Wednesday, May 24, 2017

STEM Fair

Owen Nats STEM Fair

Owen's last big 5th Grade project was for the STEM fair. Fortunately for Owen his desire to do a baseball related project was a perfect fit since the Nationals sponsored the STEM fair for 30 classes in DC. Fortunately for us, Owen was able to do a project that was a little more social science than hard science.

His project was on predicting attendance at Nats games. He downloaded the attendance data from all the home games in 2016 with information on date, time and opponent.  He merged that dataset with data on temperature and precipitation, and another data set with the promotion schedule. Then he created histograms looking with the number of games with attendance in different ranges color coded by month; weekday or weekend; rain or sun; hot, cold or in between; and promotions, bobbleheads, and other special games.  His big findings were that 14 out of the 15 least attended games were on weeknights in April or September, so school nights are bad for attendance. Also, the three sell outs in 2016 were Opening Day and two of the games against the Cubs.  Finally bobbleheads were a big draw, but the bobblehead game on a school night was still one of the least attended games. (And for those wondering, yes we refrained from teaching Owen how to do any regressions for this project, but he did get started with Excel ;-)

Owen placed third in his school STEM fair, and his project actually did a good job of explaining what happened next.  On a rainy school night with the Seattle Mariners in town, the Nats invited all the STEM fair winners to showcase their projects at the game, and honored the kids and teachers on the field.  As Owen could have predicted, this was a game that was destined for a small crowd, what better night could there be to give out free tickets to a bunch of young STEM fair winners and their teachers and parents ;-)

(click here for all the pictures)



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Birthday! Mother's Day! Concert Days!

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This year Elaine's giant birthday / Mother's Day weekend extravaganza coincided with Nora's DCYOP concert on Saturday (Elaine's birthday) and Owen's DCYOP concert on Sunday (Mother's Day).  With so much packed into one weekend, we were a bit fortunate that aunt Katherine took Mom Mom on a trip to NYC for her birthday / Mother's Day weekend.  On Saturday the kids took a cue from Mommy and made big Happy Birthday sign to hang up for her, then created a big scavenger hunt for her presents.

Falling on a Saturday, Elaine's birthday was of course packed with kids activities.  Owen had a baseball game in the morning, then Orchestra rehearsal immediately afterwords.  Right after Owen's rehearsal was Nora's Spring concert at Eastern High School. Nora did a great job of course, and made mommy proud.  Having been spared Nora's beginner viola concert, Grandpa Fawcett and Grandpa Don joined us for Owen's concert the next day at Lisner Auditorium. Sinfonia 2 played a lovely version of Ode to Joy, and we all enjoyed hearing the older kids play some really amazing pieces.

It was an action packed, if not terribly exciting weekend for Elaine, but the real birthday celebration could wait for our bike trip in Sonoma the following weekend :-)




Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Grands Exit

Elaine
We packed a lot into Grandpa and Grandma Z's visit. There was the theater. And a celebration of democracy. And a religious rite of passage. And ramen!

And on the fourth day, there was a relaxing jaunt to the National Arboretum. For a couple of hours we took in nature's beauty (while giving the bald egrets their mandated berth) and allowed Grandpa Z to pick up some tips for the Hoover Library grounds back in West Branch. It was a lovely end to a lovely trip. Hopefully Grandpa and Grandma Z will return soon (after all, there's another march in two weeks...).

Monday, May 01, 2017

The Body of Christ

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We weren't sure if Nora was going to make it to her first Holy Communion. We'd become disillusioned with the Church of late, particularly the Washington Diocese, and had been spending more time exploring the family's Quaker side. And while Nora isn't necessarily great with the whole "silent worship" aspect of Quakerism, she loves that First Day school coincides with Meeting, which cuts her devotional time in half.

But we had promised Grandma Z that we would at least get Nora to her first Communion. So Nora attended classes, and celebrated her first reconciliation. She and I went to her retreat (where we had a dress rehearsal and made her banner). We picked out a dress (with Mom Mom and Aunt Katherine) and shoes (probably should have shopped around a little more on those...) and decided where and how to celebrate. And then we waited for the big day (and for Grandma and Grandpa Z to arrive).

Nora was both scared and excited for the big event, but in the end excited won out (plus irritation -- we hadn't broken in her new shoes and she was pretty grumpy about having to wear them for the ceremony). She did great, even if she didn't fully embrace the blood of Christ.
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(To see all the pictures, click here.)