Monday, November 25, 2013

Skating on Sunday

Guess who wouldn't leave until the bitter end? Right, Q7. But C9 didn't want to leave, either. I tried suggest we leave around 3 because I was cold (skating went from 2 to 4) and both girls refused. C9 said she'd leave after her best friend M9 left. Q7 just flat out refused to get off the ice until 3:59. And my 20 year old but practically brand new skates (because I only skate 2-3 times a season) ... need replacing. The boot has pulled away from the heel. I guess I'll take them to the cobblers??

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ice Skating in Bryant Park

Day two, NYC. The bus stop, of course, probably the most fun. We missed the first bus because we were at the wrong bus stop. Whoops! but not big deal, we played games and sang carols.

Waiting for the bus

FYI, ice skating in Bryant Park is FREE. Except that if you decide not to tote skates into the city. Then you pay a boatload of money to rent skates. And an bag to put your shoes and crap in so you can check it. And you never expect that one of the girls who RAN to get into a super-long line and had been talking about skating all morning would then get out on the ice, refuse help, then not be able to skate, and go back and sit down and mope and cry.

And if you expect that I would stand for that, you are mistaken. I made things worse, of course. But still, sometimes it takes me forcing C9 to do things to get her to enjoy them. After she hates them even more. Actually, this time she sat on the bench while to insisted she get out there on the ice (I threatened her first with missing school entirely on Monday if she didn't get out and skate, and then once she was out I told her I'd make her tardy on Monday if she didn't pretend to be enjoying herself. Or at least stop complaining). Anyway, my skills as a parent aren't being questioned here. But while before we even got out on the ice a boy -- overly enthusiastic boy -- came over to C9 and told her skating was fun and he'd teach her how to do it. She screamed NO! and GO AWAY! at him. Eventually, he did. He was persistent, though.

So, here is a selfie of me and C9 on the ice, and then Q7 & K9:


And right after this I think I was told no cameras on the ice. Fair enough. I was probably endangering lots of people skating on the ice while I took pics and skated.

K9 was great already, but Q7 improved a great deal, and even C9 did. M45 took her on the ice and that worked out very well. Here they are. Look, C9 is almost smiling! Possibly because she was thinking about chasing pigeons in Central Park.

C9 ice skating

Then it started to rain, so we stopped skating, and visited a bunch of the kiosks in the park set up for the holiday market. We tried a bunch of chocolate. Yum. Then they wanted to go to lunch back in NJ. So, we did. They were bummed that we couldn't swim again, but it was time to go after lunch, for the drive home to Maryland.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cousins in NYC

First, we need to be clear. THE absolute most important decision was to get a hotel with a pool. A pool that was open a lot. Not just from 2-4 on Saturday for kids, but a pool that the kids could go into and not worry about offending anybody. So, Hampton Inn it was. Again. But, Hampton Inn is so kid friendly it just makes it a great choice. Even if the breakfast can be less than stellar.

The second choice we had was to get an adjoining room, although we couldn't actually get one. That meant sleepovers involved going out in the hall in PJs. Which was fine. But not ideal. No biggie, we had rooms right next to each other, which was fantastic. Our doors were in the same nook.

The third choice ... NYC ... was less than universally applauded by children. My children anyway. I think K9 was excited to go there. But she would have been excited to go to Hoboken as long as C9 & Q7 were there (and, vice versa, actually), so NYC was actually more for me and my sister.

Day One started in the pool (of course) until we decided to have lunch in NYC. So we hopped on the bus -- which was late because it was so crowded -- and into NYC. The lateness wasn't a problem except that we had to stand. And the girls sat on the floor. And sang Christmas carols. Very quietly. They thought it was a hoot.

The first thing we did when we finally got off the bus at Port Authority was lunch. We went to the first place we saw. Schnipper's. The girls all thought it would be good because it had mac n' cheese. M45 and I thought ... hmmm. But it turned out to be very very good. My hamburger was excellent, cooked fresh, meat was delicious, and really perfectly medium rare. Yum. Excellent. We ate outside. Here we are.

lunch first day

Out destination was Grand Central Station to visit a train store to visit a Christmas train display. So we headed down 42nd through Times Square, at Q7's request. It was under construction, as was less than exciting. But we were there!

IMAG1525 In times square

Past 42nd ave we kept heading on past tall buildings. Too tall, according to my children. C9 said they made her dizzy.

What made C9 dizzy

Right past this building we saw Bryant Park, and we headed through. They have a holiday market up, which made it difficult for C9 to chase pigeons, which is what she wanted to do. But then they saw ice skating and they all rushed over to get in line. The line looked horrible to us so we promised to come back the next day and we headed around the corner and past the NYC public library.

NYC Library

I really wanted to go in, so we did, against the express wishes of all the girls, who weren't too excited to go to a library in which they couldn't take out books. But it turned out to be a highlight of our trip. They had an exhibit called "why children's books matter" which was completely and 100% wonderful. All the classic books, and then some. Here they are in front of the"AEIOU" part of The Phantom Tollbooth exhibit.


There were things from so many books. Q7 really liked this Alice in Wonderland display.

But THIS display of titles of banned books is reallllly what set them off. Q7 RAILED in front of this exhibit for more than five minutes about how she hated the people who tried to ban the books, how she couldn't believe the books that were in the stack, just general offence to the whole situation. It was righteous indignation. And it was awesome.
Q7 ranting

And there was so much more. Let's just say everybody in our party enjoyed it.  Finally we were done there and we headed down 42nd again, toward Grand Central Station. We read the brass plaques on the street with poems, saying, quotes, images on them. Especially C9. But we eventually got to Grand Central Station and the train store. The display was magical.

With the trains

After we'd had enough there (and it was crowded), we went across the way to the pastry shop and bought a slice of Mannhatten cake, a chocolate cake, red velvet cake, cheesecake, and a fruit tart. Here is Q7 looking at the treats.

Q7 decisions

Then we headed to the subway to head back to Port Authority to catch the bus back to NJ. The subway was fun, the best part of which was a gentleman who sang for us, eventually singing "Everybody now!" and nobody of course sang at all so it was a big blank space in the song and the girls thought it was funny funny. C9 complemented him extensively as we got off the train. Back at Port Authority we got in line for the bus. At the end of a very long line, actually. We did manage to get on the bus, but we were standing again. No problem for the girls, they just hit the floor again. No problem. Then we were back at the hotel and went swimming again. Fun. The day ended with dinner and all those pastries ....

Next up ... ice skating.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Leaf Pile!

Q7 has started raking the yard so as to make a giant leaf pile so she can jump in with the dog!

2013-11-04 16.47.33

2013-11-04 16.46.47

Happy Autumn, folks!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Piano Recital

Most of you know we changed piano teachers this fall, because our previous beloved teacher had to stop teaching. So, 10 weeks in and we've had 10 lessons and one recital this Sunday. The video may be static-y, but try to enjoy nevertheless.

Q7 played Jumping Jazz Cat and Down By the Bay. She sang Down By the Bay, too, and that was lovely. If you can only watch one, watch Down By the Bay (2nd)

C9 played The Hammock and Ice Dancing. Both really lovely pieces. She did a nice job. She cracks me up, she was up and ready to get in the spotlight the instant the last player was done.


Friday, November 1, 2013

End of October

The end of October brings Halloween and Halloween activities. Q7 got a few more than C9 this year because HES cuts the fun off for kids over 2nd grade.

So, first, the pumpkin patch! The 2nd graders (and K and 1s) walked down to the park to "pick" a pumpkin from the field. Not really like a real field, but fun never the less.


We took Lucy Dog to the dog park for a dog Halloween party. See, she has a bandana around her neck. But the whole thing was horrible. Too many people, too many dogs.


The 2nd graders (and K & 1s) also got to do a parade on Halloween. Not a Halloween Parade as in former years (See here. And here. And here.) The kids made masks and paraded. They were cute. Q7 and H7 here, H7 is the awesome peacock, and Q7 is the fancy cat! They were all wearing red because it was wear red day to thwart drugs or something like that.


The actual night of Halloween came, and we'd finally gotten costumes together. C44 took C9 to the thrift store to buy some purple items so she could be Marcia Overstrand, the ExtraOrdinary Wizard from the Septimus Heap series. She got a rather large purple sweaterdress and a purple scarf that we converted into a cape. I'm sure nobody knew who she was, but she was who she was.


And Q7 wore a horse costume from a friend who was a cowgirl. Cute!