Monday, April 13, 2015

Michele Visits- April 2015

Michele made a quick trip to New York, and even though we just saw each other at Clou-a-rama I, we still had loads to discuss. We took the party back to Brooklyn, old-school. We thought we were going to the Brooklyn Museum, but it quickly turned into a choose-your-adventure type of day. We tried to choose a perfect mojito but it didn't choose us back so we ended up in a hot chocolate and marshmallow hot tub, as evidenced by this picture:

Michele Visits- April 2015
Michele and me at Chocolate Room

After our giant marshmallows, obviously we needed tiny beers. We met Michele's good friend Nina at Strong and ordered all the tiny beers that our waitress would tolerate. To punish us, she took away all our plates forcing us to eat our cheese plate like animals.

Michele Visits- April 2015
Nina and Michele at Strong Place- Michele with tiny beer

In other words, super fun, just like any time I hang out with Michele!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Cedar Beach- April 2015

Monday was warm, and when it gets warm enough we like to take James to the beach sometimes to run around. It's almost more fun than going in the summer because I don't have to worry as much about him going into the ocean and there's no crowds.

Cedar Beach 2015
One posed one- and onto the fun.

Cedar Beach 2015
Beach fun time

Cedar Beach 2015
Picking up rocks to throw in the ocean- James could do this all day

Cedar Beach 2015
Watching the intrepid explorer

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Easter Weekend 2015

Easter came a little early this year and we're tired from traveling, so we sort of skipped Easter. No Easter bunny, no baskets, no egg hunts, and no dressing up for Easter. Sorry kids! Grandma has promised some birthday-Easter baskets, so at least someone has your back.

Even better than a visit from the Easter bunny though was a visit from Sarah and Lukas. This might be one of the last times they hike out to see us in a while since Sarah is due basically any second now! I'm so excited to meet the little redhead!

Easter Weekend 2015
James, Sarah, and Miranda playing on the LeapFrog

Easter Weekend 2015
Lukas getting a little more last minute practice in.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Look Back - April 2015

Five Years Ago in 2010
We took a fabulous vacation in Cartagena, and Kevin wrote about me being profiled by tourists in Colombia (TMWCA). On the way back to New York, we stopped and visited Kevin's brother Andrew in Florida.

Cartagena, Colombia 2010
Kevin on the walls of Cartagena

Cartagena, Colombia 2010
The good life.

My friend Cathy had her daughter Madison, and my friend Cate had her second daughter Vivienne. Kevin and I took my parents out to dinner for their 25th wedding anniversary, and it turned out to be the last time I'd ever get to go out with my dad.

Parents' 25th Anniversary 2010
My parents on their 25th Wedding Anniversary

Ten Years Ago in 2005
I was living alone in Arlington, Virginia, waiting to hear from the last law schools, but by then I knew I was definitely going somewhere. I went to see the cherry blossoms in DC with my friend Laurie M. I also went to visit Ash who lived in Connecticut then. We went to an oyster happy hour that I still talk about all the time. Mmm, oysters.

DC Cherry Blossoms 2005
Across from the Jefferson Memorial- it foreshadows my law school!

Visiting Ash in Connecticut 2005
Oyster happy hour at Ocean Drive Bar in Norwalk, CT

Kevin was living in Charlottesville with Brady and Nomar, but that month, Kevin and Jon took a trip to Boston to visit their buddy Casey. 

Yankees v. Red Sox 2005
Jon, Casey, and Kevin at Fenway, April 2005

Fifteen Years Ago in 2000
I was a junior in college and I had recently turned 21. I went on my first bar crawl ever with my friend Meghan C. and Soraya. The World Bank protest in DC spilled onto our college campus. I went to GW, which is ordinarily a very liberal school willing to protest almost anything, but in the face of the World Bank protests the students suddenly became decidedly conservative. We ended the month with a fancy sorority formal.

2000 04 01 Cap-City Bar Crawl 141b
MeghanC., Soraya, and I at a DC Bar Crawl

2000 04 16 World Bank-IMF Protests 156
World Bank Protests in DC, April 2000

2000 04 29 ADPi Black Diamond Formal 185c
Some of the women in my sorority graduating class

Twenty Years Ago in 1995
I was 16 when my parents took me and Chrissy to Disney World. We met some cute boys from New Jersey and much hilarity ensued.

1995 04 23 Disney World 080
Me and Chrissy in Disney

1995 04 23 Disney new 380b
Dinner with my parents and Chrissy in Disney

Thirty Years Ago in 1985
I was six and living in WNY, New Jersey with my grandparents "Mima" and "Pipo," and great-grandmother "Aya," when my parents got married. I moved in with them in Ramsey 5 months later.

Shute Wedding 1985
At my parents wedding

1985 04 14 Shute Wedding new 347
My grandfather Nicolas, mom, dad, and my grandmother Hortensia

Thirty-five Years Ago in 1980
I was 1 when I celebrated my second Easter.

1980 04 Baby E
Me and my grandmother Mima, Easter 1980

1980 04 Rogers - dated 382
Kevin and his cousin Katie, possibly Easter 1980

* "A Look Back" posts are written in advance and post automatically.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Diary of an Angry Pink Baby #10: Driving

My daughter doesn't like driving, or perhaps it's more accurate to say--since she's only eleven months old--that she doesn't like being driven. When my son was younger, he didn't like being driven either, which I covered previously (search: "vomits" and "sanity"). Now that he's almost four, he likes driving fine; it's everything else that fills him with the abiding unhappiness of a nineteenth century Russian novelist.

But back to my daughter, who really hates being driven! My wife and I have sensitively adjusted to this condition by repeatedly placing her in a rear-facing car seat and taking her on long drives in the middle of the day. Recently, we drove the whole family to Charlottesville, Virginia, which is one of the most wonderful places on earth if you don't have children or a debilitating illness courtesy of those children.

That's right, my daughter is already vengeful. Is she aware of her vengefulness? She might be. Her favorite word is "no," which she understands to mean "sure!" She happily shakes her head when you tell her no before resuming whatever she was doing, such as swallowing a nightlight. In the restraints of the carseat, there is little she can do, so she responds by crying or screaming or a sort of crying-screaming hybrid that sounds almost like laughter. She insists I hold her hand, difficult though not impossible as that may be while operating a moving vehicle. I thought that the fourteen-hour roundtrip drive might cure my daughter of her driving hatred, but it seems only to have reenforced it.

Just kidding, I never thought it would get better! Really, I didn't think anything at all. When more than one person in Charlottesville asked me what our plan was for the ride home, I started laughing or maybe crying-screaming. You have to understand I was very ill. At one point, on Route 29, my wife, son, and daughter were all asleep. The Blue Ridge Mountains rose to my left, and hills rolled gently into fast food restaurants and gas stations to my right. I thought: This isn't so bad. And it wasn't. Then somebody or everybody started crying, and I thought: This is very bad! Then I forgot, which is the only thing you can do.

Washington, DC 2015
Asleep... for now.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Charlottesville, VA 2015

We make an almost-yearly pilgrimage to Charlottesville because we love it there. This year, since Kevin was giving a reading there, we invited EVERYONE WE KNOW. A lot of people actually came, and we had lots of fun, and we have now started a new tradition: Clou-a-rama! So the plan is that every year we can pick a location and date and get together! Like when you get invited to an out-of-town wedding and you go, because it's important. Prioritizing our friends is important! By changing the location and time of year it is more (or less) convenient to different people so it doesn't run up against the exact same problem for the same people repeatedly.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Our first picture in front of the place we met as a family of 4!

We arrived on Wednesday and went to the Christian's Pizza on Route 29. I'd only ever been to the one on the Downtown Mall but the one on Route 29 was just as delicious.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Kevin letting Miranda chew all the straws at Christian's Pizza

After we settled in at the little house we rented, we went over to Kevin's  reading at Virginia Festival of the Book. Unfortunately, because the kids were being disruptive I had to leave while Kevin was reading.  I passed Walsh on the way out.

We couldn't fit the double-stroller with all our luggage so I let James sit in the stroller and I carried Miranda in the baby sling. I told James that we left because he and Miranda were being bad, and he said, "No, Miranda was being bad. I was being good. Don't be silly mama." I thought that was funny so I didn't argue the point.

I got snacks and drinks for the kids and we sat around for snacktime for a little while, and then I went over to the chalkboard because I remembered he loved it on our last visit. This is what he wrote:

Charlottesville, VA 2015
"JAMES MAMA bad Miranda"

I was thinking I was a pretty awesome mom managing both of the cranky kids on my own when James started chalking some guys shoes. So then I took him for a huge chocolate chip cookie at Mudhouse for dinner. While we were chomping away, we discussed such philosophical questions as whether he thought he would exist if Mama hadn't met Dada at Mudhouse (he guessed no) and whether sharing a giant cookie was better than hogging it (he wasn't too sure). Luckily then Kevin met up with us, and we had dumplings and noodles from Lucca for dessert I guess.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Best. parenting. ever.

Thursday morning Kevin went hiking and picked up sandwiches at Bellair Market for us on the way back. It's all about the "Jeffersonian."

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Sunrise from the Turk Gap trail.

Charlottesville, VA 2015

We got a babysitter for the evening and met Brady for dinner at Continental. Brady suggested the tuna and yum! I also had margaritas which led... obviously... to lots of inappropriate conversation. After dinner I went back, and Kevin and Brady at Courts Square.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Brady and the tuna!

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Romantic night out with Brady!

Friday! Kevin felt kind of violently ill, but he had to give a talk to the Classics Department and then he had lunch with some professors. I was supposed to meet up with Cathy but she got into town late so while Walsh and Brady went to the Paramount Theater to watch the UVA game, I made Kevin come with me and the kids to the Discovery Museum. Sorry, Kevin. Also, thank you!

VA Discovery Museum 2015
Besties at the Discovery Museum

VA Discovery Museum 2015 
Air ball!

VA Discovery Museum 2015 
Genius baby.

VA Discovery Museum 2015 
Little tykes on the prairie

VA Discovery Museum 2015 
Wheeling and dealing

Oh yeah, then we had ice cream for dinner. James loves Charlottesville! Oh don't worry I fed them mac n' cheese for dessert so it's all good.

VA Discovery Museum 2015
James's first clue that his mother is pretending to be an adult

Then at dinner he went back out for some sexy Virginia Book Festival literary event. Then he went straight to sleep. Luckily, Michele and Brandon came over our little house, and we opened the wine the owner left for us and we had more fun sexy times.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Picture actually from Saturday night but cute.

Saturday was the big day! Some of us went out for breakfast at Blue Grass Grill for Cory's birthday.

  Charlottesville, VA 2015 
Birthday boy Cory, me, Miranda, and Robin

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Brady and Kevin

For lunch we went to Citizen Burger Bar mostly because we heard they'd have the TVs on the basketball. All of Charlottesville was really crowded because of the book festival and a race that morning. We fit four adults and 6 kids into an 8-person booth, and 6 very uncomfortable adults into a 6-person booth (I failed to get a picture of them but they didn't look so happy anyway).

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Miranda, me, James, Cathy, and Kennedy in the 8-person booth

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Leo, Madison, Jack, Jen, and Rob in the 8-person booth

Then Cathy, Jenny and I took most of the kids for more ice cream. I'm pretty sure the kids enjoyed Clou-a-rama as much or more than the adults.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Cathy picked up a hitchhiker (Kennedy and James)

Charlottesville, VA 2015
James, Madison, Jen, Leo, Cathy, and Kennedy at Sweet Frog 

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Michele, Brandon, Kevin, and Miranda met us there.

Kevin and Miranda went back to the house for a nap, and I took James to Meade Park. We got a babysitter. Then 8 of us went to Mas for dinner. Mas doesn't take reservations and it was really busy even though it was early. We figured everywhere had a long wait though based on our experiences that day so we just started drinking and hilarity ensued.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Before picture: Brandon, Michele, Janice, Darren, Jaime, me, Brady, Walsh

Eventually, Janice and Darren had to give up, but they were there for some of the best of it anyway. We were seated, we ate a lot, we drank some more, and here's our after picture- note that Janice and Darren turned into Kevin, Robin, and Cory. Also, Jaime saved my life by suggesting we quit while we were ahead. Actually, I was way ahead!

  Charlottesville, VA 2015
After picture: Kevin, me, Jaime, Michele, Brandon, Walsh, Brady, Robin, and Cory

Sunday we regrouped at Mas for some coffee and snacking. James played a little made-up-chess with a little girl he met. Charlottesville is cerebral like that.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Snuggling with Jaime at Mas

Charlottesville, VA 2015 
Cory and James are besties

Charlottesville, VA 2015
I've never seen the pieces move like that- it's like they're chess wizards. Ha.

Michele and Brandon went off for a fun day of hiking and wine tasting (I should have gone with them!) While the UVAers went to Champions to watch the UVA game. The extremely devastating UVA game. Extremely. On the plus side, the food truck outside was selling delicious BBQ, so there's that.

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Brady, James, Kevin, Miranda, me (photo by Walsh?)

Charlottesville, VA 2015
Cory, Robin, and Miranda

We thought we'd drive home after that, but Miranda had other thoughts. After a lot of screaming we decided we should stop in Arlington and tire her out. Janice and Darren gladly obliged. Jaime came over too and we took the kids to the park briefly. They were actually happier chasing Fudgie around the house than at the park anyway. After a big pizza dinner, we finally headed home. 

Visiting Bucks- March 2015 
Janice welcoming the trouble-maker

Visiting Bucks- March 2015
At the park

Visiting Bucks- March 2015 
Dancing disco together.

Visiting Bucks- March 2015

Let's do again next year! Where to? You're invited! Clou-a-rama!

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