Our Trip to DC

July 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Oh how time flies. Two years ago, Liam and Jeanie played together like peas and carrots.

Now look how they’ve grown.

We arrived on Tuesday and stayed with my friend Sarah until Saturday. Liam behaved wonderfully on the flight. I wish I could say the same for the rest of the trip. It had its ups and downs. We had a great time at Gravelly Point Park watching airplanes land with some old friends and new siblings, and another great day at my friend Stacy’s house with her three boys. It took Liam awhile to warm up to everyone and start playing, but not as long as it used to. He spent about 15 minutes watching the kids play on the “roller coaster” before, with some encouragement, he tried it himself.

We took Jeanie and Liam on the Metro, out to lunch at my favorite burger spot Matchbox, and to the Smithsonian. I had such fond memories of my outings with Liam when he was little, but I failed to consider how taking a stroller would make everything a nuisance. I used to carry Liam around on my back everywhere, but now he’s in this awkward transition – too big to be carried and to small to walk very far on his own. I was amazed when Sarah suggested leaving her stroller at home. Save for a tiny bit of whining right before we made it back on the Metro home, Jean was happy to walk the whole way. We discovered a new animal exhibit at the Natural History Museum, and while she ran and pointed and squealed with delight at all of the taxidermy, Liam moped and fussed and demanded I keep him moving. Not. Fun. We had planned to hit Air & Space, but halfway across the Mall I called a time out. Liam was clearly not in the mood, and holy cow were my legs itchy! We had gone to the park the evening before and I’d been ravaged by mosquitoes. I thought surely the bites would disappear the next day, but some strange combo of my body chemistry, the heat, and maybe stress of the day, and each bite had swollen into massive, ugly, agitated hives. I was sad to disappoint Sarah and Jean but cutting our outing short, and I was frankly embarrassed by Liam’s behavior.

That wouldn’t be the last time.

For the most part the kids played great. They swam in the pool. (And, yes, Jeanie is a good three inches taller than Liam, and 8 pounds heavier, even though she’s 6 months younger.)

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They played at the park.

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And they played at the house.

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Liam was particularly fond of Jeanie’s Barbie dollhouse. Mostly because it had an elevator. They had meals together and watched movies and for the most part got along. But there were also times when they didn’t get along. And I realized some things about Liam. How he’s not great at sharing. How aggressive he could be, and how he wouldn’t stop horse play after she asked him to. How he whined about how much he “hated” to do everything. How he bossed her around and wasn’t very polite. At one point I walked in to the room where they were both playing and Liam started screaming at me to get out, even getting up and pushing me out the door and hitting me.

Wow. My kid is a brat. How did this happen?!

Sarah is a great friend, and I’m so thankful this happened while I was with her, because not only does she have experience from working at a day care, but she’s one of the most honest people I know. We had an insightful talk about parenting and she had a lot of great advice. She even gave me a Supernanny book that helped her with some issues she’d had with Jean. And I feel empowered now to nip these behaviors in the bud before Liam fulfills that only child stereotype.

We’ve only been home a day and a half, and we’ve already made some progress. He knows we mean business about time out. He’s dressing himself and opening the fridge all by himself. And this is the second night he’s slept with his lamp off and his new, brighter night light. We still need to work on the whining, and I’m hoping he’ll work more on sharing when he starts school in September. I’m giving him some simple chores and encouraging him to do more things for himself. And once we’ve mastered that, I plan to tackle the picky eating. Which I’m Not Looking Forward To. This child rearing is a tricky business, and I was deluded to think it was getting easier as he got older. Sigh.

Let’s end on a high note, more pictures!

Our Illinois Visitors

April 22, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We had a full house this week as nephews Brady and Devin arrived with their parents (James’ older brother Chris and his wife Ann) last Sunday. We hit the ground running Monday morning with a ride on the Metro to the Smithsonians. Liam could hardly wait to show Brady and Devin his beloved subway. The boys each had their own digital cameras, so upon arriving at the Air and Space Museum they all started clicking away. Unfortunately Liam didn’t have much patience for our museum outings, which while fun for the adults and older children, proved to be very hot and crowded due to Spring Break. Lunch at the American Indian Museum was a welcome break in the crowd, and Liam did seem to enjoy seeing the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum. But I think we were all ready to get out of the crowd and back on the train before rush hour. After dinner (and Liam’s bedtime), James stayed home while I took the rest of the family out to see the monuments. Lincoln Memorial was still packed, but it was quite a sight to see all lit up. We walked and walked and walked down to the Washington Monument, then eventually made our way to the White House. And with aching feet (but nonetheless impressed with the sights) we made our way gratefully back to my house.

Tuesday morning James took the family out to our favorite museum, the International Spy Museum. I wisely elected to stay back with Liam, and we leisurely made our way to the Portrait Gallery for snacks and running around in the atrium until lunch. I think Brady and Devin had almost as much fun in the gift shop as they did in the museum, and they couldn’t wait to show me the gadgets they’d bought (Brady, a pair of binoculars with a light on top, and Devin, an invisible ink pen). We feasted on pizza and burgers at Matchbox, then headed home to make our famous seafood Gumbo for that night’s dinner.

Wednesday we headed to the Air and Space Museum at Dulles to show off the really, really big stuff they can’t fit at the Mall. Liam’s been a couple of times before, but I’m sure he didn’t remember, so he was just as impressed with all the airplanes and helicopters. The kids had a great time running around the catwalks, taking photos, and riding on a 3-D airplane ride. They also had a great time at the gift shop – on a lark I bought some freeze-dried ice cream to see if Liam would eat it. (He did. And asked for more.)

Wednesday night Chris and Ann took pity on poor James and I never having a night out and offered to babysit Liam while we went to dinner and movie. Liam, unsurprisingly, wasn’t happy with us leaving, but shortly after he had a great time getting chased around the house, taking a walk on the trail by our house, pigging out on lasagna, and finally hitting the hay right before we walked in the door. James and I had a nice time out seeing The Conspirator and finally redeeming our gift certificate to Red Lobster (yum!), but I think we had an even better time hearing all about the night Chris and Ann had with Liam. In fact, we had a great couple of nights staying up late and chatting with just us adults, something James and I rarely get a chance to do. It’s too bad we all live so far away from each other, but with the possibility of us moving to Orlando, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing them again soon. (Certainly if Brady and Devin have anything to say about it!)

We got lots of great photos, which you can view here. I also got a couple of cute videos:

Gravelly Point Park

April 11, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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In the almost 18 months since I’ve started this stay-at-home-mom gig, I’ve dragged Liam to play dates in all sorts of places, which often times he seems to merely tolerate. But today, oh, today. Liam was in H-E-A-V-E-N. Check it out:

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Cera, Jeanie, Liam and I ventured to Gravelly Point Park, just spitting distance from Reagan National Airport, to watch all sorts of planes land. We saw some of these big commercial jets, smaller planes seating maybe a dozen or so, and even a plane with two propellers! The kids were a little scared at first, but as noon arrived and the planes were landing almost every minute, they grew accustomed to them. Soon enough, in between bites of veggie sticks, Liam would nonchalantly say, “Bye bye airplane,” as it passed us by. And as if this wasn’t enough, we also had a grand view of the boats floating along the Potomac (several of those Duck Tours passed us by), and in the distance we could see both freight trains and the metro crossing the bridge. Planes, trains, boats, oh my! If Liam could speak better, he’d say, “Best play date ever, mom!”

Finding the park was a little tricky (thank god for GPS), but it was so worth it. Needless to say we’ll be heading back again soon. I’m kicking myself for not bringing the video camera. For now, this video I found on YouTube will give you a better sense of it.

Sweet.

Flowers and Farm’s Tan

April 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This morning Cera and I loaded up our strollers and headed down to the Mall to take in those famous Cherry Blossoms. They were quite lovely, though just a little past their peak. We walked and walked and walked and walked, had a picnic lunch right near the Jefferson Memorial, made our way completely around the Tidal Basin, took some photos in a little enclave we’d never seen before, and returned home wind-blown and sunburned in the late afternoon. Jeanie passed out in her stroller, but Liam didn’t sleep a wink. I think he was too excited about getting back on the train. Always the train with that kid!

Anyway, I got some great photos while we were out. Enjoy!

Pretty Flowers!

April 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This morning we had a meetup in this geeeeoooorgeous neighborhood in Bethesda with rows of cherry blossoms in full bloom up and down the streets. Sadly I left my nice camera at home, so I shot these photos on my iPhone. Not too shabby, though. I’m hoping to go back later this week to get some better shots. Liam was in rare form, having meltdown after meltdown at the playground in the park. At one point he was lying at the top of a one of those big jungle gyms, crying and kicking his feet, and then he just stopped, pointed, and said, “Flowers!” I’m kind of glad I didn’t end up bringing the nice camera – would have been too much to carry a heavy SLR plus screaming toddler. I think next time I’ll skip the overcrowded playground (which I’m positive was what set him off) and I’ll just take a hike with him in the Boba.

Afterward we headed back to my house for lunch with Cera and Jeanie, and you could just see Liam visibly relax. The kids ran around the house, then in the backyard, and then in the front until they both got tuckered out. Naps all around, hoorah!

In a few weeks Cera and I have agreed to trade off some babysitting every other week, and I’m thinking I may go back to Donna’s weekday yoga class. They’ve changed the name of it, but it looks like the same sort of mixed level, challenging class. And I love anything Donna teaches, so I’m sure it’ll be great. I’m also still taking Pilates every weekend, and the calorie-counting iPhone app is still working for me (8.2 pounds lost to date!), so with any luck I’ll finally fit into some clothes I’ve been wanting to wear this summer.

Now that the weather is finally warming up and the flowers are finally blooming, I’m inspired to get my camera out and capture some pretty pink and white blooms. James has an interview with the Orlando office on Wednesday, which has me wondering if this might be our last cherry blossom season. James tells me he “knows a guy” who has put in a good word for him, so it’s looking like his chances at getting this job are good. Certainly better than his chances are for these European positions, which he hasn’t heard anything about since he made the list over a month ago. So we’ll see what happens. It pains me to leave my DC friends behind, but with our landlord asking us to sign another year lease on a house whose rent is abhorrently high, no hope for settling down here in a house we can afford in a good school district without a miserable commute, and the money from my freelance work running out by the end of May, it’s hard not to be hopeful that we can move soon. And Orlando actually has me pretty excited. Aside from Disney, there are a ton of great kid-friendly activities, the beach is only an hour away, and home prices are half of what they are here. James spent a few years there as a kid, and my in-laws say they loved living there. So here’s hoping.

Evie Airplane!

March 30, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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“Evie airplane, soon!” is what Liam’s been saying for the last couple of weeks. Evie and Jill finally arrived last Thursday for their much-anticipated trip to DC. I was sorely disappointed in the weather – mid 40s and low 50s for their entire trip – but we made do with a lot of indoor activities.

Between Jill’s anemia and Liam’s stomach virus (both of them took afternoon naps), I ended up spending a lot of time with Evie on my own. Which was wonderful, actually. It’s amazing the stark contrast between her behavior at 3 1/2 and Liam’s at age 2. I took her to the park and had a great time climbing around with her. She went down every slide with gusto, and was able to climb on pretty much everything by herself. We pretended to be pirates on the pirate ship. I helped her across the monkey bars. When Liam was too sick to attend the Itsy Bitsy Yoga class, Jill volunteered to stay home with him while I took Evie to the class. And we had so much fun! She tried just about every pose, loved pretending to be a cat and cow and cobra, laid down on the blanket and put her feet on the wall with me, and eagerly took her turn ringing the bell. She rushed right into the closet with the other kids to get our blanket, declaring she wanted a dark blue one, which is of course her favorite color right now. I even got her to say, “Nameste,” which she said just like Liam does. (Mama-stay) I’m hoping against all hope that this means that Liam will appreciate this class or one like it when he’s Evie’s age. I can already tell I’m going to like age three a lot better.

Not to say I don’t love my boy. I really, really do. But I think something happens when kids turn two. It happened with Evie, too. I felt so close to her when I used to babysit her before she turned one. Then we moved away, and when I saw her again at age two, it was like we’d never met. She threw fits at the drop of a hat. I had no idea how to handle her. But this time around I feel like we really bonded again. She’s such a grown up little girl now, so self-reliant and smart.

DSC_0006And she had a great time playing with Liam. They had a couple of rough patches, having to share Liam’s Pooh chair and some of his toys. But she understood “taking turns” and soon enough Liam did, too. She’s learning her letters now, and on their first night with us, she started quizzing Liam. He would answer correctly, then she’d look to Jill, “Is that right?” if she didn’t know it. She loved helping out, taking Liam’s diaper to the trash or helping him up the stairs. I think she’s going to be mama’s little helper when her little brother or sister arrives in June. She also used the potty like a pro, which made up for her stubborn eating habits. She ate almost our entire stash of yogurt (which was quite a stash, since I’d bought 20 for $10 before they got there) coupled with Eggo waffles pretty much every day. And since her bedtime is considerably later than Liam’s (especially if she’s had a nap), we got to watch cartoons every night with her. But she also let us watch Enchanted and Rent with hardly any complaint, as long as we promised she could watch Up or Wall-E after it was over. All Liam ever wants to watch is the Baby Show, so I welcomed the change in the lineup. But to be fair we let them take turns choosing the programming, which seemed to work out well for our little TV junkies.

DSCN0321Lest you think we spent their entire trip vegging at our house, we did plan an outing for each day of their trip. Faced with a sold out planetarium show Friday morning, we headed to the Museum of the American Indian for some tasty (and expensive!) native grub. We enjoyed the food, but the kids just enjoyed the train ride there and back. Saturday we went to a special Lego exhibit at the National Building Museum (which was a little over their heads, but they seemed to enjoy playing with the legos), lunch at Matchbox, and then an afternoon at the DC Aquarium. Each of them squeezed in a nap in the stroller while I carried the other one in the Boba around to see the fish, so it worked out perfectly.  

DSCN0501Illness struck Sunday morning, and poor Liam and all his toys were covered in puke when I got him up that morning. Learning my lesson from last time this happened, I kept him on water and gatorade all morning, then switched to cereal and oyster crackers for lunch. He managed to hold that down and seemed a lot better, so we went over to the College Park Aviation Museum in the afternoon, and despite the cold weather they had a blast riding the little wooden planes in the courtyard. By dinner time Liam was running in circles like his usual self. But, of course, for a toddler that means nothing. Breakfast Monday morning came up all over the couch and carpet, so we decided I’d take Evie to baby yoga while Jill stayed home with Liam. Thankfully he didn’t lose anymore of his breakfast. They just watched the Baby Show until he figured out I was gone, then looked for me for a little bit before he fell asleep on the floor. He must have really been beat because he actually let Jill move him to the crib to sleep. No surprise, really, since he’d gotten up at 6:15 that morning. Ugh. At least Evie and I had a good time at yoga.

DSCN0573With Liam in better shape Tuesday morning, we headed to the Playseum in Bethesda for a couple of hours. Evie had a great time getting her fingernails painted, making cupcakes, petting animals, putting on a puppet show, and shopping in the grocery store. Liam enjoyed some of it, but like the last time we went, he wasn’t too happy with the crowds. There was much tantrum-throwing until I gave him a snack, and then the peace was tenuous at best. I don’t think we’ll be going back there again until Liam’s older. But Evie and Jill loved it! I cried Uncle around noon, so we headed to Ikea for Swedish Meatballs and some shopping. Liam happily went down the slides in the kids section (hooray!), but his mood quickly deteriorated once actual shopping commenced.

We got some great photos, which you can view here. I also shot a couple of cute videos, one of them on the train, and one of Liam at the Playseum. We had such a great time, and I can’t wait to see them again! I’m sure I’ll make it out to Kansas City once my new little niece or nephew is born, perhaps in the early fall. And maybe, just maybe, Liam will have outgrown this, erm, lovely stage he’s in right now. Sigh.

Riding in the front car of the Metro and loooooving it!
Buying out the produce at the Playseum grocery store.

The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

November 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Now that my new computer is up and running (more on that later) I can finally report on our time at the Rally. I can sum it up in one word: Madness! My friends Josh and Ann met at my house that morning to ride the train down. Josh mentioned there were some festivities going on at 10, but I couldn’t ditch Liam with James for too much of the day, so we left the house around 11. We met with a huge line at the Metro ticket machine, although not as huge as the one at the Silver Spring station, apparently. I called my friend Julie, who was planning to meet us on the platform at Silver Spring. It was madness there, too. Once we had our tickets and were down on the platform, the train pulled in and was already almost full. Thankfully we had walked down to the front car, so we managed to squeeze in. A few more got on at Silver Spring (including Julie, though in a different car somewhere – thank god for texting!), and then it was jam packed for the next few stations, with barely room to take on any more people. At Takoma we saw this guy out the window holding a bright green sign. He held it up for us to read, front and back, and we cheered for its snarkiness. (I wish I could remember what it said now!) Then he shrugged his shoulders, pointed at himself, and then pointed at us, like, “Can I get on now?” We all chuckled and the door closed. Poor dude.

We jumped off the train at the first walkable stop, Union Station, and found Julie with her daughter Sydney in tow. Then we walked. And walked, and walked, and walked. The crowd didn’t ever seem to end! I had some other friends I had planned to meet down at the rally, but we quickly realized that was going to be impossible. We pushed our way further and further down the north side of the mall, taking photos of signs along the way, and admiring some of the more creative Halloween costumes. We saw people in trees. We saw people dangling from traffic lights. We even saw people sitting on top of rows of port-a-potties. All to get a better view of the stage way in the distance.

Finally the crowd seemed to thin out a little, so we jogged to the left and headed toward the middle of the Mall. We milled about for a bit, unsure of what was going on, and people shouted, “Louder!” I think the Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters might have been doing their experiments, but we couldn’t see or hear a thing where we were. Julie bounced Sydney around a bit – she was being so good! I had thought about taking Liam, as well, but I’m so glad I didn’t. He would have hated the crowds, and being on my back it would have been difficult to appease him.

Julie decided it would be best to beat the crowds home and get Syd down for her nap, so she bid us adieu and we pushed further into the crowd. Finally, we heard Jon Stewart address the crowd! Everyone squeezed in around us, and there was no more moving about. We were stuck behind a van, but we could still hear the show. We heard Cat Stevens and Ozzie Osbourne dueling. We heard Father Guido Sarducci doing something up there, though I couldn’t really tell what. Josh, being the tallest, could see the jumbo-screen a bit, though not terribly well. At one point someone’s sign was blocking the view, and a whole chorus erupted around us, “Put the yellow sign down!” When that didn’t work, they added, “Please!” It turned into a chant and a fist pump. This was really beginning to feel like a rally now! Finally, after about 10 repetitions, the sign came down. Now that’s what I call progress!

Somewhere ahead of us lay the first aid tent, and we were right in the path of people squeezing their way through to it. We managed to angle our way back toward the van, which offered a little bit of breathing room, and we could hear better. But by then they were talking about celebrities I didn’t know, and I hadn’t really been able to follow what was going on. I could hear Colbert shout something about NPR not sending people to the rally, and that he was awarding a 7-year-old girl for not being afraid to come. That was when we decided to bail. It was fun to see the signs and be part of the crowd, but we knew we’d enjoy this much more on TV. We briefly entertained the idea of stopping in Matchbox for a burger, but it was an hour and 15-minute wait, so we headed home instead. Check out the rest of my photos here.

Later I watched the Rally on my DVR, fast-forwarding through a lot of it. There were some funny parts. And some of the musical guests weren’t bad. But it didn’t get very interesting for me until the very end, when Jon Stewart made his more sincere and focused speech. He summed up what he felt this Rally had been held to accomplish – to give a voice to those who are tired of the media hype, the hate, the political polarization, and the melodrama that has become the norm these days. It was a great speech, and I wish I’d been in a better spot in the crowd to have stayed to see it. Irrespective, I’m glad I took the time and energy, fought the crowds, and stood with the masses to support this cause. In the name of sanity. And hilarity. Because if you’re not laughing, then you’re going a little bit crazy.

Our First (And Probably Last) Bike Ride at the Mall

October 26, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Ambitious, I know. Taking Liam WITH the bike ON the train TO the Mall. But it’s something I’ve been wanting to do since we got the child seat, and it seemed doable. We were supposed to go on Sunday, but I came down with a cold. Feeling much better today, I figured I’d give it a try. I looked up the rules of taking a bike on the metro, and it looked like as long as I avoided rush hour and boarded the first or last car, I was good to go. So we arrived just in time for the 10:02 train headed to DC. Liam sat comfortably in his bike seat for the ride, and I wedged ourselves in the back of the car and stayed relatively clear of passengers. He got lots of smiles and waves, like always. We changed trains at Metro Center lickity split, even catching an earlier connection that I’d expected. We easily found the elevator at the Smithsonian stop. A lady in the elevator commented that I’d gone to a lot of trouble. But, really, it was nothing!

From the Smithsonian stop Liam and I headed toward the tidal basin. I enjoyed the view along the waterfront, and Liam enjoyed all of the cranes and bulldozers parked currently parked in front of the Jefferson Memorial. The trail wasn’t very crowded (probably because of the construction), so we had a nice, leisurely ride. I got us a little lost around the Lincoln Memorial, but a helpful construction worker set us on the right path. We biked in front of the memorial, which had a surprisingly sparse crowd. But Liam seemed to enjoy watching the planes taking off and landing from nearby National Airport. Whatever makes him happy!

Next stop, the carousel at the Mall, where we disembarked and had a snack. We sat on a bench and watched the horses spin. All the while Liam pointed and neighed. There was actually much neighing on this ride – first at the golden horses at Arlington Bridge, then at the carousel, and then at Grant’s Memorial.

For lunch we parked the bike at the Museum of the American Indian (they even had designated bike racks!), and dined on pulled bison sandwiches and fries. I got us a sweet potato tart, thinking Liam would devour it, but he didn’t want anything to do with it. Thankfully I brought enough cookies for him to chow on.

Back on the bike by 1:00, we headed toward the L’Enfant station. I wanted to try an alternate route home to see if it was faster. First obstacle, the sidewalk was closed and I had to negotiate some square curbs to get around it. The bike came dangerously close to tipping over as I walked us down a curb, but I caught it just in time. We found the elevator easily enough, but once in the station, a station manager confronted me, claiming I wasn’t supposed to leave Liam in the seat. He tried to convince me that Liam would be safer walking next to me on the platform with the oncoming trains. What?! Apparently it’s some unwritten rule that kids can’t ride in the bike seat in case there’s a fire on the train and I’ve got to get him out in a hurry. But, seriously, in any other situation he’s much safer in the seat! We had a bit of a heated argument, but I could see he wasn’t going to let it slide. So I unbuckled Liam, let him down, and coaxed him to the elevator. Once the doors opened on the platform, he saw the train and started jogging over there in front of me. Aaaaa! This lady grabbed him, thankfully. I didn’t care what sort of “rule” I was breaking, Liam was much safer in the seat. I figured I’d leave him unbuckled, which was in accordance with the spirit of the rule. Right?

Of course we hit another obstacle. Our train broke down at the Columbia Heights station, and we had to wait for them to clear it out and next train to come through. By the time we made our connection at Fort Totten, it was clear Liam was in need of a nap. Riding the elevator up to the Red Line, he did that pissed off arch his back thing and just about fell out of the seat! Wonderful.

Finally, we made it to Forest Glen, and then home by 2:30. Liam managed to keep his eyes open long enough to make it home, and he was down for the count before his head even hit the mattress.

This turned into a long and arduous adventure, but it was still mostly fun. Next time (if there ever IS a next time), I guess I’ll have to bring the Boba and wear Liam while on the train. Assuming I’ve got enough room in my backpack to stow it once we’re back on the bike, I think that could work. Though it still seems like an unnecessary pain in the ass.

Geckos!

October 12, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Liam and I took our own little field trip to the National Geographic Museum to see their new Gecko exhibit this morning. Unsurprisingly, Liam sat enrapt for the train ride to Farragut North, and rode happily on my back to the museum. Inside we found several glass cases with sluggish geckos inside. We found most of them nocturnal and sleeping the day away. Some of them were very hard to spot, and I found Liam staring at the wrong spot on more than one occasion. But we found some other more interactive activities to partake in – Liam’s favorite was the touch screen game where you had to pick out the gecko hidden in camouflage, and if you touched it correctly, it would play a sloppy chomping and swallowing sound that just cracked him up every time.

We had even more fun at the next exhibit, Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life. At the entrance we found a giant wooden xylophone, which of course we had to bang on. And inside a special room we found a cornucopia of percussion instruments, both natural and electronic, that set Liam off in fits and giggles at every new strange sound his mallet produced. The IMG_0194rest of the exhibit was geared toward adults and older kids, so Liam just set off running back and forth across the fairly empty room. He’s easy to please.

For lunch we took the train to Union Station for burgers and fries at Johnny Rockets, where he learned an essential skill: dipping his fries in ketchup. He liked that. A lot.

Pumpkins at Butler’s Orchard

October 9, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I joined this new meetup group called Parents with Cameras, and today we had a meet up at the Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin patch. Or at least what I thought was the pumpkin patch – only one other mom showed up, so either the other ones decided not to come, or they were in the right place and we were in the wrong place. Either way, we still had a lot of fun snapping pictures of our kids. I fiddled with the settings on my camera trying to get the right white balance for the shade, and used the fill in flash. But the photos ended up pretty brown, so I ended up having to do a lot of color-correcting in Photoshop. I think the end results turned out nice, but I think I need to work on taking more far away shots. I have a tendency to want to do all close-ups. Course, it doesn’t help that when I get more than 5 feet away from Liam, he runs right at me. It’s so difficult to experiment with camera settings while trying to keep your kid from running into the parking lot, or worse (and more likely with Liam), trying to get a good photo while your screaming kid is wrapped around your legs. Out of about 70 photos, I managed to get 6 good ones. That’s not so bad, I guess.

Check out the rest of the photos at Liam’s baby site, or in this Kodak album.

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