Monday, September 24, 2018

ShimmerScale FlutterTail

Meet Lina's 1st pet fish...a male red & blue Crowntail Betta (pronounced bet·ta, like “bed-tah," not bay-tah) fish, which she named ShimmerScale FlutterTail. 

Healthy,, swimming...making bubbles on the surface...good appetite (not picky, from the moment we brought it home, eats appropriate number of pellets 2x a day)...responds to Lina singing and follows her fingers. Lina is thrilled with her new pet.

On the 1st day of fall, we got a basic, inexpensive setup (since Lina is only 10 1/2 years old and this is her 1st pet ever, low maintenance...easy to clean, easy to feed, tank fits on her bedroom dresser). ShimmerScale FlutterTail LOVES resting in the leaves when he naps!...but there's still empty space in the tank, so we will go to the store tomorrow to find a little hideaway for him (like a smooth log or cave) and toys (like a floating ball) to keep it stimulated. He is playful, smart and curious. When we are home, he loves listening to Lina play the piano and talk to him and he watches us intently. 

Lina is an animal lover...she is gentle and had MANY interactions with live animals over the last decade - at ranches, farms, petting zoos, as well as visiting with other people's pets (she loves goats, bunnies, horses, dogs, birds, sea creatures etc.)...she even took a veterinary class for tweens. I figured now she is old enough to help care for a pet, observe it & learn about it...train it. When this pet passes away, she will begin to learn about grief and then we will move to a new home...and we will know what we're allowed to keep there, in terms of she can have her next (higher maintenance) pet.

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Divine Drink

Lina nicknamed mama's favorite drink "heaven in a bowl." So YUM, relaxing & warm. Perfect while transitioning to cooler temps. Chamomile & lavender & honey tea latte:

More cafés should offer this delightful drink...except our society is all about go-go-go, so coffee is king (haven't had a drop in 2+ years and feel GREAT!)...people are exhausted, pushing themselves to stay up later and later and wake up earlier and unhealthy for their bodies and their minds. We get all the sleep our bodies need overnight (Lina, 11 hrs; me, 9 hrs) and we wake up energized (naturally), then I have a bit of English breakfast tea (no sugar). Lina never drinks soda (never has)...and doesn't have a ton of sugar daily and then crash (like many kids do). I do not de-stress with alcohol, not even wine (like many adults do), and I just drink it when socializing at special events a couple of times per year. A simple cup of chamomile tea helps me feel calm & unwind at night. Lina & I did not get sick yet (not even one cold) in the last 16 months! (Lina never had the flu, no infections.)

The chamomile & lavender & honey tea latte was a $5.50 indulgence recently (maybe I will learn how to make it for myself at home) at Couleur Café in Park Slope...we also ate the most yummy brunch there:

The 10 year old loved the scrambled eggs with cheese (ate every bit) & bacon & roasted potatoes...I loved the "bacon cocotte" which was 2 baked eggs (cooked perfectly in a small casserole dish), with Gruyère cheese and bacon + a side salad. When I was working hard at an office job in Manhattan, earning a decent salary, I used to love eating brunch at restaurants every weekend (usually both Saturday and Sunday) for years...but as a stay-at-home mom...I don't have brunch in our budget for once per week or even once every month...but this was sooooo worth it ;--)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A cool day at the beach...

Nothing is better in the summer than feeling a cool sea breeze...listening to waves crashing onto the shore...smelling saltwater...watching beautiful sailboats moving across the ocean...stepping on soft sand and dipping into the soothing seawater. We went to Coney Island Beach + boardwalk...on a cloudy weekday when it would be relatively clean and not so crowded or loud at the free beach.

We spotted another mom+daughter duo enjoying the cooler summer day together.

YES, all fingers up = hand gesture to indicate *this* summer you are 10 years old.

Drying off a bit...

After 1 hour in the water (blowing bubbles, trying to float with my help, splashing, jumping up to catch waves, going for a ride on my back)...Lina loved watching the silly antics of seagull friends on the shore...she is good at spotting birds everywhere!

Then, we walked on the prettified boardwalk...

Whenever we saw a line with a ton of day campers waiting, we avoided that it wasn't a soul-crushing experience as it often can be going out and about in overcrowded New York City. We went on amusement park rides together (we especially liked a new mild thrill ride that was a combination of video game + ride), played at the arcade...ate sicilian pizza, Nutella & Oreo gelato & Churros. A simple, beautiful summer day.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Ocean Wonders: Sharks!

The New York Aquarium's newest exhibit Ocean Wonders: Sharks! just opened on June 30 and it was worth the wait (been looking forward to this exhibit for a few years).

Our favorite moment was at the rooftop Touch Pool...we enjoyed touching a live shark for the first time (a bamboo shark) and feeling the shark skin, which is made up of dermal denticles (more like tiny teeth than fish scales).

Lina was delighted with this immersive exhibit...tunnels, sea creatures above and below us, making it feel like we were actually underwater.

The New York Aquarium will continue construction and they expect to have three new exhibit areas (Playquarium, Spineless and SeaChange) completed by 2020.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Our farewell to spring

It's the last week of spring...and we are enjoying every windy 70 degree day outdoors...before being enveloped in the extreme heat+humidity of summer. Lina & I rode a sweet camel (at the Bronx Zoo)...

The Tree Conqueror climbed a tree & relaxed on the sturdy branch in Prospect Park...

Wearing her cool new shades...

Reminds me of when she sat on a tree branch back during our favorite season...fall:

We are already looking forward to the cool winds of fabulous fall...since sweaty summer is our least favorite season. As you may have noticed...Lina decided to have a fresh start to this spring...9 inches of hair chopped off. 

She made this decision two weeks into spring, to speed up her hair washing for warm weather days. Definitely will make it easier for her to wash her hair in under 10 minutes when we return (wiped out) from beach or pool trips this summer.

We do miss the long, lovely locks...

BUT...short hair is super cute & easy to maintain for the tween, so she doesn't regret it.

Spring gave Lina the opportunity to watch her favorite bird, Benedict, bathing in rainwater puddles on a roof. 

(Lina's favorite exhibit at the Bronx Zoo recently was the World of Birds.)

With the end of 4th grade fast approaching...we bid farewell to Lina's wonderful piano lessons at the conservatory for this school we prepare for our summer break. She wanted to wear a kawaii hair accessory and golden unicorn shirt.

The pianist's well-trained fingers will retain muscle memory over the summer, as she practices at home...since she is now at an intermediate level and doesn't want to forget all that she has learned (music means so much to Lina).

In the school's garden...mama+Lina enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of spring.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Spring 2018 Recital

Lina was beaming with joy 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.