Monday, April 30, 2018

Life with Cloey

Our dog likes to sit on your head.

It does make it hard to play Minecraft when you can't see the screen.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Ally Update

5th Grade.
My mom taught 5th grade for many years. My mom is no longer with us and lately with Mother's Day approaching I think about her more often than usual and wish she was here to hear all about 5th grade. My mom would have loved reading the blog from last week in London.
She would laugh hysterically at some of the 5th grade antics currently taking place. And she would have so much enjoyed watching Ally in her ballet recital in the costume displayed below.

No she isnt a telly-tubby (not that my mom would have known what that was, neither did Ally when her classmates declared they looked like tell-tubbies.) The theme of this year's show is The Circus and Ally's class are the acrobats.
Every girl has a different colored unitard. I am so glad Ally got hot pink and not brown. All I can think of with a brown unitard is that the girl will look like a piece of poop. And a unitard? Can I tell you how much my pudgy 5th grade self would have died in a unitard?

But if any one can rock hot pink spandex its Ally:

She was not pleased that Becky took these pictures, so if you see Ally don't tell her you saw the costume on the blog.

I mean - hot pink spandex? It makes me smile and laugh.

But back to Ally. Her class started the BFF unit it health class a few weeks ago. BFF stands for Bodies, Feelings & Friends. You might know it more as Sex Ed 101. Its a 12 week unit on the human body - boys and girls bodies, reproduction, families, puberty, friendship as it relates to relationships.

And Ally hates it.

She is so creeped out by the whole topic. We've read some books and talked about it all in advance. But she says its so awkward. They do the whole class together now - boys and girls and don't separate them out like they did when I was in 5th grade. So she sits at a table with her friend Willow and 2 boys.
The other day she came home with most of her lunch un-eaten. I asked what happened and she said some boys were talking about their body parts and she got so grossed out she couldn't eat!
She keeps asking why they have to learn this. I keep explaining that it is part of life and growing up. And that its important to understand not only how her body works but how boys' bodies work too. She might be a mom to a boy someday - she might have a husband. And then I tell her the story of one of my college room mates who was terribly embarrassed for not knowing the male body parts at age 20 and we had to get an anatomy book to show her. Ally doesn't want to not get pop culture and not know what people are talking about. She wants to be knowledgeable, even if its uncomfortable and embarrassing.

At the same time the 5th grade is learning the BFF unit in health class they are doing ballroom dancing in gym class. Ally is like most kids and of course there are a few boys she really doesn't want to dance with. She asked why boys are so immature and why they do disgusting things like pick their noses and fart. Becky laughs and tells her they are boys and boys do that, and will keep doing things like that for a few years (or more) until they start to catch up with the girls in maturity.

In health news Ally still has some pain in her knees but it seems to be getting somewhat better. Becky and I think some of the pain is Ally's body and the way her brain works. We are starting to see some similarities to two years ago. Its not as severe and this time the MRI did show some things wrong with her knee. But it seems her body has a pretty sensitive pain threshold and that her nerves are very slow to stop transmitting pain messages. Becky and I are aware of the signs and are talking with Ally about it. Ally's Physical Therapist is on board as well and will continue to work with Ally on her body mechanics and strength training to keep the inflammation in her knees down. But we all agreed to stop talking about pain with Ally, and to let Ally tell us when she needs meds or when the pain is really bad. PT is starting to push Ally more and more and we hope to have her back tumbling at practice soon.
We go back to see the orthopedist in two weeks and we will be talking with her about this as well.

We learned a lot two years ago about how to manage chronic pain - what the signs are and how to deal with it and how important it is to stay active, even with pain. Ally knows all of this as well.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

This is 11.

Some days I just can't believe Ally is 11 years old. She has been tweening pretty hard for a while now. But the way she dresses and carries herself, it's crazy.
Like this one.  She just looks so grown up. She's wearing a white pleather jacket she got in London and Chuck All Stars she got in Florida. u

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Guatemala Girls

Alice was still in Florida visiting her grandparents but the rest of us got together on what was a gorgeous Spring day at Julie and Rosa's house.

The girls were all pretty happy to see each other. They painted pots and planted a flower in each pot to bring home.

It was as usual a great time with such great friends. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

London 2018 Last Post

After a break in our hotel room we headed back out to meet up with our friends for our last dinner in London. We took the tube to Covent Garden, which as it turns out is just a large open air shopping mall. Lots of high end stores and some interesting gift shops as well as some flea market type stalls. And it was very crowded.

Becky inside the main building. It was pretty iconic.

The 3 kids, Liem, Ally and Khai. It was bittersweet to say good bye. Hanh was Becky’s first mom friend and we have known them since Ally was 8 months old. We miss seeing them in Cambridge so it’s such a treat to visit in London.  I asked Ally today what the highlights of the trip were. Shopping was #1 and #2 was seeing our friends.

There is a pay-bathroom in Covent Garden and it is an actual shop. I thought it was hilarious.

The actual East India Company!!! Of the famed Boston Tea Party!

The girls shared a slushee while we looked for a good restaurant to eat at. Finally Hanh spotted a Mexican place. We all love Mexican!

Spicy Fish tacos for Hanh.

Ally had the most food. The kids chicken fajitas platter was HUGE. And all she ate was 1 tortilla with rice, beans and guacamole. But Ally was so good. She let us talk and talk and talk. Khai and Liem were patient with us moms as well.

Becky’s yummy chimichanga.

The picture Ally drew while we talked. Khai and Liem read. 
We said goodbye and each headed back to our homes. Hopeful it won’t be too long until we meet again.

Later that night we had some excitement in our room. Ally lost a tooth! All week she had been wiggling her teeth. And finally one came out!

Proof she recovered from the tooth loss and was back to watching Full House.

And finally our last day in London:

We were a bit aimless with only a few hours in London. So we took the bus to Harrods.

Ally was in a much better mood this year. Than last year at Harrods. But we left unsatisfied and frazzled. We ended up at Victoria Station for one last trip to Ally’s favorite stationery store and then her favorite cookie, a meringue on the walk home from the Tube.

We Ubered to the airport and managed to navigate thru a very complicated terminal and lots of walking to get to our gate and on our plane. Here are a few pictures of the food on the plane.

Ally’s child plate. She ate the chocolate, roll, and fruit leather.

The fruit leather was a hit.

Becky ate really well.

Ally and I enjoyed the ice cream treat later on in the flight.

Beth is picking us up and bringing us home. 
We feel so fortunate. Friends, travel and family. 
Hopefully it will be a relaxing weekend at home so we are refreshed and ready to resume normal life and work on Monday. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

London 2018 Day 6

Today we had tickets to see the museum inside Kensington Palace. And then reservations for afternoon tea. We started with an Uber to the palace, a quick 5 minute car ride brought us to the nearest entrance to Kensington Gardens. Our driver pointed across the park and told us the palace was that way. We had to walk the rest of the way because cars were not permitted. Ok we can walk in 80 degree heat it doesn’t look that far! 
Well we went the wrong way and ended up walking along the outside of the park down “embassy row” to the opposite end of the park. There we asked a policeman how to get to the palace and he said we had to go back into the park and walk back the way we came to the Palace. Below is a screen shot of the walk. The pink X is where we started and the black X where we ended. Truth be told it was fine. A lovely shaded walk most of the time. But it did sap a lot of energy and walking stamina. 

Finally we came to the castle and made our way inside. It was just a few rooms open, the state rooms of King George and Queen Caroline from the 1680s and a nice history of Queen Victoria.

Ally and I got ice cream for the walk back outside the park where we hailed a cab to take us to tea.

Above is the view of the backside of the LONG walk we had around around the front of the Palace. 
Becky - in front of the palace - we finally found it!

The King's staircase inside of Kensington Palace.

I thought it was pretty funny that when the King was away the Queen took over his closet.

The ceilings and mouldings were incredible. 

They had actual games to play in the "game room" of Queen Caroline and King George.  
We played Go Fish.

I won!

Examples of the fashionable clothes of the time. We all agreed we would NOT want to wear that dress. You would have to side shimmy through doors.

Turns out Becky has larger shoulders than a man from Queen Victoria's age.

Becky thought the crowns on the bathroom people were hilarious. 

Ally waiting for her ice cream cone.

Twinning a bit in our striped dresses and mint chip cones in front of the palace.

Kensington Gardens was a beautiful park. It was such a beautiful day (hot) that we did not linger. We flagged down a cab and headed to Tea.

Selfies in the cab.

Afternoon Tea. We looked pretty hard for a tea location that wasn't too dressy or formal and after much research on Pinterest I read about Bea's of Bloomsbury. We ate at the Marleybone location. (Which is extremely hard to pronounce and since Becky was in charge of the reservation she was corrected several times and we still couldn't get it right.)  Bea's was a really cute cafe in the Marleybone neighborhood. Tea was half the cost of other locations and we still got the full tea and it was so much fun. A high light of the trip for me. 

Ally and I waited patiently for our tea.

I detest tea - so I ordered the iced tea option. (I don't like iced tea either)

Ally got pink lemonade.

Becky ordered hot tea - it was some thing peach flavored I think. She really enjoyed it and had two pots while we were there. 

That is Ally's child tea; 4 open faced brioche sanwiches, a scone with jam and clotted cream, 3 small cookies and brownies, a full size cupcake and a raspberry marshmallow. She was so excited.

Becky and I received a similar tray - but ours was to share.

Ally tried the peanut butter and banana sandwich. She also ate the chicken one (after she took off all of the lettuce, she ate roasted chicken on the roll.) And started in on the scone next. 

She wasn't sure what to think of the scone - was it bread? or was it sweet? She of course she smelled it first.


Tongue smackin' good

Thumbs up delicious.

So good she ate all of hers and half of mine. 

Then she started in on the sweets. We gave her all of our meringues and one of our brownies.

She ate the 3 meringues, 2 brownie bites and a blondie bite. She tried the marshmallow but decided it was too raspberry flavored for her.

Becky had a fruit tart with an emoji face!

Ally LOVED tea. 

Check out the before and after pictures above to see how much she ate. I was amazed. It was so much fun to watch Ally try things and eat and enjoy herself.
We took our cupcakes back to our hotel for later.

Then back at our hotel room an hour later she ate her cupcake:

We took a break from the heat and to rest our feet for an hour or so before we headed out to meet our friends for a final dinner in London.