You Got to Be Kidding Me!

Preschool Research

Posted in Addison, Education by Stacy McMahon on August 25, 2008


In the last half-century, U.S. preschool attendance has gone up to nearly 70% from 16%. But fourth-grade reading, science, and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) — the nation’s report card — have remained virtually stagnant since the early 1970s.

All I normally hear about preschool is the usual stories about rich idiots putting their newborns in years-long waiting lists for the most prestigious ones. I went to preschool and what I remember of it was more or less “glorified daycare”, as the article puts it. My parents taught me to read at home before kindergarten, and I was reading at 5th grade level in first grade. Dad used to talk me through math problems at bedtime.

I’m far from decided on how I feel about preschool for Addison, but my sense is that putting the tuition money in a college fund may be a smarter choice. Any other parents have thoughts?


Mount Vernon Too

Posted in Addison, Uncategorized by Stacy McMahon on August 21, 2008

Vicky has a nice post about this past Sunday’s excursion to Mount Vernon. I also noted the fake stone, though for some reason I’ve always thought of the mansion as having clapboard siding. According to the signs, George Washington was fascinated with faux finishes of all types, and actually I’m curious now about the faux walnut finish on the pine board interior paneling.


Posted in Addison, Social Life by Stacy McMahon on June 19, 2007

My first-ever Father’s Day was a resounding success, with Addie enjoying and being enjoyed by Louise’s parents, who repaid the favor with grandparent-class food — quiche for breakfast, and salmon for dinner, or supper as we Catholics call it. The weather was a bit warm for true comfort, but the sun was shining and relaxation was the order of the day as we capped off our weekend with a small gathering of friends back in the city.

You could forget there’s a war on.

We and two friends of ours met J and A in downtown DC after attending the motorcycle show this past winter. One of our friends decided J was interesting enough to keep around, and so Louise and I have seen him more often (and our friend somewhat less often…) These guys are good-natured and friendly, cosmopolitan and not above having a little alcohol-fueled fun. J and our friend had spent the day cooking and amassing beer, while A and his brother R were touring the Virginia Peninsula, from which they returned with a rare jar of honey.

Sadly, we were too tired to stay long, but we try to enjoy J and A’s company whenever we can, since they’ll be serving with the Danish army in Afghanistan in just a few months. Herewith a toast: to our democratic allies — may they serve bravely and well, and may they return safely to many more lazy afternoons of good food and conversation.


Posted in Addison, Social Life by Stacy McMahon on April 29, 2007

For whatever reason, that word has gone out of popular usage, but when I was a kid people (or at least my people) referred to babies in backpacks as papooses all the time. Did the Native American lobby ban others from using their words and I didn’t get the memo? 🙂 Anyway, in spite of my unsustainable busy-ness I managed to get out to the Reston Zoo with my daughter last Sunday. Here’s the little papoose:

Like any good not-quite-2-month-old, she slept through the majority of the outing, and since I’m almost as ignorant about babies as a New York Times reporter is about guns, I spent much of that time worrying that with her face mashed into my chest she’d have trouble breathing. Her mother eventually managed to convince me she’d be ok, at which point I also remembered that billions of babies have survived being raised by people much dumber than us (and that’s saying something!)

Here are a couple other of my favorite pictures. I am glad my daughter is pretty (though as I was telling my girlfriend, not too pretty, please — I want to make it through her teenage years without too much more gray hair!)

Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup!

Pretty in pink — She actually doesn’t need the pacifier very much, which I think is a good thing. Supposedly, excessive pacifier use eventually leads to thumbsucking, which then leads to expensive orthodontic work…

And finally, just so you all know I haven’t completely stopped doing things like attempting to take artistic photos, here’s one of “Captain Gizmore” enjoying the warm sunlight last Saturday. Or maybe I should call him Joe Friday…


Posted in Addison, Urban Planning by Stacy McMahon on April 10, 2007

So why all the silence? Partly it’s that I haven’t had much to inspire me to write, and partly that I’ve been too busy to write it even if I did.

Work is busier than ever, and likely to remain so for awhile thanks to the sudden firing of a colleague who had been handling a lot of special projects. Most of those will now be on ice until we find a replacement.

School is giving me challenges, partly because I am going to be on the hook to finish our studio paper when my classmate goes to New Zealand for a month, partly because I am at a loss to complete my outgoing assignment for a weekend seminar that happened weeks ago.

Taxes. Got to file an extension at this point.

My daughter is apparently continuing to develop her digestive system at a lackadaisical pace, and most other things weeks ahead of normal. See FlickR for the latest pics.

And one current event, of the Good News variety: Alexandria sent out a press release today announcing a water taxi between Old Town and the new Washington Harbor development south of the Wilson Bridge. You’ll be able to take the boat from Georgetown to Old Town, to Washington Harbor and (at least in theory) Occoquan and Woodbridge. Cool, huh?

More Baby Blogging

Posted in Addison, Travel by Stacy McMahon on April 5, 2007

I’m finally getting caught up after my return from Vail (you can read about that trip here and see pictures here, here and here.)

My first week back is mostly too boring to write about, though I guess if I had real writing talent I could make my laundry, cleaning and conference calls much more intense and riveting than they really were. Anyway, one subject I know everyone likes: cute babies!

Any Idiot Can Have a Kid…

Posted in Addison, Social Life, Travel by Stacy McMahon on March 23, 2007

I know, because I’m an idiot and I had a kid.

First, why I’m an idiot. Vicky and I are joining other friends for some spring skiing in Vail next week, flying out Sunday. Because I’ve been distracted as hell, I started thinking my flight was tomorrow (Saturday) instead. I rushed around this evening packing, forcing my poor girlfriend to watch lame TV shows alone while I washed dishes and ran two loads of laundry. Her night did have one good point when we dropped off the house keys with Sarah and Ed. They invited her to attend their Battlestar season finale party in place of me Sunday night. She’s a closet sci fi fan and I know she’ll love getting her geek on.

Anyway, after all that I go to check the hotel info and find emails referencing the Sunday arrival. Uh oh, which day is my flight, really? I thought I was coordinated with Vicky. And I am — on Sunday. Which reminds me I need to cancel the cab that’s going to show up here at 6:30 am.

Second, if you pay enough attention to this blog to have noticed how I said the post about life’s strange twists and turns was a teaser of sorts, here’s your reward. As of three and a half weeks ago, I am the proud father of a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Addison Grace was born on February 28, the best late birthday gift ever. She is 9 lbs 15 oz (extrapolating from Wednesday’s weigh-in) of perfection. But who wants to listen to me make noise. Have yourselves some pics:



For those of you more personally in the loop, you probably realize it’s taking me some courage to post here. I’m doing it now because: I want to document Addie’s early life and my reactions, because as her mother says, “she is my gorgeous daughter and I love her; everything else is just details”, because waiting much longer would have risked stealing Christina’s spotlight 🙂 and because this is the only hard post. From now on I’m just another proud dad asshat who thinks their kid is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

And hey, it’s not as if I don’t know this will be the first really interesting category I’ve added!