Sunday, May 30, 2010

Date Number One: Tally Ho!

You may remember that my Mother's Day gift from Kev and Daphne this year was "Six Dates." Most of them are really intended for just Kevin and me, but yesterday we went on the first one, and it included the Peanut.

When she and her daddy returned from the moon, we set off toward downtown. First stop: the Coffee Bean, which is a little coffee shop that is sadly closing in a week or two. We went in to buy some - you guessed it - coffee beans, because theirs are really good and we haven't been having much luck with the beans from Wegman's. While Kev was inside buying the coffee, Daphne and I sat in their little courtyard, and found ourselves surrounded by heart-shaped nature:



Next, we headed to lunch at the newest downtown business, Windy City Red Hots, which is a hot dog place located in the same spot as the OLD hot dog place (Lesher's) that recently closed. The new place is slightly better in that there are more than four menu items, AND they have french fries. The only thing I didn't like was that they insinuate on their menu that people who put ketchup on their hot dogs are somehow inferior beings. There's no need for food snobbery. It's a HOT DOG place, for crying out loud. But anyway, my hot dog (with ketchup!) was tasty, as were the fries. So we'll go back. It's a good kid-friendly summertime lunch place.


Daphne had ketchup on hers, too. And remarkably didn't get a drop of it on her clothes! And I am a big fan of the poppy seed bun.

Finally, we reached our destination for the main event: Shrek (the newest one) at the Tally Ho.
This movie was surprisingly good. I didn't think the 2nd or 3rd ones were funny at all, but I laughed out loud at this one several times. Daphne had a good time (there was popcorn), but the premise was way over her head, so there were lots of questions during and after the movie. It's not really for kids her age.

Here we are, outside the theater after the show. The sun was in Daphne's eyes and she was pretty tired, so it wasn't the best moment for a family picture. Oh well.
So, yesterday was a really great day, and Daphne was really good. Too good, in fact. Because today, as if she was making up for lost time, she let fly with the kind of behavior that made me briefly question my decision not to be a "Parent Who Spanks." Kev and I somehow mananged to keep our cool and get through the day, and it was all smiles at bedtime. We shall see what tomorrow brings. One never knows these days.
Speaking of bedtime, Daphne is spending her first night in a Big Girl Bed tonight. Her crib converted to a toddler bed, which she has been in for a while. Today, we decided to take advantage of Memorial Day sales so we got her a mattress and box spring, and Kev assembled the final conversion into a full size bed. I stayed in it with her until she fell asleep. Then I cried because she isn't a baby anymore. Then I put a bunch of pillows all around to (hopefully) keep her from falling out, or at least soften the landing if she does.
Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and we are going out to do a little birthday shopping while my parents watch Daphne. It will be a nice change of pace for everyone involved. Then we start a BIG week. The countdown to 4 is on...





Saturday, May 29, 2010

Say Goodbye to the Peonies...

Well, these are the last of this year's peonies. The good news is, the hydrangeas are blooming. Having fresh flowers in the house makes me happy.

Blast Off

This morning, Daphne put on her space helmet, built a rocket, and went to the moon with her Daddy.

They were back in time for lunch. I was glad.

Let There Be Rock. Or Perhaps Bluegrass.

So last night, we ushered in Memorial Day weekend with a little house band party. We loaded our gear into the car, along with some fruit salad and goat cheese gratin, and headed over to our friends' house for delicious grilled food and music, some of which actually sounded pretty good.
I wish I had taken some video. The kids joined in on a couple of songs, but they mostly ran around and played. I played mandolin, because fortunately, most of the songs we played were made up of some combination of the 6 or 7 chords I know. I also played a little bass, which is lots of fun:

It was a really fun night for all involved, and I think we'll be doing it again in the near future. If so, I'll try to record a little for "Blog and Tell." I think we'll sound better next time.
Thanks to our hosts, Tim and Suzanne, for having us over and for all the great food and adult conversation. Looking forward to the next hootenanny!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You Say it's Your Birthday

I love birthday parties. That being said, birthday parties make me into an insane and difficult to live with person. But it's all because I LOVE birthday parties. I mean well. I really do.

This year, Daphne is having an ice-cream themed party. This was Kev's awesome idea when VERY early in the game I was all stressed about planning something for possibly 20 kids plus all of the adults in charge of them. "How about letting them all make their own sundaes?" suggested Kev.

EXCELLENT! Perfect! Daphne loves ice cream! I can make that happen! It will be a piece of cake. So to speak.

Now, in my imagination, this is going to be a fabulous party. If I can just do everything I want to do exactly like I want it done and the weather is perfect and nothing goes wrong and all these dang Virginia gnats disappear for the day.

HA!

So, I am now publicly vowing to take a deep breath, do the best I can, accept imperfections, go with the flow, and most importantly have a good time. And to stop being insane and difficult to live with. I am still going to attempt to achieve the party I see in my mind, but if I don't, the world will not end and Daphne certainly won't know the difference.

Here's the thing. Birthdays have gotten out of hand. Pony rides, petting zoos, I even know some people that had a CIRCUS in their back yard. For a kid who was turning ONE! Now, they have to top that every single year. Good grief.

A lot of kids now have birthday parties at a "place." Yesterday, we went to a birthday party at a bounce-house place. And it was GREAT. The kids had a blast, and the staff did every bit of the work. The mommy did not have to clean up the house before or after the party, or do any cooking or baking of any kind. The problem with parties at places is the price. It's EXPENSIVE to do that. Plus, it's just not my style.

I like homey, old school, and DIY. All my parties as a kid were a blast. Ice cream, cake, games. Running around the yard or my grandma's basement with my cousins. No pony rides. No expensive destinations. Just a bunch of little kids having fun. And that's what I want for Daphne. Simple. But with a theme and perhaps some crafty decorations.

Anyway, I'm off to a good start. As you can see above, I made the invitations and distributed them (all but one...will do that today), and my dad made a "Pin the Cherry on the Sundae" game. I went on line got very inexpensive special cups for the kids' sundaes, which they get to take home as a favor. I think I have the menu pretty much planned and the paper products are taken care of. I have a little bit more to do, but I think I'm in pretty good shape. So wish me luck. I'll let you know how things turn out after the big event.

Meanwhile, we've been having a really nice time with my grandma, who will be returning to Indiana in a couple days. I think she's having a good time too. I'm so glad she is getting to spend some time with Daphne. Today, they had some music time together. Daphne played her uke while my grandma taught her "The Old Family Toothbrush."

Then, after Daphne demonstrated the "Daphne Wiggle," my grandma treated us all to a demonstartion of the "Mam-ma Wiggle:"

I wish I had video of all this stuff. Good times.
Well, I should probably be doing something other than blogging while I have the free time. I think I shall organize my party supplies and make a plan for tomorrow. I only have two more days of Daphne being in school. It seems like school just started. How can it be over? Uh-oh...stress level rising...calm blue ocean clam blue ocean calm blue ocean...



Sunday, May 23, 2010

Season One is in the Books

A big crowd came out to watch Daphne's last soccer game of the spring season. It was extra special for several reasons. My grandma is here visiting from Indiana, so she got to go, along with my cousin and her daughter who came to visit from Philly. The kids got to try playing an actual game, which was really cute and went better than you might expect. At the end of the game, the kids got their medals. Daphne was surprised, excited, and very proud:


She wore it all day, and even tried to sleep in it.
After the game, Coach Kevin treated the few kids who showed up to an ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins. Instead of sitting with us, Daphne went off to sit with her friends. This is the first time this has happened, and it kind of took me by surprise. She's such a big kid now. It's really weird.
After the ice cream, we went to lunch with Daphne's cheering section (G-ma, G-pa, Uncle Jeff, my grandma, my cousin, and her daughter), and then back home to play for a little while in the yard before a much needed nap.

Daphne had a great time with her cousin Sarah. They got along and played together really well. I had a nice visit with my cousin, and I'll get to see my grandma again on Wednesday before she heads back home. The weekend went by really fast, and now I need to shift into hyper-groove. Less than two weeks until Daphne's birthday, and there is a lot to be done.
What I need to do now, though, is sleep.


One last thing. If there was never any such thing as MTV, and then suddenly it was now and I invented MTV, this is the first video I would show. Grab your coffee, open up your windows, and turn this up. Especially if you happen to be just starting your Monday. It is really really cool and will get your day off to a good start. There is just something special about a bunch of voices singing together like that. And the cool drums at the beginning! And the violins! It makes me happy.
And a funny side note: the bearded guy with the glasses and the stripey shirt was a cub scout with my brother and used to come over to our house when we were kids. I never in a million years would have expected him to end up here. Way to go, Gra(ha)m!

Enjoy!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How to Recover From a Preschool Pick-up Fraught with Difficulty (You Will Need Mushrooms for This) (No, Not the "Special" Ones)

I spent the morning cleaning. I don't really like cleaning, and it put me in a bad mood. Then I went to pick up Daphne from school. She was in a great mood. In fact, she was sort of manic and wild. Things did not go well. I had to do a lot of chasing - and Daphne's a lot faster than me - before managing to get us into the car and on the way home. Needless to say, this did not help my mood.

I got Daphne down for her nap, and still had more cleaning to look forward to. Plus, my weekly meal plan (and some chicken in the fridge that needed to be used asap) dictated that tonight I had to do some real cooking. All this was enough to almost put me over the edge, which I have been teetering on lately.

So, Kev made me sit on the porch swing. It took a while, but I slowly started decompressing.

I admired the azaleas:

I cut some new peonies for the kitchen sink window:


I put on a skirt, attached my pannier, and rode my bike to Safeway:


I adorned my herb garden with cool labels from my mom:

And then, I put on my apron and cooked up probably my best batch ever of chicken marsala:


And a bad day turned good, just like that. Thanks, Kev.




Now and Then

video

Above is the NOW (press play).

Please click HERE for the THEN (from almost exactly two years ago - May 16, 2008).

Geez. You'd think the kid could learn a new song.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Cheap Plea for Sympathy

Daphne calls this the Horrible Morrible book. I don't really like to read it to her, because it has the word "hate" in it a lot. But it sorta sums up the horrible morrible day I've been having, and I need to vent. Please feel free to skip this post if you just don't wanna hear it.

I had such high hopes for this day. I woke up before the alarm, feeling rested for once. Kev got up before me, and when I went downstairs, it smelled like coffee. Kev made the coffee!!! How can it be a bad day when someone else makes you coffee?! Then, Daphne woke up declaring that she was going to get ready for school all by herself. And she did! In a timely manner, even! And her clothes matched!

I took her to school, where she excitedly helped me distribute the invitations to her birthday party. Then, I had a very enjoyable cup of coffee with one of my mommy friends at Shoes. Not so horrible morrible, huh? But then...

I went to four different stores in search of party supplies, got all A.D.D. and couldn't make any decisions, and ran out of time without buying anything and still needed to go to Wegman's. So, I had to take Daphne with me to the grocery store after school. BAD idea. Daphne is way too tired to have to do an errand after school. BUT, we didn't have any food, so I had no choice. We met some friends for lunch there, and that went OK, but then it was time to shop. First, there was refusal to sit down in the cart. Then there was I WANT THIS and I WANT THAT. Then there were tears about which cashier's line we got in (our friends went through the line with the children's books, which I wanted to avoid because of all the begging for stuff). I forgot to bring my reuseable bags, so I had to use the plastic ones, which are so much more difficult to load. And they gave me TONS of them, because the Wegman's people for some reason will only put 2 or 3 items in each bag. When I got outside, I remembered that the whole trunk area of my car was full of bags of mulch, which by the way is giving me headaches from the smell, so I had to smoosh all the bags of groceries into the seat next to Daphne. Then, when we got home, her backpack was "too heavy" for her to carry into the house, so I had to carry it plus all the groceries. Then, she wanted more minutes to play before nap, and wanted me to help her figure out what to play with while I put away the groceries. There was a huge seriously uncalled-for meltdown with lots of flopping on the floor and trying to block me from opening the fridge to put away the chicken before it spoiled.

Finally, there was lots of apologizing and hugging, and now, a nap. I need to clean, but I just don't have it in me. What I really want is a giant bowl of Ben and Jerry's Ameri-cone Dream, which is practically screaming to me from the freezer. But the positive effect of that would only be temporary. Sigh. It's my fault, really. I pushed my luck and lost. Daphne is a good girl. She really is. Kids will be kids. But MAN! I've had it. Time for a Mommy Nap.

Aaaaah. I feel better now. Thank you, blog, for listening. Any if anyone actually reads this, please feel free to post your sympathy and good cheer in the comments. In the meantime, I'll keep reminding myself, at least there are no lions...there are no lions...there are no lions...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Small Weekend

For once, we had a small weekend. And it was fine by me. Friday, Daphne was sick, so we did pretty much nothing. Saturday, she was better, so she played soccer. We got her pictures back, as you can see. They look like baseball cards (front above, back below). Pretty cool. Next week is the last game. Daphne doesn't know it yet, but the kids are going to get little "gold medals". She is going to be SO excited about this. Kev is also treating the kids to an ice cream cone...at least the ones who show up.

Saturday afternoon, we grilled out. Grilling is the one occasion that Kev and I are really good at mealtime teamwork. He does the outside stuff, and I do the inside stuff. We had cheeseburgers, corn, and these potato things from the Pioneer Woman:


They were very good. I followed the recipe exactly, except for leaving out the scallions because I don't like scallions. I think these would be good with bacon in place of the ham, or with goat cheese and garlic. There are tons of variations you could come up with, I bet. It's hard to go wrong with any combination of potato, cheese, butter, and pork.
We ate on the porch. The weather was actually very nice this weekend. Look at Daphne. What a mess. Hair everywhere. A sure sign of a fun day playing outside.

Saturday night, I stayed up late and watched Julie and Julia. I've been wanting to see it, and we have a couple of free movie channels until the end of June, so I'm trying to pack a lot in. I have to say, I thought is was just OK. Meryl Streep was great as Julia Child, but the Julie Powell character was unlikeable and annoying. I don't know if that was because of the acting, or if the real Julie Powell is also unlikeable and annoying. I have never actually read her blog. Anyway, I didn't really have high expectations of the movie. I just wanted to watch it because I happen to be interested in food and blogs and blogs about food. Here are a few of my favorites:

There are tons more out there. Some are better than others. I tend to like the ones with the most pictures. But that's just me.

On Sunday, Kev nearly did himself in doing a bunch of yardwork. I stayed inside and worked on Daphne's birthday party invitations. More on that later. For now, I'd better go take advantage of a napping Peanut. I should probably eat lunch. If it's any good, I'll take a picture.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rain

Last night, the skies opened up and we had a nice little thunderstorm, which gave me a break from watering the garden, and Daphne a chance to play outside in her rain gear. Until we saw lightning.

There is a traveling show called "Rain" that is coming to Wolf Trap this summer. I really want to take Daphne. It's a Beatles tribute, and I think she would love it. My dad took me to one called Beatlemania when I was in 7th grade, and I thought it was awesome. Daphne is a big Beatles fan. She likes Paul the best. The other night, she got 37% on Beatles Rock Band doing vocals on "Drive My Car." Also coming to Wolf Trap this summer are Harry Connick Jr., and the great Chris Isaak, not to be confused with each other. We saw Chris Isaak at Billy Bob's in Fort Worth a couple years ago, and it was honestly one of the best shows I've ever seen. You can't beat the mirrored suit. That same day, we saw a Swami at White Rock Lake, but that's another story. I am so thankful for this blog. Without it, I'd have probably forgotten all about the Swami.

Speaking of Cow Town, last night, that "Casey" on American Idol said he was looking forward to getting home to Fort Worth so he could hear people saying "y'all" again. I totally know the feeling, Casey. Nobody here talks like me except my awesome neighbor Martha. And she is moving back to Louisiana soon, so there goes that. I'm not nearly as homesick as I was this time last year, but it still hits me sometimes. This morning, I had to make the haul to Manassas and back, and I listened to Hitchhike to Rhome on the way, which nearly made me cry. Old 97s can keep making great record after great record, but that one will always be the best. Anyway, it made me miss Texas. I am going to have to plan a visit soon.

Forgive me. I am a little loopy from lack of sleep. Daphne's cough was keeping us all up last night, so I ended up sleeping with her in the guest room. She is the world's squirmiest, kickiest sleeper, and I got very little rest. I just took a 90 minute nap, but that has kinda made it worse. I feel all out of sorts.

Thank goodness for left-over Chicken and Biscuits. Counting the minutes to dinner...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Great Big Ol' Pot of Happy

Chicken and Biscuits. What better meal could you ask for on a chilly rainy evening? So that's what we had last night, and the best part was, Daphne helped me make it. Her jobs: taking the thyme leaves off the stems (from our own garden - YAY!), dumping various things into the pot, and "painting" the biscuits (egg wash makes everything prettier). I may have mentioned this before, and I don't have the exact numbers, but kids are statisically more likely to eat food that they cook or grow themselves, and Daphne ate up her whole bowl of chicken and biscuits with great gusto, proudly pointing out her contributions to Kev - "See that dark green stuff, Dad? That's the THYME!"


I cannot wait to eat the leftovers. I am currently attempting to get permission to post the recipe, so check back later for that. Really easy and SO good.
Today it's sunny and warm, but it started off gloomy, so I decided to take Daphne to a place called Sports Bounce. Goal: Completely wear out my kid so she will take a super long nap this afternoon (I have a birthday party to plan...but that's a post for another day). Sports Bounce is a giant indoor play area featuring bounce-houses and giant inflatable slides. It cost $10 for the 90 minute session, but DUDE. It was SO worth it. Daphne ran, jumped, climbed, and slid for the entire hour and a half, and had a gigantic smile on her face the whole time. By the time it was over, she was so tired that she didn't even object when I said it was time to leave.
They didn't have ANYthing like that when I was a kid. I remember only one bounce-house experience as a child. It was at a school carnival in third or fourth grade, and the bounce house was rented by the PTA as the BIG ATTRACTION. We climbed into this thing, which was very poorly designed, and once there were more than about 6 kids inside, it became inevitable that at some point we'd all get too close to the center at the same time, causing us to create a giant pit, into which we all sank. After much grasping and clawing and stepping on the littler kids, a beaten down grown-up would have to come in and pull us all out, and the next group would start their turn. And we LOVED it. I can only imagine how great I would have thought Sports Bounce was as a kid.
Anyway, we're home now, and Daphne just finished a big lunch. So I am going to take advantage of her full belly and active morning and start the nap process early. Stay tuned for adventures in party planning, perhaps later this week.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This is Really Cool

Orion Pad Abort 1 Video Highlights from Space City Films on Vimeo.

More footage from the launch from many different perspectives for those who are interested.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Favorite Holiday

So, early Sunday morning, I was having this dream, and for once it wasn't stressful. I was at Border's with some of my preschool Mommy friends. They were all pregnant. They went off to look at books, and I noticed that my friend Rhett was there. He was doing an acoustic set, sitting on a stool with his guitar, wearing a finely tailored suit made entirely of newspapers. I went over to say hi, when suddenly I heard : rattle rattle...click...creak, creak...pitter patter pitter patter pitter patter...POOF! Rhett was gone.

And I was awake. I let myself think for a moment that maybe it was just Kev getting up to go to the bathroom, and that I could just go right back to sleep. But Kev's footsteps don't usually go "pitter patter pitter patter," so I knew it was a long shot. I opened one eye, and about two inches from my face was Daphne, looking very disheveled and a little freaked out.

Me: What 's the matter?

D: I had a bad dream that you went to jail because you didn't put on my seatbelt when we were going to see Dan Zanes (I have apparently passed along the Stressful Dream Gene).

Sigh. The sun was coming up and I knew there was no chance of her going back to bed, so I hoisted her up next to me, where she was still for a whole three minutes (a record!) before the squirming began.

Kev: (mumbling) Happy Smother's Day (that's what Daphne called it when she was little).

Me: Oh yeah. Thanks.

D: (What seemed like yelling) Happy Muddah's Day!!!!! (that's what she calls it now).

Me: Thanks. What time is it anyway?

D: Seven eight. (?)

Kev: 6:23 am.

And so began my Mother's Day.

But let's go back a bit...

It was another action packed weekend, starting with First Friday. There was a lot going on this month, and we chose to check out a high school girls' guitar ensemble at the bank, and a bluegrass band featuring Maddy Curtis (see her awesome AI audition here) behind the Pink Shop:

They were really good, and I liked seeing teenagers playing GOOD music. There is hope for the future. Daphne loved it, and got Maddy's autograph and a hug. Very cute.
Saturday started about the best way possible if you're a little kid - licking the beaters:

I made some whipped cream for strawberry shortcake, which we ate after soccer and an early Mother's Day lunch with my mom, dad, and Jeff at Sweetwater Tavern. My parent's gave me this dahlia and planter - just my style:

And Kev and Daphne gave me a really nice card, a bottle of Lambic, and a cool orange box:

Inside the box was a very clever gift - six dates. There were gift cards for nights out at four different local restaurants (all within walking distance) and one for the local movie theater. The sixth date is a bicycle ride/picnic with the bottle of Lambic. Nice, huh? I am looking forward to getting started, but not sure where to go first.
For REAL Mother's Day, we decided to take a drive in the country like we did last year. We ended up at the Philomont General Store, where we bought pulled pork barbecue sandwiches for us, PB&J for Daphne, some sweet potato chips, and drinks, and walked down the street to a playground for a picnic. The sandwiches were AWESOME! Aaaah...good barbecue. So hard to come by in these parts, so it was a real treat.

After we ate, we had lots of fun on the playground until I sustained a knee injury. I am apparently too big for the toddler playground and should not try to squeeze under 2-foot arches.

We then tried to get ice cream in Purcellville, but the place was closed, so we headed back home and Daphne fell asleep in the car about two minutes before we arrived. Then she woke up and wouldn't (or couldn't) take a real nap, and so she was unfortunately whiny and obstinate for the rest of the day. She wasn't BAD, but just made every single thing more difficult than it should have been. When she's tired, things are much less fun. Kev went to Giovanni's to get pizza for dinner, we put Daphne to bed early, and I had my Mother's Day ice cream. And all in all, it was a really great Mother's Day Weekend. I wish it happened more often. It's nice to know I'm appreciated.

Also this weekend, we brought in some flowers from the yard. Kev got some roses from the back:


And I got some peonies from the front:


You should smell my kitchen. I love walking past the sink now, and washing the dishes is much more tolerable with pretty flowers at the window.
Next weekend, I don't think we have anything planned except soccer. That's good. I think we need to stay low-key for a while. Kev has had a bad cold and can't seem to get better, so we need to slow things down and relax. Maybe we can go on one of our six dates.
I hope you all had a good weekend and a Happy Mother's Day too.
Time to start planning for Father's Day now...

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Rocket Science


This morning I was treated to one of the most exciting 97 seconds I have ever experienced. The Launch Abort System for the Orion Program, which Kev has been working on for a couple of years, had a test flight at White Sands at 9:00am. And in spite of some very valid fears, it was a successful flight, seemingly flawless, at least visually. Time will tell, once the flight data is analyzed, but everything looked like it worked according to plan.
As a PA1 team family member, I was invited to a special screening to watch the flight live with Kevin. I dropped off Daphne at school and made it to the conference center at T-Minus three minutes to launch. Whew! It was truly awesome to watch. Everyone in the room clapped and cheered, and I got chills and I'll admit a little teary-eyed. I know how hard these guys have worked on this, and there is just something special about the space program that gets me every time. I am so glad that the launch was a success, as this means it will go out on a HUGE positive note. You see, if you don't already know, our current President has cancelled the program. So, all the hard work, time, and money that has gone into this vehicle has basically been for the love of science, because it seems certain now that it will never actually be used.
I feel like I got to be a small part of history today, and I'm really proud of Kev. If you'd like to see the launch video, check it out here. And please let your representatives know if you oppose Obama's plan. Who knows...maybe there's still hope.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

I Don't Think I Like Where This is Headed

So, over the weekend, Daphne told my mom that "teenagers brush their OWN hair." She said, "Go relax, Grandma," and then headed into the bathroom where I am told she spent about 30 minutes on this interesting hair-do (or perhaps hair-don't would be more appropriate). Look at that FACE! What an attitude! (Photo by Grandpa)

I am happy to report that my sweet little three-year-old returned yesterday and is still here at the moment. But Teenager Daphne will be back. It's only a matter of time.

Monday, May 03, 2010

An Elvis Sighting and other Stories from a Very Rock and Roll Weekend (A Very Long Post)

Aaaaaaahhhh....Monday. Thank goodness, because I need a break. If any family knows how to pack too much into a weekend, it's mine. We need to learn to space out our activities better. That being said, I wouldn't change a thing about the weekend we just had. It was a blast. And there will be plenty of time for doing nothing later on.

I would start with Friday night, but at the moment, I can't remember what we did Friday night. It seems so long ago. Oh yeah...nothing big. We had ice cream and watched the Little Mermaid. I'm not crazy about that movie, but Daphne has been asking to watch it again, so I got it at the library. Meh. Moving on to Saturday.

Saturday was the first day of the Summer Farmer's Market, so Daphne and I went to check it out while Kev worked in the yard. They had a bunch of kids' activities, so we stayed way too long and practically had to run home so we could get to soccer. Poor Daphne was exhausted before practice even started, and it was HOT. The humidity here is like nothing I ever experienced in Texas. I think we're in for a difficult summer. I will try not to complain too much. Anyway, Daphne made it through practice. She was tired, but never quit. I was proud of her. Several of the other kids checked out about halfway through, and just sat down on their soccer balls refusing to participate.

After practice, the kids had to all hurry over to another school for soccer pictures. Only five kids showed up from Daphne's team, and one of them refused to have his picture taken. But Daphne did fine. She wouldn't smile, of course. "Soccer players are tough." I'll post a picture when we get them.

At that point, Daphne headed off with G-Ma and G-Pa for a sleepover at their house, and Kev and I came home to crash. But there wasn't much time for rest, because I had scheduled band practice. It was really fun, and I got to play the bass. I think maybe the bass is the instrument for me. It's so easy and fun to play. Anyway, we ran through a few songs to practice for an upcoming house band get-together with some of our musical friends. PPHPHB is back in action, and that's a good thing.

Suddenly, it was dinner time, and I had failed to prepare the things that I had planned to make for dinner, so discussions began about what and where to eat. Kev mentioned going to DC, and I'm sure he expected that idea to be shot down right away. If you know me very well, you know that something like a trip into DC usually needs to be on the calendar for at least a week ahead of time. Anything that's any kind of a production requires advance notice. But for some reason, I liked the idea this time. In fact, I got all excited.

So, off to DC we went. And it wasn't such a big production after all. Navigation was a little tricky, even with GPS, but we made it, and easily found a free parking space too! We went to dinner at Jaleo, a Spanish Tapas place in Chinatown, and that is where we saw Elvis (above), who showed up to surprise a bachelorette party and created quite a scene. We were seated right in the front window, so there was interesting people-watching during dinner. Everything we ordered was delicious, but my very favorite thing was a cinnamon apricot that happened to be a garnish on our goat cheese plate. I told Kev I felt like I was on vacation. We need to do this kind of thing more often.

After dinner, we took off down the mall toward the memorials, which are cool during the day, but spectacular at night. If you are ever a tourist in DC, I recommend seeing it in the dark. Especially Lincloln, WWII, and the Korean War Memorial.

We probably walked over three miles total, and our feet were killing us, but we had a great time. I'd say we probably walked off most of dinner. We got home just before midnight, and I think I was asleep within seconds.


Sunday morning, it was time to play Rock Band. We were excited last time we played because we were awarded a bunch of new cities and songs. Unfortunately we discovered that almost all of the new stuff is death metal, and you have to play it on "hard" level. Just to see what would happen, we tried playing Metallica's "Battery," and failed within about 20 seconds. We immediately played a "make-your-own-setlist" of three easy songs that we like playing. I picked Spoonman, and am now up to 94% on medium. Then we tried a "Drummer's showcase" five-song mystery set, and it turned out to be "Battery" and 4 other of the new death metal songs. I played it on medium, but still failed a few times and Kev had to save the band. I think the guitar parts must have been pretty easy, but I was sweating so much by the time we finished the set that I needed a shower. It was hard, but it was fun. And maybe it will make me a better drummer. By the way, WHO listens to that awful stuff? It sounds like the "singers" are throwing up. Terrible.
After lunch, I went to pick up Daphne and brought her home to get ready for the big Dan Zanes show in Bethesda. It almost didn't happen. She was so tired from her adventures at Grandma's that she had a MASSIVE fit about what she was going to wear, and we finally just had to force her into her clothes and into the car, where she cried, then apologized, then fell asleep.
It's good that she "changed her ways" and got to go, because it was a GREAT show and we all three had a blast. Dan Zanes is awesome, and if you've never heard him you should check him out, especially if you have kids. (Some of you may remember him from the Del Fuegos). Halfway through the concert, Daphne had to go potty, and in the bathroom she looked up at me and said, "Mom, this is SO awesome." That made it worth it, fit and all.
At the end of the show, Dan Zanes and the band paraded us all out of the concert hall and into the lobby, leading us through "Sidewalks of New York" over and over. Hearing 4 or 5 hundred people all singing together like that was something special, and I'm so glad Daphne got to be part of it.
At the end of the parade, Dan Zanes stayed in the lobby signing autographs for about 45 minutes. Daphne got to meet him, and he signed her ticket:
He seems to have such a huge personality on stage, but he was very quiet and almost shy when we met him. Perhaps he was a little freaked out by the huge mob of toddlers and their parents which had surrounded him and blocked him against a wall. I would have been. But he was cool and I don't think Daphne will forget it. She got to meet the drummer and guitarist too, and we bought the new DVD which I'm looking forward to watching. The most disappointing thing was that in the chaos of the fit, I forgot my camera. I could have gotten some really great shots.
We had a post-concert dinner at the gas station Thai place, (which was out of Thai Iced Tea AGAIN!) and then came home and crashed. Daphne was asleep by 8:30 (and she actually slept in this morning!), and Kev and I weren't far behind.
It was great. But now I am ready for a few days of down time. A little reading and knitting sounds good to me. But first, I must go to the grocery store. All we have here is cheese and Nutella. So, I'm off to get food.
Whew!
The End.