Sunday, June 28, 2009

In and Around DC

It's hard to believe June is almost over, and Tommy will be 11 months old soon. Time flies when you're having fun raising a cute, delightful little boy in the DC area. So much to do, so little time. Here are some recent highlights:

We met Katy, Jason and Sophie at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, where we listened to free jazz and beat the heat with some cold adult beverages (not pictured). Sophie and Tommy showed off their mobility to each other and the adoring public.

On June 21st, we met up with Alison and her dog Trudy, then went to Malcolm X. Park to check out the music, art, games and spiritual activities of the Sacred DC Festival.

To celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary, we went to the most romantic, one-of-a-kind, local restaurant we could think of...Outback Steakhouse.

A bit of background is necessary here - last year was our 5th anniversary, and we tried to think of something special to do. A romantic weekend getaway? Nah. Splurge on a gourmet dinner? Uh uh. Expensive gifts? Spa treatments? Fancy desserts? Nope. Nyet. Negative. Keep in mind, Elizabeth was almost 8 months pregnant at the time last year, and we weren't too into planning and executing very many activities. So we went with the ol' reliable dinner at Outback to celebrate our 5 years of wedded bliss together. Hopeless romantics, for sure. So anyway, when the time came to celebrate our 6th year of marriage, we skipped out on the overnight trip to Maryland's Eastern Shore and revisited Outback for dinner. I mean, how could we possibly top the previous year's commemoration? Well, this time we had Tommy with us, and that's enough to make even a dinner at Outback special. And as an added bonus, EZ is back on dairy after 10+ months without it due to Tommy's allergy, so we got to share the cheese fries, and she got a loaded baked potato! Side note - anyone who knows EZ knows she's a sucker for all things dairy. The pediatrician gave the okay to test Tommy's system by flooding it with dairy products (via Elizabeth), so she's been happily partaking of cheese, ice cream, pizza, milk, etc., just like the good old days. So far, the boy seems to be taking it pretty well besides being a bit more flatulent than usual (is that too much info?)

Today we went to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. The stroller experiment went well, as Tommy rode and slept in it the whole walk down to the Mall. We took in the festival with Katy, Jason and Soph, and the kids and adults all had a lovely time.

The watermelon was delicious. Ripe to the rind, as the vendor's song goes...

Sophie and Tommy look guilty as they explore the contents of EZ's purse.

Tommy and I peek through a window at the Air and Space Museum.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mouth Music

This is Tommy's new trick. It usually causes hysterical laughing from his parents...

West End Boys

Last weekend, we went to Richmond to stay with the Petersons at their new house. It's a great roomy house in the (now far) West End. We had fun hanging at the new pad and at the pool at Hermitage on Saturday.

Morning book time with the boys and their mothers.

We went for the traditional Richmond breakfast at Ukrops. Man, we really miss Ukrops...

Tommy spent a record 2 hours in the pool, and it knocked him out for the night. I don't think he's ever slept so well.

Sweet farmer's tan, Chris.

David dips a toe in.

Tommy loved having his Mama swing him around. Check out the joy on his face.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Here's a video from London. Tommy loved this toy from Louis' collection. Notice how after he successfully completes the game twice, I call him genius, and then he promptly bungles it. He has perfect comedic timing. Which is genius, too. In a way.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Journey Across the Pond

On the morning of May 20th, we headed to Dulles to begin our trip to London. Passports and tickets in hand, we boarded the flight full of excitement. We also felt a bit of fear, not knowing how Tommy would handle the 7 hour flight and ensuing jetlag. Well, he was great on the plane, and even charmed several of our fellow passengers with his smile and good humor. We landed around 10pm local time at Heathrow and made our way to a nearby airport for our first night.

Touchdown at Heathrow. The chubby cheeks arrive!

After sleeping late, we hit the hotel pool, grabbed some lunch, then caught the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station.

Famous Paddington Station. We didn't see Paddington Bear, but the place was something to see in itself.

We stayed near Trafalgar Square the next night, so after checking-in, we hit the streets. Here are EZ and Tommy in the square. The lions in the background are located at the base of Nelson's Column.

The National Gallery in the background. Looks like Tommy's trying to gag himself at the thought of viewing all that art. We spared him, even though there are works by well-known artists throughout the Gallery. Of course we wanted to visit all the must-see places in London, but our main goal was to visit Susie and family and to see London through the eyes of a local. Mission accomplished.

This is the view of London from the restaurant on the top floor of the National Portrait Gallery, just around the corner from Trafalgar Square. We'd heard it's very busy, and walk-ups usually walk away without a table. But, as luck would have it, they squeezed us in for a meal, and Tommy added to our enjoyment by sleeping through it all. We got so lucky with the weather during out visit, too. Nothing but 70 degree temps and sunny skies everyday except for the day we left. Our umbrellas and raincoats stayed in the luggage until then, thankfully.

We wandered around the area - Soho Square, Chinatown, Piccadilly Circus, etc., just taking in the sights. This pic is in Leicester Square, the park near where most of the London movie premieres take place. No celebrity sightings to speak of though.

Near Piccadilly Circus. There's no big tent there or anything, just a rotary where some major streets intersect and the famous fountain and statue of Eros. Great crowd-watching spot.

Tommy in the hotel room that night. Thought he looked grown-up in his jeans and Roots sweatshirt.

The next day, we continued our sightseeing. Here's EZ in front of a typical London phone booth with Nelson's Column in the background again.

We hopped an on-off bus to get an overview of the city, and had to hop off when Tommy started getting antsy. We ended up on the south bank of the Thames near Hay's Galleria, so we grabbed a drink and checked out the Tower Bridge.

Good Times In Bermondsey

Our destination for our third night in London was Bermondsey, a neighborhood in Southeast London where Susie, John and Louis live. They welcomed us into their wonderful home and treated us like visiting U.S. royalty, if there were such a thing. Louis and Tommy were reunited and had a ball together, sharing toys, racing up the steps, playing inside and outside, taking turns keeping their parents up at night, and generally being as cute as ever. The food, company and hospitality were unmatched on Reverdy Road. Thanks so much!

The washer/dryer was a popular playsite with the boys. Note they're a combo; wish this were available in the States.

Our first excursion Saturday was to the Borough Market, a fantastic market busting with wonderful produce, cheese, meats, wines and other foods. We stocked up on Prosecco, amazing cheese from Neil's Yard Dairy, jams, and veggies. Then we met up with Katy, Jason and Sophie, and headed back to the house for high tea and good company.

First stop at the market was at Monmouth Coffee shop for some Susie-approved proper coffee. It had plenty of flavor and lots of kick. A good start to our day.

Chubby cheeks must be squeezed.

We spent a little time in front of the Southwark Cathedral, sitting on a grassy hill among a large crowd of people enjoying the sunshine.

Fancy meeting y'all here! Katy, Jason and Soph caught up with us outside a pub, so we grabbed a quick pint and visited for a bit before strolling back to the house. It seems like not too long ago when we were all hanging out at their house in Georgetown. Now we were all together again in London!

Back at the house, Sophie got herself into a giggling spell while shaking a vial of pills at Tommy. It was the funniest thing to see her cracking up, and then to see us all cracking up at her cracking up. Tommy's funnybone didn't seem to get tickled, however.

Susie and John have the most beautiful garden.

We got the three kids to sit on the couch together to recreate the scene from their Georgetown gathering a few months back. It's neat to see how they've changed so much in only three short months. This time, the birthday boy Louis took center couch.

This is the trio in February...Tommy could barely sit up by himself. Now they're all standing up and getting ready to walk on their own. Pretty soon they'll be off to college!

Where The Wild Things Are (the couch).

Tommy was Louis' little shadow the whole time we were there. Here they're plotting their escape into the backyard.

The birthday boy wanted to break into the Peroni just a bit before he's reached legal drinking age. We've already planned a trip to London in 2026 for their 18th birthdays.