Friday, July 31, 2009

End o'July

Our last day in NYC was great. It was "free and cheap" day - visiting Emily's small and quaint church (Anna and Colin finally got to touch a piano keyboard), incredible Thai lunch specials, free kayaking on the Hudson, viewing Lady Liberty from the Staton Island Ferry, take-out Indian.

We had a great time with Emily, and I'm glad my kids finally got to see the big city. It went by so fast!

Back at home, its work, laundry, wrestling kids, business as usual. Last night at dinner, we told the kids, "Oh boy, can't wait until school starts again!" They said, "What do you mean?!? Don't you like being with us?" Oh yes, we do, but we also like the school year, with its routine. You have to get up early, so you go to bed early. You go to school all day, and come home tired.

Of course, in May I couldn't wait for school to end, to relax the routine. I haven't had to pack any lunches or get anyone up early for breakfast. When both kids are playing so nicely together in the evening, it is nice to be relaxed and let them stay up late. I guess we enjoy the difference.

Only 3 weeks left of relaxed summer! Hard to believe, its gone so fast. When those kiddoes stay up late, its hard to find time to blog regularly. I guess that's what's been happening to many of my friend bloggers.

Unfortunately, there's no end in sight for the scorching temperatures here in Texas. My tomatoes, and my brain, are fried...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I ♥ NY

The lack of posting has been due to preparations for and traveling to our family vacation spot this year: NYC to visit my sister Emily. She claims that we are wearing her out on our daily excursions, but has managed to update her blog twice with our visit.

We arrived late on Wednesday afternoon, and walked from her apartment to a great little Italian place, then walked to a gelateria to watch the sunset by the Hudson. On Thursday both Emily and Anthony had to work, so I took the kids out. They got quite an education immediately on the subway: first Colin pounced on what looked like a pile of clothes to look out the window but it was actually a sleeping homeless person folded over. She scowled at us but immediately folded back over and resumed sleep. Also, we had the schizophrenic man giving us an important rambling message, and a blind man slowly making his way through our train while serenading us and holding out his cup. Between these adventures, we visited the Empire State Building and spent about 3 hours at Central Park, which has some amazing playscapes and even large boulders to climb.

Friday Emily joined us and we did the Museum of Natural History, then we met Anthony to visit Highline Park. This was a really cool space, a park built on an abandoned elevated train track, using mostly native flowers -- the kind that were already growing there before anyone started tending it. It was a beautiful place to be, with so many locals lounging and strolling. We had a really great gelato cone each as we strolled, enjoying the sunshine and cool breeze.

Today we had a lazy brunch, then went to the amazing Times Square ToysRUs. It has an indoor ferris wheel, life size animatronic T. Rex, life size Barbie Fun House, and a large Lego and Star Wars selection. Then we went to see "Mary Poppins." The kids were enthralled with their first Broadway show. The show has been updated with some new songs and old ones, and the story reworked a little - much improved from the overly long movie - we all loved it. Dinner tonight was Japanese-Brasilian fusion at SushiSamba.

I can't believe tomorrow is our last full day. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

After 3.5 hours at the pool, I'm really too tired to blog...

Three girls, with the same suit!

Silly boys!

Thanks for a fun day, Gibsons!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Swim Team Fin

Tonight was the end of season banquet for swim team. What a way to celebrate - standing in a long line outside at 6:30pm, when the temp is peaking at 103, no breeze, to eat fajitas. Then we waited through the awards - since we only went to 2 meets our kids didn't actually get any special awards. But Anna and Colin we SO PROUD of their participant trophies, they held them high and beamed.

After all that, they opened the pool and let the kids splash around. Walking back to the car, we talked about how there was no more swim practice tomorrow. The kids decided they were happy AND sad. Me, too.

Swim team did do what I hoped - made them tan (especially Anna!), and lean (especially Colin), and made them accomplished, strong swimmers.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Quatro de Julio

Hope you had a great 4th of July weekend. We certainly did. Last year we were arriving in Italy! This year we visited friends in Ft. Worth. They have a new baby, a fun-loving two year old, and parents who are some of our bestest and oldest friends. It was quiet, but we did manage to cook a surf-and-turf feast with insalata caprese, watch some fireworks from the roof of our car, order some pizza, and play with ALL of Wyatt's toys.

Highlights included Wyatt galloping around, singing for us his own made up song, "Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!" Also, Wyatt, who is not yet a connoisseur of the bath, had a lesson in just how fun bathtime could be from Colin. Anna got a lot of smiles from baby Audrey, a precious former premie who is remarkably easy to soothe. David laughed at how much wine Anthony brought for us to consume in just two nights. Deedra and I escaped to Costco, mutually proclaiming our love for that store. A huge container of organic raspberries for $4?!? What's not to love?

No plans, no drama, not even a tug of war over toys between the children. Doesn't make for a very exciting blog post, but it did make for a good weekend. Here's to the next one!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Roll over, Beethoven

Colin begs me -- if he brushes his teeth and picks up his room and puts his pyjamas on REALLY FAST, can he watch a little Star Wars before bed? OK, if you get it all done.

A few moments later, he whispers in my ear, "What is your favorite song that I play on the piano?" Oh, there are so many... He knows I love a little after dinner music. So he plays me Haydn's Suprise Symphony, and Brahm's Symphony #1, and of course, Bach's Minuet in G. (You know, the big note versions). So I reward him with my rusty renditions of some songs by his favorite composer, Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise (the intermediate student versions). I am amazed how well my fingers remember most of the notes, and thank my 11 year old self for plowing through this stuff decades ago. Colin loves it, despite my missteps, then plays me his new Beethoven piece, Turkish Dance. Reluctantly, I remind him of his unfinished tasks and the promise of Star Wars, and he runs off to it.

I love my little pianist!

Also, my little poet Anna, is inspired by the piano:

There are 88 keys on the piano,
All of them black and white.
I feel like a breeze when
I whiz on the keys,
It's such a wonderful delight.

Bang! goes the forte
Softly humms the piano,
The dynamics can be loud or soft,
It depends on the way you play it.

Loud or soft,
Hard or light,
All songs are good,
Even your type.