Friday, June 25, 2010

Start Spreading the News -- We're Back (from NYC...) ;)

We took a few days off to travel first to Long Island for my niece's 8th grade graduation (from the Catholic school that she has attended since Kindergarten!), and then it was on to New York City for the weekend, to attend a family wedding. We had a wonderful trip (although, the parking garage did a number on the side of our minivan -- not thrilled about that at all...)! We made it into a mini vacation and Grandpa and Gramby were wonderful enough to fly in for the weekend to watch the girls while we attended the wedding! They took the girls to see the Museum of Natural History (aka the "Night at the Museum" museum...) and they also took them to dinner at Ellen's Stardust Diner on Broadway -- a fun, fifties diner that is very family friendly! All of the waiters and waitresses have wonderful voices and they take requests and sing while they are working -- the girls loved it! We were able to get connecting rooms in the hotel, so while we were at the wedding Grandpa and Gramby put the girls to bed in our room, and were able to relax and watch tv or read in their room while the girls slept (or pretended to sleep, as the case was...).

On Father's Day, after having a lovely "day after the wedding" brunch with the family, we walked around the city and took the girls to FAO Schwartz. This is so much more than just a toy store -- there were exciting things to see, bigger than life toys, hands-on activities -- we all had a great time! We stopped to watch two men dancing along, playing the huge piano from the movie "Big" with Tom Hanks. I remember when my mom and I went to NYC for my first time when I was 17 or 18 -- we were so disappointed, because the "Big" piano was a SMALL version -- nothing like in the movie. This time it did not disappoint, and after the two men were done with their performance, they opened it up for children and adults to try it out. We took pictures of each of our girls on the piano -- too cute!

In addition to that fun experience, the girls enjoyed making crafts at one the many interactive tables around the store. There were lots of opportunities for the kids to try out different toys -- surprisingly, we did not go crazy on souvenirs! I think each girl walked away with 3 souvenirs, and that included a dress up outfit for my little one to wear to her princess-themed birthday party, and my older daughter picked out a Gryffindor scarf, a stuffed dragon, and some Bertie Botts' Every Flavor Beans from the Harry Potter section of the store.

After FAO Schwartz, it was back to the hotel for a (brief!) nap and then off for a nice dinner before heading to Broadway to see "Mamma Mia!" This was our girls' first Broadway show and while many people would think "Mary Poppins" or "The Lion King" for our girls, we knew that "Mamma Mia!" would hold both of their attentions! We have the movie and it is a favorite of both of the girls -- even our little one knows ALL of the songs! They were both very good at the show, and afterward, when we were heading back to the hotel (after dessert back at Ellen's Stardust Diner!!) the girls saw the poster again and my little girlie ran up, hugged it, and started singing the title song, "Mamma Mia!" Too cute -- had to take a picture (but was longing for my video camera!!)!

It was a whirlwind, but it was a wonderful trip! My husband grew up in Long Island and he worked in Manhattan for quite a while before coming back upstate and meeting me! He loves the city and it has been such a long time since we have spent any real time there. This trip made us realize that the girls are old enough to enjoy visiting NYC, and we only scratched the surface of what it has to offer this past weekend. We are definitely looking forward to our next visit!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Family Time!

After the crunch of the last two weeks, we are taking a few days off to enjoy some quality family time! Can't wait!! See you next week -- enjoy your family this weekend!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Memory Book -- Almost a Memory Itself...

Taking a short breather in between the 3rd grade memory book project and the 3rd grade slide show presentation project! We're a little behind schedule (due to circumstances beyond our control), but we keep plugging along and I'm sure that it will all be good in the end! I am done with my part of the memory book, now it is being copied and hopefully bound and hopefully ready in time to be handed out to the students next week!

In the meantime, I am satisfied in the knowledge that 1) the end of these projects is in sight!, 2) they will hopefully be lovely when they are finished, and most importantly, 3) I am spending this crazy time working on something special for my daughter. And, she has been a big help to me -- helping to identify some of the kids that I do not recognize, helping to distinguish during which years some of the pictures were taken. She even provided me with a great quote that I used for the back cover (which, accidentally got printed on the back of the front cover and then laminated, so now it is technically the inside cover... Again, out of our control!). It was a quote from Walt Disney (one of her absolute favorite people!) and it was so great that I also shared it with my boss who likes to put quotes on his meeting agendas -- he used it for his directors' meeting this week.

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney

In addition to her helping me with the project, I have tried to discreetly put in a few things that will be special for my girl. (But of course, would also be appropriate for the other kids!) The front cover text is in "Disney Print" a font in the style of Walt Disney's handwriting. We were scrambling for pictures for the 4 collages that we did -- Kindergarten, First, Second, and Third Grades -- and so I was able to sneak a couple of extras of my girlie in the Kindergarten and Second Grade collages (those were the years I was assigned). And, some of her friends may be featured a little more than some of the other kids -- although, truly, some of the other kids are just NOT in enough pictures and their parents did not send many in. Some kids clearly seem to gravitate to the camera, I have learned through this experience! We did scrounge to make sure that every single child has at least one picture in each of the collages -- for kindergarten, I had to cut and paste 2 girls from my daughter's bowling birthday party (you can hardly see the bowling lanes behind one of the girls...). And for the second grade collage I did an amazing job (if I do say so myself!) on cropping one of those same girls out of a picture taken of a different class in the cafeteria, and making it look like it's just a nice picture of her. My girl and I sat and looked through -- no joke -- close to 100 pictures to find one of this little girl to no avail. I finally found this one on my own and was so excited that I had to call my girl down to show her what I did -- she was impressed! Again, this girl obviously does not seek out the camera!

In addition to letters from the teachers, pictures, and "biographies" from the students, we have a word search with all of the kids' names, a page with their favorite things -- songs, movies, tv shows, food, school subjects -- which we created from a survey that we handed out at school, and a page that lists their first names and their career aspirations (my girl chose, as I had anticipated, "author"). We also have 4 pages for "autographs" from friends and teachers. On each of the autograph pages, I put a quote about friendship. In another little nod to my sweet girl, on one of the autograph pages I put a sweet quote from "Piglet & Pooh", Piglet being her very favorite character!

""Are we going to be friends forever?" asked Piglet. "Even longer," answered Pooh." - A.A. Milne

I know that this is only a third grade memory book (although it's felt like a high school yearbook at times this past week...), but my daughter was lucky enough to go to this wonderful little school for the past four years and we have a lot of wonderful memories of her time here -- if we can capture even a portion of that for ourselves and for the other students and their families, I think it has been time well spent!

"Cherish the moments for they too, become memories." - L. Kaliski

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Still Working on the Memory Book...

Still plugging away on the third grade memory book... Did I mention there's a slide show too, and it will be set to music? Did I mention I really need to curtail my volunteerism? Kidding (sort of)...

Be back soon!