Thursday, January 31, 2013

Train Girls

Evelyn had a wart on her foot treated earlier this week.  In other words, the doctor put on medicine that made a blister around the wart...which means lots of discomfort.  Evelyn usually has ballet on Thursday evenings, but since she can't even walk normally, I called in an absence for her (the first time ever!).  After dinner tonight, Evelyn and Julia decided to build a new Thomas track.
Overall, they worked pretty well together.  Evelyn was respectful of how much inside-the-loop space a preschooler needs, and she tried to keep the inner part of the track open.  Julia insisted on putting in a road for Bertie the bus, and Evelyn let her go with that.
Here's the almost-finished product.  Shortly after I took the picture below, the girls started running trains (and buses) around their creation.

Plant Project

Evelyn's school's Science Expo is three weeks we decided to finally get started on her plant project.  Evelyn wants to know which kind of soil beans grow the best in.  Her hypothesis is the potting soil since it has fertilizer.  We'll have to wait and see how the beans hold up in sand and backyard dirt.

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Love Soccer (maybe?)

We went to open-play time at the indoor soccerplex this morning.  They had these gi-normous soccer balls to play with.  It was Julia's idea to pose like this with one of those soccer balls.  She really looks like she loves soccer in this picture.  However, in real life, the jury is still out on that one.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Air Force One M&Ms

One of our friends works for the secret service.  He is not assigned to President Obama's detail, but he does fly in advance to locations the president will visit, doing various preparations.  Even though our friend doesn't actually fly on the president's plane, he is able to grab some of the snacks served on Air Force One.  Check out this box of M&Ms...
 ...and the color of the candies inside!  The girls loved it - how lucky are we to have a friend with connections like that?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

You Never Know...

You never know what you'll find in Julia's room at night.  Tonight when I went to check on her, she had her curtains all pulled back (?).  
A couple days ago, her ballet things were scattered all over the floor...but her ballet shoes were MIA.  They were on Julia's feet (?).  And sometimes various clothes are laying all over the place.  Even when she's sleeping, Julia keeps us on our toes.

Friday, January 25, 2013


How's this for a pop of color?  Julia really stands out in the snow!  (This picture was taken at her preschool this morning.)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Bit of Snow

As the weeks go by, it seems less and less likely that we will get a decent snow this winter.  Today we got another nuisance snow, as we've started calling them.  It snowed maybe an inch, which was just enough to make the below-freezing roads slick and mandate a delayed opening for school.  When the public schools start late, Julia doesn't have morning preschool.  So what did we do?  After bringing Evelyn to school, we took a drive around Little Seneca Lake, about two miles northwest of our house.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How She Rolls

Today is three months (almost to the day) until Julia's birthday.  So, no, it is not her birthday today.  However, she wanted to get all decked out in a birthday outfit today.  And she chose macaroni and cheese, her absolute favorite, for lunch.  That's just how this 4-year-old rolls!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Top of the Rock

The top of that tall building?  In the middle of Rockefeller Center?  That was our destination this morning.
First we had to check out the ice skating rink.  No time to skate today, though.
We rode a super-fast elevator to the 67th floor, where we got our first view of the city.  Evelyn was looking for two things - the Metropolitan Museum of Art (to the north)...
...and the Empire State Building (to the south).  While on the 69th floor, she also spotted the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and the Chrysler Building.

There's a really cool lights-and-music room on the 69th floor, where Evelyn twirled and danced to make the room come alive.
And here we are at the Top of the Rock, aka the 70th floor.  Yes, it was windy and chilly and cloudy, but we enjoyed every minute of the hour-long visit.

Rainbow Room

Here's Evelyn dancing in what Evelyn called the "Rainbow Room" at the Top of the Rock.  She loved how the lights followed her around the room and then randomly got crazy.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Times Square, Baby!

Yes, we wandered all over an art museum today.  But we still had enough energy to go to Times Square.
Evelyn couldn't believe how bright it was, even though the sun had set long ago.
We basically wandered around the main stretch of Times Square before Evelyn had had enough and was ready to eat.  We ate at the first place that didn't have a wait - Roxy's, which had the best spaghetti and meatballs we've ever eaten at a restaurant.  Then we worn-out tourists took a cab back to the hotel.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Evelyn's dream art museum.  One day.  Eight hours.  Square footage equal to 30 football fields.  17 different collections.  Where to start, where to start?  The Great Hall.  Before coming to New York City, Evelyn had read both a fiction and nonfiction book about the Met.  These books helped her to plan her one-day visit.
The first collection Evelyn wanted to see was Egyptian Art.  In addition to reading about this collection in her books, Evelyn recently studied Egypt in school.  She really liked these 4,000-year-old figures; they were buried in a pharaoh's tomb so he could continue his normal life in the afterlife.  She was amazed that something so old could look so good - some of the figurines still had their original linen clothes.
Another Egyptian favorite of Evelyn's was William.  The eight-inch hippo has become somewhat of a mascot of the museum.  Evelyn loved the bright blue glaze the Egyptians used on the faience piece of artwork.
Once we reached the Temple of Dendur, Evelyn was inspired to draw.  She asked for her sketchbook and pencil and promptly began drawing.  After about 20 minutes of drawing, Evelyn was ready to move on.  (By the way, we only saw about half of the Egyptian Art collection.)
Next stop - Arms and Armor.  Evelyn's favorite displays in this area were the armored horses, as well as the ornate guns and swords.  She also like reading how heavy the pieces of human armor were.
After lunch in the museum's cafeteria, we headed over to Africa, Oceania and the Americas.  It was easy to find what Evelyn was looking for...a 28-foot-long spirit ship.  She had seen this boat in her nonfiction museum book, and she had read about its length, but she couldn't believe how long it actually was in person.
While wandering around the Oceania exhibits, museum staff let us know about the Sunday Studio program that was about to start.  Evelyn jumped at the chance to do a project.  First up was sketching designs she saw on an Indonesian textile
Here's a shot of the hallway, to give you an idea of how many people were participating in this afternoon's program.
Then Evelyn used kid-friendly pastels to transfer her pictures and color in museum-provided stencils onto muslin.  A top-notch souvenir.
We moved to the Impressionists area next with our sights set on Van Gogh, Monet, Seurat and Degas.  They had a lot more Monet than we thought they would.  Evelyn fell in love this Monet - la Grenouillere.  A French woman overheard Evelyn's questions about the painting and answered all of them.  Talk about good luck!
We saw the Degas rooms (all three of them) last.  Evelyn had seen the "Little Dancer" bronze sculpture at Omaha's Joslyn Art Museum this summer, which confused her.  If that sculpture was in Omaha, why was there another one here, in New York City?  That's because 22 bronzes were made from Degas' original mold.  Evelyn stopped to sketch the Little Dancer, although that proved tricky for her.
All of Degas' bronzes (including the 22 Little Dancers) were made after he died in 1917.  After his death, over 150 wax sculptures were found in his studio, and about 70 of them were complete enough to make casts, which were then made into bronzes.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art has most of the bronzes on display.  Evelyn, being the dancer she is, was smitten by Degas' sculptures of ballerinas, recognizing most of the poses and positions.
We stopped for a water and sit-down break after the Impressionists.  Then we headed over to the American Wing to see this enormous painting of George Washington and his troops crossing the Delaware River during the American Revolution.  The people and objects in this painting are life-sized, which makes the overall painting ginormous.  Evelyn's last sketch of the day was the ornate frame (not original, but a replica of the original).
At about 5:15 we headed to the gift shop to pick up a couple of souvenirs - post cards for grandparents, a Degas/ballerina picture book for Julia and colored pencils for Evelyn.

At the end of the day we were thoroughly, yet happily, exhausted.  The art we saw spanned over 4,000 years and all of the continents.  There were several collections we didn't get to see, so Evelyn has already started making a list for her next visit to the Met.

Starting Our Sunday

As we walked from our hotel to Grand Central, this was our view of the Chrysler building (my favorite NYC skyscraper).  A beautiful start to our day in the Big Apple.
 Yesterday we had always walked on the same side of the street as Grand Central, so today I made a point of walking on the opposite side to get a view of the front of the terminal.

Evelyn and I love the intricate detail of the statues and decoration.  Evelyn couldn't believe the clock face is 13 feet in certainly doesn't look that big from the street.
 After a short subway ride north, we walked a couple of blocks and made it to today's destination - the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Let's Eat

After seeing STOMP, Evelyn and I walked down to Little Italy for dinner.  Our destination - Lombardi's Pizza, which first opened in 1905, making it (supposedly) the oldest pizzeria in New York City.  All historical facts aside, the pizza looked SO good, and we were SO hungry, I completely forgot I had wanted to take a picture of it!  The next thing I knew, most of our 14-inch pizza was devoured.  We wanted to eat it all - it was so delicious! - but our tummies would've popped.  So I made both of us stop eating.  Totally tasty, totally worth the 15-minute wait on an early Saturday evening.
We took the subway from Little Italy back up to Grand Central, and then started our four-block walk to our hotel.  But first we had to make a pit-stop for these little cuties.  These cupcakes are about the diameter of an Oreo cookie, but they pack a powerfully sweet punch.  My favorite was the chocolate mint, and Evelyn's favorite was the Oreo.
 As we walked to the hotel, I saw my favorite skyscraper, the Chrysler Building (only three blocks from our hotel).
 Once we got to our room (we couldn't go to our room earlier since it wasn't ready yet), Evelyn realized she could see her favorite skyscraper from the west-facing window.


We took the subway from Grand Central to the East Village, walked a couple of blocks and then found the Orpheum Theater, where STOMP performs.
 We were one of the first ticket-holders in line, so we got to wait inside the lobby, which was decorated with all sorts of percussion "instruments."
 Photographs are allowed before and after the naturally I took advantage of that!  Evelyn couldn't believe how low the stage was.
 And with us sitting only ten rows back...
 ...we had a great view of the show.  The Orpheum is a small, intimate theater, so I doubt there are any bad seats.  The show was more comical than we thought it would be - two of the performers acted aloof, adding to the humor.  Plus all of the performers are amazing dancers and percussionists.
 The icing on the cake was meeting two of today's performers after the show.  These were two of the three ladies in this afternoon's show.  STOMP was an awesome show that was worth every penny!

Arriving in New York City

Evelyn and I arrived in New York City (via Megabus) late this morning.  I had packed a lunch, and we luckily happened across Greeley Park, with plenty of tables and chairs.  It wasn't too cold - about 36 degrees - and it was sunny, so we enjoyed our impromptu picnic lunch in the city.
 As we continued our walk to our hotel, I purposely walked past Evelyn's favorite skyscraper, the Empire State Building.  She couldn't believe how tall it was when she was standing at the base of the building.
Evelyn also liked how we caught glimpses of the Empire State Building as we continued our walk to the hotel.
After checking in early to our hotel, we walked four blocks to Grand Central Station.  Evelyn was amazed at the immense size of the main terminal, as well as the beauty of the 100-year-old architectural details.