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December

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Saturday the 3rd Nina got to see her first Nutcracker ballet with dancers from her dance school with Jill, then I took her to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese in the afternoon. Jill and I went out to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in Mosaic that evening – very well done addition to the canon. We needed a very quick meal beforehand and Spice 6 obliged with tasty Indian food, then had a drink at B Side afterwards. Friday I wondered if 2016 would not give up as I learned Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer had passed away right after I was listening to his Christmas song. I suggested if I was Carl Palmer, I’d spend the rest of the year in a bunker (Keith Emerson died earlier in the year).

Nina

Saturday the 10th was our annual holiday party, and the kids threatened to outnumber the adults. Nina had a blast, as usual (she helped bake cookies the day before too). Too bad the next night we hosted a party as well: St. Nick’s night at Emmaus UCC for a “spaghetti dinner”, actually a giant potluck dinner with a special visit from you-know-who, but the weekend exhausted everyone.

Nina

Thursday the 13th was parent’s night at ballet, with a special performance of “Frosty The Snowman”. The next morning was Nina’s school’s winter concert with her class singing “Shake Those ‘Simmons Down”. Saturday our next door neighbors hosted a party, which resulted in the following firsts for Nina: first grownup party (with downstairs babysitter) and first caroling (she was one of the doorbell pressing scouts). Other firsts from Sunday included first programming (with a robot) and first time losing a tooth at a concert (and 2nd tooth ever) as we went to see David Wax Museum at Jammin’ Java.

Nina

Wednesday the 21st Jill’s mom was down and the girls were going to Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, so I got takeout from Dumpling Queen for dinner (delicious), then went to see Rogue One in IMAX – enjoyed it (although I liked Episode 7 more). That was a good day – the next morning was not as Nina refused to go inside the jump camp she’d been to twice before because there were “too many kids”, and I had to drop her off at the dentist where Jill was. Of course I left my coat at the camp so I had to go all the way back there again (plus we thought her backpack was there as well, but that turned out to be at the dentist).

Nina

Friday the 23rd we got an early start on our drive up to Massachusetts. Not too bad a time until we got to Hartford, then we needed to stop at Blue Back Square to get a gift that was on hold and ended up at The Cheesecake Factory for lunch. The food was fine, but it took a while and then there was a traffic jam on the highway so we took back roads to get closer to Melissa’s house.

Nina

Christmas Eve my Mom and David and my sister and her family arrived and we all met up at a church for their Christmas Eve service. We planned on everyone getting takeout but the baby was tired and the visitors went back to their hotel while Jill and I got Chinese food for everyone else. It was probably a good thing they didn’t stay as it was over an hour until our food was ready (got some last minute shopping done at Walgreens). I had to post the best tweet of the day later:
@omically: John: I’ve done it. I’ve written the worst Christmas song ever
Paul: Hold my beer

Nina Dominic Jake

Christmas started with Nina and her cousins opening stockings and gifts (and there was a special video for Nina from Santa explaining why her bike was at home and not there), then all the immediate family on both sides trickled in. We opened more gifts and had a big dinner of ham, plus the 1 year old boy cousins got to play for the first time. My sister in law doesn’t have BBC America, so we used the Verizon Mobile app (first on my phone, then Jill’s tablet) to watch Doctor Who live later. Worth it, that was a good one.

Nina

Boxing Day we went to Jill’s sister’s Robin’s house for lunch with my family, and the boy cousins got to play all afternoon. We followed my family over to Northampton with the intention of exploring but it was getting icy, so we explored Thornes Marketplace before ordering takeout from Paul and Elizabeth’s. Jill, Nina and I stayed to wait for the food while everyone else went to Jill’s mom’s, and Nina and I got a chance to shop at Turn It Up! and the surplus store before we had dinner (almost everyone got the fish and chips, very good).

Jill

The next day my family went we went to Jill’s dad’s house where we met up with Robin and her family as well as Jill’s dad’s parents. More gifts were passed out, and we had meat pie and sandwiches for lunch, then Jill, Melissa, Dominic and I went out for dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Wednesday Jill and I took Jake out for Indian food in Springfield (nicely spiced lamb for me) before taking Nina and Ava to see Moana.

Nina

Thursday morning Melissa and I took Nina, Ava and Maddy to see Sing (both movies were good with catchy songs), then we’d planned to go to an escape room in Easthampton. The weather had different plans (snowed hard enough to close the road to Easthampton), so we came back to East Longmeadow and had dinner at Center Square Grill (the best meal all week, I had the lobster roll). I went to Walgreens for materials, then designed an escape room for everyone else after the little kids went to bed (Jill knew she’d solved the puzzle of the two presidents when she figured their order was 21 and 12, won’t get away with that number sequence again). Friday morning we took our time to let the roads clear, then started the long drive home.

Us and Bradys

Saturday the 31st was New Year’s Eve, and we actually went out for the first time in years (so out of practice, but it was the 15th anniversary of our first date). We did late dinner at the reincarnated TenPenh in Tyson’s (absolutely fantastic selection of dim sum), then walked over to Earls (we had taken the Metro from Reston) and had drinks at the bar while we did the countdown before heading home (babysitter Julia slept over).

Kerry Jill

August

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Monday the 1st we were on vacation in East Longmeadow, MA at the Bradys’. Jill and Melissa took the kids to Spec Park that morning where Dominic works, then we were bird paramedics in the afternoon for a fledgling. It was rare for me to be caught up on pop culture other than music (as that day I was watching 3 kids in a pool), but having watched Ghostbusters 2.0 the previous week and having read Harry Potter 8 over the past two days, I thought both were excellent.

Ava Nina

Tuesday we took Nina to Nonotuck Park in Easthampton, then went to Northampton. We had lunch at Sam’s Pizzeria and Cafe (it was ok), then caught Pokemon with Nina as the other ran errands (CDs and yarn, natch). Jill had downloaded Pokemon Go that morning as Maddy and Tiernan were into it, and we started to get competitive. That night, Melissa, Jill and I went out to Max Burger for some delicious burgers and shakes.

Nina

Wednesday all the kids visited a friend’s pool. We forgot Nina’s medicine, so I went back for it and stocked up for camping at Table & Vine (the important supplies). We got takeout from Nick’s Nest for lunch at Sue’s house, then spent the rest of the day there (where even more cousins showed up). I went back to Northampton with Maddy and Tiernan so they could hunt Pokemon (and go to their first gym). For dinner I picked up McDonald’s and Chinese takeout from Golden Chopsticks (not bad, but I feel they were better last time we went).

Ahna Nina

Thursday the 4th we bought food at Stop & Shop, then found a Sonic that was kind of on the way for lunch before leaving for the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. We got the tent set up and welcomed the Cannons’ arrival, then helped them make Mexican for dinner. Afterwards we took the kids down to the Lounge Stage to see Reggie Harris with Pat Wictor, then I came back later to see Pesky J. Nixon, Peter Mulvey, The Sea The Sea, and Joe Jenks (summer concert #18).

Kerry Nina

Friday was lots of running around, followed by Stuart’s wake and the Shanty luau/steak and martini night. After the main stage, I went over to the Budgiedome for Summer concert #19: Mike + Ruthy, Eric Schwartz, and Pesky J. Nixon. Saturday had some light morning rain (pretty much the only precipitation of the fest), then Nina and I joined the Cannons at the kids tent for crafts and play (I managed to catch the Most Wanted Song Swap twice for summer concert #20). That night Jill, Nina and I joined some other Shantytowners at the main stage to see summer concert #21: The Mike + Ruthy Band. After all the kids were in bed, there was an epic singing night in camp.

Shantytowne

Sunday we packed up and unusually started heading straight home (we often had spent the night at Sue’s before going back). We made the early decision to go through Pennsylvania, and stopped at Salsa’s Mexican Grille for dinner. Nina had 2 more firsts that day: 1st pee on the side of the road, and 1st use of “dammit” (after discussion, she’s now using “shucky ducky”). Monday Jill and I were off, but work ended up needing me for half a day, plus I had to meet a contractor at my mom’s house (and inadvertently risked exposure to hepatitis A).

Shantytowne

Tuesday the 9th we went to Nando’s Peri-Peri for dinner before heading over to Verizon Center for summer concert #22. I was very tempted to take Nina to Paul McCartney 2 years previous when he played Nationals Park, but I’m glad it worked out to take her that night. He was in fine form and she had a great time. Hopefully someday she’ll be able to appreciate what he’s done for music.

Nina Paul McCartney

The next night Jill and I saw Matt Nathanson put on his usual crowd pleasing show on a sweltering night at Wolf Trap for summer concert #23 (and missed out connecting with our friend Linda). We had dinner at the Encore Circle, which has expanded in size and decreased the quality and quantity of the food.

Matt

Saturday the 13th was possibly the hottest day of the year, so of course I made the unwise decision to walk with Nina over to a birthday on the next lake. At least I was smart enough to have Jill pick us up at the end. Later I went to the 9:30 Club for summer concert #24: Belly. Amazing that I’ve been to so many concerts, but there are still acts I missed for some reason. Plus I even took Chris to a listening party for “King” and had them sign a bootleg (I was so snarky). Situation remedied, Tanya and Gail were rock stars that night.

Belly

The week of the 15th was no fun. Nina got strep and stayed home Monday and Tuesday, then caught a cold Thursday night and was home on Friday. Thursday the 25th Nina and I got takeout (Wendy’s for her, Santini’s for me and went to Lake Anne. We saw Iona for summer concert #25, played in the fountain and caught some Pokemon (Nina’s developing a really good throw of the ball).

Nina Barbara

Getting a dinner out (at Jardenea) and seeing John Oliver would have been a good night on Saturday (minus the idiot in the hotel lobby outside the restaurant), but we almost literally ran into the Greenes on the way into the Kennedy Center. Couldn’t have had a nightcap afterwards with nicer folks (at Bourbon Steak). Jill’s mom and Dave came to visit that night, and the next day Nina got to fish with Dave before we went out for dinner at Ford’s Fish Shack.

Kerry Jill

The last week of August Nina’s school didn’t offer summer camp, so we had put her in a half day camp at her gym. Sue and Dave picked her up each afternoon so neither Jill nor I needed to use vacation time that week. Wednesday Jill, Nina and Sue went to Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios in Tyson’s, and Dave and I walked over to Red’s Table for drinks.

Sue Dave Nina

March

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

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

January

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

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

Monday, January 4th, 2016

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

November

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Sunday afternoon on the 1st we went to see Shrek: The Musical performed at the Reston Community Center. Nina and I had just watched the original movie a couple days earlier and I’d played her the soundtrack the day before, and she was ready. At intermission she wanted a pair of Shrek ears and I was inclined to say no until I saw they were $2 each (I’m too used to Disney prices). She really enjoyed it – the dragon wasn’t as scary as the one in the movie, and she was still singing “Freak Flag” days later (I got “Morning Person” as an earworm).

Nina Kerry

Monday and Tuesday were teacher workdays, I stayed home on the Monday (and got her a playdate with her friend Olivia) while Jill got to handle the teacher conference, voting, and 2 more playdates on Tuesday. Wednesday we met up with some of Nina’s classmates at Così in Reston Town Center as the restaurant was doing a fundraiser for her school; she liked her peanut butter and jelly and loved the s’mores.

Nina

Friday the 6th my mom came over to babysit (and watch Snow White). Jill was away for a murder mystery weekend, and I was determined not to miss the DC debut of Dead & Company – three former members of the Grateful Dead with John Mayer. And it was worth it, he was a much better fit (and bolt of energy) than Warren Haynes when the Dead were last in DC in 2009 (would’ve liked to see Trey with them but missed out twice on the lottery).

Dead and Company

Saturday I took Nina over to the University Mall Theatres for her first movie in a real theater – Shaun the Sheep. I was concerned she would talk as much as she had at home but she was mesmerized for the most part (and mostly in my lap). Afterwards she was introduced to the claw machine. She’s not a fan, and a total meltdown because she didn’t get a toy was only avoided because I had a Frozen video on my phone. There was also a near meltdown later when the peanut butter crackers I served were square instead of round (she’d seen round ones in the grocery store earlier).

Nina

Sunday Jill came back and after dinner I headed to Fairfax again, this time to the Center for the Arts to see the Art of Time Ensemble with Steven Page and Glen Phillips cover Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Slightly different arrangements but a fantastic performance, and not a long line afterwards for signing so I got a chance to talk to them as well. The rest of the night was less fun, doing tech support on Mom’s PC.

Nina

Thursday the 12th I had my other ingrown toenail permanently fixed and on Saturday Jill took Nina to see a roller derby game. Wednesday Jill went to Nina’s class’ Thanksgiving celebration at school. Later I picked up Nina from school and got her and my mom situated, then I drove to Ashburn for a quick and tasty dinner of ramen and sushi at Okada, then joined Jill for Mockingjay Part 2 at the Drafthouse (she’d just seen Part 1 and they won’t let you in part way through so I watched it at home). Waiting to see the final Hunger Games movies together was a good idea. Great ending to the series.

Nina

Friday the 20th I fought Friday night traffic to Rockville to meet up with my dad and see Brian Wilson in concert. Last time we saw him solo he had Al Jardine with him, and this time Al was there again, along with African former Beach Boy Blondie Chaplin (who I hadn’t heard of the day before the show). The thing about one of his shows is with 12 people on stage, when there’s a French Horn part, you know it won’t be a sample on a keyboard. Some great songs off his new album he played along with all the classics you expect.

Brian Wilson

Saturday we took Nina to see Cinderella??? in the afternoon. Put on by the Reston Community Center’s Young Actors Theatre, it was an interesting twist on fairy tales, and Nina enjoyed it (especially good for young attention spans at a tight 45 minutes). That night Mom came over and Jill and I headed over to Clarendon to Me Jana, a Lebanese place. It was delicious, I especially enjoyed the seared haloumi and lamb chops. Later, we went to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington to see Natalia Zukerman & Caleb Hawley as part of Stone Room Concerts. We hadn’t seen Natalia in years, and she was fabulous.

Nina

Nina’s school was closed the day before and after Thanksgiving, so Jill was off on Wednesday as they did prep and Jill made a pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving Jill made potatoes and rutabegas, then we headed over to my Mom’s house where she and David were finishing cooking the turkey. Mom chose wisely to pick that day to let Nina start playing with the dollhouse that her father built for her (a model of the Sears Catalog home they lived in), and she didn’t want to do much else (although we did burn off some energy at the elementary school playground).

Nina

Friday I took Nina to the 25th Annual Reston Holiday Parade at Reston Town Center. Afterwards she wanted to play hide and seek along with all the other kids at A Bird in Hand and run all around. Then we heard bagpipers (we’d missed them in the parade) at the nearby World Of Beer, so we had to check them out. I’d already asked Nina if she wanted sandwiches from Cosi or Potbelly and she’d declined, so when she wanted to go inside World Of Beer “for a drink”, I wasn’t saying no. And she did a great job with poor service, especially since she couldn’t have her first choice of food (giant pretzel). We came back to Reston Town Center that night as Mom and the rest of the Reston Chorale were singing carols at the Christmas tree lighting, then Mom and David came back to our place for some open face turkey sandwiches.

Nina

Saturday night I ducked out for a quick show by Parthenon Huxley at Jammin’ Java – I’m always up for power pop and an Electric Light Orchestra connection. Sunday we drove over to Dad’s house for another turkey lunch with him and Patricia. Nina had her first introduction to their young dog Justin – while he was a little scary at first, he calmed down and everyone enjoyed themselves. The rest of the day was mostly cleaning the house.

Jill Nina

September

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Tuesday the 1st we left Provincetown on the Ferry to head back to Boston. Jill was jonesing for a Chilean sandwich she had enjoyed when she lived there, so we tracked it down to Chacarero (after stopping at a nearby Wendy’s to get nuggets for Nina). The most improbable thing happened as yet sat down and recognized that the Modzelewskis were sitting next us, also from Virginia and on vacation that week (we’d met through the Norwoods). After lunch we met Sharon at the Children’s Museum and Nina proceeded to tear through it (after making her leave the New Balance Climb). She fell asleep on the subway ride and I carried her on the long uphill walk back.

Nina

Wednesday was Nina’s birthday and she started the day looking for hidden presents around the apartment (lots of Paw Patrol figures). Later we went with Tom and Sharon to meet the Cannons at LegoLand for an afternoon of Lego based entertainment (the playground, zapping game, and karaoke were favorites). We followed that with dinner at the nearby Legal Seafood (we brought vegan cupcakes for everyone) and I got one last lobster roll.

Kerry, C, Jill, Nina, V

Thursday we went to the Public Garden to ride the swan boats, then went to the new Boston Public Market so I could pick up a crowdfunding reward from Sweet Lydia’s and decided to have lunch there (Nina liked the edamame, but the pasta was too strange). Nina fell asleep again on the subway ride and I carried her part of the way, then Jill managed to wake her up as Tom and Sharon were waiting for us at the midpoint of the hill. We walked all the way up the hill to get to the Franklin Park Zoo. It was a strange experience as there was almost nobody there (late in the day plus kids in Boston had started school). But we got quickly through the exhibits we wanted to see, and Nina got to spend some time on their enormous playground.

Nina

Friday morning we were up very early so Tom could drive us to the airport. Long security lines meant no time for a snack, but even with waiting for luggage after our flight and 2 bus rides we were still home by 8:30AM and Jill got to her favorite bagel place (it was our anniversary after all). We relaxed some, had Pollo Peru for dinner (and somebody got a playdate), but not too much as we had a busy weekend.

Nina Felix

Sharon and Tom flew down for the weekend, and Saturday was her baby shower at my mom’s house. There were no other kids there, so I took Nina up to play at my old elementary school midway through. Jill’s mom was in town for the weekend and offered to watch Nina that night, so Jill and I belatedly celebrated at Founding Farmers in Tysons. It was an incredible amount of food (I rarely leave enough for leftovers), but the fried chicken and donut was delicious.

Nina

Sunday was Nina’s official birthday party, this year she requested to have it at Life Time Athletic. They had a bouncy castle and lots of fun things to do in the gym – I missed about half the party because I needed to get some Cafesano pizza (not that she would have wanted the pizza they had, but theirs was made with egg, so no go). Jill had ordered an Ariel cake from Amphora and that was a big hit when it was served, almost as much as the life sized Ariel balloon. Later we had family over to our house, Nina got to open some gifts and I took her, my mom and David on a spin around the lake. Later we watched Tangled as she got a Rapunzel doll from her friends as well as the Lego one we got her.

Jill Nina Kerry

Wednesday the 9th was Nina’s first day of school, but she wouldn’t pose for a nice photo, I had to take a picture while she was walking. I went solo to the Birchmere after to dinner to see the Watkins Family Hour – siblings Sean and Sara Watkins from Nickel Creek with a fabulous band (including Benmont Tench and Fiona Apple). Fiona Apple was the odd one out – when it wasn’t her turn at the mic, she would head to the back of the stage and sit down, but a powerhouse when she sang.

Nina

Friday I noted it was weird to be planning a Disney trip while some of my friends are drinking their way around Epcot. Saturday we went over to Lake Anne to see the Chesapeake Dock Dog Diving Demonstration – basically dogs jumping in the lake. Nina thought it was great fun, then wanted to climb all the dangerous (concrete) structures (I thought I was long done with name calling, but I have to admit being called “Big Daddy Belly” when I asked her to get down stings a little). I have backed more than 100 crowdfunded projects and Michael Clem’s was the first one to be dropped at my door that afternoon. And how timely that I now had the studio version of a song about a certain place in Wales.

Michael Clem

That night we were supposed to go to Kelly Clarkson at Wolf Trap, but she had to cancel because doctors urged her to rest her voice. Instead we watched Beauty and the Beast. Apparently watching 2 Disney movies in a week and Nina’s latest jam collided, as she informed us that Princess Taylor sings “Shake It Off” and she has a tail (and I should have guessed everything exists on the internet). The next morning I took Nina to the Mosaic Central Farm Market after church, and that evening my mom was able to come over and watch her as we went to SER for dinner for a delicious Spanish tasting menu that took us right back to Barcelona. Tuesday Nina started ballet classes at Ravel Dance Studio.

Nina

Saturday the 19th Nina’s school had a back to school party and Nina had a blast – we had to literally drag her home after bouncing, eating popcorn and face painting (and she promptly went down for a long nap). Later we joined our neighbors (and Nina’s BFF) for a boat ride across the lake (and some Cafesano takeout to eat on the boat). The next day the parents of one of Nina’s classmates had an ice cream social at their home on Lake Audobon (our sister lake), then in the evening Nina and I walked over to join Jill at Red’s Table, our new neighborhood restaurant (and the maple-sriracha wings were killer).

Nina Jill

Monday we went into school with Nina to celebrate her birthday with her class (Montessori has a special birthday celebration) and Jill made fruit that we had with Nina’s class (one of the two teachers left over the summer and we had just met the new one over the weekend).

Nina Jill

Saturday the 26th Jill took Nina to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, then I was late meeting them at the Lynn House picnic. There wasn’t much food left and we were all hungry, so when Mom wanted us to come over and visit (and fix computers), I took Nina and stopped at Wendy’s while Jill stopped at Smashburger to get us burgers (that and the onion rings hit the spot). Sunday I took Nina and met Dad at the Nationals game. Nina was finally old enough to use the playground and loved it (and we ended going back later, even with a long wait because another kid had an accident inside), but her favorite part was the President’s Race (her only question: “When are they doing that again?”). After dinner I went over to Jammin Java to see the Songwriters Circle: Tribute To Queen with Todd Wright, Luke Brindley and Anthony Fiacco.

Nina

February

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Sunday the 1st I took Nina to Kidz Plaza for a friend’s birthday party. It was a little disconcerting since the last time we were there was for her birthday party, but she got over it quickly. She enjoyed herself at the Jewells’ Super Bowl party, but got a little crazy and we left early. Tuesday I mentioned that it’s hard to convince a 3 year old that Lucky Charms are more than a marshmallow delivery system.

Nina

Saturday the 7th we had lunch at Cheeburger Cheeburger after gymnastics and Nina let us know that when she and BFF Felix have little kids, they’re going to live far away in South America. After a gorgeous day playing outside Sunday, we took Nina to The Old Brogue for an early show by Beth Patterson and she did pretty well (and we wished happy birthday to Bernard). Tuesday I decided that one great thing about being a grownup is getting to pair a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with beer (also Tuesday we got a new microwave after being without one for a week).

Nina

Thursday the 12th I participated in my first live auction, for props from the Coraline movie. Some pieces went for a lot of money, but I managed to get a pencil drawing of the Apartments, artwork with the 26 different faces of Coraline, and the centerpiece: an early design of the apartments’ porch.

porch

Saturday the 14th Mom came over and we went to the Mosaic District for Valentine’s Day, got a seat at the bar at B Side in 10 minutes (our 1st choice), had a yummy dinner (delicious charcuterie, “pig wings”, and fries) as we watched the storm blow through, then a slippery walk over to the Angelika to see Kingsman (great adaption) before an ok drive home. Lake Thoreau had frozen over Friday, but the wind was so strong on Sunday it blew the ice apart (Nina enjoyed her cocoa and a fire in the fireplace). As a Saturday Night Live super geek, Sunday night’s 40th anniversary show was just about perfect. It was a good mix of clips and new sketches with old characters. I was surprised Paul McCartney blew his voice out the night before and Paul Simon didn’t come out with Miley Cyrus to sing his song. The best moment might have been unscripted – Jim Carrey asking Matt Layer on the red carpet where they were hiding Brian Williams.

Nina Kerry

Monday the 16th Nina put on a concert (including songs from Django Jones and Frozen). There was snow on Tuesday and Nina went sledding, then Saturday we got the most snow of the season and that meant another fire in the fireplace and Nina’s first s’mores. Sunday we built a big snowman together (Jill’s mom Sue was down for a visit and was a big help when school was closed).

Monday the 23rd I had to share a link about why record store clerks are pretentious because the record store I owned with my friends Eric, John, and Steve was EXACTLY like that. That night I went to see Neal Morse at the State Theatre because legendary drummer Mike Portnoy was playing with him. A great performance, but disconcerting because there was a group of guys next to me that must have been under 21 because they had Xs on their hands, and therefore not born the first time I saw Mike Portnoy play with Dream Theater at Hammerjacks (I won’t even get into them covering “Jet”, a 41 year old song).

Nina Jill

Tuesday the 24th I was a chaperone as Nina’s class went on a field trip to my old high school, W.T. Woodson, to see the planetarium. It was very hard to keep Nina and her 2 friends quiet, and odd to see the changes at the school. Saturday the 28th was a movie double header. We wanted to finally seeing Jupiter Ascending, but found out Run Lola Run was playing at the Alamo Drafthouse at a late show (I knew Jill would be up for a late showing because she has 2 copies of the soundtrack). We initially thought just dinner beforehand, then decide on a double feature with an early show at the Googleplex. Jupiter Ascending was worth it just for that shot of the spaceship coming up through the ring. Then we had a quick dinner at The Dons’ Wood-Fired Pizza before Run Lola Run (a fantastic movie that still holds up).

Jill Kerry Nina

January

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Wednesday the 1st was quite nice, so we all went out and used the swings in the afternoon. Saturday there was no better wake up than a toddler deciding to turn a quick dog pee into a 10 minute mitten free snow playtime, then we took her to a birthday party for her classmate Abby which was a huge hit (especially the Minnie Mouse ears for all guests). Sunday we introduced Nina to fondue. She wasn’t a huge fan of either the cheese or chocolate, but she enjoyed the variety of food for both. Also, Nina and I had been working on air guitar for several weeks (using a broom and a Swiffer). That night I took it up a notch, introducing her to both AC/DC and the kick.

Nina Jill

Monday the 6th a freezer fire at Safeway stopped Nina and I from fried chicken Monday yet again. We drowned our sorrows in hot dogs and French fries (#firstworldproblems). Tuesday started with an epic meltdown in the car because part of the car seat looked like Nina’s missing Minnie Mouse ears, compounded by being too cold to stay outside, and topped off by failure to find something good to eat. Peanut butter crackers helped calm things down. Later, I thought I smelled poop, and it wasn’t Nina, it was Illa due to a power failure. And when I got back to Nina, it was her. Sigh. It was funny when I scolded Illa with “Illa Frey”, she responded “Daddy Frey”! We were very thankful that week that Nina had aftercare at school, because her school followed the county schools for closing, but still had all day “snow camp” if the county government was open (and it was).

Illa Nina

I thought I could stay up late working on a project on Thursday the 9th. Finished around 2AM, got to bed by 2:30, but I’d get a little sleep. 3AM: “Daddy, daddy!” And she’s got a fever and is sick. At 4:30 Jill took her into her room to rock her since she wouldn’t sleep in our bed, and finally got her to sleep, and we all slept until 9AM. Strep meant Jill stayed home on a freezing, rainy day – lots of snuggles and Caillou playing on a never-ending loop. Later the appetite had not returned, but the attitude had. Saturday I had to tell the universe message received. In addition to a bruised toe, achy knees, and sore shoulders, I had a jammed pinky (nearly the full finger was blue). Operation: Do Nothing Saturday was in full effect. Not much happened Sunday, either, but I watched all four playoff games and the Golden Globes.

Nina

Friday the 17th it was a very late night for the little miss, who was still under the weather and very clingy. Saved me from finishing organizing my paperwork that night, though. Saturday started with a haircut for me and Nina, a new music class at Bach to Rock and lunch at The Weiner’s Circle, and ended with Nina finishing her second movie, Monsters Inc. Sunday I got the afternoon off to go see The Hobbit, do some tech support on Mom’s PC, and stop by Trader Joe’s and Bon Chon on the way home (Jill and Nina went out for a pizza lunch). It was a Cumberbatch/Freeman sandwich day for me, as we watched Sherlock in the evening as well. Monday I had off and Jill didn’t, so I had Nina all day. Kidz Plaza in the morning wore her out good, though at one point I was trapped in the bathroom with a toddler who didn’t want to pee or leave for a good 20 minutes.

Nina

Tuesday the 21st I got to work a half day until Nina’s school closed, then she had her first homemade chicken soup (thanks to a friend) and first cocoa (she was a little more focused on the marshmallows). Little miss “I don’t want to nap” was out in 5 minutes, too. Later Nina was putting her hand inside a plastic bag and pretending to pick up dog poop. I might have a new chore for her. I finally sat down for the first time that day with nothing to do at midnight – too bad it was bedtime. Saturday the 25th we tried Mellow Mushroom after music class – delicious pizza, but afterwards epic meltdown time. Sunday I decided I would back a Kickstarter to get a season full of just drunk Sherlock next time. And I would also pay to get them on the same day as the UK, rather than plopped down in NFL/Grammys crazy busy Sundays.

Nina Kerry

Monday the 27th Jill’s company took over L’Auberge Chez Francois again, and we got to talk to Jacques. Fabulous food, and nice to chat with Robbie and Tandy for a while. Wednesday Nina made me ride on the hood of her car and I felt like Whitesnake should be playing. Thursday we took a little vacation up to Split Rock Resort in the Poconos. We had a big, late lunch at Red Robin on the way up and just cheese and apples for dinner that night. Friday Nina tried her first big sledding hill, skiing for me at Big Boulder while she napped (1st time in 2 years), her first jacuzzi tub (she loved it) and sauna for me, then bedtime and beer – that’s a nice vacation. Our friends the Chambers joined us that night, their daughter and Nina finished watching Cinderella together.

Kerry Jill

December

Monday, January 27th, 2014

The first weekend in December we finished decorating the house and Sunday had our 4th night of eating turkey (mixing it up with soup, sandwiches and enchiladas). If only the Skins could give me the same level of adrenaline rush as The Walking Dead (RIP the ones that aren’t with us).

Nina

Jill and I still haven’t been to minibar, but Wednesday the 4th we went to little brother barmini in DC for excellent snacks (banh mi burger) and fabulous cocktails (Pumpkin Flip and a Manhattan made with cotton candy). Then over to Verizon for the twin guitar attack meets Tchaikovsky that is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Fun night but left before the end – the maids were coming the next day ahead of our party (and Jill and Nina ended up back in DC for lunch with a friend of Jill’s).

Nina

Friday the 6th I got takeout from Moe’s and decided there is no more sharing dip with Nina. She failed to grasp the concept of not double dipping, and there was queso everywhere. Saturday we had only 11 guests for our party, but it was nice to be able to actually spend time with everyone – and Nina loved spending time with her favorite twins. Plus cleanup was much quicker. Also, Speedway Stout is amaze balls when aged 2 years (so smooth). Sunday we had a lovely brunch today with the Norwoods. The girls and Nina played inside, we ate, then we all went out to play in the snow. We even made a tiny snowman. That afternoon, I found out that nothing shows how bad your team is like playing a really good one. And both teams putting in their 2nd string QBs shows how they knew the game was over.

Nina

Monday the 9th it only took an hour to clear off my car and a path through the ice this morning. Roads were fine, and I’m very thankful Nina’s school runs a “snow camp”. That evening, I had things I never expected to happen #367: having an argument with my toddler about who owns the bottle cap I just removed from my beer (and she won). No Fairfax County government closing the next day, so more snow camp for Nina. Thursday the 12th Nina went to school and Jill got a day off, finally seeing A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre. Thanks to early dismissal for her school’s winter break, I had Nina most of the day on Friday the 13th. Achievements unlocked: 3 hour nap, and a poop in the potty (first for me with her). Plus I guess she likes school – there 4 days this week, and when we went out after dinner, she made a beeline for it.

Nina

Nina’s first show was Sesame Street Live Saturday the 14th at the Patriot Center. It was a huge hit, she danced most of the time, and she ate nearly half of a giant tub of popcorn. That night we had a rare non-concert night out thanks to two grandmothers, which meant delicious dinner at locavore restaurant Tavern 64, then Hunger Games 2 (great adaption) at the Alamo Drafthouse (good beer selection, and you can’t beat the rules).

Nina

Wednesday the 18th we again had two grandmothers with us as we went to ZooLights at the National Zoo. It was fun but exhausting. 2 year olds be out of control (especially when they’re running around without mittens and their hands get so cold it’s painful when they warm back up).
The next day, Nina, Jill and her mom visited Meadowlark Botanical Gardens.

Grandmere Nina

The weekend of the 21st and its liquid diet weren’t fun (also known as the 2 days swallowing was like gargling sandpaper), but I thought I was starting to feel normal on Monday (it would actually take another week, think it was tonsillitis). Christmas shopping was still done, although seeing The Hobbit turned out to be a pipe dream (see what I did there). Jill’s mom stayed until Monday morning so we could go out on Sunday night for Todd Wright’s annual “Santa Clauster-f@%!” Christmas song extravaganza (I missed the food, but consoled myself with a Cold Stone shake).

Jill Nina Kerry

My sister and her husband stayed with us Monday-Thursday of Christmas week. Christmas Eve we all went to church and Nina wore her Piglet costume again so she could participate in the children’s Nativity reenactment. On Christmas we had a long, exhausting day filled with lots of food, family, and a failure of toilet training. But a nightcap of eggnog and Doctor Who made things better.

Nina Jill

Friday the 27th Nina was a meat fan, asked for sausage, hot dogs, and bacon and got 2 of the 3, eating 5 sausage links and 2 pieces of bacon. We also seemed to be back on track on potty training, after two lost days that included ending up in just a towel at my mom’s house on Christmas. Saturday Jill’s dad and his wife visited, and I was actually feeling good enough to enjoy our lunch out at Jackson’s and the Flippin’ Pizza takeout for a late dinner after seeing the lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. The last Skins game was horrible – I’m not opposed to Mike Shanahan being fired. But I definitely think Kyle should be let go. A pass play on 3rd and 2? And then running the exact same play on 4th and 2? Aargh. We had another low key New Year’s Eve – Jill worked and we had a late dinner and watched TV until it was almost midnight.

Sharon Nina Tom