Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - The Year in Facebook Status Updates

When another parent tells you that you're good for their self-esteem, that's not really a compliment is it… ~ What’s the proper disposal method when your child breaks a crèche? It seems a little wrong to just throw away baby Jesus. ~ My co-workers are debating whether DOL is bigger than a cruise ship for reasons I don't understand. It's almost impressive how much time and energy is going into standardizing the units of measure in order to accurately determine which has the larger volume. Almost. ~ Nora made up a song about bacon sung to the tune, "dreidel, dreidel, dreidel." I don't think she fully grasps the irony. ~ So Owen is fully enrolled in summer camps...by January 25th. ~ went a little "tiger mom" over Nora this morning. Not my finest parenting moment, but at least it's now clear that chocolate teddy grahams are only for little girls that can count to four. ~ Owen’s ant farm is finally operational. Can’t wait for harvest. ~ First night sleeping in her big girl bed. ~  Less than 24 hours and we've already had an ant breach. ~ Just found out the pancakes I purchased for Owen’s class party last month have been recalled. Awesome: I’ve become the, "she's trying to kill us" mom. ~ Gone skiin'. ~ Made an evolution reference while dropping off Owen at Sunday school and got a look from his teacher. Apparently not my target audience. ~ Granville Moores' menu touts that the bison burger is made from "local" bison. 'Cause DC is known for its roaming buffalo. ~ I’m really glad that Nora is learning Spanish. I just wish she would stop telling me I’m "grande." ~ Overheard at a 5 year old's birthday party, "girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys." ~ At bedtime this evening, Owen asked that I "entertain [him] to sleep." ~ So Owen officially has a lateral lisp, which is really what one would expect of the progeny of "captain slurry." ~ Someone on the moms on the hill listserve posted an ad on craigslist for a 3 foot sub (valued at $50 but selling for $25) that they didn't need for dinner this evening. Someone bought it within 15 minutes. Really, people? ~ Owen (aka Superman) informed me that he was going to text Batman (to inform him of our location and other relevant details). Ah, kids today. ~ I'm really hoping that the Cluster School Newsletter made a typo, and that in fact it hasn't been a busty week. ~ I wish you could bottle 2 1/2 year olds' giggles. ~ Owen's classmate Cate told someone she wanted to marry Owen. When they asked Owen if he wanted to marry Cate- Owen responded "Kind of." Ah- kindergarten courtships. ~ While attempting to get the kids ready for bed- Owen jumped up naked on the couch and informed us he needed to put on a show while Nora ran to the kitchen and peed on the floor. Thanks Easter bunny. ~ I was just reprimanded for not putting a leave request in the form of a question. Because apparently I work at Jeopardy. ~ Taking a shade break on the Capitol grounds while listening to the strains of Herman Cain speaking at a Tea Party rally. ~ Alas- packing sunscreen is only a necessary and not a sufficient condition. ~ If I'd known she'd decide to serenade me with it at 6:50 on a Saturday morning- I never would have given my 2 year old a harmonica. ~ In honor of cowboy day at Nora’s daycare- the kids have opted to rock out to Thin Lizzie this morning. ~ Let the single parenting commence. ~ In deference to Allen’s belief system in his absence- the kids are rocking out to “Science is Real” prior to Sunday school. ~ My daughter- after passing them in the hallway- described the deputy assistant secretary of EBSA and the director of the office of health plan standards and compliance assistance as "scary people." this could make tomorrow's briefing slightly awkward. ~ Nora went shopping for my mother’s day present today. She picked out a stuffed pig that kisses. I clearly should have slipped her or else her daycare teacher more money. ~ FYI: the North Pole lies in the Arctic Ocean rather than on a land mass. Failure to know this will result in condescension by my husband- despite his best efforts to suppress it. ~ Looking up brownie recipes in some cookbooks I inherited from my grandmother. Apparently- to the Iowa church going community of the 70s- oleo and Crisco were compliments rather than substitutes. ~ Some days I think Joan Crawford might have had a point. ~ That's ok- Nora. I don't mind being awoken from a deep sleep at 3 in the morning right as I was about to apprehend Jason Segal and Kate Hudson in some nefarious plot I don't recall but that involved golf carts by your scream only to be told as I ran to comfort you to "go away" because that's what mommies are here for. ~ Dear fb and fb friends: I am never going to play bubble safari. Ever. So let's just save ourselves the hassle and embarrassment and stop inviting me to play. ~ Nora just informed us she- "has too many guys." Happy Father's Day Eve Allen Fawcett ~ to paraphrase Kenny Rogers- you picked a fine time to leave [us] AC. ~ and now we've lost power. Oh freon gods- why have you forsaken us? ~ nine years -- most of which successfully involved artificial temperature control. Happy anniversary- Allen Fawcett. ~ Finally get the air conditioning fixed and Nora responds by wrapping herself in a blanket and announcing she's cold. ~ There is cat food on the floor of the women's restroom at DOL. sigh. So many things wrong with that sentence. ~ will be using an alternative route to work this morning to avoid the scotus madness at 1st and constitution. ~ Home. Which would be awesome if it wasn't 105 degrees. ~ File under the law of unintended consequences: Owen now loves Katy Perry's "Fireworks" b/c it's Ryan Mattheus's walk-up song. ~ opened a door onto a woman in a wheelchair this afternoon so I guess we know where I'll be spending eternity. ~ I'm drinking a corn milkshake. The things I do for love... ~ so the good news is that our wedding rings have appreciated significantly since we got married; the bad news is that Allen's is now at the bottom of the pond. ~ was feeling pretty good about myself when- after a 10 day tour of the Midwest- my scale read "Lo" until I realize it was referring to the battery. ~ Narrowly avoided this morning: becoming the middle-aged lady who swallowed a fly. ~ filling out school forms while drinking white wine -- the duality of it all. ~ Just enrolled Nora in dance class and Owen in baseball camp for the fall. Also just lost all credibility regarding any discussion of gender roles in society. ~ My son forgot his pants at camp. ~ Nora had a playdate this afternoon. The mom asked me if Nora could have a b-r-o-w-n-I-e. She spelled it multiple times and I still couldn't figure out what she meant. I'm not certain we'll be invited back. ~ My baby is wearing underwear. ~ Why does my GPS hate me? ~ Listening to "Relax" by FGTH while driving the kids to Sunday School. #subversivesundays ~ the one silver lining regarding global warming is that in the future- I won't have to spend 40 minutes arguing with a screaming 3 year old about seasonally appropriate clothing. ~ You know what's worse than bringing your kids to a bar? Bringing them to one frequented by Heritage Foundation interns. ~ Nora broke into "The More We Work Together" in front of the Capitol. From the mouths of babes... ~ so I'm sure that I heard wrong- but I swear Dora just said that the Spanish word for "prince" was "fancy pants." ~ I'm not sure that I'm emotionally mature enough to handle a division series. ~ Shattered my iphone while playing kickball with Owen this evening and learned two important lessons: 1) playing kickball during a national's playoff game warrants a karmic reprimand and; 2) Allen’s decision to buy an iphone 5 despite having a perfectly good iphone 4 was in fact prescient and not- as previously believed- self-indulgent. ~ Nora got stuck in a glue trap in my office this morning. Awe, Wednesdays. ~ Oh- nationals. If only you could have pulled it off then the fact that my 6 year old is out past midnight wouldn't seem like such bad parenting.  ~ The tv is broken and Allen is out of town which means I actually have to interact with my children for the next two days. ~ While listening to our Nationals Walk-up Mix- I asked Owen who's song was "Howlin' for You." He replied "Strasburg." I responded "Really? I thought his walk-up song was by the White Stripes." Owen replied, "Mom, do you even know what the White Stripes sound like?"   No- and apparently neither does Owen since we were actually listening to the Black Keyes. ~ My 6 and 3 year olds have been getting a little James Haven/Angelina Jolie-ish. Is this a normal development brother/sister thing or something icky we need to nip in the bud? ~ Playing scrabble with Allen. It's probably best for our marriage that we don't encounter hurricanes too often. ~ Learned 2 important lessons about my son this morning: 1) he has an extremely loose tooth; and 2) he is terrified of losing his baby teeth. ~ I pulled my child out of a car window in order to make the bus this morning- which is a pretty good measure of how the day's been going. ~ On the walk home- I referenced a question asked at Allen Fawcett's conference over whether the proceeds of a carbon tax should go to the government or the people. Owen chimed in "government" (because it's better than people") while Nora shouted "people." After 3 blocks of yelling their differing views, Owen finally got Nora to say "government" and proclaimed himself the winner. DC childhoods are weird. ~ It is a really unfortunate thing when the "very cherry" jelly bellies get mixed up with the "cinnamon" jelly bellies. ~ Owen asked me in church tonight if the "Our Father" was the 30 minute mark. ~ Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. ~ Turns out I can't make jello.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012

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Christmas in DC is always carried off in stages. Christmas Eve we hosted Mom Mom, Grandpa Fawcett, Katherine & Lee and Nancy, Danny and Christopher for dinner and a non-santioned present opening session. The dinner went well, but the unwrapping part of the evening descended into bedlam. Aunt Katherine has always been reluctant to open any presents in a timely fashion, and had to be pressed to finally agree to the night's entertainment. But then Allen allowed Owen to distribute the presents without regard to their contents, resulting in Mom Mom getting an iPad cover prior to receiving her new iPad. Mom Mom was confused; Aunt Katherine was horrified; and Allen (and all Christmas Eve present opening) is now banned from future holiday celebrations.

We opened Santa's presents quickly at our house on Christmas morn before heading to Mom Mom & Grandpa Don's for even more presents and a lot more food. Owen and Nora snapped pictures with their new cameras, Owen carried around his new Lego Ninjago's Destiny Bounty from Mom Mom (we decided it best for him to not start assembling the 642 pieces that day), and Nora just enjoyed all the goodies Mom Mom had to offer.

When Nancy, Danny & Christopher arrived, we sat down to a delicious Christmas dinner (and discovered that Nora really loves Yorkshire Pudding) and then opened even more presents before dessert and a final "Merry Christmas" for 2012.

(To see all the Christmas pictures, please click here.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

'Twas the Day before Christmas

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Thanks to the President (and the federal employees lobby), we found ourselves with Christmas Eve day off, and only a minimal amount of preparation required for hosting duties that night. So we decided to meet up with Aunt Katherine, Uncle L and Makayla as well as Grandpa Fawcett and head to the Botanical Garden (or as it's known to Owen, whose never been to any of the Disney complexes, "The Most Magical Place on Earth").

The Garden is pretty popular this time of year, due to its impressive annual train display. Being hearty and having seen most of the other exhibits multiple times (again, due to Owen's love of all things botanical), Allen was kind enough to save our place in the outdoor queu for 45 minutes while we took in the other sights. Once he made it inside the building, we joined him and eventually got to see fairies, and mermaids, and lots and lots of trains. It was nice alternative to working and a great way to ring in the holidays.

Friday, December 21, 2012

If our child falls alseep in a forest...

We are quirky parents. We buried our son's umbilical cord in our front yard. We made stop motion animation books about our daughter rolling over. We forced our son to pose for pictures while suffering from a head trauma. And for nearly six and a half years, we've recorded every nap, diaper change and nursing episode that our children encountered.

But that is about to change.

With Owen going off the books long ago (back when he started at Peabody and we stopped getting information about if and for how long he napped during the day) and Nora now being completely potty-trained, there's not a lot to track. We agreed a while ago that when our subscription for the Trixie Tracker came up next, we would let it lapse. That day is today (which means that in at least one sense, the Mayans were right).

We've gotten a lot of grief over the years regarding our OCD tendencies concerning our children's more basic functions, but knowing that information was extremely helpful early on, and, well, later it just didn't seem like something really happened unless we recorded it for posterity. Personally, I'm going to miss it. And so it is with a somewhat heavy heart, I report the final stats as this phase of our lives ends:

Diapers Changed
Owen: 7,465
Nora: 7,139

Minutes Nursing/Bottle Equivalent
Owen: 31,824*
Nora: 24,292

Longest Single Sleep
Owen: 11 hours, 54 minutes (December 26, 2009)
Nora: 12 hours, 50 minutes (November 4, 2012)

Awake Longest During the Day
Owen: 16 hours, 33 minutes (July 3, 2010)
Nora: 15 hours, 24 minutes (August 24, 2012)

Awake the Least During the Day
Owen: 7 hours, 49 minutes (March 17, 2007)
Nora: 7 hours, 23 minutes (September 12, 2009)


Trixe Tracker Sleep Chart - Owen and Nora
(Please note: Owen's nursing stats are artificially high due to our attempts to convert bottle feedings to nursing equivalents. The underlying assumptions were revised downwards when Nora began nursing. However, we made no attempts to update Owen's nursing stats with the revised assumptions.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday Cheer

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It's been a rough week for everyone. It's also been a week that coincided with Owen's Holiday party at school. I spent Wednesday morning with 21 first graders doing what all six and seven years olds should be doing this week before Winter Break. If only they all could.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tiny Dancer

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Nora started taking dance lessons this fall on Saturday mornings, a few blocks from our house. We thought Nora, who's still too young for soccer or t-ball, would enjoy twirling around with other kids her age while Owen was at baseball camp. Plus we figured we'd get some adorable photos to share with friends and family.

Alas, we found out the first day that not only does her studio discourage parents from being in the room during class, but bans filming and photography of any sort. Moreover, unlike the other classrooms, Nora's class was conducted in a windowless space.

So for months, I took Nora to class, waited in the hallway in case she needed a potty break, and occassionaly craned my neck to peek in on her progress through the small window on the door until she was released. Until Monday. At a make-up class, parents were finally allowed to view their progeny's progress and immortalize it for posterity. I wouldn't call it a recital per se, but it was certainly an exhibition and well worth the wait.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Range & Waffles

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Elaine and I manged to score reservations for the preview night at Bryan Voltaggio's new restaurant Range, and Mom Mom & Grandpa Don agreed to let the kids sleep over, so we had a lovely date night.  The meal was delicious (especially the bone marrow, you may feel your arteries hardening, but it's totally worth it!), and to top things off, the next morning Nora and Mom Mom made waffles for everyone :-)  

Friday, December 07, 2012

My baby girl

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Sometimes you just want to cuddle :-)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Father Christmas

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The kids got  a special treat today, a visit with Father Christmas!  They were a bit nervous at first, but once they figured out Father Christmas was really our good friend Danny, everyone was all smiles.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sotano

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Back in our Austin days seeing friends play a show was a fairly regular occurrence, but now that we're older and living in the political instead of musical capital of the country, it was pretty special to see our good friend Brad play the Black Cat with his new band Sotano. Brad didn't get me on the guest list, but some free beer in the green room made up for that oversight ;-)  Most importantly, the show rocked!



(click here for the pictures)
(more videos here, here, here, and here)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving

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This fall's Iowa trip culminated with Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma & Grandpa Z's. Grandma Z had to get a little creative in the sleeping arrangements in order to accommodate Dave & Kara, Steve, Becky, Olivia, Maura, Sam & Erin as well as our entire crew. Moreover, given sheer number of celebrants under the age of 10, we decided to send part of the clan off to the Pond during the preparation portion of the day. But by the time John & Ellen and Uncle Bernie arrived for dinner, we were reunited and ready to party. It was a delicious meal (particularly as measured by the dearth of leftovers) which we attempted to work off through a series of post-dinner photos sessions until Uncle Dave introduced the concept of "photo bombs" to Sam and Owen.

Sadly, we had to head out the next morning for the long drive back to DC (after pancakes and a few rounds of hide & go seek, of course). But it was a great time filled with a lot of people we are especially thankful for and who we can't wait to see again when we come back this summer.

(To see the complete Thanksgiving collection, please click here.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Second Cousins

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The beautiful thing about visiting Iowa is that both sides of our family have roots here which often results in a BOGO effect for the holidays. While the Zimmerman side didn't make it to the Iowa City metro area until Wednesday afternoon, the Fawcett cousins were there Tuesday night, which meant a yummy lasagna dinner at Aunt Helen and Uncle Kens and an impressive number of little ones playing hide and seek (preceded by a tractor ride with Grandpa Fawcett).

The following morning, we all gathered at the pond to help take down the tee-pee as well as Hollywood and the paddleboat, before heading back to Iowa City for the Zimmerman side invasion.

Monday, November 19, 2012

All I Want for Thanksgiving...

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Amidst all the madness last week, I noticed that one of Owen's teeth appeared to be askew. When I asked him about it, it became clear that: 1) the tooth was indeed loose; 2) he was not happy about this; 3) Owen neither believes in the tooth fairy nor does he want her coming any where near his teeth; and 4) Owen wants to keep all his baby teeth, and requested a means to tighten the errant dendrite.

I briefed Allen on Owen's status, and we decided to not to intervene and let nature took its course (which was a big concession from the man who, along with his father and a door, assisted in the removal of his baby sister's teeth). Allen wisely packed the tooth box that Mom Mom had made for him, which was put to good use when Owen pulled his tooth out himself on Sunday morning, and thereafter since Owen refused to trade his tooth for a dollar (or a penny as per Allen's scheme to teach him about exponential growth by offering him $.01*2(t-1) for each tooth).

Fortunately, Grandma Z decided that the mere act of pulling out his tooth deserved some sort of reward, and so Owen came out of the whole experience with a gap in his smile, a tooth in his box and $2 in his backpack.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Aunt Katherine's

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We started stopping in Cleveland on our way to Iowa back when Owen was just a baby. It was a convenient (almost) midway point in the drive between DC and Iowa City, and Katherine & Lee have always know how to show their guests a good time.

But all good things must come to an end, as it looks like Katherine & Lee may be moving closer to the DC metro area -- which is great in terms of our getting to see them more frequently, but kind of sucks for our cross-country trip planning. For our last official visit, Aunt Katherine pulled out all the stops -- batting cages, arcade games, a rocketship, Star Wars Episode I, pulled pork sandwiches, a wine tasting as well as Nora's beloved cupcake time. And while we'll miss ping pong ball, indoor camping and archery, as well as their ready access to Christmas Ale, we're excited to have Katherine & Lee several hours closer.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Autumn at Watkins

It's been a bit of a stressful week here in DC -- being directed by the White House to be as boring as possible while discussing carbon taxes at AEI, taking the car in to be serviced for a series of repairs we didn't know it needed, finishing up projects at work in order to leave town for the holiday, all while putting together an offer for a house. Just hours after finding out we didn't get our dream house owing to an evil, last minute all-cash offer, and just hours before driving through rush hour traffic to Aunt Katherine's to begin our Thanksgiving vacation, we were treated to a concert by Owen and the Watkins first graders. It was a nice diversion from the bitter sting of losing the house and the dread of what turned into a seven hour drive to listen to a bunch of six and seven year olds sing about the wonders of autumn, what they're thankful for, and how much they love America. Made us remember what's important...and how good mashed potatoes are.

(Note: Owen is in the first row of standing kids, slightly stage left, in a bright yellow shirt.)


Friday, November 09, 2012

Blue Eyes Crying

IMG_2146.JPG Nora has always seemed on the verge of tears -- not because she's perpetually distraught over the state of the world, but because she was born with a blocked tear duct. We'd previously looked into unblocking it when she was about 15 months old (we'd been advised that if it didn't correct itself by one year, we'd need to have a procedure done), but she threw up the morning of the surgery which we took as a sign that we should postpone indefinitely.

Indefinitely turned out to be 3 years of age as our regular pediatrician (who's missed the appointment where we decided to go ahead with the surgery at 15 months and had been horrified that we'd considered it at such a tender age) gave her blessing to try again. Originally scheduled for election day, Hurricane Sandy threw off Kaiser's schedule and so it wasn't until November 8th that Nora finally underwent the knife (or a rather, a metal probe).

Nora's not the best waker-upper, so we were a little concerned how she would respond to being woken up at 7 in the morning without benefit of food or drink per her pre-surgery instructions, but apparently a little The Little Mermaid en route makes everything better. Nora sailed into the ambulatory surgery center telling jokes (such as "Why did the toys cross the road?" whose punchline involves a robot chicken though I was never entirely clear how or why) and being only slightly annoyed by the surgical gown and heart monitor. It wasn't until they started to put her under that she got upset with the morning's adventure (requiring the anesthesiologist, a nurse and myself to hold her down). She woke up equally annoyed about 20 minutes later, but some cuddling and a be-be (as well as the promise of more Little Mermaid when we left) seemed to console her.

We were home by 11 am, where we cuddled on the couch watching some Dora before finally eating some food and taking a long nap. She's back at daycare today and seems fine (although she's had a slight bloody nose and occassional bloody discharge out of her eye, which we were told to expect). We're hoping that this surgery will do the trick as the next one would involve a plastic surgeon and irrigation tubes not to mention a pretty big mommy freak-out session if she has to go through all that again.

(click here for the pictures)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Halloween

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Our usual plan for Halloween is to head over to Grandpa Fawcett's house on E. Capitol street to briefly join the hoards of trick-or-treaters then retreat back to the house for some chili and hand out candy to thousands of kids.  This year we weren't sure if the usual plan would work.  Claudine passed away earlier in the month, and the Halloween gathering at 813 was always her show.  While family and friends were gathered out in Kansas City for her funeral though, Dad and I decided that it would be a nice way to honor her memory.  We couldn't quite pull of the Kansas City chili, but Elaine made a delicious pasta Bolognese, Owen dressed up as Captain America and Nora as a fairy, we tricked and we treated, and of course Owen kept the crowds in check handing out countless pieces of candy.  Happy Halloween.

(click here for all the Halloween pictures)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Frankenstorm

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To be honest, the most recent storm of the century didn't actually effect us much. Sandy conveniently hit after baseball camp, dance class, Violet and Brady's respective birthday parties and the Brown's annual Halloween extravaganza were over. Allen had gone to the grocery store on Friday afternoon, so we were flush with provisions when they announced Sunday night that both the government and schools would be closed.

So for lack of a better word, we hunkered down. The kids and I watched a frightening amount of Netflix, played a few board games,  did the odd arts & crafts project, and dressed up for a tea party while Allen worked on a paper.  And though the storm got pretty bad, we maintained electricity and wifi without taking on any water (save what Allen collected for posterity), which is more than we could say for poor Aunt Katherine and Uncle L in Cleveland.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hotter'n Hades 2012

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Last year Brad & Marlo's annual Hotter'n Hades Halloween party and chili cook-off happend during an October snowstorm. This year things looked grim for the party as Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the area, but the storm held off until the day after the party, and the weather ended up being beautiful.  The street was closed, the bouncy castle was epic, and the chili was delicious (though Brad's chili was robbed in a case of questionable judging).

While the weather worked out for the party, our schedules weren't quite as cooperative.  Nora's best friend Violet had her 3rd birthday party the same day, and our neighbors Hunter & Joy were throwing a Halloween party of their own, so we divided and concurred this year.  Owen and I had a blast at the party, and hopefully next year we'll all be back in full force.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fall-ure

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Every October we head out to Butler's Orchard, pick up some pumpkins (usually with Brad & Marlo and their offspring) and take some adorably staged pictures to herald in Fall. Except this year.

We meant to, really we did. Originally we planned on going with the Browns on October 7th, but inclimate weather and a Nationals' playoff game conspired to keep us inside and near a television with basic cable. Birthday parties, a block party, a school fundraiser and a funeral all conspired to insure that the only other possible day we could make it out to the orchard prior to Halloween was Sunday, October 21st. So after Sunday school, we fed the kids, packed our copy of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" for the car ride and headed out via the GW Parkway... only to discover en route that it was closed.

So instead, we went south to Mount Vernon. It was a glorious day to explore the grounds of our first President's abode, and while there was a noticable paucity of pumpkins and haybales, the kids enjoyed themselves, we got plenty of adorable pictures, and we later picked up some pumpkins at Harris Teeter.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Home Runs and Heartbreak

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Owen and I have been going to baseball games together since shortly after he was born.  Since he missed out on the dizzying excitement of rocketing up to first place by the All Star Break in their inaugural season (only to collapse back to .500 by the end of the year), we always focused on enjoying each individual game, without worrying about the standings on our way to six straight losing seasons.

That all changed with the 2012 Nationals.  You could feel from Spring training that this team was different.  Young, talented, and full of heart, the Nats started out hot and never cooled off on their way to the best record in baseball. Owen and I went to 25 games during the regular season, saw a lot of great baseball, and experienced the highs and lows of a pennant chase.

Of course we went to all three home playoff games. We soaked in the pre-game pomp at game 3, and the buzz surrounding the first playoff game in DC since the 1933 World Series, and waited for something to cheer for, only to sulk home after 8-0 drubbing that put the Nats on the verge of elimination.

Game 4 turned out to be the most exciting and joyous sporting event of our lives.  Detwiler and the bullpen were masterful, but the Cardinals matched them inning after inning sending a tense 1-1 game to the ninth inning.  Jayson Werth led off and started off 0 and 2, but battled for 12 pitches before tearing a hole in the sky with a shot over the left field wall.  Pandemonium, the game was ours, the series was tied, and momentum was on our side going to the deciding game five.

The last game couldn't have started any better.  A double, triple and homer for Werth, Harper and Zimmerman put the Nats up 3 to 0 before the first out, and it looked like we were on our way.  But the Cardinals kept chipping away, until Drew Storen had to come on the save a 7 to 5 game in the ninth.  With two outs, we rose to our feet and cheered on our Nats for 23 pitches (five with two strikes!) that could have given the Nats the win.  But it wasn't to be...

It really was a magical season, hopefully the heartbreak of game 5 will blossom into victory next year.

Things were looking mighty good for our beloved Nats;
Harper found his batting eye, Zimmerman his bat.
Can this be right, is it true, are we having too much fun?
We were leading three to zip, and it was only inning one.

The innings really rolled along, we could not believe our eyes;
For Morse the Beast and Harper, homers big boy size.
Oh God is great and so are we, we sing hip hip hoorah;
At the end of three the Nats are six, the Cardinal lads nada.

It was very close to freezing, but no one there was cold;
World Series fever kept them warm, if the truth be told.
With victory in the offing, tomorrow will be a glorious day;
Then the Cardinals being birds, began to peck away.

There first score in inning four, put no damper on our glee;
Shortly then they got two more, but we still led it six to three.
By inning nine it's seven five, we're comfortably ahead;
But suddenly these Cards, seem risen from the dead.

Our closer guy is throwing heat, but Cardinal bats got hot;
We don't know how or why, but leading now we're not.
We had ourselves believing, we were on our way to Heaven;
But dreams became reality, we lost it nine to seven.

In Casey's famous epitaph, the sun did still shine bright;
Bands still played children sang, somewhere hearts were light;
Skies were bluest blue, and somewhere bells were ringing;
But there was no joy in Mudville, when Casey went down swinging.

And so it was in Washington, on a cold and windy eve;
Yes baseball is our greatest game, that I still believe;
But know like love it brings a risk, and that's the other part;
If you take it seriously, it just may break your heart.

- Bob Shieffer  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Great Falls 2012

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We like to honor Christopher Columbus by discovering already existing lands, and so decided to spend the federal holiday visiting Great Falls, VA -- home of the Mather Gorge and the preferred destination for Allen's high school skip days. The kids love bouldering there and despite the numerous posted "danger" signs, I don't actually get that nervous when we go -- though maybe that's because Allen reserves Owen's most adventurist climbs for when I'm off distracted with Nora.

(To see all the Grat Falls 2012 pictures, please click here.)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Mettenburgs

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We're pretty excited that the Mettenburgs have returned to the east coast after what we like to call the "lost years" (also known as Joe's residency in St. Louis). We already made a stop in Pittsburg on our way back from Iowa this summer, and now they've returned the favor with a brief visit this past weekend.

Owen was glad to have a playmate that enjoys Legos and racing as much as he does; Nora was excited to see the former owner of her beloved, "Gigi dress" in person and to ask her for tips about coordinating tights. We were just happy to be able to take in the sights (and some bottles of wines) with some of our favorite people.

(To see all our pics from their visit (including our visit to the National Zoo's new "American Trail") please click here)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Food Prints

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In the Spring of Owen's first year at Peabody, the Cluster Schools started a fundraising campaign to build a teaching kitchen at Watkins Elementary School. Knowing that Owen would be going there in a few years, we made some initial donations and then when it looked like they wouldn't make their $60,000 goal (in which case they would lose all the funds already pledged), we gave more. Fortunately, so did Chef Jose Andres and a bunch of his twitter followers, which put the campaign over the top.

Now that Owen is in first grade at Watkins, he's finally getting to take advantage of the community's largess.  On Wednesday I joined him for his second "Food Prints" session. Owen and his classmates planted kale in the Watkins garden, discussed plant anatomy, illustrated and labeled pepper plants, compared different varieties of kale, prepped kale for cooking, watched a demonstration and then ate the fruits (or rather the leaves) of their labors.

While Owen later claimed he didn't really like it, he certainly seemed to enjoy the "Lemon and Garlic Sauteed Kale" at the time, as did the rest of his class-- at least a third of whom cleaned their plates. An entire classroom of six year olds eating kale and enjoying themselves -- clearly money well spent.

(click here for all the pictures)

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Horsey Set

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Now that Owen is in 1st grade, he doesn't see his old friends from daycare nearly as much, but thankfully he's still able to keep in touch with some of his oldest friends.  For his birthday, Leo, Brady and Sofia all joined us for a long and rainy Nats game; and this past weekend Sofia returned the favor and invited Owen to her 6th birthday party out at the Potomac Horse Center.  Sofia's parties are always a blast, and no doubt the horses would be a hit.  The kids all had a hay ride, searched for candy in a haystack, met a horse that has modeled for Ralph Lauren, and of course rode the ponies!  Happy birthday Sofia!

(click here for all the pictures)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Party Girl

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When Owen was turning three, Nora was only a few weeks away from making an appearance. We worried that our little guy might be feeling a bit overlooked and so we decided to make a big deal about his birthday by inviting twelve of his closests friends (or at least those that were in town mid-August) to 90 minutes of awesomeness at the Little Gym. While Nora wasn't facing a similar familial disruption as she hit the big 0-3, we decided that in the interest of fairness (and proven sucess) we'd hold a similar celebration for Nora's third.

Having been born Labor Day weekend, we opted to hold Nora's party a week later, hoping that more of her friends would be able to attend. We didn't anticipant, however, the elements also making an appearance.

10 minutes before the party was set to start, the heavens opened and dumped a lot of water on the metro area. There were reports of tornadoes in the suburbs, the Beltway all but shut down, and when Nora's guests belatedly made their appearance, they were accompanied by some pretty freaked out parents.

Still, the kids all had a great time. Nora, who'd been anxiously anticipating her birthday party for weeks now, beamed through most of it, basking in the limelight until having blown out her candles and eaten her cupcakes handed Allen her party hat and informed us she was ready to go home.

(A special thanks to Owen, Mia, Ben, Miyako, Tadashi, Violet, Isabel, Luc, Oz, Eddie, Cora and Jojo for making Nora's day extra special. To see all the pictures, please click here).

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Catching some Zs

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Grandpa & Grandma Z decided to celebrate Labor Day and Nora's birthday with us for their first visit to DC since Nora was born. In the hopes of motivating them to return more often, we scheduled a bevy of activities. Unfortunately, a race in downtown Baltimore thwarted a visit to the National Aquarium and an absence of wind hampered the boys' sailing trip. Still we managed to have a lot of fun at the Arboretum, enjoy some delicious cake and watch the Nats beat the Cubs. And aside from an unplanned tour of our urgent care center, it was a pretty nice trip. Hopefully, they'll repeat it before 2015...

(To see all the pictures from their trip, click here.)

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

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Our kids like to climb things. Our kids like to jump off things. Our kids like to do things that "make Mommy nervous." And so it was probably inevitable that one day one of our kids would end up in urgent care getting stitches after cracking open their head. I just didn't think it would happen on the last night of Grandma & Grandpa Z's visit.

We'd gone to the Argonaut for dinner and were walking home after a lovely meal. Allen and the kids had run ahead while I lingered behind with Grandma & Grandpa Z.  About a block from the restaurant Owen climbed up on some cement Jersey barriers by a formerly vacant lot and soon-to-be gas station. This is not unusual for Owen. What was unusal is that typically one of us is closer when he does this so that we can help him jump down. We weren't. He fell. Tears ensued.

To be honest, we didn't initially realize the extent of the damage (it was dark and our kids cry a lot). Allen carried him for a couple of blocks and then we made him walk the last half block to the house. It was there when I took off his hat to put an ice pack on it that I noticed the blood (the benefits of being blonde) and upon closer inspection, the open wound in his head.

Grandpa Z, Owen and I headed to urgent care just after 8 pm. We were hoping that a six year old with a head wound would be fast-tracked, but the fact that Owen was laughing and playing "Stack the Countries" while holding a football didn't get him any triage points. We saw a nurse about 20 minutes after we arrived who cleaned him up as best she could and wrapped him up like a mummy and then waiting another 10 minutes or so for the doctor, who cleaned him up some more, trimmed his hair, numbed the area, gave him 4 stitches, and ordered and reviewed a CT scan before discharging him a little before 11 pm.

I have to say, Owen was incredibly brave and cooperative -- not crying despite the poking, prodding, cleaning, injections and stitching, and lying so still during it all that they didn't have to utilize the body restraints usually reserved for patients his size. And while I'm really proud of how brave he was in the face of it all, I'm hoping this isn't a skill set we have to regularly utilize.

(To see all the gory shots, taken by his incredibly insensitive mother, click here.)

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Happy Birthday Nora!



Threesome

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My baby girl turns three today, which seems so crazy as that's the age her brother was when she first graced us with her presence. It's all gone so quickly, and yet I think I've been more acutely aware of her twos than Owen's since I was largely distracted during his with morning sickness and some extreme belly kicks. It's hard not to be a little sad that she's growing up and becomming such an independent young lady, but it's pretty amazing (and at times pretty amusing) to watch the process. Happy birthday, baby girl, I love you so, so much.
  1. Twirlability is a perfectly valid factor to consider when deciding what to wear each morning.
  2. All I really need is a song in my heart.
  3. Sometimes you feel like a hug; sometimes you don't.
  4. When all else fails, use the silly face.
  5. Dresses > Skirts > Pants of any sort.
  6. Some people are just born to rock.
  7. "Cool, cool tricks," should not just be watched but be supervised.
  8. Navigating sibling relationships can be complicated.
  9. It is important to establish early the requirements for dessert and their enforceability.
  10. The beauty of being two is that the possibilities are endless.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Camp Mom Mom

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The last week of August may have been the first week of school for Owen, but it wasn't the last week of 'camp' for the family.  It was shutdown week at daycare, so Nora had a special week at Camp Mom Mom!  Each morning, Mom Mom came down to sweep Nora away to a new adventure.  A trip to the American Girl store, playing at the Lego store, swimming, taking her own toy shopping cart to the grocery store, ice cream sundae's for lunch (the rules are always a little different when Mom Mom is in charge;-) Nora was worn out each night and excited for the day each morning. Thanks Mom Mom for giving Nora such a great week!

Monday, August 27, 2012

School Daze

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Owen started first grade at Watkins today. He was feeling a little nervous this morning as we headed to his new classroom -- he went from being one of the big kids on campus and surrounded by his buddies, to being one of the youngest in a really big school with his best friends all in different classrooms. Fortunately, Owen's friend Hayden from t-ball also ended up in Ms. Bowers class. As we left for the parent meeting in the auditorium/cafeteria, Owen was reading books and laughing with Hayden and Bernard (who'd been in different classes at Peabody).

Owen wasn't particularly forthcoming about his day (they ate lunch in the classroom, played on the field because the 2nd graders were on the playground at recess, and "kindergarten was a lot more fun" was about all we got out of him), but he managed to take the bus from Watkins to Peabody so we could pick him up at aftercare without losing himself, his backpack or his metro card. On the basis of that alone, we're willing to call it a success.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sixer

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Five has been an interesting age. Owen is reflective and insightful, doling out compliments and words of wisdom, such as, "Your hair looks pretty, Mom." and "Nora! You don't eat food on the floor!" Then a moment later, he'll bursts into tears because Nora laughed too loudly at his joke or we thought he looked more like an Orioles player in his grey and orange plaid pajamas rather than a Nationals player in their visiting uniform.

But as much of a roller coaster as it's been, five has also been a pretty amazing year: watching Owen go from sounding out words to reading with confidence; seeing our shy little guy navigate social settings like a pro; watching our t-baller learn how to hit his dad's overhand fastball; and seeing his super hero obsessions graduate from Superman to X-Men.

And now he's turning six and starting first grade in a week. And while I find myself at times missing the baby he was, I'm extremely proud of the little man he's becoming. Happy Birthday, Owen.
  1. School assemblies include a lot more musical numbers in a post-Glee world.
  2. Video games can be extremely instructive and obsessive play can result in you correctly identifying & placing all 54 countries on a map of Africa (compared to your mother's six).
  3. When you limit your favorite song to one which is played in a ballpark, you're going to make some interesting choices.
  4. Always be prepared -- even if you're unconscious.
  5. The Star Spangled Banner is a perfectly fine road-trip song -- if you want to drive your mother insane.
  6. It's a lot easier to get out of bed when there's a condensed Nationals' game to watch.
  7. Always wear pants (even if it's 104 degrees) -- you never know when you might need to slide.
  8. The desserts don't always justify the meals.
  9. "I forgot" is a legitimate (if not always successful) excuse.
  10. I am Superman. I am also at various times Spiderman, Wolverine, Stephen Strasburg and Ian Desmond.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Delayed Gratification (aka Owen's Sixth Birthday Party)

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Birthday parties stress me out, so we started planning Owen's in April. And we really planned: planned for the fact that a lot of Owen's friends would be out of town due to the August recess and their parent's vacation schedules; planned for the logistics involved in transporting five six-ish year olds (and thankfully a bunch of their parents) given car seats and parking restrictions and what not; and planned how to entertain all five kids with different interest levels in baseball for the 3 1/2 hours we anticipated the Nationals-Mets game would last.

We did not, however, plan for rain or the resulting 2 1/2 hour delay in play that the precipitation caused.

Fortunately, Allen was at least prescient enough to get seats under an overhang for the game, which meant that we stayed a lot drier than the field. And while Leo tried to convince everyone to leave and either catch a movie or have a freakishly large playdate at our house, we were able to divert the kids with food, goody-bags (and the baseball card trading session that immediately followed), and Presidents sightings to pass the time reasonably pleasantly until the Nats finally took the field.

We decided to head out during the seventh-inning stretch (or as I like to put it, SIX HOURS AFTER WE GOT THERE) with the Nats leading the Mets 5 to 2. We even managed to catch the end of the game (Nats win!) at home and open a few presents before heading out to dinner with Mom Mom, Grandpa Don and Nora.

All in all it was a pretty good (albeit protracted) birthday celebration -- we couldn't have planned it better.

(Special thanks to Brady, Leo, Ronan & Sofia (and Mike, Micah and Joe) for joining us and waiting it out. To see all the birthday party pics, please click here.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hello, Kitty

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I think most people that know me are aware that I'm not a big fan of the animal kingdom, having been bitten by several dogs as a small child and living with one deranged cat (and later with a sweet pair of cats and a deranged roommate) in my 20s. I concede that all creatures great and small have the right to exist, but feel strongly they shouldn't do so under my roof. As such my children have had to resign themselves to a colony of ants as their only pets (though Garcon makes a decent surogate).

But then Mom Mom adopted little Desmond Morse (named after Nats players Ian Desmond and Michael Morse in a clear attempt to curry favor with Owen) and had to go away for a long weekend leaving the 7 week old kitten home alone. How could you say no to that face?

So we headed up to Mom Mom and Grandpa Dons on Friday night and spent the weekend entertaining Morse (and to a lesser extent, Georgie) inbetween all our comings and goings. Owen had a blast making Morse "fish;" Nora played a lot of "hide and seek" with him, searching for the elusive kitty under the furniture. For my part, I'll concede that Morse is very sweet and well behaved...and perfectly content at Mom Moms.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fair Time

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We weren't able to make the Montgomery County Fair last year with the Browns (breaking our three year streak), so this year we were all in. We met up for breakfast, caravaned out with Brad, Marlo, Mia and Ben (Brett, Lisa, Samantha and Austin met us there) and arrive at the fair about 10 minutes after it officially opened...and two hours before the rides and most of the other activities began. Still, we managed to keep the kids entertained for a very full three hours and visit the fire engine, livestock, the all important combine slide, and of course, the ferris wheel. Maybe next year we'll even get to partake in the Monster Truck Rally...
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(To see all the fair pics, please click here.)

Rock in the Woods

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Back in March we caught one of the kids' favorite bands, Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players, in Vienna, and when we saw they were going to play at Wolf Trap, we knew we couldn't miss it.  So on Saturday morning, we took a break from kitten sitting to go catch them play a concert at the Children's Theater in the Woods at Wolf Trap.  The venue was great, a little amphitheater tucked away in the woods of Wolf Trap, and the kids had a blast.  Owen tends to be a bit shy at concerts, but Nora couldn't be held back and demanded to join the dancing right up by the stage.  Eventually she got Owen to join her for some dancing together off in the wings.

It was a great morning in what turned out to be a very full weekend, and as an added bonus, thanks to our social media check-ins, we saw that Nabeel was in town nearby in McLean, so we popped over to the Hyatt's place after the concert for a nice lunch, a tour of Magida's latest paintings, and some quality playtime with Kaden and Liam (or at least with their toys ;).





(click here for all the pictures)

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Iowa - Family Time

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What's most impressive about our annual pilgrimage to the homeland -- aside from the mileage covered, corn consumed and jumps off the high dive -- is the number of friends and family members we're able to see in a very short period of time. While we traveled for ping pong fun with Aunt Katherine and Uncle L, to belatedly celebrate Ethel's 98th birthday in Des Moines and to check out the Mettenburgs' new Pittsburg digs, we also got a lot of people to come to us. Uncle Bernie, and Aunt Ellen and Uncle John drove down just to hang out for the afternoon, Aunt Kara, Aunt Becky, Uncle Steve, Erin, Olivia, Maura & Sam all came from the Chicago area for some much needed cousin/niece/nephew time. And even cousin Blaine managed to make a pit stop between St. Paul and Milwaukee (or more accurately, some suburbs of them) to play in a wagon, swim in the pond and roast marshmallows with us. Meanwhile, Grandma and Grandpa Z graciously played host for us (which involved a fair amount of cooking, and a lot of searching for errant baseballs).

Naturally, we had a lot of fun with the Fawcett side as well, and hopefully memories of Corn Fest, camping, boating and pajama playdates with Grace will tide us over until we're back in Iowa for Thanksgiving and can see everyone again.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Iowa - Mississippi Boating

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As a little extra treat this Iowa trip, cousin Kent invited us out boating on the Mississippi.  Owen, Nora and I went with Grandpa Z and Uncle Ken to the river a little early and checked out the Buffalo Bill museum and the old Lone Star paddle boat in LeClaire.  Kent, Truman and Daniel joined us a little later and we all took a quick trip upriver and back.  Given our difficulties getting out sailing this year, it was great to have a little extra time out on the water this trip.
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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Iowa - Tipi

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Sometimes the Pond is so much fun you just don't want to leave.  Saturday was one of those days: Cornfest in the morning, swimming all afternoon, and s'mores by the fire in the evening.  Fortunately, the solution to this problem lies just through the trees on the west end of the Pond, the tipi.  Owen and I have camped out in the tipi the last couple years, and this year Elaine and Nora joined us along with Thomas, Ethan and Simon.

The kids were all a little excited of course, so when we all settled in for bed, after a little time around the new tipi fire ring, there was quite a bit of laughter and giggles before the kids all drifted off to sleep.  For Thomas, sleep was a little more difficult to come by.  A mysterious rustling and digging sound kept him up, but despite some middle of the night exploration with the flashlight, he couldn't find the source of the strange noises.  In the morning we all went up to the cabin for some of Thomas' delicious pancakes, and when I went back to the tipi to pack up the tarp and air-mattresses, I found what had been keeping Thomas awake.  Some sort of rodent had burrowed under our beds, built a nest and given birth in the middle of the night.  Quite an eventful night indeed.

Iowa - Corn Fest

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We try to coordinate our trip to Iowa each year with the Fawcett Family's Sweet Corn Festival which primarily consists of several branches of the Fawcett family descending on West Branch for several days, picking sweetcorn, cooking it, eating an absurd amount of it, and then cutting the corn off the remaining ears, placing it in ziploc bags and storing it in a pond freezer until said family members take some home with them to eat throughout the year (or if you're Allen, use it to make corn butter and then force your wife to drink a corn milkshake). While the yield this year was a bit lower due to the draught, the turnout was pretty impressive.

Aunt Kara (Uncle Dave was in Chicago at a Cubs game. No really), Steve, Becky and all the kids as well as Mom and Dad represented the Zimmerman side, and while we were the only attendees of the John Fawcett branch (John had been back the week before for his 50th reunion and Katherine had to work), the Ken, Martha, Nan, Dick, Jim, and Becky Fawcett off-shoots were all well represented.

The came. They ate (or in the case of Samuel's first birthday cake, devoured). They swam, took wagon rides, had some batting practice, retrieved a wayward ball from said batting practice, enjoyed the view from the new balcony, and had a lovely time in general.

But what was probably most impressive, was the sheer number of little Fawcetts running around, which (hopefully) means we have a lot more Corn Fests in our future.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Iowa - Hollywood

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One of the best things about swimming in the Pond is Hollywood.  Our little man-made floating island gives swimmers a destination aside from the beach and the dock -- a spot to rest and play in the middle of the Pond.  In the last few years, we noticed that Hollywood was sitting lower and lower in the water, to the point that it could barely support the weight of more than one person.  Finally, after 20 some years, when one last attempt was made to take Hollywood out of the water for the Winter, it gave up the ghost and crumpled into a heap.  Well, this summer the big project during our visit was to build Hollywood II (or following the lead of Apple, just the New Hollywood, or even simply Hollywood).  Grandpa Z, Owen and I joined cousin Kent and Uncle Ken over at the machine shed on Wednesday morning to cut foam, stretch rubber, bend metal, and rout corners (and even get in some hitting practice).  Owen rode in the tractor with cousin Kent as we hauled Hollywood to the Pond, Uncle Ken Christened it with a Fat Tire, and the New Hollywood was launched into the Pond.  Sure, the actual launch resulted in the loss of my wedding ring as it sunk to the bottom of the pond after I dove in to give Hollywood a tow, but that seems a small price to pay (though Elaine doesn't entirely agree). With all the progress in Hollywood technology over the decades that has been incorporated into this new and improved design, hopefully we won't have to build Hollywood III for another 20 or 30 years.


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Monday, July 23, 2012

It's not Heaven, it's Iowa

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It's time for our annual summer vacation in Iowa.  Two weeks of summer fun, a long drive out, made a lot more pleasant with a stop to visit Aunt Katherine and Uncle L in Cleveland, followed by lots of swimming, sweet corn, and family fun.  Too much to fit in one blog post of course, so enjoy our next few posts about the homeland.

(To see all the Iowa photos, please click here.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Sailing"

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Grandpa Don invited us for our first sail of the season on Sunday. We slathered on sunscreen, donned our life-jackets and boarded Innisfree for an afternoon of sailing. But after motoring by the slip for about 10 minutes Grandpa Don announced that we were heading back -- ironically our sail was being aborted due to a transmission failure.

We were a bit bummed, particularly Owen who'd looked forward to hanging out on the bow and catching wakes, but a lovely picnic and the presence of "Molly," the boating club mascot and fetch-loving dog made for a fun alternative. Plus for once I didn't get seasick.

(click here for the pictures)

Monday, July 09, 2012

OBX 2012

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After our adventures in air-conditioning repair we were certainly ready to get out of town.   And given that record-breaking heat was in the cards for DC the week of July 4th, it was the prefect time for a beach trip.  This year we visited South Nags Head with Katherine & Lee, the Brown's, and even Makayla joined us for a couple days at the end of the week.  We had a perfect little beach house, Three Gulls & a Buoy, that was one of the last houses before the beach turned into the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  We loved the set up and loved our stretch of beach, so we may just have to come back to this spot again sometime.

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On Monday we drove down to Hatteras to visit Brad & Marlo's friend Katrina, and had a wonderful night out on the beach, roasting marshmallows, eating s'mores, and relaxing under the full moon.  Tuesday we climbed Jockey's Ridge, and visited Kitty Hawk Kites where I picked up a fancy new power kite.  Katherine & Lee weren't quite satisfied just pushing past us to see the oasis at Jockey's Ridge, and went all the way up to Corolla to find the wild horses.  Wednesday of course was Independence Day, so we broke out the fireworks and put on a little show.  Thursday Lee's family stopped by to visit for the afternoon, and Makayla came to stay the rest of the trip.  On Thursday, Elaine, Owen & I took the kayak out to the sand bar, and we watched all the kids on Friday while Brad & Marlo went SCUBA diving in the graveyard of the Atlantic.

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Bringing back memories of some of my best beach trips in years past, we had a great sand bar in front of our house.  At low tide we could swim out 30 yards or so to a sand bar that was as shallow as two feet in places.  One day, Owen and I were out there body boarding together, and a couple of dolphins playfully swam up just 20 feet or so away from us.  I had a similar experience years ago when I was young, and it was really special to be able to share it this time with Owen.

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The best part of the trip though was just swimming, boarding, playing relaxing on the beach, and spending time with such great people all week.

(click here for all the pictures)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wipeout

On my birthday, Steve mentioned that he might be in town with Olivia for some school related outing this summer, but it wasn't a sure thing. Flash forward to Thursday night when an email arrived stating that they're leaving the following day and hope to get together this weekend. We had the air & heating people coming Saturday morning (as well as t-ball) and had already made plans to visit Allen's friend Chris and his daughter Hazel (who were visiting from LA) Saturday afternoon after which we needed to check back with the air & heating people. This left Sunday, and while Allen and Owen were off to Baltimore on for the Nationals-Orioles game with Mom Mom and Grandpa Don (the Nats lost), Caitlin, Nora and I could meet up with Steve, Olivia and their group at Ford's theater.

We had a great time at the exhibits (Nora was adorably drawn to Lincoln, and a little uncomfortable obsessed with a statue of Mary Surrat) and then lunch. Afterwards, they headed over to the Archives while Caitlin, Nora and I headed over to the Portrait Gallery so that Caitlin could continue her tour of free museums in DC and Nora could visit one of her brother's favorite stomping grounds.

Nora had a bit too good of a time (see below), which resulted in a lot of giggles and one very wet dress. After some debate, Nora convinced me she didn't need to wear her dress anymore, which made waiting for and riding the bus a bit awkward (nothing like hearing someone across the street point and say, "Hey, she's naked!" in reference to your child), but certainly was a conversation starter with the other passengers (and Nora's favorite part of the day).