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May

Thursday the 1st Nina had an excellent first visit to the dentist with Jill. She sat in the chair all by herself and opened her mouth “wide like an alligator” for polishing/brushing, flossing, and counting of teeth with the pointy stick. Friday I took Nina to Friday Night Live! with Love Seed Mama Jump and she got to run around with all the other kids.

Nina

Saturday we saw Snakehead Run at the Farmer’s Market at Lake Anne Plaza. Felix and his mom were there, and the kids had a great time playing with the instruments that had been set out. That night she was very excited to sleep in her big girl bed. My mom gave us some doll beds her grandfather made and in a weird coincidence (since I hadn’t unpacked them ’til that night), the beds are nearly identical to the new one I built her.

Nina

Wednesday the 7th I went to Nina’s medal ceremony at gymnastics, then we had lunch at Wendy’s. Nina finally ate her first burger – guess I just have to get the patties as thin as Wendy’s does. Thursday Nina and I watched the “Pyramid of Light” art installation being assembled on the drain on Lake Thoreau.

Saturday the 10th we were at Frying Pan Park for Annabelle’s birthday party and narrowly averted the rain. Running around, playing with balloons and riding the carousel were all fun, although Nina got her first sunburn (ran low on sunscreen and she got some coloring on her shoulders). For Mother’s Day Nina had her first trip in a kayak, then my mom came over and we had dinner at Tequila Grande.

Nina

Saturday May 16th Jill headed to Tennessee for a knitting retreat. It’s the second time I’ve been the single parent for the weekend, so I thought “What’s the harm” when we went to Felix’s house for dinner and didn’t eat ’til 8. The harm was a total meltdown at bedtime, timeouts for both of us, and a final bedtime of 10:45. Sunday was a little better – we went to the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival where she did some art, we got some food and she picked out a toy for bathtime at Dawn Price Baby (a boat), but she peed in her seat on the way to the nearby playground. After I finally got her down for a nap and cleaned up her car seat, I needed to add two fingers of Jameson’s to my Coke Zero. Later she loved her new Supergirl costume, and insisted on keeping it on the rest of the afternoon.

Nina

Tuesday the 20th Nina figured out how to climb a chain link fence – hide all your valuables. Thursday night after bathtime, Nina was walking around bow legged wearing nothing but a medal stretched around her legs. I asked her what she was doing and she told me she was a dragon. I told her she was the scariest dragon I’d ever seen.

Monday the 26th we had the Larsens and Norwoods over for Memorial Day and had everyone out on the floating dock after hamburgers and hot dogs. Thursday morning I dropped off my car for service at the new Honda dealership close to my office. They sent a shuttle to pick me up when it was done, and I went downstairs when they called to tell me they were waiting. But no one was there. I called them, and it turns out they sent the driver to my house instead. I wondered if he’ll transport a 2 year old…

Nina

Friday the 30th was the only night we could make it to the Herndon Festival, but Nina and I had fun dancing to the BoDeans with friends the Jewells, Lorna and Dave and Susan. The next day was the start of our vacation, a long flight out to Portland and room service after the train to our hotel (the DoubleTree).

Kerry Nina

April

Tuesday April 1st I achieved the rarely seen double meltdown. Thank God for Rifftrax on National Geographic. The next night we had two big accomplishments: Nina counted to five (she recites numbers but actually connecting the numbers to physically counting objects is new), and I ripped my entire Beatles collection. On a related note, Saturday morning “Here Comes The Sun” and 95 other songs were on my George Harrison playlist we were listening to. Nina said the sitar hurts her ears, but she’ll have to get used to it. Later that night, we were at our 3rd show at Wolf Trap in 3 weeks, and all local musicians doing George Harrison’s songs. Excellent show, and notable for the first time I’ve seen Todd Wright, Michael Clem and Eddie Hartness sharing a stage together (and I’ve seen each of them at least 50 times).

Nina

Sunday it turns out you can teach an old dog a new trick – 11 years old, and Illa got his first bird that day (it bounced off the side of the house trying to get away, but rebounds still count). Monday the 7th I took Nina to her first seated concert (Molly Lewis at Jammin’ Java) and she quite liked it (and was mostly behaved and sitting as she ate potato chips). Bonus – she made it into bed only five minutes later than the night before. Lots of milestones for Nina that week: Thursday she learned to spell her name, and we measured her at 35 inches tall (growing up so fast). Then Friday she did the call and response of “Mahna Mahna” before bed.

Nina

Saturday the 12th we had a very busy morning and afternoon celebrating my dad’s birthday by taking Nina to her first circus (Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus), then lunch at Red Robin, resulted in very little productivity the rest of the day – I napped almost as long as she did. Sunday I stained Nina’s new bed, and managed to pour the stain down the side of my hand. That stuff does not come off easily. There was lots of rain (and hail – I think that’s worse than snow) on Tuesday.

Nina

Saturday and Sunday I went to Awesome Con in DC, our first major comics and pop culture con in a while. Saturday the 19th Jill and Nina accompanied me, and we accomplished my major goal: getting a picture of Billie Piper with us. We also saw Leslie Carrara-Rudolph (voice of Abby Cadabby) do a panel, then stopped for lunch at Pete’s in Clarendon. Sunday after an Easter Egg Hunt at church I went back to get an autograph with Billie Piper (we couldn’t wait around the day before) and do some shopping. I stopped at Z-Burger to pick up tasty burgers on the way home, and walked in to “Daddy’s home – time to put on your underwear.”

Billie, Nina & Kerry

Jill’s mom, Sue arrived on Sunday while Melissa, Ava and Tiernan came on Tuesday. They went to the National Zoo with Jill and Nina on Thursday and to the American Doll store on Saturday the 26th. Only 2 bands drew me to Merriweather that summer: Extreme and Queen. The rainy Friday traffic was as dreadful as anticipated on the 25th, but I still saw Lita Ford’s mini Runaways reunion in her set. Extreme’s set was short but sweet, nice to see them with a big crowd singing along. I also got a free t-shirt (and wore it, ’cause it’s cold) and ZZ Top/Jeff Beck ticket courtesy of the 9:30 Club. Hometown heroes Kix put on a nice show to close the night. I was back the next afternoon to check out Jack Russell’s Great White, Stryper and the Geoff Tate-less Queensr├┐che (verdict: very good) before heading home and out again with Jill to see Robbie Schaefer at Jammin’ Java for his CD release show with Jake Armerding and Rachael Davis. Great trio, deserving of more shows together.

Nina

Nina had missed it when her playground friends moved away, but this month she started developing a strong friendship with Felix, who lives 4 houses away. He’s a year older, but they play very well together. It helps that his parents are very friendly too. The only bad thing is they ask to play together almost every day, and we have to turn them down sometimes.

Felix and Nina

March

Saturday the 1st we had lunch at t’Kila ’cause of a daily deal and it was delicious. That night I had been planning on going to see the Eagles (mostly ’cause Bernie was touring with them), but hadn’t bought a ticket. But I bought one off StubHub at 5PM, 90 minutes later I was finishing off my Shake Shack burger and about to go in (Good thing Jill’s mom came to visit). Excellent show – this is pretty accurate.

Sue Nina

The following day was nice (and the snow duck melted as we watched a fat little squirrel eat the carrot and raisins), but I was at work because I knew school would be closed the next day. I was right, and was home on Monday. I finally broke out the princess costume and doll (Nina loved it) and we played outside quite a bit.

Nina

Thursday the 6th Nina discovered the wonders of peanut butter and chocolate pudding – on bread. Saturday we had our 5th overnight getaway without Nina tonight (who had a vegetarian dinner with Jill’s mom and friends and my guess is lots of french fries). We had a nice dinner at a bistro in Lovettsville, saw Todd Wright play lots of new songs at a coffee shop in Leesburg, then stayed at a B&B a little bit west. If only we hadn’t lost an hour of sleep that night. Sunday Nina finally managed to stay on her bike for more than a couple seconds. was the “True Detective” season finale (unexpected, amazing show). I prepared by teaching Nina how to say “Alright, alright, alright”. It nearly gave me an anxiety attack – who knew we’d finally find a worthy successor to Twin Peaks?

Nina Jill

Monday the 10th I bought 3 tickets for Queen + Adam Lambert, 2 for Dan Wilson (ex-Semisonic) and 1 for Sting + Paul Simon. That was all my entertainment budget for a while. Jill’s mom came with her to Nina’s gymnastics class that Wednesday. The Sting + Paul Simon show was Thursday, and was an unexpected pairing that somehow just worked (points to the 14 other musicians in their bands). And 5 Graceland songs was just the cherry on top. Plus some spicy Thai for dinner before the show with Stuart and Susan was a bonus.

Nina Jill

Friday Nina learned how to get on the monkey bars by herself. Saturday Nina got her first real injury with me when she ran into a door when I was opening it, but she’s a trooper. We had an early St. Patrick’s Day lunch so Nina could have it with both grandmothers. Too bad she wasn’t interested in the corned beef. Sunday Nina had her first shower. It was because she had a bandaid on her foot, but no crying at all. Later I shoveled 5 inches of snow. I hoped it stopped so they didn’t close snow camp the next day.

Nina Nancy

Wednesday the 19th Jill and Nina drove with her Mom to Holyoke. The second night of bachelorhood I slept in and worked late, then it was time for dinner and TV – such an exciting life I lead. The third night (Friday) I switched it up a little, went to the Barns at Wolf Trap to see indie-folkers Bombadil and Pearl & the Beard. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many hipsters outside DC.

Nina

The weekend was very busy as I had a 3 home improvement projects, culminating in building a new bed for Nina. How do you describe it when a piece of lumber slides out of you car because of some numbnut cutting in front of you and slamming on the brake, then you swing back around to pick it up and it’s just fine? Victory. It only took 15 minutes to remember how much I hate sawing (and blisters). Then it was time to make like Dylan and go electric. Saturday night I finally got to see a musical Jill doesn’t want to see – Xanadu (yes I’m straight, just a huge Jeff Lynne fan). Sunday I saw my mom in a musical salute to Reston, finished Nina’s bed, and sliced my finger deep enough that I’m on my 3rd band-aid. I was looking forward to seeing my girls the next day, but the next bachelor weekend I’m going to take a day off. Nina and Jill also kept busy, visiting the Holyoke Children’s Museum and the Holyoke St. Paddy’s parade.

Jill Melissa

Monday the 24th they took the train down and I picked them up at Union Station. Thursday the 27th Jill and I went to see Red Molly with Mark Erelli opening, then Sunday the 30th we got more snow, and we were all pretty tired of it. That night we had a dance party in the kitchen with R.E.M. and Republica that devolved into a hockey game (with a broom and a Swiffer).

Jill

February

At the end of January, we were having a mini-vacation at Split Rock Resort in the Poconos with the Chambers. Saturday the 1st the moms watched the girls while the dads went skiing together – this time at Jack Frost, sister slope to Big Boulder. The ladies also took in the water park later and we all got to relax in front of the fireplace. Two days skiing, sleeping in, eating takeout – we really need to vacation more often. And when we bring along a playmate Nina’s age, sometimes all we have to do is sit back and watch. Sunday we had a relaxing trip home and a great lunch, followed by a big game blowout courtesy of the Jewells (at least the food was great, commercials mostly meh).

Nina

Monday I thought that while we had one of the band members in mind when we named her, I was afraid if I let Nina eat any more blueberries tonight she would have turned into the actual Veruca Salt. Tuesday we had a lovely ice storm at night, which resulted in a fun dog walk – brought back memories of the Fairfax Ice Arena. Thursday Nina had fun playing with 5 Monsters, Inc balloons a coworker had used as a birthday prank. Friday night’s entertainment was chamber-folkies (and Falcon Ridge vets) Winterpills, opening up for Luray at Iota. I like them so much I got Mom to babysit and flew solo (Jill was working) – totally worth it.

Nina

Saturday the 8th Nina was our dance/exercise instructor during pre-bedtime dance party. She’s tough, too – we’re worn out. “Kick like this, Mama!” “March in place!”. Sunday Nina helped me cook pizza (we had a fundraising kit from Little Caesar). Monday I sang her to sleep with “Closer To The Heart”, “Nothing Else Matters”, and “Crazy Train”. I’ll be in trouble 14 years from now.

Nina Kerry

Wednesday the 12th we were cozy and ready for the snow. And the only thing I needed at the grocery store the night before was roses. Of course I was up way too late working on a project – again. Karma meant she woke up with a stomach bug later that night. Thursday we were snowed in, but I worked from home downstairs while Jill took care of Nina. I remember when I was young and came back soaked from being outside in the snow, it was a good thing. Alas. It took four passes of shoveling until I was done. The worst irony of the day is that I spent 4 hours the night before putting Nina’s trampoline together so she wouldn’t be bored at home, but she didn’t have the energy (at least she was feeling better later in the evening).

Nina

Friday the 14th we split shifts to keep Nina at home. That night I was again at 0 days without a personal injury again. At least it was a teachable moment about first aid for burns – I hope everyone keeps a frosted beer mug in their freezer for emergencies. I think Nina was feeling better, though I’m really not certain what pairing m+ms with green beans means. She was definitely feeling better on Saturday, even went to music class (after mandatory snowman building), but Jill caught her stomach bug. Jill stayed in bed most of the day, and my mom came over as scheduled, so I went solo to Eddie From Ohio (and sat with the Jewells and Joel) and it was a great show.

Nina

Sunday and Monday I worked part of the day to both make up hours and get a little ahead. Although Monday it took me 11 minutes to get my mom to type in a single URL. 11 minutes. Sigh. Monday night Nina was jumping on her trampoline (she finally got to start jumping on it the day before) when she spotted my 10″ Fender bass guitar replica. “I have it”, she said. I let her play with it while we looked through a Rush tourbook and saw Geddy Lee playing it. Truly my daughter.

Nina

Wednesday the 19th I decided that Nina’s just about potty trained. She’s started excusing herself during dinner when she needs to go. I also showed her Neil Gaiman reading “Green Eggs and Ham” before bath time – it was a hit. Later I didn’t think there’d be ice when I walked Illa because I didn’t need a jacket. But when he lept over a snow bank to get back on the path, he went full Bambi on ice. Poor puppy. The next morning while coming out of the house I saw the go bag (ex-diaper). I figured I’d call Jill, but I heard the ringtone from the bag, so I drove towards her gym. She was going the other way on Sunset Hills, so I pulled a U-ie and we had a low speed chase until she pulled over at a bank on Sunrise Valley and we made the exchange.

Nina

Friday the 21st I enjoyed Nina getting her appetite back. And dinner was Boston Market FTW (2 pieces of chicken, plus a hashbrown), then her first second dinner in a while (cereal, but I didn’t care at that point). Of course not a minute later after that thought she wanted to see what the dog was doing and dragged her bowl on the floor. Sigh. Saturday after music class I took Nina shopping at Target for sunglasses and she picked out an Easter hat. That weekend I also spent time installing a chimney pillow downstairs and a new receiver, and we built a snowman that turned into a snow duck.

Nina

Nina’s current favorite food was cereal. Right before dinnertime on Monday the 24th, I was trying to explain what she was pulling out of a box and throwing around was packing material. She thought I said cereal, and I said she couldn’t have any, then we had full fetal position meltdown. In related news, Jill isn’t allowed to leave boxes around anymore. Thursday I learned another thing they never told you about parenting (#56 in a series): When your child removes the carrot from the snow duck, you have to fix it, even if it’s only 10 degrees out (luckily I could wait until I put my coat on).

Jill

New voicemail message

Most of the time being a grownup is a pain. The perceived freedom from a child’s viewpoint doesn’t really exist. But sometimes you can take a wish and make it come true. Check out our new voicemail message, courtesy of Simon Jones (better known as “Arthur Dent” in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

(via a Kickstarter project)

January

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

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

Artists To Watch 2014

Eyeballs
This year my music buying was mostly online, free tracks from NoiseTrade, Google Play, and Amazon as well as preordering mp3s and CDs from Kickstarter and PledgeMusic. The first song is special to me, though, as it’s the first song I’ve commissioned.

Band Song Why them
01. Nate Borofsky
Nina
Two great CDs from the former Girlyman singer this year.
02. Badger Whatever Happened 2 Us? Extreme’s bassist steps out on his own with help from Bleu.
03. emmet swimming Heading South Two local groups, both of whom I’ve seen more than any other bands…
04. The Excentrics Same Diane both put out new CDs this year for the first time in 15 years.
05. Carbon Leaf The Donnybrook Affair Another local group, this one with 2 CDs released this year – this track is more traditional.
06. Brindley The Laughter Song And even more impressive, the Jammin’ Java owner put out a song a week this year.
07. Foy Vance Closed Hand, Full Of Friends Speaking of Jammin’ Java, this Irish singer played to a packed house there in November.
08. Jules Larson Best Is Yet To Come I found her from her EP with Adrianne Gonzalez, but this song was my favorite of hers.
09. Born Cages Don’t Look Back Excellent poppy mess.
10. Hey Ocean! Big Blue Wave Why does a Canadian group sound like they’re from Southern California? Who cares!
11. Bastille Pompeii Chanting + pop = genius.
12. Minor Alps I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands Minor key goodness from Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws (Nada Surf).
13. Vegas With Randolph Salt Water Taffy Local power-poppers.
14. South Rail Everybody Knows It Local Americana, sweet blended voices.
15. Blue Sky Riders Dream It’s not a surprise Kenny Loggins can write a good song, just that he’s started a new group at this point.
16. Joy Kills Sorrow Was It You If you’re missing your Crooked Still fix.
17. The Hunts Make This Leap A family band that was a surprise hit at the Herndon Festival.
18. Poor Old Shine Ghosts Next Door A nice Falcon Ridge find.
19. Amy Speace The Sea And The Shore (with John Fullbright) A great idea for a song, elegantly rendered.
20. pomDeter Call Me A Hole And as a palate cleanser, enjoy my favorite mashup.

Leftovers (in no particular order):
The Civil Wars – The One That Got Away
Mikal Cronin – Weight
Caitlin Rose – Only A Clown
The CO – Frequency
Matt Costa – Good Times
Josh Rouse – Julie (Come Out of The Rain)
Over The Rhine – Meet Me At The Edge Of The World
CHVRCHES – We Sink
Laura Cortese – Into The Dark
Wild Feathers – The Ceiling
The Deadly Gentlemen – Bored of the Raging
Raina Rose – Swing Wide The Gate
Katie Herzig – Little Bit Of Love
Corin Ashley – Badfinger Bridge
Eleanor Friedberger – Stare At The Sun
Aoife O’Donovan – Red & White & Blue & Gold
Lily & Madeleine – Tired
Deerhunter – Back to the Middle
Rosi Golan – If You Stay
Sarah Miles – Stand Up
The Head and the Heart – Shake
Django Jones – Counterpoint
Melissa Christopher Green – Blue
Foxygen – No Destruction
Liz Longley – This Is Not The End
Matt Pond – Love to Get Used
Phosphorescent – Ride On / Right On
Ed Roland & the Sweet Tea Project – Love Won’t Bring Us Down
Ruut – Glimpse
Smallpools – Dreaming
Sons of Fathers – Roots & Vine
Wooly & the Mammoth – We Are Love
The Boxcar Lilies – Lightnin’

November

Why yes, that was my daughter doing laps around the Noodles & Co. in Reston on Friday the 1st. And then we went home because she was offered the choice of sitting and eating or leaving. At least later we played naptime, which frankly is the best game ever. Saturday morning I took Nina to Reston’s Flea Market by kids for kids where we scored all sort of finds (big faves were the doll with attached soother and kitchen playset), then we picked up Jill and Nina had a blast at a classmate’s birthday party at JW Tumbles. I ducked out during naptime for an Excentrics concert (and I had a blast), then took Nina on a playground tour before we all devoured mac and cheese for dinner. After Nina went to bed we tackled our ever growing DVR (Haven that evening). The next day I was sitting next to my dad in the sun at Fedex Field with a Ben’s half smoke in one hand and a beer in the other. The Skins game was fun, and I was so hot, I got a shake.

Nina

Monday the 4th Nina had three firsts. Shut the door to her room as we headed downstairs (won’t be the last time), put her mittens on herself outside, and ate the most candy ever (1/3 of a Reese’s peanut butter cup). Tuesday I worked and went to Nina’s parent teacher conference with lead teacher Jenny while Mom watched Nina during the day, then Jill came home early so I could appeal a decision by the Reston Design Review Board (we wanted to upgrade the waterfront, and they approved that, but wouldn’t let us remove one of the trees). We won the appeal and celebrated by getting Thai takeout at Hibiscus Thai. Thursday Nina spent 15 minutes counting the beer bottles in a 12 pack – she just likes doing it again and again and again.

Nina

Friday the 8th’s dinner was courtesy of Red, Hot and Blue. Ribs, fries and cocktail sauce were hits, greens, salad and shrimp were OK, Mac and cheese was ignored, and hush puppies were the yuck. Also, a second meal of cereal was a disaster, because she kept throwing food on the floor, and then I’d take her food away. Table side guacamole is hot in restaurants, but Saturday morning we came up with the next big thing: table side cinnamon sugar toast. Later Nina got her first real band-aid after running around after lunch and scraping her knee. She’s a trouper though, cleaned up without a hitch. That night’s entertainment was provided by Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance.

Nina Jill

Sunday I spent a while in the kitchen to make a marinade and grill pork, cook beans and potato wedges, and make an apple pie from scratch. Mostly because I wanted to pair the pie with a caramel apple spiced beer (I did, and it was delicious). Also, we finished watching Nina’s first movie, Finding Nemo (someone’s got a 30 minute attention span). Monday I had the day off so naturally I choose the most exciting option – getting my oil changed. I also stopped by CD Cellar and had a tasty burger from Red Apron. That night Nina had me take down the picture of Jill and I from a cruise, then put it in front of her at the dinner table, then kissed Jill’s picture. And then she poured her own juice.

Nina

Saturday the 16th I took Nina to the Reston Community Center to write a letter to Santa. To be more accurate, she decorated a piece of paper with lots of stickers and stamps, but she had fun. Later we had a lovely night out with the Jewells, dinner at Buffalo Wing Factory and 2 versions of Stravinsky’s Rite Of Spring, also at the Reston Community Center. Sunday I spent a fun hour in a line of cars at the recycling station, listening to a horrible football game on the radio. At least I had my phone, and now I own no Windows 98 machines. Monday I opened a package, and there’s lots of crumpled paper inside. Nina grabs the paper and takes it all out. I ask her what she’s going to put in the now empty box. “Paper!”, she yells and proceeds to stuff it all back in.

Nina

Saturday the 23rd we went over to Lyon Park as CHAAMP was holding their annual fall bake sale fundraiser. Dogs were forgotten as soon as Nina saw the playground, and a team of leafblowers was almost as fascinating. We had lunch at Big Buns in Ballston, delicious burgers and dogs. I had bought tickets for Nina and I to go see Gustafer Yellowgold, but it was at 3PM (middle of naptime). We tried to get her to nap in the car on the way home, but no luck, so we just let her sleep. I wasn’t too upset about raking leaves instead, because the next day was blustery and below freezing. Once Nina was in bed, first priority was the 50th anniversary Dr. Who special. Absolutely brilliant, Moffat nailed it. Sunday Nina used the potty at home for the first time.

Nina Kerry

Tuesday the 26th I was determined not to go to bed at 2AM again. So I went to bed at 2:30AM instead. At least the basement was ready for the 3 day potty training to begin. The next night it was an early bedtime of 1:30AM. But prep work for Thanksgiving was done – I only used up 3 sticks of butter. My mom came over for Thanksgiving lunch and it was fun (and we had apple, pecan and pumpkin pies, all eggless), but it was a long and exhausting cycle of cooking, cleaning, and cranky toddler. Friday Nina was resisting using the bathroom, and we realized that the 3 day potty training was conflicting what they were using at school, so decided to drop it and go with what she had been doing (scheduled trips), to better results. “Dada stop” is now “Daddy stop it” in response to my singing. The day itself wasn’t very “black” – I had a very local day. I went out 3 times, once for a walk with the family, another to get guacamole fixings and buy a Christmas tree from a Herndon family we’ve been going to for years, and finally to Jammin’ Java to see The Excentrics reunion (and catch up with Linda). And the only thing I bought online was 2 CDs from Luke Brindley (BF sale), another local musician. We spent the rest of the weekend cleaning and decorating the house.

Nina

October

Thursday the 3rd we had dinner at the bar at Pork Barrel BBQ, then a very funny night of puns, Jabba the Hutt impressions, and a 30 minute long song about pirates with Paul and Storm & Wil Wheaton. The next day Nina’s outfit choice for the evening was a 9:30 T-shirt, monkey pajama bottoms, and pink boots, and she proceeded to climb the ladder at the playground, grab the first rung of the monkey bars, then swing back to the ladder. And I won’t discuss how she got to the bouncy. Saturday Nina was exhausted after a morning where she danced her feet off at Robbie Schaefer, then bounced around at Fall For Fairfax ’til she got hot, and we had hot dogs from Top Dog.

Nina

Wednesday the 9th I had to add to the list of things I’ve said to my daughter: “Get your toes out of your oatmeal!”. Thursday I took Illa to the vet, and it took 30 seconds from his arrival to an impressive pool of pee. And then then nurse asked if we had a fecal sample. I told her no, but 30 seconds later guess what! Friday Nina didn’t want to leave daycare early and had a meltdown as we walked home in the rain, but recovered enough to splash in the puddles and eat her mac and cheese from Noodles & Co. Later it was toddler dance party time (her favorite jam is now Jason Mraz’s “Outdoors”) and we both wore sweatpants and matching Roger Waters t-shirts.

Nina

Saturday the 12th it was vacation time again, packed up the car and headed north. We made our usual stop in Edison NJ for Sonic, and found a very nice playground nearby at Lincoln Elementary School for Nina to run around at. It was dark by the time we got to Holyoke, but Nina was thrilled to see her Nana and Pop-Pop. The next day Nina went to visit her cousins while Jill and I drove down to Stamford to catch a MTA train to NYC. My early birthday gift from Jill was Matilda and a dinner, so we started with a matinee (very well done), then an early dinner at Hakkasan New York – I don’t know if they have the best dim sum in NYC, but they certainly have the best dim sum I’ve had in NYC.

Nina

Monday was Columbus Day. We took Nina to Community Field in the morning and had hot dogs from Nick’s Nest for lunch. That afternoon the Bradys were hosting a house party. They’d rented a bouncy slide, and it was near impossible to get Nina to do anything else (the live band with Melissa’s dad on drums was a close second, though). Tuesday I did something even crazier than going to NYC – I flew to Baltimore for a musical. But I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see Brian May play “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Queen’s musical We Will Rock You was playing at The Hippodrome Theatre, and it was the start of their US tour. Brian always plays opening night, and I wasn’t going to miss it (even though it meant a longer travel time than usual for Baltimore on a weekday).

Nina

Sue dropped me at the airport and the plane was massively delayed (Southwest of course, and I got a package deal on the hotel), but I arrived in midafternoon, enough time to check in and relax before getting a ride in the hotel shuttle over to the BWI light rail stop. I ate again at Alewife (short rib platter this time, but had to get the duck fat fries again) before heading over to the theater early to try and sell my extra ticket. No luck, but got a wave from Brian as I stood next to the failed autograph seekers. I gave the biggest tip to a bartender ever at Alewife (couldn’t sell the ticket) and headed in. The musical was better than the last time we saw it (10 years earlier in London) with lots of current music references that make the show even more relevant. And the end was perfect and worth the trip (it occurs to me I’ve now seen Brian May 5 times, and each time he’s played “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Never gets old).

Brian

I flew back the next morning and Jill and Nina picked me up (we stopped at Table & Vine on the way back). That night Jill’s sisters came over for dinner and tomfoolery. Thursday the 17th we went to the nearby reservoir with Sue for a walk and pictures before packing the car and heading over to Woodstock. We rented Moonrise Mountain House with the Cannons for three nights, and they soon arrived. The four girls had a blast playing, and we had a quick dinner of chicken nuggets. The next day we went into Saugerties (almost 20 years since I was there last for Woodstock ’94) to the Lions Club Playground, then stopped at Catskill Mountain Pizza Company for lunch. Jill and Jess had a dinner meetup with fellow spinners, so Chris and I grilled steak and hot dogs for dinner.

us

Saturday the 19th was the start of Rhinebeck (I called it Comic-Con for yarn geeks). Jill and Jess got in line for some “con exclusives”, and I took Nina to see sheep and llamas. There was a number of kids activities she liked too, especially the balloon man. The little girls napped in the afternoon while the big girls watched a movie, then they had pizza for dinner. Jill’s mom came to visit us and babysit, so the adults went out to dinner at Peekamoose. Great meal (I had the chicken and everyone else had steak), weirdest thing was all of us had different cell carriers and no one had service (Jill borrowed the restaurant’s phone to call her mom and let her know). Sunday it was back to Rhinebeck for a couple hours before driving home (and we took the next day off).

Cannon girls and Nina

Saturday the 26th Nina’s school had a Halloween party, so she got dressed in her costume (as Piglet) and we went over. Much fun: food, games, a fire engine, and mayhem at the playground. The next night my parents brought over takeout from Generous George’s to celebrate my birthday. We were supposed to meet them there, but Nina was under the weather and it took 30 minutes just to coax her out of bed. Wednesday the 30th I had thought Don Henley had a tough job, but then I watched Nellie McKay sing and play marimba while wearing heels. Not so impressed with Don anymore. Halloween night I thought I’d take Nina out for her first trick or treating for about 20 minutes. She didn’t mind the light rain, and I had to drag her back home after an hour. Not a big fan of any of the candy she tried, though. And Jill only got two kids at the door while we were gone.

Nina