Sunday, April 24, 2016

Raccoon Run Take #4

Recently, the PTA president from Grace's school commented that every year she turns down companies who approach her with fundraisers.  The kids at Fishcreek Elementary School don't have the sell wrapping paper, candy, or popcorn since the annual Raccoon Run has become such a huge community event.  In it's 5th year now, the 1-mile and 5K races bring over 1,000 participants and raise close to $40,000 a year for the school.

Grace has participated each of the four years she has been at Fishcreek.  When I told her I was going to add today's photos to this blog she asked if I could also post photos from the other years.  So, here they are:

April 2013 - Kindergarten

April 2014 - 1st grade

April 2015 - 2nd grade

And, today - 3rd grade

Face painting is still fun to do, even if you are almost 9!

Don't be fooled by the sun - it was chilly this morning!

At the start of the race

And they're off!

Mr. and Mrs. Sweet Frog were waiting at the finish line.

Here she comes up the final hill.

Proud of her accomplishment.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Art masterpiece

Grace was so proud to show off the art projects she had on display at her school's fine arts festival tonight.

Too cool for school

Saturday, April 9, 2016


Grace and Alyssa spend a lot of time together at school.  We were so happy to have her over this past weekend for a playdate!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Flat Stanley visits Ohio

There is a beginning reader novel series based around the story of a boy, Stanley, who becomes "flat" when a bookcase falls on him.  Stanley has several different adventures and experiences some strange things since his body is now flat.  He can slip through small cracks, his brother uses him as a kite, and his dad folds him up and carries him in his briefcase.  At one point in the first story, Stanley visits a friend who lives in another state by fitting into an envelope and being mailed.

Early this month Grace received a Flat Stanley from the son of one of my high school friends. She has twins - Brooke and Christopher - who are also in 3rd grade.  

When Karen sent me a message on Facebook asking if we would help with the project, I agreed....then, I found out that Brooke sent HER Stanley to San Francisco.  I wasn't sure we could compete with the Golden Gate Bridge, but we really did try!

Like a lot of my friends from high school and college, we keep up with each other through photos and posts on Facebook.  Karen assured me that we do a lot of cool things and Christopher's Stanley would have a fine time in Ohio.  We had already said, "yes" so there was really no other option but to make our journal as good as it could possibly be. 

We started out with a tour of downtown Cleveland and hit a few of the sites that we thought a 9-year old boy would care about:

Lake Erie

Quicken Loans Arena where the Cavaliers play

First Energy Stadium where the Browns play

 Progressive Field where the Indians play
(do you see a theme here?) 

Opening day was in two days but it was FREEZING out the day we did this.  It turns out they postponed the season opener due to the weather!

We also made a stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Grace wrote about Bruce Springsteen getting a start in music in Cleveland.  

We were only supposed to keep Stanley for a week, so the following day we did one of our favorite things - we went for a hike in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park on the Ledges Trail.  Did I mention it was a COLD weekend?  Yes, snow in April!

And, here is the journal page....

Karen told me that Christopher's Stanley arrived safely back in New Jersey but his teacher is waiting for all of them to return before opening the envelopes.  I can't wait until he sees it and I hope he thinks we did a great job.  It was a fun project...and Grace did some writing - win, win!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

After school playdate

Third grade has been challenging.  I hear the same from other moms of 3rd graders - suddenly the academics get harder and the kids (especially girls) are trying to figure out the whole "social" aspect of being a bigger kid.

We are happy that Grace has a few friends she can count on at school and in the neighborhood.  And, we try to encourage some new friendships where we can.  Grace tends to be quieter and more reserved when she is unsure of herself.  So, having friends come to our house makes it easier for Grace to relax and be herself.

By the was too cold to be in the lake.  I let them wade in on the "beach" (that is covered in water) but they really wanted to put their bathing suits on! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spy Science

I often wonder what Grace will do for a career when she grows up.  If you ask her, she will say she wants to be a prima ballerina.  Being a pianist is her back-up plan.  I told her what my dad always told me, "Get a good education.  Get a good job.  And you can be anything you want."

We recently discovered some things about Grace's vision that are causing traditional school tasks (like reading and copying from the board) to be more challenging than they might be for other children.  That story is for another post -maybe some day if we can resolve the problem - mostly because some of the theories of "why" this all happened make my blood boil.  If we can fix her visual perception and processing issues, maybe then, I will be able to blog about it as a rational person and not a "mama bear" who is left wondering what happened 8+ years ago in foster care.

One of the things I love about Grace is her curiosity about the world.  She doesn't love to read, but when she does you will find her with an almanac, National Geographic, or Ripley's Believe it or Not. Sometimes, I think it is because reading an entire novel seems overwhelming to her.  But most of the time, I know it is just due to her natural curiosity about how things work.  I think we might have a scientist here....or some career that is related to science like a nurse or marine biologist.

So, when the Easter Bunny brought this science kit, I expected it would be a hit.  It turned out to be a fun morning of drawing treasure maps, testing pH, extracting DNA, and solving a mystery of stolen treasure.

 We learned that every living thing has DNA and we were able to extract DNA fibers from a strawberry.  Can you see them in the test tube?

We are both excited about figuring out the second mystery in the kit...something to do with fingerprints and stolen cookies!