DC Taco Party

My first week of summer vacation with the girls this year was a trip to see Uncle Tim and Aunt Cindy in DC (okay, technically Arlington, Virginia).  The official reason/excuse for the visit was that Tim and Cindy were having a taco party.  So naturally, we were in!

As usual, I’m mostly going to slap some pictures in here as a reminder of the trip. ¬†But let me take quick note of a few funny or noteworthy things from the trip…

The taco party was catered by District Taco¬†ūüėč

Some other girls around Claire and Molly’s ages showed up too. ¬†The older girl, who was 213 like Claire, was a little snarky and didn’t want to talk to anyone. ¬†When leaving the party, her very polite mom said, “Remember to smile!” and the girl said, “I already did.” ūüėā

Claire and Molly got a little bored and headed upstairs to play Roblox for much of the party.

We spent most of one day at the National Museum of Natural History. ¬†I kept talking to the kids about how fascinating the stuff about evolution was and the fact that dinosaurs were real. ¬†I hope I didn’t overdo it. ūü§∑ūüŹĽ‚Äć‚ôāÔłŹ

We saw a movie there about evolution. ¬†It started out with a monkey looking through a scrap book of his “relatives” (other mammals) and planning for a “family reunion” with them. ¬†It made evolution look silly! ¬†But the film got better from there.

When Molly talked to her mom on the phone, her summary of the trip was “I spent $6 on candy, and I liked eating it.” ūüėÜ

Tim, Claire, Molly, and I made a massive Jenga tower at a food court after dinner. ¬†We just kept saying “this is the last move, you’re out of blocks!” and then someone made it work. ¬†It was crazy. ¬†See pic below.

We took Lyft all around town.

Claire had a running and completely made-up joke that our first Lyft driver was complaining that Molly fell asleep in the back set while he was driving. ¬†“She shouldn’t be doing that. ¬†That’s disrespectful.” Claire claims (falsely) that he said in a flat deadpan voice. ūüėā

I had a lot of fun conversations with the drivers, including an exceptionally nice and clean cut immigrant form Tajikistan.  I distinctly remember talking with another driver about history and us both noting that history was unfolding right now in DC (the Trump Russia scandal and possible impeachment).

Over and out.


CB Radio

A cheap CB radio set has been laying around my house for a while. ¬†I got it free somehow; I don’t even remember.

But I thought it would be useful for keeping touch with the kids when we’re at an amusement park or hiking or during a zombie apocalypse or something. ¬†Plus I like the idea of non-digital, direct communication and just saying “Over and out” a lot.

Now living in a three-story house, I realized this radio may have a more practical use. ¬†When the kids are up in their bedroom on the third floor while I’m downstairs cooking dinner, it would be nice to just “radio” them that dinner is ready rather than marching up two flights of stairs (#firstworldproblems). ¬†I’m all for moderate exercise, but I go up and down these stairs enough already and would rather just “ping” them if I have a saucepan full of marinara sauce bubbling.

Finally, today I got enough AA batteries together to make this happen.  Molly was really into the idea of using the CB radio!  I always love her enthusiasm for things like this and going to see the goats down the street.  I gave Molly a handset, and she marched upstairs to test it out.

Beep. ¬†“Red 2, the is Ranger 5. ¬†Come in.”, I said.

Molly’s voice crackled (yes, crackled!) over the air. ¬†“Red 2 here.”

I thought up these radio handles on the spot without a thought. ¬†I think “Red 2” was a reference to Star Wars? ¬†But Molly would eventually pick herself a new handle: “Alex 51244288”.

CB Radio.jpeg
Red 2, aka Alex 51244288, acknowledging the readiness of breakfast.

We practiced saying “Copy that” and “Over and out”. ¬†Molly’s sweet little voice over the squealing over the radio was hilarious and sweet.

At dinner time, the true test came. ¬†I radioed ¬†Claire, who was upstairs doing ROBLOX (TODO). ¬†“Little Bird, come in. ¬†Are you there?” ¬†Little Bird was Claire’s handle, again made up on the spot without thought. ¬†Claire acknowledged the comm and came down to eat some slightly burned chicken wings and pizza.

At bedtime, the locations were reversed. ¬†Molly was downstairs. ¬†I radioed her from the third floor. ¬†“Red 2, report for bed.” ¬†“I’m on my way”, said Molly. ¬†She gave me a status all the way up the stairs and reported no major obstacles or intruders.

I think we are well on our way to avoiding unnecessary stair climbing and also maybe a short-lived apocalypse.


Chocolate Reindeer Blueprint

Molly became inspired to create a new holiday treat called a Chocolate Reindeer, inspired by a Chocolate Mousse. ¬† Her vision is three layers of chocolatey¬†goodness, one layer for each “official” Christmas color: red, green, and white.

Molly’s initial idea was for each layer to be melted, colored chocolate. ¬†After some discussion and brainstorming , we decided to use a combination layers with heavier ingredient on the bottom and lighter on the top.

  1. Bottom layer: red-colored white chocolate
  2. Middle layer:  green-colored melted marshmallows
  3. Top layer: natural white-colored whipped cream

Here’s the blueprint.




Out for a Ride

Molly and I had the morning together while Claire finished up a sleepover at a friend’s house. ¬†I asked Molly what she wanted to do, and we ended up combining the top two things on her wishlist: going for a bike ride and going over the¬†Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge in downtown Austin.

In a hilarious turn of events not well captured in photographs, Molly ended up riding her bike right past¬†an active film set on the bridge. ¬†The crew yelled, “We’ve got a biker! ¬†Heads up!” ¬†Molly was not the only such biker, but she was the funniest by far.

Here is our route for Molly’s ride.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Molly is really motivated to ride her bike but is so far frustrated with the process and thinks the training wheels aren’t working right.

Also, isn’t¬†she adorable on that bike?

No Clouds, No Internet

We were having trouble with our internet¬†service for a while today, and not able to check the web. ¬†Molly said she knew why we were having technical problems. ¬†Pointing out the window at a clear blue sky, she said, “I know why the internet¬†is not working. ¬†Look, no clouds.” ¬†She wasn’t kidding around, either. ¬†She literally thought the internet lived in the clouds. ¬†It’s nice to still see some innocence and mystery (and frankly some confusion) in her innocent little seven-year-old mind.

Mom’s Best Friends


“Is she another one of Mom’s friends?”

That was Molly’s question about the babysitter scheduled for tomorrow.

With our summer nanny, Anna, out sick or¬†on vacation for most of this week, we’ve had to hire¬†random¬†backup sitters from a service. ¬†This was¬†our fouth different sitter in as many days.

Molly’s¬†question puzzled us all for a minute. ¬†Why would Molly think all of these sitters were Kit’s friends?

Then Kit figured it out. ¬†Mom’s Best Friend is the sitter service that we have been using to get quick sitters like this. ¬†Molly heard us saying something like¬†a “A Mom’s Best Friend sitter is coming tomorrow” and¬†came to the very reasonable¬†conclusion that¬†all these sitters were her Mom’s best friends. ¬†It really makes perfect sense. ¬†But her Mom sure does seem to have a lot of BFF’s.