Saturday, December 31, 2016

A quiet end to 2016

We must be getting old.  No New Year's Eve party.  We didn't go out to a bar.  We didn't even go out to dinner.  Instead we all opted to stay home, turn off the personal electronics, and cuddle on the couch to watch a movie together.  It was a nice, quiet end to the year with two people I love best in this world.  

Toasting the new year (with Gatorade)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A visit to the jungle

The Jungle Queen riverboat cruise has been operating in Ft. Lauderdale since 1935.  Due to its many canals and rivers, Ft. Lauderdale has the nickname "Venice of America".  This boat tour takes you along some of those rivers as the narrator points out the homes of some of Florida's rich and famous. It was interesting to see how many of these amazing, huge homes were unoccupied.  We even saw a $220 million yacht.  Kyle and I think we should give up our jobs and just be the caretakers of some of these properties.



The afternoon cruise takes you to a tiny "island" where they have a small zoo and an alligator wrestling show.  The man who wrestled the alligators was funny (he had to entertain the crowd) but he also explained how the Seminole Indians used to hunt alligators and brought them back to the camp where they would be kept in a pit until the people were ready to cook the meat.  This way, they had fresh food.  They needed to develop a technique to capture and bring the alligators back alive. When settlers came they paid the Seminoles to watch and learn their methods, and the alligator wrestling shows were born.





Grace held the baby alligator and Nana held a parrot.  Brave girls!


And, then, they drove the boat back!  (not really, but it was a cute photo)


Monday, December 26, 2016

Put a ring on it

Aunt Nancy and Uncle Chris bought Grace this cool ring as one of her Christmas presents.

Grace loves getting to spend time with them when we are in Florida. This year, they went to see the movie "Sing!" together. They were all singing when they got back.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

All in a few hours

We went from this....

...to this!  Ahh...warm, Florida sunshine and beautiful ocean water.









What did YOU do on Christmas Eve?  We went boogie boarding.  And, yes, I went too. But I am always the one taking the pictures so I am rarely in them.







Thursday, December 22, 2016

One-on-one time

It is so cute and heart-warming to see Grace have such a special relationship with Mimi, Ba, and Nana.





Wednesday, December 21, 2016

How do you get to Lincoln Center?

Practice, Practice, Practice.

Sunday was "the" day - we had plans to see The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center! Before the big event we wandered the stores on 5th Avenue, saw the Rockerfeller Christmas tree, and had lunch at Saks. Fancy!

Saks 5th Avenue windows
They were a Nutcracker theme!







Rockefeller Center 



...and then the show!





Friday, December 16, 2016

Tomboy?

Grace says she is a "tomboy".  I am not sure about that, but she does prefer to play with the boys in her class.  This year there are 18 boys and 8 girls in Mr. Rood's classroom.  It might just be easier to hang out with the boys because there are more of them.  And, we are sure there is a lot less drama!


Mr. Rood posted this photo of afternoon recess on Facebook. The kids had a great time making a snowman.

Fourth graders at Grace's school can get involved in an after-school STEM program.  Ryan (on Grace's left between Grace and the boy with the blue hat) asked her to be his lab partner.  The first session (5 lessons) introduced students to SPHERO, a robotic sphere that you can control from an app on your device.  As you get more advanced, you can program the SPHERO to do different things like jump, dance to music, and go around corners.  Grace got one as an early Christmas present.  It is cool, but I am not sure Buddy likes it!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Freedom and Boys to Men

Does that title make you wonder what this post is about?  After doing this blog for 9 years, it is a challenge to keep coming up with new titles.  This one is about our Saturday in NYC.

Grace learned about 9/11 this fall in school.  Up until now, the focus has been more about the heroes who helped rather than the details of terrorism and the tragic death of so many people.  She was really affected by what she learned and read a few books to supplement the discussion in the classroom.  One of those was a book in the I Survived series - historical fiction that is very popular with 3-5th graders right now.  So on Saturday morning, we decided to get up "earlyish" and take the subway to see the 9/11 memorial and Freedom Tower.

At first Grace was skeptical of the subway.  But the station at 59th street was like an indoor mall.  It is comical how easily her mind was changed!  If we had more time, I might have gone back to sample some of the food (yes, I just said I would eat food from a subway station) and do a little shopping. My current favorite store - LUSH - was there!


At Chambers Street we exited to the street and turned the corner to this view!  Grace took some of these photos with the cloud reflection using her iPod.



She told us that the Freedom Tower was built differently than the Twin Towers so if a place would fly into it now, it wouldn't collapse.


Hang out with a 9-year old - get selfies!


Or, you can ask someone to take a photo for you.




Later in the day, Grace got Surprise #3 - the Brennan boys, who are all now men.





We wandered around the city and made our way to Bryant Park and Rockerfeller Center. It was SO crowded everywhere!



Nothing like a New York hot dog from the man on the street!


Love this photo of all of us in Bryant Park.  Since we couldn't get near "the" tree, this was a good substitute.


The kids were amazed by a street artist who used spray paint to make these creations.  Nana bought one for Ryan and Grace.  Connor saved his spending money.




Hungry and tired, we left the crowds to find a quiet Italian restaurant for dinner.  What a great day!