Thursday, August 30, 2012

King's Wharf

After several fun days at sea, we woke up to yet another beautiful sunrise (Joseph is keeping his track record going!), but this time as we were nearing our destination.

Bermuda is actually a collection of over 180 islets and islands and sits all by itself in the Atlantic Ocean, 650 miles east of North Carolina.  Land ho!

Ahead of us was King's Wharf, where we'd dock our floating hotel for a few days.  A tug boat came to guide us into port, and in no time we were ready to explore!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


So about that vacation?  We took a Celebrity cruise from NY to Bermuda!  2 & 1/2 days at sea to get there at a leisurely pace, 3 full days in port, then another day & 1/2 at sea on the way back at full speed.

We had talked up this vacation so much that Joe Joe was seriously excited and wasn't just telling people he was going on a cruise, he would emphasize it was a Celebrity cruise.  And treated like celebrities we were, although Brent and American Express travel services may have had a lot to do with that.  We had a phenomenal suite with a big living room and dining table, a separate bedroom, a full bath with jacuzzi tub, and a private balcony.  Complimentary champagne was chilled for ready for our arrival!  We also had a butler bring us coffee every morning, afternoon tea, and appetizers before dinner.  Sweet!

The ship left out of New York Harbor  (technically Bayonne, NJ) and you could see the Statue of Liberty and the NYC Skyline from the upper deck.

As we waved good bye to the United States and took Joseph out of the country for the 1st time, we passed right under the Verrazano Bridge....

.....and sailed off into the sunset!

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's Elementary

Vacation pics will have to wait for now, as the 1st day back after our trip was far more important to all of us.  Joseph started kindergarten today!

To help him get excited about school we let Joseph pick out his own backpack - robots! - while we gathered the other necessary school supplies.  It was so exciting walking up to the school yard today and running into friends and neighbors along the way.  Luckily no bus for us.

Our school has "Jamboree" in the field before school every day, which is kind of a brief community building exercise.  We had to look through a sea of people to find our class!  Miss Rockwell gave the kids a welcome owl sticker and they were lined up to enter room 108 together as classmates for the first time.

There was a special exception to allow parents to escort the kids to class today and watch their morning greeting.  (Thanks to Jocelyn for these pics, I like them much better than mine.)

We are so fortunate that Joseph is very social and adaptable, so there was no problem leaving him at a new school all day.  No tears from any of us!  Plus Zara was there for moral support!  He even spent some time in the aftercare program to see how it works, and he was all smiles when we arrived and even said he wasn't ready to leave yet.

As far as we can tell Joseph had a good day, but we'll never really know for sure.  We got the same report that we got every day for the past 2 years of preschool.  It was "good," and he "forgot" everything they did.  I may have to plant a working microchip in that robot backpack of his if I'm ever going to get any information out of him!  But the teacher did send out an email tonight saying they all had a fantastic day.  Hurray for the Owls, Miss Rockwell's class, and Janney Elementary!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Passport to Adventure

They make it awfully hard to get a passport for a kid.  Both parents have to be present in person with the child to apply, which is nearly impossible to organize between 2 work schedules and school.  It is by appointment only with very restricted hours and at least a month long lead time.   Which explains why it took us well over 4 years to get around to doing it.  But with a vacation plan that required a passport, it was time to bite the bullet.  We gathered all the necessary documents, cleared our schedules,  handed over our son's original birth certificate to a total stranger, and 6 weeks later, it arrived!

With a pretty decent picture to have for the next 5 years :)

 Oh, the places we'll go!

This may be the last you hear from us for the next week. Wish us "Bon voyage!"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ms. Rockwell

We're just about to head out on vacation, and it turned out that our travel plans completely overlap with all the scheduled kindergarten orientation activities.  Luckily class lists were published a few days ago, and Joseph's new teacher was happy to have us drop by this morning for a quick hello.  We got the first sneak peak at all the preparation going on in room 108.

Ms. Rockwell seems just as wonderful as can be!  She's a runner and crafter like me (and maintains a class blog!), and she tends to the school garden as Brent does ours.  But more importantly she's warm and sweet and smart and welcoming, and Joseph took to her and the classroom right away.  She even let him have first choice for his cubby.

We're sad to miss orientation where we might meet other classmates and their families, but at least we know our good friend Zara will be in the same class. The year is off to a good start for our little owl!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Miss Esther

Hard to believe, but yesterday we said goodbye to our beloved nanny, Esther.  She's been with us almost from the start, for a solid 4 & 1/2 years of caring for the most precious thing in our lives.  It's hard - well, near impossible - to believe than anyone can love your child the way that you love them, but Miss Esther surely did.  She was there through all the bottles and diapers, learning to walk and talk,  toilet training and giving up naps, learning to ride a bike, starting and finishing preschool.....virtually everything that we've experienced as parents along the way, Esther has been a part of as well.  She's fed and dressed Joseph, kissed his boo-boos, cared for him when he was sick, celebrated his birthdays and achievements, all just as lovingly and proudly as we have.  But kids grow up and go off to school all day, so the time has sadly come for Esther to move on.  We have all been incredibly fortunate to have her in our lives and we took great comfort in knowing that our son was safe and happy in her care.  We are also fortunate that she will still be 2 doors down several days a week with Benjamin and Chloe so we can stop by and see her often enough, making the transition so much easier.  Thank you, Miss Esther, from the bottom of our hearts.  We will miss you dearly!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Waterfront Fun

There's not much that beats the combination of a great friend with a great idea.  A few weeks back Mallory suggested we set in stone a date to get our families together and just hang out.  When Sunday rolled around we decided that the Georgetown Waterfront Park would be the perfect spot to meet up.

The fountains right at the base of Wisconsin Ave are always such a crowd pleaser.  After numerous visits there we finally planned well and brought a bathing suit so Joseph could really have fun.

Unfortunately Mallory's husband David got called away on business, but we still had the pleasure of spending time with their beautiful girls, Cella & Jackie.

Aside from running in the fountain, the kids most loved sitting on the giant stone steps with their feet dangling in the Potomac River, watching the boats go by, ducks swim around, and airplanes fly overhead.  A terrific dinner at Tacklebox in Georgetown was a great way to end our day.

Monday, August 13, 2012

National Portrait Gallery

A more recent adventure from Daddy Camp: given Joseph's interest in art, last week we took the Metro downtown (an adventure in and of itself for a 5 year old!) to the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum.  As they say of themselves, "two great museums, one incredible place."

The Portrait Gallery side "tells the story of America through the individuals who have shaped the culture of this country," from presidents through pop culture icons.

The American Art side "tells the stories of America through the visual arts" and showcases works that "are windows on the American experience."  I'm not sure Joe Joe appreciated all that, but there sure were some fun and beautiful pieces to see.

I always love looking at the above installation, "Electronic Superhighway," but one of my very favorites is below.  It's the Preamble to the Constitution, written out on vanity license plates.  And in order to form a more perfect union, it is cleverly done by using one plate from each state (and the District of Columbia) in perfect alphabetical order.

By the way, the building itself is gorgeous!  Classic Greek Revival architecture with a contemporary accent in the wavy glass canopy over the central courtyard.  Perfect place for a portrait!