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 education...music 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 origami...at 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!!!!