The holidays are such a fun time of year! Everyone seems to be more cheerful and the decorations around the city are beautiful. My building's courtyard is extra festive as we have a holly bush in our yard! On Saturday morning, things got even more beautiful when I woke up to snow falling!
I have a new parka this year. It was custom-made in Manitoba, Canada, especially for me! At first my mom and mama told me I couldn't have it until New Year, when we traditionally give gifts- but I managed to convince them that I should get it on the occasion of the first snow. Whee! I put on my parka, snow pants, and boots so that I could play in the snow.
I love the snow. It reminds me so much of New Year, of hot chocolate, and of the Nutcracker! I stopped taking ballet lessons a few years ago and I'm so relieved to have more time to play, particularly during Nutcracker season. I do miss the excitement of performing, but performances are a reward for hard work and I just didn't have the energy or passion to do that anymore. I'm glad. Sometimes you might think that you should never quit something, but if it's making you unhappy you might need to rethink things. I know I made the right decision.
Hurrah for the holiday season! May your days be merry and bright as the solstice approaches. I can't wait for New Year. Only a few more weeks!
One of my favorite holiday traditions is decorating our New Year Tree! Usually a holiday tree is decorated for Christmas, but it's also a Russian tradition to decorate a tree for the New Year holiday. Since my family celebrates New Year instead of Christmas, we call it a New Year tree! My friend Brooke came over for her third year helping me decorate. Brooke and her family celebrate Christmas, but in a secular way. Secular means non-religious, just in case you weren't familiar with the word.
This year is special because my parents let me and Brooke put the fairy lights on the tree by ourselves! It was a lot harder than we thought it would be! The branches kept poking us. Ouch!
Brooke is really great with putting the lights on. I kept putting the lights all clumped up together, but Brooke helped me make sure they looked even. That's why we're good friends- we help each other!
Spending time with friends and family is my favorite part of the holiday season. I was really missing my friend Violet, who lives in Utah. Luckily I was able to call her and hear that she's doing really well and enjoying the holidays! It's a good thing that Brooke is here to cheer me up!
Once the fairy lights were ready, Brooke and I started putting ornaments on the tree. This little snowflake is always my favorite- he's been on my tree since New Year 2008! Wow! We had so much fun putting all the little characters on the tree.
This year Brooke and I tried something a little different. We put little Miffy character toys in the tree to show my Mom how much I love her! Mom spent time living in the Netherlands, where the artist Dick Bruna invented Miffy! Miffy makes her think of that time in her life; she's a special character to her.
Finally it was time to put the star on the tree! Brooke held me hand to keep me steady as I climbed onto the nightstand to reach the treetop. Hurrah! The tree looks so beautiful with all the fairy lights, ornaments, and the star.
Brooke loves to share her family's holiday traditions with me. This year, we decided to hang stockings as her family does. We left our stockings hanging from our beds. (Brooke says you're supposed to hang them from the fireplace, but we don't have one.) When we wake up on Christmas morning, they will be filled with treats like small toys or candy.
The holidays are such a wonderful time of year! I'm so glad I have good friends with whom I can celebrate!
P.S. I recently celebrated my birthday! Keep an eye on my blog for a post about my party!
Hi everyone! It's me, Inky! I'm reporting from Los Alamos, New Mexico. Los Alamos is the home of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park because it's the birthplace of the atomic bomb. Atomic bombs are nuclear weapons, which get their power from nuclear reactions.
Nuclear weapons are terrible, terrible things. The United States exploded two of these during World War II in Japan. "Little Boy" was detonated over Hiroshima, while "Fat Man" was in Nagasaki. Many, many people died and suffered from serious injuries and illnesses as a result. In fact, I want to be very clear that my trip to Manhattan Project NHP was not to celebrate nuclear weaponry, but to learn from it.
The Manhattan Project park is actually made of three different sites. The one I visited is in New Mexico, but there are two others- in Hanford, Washington and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The part of the park in Los Alamos is called Project Y. I went with my Mama and my grandma, Chi'i. I learned a lot about how the scientists and their support teams lived. The lodge in this picture is Fuller Lodge, which was used as a community center during Project Y.
Near the lodge is an old cabin, the Romero Cabin, which represents the settlers in the area of European descent. It's one of three homestead cabins still standing. However, the first inhabitants of the Los Alamos area were the Ancestral Puebloan people. Mama, Chi'i, and that side of my family are modern Pueblo people! If you want to learn more about the Ancestral Puebloans from the Los Alamos area, click on this link to read about my visit to nearby Bandelier National Monument. There are remains of an Ancestral Puebloan site right next to the Romero cabin, but I didn't pose next to it out of respect.
This is me in front of the Hans Bethe House. Hans Bethe and Edwin McMillan, who each won a Nobel Prize, lived in this house! It's going to be a museum soon. We didn't go in, but I posed in front of the flowers in the yard!
Here I am posing with statues of J. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves. Dr. Oppenheimer was in charge of the scientific part of the Manhattan Project, while General Groves was the commanding general. Their work was very important scientifically, but again, we have to remember that tragedy that atomic weapons brought.
Across the street from the statues, there is a little Visitor Center for the park. Whenever I visit a new park, I try to participate in the Junior Ranger Program. I got straight to work on my booklet! It was really fun to learn about the Manhattan Project.
When I finished my booklet, Ranger Kirk and Volunteer Jackie posed with me for this photo and gave me a badge. They were interested in learning more about my family's Pueblo culture, so we were able to share knowledge between rangers and visitors! Cool! I recommended that they go down to Albuquerque and visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Meeting rangers and Parks volunteers is one of my favorite parts of visiting NPS sites!
Junior Rangers at Manhattan Project NHP have the choice of a badge or a patch. I chose a badge, but the patch is awesome too! It features an atom and the names of all three sites in the Manhattan Project.
Thanks for learning about the Manhattan Project with me! Remember- while atomic weapons are powerful, peace on Earth is the way to go!
Hi everyone! Summer is coming to an end, but my family decided to go to the beach one last time. We drove out to Robert Moses State Park on Fire Island. To get there, you take a causeway, which is a series of bridges over the bay! It was really cool.
I have a really cute sand mold that makes sea turtles! I had so much fun visiting the sea turtles in Costa Rica in 2014, so I made a whole crew of them. You can see them very well in this photo, but you they are the little ball-shaped shapes in front of me.
As the sun got lower in the sky, I took off my sunglasses and took my bucket to collect shells. There are so many beautiful shells on the beach! I think the scallop shells have a pretty shape, but I love the purple color of clamshells.
Just before my family left to drive back to New York City, I made a sandcastle using my shell bucket. It's fun figuring out just the right mix of sand and water to make the perfect castle.
Before long, it was time to head back home. I put on my sunglasses and looked around, memorizing how the beach looked. Sometimes we go to a more local beach in the fall and winter to take walks, but this would be the last summery visit until next year. Goodbye beach!
Do you have any activities that you only do in the summer?
During my friend Nora's visit, we had a lot of fun together. One afternoon, we decided to blow bubbles in the courtyard!
The truth is that, at first, we tried blowing bubbles in the living room. The popped bubbles kept leaving sticky, soapy messes everywhere, so our parents made us take the bubbles outside. We didn't mind though, because it was a really nice day out! I loved seeing the bubbles float around on the breeze.
Nora and I had a lot of fun together on her visit. I'm so sad she had to go home! I really enjoy having her around. Thanks Nora, for a great long weekend!
One awesome thing about living in New York City is that lots of people come and visit because it is such a fun and exciting place. At the end of August, my friend Nora came to visit me. She's from Canada and loves our city. I had to go to a group meeting on her first day, but we decided to meet up in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and walk through Central Park. The weather was perfect!
We walked through the park talking about all our favorite things. One thing Nora and I have in common is a shared love of the Swallows & Amazons series. Of course, a must in the park for two girls obsessed with adventures on sailboats is Conservatory Water. There, you can rent model sailboats to sail around the basin! So cool, right? Nora and I loved watching the boats.
After watching the boats and chatting, we stopped by the Loeb Boathouse to use their bathroom! I saw this beautiful flower and asked Nora to take a photo of me next to it. Isn't it pretty?
Once we were refreshed, we headed west toward Bethesda Fountain. Nora's family *loves* Bethesda Fountain, so I took a photo of her in front of it to give to her parents. Of course, the Angel of the Waters on top of the fountain isn't in focus, but you get the idea.
We decided to rest again near the fountain. It's so fun to watch all the people go by! We saw a lesbian couple in their fancy outfits taking wedding photos! We wanted to run up to them to say we're both from two-mom families, but we were a little shy, so we just smiled at them instead. We also helped a few different families by taking their photos in front of the fountain.
Nora loves adventures. I had to take her climbing on the rocks! They are probably Manhattan schist, a special kind of rock in Central Park. City kids love to climb on them - and so does Nora!
I was having so much fun with Nora! After we climbed on the rocks, we stopped by Strawberry Fields. Strawberry Fields is a special memorial to John Lennon, the famous musician. We didn't take any photos because so, so many other people were posing for their own photos!
Strawberry Fields is on the west edge of the park; we had officially made it all the way across Central Park! We celebrated with cold lemonade before going into the Eloise exhibit at the New York Historical Society. We didn't take photos there, but it was great! We learned so much about one of our favorite storybook characters.
Nora and I had a fantastic time together. By the time we were standing on the platform to take the train home, it was already getting dark. Hurrah for friendship and hurrah for Central Park!
Have you ever shown your friends around your city before?
Hi everyone! Summer is winding down. My mom really loves the beach so we tend to go a lot each summer. On my most recent visit to the beach, my parents took me and my new friend, Maia! We drove out to Jones Beach on Long Island and enjoyed the sunset; it's our favorite time to go to the beach because of the magical light.
Maia is so nice. Like my friend Coral, she's from New Zealand. She loves her traditional Māori culture. Maia's family is from Tauranga, a beautiful city on the seaside of New Zealand's North Island. I'm looking forward to getting to know her better!
I love going to the beach with my family and friends. It was really nice enjoying the setting sun!
Hi everyone! It's me, Inky! I keep forgetting to finish my posts about my spring break trip with my friend Brooke and her family. On the last day of our cruise, Brooke was very, very excited for Officer Pin Trading night. We each had a lanyard with pins on it to trade. Brooke's had a big Elsa charm and mine had a big Moana one. I had never been to a pin trading event before, but Brooke definitely made me feel included and excited too!
We had a long day at sea to enjoy first though! We played Jenga in our stateroom in front of our big porthole window.
Then we went and saw Beauty and the Beast in the theatre on board the ship. It was so cool! I had never been inside a movie theatre on a ship before. Plus, Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales. I loved all the songs in the Disney version. After the movie, we posed with a big statue of Mickey.
It was finally time for the pin trading event after dinner. The officers wore their clean white uniforms. They looked great! I had so much fun, even though I didn't know much about pins. Brooke knows how to spot the counterfeit pins and she was showing me lots of little tricks and telling me facts about the pins.
After the busy event, it was time to head to bed. The next morning, we would arrive in Florida again.
I had a great time on my first Disney cruise! I didn't blog about it, but Brooke and I had fun playing at Castaway Cay and swimming with dolphins at Atlantis in the Bahamas. I'm so glad Brooke invited me to join her family! It was sad to roll our bags off the boat and into the big arrival building. After a bus ride, we were already back on the plane to New York. See you again soon, Disney Dream!
Celebrating Pride is so important! My friends and I decided that we should have a mini-celebration in the park. I met up with Reine and Sol to cheer for people of all genders and sexualities. It was a lot of fun - people came up and talked with us about their own families and stories.
Sol lives in Soho with her mom and dad, but she wants to support everyone even if she doesn't have a direct connection to the queer community. She wore her Rainbow Dash shirt!
Reine is a new friend of mine. She plays ukulele really well and was entertaining everyone with her music. She wore rainbow tights to celebrate!
As for me - I have two moms! I have a Mom and a Mama. I was marching to show the diversity of families. Families can come in any shape and size, but all of them are beautiful!
Before we left the park, we stopped for a snack. Reine had some melon slices and I had a can of green tea.
Sol brought dumplings!
Celebrating the diversity of families is a great way to celebrate in the month of June! What is your family like?