Archive for January, 2016

First orchestra concert

Posted in Extracurriculars, School on January 31st, 2016 by c-had – 1 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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Happy Birthday Grampa!

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on January 19th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The train museum and old Ellicott City outing were not the only fun of New Year’s Eve. We also got to celebrate Grampa’s birthday with him on his actual birthday. That meant the fudge wasn’t the only sweet treat we ate that day.

Happy birthday

Jen made this Frozen Peanut Butter Turtle Pie to celebrate. It was ridiculously delicious (though also ridiculously high in calories).

Better than cake

Happy birthday, Grampa!

Goodbye Grandaddy

Posted in News on January 18th, 2016 by c-had – 1 Comment
He's a great Grandaddy

Yesterday evening, my grandfather, Elmo Weeks, passed away at the age of 96 in his home in Savannah, Georgia. While this saddens me, it’s hard to get too sad. He was an awesome man, and lived a great, long life. I’d be overjoyed to be able to live so well for so long.

Grandaddy chatting

He was a successful business man and an important part of the community in Savannah, but I will remember him simply as a loving grandaddy (and great grandaddy). He was one of my favorite people, and someone I try my best to emulate in many ways. He taught me about being on the water (which I realize is odd given that my dad was in the Navy, but Grandaddy had the advantage of actually living on the river). He was generous, kind, and I don’t think I ever saw him lose his temper.

Meeting Granddaddy

Granddaddy's house

Baby Fiddler Crab

Great grandkids

Pictures for Grandaddy

Grandaddy and Betty

Goodbye, Grandaddy. I’m sad to see you go, but glad you stayed as long as you did.


Train museum

Posted in Family outings, Family visits on January 17th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We live quite close to old Ellicott City, which has a train museum. During they holidays, they set up model train displays, so we thought we’d go check them out. Here’s the first train we saw.


The most exciting display was the Lego trains. It was huge, with lots of buildings and trains. Lego aficionados bring their own Legos to construct all these things. In all, there are around half a million Lego bricks in the display.

Lego trains

Another look

One more angle

Leah and Grampa peer in at the Lego trains.

Peering in

Leah and Molly both rang the big bell. I don’t know that Leah is sure about this.

Saved by the bell

More trains, though Leah’s not sure about it this time.


They had one real train car (a caboose) to check out.

Train car

Four of us

The girls take a seat in the caboose.

In the caboose

We then walked over to Johnny’s Bistro in old Ellicott City for some lunch. It was absolutely delicious. And, while we waited for a table, we dropped in to Southwest Connection & Silver Arrow Fudge to pick up some fudge for later (yum!).

More gifts

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on January 16th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

A few days after Christmas, G’Mom and Grampa came in town to visit. Of course, this meant we got to keep celebrating Christmas. One of the first items of business - exchanging gifts.

Christmas again

What will it be?


Leah is always excited to get some new Legos.


Grampa had asked for this grill-top cast-iron griddle. He also suggested to have it shipped to his house, but Jen didn’t notice that suggestion. Fortunately, he managed to get it into his luggage for the flight home.

Heavy luggage

And G’Mom got a calendar with all her favorite grandchildren in it (I won’t tell you which grandchildren didn’t make the calendar ;)


Star Wars kids

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

The girls have really gotten into Star Wars lately. As a Star Wars fan myself, I was hoping this would happen eventually but I didn’t want to push it. But when they both started expressing interest in watching Star Wars in November, I was ready. Their initial interest was in watching Star Wars Rebels - an animated show that is currently popular. I explained that they should really start with the movies, and they excitedly agreed.

I first showed them A New Hope (Episode IV). We watched it together and I paused whenever they had a question. I started off getting them to close their eyes for the dark parts, but they quickly decided they didn’t need to do that. At the end, they said they loved it and wanted to watch the next one. Thankfully, Thanksgiving vacation was quickly approaching, giving us some free time to watch movies.

We then watched The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V), and then Return of the Jedi (Episode VI). Then we went back the prequels and watched The Phantom Menace (Episode I), Attack of the Clones (Episode II), and Revenge of the Sith (Episode III). They loved them all. They said their favorite was Return of the Jedi.

We then watched the first season of Star Wars Rebels, which they also liked a lot. We’ll probably watch season two sometime after it finishes airing. Then we moved onto The Clone Wars. We began by watching the movie, then moved on to the series. We’re still in the middle of season one, and looking forward to watching it all eventually.

This all led up to going to the theater to see The Force Awakens (Episode VII). I knew it would be too crazy to try to go before Christmas, so I bought tickets for a 2D matinee on the 27th. Jen and Grams came too (though they didn’t make it into the picture and didn’t have Star Wars apparel on). Here we are in our Star Wars shirts upon arriving at the theater.

Star Wars

We got there an hour and twenty minutes early. I knew this was probably overkill, but wanted to play it safe. It meant we were at the front of the line (all by ourselves for the first twenty minutes of the wait). There ended up being a very long line by the time we were let in to the theater, but we got perfect seats for the film.

The movie was great, and the girls really enjoyed it. They now say it is tied with Return of the Jedi as their favorite movie (it’s tough to compete with Ewoks).

The girls show no signs of slowing their Star Wars excitement. They ask to watch an episode of The Clone Wars every day, and are really looking forward to all the Star Wars stuff in Disney World (we’re going in February). There’s also been discussion of Halloween costumes, though that’s a long way away. They’re also talking about looking forward to Episode VIII, but 5/27/2017 is even further away (though it is already on my calendar).