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Monday, August 6, 2018

The final weeks of summer

Today marks the final two weeks of summer before Henry starts school for the next 17 years and I cannot believe it. We made a bucket list to adventure as much as we can these last ten days and I'm reminded how much I've enjoyed being home with him these first few years.

This weekend he got to spend both days on dates with Scott and I. For my day, we headed to the National Gallery of Art for their Art Investigators program-a story about an artist and then a look at their work. It was AMAZING. Reminded me so much of "Meet the Masters" from elementary school. In this session, the kids focused on Edgar Degas and his only publicly exhibited sculpture, "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen Years."

These are drop-in programs and we missed the first session by minutes, so we hung out in their new Education Art Center for an hour, where I found a book about the sculpture, then we drew her with some really cool crayon/marker hybrid. We then made our way back to our session start time and while he was initially reluctant to this idea of mine, easily became fascinated thanks to the engaging leader and interactive participation. They listened, held the pose like the ballerina, and then got to model their own creation with clay to close.

This was the last session for the summer but I'll definitely be looking for it when it resumes in the fall.


"Mom, do we know this guy in the painting?"
We also went blackberry and peach picking at one of our favorite places-Homestead Farms. Since Jo was really into strawberry picking in May and well, eating sweet things in general, I figured this was right up her ally. We did it last summer with friends and what little time we'll have been here in retrospect, I like to think of it as a little tradition.

It's also been at least six months since we visited the zoo, so it was really Josephine's first time truly getting it. She loved seeing the animals and the giant cats were especially vocal, and the seals playful.

We took a family hike on Teddy Roosevelt Island and were treated to a family of deer crossing nibbling nearby and eventually crossing our path, and also returned to the National Botanical Garden since it opened in spring for some afternoon fun.
Kids starting school used to excite me-less crowds! Less traffic! And now my kid is one of them. I really feel like I just graduated sixth grade myself.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Road Trip to New England

I've really been craving an authentic lobster roll and while I still have dreams of going to Maine, I convinced the family to drive through seven states up to Cape Cod, where I definitely ate my fair share of some of the best seafood evah.

We broke up our trip on the way there after four hours of driving with a stay in Connecticut. I didn't realize it was Henry's first hotel experience as we've always stayed with family or in vacation homes, so this newfound concept of hotel was pretty great to witness ("Where's the kitchen? How are we going to eat?"...and then immediately bouncing on all the beds, with any fears of missed meals long forgotten.)

The next day, we drove 3.5 more hours to Buzzards Bay in Cape Cod, where we met up with one of Scott's former colleagues, who happened to be staying at the family compound. This house was amazing...along with all of the others in the neighborhood. Private beach access, sweeping vistas, windows galore. It would be real easy to just retire to one of the 15 bedrooms and go unnoticed for a few weeks. The kids swam in the pool after enjoying the rocky beach below and then we made our way to our own cottage about 25 minutes away in Plymouth.


I found our cottage listed on a vacation rental site and just kept coming back to it. It really had it all for what we were looking for-an easy vacation with some experiences available should we want to partake. The cottage sits right on one of Massachusetts glacial lakes-Long Pond- so the water is crystal clear, with a sandy beach, jumping dock, barge, and its own canoe. The cottage itself had all the amenities one might need in an upgraded cabin for family convenience. We enjoyed our meals and morning coffee on the sun porch with a swing, and the kids and I loved the Dutch doors. I was sold.
We spent our days swimming, canoeing, and exploring historical Plymouth (where Jo fell and left a fair share of her DNA in the old streets).

One of Henry's vacation bucket list items was to see a lighthouse, and the Cape is full of them, but not all are on land or offer the availability to walk up to them, as a few are vacation rentals for those who want to shell out $6k a week. This one, the Nobska Lighthouse about a 40 minute drive in Woods Hole, was perfect. We unfortunately missed the interior tours by one day, but Henry didn't seem to mind. We could see Martha's Vineyard, watch the ships going in and out of the Harbor, and amazing views from the hill.
It was here that I ate the most expensive sandwich of my life, but wowza was it worth it. Both Scott and I failed on asking for it to be with butter instead of mayo but it didn't even matter. That warm and crispy buttered roll hugged that six ounces of lobster perfectly, and washed down with a local beer sitting on the restaurant dock complete with drawbridge going up and down made for a perfect lunch for everyone.
Swimming daily at the cottage was a given. The lake was about 30 steps from the door and everyone loved the easy accessibility. We floated, jumped, paddled, and canoed through that water for hours.

We were in a pretty remote area of Plymouth, tucked off dirt roads and surrounded by nature. We saw bald eagles, deer, and hiked to a cranberry bog. While not in season, we could see the fruit and imagine how it would be in a few months. It was really cool.




It's unlikely that Jo will remember this vacation, but I am confident Henry will. It really checked all of my own boxes for a fun family vacation with beach, camp-like surroundings, nature, adventure, and relaxation. The kids did better than I expected on the long drive, had the best time, and really was such a great way to recharge as a family. I'll be riding the post-vacation high for a while. And thinking about that lobster roll. And scallops.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bowling and Baseball

This week we were able to check a pretty cool item off the Haselton Family Ultimate DC Bucket List-bowling in the Truman Bowling Alley. I learned that it's actually not under the White House, but the neighboring building, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which flanks the West Wing.

The spots for these opportunities come fast and furious so I was particularly excited to have this come up as a destination for a farewell party for a few of Scott's colleagues.

As pictured, the alley was built by President Truman in 1955 and was remodeled in the 80s, but it was still so cool to be bowling in the same place as former leaders of our country. Henry in particular was particularly stoked, as the boy loves to bowl, and a fun fact for Josephine's life-it was her first time bowling and for her first roll down the lane (albeit with an assist from the bumpers and framed metal "helper"), she rolled a strike. Pretty sweet.

It is not lost on me that we are getting to experience the highlights reel of DC moments during our time here!
As we were leaving, we went back to one of the entrances to the West Wing and took a proper family photo of four, since our last visit, just two weeks before Jo would make her arrival.
The MLB All Star Game is being held at Nationals Field in DC this week, and there are events and fanfare leading up to the series. While we don't have plans to make it to a game, we went down today for the fanfest and took in the sights, threw some pitches, and soaked up the baseball fever, particularly from our boys in blue.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Oh My, It's July

We had the most beautiful weekend here-low 80s, a cool breeze, and nary a drop of humidity in the air. It was heaven! It's the kind of weather that when it happens anywhere, it teases you into thinking it would be a great place to live for a long time. (But I now know you east coast/mid Atlantic weather-you aren't tricking me!)

Last week we took our dear friend and neighbor to visit the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, where we went this time last year, and while it was early in the season for their lotuses and lilies to be in full bloom, it made for a great day outdoors.

I also took Henry to his first live theater experience, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," in Bethesda, MD, (a great production!) and he really enjoyed the entire theater experience-from the live action to the sound effects, lighting, music...and of course snacks. We've also had plenty of water time and a pool playdate with dear friends.

 For the Fourth, we opted to attend the party at the White House again, which was fun, although not nearly as magical as last year. Kids had a great time though and will still be cool to have spent two Independence Days on the south lawn.


As I previously mentioned, this past weekend was spectacular. I took the kids to Seven Oaks Lavender Farm, which is an hour's drive from DC into the heart of Virginia. We picked lavender, Henry had a ball chasing and catching butterflies, we dined on lemon lavender cupcakes, the kids played in a darling playhouse and sandbox, and we watched bunnies prancing around in their pen.

For the nearly two years we've lived here, I continued to be humbled by living in this metropolis but having such close access to country life. It's certainly been great to experience so many options of culture, recreation, and beautiful sights.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Summer in the City

Summer may not officially start until Thursday, but it's definitely in full swing around these parts. You can find us most days at a splash pad or spray fountains, fully clothed, or suited up. Henry in particular has loved Canal Park, which has weekly kid programming (ie goofy magicians and performing artists) so that's been a nice change from the storytime circuit.

We've also been rejoicing for a splash pad that's just opened a couple blocks from our house...and might be daily visitors.

Since this is our second summer, we've ventured back to an old favorite, The Wizard of Oz Park, or more formally, Watkins Regional Park. Henry and I just finished reading the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, so it was fun to see how it compared to the book and of course movie. Also, what a difference a year makes!
My Dad sent Henry and Jo a couple kites and so last week we headed down to the Mall to give one of them it's maiden flight, but first, also took our inaugural spin on the Mall's carousel. (Might I add that is the fastest carousel I've ever been on. I get motion sick pretty easily but it was a first for it to be on a merry go-round.)
Henry was positively delighted to finally get the kite up in the air. Next up, R2D2 will get his orbit.
T-Ball has officially ended, and really, it was such a great experience for Henry. The coach was fantastic, as were the other players and their parents. We ended the season with a parents vs. kids game and BBQ that was such fun.
For Father's Day weekend we saluted our favorite fella with a trip to Quiet Waters Park in Anapolis, MD, and a boating adventure. I felt a little sorry he had to do all of the labor (this coast needs Duffy boats! I should open a business and sell it as a franchise because there is money to be made beyond canoes, kayaks, and row boats.) Henry loved every minute of it, particularly "helping" with his own oar. Josephine was not happy with the life jacket (who likes them?) but we spent a good hour on the water with a packed picnic lunch and everyone had a nap later, a Father's Day win!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Summer Begins

During these recent weeks, we've ventured out to new and old spray parks, enjoyed an evening of libations and jazz in the Sculpture Garden, and had a few bus adventures around the city.

Memorial Day was cool and drizzly here, but we still opted to get outside and checked out the Franciscan Monastery, a beautiful church with even more beautiful gardens.

Later that day, despite the May gray, we opted to officially welcome summer by barbecuing, tossing water balloons and lighting some sparklers. Someone was particularly excited about the pyrotechnics.
Another special someone celebrated a birthday this weekend, and was treated to both a piano and recorder serenade. We escaped for an amazing dinner together, barbecued with neighbors who also share a birthday, and I managed to surprise him earlier last week with a beer garden happy hour with his coworkers. Was a really great celebratory weekend!

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Royally Good Week

Like many Americans, I caught the royal fever this week (who am I kidding-I've always had it), and as such, found a fun pop up bar and had a jolly good time, despite standing in line for 40 minutes to get in. I didn't do that in college, so I figure, in some ways it was a rite of passage. We enjoyed drinks such as the Markle Sparkle, American Princess, and Kensington Garden Party. Of course we couldn't leave without paying our respects to the bride and groom and ladies of Windsor.

The kids and I also visited an old favorite that we haven't been to in months-the American History Museum. We are big Sesame Street and Mister Rogers Neighborhood fans in this house, so this mini exhibit was of particular interest, maybe to me even more than the kids. Henry just about died seeing the Batmobile.
Last week was entirely rainy and full of thunderstorms which on one level I love, because thunderstorms are still a novelty to me living here, but it does make it hard to get outside. When the storms finally subsided, we went puddle jumping along the Mall.
This last weekend was a big weekend of firsts-Henry lost his first tooth, played his first game of pin the tail on the donkey (which was hilarious to watch), and went to his first MLB game-the Dodgers at the Nationals. It was such a fun and memorable experience to do that with just him, while Josephine hung back with neighbors. We even ran into one of his t-ball teammates at the gate. He desperately waited to catch a fly ball, yelled in support of the Dodgers, enjoyed popcorn and ice cream, and probably most of all, the Jumbo Tron.


While our weekend was really special, I do feel compelled to say that it was still sober in the aftermath of the Texas school shooting. It's hard for me to fully embrace happy occasions following such tragedy. Enough is enough.