COVID Year 2

March 13, 2021 Our year started on March 6 when Erin hurt her leg. Thank goodness that she was able to recover from that. But since then we have been at home and managing like everyone else. This is us in our backyard today – grateful for what we have and trying to do our part. In this year, we have cooked every meal at home not been in a store except for our flu shot, written over 70 songs and poems and counting (20 songs, 50 poems), been birding, and worked at staying more than living, but being alive. Be safe everyone, but more, take care of yourselves and each other, even if that means just checking in to see if each other are okay.

March 13, 2021 Today Elia found true treasure in our backyard. a 1922 silver dollar worth $30-$40. Seriously, do we buy a metal detector and dig up our yard?
March 13, 2021 Curie found that a 3 pound mallet and a rock for an anvil means you can crush other rocks.
March 14, 2021 Kite flying at Gravelly Point
March 14, 2021 Gravelly Point means airplanes. It was really windy and Elia wore Albert’s coat on top of hers. We also linked her kite to a light para cord and carabiner to her belt. Also notice that Elia is holding the string by one finger with Erin. Curie learned how to keep the kite up by stepping forward and pulling back. No running necessary.
March 15, 2021 Getting ready to read
March 16, 2021 The kids drift off to sleep
March 17, 2021 Getting ready for sleep
March 18, 2021 Drowsy, the girls wind down.
March 19, 2021 We flew paper airplanes from the deck, sorry Bary and Tina for the two that flew into your yard.
March 20, 2021 Cameron Station
March 21, 2021 So no fancy outing today. We thought about going to Mason Neck State Park or the Dinosaur show at National Harbor, but went out and laid on our deck to soak up some sun and then our Lego bonsai tree came early and so we had a family building time. Note, though I am actually not a fan of the Lego “Models” though they can be cool, and most Lego we get go into our freeplay box for creative building later, but this one is beautiful (like the flowers that I can’t seem to get), so we may keep it for a while. We opted for the flowering frog configuration but might switch to leaves for the rest of the year.
March 22, 2021 It is official, we may have the best neighbors! Today Tina and Bary gave the girls this great poem and these beautiful butterfly wings. Thank you so much!
March 23, 2021 The girls reading books on their tablets
March 24, 2021 Sister pose!
March 25, 2021 Playing on the wet deck
March 26, 2021 Clue!
March 27, 2021 Mason Neck State Park
March 27, 2021 Mason Neck State Park this was our first time eating anywhere other than home it in the car in a year.

March 27, 2021 The kids wanted to smash rocks and break geodes

March 28, 2021 Morning visitations by mourning doves. Considering I had a dream about reinventing reality, it seemed fitting.
March 28, 2021 Sunday progressive eating, Spring Break
March 28, 2021 Curie said she was a cat.
March 29, 2021 Pre-dinner walk to the school, spring is here
March 29, 2021 Springtime walk to the school, we cut through the wooded path
March 29, 2021 Pictures in front of the school
March 30, 2021 Mini watermelons
March 31, 2021 We found the kids atop a banquet table in the basement playing Othello and watching Captain Underpants. Is this the new latchkey kid while we work at home?
April 1, 2021 Great Falls MD side
April 1, 2021 Great Falls Overlook, MD
April 1, 2021 Playing on the rocks at Great Falls, MD
April 2, 2021 The next day we went to the VA side. Great Falls VA side. Sunnier and less dramatic, but still amazing.
April 2, 2021 Great Falls VA side, years ago we decided we liked the MD side better, but yesterday with the kids we had reason to reconsider, the trail along the river was such a nice hike.
April 2, 2021 Great Falls VA side, Erin and Julie have a similar picture with the height of the flooding. The girls loved the hike and kept us going even when the parents were tired.
April 2, 2021 Great Falls VA side, 5 deer came within 15 feet from us, and this one kept coming toward us like it wanted to be fed. Elia said to us, “I think deer are my new favorite animal.” Erin also discovered why her lower back was aching and why birders wear back braces.
April 3, 2021 Riverbend Park north of Great Falls on the VA side. Much more sedate, Sadly, we didn’t bring the right camera for the bald eagle
April 3, 2021 Riverbend Park much warmer today.
April 3, 2021 Riverbend Park. 3 parks in three days.
April 4, 2021 We fully intended on going back to Mason Neck Park to have a picnic, but to be honest we had a lot to at home. We cleaned the living room for the first time in months, we washed hair, wrote poetry, did laundry, that kind of stuff. The girls melted crayons, programmed their robot, and played with their new huge doll house (that we got because someone was getting rid of it). To top it all off, a lamb Easter dinner.
April 5, 2021 Taking turns
April 6, 2021 Darren watches with Curie and Elia
April 7, 2021 The kids watch Mr. and Mrs. Smith
April 8, 2021 Jumping for joy
April 9, 2021 Turning on the light to take the picture
April 10, 2021 Huntley Meadows waiting for our cars to be taken care of by Vijay
April 10, 2021 Huntley Meadows, Female hooded merganser duck with 10 ducklings, a vulture, a wood duck and its mate, a red wing blackbird a Canada goose on its nest, and a tree swallow
April 10, 2021 Huntley Meadows, grey foam-nest frog, horned passalus beetle, a crapload of turtles and a Canada goose, and a painted turtle
April 10, 2021 Huntley Meadows, Eastern redbud, Virginia spring beauty, flowering dogwood, sweet violet, and hunk of wood
April 10, 2021 Vietnamese Grilled Chicken after board games on the deck after Huntley Meadows
April 11, 2021 Carderock, MD on the Billy goat trail, downriver from Great Falls, the eagle was with the Powershot Zoom monocular so it is not as clear as it could be.
April 11, 2021 Carderock, MD, the girls did great, Curie was like a mountain goat, or should we say billy goat? Elia had a lot of trepidation, but did it anyway, which is the definition of bravery.
April 11, 2021 Carderock, MD on the Billy goat trail, downriver from Great Falls, We had a picnic, hiked, did a lot of scrambling on rocks including crossing a waterfall stream and climbing trees.
April 13, 2021 The welcome Albert got after his vaccine
April 13, 2021 Hugs before bed
April 14, 2021 The kids in the red Tsumtsum dresses
April 15, 2021 The girls with a dance routine
April 17, 2021 Huntley Meadows
April 17, 2021 Huntley Meadows White-breasted nuthatch, red-winged black bird, gold finch, tufted titmouse, and white-throated sparrow
April 17, 2021 Huntley Meadows, Blue heron and green heron
April 17, 2021 Huntley Meadows. Wood duck and the hooded merganser, mallard ducks, and a Canada goose
April 17, 2021 Huntley Meadows. Blue-grey gnatcatcher. and nest
April 18, 2021 Pillow cake. Over the past year we replaced our pillows with good pillows, we have a lot of pillows though so it was quite an endeavor!
April 19, 2021 Red pandas fighting
April 20, 2021 On one side of the bed there are a lot of pillows in case the kids fall off the bed.
April 21, 2021 The girls have been asking for walks in the neighborhood.
April 21, 2021 Anyone who disputes that men and women perceive cold differently are crazy, OR one of the two of us are crazy.
April 22, 2021 Lions
April 23, 2021 Weekend!
April 24, 2021 Huntley Meadows again in the morning. We saw Jung AGAIN third time in a row at different times.
April 24. 2021 Huntley Meadows. Possibly a new favorite bird in the area, the Barn Swallow when not flying is incredibly gorgeous. The lower right is a Tree Swallow which we thought was cool before, but the Barn Swallows talking were the highlight of the day.
April 24. 2021 Huntley Meadows. They say the Hooded Merganzer is the rarer of the two but the Wood Duck is more impressive.
April 24. 2021 Huntley Meadows: Here are some of the birds we saw. Eastern Phoebe, Mourning Dove, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, what looked like a sparrow but is a female Red-winged Blackbird, then the Cardinal, and the Blue-grey Gnatcatcher.
April 24, 2021 Here are some of our other waterfowl that we saw. It is interesting that the green heron is a normal sighting for us. Erin pointed out the yellow outlines of his feathers. Oh I guess the vulture is not a waterfowl. We did see an osprey catch a fish, but did not get a picture.
April 24. 2021 These were our non-bird sightings, our tree frog friend, turtles, a muskrat, frogs, a snake and a frog friend. We also saw fish and tadpoles.
April 25, 2021 Climbing on the rock near the pool, neighbors, there is a patch of poison ivy in the middle of it.
April 26, 2021 Baking soda and vinegar
April 27, 2021 Mugging for the camera
April 28, 2021 It is glitter day at school. By the way it was too itchy so they took them off after morning meeting.
April 29, 2021 Making a giant heart before bed
April 30, 2021 April showers, the girls wanted to go out into the storm, the wind almost blew the umbrellas away. We didn’t let them stay out long.
May 1, 2021 May Day at Huntley Meadows, actually there were no festivities except for what we brought and nature. BTW if you don’t see any of our nature shots and bird pictures from these it is likely because I only post them in the Photographer’s Eye group so as to not flood people’s news feeds that didn’t join that group. If you want to join, please let me know.
May 1, 2021 Huntley Meadows, so I brought the wrong equipment. I wanted to see if the 500 mm reflex lens would do better for birds in flight and forgot that I had to do everything including exposure manually, so now you have weird bokeh, not sharp pictures (problems with the cheap reflex lens) and really high contrast. I got three pictures of an osprey that were totally blown out because I didn’t remember to adjust my exposure. Starting from the big picture going clockwise, tree swallow, green heron, fish crow, barn swallow, wood ducks, and a blue heron fishing.
May 1, 2021 Huntley Meadows, the goal with the reflex lens and D700 was to catch barn swallows in flight which ended up with all blurry pictures and weird bokeh. But here are the best of them. The lower right is Erin’s with a Pixel 4.
May 2, 2021 April showers bring May flowers
May 2, 2021 We got goldfinches which are to be expected, but it was nice to find
May 2, 2021 …a giant goldfinch that turned out to have a very hard beak and was huge, turns out it was a evening grosbeak which is fairly rare for our area it is normally more north and west and may winter closer south, but not Virginia in the spring. Apparently it is also a watchlist bird with the American Bird Conservancy.
May 3, 2021 So the grosbeak was back with its mate.
May 3, 2021 Going for a night walk, Pixel 4 Night Sight is pretty impressive. The girls look like fairies with their flashlights.
May 3, 2021 Let’s be a monster together!
May 4, 2021 Erin’s mother’s birthday as well as Star Wars Day where the kids watched the Phantom Menace for the first time and liked it. A reminder not to overthink these movies because they were made for an audience of a younger age. In this picture Elia is sad because the day ended earlier than she wanted.
May 5, 2021 To celebrate Mexico’s win over the French, Curie watched a video of a dance and choreographed this version for us. She and Elia practiced in the back yard before performing Costuming by each of the girls. They were so proud. And we learned that it was also Revenge of the Fifth.
May 6, 2021 Multi-armed monster this time.
May 7, 2021 Scholastic books arrived!
May 8, 2021 Back to Huntley Meadows
May 8, 2021 Back to Huntley Meadows, Barn Swallow, and flying, Fish Crow, fat Cat Bird, Downey Woodpecker, and a Red-winged Blackbird.
May 8, 2021 Back to Huntley Meadows, baby Wood Ducks, a Solitary Sand Piper, a male Wood Duck, and yet another Green Heron.
May 8, 2021 Back to Huntley Meadows, NSFW if you are a bird. Tree Swallows, BTW on the bottom is the female waiting and on the right the male flying away after the deed giving a very human look.
May 8, 2021 Back to Huntley Meadows, Eastern Bluebird! Both male and female in a tree about 20 feet up. The male in the has a bug in the upper right.
May 8, 2021 Back to Huntley Meadows, last week I missed the Osprey because I had the wrong lens and couldn’t set my exposure fast enough, this week we found one with a fish and saw it eat it in a tree.
May 9, 2021 Mother’s Day 2021. We even built the Lego bouquet! Curie made Erin a present, Elia did a cheer, we made breakfast in bed.
May 9, 2021 Lego botanicals, we built both outside, and there is a time lapse for the bouquet.
May 10, 2021 Posing before bed
May 11, 2021 Dinner on the deck
May 12, 2021 Getting ready for a walk. Elia would later scrape her knee.
May 13, 2021 First cicadas
May 15, 2021 The girls have been all about the cicadas, Curie insisted on going on an adventure to cicada hunting. We collected shells (which Albert never got them when he was in first grade so there was something satisfying about it, when he was little the older kids got whole shells, and he only got broken parts), saw cicadas emerge (see other picture) and picked up one that had emerged. Elia has decided that she wants to be an entomologist, and her favorite insect is the cicada.
May 15, 2021 So I took this picture of a cicada shell with the sunset coming through the translucent shell which I thought was amazing, then we saw cicadas emerging and had to take pictures of those. The fully developed one was Caidy the cicada the girls adopted for the evening.
May 15, 2021 Huntley Meadows once more.
May 15, 2021 Huntley Meadows. Nature ninjas
May 15, 2021 Huntley Meadows. Five kinds of fowl babies. American Black Duck/Mallard hybrid duckling, then family, Mallard family, Wood Duck and duckling, Wood Duck duckling with fish, Mallard ducklings, Hooded Merganser duckling, Hooded Merganser family, Canada goose and gosling.
May 15, 2021 Huntley Meadows. Barn Swallow vs. Tree Swallow
May 15, 2021 Huntley Meadows. Osprey, Semipalmated Plover, Cardinal, Blue Heron, Six-spotted Tiger Beetle, Great Egret, Green Heron, Semipalmated Plover again, Solitary Piper
May 15, 2021 Huntley Meadows. Our non-bird pictures. Snapping Turtle, Amorous Beavers, Beaver, American Toad, American Bullfrog, and some kind of water snake.
May 16, 2021 Cicada pets. We carried 5 cicadas to our house.
May 17, 2021 We asked them for a selfie before they went to sleep. They made all sorts of faces, this is a favorite.
May 18, 2021 Laughing before bed.
May 19, 2021 Getting ready for bed
May 20, 2021 Color coordinating
May 21, 2021 Google collage
May 22, 2021 We went to Monticello Park to see the warblers but were told that if we had come a week earlier we would have seen more. Migration has passed for spring. Oh and no Huntley Meadows this week. Yes, the chipmunk is eating a cicada shell.
May 22, 2021 We fill the pool early
May 22, 2021 Our first time putting up bird houses, we have cute Carolina Wrens in one of the four bird houses. Photo credit to Erin who took these pictures.
May 22, 2021 It might be cloudy later, here is a moon picture
May 23, 2021 Day 2 with the pool
May 24, 2021 Selfies before bed.
May 25, 2021 The kids really love playing together
May 26. 2021 New water bottles, they mist and work as regular bottles.
May 27, 2021 More hugs
May 28, 2021 It is going to rain Memorial Day weekend. We went to Lake Accotink and it was an amazing sky. Easter Phoebe, Cicada, Canada Geese. Also vultures, and bald eagles as but didn’t get pictures of them.
May 28, 2021 The first building the kids have gone into was the school to get their year books.
May 30, 2021 Ft. Hunt, apparently where secret devices were made in WWII and over 4,000 prisoners were processed. The girls were a little intimidated, but they thought it was cool after.
May 30, 2021 Um, there is something on your face. Exploring today. This was the bridge near Dyke Marsh very nice, very peaceful. The girls in the tree were from Roaches Run.
May 30, 2021 Roche’s Run and Dyke Marsh. Blue Heron, Double Crested Cormorant, Blue Jay, Fish Crow, Great Yellow Pond-lily, Osprey, Northern Blue Flag, Red Wing Black Bird, Common Grackle
May 30, 2021 We went 451 days without take out, delivery, or restaurant, we intended to break that at one year but just didn’t, we were waiting for a special time like the end of school or something. We took the day off on Friday for a long weekend and today, while exploring new things we were tired and wanted something special. We came by this outside custard shop and got ice cream, you would have thought we won the lottery, the kids were so excited. Totally worth it. We were saving McDonald’s for when school ended but the kids want KFC, so fries beckoned us and dinner was set. Don’t judge. We still need a first delivery and a first restaurant, which we decided will be Kura. Delivery might be Rawr.
May 31, 2021 More ice cream and exploring at Fort Washington
June 1, 2021 Kids illustrating the Dinosaurs! book.
June 1, 2021 What the kids were coloring.
June 2, 2021 Butterfly song now illustrated. Curie did the butterfly, Elia did the scary field face
June 2, 2021 After illustrating the Butterfly song
June 3, 2021 Good night kiss
June 4, 2021 Dance party before bed
June 5, 2021 Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
June 5, 2021 Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
June 5, 2021 Meadowlark Botanical Gardens our traditional family pictures. A redwinged blackbird swooped down and hit Albert in the head.
June 6, 2021 Curie Bear and Elia Cub Lullaby illustrated.
June 6, 2021 Upside-down cakes
June 7, 2021 End of school parade signs
June 8, 2021 Erin reading a story
June 9, 2021 Wacky Wednesday for Curie
June 10, 2021 Day before the last day of school!
June 11, 2021 New dresses
June 12, 2021 Last day or school pictures one day late