Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas seemed more like something to get through than to celebrate this year. Our office parties were filled with nervous speculation as to what the coming transition would bring and baked goods. Our annual holiday party devolved into prognosticating whom among our friends and neighbors would suffer most in the coming year (Allen may have been the winner!!!) and sharing escape plans for the inauguration festivities themselves, all while consuming copious amounts of alcohol... and cured salmon. And if all that wasn't enough, the flu hit Capitol Hill culminating in Nora spending her first night of Winter Break alternating between throwing up on herself, her bed, and Allen.

But the beauty about the holidays, and for us in particular this year, is family. This year, Allen's kind of saved us. It's hard to get too worked up about repeal and replace when your kids' brand new Dave the Shark Dirigible is circling the tree. While the dismantling of climate treaties is troubling, helping your son build his own computer is both consuming and rewarding. And really, you can't be too glum about the encroachment of civil rights when there are toddlers and cake.

But really, it's just nice to know that you have a lot of wonderful people in your life that have your back, no matter what the new year brings.

(To see all the Christmas pictures, click here.)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Elementary School Musical

SWS held its second annual Winter Music Concert this past Thursday. And while Owen demurred from participating in the chorus this year, both he and Nora shined with their respective classes. Nora belt out that holiday classic, "When the Saints Go Marching In," (which has way more choruses than I ever remember) and had a featured percussion part. Meanwhile, Owen led the cellos in the SWS orchestra's renditions of "Jingle Bells" and "All Aboard" all while looking incredibly dapper in his hat. It was quite a night.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Botanic Gardens 2016


One of our favorite holiday traditions is the annual Botanic Gardens holiday party showing off all of their fabulous trains.  This year the theme was National Parks, and Mom Mom and Grandpa Don joined us for the day, Owen's DCYOP concert in the afternoon, dinner at Tortilla Coast, and then the train and garden extravaganza.  Happy Holidays everyone!


(click here for all the pictures)

Holiday Strings

The DC Youth Orchestra held its holiday concerts this weekend, and for the first time both kids participated (with Mom Mom, Grandpa Don, Allen and I cheering them on).

Nora debuted her viola playing with "See Saw" and "Hot Cross Buns" on Saturday.

Owen and the Level D Sinfonia performed "Dragon Dance" and "Let it Snow" on Sunday (trust us, the first cellist was kind of blocking him, but he was totally there and played like a champ). Owen even earned an MVP award (and a free sweatshirt) for allowing a Level C Sinfonia cellist to borrow his cello after some last minute tragedy left hers unplayable.
They both did really well and were pretty excited that they each got to both perform and be in the audience cheering the other on this time.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Just Keep Running

Nora had her first confession this weekend and both kids had DC Youth Orchestra concerts, which meant that we weren't able to cheer on Aunt Katherine and Uncle L at their Kiawah Island Full and Half Marathons in person. But we were there in spirit...


Thursday, December 08, 2016


China - 2016

After having several trips to China cancelled at the last minute, I finally managed to get to Beijing for the 2016 IAMC meetings.  The meetings went well of course, and I did manage a quick morning at the Forbidden City before flying home.  What was really striking though was the air pollution.  The day I arrived, the pollution was off the charts, and walking outside felt like standing down wind of a camp fire.  The air improved when the winds changed a couple of days later, but the experience really makes you appreciate the importance of clean air, and the benefits of environmental policies.

China - 2016

(click here for all the pictures)

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Tea Time

High tea
John's friend Jacqui has been staying with us one night a month for over a year when she visits DC for some consulting work. This visit, she suggested we ditch the boys and enjoy high tea at the Ritz (Allen was pretty easy to ditch having just left for China; John and Owen were perfectly content to be excluded).

So Nora and I donned, if not our finest than at least some reasonably cute attire, and drove with Jacqui out to Tysons II for tea (and hot chocolate for Nora). We had a lovely view of the Ritz Christmas tree while we enjoyed finger sandwiches, scones, strawberries with clotted cream, gingerbread cookies, other assorted pastries, and champagne (again, Nora stuck with hot chocolate). Nora pronounced it much more fun than she thought it would be and Jacqui and I had a wonderful time, though I wished I'd remember earlier, exactly how much caffeine is in black tea.
High Tea

(Click here for all the pictures.)