Sunday, January 11, 2009

Monday in Manhattan...


Last Monday we went to New York City with my mom to have lunch at American Girl Place and to visit the American Museum of Natural History. (My scanner isn't working, so I took a picture of our photo from American Girl)


Natalia is still just thrilled about having received Josefina for her birthday, as you can tell! She had fun pointing out all the words she knows in Spanish from Josefina's collection. Her absolute favorite is rebozo, a shawl woven on a loom. Incidentally, her favorite cartridge these days for her Nintendo DS is one that teaches you Spanish. She LOVES speaking Spanish with me. Her best friend our second and third years in Moscow was from Argentina (she has since moved back) and it ignited a fire inside her...


Katya was thrilled to get Nicki, the American girl of the year  from 2007, from Santa Claus. (YES, some foresight and a storage unit came in really handy...). Nicki is from Colorado and the illustrations in her books look very much like the backyard at my in-laws and the land around them... She was THRILLED to  bring her Colorado friend to Manhattan. It was priceless on Christmas morning to hear her exclaim again and again how Santa truly read her heart and is capable of anything, since Nicki had been impossible to buy for over a year and her parents could never have found her...


Natalia, with her interest in figure skating and her empathy about how hard it can be to be a younger sister, really loved getting Mia (the American girl of the year for 2008). This was our first time at American Girl Place when Natalia could read the whole menu and the "table talker" questions, too! (Fun questions that provoke conversations). 


Katya took this picture of us. Lunch was sooo good... Love the miniature food they do for kids!


Isn't the flowerpot mousse the best? We have those flowerpots and I use them rather frequently... Chocolate pudding is so easy to make, and when I stick the flowers inside them, it's an instant holiday for the girls. Their friends think it's SO cool when I serve this. You can do this with any fake flowers and cups, really... 


They had so much fun checking out Kit and Ruthie's treehouse. Very cool, but very hard to fit into a suitcase to Moscow, and very expensive... How I wish they could have a REAL treehouse! I loved all the forts I built in our backyard, an activity my kids have never known... 

We had a lot of fun there; the different characters are fixtures of the girls' childhoods... "Friends" who unlike everyone else they know, have never stayed behind in the USA or moved away after their few years in Moscow are over. 

Afterwards we headed to the American Museum of Natural Museum-- by velotaxi! SUCH FUN to make the trip being pulled by a bike! We only had al little while there before closing, but we had fun. Katya and Natalia really wanted to check out the Native American exhibits. Say what you will, but the Kaya stories from American Girl have really taught them a lot! So much of what they saw was familiar to them (from illustrations and descriptions). 


They loved seeing the exhibit on how Plains Indians used travois to carry things -- and the travois looked just like the one Katya got from her Grandpa for her Kaya doll and horse last Christmas.


They also loved the recreation of the founding of New York, Natalia's birthplace...


Another highlight was this exhibit of tapping maple syrup in pioneer times. The whole time we were in Connecticut, we SAVORED the maple syrup from the trees of their friend's grandparents' home. ("Katya in Michigan, but first from Saint Petersburg," as they call her...) THANK YOU, CECILIA! We LOVE it!!!! 


There was no escaping the thrill of seeing "Rexie," the bone-chasing pal of Ben Stiller in the movie "Night at the Museum."  We really love that museum; how I wish we lived someplace where the museums were kid-friendly... The AMNH engages kids at each exhibit, making them feel both welcome and inspired...


Next stop, Rockefeller Square... I babysat for one of the Rockefeller families in college; it's still so strange to think that this space is dedicated to their family, to their grandfather. Natalia would have loved to skate, but the lines were long and the cost too high...After all, we CAN do that in Moscow...


It was pretty there, but I'll never forget how breathtaking it was when we lived there in 2001 and NYC was in mourning after 9/11... The tree was red, white and blue and there were American flags EVERYWHERE.


Our trips to NYC are always brief, but I think they're important... I want the kids to be exposed to as much as they can of the USA when we're there so they grow up with a sense of their homeland. Now that they're older, it would make sense to stay for more than a day so we could take in more museums and landmarks. Katya is very interested in Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. My grandfather has a brick at Ellis Island; it would mean so much to her to find it and read it... 

Katya is PASSIONATE about American history, history in general and science... and she soaks up everything we do. While we were in Connecticut, my mom found books that had belonged to me and some that she had bought and put away for the girls. You should have heard Katya's shrieks of glee upon receiving non-fiction guides to the American presidents, Ancient Rome and Snoopy's Book of Answers about Space (which I was ECSTATIC to receive when we visited the Smithsonian when I was Katya's age). 

How interesting it will be if Katya grows up to be an American historian, having grown up on the other side of the world...

(YES, it is now 12:44 a.m. and I'm back in Moscow, deep in the midst of dealing with Round 2 of the girls' jet lag... It's Day # 2 since our return... Tomorrow's -- make that later this morning --  a regular work day... Joy!)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a very nice trip to NYC. You are right, it is hard to cover much in one day. There are two more skating rings - one near the library and another one in Central Park, right near the Zoo on the South side.
A week ago we went to see Frick Collection and walked on 5th all the way to the museum, so I got to look into the American Girls Place, thinking that you will be there shortly. Nice place.
Olga

Rachael said...

So...you made it home! And, I hope for your sake the jet lag is short-lived. Cute how they refer to "Katya in Michigan, but first from St. Petersburg!" :)

Your Katya (? Katya in Moscow, but first from USA) looks SO tall in the AG pictures. Has she had a little growth spurt?

Carey and Norman said...

What a fun trip to New York. I love New York during the holidays. I've still never been to the American Girls store, but I'd love to take our daughter one day!

Tina in CT said...

Wonderful blog about out day in NYC. We can only do so much in the one day as we do American Girl Place from top to bottom with lunch too.

Tina in CT said...

I did not get a picture from the AG professional picture. Would you please cut one and mail it to me? Thanks

Annie said...

I finally got to NYC (from Colorado) when I was 23. That was OK - it was such an overwhelming thing for me that I'll NEVER forget those smells and sounds. As a little girl, just the trip to Denver was AMAZING. My parents took me a few times to the State Historical Museum, which I loved. They had a number of fairly small dioramas which I absolutely ADORED. I think I still like them better than life-sized ones. Much more magical.

How great to see a photo of Tina! You two sure look alike!

Anonymous said...

sounds like you had an amazing trip - never been to nyc, looks awesome! we are missing colorado today ; ) you are about to make me cry with comments about the girls friends moving away...loved the girl's cowboy boots!!!!!

miss you!
jeannie

Tami said...

Sounds like an great trip to NYC. Love the picture of your mom. I don't think I've ever seen a pic of her before. Its nice to put a face with the name.

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