Thursday, October 25, 2012

Big Week

After years of being happily unmarried, Phoebe's Mom & Dad decided it was time to make it official. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, friends were arriving from all corners of the world- James & Scott from Sydney, Punam from Hong Kong, Brooke from San Diego, Stef from San Francisco. There was a festive feeling around us. It was so exciting to have all these people traveling all this way just for us. It made me feel so happy and so loved. On Friday morning, we got a call that would add another crazy celebration to the weekend. Phoebe had been given a late placement to the gifted & talented citywide school called the Lower Lab. After six weeks at P.S. 158, all settled in with new friends and new teachers, we had assumed that while she had made the list of top kids who were eligible, she had not made the cut in the lottery. All that changed with one call. I was in a panic thinking about all we had to do right in the midst of getting married. Friends (and Jeff) told me to try to put it away for the weekend, and I did try, but underneath I knew that this would be a big week for our whole family. Phoebe and I stayed at the Bryant Park Hotel the night before the wedding with Alana having a little girl's night before the big day. We got up early, I had my hair and makeup done and we walked across the street to the Bryant Park Grill to meet Jeff and Justin, Michael, Aunt Jane, Chloe and Jordan for our wedding party pictures. Phoebe, the cutest flower girl ever, was not quite sure she wanted to participate in all the festivities. But by the time we got up to the roof of the grill, she had her friend Sammie by her side helping her putting down the flower petals on the aisle. With Grampa Bob officiating, it was a family affair to remember. The sun broke through as if on cue, and the wedding proceeded without a hitch. Justin and Michael spoke the first words, some of our favorite lines from "The Princess Bride" and the crowd erupted in laughter. A tear or two were shed when Phoebe got called up to get a special ring from her dad as he promised to love, protect and listen to her. Phoebe too said some words in return: Daddy, I promise to love you to listen to you and to always have fun with you. It was such a special moment for all of us. The party was filled with fun dancing, lovely speeches from Bob, Jimmy, Bill, Linda and Justin. Everyone seemed to have a great time mingling and taking silly pictures with Bob's hats and Uncle Chip's mustaches at the photo booth. Before we knew it, the day was wrapping up and people were heading out with kisses and warm wishes. Phoebe went home with Grammy & Gramps, Aunt Jane and Whitey while the happy couple stayed at the hotel for a honeymoon night. The next day we were packing up, dropping our stuff at home and heading up to The Lower Lab to sign Phoebe up for her new school. It's a wonderful community with some very special kids. Phoebe had a going away party at P.S. 158 on Wednesday and started at the Lab on Thursday. She is such a resilient and strong girl, making friends and participating from the first day. Over the weekend, she had a few tears over missing friends and her teachers at 158, which is certainly natural. But when we were feeling blue, we got up, headed over to John Jay Park, and instantly ran into friends from her old class, her new class and even her ballet class. We are so lucky to be surrounded by friends on all sides, living in a community that welcomes us and embraces us. We are now officially, Phoebe, Nancy & Jeff Yates. A true family, as we always have been in our hearts, moving on to a new beginning and a new adventure for all of us.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Things I learned at camp

For the first time this summer, Phoebe was signed up for an all day camp called Asphalt Green. It is located right at the top of East End Avenue and it went for a full day from 8:15am to 4:30 in the afternoon. No small task for a little person about to turn 5. But it was an amazing summer and worked out so well for all of us. Especially Phoebe. Every day, we started our day walking up the block to the bus. Phoebe got to ride the big yellow bus 10 blocks up to camp every day with her friends and counselors, feeling like a really big kid in the process. I would stand there, waving goodbye to my little girl, who seemed to be growing into her new life so very fast.At camp she had swimming almost every day, learned about baseball, soccer, tennis, karate, yoga and basketball. Each week, she got to go on a field trip to great New York area places like the Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn Children's Museum, Coney Island Aquarium and Victoria Gardens in Central Park. We got wonderful reports from her counselors that she was a great kid to work with, fun and well behaved. We are so proud that she's doing so well out there in the world with out us.
Phoebe also learned a few other things at camp this summer.She came home saying "like" in every sentence.(like a teenager might) For example, "Joanna is like so allergic to chocolate her Mom has to give her like pills for it." Another funny thing that cracked us up: "Chloe wasn't at camp today. Her family went to the Han-tins" Okay, so now Phoebe knows there's a place people go called "The Hamptons." I'm just happy she doesn't really know how to say it just yet. All in all. It was an amazing summer for our little person. Turning 5 and taking on the world in her very own way.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Last Day of Pre-K

June 6, 2012 Today is the day Phoebe finishes Pre-school. Two years at All Souls have come and gone in a flash. She started just after she turned 3, not shy, but not exactly sure she wanted to be separated from Mom and Dad for most of the day. Now, on the cusp of 5, Phoebe is confident and truly enriched by the days she spent with the teachers and students of All Souls Pre-School.We still have our separation issues in the mornings. We take a moment each day to read a book together before I rush off to the subway on my way to work. We still have our ritual good by with our special hand signal to each other. She's still a little kid, but one I feel is really on the cusp of so many big kid things. Her language skills are amazing. Her ability to understand complex problems always astounds us. Her art work is beautiful, complicated and always interesting to look at.Phoebe has made some great friends; Rafa, Eva and Will, Dylan and Sofia, just to name a few. Some will join her at P.S. 158 next year, some will go on to various public or private schools around the city and some will spend another year inside the safe and familiar All Souls walls. For now, it's Phoebe's time to move on towards the future. I'm so very proud of all she's done and all she's become. I just can't believe this moment as a pre-schooler has come to an end. Phoebe may be moving on, but Mama's still in denial.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Oh Mexico

Our first family outing to a vacation destination was a sunny success. Jeff and I had traveled to Cancun a couple of years ago on our own, but this time we had two families in tow. Carol and I have traveled to many far flung places together, but this was our first adventure with the girls. It turned out to be a great getaway for everyone. The girls went to a kids club on site after breakfast, and we usually picked them up by lunchtime. They had a great time doing crafts and feeding iguanas, while the parents crashed out on beach chairs, caught up on reading and much needed sleep. The kids club also offered a 'pajama' party during the week where the kids got to run around a carpeted conference room in the hotel, order dinner and watch movies. We got to go out and eat like adults at seaside restaurants, breathing in freedom of parents on the loose. A lovely time was had by all, not even spoiled by 2 hours at JFK immigration on the way back. Now it's time to start dreaming about the next trip!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Smarty Pants!

Every parent thinks their child is a genius. We all have our moments of boasting and bragging about how our child learned their numbers or colors or shapes. How they said something super sophisticated. How they seemed to understand complex situations. I have always believed all these things about Phoebe. My friends Debbie & Dan have often joked that they probably got her birth date wrong in Vietnam and she's really much older. Not so, but it does sometimes feel that my 4 year old is going on 14.

As we approached the next phase of her school life, we decided that we would not spend 30k or more a year on private school, but go for public school, and do our best to get into one of the gifted programs around the city. We are lucky to have a good school in our neighborhood and have been excited talking to the kids and families about joining them at P.S. 158 in the fall. We took the G&T testing more for the experience of testing than thinking we would be one of the few to score high enough for the specialized programs. We decided not to do any prep classes, but to just keep reading to our girl and doing puzzle books and brain quest on car rides. The day of the test, Phoebe seemed to have fun with her teacher. She came out with drawings and stories, one of the last to appear. And that was it.

Last night, we were informed that the scores had been posted. When I saw that she had gotten in the 99th percentile I just screamed with excitement and overflowed with pride. Now a new process begins. I have learned that over 900 kids in NYC have gotten into that 99%, so there are no guarantees that we will get into our chosen school. For now, we're just happy that it expands our options and gives my little smarty pants a chance at a better education.

Monday, March 12, 2012

City Girl

Much like our beloved literary friend Eloise at the Plaza, Phoebe is a city child. In the past month, she has been to the Plaza Hotel 3 times! These pictures were from our friend Michaela's birthday. Phoebe got to dress up for a fashion show, have pink cupcakes and spend time in Eloise's living room. When we were done, we decided to take a ride through central park in a horse drawn carriage. Our horse's name was Hudson. he clip-clopped through the park on a crisp late winter day, while his passengers enjoyed every minute. I love the city I live in, especially when I get to feel like a tourist doing some of the wonderful things visitors do here every day. Doing them with Phoebe made it all the more wonderful.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Our little skier

This Xmas break, the ski conditions were awful. It had snowed very little and much of the mountain was only barely covered with man-made snow. That did not deter our Phoebe from getting out on the slopes for her first 2 days of ski school. Even with the temperatures dropping, Phoebe was intrepid, getting out on the slopes for a full day of ski school. After one day on skis, she was able to step on the "magic carpet" and take it to the top of the hill. She learned to stop and go with skis pointed straight and together. She really seemed to have fun being a big kid on skis. Both Jeff and I took ski lessons at Bromley, so now the next generation steps up to learn a great winter sport. I guess this means I will have to get back on skis myself one of these days. For my Phee, I will brave the cold and try to remember how much fun it is to glide on snow. Can't wait 'til we can enjoy an afternoon at Bromley together.