Saturday, April 29, 2017

Grandpa Z Got "Woke"

We weren't going to do the Climate March. We'd done the Science March just the weekend before, the kids had orchestra that day and quite frankly, Allen felt that it was a little too on point with work. But Grandpa Z showed up, having planned his sign and googled the elevation of Mar-a-Lago. And then Grandpa Z proceeded to make his first ever protest sign using a discarded box, drawing paper, some packing tape and the kids' markers -- all while waiting for Grandma Z's luggage to be delivered by American Airlines (don't ask). Given his level of enthusiasm and commitment, we just couldn't crush Grandpa's dream of joining the resistance.

Besides, Allen already had the perfect sign.

So Allen and Grandpa Z join thousands of others in protesting the current administration's stance on climate change. And we didn't even have to bail them out of jail.
(To see all the pictures, please click here.)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Into the Woods!


Stuart-Hobson started doing musicals incorporating its feeders schools back when Nora was in kindergarten. But as we've been out of the Cluster for a while, we hadn't really been keeping up with its theater program. Until this year, when the new music director (who happens to have been Owen's former music teacher and director of previous productions) Ms. Perguson decided to include the fifth grade of SWS in Stuart's production of Into the Woods.

Now Into the Woods happens to be the kids' current favorite musical (probably because we took them to see it at the Kennedy Center and then bought movie) and Owen's personal favorite song from its catalog is Giant's in the Sky. Add to that the fact that our longtime friend and former neighbor Will was cast as "Jack," and you can understand why Owen had to participate in the production (even though he had to miss one performance for orchestra).

So he practiced and practiced and put together his costume and attended all the rehearsals. And on opening night, with Grandpa and Grandma Z in tow, the whole family attended the inaugural performance.

And it was really amazing. Not just Owen (though it was great to see him so animated and excited to be on stage), but some of those middle schoolers have some serious pipes and it was pretty exciting to see youngsters perform at that level.

We all had a great time (even Grandpa and Grandma Z, who weren't familiar with the musical prior to this performance) and we're really proud and impressed by everyone involved. Nora's just bummed that she didn't get to perform. But there's always next year...

(to see all the pictures, please click here.)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

O's with Leo


And sometimes after a long day of marching, you need to drive up to Baltimore for a baseball game with Leo :-)

Science is Real!

Science March

Sometimes even Scientists march...

(click here for all the pictures)


Shenandoha - Skyland 2017

After our day in Gettysburg, we took a night to recover and then headed West for our Shenandoah adventure. The weather was a bit spotty, with rain constantly threatening, so we got a little bit of a late start on Thursday morning.  We arrived at Skyland Lodge in time for check-in though, and managed to get a hike on the Passamaquoddy trail in and made it back to Skyland for dinner before the rain really started falling.  On Friday, we did a hike up to the summit of Stony Man, and then despite the complaining of a really tired little girl, Owen and I hiked over to Little Stony Man to scope out some of the prime rock climbing locations in Virginia.  Clearly we'll have to come back :-)

Shenandoha - Skyland 2017

(click here for all the pictures)

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Two months and several weeks ago, Owen's class was studying the Civil War. Each student had to choose someone from the time and write a couple of letters from their viewpoint (among other assignments). Owen decided to be himself, but as the son of a Maryland farmer who chose to join the Maryland Third Regiment and fight for the North (there was a previous backstory of his being a Quaker from Iowa, but they didn't fight at Gettysburg, and Owen really wanted to fight at Gettysburg).

Anyway, since Owen had studied Gettysburg so closely and neither I nor the kids had ever visited the site, and since Grandpa Don is great Civil War aficionado (plus it's only a hour and a half from our house), we thought it would be great idea to take a day over Spring Break to visit the historic battlefield.

Everyone was pretty much on board except Nora (and Mother Nature -- it rained the entire day) who threw a fit during the showing of "A New Birth of Freedom," as well as the Cyclorama. Nora eventually calmed down and was even willing to get out of the car to enjoy the scenery at Longstreet's Corp Artillery Reserve and the Devil's Den (which really should be expected). For Owen, the highlight was probably visiting Culp's Hill where the 3rd Maryland Volunteer Infantry Regiment defended the hill from the Confederate army (including a Confederate Maryland Brigade) keeping Cemetery Hill safe from the rebel force and insuring a Union victory -- for the record, his alter ego Owen Fawcett survived both the battle and the war.

We're hoping to return again one day, when the weather (and Nora's mood) are improved.

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

And Justice for All


The irony of living in DC is that while the residents of the hotbed of democracy pay taxes, we don't have voting representation in Congress. And even worse, if Congress decides that they don't like some of the laws we've passed, they can override them. And the current Congress isn't a particular fan of our gun laws. Or legalization of marijuana. Or using DC revenues to subsidize abortions. Or physician-assisted suicide. Or... well, you get the point.

What's particularly maddening is that so many of the Tea Party members -- who's namesakes fought against disenfranchisement and who, in theory, are federalists and therefore support local autonomy -- feel so strongly that what they believe is good for the District of Columbia is more important than what its residents think. Chief among these is Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

While District resident's have long complained about Chaffetz reign of terror, this year they got "woke." We started calling members of Congress to complain about city issues, like late garbage pick-up, since Congress seemed so interested in how DC was run. We started offering to personally deliver letters to Congress for constituents back home, allowing them to remind staff in person of our limited representation while insuring they heard from the people back home.

And we started donating to the PAC "American's for Self-Rule," because in politics, money talks.

ASR's first big event was conveniently scheduled for Tuesday while the kids were at Camp Mom Mom's. So Allen and I dutifully bought our tickets and protested Congressional overreach by sipping margaritas at the H Street Country Club.

And low and behold, it worked. The next day Jason Chaffetz announced that he would not run for re-election.

So we won our first battle but the war continues. Allen and I promise that we will not rest on our laurels but will continue to fight the good fight: one margarita at a time.

Monday, April 17, 2017


Easter 2017
We had a fairly uneventful Lent this year: Owen gave up Minecraft, but didn't tell anyone; Nora didn't give up anything, but instead focused on her First Communion preparation; I dutifully wrote one letter a week; I'm pretty sure we ate meat on at least two Fridays; and Allen, well Allen doesn't really count in terms of Lenten celebrations.

But for Easter, we turned it up. We had brunch at Whole Foods. We had church at St. Josephs (and we were thirty minutes early, because, again, we turned it up). We had two separate Easter egg hunts (one at our house which culminated in a Nintendo Switch behind some Oatmeal Squares and one at Mom Mom's which culminated in a play). We had an amazing dinner and most of a cake (the part Sharon saved from Pumba). And then we got to leave Owen and Nora at their grandparents to celebrate the first two days of Spring Break at Camp Mom Mom's.

So really, it was a perfect Easter celebration.

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

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mettenburgs' Spring Break


It was Spring Break for Pittsburgh schools this past weekend, so the Mettenburgs came down to DC for a visit and a little museum hopping.  On Saturday we took the Streetcar to Union Station and walked over for a fun filled visit to the Building Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. We contemplated a visit the Spy Museum after a delicious lunch at Graffiato, but the lines proved too long, so we just walked over to the sculpture garden instead.  On Sunday we all visited the Natural History Museum, and enjoyed walking around the Mall on a beautiful day.  In between it all we might have played a few games of Catan too ;-)  It's so nice to have Joe & Cate and family back within driving distance!


(click here for all the pictures)

Monday, April 03, 2017

Opening Day

Opening Day 2017

Keeping the tradition alive, Owen and I went to the Nats Opening Day game.  This time we used our new season tickets, and the Nats came through for us, beating the Marlins 4 to 2.  Bryce Harper hit his 5th Opening Day home run, and the new guy, Adam Lind, hit a pinch hit home run in his first at bat as a National to give the Nats the lead.  Gorgeous weather, great game, let's play some ball!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Spy Kids


Sometimes you just need to put on your spy glasses and go on a secret mission. Best not to post the details here ;-)