Monday, April 29, 2013

Loosen Up (Part 2)

Oh my gosh, you've never seen a kid more willing and excited to go to the dentist than Joseph.  He is so unbelievably cooperative with every aspect of his check ups.

I was chatting with the hygienists as they were cleaning away, mentioning how crazy excited Joseph was to have a loose tooth.  And then they said he actually has a loose tooth.  What?!?  He makes us check those things every day.  When did this happen?!  Seriously, I almost cried on the spot.  Pathetic, I know.  Joseph, on the other hand, was on cloud 9.  We had to take pictures and call Papa right away.

Luckily he's been obsessing about this for over 2 months now so I had fair warning to make him his tooth fairy pillow.  I had recently started one for his friend Zara, whose birthday is just 2 weeks after Joseph's, but this news made me realize I had better finish it up sooner rather than later.  She's so girly that it just had to be pink and green, and I decided a simple hourglass block would be pretty.

I'd been saving this adorable elephant print for something special, and this project fit the bill.  The green stripe is flap to cover the zipper.

I love simple quilting that follows the seam lines.  And since it's a tooth fairy pillow, it's got to have that initial pocket on the front.  I know, I'm beating a dead horse with these things, but they're so quick to make and I find them utterly adorable.

Very different styes and colors for very different kids.  I'm happy to say Zara loves hers as much as Joseph loves his.  And that's the whole point.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nature Exploration

Even though we don't watch much "Dinosaur Train" around here anymore, it's hard to forget Dr. Scott's recommendation at the end of each and every episode to "Get outside, get into nature and make your own discoveries!"  Heeding his advice, we spent some time last weekend at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium.

Whether you're on foot, bicycle, or scooter, there are a few nice trails to meander along.

Inside there are display cases full of flora and fauna and a few aquariums too.  I just don't like the way that fox was eyeing my son.

One of the main reasons we went was to check out the Planetarium (only one in the National Parks System!) since Joseph still talks about wanting an outer space birthday party this summer.   It's on the small side, but so enjoyable.  Witness the night sky above Rock Creek Park, search for constellations, zoom back and forth to planets, even see the space shuttle up close.  A park ranger led the presentation and kept everyone entertained and involved.  Joseph kept trying to answer all of his questions about the solar system.

Our cherry blossom trees only last about a week or two, but these days there's so much happening in our very own backyard.  I love Spring for a reason!  Our dogwoods, both white and pink, are in full bloom, and after many years of patiently waiting, the Wisteria we've trained over the pergola is finally flowering as well.

Now go get outside yourself!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Family Day

Instead of celebrating Mother's Day and Father's Day separately, Joseph's school has Family Day so everyone feels special - parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.  They planned a field trip to the National Zoo, and anyone and everyone was welcome to come along.  Each kindergartener made a poster at home about their family, and they were all on display in the cafeteria to share the on morning of the field trip.  Joseph was very proud of his and wanted everyone to see his little joke about having a pet alligator.

The kids had great fun riding the Metro with the teachers and a few parent chaperones.  Although I would have loved to witness that controlled chaos in person, it was a better option for me to hitch a ride and meet up with the class at the front entrance.

Zebras.  Zebra skull.  Which was more interesting?

We spent a goodly amount of the morning on the new American trail with a small group including Ronan and Rosie's families and our buddy Nolan too.  They all loved watching the frisky otters play and seeing the sea lion training session, and were especially thrilled watching the sea lions frolic underwater in their reconstructed habitat.

We meandered down through Amazonia, of course, as it's still one of our favorite places in the zoo.

We headed back uphill with the hopes of a behind the scenes look at the panda house, graciously offered by someone I ran into that works there, but unfortunately the timing didn't work out.  Luckily one of our beloved pandas (how are you supposed to tell if it's Tian Tian or Mei Xiang?) was happy to oblige us with a playful display.  Afterwards the class reconvened and off they went to Metro back to school.

Did I mention I traversed the entire zoo, from top to bottom, and back up the hill again, entirely on my scooter?  I did!  I've missed too much of school because of this injury, and nothing was going to stop me.....but I sure was exhausted by the end of the day.

Speaking of families, we were able to include this amazing picture in Joseph's poster from Mindy and Jake's wedding of the entire clan together!

Friday, April 19, 2013


The Katzen Arts Center at nearby American University is home to all the arts programs at AU as well as the American University Museum, which showcases contemporary art.  There's also a wonderful arts education program for children on the weekends called Kids@Katzen, which provided for a fun, hands on playdate last weekend with Joseph's friend Skyler.

The kids got a private showing and talk from artist Lee Haner, whose recent abstract mixed-media works inspired by the Southwest are on display.

Joseph and Skyler then used markers, oil pastels, paints, and various tools to layer and texture their canvases into masterpieces of their own under the guidance of the staff and AU art students.

I just fell in love with AU a little more, and have now added their arts program to the expanding list of things to use to try to convince Joseph that he never needs to leave home to go to college.  I'm guessing at some point the facts that he can live at home, walk to campus, and that Daddy can make him lunch every day are going to lose their appeal.  We'll see.....

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Blossom Buddies

This post about our beloved annual Cherry Blossom Festival is fairly late, which happens to be quite fitting since the predicted peak bloom was delayed this year due to the unseasonably cold weather we suffered through this Spring.

The bonus was that I was then able to share one of my most favorite things about my hometown with my most favorite person in the world (fellow Alton Boys excluded), my bestest friend, Lance.  He brought his 4 kids cross-country from San Francisco last week to spend their Spring break with Uncle Carl and Uncle Brent. 

Immediately after getting my cast off last Tuesday Lance and the kids picked me up at Georgetown University and we headed down to the Tidal Basin to have a picnic, take in the beauty of our cherry blossoms and play around the monuments.  

I made one full loop around the Tidal Basin on my scooter - when the kids weren't taking spins around the FDR memorial on it - but I did get to take a little break when the kids were rewarded with a paddle boat ride.

Lance's reputation precedes him (I mean that it the very best way possible, promise!) and my friends were clamoring to meet him.  He really is the funniest person I've ever met, and anyone who is friends with me on Facebook gets to enjoy his wit on a fairly regular basis.  (Dare I say his Facebook friends feel the same about me?)  My friend Jocelyn was kind enough to host a cookout for us all - a bonus for the kids, who loved her trampoline.  As if we weren't having enough fun, we were hysterical as the neighbors' tree started showering cherry blossom petals all over our dinner every time a breeze picked up.

Speaking of cherry trees, our own little Yoshino behind Joseph's swing set has been filling in over the past few years and peaks at the same time as the trees downtown.

Lance and his kids made the best of their visit here.  They went to museums, rented bikes and toured downtown, visited tons of friends, saw a Nationals game, and celebrated Wyatt's 9th birthday.  

I was, as always, so sad to see them go, but at least now I might be able to keep some jellybeans around without them vanishing into thin air.