Saturday, May 19, 2018

Spring 2018 Recital

Lina was beaming at the spring recital. She received the compliment that she stole the show :-) She performed two solo classical music piano pieces: "Musette" in D Major (by Bach) and "Allegro" in B-flat Major (by Mozart). She had a blast.

This was the final live performance of the academic year at the conservatory of music. Since it was in the evening, I needed a hot cup of chai latte from a bakery for the necessary boost of energy. We celebrated after the recital by eating a delicious dinner at a Tex-Mex restaurant. Lina ate tortilla chips with homemade salsa dip, 3 soft tacos she created (filled with steak, chicken, beans, cheese, guacamole) & a yummy flan dessert.

We both adore Lina's perfect piano teacher and this is the 3rd semester with her. Lina is 10 years old now and this will be 4 semesters total of musical instrument lessons. We can't believe 4th grade will be over in less than 6 weeks. I am happily checking off all our to-dos before summer break. She had all her medical appointments. Lina had zero cavities at the pediatric dentist. She was given a clean bill of health by the pediatrician at the annual wellness physical exam (including 20/20 vision for both eyes, perfect hearing test, she is totally fit etc.) As an aside, it has now been 1 COMPLETE YEAR that Lina & I have NOT gotten sick (we did not catch a cold for a whole year, nor the flu for a whole decade) which is NOT easy in NYC! (8 million people here and we ride the subways & buses a few times every week). We did not even experience spring allergies this year, so we really lucked out. In addition to writing end-of-year academic reports, I will be focusing on finishing the curriculum with Lina (for math, we covered multiplication and division algorithms for decimals recently & she LOVED it!) and I will research places for us to have fun & stay cool since the dreaded summer heat & humidity is upon us soon.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Japanese cherry blossom festival

We went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's annual Sakura Matsuri event (traditional Japanese cherry blossom festival) for the 1st time. Lina is a huge fan of Japanese culture (the language, food, customs, shows & movies, video games, manga graphic novels, fashions etc.) so she had a blast. She enjoyed wearing her kimono (and Tsukihoshi sneakers), seeing anime cosplay costumes worn by teens & adults, attending a Sohenryu tea ceremony for families and looking at the beautiful cherry blossom trees.


Lina also enjoyed shopping at a Japanese market with saved allowance money...loved handmade kawaii (cute) hair accessories, lovely wooden doll (big discount due to tiny chip on top; we don't care about imperfections :-), met female manga comic book artist and purchased self-published comics and bought volume 1 of two series of wonderful manga graphic novels Yotsuba&! and The Girl from the Other Side. She bought a gift for me too...a nod to my love of ring with a detailed tea cup on it.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Little Zoo Vets + Alice's Tea Cup

Lina looked forward to the weekly after-school class with tweens this month at the Central Park Zoo. The Little Zoo Vets class (for ages 8-12) gave Lina the opportunity she has been waiting learn more about internal medicine and perform physical exams with live animals (there was a bunny, a duck and a goat) using real medical equipment and supplies.  Zoology was covered with informative lectures (topics included ears, heart, lungs, GI tract, bones, bandages etc.) and fun hands-on activities with models and crafts. There was a jeopardy-type of quiz game at the end (one team called themselves The Big Cats and Lina's team named themselves The Cute Goats). The class was led by Dr. John M. Sykes, a distinguished veterinarian and a calm, patient, intelligent teacher. The class timed out well...because Lina could see her teacher on the reality TV show called The Zoo (season two started on Animal Planet), since Dr. Sykes is a WCS veterinarian and works at The Bronx Zoo. There were also two friendly and knowledgeable education assistants helping out with this terrific class.

Lina was thrilled to examine "the cute and wise goats!"

Our subway stop was a block away from Alice's Tea Cup, so the girly girl was pleased when we stopped by for delicious scones (our favs: pumpkin caramel and chocolate chip oreo, with clotted cream) and soothing tea (Alice's faerie potion was a hit, with osmanthus flowers, elderflowers and lavender).

Friday, March 9, 2018

Welcome 2018!

We kicked off 2018 with animal interactions (we will have plenty more this year).

February Field Trip Fun Day to the American Museum of Natural History included the live butterfly exhibit (see photos below, they landed on Lina's flower headband and butterfly print dress), 3D Earthflight movie (a flight across the world on the wings of birds) and the interactive "Our Senses" exhibit (with a terrific live presentation).

Yes, Lina did get some scooter days in, thankfully, this winter...whenever it wasn't snowing or super frigid outside...we lucked out in NYC...and had some February days that were 60 deg F -70 deg F to enjoy...she was thrilled to see mama with pigtails those days...she told me I looked 19 years old, ha (though, she prefers I stay my hair is obviously going would be the case with most middle-aged adults, if they simply embrace their natural beauty).

One of our winter hiking days included a break to get on a rope-climbing structure...

and resting by a lake to greet beautiful swans, geese and ducks...

Also, Lina is still having a blast with her piano lessons (4th semester at a music school; 3rd semester with the same perfect piano teacher)...

AND Lina is now a science student at an after-school class with a terrific teacher, I'll post the info in a few's worth the commute into Manhattan...because Lina is a social butterfly and she is already making friends with the half dozen tweens in this class (ages 8-10)...they seem to enjoy math and science as much as Lina does...and they are all mature, friendly, kind and intelligent kids.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Goodbye 2017!

We are excited to welcome 2018...despite frigid temps in NYC (predicted to be single digits the night of New Year's Eve)...because we will be warm at home...watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV, drinking sparkling cider...waiting to give each other a kiss exactly at midnight. It was a fabulous 2017 and we hope 2018 will be just as much fun...lots of adventures...lots of new experiences :-) Below is a long summary of our favorite moments of a way of saying goodbye to a wonderful year.

Hands down the best moments of 2017 for me: horse-back riding on the trails (8 hours in 1 week!) with my tween in the spring AND the pride I felt watching 9 year old Lina perform 2 lovely piano pieces recently at a music school. The Rocking Horse Ranch birthday trip was the best trip we ever took (click here to see photos). Below are photos from the fall 2017 recital taken earlier this month (Lina had only 40 private piano lessons total, but confidently and joyfully played "Minuet in G Major" + "Greensleeves" solo):

It was wonderful that Lina's maternal grandmother and uncle came to the recital to share in this special moment!!! In addition to playing beautiful classical music, Lina truly enjoys creating original musical compositions...she used to write lyrics for years and hum melodies...but now she enjoys writing musical notations on blank staff paper (since she learned how to sight-read music this year):

The holidays were all fabulous this year. For Halloween, Lina dressed up as a nature fairy (click here to see photos) at an awesome Ghouls and Gourds celebration at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and went trick-or-treating as the brilliant Hermione (click here to see photos) from Harry Potter (Lina is currently reading the final book of the series, book 7). Here is a Halloween card she created for me:

For Thanksgiving, we drew hand turkeys (Lina's is on the left and mine is on the right):

For Christmas, we created a tree ornament collage to hang up in Lina's bedroom (I drew the angel on top, but Lina drew all the rest...woodland creatures, little Santa hats, presents, angel standing at the bottom of the tree etc.)

We liked this soooo much, that we decided to hand out something similar as a Christmas greeting card to folks we saw this holiday season...below are the two unique favorites (the one on the left, Lina created for my mom & brother....and the one on the right, for Lina's adored piano teacher):

Lina continued to create beautiful manga drawings in 2017 for graphic novel adventure comics...below is the most recent:

She was motivated to continue...since she received so many compliments in an art class that ended in January 2017 (click here to read that old post).

Below are 2017 drawings Lina created for me specifically...that I will always treasure:

And Lina created the BEST birthday card I ever received:

Lina's favorite new toys for 2017 included:

An addition to her Lego Friends collection...the Amusement Park to join various Heartlake City horse sets she has (such as horse vet, riding club and grooming station) and a cool robot lab...she loves building things and using her imagination:

Breyer Chloe Care For Me Vet Set, which she bought for herself at a ranch gift shop:

and Chloe joins her favs from last year (including the Talking Pikachu)...

She likes imagining taking care of the stuffed animal with the vet tools included in the set and she even drew a picture of Chloe and herself:

One day, she will get a REAL LIVE pet and take good care of it...but until we have that in our budget and live somewhere appropriate...she has interactive stuffed creatures like Chloe...and like this Christmas present that she just bought for herself. After ONE YEAR of waiting to have one (it was so hard to find it last Christmas and the few remaining were marked up to a ridiculous cost)...she saved up her money for a few weeks ($10 per week allowance for doing household chores like cleaning up her room) and got the LAST Hatchimal from the local toy store recently (at a normal retail price!)...she very much enjoyed the hatching process...of her Shimmering Draggle:

In terms of and art are definitely favorite academic subjects for Lina...but she also greatly enjoys solving math problems (favorite topics include fractions, patterns, bar graphs, the multiplication algorithm and angles...she is looking forward to decimals coming up soon), learning history facts (reading books chock full of anecdotes...and historically accurate graphic novels), learning science (from observation outdoors, hands-on experiments, documentary films and books), especially about nature, animals (goats, birds, horses and dogs are favs) and robots...writing original stories every week, reading fiction and non-fiction chapter books and resource guides (like almanacs)...and playing strategy board games, like chess, puzzle games like Q-bitz and crossword games like Scrabble.

Lina is intellectually curious and self-initiated many homeschooling projects (recently collecting bird-spotting data for different types of birds...and then creating a table and a bar graph to analyze the data...and earlier this year, putting found objects under her microscope and drawing illustrations of the magnified forms). She requested to learn basic Japanese in 2018. She has been watching a Japanese documentary show this year and has been excited to learn more about the culture (perhaps one day we will visit Japan), so she wants to learn how to read, write and speak Japanese...she became curious initially about Japan after watching anime TV shows and movies and reading manga comic adventures.

She still remembers the simple and beautiful 9th birthday this year when she wore a purple kimono (click here for photos) and we went out to eat sushi and make home, I  decorated a cake with Pokemon figures and hung up colorful paper lanterns for a fun celebration with guests.

...she loved that carrot cake as much as the horse cake three years prior.

She loved all the field trips we had this year, but especially to the Central Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo (click here for photos), Prospect Park Zoo (we spotted an emu, yay!), New York Aquarium, Audubon Center, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, American Museum of Natural History and various art exhibits.

Lina has too many hobbies to list...but interacting with animals, writing stories, manga drawing (click here to see photos), singing, songwriting, playing piano, taking photographs and recording movies are a few of her favorites. Learning how to ride a 3-wheel scooter, was the most exciting new hobby this year for Lina (click here to see photos)...because we don't just hike for miles now in parks (like we used to do for years) but she also enjoys riding the scooter a few times every week.

We were blessed to attend so many fun community events this year in NYC with kind, polite, interesting, talented and bright people...but our absolute favorite was going holiday caroling last week, for the first time ever...spreading joy by singing holiday songs. The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music hosted a fantastic free event, with delicious hot cocoa and beautiful decorated cookies...a lyric packet given to parents, kids and staff...warm-up indoors before 100+ people headed outside to sing...on Flatbush Avenue, 5th Avenue or 7th Avenue.

It didn't matter that it was about 35 degrees outside...we sang our hearts out for over an hour...bringing smiles to the faces of so many folks in Park Slope...

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, from Petek and Lina!!!!