Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Darn Good Birthday

As of Thursday, January 11, the last three weeks of DC temperatures have been at or below freezing. SO DARN COLD! We've all had the most awful colds, flu, stomach viruses--on repeat no less--and forced indoors for the temperatures. Yet, it was like the all mighty Mother Nature knew we needed some slack and the temps rose into the low 60s on Thursday and nearly 70 yesterday, just in time for my birthday. Temperatures have dropped dramatically back into the 30s today with snow flurries, so I find it quite interesting that both this year and last, January 12 has been a random winter day we've been able to enjoy-and that we did yesterday.

Scott took the day off so we could have an entire family day together. Birthdays are a big deal for me-I realize not everyone feels the same way, and as such, I've taken matters into my own hands and plan my own so that expectations are managed. Really it's a day that I want to take full advantage of-from morning to night-and not be idle.

We started out our day at Pinstripes Bowling in Georgetown. I had taken the kids previously but it was the first time we had bowled as a family and what great fun it was. We had the entire alley to ourselves and the kids enjoyed waffles and the adults, beer.

After bowling we walked down to the Georgetown waterfront which has been on my bucket list for a while. We were treated to a really cool phenomenon-the temperatures rose so suddenly from the previous three weeks that the Potomac was still frozen, but a combination of steam was coming off and fog from above made for an eerie sight. We watched the seagulls skid to landings on the slightly thawing river and simply enjoyed being outside. Rain was scheduled for the entire day, but (again, thanks Mother Nature!) it rained only overnight and the forecast moved the showers to evening. On our drive home, we even got to see Julia Child's DC home.

After our Georgetown jaunt, 3/4 of us headed home for naps. I took advantage of the opportunity for some solo time and jogged to the Capitol during a beautiful break in the clouds. I made some phone calls and even caught my mailman during his delivery to inquire and receive a much anticipated package from my parents (thanks mom and dad!), and to discover it was his birthday too. (We have the WORST mail service out here. Another post for another day, but basically there are a handful of awesome USPS workers out here and if our particular mailman, Adrian, is not delivering mail but supervising at the facility, we may not see certain packages for days...or ever.) So, it was great to be able to wish him a happy day too.

After returning, the kids and I were also treated to a genuine bike messenger flower delivery-super cool points on that one!

That night, we headed back to northwest and took in a performance at the Kennedy Center, as Scott hasn't been yet. The Millenium Stage has free performances every single night of the year with varying entertainment, so you're always guaranteed something cool and interesting. We were treated to a Congolese soul and funk band and all got to dance. We capped off the night with burgers, beer, and grilled cheese nearby and then brownies at home. Combined with thoughtful messages and calls from friends and family, it was probably one of my best birthdays in a few years. Also, Henry's enthusiasm for my "day long party" was pretty contagious :)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Wrapping Up December

Christmas feels like it might as well have been months ago (could have something to do with the fact that I strip everything down on the 26th) but we did quite a bit of merrymaking leading up to the beloved holiday.

Henry was really into the Christmas season this year, from the music, to the decorating, lights, stories-it was really magical to experience the holiday through his four-year-old eyes.

We had our first snow right before Christmas and it was a joyful experience for both kids. Henry made two snowmen, had a snowball fight, and made a snow angel. Snow boxes check, check, and check.

Josephine loved the stuff icey stuff as well :)

"Henry and Dad Snowmen"

Henry was quite happy with Santa's deliveries of his requested toy soldier and bike bell. Josephine, the resident goat, was stoked to have new paper to chew on.
We had a second snow overnight a few days ago which made for more snow play fun despite the 20 degree temperatures (though note, the "feels like" temp is hovering below 10. It's COLD.)

I braved the cold to take Henry to a "noon" year's eve for kids at Yards Park and we were both number in the fingers and toes and ready for the gosh darn balloon drop to take place. We bolted for lunch and enjoyed some Mexican fare and bloody mary's for an unexpected New Year's Eve day date.

And in the blink of an eye another year has gone by! 2017 was a pretty amazing year for our family with so many adventures, new friends, holidays shared, and memories made. We definitely ended our year on a high note. Cheers to 2018!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Hello, December

I have already mentioned how this late fall and winter is an entirely different experience than last year, when I was carrying around a newborn...and that's assuming we left the house for more than a grocery trip. While it's still pretty darn cold (and we have our first snowfall forecasted for tomorrow) I'm not as worried about the kids warmth while outside this year, and as such, much more agreeable to outings that might require a longer walk.

Last year, we attempted to visit the Botanical Gardens' holiday train exhibit, but the lines were cah-razy. So, this year, we had our act together and went on December 1 and were able to take it all in without any crowds. 2017's theme is "Roadside Attractions" and each state has a plant-matter model of a roadside attraction represented (California's? The Santa Monica Pier...a little bummed it wasn't Baker's giant thermometer.) Both kids loved the attractions and especially the trains.

Also on our bucket list this holiday season was ice skating, and what better place to do it than in the Sculpture Garden, surrounded by all the Smithsonian Museums?! I haven't been in YEARS and had a moment of anxiety in how I'd be able to handle it and Henry at the same time. I was pleasantly surprised to see it was like riding a bike, and Henry LOVED it. He kept declaring it awesome and was eager to spot Scott and Jo as we made each (sloooow) lap. He is already talking about going again with his dad.

This morning, we made our way to the Library of Congress for a special story time with Paddington Bear, in the flesh fur, which both kids enjoyed. Might have been the promise of cookies, hot chocolate, and marmalade sandwiches that were available after, too.

And of course, no holiday season is complete without a picture of a crying baby in Santa's lap.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Notes

Well here we are post-Thanksgiving and ready to call it quits on November and welcome December and all of it's festivities!

November has been totally picturesque with plenty of outings to take in the rainbow of fall colors and sear it into my memory.

We visited the Jerome Buddie Nature Center and hiked around the Dora Kelley Nature Park...

We went to a table manners class at Room & Board...

Found another new park playground nearby...

Enjoyed the crisp (and not rainy!) weather with trips outside, although some of us have honed in our indoor climbing abilities too...

Enjoyed a positively lovely Thanksgiving at our neighbor's house, where we were welcomed among family and friends...

Finally made it to Rock Creek Park, and while we missed the Observatory show, will be back another time...

Returned to Hains Point at East Potomac Park to enjoy the playground and watch the flights takeoff and land at DCA...

Ventured to the National Zoo for Zoolights, where Henry went tubing and I FINALLY glimpsed two of the four toes on a rather elusive two-toed sloth...

And ended the month with a visit from one of my favorite people and a pickup game of baseball in the back parking lot with our favorite neighbor!

And we officially have a walker in the house...

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Celebrating Baby America

Well, we officially have a one-year-old in the house!

To celebrate the milestone birthday, girlfriend got to have cupcakes, balloons, and a trip to the local indoor play place. I love a good party theme, and landed on "Fabulous First Ladies" since she was born out here and was days old during THAT election, and I needed to make some sense of it still, even a year later. So, we raise our glasses to raising strong girls and celebrating American women of the future, past, and present (and even a pretty great fictional heroine too)!
Just like her brother, she loves chocolate. A midday bath was definitely required.

The leaves are changing and it's oh so glorious. This time last year I was adjusting to the extreme change in temperature and having a newborn and didn't get out much to enjoy the splendor in those pivotal days when the trees are just showing off. I'm trying to embed it deep in my mental archives so as never to forget the beauty of this time of year out here. And backup, I have these photos and blog, so yay for plan b.
This week in addition to Jo's first birthday, we celebrated another friend's special day with a pizza making party at California Pizza Kitchen (and a former Fullertonian as well, so the destination was on point), and ventured out to the Freer+Sackler Galleries and the National Museum of African Art (both of which had the NICEST docents, staff, and security guards that I've encountered at any of the Smithsonians in the last year. The woman at the information desk even left her post to take us down to this awesome kids learning room that we had to ourselves.) While I love taking the kids, Henry specifically, to these museums, I really can't wait to go back solo to really read everything and take a slower pace to enjoy myself.

This week, the temperatures have dropped into the 40s and we broke out a baby item called a "bundle me", something that would have never crossed my radar in southern California as an essential winter baby item. It's basically a sleeping bag for car seats and strollers, that sits on top the seat and allows for the straps to come through, still securing the child, but keeping them warm while getting around the city. They are cozy, blankets aren't tossed out of the stroller or dragged underneath the tires. Genius.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

This is Halloween

Another year, another Halloween for the books!

Henry proclaimed his idea during the summer and thus, I started my little droid assembly to make his Halloween dreams come true. If you had asked me five years ago if I'd be dressing up as Princess Leia and creating C3PO and R2D2 costumes, I'd have laughed. Today I have had quite the Star Wars education thanks to Henry! (Though Scott will tell you he's certainly tried over the years.)

I'm pretty proud of how they both turned out (thank you Internet for the ideas, because otherwise I'm pretty sure I'd be spray painting foil) and people certainly knew who he was.
Henry had a great time trick-or-treating and like last year, handing out candy to our own visitors, often calling them up to the porch as they walked by so as not to miss out on candy collecting.

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Fall Visits and a brush with the Bushes

We were pretty lucky to welcome both Grandmas for a visit this month! We were able to catch up, celebrate the season with Halloween activities, a pre-birthday celebration for Jo, and just enjoy a mellow DC visit to some of our favorite haunts.

The Halloween season isn't complete without a visit to the pumpkin patch. Bonus points for aerial goat runs!

Across the road from the pumpkin patch is a strategically located winery and farm. Moms of all ages rejoiced!

If anyone reading has been living in a bug-out bunker the past few weeks, allow me to inform you through your spotty WIFI that the DODGERS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES! There are some pretty devoted LA fans here, ahem, staying up into the wee hours of the morning to support our boys in blue. Obviously I hope they win, but it's been so cool to see them advance this far and a truly well played series.
My mom stayed a few days longer than my mother-in-law, and we took her to some of our favorite parks and made a second visit to Great Falls National Park.
While Scott's handshake with Obama may go down as the number one highlight of our time here, I had my own political embrace this week when I went to the DC stop of the Bush sisters book tour for their newly published memoir, "Sisters First." For anyone that watches the Today show, Jenna is exactly as she appears-comedic, witty, and a gal's gal. Barbara is reserved, allows her sister to take the lead with the microphone, but incredibly articulate and doing great humanitarian work. They were engaging, humorous, and pretty relatable considering their unique upbringing. The book presentation included a photo opp at the end and while it was incredibly fast to experience, they were so kind, laughed at the words I put together and then forced out of my mouth-it was exhilarating.

Friday I decided to load the kids up and make the two hour trek to Shenandoah, a beautiful National Park with tons of recreational activities for children and adults. We specifically went for the caverns, because Henry is very interested in earth science and I knew it would be something he'd thoroughly enjoy. The drive out was incredible with the changing leaves and rolling hills and the caverns themselves did not disappoint. It was about a mile of walking underground and with the handful of kids in our group under 10, they all did exceptionally well. The formations were fascinating and we even walked under an inactive fault line. That was about equal parts cool and crazy.

Still riding on a high of my brush with the Bush twins, Henry and I had a dress rehearsal for Halloween at Hilloween, the Capitol Hill neighborhood's pre-show for candy and general kid mayhem. We've got some costume kinks to work out before the big day, but I am very proud of what we've assembled. I enjoyed an evening of wine out with my neighbor and then we spent Saturday afternoon at the National Arboretum on a picture perfect fall day and ran into our neighbor friends there as well.