Friday, June 25, 2010

Father's Day

So what do we do on Father's Day? Well, for the last three years, we've played mini-golf at the course at Hains Point, then we get burgers at the Potomac Grille, right by the putting practice green at the East Potomac Golf Course. It's a historic building with a wide front porch and picnic tables and usually a nice breeze. There are days I hate DC, and days I tolerate DC, and days I love DC, and this little gem of a golf course, historic atmosphere, and general laid-back attitude is a definite love DC thing. This year, we went for the trifecta* and went swimming at the East Potomac Pool before dinner, then golf after. Awesome.

That's Rich and Elizabeth in the pool. There's no kiddie pool, but we were only there an hour (after you factor in Andrew's nap plus weird umbrella removal, we didn't get there til 5).

Andrew loooved the pool and could not wait to get in. Luckily, he fairly happily acquiesced to getting out (and the chance to go through Mama's wallet kept him happy).

Mmm, burgers and beer

Walking toward the golf course, Rich said, it's too bad they don't let you play just a few holes. Yes, I replied, those meanies with the bullwhips who force you to stay and play even though you only have time for a little bit.....
We agreed we'd only play a few holes as it was getting late.
Turns out, even had we wanted, our children simply resist the idea of playing in any sort of organized fashion.

Still clutching ball, even after tripping over curb. Andrew refused to play at all - he just wanted to run around like a mad man, ball in hand. Absolutely refused any help or guidance in actually, you know, putting the ball down and attempting to hit it with the club.
Elizabeth tried, on and off, to play, sorta.

Who needs hazards when you have Andrew?

So has anyone noticed anything about Elizabeth's shoes? She has two sets of flip flops that are kinda similar (same height/thickness, basically), but one is pink and one is blue. She now refuses to wear the matching sets, instead insisting on one pink and one blue. Pick your battles is a mantra I try to live by. Plus, well, what can I say?

And a blast from the past - our trip in 2009:

And 2008? Well, that year will live always as the year of Dora - about halfway through the course, Elizabeth walked up to a water hazard fringed with tall grass, cackled "you'll never find it now" and threw her ball as hard as she could. We were laughing too hard to get pictures, but we did indeed find the ball and play, such as it was, resumed.
There are so many gems in DC - places off the beaten path, where we always have a lot of fun. Every year on this annual outing we say we should come back at another point during the summer, and every year we never have the chance. And there are 3 or 4 other favorite spots that are similar. I hope we make it back this year - want to come with us?

*I had to edit this in. Rich and I have always liked trifectas. When I was rereading this, another trifecta popped into my head. Years before kids, we would eat at Jaleo, then go play games at ESPN Zone, then head to Poly-Esters for late night 80s dance night. Ah, life before kids. We did this a handful of times with friends over the course of a year, and it was always a blast. Poly-Esters is long gone, but we could probably approximate this, with kids, with dinner and games. Or maybe this should just remain a fond memory.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What the-?

Sunday we were getting ready for our annual Father's Day outing - which I will blog about someday, I promise. I looked out the backdoor getting ready to lock the door, when, what's this?
It's not what's here that's the problem, it's what's not here. Isn't there supposed to be an umbrella in our table? Wasn't there an umbrella there an hour ago? Where could it be? Did someone randomly steal our umbrella?

Um, what? Why is our umbrella way up in the neighbor's tree? How the heck did that happen? Did the wind lift it up? 30 feet? Past three electric/phone cables? How did it get shoved, stake in, to the tree?

And most importantly, how the heck do we get it down?

I don't think it's easy to see in the above picture, but turns out, throwing a soccer ball up to try to knock it down only results in soccer ball stuck in lower branches. Also a wooden stake in is there, too. Now what?

Yelling at the umbrella to come down does not work. And surprisingly, 4 year olds can't throw things high enough ot even hit lower branches. And see the hose? It's too high up for a strong water stream to reach and possibly dislodge. Not to worry, 4 year old, 19 month old, and mommy spent most of the time safely on the back porch.

So, Daddy climbed the fence, with a cleaning brush that has an extendable handle. Which dislodged the soccer ball and stake, but still could not reach the umbrella. It could reach some of the branches, though, so with a little bit (a LOT, actually) of shaking the branches, the umbrella dislodged and fell down, luckily missing the wires. Whew!

Our Hero!

So, enclosed back patio - fenced on all sides. No unfettered channels for wind. And yet umbrella was apparently lifted straight up at least 30 feet in the air, then spun around and driven into tree branches. I suppose it could have been worse.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


And, we still put breakfast in her hand walking out the door
Had to include both pics, as one was cuter of E and the other better of A

Today was E’s last day of school for the year. Given the snow situation, 2 extra days were tacked onto the end of the year. However, the powers that be did not add additional clean out/wrap up days for teachers, so the unofficial word on the street was please don’t bother coming to school these last two days. Teachers needed the time to clean out their classrooms, pack up their stuff, debrief, plan for next year, and just generally wrap up the school year.

We took her to school yesterday and she was the only child in her class. After school she told us she spent the day with the “babies” in their classroom – ie, the pre-school 3-year olds (or, kids possible 8 days younger than her, as the school cut off is September 30th!). She had fun, they really just played, which is really mostly all they do anyway.

This has been a long year, with a lot of ups and downs. Though not for Elizabeth – it’s been 10 months of mostly ups, so that’s good. It’s her parents who have fretted over the school, the school system, the discipline problems in her class, the other parents. Despite it all, she’s continued to thrive, loves her teacher, loves the teacher’s aide. She’s learned to write her long first name without any help, and can write her last name if given a few letter prompts. We’ve struggled with (too much) homework, terrible institutional school food, getting to school every day reasonably on time, and a myriad other things that make me dread the next 13 years. We’ve loved parent’s nights at school, school plays and performances, field trips (oops, that should be on the dreaded list), and making new friends. We’ve learned the lingo and the pitfalls and promises of the DC public school system.

And so it was a bittersweet walk to school this morning, just as it was 10 months ago when we first set off for school. But today, just E and I went to drop off cards and gifts for her teacher and classroom aide and then return home, so no uniform.

I couldn’t help wondering what E might remember from this year, and thinking about my own first year of school. I’m kind of known in my family for having a good memory, but my memory is for stories – I remember the stories, the specific events, and I remember them precisely. The rest of it – the general everyday-ness – is really just a blur. Elizabeth of course is a year younger than I was after my first year of school, but what will she remember?

I remember I had a teacher with a hard name to pronounce, Miss L, but I don’t remember anything else about her (she must have only taught a year or two in Pocomoke). I remember the classroom next door was taught by Mrs M, who was a little bit scary because she had a mustache. My friend Ryan was in Mrs M’s class (as was my brother two years later), and I remember being glad I had Miss L as in my memory she was younger and prettier, but I couldn’t tell you a thing else about her. I remember there was a rumor/story that Mrs M’s husband had been murdered, but I have zero idea if that was actually the case. I remember I had a huge crush on a boy I called brucestuffy, all one word. Bruce D grew up to be voted best looking in our class, and I think all the girls had a crush on him at one point or another. I remember my ‘boyfriend’ was Kevin P and we played together in class every day. I remember once I was handing out papers and he grabbed my arm and kissed my hand and everyone say “oooohhhhh!” and I was embarrassed. I don’t remember being friends with any of the girls. I remember once I had to sit in the corner and it was mortifying, but I don’t remember now why. I remember looking at a (mimeographed!) worksheet and recognizing that C-A-T spelled cat. I remember once that my mother and brother walked our dog – a big German shepherd named Sam - to school to pick me up. I remember being on the playground talking to Ryan and Kevin P. I have a vague feeling I halfway remember the classroom itself, but it’s more of a half impression in my mind. I have another vague impression of a cool dark hallway and a water fountain. And…that’s it. That’s what I remember from my first year.

I wonder what Elizabeth will remember from this, her first year of school.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


There are times when the Pocomoke in me really comes out. Mostly when I try to pronounce foreign words, but also when I let a little country slip into my vocabulary.

Until a few years ago, I thought that uh oh was actually spelled ut oh. Yes, I did. Because that is how I pronounce it, and how I hear others pronounce it. Ryan and Rich still tease me mercilessly about it.

Anyway, my mom was asking me about Andrew's words and I told her this past week he's picked up at least a word a day. I said I wanted to blog about it, but I was struggling with how you spell his newest favorite word. Not uh oh, but along those lines - I would spell it "unht uh." My mom paused for a moment then said, wouldn't it be spelled "uh uh?" Ummm. Yes, yes it probably would be spelled uh uh and I am probably the only dope in the world unable to spell uh uh. Becasue it has an n and t sound in it! Jut like ut oh!

Anyway, he started saying uh uh on Monday, and it has not abated. He knows no, and we've gotten really good at communication once he started shaking his head yes, but not every.little.thing. is uh uh. Are you hungry? uh uh Do you want a drink? uh uh Do you need a diaper change? uh uh He'll even nod yes while saying uh uh. Yes, he nods, while signing "drink" and yet saying uh uh uh uh uh.

Can I just say: annoying.

He is still doing great with sign language and has thank you down. So we'll hand him something and say, say thank you and he signs it, no problem. Imagine our surprise when on Wednesday he signed thank you and said thank you!

Tuesday night at prayers we concluded with amen and he echoed right along. Aaaaay-men. Just before we say amen we say and god bless everybody. Last night, before I could then say amen he said it.

Today he said daddy, not dada, but I am still mama. And I kind of like that. He's been saying sister for a couple of weeks - dit da! And he is working on Elizabeth. He's actually quite the chatty little guy. There's a lot of babble, but we are beginning to hear the words forming.

There is one looming issue with Andrew: the hair. It's gotten longer and he is regularly called a girl. It's not that long! I was hoping to wait a bit before cutting it, because once you cut a toddler boy's hair he is suddenly a big boy. But the time is drawing near.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Blogger still hates our videos, wiping out a full week's worth of good posts. I"ll get it figured out.

But a little snippet from today. I have a longer post about Andrew's latest to write - he's right at the cusp of a real language and expression explosion, which is absolutely a delight to watch and participate. Much more on this to come. Today, Andrew and I tagged along on a field trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. We even rode the bus (god help me) with the entire preK (Luckily, it was a charter bus, not a school bus).

Elizabeth has also exploded more and more into pop culture lately - I have another planned post on her musical tastes, which are mostly good except for, wait for it: Justin Bieber. I think I dislike Justin Bieber because that Baby song is so catchy I find myself humming it more frequently than I'd care to acknowledge. (Much like that Shaun Cassidy Da Do Run Run drove a previous generation insane). Anyway, we'll often sing the hook - it's like baby baby baby oohhh....babybaby baby ooohhh......

And Elizabeth often corrects me - I'm not hitting baby as hard as she would like. No, mommy, sing it like me: "BAY-Ba Bay-ba Bay-ba OOHH! And then I sing it my smoother way and she shakes her head...a preview of many conversations to come in the years ahead, I fear. Anyway, we had exactly this exchange for a fairly lengthy time on the bus this morning, with Andrew on my lap, watching us.

Later this evening, Elizabeth and I were sitting on the couch with Andrew playing right by us. I can't remember now what was said, but I think she said something about one of her babies (dolls), and Andrew piped up: "baaayy-beee ooohhhh"

I just looked at him, he smiled his mischievious smile and so I sang the hook, and he repeated it. Twice. Which, well, yay! Hugs and laughter all around. But, also, well, great. Now I have a 4.5 year old AND an 18 month old Justin Bieber fan. No. I'm rejecting that - it's just part of Andrew testing his new found ability to hear, process, and repeat.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


No post as blogger seems to hate our videos....hopefully later today.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We're baa-ackkkkk!

Time to get our acts in gear and regale you with tales of whimsy, fun, and derring-do.


Also back: AwwClutter!