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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.