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It is a little weird thinking that I am edging closer to 50 instead of 40 now. The weekend was gloomy and rainy, and I indulged in some of my favorite activities, mainly wandering aimlessly around Target and eating salmon with capers and cream cheese without editorial comments from other members of the household. That evening we tried out Bonchon, one of the newish restaurants in the neighborhood. I liked the Korean fried chicken all right (kind of like a sweetish version of KFC) but the bulgogi was better at at TaKorean.

I was so cute!

Despite the grim weather we ventured to Virginia suburbs for KidFest. Luckily they had an extensive indoor fair as well, and we ended with lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.

Halloween train!

Ukelele (again)

On Sunday we commemorated the Feast of St. Francis by attending the Blessing of the Animals at one of the local churches. Truly one of my favorite holidays. Although there was a preponderance of dogs, the hermit crab stole the show.

Christ Church
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I hadn't planned on making an effort to see the Pope during his visit, but had casually discussed the possibility with K. Then H posted on Facebook that she had extra tickets, so off we went. Divine intervention? The comparison with Inauguration 2009 was inevitable; this time around the crowds were smaller, we arrived at daybreak instead of in the dark, and the weather was a lot warmer. I was so impressed with all the small fry calmly waiting with books and games; and I was a little shocked at the ladies behind us who didn't want to hear about climate change.

What he saw.

NBC News

What we saw.

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We ended September on a gorgeous late summer weekend. On Saturday, we went to the annual Barracks Row festival, where Z road tested a ukelele.

We went on to the gorgeous THEARC community center in Anacostia for Worldwide Play Day. THEARC's playground was the best we'd seen.

On Sunday, MoBob took Z to the the Arab-American Cultural Festival while I attended the book signing/baby admiration party for Girls Who Choose God - the Book of Mormon.

Last week was Eid-al-Adha, so MB went out to a farm to help out with the sheep "festivities." Z contributed with some sheep-y crafts.

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September's theme at the daycare was "all about me."

We created a bilingual lapbook.

We learned the body parts in French.
(any resemblance to Mommy is purely coincidental.)

We learned to spell in different media.

September's new acquisition was a Play-Doh kit with tools.

Next month we'll learn more about families and homes!
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We had a pretty busy Saturday. We took Z to a class at Arts on the Horizon. Although we've seen pretty much every AotH show since Z was old enough, this was the first time he's attended a class. I think he had fun but it's hard to tell since Z is shy around new people. We went on to the Big Build at the National Building Museum. Unfortunately the vehicle petting zoo was limited to three or so vehicles, otherwise it was a lot of fun. Everything looks cute when it's in the miniature version, even construction gear.

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I live-tweeted the afternoon's event, Next Day Better DC. I enjoyed the samples of Filipino food from local restaurants the most though the TED-style talks were interesting too.

1776 is one of those hipster start-up community shared workspaces, including a Bitcoin conversion machine (next to the phone booth).

Although Sundays are normally pretty mellow, we had to get out of the house because the housekeeper had re-scheduled her visit. MoBob had other plans so Z and I had...a Mommy date? First to the library to play with blocks.

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As usual I had a wonderful time at the Exponent II retreat. As much as I love our progressive, inclusive congregation, I relish the thought of breathing freely in the woods of New Hampshire every year. This year I rode up with a sister who designs campus architecture, and then on the way down with a van full of academics. There were three (including myself) participants who'd served as Peace Corps volunteers - representing Mali, Kenya, and Cameroon. I was also interviewed for the Mormon Oral History Project. The retreat was much bigger than in previous years, and it was hard to balance between catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

During my brief stay in Boston, I managed to squeeze in a doctor's appointment (thank you OneMedical!) and to visit Primark, which is an Irish version of H&M. Quite frankly I couldn't see the difference between the two, including the crowds and the cheap merchandise.

I was a guest of my dear friend N at the opening of the Well Beyond HIV exhibit during the AIDS conference. The reception took place in the gorgeous Carnegie Library across from the Washington Convention Center. I'm so proud of her!

There were so many fun activities the weekend of Sept. 12 and 13 that I printed three pages of suggestions for MoBob and Z. They attended up attending on Saturday the open house at Imagination Stage and Fall Family Day at the Smithsonian American Art Museum; and on Sunday Adams Morgan Day and visiting the reading dogs in PAWS program at the local library.
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It is weird to think that for Zacky, September 11 - a day I spent in tears and fear - will be as remote as December 7 and November 22 are for me.
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The weekend didn't start on the best note. This is what I wrote on Facebook: "Tales from the ParentHood: last Friday I thought we would start off the long weekend by walking down to the Carousel at the Smithsonian. (Z's daycare is next to the Holocaust Museum so it was a short, pleasant walk.) Contrary to other carousels, the accompanying adult also has to pay. I ponied (ha) up for two rides, since Z loves carousels so much. A dizzy 40 minutes and $14 later (2 people x $3.50 x 2 rides) I pried Z off his horse. Z disagreed with that maneuver and proceed to blow an epic tantrum to the amusement of a multitude of tourists. I never would've known that my child would've had the vocal capacity to scream "NOOO MOMMY" multiple times *and* the strength to try to push the SUV stroller back to the carousel area. It felt like half an hour and 56 tourists with pitying looks later that he was calm enough for me to strap him into the stroller. GAH."


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I've never heard of learning towers before but when I read up on them it seemed like a Good Thing. Especially since Z liked to climb on the step stool and hang out with MoBob or myself in the kitchen. I set up an alert on craigslist and scored a used LT that I actually bargained down from $75 to $50 and was also conveniently in the neighborhood. Alas, it didn't work. Z *hated* it - I guess he felt trapped - and it was big and bulky for our cozy kitchen. In retrospect I should've gotten one for him when he first started standing. So I put it on craigslist again for $50 and got about twenty responses! We were lucky again that the first person who responded worked nearby so she was able to pick it up the next evening, and her baby was much younger than Z so probably wouldn't have the same freakout. She kindly emailed me the next day that her baby loved it. Happy ending and we at least re-couped our initial investment.

One of the new summer events in our neighborhood is Market SW which is supposed to emulate the night markets in places like Bangkok but on much smaller (and presumably cleaner) scale. MB went with one time (I don't remember where I was) and we went all together last Friday with Z on his trike (that he can sort of pedal now). It was a pretty mellow affair but we did run into neighbors we liked.

Z is not convinced by the yoga session.

We had a pretty busy weekend. Z started swim classes at the Y in Arlington which is an outdoor pool that only goes to 5 feet. It must be heated somewhat because our class is at 9:30am but the water is at a comfortable temperature. Z loves his bath and enjoyed his class last year but not so much this time around. We've started to come early so that he can get his grumps out beforehand.

On Saturday our friends had a pool potluck and we left Z behind to attend a parenting class and then endure the 7th circle of hell known as Costco on a Saturday. The free parenting class was pretty informative; it was a preview/overview of the parenting series that the organization puts on, but most of the other parents were of school-aged kids. I'd be interested in attending, maybe once Z is in pre-K3. We didn't realize that Costco closed at 6pm so when we went to get paper goods the staff had already started blocking off that section but they were kind enough to fetch the paper towels and toilet paper for us. Why isn't Costco open from 6am to midnight?! I want to support Costco because they treat their workers well but it's hard with the crowds and limited hours. On Sunday I went to dear C's bridal shower, where we were asked to contribute advice (ha ha). My main piece of advice was "admit when you're both right."

Monday was Ward 6's free admission to "the beach" at the National Building Museum. We'd gone on opening day and the exhibit's popularity was shown by the wear and tear since then. On a local blog: "Many Ward 6 residents took advantage of this opportunity to see the summer’s hottest attraction – and with the added benefit of having Charles Allen and his staff join them." I took advantage of my visit by seeing the on-going exhibits, including Designing for Disaster. Growing up in earthquake country and then joining the Church and living overseas, emergency preparedness is something I'm constantly aware of. I was proud to see that the Memorial Stadium at UC Berkeley was one of the examples of retro-fitting historic structures. Go Bears!

MB has been in Minneapolis for work since Monday evening and returns tonight. He says he's going to try to see the State Fair or the Mall of America today.
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As much as I hate the humidity and heat inspired sweatfest that is summer in Washington DC, I have to admit that it is as magical a season as any other.

We completed the summer bucket list! OK, we cheated a little with the Nats game. We got tickets for a game that got rained out so we now have tickets for the re-match at the end of September.

August was the month of DINOSAURS. (or, at least, dinosaur crafts) We also watched the PBS series Dinosaur Train in French, and read the How Do Dinosaurs...? and Dinosaur vs series. Z asked for repeated readings of the "How Do" books, which he hasn't done for other books.

Yes, he got a haircut. Not my style choice!

Big dinosaur.

Little dinosaurs.
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