Monday, December 25, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Final curtain

After the final Nutcracker performance, the dancers celebrated on the stage by playing in the "snow"!



Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Kris Kringle Inventionasium

Eating dinner at Collision Bend was a nice, warm way for Grace to have her first experience of the Flats.  The restaurant is in an old warehouse right on the river with a beautiful view as the sun was going down. Grace took this photo and I took the next one of her as she did it!



We promised to take her back for a boat ride and lunch in the summer when it is warm and you can enjoy the water.

After dinner we went to Tower City for a different kind of Santa experience.


Kris Kringle's Inventionasium is an interactive theatrical performance that is supposed to be at Santa's workshop. You travel through different rooms, each with its own activity, and then meet Santa at the end.  Think of Willy Wonka or Alice in Wonderland crossed with Santa and you get the idea of what this was like - colorful, a little zany, silly, and imaginative.



You are greeted at the door where everyone is called a "Dreamer" and you take an oath. 



Everyone promised to be up for the fun and to be creative.  That wasn't difficult as you walked down this hallway to the first room.


We met the first elf who helped us all figure out our elf names - a word, and action, and a sound - based upon our real names.  After we "got" everyone practiced which was hilarious!



In the next room we mixed molecules to create the potion for "Joy".




We made Christmas cards with water and paint brushes, mixed water and a powder to create snow, and created ornaments from moon sand.



In one room we played with all kinds of blocks to make a toy creation for Santa.




You get the idea...Near the end while we waited to talk to Kris Kringle, we took a few photos and then the clock snuck up on Grace!






I was impressed how Kris Kringle talked to Grace and asked her first if she want to sit on his knee for some photos.  He gave her a lot of individual attention.  She said she wants a hoverboard but he said maybe he will bring her a surprise she didn't think of.  (BTW - she knows Santa is not real but she does want to believe in the magic of the season.)






It was definitely a fun experience to do once!

Friday, December 15, 2017

You know Dasher, and Dancer, and Donner....

Well, at least we know "Dancer".




The last day of dance for the calendar year is a family visit day so I got to see what happens in jazz, ballet, and pointe classes.  Yep, folks, I attended 5 hours of dance.  Now, I understand why Grace is tired and hungry on Thursday nights after class!



Left to right:  Lily, Allison, Madeline, Grace, Abby, Robin, Cassidy, and Charlotte. 
(Grace is the second youngest in this group.) 


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Another use for the Nutcracker collection

They are guarding the Calico Critter houses!




Sunday, December 10, 2017

Elves and More

For the last several years Grace and I have joined Kyle's soccer team to help build bikes for an organization called Elves and More. 


They have been working with volunteers to build 1,000+ bikes each year for the last 12 years and then distribute them to children in need in Northeast Ohio. 




I mostly move bikes and help break down the boxes.  Grace likes to ride the bikes to where they will be stored and she makes sure they all have an Elves and More sticker.  We may not "build" but every little bit helps!


Kellie and Dawson started coming to Elves and More as a way to remember and honor Kellie's dad who was a cyclist.  It was nice to see them after such a long time.



Saturday, December 9, 2017

Uncle Chris

On the morning of December 9 Uncle Chris died. We loved him very much and will always be grateful for the time we had with him. We will miss you!

Christmas 2016
Christmas 2015

Monday, December 4, 2017

An amazing, exhausting experience

The 2+ weeks of rehearsals and performances of the Nutcracker at the Akron Civic Theater were an incredible experience. It took a lot of planning and coordination to balance work, home, and dance during those weeks, but it was worth every tiring minute.


It fun to see Grace's professional head shot in the performance program. She is an apprentice in the Ballet Theatre of Ohio (BTO) dance company which means she in their pre-professional troupe (although she doesn't want to be a professional dancer) and will be in all of their performances - hopefully with bigger roles as she moves up.


Parents of dancers in BTO must commit a minimum of 50 volunteer hours to the performances - 25 prior to getting to the Civic and another 25 hours at the Civic during rehearsals and shows.


I learned that working dress rehearsal is great to get candid costume photos and to see what goes on behind the scenes. I also liked working in the boutique during the shows it was fast-paced and interesting to see what people bought.  And, you can go into the theater during your child's part to see them without watching the entire show again and again.


Grace is in the red dress

One night during rehearsals I worked alone in the lobby putting surveys into the programs. When I arrived all the lights were out except for a lightbulb on a stand in the middle of the lobby.  There are legends about three ghosts who haunt the theater...I really didn't want to encounter one!


We were so happy that so many friends and family came to see Grace dance.  It is a great show, but it's so much nicer when you know one of the dancers.  The dancers come out the the theater after the show to sign autographs. 


Mckenna and Vasilia 




Jacob had a few admirers who told Grace he is cute!


Vivian and Ava Lewis
Sara Sibit 


Annalise Weber 


Although they couldn't be there, Grace loved the beautiful yellow roses from Aunt Nancy and Uncle Chris.