Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Sunshine

Wednesday, April 18, 2012



The Shuttle program may be over, but Space Shuttle Discovery gave us one more aerial thrill on Tuesday as it flew on the back of a 747, buzzing the the National Mall at 1500 feet on it's way to the Smithsonian.  Owen's Kindergarten class walked down to the Capitol, Elaine climbed up to the Department of Labor rooftop, I hiked down to the Washington Monument, and we all enjoyed the amazing sight from our own vantage points.


(click here for all the shuttle pictures)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Emancipation Day

Every year on April 16th, DCPS closes to honor the end of slavery in the District. I had decided that Owen and I would mark 150 years of emancipation by finally visiting the MLK Memorial (by way of the Tidal Basin in order to get a little paddle-boating in).

This seemed like a fine plan, however, I had not considered:

  1. Owen's love of the Botanic Gardens. We passed them after dropping Nora off at daycare en route to the metro. Owen wanted to stop immediately so we could visit the desert room (so he could instruct other visitors to not touch the cacti). I, knowing that the day was just going to get warmer and sunnier and that he had spent the previous Monday at the Botanic Garden, suggested we stick to my plan and then we could visit it on the way home. He agreed, but during every lull that day, Owen would restate his desire to be at the Botanic Garden.

  2. Once you are at the MLK memorial, it takes a really long time to get back to a metro stop, especially if you're walking with a 5 1/2 year old.

  3. That said 5 1/2 year should not be the one deciding whether an application of sunscreen was truly necessary.

In the end, we learned that:

  1. Paddle-boating is fun; Forced marches across the mall are less so.

  2. The greatest generation of Americans can also be the grumpiest if you use their water feature as a wading pool.

  3. Shade breaks are key (though they're more enjoyable when Herman Cain isn't speaking nearby).

  4. Never question Owen's love of foliage.

  5. Days off with Mommy are a lot more fun once you're reflecting on them at home with a Popsicle.

(To see all the Emancipation Day pictures, click here.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Baseball is Back


One of Owen's great joys in life is baseball, and with April finally here baseball is back.  Owen and I went to see the Nats play the Reds Thursday afternoon for Opening Day, and saw a great game as the first place Washington Nationals beat the Reds 3-2 on a walk-off wild pitch in the 10th inning.

Of course one baseball game just wouldn't be enough, so on Saturday after swimming lessons and t-ball in the morning, Owen and I took Grandpa Fawcett to a late afternoon game.  It was Stephen Strasburg bobblehead day, and while we didn't get there in time for our free bobbleheads, we did eventually find someone willing to give his to Owen (and we bought him dinner for his generosity).  The three generations of Fawcett men enjoyed another gem of a game, as Edwin Jackson threw a 92 pitch complete game to beat the Reds 4-1.

While two baseball games might have been enough for our first weekend of the season, Elaine and Nora hadn't been to a game yet, and Sunday was Peabody's Nats game fundraiser, so of course we had to bring the whole family out to the ballpark.  Owen was thrilled to see all his friends at the game, but things got off to an ominous start as three blown calls by the umpires led to a Cincinnati grand slam in the top of the first to put the Nats down 4-0.  The team showed their grit though and battled back to tie the Reds at five runs a piece and send the game to extra innings.  They couldn't quite pull off the comeback this time, and the Reds won the game in the 11th, but they certainly showed that the Nats are going to be fun to watch this year.

(click here for all the pictures)


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Happy Easter

We've kind of gotten Easter down to a science. After realizing that we aren't 9 am mass kind of people (particularly if candy has to be searched for prior to attending) and 11 am puts us at Mom Mom's kind of late, we like to get up, search for eggs, have breakfast at the bagel place, go to St. Joseph's 10:30 am mass (instead of St. Peter's), cut out early (because to be honest, the kids and Allen aren't any kind of mass people at heart), head up to Mom Mom's, have another Easter egg hunt, and then have a lovely dinner before heading home.

For the most part, all went well. Sure, Owen sat on Nora's bunny ears before we even made it out of the house. And the fact that Owen would only look for plastic eggs (as opposed to real eggs which don't contain candy) made the egg hunt take a bit longer than planned. And sure, in retrospect we probably should have restricted their sugar intake a bit more (and maybe avoided Owen jumping up naked on the couch and announcing he needed to put on a show while Nora ran to the kitchen and peed on the floor). But all in all, it was a lovely Easter Sunday and everyone really enjoyed themselves.

(To see all the pictures, click here.)

Friday, April 06, 2012

City Museum!


The blog post on our trip to St. Louis to visit the Mettenburgs had one major omission: our visit to the City Museum. The reason was of course that it was all too much for one post. When we told people we we're planning a visit to St. Louis for Spring Break, the one thing that kept coming up was the amazing City Museum. When Joe & Cate concurred, we knew we couldn't miss it, so on Monday morning we visited one of the most amazing museums we've ever been to. Museum probably isn't quite the right word for the place, it's nothing like the museum exhibits we're used to in the Smithsonian; instead, it's more like a giant playground.

Outside there are dragons and old planes in the sky that you are invited to explore via a series of ladders and tubes of rebar. Crawling through an archway five stories in the air you spy a giant ball pit with no clear entrance. What at first seem like architectural or decorative elements quickly become places to climb on and clamber over. Slide down a roof, find a secret spiral stair, jump into a giant ball pit.

As the day started to warm up (to an unseasonable mid 90's), we went inside to find slides, tree-houses, whale mouths, giant hamster wheels, magic shows, secret tunnels and caves. Owen's favorite part was entering into the mouth of the whale, which led to a complex series of indoor caverns. As Joe put it, this is the kind of place where you see a tiny hole in the floor, and you feel compelled to get down on your knees and crawl through it to see what's on the other side. In the case of the whale's mouth, the caves led to a central room with a large crystal formation in the middle and an opening above that revealed the remains of a spiral delivery system left over from the old shoe factory that previously occupied this space. Of course this needs to be investigated, and sure enough, climbing up through the caves to a series of stairs reveals the dirty and rusted spirals, and eventually you reach the top to find a 10 story spiral slide! The exhausting climb to the top was worth it, so much so, Owen and Gigi did it 3 times!

Eventually, Elaine and Cate took Nora home for a nap, and Joe and I stayed to explore some more with the big kids. By the end of the day we were all exhausted and thoroughly impressed with the City Museum.


(click here for all our City Museum pictures)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Meeting in St. Louis

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It's been a few years since we visited our dear friends the Mettenburgs in St. Louis, and for months they've been urging us to visit them again. But first we needed to go to Iowa. And Austin. And a series of other locales which either used up our vacation, our travel budget, or both. But just after Christmas the stars aligned meaning that Owen's Spring Break coincided with Joe's vacation and meant that he'd be free to show us the sights in the "Show-Me" state's most populous city.

And then Joe went and got a job in Pittsburgh.

Happily for us, this means that Joe, Cate & Gigi will be moving to significantly closer to the DC area this June. Less happily, this meant that they needed to sell their house quickly, which in turn meant that it was going on the market the day after we arrived.

We briefly considered canceling the trip, but Joe & Cate assured us that we would be a welcome distraction, and since we've been there for most of their real-estate deals, we decided to forge ahead.

We were really glad we did. In the few days we were there we managed to hit the Sculpture Garden, the City Museum, the Arch, and play more Settlers of Catan than was probably necessary or healthy. Meanwhile Joe & Cate had an open house, a showing, and an offer on their house. The latter required some additional negotiation so Allen and I took Owen, Nora and a not 100% Gigi to the zoo followed by a picnic in the park while Joe & Cate signed offers and debated whether homemade drapes would convey (FYI: they will not). As it happened to be "Free Cone Day" at Ben & Jerry's, we took the non-fever ridden children out for ice cream followed by a stop at the neighborhood comic book store before heading back to the house. By the time nap time was over, there was a signed contract and babysitter arrangement so the adults could celebrate.

In the end, Owen decided he wanted to move to St. Louis (which would have been handy to know before Joe & Cate sold their house), Nora wanted to go to Gigi's new house (we told her she'd have to wait a while for that), and we were just glad that we got to hang out with some of our favorite people for a few beautiful days in one of their favorite places.

(click here for the pictures)