Bit of Snow

We’ve gotten barely two inches of snow total so far this winter, but record cold kept it on the ground for a while. The first accumulating snowfall of the season in December I found a little snowperson by the bridge.

First Snow (Dec 2017)

And last weekend, out in the woods behind the house, we spotted a fox napping by a log before trotting off through the snow.

Fox in Snowy Wood (napping)
Fox in Snowy Wood

Wintry photo album building up here.

Christmas 2017

Back to NJ for Christmas! Ezra had a lot of fun being showered with toys and fawned over by relatives.

Amy gave me a ukulele, a simple fun instrument I’ve been wanting to learn for a while now.

Uke

Some highlights from the in-laws’ tree:

Christmas Tree highlights

After Thanksgiving’s Turnpike backup we opted for the US-15/I-78 route up through Pennsylvania. Longer drive, but much better scenery, and almost no tolls. Ezra got to be King at a rest stop.

Ezra at Burger King

Full Christmas 2017 photo album here.

Thanksgiving 2017

Visited Amy’s folks in NJ for Thanksgiving, with a trip to Turtle Back Zoo over the weekend.

This is Ezra’s first Thanksgiving away (we stayed home last year as he was just 5 months old). He’s gotten past his stranger anxiety phase and had a lot of fun with everyone, even mistaking Amy’s cousin Dave for me a couple of times.

Ezra at Thanksgiving Ezra at Thanksgiving

He also enjoyed the zoo, especially the penguins, goats, sheep, and dinosaur park.

Turtleback Zoo

Enjoy these closeups of a penguin and a ram.

Turtleback Zoo
Turtleback Zoo

Oh yeah, I’m skipping the NJ Turnpike next trip. Due to accidents, construction in Delaware, and a toll plaza bottleneck, we were stuck in traffic with this view for 2-3 hours.

NJ Turnpike Toll Plaza Traffic

Full Thanksgiving 2017 photo album here.

LoC NAVCC

Work gave me an opportunity to tour the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center out in Culpeper VA a few months ago.

LoC Packard Campus

Also known as the Packard Campus — after its benefactor David Packard of Hewlett-Packard fame — the facility began as the Culpeper Switch, a cold war Federal Reserve bunker burrowed into a mountain.

LoC Packard Campus
LoC Packard Campus

Today the bunkers are now vaults and labs for film reels, cassette tapes, records, wax cylinders, photos, video games, and other artifacts of bygone eras of audio-visual media, all carefully restored, cataloged, and digitally archived by Library of Congress workers — with help from a few robots here and there.

LoC Packard Campus
LoC Packard Campus
LoC Packard Campus #throughglass

I mentioned video games. They had a spread of various games across all kinds of on one table, which seemed a haphazard scatter at first, but I don’t think it was an accident that ET for Atari, CD-i Zelda, and Battletoads — some of the worst titles in the history of gaming — were clustered together.

LoC Packard Campus

Meanwhile, someone took severe umbrage with these.

LoC Packard Campus #throughglass

For those wanting to visit, the Packard Campus also has a lovely theater with free events for the public, and yearly open houses with facilities tours. More photos in the full LoC NAVCC photoset.

Glasses

After decades of 20/20 vision I finally started having trouble reading small text close to my eyes, and an optometry appointment showed mild farsightedness and astigmatism, which means reading glasses.

Glasses

I only need them for reading small text near my face, very important for Pokémon GO. I picked the thinnest frames possible so I wouldn’t scare our son, who’s failed to recognize his grandpa when he puts on his glasses. Good news is that a puff test showed no glaucoma. This is fine.

Halloween 2017

Ezra outgrew last year’s Star Trek: Next Generation outfit, so this year he was in Original Series Captain’s Command Gold. Meanwhile, Amy and I donned our red shirts as his security detail.

Captain Ezra and security detail

He’s still an unsteady walker and doesn’t have enough teeth to handle candy yet, so no walking around trick-or-treating, but he had fun staying out late and greeting the monsters and superheroes who showed up. Two bags of Costco candy — only one was finished up, which means now we have 150 pieces to ourselves.

First Haircut

Another milestone: Ezra’s first haircut. We brought him to a local Cartoon Cuts which specializes in first haircuts, and has TVs and toys for the kids. None of that mattered as Ezra wailed and struggled through the entire ordeal. Still, he looks a lot better after a trim.

<Ezra: before haircut Ezra: after haircut
Ezra: during haircut

Oh, you know how you get a keepsake lock of hair in a baggie to remember a first haircut? Make sure the lock of hair is dry. Turns out wet hair in a sealed bag gets moldy.

Baby Steps

And suddenly our son Ezra has begun to walk. He was already cruising with some assistance earlier, but at 14 months came those wobbly first few steps at a time, and by 15 months he could cross a room.

Almost 16 months now, and he’s running around outdoors like a pro. He especially likes little footbridges, walking across them and turning around and recrossing them repeatedly.

Ezra walks across a bridge

New milestone crossed. Very proud of our little bridge-crosser, now technically a toddler rather than a baby.

Great Falls

Took a day trip to Great Falls for Labor Day: Maryland side, with trips down the Olmsted Island walk and Section B of the Billy Goat Trail. That latter part was a mistake: I’d forgotten how far a walk down the C&O towpath it was to get to the Billy Goat Trail, and just how much rock scrambling was involved — more than I remember from last time, when I may have taken a slightly different route due to flooding. (Less on Sec B than on Sec A, but still too much to do with a baby in a carrier.) Gonna wait till Ezra’s older to go back there.

Great Falls, MD
Great Falls, MD
Blue Blaze, Billy Goat Trail Sec B

Nice views, at least.