Monday, December 15, 2014

A Dainty Warrior in New York City!!

In the weeks since Ania's final chemotherapy and MRI coming back clear from Cancer, life has pretty much returned to seemingly normal. She has surgery on December 22nd to remove the port in her chest used to administer her medications so that is like the final step to Cancer freedom for her- although if she could choose, she would be happy to keep her port, or "tubie" and she calls it. It's become a sense of comfort to her so she is actually a bit sad and probably a bit nervous to see it go. Life will go on without "tubie" and I'm sure after a while she will hardly recall it being there.

This weekend we were given an amazing opportunity to take an adventure away- just mommy, daddy & Ania to New York City thanks to a wonderful charity dance organization called Move The World. Watch a video here to see how Ania was chosen: MOVEtheWORLD Ania
Ania was given the gift of a ballet-filled weekend with the New York City Ballet! 
We arrived in NYC on Saturday afternoon so we spent the evening walking down the very crowded streets in Times Square. Even though Ania is a city girl, New York is quite a different beast compared to Chicago. All the people, especially at this holiday time of year and all the lights and sounds were something she has never seen- and she did well! She wasn't scared or intimidated and she enjoyed riding on daddy's shoulders above the crowds (poor daddy's back after LOTS of shoulder rides!).

We took her to the ultimate toy store- FAO Schwartz and she got to choose a little toy for herself. She chose a silly little stuffed squirrel who she named "Chunky". It was instant love- she was petting him and giving him kisses, insisting he come home to Chicago with her. He was probably the best $25 we spent while there! What a lucky squirrel to have Ania as a friend ;)
Dancing on the "BIG" piano at FAO Schwarz!

On Sunday, we had our "ballet extravaganza" with the New York City Ballet. It was indeed a jam-packed day of dance. It began with a special Nutcracker   workshop for children to learn a little more about the story and a chance to dance with some of the company dancers! 
Ania was one of the first to arrive at the studio so she took lots of time practicing her leaps! What a nice, giant space for this tiny dancer! 
Practice on the barre

Can you spot her amongst all the little dancers? 
What a fun opportunity! 

Immediately after her workshop we went to see the "Big Girl Ballerinas" of NYC Ballet put on The Nutcracker. It was a beautiful display and Ania enjoyed watching while muching on Gummy Bears and m&ms :) 
Intermission= more candy.....

And a giant umbrella (?)

After the show we had another special treat- literally! We got to go to the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy- aka backstage! 
Ania was able to see backstage and even sit at the sweets table! 

Looks picture perfect yes? Well...... She IS a 4 year old and sometimes it shows... 
THE Sugar Plum Fairy came out to say hello to Ania and present her with a pair of signed ballet slippers.... Ania's response? 
Well, we can call it stage fright because she was just not sure about meeting fact, she stuck her tongue out at her.... Oh boy and I got a picture of the interaction... Oh Ania!!! ;P 
I'll tell you, Mommy was sure blushing in embarrassment! Can't be a perfect child all the time right? ;)

The Sugar Plum Fairy, aka Maria Kowroski, was a very gracious and a classy lady, not to mention, such a beautiful dancer!
To Ania with Love, Maria

I have to admit, Maria wears the same size shoe as me so I had to try them on for size when we got back to the hotel. I gave Ania a good laugh as I tried to get up on my toes- OUCH!!! I give dancers so much credit! How in the world is toe dancing possible?! :)

After the show, Ania finished her New York experience with a walk through Central Park.
Ania Loves New York :) 

We made our return flight to Chicago this morning and Ania was still beaming with excitement from her weekend as we flew but she was eager to get home to her little brother Kellen! 
All buckled in and ready to fly home- and of course "Chunky the Squirril" too! 

Thank you again to Move the World and the New York City Ballet for giving Ania such a magical weekend she will never forget!  

God Bless,


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