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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

September

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

We celebrated Nina’s birthday a day early on Sunday at Lake Fairfax. My dad, mom and sister came, as well as Jill’s mom and a number of kids and their families that Nina is friends with. We grilled dogs and brats, and the kids had a blast running around, blowing bubbles, and riding on the carousel. Later, while Nina napped, I took Dad and his girlfriend Patricia and my sister and her husband out for a cruise around the lake, which was a little more trouble than planned when the motor died. After Nina got up, we opened her gifts (she loved her trike, but she’s a ways away from reaching the pedals).

Nina and Nancy

On Labor Day, Jill and her mom took Nina to Glen Echo Park. Later Jill and I had a late dinner at Nikko Sushi & Hibachi (surf and turf with sushi and steak was quite good), then the next day I was a zombie dad chasing Nina around and producing a truly amazing amount of screaming. Wednesday the 4th was Nina’s first day of school, on a gradual transition schedule that started at one hour the first day. But she had fun, and later had some firsts: walking in the lake, clapping rhythmically to a live version of Girlyman’s “Through To Sunrise”, and adding a vocal solo to “On The Air” from the same show.

Nina

Friday the 6th I instituted a new tradition of daddy daughter date night (as Jill was now working until 11). We started at her favorite Vienna playground, then mac and cheese at Noodles & Co (also the first time I’ve taken her out to eat solo) and finally toddler dance party at Jammin’ Java with the folkgrass sound of Joy Kills Sorrow (and thanks Cover Lay Down for finding them).

Nina

Saturday morning’s musical journey started when Nina said something that sounded like “Iko Iko”, so I played some of the first Dead show I found with one. Then we listened to The Decemberists cover Pink Floyd, but that’s another story. That night Jill and I saw Tig Notaro at the Reston Community Center. She’s wickedly funny, but never raise your hand to speak. My mom had babysit Nina, and the next day I returned the favor by being tech support on her computer. On the way back I picked up some Bon Chon chicken for takeout (still delicious) and saw the surest sign of hipster cred: a Zipcar parked outside.

Nina

The next weekend we went out two nights in a row to fundraising concerts. Nina had no nap on Saturday the 14th (she fell asleep briefly in the car on the way back from Mom’s work picnic), so it was an early bedtime for the babysitter (daughter of a neighbor) that night. We joined the Jewells to watch Eddie From Ohio do a benefit for One Voice at The Hamilton (great show, and we did VIP to see the soundcheck too). Nina had a cold on Sunday, so was a little rougher, but Mom came over to watch her so we knew she’d be ok. That night was a benefit for Americans United and we did VIP again as that included dinner with Dar Williams before her house concert. The only bad part was I’d hit my toe so hard on Nina’s potty trainer the night before I thought I broke it, so I was limping around that night. The X-ray the next morning was negative though, but Nina had one more trick, wouldn’t go to bed until 10:55 that night.

Us and Dar

Those shows helped make a Falcon Ridge fall reunion week, as then Friday the 20th we had the Jewells and Lorna and Dave over for steak and wine before heading over to the Reston Community Center to see We’re About 9 and Red Molly (hard to believe it was their first time playing together). The next morning Nina slept until 9:15 (!!! – must be genetic), then I took her to Cox Farms. It’s like an amusement park for the 10 and under set, so naturally Nina had a blast. Later I went out in the rain and rocked out with some Avett siblings, took a detour into debauchery with the twerkmaster, saw a DJ in the woods, and ended the weekend with vampires (in other words, I went to the Virgin Mobile Freefest at Merriweather Post Pavilion and saw The Avett Brothers, Robin Thicke, Gareth Emery, and Vampire Weekend). The next morning I learned that Jill and Nina played dress up the night before, because Nina tried to put a flowing scarf and shoes on me. I had to explain to her Steven Tyler is the only man alive who can pull off that look.

Nina

Tuesday the 24th Nina picked a musician off my shirt and we practiced saying his name, then listened to his music. She likes dancing to Macca – I think he could really be big. Wednesday we had dinner all from the farmer’s market (corn, tomatoes, beans plus pulled pork and collard greens from Uncle Fred’s) then we finally watched The Avengers (yes, yes, geek shame) before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Very cool, but how has J. August Richards not aged?). Week 3 of Daddy/daughter Fridays went well: we picnicked on Lake Audubon with takeout from Generous George’s (old school).

Nina

Saturday the 28th I went to DC in the morning for a posture workshop (I’d injured my neck through my horrible posture) from Gokhale Method, then stopped in Clarendon for Clarendon Day and had some tasty sausages from Fat Shorty’s. Meanwhile, Jill and Nina went to Let’s Move with Music at Wolf Trap! (Nina loved the dancing and bouncing).

Nina

Monday Nina came thisclose to doing #2 in her potty, but got up at the last minute. In related crap news, a high school “friend” posted a Facebook status about he was sorry about the furlough, but it was worth it to stop Obamacare. I guess he didn’t know or care about the friends of mine that are affected (or the coworkers laid off that day), but I was fed up with his right wingnut screeds, and went after him. But he proved to play as well as his “heroes” in Congress, and decided to block me after we’d gone back and forth several times. Also I was wearing a Neil Gaiman shirt, and since Nina now recognizes “Macca”, decided he was “Macca” too. I tried to explain he was Mr. Neil who wrote that nice Chu book she likes, but I don’t think I was very successful.

Nina Kerry

July

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Jill’s mom was still here at the beginning of the month, and her husband Dave flew down for a couple days. On Wednesday the 3rd, we went to my dad’s on the bay for their annual fireworks. He and Patricia made a big spread for dinner; unfortunately Nina was not a fan of the fireworks, but they started so way past her bedtime she was out before they finished. On the 4th, I grilled hot dogs for lunch, and we had Bojangles fried chicken for dinner that we’d picked up that morning on the way home. Nina was in bed by the time the fireworks began, and I took Dave out on the floating dock on the lake to watch them.

Us, Dad and Patricia

Friday Nina got completely soaked playing with the sprinkler, then her favored dish was a bowl of ketchup and mustard she ate with a fork (I won’t get the chicken hot dogs again). Saturday the 6th was an all day date day thanks to Sue and Dave watching Nina. We slept in, went to Baltimore (briefly dropped in at the Discworld convention but Sir Terry was a last minute cancellation) and had lunch at Wit And Wisdom, then saw Joss Whedon’s great take on Much Ado About Nothing at the Angelika and a late dinner at Matchbox.

Nina

Monday the 8th Nina was eating her grilled ham and cheese sandwich like an Oreo, taking the ham out, eating it, and throwing the rest away. Thursday I was solo on the lawn tonight at Wolf Trap to see Camera Obscura and She And Him, with a perfect picnic meal in between thanks to Kumo Sushi, my new favorite local sushi place. I made it home before a storm hit us hard, but stayed up ’til 3AM while waiting for the lightning and thunder to stop so I could take the dog for walk. The good thing was that I finished the new Neil Gaiman novel. Good stuff.

Nina

Friday the 12th we had a small mess in the kitchen – a good opportunity to teach Nina how to use a dustpan and brush, I thought. Ten minutes later, she’s gotten her first timeout from me and there was an unholy mess that requires a mop. Sigh. Saturday I took Nina to the Lake Anne Ukulele Festival in the morning where she proceeded directly to the fountain and refused to leave. Later, she stayed in with Grandma and we had a fabulous night with delicious food at Mothership (banh mi ftw) and the hilarious Book Of Mormon. But what are we talking and laughing about hours later? That I smacked a strange woman on the ass at intermission (in my defense it was dark, she also had her hair up and had a very similar outfit as Jill). We saw the lady seated after I told Jill what happened; she tapped her on the shoulder and told her that I thought she was her. I don’t know if that made it better or worse.

Saturday the 20th we went to a friend’s housewarming where Nina got to try a tricycle (she loved it, couldn’t reach the pedals though), then that night she had her first BLT. My favorite quote from Jill: “Stop waving that bacon in my face!” The next morning she was a barefoot girl: concrete, asphalt, mulch and grass. I think she knew FRFF was coming. Robert Plant was great Monday (and when he played the Zep songs in their original arrangement it was awesome), but I could have done without the shoe soaking deluge afterwards.

Nina

The best night at Wolf Trap this year started Wednesday the 24th with the tastiest spread I’ve had yet at the Encore Circle, then a short but sweet set from The Lone Bellow. We hung out with Mike Clem and his squeeze while we waited to meet them, then visited with Stuart and Susan during a lackluster set from Justin Townes Earle. A blast your face off finale from Brandi Carlisle (with Gibb Droll) topped off the night, highlighted by a cover of “The Chain”. The next night I wondered if I was a worse father when I let Nina lie in duck poop (so she could splash her hands in the lake) or two days earlier when she tripped and hurt her finger bad enough to need her first band aid.

Nina

Saturday the 27th we tried Zabb, a new Thai place in Manassas (very spicy but good kua kling) then saw Dave Matthews Band for the first time in 4 years (my longest break since I started seeing them 20 years ago). They played a great mix of old and new songs, and the weather was perfect. Classic Nina quotes from Sunday: After a sneeze, Jill says “Bless You” and I say “Gesundheit”. Nina’s got “Bless You”, but I had her sound it out, then I asked her to say it. She said “Bless You”. Also (you should know she’s learning to count): We were all shopping in Safeway, and I picked out some Fruit Loops for her. Nina thought that was a great idea, and got another box. Jill said “No, only one” and Nina shouted out “Two!”, followed by “3, 4, 6”.

Nina

Wednesday the 31st was the start of our summer vacation. We delayed leaving as my neck was killing me the night before, but finally got going late morning, with Nina soothed for a while by getting a plush Elmo – she’s been watching Sesame Street at daycare and is obsessed with Elmo, Abby and Zoe (and already had an Abby). We drove through the state with the lowest highest point while listening to Lowest Highest Point (very meta), then Sonic failed me – usually we eat there, but we did drive in this time. When I opened the bag, my tots had morphed into fries! At least I got my diet cherry limeade. After a 2 hour + break at the nearby Barnes & Noble, we finally got back on the road at 7PM, where Nina promptly fell asleep. For 30 minutes, then wide awake ’til we got to Great Barrington (and calmed on the Taconic State Parkway by many Daniel Tiger videos). She refused to sleep in the pack and play (a first), and fell asleep on the bed between us (then back to the pack and play).

Nina

December

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

When the Kennedy Center Honors were announced in the summer, I acted immediately, calling the Kennedy Center that day. But all I could do was leave a message, which eventually resulted in a letter in November letting me know that tickets were sold out, but if I sent my credit card info, I could get on the waiting list. I had a feeling we might make it, and I called them a couple days earlier to ask if I should get a babysitter for the evening (and was told I’d probably need one, but no promises).

Nina

Still, it was a bit of a shock to get the call at noon on December 1st, since the show was the next evening. But Jill was a trouper and scored a gown in a couple hours (we even had lunch out at Don Churro, until Nina got fed up with waiting for the food, and we fed her there and got ours to go), and got her hair and nails done on Sunday. We had dinner at RIS (tasty charcuterie and cocktails), then past security and into the show.

Fancy dress

The main reason I wanted to go was Led Zeppelin being inducted (the inductees never perform, but I love watching the tributes as well as the chance that they might break the rules). But the whole ceremony was fun – Tina Fey inducting David Letterman and Jeff Beck featured in a star studded lineup of bluesmen saluting Buddy Guy (Bonnie Raitt, Tracy Chapman, Jimmie Vaughn, and Gary Clark, Jr.). Nice to see two ex-Yardbirds in the same place. But the Zep tribute was amazing. Foo Fighters were up first doing “Black Dog” and “Rock And Roll” with Taylor on vox and Dave on drums. I thought it was a bad idea to follow the Foo Fighters with Kid Rock and Lenny Kravitz, but they proved worthy with their takes on “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”, “Ramble On”, and “Whole Lotta Love”, then they finished with Ann & Nancy Wilson (of Heart) with Jason Bonham, brass & string sections & a choir performing “Stairway To Heaven”. And we never saw the president or the honorees – we were seated directly above them in the upper balcony.

Jill

I enjoyed putting up the Christmas decorations on the 5th when it was so warm outside I could wear a t-shirt. Monday the 10th Jill took Nina to Meadowlark Gardens to see the Christmas lights, then Wednesday the 12th daycare was closed and I stayed home with Nina. We went to Chibi’s Indoor Playground where she loves to play and run around, but not enough because 3 of 5 diaper changes that day I thought her next move was going to be dancing on the ceiling (ooh, what a feeling). I’m so glad I got the straitjacket for the changing table. After her bath, Nina crouches down in the tub. With her hair slicked back, she reminds me of Gollum. I wondered if it’s going too far to teach her to say “My precious”?

Nina

Saturday the 15th I took Nina to see Robbie Schaefer do a kids show at Jammin’ Java in the morning (as well as a visit to her favorite local playground) before we hosted our annual holiday party that afternoon/evening – as always a nice gathering of friends from all over.

Colors

Poor Nina got her first stomach flu on Monday the 17th. You know something’s wrong when your normally active child just wants to lay on the floor. Bad for us as we’d planned on both taking the next day off to get ready for vacation, but we managed ok (at least I got out to get us hot dogs and Korean tacos from the food trucks in Tysons for lunch).

Our trip north started without incident, until we made our normal stop at the Sonic in Edison, New Jersey. Jill wasn’t feeling well, and wanted some soup at the Panera next door. We went to the nearby Barnes and Noble with the giant children’s section and were feeding Nina her breakfast when she threw it all up – all over Jill. We cleaned everything up and they changed, but it was a bit rougher after that.

We got surrounded by police cars on the Garden State Parkway. Turns out it was the #cardsfornathan caravan. But the worst was ahead of us. We stopped in Danbury, CT at the strip mall we’d found in July, and we tried to find something for Nina to keep down, but Jill was feeling horrible. We went to get gas on the way out, but they had nowhere to change Nina. So I went to change her in the car, but Jill wanted to move it first (and go inside and vomit), but in her hurry, drove away with the gas hose still in her tank. So we found out how much they charge you when you drive away from the gas pump (full replacement cost – $70 – charged to your card if they can’t fix it). We made it to Holyoke where thank goodness Sue and Dave were around to watch Nina while we collapsed – naturally the stomach flu didn’t hit me until we got there.

By Thursday afternoon I was feeling better and after Christmas shopping made it over to Northampton for a Stone Brewing tasting at Provisions (picked up their 12-12-12 beer as well as some Oatmeal Sriracha popcorn). I got takeout from Taipei & Tokyo on the way back – pretty good. The next day we took Nina to the Holyoke Children’s Museum where she had a great time. That night I went out solo to Northampton for a disappointing meal at Mosaic Cafe, decent beer at Packards, and an amazing show by Winterpills at The Parlor Room at Signature Sounds.

Nina

Saturday we visited Jill’s Meme and Pepe for lunch and later that day I finally saw The Hobbit (24fps, 3D) with my nephew Jake. Very nicely done, wouldn’t mind seeing 48fps though. I also posted the pictures from our trip to Hobbiton now that the embargo on photos of it is lifted. Sunday the 23rd I went to Pickle’s Pub to hope for a Skins win, and Dallas & NY losses – was that too much to ask? 3 out of 3, but weird watching the game in a bar with the sound down (Pats crowd). Later that night Christmas came early for me, Jill gave me a night out in Northampton: dinner at Eclipse, hot tub and massages at East Heaven, and drinks and a full night’s sleep at Hotel Northampton (Sue’s gift to me was watching Nina for the night).

Monday the 24th we went to Jill’s cousin and her sister Melissa’s house for Christmas Eve get togethers, then Tuesday morning I got up with Nina at 7 for her first White Christmas. My mom and sister came to visit as well as all of Jill’s family for a big dinner, and many presents were opened.

Christmas

The trip back on Boxing Day was a cakewalk compared to the trip up, but rainy for the last part. My feet got so wet unloading the car during the rain thanks to our downward sloping parking lot I couldn’t feel my big toes when I came in. Shower was a must after that.

Saturday the 29th we were trying to start good habits before the next year. We had gotten the basement and bar cleaned up before our party, and that day tackled the pantry and downstairs closet. Sunday we did the rest of the kitchen and the bedroom. Nina tried toast that morning – verdict of the toast toppings:
3) Honey: not a hit.
2) Blackberry jam: good, licked most of it off half an English muffin (she was still not sure about the muffin).
1) Cinnamon Sugar: very popular, ate a whole piece of toast (including crusts).

During her nap I took in the latest Bond movie with my dad (at Angelika, my favorite new theatre with draft beer, artisnal popcorn & 3 Coke Freestyle machines), then Nina and Jill met us over at my mom’s house for Nina’s 4th Christmas (4th gift opening since my dad hadn’t made it to Massachusetts) and an amazing Skins win to get into the playoffs (over Dallas, on the back of Alfred Morris).

Nina\

We had a mostly quiet evening at home on New Year’s Eve as Jill worked late. I made a fire in the kitchen and we ate appetizers, happy that the fireworks outside didn’t wake up Nina.

Fire

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Soundtrack

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

The classic movie is out in a shiny nice Blu-ray, but can you buy the soundtrack anywhere? No. And surprisingly enough, you still can’t buy all the songs that comprise it. So first is a widget you can listen to and buy the songs available through Amazon, then I’ve created links to each song, with an option to purchase it at Amazon (or iTunes) if it’s possible, and a link to the song directly if it’s not (a number of files are hosted at Sound Bites).

Love Missile F1-11 – Sigue Sigue Sputnik
I Dream of Jeannie: Theme From I Dream of Jeannie
Oh Yeah – Yello
Beat City – The Flowerpot Men
Bad – Big Audio Dynamite
Main Theme from Star Wars (Instrumental)
Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want (instrumental) – The Dream Academy
Danke Schoen – Wayne Newton
Twist and Shout – The Beatles
Radio People – Zapp
I’m Afraid – Blue Room
Taking The Day Off – General Public
The Edge of Forever – The Dream Academy
March of the Swivelheads – The (English) Beat
Oh Yeah (Dance Mix) – Yello

However, if you’re a purist (like me), you want to have the whole thing with uncompressed audio. Then it gets a little trickier.

Two of the songs (Beat City and I’m Afraid) have never received a digital release (the 7″ was given away at screenings). But I did find an archived radio show where the host ripped those songs.

Here’s links to the other songs at Amazon (each on its own CD, I’m afraid):
Love Missile F1-11 – Sigue Sigue Sputnik
I Dream of Jeannie: Theme From I Dream of Jeannie
Oh Yeah – Yello
Bad – Big Audio Dynamite
Main Theme from Star Wars (Instrumental)
Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want (instrumental) – The Dream Academy
Danke Schoen – Wayne Newton
Twist and Shout – The Beatles
Radio People – Zapp
Taking The Day Off – General Public
The Edge of Forever – The Dream Academy
March of the Swivelheads – The (English) Beat
Oh Yeah (Dance Mix) – Yello

Bonus: A movie sounds page.

August

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Saturday the 4th we walked over to the Lakeside Inn for an early dinner (not bad). Nina had been interested in walking for a while. She’d taken a couple steps last month; that day she took 7 steps (and 6 steps twice). At Falcon Ridge we’d learned she liked bubbles, so we bought a bubble machine. We used it on Sunday and it was a big hit. Feeding her solid food is interesting, she’s very picky and ofter throws it (and sippy cups on the floor). She loves cheese though – so much, we’ve started calling her Gromit.

Nina

The next week was busy for me including some late nights working (and take out from Mayuri on the 8th). Saturday the 11th we had a nice afternoon out: Redskins practice, followed by a late lunch at Lost Rhino. The next night was date night: a tasty sushi dinner at Ariake, then The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX. I don’t think I care about the movie being in nearly as much as I like the no ads, no trailers, and the movie starting right on time.

Nina Cooley

Tuesday the 14th Nina officially became a walker, starting to prefer walking to crawling. She also joined the clean plate club (although some was on the floor). She had chicken, pasta, green beans and applesauce (the previous night she tried duck, loved it). Wednesday Gus and Emily joined us again for a three day visit, Thursday I joined everyone for lunch at Wegman’s and Friday we had an early dinner at Buffalo Wing Factory. Saturday the 18th she closed the door on me for the first time. I thought I’d have to wait ten years for that.

Nina

Sunday the 19th we got our second set of houseguests in a week, Seth and his new wife Michelle, visiting from Australia. They made fajitas for us Tuesday, and Wednesday night we finally celebrated Jill’s birthday in style at Rogue 24 in DC for a fabulous dinner of (very) small plates (we both even liked the frog legs). Unfortunately my wedding ring went AWOL after that night.

Saturday the 25th I made bacon for breakfast and Nina had some. Now we have a new perfect food convert. Sunday was my day to sleep in, and I slept ’til 10:30 – so late Nina was already taking her morning nap and I could jump straight in the shower (just like old times). That afternoon we had a late lunch at Buffalo Wing Factory – or tried to. Slow delivery, wrong food, extra charges, bring everything out at once – we ate our salads while Nina ate her lunch, then took the sandwiches home and ate them while she napped (don’t know why it was such a fail, the previous week it was fine). That evening Dave hosted a game night last night (and grilled burgers) and we (with Rob and Joshua) played Fiasco.

Nina

March

Monday, April 30th, 2012

On the 1st, Sue had another photo session with Nina. She’s a ham.

Nina

That Saturday the 3rd, Jill and I had a lovely brunch with at Harth (love their bacon jam), then Jill went out with Sue for afternoon tea. Sunday Jill made homemade brown sugar bacon biscuits for dinner, which paired nicely with a Founders’ Breakfast Stout. Saturday the 10th Nina had an afternoon outing to MOM’s Organic Market and Lost Rhino Brewery. I got my growler filled at Lost Rhino and a Spiedie for lunch from the BadaBing food truck (conveniently parked next to Lost Rhino).

Nina

On Saturday the 17th, Jill’s dad and his wife came down for the weekend. Nina and I started our weekly Artsplay classes, then right back home for her nap. The weather was lovely and we all took a walk over to lunch at Cafesano, then I made the classic Irish dinner of corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes. Nina slept through the night and everyone was well rested for a trip into DC to see the cherry blossoms (I’d never actually walked around the Tidal Basin while they were blooming before). Nina hit some more milestones later: sitting up on her own and going out on the water for the first time.

Cherry blossoms

The next week Nina had her first cold and we caught it too. She slept a lot – 4 hours on the 24th, but then screaming and refusing to nap on the 25th. Thursday the 28th I headed to DC with James, a coworker. We grabbed pizza at District of Pi, then headed over to Verizon Center to catch Van Halen (with an opening set by Kool & The Gang). VH was mighty as usual – Eddie hasn’t lost a step. On the way home I had to come to a dead stop on Wiehle to let 6 deer cross the road.

Nina

Thursday the 29th I met Nina and Jill for lunch at Jason’s Deli in Fair Lakes (nice salad bar and extras). Saturday the 31st Jill took a lot of nice pictures of Nina across the street, then my mom came over to babysit. We headed over to Sterling to see the superb adaption of The Hunger Games (and got there so early the theater was empty), then had dinner at Stone’s Cove (excellent small plates).

Nina

August

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

On Tuesday August 2nd, my coworkers got Jill to come in and surprised me with a baby shower. It was such a surprise I didn’t even go at first – I was told it was a meeting, and I was finishing my lunch. I caught plenty of flack for that, but it was nice, the cake was good and they got us a pack and play and a lot of nice toys.

Wednesday my company had tickets for Taylor Swift at Verizon, so I took one (Jill said she was done with DC for a while). I headed down early and had dinner at Chop’t – had the El Diablo Cobb salad, nice and spicey. The show was quite a spectacle, more show than concert at points, but pretty good. And I never mind a good Tori Amos cover:

Saturday the 6th I did a bit of home improvement, then we were planning on going out for dinner and a concert. The Korean BBQ at Honey Pig was good. But Jon Carroll in Leesburg was a wash out and we headed home. Sunday we did the last of the baby shopping by getting everything left on our registry at Great Beginning, then had time to make a big dinner: pork marinated with orange and worcestershire sauce, black beans with green onions, cole slaw and corn on the cob. Plus fresh blueberry pie for dessert, all homemade (except the pie crust).

Tuesday the 9th I had been planning on seeing the Steve Miller Band all summer, already had a lawn ticket. But the weather was perfect and Jill decided she was feeling good, so she got us subs from Santini’s and chopped veggies and fruit for dinner. We upgraded to seats in the Loge and had a fun time – nice to knock what’s likely the final band off my summer concert bucket list.

Friday the 12th I went to see Drivin N Cryin at Iota. First time seeing them in 16 years (though I’d seen the singer solo since), and they rocked hard, played all the songs I wanted to hear.

Drivin N Cryin

We had dinner at Don Pablo’s Saturday – I had a craving and a coupon and it was our last chance to have queso without splitting it 3 ways. And it’s been a long time since I had El Matador – a long time favorite platter.

Sunday the 14th Jill’s mom and her sister Melissa came down (and brought us Sonic diet cherry limeades). Jill’s initial due date was the next day, so they wanted to be on hand. Jill’s last day of work was the 12th, so Melissa and her were basically on vacation. Monday we ran over to Dairy Queen for dessert after dinner, Tuesday we got takeout from Lakeside Asia Cafe and Wednesday we got ribs from Uncle Fred’s BBQ Smoke Shack after taking in a matinee of “Bridesmaids” (funny, but the first floor theaters in Reston aren’t well run).

Saturday the 20th Jill’s mom took Melissa to BWI for her flight home (she could only come down for a week, a little sad that the baby hadn’t arrived before she left). In the evening we were invited over to the Larsens along with the Hreczucks and the Norwoods. Lotsa kids, good food (very tasty smoked turkey) and fun, but we had to call it an early night.

Tuesday the 23rd we (along with everyone else on the East Coast) experienced Virginia’s strongest earthquake in 100 years, one of 5/8 magnitude. Jill and her mom were at home, I was at work and my building swayed before it stopped, but everyone was ok and no apparent damage to our house.

The next day my mom was off and wanted to get together for a late lunch, so we all met up at Reston Town Center and settled on Jackson’s. Scrumptious rolls (as usual), delicious lobster rolls, good beer, fun times.

Saturday the 27th we braced for Hurricane Irene. We weren’t too concerned as we were predicted to be just on the edge of the affected area, but Mother Nature can be unpredictable, so we still stocked up on water and batteries. The biggest project I had to tackle was dig a trench for one of the downspouts in back to stop the water from coming back towards the house – I noticed after the first band of rain it was still filling up, so i had to go expand it. The night was pretty uneventful and the next day was really nice.

No baby yet, even though she’s late, but it hasn’t been too bad. Jill’s been relaxing, and the weekends have been fun, sitting around reading, watching TV, going out on the dock and eating good meals with her and her mom.

July

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Friday, July 1st we went out for Jill’s birthday to Hooked (where the sushi was still good – everything else, meh), then went to Friendly’s for ice cream. The next day I went to see Beth Patterson at a house concert in Maryland. She was funny as usual, and a lot more blue then her usual shows at the Old Brogue (which I enjoyed).

Sunday we took Illa over to my Dad’s house in Chesapeake Beach, where he and Patricia hosted us. We had lunch, then hung out on his deck for most of the day. His neighbor had a party that night, and invited us over for some good pulled pork and great grilled wings. Later on, we went out into the rain that had started around dark to watch the fireworks from Dad’s dock.

The next morning was July 4th, which both of us had off, but we didn’t sleep in. We headed home after breakfast, and had plenty of chores to keep us occupied until it got dark, and folks started setting fireworks off. This was the first 4th we’ve had our floating dock, and it was fun to see the fireworks going off on and around Lake Thoreau.

I didn’t take pictures, but check these out from last year.

On Friday the 8th, I got out of work early to attend a childbirth class with Jill that the OB/GYN offered. I thought it would go quicker with only one other person, but we ran long. That was what I feared since we were about to head west on 66 during rush hour, but somehow the storm that happened during our class and accidents prior to where we got on 66 combined for fairly light traffic, and we got to Luray, VA a little early.

We had dinner at Rancho Viejo, which unfortunately served Jill’s dinner cold, earning a thumbs down from her. Too bad, as we both enjoyed the salsa and my carnitas dinner was awesome. We finally got to Piney Hill Bed & Breakfast around dark, and settled in.

Our innkeepers were Wiley & Hank, and they served us a quiche and amazing cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We weren’t in a rush, so checked out the place in daylight, then read on the porch for a couple hours.

Piney Hill porch

I’d made everything that day a surprise for Jill, so first we headed west on 211, then north on Route 11. My first thought in the area was Route 11 Potato Chips, and while the factory isn’t the most impressive thing on Earth, it’s always neat to see what you’re going to eat, plus you could sample any of their chips. Also, I’d managed to route us through the only covered bridge I’ve seen outside of New England.

We had lunch at Southern Kitchen in New Market, splitting a fried chicken platter. Not as great as the last time we road tripped for chicken, but the best in the area. After lunch we returned to Luray for some shopping.

After we rested for a bit, we headed over the mountains for dinner to Washington, VA, but not the fanciest place there. This time we went to The Blue Rock Inn, and it was just elegant enough. Jill enjoyed her fettuccini, and I really liked my lamb – wasn’t the least surprised when I found it was from the farm that delivers mine. We elected not to have dessert as there wasn’t something on the menu we loved, plus our innkeepers had made us one in the afternoon we hadn’t had room for, and it was very good.

us

The next morning we had French Toast for breakfast, then headed back, stopping in Front Royal for cheap gas and cider donuts. It was Jill’s birthday present, but it was a nice and relaxing weekend for both of us.

That night we went over to my Mom’s for dinner with Dad, as we celebrated Father’s Day and Mom’s and Jill’s birthdays. We had grilled chicken and ice cream, and chatted with Sharon on the phone.

Friday the 15th we headed over to Tysons Corner for dinner at Da Domenico Ristorante for a nice dinner, then attended our first show at the 1st Stage Theatre for the Michael Clem Trio, a fun show (punctuated by free beer).

The next day we were back in Tysons at the mall to see the final Harry Potter movie (I’d wanted to see it at Udvar-Hazy like we’d seen the last several, but when tickets went on sale they couldn’t confirm they would be showing it). The 3D was decent, and the film itself was a great conclusion to the series. We had to hurry home and take Illa out before going out to Countryside for Janice’s surprise birthday party. We had a good time (and excellent food thanks to her brother), but couldn’t stay out all night.

Dad came over on the morning of Friday the 22nd, and I dropped him at Udvar-Hazy for the day. I picked him up after work and we shopped at Whole Foods, where I picked up fried chicken and a summer salad pack for dinner (I just had to cook the green beans).

For the first time since we started going in 2003, we didn’t go to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival for obvious reasons (and the heat this year would only have made things worse). It hit triple digits around here on multiple days, but we mostly stayed indoors. Except on Saturday the 23rd, when Dad and I went out to see the 150th Anniversary Commemoration Battle of Bull Run Civil War Reenactment, and we got plenty of warmth, even though we were headed home by noon.

Dad

We had prepared with lots of water, ice wrapped bandanas, sunscreen and a mister, so we were mostly able to enjoy the reenactment. And it was pretty impressive – while they didn’t hit the 30,000 in the original, seeing 8,000 folks fighting is quite a scene. My favorite picture is below, but there are lots more here.

Civil War Cannon

That night (after naps all around), we went to see Tim Minchin at the Warner. A musical comedian with elements of George Carlin and Eddie Izzard, I really liked him while Jill found him part funny and part offensive.

Friday the 29th I joined the Jewells for Lloyd Dobler Effect at Friday Night Live!. It was beastly hot, but I like those guys and it was only the second time I’ve made it out this year (although I’m not a big fan of the cover bands they usually book).

Saturday the 30th we went to Mad Fox for lunch, and found we should have gotten the pizza earlier – it’s really good (and the beer is still great). That night I headed up to Frederick and the 2nd Outlaw Jam. A biker themed festival was not my favorite thing in the world, but I wanted to see Mötley Crüe (especially since the original four are still there and kicking). I skipped Poison, but did see some of Shooter Jennings before getting in position for the Crüe. And they did not disappoint – a night full of classics.

Crue

We closed out the month with a good house cleaning, then hosted the Jewells for dinner (they brought pork loin and a wicked cocktail, I made slaw, corn on the cob and fruit salad). Later we went out on the lake on the dock, then we had Jill’s peach cobbler when we got back. A nice, quiet evening with friends – may be the last of those for a while.