Ocean City

Back from Ocean City, MD for a seaside weekend. This was Ezra’s first trip to the beach and his first time to touch an ocean, which he found enjoyable. (I really thought he’d be scared and crying like I was at that age but he literally jumped right in to the experience.)

We stayed at Safari Motel on the boardwalk, slightly old but livable beachfront accommodations with a view of the ocean (if you look sideways from the room) — and a gorilla on the balcony.

Safari Motel, Ocean City, MD

Had a chance to walk along the boardwalk to Trimper’s Rides for Bill Tracy’s classic Haunted House dark ride, which I’ve wanted to ride for years. Would have been too intense for Ezra, however, so he did several rounds on the Wild West Train.

Trimper's Rides, Ocean City, MD
Trimper's Rides, Ocean City, MD

Not having had oysters for a while, I was also glad to try the Chesapeake Steampot, at Hammerheads to get my fill of briny shellfish. Ezra sampled some too.

Chesapeake Steampot, Hammerheads

Other stuff I still want to try for next time: Jolly Roger, Thrasher’s Fries, probably a bunch of other stuff we missed. But for now it felt good to get in the ocean again; it had been a while.

Ezra in the Atlantic

VRE Rear View Leaving DC

GoPro Session video of the ride over Long Bridge out of DC into North Virginia, from the back of a VRE commuter train. In addition to the usual DC landmarks, watch for the WMATA Metrorail train, and an airliner on approach to DCA:

YouTube link

(It’s a view I’ve always wanted to capture on video, but I’ve always hesitated to actually stand up and do the recording. As it is, when I walked to the back fo the train to record the scene, one passenger did give me an alarmed look that seemed to express a sentiment like “OH NO THAT BROWN PERSON IS AFFIXING A SMALL CUBE TO THE TRAIN DOOR” — but she looked relieved when I said “It’s a camera.”)

Folklife 2018

Some snapshots from a Saturday at the 2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, featuring Armenia and Catalonia.

2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

We ate some Caucasian lamb chops and lavash wraps in Armenia (with some Kotayk lager beer), and artisanal gelato in Catalonia.

2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Ezra really enjoyed the wide open space on the National Mall and ran around a bit within sight of the Washington Monument — which he can now identify by name.

Ezra on the National Mall

Full 2018 Folklife Festival photoset here, and photosets from previous Folklife Festivals through the years.

Fourth of July Shorts

Happy 4th of July from these patriotic red, white, and blue shorts that I found in, of all places, Landmark Mall in Makati, Philippines, back in 2011.

Patriotic Shorts Fourth of July Shorts

They cost about PHP117, or US$2.65. Good deal.

Ezra Update: 2 Years

At two years of age, our son Ezra has officially graduated from “baby” to full-fledged “toddler.” He is completely off milk bottles and baby food, walks and runs and goes up and down stairs and really enjoys the wading pool.

Ezra (23 months) in pool

He can now speak in short phrases, can say “hi” and “bye” and “please” and “thank you”, and has even learned to be defiant and say “NO”. He’s learning his letters and recognizes Os and Bs on sight, and can count from one to two, maybe three if he concentrates. Dogs are all puppies, but cats are cats, and he can tell Martha from Amelia.

Ezra and Amelia

Water is agua, juice is “jees.” He can identify his favorite foods, and is especially fond of blueberries (“boobappies”) and watermelon (“nenin”). Elevators are his favorite thing but he has mixed them up with “alligator” which he has abbreviated to “aggie.”

Ezra (24 months) points at elevator

Outside he collects spiky sweetgum pods, picks wildflowers, and has dubbed the stream under the park bridge “turtle poop water.”

The Determined Flower Holder

He’s also extremely enthusiastic about trains. He watches Chuggington and random railfan videos on YouTube, and likes to say hi and bye to the Metro and VRE as they pass by.

He knows his way around an iPad, and has figured out Neko Atsume and PokemonGO — although he seems to think the point of the game is to feed wild Pokemon berries rather than catch them.

Ezra plays Pokemon Go Ezra (24 months)  tries Neko Atsume

Happy birthday, kid, welcome to the terrible terrific twos.

Ezra's 2nd Birthday

As Ezra is no longer a baby, the “Baby Ezra” Flickr photo album that has tracked his progress from ultrasounds to toddlerhood is now closed to updates, though new photos will still be added to the Ezra tag.

Cherry Blossoms, 2018

First off, there were some nice blossoms right outside the Library of Congress, which I snapped first just in case I never made it to the Tidal Basin this year due to busyness.

Cherry Blossoms at LoC

Around peak bloom time, I ran over to the Tidal basin with my NEX3N for a quick cherry blossom lunch break.

DC Cherry Blossoms 2018

Along the way I discovered a walking route from L’Enfant to the Tidal Basin via the Rosa Parks bridge, an old railroad span converted to pedestrian overpass over Maine Ave SW behind the Mandarin at L’Enfant. I see the bridge from the train every morning but didn’t know it was publicly accessible, greatly shortening the walk from L’Enfant to the Tidal Basin.

Time was short so I pretty much just went from Maine Ave to Jefferson Memorial and back, snapping photos along the way and swapping between fisheye lens and telephoto.

DC Cherry Blossoms 2018
DC Cherry Blossoms 2018

Also paused at Jefferson Memorial for a bit; haven’t been in there for a few years.

Jefferson Memorial

We went back over the weekend to bring Ezra over for his first hanami but he mostly napped. (Was also his first ride on Metro, which went well.)

Family at the Tidal Basin

Also tried a cherry-blossom-themed donut at Dunkin. It was … a donut.

“Cherry Blossom” donut

Full Cherry Blossoms 2018 photo album here, continuing my unbroken streak of DC cherry blossom photos since 2004.

Solstice Snow

A look back at some of the snow we got to cap off winter around the day of Spring Solstice. Ezra had fun walking around in it.

Snow (March 2018)

I also tried my hand at making my first full-size snowperson. (My old tiny windowsill snowmen don’t count as full-size.) With the right twigs for arms, I managed to construct a decent snow-likeness of Roll Safe.

Snowman Version of Roll Safe

More photos from the insufficiently snowy 2017-2018 winter season here.

Ezra Update: 21 months

At 21 months of age, Ezra is well into the transition to toddlerhood. He can walk, run, walk backwards, and even negotiate stairs with help. (One thing he can’t do yet is jump; he bends his knees and jerks upward a bit without leaving the floor. He’ll get it someday. )

He can sort shapes and do simple toddler puzzles. He actually has a vocabulary now: maybe 50-100 words, including various body parts. He can identify his mom (“MAMA”) and dad (“DADA”) and cats (“CAT”) and grandparents (“BABA” for both grandpa and grandma). He understands a lot more than he speaks, able to follow simple instructions like “put your clothes in the hamper” or “get the ball and throw it here” or “don’t release the clutch so fast, and shift to a lower gear to slow down on a steep downhill slope.”

Ezra Watches TV

At the dinner table he can handle a spoon and fork, and eats a variety of soft foods without complaint. He’s got at least four molars in and sharp canines showing now. The fact that he can bite and chew a banana and identify it by name (“NANA”) is still amazing to us. Sometimes he’ll sit in a regular chair to eat, and he’s big enough that his chin isn’t on the table.

Ezra at Macaroni Grill
Ezra (21 months)

When at church he likes the cookies at the post-service reception.

The Cookie Haver (18 months)

He really, really loves being outdoors, even when it’s cold, and tries to socialize with other kids by throwing balls towards them.

Ezra (21 months) in playground Snow (March 2018)

Ezra also got his second haircut and seems to have gotten over the worst of his earlier stranger/separation anxiety, handling the process with much more calm than his first.

Ezra's Second Haircut

He can also use a laptop, tablet, phone, or handheld gaming console; so far his favorite game is “find the home button and press it repeatedly.”

Ezra with MBP (19 months) Ezra on iPad Ezra (21 months) with Nintendo Switch

Just 3 months shy of two, when I can’t really call him a baby anymore.

Baby Ezra (21 months)

He’ll be a full-fledged kid.