Merry, Merry

Christmas cookies. Gingerbread houses. Lessons and carols, silly paper hats and new pajamas on Christmas Eve. Santa and surprises under the tree and Christmas Day oysters with friends. But mostly, the smiles. I never get tired of those smiles. What a lucky girl I am to share my life with these amazing people!

 

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Welcome to New York!

It finally happened. We finally got the kids to New York! There was all sorts of drama with our flights, but at the end of the day we found ourselves in Times Square. Fletcher and Lola were awe-struck. Honestly, one of the best things about being a parent is getting to experience things like Times Square for the first time all over again through their eyes. I think they could have just stood there all night long! We ate dinner at Juniors, compete with egg creams and mile-high cheesecake, then headed over to the Shubert Theater for Matilda, the Musical. Our seats were waaaaaayyyyyyyyy up in the highest balcony, but the view was fantastic and the show was spectacular. Our sweet girl now has serious Broadway fever!

The next morning we headed to the Natural History Museum via the Plaza Hotel (because it’s The Plaza!), crossing though Central Park and enjoying a warm pretzel along the way. The Natural History Museum wasn’t exactly our favorite thing in NYC. Lots of taxidermy, and that doesn’t go over well with Lola Gray. But Fletcher enjoyed the dinosaurs, and we all enjoyed the Hayden Planetarium. As the sun started to set, we headed back through Central Park and down Fifth Avenue to look at the Christmas windows. What we didn’t anticipate was the mad crush of people trying to do exactly the same thing! We hit a few highlights, made a blissful bathroom stop at Tiffany’s, and then found ourselves outside the American Girl store with an hour long wait just to get inside the store! No thank you. We decided to call it a night and start fresh the next day.

One of Lola Gray’s main requirements for the trip was a visit to the Statue of Liberty. In all the time I have spent in New York, including the years I lived there, I had never set foot on Liberty Island, so this was a new experience for everyone! Our ferry tickets were for early Sunday morning and the weather was spectacular – bright blue skies and warm for December. We all had a fantastic time touring the museum and climbing the base of the statue. Next time we will get tickets to climb all the way to the crown!

After the ferry returned to Manhattan, we took a few turns on the amazing Sea Glass Carousel in Battery Park, wandered through lower Manhattan, visited Ground Zero and the 9-11 Memorial before exhaustion drove us back to the hotel.

Our last full day in New York, we got an early start on those fabulous Christmas windows (without the crowds!) and finally visited the American Girl store where Lola Gray designed and had made a dress for her new doll. We spent much of the day in the fabulous Metropolitan Museum of Art, then headed down to Bryant Park for ice skating and dinner at the Winter Village (vegan fried chicken legs!) before the grand finale of the trip, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular!

There is so much more we still need to see and do in New York, but I have a feeling we will be back again before too much more time passes. Lola Gray in particular really fell in love with the city and is already talking about other Broadway shows she wants to see the next time we go. I guess I need to start saving my pennies!

 

T – E – N

I don’t even know how exactly it happened, but my baby girl is ten. Double digits! This child amazes me every day. She is sweet and kind and brave and still very much a child, but with ooooooooohhhhhhh so many opinions. The tween drama is already rearing it’s ugly head, and I fear for us all when it hits for real. But when she snuggles in my lap, she is still my sweet baby with those incredible, kissable cheeks. I melt every time.

Lola Gray has been wanting to go to New York City for years, but the timing (and money) just hasn’t seemed right. But this year, finally, we were determined to make it happen. She’s been patient for so long. She knew that we had bought plane tickets and were flying up to the Big Apple the weekend after her birthday, but what she didn’t know was that we surprised her with tickets to the Statue of Liberty and to see both the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes and Matilda the Musical. I wish I had made a video when she opened the presents – her squeals were unbelievable. It is going to be the trip of a lifetime, and I’m so happy I get to share it with my favorite girl in the whole wide world!

Lost time – November

How is it even possible that I haven’t posted since October?? November did happen, and not only did it happen but it was busy start to finish. A lot of that was work related for me, but we also had plenty of time to dance in the rain . . .

and take lots of selfies . . .

We made art . . .

And met our favorite author, the amazing Kate DiCamillo! She not only signed all of our books, she also read from our copy of Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken. This woman is my hero.

We took Lola to a night of opera at the Lucas . . .

And had a great weekend with NayNay and Grandaddy who came to Savannah for Fletcher’s orchestra concert.

And we wrapped up the month with Thanksgiving in Alabama . . .

Roll Tide!

 

 

Boo!

Happy Halloween from the Hummingbird and the Panda!

I’ll admit it was a little hard for me to swallow the idea of a panda costume at first, but Fletcher totally owned it. He wore his costume to school on Friday, to the school evening Halloween activities, where we won the parent-child bake off with some pretty spectacular bloody glass cupcakes, to his orchestra Halloween concert on Saturday and then trick-or-treating Saturday night. And if it ever decides to cool down around here, I’m pretty sure he will wear it to sleep in all winter!

Lola Gray designed her beautiful Hummingbird costume, and together we constructed it more-or-less to her specifications. I love how sweet and creative she is, and that Halloween is still an opportunity to enter a beautiful fantasy world. I hope she holds on to that forever.

Plus, we managed not to kill each other in the process of finishing the costume! I’d call that a successful Halloween!

 

Life – moving fast

I’m pretty sure I’ve used the Ferris Bueller quote here before, but it keeps popping into my head these days. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.” Sums up our family life perfectly.

Adjusting to the new school year hasn’t been easy. Fletcher adores middle school, but the work load is tougher and learning time management . . . well that’s not easy to do. And Lola’s 4th grade drama! The struggle is real, don’t ever doubt it.

I haven’t posted anything in ages because, honestly, I have felt like life is just one endless night of homework after another. But then, I tend to forget that the whole point of this blog is to remind me of the little things that make this journey one worth taking. And every time I stop and look backwards, the monotony of the day to day seems to fade and those beautiful moments emerge. Those moments are what life is all about, right? And while I still hate homework, I realize there is still a lot of beauty in my life.

In the past two months we have had lots of early morning walks to the bus stop, lots of late nights finishing up homework. But there have also been adventures with the Boy Scouts, a visit to Alabama and a visit from NayNay in Savannah. Lola Gray was inducted into the school Safety Patrol and took her first cooking class (she’s been making excellent pancakes and muffins ever since.) Both kids were extras in a movie being filmed in Savannah. And my dear Nicole spent a long weekend visiting with me and watching movies at the Savannah Film Festival.

So, I’m trying to accept the fact that, for right now, our lives aren’t going to slow down. But that’s ok, as long as I stop and look around every once in a while.

 

banana

 

hasta luego

Saying goodbye stinks. Like, really, really, really stinks. But we have had to do it anyway. Our dear friends have moved to Costa Rica for a year long adventure full of spectacular beaches and howler monkeys and . . .well . . . adventure. And it is going to be amazing. I am in awe, and I am heartbroken. We miss them like crazy, and they’ve only been gone a week!

Fortunately, there is internet in Costa Rica so Lola Gray has already been able to Face Time with her sweet friend. I hope that is something they can do on a regular basis. Plus we will see each other when they return for Christmas. And who knows, if we win the lottery we might even hop down to Costa Rica for a visit before the year is up. But in the mean time, I miss my friend.