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Archive for the 'Travel' Category


Friday, August 26th, 2016

Friday the 1st was Jill’s birthday. She had the day off (after our rugs were cleaned), but Nina and I weren’t so we got takeout for dinner. The next day she had some of her spinners over to spin in the afternoon while I took Nina to her first piano lesson, then Nina and I went to Jiffy Lube Live to see summer concert #13: The Doobie Brothers and Journey. I wanted to wait for a Steve Perry reunion, but 2016 has been a cruel one to musicians. We didn’t stay too long, and had to get ice cream again, of course.


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

Ava Nina

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

Ava Kerry Nina Jill

Thursday the 7th we went to Wolf Trap for summer concert #14 and watched Melissa Etheridge, then everyone else left as Jill’s had to be up at 6 and Nina was getting cranky. I wanted to stay to hear Pat Benatar do “We Belong”, written by Lowen & Navarro. Lowen & Navarro were one of my buddy Stuart’s favorite bands, and I knew he was very ill – it wasn’t until the next morning came that I found he’d passed away that night. A sad day, but very nice to have Facebook for pictures, videos, and stories.

Kerry Stuart

Saturday the 9th we went to Leesburg and got takeout from Señor Ramon Taqueria, then saw Todd Wright at Acoustic on the Green for summer concert #15. A perfect summer evening for a picnic and concert, and Nina loves it when he brings his daughter up to sing.

Nina Kerry

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


Saturday afternoon Nina played Pokémon Go for the first time with me while we walked Illa. She liked designing her character, but wasn’t that much into the gameplay after catching one. She still had energy after her usual crazy weekend day for a performance at bed time (original songs plus a bonus cover or two). Sunday Jill took Nina to a birthday party where she got stung twice by wasps while playing outside – her first stings. Later I went out solo for summer concerts #16&#17: a doubleheader. I don’t mind North Mississippi Allstars, but I love the power pop of Air Traffic Controller, so I headed to Jammin’ Java first to see them, got the Angus Pastrami from Chase the Submarine, then went over to Wolf Trap to catch the rest of Los Lobos and finally see the amazing Tedeschi Trucks Band (I’ve seen them both before, but not the product of their musical marriage).

Air Traffic Controller

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


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

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

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

Bridget Robin Ashley Jill

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



Friday, May 13th, 2016

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

Heather Nova

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

Mary Nancy David Kerry

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


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

David Gilmour

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

David Gilmour

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

Nightly Show

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

David Gilmour

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


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


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


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


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

Nancy Tom David

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

Zakk Wylde

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


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


Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

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


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

Talking Dead

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

Nina Mike Finn

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

Nina Trish

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


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


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


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



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


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.


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?”)


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.


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.


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:
Me: It’s really snowing hard at home.
Nina: I want to see the snow.

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.

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.


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.



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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Saturday the 1st we were camping at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Nina had her hair braided by Patty and did somersaults on a hammock with her new friend Eleanor. Patty had a copy of The Monster Book of Monsters and Nina delighted in terrorizing Shantytowne with it. In the afternoon Jill took Nina to the Children’s tent while I went to the Workshop Stage to see The Duhks with Ray Bonneville & Andrew & Noah, and Nina and Jill came over in the middle. Later I returned for The Slambovian Circus Of Dreams and The Duhks and Stuart and Chris joined me.

In the late afternoon we had our family picture followed by the first ever Shantytowne Stage. Seth was up first (bringing Stuart and Bill up to accompany him), then Bill (with Tassy and Seth) and Olivia with Stuart. We missed the start of We’re About 9 as it was Nina’s shower time (we finally used the solar shower we brought to our second FRFF) but did catch some of them, along with Cliff as we got dinner ready.


Sunday morning we packed up our tent and left, stopping for lunch at the very crowded first rest stop in MA. We were soon at the Brady’s, and Nina got to play with Ava all day including the pool, much to her delight (I played tech support guy all day – not as fun). Monday we spent most of the day driving home (diverted through PA as NJ was bad again, at least we finally stopped at a Sonic). I took Tuesday off as well and picked up Illa and made good progress and cleaning up the office.

Jill Nina

Saturday the 8th Jill had a yoga class and I took Nina to the reopened Reston Farm Market & Country Store, and now she loves shopping, since it has a moon bounce and slide, a train, and a potbellied pig named Foxy Cleopatra (we also bought a pile of fruit and vegetables). Sunday Jill brought Nina to the yarn store and a playground nearby.

Saturday the 15th Jill’s sister Robin and her husband Mike drove down to stay with us a couple days and bring back a bunch of our baby stuff as she’s pregnant (and in a weird coincidence my sister Sharon is also due just days later). We went to Cafesano for lunch and I grilled steaks for dinner. Sunday they went with Jill and Nina to the pool and the Reston Farm Market and we went out on the boat later after getting Hunan East delivered (decent food, and I like that they offer sushi).

Mike Robin

Tuesday the 18th I had jury duty, but it was uneventful as I never got called, ate at Social Burger for lunch and worked from home the rest of the day. Thursday Nina was happy she could still fit in her baby saucer. That evening’s double rainbow finally brought relief from steady heat. Good timing as we took Nina to Wolf Trap the next night for Disney in Concert with Wolf Trap Orchestra (a long day for me since there was no camp, Mom helped for a couple hours). She liked our picnic and her first visit to the Wolf Trap stage as part of the princess parade, and we had to literally drag her away during the last song. Saturday Jill took Nina to the pool and Small Change Consignments. The wonderful weather continued on Sunday as I took Nina back to Wolf Trap in the afternoon and we met up with Dad and Patricia to see the Beach Boys. Nina wasn’t totally in the mood (wanted to color in the shade) until the music started and dozens of beach balls flew through the air and she loved picking them up and throwing them.

Patricia Dad

Friday the 28th we had a plumber come to check the hot water heater and determine it was a goner. In order to save some money the next day we got to Dulles a new way, caught the 551 on South Lakes and switched to the Silver Line Express at the Metro station. We were surprised to see Janice in the security line, and got to our gate early enough to get some lunch (Chef Geoff’s for me, Au Bon Pain for the girls). We arrived in Boston at 2PM, and decided to take their Silver Line before transferring over to the Orange Line and getting off at Green St. where my sister lives with her husband Tom. They cooked steaks for us and Nina played with their cat, Izzy.

Sunday we got up early to make it to the 9AM ferry to Provincetown. 90 minutes later, we were there and did some shopping at Cuffy’s before the Cannons arrived. We all had lunch at Patio (and I had my first lobster roll). We’d left our bags at the Chamber of Commerce, and after we picked them up took the shuttle to the Cape Colony Inn. Our room was ready, so we all changed there and walked several blocks to the nearest beach. After we cleaned up, we walked right back to the beach as Fanizzi’s was right there and we had a nice dinner (this time a seafood alfredo for me).

Jill Nina

Monday the 31st we got smart and took turns with the Cannons’ car to get to Herring Cove Beach. The girls had a lot of fun, but the tide started to come in and it was apparent there wouldn’t be much beach left soon. Chris and I picked up lunch from The Purple Feather – ok sandwiches (my lobster panini was my least favorite meal in P-Town, plus they got an order wrong). Jess and Jill went shopping after lunch and Chris and I took the girls to the hotel pool. We drove into the center of town later, and after candy shopping had dinner at Burger Queen (good clam roll, and they made a huge off-the-menu quesadilla for Nina she scarfed down). The Purple Feather redeemed themselves with gelato for the girls and excellent gelato drinks for the adults.

Nina Cannons


Monday, April 27th, 2015

On Thursday the 5th didn’t get much work done in the morning as it was a snow day (Jill made it to work), but I shoveled twice, made a big breakfast, and entertained a 3 year old and dog with a cone on his head (Illa had an eye infection). I was so happy mother-in-law Sue was with us as I did get some work in later.


Sunday the 8th Jill and Nina drove home with Sue as Jill’s youngest nephew was having surgery and she volunteered to be a surrogate mom to the other 3 while their parents were in Boston. It was a very long week for everyone, but lots of fun parts too (they visited the New England Aquarium and Nina tried rollerskating). I had a busy week at work without much time for play, plus some stomach troubles (which I did not help by getting Bon Chon takeout Thursday night).


I picked Jill and Nina up the morning of Saturday the 14th at BWI. The second best thing about the weekend (besides getting them home) was watching the wind completely demolish the ice on the lake Sunday. The third best thing was a corned beef and cabbage dinner with my mom (because who has time for that on a Tuesday?).


Thursday the 19th we saw The Pine Hill Project (Lucy Kaplansky & Richard Shindell) at the Barns at Wolf Trap. They did most of their new excellent album together, including incredible covers of U2’s “Sweetest Thing” and Dave Carter’s “Farewell To Saint Dolores” with master musician Larry Campbell. Friday I didn’t care if the stuff falling from the sky was snow, sleet, or a monstrous hybrid of howling monkeys and killer bees as long as school was not delayed and it didn’t transform other drivers into idiots.


Saturday the 21st we tried a new park (Tuckahoe Park) which Nina loved, then had lunch at the Heavy Seas Alehouse in Rosslyn (Nina liked her burger and really liked watching TV while she ate). Sunday afternoon we met up with the Norwoods at Frying Pan Farm Park to see the animals and ride the carousel, then they came over to our house for Mexican for dinner.

Nina Norwoods

Monday the 23rd Nina had her 2nd ballet recital (Jill was able to go to this one) and Tuesday started swim class (Jill took her to her gym). Thursday Jill and I had a fun dinner at Equinox (I almost never get pasta, but it was delicious) and saw the cast of Bob’s Burgers live at the Warner Theatre. Even better was Nina waking up and singing “you’re the bestest daddy in the world” the next morning. I didn’t ask her if she changed her mind post no time to play tantrum later.


Monday the 30th we had a scary experience as Nina had trouble breathing, and we ended up in the emergency room later that day. We now know it was allergy-induced asthma, but it was a hard week for her and us (I insisted Jill go out Tuesday to see The Breakfast Club by herself as she needed a break (and I’d bought tix weeks earlier).



Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Monday December 3rd I went to Nina’s ballet “recital” (one dance to “Let It Go”), then that night she started working blue:
Let it go,
let it go,
poop in your pants



Saturday the 6th the best thing about my 20th Dar Williams show was all the songs I hadn’t heard live before, thanks to her playing The Honesty Room straight through (with 2 accompianists and only 4 other songs in the set). Plus we got to tell her how weird it was seeing her play “Iowa” without a hill full of lights (and that Chris Chin was sorry he couldn’t make it, but she already knew that). And we finally got frickles again thanks to the Del Ray Pizzeria (who also makes a mean burger). Sunday Nina had a great time at Kidz Plaza for Olivia G.’s birthday party.

Jill Dar Kerry

Tuesday the 9th Jill joined Nina’s class for their annual trip to Discovery Theatre in D.C. for the play “Season of Lights.” That night was my last concert of the year as I snuck away to Jammin’ Java between dinner time and bedtime to see Winterpills. Their new covers CD is good, as are the new songs they debuted. And a brand new thing happened as they were the first concert I saw in 2014 as well. Thursday morning Nina made up new verses to “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”:
Mosquito, Mosquito, what do you see?
I see a Blackbird looking at me.


Saturday the 13th was our annual holiday party. Nina had a small cold and cough (but not enough to keep her running around like a maniac at gymnastics earlier) and 7 kids showed up, she had a blast. Wednesday morning Nina wanted toast, then a biscuit, then more toast. On my way back from making the 2nd piece of toast, I noticed tiny little bite marks on the stick of butter. She told me she was hungry. #mydaughterisabutterfiend


Nina loves Red Light/Green Light and sometimes we play it in the car. We came up with Purple Light, which means we can dance at long lights. Now Nina likes to call for both Green Light and Purple Light as we walk to school. Luckily we don’t see many people on the path in the morning (like Friday morning).


Saturday the 20th we left for Christmas vacation. The trip north was long, but when we decided to stop for pizza in New Haven, we went to Pepe’s. Good decision (and there’s a playground a block away). Only the 2nd time we’ve come up through New York City in all the years we’ve been coming up.


It was an exhausting yet fun week, with all of us gone through various states of sickness – Nina to the doctor on Monday, and Jill to the ER on Christmas Eve (she was OK, just sinusitis that spread to the ear and eye). Sunday we were at Jill’s dad’s for lunch and Christmas we were at the Brady’s for dinner, and the Cannons came out to visit on Monday. Nina was especially excited to spend time with Ava, her youngest cousin.


We managed to extend our streak of holiday eves spent in the ER to 2 when Nina had an allergic reaction on New Year’s Eve (stoopid Breyers). But she was thankfully ok.


Friday, November 21st, 2014

Monday the 1st I never knew what I was going to get after bathtime. That night we were the Neverland pirates looking for gold doubloons, while the night before Nina performed a concert and she took requests (I wanted to hear “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt”).


Saturday it was too bad emmet swimming didn’t play “You’re So Pretty”, because it would have been the perfect pairing of Fairfax songs with “Tank Farm Free” by opener Smartbomb at the State Theatre. Nice sets by both bands (loved the piano outro on “Motorway” and the addition of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” during “So Lonely”). Sunday we took Nina to the Fall For Fairfax where she had a fun time seeing animals and playing. Later I knew it was gonna get loud in the Frey household at Christmas because I strung my first guitar (pale pink).

emmet swimming

Monday the 6th Nina had her first field trip to Ballentine Farm to see animals and pumpkins. Wednesday Nina and I had an argument over whether socks and pants were necessary to go to school. I won it by having her go outside in nothing but a shirt to see how cold it was. I think I’m definitely in the running for parent of the year. Also, we think we know why she’s sleeping so late – she’s grown almost an inch and a half in a little over a month since her birthday. At this rate she’ll be taller than Steve Curtis.

Jill Nina

Saturday the 11th we flew up to Hartford where Dave picked us up. Robin and Mike had been convinced to have a party celebrating their wedding the following day, and Jill wanted to help get ready. We picked up hot dogs for lunch on the way in at Nick’s Nest, then I took Nina and her cousin Ava acorn hunting (for decorations) while Jill and her sisters decorated and her mom and Dave cooked. Jill and I ducked out for a quick trip to Northampton (and a beer) before we had Chinese food for dinner courtesy of Mike’s parents.

Dave Sue

The next day Jill left early with Dave to help set up while I hung out with Nina and helped Sue a bit. We drove over to Stanley Park with Gram, then helped deliver the food while Nina ran around with all her cousins. The roasted pig went fast, as did most of the food. It was cool enough for jackets, but still an enjoyable day outside. The next morning we got up early to drive to the airport and fly home (I ended up working half a day). The oddest thing was being on the same flight as my coworker Marc and his family both ways (2nd oddest was them fixing a mechanical problem on the way up by pulling a panel in the middle of the aisle while we sat there).

Melissa Robin Jill

Wednesday the 15th I gave thanks to the rain – it’s been a long time since I’ve needed a complete change of outfit (skies opened as we hit the tunnel). Luckily Nina had a change of clothes at school. Friday Nina learned she did like Snickers ice cream bars (she said she wouldn’t because she “doesn’t like peanuts”) and put the first two coins in her piggy bank. Later I made a playlist of all the music I have from 2014. Even taking out the live tracks, I had over 50 hours of music listen to to choose my favorite 20 for my annual list.


Saturday the 18th I took Nina to the Reston Community Center after lunch for their Halloween Family Fun Day. They had games with candy for prizes, a puppet show, and her favorite a bounce house. Sunday her classmate had a birthday party and yet another bounce house, but it was cold enough she had to go inside twice to warm up (there were plenty of toys as consolation). Later we met up with my dad and mom to celebrate my birthday early at Don Pablo’s, had carrot cake cupcakes my mom made for dessert, then Jill and I went to see Paula Cole at the Barns At Wolf Trap for the best show I’ve seen by her.

Paula Cole

Wednesday was my birthday. I had a massage after work, then Jill brought home Chinese takeout. The cream cheese pumpkin cupcakes Jill and Nina made were excellent; the evening ending tantrum by Nina and the poop Illa left downstairs were not as fun. But then it was time for TV and a glass of Jameson. I explained to the dog later it was better if he pooped in the kitchen or the dining room. The next morning morning I got my wish – he pooped both places. Too bad he also peed on the stairs (note to self: add gusty winds to the things he’s terrified of). I also got to argue with Nina for 20 minutes about using the toilet in the morning (I “won” because she sat on it for 5 seconds).


Friday my birthday gift to myself was a solo night out seeing The Jayhawks (v3.0 1997-2003) at the 9:30 Club then the tasty lamb dip and a beer at Right Proper. I considered lurking outside the Black Cat to try and get into the Foo Fighters show but decided going home was a better idea. Nina quite enjoyed her trip to Wendy’s with Jill.

Jill Nina

Saturday the 25th Nina had a Halloween party at school where she played games and got a balloon elephant. She got extra time playing with her friend Briar as Jill and I volunteered to help clean up. Sunday Nina and Jill decorated their pumpkins by painting them. Nina managed to get paint everywhere, even wearing a smock.

Nina Jill

On Halloween I took Nina trick or treating (she dressed as Supergirl and I as Duff Man) alongside her BFF Felix as Iron Man. My mom came over and Jill and I took the subway (her first Silver Line ride) to arrive in DC minutes before Fleetwood Mac hit the stage. Christine McVie’s long awaited return was incredible, Lindsey Buckingham is still the man. Post concert dinner at Daikaya was the best ramen I’ve ever had, then we costume watched on the Metro (I particularly enjoyed everyone at Gallery Place “finding” the Waldo on the other platform).

Kerry Nina