Jill’s mom was still here at the beginning of the month, and her husband Dave flew down for a couple days. On Wednesday the 3rd, we went to my dad’s on the bay for their annual fireworks. He and Patricia made a big spread for dinner; unfortunately Nina was not a fan of the fireworks, but they started so way past her bedtime she was out before they finished. On the 4th, I grilled hot dogs for lunch, and we had Bojangles fried chicken for dinner that we’d picked up that morning on the way home. Nina was in bed by the time the fireworks began, and I took Dave out on the floating dock on the lake to watch them.
Friday Nina got completely soaked playing with the sprinkler, then her favored dish was a bowl of ketchup and mustard she ate with a fork (I won’t get the chicken hot dogs again). Saturday the 6th was an all day date day thanks to Sue and Dave watching Nina. We slept in, went to Baltimore (briefly dropped in at the Discworld convention but Sir Terry was a last minute cancellation) and had lunch at Wit And Wisdom, then saw Joss Whedon’s great take on Much Ado About Nothing at the Angelika and a late dinner at Matchbox.
Monday the 8th Nina was eating her grilled ham and cheese sandwich like an Oreo, taking the ham out, eating it, and throwing the rest away. Thursday I was solo on the lawn tonight at Wolf Trap to see Camera Obscura and She And Him, with a perfect picnic meal in between thanks to Kumo Sushi, my new favorite local sushi place. I made it home before a storm hit us hard, but stayed up ’til 3AM while waiting for the lightning and thunder to stop so I could take the dog for walk. The good thing was that I finished the new Neil Gaiman novel. Good stuff.
Friday the 12th we had a small mess in the kitchen – a good opportunity to teach Nina how to use a dustpan and brush, I thought. Ten minutes later, she’s gotten her first timeout from me and there was an unholy mess that requires a mop. Sigh. Saturday I took Nina to the Lake Anne Ukulele Festival in the morning where she proceeded directly to the fountain and refused to leave. Later, she stayed in with Grandma and we had a fabulous night with delicious food at Mothership (banh mi ftw) and the hilarious Book Of Mormon. But what are we talking and laughing about hours later? That I smacked a strange woman on the ass at intermission (in my defense it was dark, she also had her hair up and had a very similar outfit as Jill). We saw the lady seated after I told Jill what happened; she tapped her on the shoulder and told her that I thought she was her. I don’t know if that made it better or worse.
Saturday the 20th we went to a friend’s housewarming where Nina got to try a tricycle (she loved it, couldn’t reach the pedals though), then that night she had her first BLT. My favorite quote from Jill: “Stop waving that bacon in my face!” The next morning she was a barefoot girl: concrete, asphalt, mulch and grass. I think she knew FRFF was coming. Robert Plant was great Monday (and when he played the Zep songs in their original arrangement it was awesome), but I could have done without the shoe soaking deluge afterwards.
The best night at Wolf Trap this year started Wednesday the 24th with the tastiest spread I’ve had yet at the Encore Circle, then a short but sweet set from The Lone Bellow. We hung out with Mike Clem and his squeeze while we waited to meet them, then visited with Stuart and Susan during a lackluster set from Justin Townes Earle. A blast your face off finale from Brandi Carlisle (with Gibb Droll) topped off the night, highlighted by a cover of “The Chain”. The next night I wondered if I was a worse father when I let Nina lie in duck poop (so she could splash her hands in the lake) or two days earlier when she tripped and hurt her finger bad enough to need her first band aid.
Saturday the 27th we tried Zabb, a new Thai place in Manassas (very spicy but good kua kling) then saw Dave Matthews Band for the first time in 4 years (my longest break since I started seeing them 20 years ago). They played a great mix of old and new songs, and the weather was perfect. Classic Nina quotes from Sunday: After a sneeze, Jill says “Bless You” and I say “Gesundheit”. Nina’s got “Bless You”, but I had her sound it out, then I asked her to say it. She said “Bless You”. Also (you should know she’s learning to count): We were all shopping in Safeway, and I picked out some Fruit Loops for her. Nina thought that was a great idea, and got another box. Jill said “No, only one” and Nina shouted out “Two!”, followed by “3, 4, 6”.
Wednesday the 31st was the start of our summer vacation. We delayed leaving as my neck was killing me the night before, but finally got going late morning, with Nina soothed for a while by getting a plush Elmo – she’s been watching Sesame Street at daycare and is obsessed with Elmo, Abby and Zoe (and already had an Abby). We drove through the state with the lowest highest point while listening to Lowest Highest Point (very meta), then Sonic failed me – usually we eat there, but we did drive in this time. When I opened the bag, my tots had morphed into fries! At least I got my diet cherry limeade. After a 2 hour + break at the nearby Barnes & Noble, we finally got back on the road at 7PM, where Nina promptly fell asleep. For 30 minutes, then wide awake ’til we got to Great Barrington (and calmed on the Taconic State Parkway by many Daniel Tiger videos). She refused to sleep in the pack and play (a first), and fell asleep on the bed between us (then back to the pack and play).