Tuesday, May 31, 2011


This past weekend I celebrated my (indistinguishable) xxth birthday.   Let's just say that I am now old enough to run for the office of President of the United States.  That sounds old.

My birthday was on Friday this year and I kind of missed an opportunity to have a nice relaxing birthday.  My husband had taken the day off, which I thought was for him to do some work outside. Since I had not been very productive during the week my house was not at all ready for company. So, despite my previous plans of having all the house work done and being able to relax on my birthday, take the kids to the park, go to Starbucks...things like that, instead I spent the day rushing about the house cleaning, laundry...all that fun stuff!   About 2:30 in the afternoon my husband told me that he had taken the day off thinking he could watch the kids while I went and did something by myself. ????     How did I miss that memo??   I really messed that day up!  

Anyway, I got the house cleaned up, and managed to get showered and dressed in time for Peter and I to go out to dinner.   We went to Iron Bridge Wine Bar for dinner. The fact that I got a free entree for my birthday made dinner there very enticing!   I love lamb, and so I got their lamb dinner, delicious as always!   Of course, ending the meal with the creme brulee with a chocolate ganache bottom wasn't too shabby either!

My parent's came up that night but didn't get here till late so once they arrived I headed to bed.  In the morning I took my mom and the kids with me to the Farmer's Market. We got some coffee and went into a few of the shops in Old Town Warrenton.

That evening we went to Nora's for dinner. My parents hadn't had Lebanese food before so I wanted them to try something different.  Years ago my parents had eaten lamb and it was a bad experience, they have never tried it since.  At Nora's my dad got the lamb dish, and found out that good lamb properly prepared is really good!  When we got home we had birthday cake and I opened some presents.

The next morning my parent's headed home and we headed out to the Delaplane Strawberry Festival. We all shared a strawberry shortcake, the kids got to pet some animals and then we took a hay ride through the field.  We didn't stay too long because it was really hot and Ainsley was having a rough time with the heat.

We kind of forgot about the Memorial Day Parade until it was too late to go and we didn't end up having a Memorial Weekend BBQ but it was still a great birthday/holiday weekend!

'til next time...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Feeding the critters...

Sometimes I dread meal times....but I remind myself that this less-than-charming habit will probably be gone in a few years.

'til next time...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Addition update...

Umm.......well.....you see....I......

Ok, last week I moved all the kids toys out to the addition for a play date and then moved them all back out.  I think that sums up the activity in the addition. And yes, I realize that even with this astounding progress I have made we will not be able to finish the addition by June. At least not June 2011. June was our new and 47th target date for completion.

I do have a small excuse....the weather has been B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L....how can one be expected to work inside when one has the option of playing outside with two adorable toddlers?!?

Maybe next week I will be able to report that some progress has been made.  Maybe.

'til next time...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend

This year I was lucky enough to celebrate Mother's Day all weekend, I would like to do that every year!

Saturday morning I left the kids with my husband and headed into town. It was an absolutely beautiful morning, cool, sunny, blue sky, the kind of morning that makes you want to skip down the street. I started off by visiting the Farmer's Market and picked up some produce for dinner as well as a few herbs to plant. I then walked up the street to a hair salon and got my hair trimmed and thinned, it is amazing how much better you feel after getting your hair thinned out! Of course, before I went back home I had to stop at the local bakery for a latte and scone!

When I got home my family was playing outside, enjoying the warm weather. My husband and son decided to wash my vehicle in honor of mother's day. Since water was involved my son was an eager participant!  While they washed the van, I planted the herbs I had bought at the market.

Later that afternoon we went to Narmada Winery. Like many of the wineries in this area the setting is beautiful, they have a lovely pavilion down by the pond and a cute little bridge that crosses the creek.

Since it was Mother's Day weekend after all I wanted to get a rare photo of me with my children. At first Wythe was not interested in having his picture taken, we had interrupted his throwing rocks in the creek. Anyone who knows my son knows about his obsession with throwing things!

But soon, he started giving me some kisses and we got this picture.

In honor of Mother's Day the winery was giving the moms a red rose and free carriage rides! As we were waiting our turn for the carriage ride I had a brief moment of worry that my kids would be scared and scream the whole ride, I had thoughts of their screams spooking the horses and visions of us on an out of control carriage careening through the vineyard. But they loved the ride, it was a great experience!

After our carriage ride we took a couple glasses of wine down to the playground area. Wythe played on the toys, going down the slide a number of times, played on a metal helicopter toy and falling on it and adding to the bruise on his cheek! He also tried to join in a soccer game, the older kids were nice enough to let him run around with them and occasionally pick up the ball and run with it!

After playing for awhile we walked back to the tasting room, it was time for more wine!  We also got some cheese and crackers to share with the kids. The winery serves a lot of Indian food, but we didn't get any that day. While we were hanging out in the tasting area we got to watch the Kentucky Derby. I will admit that this year I didn't even know who was running but it was still fun to watch. Wythe was getting pretty tired by that point and made himself at home on the sofa.

That evening we grilled chicken and asparagus on the patio at home. We were all pretty tired by that point, the kids crashed and we attempted to watch a movie but when we kept falling asleep we gave up and went to bed.

On Sunday, we kind of had a slow morning, then we headed out to look at some houses. We aren't planning to move but we are always looking at houses, I guess it might be a hobby.

We then headed over to Barrel Oak Winery, they were crazy busy!  There were so many people that it looked like a festival, lots of families there. They were so busy that we didn't do a tasting, but just bought glasses of wine. I opted for the dessert wine called Chocolate Lab, can't go wrong with that! The winery was giving out candy to the kids, my children tasted Twizzlers for the first time. Wythe kept saying "I want to eat more sticks"  Now, if I can only convince him that you can only get Twizzlers at that winery then we might be ok...

After spending some time at Barrel Oak Winery we headed down the road the Three Fox Vineyards. Three Fox was a lot quieter and peaceful. Although Barrel Oak was a lot of fun it was very restful and relaxing to sit at Three Fox. They had live piano music playing and there are tables in the vineyard where you can sit.

Wythe found a couple partners in crime to assist him in emptying all of the water out of the fountain. All three boys were soaked to the skin by the time the finished. They had a blast but Wythe had to wear his wet clothes for the rest of the day because his mommy didn't bring a change of clothes for him.

After leaving Three Fox Vineyards we drove into Warrenton and had dinner on the patio at Black Bear Bistro. Wythe and Ainsley played in the fountain on the patio, why not, Wythe was already wet from the previous fountain. I choose not to think about all the algae and yucky stuff they consumed from the water they played in that day.   We finished off the evening and weekend with ice cream from Carousel.  What a fabulous weekend!

playing the fountain at Black Bear Bistro

"I think I'll pass on the grilled chicken and just eat ketchup for dinner"

apparently chocolate ice cream is the best

'til next time...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Inside Job

We got this movie from Netflix...wow, what a great movie!  It really wasn't anything we didn't know before but Charles Ferguson does a great job of giving a concise synopsis of our current economic situation. How we got here, what really happened, and what is happening now.

The film outlines how after the Great Depression the economy went almost 45 years with no financial crisis. Our financial problems started after deregulation began. There is a lot of talk about the insane risks in the derivatives markets and also how corrupt the rating agencies were and probably still are.

The scary part about the movie is the fact that nothing has really changed. We are in a recession, some people actually think things are getting better while some people realize we haven't even seen the full extent of the recession. Most people tend to look at the recession as a result of people living beyond their means, buying houses they couldn't afford, cars they couldn't afford, running up credit card debt, etc.,etc. While those are contributing factors they are more symptoms of the real problem. The real problem is our financial institutions, and, as Mr. Ferguson puts it, our "Wall Street government", Those issues haven't changed, in fact most of the big banks are now bigger than they were prior to the crash of 2008.

When I voted for President Obama one of the things I hoped he would accomplish would be drastic changes in this area but that has been a big disappointment. Keeping the same people in positions of power is not going to reform our financial problems.  It is very sad that not one person responsible for the fraud that has hurt millions of people and damaged our global economy has been held accountable. Not one person has gone to jail. The Executives have been able to run their companies into the ground, resign with taking millions with them and frequently continue to work in the financial markets. 

This movie is a great overview of why we are in a recession. Anyone who doesn't understand what happened in 2008 and where we are today as a result, should watch this movie. I highly recommend Inside Job.

'til next time...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden 1957-2011

Many of us woke up to the news that Osama Bin Laden had been located and killed by U.S. forces.   I, like many people around the world, had the immediate reaction, "oh thank god".

I want to give credit to President Obama for this event.  He has apparently put a lot of work and effort into the project and deserves credit for ordering the mission.  I also thought it was considerate of President Obama to personally call Former President Bush to give him the news.

Today, as I read the reports and the opinions flying about the internet, I feel a sense of relief that one more "bad guy" is gone but I do not feel any sense of rejoicing.  I am confident that had Osama been captured and/or killed 8 or 9 years ago I would have been ecstatic and may have wanted to “celebrate” his death but time changes things.

After years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and losing thousands of men and woman in this “War on Terror” I think we all are aware that the death of Bin Laden doesn't solve anything, it doesn't end anything..…except one man’s life.

The death of Bin Laden does not mean that the war on terror is over,
it does not mean that Americans will not continue to die in Iraq,
it does not mean that no more soldiers will die in Afghanistan,
it does not mean that no more Embassy's will be bombed,
it does not mean that we can carry liquids on the airplane or keep our shoes and belts on as we go through security,
it does not mean that we are any safer today than yesterday.

In fact, we are probably more at risk today because of the possible repercussions and uprisings that may follow the death of Bin Laden.

I have mixed emotions about seeing the celebration in the streets in New York City at Ground Zero and here in Washington D.C. I know it is not the same but it did bring back memories of the footage of other countries celebrating the deaths of Americans after the 9-11 attacks.

For those people that lost family in the September 11th attacks, I do not judge them nor do I begrudge them their celebration. I would imagine there is a measure of comfort and closure in seeing some justice for the death of their loved ones. However, I hope that we are not just mindlessly celebrating the death of the “enemy” by dancing and drinking in the streets.

Should we mourn his death?

No, I do not believe so, but I think it is unwise to feel as though we have “won” today.  Al-Qaeda is still all around us, all over the world, they still hate America and now they have even more reason to wish us harm and retaliate against us. That should be a sobering thought.

The Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib released a statement regarding the death of Bin Laden saying,
"Getting rid of bin Laden is good for the cause of peace worldwide but what counts is to overcome the discourse and the methods — the violent methods — that were created and encouraged by Bin Laden and others in the world,"

Am I relieved that Bin Laden is no longer alive to plot ways to kill innocent people??

Yes, of course I am relieved. Am I out celebrating….no.

As reminded by a friend’s Facebook post this morning…

“I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure” - Unknown

‘til next time…