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July

Friday the 1st was Jill’s birthday. She had the day off (after our rugs were cleaned), but Nina and I weren’t so we got takeout for dinner. The next day she had some of her spinners over to spin in the afternoon while I took Nina to her first piano lesson, then Nina and I went to Jiffy Lube Live to see The Doobie Brothers and Journey. I wanted to wait for a Steve Perry reunion, but 2016 has been a cruel one to musicians. We didn’t stay too long, and had to get ice cream again, of course.

Nina

Sunday we drove over to my dad’s house. Jill’s sister Melissa met us there with her 2 youngest kids (cousin Ava is closest to Nina in age and her favorite), and we went out for a late lunch at Plaza Mexico. We weren’t planning on staying long, but the fireworks which they normally set off on the 3rd had been scheduled for the 1st for some reason, then postponed back to the 3rd, and we weren’t going to any big displays the next night.

Ava Nina

Monday I took Tiernan over to a fireworks stand to pick out some fireworks, then we grilled steaks for dinner and set off the fireworks in the parking lot and the floating dock. Tuesday I was at work while everyone else went to the water park at Lake Fairfax, then we got takeout from Flippin’ Pizza and Buffalo Wing Factory and went out on the lake.

Ava Kerry Nina Jill

Thursday the 7th we went to Wolf Trap and watched Melissa Etheridge, then they left as Jill’s had to be up at 6 and Nina was getting cranky. I wanted to stay to hear Pat Benatar do “We Belong”, written by Lowen & Navarro. Lowen & Navarro were one of my buddy Stuart’s favorite bands, and I knew he was very ill – it wasn’t until the next morning came that I found he’d passed away that night. A sad day, but very nice to have Facebook for pictures, videos, and stories.

Kerry Stuart

Saturday the 9th we went to Leesburg and got takeout from Señor Ramon Taqueria, then saw Todd Wright at Acoustic on the Green. A perfect summer evening for a picnic and concert, and Nina loves it when he brings his daughter up to sing.

Nina Kerry

Thursday the 14th I thought that maybe someday I’ll learn that while my dog doesn’t want to walk more than 10 feet in the morning, he’s fast when he wants to be. So I won’t have a repeat of Wednesday night, chasing him around the neighborhood in my socks, after I let him on the boat to chase the ducks.

Nina

Saturday afternoon Nina played Pokémon Go for the first time with me while we walked Illa. She liked designing her character, but wasn’t that much into the gameplay after catching one. She still had energy after her usual crazy weekend day for a performance at bed time (original songs plus a bonus cover or two). Sunday Jill took Nina to a birthday party where she got stung twice by wasps while playing outside – her first stings. Later I went out solo for a concert doubleheader. I don’t mind North Mississippi Allstars, but I love the power pop of Air Traffic Controller, so I headed to Jammin’ Java first to see them, got the Angus Pastrami from Chase the Submarine, then went over to Wolf Trap to catch the rest of Los Lobos and finally see the amazing Tedeschi Trucks Band (I’ve seen them both before, but not the product of their musical marriage).

Air Traffic Controller

Tuesday the 19th Jill took Nina to her egg challenge (a muffin with egg) and passed – now she continues eating baked goods with a small quantity of egg to get her system used to it. Jill took her to the splash area at Reston Town Center later and I brought home ribs from Sweet Heat. Thursday Jill went with her friend Radhika to see Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! at Wolf Trap while Nina finally cracked the code that night – I won’t rush her into bed if she wants to talk superheroes.

Nina

Friday my mom and David were in town, and they came over for dinner and we got takeout from Lakeside Asia Café. The next day I took Nina to a splash birthday party (thank goodness, heat index was over 100), then that night Mom and David watched Nina. It was too hot for concerts so we went to Tavern 64 for dinner (delicious) and then saw the new Ghostbusters (absolutely fantastic). The next day Nina got her first poison ivy rash.

Friday the 29th we left on our annual summer vacation. We routed around backups and made it to Connecticut before stopping at Olé Molé in Stamford for lunch (fabulous fresh salsa), then hit bad traffic the rest of the way up 15 and later on 91. But we were still on time for Jill’s sister Melissa’s surprise birthday party at Nathan Bill’s, and Nina notched some firsts:

  1. 1st request from a DJ
  2. 1st dance on a dance floor
  3. 1st drink ordered from a bartender
  4. 1st drink spilled in a bar
  5. 1st sleepover
  6. 1st failed sleepover

Bridget Robin Ashley Jill

We stayed at the Bradys’ that week, and Nina got to hang out with her cousins (minus Jake who was in Ireland). Nina’s other cousin Finn and his folks came by the next day, and playing in the pool and swinging from the tire swing was on the agenda every day. Sunday we went to lunch at Jill’s dad’s house with his parents and Finn and family as well. Afterwards we stopped to buy the new Harry Potter book, and later picked up pizza from De Nardo’s Pizzeria & Restaurant where Madelyn works.

Nina

June

The summer concert season kicked off on Wednesday the 1st with Boy George and Cyndi Lauper, and Operation: Cheaper Than A Babysitter was a success. Nina had a blast, the show was great (featuring David Bowie and Prince covers as well as duets on T. Rex’s “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”). One lesson learned: don’t keep playing her the big hit that won’t be played until the bitter end (she was asleep 3 minutes into the drive home). Thursday Jill’s mom and Auntie Kelley stayed the night on their road trip home, and we got takeout from Red’s Table.

Auntie Kelley Nina

Summer concert #2 was John Prine and Patty Griffin, on Friday, by myself. Sixth time seeing her, but first time solo. Good show, loved “Angel From Montgomery” by Prine. The big discovery was his guitarist, Jason Wilber, very talented. Saturday Nina and I helped with the annual lake cleanup after her swimming lesson. Sunday we all went to Awesome Con in DC, where despite long lines we got to meet Jenna Coleman and Peter Capaldi (and have a nice lunch at Nando’s).

Jenna Coleman Kerry Nina Jill Peter Capaldi

Summer concert #3 was Mudcrutch at the 9:30 Club (on Monday the 6th, by myself), because when Tom Petty plays a club, you should go. And you should pick up the 2 Mudcrutch CDs, because he sounds reinvigorated on them (but they don’t have the killer cover of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” they busted out for the first time last night). Wednesday was Nina’s last day of school so I picked her up at 1 and took her to gymnastics later. Jill took an extra day off to watch her on Thursday and Friday, taking her to the dentist Thursday morning, then I met them at Lake Anne for Nina’s class picnic that afternoon.

Mudcrutch

Saturday we went over to Lorna and Dave’s for a garden party in the afternoon, then it was time for summer concert #4 – The B-52s. Too hot and crowded at Celebrate Fairfax to get close, but they played all the hits. Fireworks afterwards was the 1st time Nina liked them. Too bad we didn’t get her into bed until 11 (the late concerts are OK, it’s the late bedtimes that kill us).

Nina

Summer concert #5 was Living Colour on Sunday the 12th. Back to Celebrate Fairfax – we didn’t see all of the show (as someone was taking full advantage of her unlimited rides handstamp), but we did get there in time to see them tear through Glamour Boys/Love Rears Its Ugly Head/Type/Cult of Personality while we ate our shaved ice in the shade. Afterwards, Nina said she wanted to be a Glamour Girl.

Nina

Summer concert #6 was Abbie Gardner & Jesse Terry on Tuesday. I still prefer her with Anthony da Costa, but Jesse Terry has a good voice, and they pulled out some fine covers, including The Civil Wars’ “Forget Me Not” and Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Helplessly Hoping”. Wednesday we had tickets to Howard Jones/O.M.D./Barenaked Ladies, but someone got a possible concussion at summer camp and we had to cancel.

Nina

Summer concert #7 was The Lone Bellow & Lake Street Dive on Thursday the 16th. Good show, but leaving in the rain was a pain. Summer concert #8 was Laura Lea & Tripp Fabulous on Friday. We only went to the Taste of Reston to eat chocolate covered strawberries, but someone couldn’t resist a concert after 2 days of enforced rest.

Nina

Saturday morning I took Nina to the Reston District Station Open House and Grand Opening after her swimming lesson. She enjoyed sitting in the helicopter and bus, acting as Goldilocks, and eating shaved ice. Summer concert #9 was Dave Matthews Band, which resulted in this:
Nina: What’s that stinky smell?
Me: Uh – someone’s trying to smoke some plants they shouldn’t.
Her 1st Dave Matthews show, my 42nd. She got the full experience, from tailgating, to people in our seats, & epic jams (but her favorite part may have been ice cream cones at the 24 hour Baskin Robbins).

Nina

Summer concert #10 was Sting & Peter Gabriel on Thursday the 23rd. We preceded what was probably the biggest and best concert of the summer with the biggest and best meal at NoPa Kitchen + Bar (fried strawberry rhubarb pies to die for). The show was outstanding, similar in format to Sting & Paul Simon’s tour a couple years back, with the singers and bands swapping out repeatedly. A murderers’ row of hits, not really any time for breaks during the show.

Peter Gabriel

After my 3rd morning on my mom’s house that month (gotta rent that place out), summer concert #11 was Riverdance on Saturday. Still a great show, and Nina loved it. But we left at intermission because we were exhausted (and still didn’t get her into bed before 10). Sunday night I was watching the Game of Thrones season finale with a bad taste in my mouth. Because my daughter handed me a toy in the bath at head level, and I grabbed it with my teeth to be funny, only to discover it was smeared with soap.

Nina Kerry

Summer concert #12 was Dreamworks Animation In Concert with National Symphony Orchestra on Thursday the 30th. Because is anything more fun than picnicking and watching cartoons on a giant screen? And thank god for intermissions (and leaving then), or we’d never get her to bed at a reasonable time.

Nina

May

After having to sell tickets to see Ben Folds at the Kennedy Center twice, I decided not to mess around on Tuesday the 3rd. I got to see soundcheck and take a picture, then had dinner at the Blue Duck Tavern (had to try the bone barrow). I thought yMusic was a better accompaniment then the National Symphony Orchestra last time (and “Rock This Bitch” is always entertaining with lots of musicians).

Ben Folds Kerry

Friday we decided a week straight of rain is enough. We used reverse psychology and played all rain songs that night to make it go away. Saturday I took Nina to Free Comic Book Day at The Comic Shop in Fair Oaks Mall before her swim lesson. There was a long line to checkout, but she loved her new DC Super Hero Girls comic book. Later we went to the Reston Zoo for a birthday party. She always loves to see her friends, and seeing the animals was a bonus. On Mother’s Day Jill wanted Italian, so we went to Pazzo Pomodoro with my mom.

Nina

Saturday the 13th Mom watched Nina at night while I joined Jill at National Harbor (there all weekend at a conference) for dinner at Old Hickory Steakhouse. Delicious steak, and stimulating intellectual conversation with her coworkers. Sunday we went to Kid Junction for their anniversary party that included a train ride and pony ride outside, then had Wendy’s takeout at a nearby playground.

Nina

Friday the 20th Nina was happy – she’d been begging Jill to come in and read to her class, Jill finally had a Friday morning free and did it. That evening we did some epic sidewalk chalk art on the path outside (she likes big dragons).

Nina Kerry

Tuesday the 24th I went outside at work to take some pictures of the Snowbirds circling Dulles. Thursday my dad picked up Jill’s dad at BWI and stayed the night with us (I trapped him to get information on a lot of old family pictures). They left early the next morning on a road trip to the Indianapolis 500 (a gift from us).

Dave Nina Bryce

Saturday the 28th we went to Maryland for Hannah’s housewarming – Nina liked meeting the cats and playing in the backyard. Sunday Nina made the hard choice to watch the Indianapolis 500 (where 2 of her grandfathers were) or put on a show (ok, wasn’t that hard). Later my mom came over to watch and we had dinner over at Hunan East. We were planning on catching a movie after that, but weren’t feeling, so instead we drove home and walked over to Red’s Table for drinks and dessert. Tuesday the 29th we had Nina’s BFF and family over for dinner.

Nina

Covers

I decided to do a mix of covers of a single artist, and went with my biggest collection first: The Beatles. I started with 842 songs, took out duplicates (studio/live) absurdly short or long ones and got down to a much more manageable 420 songs (for a playlist of just under 24 hours).
And then Prince passed away.
I became obsessed and spent several weeks assembling that mix first. This is my playlist of the best Prince covers (easy way out on order was chronological):

  1. Tavarius Polk – Crazy You
  2. Banditas – When You Were Mine
  3. LCD Soundsystem – Controversy
  4. Yacht – Annie Christian
  5. Stone Gossard – 1999
  6. AutreNV – Little Red Corvette
  7. Dump [James McNew] – How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
  8. Janelle Monae – Let’s Go Crazy
  9. Fanatic feat. Deborah Cox – Take Me With U
  10. Beyoncé – The Beautiful Ones
  11. Foo Fighters – Darling Nikki
  12. Barenaked Ladies – When Doves Cry
  13. Chvrches – I Would Die 4 U
  14. Kelly Clarkson – Purple Rain
  15. Living Colour – 17 Days
  16. Beck – Raspberry Beret
  17. Local H – Pop Life
  18. Dixie Chicks – Nothing Compares 2 U
  19. B-Town Soul Cats – Kiss
  20. D’Angelo – Sometimes It Snows In April (with Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum)
  21. Muse – Sign O’ The Times
  22. Matt Nathanson – Starfish And Coffee
  23. Gary Numan – U Got The Look
  24. Hot Chip – If I Was Your Girlfriend
  25. Pamela Means – Strange Relationship
  26. The Afghan Whigs – I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (feat. Steve Myers)
  27. Erykah Badu – The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker (with The Roots)
  28. The Smashing Pumpkins – The Cross (Sierra Swan vox)
  29. Alicia Keys – Adore
  30. John Wesley Harding – Cream
  31. Dave Matthews Band – Sexy MF
  32. Deverano – 7
  33. Sofian – The Truth (ft. Ole Staveteig)

And then I managed to whittle The Beatles covers down to 54 (one for each year since 1962). I also took out well known ones (like Aerosmith’s “Come Together” or Elton John’s “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” or all of the I Am Sam soundtrack):

  1. Billy Joel, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen & The Rock Hall Jam Band – I Saw Her Standing There
  2. Redd Kross – It Won’t Be Long
  3. Semisonic – Till There Was You
  4. Sheryl Crow – A Hard Day’s Night
  5. Nanci Griffith – Things We Said Today
  6. Glen Phillips – I’ll Follow The Sun
  7. Extreme – Help!
  8. Elvis Costello – You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
  9. The Webb Sisters – I Need You
  10. Eddie From Ohio – Ticket To Ride
  11. Brandi Carlile – I’ve Just Seen A Face
  12. Elvis Presley – Yesterday
  13. Crooked Still – We Can Work It Out
  14. Electric Light Orchestra – Day Tripper
  15. The Donnas – Drive My Car
  16. Heather Nova – Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
  17. Dar Williams – You Won’t See Me
  18. Natalie Merchant – Nowhere Man
  19. Jim Boggia – Girl
  20. Lucy Kaplansky – I’m Looking Through You
  21. Dave Matthews – In My Life
  22. Eric Clapton – If I Needed Someone
  23. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – Taxman
  24. Vertical Horizon – Eleanor Rigby
  25. Laurie MacAllister – I’m Only Sleeping
  26. David & Joe Gilmour – Here, There And Everywhere
  27. Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs – And Your Bird Can Sing
  28. Peter Mulvey – For No One (with Anita Suhanin)
  29. Jerry Garcia Band – I Want To Tell You
  30. Chicago – Got To Get You Into My Life
  31. Peter Gabriel – Strawberry Fields Forever
  32. Tori Amos – Penny Lane
  33. Steven Page with the Art of Time Ensemble – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  34. Train – With A Little Help From My Friends (with Sammy Hagar & Matt Nathanson)
  35. Jeff Beck – A Day In The Life
  36. Thea Gilmore – All You Need Is Love
  37. Alanis Morissette – Dear Prudence
  38. No Doubt – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
  39. Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, Dhani Harrison And Prince – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  40. Phish – Rocky Raccoon
  41. Tony Furtado – I Will (with Alison Krauss)
  42. Soundgarden – Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
  43. Winterpills – Cry Baby Cry
  44. Pretenders – Don’t Let Me Down
  45. Prince – Come Together
  46. Brian May & Kerry Ellis – Something
  47. Billy Joel and Elton John – Here Comes The Sun
  48. Urban Voices Collective – Because
  49. Cheap Trick – Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End
  50. The Low Anthem – Her Majesty
  51. Bill Withers – Let It Be
  52. Rufus Wainwright, Sean Lennon and Moby – Across The Universe
  53. Elliott Smith – I Me Mine
  54. Pearl Jam – I’ve Got A Feeling

April

I’d only seen Heather Nova once before because I was in London the same time she was performing there in 2002. So when she came to Jammin’ Java on Saturday the 2nd I was pretty excited. She put on a great show with all the classics I wanted to hear (especially “Heart And Shoulder”). The next day I took Nina to a birthday party at JW Tumbles – I would have thought she was too big it now, but she loved playing there with her friends.

Heather Nova

Wednesday I went over to Mom’s as she and David were having a civil ceremony since Tom wasn’t certified to perform the ceremony in Virginia. We drove over to the celebrant’s house with her friend Mary and witnessed the deed, then Mom and David took us out to lunch at Villa Mozart. It was delicious, but I had to make up a big chunk of work later in the week.

Mary Nancy David Kerry

It never fails that there’s at least one show each spring that has me looking forward to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Thursday the 7th it was the lovely voiced Aoife O’Donovan with Anthony da Costa on guitar while Mark Erelli opened. Great night of music that had me looking forward to summer. Saturday I took Nina to the Reston book sale after her swimming lesson and she picked out a bunch of books. We thought about going over to Reston Founder’s Day at Lake Anne but it was windy and rainy. That night there was a price glitch at Amazon and many albums were marked down to free – I spent hours downloading over 200 free albums (late that night the prices reverted).

Nina

Sunday the 10th I headed to DC after breakfast to take the train to NYC for my 2nd solo trip since Nina came along. I got to the Seton Hotel in the afternoon – the one bad thing about it was the “shared bathroom” meant 2 bathrooms for the whole floor. I walked over to the Num Pang Sandwich Shop and got the Five-Spice Glazed Pork Belly sandwich (hit the spot), then read for a while before heading over to Radio City Music Hall.

David Gilmour

The reason for the trip was David Gilmour. The voice and guitar of Pink Floyd hadn’t toured the USA in 10 years and I figured it would be the last (last time we took a trip to Toronto). I bought a ticket for the Monday show at Madison Square Garden and figured going to the smaller venue would be even better. But I was wrong. I was way up front, but couldn’t see much of the visuals. Also the subwoofers were right there and the bass was too loud, never mind the asshat behind me that never stopped yelling out requests.

David Gilmour

The next morning I slept in, then headed over to Academy Records to shop. For lunch I went across the street to The Gander and had a delicious lunch of duck and charred cauliflower. I also went to Other Music to shop as well. I had a quick break back at the room (got a Shake Shack shake as they were next door to the hotel), then I picked up a “Killer Bee” pizza from B Side Pizza as I walked over to stand in line at the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. You’d have thought I learned my lesson from the first time we tried (and failed) to see the Daily Show, but it was a long line with only about 10 people behind me. When I made it in, I figured everything was fine, but when we got seated, the music stopped with 5 people to go (including me). The lady in charge offered to seat 3 of us on the edge and offered 2 VIP tickets as a consolation prize – luckily the first folks opted for VIP and I got to see the show. Good show and panel (frankly, one my favorite shows anyway) but weird to hear the unbleeped profanity.

Nightly Show

The reason I stopped for food was there was no time afterwards, just straight over to Madison Square Garden (well, time for a drink there before the show started). I was already enjoying the show more than the night before (amazing visuals, perfect sound, great performance)… and then I ran into Neil Gaiman in the bathroom line at intermission. He showed me a lovely picture of his new son, we talked about phones (he still has the BlackBerry). The rest of the show was great, but I kept chuckling to myself about the weird way the universe works. Vacation is the only time I can justify both starting and ending the day sitting at a bar. I was hungry by the time I got out of the subway at Grand Central, and stopped in at the Park Avenue Tavern. Unfortunately their kitchen had just closed so I had a Ludlow cocktail (with muddled cucumber) while I pondered my options. I settled on Scotty’s Diner down the block, where I could have two things I’d been craving: fried eggs (perfect) and carrot cake (meh). The next morning I stopped at Bagel Express for a bagel sandwich for me and a dozen to take home to Jill, then had a pleasant trip home in the rain. I started reading the Walking Dead comics when I left, got up to issue 80 by the time I got back.

David Gilmour

Wednesday the 13th Jill was a chaperone on Nina’s class trip to the National Zoo. Thursday Jill and I met at Lake Anne for the Lake Anne Brew House Pre-Opening Event (I was a KickStarter backer) and tried their new beverages (now we just need a brewpub at South Lakes). Friday Nina and had dinner at Cafesano with her BFF and his family (she can’t have the pizza anymore since they added an eggwash, but she ate some chicken skewers with her lentil soup).

Nina

Saturday Nina and I took the Metro to the USA Science & Engineering Festival. Nina loved the science fair – her favorites were the army VR (interactive helicopter mission) and building a neuron. She wasn’t impressed by They Might Be Giants – after 10 minutes asked where the giants were (and she really wanted a light up yo-yo).

Nina

Sunday Jill took Nina to Meadowlark Gardens in the morning while I did yardwork and went shopping. Later I took her to Toys “R” Us to get a yo-yo (it didn’t light up but she wanted one right then) before we were to meet Jill at the nearby Don Pablo’s for dinner – except they’d closed it (bye to my favorite queso). So we went to Plaza Azteca (and you can’t go wrong with table side guacamole when you have a picky eater).

Nina

Wednesday the 20th Mom came over to watch Nina and Jill and walked over to Red’s Table for a beer dinner with beers from Fair Winds Brewing (ironically I’d just filled my growler with their anniversary ale a couple days earlier). The first course featured the largest calamari I’d ever seen stuffed with sausage and Jill loved the spiced butter chicken, but the topper was the hazelnut cream doughnut topped with a rhubarb compote. Thursday the 21st Prince passed away, and it felt like that was the heaviest musical passing yet, as I spent weeks hunting down great performances and covers of his songs.

Nina

Mom’s wedding was on Saturday the 23rd. It was a small crowd of relatives, including my sister and my uncle. After the ceremony, we all went over to the Peking Gourmet Inn for lunch. I thought Nina might try the duck, but I was wrong – she settled for some chicken and broccoli without sauce. After a break, we came back in the evening so we could visit with my sister and her family, and brought over some Flippin’ Pizza and Bon Chon Chicken for dinner.

Nancy Tom David

We had the Norwoods over for brunch and playtime the next day. Later I went into DC and saw Generation Axe (Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme, Zakk Wylde from Ozzy, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Steve Vai) with my college buddy Eric. I wasn’t going to take pictures that night, but then Zakk Wylde decided to demonstrate shredding behind his head right next to me.

Zakk Wylde

Tuesday Jill took Nina into DC to see the Renwick Gallery and the Building Museum. Saturday the 30th I went to Scrawl Books for Independent Bookstore Day and got my Neil Gaiman coloring book after being 8th in line. They’re teeny tiny but have lots of books. Later, Nina’s school had International Day and Nina got to go to all the activities in the different rooms before the African drum concert at the end.

Nina

Two big accomplishments for Nina this month: she learned to write her name and learned to whistle.

March

I started with a visit to the dentist on Tuesday the 1st, where I found out I had a cavity on the side of a tooth. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, but seeing Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins and Anais Mitchell that night was much less depressing than watching election results. Jill’s mom came to visit on Wednesday, and I finally got to go to a beer dinner I could walk home from over at Red’s Table for their Flying Dog beer dinner (the Reuben fries were delicious, and I was glad I didn’t get an extra drink as it was 4 full beers). Thursday Jill and I went to visit Stuart over at Reston Hospital (his last night there, thank goodness). Nina’s asthma had her congested and waking up coughing, so we started new cleaning routines including biweekly baths for Illa. Cleaning her room a lot definitely helped.

Nina

Sunday the 6th Nina had a birthday party to attend at Sport Bounce, then Jill rushed her over to the Reston Community Center to meet me and watch the Mary Poppins play (which neither of us knew deviated from the movie – very long as well, but Nina was a trooper). Monday Nina had a field trip to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – her favorite part was the class having their lunch on the grass across the street. Wednesday I was sad to hear to hear of George Martin’s passing. I had been listening to a Beatles cover album in the car and cranked up Love when I got home, but I just remembered that I hadn’t shared this lovely find (ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_%28Beatles_song%29#Take_20). RIP George, John and other George. And then the next day I learned Keith Emerson had also passed and was like WTF, 2016? Just remember I’ve got some big shows coming up…

Nina

Friday the 11th Jill brought Nina to my office as she was headed to Dulles for a meeting in Newark the next morning. Nina and I went over to North Point to look at Lego in the Hallmark store, eat at Boston Market and have dessert at Sweet Frog (we miss having a frozen yogurt place in walking distance). The next day I took her to her swim lesson and then to the Spring Flea Market at the Reston Community Center, where she picked up some clothes and her first race track (Pink colored and they’re racing to go shopping, but at least they’re racing). Later she had a playdate at Meadow Lane Park with Abby C. Sunday Sue watched Nina and Jill and I went to see Deadpool – absolutely hilarious. We followed that with ramen at nearby Okada.

Nina

Wednesday the 16th we celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day a day early with Sue and my mom – Nina even ate some corned beef for the first time. Saturday I drove to the Sully District Governmental Center and waited for a hour in my car to drop off everything that needed to be shredded. It was rainy and cold (with a bit of snow), so no outdoor activities. Nina was thrilled her friend Olivia could come over for a playdate on Sunday (and when her mom went to run errands we were thrilled because that means they’re at the age where they no longer require the supervision of both parents).

Nina

Monday the 21st I was unreasonably proud of this submission. I also found out that LinkedIn says my company is looking for candidates like me. Good algorithm, guys. Wednesday I heard that Axl Rose may replace Brian Johnson in AC/DC. The irony is I saw both Guns N’ Roses and AC/DC in the 90s so wasn’t tempted by the GNR reunion or the AC/DC tour. But put Axl and Angus together and that’s something I want to see (check this out).

Rush

Saturday the 26th we went to On The Border just for a night out (Nina enjoyed the table side guacamole, Jill and I enjoyed some frozen margaritas). The next day was Easter, and Nina loved her Easter basket. After church Nina went on a egg hunt there, then we had a brunch at home with ham and homemade biscuits. Thursday Nina had her first bloody nose (caused by a sharp fingernail).

Jill Nina

February

Monday the 1st I headed into town to Brick & Mortar where they served food from Honeysuckle (the Duck Leg Confit was a winner). Service was slow, but I hadn’t loved Muse’s opening act. Still, I thought I was late enough I’d missed some of Muse, and was happy that they hadn’t gone on yet. With Bowie covers during my last two concerts, I wondered if I should be hopeful during the show. No covers, and apparently Muse does not feel that Foo Fighters should be the only arena rock gods. Amazing show, better than “The Resistance” tour (and I picked a nice spot to stand near the end of the stage).

Muse

Thursday I dropped Jill and Nina off at National as they were flying to Bradley for part 1 of the new cousin tour. Friday night I was back in the city for some delicious kimchi ramen at OKI Bowl DC & Sake before Behind the Scenes of The Walking Dead, with writers/producers Scott M. Gimple and Greg Nicotero as well as star Andrew Lincoln (who charmingly refused to watch himself during clips). A fascinating conversation ending with a sneak peek of the next episode.

Talking Dead

Saturday I flew up to Boston and spent the night at the Cannons. The next day, Chris and P drove me over to Sharon and Tom’s where Jill and Nina were soon dropped off by Mike, then P and Nina got to play for a while after we all met cousin Joshua (they had been staying at Robin and Mike’s and met cousin Finn). We got pizza and wings to eat for the Super Bowl. Nina said she didn’t like it and we let her watch Peppa Pig for an hour, but she owned the dance party at halftime – she loves her “Uptown Funk”. Too bad we had a meltdown on the way back to the DoubleTree Boston Bayside where their hot chocolate hit the spot and helped sooth the chill (it was snowing).

Nina Mike Finn

Monday we again visited for the afternoon and early evening. We helped Tom’s aunt Trish make spaghetti for dinner, then Tom took us to the T as it was still snowy and we rode over to the the hotel. The airport was pretty busy the next day, but the flight back was decent.

Nina Trish

Friday the 12th I stayed home with Nina as she had a fever the night before. She was feeling better in the evening so I kept our plans to go into town for dinner at Clyde’s of Gallery Place and Disney On Ice at Verizon Center. She enjoyed every part except leaving early. I was worried about a possible ice storm that didn’t happen, and Jill got out of work early to pick us up from the Metro (we’d taken the bus).

Nina

Saturday I went to Iota to finally see FRFF alumni The Sea the Sea (they were great). Sunday Nina and I made a fabulous chocolate cake from scratch. After 3 days mostly at home I was ready to go back to work and bank the holiday, but snow was in the forecast. Snow camp was on for 3 hours, but still worth it – got to watch Walking and Talking Dead before I had to pick her up, then we had a snowball fight and went sledding.

NIna

Saturday the 20th Nina attended the first of four birthday parties in a row (1 per week) – this one a gymnastics themed. Later we discovered snowball fights are more fun at 60 degrees. I had bought Beatles Rock Band for the Wii after Nina enjoyed playing Guitar Hero. We played it for the 2nd time Wednesday night – she chose 4 songs with 4 different lead vocals. Her verdict? She wants to be John Lennon. I told her that was a fine choice.

Nina

Friday the 26th we went to Goldfish Swim School to meet up with Nina’s friend Olivia and her folks for open swim – Nina loved playing with the pool toys (they don’t do that during her lessons there). Saturday was another birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, then Sunday I took Nina to see Ladybug Girl & Bumblebee Boy: The Musical after she played at a nearby playground. Monday night Jill’s work again rented out L’Auberge Chez Francois, this time I was able to come for the deliciousness.

Nina

January

New Year’s Day was on a Friday, and we had a calm weekend after not going out the night before. Saturday I found this, which seemed appropriate to start the year: “We tumble together through life, pissing each other off, trying to fix and change each other when there’s no fixing or changing to be done, accepting each other, regarding each other anew, and doing the endlessly exhausting and wonderful work of real love.” – Amanda Palmer

Nina

Tuesday the 5th I noticed we’d been in our house 5 years now, and I just opened the last box of checks with our old address on it. Wednesday Nina got allergy testing via needle pricks (she did not like that) and we found out her true allergies: dogs, cats and dust mites. Guess which family won’t be getting pets again for a while.

Nina

Later that night I went to the 9:30 Club‘s World’s Fair, a pop-up museum at the club for the 9:30 Club’s 35th anniversary (and 20th in the “new” location) – now I know what the club would look like if they ever do a haunted house. The tour started in the basement bar with lots of memorabilia from the old club, then went up the stairs and there was a video screen playing clips of shows there at the regular entrance (and the elevated seat the camera operator had to sit on). Up on the balcony level was more video (at the new location) and hundreds of flyers, newsletters and setlists. I got a peek into the backstage viewing area, then back down to the main level and my favorite thing, The Hall of Records, a library chronicling every headliner at the club in vinyl and CD (which is a permanent exhibit). There was also an immersive video simulation of being the crowd, then I was on the stage with instruments played at the club and a video of the crowd cheering and finally a cupcake as I made my way outside through the backstage.

In honor of that, here are all my shows at the club:
09/10/93 Sweet Water/Sun-60
04/06/94 Kevn Kinney
08/16/94 Sheryl Crow
01/25/95 The Factory/D Generation
02/20/95 Gravel Pit/Letters To Cleo/Seed
01/06/96 The Smashing Pumpkins
02/17/96 Crown Heights/Ruth Ruth/Everclear
04/09/96 The Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies/Joan Osborne
07/08/96 Cibo Matto/Porno For Pyros
07/14/96 Kristen Barry/Three Fish
07/19/96 Semisonic/emmet swimming
07/25/96 The Refreshments/Poe/Seven Mary Three
08/28/96 Primitive Radio Gods
12/30/97 Cowboy Junkies
01/15/99 Smartbomb/emmet swimming
03/31/00 Matthew Sweet
08/12/00 EBO/emmet swimming
05/01/01 Blues Traveler
08/04/01 Living Colour
10/29/01 The Moldy Peaches/The Strokes
10/30/01 Ike Reilly/Chris Whitley/Bob Schneider
11/26/01 JJ72/Remy Zero/Pete Yorn
12/04/01 Eve To Adam/Tesla
02/17/02 The Clarks/John Mayer
02/26/02 Gorillaz
06/02/02 Queens Of The Stone Age (with Dave Grohl and Mark Lanegan)
07/21/02 OK Go/The Vines
11/26/02 Matt Nathanson/O.A.R.
11/27/02 Matt Nathanson/O.A.R.
06/26/03 The Thorns/The Jayhawks
08/16/03 Sondre Lerche/Liz Phair/Jason Mraz
01/09/04 The Hanging Chads (Don Dixon with Bill Lloyd, Jamie Hoover, and Robert Crenshaw)/emmet swimming
02/03/04 Matt Nathanson/Gavin DeGraw
02/04/04 Stereophonics/Howie Day
03/17/04 The Push Stars/Great Big Sea
04/04/04 Wheat/Liz Phair
04/06/04 The Wildhearts/The Darkness
05/27/04 Living Things/Velvet Revolver
10/08/04 Vertical Horizon
10/31/04 Michael Tolcher/Bowling For Soup/Pat McGee Band
01/08/05 Kenin/emmet swimming
06/24/05 Billy Corgan
10/01/05 Girlyman/Dar Williams
01/13/06 Quitter UK/Lloyd Dobler Effect/emmet swimming
09/15/06 Golden Smog
10/25/06 Alice In Chains
11/04/06 Queensryche
01/05/07 emmet swimming
05/29/07 Keane
06/12/07 Mika
07/10/07 The Smashing Pumpkins
10/14/09 Them Crooked Vultures
02/09/10 Trey Anastasio
05/31/10 30th Anniversary Concert: Tommy Keene/The Evens/Justin Jones/Bob Mould/Ted Leo/Dave Grohl/Scream/The Pietasters
10/17/10 The New Pornographers
05/10/11 My Chemical Romance
05/18/11 Anathema/Blackfield
05/23/11 The Cars
02/08/12 Foxy Shazam/The Darkness
09/12/12 Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra
10/24/14 The Jayhawks
11/22/14 The New Pornographers
05/26/15 Steven Wilson

Kerry Nina

Friday the 8th I was playing with Queen’s 40 years of Bohemian Rhapsody app and made a fun video of Nina doing the headbanging section as well as this disturbing family portrait (titled “Real life or fantasy?”)

Freys

Saturday we took Nina to a friend’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, first time Jill or I had been there in a long time. Nina loved it, but Jill didn’t. Later that night we dropped Nina at her school for babysitting (a reward for volunteering) while Jill and I had a delicious dinner at Clarity before heading over to Jammin’ Java to see Michael Clem’s CD release show with the Jewells and Lorna and Dave. Sunday I watched the Skins not have a chance. Tuesday the 12th I took advantage of a work meeting in Merrifield to bring back lunch from Sisters Thai – scrumptious Donald Rolls (duck) and Tom Yum.

Jill Nina

Thursday I went to Father’s Night in Nina’s classroom and she showed me the work she did during class – her favorite was yoga. Saturday the 16th I took Nina to her swim class at Goldfish Swim School – she’s learning a lot. Saturday Jill and I went to see Eddie From Ohio perform an amazing all request set (with “Schoolhouse Rock Medley” and an amazing bonus cover of “Space Oddity”), then Sunday I went out for lunch at Hula Girl Bar and Grill (and picked up some crowdfunding rewards) while watching the first playoff game and later saw an entertaining end to a football game as the Cardinals took the Packers Hail Mary score and went right back to score again.

Jill Nina

Monday the 18th was a holiday and I offered Nina the choice of Chuck E. Cheese or a movie, and she choose the mouse. But we had a fun, and this time we got lots of tickets so she got to bring home some prizes (she also really liked Guitar Hero). That night Glenn Frey’s death hit me harder then any other recent one (David Bowie, Lemmy, Alan Rickman), and only a little bit because I always used him as an example of how to correctly pronounce my last name. Don’t let anyone tell you that old bands can’t make great new music – this is one of my favorite Eagles songs.

The Eagles "Hole in the World" on Vimeo.

Friday the 19th we were scheduled to fly down to Jacksonville for Patty & Jesse’s wedding at night, but rescheduled for the morning since there was a monster snowstorm (aka Snowzilla) bearing down on the area. That meant a layover in Atlanta (and Nina’s first foray into motion sickness), but we were at our hotel in the early afternoon. We got some lunch at Crispers and then drove out to Jacksonville Beach. The wedding party was staying at a beach house there, and Jill helped make wedding decorations while Nina and I explored, chasing cats and building sandcastles. That night we met some of the other Shantytowners for dinner at the River City Brewing Company. I had the Florida lobster tail and a glass of the Kentucky Bourbon Ale, both good choices.

Nina

Saturday we met even more Shantytowners for breakfast at The Southern Grill, a classic diner style place. We got lunch at the Cool Moose Cafe after running errands (forgot razors again). The wedding was a short drive away at the Ortega River Club. Nina quickly found the other kids as well as the balloon maker. She was a little upset as most of the other girls were in the wedding party, but felt better once she got to ride on the horse the bride came in on. Everyone had a great time, and she was exhausted when we brought her back to the hotel.

Patty Nina
We had tickets to fly back Sunday, but that flight was canceled on Friday, and the earliest we could fly back was Tuesday. So we checked back into the same room, and drove down to Saint Johns where Jill’s friend Tracey (who we met up with at the Animal Kingdom the month before) and her husband and 3 kids live. There had been snow flurries the day before, but Sunday afternoon it was in the high 50s/low 60s so the kids could play outside. I even got to watch half of the 1st conference championship game. We got Mexican takeout on the way back, but it was meh (Yelp is not perfect). Nina had some asthma that night due to the dogs in the house, but she got to sleep with some medicine.

Nina

Monday the 25th we met the other Shantytowner stragglers for breakfast at the Maple Street Biscuit Company (their Five And Dime was the best meal I had that trip) before we all went to visit the Jacksonville Zoo. Nina liked petting the stingrays and seeing the animals (as well as playing with any children that came close). We separated from the group when Nina wanted to ride the train, and left before they did, with Nina spending an hour at the playground. We got takeout that night from MOJO no.4 Urban BBQ Whiskey Bar and it was much better. Nina’s cough was not, and we came close to an ER visit before it subsided.

Nina Jill

Tuesday we drove to the airport and flew home without a hitch (unless you’re counting a daughter who refused to walk at the airport). The drive home wasn’t bad, but Jill’s covered parking space still had a wall of snow blocking it. This was my conversation with Nina over several days:
Saturday:
Me: It’s really snowing hard at home.
Nina: I want to see the snow.

Sunday:
Me: There’s a lot of snow.
Nina: Will there still be snow when we get home?
Me: Yes, we’ll be shoveling outside for a long time.

Tuesday:
Me: Let’s start shoveling.
Nina: Ok!

5 minutes later:
Nina: I’m tired. Can we go inside?

I ended up shoveling about 3 hours that day to get the sidewalks and cars clear – I hate shoveling wet snow, but there was no other choice.

Nina

Saturday the 30th Nina was excited as we got her mattress (as well as our new fold out couch) and that meant we could put together her new bed. Later I drove over to Jammin’ Java to see Au Pair, the new duo with one of my favorite musicians, Gary Louris of the Jayhawks. They have a great new album they performed almost all of, plus a nice cover of “Starman” from Golden Smog’s Blood on the Slacks. Sunday I took Nina to see the Peanuts movie again (it was the last day for some movie passes) and afterwards she played at Van Dyck Park in Fairfax where I used to play after church.

Nina

December

December started with lots of cleaning – our 15th annual holiday party was coming up. Nina made her first gingerbread house on Tuesday the 1st. The only time I could get together with my Dad to see the new Bond movie was on Saturday the 5th, the day of our party, and I was told never again (great movie though, I can see why Daniel Craig might want to go out on a high note). Later at the party, lots of food and kids made Nina happy and exhausted.

Nina

Sunday at church they had Saint Nicholas’ Day and Nina got Santa to read her a story. Monday I had an idea for a constitutional amendment: Let’s reverse the roles. All persons wishing to run for political office must demonstrate a basic knowledge of the Constitution and our laws. If rich, bigoted a**hats want to run, they can show us how much they really know, or in fact we’ll see they’re windbags inflated by their own hubris (guess which candidates I was unhappy with).

Nina Santa

Wednesday the 9th Nina went on a field trip to Ballantine Farm, and Thursday we had dinner at Penn Commons (loved the “Tuk Tuk” wings) and saw the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the Verizon Center (Nina was a fan of the lights and fake snow). Friday Nina’s school had a concert (her class did “Let It Shine”) and later she and I watched Star Wars Episode IV: the abbreviated version (no scary stuff).

Nina Kerry

Saturday the 12th was our big trip to Orlando with Mom, but a late flight from National so we had a relaxing day first. We got to the Saratoga Springs resort very late. Sunday we had late plans, so Jill went off with her Aunt Kelley to get groceries (who wisely insisted we needed ponchos) and the rest of us went to the nearby pool in the Grandstand, then took the boat over to Disney Springs (Nina loved the Lego store, and I picked her up a vegan cupcake at Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC). Later we took the bus over to the Magic Kingdom, as our tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party let us in at 4PM. I’d booked Fastpass+ as soon as I could, so right away we met Tinker Bell. We had a Fastpass+ to meet Ariel earlier, but arrived later than planned, so got in line for that next (only about a 15 minute wait). Next Nina and Jill went on The Barnstormer (Nina loved it), then we tried to meet Merida but they closed the line.

Jill Nina Kerry Nancy

It started to sprinkle and we dropped Mom off at the Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. We watched Cinderella’s castle get Frozened, but the rain started getting heavier, so we also went into Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe with what seemed like most of the people. Getting food took a while, but Nina was fine dancing with other kids to Sonny Eclipse (the chicken & rib combo was pretty good). Mom, Jill and Nina rode the Mad Tea Party and we tried to see Jack Skellington but the line was too long. We then waited to see Merida, which for Nina was only slightly more fun then testing out the bow and arrow. The parade had started, along with more rain, so we ponchoed up and watched it (of course Anna and Elsa were Nina’s favorite part). We left during Holiday Wishes as the rain never ceased and we were tired.

Merida Nina Jill

Monday morning we headed over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As soon as we walked in we saw Daisy Duck, so we waited to meet her (or they did while I watched Star Wars: Path of the Jedi). Next we headed in to see For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration – much less actual Anna and Elsa than I thought, but Nina was entertained. On the way out, Mom saw Pluto who she wanted to meet, so I took Nina and she played on some stone crocodiles she named “Runny” and “Fuzzy” while they waited. We saw Sophia the First had a small line, so we met her next, then it was time for Voyage of The Little Mermaid (cute). Minnie was outside afterwards so everyone else waited for her while I ducked into Star Wars: Launch Bay for a short film and lots of props. We did Toy Story Midway Mania but Nina wasn’t feeling well and we headed back to the resort for lunch.

Nina Kerry Pluto Nancy Jill

She had a slight fever so she got medicine, lots of Disney TV and an early bedtime while Jill and I headed back to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. She wanted to see the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, so we walked with a herd of people to see it. It was quite a spectacle, but the only time we felt overcrowded at Disney World, so we left after about 5 minutes. The other end of the park wasn’t crowded at all so Jill was able to ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Meanwhile I found an empty table outside the Brown Derby and enjoyed a glass of 18 year old Macallan. Of course I followed that up with a hot dog and half a Mickey pretzel with cheese sauce when we saw Fantasmic! to close out our night.

Jill Kerry

Nina was feeling better on Tuesday so it was back to the Magic Kingdom for the Fairytale Dining Lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Decent lunch and Nina was thrilled to meet four more princesses (Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, and Jasmine). We saw the Dream Along With Mickey show at the front of the palace then went to Adventureland where I took Nina on The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and up into the Swiss Family Treehouse. Jill waited in line to meet Tiana while we watched the parade, then joined Jill. We did Under the Sea: Journey of The Little Mermaid and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin as we had Fastpass+ for both of those.

Nina Cinderella

We’d tried the carousel on Sunday because both Mom and Nina wanted to go but someone had an accident – this time we were more successful. Then it was time for the most popular attraction currently at Disney World: Meet Anna and Elsa at Princess Fairytale Hall. So we did and someone loved it. Jill wanted to ride the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, enough she was willing to brave a 70 minute wait with Nina. It was more like 45 minutes and Nina was a trooper (immediately after the ride, she said she wanted to go again), but that was enough for the day. After a rest, we went over to Disney Springs and had dinner at Splitsville, surrounded by bowling lanes and the best meal I’d had so far (a great sushi roll that proved kimchi sauce and wasabi pair remarkably well together). Nina enjoyed her edamame and barely ate anything else.

Jill Nina Kerry

Wednesday the 16th was our day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We started with the Kilimanjaro Safaris (Mom got her hippos), then met the only princess there (Pocahontas) before seeing Finding Nemo: The Musical. We had lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue then rode the Kali River Rapids and got our legs soaked (ponchos only cover our top half). Then we headed over to DinoLand U.S.A. where Nina loved playing in the Boneyard (millions of dollars spent on a theme park, and my child was having a grand time using dirty water to clean off an even dirtier jeep) and Jill finally managed to catch up with ex-coworker Tracey (who also has a 4 year old daughter). Almost everyone rode on the TriceraTop Spin, then Jill and Tracey rode the Primeval Whirl while we played carnival games (I had to cheat a little to help Nina win a pink dinosaur at whack-a-dinosaur after she was so distraught at losing the first game). That evening Jill and I met up with my friend Monica for drinks at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar then we had dinner at Morimoto Asia (their dim sum was so good).

Pocahontas Nina

Thursday we were at Epcot for the earliest morning at the parks for Princess Storybook Dining Breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Formerly the home of Anna and Elsa, they had Belle, Cinderella, Aurora, and Ariel (as well as a nice buffet – Nina had 3 helpings of strawberry yogurt). Afterwards we waited for the world showcase to open and met Mulan in China, then walked around the world (playing drums in Morocco and coloring in Italy). Turtle Talk With Crush was a hit, as well as checking out the aquariums. Test Track was supposed to be next, but it broke down (it’s great that the Disney World app sends alerts) and we rode The Seas with Nemo & Friends instead.

Mulan Nina

We had a lunch package at the San Angel Inn (only way to have guaranteed seating at the Candlelight Processional that evening), which was unfortunate as we were still stuffed from breakfast but we all made a valiant effort (Nina’s always happy with quesadillas and guacamole). Spaceship Earth was Nina’s least favorite ride in any park, but she did enjoy Test Track. Then we had to hustle over to the Candlelight Processional, hosted by America Ferrera. It was the dichotomy of Disney: carrying my daughter all the way across Epcot in 85 degree heat so we can watch folks sing Christmas carols. It was good, but Nina’s asthma kicked in. She was happy enough after some medicine and wanted to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus – we called it a night after that.

Nina Santa and Mrs. Claus

Friday was our final day and the first rain since Sunday. Nina wanted to ride the monorail so we went to Epcot so we could ride it to the Magic Kingdom. First was meeting the talking Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater. We had lunch at Casey’s Corner, then I discovered I now have no shame as both Nina and I volunteered to be part of the play at Enchanted Tales with Belle (and Nina ended up playing 2 roles). One more carousel ride and we met Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother (although Nina wanted to meet the Stepmother) before we met Cinderella and Rapunzel at Princess Fairytale Hall. Rapunzel was the 13th and final princess on our list – Nina’s main objective at Disney World (and she didn’t want to leave). We stopped to get a silhouette done of Nina and buy clothes.

Kerry Belle

Later we returned to Disney Springs. Jill shopped in the Christmas store, and Nina got to pick out toys in the Lego store and the enormous World of Disney store (we were able to minimize whining all week by promising her she could pick out things on Friday). They headed back to the resort while I went to Splitsville, Bongos Cuban Café, and Wolfgang Puck Express to get takeout. We finished watching Mary Poppins after starting it the night before (Nina’s now a huge fan) and packed up.

Nina Rapunzel

Saturday the 19th we got up at 4:30AM to catch the bus and were at home by noon in our cold house. Was it the smartest thing to go to a 10:30PM showing of Star Wars Episode VII that night? Probably not, but Nina and I had a nap together in the afternoon and I had a soda during the movie. Afterwards I thought it was a good thing I was going to bed so no one can see the stupid grin on my face. George should’ve given up the franchise years ago. Thanks to J.J. (and not just for the lack of lens flares).

Kerry Nina Jill

Christmas week was a bit different since Nina’s school didn’t offer a camp. Monday night we went to see Todd Wright, Scott Simons, Anthony Fiacco, and Luke Brindley at the Jammin Java Songwriters Circle Holiday Edition. I was home with her on Tuesday and Christmas Eve on Thursday, happily the warm weather meant we could go outside and play. After Jill got home Christmas Eve we went to church where Nina was an angel in the little pageant they had.

Nina Jill

Christmas morning Nina slept in ’til 9 so we all did – it was a good thing my mom forgot the fruit she was bringing for breakfast and had to turn around or she might have beat us to the tree. Nina loved her Frozen playset and princess figures she’d picked out at the Disney store. My dad showed up with Justin earlier than I thought, but he and Patricia supervised Justin and Illa’s first meeting while Mom and David watched the Disney vacation DVD I’d made downstairs. Breakfast was cinnamon rolls, hash browns, sausage and fruit while Christmas dinner was ham, turkey breast, roasted potatoes, and asparagus, and I was done.

Saturday was Boxing Day and my second day that week with Nina from waking up to bedtime. It was nonstop Legos ’til 3, then several errands and the big playground (where we saw deer there for the first time). She managed a 3 bandaid boo-boo before bedtime, and unfortunately missed one of my favorite football games of the season (she’s always willing to watch TV). Sunday after church became a big outside playday with all the kids, followed by wine o’clock.

deer

Wednesday the 30th I went out with Ben, Trevor, and some other friends to see The Hateful Eight roadshow. All you need to know about it is that Greg Nicotero‘s name is 2nd in the credits. New Year’s Eve Jill was working late, and Nina and I went over to our neighbors for dinner and Uno (the kids got to play together for a long time). Nina made it to 11PM, then Jill and I watched the ball drop.

Kevin Kerry Nina Felix

Artists To Watch 2016

Eyeball
Again this year my music buying was mostly online, free tracks from NoiseTrade, Google Play, and Amazon as well as preordering mp3s and CDs from Kickstarter and PledgeMusic.

Band Song Why them
01. Alan Doyle 1,2,3,4 If Great Big Sea is no more, we’ll be sad, but Alan solo is still great.
02. Charli XCX & Bleachers Rollercoaster Bleachers released a free album, collaborating with other artists on all the songs off 2014’s Strange Desire. This was one of the best originals.
03. Au Pair In Every Window Gary Louris has a new Jayhawks album with a classic lineup coming out next year (and produced by Peter Buck), but he still found time to start another band with Django Haskins (from The Old Ceremony).
04. I’m With Her Crossing Muddy Waters Aoife O’Donovan (from Crooked Still) and Sara Watkins (from Nickel Creek) are joined by Sarah Jarosz. It sounds as good as you can imagine.
05. Barnstar! Darling Mark Erelli and the Armerding brothers with a touch of country.
06. Found Wandering That Home Far Away Their Christmas album was a must buy after one listen, and so was this.
07. Da Costa I Can’t Stop It Anthony da Costa has a power trio. ‘Nuff said.
08. Della Mae Boston Town Great song, production, and harmonies.
09. Cal Everett Older Now Former 4 Out of 5 Doctors frontman is back.
10. Kristin Andreassen The Boat Song (Gondolier) The slowest tempo of any song here (I love a pop tempo), but couldn’t get it out of my head.
11. Bombadil Amy’s Friend Delicate chamber pop, reminded me of Winterpills.
12. Cassidy Ford Monster A Todd Wright discovery and co-write.
13. love+war Lost I found them because they mashed up Sam Smith/Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (see this for more info), but it turned out they had good songs too.
14. Watkins Family Hour Steal Your Heart Away Sara Watkins’ second appearance here, this time with her brother (and some killer pedal steel from Greg Leisz) on an amazing Fleetwood Mac cover.
15. Darlingside The Ancestor A nice Mumford/Lumineers vibe.
16. The Empty Pockets Find Or Fail A Facebook ad that worked on me.
17. The Sea The Sea How Will We Know FRFF folks making a joyful noise.
18. The Pine Hill Project Sweetest Thing Richard Shindell & Lucy Kaplansky reunite years after Cry, Cry, Cry for a new album with this fine U2 B-side cover. I also liked their cover of “Farewell To Saint Dolores”, but not as much as this one.
19. The Boxcar Lilies Home Tight harmonies from these FRFF vets.
20. Jamie Lawson Wasn’t Expecting That Ed Sheeran’s first signing to his label for obvious reasons.
21. Emily Hearn Volcano Powerful pop found via Luke Brindley.
22. The Lowlifes A Spark Matt Pond was having issues with his label and manager, so started a new band and released an album better that the other one he put out this year.
23. Kat Robichaud Somebody Call The Doctor One Doctor? Three Doctors? Five Doctors? You decide.
24. Michael Clem Going Back To Llanfairpwll-gwyngyllgogerych-wyrndrobwllllanty-siliogogogoch Eddie From Ohio singer/songwriter back with his first solo album in 10 years.