Monthly Archives: April 2010

Easter Weekend

Easter weekend was beautiful in DC.  The weather was a much deserved change from the usual rainy spring around here.  We took advantage and spent quite a bit of time outside.

Saturday evening we dyed Easter eggs out on our back deck.  It was so nice to set up the mess on the glass patio table and not have to worry about dye on table or floors or walls or you get the picture!  The whole dying process is a bit of an adventure with little boys.  They get very excited, they do lots of dropping of eggs and sticking whole hands into the dye cups.  We did well this year though, no stained clothes or major spills.  Garrett basically stuck his eggs in and then wanted them out immediately.  He was on to the next color!  Jack was very excited but since he is like a bull in a china closet, you can imagine how gingerly he places the eggs in the cups and removes them.  Oy!

Easter Sunday was a busy and fun-filled day!  We like to go to the 7am sunrise service at church because they have a bluegrass band and hold it on the front lawn.  Plus our kids are up before dawn anyway, so why not go to church first thing.  Wouldn’t you know it, they both slept in until about 6:40am?  We were a little late for the service but we made it.  Last year it was cold but the boys really liked the music.  This year it was over 60 degrees at 7am and really beautiful out.  Jack was not really wanting to go to church once he realized he wasn’t going to Sunday School.  All the way there Jack kept saying “I don’t want to go to this funeral!”  We kept telling him we were going to church but he still kept saying funeral.  Once we got there he complained the whole time.  He was ready to leave, he was all done and kept repeating he was all done with this funeral.  He was a bit of a bear.  Garrett liked the service.  He started out on my back but wanted to get down and play.  He loved the music and was very good.  Ask me how he does next year when he’s almost 3, I’m sure it won’t be so easy.  As we were leaving the service, Jack looked up at his Dad with a great big smile and said “That was a GREAT Easter party!”  Uh really, ’cause you wanted to leave the “funeral” the whole time.  You have to chuckle!

The Easter Bunny put out the baskets and hid our dyed Easter eggs and a few plastic eggs around the back deck while we were at church.  The boys were excited for their baskets and love to find the eggs.  Garrett got the concept of finding eggs but didn’t get too many since Jack was faster.  They had a great time though.  I’m pretty sure all the eggs were collected in less than a minute.  G immediately opened a plastic egg and started eating the jelly beans.  He figured out the plastic eggs when we were up at Shalan’s house earlier in the week.  Apparently he really likes jelly beans!  Jack got to have the candy in one plastic egg too and then we headed to breakfast.

For the last few years we have had Easter breakfast at the Royal Restaurant in Old Town.  It is just an old diner that our previous neighbors turned us onto.  A bit of an institution for true locals in Alexandria.  We like their Sunday brunch because it is affordable and consistently good.  This year was no different.  We all enjoyed our meals and since Jack will now eat eggs and breakfast meats, we can actually go out for breakfast again!  After breakfast we took advantage of the great weather and took a walk down by the water in Old Town.  We fed the ducks a little and just let the boys run.  We wanted to get them good and tuckered out so we’d be sure they fell asleep on the way home.  It worked…only problem was that we were home with two boys napping by 11:15am.  Since naps are quickly becoming a thing of the past at our house (or at least greatly reduced in time) we had two boys up by Noon.  I think we’d already had a full day before most people were done at church!

In the afternoon we played outside a lot.  Our neighbors across the street invited us for an egg hunt for all the neighborhood boys.  There are six kids in the neighborhood between about 18 months and 4 years old and not one of them is a girl.  Jack was so excited about the prospect of an all boys egg hunt that he made me help him draw a “No Girls Allowed” sign to take their house.  We couldn’t write the words, Jack was very specific.  The sign had to be a picture of a girl with a circle and line through it.  The egg hunt was excellent.  They had hidden a ton of eggs all around their yard.  Our boys totally got the concept of the hunt, so they had a blast.  Jack ran around picking up as many eggs as he could get.  Garrett ran around asking “where’s the eggies?”.  Then every time he found an egg he would put his arms out and say “Oh, no.  No more eggies.”  Then we’d tell him there were more and point him in the right direction.  He’d find another egg and then get all excited and tell you “More eggies.  More eggies.” And so it went the entire afternoon.  They played so hard!

In keeping with our non-traditional holiday meals, we took the boys for hibachi for dinner.  They still aren’t loving the fire but everyone stayed at the table this time and there were no tears.  They love the food so much, that they’ll put up with a little fire to get it!  Both boys ate a ton.  G had salad for the first time and ate half of mine.  Usually I would just pull the carrot and cucumber out to give him, but I gave him lettuce and he liked it.  I’m sure that it helps that it was smothered in ginger dressing and that he was simultaneously eating my miso soup.  Before we know it we are going to have to order G his own meals.  That kid can put the food away!

The bonus of the night was that our kids were exhausted.  Both boys fell asleep on the way home.  They were snug in their beds for the night by 7pm.  Blissful end for Mommy & Daddy to a wonderful weekend!

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National Children’s Museum

In what seems to be a million years, or else maybe 2013, they are opening the National Children’s Museum at National Harbor.  While the museum is being planned and constructed, they have opened a small space with a few potential exhibits.  I believe they rotate the exhibits pretty often and that they are all potential permanent exhibits for the actual museum.

On a rainy Sunday we decided to take the boys over to check out the exhibits and buys ourselves some time before naps.  We probably hung out for about 45 minutes checking out the exhibits.  The hits of the day were a beekeeper suit and information about beekeeping and honey.  It was fitting since Beekeeper Group is the name of Travis’ business venture.  There was also a station where the kids could match several birds to their sounds.  Jack really liked the challenge of identifying the birds.  Garrett did a lot of wandering but seemed to be happy just to be out of our house on a yucky day.

To end up our little outing, we took the kids to the Peeps store.  That was the hit of the day!  Since there isn’t a lot of candy that is Gluten Free & Dairy Free, Peeps have become a favorite for Jack.  I personally find them pretty gross, but even I enjoyed a chocolate covered Peep!  We had a great family afternoon and we can’t wait for the full museum to open up!

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Cousins!

In the middle of March my brother and his family came down to the DC area for the weekend.  The daughter of a friend of theirs was having a Birthday party, so they had come down for that.  We were able to meet up with them on Saturday and spend the day together.  We had a great time and the boys were all so excited to get together.  Even though they only live up in Connecticut, we just don’t have the opportunity to see each other much.  It was such a special day!

It happened to be the weekend of the Old Town Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  We all met up at the parade.  It was a little chilly but we found a spot in the sun and were even able to perch the boys on top of a utility box for part of the parade.  Instead of fighting the crowds around Old Town for lunch, we headed back towards our house and had lunch out.  Then we headed back to our house to hang out.

My nephews were really looking forward to playing in our yard.  We pulled out all the outside toys and the boys played all afternoon.  They were all so good.  There was no fighting, no whining, they all just enjoyed being together.  They spent lots of time climbing the Japanese Maple in our front yard.  It is the perfect tree to climb for boys their ages; big enough to feel like they’ve accomplished something and small enough that they likely can’t hurt themselves.  Though Jack did get his foot stuck pretty well.  I heard Uncle Torre tell Jack “Better call for your Mom, she can break your foot gettin’ it unstuck.  I’m not breaking it!”  With a little finagling, we were able to get it out!  Eventually the boys were getting tired and they decided to go inside themselves.  It was good timing because Michelle, Reid & Adner were going to meet their friends for dinner and Trav & I were taking Torre to the Caps game.  Once we got inside Reid & Adi started playing and I wanted to give my boys a bath before the babysitter arrived.  I started drawing the bath and Jack & G stripped down on their own.  They were so worn out and ready for a bath, that when I came to get them Jack was naked in the middle of the livingroom playing his xylophone.  That kid, I tell you!  Shortly after the bath the cousins had to go and we headed to the game.

Travis, Torre and I grabbed a beer at a new bar near the Verizon Center before the game.  It was great to have time before a game and actually be able to go to a bar!  The game was great.  Torre was shocked at how busy the game was and that the Caps are actually really good.  He has been to a few games before with Travis but never when the Caps were winning.  He commented that the last time he came there were more Rangers fans than Caps.  Oh what a few seasons and a couple of guys named Alex can do for a franchise!  After the game Michelle met up with us at Shelly’s.  Shelly’s is one of my favorite bars in DC, and because it is a cigar bar you can still smoke at it.  We grabbed some food, had some drinks and the guys had a cigar.  We had the best visit and enjoyed being out together as adults sans kiddos!

Although we only saw each other for the day, we packed an entire weekend of fun into our time together.  It was so nice to get all the cousins together.  I’m glad that they all play well together.  We always look forward to seeing each other and I hope all the boys continue to be close!

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Fashion Week

**Note- Most of this post was written back in February when we actually went to Fashion Week.  It just took me this long to get the pictures together and actually post it.  Sorry!!

Fashion Week.  This was the title of an email I received a while back from my hubby.  Having no idea what he could possibly be emailing me about fashion week, I opened the email to find out that he had won tickets to the Isaac Mizrahi fashion show in New York.  I about died.  I’m pretty sure I’ve always wanted to go to a fashion show (I mean ALWAYS…I used to practice my runway walk in our kitchen for any poor sucker I could get to pay attention!) and of course all the episodes of Sex & The City made the fashion world seem even more exciting and frankly less accessible for a Mommy like me.  Apparently, Starwood Hotels ran a promotion on Facebook for its fans that the first two people to email a certain address won 2 tickets to the show and passes to the W Lounge backstage.  Travis had absolutely no interest in the whole thing, so I ended up taking my friend Marcy along.

As soon as I had the tickets I started thinking of people who would want to go to NYC with me.  Of course my first thought was that I’d head up to NJ and Shalan and I would go.  Shally had other plans, so it was on to my DC area Mommy friends.  I threw  it out to some of my friends at a playgroup one afternoon and before I could finish my sentence Marcy raised her hand with a resounding “I’m in!”  Marcy is probably the last friend that I would ever think would want to go to Fashion Week.  She’s a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal and just not someone who is generally into celebrity gossip it would seem.  However, she is one of my best friends and I knew we would have a blast.  My one requirement for the trip though was to go shopping with me beforehand to buy a fun, Fashion Week worthy outfit.

The weekend before our trip we met Marcy and her family at Fair Oaks Mall.  Travis and Vince took are cumulative four children to the play area and Marcy and I went shopping.  Three and half hours and several stores later, Marcy and I had the majority of our outfits put together.  The guys had managed the kids through the play area, lunch, a very large Chinese New Year program, ice cream and back to the play area.  We were two extremely happy Mamas with two very tired husbands!  The next day Trav and I took the boys out to the Leesburg Outlets and picked up the finishing touches to my ensemble.

The whole week before we left, Travis worked vigorously to put the trip to NYC together for me and Marcy.  At the last minute he was able to get us a room for a great price at the Hotel Roger Williams and dinner reservations at Nobu Next Door We took the train up on Wednesday night of Fashion Week, got in around 9:45pm, checked into our awesome hotel room and headed out for dinner.  First off, our room was so great for New York.  When I think of NYC hotels, I always think super tiny, dark and sometimes really dingey.  This could not have been better.  The room was super small but it felt huge.  The color scheme was bright and airy and there were back-lit Japanese screens for window coverings.  When you walked in the room it felt like the middle of a sunny afternoon.  And we even had a view of the top of the Empire State Building.  It was extended Restaurant Week, so we were able to have the Restaurant Week Special for dinner.  I had an amazing Yellowtail Tartar, Sushi and a bento box dessert.  We met one of Marcy’s friends for dinner and had a great time.  The fashion show was Thursday at Noon, so after sleeping in a little (I made it until 7:45am!) we got breakfast.  Travis had of course done a bunch of research and found Penelope that he suggested we try for breakfast.  Knowing that you can never go wrong with Trav’s travel tips and suggestions, we walked a few blocks to Penelope and enjoyed the best breakfast.  The cafe is quaint and on the smallish side, but not cramped.  It has a homey yet upscale atmosphere.  I kept feeling like I was in some old, small, Southern town.  The service was excellent and I think it was my favorite meal.  Definitely a gem that I can’t wait to take Travis back to.  After breakfast we headed back to the hotel and got ready.

Going to a fashion show is a bit intimidating for a couple of Mama’s whose main social activities include meeting up with other Mamas for coffee and hitting the occasional Smithsonian with our kids.  We found what we hoped were the perfect outfits.  I wore a BCBG grey silk blouse, black leggings, grey suede boots & a big chunky necklace & bracelet.  Marcy wore the most amazing black dress with black boots.  She looked so beautiful!  It turned out that we dressed completely appropriately.  The fashion show attire ran the gamut from completely ridiculous to jeans and a t-shirt.  Most people were somewhere in the middle and wore what seemed to be classic but trendy.  I’m sure we put way more effort into our outfits than the average joe, but I think we appeared as if we knew what we were doing.

We had tickets to the Isaac Mizrahi show at Noon.  We had been advised by a friend of a friend, that since we had access to the tents, we may want to arrive early.  We grabbed a cab to Bryant Park and tried to get the lay of the land.  We quickly figured out that even though we had tickets, we had to wait a little while before we’d actually get into the tent.  We scoped out some crazy outfits, took a few pictures of the tents from the outside and hoofed it to Times Square for the obligatory NYC tourist pictures.  No matter how many times you have been to New York, Times Square is always a fun sight to see.  When we got back to Bryant Park we only had to wait a few minutes to get into the tents.  Once we got into the tent we had to figure out what to do.  We had a cell phone number that we were told to call when we got inside and that the person would come get us.  There was a lot of confusion but eventually we figured out that we had to be escorted to our seats.

It was really hard to imagine what the tents would be like, so we really had no expectations.  The tent had a pretty basic layout.  When you walked in you were immediately greeted by an information booth, but they really weren’t much help.  The booth was staffed primarily by what seemed to be interns.  The tent itself was set up as a large circle.  Beyond the info booth in the center of the tent was a large round display.  On either side of the display was a table with check-in lists.  Around the perimeter were little booths set up convention style.  One was sunglasses, another jewelry, and one that had a chocolate fountain at the back of the booth (remember this chocolate fountain, it’ll be the source for my favorite event of our entire trip!).  Beyond the two check-in tables were the entrances to the different tents where the runways were located.

We eventually figured out that we were going to be escorted to our seats shortly before the start of the show.  Several of us with complimentary tickets from sponsors of the show huddled around the info booth until finally we were all escorted to our seats in small groups.  We still had no idea where we were sitting, but it seemed pretty apparent that we had good tickets.  When we finally got taken back, we realized that we had GREAT seats.  The runway is what you would picture except that it wasn’t raised, it was ground level.  We walked in at the corner that would be the end of the runway.  There was stadium style seating going the length of the runway on either side.  At the opposite corner from where we entered there was a band.  I wasn’t expecting live music and I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be the kind of music it was.  I guess I was expecting techno not a hip version of a string band.  At the end of the runway there was an entire section also set up stadium style filled with cameras and cameramen.  I have never seen so many cameras in my life.  It was crazy!  The corner section next to the cameras was elevated more than the seating on the side and was completely enclosed.  This is where we were seated.  We ended up being a couple of rows up, right in the corner and with the best view of the runway.  The only seats that would potentially be better is first row, center runway.  Our seats were perfect.  I expected that the show would be large, but really it was pretty small.  I’m bad at estimating crowds but there were probably 15 or 20 rows on the sides that ran the length of the runway and our section which was maybe 8 rows high and 10 people across.  There were not that many people there. 

Once they dimmed the lights, the music got a little louder and the show just started.  The girls walked out one at a time, the length of the runway, paused at the end turned and walked back.  The next girl came out and did the same.  There were a few things that struck me about the show itself.  First off, the collection was beautiful.  The nice thing about Isaac Mizrahi is that his lines are actually pretty normal.  Sure, there were some wild dresses but by in large his collection was things that you could imagine yourself or a friend actually wearing to a formal dinner or party.  Secondly, all the models walked at a different pace and with their own style.  Some were pretty fast, others seemed slow.  I always imagined that it would be so choreographed that all the models would be as close to identical in gait, that they would be indistinguishable.  Not the case at all.  The last thing that I noticed about the models was the large variability in body type.  Of course, they were all fairly tall and thin but they were far from waifish.  There was one girl who stumbled a bit and I definitely thought “Oh god, don’t fall ’cause you’ll break!”  She was one of those models you wanted to force feed ’cause she could have blown away.  There was one other girl who was on the borderline of that look.  However, most girls didn’t look too skinny.  AND, there were multiple girls who were very average looking in size.  They had curves and looked tall but normal.  I really liked that.  It added to the feeling that these clothes not only looked like something my friends and I could wear but were shaped in a way that all of us average girls could pull it off.  The MOST striking part of the entire show though was not the fashions or the models, it was the sounds of the show.  When the show started you immediately noticed the flashes of the cameras and the number of cameramen videoing the show.  But 30 seconds after the show started, Marcy and I looked at each other wondering what that sound was.  Simultaneously we realized it was the clicking of all the cameras next to us.  It was so loud and distinct that we were trying to take pictures of it.  It really is the thing that stands out the most from the show.  It was so LOUD and so cool to think that there were literally thousands of pictures being taken right next to us, any of which could appear in magazines around the world.  I will never forget that sound.  The show itself was pretty short.  We had no idea how long it would last.  The last girl came out, then all the girls came out one right after the other and lastly Isaac Mizrahi came out.  He was flamboyant and giddy. He waved, he bowed, he disappeared.  That was it.  The whole thing lasted maybe 10 minutes.

Part of our tickets was a pass to the W lounge “backstage”.  We found the lounge which was just in a hallway between different runway tents.  The girls at the door kind of gave a hard time but we dropped our contact’s name and we got in fine.  It was a tiny little room with a bar, seating around the perimeter, and a few televisions.  We figured out that the lounge was a place for people affiliated with W to go to throughout fashion week in between shows or when they had down time.  There was WiFi, food& drink and Bliss sponsored hand massages with a small gift bag.  We got a drink, had a few cupcakes, surveyed the free stuff and patiently waited our turn for a hand massage.  The televisions were playing the runway show we had just seen.  It was pretty amazing because the production quality was high.  We watched a show that had ended not 10 minutes earlier and it was clearly edited and perfect.  That is some fast work!  We hung out in the lounge for a while and then we made our way back to the main tent. 

We wanted to take more pictures of the main tent and people watch.  There were some very interesting outfits and it was fun just to watch how would be designers pawed for the opportunity to get on camera or just to get noticed at all.  We saw some of our favorite outfits while we were walking around after the show.  The highlights were a person that from the back we assumed was a man with mohawk, wearing skinny jeans and heels.  When we saw their face, it was one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.  She was one of those people with a soft, quiet yet commanding presence.  I don’t know what her designs are, but if her natural charisma speaks anything to her ability, she will go far in fashion!  Another standout was a fairly young guy with a huge ’80’s style headband complete with gigantic bow.  We saw a guy carrying the LARGEST purse I’ve ever seen.  The picture really doesn’t do it justice!  There were just so many great outfits to spy.

So the best part of the whole morning was after we left the lounge and entered back into the main tent, we went through some of the booths.  One booth had a chocolate fountain in the back with pretzel rods and some other sweet treat on a stick that escapes my memory.  This was of course a popular spot.  There was a pretty long line for the chocolate fountain, but we had nothing but time so we waited.  We are standing in line visiting, people watching and then it happened.  This woman with credentials for the show, wearing jeans and a t-shirt pushes her way  the front of the fountain.  We were chatting so we sort of saw her but weren’t watching.  It was one of those moments where you think to yourself, “Did she just cut the line?”.  We are a couple of people from the front and decide we want the pretzel rods because the line is shorter and they look so yummy.  The woman is still at the front with the fountain and it has been a while.  Then I’m thinking, “I swear she just double dipped!”.  But no, no one would double dip at a fountain, right?  Marcy must have noticed at the same time because we sort of nudged each other and really started to pay attention.  The woman was UNBELIEVABLE.  She stood there dipping a pretzel rod, really smothering it, then ate down the chocolate, re-dipped it, a down further, re-dipped it and finished it off licking her fingers.  She grabbed another rod and repeated.  She must have done this 3 times while we were paying attention.  She was stuffing her face, chocolate dripping and double dipping like mad!  When she was finally done and with a mouthful of pretzel, chocolate everywhere she mumbled something like “Mmmmm, those are so good” and walked away.  Marcy and I were dumbfounded.  We were trying to control our laughter and just in awe.  The poor girl working the fountain apologized to us and said something like “Some people just have no manners!”.  The whole thing was unbelievable!  I mean I really can’t describe the whole experience.  I will never forget the woman’s dipping and crunching and licking and re-dipping.  UNBELIEVABLE!

When we had our fill of the main tent we just headed back out into the city.  We grabbed a quick slice of pizza at a dive and headed out to shop.  We hit Anthropologie, FAO Schwarz and got coffee and cupcakes at a cupcakery.  Before we knew it, it was time to head back to our hotel.  We had checked our bags at the front desk, so we grabbed them and did the not so quick change in the hotel bathroom.  It was a one holer, so I think we monopolized the bathroom for a good 15 minutes!  We had never been able to take a good picture of Marcy’s dress, so the bathroom served as our makeshift photo shoot.  Then we made our way back to Penn Station and caught the train home.  It was a great 24 hours in New York.  It was quick and long and perfect.  I could get used to quick Mommy getaways.  And I think it reminded Marcy and I that we need to do more of those quick getaways with our husbands. 

Fashion Week was amazing for us.  We had no expectations and it was truly a dream come true.  Thanks Travis for planning yet another of my Girls Getaways…and thank you Marcy for the best Fashion Week trip I could imagine!

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