Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Flowery Apology

Dear Capitol Hill Community,

Our son would like to apologize for picking all of your spring flowers.  He just really wanted to give them to his mommy.  As you will see below, you grew some really nice flowers this year.  We're sorry you can't see them from your window, but now you can see them from your browser.


Ye Stewart Clan

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ye McFarland Clan - Lovers of Mountains and Cows

Sure, we're part of Ye Stewart Clan.  But on my maternal side we're also part of Ye McFarland Clan, a proud group of Highlander Scots going back many centuries.  And it's amazing what you can learn about yourself when you learn about your ancestors.  I've been re-reading a book ("In Honorable Remembrance") about my ancestors William and Margaret McFarland.  The first chapter describes the McFarland ancestral lands on the northwest bank of Loch Lomond, and contains this revealing paragraph:

This ancient territory, one of the loveliest regions in the West Highlands, could not but in the course of centuries produce a race of men instinct with the love of the mountains and moors, and with all the chivalrous qualities which go to make the traditional character of the Highlanders of Scotland.  This is nothing less than a fact in the case of the Clan McFarland.

I've long suspected that my love of mountains is genetic, as it feels as much a part of me as my arm, and it looks like that may just be the case.

Oh, and here's another uncanny insight into my character, as described in the McFarland history:

When times were bad they would raid the Lowlands and steal cattle.  This practice was considered an honorable occupation, and they felt justified in doing it because they believed that at one time the Lowlands had belonged to their ancestors and that the people of the low country were inferior to them in courage. . . . The McFarland clan are reputed to have participated frequently in these raids. . . . Sir Walter Scott wrote that "The clan of McFarland, occupying the fastnesses of the western side of Loch Lomond, were great depredators on the Low Country and as their excursions were made usually at night, the moon was proverbially called their lantern."

And now I know why I have the impulse to steal every cow I see.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's Spring! Let's Go Fly A Kite!

We had four goals yesterday (Saturday):  (1) buy cookies; (2) eat those cookies; (3) buy a kite; and (4) fly that kite.  It was one of our most successful Saturdays ever, and, as Suzy said, "one of the best days of my life."  We're too embarrassed to admit exactly how many cookies we downed, but we're happy to report we brought in Spring 2011 with a full day of exemplary kite flying.

We thought it would take half the day to teach Tenny how to fly the kite, but the instant we got it into the air he grabbed the handle and kept that kite in the air the rest of the day.  Well, there were two exceptions.  First was the time some amateur little girl crossed his line with her sissy Cinderella kite and we had to bring in the kite to untangle the lines.  Momma-bear Suzy was outraged (see below).

OK, I made that last part up.  Suzy wasn't even a little bit upset.  But the rest of this story is true.  The second exception coincided with Tennyson's first run-in with the law.  He was minding his own business, flying his kite like a pro, when an officer of the law drove his car across the lawn at Gravelly Point to tell us that we couldn't fly our kite at that park because it's too close to the airport (DCA).  Who knew?  Well, none of the other half-dozen people who were also flying kites.  Consider yourselves warned.  Anyway, we moved to the notoriously windy Hains Point for the second half of the day.

Tennyson did a similarly stellar job of mastering the Hains Point wind, so we now know his early success was not a fluke.  He's just a natural.  This outing also changed the way we think about kites.  We had always thought of the kite as being tethered to the kite flier, but now we see the benefit of having the kite flier tethered to the kite -- that thing kept Tenny busy all day.

Even Tait was impressed with Tenny's skills.

We're so glad that we can play together outside again.  We LOVE the DC Spring!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tait is refining his palate

Because Tait cannot speak English, we will now interpret what he is trying to convey in these pictures.

"Mud is disgusting!"

"I can't believe you knew this and didn't warn me."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crime and Punishment - Part II

So speaking of Crime and Punishment, Monday night while I was nursing Tait downstairs I could smell the distinct scent of baby powder coming down from upstairs.  It was dangerously quiet up there.  Tennyson came down with the large container of baby powder.  I said, "Tennyson I want you to take that back upstairs and put it right back where you found it."  I didn't worry too much because he has not shown that much interest in baby powder since Tait was born so I thought he was past that stage.  I mean that is so 2 years olds.  Isn't it?  When I finished nursing.  I came upstairs.

Oh a couple dabs of baby powder on the stairs, no biggie.  I got this one.

Woa.  When I walked into me and Jeremy's bedroom I about had a heart attack.  It looked like it had snowed in there.  I could barely breath.  It was so overwhelming I couldn't really respond.  I took him downstairs and sat him in time out while I sat on the couch in a stupor of thought.  This was right before Jeremy came home.  

When Jeremy came home we both started cleaning.  Jeremy got out the vacuum and I followed behind with a damp cloth.  We cleaned for almost 2 hours.  Tennyson sat in time out the entire time bawling his eyes out.  When we finished cleaning Jeremy just looked at me and asked, "What do we do to him?  How do you punish this?"  This was one of the worst things Tennyson had ever done.  He definitely knew better.  It is 4 days later and our house still smells like baby powder.  We thought about throwing away his beloved green blanket.  In the end we decided on a week without television (or netflix or movies or any media of any kind).  

What do you all think?  Does the punishment fit the crime?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

National Aquarium - Baltimore

Several weeks ago I (Suzy) made a trip with Tenny and Tait and my friend and her kids to the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  Inside the aquarium was difficult to photograph because the lighting was kept very dark to feature the illuminated fish tanks so most of my photographs did not turn out.  But below are some that worked.  It was such a delightful day.  Tennyson was in total wonderment the whole time and I was surprised at how much even Tait got out of the experience.  Growing up in DC has given Tennyson an affinity for ocean life that I never had growing up in the desert.  He has visited more aquariums and beaches in his 4 years than I ever did my entire childhood.  I guess you could say we are discovering the ocean for the first time together.


In the Amazon . . .

Me, trying to be artistic.  Did I succeed?

Dolphins really are magical.  Did you know?

The boys loved watching the dolphins perform their tricks.

Taiters was bright-eyed the whole time.

The kids were super cute together.

We love the Baltimore Harbor, and this is definitely one of the highlights.  Tenny wants to go back - wanna join?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Do these clothes make our kids look stupid?

Suzy here.  A man was admiring Tait in the grocery store today - he thought Tait was the cutest little girl ever.  I told him thanks, but Tait's a boy.  He said, "Those are girl clothes.  You better watch out or your kids are going to get beat up.  My foster parents dressed me like a dork and I always got beat up.  You need to go out there and start looking at kids their age and dress them just like that, or they're going to get beat up."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Three Sentence Book Review: Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

This is the best novel I have ever read.  Dostoyevsky's depiction of Raskolnikov's crime (murder) and punishment (I'm not telling) is brilliant, perfect, and gripping, and when he compares redemption to the sensation "experienced by a man who has been sentenced to death and is suddenly and unexpectedly told he has been reprieved," he knows what he's talking about.  If you haven't read this book, do; if you have, call me.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Taiter Bear

He's nine months old (and still waiting for his hair to start growing).