Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Prayers For Zachary

I just wanted to increase the number of well wishes and prayers that are out there for a little boy Audrey's age.  A sorority sister of mine and her husband's little boy was recently diagnosed with Leukemia.  This is just a tragic diagnosis in such a small child and their family has the fight of a lifetime to keep up with all that accompanies it.  Please keep Zachary Briggs as well as mom, Christy, dad, Chris and big sister Avery in your thoughts and prayers.  I don't think they would mind me sharing a link to their Caring Bridge page the more people praying the better.


Thank you!!

Kristen
Kristen

Books, Buds, Blowout and Brew


We had another action packed, fun-filled weekend!  Here are the highlights....

Books

Jimmy, Audrey and I checked out the Library of Congress' National Book Festival.  There was much to see and many authors to meet.  We didn't really take advantage of all the festival had to offer simply because it was so hot and muggy.  We were worried that it would rain all day.  Instead it was sunny and incredibly muggy.  Match that with thousands of people and I have to admit the fun-factor was greatly diminished.  We did take advantage of the free goodies.  Cool bags, a great poster that I am hoping will make it home for proper framing, and the best free bottled water from Target.  


Buds

The best part of the day was seeing our friends Matt, Cecily and Dylan Williams.  They were blowing thru town as part of their multi-state NE adventure.  We checked out the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden  and all sat down for some catch up time over lunch.  I am amazed at how big Dylan is.  We have only been gone for six weeks.  We risked an angry security guard and his whistle to get this shot:

I don't know why they got so mad.  We obeyed the posted rule...no one "touched" the sculpture.....so we had to jump over a little fence :-)

After leaving the Williams to continue on their visit.  The Cox family headed over to the Smithsonian International Gallery to see the "Jim Henson's Fantastic World" exhibit.  This is a Smithsonian traveling exhibition featuring all of Jim Henson's work.  I have always loved the Muppets and Sesame Street and can remember where I was when Jim Henson died.  We got to see actual "muppets" used in production as well as many sketches and other written works.  I really wanted to check it all out but because the museum was in the same area as the National Book Festival it was super busy.  You could barely get a good look at anything.  The exhibit will be featured until October 5th so I think Audrey and I will be making another weekday visit.  I have to fit that in this week.  

Next we decided to get away from the crowds and go to check out Georgetown.  This is one of the most historic and visually beautiful areas of DC.  We cooled off by sharing a Starbucks Frappacino and did some quality people watching.  Audrey decided to give the passersby a show in the window.  Man she is a ham!
Blowout

As you can see by Audrey's appearance we were all ready for a great Duck game.  We decided to meet up once again with Matt as well as our friend Rich Bernstein at the Summers Restaurant in Arlington.  Summers is not just any sports watching establishment, it just so happens to be the home of the DC area UO Alumni chapter.  It was so wonderful to walk into a sea of yellow and green.  Mighty Oregon was sung throughout the evening and everywhere you looked you found some very happy duck fans.  I felt like I was transported home.  I think I would consider this a Rennie's east!  Here is a little video snapshot:

video

We will certainly be back.  It was a wonderful night.  What a great game!!  Audrey was a hit when she needed to move so we walked the room.  She got many oohs and ahhs, cheers and some ex-cheerleaders gave her a pom pom.  Too cute!

I can't help myself.  Check out Jimmy's practical joke (for those of you that don't know Matt, lets just say he is ecstatic to live two houses from the Portland Obama headquarters)...


Brew

Well Sunday Jimmy had to go into work so Audrey and I decided to go to the North Virginia Brew Fest with my friend Betsy and her husband.  As a good northwesterner I had to go and compare.  I think it goes without saying that nothing next to maybe a Munich based Oktoberfest could hope to compare with the Portland Brewfest but they gave it a good try.  The beers were a good selection of international and local varieties. My favorite was probably the Old Dominion Brewing Company's Pale Ale.  It probably helped that it was the end of the day and the end of the BrewFest so the brewer insisted we try his selections (a couple of times) and refused to take our tickets.  I think he wanted to impress the NW beer lover!  Despite his generosity it was a very good beer that I would recommend.  Their seasonal Oktoberfest beer was also worth checking out.  I really enjoyed meeting Betsy and Patrick's friends.  They were the type of folks you meet once and feel like you have known them for years.  I hope to have an opportunity to hang out with them again before February.

-Kristen

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mom's Night Out

Last night I was treated to a mom's night out with the Baby Boot Camp mamas.  It was so needed.  I realized that I had not been away from Audrey in over six weeks.  I love my baby girl but every once in awhile a mom needs to recharge and just be responsible for herself.  

It was a dinner and movie night.  A local burrito place had a special $13 for any menu item, a drink and a movie ticket.  I thought it was a fantastic deal.  I got to see the new Cohen Brothers "Burn After Reading".  I really enjoyed the movie.  It was good and quirky, just what you would expect from a Cohen Bros. creation.  I also enjoyed the fact that it was set in the DC area.  I went on a city tour with my mother-in-law on Monday which included the Georgetown area.  I was proud that I could recognize the area while watching the movie!  I am slowly feeling like a local.

My mother-in-law Liz left for home this morning.  Liz, Audrey and I drove up from Charlotte on Friday.  We had a wonderful visit, and I got to play tourist a bit which was great.  I really need to make more of an effort to get in the city and see the sites.  It really is an amazing place.  I wish Liz a very safe trip back to Charlotte.  It is a long drive and I hope it goes nice and smooth.  We had our share of excitement on the drive up.  Just north of Greensboro, NC we had a total blow out with one of the tires.  I have never seen a tire literally charred and smoking.  There was a two inch gap and over a foot of tire missing.  Thankfully it was a rear tire and we were able to safely get to the side of the road.  AAA was there within 30 minutes and we were off in search of new tires.  All was well and everyone was safe, that is all you can ask for.

This coming weekend we are looking forward to a visit from our Portland friends Matt, Cecily and Dylan Williams.  They will be in town for a couple of nights while on an east coast vacation.  Hopefully we will be meeting up to watch a Duck victory.  Jimmy, Audrey and I are also planning on checking out the Library of Congress' 2008 National Book Festival.  There will be over 70 authors featured including a large children's book area.  








Sunday, September 21, 2008

Andrew & Audrey

Well I am home again after a fun-tastic trip to see family in Charlotte, NC.  While there I got to meet the most amazing little boy.  

Andrew Paul Sumwalt joined our family in July when my husband's sister Christa and her husband Vernon adopted him from Russia.  Andrew is such a god-send, he is a perfect addition to our family and I am already so in love.  It is very apparent that Audrey feels much the same about her new cousin.  We spent the week really getting to know him.  The loveliest part was watching the amazing bond between mother and son.  Despite the short time, he knows who his parents are and  trusts them explicitly.  I seriously doubt that most babies who have only known a hospital crib and an orphanage would develop so well, especially with an entirely different culture, language, surroundings, etc to adjust to.  This just goes to show how incredibly remarkable this little boy is.  

Andrew's biggest challenge at the moment is getting used to a little helmet.  He is going thru therapy to help reshape his head.  He spent his first nine months or so laying flat on his back in a hospital crib before finally getting moved on to a "baby house" (orphanage).  This resulted in the dreaded misshaped flat head that parents are warned about.  The good news is that he is responding really well and should only have to wear the helmet for a few months.  

Audrey enjoyed introducing Andrew to some of her favorite treats especially her newest fav Veggie Bootie (thanks Ayelet for sharing this treat, Audrey is completely addicted).  Andrew and Audrey are only ten days apart in age so they had lots in common and made a perfect little playmate match.  Audrey used her new polished walking skills to push Andrew around on his bike.  Andrew taught Audrey how to properly throw a ball and to play catch.  They were so cute together.  They finished the week off with some great baby races up the stairs.

Here are some precious moments from our trip...

"Sharing the Bootie"
video   
"Teamwork"
video

"Channeling Jerry Lee Lewis"
video

"And the Winner Is..."
video

More later!

-Kristen

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Busy Day

Yesterday we had a very busy but enjoyable day.  We woke up and started out in search of the local Twinbrook library.  The library was hosting a special "Music Together" day.  Audrey loves music, so I knew we had to venture out to find this class.  We had a bit of trouble at first because we had to ride the bus and the driver did not know where the library was.  Luckily a fellow passenger helped us out (of course by that time we had missed our stop and had about a 10 minute walk).  Thankfully I gave us plenty of extra time so we made it to the library in the nick of time.  

Audrey playing a drum

We left the library and made our way back to the Metro station.  There we boarded the subway and headed into the city for lunch with Jimmy.  The three of us tried out the Billy Goat Tavern near Jimmy's office.  We had some super yummy cheeseburgers.  

After lunch it was raining very hard so I decided it would be a good day to check out a museum.  So off we went to the National Building Museum.  We entered into an amazing great hall with 75-foot-tall columns and a beautiful fountain.  Mind you this is all inside the building.  It was amazing.




While touring around we found the "Building Zone".  This exhibit area was all about hands on exploration, similar to the Children's Museum in Portland.  There was an area where you could dress up as a construction worker (Audrey was not at all interested in that part) and then you could set off to use different blocks and toys all associated with construction.  Audrey got so excited when a little boy dumped out a bin of blocks and then walked away.  This meant that she got to put them all away herself.  One of her new favorite activities is putting things away.  She seems more excited to put away then to "play with" these days.  I need to remember to remind teenage Audrey of this when I am begging her to clean her room! ;-)


Audrey putting the blocks away...Check out the little "construction worker"

Audrey also discovered magnets while playing in the Building Zone.  She was surprised and delighted pulling the pieces apart and watching them come back together.  I had a tough time getting her to move on from this area.  

Cool Magnets

I think my favorite part was the miniature "green" house.  Inside and out they showed how you can build a house using renewable resources (i.e. decking made out of recycled plastic bags and bottles).  Little signs explained what materials were used.  I thought it was pretty cool.  Audrey loved that there was a house her size including tot-sized furniture. 

Audrey-sized chair

video
Audrey trying out some steps on her own


We left the museum and headed back to Metro.  This time we were on our way to Clarendon, VA.  Clarendon is a suburban village near Arlington.  It is a very cool area with a variety of stores, restaurants and new designer condo/apartments.  We spent the afternoon looking thru the stores.  Our favorite was Kinder Haus Toys it was an amazing little store with an imagination station featuring train and block tables.  Audrey has really developed a liking for train tables she seems to gravitate towards them if they are around (I think this all started at the West Slope library book babies).  Anyway we spent over an hour playing with the toys and thoroughly checking out the store.  



We ended our busy day at Harry's Taproom for a delicious dinner and a wonderful visit with my friend Betsy, a sorority sister of mine who lives in nearby Falls Church, VA.  It had been close to ten years since last we saw each other and it was so wonderful to catch up.  She recently got married so I got to hear all about her fabulous Canadian wedding .  It sounded like so much fun.  I am bummed that I forgot to get a picture (we were just having way too much fun chatting) but I must say Betsy looks fabulous!  It sounds like she found herself a great hubby.  I am excited to meet him and get us all together soon.  

Well that was our day.  We came home and fell into bed exhausted.  We were up early and back to Boot Camp this morning (yippy it is now four days a week at the mall).  We also got a chance to see Mr. Knick Knack before heading home.

I am excited, we are heading to Charlotte on Sunday.  I will be sure to post about meeting Andrew.  I can't wait!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Alexandria, VA



Sunday, the family decided to do a bit more area exploring, so we headed off on metro to check out Alexandria, Virginia.  Alexandria has a fun
Old Town area with a variety of shops and restaurants, some chains, some independent.  It also had a waterfront area that like any good touristy area, had its share of cheesy street performers and people-watchers.  Audrey loved the parrots that were on display...she also loved the pigeons.  I guess she is a bird-lover.




Well summer is officially over, how sad.  To drive that point, the condo management decided to close the pool for the season.  The forecast calls for 90+ degree heat this coming week so I am a bit disappointed.  Jimmy got home from work pretty early (6pm or so) yesterday evening so we decided to take one last dip.  

Bye bye cool pool...





Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day?


Can anyone explain to me what the picture on this poster has to do with labor day?