Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What a Year

What a difference a year makes...

The first day and last day of Kindergarten and Second Grade:

I can't decide if Ella's haircut makes her look younger or older, but she definitely looks like a different kid altogether.  And it may not be obvious from the photos but Holden is several inches taller than he was at the beginning of the school year.  I'm glad it's shorts weather for a while so I don't have to worry about getting him into pants that are now too short for him.

Just look how cool Kindergarten made him.

The poor kids have had the longest school year on record, I'm convinced.  They started the year on August 1st at a year-round school in California and ended on June 26th at a traditional calendar school in New York.  About a month extra of school.  Not that I'm complaining.

When I picked up Holden today he kept wiping tears off of his face saying that he was going to miss Kindergarten.  He's very concerned that first grade isn't going to have "Free Choice" time.  Don't we all wish we could just stay in Kindergarten?

And who would have ever believed when that first photo was taken that we'd be finishing the school year in New York City?  Not me, that's for sure. 

Ella's second grade teacher, Ms. Bautista

When I should have been packing for our three week trip coming up on Sunday and cleaning the apartment for our next set of guests, I was instead procrastinating by being creative.

How do you get kids who don't like zucchini to eat zucchini?  Add chocolate.

And I even got some sewing in.

Colorway inspired by this photo:

And one I whipped up quickly this morning from a t-shirt I just bought yesterday (and already cut up):

I figured Ella needed it for our three week vacation visiting friends and family.  

I hope to still blog while traveling, but it may not be as often.  I will definitely still be taking way too many photos and will fill you in on every adventure, great and small.

Happy summer vacation, all!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hotel Skaggs

By now you people must think I'm completely making up everything I write on this blog.

How can one family have so much FUN?!?, you ask yourselves.

Ah, but I have photographic proof...

Here we are seeing Annie on Broadway with the amazing Jane Lynch (of Glee fame) as the evil Miss Hannigan. Our good friends Shauna and Francesca jetted out from San Francisco for the weekend.

After the show someone had the brilliant idea to hang out by the stage door for some autographs.  Here's "Annie" signing Ella's Playbill.

While the girls sang 'Tomorrow' endlessly all day long, the male half of Team Skaggs played baseball in Central Park using Holden's new catcher's mitt from Grandpa Bill.

Again we dined at Otto - we do love Mario Batali.

On Sunday we enjoyed what turned out to be the most perfect weather since we arrived - 80s and no humidity - by wandering through Central Park, stopping to eat ice cream, play in playgrounds, and climb castles, as needed.

Once our company headed back to the airport we took full advantage of our apartment by hanging out at the pool on the roof deck all afternoon.  There may be two and a half more days of school left but as far as we're concerned it's already summer vacation!

Speaking of which, we celebrated summer solstice by getting Ella an adorable new summer cut.

Happy summer, blog readers!

(Don't be shy about leaving a comment below!)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Having a Field Day

We sadly said goodbye to Michael, Frances, Devin and Alana on Tuesday.

 Michael and Devin watch the sunset

 Devin and Alana walk Holden to Kindergarten

As chaotic and crowded as it is for us to have house guests in our tiny apartment, we really do love it.  It makes us feel less homesick to have family and friends from home.  Which is good because Shauna and Francesca arrive tomorrow!  That's right people, three weekends in a row (and more next weekend!).

The school year is winding down.  This week Holden had his "Stepping Up" ceremony.  It wasn't until that night when I was tucking him in to bed that I realized he didn't know what "Stepping Up" meant.  I told him it's code for graduation.
Holden's in the striped shirt doing a crazy chicken dance.

And then today his class had "Field Day".  It was a great day at a local park filled with fun games and contests and donuts and juice boxes.  Needless to say, our evening routine didn't go well tonight.

The rest of this post is dedicated to food, so if that doesn't interest you feel free to sign off now.  I'm just still having so much fun with our weekly box of goodies from the farm that I've been taking pictures to show you all.
Everyone enjoyed the Rhubarb Strawberry Lemonade.  But this week when we got yet another two stalks of rhubarb I traded it at the swap box for another zucchini.  I discovered that it takes a lot of sugar to make rhubarb palatable.

It's becoming a weekly meal to saute up some veggies (in this case the yellow squash and asparagus) that we get in the box and cook them in scrambled eggs with Gruyere cheese.  It's an easy sell to the little ones.

Speaking of easy sells, I knew there was no way Holden would eat the spinach if I were to present it to him in any leafy form, so I threw it in a blender with the garlic scape (many of you asked how I ended up preparing the garlic scape - which it turns out is the green part that grows above the ground with the garlic bulb down in the soil) and a handful of walnuts and some Parmesan and made pesto.
It was even better than traditional pesto and I'm happy to report that not only did Holden have seconds, he had thirds.  A great way to get in more spinach, in case you were wondering.

Here's Holden making himself and after school snack.  Put a banana on a popsicle stick, slather it in peanut butter, and roll it in granola.

The weather has been absolutely perfect this week - high 70s and 80s with no humidity.  So tonight we ate a midweek dinner out on the roof deck.  I used a bunch of our box veggies (lettuce, sugar snap peas, scallions) and some avocado in a shrimp salad.  For dessert, those of us who finished our dinner (who didn't fill up on sugary snacks all day...) enjoyed strawberry shortcake made with fresh strawberries from our box.  I didn't get to take a picture of it because someone was having a complete meltdown because he couldn't have any...

Fueling up for our next set of house guests who arrive tomorrow, Shauna and Francesca!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day Fun

Another weekend of packing a week's worth of activities into two days...that's how we roll, people.

I'm going to spare you details since we covered a lot of the same terrain as last weekend and leave you with a bunch of slightly narrated pictures.  I will say that it was so nice to see how much our kids bonded with their second cousins, Devin and Alana.  In California, the kids only see each other once every 3 or 4 months or so and then only for a couple hours at a time.  Not enough time for several introverted kids to come out of their shells.  But over the last several days, these four have become fast friends and we've seen a side of their kids we've not seen before.  Really, they have two of the cutest, sweetest kids we've ever met.

We headed back up to the the High Line - I could walk that every weekend.

Devin & Kevin

Ella got a hold of the camera...

The cousins took off from there to hop on the Staten Island Ferry.  Since we just did that a few days ago we stayed behind but Ella decided to join them so Kevin and I got an unexpected afternoon with Holden.  We don't remember if we've ever had time alone together with just Holden.  Of course, we took him to a couple of biergartens.

 We met back up for dinner on the roof deck.
The dads lead circle time, at Alana's request.

 Pooped out after a long day of walking.

The kids playing archeologist with their most recent Little Passports package (remind me to tell you about Little Passports in another post).

Sunday, Father's Day, took us over the Brooklyn Bridge.

We picnicked and the boys played football with the Manhattan Bridge as a backdrop.

As we do with all of our guests, we completely wore out the Stuppin family.  I hope they had as much fun as we did.

And HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the fantastic dads in my life!