Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Mettenburgs

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

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


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

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


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

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!


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.