Tuesday, October 30, 2012


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


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


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


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

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.)