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.