We went to Rockefeller Plaza to walk around (between 5th & 6th Ave and between West 48th-51st St) to kick off our December holiday fun. Lina jumping with glee in front of the 72-foot tall, 12-ton, 75-year-old Norway Spruce Christmas tree:
She watched the ice skaters at the rink...
and posed for a picture with mommy...
I told Lina we would go shopping in person and she could choose gifts for herself, with the budget of $100 max for this Christmas (and we stuck to it).
We went to the 10,000 square foot Nintendo store for the first time.
They did not have a selection of older Pokémon games (to play on her 2DS or DS), since they are moving on to the new Switch player. I told her we could go to a GameStop store for her birthday to get a couple of older games on her list. Luckily, though...at Nintendo, she found a Yo Kai Watch 3DS sequel game case (functions on 2DS) and the staff successfully hunted down the last remaining new game card, joy.
The 10 year old couldn't find anything she liked at FAO Schwarz (she actually prefers a well-curated local toy store) so we didn't buy any toys. I think part of it was the unpleasant struggle to make our way through the store and out (staff allowed a large group of kids on a field trip to continue to pour in, despite how crowded the store was already). We're still glad we visited just to have this special memory forever...she had forgotten about the toy store's existence. FAO Schwarz was established like 150 years ago in mid-town Manhattan, then closed 3 years ago, but it re-opened recently. It was nice to see employees at the front again dressed up as nutcracker toy soldiers.
and, FAO Schwarz is known for the large floor piano that one can still line up to play.
We loved the decorated tree at the American Girl store...
And she loved having lunch at the American Girl café, for the first time. She borrowed a doll for our table, looked at the lovely decorations and ate every bit of her yummy lunch.
We had never been to the American Girl store. She was never into their 18 inch dolls, so heavy & hard with serious expressions and too expensive. I figured these tween years, though, will be the last chance to shop for a doll for her...and thankfully, we saw plenty of 8-12 year olds around a smaller doll (like 14.5") with the most friendly face...they are called Wellie Wishers and she chose Willa (who also has a love for animals).
A great way to end the year...and a wonderful first 2-digit birthday year...because a month ago, about 2 1/2 weeks after her 9th baby tooth fell out, the right bottom canine fell out too. Yay. Now, we are halfway done, all naturally (age of 10, with 10 baby teeth gone and another 10 baby teeth waiting to go).
Lina had a healthy 2018, like previous years, so we're very grateful. No flu yet ever. Two common colds per year. No hospital stays ever. No food allergies ever. No ear infections ever. No need for vitamin supplements ever. Healthy growth and development, fit and energetic. A clean bill of health at 2018 wellness exams: 20/20 vision, perfect hearing, no cavities. Still sleeps 11 hours overnight.