Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Andrew called and said, “What are you guys up to?”  I replied, “Buying vampire teeth, of course, what are you doing?”

We had an old friend from St. Louis in town for the weekend.  She has a lot of dietary allergies and so Andrew had been researching restaurants and had found one that we love that would be happy to accommodate her requests.  It is a very very very fancy italian restaurant and they said that they could do their pasta gluten-free.  But it is very fancy and expensive.

Andrew, “So, you want to come out to dinner?” Me, “With Blitzen? There?”

So I asked Blitzen, “Would you like to go a very fancy restaurant with Andrew and our friend? It will take a very long time, they are going to bring us a lot of different foods, we’re going to have sit for a long time.”

Blitzen considered this, “I’ll try-y-y-y it.”

Some highlights:

Blitzen peering down a marble staircase to the ‘basement’ and saying – “Why do they have all that beer in the basement.” That would be the wine cellar, honey.

Blitzen, upon being presented with the 4th of 5 courses, leaning over to me and saying, “Why do they keep bringing us food? I just don’t get it.”

Me, pointing to something on Blitzen’s plate and saying, “That is roasted cauliflower, you know.” And Blitzen saying, “Yes!” and literally grabbing several fingerful to stuff in her mouth.  Who can be bothered with cutlery when roasted vegetables are available.

Blitzen going to the coatcheck because she “needed” something.  Blitzen being ratted out by the coatcheck guy, “I remember you, you came by here an hour ago for the candy in your mom’s bag.”  ‘Cause she’s peckish, I guess, in the middle of our 5 courses.

Blitzen was engaged in the conversation and the food.  It was a marathon and amazing meal – more than 2 hours of wonderful food. She was patient and polite and stayed in her seat except when she went to 1) go see if she could find the pianist 2) went to look at a vase up close that she was pretty sure was shaped like the statue of liberty 3) went outside to see if it had started to snow.

And she only wore her vampire teeth between courses!

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This year, Blitzen had a gymnastics themed birthday party.  She loved it.  I wish I could post the slow-motion movie her babysitter took of her on the trampoline – twisting, turning and doing the splits in mid-air.  She is really something.

Many people from her family of origin came to the event including her parents, her siblings, several cousins, one grandma and an uncle.  They all traveled a very long way on public transit on a terrible weather day.  I was glad that they came. Blitzen really wanted them there. She did a wonderful job melding her worlds – us, school friends and their parents, all her family.

There were several wonderful and funny moments to the party.

It had been 2 weeks since the kids had seen each other because of the winter recess.  And as each new girl arrived, the whole pack of them would squeal and hug.  I told one of the moms that it reminded me a 20 year high school reunion – they were so genuinely delighted to see each other.  And Blitzen blurted out, “You’ve all grown so much!”  which is something that she had heard several times during our vacation over the break.

When everyone sat down for pizza, the theme song from Frozen came on.  If you have never seen an impromptu concert with 10 ten year olds and 1 eleven year old belting out that song, then you have not yet lived.  It was hilarious.

At one point, Blitzen’s oldest brother got quite sad.  One of Blitzen’s friends rushed up to her to draw her attention to the situation so Blitzen went right over to him, to reassure him and to pat his back.

Her cake was very very pink with a little sparkly icing and beautiful little purple flowers just as she requested. Apparently, when she and Andrew went to the bakery to order it, she was quite specific about the color and design.  And it turned out fabulous.

At the end of the event, Blitzen was totally cool, no sadness, no meltdown.  I told her it was time for folks to go so she went around giving everyone their goody bag and thanking them for coming to her party.  She was a superb hostess.


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We had a really great weekend with friends.  It was a good thing – we needed a break from our angst and drama. A change of scenery and people sometimes is a miraculous thing.  Blitzen and company made lovely little ‘gingerbread’ houses. It was a group activity, Blitzen listened to the instructions but she didn’t quite understand some of the finer details of house construction.   She did not flip out – she just called me over and said, “Carrie, I don’t get it.” So I explained in a different way, gave just a wee bit of assistance and she was on her way.  And she put more candy on the house than in her stomach and then went to the snack table to eat a hard boiled egg and some cheddar cheese. Blitzen's gingerbread house

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We visited with some old friends this weekend.  We hadn’t seen them in about a year.

It is always exciting to get together with friends, it is a rare treat these days.  And it is always exciting to watch Blitzen with people and to see how much she has grown.  Our friends commented on how mature and calm she was.  The highlight of the day (which included a visit to some formal gardens with space to run and an old mansion – no running but cool stuff -  as well as a lengthy meal at a grownup restaurant) was when Blitzen calmly said, “Excuse me, Carrie, when you are done with your conversation with E, may I talk to her?”  Why of course you can, my darling girl.  And thank you for asking so nicely instead of pulling on my arm and shouting, “Let’s talk about mermaids!”

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Blitzen had quite a list of things to accomplish this summer and we did it all.

Coney Island


Host cousin H in NYC for week

Fly to Arizona with cousin H all by themselves (this was edited – Blitzen and cousin H flew a day to AZ a day before us with my mother who sat in the row behind the two very independent 10 year olds and pretended not to know them)

Visit in Az and swim, swim, swim

Go to gymnastics camp

Take surf lessons

Start a family seashell collection

Swim in a lake

Ride in a convertible

The last 2 items just got in under the wire.  We rented a convertible for the last weekend of summer, took the scenic route up to Mohonk Mountain where we spent hours diving into the lake as well as hanging out in row boats, playing shuffleboard, eating fancy meals and dancing our hearts out to a live band.

It was action packed, I tell. What a great summer!

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We went for a stroll in Central Park to visit Dennis and Stan’s tree.  What, you may wonder, is a Stan and Dennis tree? Well, it is the tree in Central Park where we scattered the ashes of my wonderful father – shhh, don’t tell anyone, I am quite sure that it is illegal – and then later also scattered the ashes of our dear dog Stan.  Since the Marley book, we’ve been talking a lot about endings.

Now, this is an amazing tree and the perfect place for one human and one dog that acted like a human to rest in peace – especially since they were the best of friends.  Blitzen really seemed to take in the occasion and grasp the significance that the place held for Andrew and me.  She did a lot of processing along the way and asked questions like – What were the ashes like? Were we feeling sad? How did we pick the tree? We talked about heaven and reincarnation and that lots of different people believe lots of different things but that the people that we love are always with us in our memories and our hearts.

After strolling around the tree and agreeing that it is a very very fine tree, Blitzen said, “So now I guess your dad and Stan are living in the tree.  The ashes probably went into the ground and up into the tree.” Yes, I think that is probably right.

Dennis and Stan Tree

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We went to the playground the other day.  Blitzen was doing her thing, running around, enjoying various items and groups of kids.  She happened upon a group playing on this modern version of the merry go round (I guess that is what it is) and announced, “Ok, I’m playing now.” to the group at large.  One kind of punky kid said, “No, no, you’re not.”  Blitzen just smiled and said, “Oh yes, I am.”  And jumped right on.  Before you knew it, she had the entire group trying to walk in circle along the edge without falling off.  Damn, that kid is all kinds of brave.

Blitzen playing

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Ok, so Blitzen and H encountered an earnest young philanthropist selling cookies to raise money for Alzeheimers.  They learned a little about the disease, ate a cookie and donated a $1.50 to a good cause.  Shortly afterward, Andrew took them to the toy store and said they could buy one thing to play with that everyone would enjoy.  So, of course they bought ‘spa kit’ with nail polish, little  hand dryer thing and a tub to soak your feet.  They were over the moon — Andrew just shook his head, sighed and said, ‘You would think I’d learn.’  Last time he took them shopping, they picked out these little kiddie makeup kits.  (Someday I’ll write about how upsetting the sexualization of young girls is and how I vowed no makeup, no barbies, etc, but it is all so much harder to enforce and instill these values when you are not starting from scratch – but that is another post).

Anyway, having been inspired by the cookie kid, they talked Andrew into this purchase by making a grand plan — they would set up a roadside mani/pedi stand, charge people $5 for hands, another $5 for toes but a massage would be free with either purchase.  And they would donate their earnings to cancer research.

I must say it was really adorable. They set up 2 lawn chairs on the front walk, filled their zebra-striped blow-up tub with warm water and then created a sign to entice customers / donors.  They sounded a little bit like pint-sized carnival barkers, shouting to random beachgoers, promising a  great spa experience as well as the opportunity to support a very important cause.

They mostly serviced the family but they did entice one donation from the general public.  The lovely lady said she would come back later for a mani — good choice as sparkly polish with red stripes is not for everyone.

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An old friend of ours from St. Louis has been in NYC this week.  We’ve had a great time visiting and catching up.  She and Blitzen have become fast friends, bonding over Barbies and chatting about music and other things.

It is always such an interesting experience for me when a grown-up from my pre-Blitzen life meets Blitzen.  I mean obviously I think the kid is amazing (I try not to let it show on the blog but I am kind of fond of the child) so it is wonderful when other people that I care about (and who I have been boring to death with Blitzen stories) finally meet her and say, wow, that is one really cool kid.  They seem to enjoy her as much as I do – perhaps even more since Blitzen is rarely invested in arguing with them just for the sake of arguing.  She likes to save that up for Andrew and me!

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My niece H is in town for a week with my mother. Then we’re all flying to Az then on to Cali for a big vacation with my siblings and their kids.  But Blitzen and H have, despite only seeing each other twice a year and being separated by 3,000 miles, become cousin bffs.  H is all that Blitzen has talked about for weeks.  We wrote the day of their arrival on the calendar and we’ve been checking and counting the days compulsively since the start of June.

Blitzen tells everyone that she encounters, ‘My cousin H is coming and we’re going to have so much fun!’  It is really quite adorable.  This morning, the girls, in all their excitement, after falling asleep at midnight, awoke at 5am.  We said, no way, go back to sleep.  You need to rest.  Blitzen, future litigator, came downstairs to explain why we were so wrong to insist that they go back to sleep.

Blitzen, standing by Andrew’s side of the bed, giving an impassioned speech that went something like this, ‘It is not really fair for you to tell us to sleep when we are not sleepy and we just want to play.  That is why H is here, you know, to play with me.  Also, we’re young and you guys are kinda old still kinda young but more old so you probably need more sleep than us. We tried to go back to sleep but we are awake and we really just want to build a fort.  How about we quietly build a fort and watch the ipad in it and …”

Andrew to Blitzen, “Blitzen, it is 5:00am.  I think the fact that you are standing here arguing about this might be one sign that your body and brain need more sleep.”

Blitzen to Andrew, “Andrew, I am not done, don’t interrupt me please, it is my turn to talk.  And H and I just want to talk, what if we just talk but not sleep.  We could just get up and start, you know, our usual routine? Like getting dressed and brushing our teeth and stuff.  Also, I just want to tell you that we have a guest and I am down here arguing with you – you are making me argue – and I think that is just rude because I should be upstairs, playing with our guest and taking care of her.”

At this point, we surrendered, mostly because we were afraid that we would burst out laughing.


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