Friday, September 16, 2016

Why Did You Go Alone?

Nora wrote a new song. If only she would emote more;-)

Why did you go alone?
Nora Fawcett

Now that I open my eyes to see the light
I noticed that you were right
But I wonder while I roam
Why did you go alooooooooooone
Why did you go alooooooooooone

Now that I am here it is crystal clear
That you know where to go
But I wonder while I roam
Why did you go alooooooooooone
Why did you go alooooooooooone

But now I have fun in the sun
With everyone
I think we should spread all the fun that we could
But I wonder while I roam
Why did you go alooooooooooone
Why did you go alooooooooooone

Why did you go alooooooooooone
Why did you go alooooooooooone
Why did you go alooooooooooone

Why did you go alone?!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bad Air Daze


The Bad Air Daze team, and the EPA softball league has been part of our lives ever since we moved to DC some 13 years ago.  Elaine and I brought our wealth of Texas intramural softball experience to the team right out of grad school, I was captain of the team for a few years early on, Owen has been going to the games since he was in the womb, and more recently has even been playing for the team as a junior member.  In all those years we never won a playoff game...until now.  2016 is the year of Air Office Softball, we stormed through the playoffs and made the finals!  In the championship game we faced a team of young EPA upstarts, the Global Benchwarmers, where sadly youth beat experience, and we went down in glorious defeat, but a good time was had by all, so here's to a wonderful season!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Scoreboard Photobomb!


Look who's photobombing the scoreboard!

Monday, September 12, 2016

It's a Bird. It's a Plane. It's Uncle Dave!

Every so often, Uncle Dave has a business trip that takes him to the DC metro area that he will graciously extend so we can get some extra time with him. Dave was here for less than 48 hours, but we still managed to get in barbecue, a superhero wonk session, Good Stuff, picking up Nora's new viola, swinging by Nat's stadium (to pick up some beer steins with Natitude), dinner with Molly, a string duet care of Owen and Nora (complete with Nora's homage to Ferris Bueller at the behest of Uncle Dave) and a show at the Rock-n-Roll Hotel care of the Felice Brothers. Unfortunately, the kids ran short of time to demonstrate their new found magic skills courtesy of their birthday presents from Uncle Dave and Aunt Kara, but there's always Thanksgiving...

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Party Redux (Owen's 10th)

Owen's 10th B-Day Party

Over the summer, we asked Owen what he'd like to do for his birthday and he responded without hesitation, "laser tag." I wasn't overly excited, but Owen had already planned everyone's position and Allen, who had taken Owen to several parties at the laser tag place, assured me that Ultrazone Laser Tag was really easy and as Owen's birthday is days before school starts and 12 days before Nora's, easy sounded good. So we booked it and sent out invites -- lots of invites as many people extend their vacations through the weekend before school starts and laser tag requires a lot of people in attendance. Once we finally had a quorum, we relaxed.

Until the night before the party. I wasn't feeling great so I let the answering machine pick up when a call came in at 6:30 pm. There was a bunch of mumbling, but when I heard "Ultrazone" I quickly grabbed the handset only to learn that owing to some issue with their lease, Ultrazone was unable to access their building which meant Owen couldn't have his party there the following morning. The manager offered to let us hold the party at another venue about an hour away, but we demurred and instead proceeded to call all fourteen of the intended attendees informing them that the party was cancelled but they'd be getting a new invite once we had a had a place, date and time.

Owen was great about the whole thing. No one is happy to have their party cancelled on the eve of their birthday, but he was pretty stoic about the whole thing. We started talking about possible venues and dates, and while we tried to find another laser tag place, Owen wasn't thrilled with the equipment at the alternative site. So we suggested trampoline parks and climbing gyms and rock walls, but Owen declined and expressed his preference to return to Sandy Springs Adventure Park.

We'd held Owen's eighth birthday party at Sandy Springs, and while lovely, it rained the entire time at which point I vowed to never have a party outside again. But Owen insisted, we needed to get something on the calendar, and he was being such a good sport about it, so we booked it for Labor Day and sent out invites (to both those that couldn't make the first party and those that did) and turned our attention to Nora's party (which we had scheduled early in order to avoid Labor Day weekend...).

Time passed. School started. Nora's birthday party went off without a hitch. Nora turned seven. 16 kids responded that they'd be attending (apparently Labor Day is less of a travel draw than the weekend before school starts). And then tropical storm Hermine started brewing...

Historically, the birthday party gods have not been kind to us. There was the tornado at Nora's 3rd. The double booking at Nora's 4th. The rainstorm at Owen's eighth. And the near cancelation at Owen's 9th owing to his ER trip earlier that week. Knowing our luck, I started panicking, because as much as I love Owen and as much as the 10th anniversary of his birth should be commemorated with style, I couldn't face the prospect of having to cancel another party and plan a third celebration, particularly as the Fall activity schedule was upon us.

There was much prayer and possibly drinking. But in the end, the weather gods were kind and Hermine skirted over the mid-Atlantic though the party gods did bench a few of Owen's friends at the last minute (two owing to some bug, the third failed to get his arm cast off in a timely manner). We had beautiful weather, Owen was in his element and the 13 kids and 5 adults had a pretty amazing time.

(To see all the pictures, click here.)

Thursday, September 01, 2016


Six started out rough. There was a new school filled with mean girls, a series of unfortunate accidents, lice, and a memory card not adequately backed up resulting in lost photographs and many tears. There were slammed doors and locked doors and sulking under the table because the universe is unfair. There were a lot of songs written with some very emo lyrics and evenings when we were not allowed so much as a good-night hug.

Nora eventually ignored the mean girls, asserted her personality because "why would you want to be like everyone else?" and still made new friends. Door slamming is banned, but door locking is permitted when one needs privacy, provided it's not overnight and the door is opened per Mommy's request (because she's short and can't reach the key on the frame and sometimes she legitimately needs to get into the bedroom). I still worry about the nature of her song lyrics, but she's assured Allen that the overall message is about female empowerment, she just hasn't completed them yet.

And so despite a difficult beginning, six ended up pretty amazing: Nora learned to ride a bike (nine months after breaking her arm while on training wheels). She lost her first tooth, skied using lifts and shifted from bouldering to climbing. Nora built a birdhouse and a robot; designed necklaces and Halloween costumes. She made it all the way to letter X on the reading scale.

And she did it her way, because if you're Nora, why would you ever want to be like everyone else? Happy birthday, baby girl. We love you so much and can't wait to see what you do at seven.

  1. "I am horrified but strangely excited."
  2. Don't think of it as delousing, think of it as a spa day!
  3. Despite Nora's assurances, people of New York, you should probably look elsewhere for driving instructors.
  4. "Can I tell you something?"
  5. Cool runnings isn't so much a movie as a lifestyle.
  6. The world runs very differently in funny land.
  7. On belay!
  8. "Turn out the light, because I'm princess of the night!"
  9. Ah, donuts.
  10. And in the words of Nora, "If you think about it, anything is possible."