Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall-a-Palooza Four - The Greats

On Saturday morning after the Old 97s, I headed to Manassas for brunch.  My grandma was there, along with my aunt and two of my cousins and their kids.  The food was great, Daphne had lots of fun playing with Scout and the kids (her 3rd cousins?), and I got some nice pictures of my grandma with most of her "greats."  My cousin Amy and her little girl were missing, unfortunately.  It's been a long time since all five of the Renshaw cousins were in the same place at the same time. 

I love this picture of my grandma and Daphne.

When we got home, Daphne and Kevin raked up (and jumped in) piles of leaves while I took a nap.

I could have slept straight through until the next morning, only I had to get up to go to my neighbor's surprise vow-renewal ceremony.  It was really really nice, and gave me a chance to visit with some of my neighbors.  But I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't so exhausted.  I came home and went to bed at 8:30.  I was done.

Sunday, I got up early to beat the pre-Frankenstorm panic at Wegman's.  In the afternoon, I took Daphne to a gymnastics place for a birthday party and used the time to sit and knit.  It's a good thing school was canceled, because Daphne was just as Fall-a-Palooza-ed out as I was.  We crammed a LOT of fun into 7 days, and it took its toll.  But it was worth it.  I'd do it all again. 

Tomorrow is Halloween.  October is ending.  I think I'll bake pumpkin bread to celebrate one of the most full-throttle awesome fall seasons we've had in a long time.  In November, I will try to take it easy.  But it's time to gear up for Christmas, so we'll see.

Fall-a-Palooza Three - Owls and Rock

Friday afternoon, I took Emily to the airport, then headed home to get Daphne ready for the school Fall Harvest Festival.  Thanks to some help from Emily and my hot glue gun (if it's good enough for Project Runway, it's good enough for me), I got some wings on Daphne's owl costume and she LOVED it.  She put it on and flew gracefully around the yard while I took pictures.  This one is my favorite:

I was pleased with how it turned out.  I especially love the hat, which I found at Target and embellished with giant felt eyes and a beak.  The ears were already on it - I think it was supposed to be a kitten hat.  It will be nice and warm for Trick-or-Treating in the post-Frankenstorm chilly weather.

My dad and Jeff took Daphne to the festival because Kev and I had big plans to go to the 930 Club in DC to see the Old 97s.  After some minor altercations with the GPS, Kev found us a GREAT parking space a block from the club.  We went to dinner at some place on U Street with a glass-covered roof-top deck (What do they do if there's hail??!!).  I can't remember the name of the place.  Something Bistro.  We had something Turkish and delicious called "potato cigars" and we shared some mussels and fries.  Good stuff.

When we got to the club, we picked up our tickets and were given VIP wristbands, which allowed us into a section of the balcony which was not crowded AND which had stools to sit on.  Below us on the general admission standing-room-only floor were wall-to-wall hipsters.  I was glad I was not down there.  Those people looked hot and smooshed.  During the opening act, we went to the backstage room to hang out with my friend Ken, who plays guitar in the band.  It was SO great to see more friends from Texas.  And although the whole backstage thing is kind of awkward, it's also interesting.  The 930 backstage had cupcakes, which was nice but didn't seem very rock and roll.  There was also a magazine rack on the wall that had a copy of Woman's Day, which I thought was funny.  Ken caught us up on the news from home, everyone showed us pictures of their kids, and then it was time for the show, so we went back to the balcony.  The show was great as usual.  Seriously, even if these guys weren't my friends, I think they'd still be one of my favorite bands.  Especially to see live.  They don't hold anything back.  So much fun.

We got home sometime after 1:00 am.  That is late.  I don't usually stay up past 10:00, so it was a big deal being out until 1:00.  Thanks to Ken for hooking us up, to Kev for dinner and driving,  to my family for taking care of Daphne, to the 930 Club for the good cupcake and the stools, and to the Old 97s for Four Leaf Clover, which is near the top of my Best Live Songs I've Ever Seen list.  Fall-a-Palooza is almost complete.

UPDATE:  Found it! Here is a link to the restaurant with the potato cigars:  Tabaq Bistro.

Fall-a-Palooza Two

On Monday, my friend Emily and her cool family came to visit us.   They were in town for a wedding, and extended their stay to hang out with us.  Daphne got to see her two first friends (she and Vi were born 4 days apart), Mister Kevin finally got to see Leesburg, and Emily got to stay an extra four days to hang out with me.
There was pie, there was yarn, there was Project Runway, and there was sitting on the porch.  There was a great dinner out at Clyde's featuring pumpkin ravioli and a waiter named Lorenzo Palooza.  There were knitting lessons, owl-wing-making consultations, the most chaotic Daisy meeting ever, a pumpkin carving party, and at least one of us ended up on TV.

Thank you, Emily, for coming to visit.  Thank you, Mister Kevin, for letting her stay so long.  It was a really really great week.  My friends are awesome.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I'm Calling This Post "Fall-a-Palooza"

Sitting here on Monday, October 29, waiting to lose power.  The Frankenstorm (aka Hurricane Sandy) has begun.  It's rainy and windy, school is closed today and tomorrow, Kev came home from work early, and they have canceled the Halloween parade.  I spent the morning making Guinness Beef Stew and doing laundry, hoping to get all that done before losing our electricity.  So far, we still have power.  So, I thought I'd catch up a little on blogging.  Last week was a crazy exhausting fun fun week.  Lots to talk about, but I'll start with last Saturday.

After a nice lunch with my parents and my grandma at Blue Ridge Grill, they headed back to Manassas, and we decided to go for a hike.  The weather was too good to not go do SOMETHING outside.  So we headed for Bear's Den.  The leaves were peaking, and we weren't disappointed by the view.

Since we were in the neighborhood, we stopped by Bluemont Winery on the way home.  The view there was nice as well, the sky was blue with puffy clouds, and there were turkeys.

 Poor turkey.  He has no idea what's in store for him next month. 

I can't remember what we did Sunday other than make a giant pot of jambalaya in anticipation of visitors from Texas the next day.  But more on that in another post.  Time to go stir my Frankenstorm stew.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Big Tex, 2008

This was taken the last time I saw Big Tex.  Today, he went out in a blaze of glory.  Adios, Big Tex. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Day in the Life: Tuesday

  • Get up
  • Make everyone's lunches and breakfasts
  • Get Daphne on the bus
  • Go to Pilates class with my friends
  • Feel taller!
  • Listen to Everything but the Girl and get the butter chicken going in the slow cooker
  • Go to JoAnn and Target for owl supplies
  • Eat lunch and watch part of an old episode of Knitty Gritty on the DVR
  • Cut out lots of owl feathers

  • Arrange owl feathers and contemplate wings
  • Fail to figure out how to make wings

  • Eggnog break   (YES!)
  •  Get Daphne off the bus
  • Go to the library to learn about bats and do a bat craft

  •  Come home and supervise homework completion
  • Make rice, naan, and broccoli to go with butter chicken
  • Eat delicious butter chicken with nice family
  • Put Daphne to bed
  • Discuss current events with Kev
  • Finish the book I should have finished for last Monday's book club
  • Sleep
  • More or less repeat...
 Cool bat shirt, huh?  Will have to steal this idea...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Camels? Oh My.

Daphne gets to have a lot of fun.  I'm sort of starting to worry that she's going to expect it to stay that way when she grows up, and then be really disappointed and bitter and blame me when it doesn't.  Look at her up there in that picture.  This was Friday, on her first grade field trip to the National Zoo.  She and two of her best friends were running along following elephant prints without a care in the world. (Except "Are we EVER gonna get to eat lunch?").  (It was 10:30 am).

I got to go along on the trip as a chaperone, or as Daphne calls it, a "shepherd."  I was in charge of those three little girls in the picture.  Easiest job ever.  They are all good friends, as I mentioned, and they are all in my Daisy troop.  It was a blast.  Highlights included this wolf:

This curious little seal:

And lots of other cool animals like river otters and pandas and 4 different kinds of owls and flamingos and gorillas and lions and tigers and bears...

The weather was great, the kids were great, and the animals really put on a show.   I have a new appreciation of the National Zoo.  Even riding on the school bus for an hour wasn't too bad (except for the bus driver, who kept telling really dark jokes to his audience of 6-year olds - "If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving may not be the thing for you" - there were lots of questions about that one.)

Saturday was a designated Family Day.  We had to X out a day on the calendar so that we made sure there were no birthday parties or girl scout activities or band practices, and do some things as a family before fall is over.

We decided to go to Temple Hall Farm's fall festival and corn maize.  Temple Hall did not disappoint.  Not only was there a corn maize, but there were piles of hay to climb on, pig races, corn dogs, toilet seat horseshoes, corn hole, tether ball, a bouncy pillow, a sandbox filled with corn (I can't tell you how much corn fell out of Daphne's undies), a magic show, and a CAMEL RIDE! 

When I woke up Saturday morning, I had no idea I'd be riding a camel.  But I'm so glad I did.  How many chances in life do you get to ride a camel with your kid?  Who needs to go all the way to Egypt?  Not me.  They probably don't even have corny dogs  and pig races there.  Virginia is awesome.

After the Corn Maize, we needed to sit down.  So we went to Lost Creek Winery.  Kev and I sat outside and listened to Gary Smallwood covering some light hits of the 70s while Daphne ran around the big yard. 

And we ended family day at Q Company BBQ - a new place around the corner from our house.  It has a gigantic Texas flag on the wall and delicious pulled pork.  It was kind of perfect.  We should have Family Day more often.

Sunday we didn't really slow things down. We went to breakfast and Trader Joe's in the morning, and in the afternoon, I took Daphne on a letter boxing hike with the troop while Kev did some banjo recording and cider bottling with Mister Tim.

And finally, in the evening, Kev and I went to the movies while Daphne did arts and crafts with her favorite teenager.

We are all pretty exhausted today, but it's worth it.  It was such a fun weekend.  I think we've gotten our money's worth out of this fall.  Next weekend, we should probably have Daphne mop some floors and pay some bills and pull some weeds or something.  Just to balance things out.

In the meantime, we have no food or clean clothes, so I better get back to reality too.  Hope you had a good weekend!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Let's Do the Time Warp Again

I have discovered the secret to slowing down time: CAMPING.  It's true.  We went camping over the weekend, and I swear, Saturday lasted about twice as long as a regular Saturday.  In a good way, not in a "Good Lord is this day EVER going to end" way.

We woke up early to this peaceful view (above) from our cabin porch at Westmoreland State Park. There was french toast and sausage and coffee in the french press for breakfast  (Hey, I never said we were roughing it).

Then we rounded up our friends (we went with the "band families") and took a hike from the visitor center through the woods and down to Fossil Beach.  The kids climbed and dug and waded and found treasures.  And we saw Bald Eagles diving for fish.

Back at the cabins, the kids built a tree fort (with a little help), and played in the woods...

...while the adults attempted to make exciting camp fire desserts:

Kevin has decided this should be called Apple Mess.  It wasn't pretty.  We nearly burned it on the coals, but it was rescued and turned into something delicious.

S'mores were made, Jiffy Pop was popped, guitars and banjos were played, songs were sung, Born in the USA was hummed (long story, but one I want to remember when I read this later), and a good time was had by all.  And as I said, it was like the weekend lasted a week.  I loved it.

Home again now, and THIS is happening on the street below my office window:

Ugh.  It's really loud and non-stop, and I wish I was still in the park, listening to crickets and frogs and eagles and music and happy little kids, where everything smelled like camp fire.  Back to reality, though.  And lots more good things to come this month. 

No school today, thanks to Mister Columbus.  It's cloudy and cold out, and I got to wear my Toast arm warmers.  It sort of feels like Thanksgiving.  I took Daphne down to Manassas for a while, and now we're back home, waiting for Kev.  I think maybe I'll turn on the fireplace and make some hot chocolate.  Hope you had a nice long weekend.  See you soon with more October.