Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sailing & Camping

Last year for our 10th anniversary Elaine and I had a lovely night at the Inn at Little Washington. Having spoiled ourselves with such a romantic get away last year, we decided to balance the scales a bit and spent our 11th anniversary camping in a tent with the kids in Aunt Katherine & Uncle L's backyard.  It's not that we didn't want to celebrate, but we'd just been out for a nice dinner at Rose's Luxury recently, and we let the one-month-ahead reservation window slip by us for any of the really fancy places, and our anniversary weekend just happened to be the one weekend where we could actually pull off a day sailing and our long promised backyard camping adventure.  So the boys went out for a surprisingly great sail in the morning, then we all pitched our tents, roasted s'mores on the campfire, had a decent night's sleep (though Nora bailed out of the tent and made Mommy sleep inside with her), woke up bright and early to paint rainbows in the backyard.  Not your conventional anniversary celebration, but it's hard to complain when your having fun with loved ones :-)

(click here for the pictures)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fathers' Day


We have a lot of fathers in our lives and so had a lot of celebrating to do on Father's Day. First off the kids distributed the cards they surreptitiously made for Allen and John (which involved one of them working on the card while the other distracted the recipient and then switching, hiding the cards in various places in house and then jumping out and shouting at Grandpa Fawcett & their father and flinging said cards at them). Then it was off to the newly re-opened Washington Monument with Aunt Katherine for a Father's Day tour and lots of photo ops.

After presents (Grandpa Fawcett got a cool map; Daddy got some boring clothes) and lunch, we headed up to Aunt Katherine's and Uncle L's to be joined by Mom Mom and Grandpa Don for games, some more presents, adult beverages and a whole lot of Allen's Hot Dogs specially ordered by Katherine (who also supplied all the fix'ins), before heading home where a very tired Daddy and Grandpa Fawcett soon crashed. Which was good, because Allen needed to rest up to prepare for Nora's class's Father's Day Extravaganza on Tuesday (particularly the shaving part...)

(To see all the Father's Day pics, click here)

Monday, June 09, 2014

Zip a dee doo dah

Katherine had been bugging us for a while about going to a ropes course near her house, and on Sunday we finally had the perfect day to try it out.  I was borrowing Katherine's car to drive out to Shepherdstown, WV Sunday night for a conference, and with beautiful weather, we thought it was the perfect time to visit Sandy Park.  Sure enough, it turned out to be an amazing time, Owen bounced through the trees like a monkey, Lee and I raced through the zip-lines, and if you make it through the video, just know that Elaine didn't really save the hat ;-)

(click here for all the pictures)

Jen & Azher's Wedding


We hadn't been to a wedding in a while, and the kids hadn't been to a wedding ever, so when Don's daughter Jen and her fiance Ahzer announced their incredibly family friendly wedding at the Baltimore American Visionary Art Museum (there's a playhouse and weird animal benches!) we were pretty psyched.

Don was a very proud papa, the couple themselves were glorious, and the food was delicious, but the highlight for our family was checking out all the strange exhibits next door (particularly the working pay phone!).  We had a great night celebrating, and then a lovely morning filled with swimming, the Science Museum, and the National Aquarium before heading home (meanwhile Jen and Ahzer headed off to Estonia to begin a long and happy life together). Congrats to the doctors and to see all the pictures, click here.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

One Fish, Two Fish, Dead Fish, Blue Fish

I'm not a huge fan of the animal world, and so have been reluctant to allow those filled with dander and requiring much upkeep into our abode. So we've had an ant farm (which turned into more of an ant cemetery). A jelly fish (which pre-deceased the pet stage). And recently we got an aquarium, two neon fish (chosen by Nora) and a couple of dalmatian fish (chosen by Owen).

It was all quite a production. We decided we were going to go to the pet store over Memorial Day only to discover that the tank needed to set a week before we actually got fish. So the kids picked out all the accoutrements, scoped out which fish they wanted, and made a plan to return the following Sunday. Right after church we hurried over to the pet store to get the fish (Owen was particularly anxious to save the dalmatians from the "semi-aggressive" fish they were sharing a tank with), and left with four fish and an algae ball. We quickly set up the aquarium and acclimated our new additions (Sarah, Elizabeth, and the two unnamed dalmatians-- Owen couldn't decide), and headed out to meet Aunt Katherine, Uncle L, Mom Mom, Grandpa Don and Grandpa Fawcett for some outdoor adventures before Allen left for a conference in West Virginia.

Two days later, Owen's fish weren't looking so good. By Tuesday afternoon, Grandpa Fawcett regretfully informed me that they'd passed aways.

Not to get all Sophie's Choice, but if one of the kids' pets had to die, we were rooting for Nora's. Owen doesn't handle saying goodbye well to inanimate objects, so the passing of a living being seemed like it would be hard for him to take; whereas Nora coexisted quite happily with Lana the dead jellyfish for six months. But as life isn't a movie, we dealt the hand we were given.

I told Owen when I picked him up from aftercare what had happened and gave him the option of a burial at sea or land. He opted for land, asked me to dig the hole, and by the time Nora had gotten a lily for the grave from the dining room table, Owen had already plopped his pets into the grave and was asking to play Minecraft.

I guess people grieve in very different ways.

Anyway, we now have two fish; long may they reign.

(To see all our fish pics, click here)

"No-name 1 and 2" (May 31, 2014 - June 2, 2014).

Sunday, June 01, 2014

All She Wants to Do is...

We aren't allowed to watch Nora's dance classes. We've always been a little frustrated by this fact, but its logic became clear when Ms. Hailey attempted to instruct five four year olds as their family and friends looked on at the observational class on Saturday. There was crying. There was screaming. There was clinging. And there was very little dancing (although I must say that Nora -- while largely ignoring Ms. Hailey's instructions throughout -- did seem to be the lone student that embraced free dance). In the end, Ms. Hailey grudgingly gave out stickers, but was pretty free with the hugs.

(To see all the highlight pics, click here.)