Monday, January 30, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday

Not the Super Bowl Sunday.  That's next weekend.  Yesterday we spent a super fun Sunday morning giving bowling a try for the 1st time with our friends in Alexandria.  Yes, bowling!

When Missy told me they were thinking of going bowling, I signed us up right away.  Something new and different.  Why not?!  Turns out the Estabrooks were all naturals at the sport.

I peaked early.  Strike on my 1st frame, then it all went downhill from there.

Joseph had somehow learned about bowling at school and explained that "you throw the ball and knock down all the wood and try to get a STRIKE."  He claimed to be excited about going but then showed no interest once we got there.  It took some coaxing to even get him on the floor - accomplished by telling him the shoes were really slippery, which Matt , Jack & Will demonstrated perfectly.

It finally took bribing him with a soft pretzel to even roll the ball once.  And then his hesitation made sense.

Luckily the place was virtually empty and he got over it pretty quickly once he realized you couldn't really here much from so far away.  Then he was all into it, always wanting it to be his turn next.  I love this next series of action shots.  The expressions are adorable!  Such concentration on Joe Joe's face, and Jack is so excited!

This series is pretty fun too.  Joseph got a spare!

We all had such a good time that we're sure to go again and again.  We never kept score and just took random turns.  It would be fun to see what the little ones actually scored.  Plus who could pass up the chance to rent those teeny tiny toddler bowling shoes again?

As Missy and I couldn't stop singing, "Let's bowl, let's bowl, let's......rock and roll!"  (Anyone else remember that cheesy song from Grease 2?)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pucker Up!

I'm trying to come up with something fun for either a Valentine's Day card or treat for Joseph's preschool class.  It was hard to pass up this chocolate lollipop mold when I came across it at the craft store the other day.  I don't think I quite got the lighting, angle or expression I was going for in Round 1, but Joseph sure thought it was goofy.  Plus he got to eat the lollipop after as a reward for being a good sport.

Monday, January 23, 2012


On a recent playdate we met up with Joseph's friends Julia & Sara back at what has affectionately become known to all of us as "Tooth Park," the place where he fell and bashed his tooth back in 2010 while on another playdate with them. That event was truly an accident, but that being said gross motor skills and coordination are not necessarily my big guy's strong suits.  Then when I say things like that he goes and surprises me by doing something I never thought he could or would do, like when he scaled the rock wall over the summer.

Turns out Joe Joe and Sara aren't among the bravest when it comes to testing their abilities, but on this particular occasion Robyn and I each encouraged our respective kid to work through this loop on the playground, and after they did it once it was all they wanted to do.  I was particularly shocked because until this exact moment in time Joseph had adamantly refused to ever go down an enclosed "tube" slide alone.  So exciting to watch the kids getting braver and stronger right before my very eyes!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snow Angel

Hurray for more snow!  Just enough fell overnight for us to be able to wake up to a winter wonderland this morning.  Joseph gets so excited about playing in the snow.  He even wants to shovel it!

I'd prefer that to him throwing it.  At me.  Smacked me right in the head and got the camera too.  There's a little snow devil in my angel boy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Half!

Stayed up a little late baking last night.  Just another cake?

Not quite.  Something's missing.

Like, the other half?
Quite intentionally, as today marks the halfway point until Joe Joe's next birthday.

Joseph loves birthdays.  Joseph loves parties.  Joseph loves cakes.  So when he recently asked "Is my birthday the next day?" (his adorably quirky little way of saying "tomorrow") we thought celebrating his half birthday would be a fun surprise.  With 4 and a half candles in his half birthday cake, of course.

I think I'd love for this to be a new tradition!

Now don't worry people, I didn't throw out half of a perfectly good cake.  I just made a regular layer cake, cut it in half, and stacked it up on top so it's now a double layer cake.  (Not that it would have been a sacrifice to throw 1/2 of it away.  My plans were only half-baked and I was forced to use a boxed carrot cake mix at the last minute, which is not even remotely good.  Even when I tried to jazz it up with homemade cream cheese frosting with coconut in the filling.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

First Snow

We finally had a little snow last week, a total but welcome surprise in the middle of the day and into the early evening.  Not much to speak of - it barely covered the ground and had melted away by morning, but imagine the joy of winter's first snow to a 4 year old little boy!  He was at the door waiting for me to get home from work and yelled to me as I was coming up the front walkway "DADDY CAN I PLEASE PLAY IN THE SNOW?!?!?!"  Surprised to hear that the nannies had all kept the kids inside all afternoon, I dropped my bag and said, "ABSOLUTELY!" 

He ran that lap around the front yard about a hundred more times before I finally had to steer him inside and get dinner started.  It was fun while it lasted!  Hoping for more snow soon!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Abbondanza is an Italian word meaning abundance or "plenty."  (It also happens to be the slogan of some frozen pizza company from my childhood which I can hear in my head today the same as if I had just heard it yesterday.  They must have placed those commercials a lot.)  When Mom visits, abbondanza is always the case.  Although I am a pretty darn good cook if I do say so myself, she still brings enough food to feed an army.  This time she also brought giant artichokes perfect for stuffing, one of my favorite things my mom makes.

We were also treated to a tray of baked ziti and a big pot of "gravy" (spaghetti sauce with meatballs).   It is simply The. Best. Meal. Ever.  I try and try and try to make it myself, and it's pretty good, but it's never quite there.  Maybe I just need another 30 years of experience making it weekly.

Speaking of abundance, there was plenty of time well spent with Grandpa as well.  Two big boys watching the Giants on TV, playing Angry Birds, reading books and playing games.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Grammy & Grandpa came down from New Jersey last weekend for a belated Christmas visit.  Instead of just hanging around the house playing with the tons of gifts they brought (for us all!) we checked off something that's been on our DC to-do list forever - a visit to the Udvar-Hazy Center outpost of the Smithsonian's Air & Space Museum.

Udvar-Hazy houses thousands of aviation and space artifacts in several giant hangars.  The Boeing Aviation Hangar showcases various aircraft from the ground as well suspended from the high arched ceiling.  Elevated walkways almost four stories up provide "nose-to-nose" views of aircraft in suspended flight.

For me it was very cool seeing my dad, who is a U.S. Air Force veteran from the Korean War, interested in and excited about the exhibits just as much as Joseph and I were.

It's also beyond cool heading toward the McDonnell Space Hangar and seeing the larger than life Space Shuttle Enterprise as well as tons of other famous spacecraft, rockets and satellites.

Probably everyone's favorite part was heading up to the top of Engen Tower, an observation deck much like an air traffic control center with a 360 degree view of Dulles airport and the Blue Ridge mountains. Joseph was thrilled watching planes land and take off from the airport.  It was truly spectacular!

Maybe next time we'll even give the flight simulators a try, or perhaps we'll check out their "Air & Scare" event next Halloween.  Would you believe we've never even been to the Air & Space Museum on the National Mall with Joseph?!  It's got to be a let down after this, but yet it's still on the DC to-do list.  All in good time!