Monday, December 11, 2017


What an amazing experience! Our trip to Philadelphia was unforgettable, definitely one of the most incredible phenomenons I've been a part of.

We flew up on Friday morning, in time to enjoy some cheese steaks for lunch (from Steve's -- not Pat's or Gino's -- on the recommendations of some locals). Then we visited some of the cool historical sites: the Liberty Bell, the Museum of the American Revolution, Independence Hall. 

We probably walked more than 6 miles that day, finally to the Museum of Art and up its impressive staircase (aka "the Rocky Steps"). What a view! 

And we had a pleasant surprise: as we were walking down Benjamin Franklin Parkway, we heard sirens and saw emergency vehicles coming slowly towards us. It turned out to be the Army marathon team, running the game ball to the stadium!

Direct link to video:

We ended the day with a delicious dinner at Barclay Prime, and visited an Irish pub for a nightcap. There were Army and Navy fans everywhere, and MJ enjoyed making little digs at the Navy fans at every opportunity.

Saturday morning it started snowing. And snowing. And it didn't stop the whole day. Fortunately, we were prepared, so we geared up and headed down to the stadium to meet up with some old friends of MJ's at a tailgate. The big surprise of the day was when this character -- the Crazy Colonel -- showed up at the tailgate. Crazy Colonel is a somewhat famous guy to West Pointers, known for whipping up the Corps of Cadets into frenzies at football games. We saw him in the cadet section towards the end of the game, still wearing just his shirt sleeves. Crazy!

Then there was the game. What can I say? It was phenomenal. At the end, it came down to a Navy field goal attempt with just 3 seconds left on the clock. From our vantage point, it looked like the kick was good ... but then we saw the officials waving it off, and it was just pandemonium. MJ bear-hugged about 50 complete strangers in our section. We were all screaming, jumping up and down, and high-fiving everyone.

This picture sums up our experience in one shot. Our happy faces, the awful weather, the cadets storming the field in the background, the score on the scoreboard.

To make it even better, with this win, Army won the Commander in Chief's trophy. That hasn't happened since MJ was a cadet in 1996.

We made it back to our condo and changed out of our wet, cold clothes. Then we went to another great dinner nearby, and celebrated all night.

The next morning we took a long (and frigid) walk along the river, and then went to the Franklin Institute, where they were hosting an exhibit of the Terra Cotta Warriors from China. It was really impressive.

On the flight back, MJ told me that this was one of the best weekends of his life. We arrived home in time to have dinner with the kids. Countless thanks to my parents, who watched the kids for us while we were gone -- what a gift it was! The kids re-enacted their reactions to the final moments of the game, jumping around the family room, whooping and waving their arms. We assured them that we had been doing the same thing at the stadium.

Last night, before we tucked the kids into bed, we said our prayers. "Dear God," said Little Man. "Thank you for making that Navy kicker miss his kick."

Friday, December 8, 2017

Photo Friday


Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas, Part I

Due to travel schedules, Patrick's job, and the general craziness that is December, my side of the family got together at Jon and Susan's last weekend for an early Christmas celebration. Which was just fine with my three elves. Early presents? Yes, please!

It was a nice, relaxing day. We hung around, talked, ate a bunch of good food, played with the kids, and even decorated these adorable miniature gingerbread houses Susan got for all the kids.

From left to right: Sweet Pea's, CC's, and Little Man's:

Then it was time for presents! The scene quickly degenerated from this: 

... to this:

But the best part was sharing a special day with family. It turned out to be the best way to kick off the Christmas season!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Photo Friday

Pajama day at preschool this week, for their exciting Polar Express event. Hooray! They must have been really excited, because as I was taking pictures, they started trading kisses.

(Also, I've never been completely in love with pajamas before ... until this year. Wait till you see all three together!)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving with Grandma and Grandpa -- what could be better?!

We had five days of fun: cooking, going to a museum, playing endless rounds of chess and Sequence, going for walks, and eating, of course!

Thanksgiving itself was a wonderful, low-key day of lounging around the house, watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, staying in our pajamas, and enjoying friends and family. Brien was down for a few days with us, which made the holiday even sweeter.

Sweet Pea was thankful for her brother and sister. CC was thankful for good food. And Little Man was thankful for Obi Wan Kenobi. Five days later, I was thankful to have my computer back and running after the hard drive crashed last week!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sweet Pea and her Cars

Sweet Pea, doing her favorite thing: identifying the makes of all the cars she sees.

She has an insatiable appetite for learning the car symbols and names. For months now, this has been her hobby. She wants to learn more, but we've already learned all the primary brands and most of the secondary. We've moved on to more obscure makes like Bentley, Maserati, etc. She even knows which ones are out of production: "There's a Saturn sedan, Mommy! We don't see those very much because they don't make them anymore."

Recently, she's knocked my socks off several times by correctly identifying cars when she can't even see the symbol. "That's a Mercedes sedan," she informed me recently, pointing at a car next to us. "How can you tell?" I asked. She answered: "It just looks like one." Sure enough, as it accelerated ahead of us, I saw the familiar symbol. 

Her favorites are VW Beetles and, more recently, Minis. But in lieu of one of those in our school parking lot, she said a Subaru was the best.

Direct link to the video: