Thursday, October 28, 2010

Playing Hooky

We ditched school for a day! It was one of those lovely late autumn days when the air is warm, the leaves are turning and the light from the hazy sky makes everything look even more beautiful. We told the boys the night before that they weren’t going to school the next day and that we were renting a car and driving up to Bear Mountain to go hiking. They were ecstatic.

We rented a red Mustang and zoomed up the Palisades to Bear Mountain State Park. It’s only about 50 miles north of the city, in fact, on clear days you can see the skyline from the mountain top. This day was a little hazy but you could just make out the outline of the skyscrapers if you looked closely and with imagination.

We followed a trail marked with white rectangles that lead down to the Hudson River. We didn’t make it all the way down because we realized that we’d have to walk all the way back up! But along the way we had great fun making believe we were trail-blazing mountain men.
We left the park and drove over the river Westchester County to Hardscrabble Road and then to Outhouse Orchards. It was pretty late in the season to pick apples but there were still a few on the trees.

Maxie took his teacher an apple the next morning. Riley proudly told his class that he had been on a “family day”.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Aussie Rules Football in Central Park

Columbus Day weekend in New York was glorious, perfect for an outdoor sixth birthday party for Max.  He turned 6 on October 9th.  Last July, while we were in Melbourne, his cousin Will had turned 6 and his parents gave him a Footy party in a park close to their home.   We copied the Footy idea but displaced it to Central Park where few even know what Aussie Rules Football is (save those who watched ESPN in the early days when they showed it 24 hours a day!)

We planned goal kicking, hand-passing practice (complete with a practice board hand drawn by Riley and colored in by Max) and various other games including What’s the Time Mr. Wolf and Pass the Parcel as entertainment and we had time for everything.  The only thing we didn’t get to was an actual Footy game. Miranda was happy about that for she feared there might be tears involved in a “game”.

The super of our building had helped by making goal posts out of PVC piping.  Riley and I planted them in the ground before the action began and we did have some time kicking goals before the Parks Department came around in a little golf cart and said, “No stakes in the ground, you must use cones”.   Luckily we had some cones so the festivities continued without incident.

Miranda’s Football cake was fantastic, as usual, and the piƱata bashing was filled with a manly display of testosterone.  We had lots of help from our wonderful neighbors lugging the food and equipment to and from the park. 

The most wonderful part of the day was watching Max himself.  He so enjoyed the attention and seemed to really be excited that it was “his” day.