Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade


One of highlights of our trip to New York City over Thanksgiving was the chance to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Our hotel was right on the Parade route and we only had to stand outside the door to see the balloons sail past.  We were having brunch when the parade began, but we made it outside in time to see Papa Smurf fly by.


From our vantage point, we couldn't see anything until it actually passed us, but we could hear when something great was coming by listening to the crowds begin to cheer.

I loved the way it looked like this dragon was peeking out from behind the sky-scraper:



Gordy figured out that the parade pattern was:  band - float - balloon.  We weren't close enough to see the bands, but we certainly heard them and we saw most floats.


We were soon joined by Ned and Zach:




and then Josie convinced Gordy to pick her up so she could see the band:


... and Zach picked Georgia up so she could see as well:


Mickey Mouse flew by:



And Greg Heffley:


And the Pillsbury Dough Boy:


We watched the parade for about an hour and then went off the Central Park Zoo.  We felt so lucky to have had the opportunity, to see in person, what we've only ever before seen on television.  The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is a truly unique piece of Americana.  

When we drove home on Sunday, we asked everyone to rate their favorite activity.  Josie and I put the parade at the top of our lists and it made Gordy, Georgia and Henry's top 3.  

That's a ringing endorsement in my book!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving in New York


We went to New York City for Thanksgiving this year.  Our trip was a gift from Gordy's parents.  Gordy and his family, and his sister and her family, plus the grandies all gathered in the city to celebrate David & Janice's 50th wedding anniversary.  As part of the celebration, we ate our turkey in a special "chef's room" in the middle of a restaurant's kitchen.  

Gordy's mother thought it would be fun for the kids to come up with some questions to ask their grandparents about their 50 years together and so that is how we passed our time during dinner.  When I say, "the kids," I am referring to Zach (age 14), Henry (12), Georgia (10), Ned (9), and Josie (7).  



The children enjoyed asking the questions and the adults enjoyed answering them.


We all enjoyed the food.




You will notice that I am the only adult pictured.... and that is because after finding herself featured on a blog post this summer, Gordy's mom asked to have all future photos of her approved before they are published on this blog!  She's not here as I type this, so I elected to keep the Thanksgiving post, adult-free.

(Don't tell her that you can see her in the corner of that second photo of Josie!)

I didn't get a great photo of all the cousins together in their Thanksgiving finery, but here is one of the five, outside of the Natural History Museum:


We had glorious weather in Manhattan and a great time celebrating the grandparents.

More to come tomorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane


We spent Thanksgiving in Manhattan with Gordy's family, and we only just got back home.  I apologize for the less-than-stellar amount of blog posts that I wrote while we were gone.  After I've unpacked and started to deal with the mountain of laundry that such a trip creates, I'll write about our trip and about Thanksgiving, but in the meantime, here's a peek at what we did on the drive home.

See that wonderful breakfast cake sitting in my hand?  That, my dear readers, is the beloved and much-missed crumb bun of my childhood!  



We took a little detour on our way out of Manhattan, and drove through the Holland Tunnel to my home town of Summit, New Jersey where we stopped at Natale's Bakery to pick up one dozen of these crumby beauties to enjoy on the car ride back to Massachusetts.

Behold!  A box of crumb buns!  I know, you are all very, very jealous.



Walking into Natales made me positively giddy.  So giddy, that the children were able to talk me into allowing them to get donuts, too.


Oh, how I miss a real New Jersey bakery.  I just haven't found it's equivalent in my current home state.

We also stopped at my childhood home and took photos outside:


When I lived in the house, it was stained a deep red color (which I prefer to the khaki color the house is painted now), but I was glad to see that the house was well cared-for and still loved.  In case you are wondering, the window on the right with the full flower box, was my bedroom.


We also stopped by my grandparents house and took some photos.  That house also looked well-loved and cared-for.  Judging by the large amounts of lawn animals and the faux-rock siding, one might say that it was a little TOO cared-for, but I guess everyone has their own taste!

I really enjoyed the trip down memory lane.  I loved showing the children the different schools I attended and the beautiful downtown where I shopped.  Henry remembers when Granny and Grandfather lived in New Jersey but Georgia does not.  Josie was only three months old when my parents moved to Maine, so she never even visited New Jersey.  

And now the laundry beckons.... stay tuned for the New York Chronicles.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

We're enjoying strangely mild weather, gorgeous blue skies and a chance to spend the day without soccer or hockey.  In a few hours, I plan to get down to business with a stiff martini (or two) and a little turkey!

Hope everyone else is enjoying their holiday, too.



Monday, November 19, 2012

Boy, Do I Need A Vacation

I am so, so, so very glad that Thanksgiving break is almost here.  I am exhausted by school.

.... which is confusing, I know, since I last attended an academic class in May of 1993.

No, I'm exhausted from my children's school .... and it's endless amount of spelling words, math facts, tests, quizzes and projects.  When I pictured my children's school careers, my fantasies never included such large quantities of parental participation.

Each day, after I've helped the kids with their daily homework assignments, we move on to the supplemental work.  For Georgia, that means practicing her multiplication facts:


Quick!  What's 7x9?


Are you sure?

What's 7x7?


Georgia and I have a system where we start at the zeros and work our way up to the twelves.  When Georgia misses one from the group, we do that group over until she gets them all right.  We are still working on accuracy, but some day - good Lord willing - we'll move on to speed.


Georgia and I use my box of home-made, multiplication flashcards.  

We are required to practice multiplication facts, because last year, we did not and said multiplication facts were not really learned.


Oh dear.


Lesson learned.

I present to you, Exhibit B:


After I finish up with Georgia, I move on to Josie.  I am determined to help Josie achieve her addition/subtraction fact goals.  I do not wish to repeat my mistakes.


Josie, it turns out, is not as determined as I am.


I never had these issues with Henry.  He has academic challenges to be sure, but math facts are not one of them.  Henry has an amazing memory for spelling, vocabulary words and math facts.  

But don't worry!  Henry is still getting his share of my personal tutoring services.  After Josie and I finish up with her flashcards, I move on to Henry and today, for example, I spent over an hour quizzing Henry on Demography, Systems of Government and Economies and the GNP etc.  


See those hand-written notes on the left?  Those eight pages are the ones I took on Sunday, while Henry read aloud from the two chapters in his geography book.  Henry reads and I write down the parts he thinks are important.  I do the writing since penmanship is Henry's worst subject (and yes, we used to do additional daily handwriting work, too, until I realized that it was going no where).  See how much academic work is involved in parenting?

Henry refused to be photographed for this blog.


He says his studying is no one's business.

I know that I don't HAVE to do any of this and I know that some of you are thinking that it would be better if I did nothing at all - that my children would be forced to learn by learning on their own, but I completely disagree.  Very few children know how to study and our public schools do not have the time to teach them study skills.  Some children might naturally be motivated to do all these things on their own - and they might succeed - but my children need a little extra prompting.  And sometimes, they need someone to quiz them on the material to make sure that they actually have learned what they are supposed to.  Teachers don't always have time to personally explain every concept to each child.  It's up to the parents to pick up the slack.  I want my children to have academic success and if that means putting in a little (a lot) of extra time, I'll do it.

This isn't a new problem either.  My mother quizzed me on my spelling words in elementary school, helped me study and proofread all my essays in middle school and helped me type almost every paper I wrote in high school.  

I'm not complaining, really, I'm just ready for a break.  

This year for Thanksgiving, I am thankful for four days off from seventh, fourth and second grades.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Veteran's Day Tournament (That is not on Veteran's day)

Nor is it held during Veteran's Day weekend.  Why?

Good question.

We have no idea.


It's the last event of the Town soccer season and it is always FREEZING COLD.  

This we do know.

Georgia's team played and won four games.  


Each morning this weekend, Georgia's team played games at 7:30.  On the second morning (today), it was so cold that the grass was covered in a thick frost and the girls' cleats made loud, hollow sounds with every step.


We thought we arrived prepared for the cold, but we quickly learned that no amount of down or wool was going to be enough.  I have never been this cold (this year).

But that was today and these photos are from yesterday's afternoon game.  The air was chilly but the sun was out.


Josie was wearing about five layers and even Mr. California put on a hat:


Outdoor soccer is now officially over until early spring.  Georgia will start club Futsol in a week.


We all like futsol.  After a two-day freeze-fest at the end of outdoor soccer, one looks forward to being inside a warm, cozy gymnasium where Under Armour is unnecessary and coats can be left in the car.


Early this morning, as the girls and I got ready to go to two soccer games and one hockey game, Gordy and Henry drove down to Connecticut for Henry's hockey.


It has been a busy fall and we are looking forward to Thanksgiving and a few days off from sports.  

A little break will do us all good.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving: A Fashion Preview


This summer, before she left to go home for the winter, Grandma came to Boston to buy the girls some outfits for Thanksgiving.  We arrived on Charles Street bright, early and eager to shop.  The first two stores we went into, were abandoned quickly with little or no success.  Josie found  few acceptable things - although the adults in the party disagreed with her choices - and Georgia poo-pooed almost everything put in front of her.  Grandma and I got a little discouraged.  We decided to take a break and went out to lunch before heading over to the Back Bay for round two.  We weren't sure what we would find in the Back Bay and I could tell that Grandma was getting discouraged and the children were getting tired.  I remembered fondly the time when the children were 3 and 1, and shopping for dressy clothes was incredibly easy.  I would walk into a store, see something that I liked and buy it in two different sizes.  Voila!

Nine and seven year olds "Have Opinions" and "Having Opinions" mean that when shopping, parents and grandparents do not always get to chose what THEY would like.  It's a harsh, new reality.

As a last resort, we wandered up Newbury Street and stumbled upon the adorable Lester Harry's.  And thank the stars, we did.  Lester Harry's is full of the kind of beautiful, un-fussy clothes that Georgia likes, while fulfilling the fashion-forward needs of our clothes-horse Josie.  It was as if the store was made for our family.

We left Lester Harry's with two complete outfits for both girls.  We felt happy and proud of our accomplishments.

But that was two months ago, and since that summer day, Georgia has grown about two inches.  I started to worry that the beautiful, never-before-worn outfits selected by the girls and paid for by Grandma, would no longer fit.  

An emergency fashion show was scheduled to try everything on and...

lo! and behold!  Everything was still perfect. 

Georgia, modeling her Thanksgiving dress and sweater:



Josie, modeling her Thanksgiving dress:


Please pause for a moment and enjoy the adorable cuteness of Josie's knee-socks:


Enough.  Move on.  


And if that wasn't enough, here is Josie's brunch outfit:


And Georgia's:


We added gray tights to Georgia's outfit, since she is not partial to showing any skin:


I am so relieved that everything still fit!  

But this is only a preview.  You'll have to wait until next week to get a view of these clothes in action.  

I know, you can barely contain yourself!  

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