Katie takes flight!

We had a MOPS get together at Flight, a trampoline park (the same one Owen went to recently for a birthday party). She LOVED it—as if there was any doubt. :)


There was one tiny accident at the end where another little girl slid down the trampoline and apparently ran over Katie’s finger. Both were crying but Katie was over it in about a minute. :)

It’s a little expensive (we had a group discount today) but we’ll definitely go back. :)

Birthday plans didn’t go quite according to, well, plan.

Short story: I had lunch with a new mommy-group friend and then went out to dinner with the fam.

Long story: The original plan was for me and said friend (and our two toddlers) to drive/metro in to DC’s Union Station to see a free 30-minute Joshua Bell violin concert. (Joshua Bell is playing in the Metro again. This time, maybe you won’t pass it up.)

The stunt was seven years ago, but no one will let him forget it.

Hey, did you hear about the famous violinist who played in the Metro and no one paid attention?

Yes, Joshua Bell must say. That was me.

Technically, 27 people did stop the day The Washington Post asked the Grammy-winning violinist to don a baseball cap and pose as a street performer playing for change in the Metro. It was a social experiment for a magazine article: If a world-famous musician and his $3 million fiddle brought some of history’s most beautiful music to a rush-hour crowd, would people stop and listen? “In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?,” the story wondered. The answer: 1,070 people passed Bell without paying him any attention.

Now, after being asked about it nearly every day since, Bell is bringing his violin back to the Metro. This time, on his own terms.

I had heard about the 2007 stunt and thought how cool that would have been to be there, so this time, I figured since we lived THISCLOSE and it would be a cool thing to do—and it would be on my birthday—I wanted to go. HAD to go, in fact. But I also get SUPER anxious doing new things like that so I was sure I wouldn’t actually do it. But then this friend said “I’d love to go! We’ll do it together!” And so we planned. And commiserated about having to take the kids. And planned some more. She would pick us up after her doctor’s appointment, we would drive to the closest metro station that didn’t require an extra transfer (a 20-minute drive), take the metro in (about 40 minutes), watch the concert, then reverse the process home. It was going to be tight, but we were confident. (Well, I was filled with anxiety but was mostly confident!)

So the morning of, things were on schedule and I felt like I was going to throw up from anxiety. And then the doctor’s appointment went awry…he had never run late before but of course ran late today. So we didn’t go. At once I breathed a huge a breath of relief…and also felt a bit of sadness because I really did want to see the concert. But it was all good as we went out for lunch and had a great visit…which I am so thrilled about because before today, we had literally only met once and talked for maybe 30 minutes total at a playgroup at the park. She lives close (maybe two miles at most) and we really get along and are very similar in a lot of ways. So it was a good day, even considering we missed the concert. :)

These are our girls at lunch (her daughter is five months older than Katie):



Welcome to MOPS!

Just got back from the first MOPS (moms of preschoolers) get together and holy crap was it overwhelming. It wasn’t the typical first meet as they’re still working out child care, so instead of small groups of 6-8 moms each with kids being watched elsewhere, it was about 60 moms plus 60+ kids at a local park. Egads.

I had hoped for a bit more organization (which would have come if it was a regular meeting) but unfortunately it was just kind of mass chaos with everyone wearing their name tags and just trying to search out people with matching groups (blue stars, pink stripes, orange stars, etc.). And the anal part of me was going insane because it was just written on the tags (“blue stars” or “pink stripes”) instead of actually using, you know, a blue star or pink stripe to make it stand out. So we just walked around staring intently at everyone’s chests. :)

The nice thing is the group was very diverse with all sizes and shapes and ages and colors. Most of them are army wives (since it’s based at an army base!) but there are a few marine wives. :) Most of our group was there and we all shared basic getting-to-know-you stories. The mentor mom for our group is only two years older than me (43) but has a 21yo, an 18yo, and a 15yo!

I just hope I get along well with my group because they are going to be a big part of my acquaintances/friends for the rest of the school year (and time here). They were all nice enough, but there was no one that I really hit it off with…yet, I’m hoping. But I know these things take time.

Parenting is hard. Let’s have a drink.

Before it was total chaos:


Katie actually did pretty well. I didn’t hover (I couldn’t if I wanted to actually meet and talk to my group) and she came back to me now and then for a snack break. Or a few times I was able to watch her run around—and hold my breath as I saw her go up a 6′ metal ladder to get to the slide. She has no fear…and survived just fine.

Almost four hours on a waterslide.

Friends of ours are moving (one of my mommy group friends; her husband retired from the USMC) and had a retirement/going away party…with a waterslide for the kids! Owen started sliding shortly after we got there at 4 and only stopped for about 10 minutes total to eat a granola bar and a few bites for dinner before we left at 7:45. This kid loves waterslides. :)




Click for a bigger version.

The peeing details.

So, it turns out it was his friend, Braxton, that peed on him. (I actually got the scoop from the classroom assistant.) She told me it hadn’t really been that big of a deal—that the girl who called made it seem like an INCIDENT. She thinks it was more on purpose but apparently Braxton said they were peeing in the same toilet (which, she wasn’t watching, but had walked by and they were at separate toilets).

His mom actually showed up at the same time I was there and we had a laugh. She said she was hoping it was Owen because she knows me and knew I wouldn’t care. :)

Owen didn’t seem to be phased by it at all and didn’t even talk about it until I asked. And he said Braxton just wasn’t paying attention. He didn’t seem to think it was any big deal.

So, no one can tell what REALLY happened, though Owen is a pretty honest kid (and does like to tattle) so if Braxton did it on purpose I’m sure we would have heard it.

Gardening girl + ride along + kittens

We went to a friends house for a play date and Katie grabbed the gardening gloves and shovel. :)


And enjoyed being driven around…


She also managed to get up into and out of the trampoline (using the stepstool) which nearly gave me heart failure.

Then she got to pet a kitten (they have a few strays that they feed) and she loved it—“Kitty cat! Kitty cat!”


Then she got up on the swing herself but needed me to push her. :)


You can’t beat a great morning spent with friends.

Katie’s first popsicle

A mommy group friend invited us over after school to play on their waterslide (that Owen LOVES). Katie enjoyed it, too, along with the swingset and the trampoline.



Owen also ate a Popsicle—almost. He ate about half of it then wanted to save it. He was a bit upset when I said it wasn’t possible (it was about 85°)!

A friend making Katie laugh with funny faces!

Easter break park play date!

I told Owen we were going to the park and he was really excited. Then I told him who would be there (the core group of moms and kids from my mommy group) and he got EVEN MORE excited and said “My friends!!!!”

The other kids were super excited to see him, too—we really haven’t all been together (on a playdate) since before school started!



Running around with another group of boys who were playing shooting games. :)


Then everyone ate snacks/lunch at the pavilion and then it was time to head home for Katie’s nap.

This was the best I could get as we were leaving the park!


Play group glasses

Unfortunately our mommy group doesn’t get together on a weekly basis anymore because the younger kids are in school, nap times conflict, and people are just busier…but today three of us met! It was great. Katie also had a fun time playing with new toys…and didn’t really play too much with the older boys (about age 3.5).

But she came up to me once tugging on me and saying “Mama! Mama!” And I looked down to see this. This is why I love having my phone immediately available in my pocket. :)


Post-party pictures with Gramma

One of my mommy group friends invited a bunch of people over for Christmas dinner, so we all went! I made mashed potatoes and peas and peanuts. I forgot my phone (EEK!) so didn’t get to snap any pictures. I grabbed my friend’s phone to take a cute picture of Katie eating a candy cane, but long story short I didn’t end up with it. The kids had a blast running around playing with other kids—and Katie tested my nerves by wanting to go up and down the slippery wood stairs by herself! The dinner was delicious and there was about as much dessert as dinner!

When we got home, I managed to snap a few pics of the kids with Gramma—but we didn’t get any with me and the kids. (We had planned to before the party, but it was chaos trying to get out of the house on time.)


Pre-Christmas Chili Dinner & Parade

We were invited to a friend’s house for a pre-Christmas chili dinner today. This is before we headed out. Yes, it was unseasonably warm.


Owen accidentally found his old Buzz Lightyear that I was going to surprise him with on Christmas…so I made him “help me around the house” to earn it—and he never set it down except to get dressed! (We just watched Toy Story for the first time a few weeks ago and he loves it!


Katie wanted to go outside.



Owen had fun playing with all the kids there—running around outside (with Buzz, of course!). And Katie had fun wandering in a new house. There were enough other parents there that you didn’t actually have to keep a dedicated eye on your kids so it was more enjoyable than I thought it would be.

We originally weren’t going to stay for the parade because it started at 7 (Katie’s bedtime) but they changed it to 5:30 so we were able to go! Our first parade! And a small-town parade at that! It’s been A LONG TIME since I’ve seen any parade—let alone a small-town one—and I was reminded just how interesting they were…about five police cars (county and city from surrounding areas), six fire trucks, ambulances, people who were running for mayor/commissioner/whatever, girl/boy scout troops, etc. Blah. Let’s just say I’d never have gone except I wanted Owen to see it since he’s in love with everything Christmas. And it was warm (it was 65).

But I have to say a parade in the dark is kinda crap. There’s lights on the trucks/floats/etc. but you can’t see any of the signs. But Owen had fun so that’s what matters!

Waiting for the parade to start:


The posse we were with (not everyone):


Yes, Buzz came with him. Owen never set him down all night.



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They were throwing candy and Owen got a raspberry lemonade sucker that he didn’t like—but Katie did!

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The fire trucks were loud!

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Happy boy!

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Santa ending the parade!

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Then it was a quick walk back to the host’s house, goodbyes, and we were home by 6:40!

Morning at the playground

I told Owen we could go to the playground this morning, thinking he would pick the one we’ve gone to a few times (the one we stopped at on the way back from seeing Tom off) that’s closest to us…but no…he requested the “baseball playground” (obviously, the one next to the ball fields we went to after playing baseball).

He also requested “socks like grannie’s at the hotel” so he could slide down the slides better. So I gave him some of mine (no pics, unfortunately)…and they stayed on pretty long, until he saw a girl in bare feet and then he wanted bare feet, too!


It was a nice, cool, fall-ish morning so we were all in long pants and long sleeves (which felt like heaven!)…but Katie just couldn’t quite understand the long sleeves and kept trying to pull them off.


This is how she sometimes goes down stairs.


Unlike Owen, she doesn’t mind sand at all.



Owen with Connor, one of the kids from my mommy group.


Katie had her first skinned-lip/chin fall on the sidewalk moments before this (she just stumbled). She cried for about 15 seconds while I brushed the sand off her face…and then she was fine.


Playground Morning

After we had to leave the park yesterday since it was SO F’ING HOT, I promised Owen we could go back when it was cooler. It was cooler this morning, so I told him we could go as soon as he pooped. Instantly: “Mama! I have to go poop!” And he did! After a quick breakfast, it was off to the park. Some of the mommy group met us there.

Katie has no fear of the steps and climbs right up!


The slides were still wet and had some standing water. Katie thought that was great fun!





These are the same bars he couldn’t reach a few weeks ago! (This is the same park we stopped at one the way home from seeing Tom off.)



Katie getting ready to go down the slide.


This is how she went down the whole way…which was just fine because it was more of a sticking/scooching/slow-motion trip (and easier on my nerves).





The other way she goes down the slide.



Reaching to play with Emily’s shoes.



Owen (4), Emily (4), and Olivia (6)


Owen’s going to preschool!

Well, Owen is officially signed up for morning preschool three days a week! I wanted two, but she said better to start with more and cut a day (if necessary) than start with two and want to add a day and have there not be room.

Best part? One of his friends is in the same class! :)
Worst parts? Class starts at 8 and ends right in the middle of Katie’s nap. :(

So this means we’re all getting up by alarm (YUCK). This was a VERY rude surprise since we thought it was 8:30 (that’s what the paperwork I have said) and that was VERY doable with our regular schedule (Owen is up at 7, I’m usually up and showered by 7:30, but Katie can sleep until 8 or 8:30 sometimes—though it’s usually 7:30). But 8? Good god, that’s a BIG change in our schedule to be up and out the door by 7:35.

And on the other end, I either keep Katie up and deal with her being a hot mess and she falls asleep on the way to pick him up OR I let her nap but have to wake her up after 30-45m. Neither are appealing. Poor second kid gets the shaft nap-wise. The only thing I’m hoping is that maybe by getting her up earlier she will be tired earlier and will nap earlier… FINGERS CROSSED!

That said, one bonus to having a friend in the same class? I already know his mom well (she’s part of our mom’s group) and he’s an only child so she doesn’t have to deal with other kids napping…so she has GRACIOUSLY offered to pick up Owen on occasion and bring him home! So they’ll just come out for lunch and a play date! I swear, this mom’s group just keeps on giving and giving!

The only other thing I was planning on but didn’t pan out is dropping Katie off at the same place for once a week morning preschool…but they only do full-time care for one-year-olds (you have to be potty trained for pre-school classes). They do have drop-off first-come-first-serve daycare, though, so I may still be able to have a morning to myself now and again!

We got to meet his teacher, Miss Jennifer, and see his classroom. He had been SUPER excited about going to school and wanted to GO (not just visit) today but he didn’t seem too thrilled once we got in the classroom. I think (am hoping) it was because they just cleaned it (while the kids were outside) and it smelled like disinfectant. He also could see the playground and wanted to go play but that wasn’t an option.

After a few minutes he seemed a bit more at home and was walking around exploring. He had to go potty when he was there, so he got to check out the bathroom and wash his hands in the kid-sized sink (and learn how to use a different soap bottle and towel dispenser).

The teacher and I talked about his issues (mainly pooping and autism diagnoses) and she said she had another kid with GI issues and that she hadn’t noticed anything autism-related with him. She said they eat breakfast there, there’s no rest/nap time, water is available all day (they just have to ask for it), they have outdoor play time, and there’s no real regimented activity time (like “Okay, you HAVE TO sit here and practice writing for 15 minutes.”).

I still can’t believe this is happening. My baby is leaving the nest… I just wish he was taking a school bus so I didn’t have to spend an hour of my day trekking back and forth. :)

Play Group Morning

Today we just had to drive a few streets over!


He loved the pirate boat, even if it didn’t have water in it!


Testing out a cool chair! She liked it because it was bouncy!


The host said Katie was great to have there since his baby is only 4mo—so the house wasn’t really baby proofed at all—and she certainly showed him everything that could be gotten into from hot wax to dog food bowls to toilets to cupboards to candles to decorative shells to lamps… :)