Monday, December 31, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

It is traditional to sing Auld Lang Syne on New Year's Eve to signal the change from "old" times to the new.  The Scottish poem written in 1788 by Robert Burns has had many changes, but the sentiment is still the same - remember the friends from your past as you move on to new memories.

Well, we ended 2012 with family and friends in Florida enjoying the sunshine, salt water, and sand. December 31 was the only day of the trip that I took out my camera, but I am glad I did because I captured these memories.

At first Grace didn't want to get in the water.
The waves were pretty big!
But with Kyle's help, she took a chance and went in!

Her face is priceless!   
But after getting hit with a big wave, Grace decided
it was safer to bury herself in the sand!

Later on New Year's Eve day we ate seafood at a waterfront restaurant.  It was the perfect atmosphere for the end of our vacation and the year.
Here's to some AMAZING things in 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The last week of 2012

The last week of 2012 was a busy one in Florida.  As soon as we arrived on Christmas Day we headed directly to the pool because that was all Grace talked about on the flight down. The pool and Aunt Phyllis.  Just like when I was as a kid, Grace is in love with Aunt Phyllis because she has this way of making you feel like you are the most special person in the room when you are with her.
Grace was the perfect little helper in her apron cleaing up after dinner and when it was time to hand out Christmas presents to everyone.  She loved hangng out with her Godparents, Aunt Nancy and Uncle Chris, too, who were full of hugs and kisses for her!
Aunt Nancy and Uncle Chris planned an awesome day with Grace!  They picked her up in the morning for an adventure to lunch, the movies for Wreck it Ralph, and to see their dog, Bella.  Gace told me that Bella jumped on her and kissed her face.  She said, "Mom, Bella must really love me!"
Grace waiting for Aunt Nancy and Uncle Chris.
She was so excited she even got her car seat and put it by the door. 
Nana had tons of activities planned for the week, too!  We were busy every minute!  The following day included a trip to the strawberry patch with Aunt Phyllis and Nana.  These strawberries grew up on vines instead of along the ground.  They brought home a basket to share and the red, ripe strawberries didn't last long!

Other days were full of hanging out, opening more presents, cooking together, dancing, playing board games, swimming the the pool and ocean, building sandcastles, a ride on the Diva Duck (an amphibious vehicle that went on the land and water) and Segway riding for Nana and Mommy!

All of the pictures in this post were from Nana's camera.  I had my big camera with me, but for some reason I had little desire to take it out this week.  Sometimes I spend too much time behind the camera and not enough time just enjoying what is happening.  My favorite photo fom the week is this last one of Grace and Ba's hands together.  Love!
After all that fun, Grace didn't want to leave Nana and Ba.  She was so sad when she realized our vacation was coming to an end.  But, we know we will see them again very soon.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas at the beach

Spending Christmas in Florida has become our tradition!  Grace is a real pool and beach bunny!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The snow came, so guess who wasn't far behind?

We had a big snowstorm last night which was perfect for Santa to land his sleigh on our back deck.  We lit the tree, put out some cookies and milk, and I got to play with my camera in manual mode for a little while.
Then Santa came and left presents for Grace under the tree!  Since we are going to Florida in a few days, I wanted to celebrate Christmas early so Grace would have time to enjoy her new toys. 

This morning she was greeted by a Barbie cruise ship, a Polly Pockets airplane, a card-making craft kit, a block building game, a new keyboard stand, some books, and this giant, cuddly dog.  We are all a little perplexed by the Crayola Light Designer.  In theory it is a cool concept, but neither of the two who can read want to decipher the directions!
When Nana asked her what her favorite gift is, she listed each thing one by one.  I am glad she is happy.  Grace is an awesome kid and she really deserves everything she gets.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reindeer games

Every year for the 9 years I was a high school administrator I was overwhelmed when I stepped out on the EJ Thomas stage at graduation and looked out into the audience of thousands of people.  I never got used to it.  I wonder if that is how Grace felt when she entered the high school auditorium for her first school holiday show.  It certainly looks like she and her friends are gazing up into the balcony in this photo.
The auditorium was packed with standing room only for the 350 elementary performers.  Each grade prepared two holiday songs.  Personally, I thought the kindergarteners and the second graders did the best.  Maybe it was because their songs were upbeat, familiar, and chosen well for their ages.  Grace's grade sang "O Christmas Tree" and "Jingle Bells" and they had hand movements to go with the words.  Cute!

Kyle's parents came with us for the show.  Grace was thrilled to have them there.  I think it was special for them, too, because Grace's school now is the one Kyle went to as a kid.  Funny how things come full circle....
It was another exciting, busy night for my little girl.  She is such a tough kid when it comes to anything that is new and action-packed.  This is what she looked like before we left, but she fell asleep in the car coming home and it is only a five minute drive!
Don't you love her reindeer dress?  It reminds me of Rudolph's girlfriend, Clarice.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday windows

I forgot to post these photos from our day wandering around the city when we were in NYC.  Nana shared one of her favorite things with Grace - the animated windows!

These are at Macy's but Nana really prefers the modern, "artsy" displays at Barney's and Bergdorf's.
We also walked to Bryant Park where they had a winter outdoor shopping area with unique gift items and an ice skating rink!  Grace remembered we were here in he summer for Broadway in the Park, but it looked totally different.
She loved that she found a building with her name on it and told us that it was "her" building!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Must Be Santa

After a feverish day and night yesterday, Grace woke up like a different child today.  All morning she was bouncing around the house singing and dancing - back to her normal self!  I was happy, of course, but I was also glad that I didn't have to tell her that she would have to miss her piano recital this afternoon.  She has been practicing Must Be Santa since before Thanksgiving, so getting to perform today was important for everyone.
Grace's music teacher has dozens of students. Today's recital was the first time she divided up the older students (who take private lessons) and the younger ones who participate in small group classes called Music For Young Children (MYC) into two separate groups.  MYC nvolves a multisensory approach to learning music and keyboarding. The MYC program includes 24,000 children and 900 teachers on 3 continents.  Our teacher is the only MYC trained teacher in the area.  As a result, she is in high demand.  She requires that all students participate in three years of MYC before she will consider taking then as a private student.  Grace has been with her for less than a we have a long way to go.
None of the children today were older than 3rd grade and the most impressive ones were playing Beethoven.   I can only hope we will get there some day.  Kyle and I are learning the type of dedication and commitment this takes.  There are a lot of ups and downs and teamwork to keep Grace motivated to practice.  But, those practice sessions pay off when she performs as well as she did today.  And, it is so cool to see our little person sitting at a big grande piano like she belongs there!

Grace played her piece alone first and then her teacher joined her for a duet.  The hard part of the duet is your timing has to be perfect so you can play with another person.  We have been practicing this for a couple of weeks with Miss Nancy's part on a CD. Grace did great!

There are four children in Graces "Sunrise II" class.  Lauren introduced the group for their ensemble performance of Jingle Bells.
Miss Nancy tries to have every student perform more than one piece at each recital.  Most did a piano piece and performed with their classmates.  Grace's group's interpretation of Jingle Bells was cute.  They were all so focused on their teacher's cues during the song!