Friday, August 18, 2017


I took a personal day earlier this week to take Jada to Washington DC.  We hit the road at 6:30am and slogged through notorious DC traffic to our parking spot in Southwest.  We stashed the car there and walked a little over a mile to our first stop, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.  What a powerful and poignant experience.  My third time but Jada's first, and though she has read countless books, taking the whole thing in was something mighty for her.  She was excited when I gave her free rein in the book section of the gift shop at the end.

From there, we hoofed it over two miles to Nationals Park in the sweltering heat and despite questionable navigation on my part.  We got bleacher seats so the sun baked us good.  We sought respite in sunscreen, the occasional breeze, lots of water, and some ice cold drinks during and after the game.

We left the game early to beat the crowds and traffic, and within 15 minutes were back to our car and on our way back home.  Jada slept soundly on the drive home, and I stifled many yawns but mostly smiled a lot at the thought of having spent a good solid day of quality time with my daughter.  I will cherish these times and will hope for many more.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


I promised Aaron that if he did good on his standardized test, I'd take him for an overnighter to Hershey.  He held up his end of the bargain.  This summer didn't allow an overnighter but we did manage to squeeze in a quick trip to Hershey Park, which we did last weekend.  Some comments and observations:

* We opted for the twilight tickets to save money and avoid lines.  But when we arrived at 5ish, lines were still pretty long, and they stayed long for a good couple of hours.

* For less than a dollar more per ticket, you get a free parlor game and a free snack.  Definitely worth it.

* I was more into water slides, Aaron more into just plain getting wet.

* There are some really good roller coasters at Hershey Park.  Too bad I'm too chicken to ride the really scary ones.  Aaron was ready to go but I demurred.  Someday I'll work up the courage...

* Seriously though, I'm an old man.  How is it that 8 year olds are able to hang while I'm screaming bloody murder?

* Gun n Roses was in concert nearby while we were there.  By the time we left the park, you could basically hear everything from way far away.  Who needs a ticket at that point?

The most important thing was Aaron and I getting to spend the day together.  Can't beat that.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Everyone's Back

Amy and I had to head in different directions because Jada's and Aaron's camp pickup were at the same time.  It was dicey all around.  Amy almost ran out of money and gas.  I had to lug a car seat and Asher to the car share, and then I almost ran out of cash and phone power.

Thankfully, everything broke our way and we all ended up home in one piece (and, in the case of the family car, probably one drop of gas left).  It's a full house again, with three of a kind and a pair.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Wilmington's More Fun When You Sleep Over

I have done consulting work for the City of Wilmington for the past three years, and in that time I
estimate I've been to Wilmington somewhere between 100 and 120 times.  But, until this past weekend, I'd never spent the night.  So Amy and I decided to make it a weekend in Wilmington.  Here's a brief recap of 24 hours in Wilmington:

10a-1p Our first stop, straight from home, was Winterthur, which we'd both been to before but only briefly.  We enjoyed the tram tour (so much green) and the mansion tour (so many rooms...175 in all!). 

1p-4p I had originally planned to go straight from Winterthur to the Nemours Mansion, but you're talking to two tired parents, so taking a nap in a fluffy bed called to us louder.  We checked into historic Hotel DuPont and almost immediately conked out.  Ahhh...

4p-8p With many hours of daylight still left, we headed to the waterfront to stroll, play mini-golf, and enjoy a bite at the Constitution Yards beer garden.  We topped it off with ice cream, more strolling, and lots of picture-taking.  Lots of people out having a good time.

8a-9a I actually slept in (for me), but when I headed out for a run there was still a "no one is up yet" vibe to our part of downtown.  I made a beeline for Brandywine Park and ended up jogging on both sides of the river, getting gloriously lost several times in the process.  The place definitely has a "Forbidden Drive" vibe to it, for those of you from Philly.  Highly recommended, and my only regret was not having the stamina or navigating skills to make it all the way to Alapocas Run State Park. 

9a-11a We walked all the way from the hotel back to the waterfront, via Market Street.  Disappointing that there was so little open and so few people out, but at the same time that made for a peaceful walk and talk.  We doubled back at grabbed grub at a cute mom-and-pop in the Creative District before going back to our car and driving home. 

We didn't get to everything we wanted to, so we'll be back!

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Huang Family Newsletter, July 2017

Jada and Aaron were at sleepaway camps a lot this month.  They had a blast, and so did we ganging up on Asher while his big sibs were away.  Amy and I enjoyed a nice overnighter staycation in downtown Philadelphia, taking in sights old and new alike.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Home and Away

Aaron and Jada fight a lot, just like any siblings close in age do.  Going off to sleepaway camp in different directions is good for their relationship, because it gives them some space away from each other.  Since they go to the same places (just not at the same time), it also gives them something in common that they can talk about without warring.  Yet another reason I'm thankful for these camps!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Apple Cheeks

Take a close look at these three pictures of Asher.  In the top one, he has no facial expression, and in the bottom one he is flashing his megawatt smile.  The middle one, though, is the most beguiling.  When he likes something, he gives us this half-smile, like Mona Lisa.  We call this smile "apple cheeks," and it makes us smile too, not just because it's cute but because we know he is happy. 

Amy or I can be in the grumpiest of moods, but when one of us calls out "apple cheeks," we come running, for a glimpse at a happy boy who is giving us our favorite half-smile.  😁