Those who spend a lot of time with us know that arts and crafts are a big part of our daily repertoire. I recently took to cataloguing all of the girls’ masterpieces from this past year and wanted to share a few of Sophia’s that are my favorites.
Interpretation of a Wave
Sophia’s Flowers and Trees
Years ago, eight in fact, Evan’s best man spoke at our wedding. Among other things, he spoke about all the time and adventures they had shared over the years since meeting one another in kindergarten. Kindergarten, I must remind you, was a long, long time ago.
Many years have passed since grade school and while their lives have taken them to different geographical places, these lifelong friends make time for each other when it matters. This past weekend my in-laws hosted a most lovely reunion for Evan and his friend. He and his little boy, were visiting his parents who also joined.
Our Saturday morning play-date was special because this was the first time Evan and his friend both spent time together as fathers. And seeing them catching up, the kids toddling around, made me realize how fleeting life’s moments are.
Time is the most precious gift and that is exactly what these two people with full lives gave each other — a few hours to catch up. No matter how busy their lives have gotten, they have always made time for one another and, I am sure, so it will always be.
A photo posted by Nadya (@growingupsavvy) on
It has lately been too hot to go outside in the evening after dinner. Maybe not too hot, but too balmy and humid. Last night, we’d all had enough of this and finally decided to brave the dog days of Philadelphia’s summer and go for a walk after dinner. Dinner was, by the way, a sake and ginger poached chicken breast served with basmati rice and peas. The girls love it and the poached chicken works beautifully in green salad for lunch the next day, too. But I digress.
Walks, I have discovered, are a wonderful way to talk to your kids. I rarely if ever take the stroller and we instead hold hands and stroll. We stroll at the girls’ pace and are sure to discover every nook we come upon. We stopped by the Girard Fountain Park yesterday because the water feature there is so lovely and one almost instantly feels cooler from the sound of running water in the heat of the summer. Trying to keep cool in the heat is why the Moors placed such importance on fountains in their gardens in the south of Spain.
In addition to discovery and exploration on the girls’ part, there is discovery on my part. I get a chance to hear the stories from their day and find out what Sophia and Eliza are interested in, what they did today, and answer questions they may have. Every parent has their shtick, that which they find of utmost importance or the principal that they parent by. Conversations and explanations are mine. I firmly believe that, and I have long preached this on this blog, children should be conversed with as adults. That children deserve and need explanations and not edicts. This may take time, but you are teaching your kids communications skills, vocabulary, logic, and reasoning, and you are also getting to know your children at the very same time.
Some will disagree and say that an explanation is just too many extra words or that a two year old will not understand the reasoning behind this. An explanation is extra words, extra effort, and a two year old may not always understand, but a child will learn. Moreover, the saying that “mom knows best” is true except it is not just mom, but mom and dad. We are, after all, an egalitarian household. As such, when others offer advice and feel that they know better, always listen to their suggestions and reasons, but remember that they’ve had their chance at parenting.
If you live anywhere in the between Washington D.C., and New York you are most likely well aware of the great heat wave that has been sweeping our neck of the woods for the better part of the week. The heat and worse yet the humidity helped simplify the list of activities we could partake in down to two: the pool or play indoors. Having tried the latter on Saturday, Evan and I piled the kids into our car and braved the 1.25 hour ride to my in-laws so that we could all jump into the pool and try to keep cool. The girls enjoyed their time at Grammie and Pop’s house and so did we. Sophia and Eliza played with toys that are new to them and Evan and I got to unwind in the country.
- Reading: Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast
- Crafting: Dot Markers
- Art-ing: Acquarellum
- Recording: Artkive
- Snacking: Fruit Kabobs (similar here)
- Watching: Sid the Science Kid (slowly … because the girls are limited in their screen time)
It is suddenly the end of the first week of August. Fall will be here before we know it and I don’t feel like we’re really ready to bid adieu to summer. We started this weekend on Thursday by taking the girls to Spruce Street Harbor Park where they tried their hand at old time classics like Connect4.
Eliza’s naps provide ample opportunities to carry out science experiments, too. Evan and Sophia conducted an experiment called “the dancing raisins” where they observed a reaction that occurs in combining baking soda and vinegar. In reality, baking soda and vinegar is an example of an acid-base reaction whereby the combining of the two produces carbon dioxide. To the four year old observer, however, the reaction is a bit of magic, but the raisins that were elevated by gas bubbles sure looked like they were dancing.
When we weren’t playing cards or carrying out acid-base reaction experiments, we spent time like most other families with young kids—on the playground swinging from the monkey bars with bubbles and chalk in our hands.
I took this picture at the Race Street Pier where we went on a particularly glorious summer walk after work. Eliza and Sophia are always on the move. I can’t quite figure out when they’ve gotten so big or how I can slow down time and savor them more. Therein lies the challenge: spending time with them and building your future relationship now. Relationships don’t happen over night and they cannot happen through a series of sparse moments. They happen through meaningful and frequent interactions, through finding common interests, and through conversations.
Sophia and I have the best conversations as of late. One memorable one comes to mind where she wanted the same of something just because Eliza had this amount. We talked about not measuring yourself or what you have against others’ but valuating your possessions in terms of what it is that would make you happy.
Having had our fill of Maine, we drove down to Boston to explore the city and its offerings. I’ve been to Boston many times though I mostly stayed to Cambridge where I was, at the time, collaborating with Draper Labs. It had been a while since I saw the city proper and explored its vibrant neighborhoods. Realizing that strolling the streets all day long may not be nearly as exciting for Sophia and Eliza as it is for Evan and I, we structured our day around one kid-centered activity followed by strolling and exploration.
The afternoon after our arrival we spent settling into our hotel which was located in Beacon Hill and then strolled to dinner from where we visited the Boston Fire Museum. The next day, we toured Harvard noting that the girls would be graduating class of 2032 and 2035. We noted that until we overheard that tuition at Harvard is something like $67,000/year. That is this year’s tuition for a single year.
We loved touring Harvard. The campus is beautiful filled with green spaces and architecturally inspiring buildings. I find that college campuses and the student body exude such a wonderful energy. Last year, Sophia visited Philadelphia’s Museum of Natural History and we thought that the one housed at Harvard would be a great educational experience and provide a bit of respite from the sun. We are glad we opted for the Harvard Museum of Natural History instead of the Aquarium because it was so well curated. The only thing that topped that day was a trip to the world’s only Curious George store where we picked out some coloring books and noted a great book.
We made our last day in Boston about the much-anticipated Children’s Museum and we weren’t disappointed. The girls loved all the exhibits and there was even things for Evan and me to get excited about such as the Japanese House . We rounded off our last day with an evening stroll of the liberty trail and a splash in one of the public fountains.
Evan and I were a little hesitant to embark on this vacation/trip/getaway but we are so glad that we did. We had a wonderful time, saw, learned, and enjoyed fun experiences. More than that, we bonded, spent time as a family and we can’t wait to do it again.
Here are a few dining recommendations:
- Pastoral serves up delicious fare right out of their wood-burning oven and manages to please tiny eaters, too. They have a great selection of pizzas and veggies and are conveniently located across the street from the Boston Fire Museum.
- Clover offers organic breakfast fare and small-source pour-over coffees in a very cool modern space. Good for breakfast/snack/coffee break.
- J.P. Licks is Boston’s way in ensuring we’ll be back. Delicious ice cream. The end.
- Q Restaurant offers multi-nation asian fare in a modern space making it the perfect selection for families with many tastes and preferences.
- Ogawa Coffee is an accidental find close to Beacon hill providing delicious coffee and healthful breakfast options.
- State Street Provisions has not just delicious but healthful and creative options for little and big kids alike. It is set in the port near the aquarium, across the street from splashing fountains and near a carousel.