Music Man shoutout


Madeline and I got a shoutout! In this essay about Hilton Village and all its charm, the author happens to mention our production of The Music Man at the local theatre. There’s even a photo of the cast, shown below — M is the youngest member. It’s been a great run and loads of fun. Last show is tonight!

Harold Hill meets the River Citiziens of Iowa

Harold Hill meets the River Citiziens of Iowa

Screenshot of the shoutout:


See the full essay here:

It Takes a Community: Life in Hilton Village

Hilton Village 4th of July


They told us kids AND dogs are in the parade.

Our old-school historic neighborhood proudly maintains many traditions, among them a 4th of July parade down Main Street. Wagons, bicycles, strollers, a historic fire truck, a modern fire truck, classic cars, and lots of happy faces were decked out in red, white and blue. A neighbor held a block party brunch where we decorated our vehicles the morning of the parade and then congregated after for some amazing potluck treats and good conversation. Both Madeline and Henry had a great time.

Getting ready:

And now, the parade (which started off with motorcycles before the grand marshal and reminded me of my time in the Disney Stars and Motorcars Parade):

The parade ends at the elementary school, where everyone in the parade gathers to watch the rest of it. Some of the vehicles are parked so that the kids can explore them. The neighborhood milkman also has a tent where you can sample the dairy’s products.

Then we headed back for brunch and a day of barbecues with the neighbors.

M helps with laundry

The things babies do that crack me up! Today, Madeline celebrates her toddling independence by “helping” with laundry:

I was folding/sorting Madeline’s clothes and ended up taking out all the stuff from her drawers to reorganize. I sat on the nursery floor with piles of clothes around me. After watching me for a bit, Madeline decided to transport her socks from her sock drawer (which I was not organizing) over to our bed down the hall (which we frequently use for laundry folding). She must have made about 5 trips to and fro, carrying her socks. When her sock bin was empty, she proceeded in reverse, carrying them back to her sock bin. She did all this without saying a word to me, very deliberate and focused on her task. She finally tired of this activity with about half the socks remaining on our bed, and we went downstairs to get a snack after all her hard work.

Please excuse the poor quality of the images; my iPhone is not up to performing in low-light conditions.

Happy 4th!

Karla and Rob’s wedding


My dear friend Karla married her longtime beau Rob in a beautiful ceremony and reception that reflected their cozy laid-back vibe perfectly. They were wonderfully accommodating to us with regard to Madeline, even welcoming her with a bucket of toys! They are going to be wonderful parents 🙂 Congratulations, newlyweds!

On another note, we discovered the following:

  • A wedding full of pediatricians makes the best baby entertainment/childcare ever. Period. For your tot’s next birthday, forget the magician, the balloon artist, and the live appearance by Elmo. Just hire a cohort of pediatricians.
  • Madeline LOVES to dance. We thought she might be overstimulated with the party and loud dance music, so we took her off to the side toward the trees and pond. She shrieked to be put down and toddled a beeline straight back on to the dance floor, where said pediatricians had previously been twirling around with her. We tried reigning her in at least twice, and each time she toddled back to the party. On the dance floor, she would bounce and sway and clap. Here’s hoping she has more rhythm than either Chris or me.

Toddling, exploring, and meeting Danielle, who would become Madeline’s best friend for the evening:

Roaming amongst the pants and skirts:

Playing with Danielle and meeting the rest of the pediatricians:

The bride and groom during their toasts:

By 7:30pm we thought Madeline might have been tired, but she protested leaving the party and headed straight back to the dance floor:

She ran back to the dance floor whenever we tried to carry her away.

We realized after several attempts to head home that we have a party girl, and she had several dance partners to bounce-twirl her around:

The next morning, she slept in:

Zucchini bread


This recipe is a slight variation of one that my friend Alli makes — so good! I made some for our road trip to Pittsburgh, and Madeline chowed down in her “trough,” as Anittah says.

2014-06-20 15.36.27 2014-06-20 17.41.21

Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips


  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about 2 small or 1 large), drained (I leave it to drain in a sieve overnight in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap and weighted with an apple or other round object, and I also blot with towels just before adding to the batter)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate mini morsels
  • 2 tsp lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan (I use the butter wrappers — less mess!). Sift together the dry ingredients (the first six) and set aside. 
  2. Beat together the butter, oil and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs.
  3. Add in the dry mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to blend.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together the zucchini, lemon juice, and chocolate morsels. Fold into the batter.
  5. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for about an hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Happy Father’s Day 2014


Last year around this time, Madeline was still nursing every 3 hours, plus a few times overnight. So, all Daddy got was a Photoshop collage Father’s Day card that half-asleep Mommy made at 6am. Oh, and a trip to the spy exhibit at the Franklin Institute.


This year, Mommy planned a bit more. A few weeks before Father’s Day, while Daddy was at work, Mommy bought a tie and some craft supplies. Mommy, Baby, and the coffee table all donned protective gear. After some fabric paint, a bath, and a call to Poison Control (just in case), we had a special gift for Daddy. 

So today, for Father’s Day, we had brunch Devon Seafood on Rittenhouse Square. The weather was beautiful, and we dined al fresco both for the view of the park and to diffuse the occasional baby squeal.

Daddy liked his gift very much.

In the afternoon, we went to Washington Square to enjoy more of the sunshine.

Madeline loves to see Henry run around, so three dogs running around looks even more fun!

Ingrid and Sol are married! Part 2


Sol’s family hosted brunch the next morning at his sister’s place. They have a neat property that includes a barn and vineyard. Brunch was delicious, with the highlight being menudo. Chris and I had never tried it before. Now I’ll have to go looking for it whenever I crave a fix.

Ingrid and Sol are married! Part 1


Our dear friends Ingrid and Sol had a beautiful wedding in perfect California weather at Aptos Village Park. True to form, they planned their day around food and friends.

A quick stroll down the aisle:

20120630 IngridSolWedding 035 from Christopher Butz on Vimeo.

Then on to the celebration:

Seacliff State Beach


The morning of their wedding, Ingrid and Sol were relaxed. We asked if we could help with anything, but they had no chores to assign to us. They suggested we go exploring, so we did!

The morning was foggy. We headed north along the bay and saw a cement ship, the Palo Alto.

Then we came across the Seacliff State Beach Visitor Center and poked around a bit there. Among other things, they had a nice tide pool exhibit!

I took a video of a mollusk doing its filter feeding thing:

20120630 Mollusk from Christopher Butz on Vimeo.

Then we headed back to our room to get ready for the wedding.

Aptos, CA


We arrived at Aptos the day before Ingrid and Sol’s wedding with some daylight to spare. So, we explored the beach a bit, and then we drove around looking for dinner. Aptos is quaint and quiet, with lots of hills and interesting architecture.

Sushi, then Cajun grub


Having accumulated several groupons, we decided this week was a good time to knock off a few. On Tuesday, we went to Makiman Sushi. We frequently order delivery from various sushi places nearby, and I’m pretty sure we’ve ordered from here as well. We ordered the sushi boat for 2, which included miso soup and salad appetizers. The soup was good, but the salad dressing was a bit too concentrated for my taste — too tangy and ginger-y. That’s okay, though, because the sushi was very good.


Makiman Sushi boat for 2

On the boat: 6 california maki, 2 shrimp nigiri, and 2 nigiri each of 9 different types of fish. I am sure we had salmon, yellowtail, tuna, mackerel, and surf clam. The rest I could not name, but all were tasty. We had a nice table outside, the weather was pleasant, and the service was good. All told, we had a nice dinner and happy full bellies.

We spent another groupon today at Catahoula, a bar in the Queen Village neighborhood. Catahoula is the name of a Louisiana parish, and the bar serves Cajun-Creole food. I visited New Orleans once, when I was 14 years old, and I remember very little of the local cuisine except for crawfish…and I’d love to go back for more of that. For today, though, I ordered the shrimp n’ grits. Chris got a burger, a simple one rather than their signature version, since he prefers his burgers with less fancy fixin’s.


the bar at Catahoula

The shrimp n’ grits were awesome. I make that assessment without prior knowledge of what shrimp n’ grits should taste like. The shrimp were tasty and not overcooked (I hate that), and the flavorful grits had a bit of truffle oil. I could have eaten way more of the collard greens and bacon. As it was, I thoroughly cleaned my plate.


my shrimp n’ grits

I’m guessing shrimp n’ grits might be Catahoula’s signature dish — it’s on their homepage:

Shrimp n' grits on the Catahoula homepage

Shrimp n’ grits on the Catahoula homepage

Mini golf!


We went with Chris’s parents to play mini golf at Island Golf, one of several nearby putt-putt places. Chris’s dad has been going there since he was a little boy, and he recounted with the owner the various thefts (and returns!) of fixtures around the place (the gorilla, the elephant, etc.). After mini golf, the family always goes to eat ice cream. Chris loves both parts of the outing.

Leslie visit


We had some perfect weather last Sunday, so we had Leslie and her fiance Peter over to have brunch and see the sights. Anh and I never walked around the “independence area” before, so it was a treat for us, too.