Dad gets in the snow

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on February 5th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

I finally arrived home Monday night. We tried to swing by Aunt EA’s house in Silver Spring on the way, but found her neighborhood had not been plowed yet. Fortunately we knew we could get to my house and Grams’s house. We came to my house first to drop me off, then Aunt EA and Grams went on to Grams’s house. Thanks to Jen for shoveling all the snow piled up at the end of the driveway by the plow earlier in the day.

While I missed much of the snow, I did manage to get out in it briefly with my girls. A fair amount of it had already melted, but the giant piles covering the sidewalk are still taller than Molly.

Lots of snow

The snow was still quite deep, so we sunk down into it when walking around. The snow was also level, despite the ground below not being level. So, occasionally you take a step and find the snow is so deep that your leg has disappeared below you.

Deep snow

The girls and I had a lot of fun sledding in our back yard. Here they are showing how much fun it is.

Here Leah shows off that you don’t need a sled to sled - your bottom will do just fine. This is especially true if you use a track that someone heavy (say Daddy) has already carved out of the snow by sledding down.

The girls call this penguin sliding, which I guess is a good description. They got going pretty fast like this, though ended up soaking wet from the snow.

Penguin sliding

Molly sliding

Or you can lift up your arms and legs for a belly slide.

Belly slide

There were a lot of snowballs thrown, including the blurry one obscuring Leah’s hat in this shot.

Incoming snowball

This is what I was missing when I was stuck away, so I was glad I got to have some fun in the snow with them after getting back.

Freedom

Posted in Celebrations, Leah, Molly on February 4th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

With this much snow, and with me out of town, Jen was not looking forward to shoveling the driveway. Fortunately, she found a connection to someone to pay to do it. We weren’t sure how they’d get to our house, but she signed up. They made it, and this Bobcat cleared the driveway in 10 minutes flat (sadly, it was too big to do the sidewalk as well).

Bobcat plow

The truck carrying the Bobcat had a plow on the front, which is how they managed to get to us. That meant they partially plowed our street - right up to our house. For the next day, we’d occasionally have people try to drive down our street, only to find that they could not make it past our house.

Getting to us

Here’s our plowed driveway. The Bobcat even cleared space on the sides for car doors to open.

Plowed driveway

The next day, the girls were out to play in the snow again. They were excited to see that the Bobcat had left some giant chunks of snow to play with.

Chunks of snow

The piled up snow from the driveway made a great snow slide.

Snow slide

The girls decided bringing their sleds in all the time was wasted effort. So, they instead tied them up at our back porch sled dock.

Sled dock

Our street was plowed Monday night, after three and a half days since the start of the storm. That was much earlier than a lot of folks around here, so we’re not complaining.

The plow

Grandaddy’s house

Posted in Family visits, Trip on February 3rd, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

What was I up to while the girls were enjoying the snow? I had hoped to drive back on Sunday. I figured we’d leave Savannah Sunday morning, and the roads would be mostly clear by the time we got to the Washington area Sunday evening. Unfortunately, the storm was so bad it was clear that was not going to happen. So, we decided to wait another day for the roads to clear. Also, by waiting till Monday to come back, that meant Grams could ride back with us as well (taking Aunt Caroline’s seat).

That meant some more family time. I also took the opportunity to take some pictures around Grandaddy’s house. Sadly, I didn’t have my camera with me as I’d left it with Jen. I had brought my old camera and a couple lenses, but forgot the battery to it. So, all these pictures were taken with my phone.

I first headed toward the dock. This dock was a very prominent part of my childhood. Whenever we came to visit, I spent as much time as I could on the water. Water skiing was my favorite activity, but I also enjoyed swimming, crabbing, sailing, fishing, tubing, and more. And just sitting on the dock is one of the most relaxing things you can do (though swinging in the hammock that used to overlook the dock was even better).

The dock

Chairs and the dock

Here’s a panoramic view from the dock.

Dock panorama

And another panoramic view looking back at the house from the dock.

Dock panorama

And a non-panoramic shot of the house from the dock.

Grandaddy's house

When I walked out to the dock, there were 4 dolphins playing there (only two made it into the picture, though).

Dolphins

So many memories at this house.

Out in the snow

Posted in Leah, Molly on February 2nd, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

On Sunday, church was cancelled (since no roads were passable). The girls were ready to have some fun in the snow, and the snow was ready for them. Molly and Leah grabbed their sleds and waded through the snow.

Sled time

Molly found a good spot to chillax while taking a break from shoveling.

Chillax

Jen and the girls in the snow, making do on their own while I was away.

Girls in the snow

The girls got tired of going out the front, so Jen shoveled a path on our back porch for them to get in and out.

Porch path

Unfortunately, that didn’t last. A few hours later there was a sudden crash outside. All the snow on the back side of our roof had slid off our solar panels onto the porch and ground below. Sadly, this was enough to break the railing on the back of the porch.

Storm damage

The crash also broke the bottom rail on the gate.

Gate damage

Jen eventually went out and shoveled the back porch again, so the girls could go in and out there. She’s such an awesome mom.

Snow day

Posted in Kid crafts, Leah, Molly on February 1st, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Friday rolled around and the snow started. Winter Storm Jonas (aka Snowzilla) came in with full force. School was cancelled (just like my trip home from Georgia). Lots of snow and wind - not something you want to be out in. The girls did manage to get out of the house in the morning before the storm got going, but they were not going outside after it began.

When stuck at home during a snow storm, make Star Wars Perler bead projects! First up, Leah made Princess Leia and Molly made BB-8.

Leia and BB-8

Next, a green lightsaber (Molly) and a purple lightsaber (Leah). Oh, and a viola with bow (Molly). Not sure which Star Wars movie that was in :)

Lightsabers and violas

Saturday morning came, and the storm only got stronger. It was going to be awful outside, so the girls stayed inside in their jammies all day. Of course, that meant it was time for more Perler beads! Leah made Luke Skywalker, while Molly made R2-D2 and C-3PO.

Luke, R2D2, and C-3PO

That evening it was still snowing, so the girls played some games. Here they are playing Trouble.

Games

And then they played some Uno Attack.

Uno Attack

While they stayed inside in the warm, the snow kept falling. Here’s a view of the door in our basement toward the end of the storm. I don’t think we’ll be going out that door any time soon.

A lot of snow

The screens on our screened in porch stopped most of the snow, but the finer stuff still got through.

Screened in porch

The snow finally stopped late Saturday night. According to reports, we got around 27 inches of snow, setting a new record for a single storm.

First orchestra concert

Posted in Extracurriculars, School on January 31st, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

While I was away, Molly had her first orchestra concert. She’s been learning to play viola since October, and has really improved. I was sad to miss the concert, but it was on the same day as the funeral.

Below is a video of the Beginning Orchestra from her school. That’s the third graders. The school also had the Advanced Orchestra, Beginning Band, and Advanced Band play as well as the Chorus sing, but you don’t get to see them here (Molly’s not in those). Molly is in the video, but sadly you can't see her for most of it. She's front and center with her viola, right behind one of the music stands.

She did great. We’re so proud of how well she’s done and how committed to learning the instrument she’s been. We can’t wait to see how far she comes.

After her concert, Molly posed for a picture with her viola. Note that she was required to wear black and white, so Jen made a white tunic for her to wear (using the same pattern as the one she wore on Christmas Eve.

Viola concert

Grandaddy’s funeral

Posted in Family visits, Trip on January 30th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Getting to the funeral

As I already wrote, my maternal grandfather passed away almost two weeks ago. His funeral was held last Thursday in Savannah, Georgia. Jen and I debated whether we’d all go down for it, or just me. The decision was a tough one, but we ultimately decided I would go alone. And, since I hate to fly if I can avoid it, I decided to drive down.

Aunt EA was very happy to hear this. Since Charlie was only 6 weeks old, she really didn’t want to put him on an airplane. So, we decided to drive down together. Then Aunt Caroline decided to fly from Chicago to Baltimore and ride down with us, though she’d fly back to Chicago directly from Savannah. Grams was already in Savannah (she’d flown down a week before Grandaddy died).

Our plan was to drive down Wednesday, go to the funeral Thursday, then drive back Friday hoping to get home before the forecasted snowstorm (more on that later). I was worried how well the drive down with an infant would go. I’ve driven with a screaming infant before, and it’s not fun. Also, it usually takes my family about 12 hours to drive, but I figured Charlie would slow us down a lot.

Boy was I wrong. Charlie slept almost the entire way, and when the baby is sleeping there is no stopping. We only stopped twice - once for lunch, and once for dinner. Charlie did stay up a bit at the end of the trip, and cried for the last few minutes, but that was nothing. We ended up making the trip in under 10 hours, which I’m not sure I’ve ever done.

The funeral

The funeral itself was very well done. I would have expected nothing less, given that the funeral home is the family business. It was held at the beautiful Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church in downtown Savannah (where my parents were married, and I was baptized). Afterward, there was a reception at the Oglethorpe Club (in lieu of a visitation the day before) for all the family and friends. And then the family went on to the graveside service. Grandaddy was buried next to Grandmother overlooking the water, just a few spots down from my dad. Many of us then headed back to Grandaddy’s house.

After the funeral

Our plan to drive back to Maryland Friday did not work out. The storm was worse, and came earlier, than I had hoped. So, we made the decision to stay in Savannah until after the storm. I felt bad leaving my family to weather a blizzard on their own, but it was not safe for us to try to return beforehand.

The positive side of staying in Savannah was getting to spend more time with family. Aunt Caroline’s flight back to Chicago was cancelled, so she stayed as well. Charlie was happy to hang out with his Aunt Caroline and his Great Uncle Carl.

Happy baby

Uncle Carl and Charlie

Our adventure didn’t end there, but I think that’s enough of the story for today.

Happy birthday Aunt EA

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on January 29th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

A little over a week late, we celebrated Aunt EA’s birthday with her. Happy birthday Aunt EA!

Happy birthday Aunt EA

While there, we all got to spend some quality time with Charlie. Charlie was happy to take a nap on his Grams, and I don’t think she minded either.

Sleeping baby

ZooLights

Posted in Celebrations, Family outings, Family visits on January 21st, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We decided it would be fun to go down to the National Zoo to go to ZooLights. This would have been especially fun given all the warm weather we’ve been having. Sadly, the day we chose to go ended up being really cold. But we bundled up and had fun anyway.

ZooLights

Rather than wait in lines and pay a lot for food at the zoo, we brought our own sandwiches. We found these picnic tables to eat dinner at while listening to these fun carolers sing.

Carolers

After dinner in the cold, we went into the reptile house to warm up and check out all the lizards, snakes, and frogs. Then we headed back out into the cold.

They set up 150 foot snow tubing tracks (which thankfully work just as well without snow) to slide down. You may not be able to see their faces, but that’s Leah on the left track and Molly starting down the right track. It had quite a line, but the girls said it was lots of fun.

Tubing slide

The girls weren’t the only ones to slide down the hill. Jen went down right after them.

Jen too

We then waited in a long line to go on the carousel. While I may have thought that the wait was not worth riding a carousel, the girls thought it was great.

The last thing the girls wanted to do at the zoo was ride the National Zoo Choo-Choo. Unfortunately, the train was charging when we went to ride it. We ended up waiting over an hour in the cold to go for a ride. It was so cold I decided to put on my Beard Head to keep my face warm.

Waiting for the train

It was very cold waiting in line, but I thankfully had a way to warm us up. I brought a 64 ounce insulated water bottle full of hot chocolate as well as a bunch of paper cups. Standing around in line was the perfect time to break it out (along with some snacks).

After waiting more than an hour, we boarded the tiny train. It rode around the Kids’ Farm exhibit (which is possibly the most boring part of the zoo to look at) and took a little over 3 minutes in total. Next time we’ll remember that the train is definitely something to skip.

Pathetic train ride

We had a great trip and would definitely go back. Next time we might go earlier in the day to do some of the zoo stuff before the lights part starts.

Q-bitz

Posted in Family visits, Molly on January 20th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

On New Year’s morning, Molly taught G’Mom and Grampa how to play Q-bitz. It’s a fun new game she got for Christmas, and it’s been a hit in our house.

Q-bitz

After morning fun, we headed toward Washington to Aunt EA’s house so G’Mom and Grampa could meet Charlie. The we headed from there to some more fun, but you’ll have to wait till tomorrow to hear about that.