Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween 2016


Owen wanted the whole family to dress up as characters from Tin Tin for Halloween this year, but while Owen would clearly make an ideal Tin Tin, just how we'd pull off the rest of the characters was a bit murky.  I guess I had the beard to be Captain Haddock (though my hair really isn't dark enough), but none of us had the mustaches required for Thomson, Thompson, or Professor Calculus (granted, given Nora's obsession with mustaches, she probably would have taken one for the team), and Mommy really wasn't particularly thrilled with any of the female character options (Bianca Castafiore is a bit too obscure, and rather matronly to boot).  In the end we talked Owen out of the group costume idea, Nora went as Bat Girl, and I made some neat low-poly demon and fox masks out of cereal boxes for Elaine and myself.  Happy Halloween!

(click here for all the pictures)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Views from the Top

Climbing 10/16
A beautiful fall day and a clear schedule? Of course we headed out to Great Falls for some climbing with our friend Andrew and his son Luke. Owen's been taking a climbing class with his friend Adam, so he was almost too fast to capture on film. Nora is still getting her climbing legs on, but she did great, and stopped to pose for lots of pictures. Hopefully we'll get to go again before Winter kicks in.

Climbing 10/16
(To see all the pictures, please click here.)

Friday, October 14, 2016

NLDS 2016

NLDS 2016

We went all in for the playoffs this year.  Got our Nats Plus half season plan for 2017 and tickets for every possible playoff game through the World Series this year.  Then Strasburg hurt his flexor mass, and Ramos tore his ACL, and things were looking a bit more dire for the Nats, but the Postseason is a roll of the dice, and we were excited to have our chance.

Game 1 was an exciting start to the series with Max Scherzer going up against Clayton Kershaw.  The Dodgers jumped out to an early lead with Max giving up a couple home runs.  The Nats battled back, hitting Kershaw pretty hard, but they could never quite get that key hit, and the Dodgers won 4-3. It was a gorgeous day for baseball though, and one of Owen's friends was sitting in our section, so despite the outcome, it was a great day at the ballpark.

Game 2 was supposed to be on Saturday, and we were going to have to miss it because of Rich & Jen's wedding, but the rains came and postponed the game until Sunday, so I scooped up some last minute seats in the nosebleeds for Owen and I to go to the game.  When we were walking around the upper concourse on our way to our seats, we ran into a younger couple who asked us where we were sitting.  Apparently they had two extra tickets for seats seven rows behind the Dodger's dugout, and were looking for a kid that might enjoy seeing the game up close!  Owen and I joined them in Section 115, and the Nats didn't disappoint.  The Dodgers jumped out to another early lead, but this time Jose Lobaton hit a 3 run homer to give the Nats the lead, and they never looked back winning 5-3.

The Nats rolled to an 8-3 win in LA in game 3, and things were looking good.  Just one win in the last two games is all we needed for the series win.  Game 3 was another nail biter though, the Nats scored 3 in the 7th to tie the game, but the Dodgers took back the lead in the 8th and won the game, sending the series back to DC for game 5 with everything on the line.

We were back in our normal seats for the final game with Max Scherzer back on the mound throwing heat.  The Nats scored one run early, but they didn't take advantage of chances to score more.  In the top of the 7th, Max took the mound with a one run lead and gave up a lead off home run that tied the game.  Then things really fell apart as the Nats used six pitchers in the inning, and the Dodgers scored three more runs to take a 4-1 lead.  Chris Heisey hit a pinch hit two run homer in the bottom of the inning to pull the Nats within one, and the Nats loaded the bases looking to take back the lead, but the Dodgers' closer Kenly Jansen shut the door ending the threat.  In the bottom of the 9th, the Dodgers actually sent their Ace, Clayton Kershaw, to the mound to close out the game.

It was a great series, with a ton of exciting baseball, and one of these days the Nats will have to come out on top.  As for this year...go Cubs!

NLDS 2016
(click here for all the pictures)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rich's Wedding

Rich & Jen's Wedding
Rich was one of the first friends I made in graduate school. He and Allen were roommates for three years (if you don't pro-rate that for when Allen was staying with me...). Rich played guitar at our wedding, came to Owen's first birthday party and has been a wonderful constant in our life (and a very entertaining one, too). And while Rich has enjoyed being single, he finally found his match in Jen: a Ph.D, bicycle and beer enthusiast that loves the Mets, Clarence Buffalo, comfortable footwear, and Rich.

So we asked Aunt Katherine to watch the kids and headed to Vienna, Virginia for the Prisinzano-Antonacci nuptials, and a mini grad school reunion. It was a really great time -- as evidenced by the really rough morning after. Good thing it was three-day weekend...

Congrats to the happy couple.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

The Battle of Bladensburg

Bladensburg field trip
Owen's class has been studying the War of 1812 fairly intensely this term and since the DC area was the center of much of the action, it was natural that his class would plan a field trip and he would want one of us to join him. So Owen and I and a bunch of other parents and teachers along with 24 other fifth graders took the D8 bus to the Rhode Island Station and then transferred to the T18 bus in order to relive the Battle of Bladensburg.

It was a long trip, but was going fairly well until about four stops from our destination, another field trip, consisting of 80 kindergarten and first graders with only four chaperones in tow, hopped on the bus. The kids were horrified, as were the other passengers who had been less than thrilled to be sharing their daily commute with one grade school field trip, let alone two. But we muddled through until we were dropped on the grounds of the Battle of Bladensburg visitor center, where at least one fifth grader fell to ground and kissed it in relief (it wasn't Owen).

For those unfamiliar (like me, prior to the field trip), the Battle occurred two years into the war, when British forces sought to cross the much more narrow and traversable Eastern Branch of the Potomac River in order to invade Washington. The Americans were outflanked and unsuccessful in defending their land, ultimately resulting in the torching of the White House, Capitol and the Library of Congress. But while the defeat stung, it was not defining: a few weeks later the U.S. successfully defended Fort McHenry in Baltimore and destroyed much of the British fleet in Lake Champlain which ultimately led to the Treaty of Ghent and a lot of rebuilding in DC.

The kids watched a movie about the war, made some fairly insightful observations (Owen knows far more about blockades than I did at that age) and looked at several exhibits before we picnicked on the banks of the Anacostia River. Shortly thereafter, we headed back to Bladensburg road to catch the return bus, but unfortunately, this required crossing Bladensburg, which wasn't as easy for Ms. Wertheimer's fifth grade class as it had been for the British. Ultimately, Ms. Wertheimer blocked traffic to allow her students to pass safely, only to wait twenty minutes outside a pawn shop for the T18 to arrive.

Fortunately, the ride home was pretty uneventful, and it all made for a really good story, so really everyone won (except for poor Brigadier General Tobias Stansbury).