The Children’s Ball, a fundraiser to benefit the Children’s National Medical Center, was held on Friday, April 11 at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, DC. The Ball was co-chaired by Yousef and Abeer Al-Otaiba (the UAE Ambassador and his wife) and Amy and Bret Baier. There were over 900 people in attendance with a lengthy waitlist as well.
Thanks to the wonderful co-chairs, the Ball broke a DC fundraising record and raised $10.7 million for Children’s National Medical Center. The live auction included a Labrador puppy (which our children were strictly banned from bidding on). Yousef announced at the end of the live auction that he had called the Crown Prince of the UAE and the Foreign Minister on his way to the event, and both agreed to contribute $1 million each. And as a final surprise for the guests, Jennifer Hudson performed for the crowd, including a stunning rendition of one of my favorite songs, Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen (better known as one of the songs on the Shrek soundtrack). 🙂
Jim is Chair of the CNMC Board of Directors for another 2 months and 9 days, and this is one of our favorite events of the year.
Here is our family at the Ball:
Children’s Ball 2014
The kids also got to invite their friends. Here is our daughter’s group (minus one):
Jade & her friends at Children’s Ball 2014
And here is our son’s group of friends:
Marcus & his friends
You can learn more about Children’s National Medical Center at www.cnmc.org.
I took our 12 year old son to Palo Alto for a cousin’s wedding on March 15. We arrived in Palo Alto late Friday night (which was made even later with a request for a late-night snack of black truffle French fries). Once we finally got up on Saturday, we made the obligatory brain-washing visit to Stanford and walked through the Engineering Quad. It was one of those gloriously sunny 80 degree days that Palo Alto specializes in (what a woman I talked to briefly called “stupid nice”).
the Stanford Quad
an aspiring Nerd Nation member
The wedding itself was one of the loveliest ceremonies we’ve been to. I was only sorry that Jim and our daughter couldn’t be there, too. And it was wonderful to see my parents and all my relatives and catch up on what they’ve been doing. (Although our son, after being presented with a plethora of cousins he never knew existed, decided we had too big of a family. He wasn’t reassured on being told that this was the less populated side of my family.)
the kayak wedding cake
note the Chinese Coke cans
Naturally, after a weekend of glorious weather, we came back to DC and had 10 inches of snow overnight. School was cancelled on Monday, and I suspect it will be July before school finally lets out!
While the MLK long weekend gave us sunny and even warm (relatively speaking) weather, Tuesday brought us 6 inches of snow. For hardy Midwesterners and New Englanders, this amount might be a mere blip on the winter radar. However, for the mid-Atlantic and for DC in particular, it’s enough to shut down the federal government and school systems in the area. Our kids managed to get 2 snow days out of it. While much of it was spent watching Dr. Who and Phineas & Ferb, there was also outdoor play. A snowball fight, complete with snowball guns, was a requirement. Unfortunately, the snow wasn’t ideal for snowball fights, being light and fluffy, but good fun was still had by all (2 kids + dog). And when the snowball gun fails, a hand-packed snowball is a perfect substitute.
Marcus with the snowball gun
Jade making snowballs the old-fashioned way
Meanwhile, the prerogative of the parent is to stay in the toasty warm house and indulge in baking. I got a bread machine as a birthday present last year, and Tuesday was the perfect day to try out a recipe for chocolate challah. I doubled the amount of chocolate chips the recipe called for (duh!), and the loaf received an enthusiastic thumbs up from the family.
The kids are now back in school (yay!) and enjoying their 2 day school week.
We were presented with the dilemma of the following choices: (i) 7 5th grade boys (10-11 years old) at a black tie event for Children’s National Medical Center; and (ii) 20 8th grade girls (13-14 years old) at a Taylor Swift concert.
As a practical matter, there was no choice in the matter. Jim is Chair of CNMC, so his presence was a requirement at the Children’s Ball. Fortunately, I enjoy Taylor Swift’s music, and the concert was quite fun. As it turned out, a great time was had by the boys, who all cleaned up quite nicely.
Children’s Ball 2013
And a fabulous time was had by all the girls.
Taylor Swift concert 2013
The only complaint I had was that I had underestimated the frequency and pitch of the squealing by 8th grade girls. My eardrums may never be the same!