Friday, August 31, 2012

Camp Mom Mom

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

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


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)

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

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

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...
(To see all the fair pics, please click here.)

Rock in the Woods


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

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.