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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Road Trip South

This past weekend, we headed south to meet up with Scott's cousins at their grandfather's house in northern South Carolina. It was a turn-around trip, designed to help his grandfather prep for moving back to California, and while it was short and the drive long (about 8 hours) we had such a great time seeing family and of course, driving through three states: Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Also of note, east coast rest stops put those in California to shame. Those bad boys are practically five star!

To grandfather's house we go!

The Peachoid, Gaffney, South Carolina

A cheerful car companion...mostly.

Finally found some normal swings!


Hints of spring.



Cousins reunited!


The property has a playground on/near it-Henry was in heaven.


Great Grandpa's pond.


Looking for turtles in the pond.
The ladies!



Gramps

Three generations



Monday, February 20, 2017

Four Months


I've tried to write this post for weeks now-a four month update, as we inch closer to five months next week. Truth be told I've realized that winter here was hard (though by the natives' standards, very mild) and I am a baby when it comes to braving the cold with my own baby. That translated into many days spent indoors if the temperatures were below 50 (which really, with the wind, is closer to 35). I hate the idea of anything I write to come off as whiny and negative, but have realized, winter is hard and people stay indoors. Also, I don't have to love every day of living here. And I have not loved it this winter. I like having a healthy balance of days home as well as going out and doing/seeing things, but some of that just isn't possible in the bitter cold. Knowing our time here has an expiration date, I'm inclined to go/see/do every day, but it just isn't possible, and this winter confirmed that. I have to be content with knowing we will go/see/do when the weather warms and I have a car (more on that shortly.)

For the sake of my mental health and change of scenery as necessary, any days that were a true 50 degrees meant we'd get out of the house, and book it to the Metro to go to a museum or other indoor destination. After making that resolution and with the help of some unseasonably warm days, we discovered some great story times, new museum exhibits, playground visits, and enjoyed the company of some new friends. Fresh air and new sights are such a game changer.

So...driving. It wasn't my plan to register our cars out here but seeing as we transferred our insurance from CA to DC, I got a nice letter from the CA DMV explaining that without proof of CA insurance, our registration would be suspended. Thus, we needed to start on the DC car registration...which meant getting DC driver's licenses, which after much stereotypical DMV hoop jumping, I've successfully obtained. To get the registration however, we had to get our lien holder to contact the CA DMV to send the title information and someone at Chase (yep, calling you out) screwed that initial request up (which averages 21 days), so now I'm waiting on the second set of 21 days before getting our title, which has restricted my driving since mid-January through likely early March (blah blah blah is anyone still reading this? How whiny do I sound?)  As I like to say, it's a first world problem, but a) we live in the first world and b) it's maddening when people can't communicate/do their jobs. Had I had the ability to drive, we wouldn't have been so house-bound, but here we are. When that car gets registered we are putting some MILES on it and going/seeing/doing!

I hate that this post feels negative--I don't intend it to sound that way. This season has just really been punctuated the differences between DC and Orange County and how I'd envision what we'd be doing there.

Onward to spring!


We've had some serious games of Chutes and Ladders.



Dr. Henry is always ready with his medical opinions.



A glorious, 70 degree February day.



Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day


Monday, January 23, 2017

This Weekend

Where does one start to capture the enormity of this past weekend? First and foremost it's not my intent to make this a political post or alienate anyone for their beliefs. Let my disclaimer be that we may not have all voted for the same person, but I hope we can agree that all Americans deserve the same rights and our personal freedoms should be protected. I also happen to think we need to continue to do our part to protect our planet, while also listening to science and fostering its advancements.

So, Inauguration first. I was really on the fence about going, but living here when the President changes power seemed like an historic event to miss if I could see it in person. Yet, it is a long day, is quite cold (though it was "mild" by DC standards), and there was the great unknown of crowds and demonstrators while managing a three-year-old and an infant. My judgement generally tends to play out worst case scenarios, so I opted to watch from home while Scott hopped around the city easily solo. In all honesty, I probably would have found a babysitter and/or braved the elements had the election turned out differently, but these were the circumstances and I just felt safer in the privacy of my own home with my kids. I did walk outside a few times just to share the air with the excitement, but while we are close, my neighborhood felt like any other day (we are in Capitol Hill but on the east side, and the festivities were on the west) while people jogged, walked their dogs, and went grocery shopping. Had their not been a helicopter hovering overhead for an hour it would have felt like business as usual.

Scott hopped around the district, venturing in and out of metro, which was challenging due to the volume of people, but he was able to get a vibe from various areas, moving out when things were looking to get hairy, yet enjoying a beer with work colleagues at a certain point too. I know he was glad to be able to be a participant in a Presidential Inauguration.

On to the Women's March. Again, we decided it would be best that I went solo, due to the large anticipated crowds, and weather (I've decided I'm just a West Coast wuss). I would have loved to bring Jo, but she had a cold and I didn't need to expose her as a three-month-old to those elements.

The energy was electric just stepping onto the metro with so many men, women, and children from all walks of life. I really want to shout out to the men who participated for the women in their lives--that shows such strong sense of character and self and appreciating the entire point of the movement itself. I'm really grateful to be married to a man who sees me as an equal partner. So the metro was PACKED-every car, sardines jammed in a can. The metro drivers were the clearest (i.e., didn't sound like gobbledegook) I've ever heard them, having conversations with the riders about having to miss stops just due to the amount of people on the platforms and playfully chatting up how these crowds were so great. When we were finally able to get off three stops after the original one, women were cheering as they emerged from the train and pouring out of the escalator onto the street. I teared up a few times that day.

Finally getting out of the subway took some time and once I emerged onto the street, it was a massive sea of pink, as any aerial photos have already shown. I was lucky to find a small retaining wall and climbed up to sit to have a better vantage point and since the crowd was essentially non-moving/very slow going, I wasn't going anywhere for a while. From there, I was able to watch the jumbo screens, try to hear the speakers, and take in the very clever signs as people very slowly moved passed.

Seeing so many smiling faces of men and women coming together simply to support equality for everyone made me feel proud to be a woman and an American marching that day, as there has been a heavy weight on my heart these past few months. This weekend proved that so many people share the same thoughts. That's empowering.






Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January 12, 2017

January 12 was an awesome day for several reasons:

  1. It was a rare 70 degree day sandwiched among 40 degree temps.
  2. The kids and I visited the National Zoo which was awesome.
  3. We had Indian delivered for dinner and enjoyed Patty's Cakes cake balls for dessert in honor of my birthday. 
  4. Scott met, exchanged words, and shook hands with President Barack Obama. 
Photo credit Pete Souza.

Photo credit Pete Souza.

Zomg. January 12, 2017 is one for the books.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Chatting with Henry

I wish I was able to record or transcribe everything that this kid says, but doing so while driving and multitasking makes it difficult. BUT, I am trying to get better at voice memos to help me remember the sweet thoughts and conclusions he draws each day. Hope those that know and miss this boy enjoy.

1. "Where are my guys?" (Referring to his dad and Grandpas after their respective visits.)

2. "Mom, what are we doing on Earth?"

3. While learning about clocks and telling time...
    Scott: "What time is it?"
    Henry: "Party time!"

4. "Mom, how has your day been on Earth?" (These deep, philosophical questions, I tell ya!)

5. When talking about seasons changing, leaves falling and being raked up...
    Henry: "Mom, can I jump in the red leaves at home?"
    Me: "Well, I think most of the leaves have been raked up and thrown away, buddy."
     Henry: (Genuinely defeated) "Well that's sad to hear."

6. Henry: "Mom, are you a girl?"
    Me: "I'm a grown-up girl, called a woman or a lady."
    Henry: "Mom, are you Wonder Woman?"

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Snow!

Oh don't mind the Californians freaking out about stuff falling from the sky. In this case, it was legit, fluffy and white, and fell all day last Saturday. It was magical to sit and watch it from our living room, silently coming down and creating the whitest wonderland we've ever been able to experience from the comforts of home.



Snow cat.







Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Holidays

Christmas this year was merry though certainly different to spend on our own. Christmas Eve Day, Scott and Henry took in some new sights--the MLK Memorial and Thomas Jefferson Memorial while I got dinner ready. That night, they came home and we watched a movie or two after dinner, and put out cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer. The next morning, Henry woke up VERY happy to see that the man in red delivered exactly what he wanted-"a kite to fly and red bike with pedals." He did note that St. Nick did not bring Josephine's requested "shiny new pacifier". Sorry dude!

Henry didn't waste any time getting on his bike to start riding. We have to thank the use of the balance bike to prepare him, because other than some more practice needed starting and stopping, he's got the actual riding down at 3 years old. It's amazing.

While he was out practicing Christmas Day, we met some more neighbors that day with kids which was also great.

Christmas and the season as told through pictures...




I scoffed at these until they became a necessity.



Winter in Capitol Hill. Please ignore that giant splotch-Santa needs a new iPhone.

At the US Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens (can't wait to go back in the spring when a)warmer and b)spring flowers.


Father/son Christmas Eve date






video
(Video is a little shaky as I'm running while filming, but worth seeing that he's actually doing it!)

Christmas Day naps for 3/4 of the house, which meant Parenthood for me!



For New Year's Eve we had over a neighbor couple who is expecting their first child in February, which was great because I didn't think we'd entertain at all. We made tapas, had dessert and drinks, and enjoyed an evening socializing, which I haven't done since our parents were here. Was a great way to ring in 2017.

Happy New Year everyone!

New Year's Day bike riding.