Monday, July 25, 2011


The road to Owen riding a bike has not been the truest of paths. We'd hope to skip the training wheel stage entirely because, quite frankly, both of us learned on two wheelers. Sure there was a fair amount of blood involved and it took a while for the skin to grow back, but we liked it. We loved it. So we bought Owen a balance bike for his 3rd birthday, but Owen balked at riding it because it didn't have pedals and begged for a "real" bike. We insisted that he needed to ride the balance bike first and once he got good at it we would upgrade to a big boy bike. Owen chose to continue riding his tricycle instead.

The standoff continued until Spring of this year, when we finally decided to purchase a new bike with training wheels. Unfortunately, around the same time Owen decided to start riding his balance bike in earnest and that he didn't want training wheels but a bike with a kickstand. But we'd opted for the 16" bike which was a little big for Owen to get on and off without the training wheels, so Owen decided to continue riding his balance bike and I began to rethink my whole parenting approach.

But when we got back from Iowa, Owen needed a new pair of shoes which meant a trip to REI. Allen suggested that while there Owen could get his training wheels removed and a kickstand installed. Owen jumped at the chance. Once they got home he donned his helmet and went for an innaugaral ride. While we're still working on stopping (and had one bad run-in with a wall), we're pretty impressed at what little assistance Owen needs from us. And maybe just a little bit sad.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

High Dives

Owen set the record for the youngest person to jump off the high dive at the pond last year, and after a few days of nervous jumps, he more than fulfilled his promise to Aunt Katherine and Uncle L to jump 11 times for each of them, even climbing the high dive ladder and jumping off all by himself this year.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer in Iowa


We planned our trip to Iowa this year around Elaine's 20th high school reunion, so we missed out on corn fest, but we had a great time visiting everyone all the same. We made our customary stops in Cleveland on the way to and from Iowa to stay at Aunt Katherine & Uncle L's house, and had all sorts of fun playing baseball, and even playing with a few sparklers. Once in Iowa we had all sorts of fun playing more baseball in Grandma & Grandpa Z's backyard, playing with cousin Grace, and of course lots of swimming at the Pond.

The exciting new development at the Pond this year was the covered wagon that Uncle Ken just finished building to go along with the tipi. Uncle Ken gave us a ride in the covered wagon around the pond and back to the tipi, and thereafter Nora was quite adorable saying 'covered wagon' every time she saw it.

Since we were in Iowa for the reunion, we headed out to Des Moines over the weekend, but first we stopped in Ames to visit Thomas & Jen. Leanna and Troy were there too, so we had all the cousins, Owen, Nora, Ethan, Simon and Grace all together for a really fun afternoon picnic in Thomas & Jen's backyard.


After the reunion, we drove back to Eastern Iowa, and the epic heat wave of 2011 descended upon Iowa. Even the the Capital Weather Gang back in DC was tweeting about how hot it was in Iowa. The heat wave brought good and bad news. The good news was that with all the heat, the sweet corn was ready early enough for us to enjoy some, the bad news was that it meant that the night Owen and I were planning to spend in the tipi was going to be a bit more uncomfortable than anticipated.

On Sunday we had a big family bbq at the Pond, and it was great seeing everyone and eating some delicious Iowa sweet corn (Owen and I both managed to eat four ears;-). After the sun went down, it was way too hot for a fire, but we launched sky lanterns above the Pond, and watched them drift away into the night sky. Then after everyone left, Owen and I hiked back through the woods to the tipi. Owen was quite brave, and happily hung out in the tipi by himself with just a flashlight while I made a few trips back to the cabin to get all our gear. I was sweating buckets, but Owen happily fell asleep in the tipi without any problems. I eventually drifted off well after midnight, when the air finally started to cool. In the morning, Owen and I went fishing off the dock (though we didn't catch anything), and then back to the cool air conditioning of Grandma and Grandpa Z's.


We did a lot more swimming at the Pond the rest of the week of course, and the last real adventure of our Iowa trip was going over to Nan's house to see cousin Kendra's horses and chickens. Owen was particularly taken with feeding the horses, and Nora couldn't get enough of the chickens. She really was quite thrilled to see all the farm animals she reads about alive and walking around right in front of her.


Sadly our Summer Iowa trip is over now, but we'll be back again for Christmas this year (Owen is really hoping he'll be able to play ice hockey on the Pond), and next summer we'll be back for corn fest 2012.

(click here for all the pictures)

Monday, July 18, 2011


The timing of this year's Iowa trip was dictated by my 20th class reunion. I hadn't really seen anyone from high school since Memorial Day 1991: my parents informed me they were moving to Texas the day after I graduated, I wasn't invited to the 5th reunion and I opted out of the 10th (I was but a poor graduate student living in Austin). But I'd promised myself long ago that I'd make at least one of these, and as the kids are cute, Allen still has his hair and I lost the baby weight, I figured this was the one to attend.

Shockingly, I was not the most popular person in school, and though I'd reconnected (or in a lot of cases, connected for the first time) with a fair number of my classmates via Facebook, I was still a bit anxious about seeing everyone. A good time was had by all, however. Despite missing most of the tour of my alma mater, Owen managed to coral a bunch of offspring into a baseball game at the picnic while Nora focused on the food. After we handed the kids over to Grandma & Grandpa Z that afternoon, Allen and I got to hang out with some awfully cool people at the State Historical Museum (who knew their was a woolly mammoth infestation in Iowa a few million years ago). While I probably should have mingled a bit more, it was a really nice time. I might even be willing to make the 30th...

Thursday, July 07, 2011


The blogs have been a bit Owen-centric of late -- a natural outcome of ending school, starting T-ball and camp, and just living the life of an almost five year old. Nora, however, has been pretty busy herself. After a 2 week taste of how terrible the twos could be, our sweet baby girl returned to form. She's working hard on counting to 10 and saying her ABCs, with the requisite dance breaks in there. She's not always sucessful, mind you, but she is ridiculously cute.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Things You Do For Love

I stayed home with Owen when he was first born, and when he started daycare it was exactly 4 floors down from me. We commuted together, I would visit at lunch time, give hugs after falls and scrapes and chaperone field trips. Even after Owen started Peabody this fall, we still commuted together which meant I got to meet his friends, watch them play, and was the first to hear all the days happenings.

But now that Owen is in camp and it meets on the other side of the Hill, Allen has taken over drop-off and pick-up duties which often includes watching Owen play a few innings before dragging him away. By the time I see him, he's exhausted and down to monosyllabic answers to my inquiries about his day.

I miss the little guy.

Which is why I insisted on taking Owen to Tadashi's snake themed 5th birthday party this weekend. Owen had a great time seeing his old daycare pals, running all over the Gulf Brand Nature Center, checking out a lizzard, bees, turtles, fish, frogs and snakes (sadly Mr. Owl passed away the week before). But the best part was that both Owen and I got to touch a live Virginia Black Snake and then talk about it all the way home.