Still in Holyoke on vacation, the morning of Friday the 1st we packed up the car and drove off to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. I dropped the girls off at the main gate with their tickets and drove off to find the Depot Deli. Despite reports of a new cell tower at the festival, I had no cell service whatsoever there, which made it fun without a map. I did our food and supply shopping there as well as picking up 2 of their Sin-a-Bomb pull apart cinnamon bread loaves – egg free! I drove back to the festival, got my wristband and drove up to Shantytowne. I parked and set up the tent – we were almost the last to arrive. Nina made a new friend with neighbor Delilah and played inflatable bowling.


After a potluck dinner, we headed to the main stage where we watched Aoife O’Donovan (ex Crooked Still) and then saw some of Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus Of Dreams at the Dance Tent (Nina was more mesmerized by holding a flashlight) before heading back to camp. This was a make or break year for us – the first time Nina camped with us (the previous 2 years we’d stayed at motels, then Jill’s mom came and got her on Saturday and we’d camp that night). We knew we’d have to go to bed with her and Friday it was my turn. It was fine, I was tired and so was she.

Jill Nina Kerry

Saturday morning we had breakfast (thanks to AJ and friends), then Nina and I headed over to the Workshop Stage to see Aoife and Tracy Grammar. Of course we got a late start, then someone wanted to be carried and didn’t want to go and by the time we got there the next set was about the start. Nina made it through one song by Christine Lavin before she was done, so we went over early to the children’s tent where Jill was meeting us. That was fun for Nina as she got to do crafts, plus I got back in time to see about half the set.


Nina was still happily playing when I got back (she found the inflatable pool with toys in it in the shade), so we got some lunch from the vendors, and I also caught the Most Wanted Song Swap before Nina and I headed back to camp while Jill shopped. After our family picture we had our usual singalong of “Shantytowner“. After we got dinner, Nina had her hair braided by Patty, then she and Jill went to bed and I hung out in camp until very late.

Nina Meg Kat

Sunday I packed up the tent and gave it away – our new air mattress bed was great but not built for 2 plus a squirmer and we’ll need a bigger one next year. Nina seemed to enjoy the camping experience, though. It was a long drive to Virginia – we detoured through Pennsylvania to avoid traffic, and Nina saw her first real rainbow there.

Nina Patty

Monday the 4th began a week of spills. Nina started with a whole bowl of cereal on the floor, then it was day 2 of Cereal-on-the-floor-mageddon, with no end to the crisis in sight. Wednesday it wasn’t the cereal that was being spilled, it was the milk. Fortunately the furry disposal unit was back. Thursday brought a partial spill of cereal, but it still counted before Friday brought no spills – our long national nightmare was over. Friday night Nina and I LARPed tonight for the first time – I was Jack, she was Jill and really good at tumbling after. Much better than Thursday night’s tantrum marathon (although she’s developing some impressive bedtime delaying tactics).

Nina Felix

Saturday the 9th Nina took her first Silver Line ride to Tysons Corner today with her BFF, his mom and sister. There was a nice new playground on the elevated plaza (although no direct walkway from the Metro then, and the Shake Shack there wasn’t open yet). We had lunch at the food court there (Baja Fresh for us) before everyone else but me rode the little train. Later Andy (an ex-coworker) had a goodbye party (moving out of the country) and Nina finally tried s’mores (although only ate the chocolate). Sunday night Jill and I went to see Matt Nathanson and Gavin DeGraw at Wolf Trap with our friend Linda who was thrilled with our second row seats.

Linda Kerry Jill

More spills the next week, but boring to talk about. Instead I’ll mention than Monday the 11th I introduced Nina to the Muppet Show (she’s now a Swedish Chef fan) and at bedtime we had a mini dance party where I mashed up “Jump In Line” and “Fancy”. Our friend Patty brought over takeout for us to share on Thursday, then we had a walk around the lake for frozen yogurt. Unfortunately Nina was very under the weather Saturday night and we ditched plans to get a babysitter – Jill stayed home while I went to see Tori Amos.


Nina regards picnicking as a full contact sport. In addition to sticky hands and face, Monday the 18th she had ranch dressing on her right elbow and foot, guacamole on her left foot and peach juice everywhere else. Wednesday I hoped bad things don’t come in threes, as Tuesday night I had dropped my phone – not the first time, but now I cracked the screen and broke the touchscreen. Then Wednesday morning my wedding ring fell on the ground, and when I went to stop it from rolling away, I bent it.


Thursday the 21st we got this priceless conversation:
Nina: [touching chunk of pineapple to armpit]
Jill: What are you doing?
Nina: I’m rubbing my crotch.
Parents: [muffled laughter]
Jill: Don’t put food in your armpit!
Parents: [ROTFLOL]

Jill Nina

Sunday the 24th we returned to Wolf Trap to have dinner on the Associates’ Deck and see Boston live (Tom Scholz is still a monster). Later we watched the first Doctor Who of the new season – good use of a date night. Wednesday morning my dad called me, he had recently received a call from “me”, supposedly in a detention center in Baltimore with my nose broken after a night out where I’d crashed my car and been arrested after an unregistered gun was found in the trunk. He went to the bank to get out $3000 before he decided to try and call me to verify the story. I told him it wasn’t me. I did a search online, not the first time this scam has been attempted.

Jill Kerry

Saturday the 30th was Nina’s birthday party at Kidz Plaza. We’d priced out renting bounce houses, and they were comparable (and no cleanup for us). Jill’s mom, her older sister and her 2 nieces drove down the night before while her younger sister flew down that day. Her dad also drove down with his wife. The party started at 12:15 and all the kids had a blast. After 90 minutes we moved into the party room and served snacks and cupcakes. After we packed up and came home, Nina opened some gifts before taking a nap. My dad made it over with my sister and her husband, and we went out on the deck boat after Nina woke up. I grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone for dinner.

Maddy Ava Missy Nina Jill

Sunday all the girls went out for a photo shoot, which meant I got to sleep in. I met them for lunch at Nando’s Peri Peri in Ashburn, where Nina and Ava went to see the fountain before our food arrived and got completely soaked. Later Nina opened more gifts (she got a lot) and we all had Flippin’ Pizza.

Ava Nina