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. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

May Days

DC is alive with color as spring has sprung and azaleas are blooming at the Arboretum, and the peonies in people's yards.

We had a delightful picnic at the Arboretum last week and were even able to catch a frog chorus in one of the ponds. A highlight for any four-year-old!

We also made a trip to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to see if their water lillies and lotuses were in bloom yet, but alas, we have to wait a few more weeks. (A flower blooms after so many months of winter and you hit the ground running!)

Henry has started swimming lessons and we've made a few return visits to old favorites as of late-the Post Office Museum and Hirshhorn storytime.

This past weekend, the European Union hosted it's annual open house with it's embassies and I was really excited to take Henry on a day date to this part of DC. I had visions of visiting a few with Henry but it was so crowded, we waited an hour just to get into Ireland, that we headed to a pub after for lunch and enjoyed Dupont Circle on the beautiful day. Was really cool to walk past all of the different countries buildings and see the celebrations happening, if we weren't able to get inside them all.

We heard rumors from passerby that Belgium was serving beer and chocolate-we were not disappointed by the cheese and crackers!

For Mother's Day, I was treated to a wonderful breakfast and dinner, and a few new adventures in between. We went for a drive and stopped at the Albert Einstein Memorial, which was a first, and checked out a local beer garden that's been on our list for a while.

Twas a winner of a weekend!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

T-ball Life

We are officially a t-ball family and one person in particular is setting out his uniform at 9 am on game days.
As anyone who has ever watched t-ball knows, it's basically like wrangling cats. But, his coach is awesome and the kids have made great strides at each practice and game. I also have a newfound respect for the little brothers and sisters of the world that have little to know interest in watching the game, and so time is divided watching the cats on the field be herded, as well as the younger siblings who want to be on the field too.

One of our favorite places, the US Botanic Garden's Children's Garden, has finally reopened for the season and we've made it a mission to go enjoy the planting, digging, watering, and picturesque views before the summer visitors descend upon the city.

We also recently checked out a great little participatory farm, Oxon Hill Farm, where visitors can milk cows, feed chickens, go on tractor rides, and romp around among the beautiful grounds...all only a 15 minutes drive. The kiddos especially loved the chickens and rather friendly roosters.
With the t-ball games at different parks, we've been able to check out new, undiscovered playgrounds and have found some winners (and well, losers...the Parks and Rec Commissioner has never left me) and the kids have enjoyed discovering the new stomping grounds

Monday, April 16, 2018

April's Adventures

It's already mid-April, and we've seen some signs of spring while out exploring new haunts and returning to some old favorites.

Henry had some one-on-one time with both Scott and I last weekend. Saturday I took him to Room and Board for one of their in-store events, celebrating Japanese culture and the Cherry Blossom Festival. We ate candy sushi, enjoyed storytime, bounced and climbed on bunk beds, and had an anime caricature done. After, we enjoyed "monster" pizzas together at &Pizza, which might have been his favorite part, after the bunk bed bouncing.

This last week I headed solo to Fairfax, Virginia, to meet one of my culinary inspirations, Giada DeLaurentis, at her book signing. She was about 40 minutes late and drove by the EPIC line with some embarrassment. In her defense, there was a ton of traffic considering the signing was on a weekday from 5-7pm. I waited two hours in line with lots of friendly people, and finally made it up, blubbered thanks for her recipes that I used for Easter, and it was over in a flash. As most brushes with celebrities are!

During a two-day trend of warm weather days (40s on Monday, 80s on Friday and Saturday!) I took the kids to Claude Moore Farm, a living history farm and US National Park. Henry wasn't particularly thrilled at this idea of a morning out, but quickly changed his mind when told that picking up sticks for the fires was extremely helpful. I was also not sure what to expect out of the re-enactment actors (?) but it turns out, they were very friendly with varying levels of sticking to the script, which I found comical.
One of the people we met was a tobacco farmer and the others, a mother/daughter duo, "Faith" and "Silence" who were tending to their home's 1,000 chores for the spring day. They encourage help and participation from modern-day civilians like hauling wood, finding their stored potatoes, sweeping, and pulling weeds. Henry is at that awesome age where he enjoys these activities with gusto, and had a field day. The mother and daughter did a great job talking to him about their historical lives and questioning his 21st century way of life. I think he's just beginning to understand the historical timeline, so it was pretty funny to watch.
On our way home I made a spontaneous turn for a picnic lunch along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, one of my favorite drives, as it parallels the Potomac on the Virginia side, so you get a great view of DC. The daffodils are in full bloom everywhere, and this particular patch, near Dolly Madison park and a boat harbor, offered a great spot to enjoy the kids' lunch of peanut butter and honey sandwiches.
Henry has started his first season of t-ball and it's probably his most favorite thing next to Star Wars. He is confident and proud of every catch and hit and like most parents would say, it's a total joy to watch him on the field. Their first game is this week and I'm sure hilarity will ensue.
After two wonderful days of spring, winter descended again and I gave it the finger and took Henry out to the Anacostia River Festival while Scott stayed home with a sick Josephine. I think the cold, wet, and windy weather kept quite a few people home that day, so we had most all activities to ourselves. However, Henry's favorite was easily fishing. He comes from a long line of fisherman (hah, see what I did there?) on both sides of the family and I can assure them all, his cast is pretty darn good. We didn't catch anything, but he stood sentinel with frozen fingers and purple lips by the time we were done!

The season is shaping up to be pretty great.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Playing Catch Up

Time flies when you're having fun! In the last month, we've had new adventures, visited some old favorites and had some west coast visitors :)

Thanks to my favorite source for ideas around the city, we made our way to the American Indian Museum which has a really great kid space (ImagiNATIONS) that Henry has talked about weekly ever since. They built igloos, rode in kayaks, and played in traditional houses of indigenous people.

We also met friends at the Children's Science Center in Fairfax, VA, where Henry loved learning about coding for robots (much to Scott's delight), powering solar fans, creating tornados, and making slime. Both kids also got a spontaneous high five from the Easter Bunny while we had some snacks next to his burrow (hollow? lair?) which was surprisingly mellow.

THERE IS MORE SNOW IN THE FORECAST THIS WEEKEND and we also had a pretty big storm at the end of March, so big that it delayed flights for family coming in to visit us and see the sights. WHERE ARE YOU SPRING?!?! (That being said, we continue to geek out over snow despite the fact that I am done with the cold and mostly kids + jackets + hand warmers + gloves etc., etc.) Said kids? They LOVE it.
The snowstorm just created further excitement and anticipation for the arrival of a beloved grandma and aunt who was able to see the sights for the first time, participate in a march, and spend oodles of time bonding with the kiddos.
During spring break, I took the kids to the Beauvoir National Cathedral Elementary School which has the most epic playground I've ever read/seen/been to (and this is from a former Parks and Recreation Commissioner). First, you can't beat the backdrop of the magnificently gothic National Cathedral, with a terraced playground of rope bridges, mazes, giant wooded and laddered climbing structures and a legit zip line. Did I mention the sand boxes, swings, soccer field, playhouses, and three story slide? #PrivateSchool. It's actually really well maintained and so nice of the facility to allow the plebeians to play after school hours and on holidays.

For Easter, we stayed local and enjoyed a massive egg hunt at Lincoln Park where Jo learned real quick how egg hunts work and filled her basket leaving no prisoners. We enjoyed lawn games, an Easter dog (?) and bunny, farm animals, face painting, and a great time with our neighbors roaming the park.
Later that day we dyed Star Wars eggs in anticipation of the rabbit's arrival that night.
Said bunny came, and the children were joyous.
Later that day we hopped the fence to the local elementary school and played on their fabulous playground with other miscreant families and Cookie Monster.
More recently, the cherry blossoms have bloomed! It was really special to see them last year and this year, even more so. There is so much anticipation leading up to the "peak bloom" that events and committees must be in a constant tizzy waiting for it. We went earlier this week, and while it was a little rainy and cold, we still enjoyed their beauty. Today, I sat in traffic along the National Mall and took them in, in all their glory, along with 10,000 visitors under blue skies.
While things may are overall enjoyable here, most of our days have been taken up by lengthy walks in our neighborhood searching for our dear cat, Oliver, who escaped last Thursday. He's been gone a week and we are missing him dearly. Our hope is that someone sees him after seeing the many posters plastering the neighborhood, the social media pleas, and contacts us or the Humane Society, or of course, he finds his way home. I've been touched by the tips and leads that have come in on Facebook, texts, phone calls, and even FaceTime calls. This neighborhood has rallied to find him and I'm so grateful that there's such a large group of eyes on the lookout for our big boy.