I enter on all sides of the conversation here: I’m an operator who deals with families all the time, I’m a Dad who loves to eat out with my daughter, and I’m a diner who often likes eating out with just grown-ups. A lot of you fall into the latter two categories, so you can surely appreciate how nuanced the topic is.
Here is the deal: some kids are angels eating out, some kids have a hard time in restaurants, and sometimes it’s the same kid on different days. Some parents are like Baby Whisperers with their kids, some parents struggle more, and sometimes it’s the same parents. Also, we could all probably stand to take a deep breath and relax just a little bit.
It’s just that simple. And it’s just that hard.
As an operator, I love kids. Their parents spend money, after all, and there are a ton of advantages to marketing to families. In Arlington, families represent a very lucrative demographic; I’d be crazy to ignore them. Also, as stated above, today’s family at brunch could turn into next week’s anniversary dinner or next month’s mom’s night out in the bar. We have always prided ourselves in welcoming kids into Eventide and Spider Kelly’s. We have families ourselves.
And let me be very clear to point out that the responsibility for ensuring everyone has a good time is on us. It’s our job to make all our guests happy, and that’s what we try to do.
But we could all use a few ground rules.
When I became a parent, I realized that the restaurant business had actually prepared me well. For work, I had to learn to be ready for anything at anytime. I had to learn to keep calm and trust my preparation. Parenting was the same except infinitely more wild and unpredictable. The best part about kids is you never know what will happen next, but that can make plans and events and dinners maddening. A sense of humor helps a lot, but it won’t always save the meal.
Batman dropped by the Arlington YMCA (3422 13th Street N.) on Friday to warn kids about the danger of poison and toxic household items.
The Caped Crusader, also known as Maryland millionaire Lenny B. Robinson, arrived in style in his 1966 replica Batmobile. He was also spotted cruising the streets of Arlington and hanging out in Clarendon after the event.
The event was organized by the Alliance for Consumer Education, along with the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the YMCA and Robinson’s Superheroes for Kids organization. During the event, kids were encouraged “to be a superhero in their home by reading labels, asking permission before using an unknown product, and other poison prevention tips.”
Another superhero, Ace Clean, was also on hand to “teach kids about good health through cleanliness and proper hygiene practices.”
Photos courtesy Eddie Paylor Photography
The Caped Crusader will be at the ‘Y’ from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 22, hosting an event called “Be a Superhero in Your Home.” The event, which is sponsored by the YMCA, the Alliance for Consumer Education and the American Association of Poison Control Centers, will teach kids “to be a superhero in their home by reading labels, asking permission before using an unknown product, and other poison prevention tips.”
The highlight of the event will be a visit by the Dark Knight — also known as Maryland millionaire Lenny B. Robinson — who will be arriving in style in his $300,000 1966 replica Batmobile. Robinson, 49, has been visiting sick kids in children’s hospitals across the county in the vintage Batmobile, as part of his Baltimore-based Superheroes for Kids organization.
Robinson made international news last year when his $250,000 Lamborghini Batmobile was pulled over by Montgomery County Police. The dashcam video of the traffic stop went viral and Robinson became a minor celebrity in his own right.
Arlington families interested in participating in Friday’s poison prevention event are asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Only 100 tickets are available for the event.
Photo via Facebook
Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation is offering winter indoor tennis lessons starting on January 22 and running through the first week of March. Lessons for children ages 3-13 will take place at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street).
Registration is also open for early spring tennis classes for both children and adults. Those classes will begin the second week in March and run through the second week in April.
Registration for the tennis courses, and for other winter classes, can be done online.
North Rosslyn Profiled — The neighborhood of North Rosslyn has been profiled by the Washington Post. The neighborhood is a bastion of “tranquil residential life” in the shadows of Rosslyn’s high rise office buildings, the Post’s Eliza McGraw wrote. [Washington Post]
Children Participate in AHC ‘Olympics’ — About a hundred children who live in affordable housing managed by AHC Inc. participated in their own version of the Olympic Games last week. The competition included both academic contests like “word weightlifting” and “math distance medley,” as well at athletic events like wiffle ball, soccer, jump roping and the 100 yard dash. [Sun Gazette]
Hawk Found Dead — A hawk was found dead over the weekend in the Radnor-Fort Myer Heights neighborhood. It had apparently flown into a window. [Ode Street Tribune]
Flickr pool photo by Enigmatic Traveler
Many residents spent this past Saturday taking part in the various Neighborhood Day events throughout Arlington.
The weather cooperated, providing warmth and sun for the outdoor activities. From yard sales to cook outs to petting zoos, residents came out to connect with their neighbors and partake in the festivities. As you can see, kids’ activities took center stage at most of the events.
Here’s a look at the festivities at Highland Park Overlee-Knolls Family Fun Day, Bluemont Neighborhood BBQ and Fairlington Day.
Registration is now open for Saturday Morning Footy, which kicks off on June 16 in Bluemont Park. The free program runs for six weeks, and is open to boys and girls ages 5-15. Kids will be divided up for different activities based on age.
The sessions will teach basic rules of the game and work on honing skills. Younger kids will participate in non-contact footy games and older kids will play tag games. Parents are also able to participate in many of the activities.
The program’s website says footy is the most popular sport in Australia, and describes it as a mix of soccer, basketball and volleyball. Organizer Chris Adams says the program is “unique in the United States” and brings in kids from a variety of different backgrounds.
“Over the last 6 years, hundreds of children from Arlington and the Washington D.C. area have participated in the program… many of them children of Australian military families stationed temporarily in the area,” Adams said. “Other children have had connections to Australia through parents or time spent stationed at U.S. bases in Australia. Many other children have attended simply because friends have told them it is fun!”
Residents are being encouraged to go out to celebrate Neighborhood Day on Saturday.
The goal of the annual event is to get people out into their communities to have some fun and connect with their neighbors. Events are planned throughout the county, some aimed at local communities and others for all Arlington residents.
A full list of activities can be found on the Neighborhood Day website, which is updated as new entries come in. Here are a few of the events:
- Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive — Residents can leave a bag of non-perishable food at their mailboxes for letter carriers to collect. The food will be donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Email email@example.com or call (703) 845-8486 for details.
- Ashton Heights Yard Sale — From 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Dozens of homes will be participating in this year’s sale, which will feature household goods, collectibles, baby clothes, toys, books, and more. There is a Yard Sale Map showing the participating homes.
- Dominion Hills Neighborhood Day Festival and Potluck Supper — From 4:00-7:00 p.m. at Dominion Hills Park (1060 N. Liberty Street). Kids can enjoy a moon bounce, face painting, games, prizes and free snow cones. A concert band and a deejay will provide music. Free burgers and hot dogs are provided, but guests are invited to bring a salad, favorite dish or dessert to share.
- Fairlington Great American Cookie Bake Sale — From 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at the Fairlington Community Center (3308 S. Stafford Street). Residents will donate home baked cookies to sell to benefit Share Our Strength, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating childhood hunger.
- ‘Arlington Kids Read’ Community Read-a-Thon Kickoff — From 2:00-5:00 p.m. at the Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street). There will be continuous read-alouds, crafts and treats. Kids can pick up their Read-a-Thon log books and get more information about how to track their time spent reading. More information about the Community Read-a-Thon will be provided at the event, and can also be found online.
- Teen Night at TJ Café — From 9:00-11:00 p.m. at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 2nd Street S). For $2, middle and high school students get access to basketball, soccer, ping pong and pool tables. For $3, guests can purchase an activity card to access the rock wall, inflatables, giant human hamster balls and roller skating. Food will be available for purchase. Contact Kevin Clements for details at (703) 228-4729 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- “Among Women” Expo — From 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at the Gates of Ballston Community Center (4108 4th Street N). Arlington’s Community Outreach Program hosts the event, which will include a range of programs such as a self-defense class, arts and crafts projects, and sessions on how to maintain healthy relationships. Marga Fripp, founder and president of Empowered Women International will be the featured speaker. Call (703) 228-1317 for details.
Despite the closing of Chevys in Ballston — and rumors of its own demise — the Chevys Mexican restaurant in Pentagon City (1201 S. Hayes Street) is alive and kicking. So much so, it’s holding Cinco de Mayo specials every day this week.
The daily specials started yesterday and include deals like $4 1800 fresh fruit margaritas (Wednesday) and $5 Dos Equis Grandes (Friday).
In addition to the drink deals, there are also food specials and chances to win free dinners. On Saturday, May 5, there will be games and dancing for the big Cinco de Mayo bash. The fiesta ends on Sunday with a “Kids’ Cinco” featuring balloons and face painting.
Volunteers are needed for a number of children’s activities taking place around Arlington this spring and summer. More information about these opportunities and others can be found on the Volunteer Arlington website.
- Arlington Little League is looking for assistant coaches to help with the spring 2012 season. Previous baseball coaching experience is not necessary. Assistant coaches help head coaches run practices and games, and participate in the overall management of the team. Volunteers should have the desire to work with children of all ages and skill levels to provide a fun and positive baseball experience. Contact Wayne Berry at 202-693-5585
- Jane Franklin Dance needs assistants for summer camps taking place July 9-13 and July 16-20. Volunteers will help with supervising participants during classes, participating in classes and clean up. No dance training is needed, just the ability to move, be creative and interact with children. Contact Jane Franklin at 703-933-1111.
- The Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing needs help with an Easter egg hunt at Columbia Grove Apartments on March 28. The event runs from 6:00-7:00 p.m., and volunteers will help with set up, implementation and clean up. Being bilingual is helpful but not required. Contact Liz McElwee at 703-851-3635.
Catalog distribution will kick off at the Summer Activities Fair at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center (3501 S. 2nd St.) tomorrow night from 6:00-8:00 p.m. More than 100 exhibitors will highlight summer activities for children from ages 3-17. Anyone who participated in a camp last year or specifically requested a catalog will receive it in the mail soon.
Registration for camps starts on Wednesday, February 22 at 7:00 a.m. That’s the busiest registration day of the year, so online users are encouraged to have all camp and payment information on hand to make the process run more smoothly. Registration will also be accepted by fax and mail.
Those who wish to register by phone or turn in forms in person may start doing so on February 29 at 8:00 a.m. Non-Arlington residents may start registering on March 7.
An Arlington boy’s long-distance goal has him in the running for the U.S. Youth Soccer ‘Goal of the Year.’
Mateo Leach’s remarkable, game-winning goal for the Under-12 Boys Arlington Eagles was caught on video by his dad. The goal, which broke a 1-1 tie with five minutes left in the game, was eventually chosen by U.S. Youth Soccer as one of the top ten goals of 2011, and is now nominated for the honor of Goal of the Year.
Through Feb. 10, members of the public can vote for Leach’s goal. He’s got tough competition, though, including amazing goals by boys and girls from Frederick, Md. to Anaheim, Calif. to Kaneohe, Hawaii.
Tuckahoe is one of the most overcrowded schools in a county school system plagued by a capacity crisis. Tuckahoe, designed to accommodate only 545 students, was projected to be at 130 percent capacity in 2012, with some 678 students. Enrollment is expected to balloon to nearly 150 percent capacity in 2017.
To temporarily help address the overcrowding, Arlington Public Schools is planning to add four new relocatable classrooms at Tuckahoe before the beginning of the next school year. That’s addition to the six mobile classrooms already in use at Tuckahoe.
Some parents are upset, however, about where the school system plans to place the trailers. The classrooms will be placed on a blacktop play area that students currently use during recess. With the blacktop no longer available, students will instead be led to a nearby county-owned tennis court during outdoor recreation time.
In a letter to parents, APS Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy says the blacktop was chosen after carefully considering five other locations on APS or county-owned property.
“APS staff believe that this option is the best because it retains the most site amenities for all stakeholders and because we believe this will be an option acceptable to the Tuckahoe community,” Murphy wrote.
Not all parents agree with Dr. Murphy. One group of concerned parents sent a mass email criticizing the decision:
To help hammer home that message, police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be conducting “high visibility enforcement” around school zones next week.
Here’s the police press release:
The Arlington County Police Department, in conjunction with the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, will be out in force next week as the 2011-2012 school year begins. Officers and Deputy Sheriffs will be conducting high visibility traffic enforcement in and around the school zones throughout Arlington County starting on Tuesday, September 6, 2011. This will also coincide with the 3rd Annual Virginia Bicyclist and Pedestrian Awareness Week to emphasis the need to share the road with vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.Drivers are reminded to:
- Obey speed limits which may change during school zone times.
- Avoid distracted driving and keep your attention on the road.
- Watch for students walking and riding bikes to school. Remember, we all share the road.
- Don’t pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading passengers.
- Have all occupants wear their seatbelts.Students, bicyclist, and pedestrians are reminded to:
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks and never against a red light.
- Look before you cross and follow the direction of the school crossing guards.
- Dismount from your bicycle and walk it in a crosswalk when crossing a street.
- Always walk on designated sidewalks or paths never along the side of a road.Arlington County will have variable message boards placed along the roadways reminding citizens of the start of school and to drive safely. With a little prevention, all drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians can arrive at their destinations in a timely and safe manner.
Aurora Hills Babysitter Co-Op — While the District has been ranked as the most expensive place in the country for childcare, parents in the Aurora Hills neighborhood, near Crystal City, have banded together to save money by taking care of each other’s kids. The Aurora Hills babysitting co-op is “just a group of moms helping each other out,” according to one of the members. [MyFoxDC]
Seasonal Green Chiles Arrive in Arlington — A shipment of green chiles, fresh from the famous growing region of Hatch, N.M., has arrived at Santa Fe Cafe (1500 Wilson Blvd) in Rosslyn. The restaurant is expecting to receive about 100 pounds of Hatch green chiles throughout September. Owner Kip Laramie says he’ll be using the flavorful, spicy ingredient to serve dishes like locally smoked pork chop with green chile peach chutney, grilled spinach with green chile quesadilla, and red snapper with artichokes, mushrooms and green chiles. [Rosslyn Blog]
Public Forum Planned for Comcast Renewal — Comcast is seeking to renew its cable franchise agreement with the county, and a public meeting is planned to give residents a chance to share their thoughts on the company’s service in Arlington. Officials are specifically seeking ideas for public services that Comcast can provide as part of a new franchise agreement. The meeting will be held on at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the County Board room of 2100 Clarendon Boulevard. [Arlington County]
ARLnow Mobile Site Disabled — We’ve temporarily disabled the mobile version of our web site. Web-enabled mobile phone users visiting ARLnow.com will now see the full version of the site. We expect to have the mobile site back up by Monday.
Flickr pool photo by Philliefan99