Sunday, April 12, 2015

End of cabin fever

The sun came out, the sky is blue, and the air feels warm.  We did what a lot of other people decided to do today - take a walk at Brandywine Falls.

Carved by Brandywine Creek the 65-foot falls cover layers of sandstone and shale rock, some of which date back 350-400 million years.  Early settlers in this area recognized the falls for its beauty as well as for the power it generated.  In 1814 a saw mill was built on top of the falls.  Other mills soon followed and the Village of Brandywine became one of the earliest  communities in the Cuyahoga Valley.

You reach the falls through a series of boardwalks and steps to the viewing area.  Other trails wind along the river.

There was a lot of water flowing from melting snow and the recent rain we have had so far this month.  We walked among the rocks and looked for fish, turtles, and frogs.

Daisy is the only one who got her feet wet.  She really would have liked to jump in for a swim!

Saturday, April 11, 2015


Check "rock climbing" off the bucket list!

Grace and I went to check out Kendall Cliffs as a possible birthday party location for her 8th birthday next month.  They were super nice and Grace did an amazing job, climbing the rock wall about 12 times.  She is so brave and she kept going back up and setting goals for how high she wanted to get each time. In the end, Grace said that it was "terrifying".  Not her sport, I guess.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Silly girls

Grace and McKenna humored me with one silly photo and then told me to go away!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Fat cat

I think Buddy is becoming Garfield.  Somebody better stop feeding him so much!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The annual Easter egg dash

For the last several years we have been meeting Kellie and Dawson at Stan Hywett for their Easter egg hunt.  Before writing this post, I looked back at the photos of the last few years.  Here are some photo memories from:

2012 (4 years old)

 2013 (5 years old)

2014 (6 years old)

It's fun to look back at how cute and little they were and how they have grown and changed each year.  

2015 (7 years old)

As usual, it was a chilly day.  I keep saying we need to move somewhere where the flowers are blooming and the girls really can wear cute Easter dresses for their egg hunt.  Yesterday we needed winter coats, hats, and gloves.  But it was sunny, so I really shouldn't complain!

We walked around the Stan Hywett grounds while we waited for the 7-9 year olds to have their turn for the Easter egg hunt. Grace and Dawson looked for turtles in the ponds.

Kyle tried to teach them how to whistle using the top of an acorn.  He told them he learned to do this from an after-school television program when he was a kid and it took a lot of practice before it worked.

When it was time for their Easter egg hunt the girls decided on their strategy to collect a lot of eggs. Calling this a "hunt" is a misnomer.  The eggs are scattered all over the grass and the kids dash after them.   Hundreds of eggs are gone within a frenzied few minutes.  When they blew the whistle this is what it looked like when dozens of children swarmed the grass.

There were plenty of eggs for everyone.  They asked the children to take 15 eggs each but after they did that there were still tons left on the grass so they were allowed to go get more...and the second "dash" began.

Grace and Dawson seemed to enjoy themselves.  They sat on a bench in the sun to open their eggs and examine the trinkets.  For two little girls who have a lot, they still get excited about the surprises inside Easter eggs.

I truly love those smiles!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Celebrating spring

Coloring eggs with bright dye is an Easter and spring tradition.  When Grace was decorating her eggs last night she asked why we do this.

I answered that the eggs are a symbol of spring time and we add the bright colors like the colors of the flowers that will bloom soon.  I knew there was also a connection to Easter.

I looked it up and it turns out there are many different theories of why we dye eggs including pagan traditions and symbols of rebirth,  stories of Mary Magdalene using red dye to symbolize Jesus' blood, and King Edward I giving eggs covered in gold leaf as Easter gifts in the 13th century.

It was interesting to see how these "different" theories all had a connection to each other and that different cultures and religions adapted the tradition to their own needs and beliefs.

Grace's eggs turned out very pretty.  She did them on her own, although I was allowed to help a little with the glitter.

Friday, April 3, 2015


It is interesting what we take for granted.  US Citizenship, for example.  I never think about my own status as an American but I am sometimes reminded of it for Grace.  As an adoptive parent of a child born in another country, I visited Guatemala in 2007 - of course to meet Grace - but also so that when she entered our country she would immediately become a citizen.  That date was March 11, 2008 when my mom and I were so nervous in the Houston airport going through Customs and Immigration, holding a manila envelope that we were told to guard with our lives.

As soon as we were able, Grace got a United States passport - a document that would prove her citizenship, if it were ever questioned.  For me, having that passport is security of all the rights and responsibilities of living in the country.  Unless you plan to travel outside the United States, most people probably don't have a passport.  For us, it is a necessity.  Especially as a read articles and hear accounts of people (children) who face deportation because their parents didn't take care of the necessary documentation to make sure their child's citizenship was never questioned.

Today, we went to renew Grace's passport.  I told her it was a big deal and she needed to take it seriously.  She understands that when we go through TSA security at the airport she must listen and not mess around.  Grace chose this adorable outfit for her appointment to review her paperwork for her 2nd US passport.  My big girl...

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Overnight in Columbus

Unfortunately, our spring breaks were not the same this year so we couldn't plan a family vacation. And, Grace was VERY sick all week with the flu so by the time Friday rolled around, we all needed a change of scenery and some time having fun together.

We drove two hours to Columbus where we all had our first experience with Cosi - a hands-on science museum.  

I always thought "Co-si" stood for Columbus Science Museum but we found out that its real name is Center of Science and Industry, which makes sense when you consider that some of the exhibits had to do with energy conservation and progress and inventions from the 1800s until now.  

Inside, we could see that it takes a lot less energy to light the new lightbulbs than incandescent and LED when Grace used her own energy to turn a wheel.

In the dark and mysterious Ocean exhibit, Grace climbed inside a submarine and a remote operated vehicle (ROV).  We could see her on a video screen in the waiting area.  She said there were a lot of controls and it sounded like the waves were crashing outside.

There were a bunch of areas to get wet like water canons, balancing balls, and PVC pipes to move water to another location.  I know the kids were supposed to learn about laminar flow and cohesion but I think it was just plan fun!

The Gadgets area had a lot of things that kids could take apart and put back together.  We laughed at our competition to throw balls into the funnel of an air canon, tried to work as a team to coordinate three pistons, and Grace used a pulley to raise herself on a moveable seat.  

It was a busy day and we didn't do everything they had to offer!

Kyle had a great idea to go to the American Girl store after dinner.  It was so pleasant to be there without the crowds and Grace got to check out the doll of the year - also named GRACE!

When Grace was about three, we went to the American Girl store in NYC with Nana.  But she wasn't too interested back then and I don't think she remembered it.  When we got to the store this time, she said, "This is like a dream!" and "I wish we could have all of this in our basement."  I wish I could give it all to her.

Grace was allowed to choose one thing that wasn't a doll.  She opted for the Feel Better Set with crutches, casts, an Ace bandage, etc.  I think it was a great choice and Isabelle (her doll) felt much better that night at the hotel since she somehow "broke" her ankle while we were at the restaurant for dinner.

We did go back to Easton shopping center the next day.  When we went into the American Girl store it was so packed with little girls and their parents that you could barely walk.  I was so happy we had visited the night before!