31 August 2012

End of Summer Delights

Jesse is back in school and that is a BUMMER!
The good news is that we had one last hurrah before the summer ended.
We visited a little place that our peeps from the east side like to call Dunkin Donuts.
Yeah. It's kind of a big deal around here.
And yeah, it's as delicious as people say it is.

We've also discovered smoothies.
Oliver calls them "Smoovies," and everyday after nap time he comes up to me and says,
"Can we have a smoovies for dinner, Mom?"
(That is, when he's not asking for brownies, waffles, or pizza)
It all started when some friends from the ward helped Jesse fix up our car for the state safety inspection. As payment, they asked for smoothies. So we bought a bag of frozen fruit from Sam's Club and invited them over.
We had an immersion blender, which I loved because it was perfect for soups, and I LOVE me some soup. But that's beside the point...I use the past tense "loved" because after two smoothies, my beloved immersion blender took its last breath, leaving me with a big bag full of frozen fruit and nothing to blend it with.
We headed to Wally's world to see what they had. We picked an inexpensive Oster blender, used the last of our gift cards, and brought it home hoping that it was decent.
Don't worry, Barbara the blender turned out to be a CHAMP!
Since that purchase we've had at least two smoothies a day. You could say that we are out of control.
Mostly we just use milk, frozen strawberries and a little bit of banana. It makes a smoothie so thick and perfect. Usually I don't require any sugar, but a guy I know named Jesse has a sweet tooth and thinks every smoothie he sucks down should taste like dessert. So in sweetening my smoothies, I've found that I prefer honey over sugar. 
Today I got brave and tried Peanut Butter and Banana together.
I used:
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup peanut butter
a big glob of honey
and 1/2 or so cup of ice.
It was so rich and delicious and exactly what I wanted. I only wish that I had thought ahead and frozen the bananas because it wasn't as frosty as I like 'em.
Anyway, I'm thinking maybe...just maybe...I'll try throwing spinach or kale in with my frozen fruit and see how it goes. Supposedly, you can't taste the green stuff. So the end result is still tasty and delightful but is slightly healthier. We shall see.

Any thoughts of the subject of healthy smoovies? 

26 August 2012

Because I know you've always been curious...

Here's what the Mosai would look like if we were neanderthals:


Oliver J.
These photos courtesy of the National Museum of Natural History's Human Origins Exhibit.
If the possibility of having your own Neanderthal family photos doesn't entice you to visit, I don't know what will...
Surprisingly, the Natural History Museum was one of our favorites so far! All the dinosaurs and mammals were REALLY AWESOME!
But the pickled aquatic specimens...they kinda grossed me out.

25 August 2012

The Story of Jesse's Life: The Art of Video Games

My husband is a nerd (and I mean that in the nicest way possible).
He really likes video games.
I've come to terms with it, and (to his credit) he has done a lot of growing up about it in the four years that we've been married, but the fact still remains: He loves them.
So when he found that the American Art Museum was hosting an exhibit called "The Art of Video Games," he practically skipped his way onto the metro to see it.
We walked in, and though I was struggling with all of the loud music and flashing lights. (I think that's what we call over stimulation), I could tell that Jesse was in his version of heaven.
The most interesting tidbit about video games that I learned from the experience: Halo (the game that keeps on going) has actually been around since the original Atari system. That's a long time in video game years!
But would you like to see something hilarious?
The exhibit had a few game demos that museum patrons could sample. Games like Pac Man and Super Mario Bros (the original) were projected onto a wall and you controlled them from a little podium in front. Awesome presentation, right? 
Jesse waited about as patiently as a pacing tiger very patiently for his turn to play Pac Man, which he settled for because the line for Super Mario was LONG...

What I can't get over is the image of this line of little kids waiting about as patiently as a pack of hungry hyenas very patiently while that fully grown adult plays through a round of Pac Man...
Cracks me up every time I see it.
What did Oliver J. and I do while Jesse saw all that there was to see?
Sat quietly in the corner and took grainy, poorly lit, blue photos of our adorable selves while we waited about as patiently as an elephant who has just spotted a mouse very patiently.
Also, I'm not sure what the safari animal similes are all about...it started with one, and the rest just came naturally...Maybe I just like safari animals. Golly.
And just so you know, I REALLY like Jesse.

20 August 2012

Word I can't spell:




19 August 2012

Air and Space

The National Air and Space Museum was a. impressive, b. humongous, and c. a ZOO.

My best advice: don't go on a Saturday. Ever.

Oliver was not concerned about the number of people in the building with him. All he cared about were the airplanes! Everywhere he looked, he could see them.

In fact, at one point he INSISTED that I cradle him in my arms so that he could more easily look up and see all of the aircrafts that were hanging from the ceiling without having to strain his little neck. We stood there forever while he took it all in.

I think we'll try it one more time on a weekday in the off season... otherwise, we are definitely looking forward to a trip to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy center, the companion facility to the Air and Space museum near Dulles Airport (which many have claimed to be infinitely better than the museum on the mall).

18 August 2012

Yoko Ono's Wish Tree

In the Hirshhorn's Sculpture Garden there is a wish tree.

 Patrons are encouraged to write their wishes on small white tags and hang them from the branches.

Jesse and I both added our wishes to the tree while we were there.

I caught a glimpse of Jesse's wish, and though I can't tell you what it was (that's the rule with wishes after all), I'm positive that one day it will come true...

I'm not certain that mine ever will, but isn't that the beauty of wishing?

16 August 2012

In Which I Participate

Today before I left for the weekly Young Women activity, I looked down at my skirt and deliberated.

Here's what happened in my head:

We're combined with the boys. I think they wanted to play sports. I should change the skirt...

No. I don't like sports. I'm keeping the skirt. That way I'll have an excuse not to play...

I really should change. I should set an example...

No. I'm keeping the skirt and that's that.

I was almost out the door when Jesse confronted me:

"I thought they were playing sports. You can't wear a skirt. You need to participate. Go change into pants."

Who does he think he is? My mom???

In the end, I left the house in shorts...

but you can bet that I made sure not to wear sensible shoes!

Just keeping my options open.

***For the record, we ended up playing soccer. And yes. I did play. Sandals and all.

15 August 2012

Sometimes He Helps With the Dishes...

And by that I mean that he licks yummy stuff off of kitchen utensils at our request.

In this case, we paid him in Peanut Butter.

14 August 2012

Chesapeake Bay

At a private beach on the bay. We know a guy...

(Thanks Alex!)

13 August 2012


At the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC we encountered an exhibit called, "Suprasensorial."

It was spectacular.

Our favorite pieces from the exhibit were Carlos Cruz-Diez's



Jesus Rafael Soto’s

“Blue Penetrable BBL”

We waited there for a spell watching Oliver play among the blue nylon forest of hanging string. He would have been happy to stay all day.

As you can probably imagine, besides the room full of mobiles by Alexander Calder, the rest of the museum's exhibits of sculptures and painting were sort of a let down for a couple of people who know very little about art, and a little bit offensive for people that don't like to look at nakeds.

06 August 2012

Hi Chicken!

WARNING: I'm about to brag about my kid. Shamelessly and in excess.

And by brag, I do mean the egregious, my-kid-is-smarter/cooler/funnier than your kid kind of bragging that just rubs everyone the wrong way. And understandably so!

If this bugs you, I get it. Honestly, I do. Please come back tomorrow and I'll try to make up for it.

I promise not to make a habit of it. Forgive me? Just this once?

Ok. You've been warned...

Oliver whined this morning. A lot.

I offered snacks. I offered toys. I was firm. I held my ground. I demanded that he use his big boy words.

"No More Whining!"

I said, to no avail.

After a while, I was done. So I did what any fantastic parent would do...I plopped him on his bed, opened the Dodo Bird app, and handed him the ipod.

Nice, right?

As I walked away I heard Oliver say, "Hi Chicken! Whas you doing, Chicken?"

The dodo bird repeated everything that Oliver said in its high pitched, dodo bird voice, Oliver laughed, and I sighed with relief.

"This should get me five minutes of quiet," I thought.

I sat down near Oliver, started budgeting, and listened. Oliver would chatter to the bird and the bird would chatter back the repition.

However, I quickly realized that Oliver wasn't just chattering. He was conversing.

He was presenting new topics for conversation, and he was responding to what he heard.

He introduced his stuffed animals and rubber ducks. He talked about letter sounds. He talked about the colors of items in the room. He sang songs, and then politely asked if they could sing again. He showed the bird pictures of his mommy and daddy. He talked about animal sounds. He counted to ten.

If the bird coughed (mimicking Oliver's cough) Oliver would ask if he was alright. If the bird laughed (mimicking Oliver's laugh) Ollie would say "Was that funny?" He complimented the bird and offered up a "Great Job, Chicken!" whenever the chicken did anything that Oliver thought to be remarkably impressive.

Whenever the screen of the ipod darkened, Oliver would bring it to me and ask me to find the chicken. Then he'd say "Hi Chicken! How are you?" and sit back on his bed, chattering away again.

This went on for over twenty minutes. That is not an exaggeration. I almost couldn't believe it. I mean, the child is barely two years old.

It was beyond fun to listen to Oliver carry on a conversation! When he talks to adults, he tends to wait to hear what they will talk about, and usually just repeats what they say, trying any new words on his tongue. In this case, it was all Oliver. It was like a glimpse into his brain. he was talking about the things he was thinking about and the things he noticed around himself. 

I was duly impressed!

05 August 2012

An Oliver J. Original

Method: Crayon

Explanation: "An elephant takes a bath with a shark and snake."

03 August 2012

I Find Myself Dreaming of Mountains-

The majestic, sky-sweeping, mountains of my youth.

I think of them often, and whenever I do, my heart skips a beat.

They are magnificent.

I cannot believe that I once had the privilege of seeing them every single day of my existence.

I didn't even have to look, they were always in view.

I took so much for granted then.

So much more than mountains.

My hope is that I will find such beauty in my life here in Maryland

that when it comes time to leave,

I will miss the forest as well.

The Story of Jesse's Life: Self Portrait

Found these photos on the ipod today...

I guess now we know what Jesse is up to when he shuts himself in his room under the guise of study.

No. This is not his normal hairstyling choice. That's at least 71% of why I find this collage hilarious!