Saturday, June 22, 2013

10 Years

10th Anniversary Allen and I celebrated our first decade of married life over the weekend at the Inn at Little Washington. Mom Mom graciously agreed to watch the kids (who enthusiastically agreed to be watched as it involved swimming, chocolate chip waffles and even kale and mint salad) allowing Allen and I to have our first overnight trip alone since Mark and Bryan's wedding back in 2011.

It was kind of magical. The Inn had upgraded us to the Jean-Louis Palladin suite and after a cocktail on our private balcony, we had tea in the courtyard before exploring gardens and the town itself (which is primarily comprised of, oddly enough, law offices and Bed & Breakfasts). For a while, we watched as the caretakers errected a birthday greeting for some unnamed patron, but eventually decided to return to the room to rest before the night's festivities.

Dinner involved several courses (the favorites being popcorn with shaved black truffle and lamb carpacio with ceaser salad ice cream), a fair amount of wine, and a late night tour of Chef Patrick O'Connell's kitchen (with the man himself supervising our picture taking).

After a continental breakfast the next morning, we headed out to Skyline Drive to enjoy each other's company, the view, and a little rock climbing, before heading back to the metro area to reclaim our offspring and start our second decade together.

(To see all our pictures, click here).

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day

We had a pretty chill Father's Day this year. After pancakes and sausage for breakfast, we watched a little Princess Bride, played a little tennis, and then headed up to Silver Spring for a little swim time with Brad and Marlo and some Texas Bar-B-Q. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday. (And it only took another week and a half to get his Father's Day present.)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Dinner Party

Untitled We knew we needed to have Nancy, Danny & Christopher over to our new place after we moved in, I was just adament about waiting until everything was "just so" before we did. We needed things on the wall. And covering the windows. And places for people to sit. I probably could have come up with more reasons to delay, but then we were shamed by Katherine and Lee having everyone over to their place 2 days after they'd moved and decided that 3 months of prep time would have to be sufficient.

So we cleaned and prepped and cooked, but in the end all our hard work didn't really matter as a tour and shopping spree at the Green Hat Gin Distillery dulled most of our guests' senses to whatever was lacking in our hospitality. Still everyone had a great time (well, except for Aunt Katherine who spent most of the evening lying on the couch before departing early only to be diagnosed with a kidney infection a few days later) and I think we'll be having the gang over again soon (assuming everyone is in good health).

(To see all the picks, click here).

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Nats Park Tour


As our last hurrah for the Knights Spring little league season, the whole team took a tour of Nats Park on Saturday.  Needles to say, Owen and all his teammates were thrilled.  We went up to the press box, down to the luxury suites, into the visitor's locker room, hung out in the dugout, and even threw some pitches in the Nat's bullpen.  Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.

(click here for all the pictures)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Owen's Essay

Owen had a big 1st Grade end of the year writing project, and of course he decided to write about the Nats. It was a lot of work, but he did a great job. Now to see if he can keep it up this summer :-)

Monday, June 10, 2013


Last year, some friends of Brad and Marlo's (and neighbors of Grandpa Don and Mom Mom's) organized a Father's Day outing to the Bowie Baysox which involved the owner's suite (and all you can eat hot dogs hamburgers, and pulled pork sandwiches), a kids park, and minor league ball. We weren't able to make it, but made sure we got on the invite list for this year's outing (which had to be held the week before Father's Day). It was awesome. There was a carousel (which Nora fell off once, but still...), a bouncy castle, a pitch station where they clocked your throws (Owen hit 30 mph), and a batting booth. There were hot dogs, popcorn and ice cream galore. There was a safe place the kids could run around and play hide-and-go-seek while we watched the game, and then we all got to run the bases when it was over (in a brutal 11-9 loss to the New Britain Rock Cats).

Not a bad start to the Father's Day celebrations to come...

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Belgian Knights

Spring little league season came to a close this weekend, and the Knights decided to celebrate in style.  Owen's team was sponsored by Belga Cafe (Chef Bart of Top Chef fame's restaurant) and we thought it would be fun to bring the team out for Belgian waffles.  Of course a fancy Belgian restaurant isn't always looking to be invaded by a pack of 6 year-old's during prime Saturday brunch hours, so we made arrangements to have an early brunch at 9 am before our last game.  The kids had fun, the parents all enjoyed some delicious food, and the Belga folks managed to get a few cute pictures of 'their' team, so it all worked out in the end. Best of all, the team had a blast playing baseball all season, and they even got cool bobblehead trophies at the end :-)

When Mommy's Away...

Untitled While Allen has had to travel a lot for work, I've somehow managed to go eight years without one business trip. As such, I haven't been away from the kids very much (Owen's had a total of 8 nights away from me; Nora's had three). My lack of professional development finally caught up to me and the government decided to send me to Aurora, CO for five days (and four nights) for Benefits Advisers training (it's still a little unclear, given I'm not a B.A., why the powers that be decided that should be the course that ended my travel-free reign, but as the training was intended for 10 days and I only had to go for four, I'm not arguing with them).

I'm not sure if it was harder on Allen or me. Allen, fortunately, had Grandpa Fawcett to help with drop-off, pick-up, dinner (Nora was particularly nervous about dinner but was pleasantly surprised after Daddy and Grandpa successfully fed everyone the first night and proclaimed, "We don't need Mommy after all.") and bedtime which eased a lot of the parenting burden, though he was still pretty exhausted each night. I had to go days without hugs or kisses, had only glimpses of the kids as the wifi connection at the hotel kept going out, limiting our facetime sessions though it did allow me to fully witness Nora dropping a chair on her toe which resulted in a lot of tears, some blood and no hugs from Mommy.

Despite the remnants of a tropical storm, I managed to make it home Friday night only a little late, with a wonderful greeting and a week's worth of hugs (plus some new furniture and blinds that Allen had installed in my absence). Hopefully this will tide me over when I go to Michigan for a college reunion the end of this month...

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Spring Concert

Owen's first grade class worked hard this term on all their songs for the Spring Concert.  Owen's favorite was probably 'Wacky Doh Ray Mi', which after hearing many many times, I have to admit can be quite catchy.  He also got to play the chimes on 'Shine Shine Shine', though we didn't hear that one so much at home.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Love All

Untitled Our new house is one block away from the Sherwood Recreation Center which happens to have a track (where the epic "race" took place) and a tennis court. The latter has proved to be a major draw for Owen who has initiated "Family Tennis Day" on Sundays -- I'm not sure if that's a nod to Wimbledon or a ploy to get out of church. We initially planned on making it a doubles affair with Owen and I taking on Allen and Nora, but Nora decided she prefers to be "ball girl" so Allen has had to defend his court alone. It has been interesting, as none of us are very good and the score-keeping has been rather liberal, but we're having a lot of fun and I'm hoping we actually keep this tradition up. Untitled

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Dancing Queen

In December, Nora had her first dance "recital" -- recital being overly generous as for the little ones this just means that parents and loved ones are allowed to watch the final class from the studio as opposed to being relegated to peeking in the one door with a windon in the hallway. Mom Mom attended as did Allen, Owen and myself, and while the results were adorable, they were not particularly recognizable as a "dance" or "class."

Schedules were a little tighter for the summer recital, which meant that I was the only Nora fan able to attend. She didn't dissapoint. While her "rolling on the ground" skills  may need a little more work, I thought her "frog" and "bird" interpretation were pretty impressive and her "free style" was unparalleled (which technically, was also the case for her rolling on the ground work). Can't wait for the fall when she starts Intro to Ballet/Tap.

Saturday, June 01, 2013


Last year, for Owen's big school project he built a model of a personal computer and gave a report on Mark Dean for Black History Month.  For 1st grade, his project was to chose an insect to study, build a 3-D model including a habitat, and give an oral presentation.  Owen chose a honeybee (because it has venom and he likes honey).  We worked together on building his model, and he did a great job researching honeybees.  But don't take my word for it, check out his practice presentation, and learn a thing or two about honeybees!

Wine Tasting

One great thing about my office is that we all get along well and everyone likes to socialize.  This of course has gotten a bit harder as the number of kids in the branch has grown, but every once in a while we still manage to pull off a nice CEB gathering.  Eric generously raided his wine cellar and we invited the branch over to our house for a wonderful wine tasting.  Despite staying up past 1 am, we didn't manage to finish all the wine, but rest assured the leftovers did not go to waste.  All the wine that wasn't consumed made a delicious sangria the next day.