Sunday, October 4, 2015

Fickle Fall

It has been almost a month since my last post. We have been busy - just not doing things that I would choose to photograph.  It is "officially" fall and in the last 24 hours it has rained, been really cold (we even put the heat on in the house), the sun came out, and it is now warm enough to wear shorts. Welcome to (early) fall in Ohio!

This morning we went on a new adventure to find the Blue Hen Falls in the Cuyahoga National Park. As I have said before, we are vey lucky to live right near a national park.  There are so many trails and different areas to discover and it is pretty in all seasons, although you probably will not find ME out there in the middle of winter.

Our warm-blooded Latina prefers to be warm and toasty, too.  She started her day with her winter coat, hat, and gloves....that was much more than she needed and quickly took them off for the rest of the hike.

We discovered the Boston Tail Head and walked on Buckeye Trail for a little bit until we found the falls and a little creek.

Our ballerina dances wherever she is these days.  She is always working on holding her arms steady and pointing her toes!

The filtered sunlight was so pretty.   We tried to walk along the creek without getting too wet.

But it was inevitable that someone was going to get pretty wet and muddy.   Hmmm...I wonder who!

Monday, September 7, 2015


On August 25th a flagpole and memorial were dedicated to Kyle's dad, Bill Kosmala.  It stands at the soccer stadium where Kyle coaches.

He was a kind, generous man who loved his family and took particular joy in his grandchildren.  I loved watching the twinkle in his eyes when he teased and joked around with the kids!

The announcer read a nice tribute to Bill and then right before the game, they played a recording of our national anthem that Grace played on the piano.  She practiced for weeks and it sounded wonderful.  We were so proud of her!

Despite the chilly weather, we were all happy to be there to remember and honor Kyle's dad in this special way.  I feel like he is now a part of the soccer stadium that means so much to Kyle.  

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Summer sunset blast

Every Labor Day weekend, our city has fireworks to end the summer.  Grace and Camryn decided to have a sleepover and they are attempting to spend the night in a tent on the deck.

Inside/Out Art

Major art museums across the country have been taking their famous paintings outdoors.  The Akron Art Museum started to participate in this community art project this spring and now, 30 reproductions of art from their collection are on display in different neighborhoods in and around Akron.

Today's tour utilized a trolley that took guests to see 10 paintings on display in the Highland Square/West Akron neighborhoods.

We started at the library (which had its own cool art) and then visited a variety of stores, restaurants, parks, and historical sites that are the current homes to these art reproductions.

The first painting is a memorable one that we have seen at the museum.  It is called "Man Eating Trees" and symbolizes how we are destroying Earth.  Kind of disturbing.

We learned that the Inside/Out paintings are made to withstand some of the Ohio weather but they will all be taken down November 1 and stored for the winter.  When they go back up in the spring they will be in different locations.  I guess it keeps the process interesting.  You can either just come upon them in your normal day-to-day activities or go on a tour or your own self-guided scavenger hunt.

Grace and I decided that we should go to the museum with our brochure from today to see if we can find all the original paintings.  Although we agree it was cool to have these outside, we know that the original artists' works are more vibrant and memorable.

I also learned that the Akron Art Museum trains the docents to give tours.  Ours, named Claire, said she had just started giving tours and she will try to do 24/year.  She had a clipboard with notes about each of the pieces we saw today.  She also seemed to like to share the "back story" about the artist's life.

Akron is full of history and interesting little neighborhoods.  This garden is open to the public but it is behind a Chinese restaurant.  Apparently, the vegetables grown in the garden are used in the restaurant and you can order your food and take it out to eat at the picnic tables tucked in the shade.

An impressionist painting called "Bedford Hills" was at the base of the Glendale Steps at the Glendale Cemetery.   These 242 sandstone steps were built in 1936-1937 and there is an expansive view of Akron from the top.  I didn't climb.  But Grace did.

This primitive-looking painting was at the Perkins Stone Mansion - another place I have never been. The artist received a postcard of the mansion and created the art with that as his inspiration.  Personally, this was not my favorite, but you can see why people appreciate his unique interpretation of this historical landmark.

We will have to try to see the other two neighborhood Inside/Out exhibits this fall.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Early departure

School doesn't start until 9:00am but our day begins much earlier than that!  Here is how my big kid looked on her first day of 3rd grade.  It felt like fall, even though it is still August!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Entering 3rd grade

Tonight at Fishcreek Elementary's open house Grace's new teacher welcomed her to 3rd grade.  3rd grade!?! When did THAT happen?  Grace is ready to go back to school after a fun summer and is excited that some good friends are in her class.

Grace's teacher, Mrs. Zaucha (pronounced "za-ha), had the classroom decorated and ready for her students tomorrow.  Tonight's homework is to choose a favorite book to bring and share with the class.  It is going to be a great year!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Almost 3rd graders

School starts in about 10 days for these little ladies.  They are enjoying one of the last Saturdays of summer vacation by playing together at our house.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Making a splash in Akron

Today, "Side the City" a 1,000 foot traveling slip 'n slide made its way to Akron.

We signed up a couple of months ago and this morning we were among the 3,000 people who took a turn at riding the water slide along University Avenue down to the Lock 3 area.

Organizers said this was one of the steepest slides they have set up.  The slide has 8 sections that weigh 150 pounds each.  After the sections are put in place and inflated, the slide is filled with water from fire hydrants.

At the bottom there is a small pool and water is recycled back to the top to keep it flowing all day.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

All-American girl

Just like the Carrie Underwood song called "All-American Girl" my "heart belongs to this sweet, little, beautiful, wonderful, perfect all-American girl".

Sunday, July 26, 2015

For you, Dad!

Here are a couple of photos of my new car!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pink lady

Right now, Lydia Ko, a 17-year old from New Zealand, is the number 1 female golfer in the world.

It would be amazing if after today's family golf outing, Grace got inspired and started to really practice golf.  We keep hoping to find the sport that will be something she can participate in during high school and college, and golf is one sport that she can play for a lifetime.

Grace did really well for her first time on a golf course.  She hit some pretty good shots and there were no meltdowns.  I think that was because she saw some of MY really bad shots!

She loved paying with bright "Pink Lady" balls and driving the cart.  But, we know she had fun because she thanked us in the car when we were leaving.  Now, THAT is a victory!

 (all iPhone photos)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My kind of town, Chicago is

Twinsburg and Stow didn't have the same spring breaks this year so we didn't go on a trip.  And, we didn't plan a big summer vacation, either.  But Kyle and I were determined to squeeze some family time into our busy schedules.  We talked about somewhere we could drive within 6 hours like Nashville, Boston, or Washington, DC.  All of those might be in our near future but for this trip we headed to Chicago.  Grace was just excited about going to ANY hotel with a pool but during the car ride she made this vacation "to do" list, which I think is totally adorable.

Luckily, we were able to check a few things off Grace's list and some things she didn't know she wanted to do like:

  • Sit in a limousine 

The first night when we were heading out to eat some deep dish Chicago-style pizza there was a limousine parked in front of our hotel.  Grace peeked in the window and the driver was so sweet and turned on the interior lights and let Grace take a look inside.  She told him she plays piano and that someday she was going to be famous and drive one of these around.
  • Ride a Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier 

It was a windy morning in the Windy City (which, by the way has nothing to do with the wind and everything to do with boastful politicians!) but we were still able to ride the 150-foot Ferris Wheel. We also learned that there were originally supposed to be 5 piers on the Lake Michigan waterfront but only one was ever built. There were great views from the top. It is amazing that the city planners designated the lakefront to be for everyone and there is only one skyscraper built on the lake side of the road.  Everything else is park and walking trails. 

Grace wanted to visit a museum so we headed to Shedd Aquarium first.  But the long line convinced us to purchase the City Pass that offered access to 3 museums and 2 observation decks for a discounted price - and you could avoid the lines!  So, we ended up exploring 
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • the Adler Planetarium, 
  • and the Field (natural history) Museum in one day!  

These three museums are located on one "campus" within walking distance of each other along the lake.

Grace was so cute with her camera.  She took pictures of everything, saying "I am just like Nana." When we saw the horse-drawn carriages she told us they were the same as outside the hotel where Eloise lives and she took a picture of each one.

After a great dinner at a little Mexican restaurant, we went to the Hancock building for their observation deck on the 94th floor for

  •  a 360 degree views of the city as the sun was setting.

And, although we vowed NOT to stop at the American Girl store, Grace and I couldn't resist.  It is so great that the girl of the year is named Grace.  There was a bakery upstairs just like the one in the movie - Grace's Sweet Shop!  It turns out this is where Grace got her Chicago souvenir, a backpack that she designed herself.

By the time we went to bed that night, our FitBits told us that we had walked over 10 miles - even after we

  • rode a pedi-cab back to Navy Pier! 
This tiring day was followed the next day with more walking and...
  • an architectural boat tour of the Chicago River

The docent leading the 90-minute tour explained a lot about Chicago's history, the fire that wiped out over 18,000 buildings, and pointed out the different styles of architecture in some unique buildings.

Grace took my camera a few times (I was holding my breath that she didn't drop it overboard) and took some good photos.  Now she wants her own "big camera".

I still prefer to be behind the camera so I can take photos of my favorite model!

We followed the Riverwalk, crossed a bridge, and ended up at Millennium Park where we 
  • found an orchestra playing at the pavilion

and took photos like every other tourist at
  • the Cloud Gate aka "The Bean"

Notice what a nice job Grace did with my camera, again!

We also needed to 
  • dip our feet in the freezing cold water a the Crown Fountain.  These 50-foot glass block towers are on opposite ends of a reflecting pool.  These fountains project the faces of 1,000 Chicago residents and spit water into the shallow pool.  

Kyle wanted to see a Cub's game so we
  • took the "L" train the Wrigley Field for a night game.  We bought bleacher tickets from someone outside the stadium and went inside to watch some of the game.  Grace decided she wanted to be on the big screen.  Since it didn't happen this time, it is now on her bucket list for the future!

Chicago has many nicknames.  They say the name "Second City" was meant that is is second to New York.  But when you are walking around you feel like you are in NYC.  Even as a New Yorker, I have to admit, Chicago has a lot going for it.  We'll definitely go back!