Saturday, July 25, 2015

Beach Balls


The building museum is always a fun place to visit, and lately they have upped the ante with some cool experience exhibits.  Last summer was The Big Maze, and this year they staged The Beach, a gigantic ball pit taking over almost the entire floor.  We wanted to squeeze in a visit to The Beach before our trip to the beach, so before finishing packing on Saturday morning, we headed over to the Building Museum.  Unfortunately we weren't the only people with the same idea.  While last year we had The Big Maze almost to ourselves on a Saturday morning, the crowds and lines for The Beach were huge.  The kids decided they would rather run around and do all the regular exhibits instead of waiting in line, so we took in the spectacle of it all and had some fun playing with blocks :-)

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Best Little Theater in Town

After rave reviews for her performances in various "Play-in-a-Day" productions, we decide that Nora needed more of challenge in her thespian pursuits. So we signed her up for two weeks of "Atlas Theater Camp" where she channeled her inner sound designer and performed with 22 other kids (including her good friend, Hazel), "The Best Little Theater in Town."

It was pretty impressive. Two weeks of dedication to one's craft really ups the production value and improves script retention by leaps and bounds for the 5 to 12 age group. There was exposition and stage direction! There was a villain and a hero! There was a love-story! And there was dancing and singing because, as Nora so dramatically informed us, "Gotta have a tear-jerker, a 'boo-hoo- ballad' in every show, you know!"

Mom Mom and Aunt Katherine joined us in the audience, and we gave Nora and the rest of the troupe a standing ovation. Afterwards in the cast party, Nora didn't seem so certain she wanted to have an encore performance next year, but we're hoping we can convince that the shows must go on.

Atlas Theater Camp 2015

(To see the rest of the pics click here. To see the full performance, you'll have to come by to view the limited edition DVD.)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Catoctin Camping

Catoctin Camping

For our summer Cub Scout camping trip, Owen and his fellow rising first year Webelo's, along with the Bears, went to Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland for a camping and rock climbing adventure. We were a little worried about the weather, as it was forecast to be blisteringly hot along with severe thunderstorms, but while we drove up to the park in a torrential downpour, the weather cleared by the time we got to the camp site, and the heat and humidity weren't nearly as bad as we had feared.  For my part, I was responsible for the climbing portion of the trip, so after we set up camp, we hiked a mile and a half up the mountain to Wolf Rock with all my climbing gear, where I found a nice spot to set up a challenging but doable climb for the kids.  Owen of course wanted to go first, and he did a great job utilizing all the holds he could find in the cracks and on the face to find his way to the top. The rest of the kids eagerly followed, but found the climb was harder than Owen made it look.  In all 13 kids tried the climb, but only 3, including Owen and one of the older Boy Scouts with us, were able to make it to the top.  Great job Owen!

We cooked out over the camp fire (hot dogs and hamburgers for the kids, and steaks for the grown-ups ;-), and made peach cobbler in the dutch ovens for desert.  After a decent night's sleep in the tents, Owen and his fellow Webelos woke up bright and early to make breakfast for everyone: eggs and all sorts of fixings in the dutch ovens, with bacon and sausages cooked over the camp fire.  All and all it was great camping trip for all the Scouts!

Catoctin Camping

(click here for all the photos)

Saturday, July 04, 2015

July 4th, 2015

July4th, 2015

On Friday we went to the Nats game with Dad, Mom & Don, and Katherine, but we had an extra ticket, so Owen invited Hayden to join us.  This was quite fortunate, since we didn't have plans for the Fourth, and Hayden's parents were hosting a party for some friends and neighbors, so we were happy get together with them for our Independence Day celebration.  We had a great time at the party, and presumably the kids did too, but they were off in their own world for the most part, which might be why we had so much fun with the adults ;-)  When evening rolled around, no one really had plans for going to see the fireworks on the Mall, so we walked down to Lincoln Park instead to see all the 'neighborhood' fireworks.  We heard more than we saw, but I think everyone had a good time.

(click here for all the pictures)

Friday, July 03, 2015

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

When we were buying our house, the realtor warned us that soon a DC landmark known for its chili and half smokes would be opening a few houses down and that we might be subject to the occasional breeze filled with the aroma of said half smokes and chili. We were undeterred, in part because we hadn't found any other houses that met our needs that we'd successfully bid on, and it wasn't really clear that Ben's Chili Bowl would ever open. After all, it collapsed just a few weeks into the renovation meant to maintain its historical fa├žade, resulting in a whole mess of issues. Construction finally started...and then stopped, due to a budget dispute with the contractor. Months past. Projected opening dates past. Other Ben's restaurants opened across the city.

Eventually, though, new contractors were brought in and we received a notice that Ben's would like to invite their neighbors in for a sneak peak. Grandpa Fawcett was pretty excited -- he'd been privy to all the building problems due to his regular site visits (during his morning constitutional of H street development) and wanted to inspect the final product. Uncle L was equally excited, having become a fan of Ben's shortly after he moved to the DC area, and feeling a little toyed with having to see the "Coming Soon" sign every time he visited. The kids were mainly psyched about free hot dogs.

We had to wait in a line that snaked around the corner to get in (though Ben's son brought out ice cream for the kids), and we were a little bummed that they decided by the time we placed our order, that milkshakes should be off the menu on a giveaway night, but all in all it was a fun and delicious (if you like that sort of thing) evening with n'ere a Cosby mention around (though weirdly there was a shout-out to Pauly Shore in the History of Ben's pamphlet). Welcome to the neighborhood, Ben's.

To see all the pics, click here.