family. Grandpa Don hopefully started a new tradition with his delicious oysters on the half shell (which aunt Katherine had no trouble convincing the kids were disgusting); Aunt Katherine and I took up competitive napkin folding; and Mom Mom brought back an old favorite, prime rib and Yorkshire pudding, for Christmas dinner. Owen was most excited about his Razor scooter from Santa and his very on copy of the Lorax, and Nora was awfully fond of her Bitty Baby and her Mrs. Potato Head, not to mention the her Great Grandma Fawcett's restored wicker rocking chair at Mom Mom's house. Christmas 2010 also brought a few extra reasons to celebrate, as Aunt Katherine and I both received job offers on the day before Christmas Eve. All together it was a wonderful holiday spent with family and friends. As Owen insists we say now, Happy Christmas and Merry New Year!

(click here for X-Mas Eve pictures)
(click here for X-Mas pictures)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Caroling


One of the things we love about our house is our wonderful neighbors. There are a lot of kids on our block, and it's so nice for Owen to be able to go knock on the door of a friends house to go play (and Nora is starting to be old enough to join in the fun). In the summer time they get to go play superheroes, and in the winter they play in the snow. On Christmas Eve eve, the neighborhood kids and parents joined in song and went caroling on our block. We sang Jingle Bells, Rudolph, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and Joy to the World bringing a little Christmas cheer and a healthy dose of cuteness to the neighbors. Then we all went back to Will and Katy's house for hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. Merry Christmas everyone!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

White House Holiday Tour


Setting up White House tours is one of the perks of working in the EOP. Ordinarily, when you set up an East Wing tour for people, you can flash your badge and be whisked to the front of the line. Once the White House is decked out for the Holidays though things change, the public line disappears and all of the EOP comes out for the tour. Well, I didn't want to miss out on my first chance to see the White House at Christmas, so I took the family and we braved the cold waiting in an hour and a half long line for the privilege. Elaine of course was a bit jaded about it all (she went on a White House Holiday tour during the Clinton administration, back when they had no security, no lines, and lots of cookies), but she put on a brave face and indulged me and the kids. Even with all the cold and the waiting, I'm glad we went. Owen loved the Red Room, Nora loved the singers, and I think we all still feel a little bit awed visiting the President's house for the Holidays.

(click here to see all the pictures)


Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Owen started school this year, which means our non-summer travel is suddenly constrained by truancy officers who require a conference after five unexcused absences. This is problematic, as Owen's break doesn't technically begin until the day before the holiday and every other year we head to Iowa for Thanksgiving, by car.

So despite being awarded a perfect attendance certificate the Thursday before, we let Owen play hookey Monday-Wednesday and left for Iowa over the weekend. We spent the night at Uncle L and Aunt Katherine's on Saturday and arrived in Iowa Sunday evening.

As we weren't the only offspring that were driving to Grandma & Grandpa Z's (and Steve & Becky are less inclined to encourage delinquency in their children), we spent Monday and Tuesday hanging out with Fawcetts until Dave & Kara arrived Wednesday night and Ellen, John & Caitlin as well as Steve, Becky & the kids showed up Thursday afternoon.

The cousins had an amazing time and we adults enjoyed ourselves. Owen reported that his favorite part of the meal was eating the rolls he helped me make and Nora discovered that she inherited her father's love of pies. Come Friday morning, though, we quickly bid Grandma & Grandpa Z a fond farewell and headed back to DC.

Where three disgruntled messages from DCPS discussing Owen's absences awaited us.

(Click here to see all of the Thanksgiving pictures)