Sunday, October 27, 2013

#494 - Postcard from Washington DC

Hi from Washington! Went there this weekend (funnily enough, Marine Corps Marathon was on today). It was our 2nd visit since 2008, this time with X. We caught the train (3.5 hrs e/w) and stayed at the luxe Capella Hotel in trendy Georgetown. Not surprisingly, the weather was similar to NYC's, sunny and fine but cool, only about 12C max. Saturday, went to Smithsonian Museums (spectacular but not hands-on enough for an inquisitive toddler), then today a visit to a local playground (the Tot Lot at Rose Park), and another swim in the hotel's amazing indoor/outdoor roof-top heated pool. Museum of Nat. History Lunar Command Module, Air & Space Museum
Halloween displays are just as naff in Georgetown as NYC

Saturday, October 26, 2013

#493 - Fall colors are peaking

The fall colours are peaking around NYC right now. This spectacular example is at Philipsburg Manor, about 50 km north of the city.
Halloween is also next Thursday. This is a townhouse in Manhattan.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

#492 - Not another post for this week!

We are really happy with Xavi's pre-school. Here's the weekly update we got from the teacher today. She is lovely and really challenges these toddlers. We are always hearing in the news how bad the US school system is, but Xave seems to be gettign a good start to his education. You may even want to try these activities at home! (Sorry the blog's design doesn't break the paragraphs)
"We continued our autumn theme at this week. Here are some highlights. Literacy/Language: We talked about where leaves come from, and described what colors they are. We looked at some leaves that I collected outside and identified which was the largest, which was the smallest, which was red, etc. We read We're Going On A Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger and Leaves by David Ezra Stein. Art: The kids watercolored fall leaves today, and also used corks to stamp out fall foliage on large sheets of paper stamped with a bare tree. These looked beautiful! Look for them next week, along with more artwork that I'll be sending home. Fine Motor/Math: I introduced tongs on Tuesday and the children practiced picking up acorns with them, transferring the acorns from a cup to an ice cube tray. Then we counted them. Using tongs is an excellent way for young children to build hand strength and work on their grasp. Science/Sensory: We examined dry autumn leaves on trays. What sounds do they make? What happens when you crunch them? Some ended up crushed to a fine powder! The sensory table was also filled with leaves, acorns, corks, tongs and baskets. The children used tongs to place these items in their baskets, and also used the baskets to scoop up the leaves and dump them out. Movement: We did a "Leaf Dance" to the Blue Danube Waltz by Strauss where the kids pretended that they were leaves blowing in the wind, spiraling towards the ground. This involved twirling around in a circle with a scarf and then falling down on the floor. Endlessly entertaining."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

#491. Harvest Festival at Stamford Museum & Nature Center

October is Harvest Festival time and on Sunday we rented a Zipcar (Mazda 3) and met our friend/neighbor Nikki and her two boys Luke (Xavi's fun run buddy) & Gabriel at the SMNC. It's in Connecticut and about 80 km (50 mi) NE of NYC. The "fall colors" were spectacular driving there up the freeway. The boys had fun at the SMNC farm, looking at the animals, going on a hay ride and a fire engine, eating lunch (of course) and going in the pumpkin hunt. There were also food trucks and Wiggles-style live music and a great playground there. Although you pay to get in and everything is extra once inside, SM&NC is much better than the Queens County Farm in NYC that we went to last October, and with Kate in the summer, and worth the effort.
Hey, Peppa Pig doesn't look like that??
Because Xave doesn't have a daytime nap anymore, all-day outings like this are now much easier to do.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

#490 - MTA Museum in Brooklyn

Weather was more autumnal last weekend so instead of our usual ferry trip to Williamsburg and D.u.m.b.o. on Saturday morning, we went to Brooklyn Heights to check out the MTA Transit Museum, assuming Xave would enjoy it. Like something out of Get Smart, the entrance was cleverly disguised as a subway station (in fact the old Court Street station)
and the museum is set out on the 2 levels of the station, with the buses on the mezzanine level
and the collection of old subway cars on the lower level, on the tracks.
As you can see, it was very hands-on, and Xave sure did like it!
Pic of old Brooklyn trams or "trolleys" (trivia - Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team [now LA Dodgers] was shortened from the original name Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers).

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Early October in NYC

The first few weeks of Fall (begins Sept 21 with the equinox) is generally a pretty nice time of year in these parts. The weather is mild (hopefully no hurricanes this year), pumpkins are in all the shops and markets, the Halloween displays are appearing, and the leaves are starting to turn in Central Park. The two main types of trees are elms and plane trees. The plane trees seem to change first.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Xavi's first fun run, in Central Park

What can you say? Xavi insisted on running with the 3 yo so he could line up with his friend Luke (in the blue). He stopped half way, which is why he came last. I'm not sure if they did even cross the finishing line.